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The Phantom World - or, The philosophy of spirits, apparitions, &c, &c.
by Augustin Calmet
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Sometimes the body, without being dead and forsaken by its reasonable soul, remains as if dead and motionless, or at least with so slow a motion and such feeble respiration, that it is almost imperceptible, as it happens in faintings, swoons, in certain disorders very common amongst women, in trances—as we remarked in the case of Pretextat, priest of Calame; we have also reported more than one instance, considered dead and buried as such; I may add that of the Abbe Salin, prior of St. Christopher,[586] who being in his coffin, and about to be interred, was resuscitated by some of his friends, who made him swallow a glass of champagne.

Several instances of the same kind are related.[587] In the "Causes Celebres," they make mention of a girl who became enceinte during a long swoon; we have already noticed this. Pliny cites[588] a great number of instances of persons who have been thought dead, and who have come to life again, and lived for a long time. He mentions a young man, who having fallen asleep in a cavern, remained there forty years without waking. Our historians[589] speak of the seven sleepers, who slept for 150 years, from the year of Christ 253 to 403. It is said that the philosopher Epimenides slept in a cavern during fifty-seven years, or according to others, forty-seven, or only forty years; for the ancients do not agree concerning the number of years; they even affirm, that this philosopher had the power to detach his soul from his body, and recall it when he pleased. The same thing is related of Aristaeus of Proconnesus. I am willing to allow that that is fabulous; but we cannot gainsay the truth of several other stories of persons who have come to life again, after having appeared dead for three, four, five, six, and seven days. Pliny acknowledges that there are several instances of dead people who have appeared after they were interred; but he will not mention them more particularly, because, he says, he relates only natural things and not prodigies—"Post sepulturam quoque visorum exempla sunt, nisi quod naturae opera non prodigia sectamur." We believe that Enoch and Elijah are still living. Several have thought that St. John the Evangelist was not dead,[590] but that he is still alive in his tomb.

Plato and St. Clement of Alexandria[591] relate, that the son of Zoroaster was resuscitated twelve days after his (supposed) death, and when his body had been laid upon the funeral pyre. Phlegon says,[592] that a Syrian soldier in the army of Antiochus, after having been killed at Thermopylae, appeared in open day in the Roman camp, and spoke to several. And Plutarch relates,[593] that a man named Thespesius, who had fallen from the roof of a house, came to himself the third day after he died (or seemed to die) of his fall.

St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians,[594] seems to suppose that sometimes the soul transported itself without the body, to repair to the spot where it is in mind or thought; for instance, he says, that he has been transported to the third heaven; but he adds that he knows not whether in the body, or only in spirit—"Sive in corpora, sive extra corpus, nescio, Deus scit." We have already cited St. Augustine,[595] who mentions a priest of Calamus, named Pretextat, who, at the sound of the voices of some persons who lamented their sins, fell into such an ecstasy of delight, that he no longer breathed or felt anything; and they might have cut and burnt his flesh without his perceiving it; his soul was absent, or really so occupied with these lamentations, that he was insensible to pain. In swoons and syncope, the soul no longer performs her ordinary functions. She is nevertheless in the body, and continues to animate it, but she perceives not her own action.

A cure of the Diocese of Constance, named Bayer, writes me word that in 1728, having been appointed to the cure of Rutheim, he was disturbed a month afterwards by a spectre, or an evil genius, in the form of a peasant, badly made, and ill-dressed, very ill-looking, and stinking insupportably, who came and knocked at the door in an insolent manner, and having entered his study told him that he had been sent by an official of the Prince of Constance, his bishop, upon a certain commission which was found to be absolutely false. He then asked for something to eat, and they placed before him meat, bread, and wine. He took up the meat with both hands, and devoured it bones and all, saying, "See how I eat both flesh and bone—do the same." Then he took up the wine-cup, and swallowed it at a draught, asking for another, which he drank off in the same fashion. After that he withdrew, without bidding the cure good-bye; and the servant who showed him to the door having asked his name, he replied, "I was born at Rutsingen, and my name is George Raulin," which was false. As he was going down stairs he said to the cure in German, in a menacing tone, "I will show you who I am."

He passed all the rest of the day in the village, showing himself to everybody. Towards midnight he returned to the cure's door, crying out three times in a terrible voice, "Monsieur Bayer!" and adding, "I will let you know who I am." In fact, during three years he returned every day towards four o'clock in the afternoon, and every night till dawn of day. He appeared in different forms, sometimes like a water-dog, sometimes as a lion, or some other terrible animal; sometimes in the shape of a man, or a girl, when the cure was at table, or in bed, enticing him to lasciviousness. Sometimes he made an uproar in the house, like a cooper putting hoops on his casks; then again you might have thought he wanted to throw the house down by the noise he made in it. To have witnesses to all this, the cure often sent for the beadle and other personages of the village to bear testimony to it. The spectre emitted, wherever he showed himself, an insupportable stench.

At last the cure had recourse to exorcisms, but they produced no effect. And as they despaired almost of being delivered from these vexations, he was advised, at the end of the third year, to provide himself with a holy branch on Palm Sunday, and also with a sword sprinkled with holy water, and to make use of it against the spectre. He did so once or twice, and from that time he was no more molested. This is attested by a Capuchin monk, witness of the greater part of these things, the 29th of August, 1749.

I will not guarantee the truth of all these circumstances; the judicious reader will make what induction he pleases from them. If they are true, here is a real ghost, who eats, drinks, and speaks, and gives tokens of his presence for three whole years, without any appearance of religion. Here follows another instance of a ghost who manifested himself by actions alone.

They write me word from Constance, the 8th of August, 1748, that towards the end of the year 1746 sighs were heard, which seemed to proceed from the corner of the printing-office of the Sieur Lahart, one of the common council men of the city of Constance. The printers only laughed at it at first, but in the following year, 1747, in the beginning of January, they heard more noise than before. There was a hard knocking near the same corner whence they had at first heard some sighs; things went so far that the printers received slaps, and their hats were thrown on the ground. They had recourse to the Capuchins, who came with the books proper for exorcising the spirit. The exorcism completed they returned home, and the noise ceased for three days.

At the end of that time the noise recommenced more violently than before; the spirit threw the characters for printing, whether letters or figures, against the windows. They sent out of the city for a famous exorcist, who exorcised the spirit for a week. One day the spirit boxed the ears of a lad; and again the letters, &c., were thrown against the window-panes. The foreign exorcist, not having been able to effect anything by his exorcisms, returned to his own home.

The spirit went on as usual, giving slaps in the face to one, and throwing stones and other things at another, so that the compositors were obliged to leave that corner of the printing-office and place themselves in the middle of the room, but they were not the quieter for that.

They then sent for other exorcists, one of whom had a particle of the true cross, which he placed upon the table. The spirit did not, however, cease disturbing as usual the workmen belonging to the printing-office; and the Capuchin brother who accompanied the exorcist received such buffets that they were both obliged to withdraw to their convent. Then came others, who, having mixed a quantity of sand and ashes in a bucket of water, blessed the water, and sprinkled with it every part of the printing-office. They also scattered the sand and ashes all over the room upon the paved floor; and being provided with swords, the whole party began to strike at random right and left in every part of the room, to see if they could hit the ghost, and to observe if he left any foot-marks upon the sand or ashes which covered the floor. They perceived at last that he had perched himself on the top of the stove or furnace, and they remarked on the angles of it marks of his feet and hands impressed on the sand and ashes they had blessed.

They succeeded in ousting him from there, and they very soon perceived that he had slid under the table, and left marks of his hands and feet on the pavement. The dust raised by all this movement in the office caused them to disperse, and they discontinued the pursuit. But the principal exorcist having taken out a screw from the angle where they had first heard the noise, found in a hole in the wall some feathers, three bones wrapped up in a dirty piece of linen, some bits of glass, and a hair-pin, or bodkin. He blessed a fire which they lighted, and had all that thrown into it. But this monk had hardly reached his convent when one of the printers came to tell him that the bodkin had come out of the flames three times of itself, and that a boy who was holding a pair of tongs, and who put this bodkin in the fire again, had been violently struck in the face. The rest of the things which had been found having been brought to the Capuchin convent, they were burnt without further resistance; but the lad who had carried them there saw a naked woman in the public market-place, and that and the following days groans were heard in the market-place of Constance.

Some days after this the printer's house was again infested in this manner, the ghost giving slaps, throwing stones, and molesting the domestics in divers ways. The Sieur Lahart, the master of the house, received a great wound in his head, two boys who slept in the same bed were thrown on the ground, so that the house was entirely forsaken during the night. One Sunday a servant girl carrying away some linen from the house had stones thrown at her, and another time two boys were thrown down from a ladder.

There was in the city of Constance an executioner who passed for a sorcerer. The monk who writes to me suspected him of having some part in this game; he began to exhort those who sat up with him in the house, to put their confidence in God, and to be strong in faith. He gave them to understand that the executioner was likely to be of the party. They passed the night thus in the house, and about ten o'clock in the evening, one of the companions of the exorcist threw himself at his feet in tears, and revealed to him, that that same night he and one of his companions had been sent to consult the executioner in Turgau, and that by order of the Sieur Lahart, printer, in whose house all this took place. This avowal strangely surprised the good father, and he declared that he would not continue to exorcise, if they did not assure him that they had not spoken to the executioners to put an end to the haunting. They protested that they had not spoken to them at all. The Capuchin father had everything picked up that was found about the house, wrapped up in packets, and had them carried to his convent.

