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dicted the issue of the war with the parliament, and the near approach of the millennium. He was constantly attended, like some ancient Roman, with two genii, one of a benignant, and the other of an evil character, but the influence of the former prevailed, as, from this source of intelligence, he was enabled to expound the Scriptures in a way perfectly different from that of ordinary commentators. For instance, he amused his followers with a learned disquisition on the devil's contention about the body of Moses ; nor did he fail to notice other equally important texts of the Scriptures. It is added, that this gentleman afterwards became distracted, and, unfortunately, died from want. There is also another ghost-story of nearly a similar purport, which is recorded by three or four writers of the seventeenth century. In Turner's History of remarkable Providences it is thus related :-" A gentleman, formerly seeming pious, of late years hath fallen into the sin of drunkenness; and when he has been drunk, and slept himself sober, something knocks at his bed-head, as if one knocked on a wainscot; when they remove the bed, it follows him ; besides loud noises in other parts where he is, that all the house heareth. It poseth me to think what kind of spirit this is, that hath such a care of this man's soul (which makes me hope he will recover). Do good spirits dwell so near us? or are they sent on such messages ? or is it his guardian angel? or is it the soul of some dead friend that suffereth, and yet retaining love to him, as Dives did to his brethren, would have him saved ? God keepeth yet such things from us in the dark.”
The last case which I shall give on this subject, is that of John Beaumont, the author of
66 Treatise on Spirits, Apparitions,” &c. which was published in the year 1705. He is well described by Dr Ferrier, as “a man of a hypochondriacal disposition, with a considerable degree of reading, but with a strong bias to credulity.” Labouring under this corporeal affection, he saw hundreds of imaginary men and women about him, though, as he adds, he never saw any in the night-time, unless by fire or candle-light, or in the moonshine. “ I had two spirits,” he says, constantly attended me, night and day, for above three months together, who called each other by their names ; and several spirits would call at my chamber-door, and ask whether such spirits lived there, calling them by their names, and they would answer they did. As for the other spirits that attended me, I heard none of their names mentioned, only I asked one spirit, which came for some nights together, and rung a little bell in my ear, what his name was, who answered Ariel. The two spirits that constantly attended myself appeared both in women's habit, they being of a brown complexion, about three feet in stature ; they had both black loose net-work gowns, tied with a black sash about the middle, and within the net-work appeared a gown of a golden colour, with somewhat of a light striking through it. Their heads were not drest in top-knots, but they had white linen caps on, with lace on them about three fingers' breadth, and over it they had a black loose net-work hood.”
These are the few well-authenticated instances which I shall now offer on the present subject of our inquiry, although they might have been easily multiplied even to an enormous extent.
GENERAL REMARKS ON THE APPARITIONS CONNECTED
< 'Tis said thou holdest converse with the things
OUR next object is to investigate the general origin of that quality of apparitions, the vivid mental images of which have been derived from systems of demonology. It will therefore be worth while to preface this inquiry with a very brief historical sketch of the superstitions connected with this subject of popular belief.
The name of demon was given by the Greeks and Romans to certain spirits or genii, who appeared to men either to do them service or injury. The Platonists made a distinction between their gods, or Dii Majorum Gentium,—their demons, or those beings which were not dissimilar in their general character to the good and evil angels of Christian belief,--and their heroes. The Jews and early Christians restricted the appellation of demons to beings of a malignant nature, or to devils; and it is to the early opinions
entertained by this people, that the outlines of later systems of demonology may be traced.
“ The tradition of the Jews concerning evil spirits or devils,” says a learned writer on the subject, various ; some of them are founded upon Scripture; some borrowed from the notions of the pagans ; some are fables of their own invention; and some are allegories." It would be a disagreeable task to recount the peculiar notions of this people on the origin of their demons; suffice it to say, that they were considered either as the distinct progeny of Adam or of Eve, which had resulted from an improper intercourse with supernatural beings, or of Cain. As this doctrine was naturally very revolting to some few of the early Christians, they maintained that demons were the souls of departed human beings, who were still allowed to interfere in the affairs of the earth, either to assist their friends or to persecute their enemies. This doctrine, however, did not ultimately prevail.
It would be very difficult for any one at the present day, considering our little familiarity with the writings of ancient pneumatologists, to attempt giving, in a condensed form, the various opinions entertained in an early period of the Christian era, and during the middle ages, on the nature of the demons of popular belief. Such an undertaking was, however, attempted two centuries and a half ago by Reginald Scot, and his chapter on the subject is so comprehensive, and at the same time so concise, as to render an abridgment of it unnecessary. “I, for my own part,” says this writer, “ do also thinke this ar