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A TESTIMONY TO SPIRITUAL ATTENDANTS AND TO AUDIBLE
SPIRIT VOICE IN 1765. Dr. J. Cook, a physician of Leigh, but which place of that name is not said, in a letter published in the Gentleman's Magazine, and dated September 18th, 1765, says, “Ever since I was three and twenty years of age I have had an invisible being or beings attend me at times, both at home and abroad, and that has by some gentle token or other given me warning and notice that I should shortly lose a particular friend, or a patient. They began and continued from our marriage till the decease of my first wife, in May, 1728, and her infant daughter, who lived with me but seven months, and but six weeks after her mother, when they were very frequent and troublesome about my house, as was well known, and noticed by many of our friends and neighbours. After that they came seldom, but so gentle, civil, and familiar, that I chose rather to have them about my house than not, and would not, if I were to tell it, part with the same without some extraordinary consideration upon that very account, and I really hope that they will never leave me as long as I live, though my spouse wishes otherwise, to whom they are not so agreeable.
“ I may be reckoned a whimsical visionary, or what not, but I know I am far from it, being neither superstitious, enthusiastic, or timorous; and I am certain, too, I am not deceived by others, we all having had many and various impressions from invisible agents; and I, myself, by no fewer than three of my senses, and those so often repeated that they became quite easy and familiar without any terror or amazement. I take the hint at once, and wait for the certain and infallible issue. I have spoken to them often, but never received any answer, and think I have courage enough to stand a private conference.
" Sometimes we have had their hints frequent and close together; at other times, but seldom, and at a great distance of time. But this I have observed, that rarely any patient or friend that I respected, or that valued me, departs hence, but I have some kind of sensible notice or warning of it, but yet so discreet and mild as never to flutter or frighten me. This notice which is either by seeing, feeling, or hearing, is not fixed to any certain distance of time previous to their death, but I have it a week, a month, or more, before their decease, and once only three days, when I actually heard the spiritual agent form an articulate voice, as I was abed, with a most pathetic emphasis, “ I am gone;' which was fulfilled the Monday morning following by the sudden death of my cousin's daughter who was upon a visit at my house, and was well two days before.
“ At first, in 1728, I kept a book of account, where I entered every notice of warning, with the particular circumstances attending, and the event that succeded such notices, but they were then so frequent and numerous that I grew quite weary in writing them down, so left off that method, resolving to take them in future just as they came. The very last hint I had was on Saturday night, the 6th of July, 1765, in my chamber, about eleven o'clock, as I was walking to my bed, being from home, attending a patient, to whom I was that morning sent for, and whom I lost on the 10th of the saine month. I lay no stress on such notices, so as to affect my practice, but exert myself for the patient all the more for conscience sake.”
Dr. Cook proceeds to say that he had received such warnings above a hundred times. Twice only he had seen apparitions, but had heard and felt them times innumerable. He imagined that they were neither angels nor demons, but a middle race of spirits, kindly disposed towards men. One of the apparitions presented itself, he says, at noonday in his house, and his attention was drawn to it by the barking of his little dog, who saw it first. He answers the cui bono question by his consciousness of how much such revelations confirm the truth of a future life, and of the stimulus which it must afford to every reflective person to thank God for such assurances, and to prepare for that invisible existence. This case is peculiarly interesting, from the occurrence of an audible voice, showing that the audible voices now so frequently heard, had a well-authenticated precedent a hundred years ago.
EMOTIONS AWAKENED BY ANGEL VISITS.
Tue joys of spiritual intercourse are the joys of the new-born soul, and the philosophy of spiritual intercourse is the philosophy of the enlightened soul. In these joys and in this philosophy the trembling heart finds a source of heavenly peace, and derives a pleasure which earth cannot afford. When the storm arises in the sky, and the clouds are blackened with their hidden wrath, the soul looks up to heaven for light; and when the rolling billows heave in the commotion of the angry winds, the radiance of the cheerful morn throws its calm upon the troubled deep. So when the world has become tempest-tossed and darkened in its course, and when the throbbing bosom has had no rest in its fearful agony, the blessed and blessing spirits have visited the earth, that the storm may sink into the silence of nature's harmony, and that the clouds may float from their azure home.- Rev. R. P. Amber.
PRESERVATION BY SPIRITUAL AGENCY FROM
THE EFFECTS OF FIRE.
In the third chapter of Exodus we read that while Moses kept the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, he came to Mount Horeb
And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
In the third chapter of the Book of Daniel the narrative sets forth how Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, set up a gigantic image of gold in the plain of Dura, and commanded all people at the sound of music to fall down and worship it, under pain of being the same hour cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
Certain Jews whom he had placed in high authority were accused to him of disregarding this mandate; whereupon, in rage and fury he commanded these men to be brought before him. They were brought to him, and the king enquired of them if this report was true, warning them that if they disobeyed him the threatened punishment would at once be visited on them. To this they answered boldly to his face that they would not serve his gods, nor worship the image he had set up.
Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heat.
And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Therefore, because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire ? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
He answered and said, Lo, I see four men looso, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
Then Nebuchadnezzar spake and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Mesbach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god except their own God.
Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill; because there is no other god that can deliver after this sort.
Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the province of Babylon.
These accounts are not from the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, but from a book which Christendom professes to believe, not only as true, but as in a special sense sacred and divine; they are read in churches, we teach our children to read them; to call them openly in question, has, even in times within the memory of many of our readers, brought down upon the offender not only social obloquy, but legal pains and penalties. And yet, we cannot help asking, incredulously, does Christendom believe these things? Do the men of science—the Professors at the Royal Institution-believe them? Nay, do the members of our churches really and truly believe them, or do they only assent to them in the same sense that Clergymen give their “unfeigned assent and consent" to the Thirty-nine Articles, and to all that is contained in the Book of Common Prayer ; that is, with certain reservations and an unlimited latitude of interpretation? Is it all a game of make-believe we are playing—one of the many “shams" against which Mr. Carlyle has not yet thundered ?
No doubt popular lecturers at Mechanics’ Institutions and elsewhere who know all about the laws of nature, and what can, and what cannot be; who, according to the advice of Professor Faraday," set out with clear ideas of the naturally possible and impossible,” could easily demonstrate (were they but permitted, and had they the necessary courage) that these things never did and never could happen; and would congratulate themselves and their audiences on the superior enlightenment of the present age, consequent upon cheap lectures and penny newspapers. And yet, spite of chemical experiments and the magic lantern, Professor Pepper and the Morning Star, the “monster superstition,” stupid, obstinate brute, refuses to be either converted or to " clear the track.” He objects to being crushed, and in every age, even down to this “ enlightened nineteenth century," when the schoolmaster and the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge are abroad, goes on relating and believing facts " which can't possibly be, you know,” to the great disgust
of the savans; and very much, indeed, in some respects, as if said savans all this time had been writing, experimenting, demonstrating, orating and perorating to the inhabitants of Jupiter.
Indeed the perpetuity of the belief in spiritual agencies, and the constant recurrence in history of the facts which originate or sustain it, is one of those perplexing phenomena which, among other ends, seem specially designed
for the botheration of
philosophers. It has an obstinate vitality; if it seems to die, there is always a resurrection for it. The ghosts will not be laid. Just now, in modern Spiritualism, there is a universal resurrection of the spiritual beliefs of past ages. Those whom “philosophy" supposed herself to have slain have risen to their feet an armed host, and “philosophy” has to “fight her battles o'er again? under greater disadvantages than ever, and with all the odds against
her. To speak now of only one form of this universal belief-that of preservation by spiritual agency from the effects of fire. The Scripture narratives we have quoted, if not fully paralleled, yet have their credibility vindicated by facts of corresponding order in later times, and, doubtless, produced by the operation of the same laws. The work of Jamblichus (written in the third century), On the Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians, is a compendium of the knowledge of spirit-manifestation and the practice of spirit-communion which existed in the ancient world." In Sect. III, chap. iv., Jamblichus points out - the signs by which those who are rightly possessed by the gods may be known.” One of the signs of those who are thus « a vehicle or instrument to the inspiring gods,” is that “they are not conscious of the state they are in, neither as they were before, nor in any other way; nor in short do they convert to themselves their own intelligence, or assert any knowledge which is peculiarly their own.”.. He tells us, as one indication of this, that—" Many through divine inspiration, are not burned when fire is introduced to them, the inspiring influence preventing the fire from touching them. Many, also, though burned, do not apprehend that they are so, because they do not then live an animal life.”
Some of the early Christian martyrs gave illustration of their insensibility to the pain of fire to which Jamblichus here alludes, affirming that in the fire they felt no pain, that it was to them as a bed of roses. Polycarp, three days before his martyrdom, had a vision by which he knew his impending fate, and told his friends "I shall be burned alive!” He was not daunted by the prospect. A letter giving an account of his martyrdom and the attending circumstances, was written by the Church of Smyrna, of which he was the Bishop, and was addressed to all sister churches. This letter states that on his way to the place of execution there came a voice from heaven, saying, "Be strong and quit thyself like a man, Polycarp.' Now no one saw who spoke to him, but many of our brethren present heard the voice. Then Polycarp, looking sternly around on the people, shaking his head at them, with a deep groan, and with a mouth but half open, as one who spoke not his own words, but those of