The following night, two domestics tried to pass the night in the house, but they were thrown out of their beds, and constrained to go and sleep elsewhere. After this, they sent for a peasant of the village of Annanstorf, who was considered a good exorcist. He passed the night in the haunted house, drinking, singing, and shouting. He received slaps and blows from a stick, and was obliged to own that he could not prevail against the spirit.

The widow of an executioner presented herself then to perform the exorcisms; she began by using fumigations in all parts of the dwelling, to drive away the evil spirits. But before she had finished these fumigations, seeing that the master was struck in the face and on his body by the spirit, she ran away from the house, without asking for her pay.

They next called in the Cure of Valburg, who passed for a clever exorcist. He came with four other secular cures, and continued the exorcisms for three days, without any success. He withdrew to his parish, imputing the inutility of his prayers to the want of faith of those who were present.

During this time, one of the four priests was struck with a knife, then with a fork, but he was not hurt. The son of Sieur Lahart, master of the dwelling, received upon his jaw a blow from a pascal taper, which did him no harm. All that being of no service, they sent for the executioners of the neighborhood. Two of the persons who went to fetch them were well thrashed and pelted with stones. Another had his thigh so tightly pressed that he felt the pain for a long time. The executioners carefully collected all the packets they found wrapped up about the house, and put others in their room; but the spirit took them up and threw them into the market-place. After this, the executioners persuaded the Sieur Lahart that he might boldly return with his people to the house; he did so, but the first night, when they were at supper, one of his workmen named Solomon was wounded on the foot, and then followed a great effusion of blood. They then sent again for the executioner, who appeared much surprised that the house was not yet entirely freed, but at that moment he was himself attacked by a shower of stones, boxes on the ears, and other blows, which constrained him to run away quickly.

Some heretics in the neighborhood, being informed of all these things, came one day to the bookseller's shop, and upon attempting to read in a Catholic Bible which was there, were well boxed and beaten; but having taken up a Calvinist Bible, they received no harm. Two men of Constance having entered the bookseller's shop from sheer curiosity, one of them was immediately thrown down upon the ground, and the other ran away as fast as he could. Another person, who had come in the same way from curiosity, was punished for his presumption, by having a quantity of water thrown upon him. A young girl of Ausburg, a relation of the Sieur Lahart, printer, was chased away with violent blows, and pursued even to the neighboring house, where she entered.

At last the hauntings ceased, on the 8th of February. On that day the spectre opened the shop door, went in, deranged a few articles, went out, shut the door, and from that time nothing more was seen or heard of it.

Footnotes:

[584] Homer de Hectore, Iliad XXIV. 411.

[585] Plutarch de Alexandro in ejus Vita.

[586] About the year 1680; he died after the year 1694.

[587] Causes Celebres, tom. viii. p. 585.

[588] Plin. Hist. Natur. lib. vii. c. 52.

[589] St. Gregor. Turon. de Gloria Martyr. c. 95.

[590] I have touched upon this matter in a particular Dissertation at the Head of the Gospel of St. John.

[591] Plato, de Republ. lib. x.; Clemens Alexandr. lib. v. Stromat.

[592] Phleg. de Mirabilis, c. 3.

[593] Plutarch, de Sera Numinis Vindicta.

[594] 1 Cor. xiii. 2.

[595] Aug. lib. xiv. de Civit. Dei, c. 24.



CHAPTER XLIX.

INSTANCE OF A MAN NAMED CURMA WHO WAS SENT BACK INTO THE WORLD.

St. Augustine relates on this subject,[596] that a countryman named Curma, who held a small place in the village of Tullia, near Hippoma, having fallen sick, remained for some days senseless and speechless, having just respiration enough left to prevent their burying him. At the end of several days he began to open his eyes, and sent to ask what they were about in the house of another peasant of the same place, and like himself named Curma. They brought him back word, that he had just expired at the very moment that he himself had recovered and was resuscitated from his deep slumber.

Then he began to talk, and related what he had seen and heard; that it was not Curma the curial,[597] but Curma the blacksmith, who ought to have been brought; he added, that among those whom he had seen treated in different ways, he had recognized some of his deceased acquaintance, and other ecclesiastics, who were still alive, who had advised him to come to Hippoma, and be baptized by the Bishop Augustine; that according to their advice he had received baptism in his vision; that afterwards he had been introduced into Paradise, but that he had not remained there long, and that they had told him that if he wished to dwell there, he must be baptized. He replied, "I am so;" but they told him, that he had been so only in a vision, and that he must go to Hippoma to receive that sacrament in reality. He came there as soon as he was cured, and received the rite of baptism with the other catechumens.

St. Augustine was not informed of this adventure till about two years afterwards. He sent for Curma, and learnt from his own lips what I have just related. Now it is certain that Curma saw nothing with his bodily eyes of all that had been represented to him in his vision; neither the town of Hippoma, nor Bishop Augustine, nor the ecclesiastics who counseled him to be baptized, nor the persons living and deceased whom he saw and recognized. We may believe, then, that these things are effects of the power of God, who makes use of the ministry of angels to warn, console, or alarm mortals, according as his judgment sees best.

St. Augustine inquires afterwards if the dead have any knowledge of what is passing in this world? He doubts the fact, and shows that at least they have no knowledge of it by ordinary and natural means. He remarks, that it is said God took Josiah, for instance, from this world,[598] that he might now witness the evil which was to befall his nation; and we say every day, Such-a-one is happy to have left the world, and so escaped feeling the miseries which have happened to his family or his country. But if the dead know not what is passing in this world, how can they be troubled about their bodies being interred or not? How do the saints hear our prayers? and why do we ask them for their intercession?

It is then true that the dead can learn what is passing on the earth, either by the agency of angels, or by that of the dead who arrive in the other world, or by the revelation of the Spirit of God, who discovers to them what he judges proper, and what it is expedient that they should learn. God may also sometimes send men who have long been dead to living men, as he permitted Moses and Elias to appear at the Transfiguration of the Lord, and as an infinite number of the saints have appeared to the living. The invocation of saints has always been taught and practised in the Church; whence we may infer that they hear our prayers, are moved by our wants, and can help us by their intercession. But the way in which all that is done is not distinctly known; neither reason nor revelation furnishes us with anything certain, as to the means it pleases God to make use of to reveal our wants to them.

Lucian, in his dialogue entitled Philopseudes, or the "Lover of Falsehood," relates[599] something similar. A man named Eucrates, having been taken down to hell, was presented to Pluto, who was angry with him who presented him, saying—"That man has not yet completed his course; his turn has not yet come. Bring hither Demilius, for the thread of his life is finished." Then they sent Eucrates back to this world, where he announced that Demilius would die soon. Demilius lived near him, and was already a little ill.

But a moment after they heard the noise of those who were bewailing his death. Lucian makes a jest of all that was said on this subject, but he owns that it was the common opinion in his time. He says in the same part of his work, that a man has been seen to come to life again after having been looked upon as dead during twenty days.

The story of Curma which we have just told, reminds me of another very like it, related by Plutarch in his Book on the Soul, of a certain man named Enarchus,[600] who, being dead, came to life again soon after, and related that the demons who had taken away his soul were severely reprimanded by their chief, who told them that they had made a mistake, and that it was Nicander, and not Enarchus whom they ought to bring. He sent them for Nicander, who was directly seized with a fever, and died during the day. Plutarch heard this from Enarchus himself, who to confirm what he had asserted said to him—"You will get well certainly, and that very soon, of the illness which has attacked you."

St. Gregory the Great relates[601] something very similar to what we have just mentioned. An illustrious man of rank named Stephen well known to St. Gregory and Peter his interlocutor, was accustomed to relate to him, that going to Constantinople on business he died there; and as the doctor who was to embalm him was not in town that day, they were obliged to leave the body unburied that night. During this interval Stephen was led before the judge who presided in hell, where he saw many things which he had heard of, but did not believe. When they brought him to the judge, the latter refused to receive him, saying, "It is not that man whom I commanded you to bring here, but Stephen the blacksmith." In consequence of this order the soul of the dead man was directly brought back to his body, and at the same instant Stephen the blacksmith expired; which confirmed all that the former had said of the other life.

The plague ravaging the city of Rome in the time that Narses was governor of Italy, a young Livonian, a shepherd by profession, and of a good and quiet disposition, was taken ill with the plague in the house of the advocate Valerian, his master. Just when they thought him all but dead, he suddenly came to himself, and related to them that he had been transported to heaven, where he had learnt the names of those who were to die of the plague in his master's house; having named them to him, he predicted to Valerian that he should survive him; and to convince him that he was saying the truth, he let him see that he had acquired by infusion the knowledge of several different languages; in effect he who had never known how to speak any but the Italian tongue, spoke Greek to his master, and other languages to those who knew them.

After having lived in this state for two days, he had fits of madness, and having laid hold of his hands with his teeth, he died a second time, and was followed by those whom he had named. His master, who survived, fully justified his prediction. Men and women who fall into trances remain sometimes for several days without food, respiration, or pulsation of the heart, as if they were dead. Thauler, a famous contemplative (philosopher) maintains that a man may remain entranced during a week, a month, or even a year. We have seen an abbess, who when in a trance, into which she often fell, lost the use of her natural functions, and passed thirty days in that state without taking any nourishment, and without sensation. Instances of these trances are not rare in the lives of the saints, though they are not all of the same kind, or duration.

Women in hysterical fits remain likewise many days as if dead, speechless, inert, pulseless. Galen mentions a woman who was six days in this state.[602] Some of them pass ten whole days motionless, senseless, without respiration and without food.

