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Eisenach, was taken prisoner; I was lodged in the castle of Wartzburg, my Patmos, in a chamber far from people, where none could have access unto me, but only two boyes that twice the daye brought me meat and drink; now, among other things, they brought me hazel-nuts, which I put into a box, and sometimes I used to crack and eat of them. In the night times, my gentleman, the devil, came and got the nuts out of the box, and cracked them against one of the bed-posts, making a great noise, and a rumbling about my bed; but I regarded him nothing at all. When afterwards I began to slumber, then he kept such a racket and rumbling upon the chamber stairs, as if many emptie hogsheads and barrels had been tumbled down; and although I knew that the stairs were strongly guarded with iron bars, so that no passage was either up or down, yet I arose and went towards the stairs to see what the matter was; but finding the door fast shut, I said,Art thou there? so be there still ;'- I committed myself to Christ, my Lord and Saviour, of whom it is written, Omnia subjecisti pedibus ejus."
There is likewise another narrative told of this reformer to the same effect. “ At such time,” said Luther, “ when I could not be rid of the devil without uttering sentences out of the Holie Scripture, then I made him flie with jeering and ridiculous words and terms: I have recorded my sins in thy register. I said likewise unto him, Devil, if Christ's blood, which was shed for my sins, be not sufficient, then I desire thee that thou wouldst pray to God for me.' When he findeth me idle,” said Luther, “ and that I
have nothing in hand, then he is very busy,—and before I am aware, he wringeth from me a bitter sweat; but when I offer him the pointed spear, that is, God's word, then he flieth,—yet before he goeth he maketh me bloody armed, or else giveth me a grievous hurri
When at the first I began to write against the Pope, and that the Gospel went on, then the devil laid himself strongly therein, he ceased not to rumble and rage about, for he willingly would have preserved purgatory at Magdeburg, and discursum animarum."*
On occasions of ambition, also, which give rise to a desire for the acquisition of power, various degrees of vividness are imparted to the feelings of the mind. -Another cause of mental vividness is connected with the love of knowledge. Ashmole was constantly vi. sited by a phantasm that solved his most intricate problems, the answers to which are said to still exist
• Upon the subject of Luther's visions Mr Coleridge makes the following excellent comment :-" Had Luther been himself a prince, he could not have desired better treatment than he received during his eight months' stay in the Wartzburg ; and in consequence of a more luxurious diet than he had been accustomed to, he was plagued with temptations both from the “flesh and the devil.' It is evident from his letters, that he suffered under great irritability of his nervous system, the common effect of deranged digestion in men of sedentary habits, who are, at the same time, intense thinkers ; and this irritability adding to and vivifying the impressions made upon him in early life, and fostered by the theological systems of his manhood, is abundantly sufficient to explain all his apparitions, and all his mighty combats with evil spirits.”Friend, by S. T. Coleridge, Esq. vol. ii. p. 236.
in one of his manuscript volumes, under the title of Responsum Raphealis.
In the last place, an anxiety for the esteem, or a fear for the reprobation of mankind, is a natural vivid affection which always influences our actions, and which often gives a corresponding character to the subject of spectral impressions. Thus, among visionaries who boast of divine missions, we trace, in the subject of their illusions, a lurking ambition to maintain, by this means, a conspicuous rank among their fellow-mortals. “The Rev. John Mason, a clergyman of Water-stratford, near Buckingham,” remarks Dr Crichton, “was observed to speak rationally on every subject that had no relation to his wild notions of religion. He died in 1695, soon after he fancied he had seen our Saviour, fully convinced of the reality of the vision, and of his own divine mission. He was perfectly persuaded in his own mind that he was Elias, and that he was destined to announce the coming of Jesus, who was to begin the millennium at Water-stratford.”
WHEN MORAL AGENTS, WHICH EXERT A PLEASURABLE
INFLUENCE ARE HEIGHTENED IN THEIR EFFECTS BY
THE CO-OPERATION OF MORBIFIC EXCITEMENTS OF
A SIMILAR PLEASURABLE QUALITY, THE MIND MAY BE RENDERED TOTALLY UNCONSCIOUS OF OPPOSITE OR PAINFUL FEELINGS.
“ Sweetly oppress'd with beatific views,
THOMPSON's Progress of Sickness.
I NOW trust that the view with which I set out is nearly established, that the action of all morbific causes, capable of influencing the states of the mind, merely consists in an addition being made to the vividness of such qualities of our feelings, as had previously been rendered pleasurable or painful by the various objects which, from infancy, impress in a definite manner our several organs of sense. There is indeed no cause of mental excitement which, in this respect, exerts a more extensive influence over the mind than the nitrous oxide. This gas cannot absolutely change the quality of those mental states, which, from constitutional causes, are more or less painful, but its effect is to add an intensity of pleasure to feelings which are themselves grateful, and. thereby to
diminish the vividness of painful sensations and ideas. Thus, we have traced its influence in rendering all painful feelings so faint as to cease being the object of consciousness.
The law by which mental consciousness is regulated, meets with an ample illustration in the effects imparted to our various feelings, by many of the morbific causes of mental vividness which I have enumerated. That peculiar cause inducing insanity, for instance, which is referable to a highly-excited state of the sanguine temperament, gives an additional degree of vividness to the pleasurable feelings of the mind; hence impressions of pain are so proportionally enfeebled, that the mental consciousness of them is not excited. This fact is exemplified in those individuals who, according to Burton, " are commonly ruddy of complexion and high-coloured, who are much inclined to laughter, witty, and merry, conceipted in discourse, pleasant, if they be not too farre gone;" who, if they should happen to take such a delight in dramatic scenes as the maniac recorded by Aristotle, are amused the whole day long with ima. ginary actors.
But it is instructive, in contemplating the cause of any pleasurable excitement, to confine our attention to its effect in diminishing the intensity of painful impressions made on sensitive organs. Sir Humphrey Davy has stated, that the nitrous oxide, in its extensive operation, is capable of destroying physical pain, and we know, that the cause of that variety of amentia which is distinguished by pleasurable fancies and reveries has a similar effect. Indeed, the insensibility