Some persons who have seemed dead and motionless, had however the sense of hearing very strong, heard all that was said about themselves, made efforts to speak and show that they were not dead, but who could neither speak, nor give any signs of life.[603]

I might here add an infinity of trances of saintly personages of both sexes, who in their delight in God, in prayer remained motionless, without sensation, almost breathless, and who felt nothing of what was done to them, or around them.

Footnotes:

[596] August. lib. de Cura pro Mortuis, c. xii. p. 524.

[597] Curialis—this word signifies a small employment in a village.

[598] IV. Reg. 18, et. seq.

[599] Lucian, in Phliopseud. p. 830.

[600] Plutarch, de Anima, apud Eusebius de Praep. Evang. lib. ii. c. 18.

[601] Gregor. Dial. lib. iv. c. 36.

[602] See the treatise on the Uncertainty of the Signs of Death, tom. ii. pp. 404, 407, et seq.

[603] Ibid. lib. ii. pp. 504, 505, 506, 514.



CHAPTER L.

INSTANCES OF PERSONS WHO COULD FALL INTO A TRANCE WHEN THEY PLEASED, AND REMAINED PERFECTLY SENSELESS.

Jerome Cardan says[604] that he fell into a trance when he liked; he owns that he does not know if, like the priest Pretextat, he should not feel great wounds or hurts, but he did not feel the pain of the gout, or the pulling him about. He adds, the priest of Calama heard the voices of those who spoke aloud near him, but as if from a distance. "For my part," says Cardan, "I hear the voice, though slightly, and without understanding what is said. And when I wish to entrance myself, I feel about my heart as it were a separation of the soul from the rest of my body, and that communicates as if by a little door with all the machine, principally by the head and brain. Then I have no sensation except that of being beside myself."

We may report here what is related of the Laplanders,[605] who when they wish to learn something that is passing at a distance from the spot where they are, send their demon, or their souls, by means of certain magic ceremonies, and by the sound of a drum which they beat, or upon a shield painted in a certain manner; then on a sudden the Laplander falls into a trance, and remains as if lifeless and motionless sometimes during four-and-twenty hours. But all this time some one must remain near him to prevent him from being touched, or called; even the movement of a fly would wake him, and they say he would die directly or be carried away by the demon. We have already mentioned this subject in the Dissertation on Apparitions.

We have also remarked that serpents, worms, flies, snails, marmots, sloths, &c., remain asleep during the winter, and in blocks of stone have been found toads, snakes, and oysters alive, which had been enclosed there for many years, and perhaps for more than a century. Cardinal de Retz relates in his Memoirs,[606] that being at Minorca, the governor of the island caused to be drawn up from the bottom of the sea by main force with cables, whole rocks, which on being broken with maces, enclosed living oysters, that were served up to him at table, and were found very good.

On the coasts of Malta, Sardinia, Italy, &c., they find a fish called the Dactylus, or Date, or Dale, because it resembles the palm-date in form; this first insinuates itself into the stone by a hole not bigger than the hole made by a needle. When he has got in he feeds upon the stone, and grows so big that he cannot get out again, unless the stone is broken and he is extricated. Then they wash it, clean it, and dress it for the table. It has the shape of a date, or of a finger; whence its name of Dactylus, which in Greek signifies a finger.

Again, I imagine that in many persons death is caused by the coagulation of the blood, which freezes and hardens in their veins, as it happens with those who have eaten hemlock, or who have been bitten by certain serpents; but there are others whose death is caused by too great an ebullition of blood, as in painful maladies, and in certain poisons, and even, they say, in certain kinds of plague, and when people die a violent death, or have been drowned.

The first mentioned cannot return to life without an evident miracle; for that purpose the fluidity of the blood must be re-established, and the peristaltic motion must be restored to the heart. But in the second kind of death, people can sometimes be restored without a miracle, by taking away the obstacle which retards or suspends the palpitation of the heart, as we see in time-pieces, the action of which is restored by taking away anything foreign to the mechanism, as a hair, a bit of thread, an atom, some almost imperceptible body which stops them.

Footnotes:

[604] Hieron. Cardanus, lib. viii. de Varietate Verum, c. 34.

[605] Olaus Magnus, lib. iii. Epitom. Hist. Septent. Perecer de Variis Divinat. Generib. p. 282.

[606] Memoirs of Cardinal de Retz, tom. iii. lib. iv. p. 297.



CHAPTER LI.

APPLICATION OF THE PRECEDING INSTANCES TO VAMPIRES.

Supposing these facts, which I believe to be incontestably true, may we not imagine that the vampires of Hungary, Silesia, and Moldavia, are some of those men who have died of maladies which heat the blood, and who have retained some remains of life in their graves, much like those animals which we have mentioned, and those birds which plunge themselves during the winter in the lakes and marshes of Poland, and in the northern countries? They are without respiration or motion, but still not destitute of vitality. They resume their motion and activity when, on the return of spring, the sun warms the waters, or when they are brought near a moderate fire, or laid in a room of temperate heat; then they are seen to revive, and perform their ordinary functions, which had been suspended by the cold.

Thus, vampires in their graves returned to life after a certain time, and their soul does not forsake them absolutely until after the entire dissolution of their body, and when the organs of life, being absolutely broken, corrupted, and deranged, they can no longer by their agency perform any vital functions. Whence it happens, that the people of those countries impale them, cut off their heads, burn them, to deprive their spirit of all hope of animating them again, and of making use of them to molest the living.

Pliny,[607] mentioning the soul of Hermotimes, of Lazomene, which absented itself from his body, and recounted various things that had been done afar off, which the spirit said it had seen, and which, in fact, could only be known to a person who had been present at them, says that the enemies of Hermotimes, named Cantandes, burned that body, which gave hardly any sign of life, and thus deprived the soul of the means of returning to lodge in its envelop; "donec cremato corpore interim semianimi, remeanti animae vetut vaginam ademerint."

Origen had doubtless derived from the ancients what he teaches,[608] that the souls which are of a spiritual nature take, on leaving their earthly body, another, more subtile, of a similar form to the grosser one they have just quitted, which serves them as a kind of sheath, or case, and that it is invested with this subtile body that they sometimes appear about their graves. He founds this opinion on what is said of Lazarus and the rich man in the Gospel,[609] who both of them have bodies, since they speak and see, and the wicked rich man asks for a drop of water to cool his tongue.

I do not defend this reasoning of Origen; but what he says of a subtile body, which has the form of the earthly one which clothed the soul before death, quite resembles the opinion of which we spoke in Chapter IV.

That bodies which have died of violent maladies, or which have been executed when full of health, or have simply swooned, should vegetate underground in their graves; that their beards, hair, and nails should grow; that they should emit blood, be supple and pliant; that they should have no bad smell, &c.—all these things do not embarrass us: the vegetation of the human body may produce all these effects. That they should even eat and devour what is about them, the madness with which a man interred alive must be transported when he awakes from his torpor, or his swoon, must naturally lead him to these violent excesses. But the grand difficulty is to explain how the vampires come out of their graves to haunt the living, and how they return to them again. For all the accounts that we see suppose the thing as certain, without informing us either of the way or the circumstances, which would, however, be the most interesting part of the narrative.

How a body covered with four or five feet of earth, having no room to move about and disengage itself, wrapped up in linen, covered with pitch, can make its way out, and come back upon the earth, and there occasion such effects as are related of it; and how after that it returns to its former state, and re-enters underground, where it is found sound, whole, and full of blood, and in the same condition as a living body? Will it be said that these bodies evaporate through the ground without opening it, like the water and vapors which enter into the earth, or proceed from it, without sensibly deranging its particles? It were to be wished that the accounts which have been given us concerning the return of the vampires had been more minute in their explanations of this subject.

Supposing that their bodies do not stir from their graves, that it is only their phantoms which appear to the living, what cause produces and animates these phantoms? Can it be the spirit of the defunct, which has not yet forsaken them, or some demon, which makes their apparition in a fantastic and borrowed body? And if these bodies are merely phantomic, how can they suck the blood of living people? We always find ourselves in a difficulty to know if these appearances are natural or miraculous.

A sensible priest related to me, a little while ago, that, traveling in Moravia, he was invited by M. Jeanin, a canon of the cathedral at Olmutz, to accompany him to their village, called Liebava, where he had been appointed commissioner by the consistory of the bishopric, to take information concerning the fact of a certain famous vampire, which had caused much confusion in this village of Liebava some years before.

The case proceeded. They heard the witnesses, they observed the usual forms of the law. The witnesses deposed that a certain notable inhabitant of Liebava had often disturbed the living in their beds at night, that he had come out of the cemetery, and had appeared in several houses three or four years ago; that his troublesome visits had ceased because a Hungarian stranger, passing through the village at the time of these reports, had boasted that he could put an end to them, and make the vampire disappear. To perform his promise, he mounted on the church steeple, and observed the moment when the vampire came out of his grave, leaving near it the linen clothes in which he had been enveloped, and then went to disturb the inhabitants of the village.

The Hungarian, having seen him come out of his grave, went down quickly from the steeple, took up the linen envelops of the vampire, and carried them with him up the tower. The vampire having returned from his prowlings, cried loudly against the Hungarian, who made him a sign from the top of the tower that if he wished to have his clothes again he must fetch them; the vampire began to ascend the steeple, but the Hungarian threw him down backwards from the ladder, and cut his head off with a spade. Such was the end of this tragedy.

The person who related this story to me saw nothing, neither did the noble who had been sent as commissioner; they only heard the report of the peasants of the place, people extremely ignorant, superstitious and credulous, and most exceedingly prejudiced on the subject of vampirism.

But supposing that there be any reality in the fact of these apparitions of vampires, shall they be attributed to God, to angels, to the spirits of these ghosts, or to the devil? In this last case, will it be said that the devil will subtilize these bodies, and give them power to penetrate through the ground without disturbing, to glide through the cracks and joints of a door, to pass through a keyhole, to lengthen or shorten themselves, to reduce themselves to the nature of air, or water, to evaporate through the ground—in short, to put them in the same state in which we believe the bodies of the blessed will be after the resurrection, and in which was that of our Saviour after his resurrection, who showed himself only to those whom he thought proper, and who without opening the doors,[610] appeared suddenly in the midst of his disciples.

But should it be allowed that the demon could reanimate these bodies, and give them the power of motion for a time, could he also lengthen, diminish, rarefy, subtilize the bodies of these ghosts, and give them the faculty of penetrating through the ground, the doors and windows? There is no appearance of his having received this power from God, and we cannot even conceive that an earthly body, material and gross, can be reduced to that state of subtility and spiritualization without destroying the configuration of its parts and spoiling the economy of its structure; which would be contrary to the intention of the demon, and render this body incapable of appearing, showing itself, acting and speaking, and, in short, of being cut to pieces and burned, as is commonly seen and practiced in Moravia, Poland, and Silesia. These difficulties exist in regard to those persons of whom we have made mention, who, being excommunicated, rose from their tombs, and left the church in sight of everybody.

We must then keep silence on this article, since it has not pleased God to reveal to us either the extent of the demon's power, or the way in which these things can be done. There is even much appearance of illusion; and even if some reality were mixed up with it, we may easily console ourselves for our ignorance in that respect, since there are so many natural things which take place within us and around us, of which the cause and manner are unknown to us.

Footnotes:

[607] Plin. Hist. Natur. lib. vii. c. 52.

[608] Orig. de Resurrect. Fragment. lib. i. p. 35. Nov. edit. Et contra Celsum, lib. vii. p. 679.

[609] Luke xvi. 22, 23.

[610] John xx. 26.



CHAPTER LII.

EXAMINATION OF THE OPINION THAT THE DEMON FASCINATES THE EYES OF THOSE TO WHOM VAMPIRES APPEAR.

Those who have recourse to the fascination of the senses to explain what is related concerning the apparition of vampires, throw themselves into as great a perplexity as those who acknowledge sincerely the reality of these events; for fascination consists either in the suspension of the senses, which cannot see what is passing before their sight, like that with which the men of Sodom were struck[611] when they could not discover the door of Lot's house, though it was before their eyes; or that of the disciples at Emmaus, of whom it is said that "their eyes were holden, so that they might not recognize Jesus Christ, who was talking with them on the way, and whom they knew not again until the breaking of the bread revealed him to them;"[612]—or else it consists in an object being represented to the senses in a different form from that it wears in reality, as that of the Moabites,[613] who believed they saw the waters tinged with the blood of the Israelites, although nothing was there but the simple waters, on which the rays of the sun being reflected, gave them a reddish hue; or that of the Syrian soldiers sent to take Elisha,[614] who were led by this prophet into Samaria, without their recognising either the prophet or the city.

This fascination, in what way soever it may be conceived, is certainly above the usual power known unto man, consequently man cannot naturally produce it; but is it above the natural powers of an angel or a demon? That is what is unknown to us, and obliges us to suspend our judgment on this question.

There is another kind of fascination, which consists in this, that the sight of a person or a thing, the praise bestowed upon them, the envy felt towards them, produce in the object certain bad effects, against which the ancients took great care to guard themselves and their children, by making them wear round their necks preservatives, or amulets, or charms.

A great number of passages on this subject might be cited from the Greek and Latin authors; and I find that at this day, in various parts of Christendom, people are persuaded of the efficacy of these fascinations. But we must own three things; first, that the effect of these pretended fascinations (or spells) is very doubtful; the second, that if it were certain, it is very difficult, not to say impossible, to explain it; and lastly, that it cannot be rationally applied to the matter of apparitions or of vampires.

If the vampires or ghosts are not really resuscitated nor their bodies spiritualized and subtilized, as we believe we have proved, and if our senses are not deceived by fascination, as we have just seen it, I doubt if there be any other way to act on this question than to absolutely deny the return of these vampires, or to believe that they are only asleep or torpid; for if they truly are resuscitated, and if what is told of their return be true—if they speak, act, reason, if they suck the blood of the living, they must know what passes in the other world, and they ought to inform their relations and friends of it, and that is what they do not. On the contrary, they treat them as enemies; torment them, take away their life, suck their blood, cause them to die with lassitude.

If they are predestinated and blessed, whence happens it that they disturb and torment the living, their nearest relations, their children, and all that for nothing, and simply for the sake of doing harm? If these are persons who have still something to expiate in purgatory, and who require the prayers of the living, why do they not explain their condition? If they are reprobate and condemned, what have they to do on this earth? Can we conceive that God allows them thus to come without reason or necessity and molest their families, and even cause their death?

If these revenans are really dead, whatever state they may be in in the other world, they play a very bad part here, and keep it up still worse.

Footnotes:

[611] Gen. xix. 2.

[612] Luke xxiv. 16.

[613] 2 Kings iii. 23.

[614] 2 Kings iv. 19, 20.



CHAPTER LIII.

INSTANCES OF PERSONS RESUSCITATED, WHO RELATE WHAT THEY HAVE SEEN IN THE OTHER WORLD.

We have just seen that the vampires never speak of the other world, nor ask for either masses or prayers, nor give any warning to the living to lead them to correct their morals, or bring them to a better life. It is surely very prejudicial to the reality of their return from the other world; but their silence on that head may favor the opinion which supposes that they are not really dead.

It is true that we do not read either that Lazarus, resuscitated by Jesus Christ,[615] nor the son of the widow of Nain,[616] nor that of the woman of Shunam, brought to life by Elisha,[617] nor that Israelite who came to life by simply touching the body of the same prophet Elisha,[618] after their resurrection revealed anything to mankind of the state of souls in the other world.

But we see in the Gospel[619] that the bad rich man, having begged of Abraham to permit him to send some one to this world to warn his brethren to lead a better life, and take care not to fall into the unhappy condition in which he found himself, was answered, "They have the law and the prophets, they can listen to them and follow their instructions." And as the rich man persisted, saying—"If some one went to them from the other world, they would be more impressed," Abraham replied, "If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they attend the more though one should go to them from the dead." The dead man resuscitated by St. Stanislaus replied in the same manner to those who asked him to give them news of the other world—"You have the law, the prophets, and the Gospel—hear them!"

The deceased Pagans who have returned to life, and some Christians who have likewise returned to the world by a kind of resurrection, and who have seen what passed beyond the bounds of this world, have not kept silence on the subject. They have related at length what they saw and heard on leaving their bodies.

We have already touched upon the story of a man named Eros, of the country of Pamphilia,[620] who, having been wounded in battle, was found ten days after amongst the dead. They carried him senseless and motionless into the house. Two days afterwards, when they were about to place him on the funeral pile to burn his body, he revived, began to speak, and to relate in what manner people were lodged after their death, and how the good were rewarded and the wicked punished and tormented.

He said that his soul, being separated from his body, went with a large company to a very agreeable place, where they saw as it were two great openings, which gave entrance to those who came from earth, and two others to go to heaven. He saw at this same place judges who examined those arrived from this world, and sent up to the right those who had lived well, and sent down to the left those who had been guilty of crimes. Each of them bore upon his back a label on which was written what he had done well or ill, the reason of his condemnation or his absolution.

When it came to the turn of Eros, the judges told him that he must return to earth, to announce to men what passed in the other world, and that he must well observe everything, in order to be able to render a faithful account to the living. Thus he witnessed the miserable state of the wicked, which was to last a thousand years, and the delights enjoyed by the just; that both the good and the bad received the reward or the punishment of their good or bad deeds, ten times greater than the measure of their crimes or of all their virtues.

He remarked amongst other things, that the judges inquired where was a certain man named Andaeus, celebrated in all Pamphylia for his crimes and tyranny. They were answered that he was not yet come, and that he would not be there; in fact, having presented himself with much trouble, and by making great efforts, at the grand opening before mentioned, he was repulsed and sent back to go below with other scoundrels like himself, whom they tortured in a thousand different ways, and who were always violently repulsed, whenever they tried to reascend.

He saw, moreover, the three Fates, daughters of Necessity or Destiny. These are, Lachesis, Clotho, and Atropos. Lachesis announced the past, Clotho the present, and Atropos the future. The souls were obliged to appear before these three goddesses. Lachesis cast the lots upwards, and every soul laid hold of the one which it could reach; which, however, did not prevent them still from sometimes missing the kind of life which was most conformable to justice and reason.

Eros added that he had remarked some of the souls who sought to enter into animals; for instance, Orpheus, from hatred to the female sex, who had killed him (by tearing him to pieces), entered into a swan, and Thamaris into a nightingale. Ajax, the son of Telamon, chose the body of a lion, from detestation of the injustice of the Greeks, who had refused to let him have the arms of Hector, which he asserted were his due. Agamemnon, grieved at the crosses he had endured in this life, chose the form of the eagle. Atalanta chose the life of the athletics, delighted with the honors heaped upon them. Thersites, the ugliest of mortals, chose the form of an ape. Ulysses, weary of the miseries he had suffered upon earth, asked to live quietly as a private man. He had some trouble to find a lot for that kind of life; but he found it at last thrown down on the ground and neglected, and he joyfully snatched it up.

Eros affirmed also that the souls of some animals entered into the bodies of men; and by the contrary rule, the souls of the wicked took possession of savage and cruel beasts, and the souls of just men of those animals which are gentle, tame, and domestic.

After these various metempsychoses, Lachesis gave to each his guardian or defender, who guided and guarded him during the course of his life. Eros was then led to the river of oblivion (Lethe), which takes away all memory of the past, but he was prevented from drinking of its water. Lastly, he said he could not tell how he came back to life.

Plato, after having related this fable, as he terms it, or this apologue, concludes from it that the soul is immortal, and that to gain a blessed life we must live uprightly, which will lead us to heaven, where we shall enjoy that beatitude of a thousand years which is promised us.

We see by this, 1. That a man may live a good while without eating or breathing, or giving any sign or life. 2. That the Greeks believed in the metempsychosis, in a state of beatitude for the just, and pains of a thousand years duration for the wicked. 3. That destiny does not hinder a man from doing either good or evil. 4. That he had a genius, or an angel, who guided and protected him. They believed in judgment after death, and that the souls of the just were received into what they called the Elysian Fields.

Footnotes:

[615] John xi. 14.

[616] Luke vii. 11, 12.

[617] 2 Kings iv. 25.

[618] 2 Kings xiii. 21.

[619] Luke xvi. 24.

[620] Plato, lib. x. de Rep. p. 614.



CHAPTER LIV.

THE TRADITIONS OF THE PAGANS CONCERNING THE FUTURE LIFE ARE DERIVED FROM THE HEBREWS AND EGYPTIANS.

All these traditions are clearly to be found in Homer, Virgil, and other Greek and Latin authors; they were doubtless originally derived from the Hebrews, or rather the Egyptians, from whom the Greeks took their religion, which they arranged to their own taste. The Hebrews speak of the Rephaims,[621] of the impious giants "who groan under the waters." Solomon says[622] that the wicked shall go down to the abyss, or hell, with the Rephaims. Isaiah, describing the arrival of the King of Babylon in hell, says[623] that "the giants have raised themselves up to meet him with honor, and have said unto him, thou has been pierced with wounds even as we are; thy pride has been precipitated into hell. Thy bed shall be of rottenness, and thy covering of worms." Ezekiel describes[624] in the same manner the descent of the King of Assyria into hell—"In the day that Ahasuerus went down into hell, I commanded a general mourning; for him I closed up the abyss, and arrested the course of the waters. You are at last brought down to the bottom of the earth with the trees of Eden; you will rest there with all those who have been killed by the sword; there is Pharaoh with all his host," &c. In the Gospel,[625] there is a great gulf between the bosom of Abraham and the abode of the bad rich man, and of those who resemble him.

The Egyptians called Amenthes, that is to say, "he who receives and gives," what the Greeks named Hades, or hell, or the kingdom of Hades, or Pluto. They believed that Amenthes received the souls of men when they died, and restored them to them when they returned to the world; that when a man died, his soul passed into the body of some other animal by metempsychosis; first of all into a terrestrial animal, then into one that was aquatic, afterwards into the body of a bird, and lastly, after having animated all sorts of animals, he returned at the end of three thousand years to the body of a man.

It is from the Egyptians that Orpheus, Homer, and the other Greeks derived the idea of the immortality of the soul, as well as the cave of the Nymphs described by Homer, who says there are two gates, the one to the north, through which the soul enters the cavern, and the other to the south, by which they leave the nymphic abode.

A certain Thespisius, a native of Soloe in Cilicia, well known to Plutarch,[626] having passed a great part of his life in debauchery, and ruined himself entirely, in order to gain a livelihood lent himself to everything that was bad, and contrived to amass money. Having sent to consult the oracle of Amphilochus, he received for answer, that his affairs would go on better after his death. A short time after, he fell from the top of his house, broke his neck, and died. Three days after, when they were about to perform the funeral obsequies, he came to life again, and changed his way of life so greatly that there was not in Cilicia a worthier or more pious man than himself.

As they asked him the reason of such a change, he said that at the moment of his fall he felt the same as a pilot who is thrown back from the top of the helm into the sea; after which, his soul was sensible of being raised as high as the stars, of which he admired the immense size and admirable lustre; that the souls once out of the body rise into the air, and are enclosed in a kind of globe, or inflamed vortex, whence having escaped, some rise on high with incredible rapidity, while others whirl about the air, and are thrown in divers directions, sometimes up and sometimes down.

The greater part appeared to him very much perplexed, and uttered groans and frightful wailings; others, but in a less number, rose and rejoiced with their fellows. At last he learnt that Adrastia, the daughter of Jupiter and Necessity, left nothing unpunished, and that she treated every one according to their merit. He then details all he saw at full length, and relates the various punishments with which the bad are tormented in the next world.

He adds that a man of his acquaintance said to him, "You are not dead, but by God's permission your soul is come into this place, and has left your body with all its faculties." At last he was sent back into his body as through a channel, and urged on by an impetuous breeze.

We may make two reflections on this recital; the first on this soul, which quits its body for three days and then comes back to reanimate it; the second, on the certainty of the oracle, which promised Thespisius a happier life when he should be dead.

In the Sicilian war[627] between Caesar and Pompey, Gabienus, commander of Caesar's fleet, having been taken, was beheaded by order of Pompey. He remained all day on the sea-shore, his head only held on to his body by a fillet. Towards evening he begged that Pompey or some of his people might come to him, because he came from the shades, and he had things of consequence to impart to him. Pompey sent to him several of his friends, to whom Gabienus declared that the gods of the infernal regions favored the cause and the party of Pompey, and that he would succeed according to his wishes; that he was ordered to announce this, "and as a proof of the truth of what I say, I must die directly," which happened. But we do not see that Pompey's party succeeded; we know, on the contrary, that it fell, and Caesar was victorious. But the God of the infernal regions, that is to say, the devil, found it very good for him, since it sent him so many unhappy victims of revenge and ambition.[628]

Footnotes:

[621] Job xxvi. 5.

[622] Prov. ix. 18.

[623] Isa. xix. 9, et seq.

[624] Ezek. xxxi. 15.

[625] Luke xvi. 26.

[626] Plutarch, de his qui misero a Numine puniuntur.

[627] Plin. Hist. Natur. lib. vii. c. 52.

[628] This story is related before, and is here related on account of the bearing it has on the subject of this chapter.



CHAPTER LV.

INSTANCES OF CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE BEEN RESUSCITATED AND SENT BACK TO THE WORLD—VISION OF VETINUS, A MONK OF AUGIA.

We read in an old work, written in the time of St. Augustine,[629] that a man having been crushed by a wall which fell upon him, his wife ran to the church to invoke St. Stephen whilst they were preparing to bury the man who was supposed to be dead. Suddenly they saw him open his eyes, and move his body; and after a time he sat up, and related that his soul, having quitted his body, had met a crowd of other souls of dead persons, some of whom he knew, and others he did not; that a young man, in a deacon's habit, having entered the room where he was, put aside all those souls, and said to them three times, "Return what you have received." He understood at last that he meant the creed, which he recited instantly; and also the Lord's Prayer; then the deacon (St. Stephen) made the sign of the cross upon his heart, and told him to rise in perfect health. A young man,[630] a catechumen, who had been dead for three days, and was brought back to life by the prayers of St. Martin, related that after his death he had been presented before the tribunal of the Sovereign Judge, who had condemned him, and sent him with a crowd of others into a dark place; and then two angels, having represented to the Judge that he was a man for whom St. Martin had interceded, the Judge commanded the angels to send him back to earth, and restore him to St. Martin, which was done. He was baptized, and lived a long time afterwards.

St. Salvius, Bishop of Albi,[631] having been seized with a violent fever, was thought to be dead. They washed him, clothed him, laid him on a bier, and passed the night in prayer by him: the next morning he was seen to move; he appeared to awake from a deep sleep, opened his eyes, and raising his hand towards heaven said, "Ah! Lord, why hast thou sent me back to this gloomy abode?" He rose completely cured, but would then reveal nothing.

Some days after, he related how two angels had carried him to heaven, where he had seen the glory of Paradise, and had been sent back against his will to live some time longer on earth. St. Gregory of Tours takes God to witness that he heard this history from the mouth of St. Salvius himself.

A monk of Augia, named Vetinus, or Guetinus, who was living in 824, was ill, and lying upon his couch with his eyes shut; but not being quite asleep, he saw a demon in the shape of a priest, most horribly deformed, who, showing him some instruments of torture which he held in his hand, threatened to make him soon feel the rigorous effects of them. At the same time he saw a multitude of evil spirits enter his chamber, carrying tools, as if to build him a tomb or a coffin, and enclose him in it.

Immediately he saw appear some serious and grave-looking personages, wearing religious habits, who chased these demons away; and then Vetinus saw an angel, surrounded with a blaze of light, who came to the foot of the bed, and conducted him by a path between mountains of an extraordinary height, at the foot of which flowed a large river, in which he beheld a multitude of the damned, who were suffering diverse torments, according to the kind and enormity of their crimes. He saw amongst them many of his acquaintance; amongst others, some prelates and priests, guilty of incontinence, who were tied with their backs to stakes, and burned by a fire lighted under them; the women, their companions in crime, suffering the same torment opposite to them.

He beheld there also, a monk who had given himself up to avarice, and possessed money of his own, who was to expiate his crime in a leaden coffin till the day of judgment. He remarked there abbots and bishops, and even the Emperor Charlemagne, who were expiating their faults by fire, but were to be released from it after a certain time. He remarked there also the abode of the blessed in heaven, each one in his place, and according to his merits. The Angel of the Lord after this revealed to him the crimes which were the most common, and the most odious in the eyes of God. He mentioned sodomy in particular, as the most abominable crime.

After the service for the night, the abbot came to visit the sick man, who related this vision to him in full, and the abbot had it written down directly. Vetinus lived two days longer, and having predicted that he had only the third day to live, he recommended himself to the prayers of the monks, received the holy viaticum, and died in peace, the 31st of October, 824.

Footnotes:

[629] Lib. i. de Miracul. Sancti Stephani, cap. 4. p. 28. Lib. vii. Oper. St. Aug. in Appendice.

[630] Sulpit. Sever. in Vita S. Martini, cap. 3.

[631] Gregor. Turon. lib. vii. c. 1.



CHAPTER LVI.

THE VISION OF BERTHOLDUS, AS RELATED BY HINCMAR, ARCHBISHOP OF RHEIMS.

The famous Hincmar,[632] Archbishop of Rheims, in a circular letter which he wrote to the bishops, his suffragans, and the faithful of his diocese, relates, that a man named Bertholdus, with whom he was acquainted, having fallen ill, and received all the sacraments, remained during four days without taking any food. On the fourth day he was so weak that there was hardly a feeble palpitation and respiration found in him. About midnight he called to his wife, and told her to send quickly for his confessor.

The priest was as yet only in the court before the house, when Bertholdus said, "Place a seat here, for the priest is coming." He entered the room and said some prayers, to which Bertholdus uttered the responses, and then related to him the vision he had had. "On leaving this world," said he, "I saw forty-one bishops, amongst whom were Ebonius, Leopardellus, Eneas, who were clothed in coarse black garments, dirty, and singed by the flames. As for themselves, they were sometimes burned by the flames, and at others frozen with insupportable cold." Ebonius said to him, "Go to my clergy and my friends, and tell them to offer for us the holy sacrifice." Bertholdus obeyed, and returning to the place where he had seen the bishops, he found them well clothed, shaved, bathed, and rejoicing.

A little farther on, he met King Charles,[633] who was as if eaten by worms. This prince begged him to go and tell Hincmar to relieve his misery. Hincmar said mass for him, and King Charles found relief. After that he saw Bishop Jesse, of Orleans, who was over a well, and four demons plunged him into boiling pitch, and then threw him into icy water. They prayed for him, and he was relieved. He then saw the Count Othaire, who was likewise in torment. Bertholdus begged the wife of Othaire, with his vassals and friends, to pray for him, and give alms, and he was delivered from his torments. Bertholdus after that received the holy communion, and began to find himself better, with the hope of living fourteen years longer, as he had been promised by his guide, who had shown him all that we have just related.

Footnotes:

[632] Hincmar, lib. ii. p. 805.

[633] Apparently Charles the Bald, who died in 875.



CHAPTER LVII.

THE VISION OF SAINT FURSIUS.

The Life of St. Fursius,[634] written a short time after his death, which happened about the year 653, reports several visions seen by this holy man. Being grievously ill, and unable to stir, he saw himself in the midst of the darkness raised up, as it were, by the hands of three angels, who carried him out of the world, then brought him back to it, and made his soul re-enter his body, to complete the destination assigned him by God. Then he found himself in the midst of several people, who wept for him as if he were dead, and told him how, the day before, he had fallen down in a swoon, so that they believed him to be dead. He could have wished to have some intelligent persons about him to relate to them what he had seen; but having no one near him but rustics, he asked for and received the communion of the body and blood of the Saviour, and continued three days longer awake.

The following Tuesday, he fell into a similar swoon, in the middle of the night; his feet became cold, and raising his hands to pray, he received death with joy. Then he saw the same three angels descend who had already guided him. They raised him as the first time, but instead of the agreeable and melodious songs which he had then heard, he could now hear only the frightful howlings of the demons, who began to fight against him, and shoot inflamed darts at him. The Angel of the Lord received them on his buckler, and extinguished them. The devil reproached Fursius with some bad thoughts, and some human weaknesses, but the angels defended him, saying, "If he has not committed any capital sins, he shall not perish."

As the devil could not reproach him with anything that was worthy of eternal death, he saw two saints from his own country—St. Bean and St. Medan, who comforted him and announced to him the evils with which God would punish mankind, principally because of the sins of the doctors or learned men of the church, and the princes who governed the people;—the doctors for neglecting to declare the word of God, and the princes for the bad examples they gave their people. After which, they sent him back into his body again. He returned into it with repugnance, and began to relate all that he had seen; they poured spring water upon his body, and he felt a great warmth between his shoulders. After this, he began to preach throughout Hibernia; and the Venerable Bede[635] says that there was in his monastery an aged monk who said that he had learned from a grave personage well worthy of belief, that he had heard these visions described by St. Fursius himself. This saint had not the least doubt that his soul was really separated from his body, when he was carried away in his trance.

Footnotes:

[634] Vita Sti. Fursci, apud Bolland. 16 Januarii, pp. 37, 38. Item, pp. 47, 48. Saecul. xi. Bened. p. 299.

[635] Bede, lib. iii. Hist. c. 19.



CHAPTER LVIII.

VISION OF A PROTESTANT OF YORK, AND OTHERS.

Here is another instance, which happened in 1698 to one of the so-called reformed religion.[636] A minister of the county of York, at a place called Hipley, and whose name was Henry Vatz (Watts), being struck with apoplexy the 15th of August, was on the 17th placed in a coffin to be buried. But as they were about to put him in the grave, he uttered a loud cry, which frightened all the persons who had attended him to the grave; they took him quickly out of the coffin, and as soon as he had come to himself, he related several surprising things which he said had been revealed to him during his trance, which had lasted eight-and-forty hours. The 24th of the same month, he preached a very moving discourse to those who had accompanied him the day they were carrying him to the tomb.

People may, if they please, treat all that we have related as dreams and tales, but it cannot be denied that we recognize in these resurrections, and in these narrations of men who have come to life again after their real or seeming death, the belief of the church concerning hell, paradise, purgatory, the efficacy of prayers for the dead, and the apparitions of angels and demons who torment the damned, and of the souls who have yet something to expiate in the other world.

We see also, that which has a visible connection with the matter we are treating upon—persons really dead, and others regarded as such, who return to life in health and live a long time afterwards. Lastly, we may observe therein opinions on the state of souls after this life, which are nearly the same as among the Hebrews, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, barbarous nations, and Christians. If the Hungarian ghosts do not speak of what they have seen in the other world, it is either that they are not really dead, or more likely that all which is related of these revenans is fabulous and chimerical. I will add some more instances which will serve to confirm the belief of the primitive church on the subject of apparitions.

St. Perpetua, who suffered martyrdom in Africa in 202 or 203, being in prison for the faith, saw a brother named Dinocrates, who had died at the age of seven years of a cancer in the cheek; she saw him as if in a very large dungeon, so that they could not approach each other. He seemed to be placed in a reservoir of water, the sides of which were higher than himself, so that he could not reach the water, for which he appeared to thirst very much. Perpetua was much moved at this, and prayed to God with tears and groans for his relief. Some days after, she saw in spirit the same Dinocrates, well clothed, washed, and refreshed, and the water of the reservoir in which he was, only came up to his middle, and on the edge a cup, from which he drank, without the water diminishing, and the skin of the cancer in his cheek well healed, so that nothing now remained of the cancer but the scar. By these things she understood that Dinocrates was no longer in pain.

Dinocrates was there apparently[637] to expiate some faults which he had committed since his baptism, for Perpetua says a little before this that only her father had remained in infidelity.

The same St. Perpetua, being in prison some days before she suffered martyrdom[638] had a vision of the deacon Pomponius, who had suffered martyrdom some days before, and who said to her, "Come, we are waiting for you." He led her through a rugged and winding path into the arena of the amphitheatre, where she had to combat with a very ugly Egyptian, accompanied by some other men like him. Perpetua found herself changed into a man, and began to fight naked, assisted by some well-made youths who came to her service and assistance.

Then she beheld a man of extraordinary size, who cried aloud, "If the Egyptian gains the victory over her, he will kill her with his sword; but if she conquers, she shall have this branch ornamented with golden apples for her reward." Perpetua began the combat, and having overthrown the Egyptian, trampled his head under her feet. The people shouted victory, and Perpetua approaching him who held the branch above mentioned, he put it in her hands, and said to her, "Peace be with you." Then she awoke, and understood that she would have to combat, not against wild beasts, but against the devil.

Saturus, one of the companions of the martyrdom of St. Perpetua, had also a vision, which he relates thus: "We had suffered martyrdom, and were disengaged from this mortal body. Four angels carried us towards the East without touching us. We arrived at a place shining with intense lustre; Perpetua was at my side, and I said unto her, 'Behold what the Lord promised us.'

"We entered a large garden full of trees and flowers; the four angels who had borne us thither placed us in the hands of other angels, who conducted us by a wide road to a place where we found Jocondus, Saturninus, and Artazes, who had suffered with us, and invited us to come and salute the Lord. We followed them, and beheld in the midst of this place the Almighty, crowned with dazzling light, and we heard repeated incessantly by those around him, Holy! holy! holy! They raised us towards him, and we stopped before his throne. We gave him the kiss of peace, and he stroked our faces with his hand.

"We came out, and we saw before the door the bishop Optatus and the priest Aspasius, who threw themselves at our feet. We raised and embraced them. We recognized in this place several of our brethren and some martyrs." Such was the vision of Saturus.

There are visions of all sorts; of holy martyrs, and of holy angels. It is related of St. Exuperus, bishop of Thoulouse,[639] that having conceived the design of transporting the relics of St. Saturnus, a former bishop of that church, to place them in a new church built in his honor, he could with difficulty resolve to take this holy body from the tomb, fearing to displease the saint, or to diminish the honor which was due to him. But while in this doubt, he had a vision which gave him to understand that this translation would neither lessen the respect which was due to the ashes of the martyr, nor be prejudicial to his honor; but that on the contrary it would contribute to the salvation of the faithful, and to the greater glorification of God.

Some days before[640] St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, suffered martyrdom, in 258, he had a vision, not being as yet quite asleep, in which a young man whose height was extraordinary, seemed to lead him to the Praetorium before the Proconsul, who was seated on his tribunal. This magistrate, having caught sight of Cyprian, began to write his sentence before he had interrogated him as was usual. Cyprian knew not what the sentence condemned him to; but the young man above mentioned, and who was behind the judge, made a sign by opening his hand and spreading in form of a sword, that he was condemned to have his head cut off.

Cyprian easily understood what was meant by this sign, and having earnestly requested to be allowed a day's delay to put his affairs in order, the judge, having granted his request, again wrote upon his tablets, and the young man by a sign of his hand let him know that the delay was granted. These predictions were exactly fulfilled, and we see many similar ones in the works of St. Cyprian.

St. Fructueux, Bishop of Tarragona,[641] who suffered martyrdom in 259, was seen after his death ascending to heaven with the deacons who had suffered with him; they appeared as if they were still attached to the stakes near which they had been burnt. They were seen by two Christians, who showed them to the wife and daughter of Emilian, who had condemned them. The saint appeared to Emilian himself and to the Christians, who had taken away their ashes, and desired that they might be all collected in one spot. We see similar apparitions[642] in the acts of St. James, of St. Marienus, martyrs, and some others who suffered in Numidia in 259. We may observe the like[643] in the acts of St. Montanus, St. Lucius, and other African martyrs in 259 or 260, and in those of St. Vincent, a martyr in Spain, in 304, and in the life of St. Theodore, martyr, in 306, of whose sufferings St. Gregory of Nicea has written an account. Everybody knows what happened at Sebastus, in Armenia, in the martyrdom of the famous forty martyrs, of whom St. Basil the Great has written the eulogium. One of the forty, overcome by the excess of cold, which was extreme, threw himself into a hot bath that was prepared just by. Then he who guarded them having perceived some angels who brought crowns to the thirty-nine who had persevered in their sufferings, despoiled himself of his garments, joined himself to the martyrs, and declared himself a Christian.

All these instances invincibly prove that, at least in the first ages of the church, the greatest and most learned bishops, the holy martyrs, and the generality of the faithful, were well persuaded of the possibility and reality of apparitions.

Footnotes:

[636] Larrey, Hist. de Louis XIV. year 1698, p. 68.

[637] Aug. lib. i. de Origine Animae.

[638] Ibid. p. 97.

[639] Aug. lib. i. de Origine Animae, p. 132.

[640] Acta Martyr. Sincera, p. 212. Vita et Passio S. Cypriani, p. 268.

[641] Acta Martyr. Sincera, pp. 219, 221.

[642] Acta Martyr. Sincera, p. 226.

[643] Ibid. pp. 231-233, 237.



CHAPTER LIX.

CONCLUSIONS OF THIS DISSERTATION.

To resume, in a few words, all that we have related in this dissertation: we have therein shown that a resurrection, properly so called, of a person who has been dead for a considerable time, and whose body was either corrupted, or stinking, or ready to putrefy, like that of Pierre, who had been three years buried, and was resuscitated by St. Stanislaus, or that of Lazarus, who had been four days in the tomb, and already possessing a corpse-like smell—such a resurrection can be the work of the almighty power of God alone.

That persons who have been drowned, fallen into syncope, into a lethargy or trance, or looked upon as dead, in any manner whatever, can be cured and brought back to life, even to their former state of life, without any miracle, but by the power of medicine alone, or by natural efforts, or by dint of patience; so that nature re-establishes herself in her former state, that the heart resumes its pulsation, and the blood circulates freely again in the arteries, and the vital and animal spirits in the nerves.

That the oupires, or vampires, or revenans of Moravia, Hungary, Poland, &c., of which such extraordinary things are related, so detailed, so circumstantial, invested with all the necessary formalities to make them believed, and to prove them even judicially before judges, and at the most exact and severe tribunals; that all which is said of their return to life; of their apparition, and the confusion which they cause in the towns and country places; of their killing people by sucking their blood, or in making a sign to them to follow them; that all those things are mere illusions, and the consequence of a heated and prejudiced imagination. They cannot cite any witness who is sensible, grave and unprejudiced, who can testify that he has seen, touched, interrogated these ghosts, who can affirm the reality of their return, and of the effects which are attributed to them.

I shall not deny that some persons may have died of fright, imagining that their near relatives called them to the tomb; that others have thought they heard some one rap at their doors, worry them, disturb them, in a word, occasion them mortal maladies; and that these persons judicially interrogated, have replied that they had seen and heard what their panic-struck imagination had represented to them. But I require unprejudiced witnesses, free from terror and disinterested, quite calm, who can affirm upon serious reflection, that they have seen, heard, and interrogated these vampires, and who have been the witnesses of their operations; and I am persuaded that no such witness will be found.

I have by me a letter, which has been sent me from Warsaw, the 3d of February, 1745, by M. Slivisk, visitor of the province of priests of the mission of Poland. He sends me word, that having studied with great care this matter, and having proposed to compose on this subject a theological and physical dissertation, he had collected some memoirs with that view; but that the occupations of visitor and superior in the house of his congregation of Warsaw, had not allowed of his putting his project in execution; that he has since sought in vain for these memoirs or notes, which have probably remained in the hands of some of those to whom he had communicated them; that amongst these notes were two resolutions of the Sorbonne, which both forbade cutting off the head and maiming the body of any of these pretended oupires or vampires. He adds, that these decisions may be found in the registers of the Sorbonne, from the year 1700 to 1710. I shall report by and by, a decision of the Sorbonne on this subject, dated in the year 1691.

He says, moreover, that in Poland they are so persuaded of the existence of these oupires, that any one who thought otherwise would be regarded almost as a heretic. There are several facts concerning this matter, which are looked upon as incontestable, and many persons are named as witnesses of them. "I gave myself the trouble," says he, "to go to the fountain-head, and examine those who are cited as ocular witnesses." He found that no one dared to affirm that they had really seen the circumstances in question, and that it was all merely reveries and fancies, caused by fear and unfounded discourse. So writes to me this wise and judicious priest.

I have also received since, another letter from Vienna in Austria, written the 3d of August, 1746, by a Lorraine baron,[644] who has always followed his prince. He tells me, that in 1742, his imperial majesty, then his royal highness of Lorraine, had several verbal acts drawn up concerning these cases, which happened in Moravia. I have them by me still; I have read them over and over again; and to be frank, I have not found in them the shadow of truth, nor even of probability, in what is advanced. They are, nevertheless, documents which in that country are looked upon as true as the Gospel.

Footnotes:

[644] M. le Baron Toussaint.



CHAPTER LX.

THE MORAL IMPOSSIBILITY OF THE REVENANS COMING OUT OF THEIR GRAVES.

I have already proposed the objection formed upon the impossibility of these vampires coming out of their graves, and returning to them again, without its appearing that they have disturbed the earth, either in coming out or going in again. No one has ever replied to this difficulty, and never will. To say that the demon subtilizes and spiritualizes the bodies of vampires, is a thing asserted without proof or likelihood.

The fluidity of the blood, the ruddiness, the suppleness of these vampires, ought not to surprise any one, any more than the growth of the nails and hair, and their bodies remaining undecayed. We see every day, bodies which remain uncorrupted, and retain a ruddy color after death. This ought not to appear strange in those who die without malady and a sudden death; or of certain maladies, known to our physicians, which do not deprive the blood of its fluidity, or the limbs of their suppleness.

With regard to the growth of the hair and nails in bodies which are not yet decayed, the thing is quite natural. There remains in those bodies a certain slow and imperceptible circulation of the humors, which causes this growth of the nails and hair, in the same way that we every day see common bulbs grow and shoot, although without any nourishment derived from the earth.

The same may be said of flowers, and in general of all that depends on vegetation in animals and plants.

The belief of the common people of Greece in the return to earth of the vroucolacas, is not much better founded than that of vampires and ghosts. It is only the ignorance, the prejudice, the terror of the Greeks, which have given rise to this vain and ridiculous belief, and which they keep up even to this very day. The narrative which we have reported after M. Tournefort, an ocular witness and a good philosopher, may suffice to undeceive those who would maintain the contrary.

The incorruption of the bodies of those who died in a state of excommunication, has still less foundation than the return of the vampires, and the vexations of the living caused by the vroucolacas; antiquity has had no similar belief. The schismatic Greeks, and the heretics separated from the Church of Rome, who certainly died excommunicated, ought, upon this principle, to remain uncorrupted; which is contrary to experience, and repugnant to good sense. And if the Greeks pretend to be the true Church, all the Roman Catholics, who have a separate communion from them, ought then also to remain undecayed. The instances cited by the Greeks either prove nothing, or prove too much. Those bodies which have not decayed, were really excommunicated, or not. If they were canonically and really excommunicated, then the question falls to the ground. If they were not really and canonically excommunicated, then it must be proved that there was no other cause of incorruption—which can never be proved.

Moreover, anything so equivocal as incorruption, cannot be adduced as a proof in so serious a matter as this. It is owned, that often the bodies of saints are preserved from decay; that is looked upon as certain, among the Greeks as among the Latins—therefore, we cannot thence conclude that this same incorruption is a proof that a person is excommunicated.

In short, this proof is universal and general, or only particular. I mean to say, either all excommunicated persons remain undecayed, or only a few of them. We cannot maintain that all those who die in a state of excommunication, are incorruptible. For then all the Greeks towards the Latins, and the Latins towards the Greeks, would be undecayed, which is not the case. That proof then is very frivolous, and nothing can be concluded from it. I mistrust, a great deal, all those stories which are related to prove this pretended incorruptibility of excommunicated persons. If well examined, many of them would doubtless be found to be false.



CHAPTER LXI.

WHAT IS RELATED CONCERNING THE BODIES OF THE EXCOMMUNICATED LEAVING THE CHURCH, IS SUBJECT TO VERY GREAT DIFFICULTIES.

Whatever respect I may feel for St. Gregory the Great, who relates some instances of deceased persons who died in a state of excommunication going out of the church before the eyes of every one present; and whatever consideration may be due to other authors whom I have cited, and who relate other circumstances of a similar nature, and even still more incredible, I cannot believe that we have these legends with all the circumstances belonging to them; and after the reasons for doubt which I have recorded at the end of these stories, I believe I may again say, that God, to inspire the people with still greater fear of excommunication, and a greater regard for the sentences and censures of the church, has willed on these occasions, for reasons unknown to us, to show forth his power, and work a miracle in the sight of the faithful; for how can we explain all these things without having recourse to the miraculous? All that is said of persons who being dead chew under ground in their graves, is so pitiful, so puerile, that it is not worthy of being seriously refuted. Everybody owns that too often people are buried who are not quite dead. There are but too many instances of this in ancient and modern histories. The thesis of M. Vinslow, and the notes added thereto by M. Bruhier, serve to prove that there are few certain signs of real death except the putridity of a body being at least begun. We have an infinite number of instances of persons supposed to be dead, who have come to life again, even after they have been put in the ground. There are I know not how many maladies in which the patient remains for a long time speechless, motionless, and without sensible respiration. Some drowned persons who have been thought dead, have been revived by care and attention.

All this is well known and may serve to explain how some vampires have been taken out of their graves, and have spoken, cried, howled, vomited blood, and all that because they were not yet dead. They have been killed by beheading them, piercing their heart, and burning them; in all which people were very wrong, for the pretext on which they acted, of their pretended reappearance to disturb the living, causing their death, and maltreating them, is not a sufficient reason for treating them thus. Besides, their pretended return has never been proved or attested in such a way as to authorize any one to show such inhumanity, nor to dishonor and put rigorously to death on vague, frivolous, unproved accusations, persons who were certainly innocent of the thing laid to their charge.

For nothing is more ill-founded than what is said of the apparitions, vexations, and confusion caused by the pretended vampires and the vroucolacas. I am not surprised that the Sorbonne should have condemned the bloody and violent executions which are exercised on these kinds of dead bodies. But it is astonishing that the secular powers and the magistrates do not employ their authority and the severity of the laws to repress them.

The magic devotions, the fascinations, the evocations of which we have spoken, are works of darkness, operations of Satan, if they have any reality, which I can with difficulty believe, especially in regard to magical devotions, and the evocations of the manes or souls of dead persons; for, as to fascinations of the sight, or illusions of the senses, it is foolish not to admit some of these, as when we think we see what is not, or do not behold what is present before our eyes; or when we think we hear a sound which in reality does not strike our ears, or the contrary. But to say that the demon can cause a person's death, because they have made a wax image of him, or given his name with some superstitious ceremonies, and have devoted him or her, so that the persons feel themselves dying as their image melts away, is ascribing to the demon too much power, and to magic too much might. God can, when he wills it, loosen the reign of the enemy of mankind, and permit him to do us the harm which he and his agents may seek to do us; but it would be ridiculous to believe that the Sovereign Master of nature can be determined by magical incantations to allow the demon to hurt us; or to imagine that the magician has the power to excite the demon against us, independently of God.

The instance of that peasant who gave his child to the devil, and whose life the devil first took away and then restored, is one of those extraordinary and almost incredible circumstances which are sometimes to be met with in history, and which neither theology nor philosophy knows how to explain. Was it a demon who animated the body of the boy, or did his soul re-enter his body by the permission of God? By what authority did the demon take away this boy's life, and then restore it to him? God may have permitted it to punish the impiety of the wretched father, who had given himself to the devil to satisfy a shameful and criminal passion. And again, how could he satisfy it with a demon, who appeared to him in the form of a girl he loved? In all that I see only darkness and difficulties, which I leave to be resolved by those who are more learned or bolder than myself.



CHAPTER LXII.

REMARKS ON THE DISSERTATION CONCERNING THE SPIRIT WHICH REAPPEARED AT ST. MAUR DES FOSSES.

The following Dissertation on the apparition which happened at St. Maur, near Paris, in 1706, was entirely unknown to me. A friend who took some part in my work on apparitions, had asked me by letter if I should have any objection to its being printed at the end of my work. I readily consented, on his testifying that it was from a worthy hand, and deserved to be saved from the oblivion into which it was fallen. I have since found that it was printed in the fourth volume of the Treatise on Superstitions, by the Reverend Father le Brun, of the Oratoire.

After the impression, a learned monk[645] wrote to me from Amiens, in Picardy, that he had remarked in this dissertation five or six propositions which appeared to him to be false.

1st. That the author says, all the holy doctors agree that no means of deceiving us is left to the demons except suggestion, which has been left them by God to try our virtue.

2d. In respect to all those prodigies and spells which the common people attribute to sorcery and intercourse with the demon, it is proved that they can only be done by means of natural magic; this is the opinion of the greater number of the fathers of the church.

3d. All that demons have to do with the criminal practices of those who are commonly called sorcerers is suggestion, by which he invites them to the abominable research of all those natural causes which can hurt our neighbor.

4th. Although those who have desired to maintain the popular error of the return to earth of souls from purgatory, may have endeavored to support their opinion by different passages, taken from St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Thomas, &c., it is attested that all these fathers speak only of the return of the blessed to manifest the glory of God.

5th. Of what may we not believe the imagination capable after so strong a proof of its power? Can it be doubted that among all the pretended apparitions of which stories are related, the fancy alone works for all those which do not proceed from angels and the spirits of the blessed, and that the rest are the invention of men?

6th. After having sufficiently established the fact, that all apparitions which cannot be attributed to angels, or the spirits of the blessed, are produced only by one of these causes: the writer names them—first, the power of imagination; secondly, the extreme subtility of the senses; and thirdly, the derangement of the organs, as in madness and high fevers.

The monk who writes to me maintains that the first proposition is false; that the ancient fathers of the church ascribe to the demon the greater number of those extraordinary effects produced by certain sounds of the voice, by figures, and by phantoms; that the exorcists in the primitive church expelled devils, even by the avowal of the heathen; that angels and demons have often appeared to men; that no one has spoken more strongly of apparitions, of hauntings, and the power of the demon, than the ancient fathers; that the church has always employed exorcism on children presented for baptism, and against those who were haunted and possessed by the demon. Add to which, the author of the dissertation cites not one of the fathers to support his general proposition.[646]

The second proposition, again, is false; for if we must attribute to natural magic all that is ascribed to sorcerers, there are then no sorcerers, properly so called, and the church is mistaken in offering up prayers against their power.

The third proposition is false for the same reason.

The fourth is falser still, and absolutely contrary to St. Thomas, who, speaking of the dead in general who appear, says that this occurs either by a miracle, or by the particular permission of God, or by the operation of good or evil angels.[647]

The fifth proposition, again, is false, and contrary to the fathers, to the opinion commonly received among the faithful, and to the customs of the church. If all the apparitions which do not proceed from the angels or the blessed, or the inventive malice of mankind, proceed only from fancy, what becomes of all the apparitions of demons related by the saints, and which occurred to the saints? What becomes, in particular, of all the stories of the holy solitaries, of St. Anthony, St. Hilarion, &c.?[648] What becomes of the prayers and ceremonies of the church against demons, who infest, possess, and haunt, and appear often in these disturbances, possessions, and hauntings?

The sixth proposition is false for the same reasons, and many others which might be added.

"These," adds the reverend father who writes to me, "are the causes of my doubting if the third dissertation was added to the two others with your knowledge. I suspected that the printer, of his own accord, or persuaded by evil intentioned persons, might have added it himself, and without your participation, although under your name. For I said to myself, either the reverend father approves this dissertation, or he does not approve of it. It appears that he approves of it, since he says that it is from a clever writer, and he would wish to preserve it from oblivion.

"Now, how can he approve a dissertation false in itself and contrary to himself? If he approves it not, is it not too much to unite to his work a foolish composition full of falsehoods, disguises, false and weak arguments, opposed to the common belief, the customs, and prayers of the church; consequently dangerous, and quite favorable to the free and incredulous thinkers which this age is so full of? Ought he not rather to combat this writing, and show its weakness, falsehood, and dangerous tendency? There, my reverend father, lies all my difficulty."

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