The Nature, Causes, Kindes, and Cure
The great Affinity and Correspondency betwixt Enthusiasm and Atheism.
ATheism and Enthusiasm, though they seem so extremely opposite to another, yet in many things they do very nearly agree. For, to say nothing of their joynt conspiracy against the true knowledge of God and Religion, they are commonly entertain'd, though successively, in the same Complexion. For that Temper that disposes a man to listen to the Magisterial Dictates of an over-bearing Phansy, more then to the calm and cautious insinuations of free Reason, is a subject that by turns does very easily lodge and give harbour to these mischievous Guests.
For as Dreams are the Fancies of those that sleep, so Fancies are but the Dreams of men awake. And these Fancies by day, as those Dreams by night, will vary and change with the weather and present temper of the Body: So those that have onely a fiery Enthusiastick acknowledgement of God; change of diet, feculent old age, or some present damps of Melancholy, will as confidently represent to their Phansy that there is no God, as ever it was represented that there is one. And then having lost the use of their more noble Faculties of Reason and Understanding, they must according to the course of Nature be as bold Atheists now, as they were before confident Enthusiasts.
Nor do these Two unruly Guests onely serve themselves by turns on the same party, but also send mutual supplies one to another, being lodg'd in several persons. For the Atheist's pretence to Wit and natural Reason (though the foulness of his Mind makes him fumble very dotingly in the <2> use thereof) makes the Enthusiast secure that Reason is no guide to God: And the Enthusiast's boldly dictating the careless ravings of his own tumultuous Phansy for undeniable Principles of Divine knowledge, confirms the Atheist that the whole business of Religion and Notion of a God is nothing but a troublesome fit of over-curious Melancholy.
Wherefore there being that near alliance and mutuall correspondence betwixt these two enormous distempers of the Mind, Atheism and Enthusiasme; I hold it very suitable and convenient, having treated of the former, to adde this brief Discourse of the Nature, Causes, Kinds, and Cure of this latter Disease.Sect. II. What Inspiration is, and what Enthusiasm.
THE Etymologie, and varietie of the significations of this word Enthusiasme I leave to Criticks and Grammarians; but what we mean by it here, you shall fully understand after we have defined what Inspiration is: For Enthusiasme is nothing else but a misconceit of being inspired. Now to be inspired is, to be moved in an extraordinary manner by the power or Spirit of God to act, speak, or think what is holy, just and true. From hence it will be easily understood what Enthusiasme is, viz. A full, but false, perswasion in a man that he is inspired.Sect. III. A search of the Causes of Enthusiasm in the Faculties of
WE shall now enquire into the Causes of this Distemper, how it comes to passe that a man should be thus befooled in his own conceit. And truly unlesse we should offer lesse satisfaction then the thing is capable of, we must not onely treat here of Melancholy, but of the Faculties of the Soul of man, whereby it may the better be understood how she may become obnoxious to such disturbances of Melancholy, in which she has quite lost her own judgement and freedome, and can neither keep out nor distinguish betwixt her own Fancies and reall Truths.Sect. IV. The Severall Degrees and Natures of her Faculties.
WE are therefore to take notice of the several Degrees and Natures of the Faculties of the Soul, the lowest whereof she exercises without so much as any Perception of what she does; and these Operations are <3> fatall and naturall to her so long as she is in the Body; and a man differs in them little from a Plant, which therefore you may call the Vegetative or Plantal Faculties of the Soul.
The lowest of those Faculties of whose present operations we have any Perception, are the Outward Senses, which upon the pertingencie of the Object to the Sensitive Organ cannot fail to act, that is, the Soul cannot fail to be affected thereby, nor is it in her power to suspend her Perception, or at least very hardly in her power.
From whence it is plain that the Soul is of that nature, that she sometimes may awake fatally and necessarily into Phantasmes and Perceptions without any will or consent of her own.
Which is found true also in Imagination, though that Facultie be freer then the former. For what are Dreams but the Imaginations and Perceptions of one asleep? which notwithstanding steal upon the Soul, or rise out of her without any consent of hers; as is most manifest in such as torment us, and put us to extreme pain till we awake out of them.
And the like obreptions or unavoidable importunities of Thoughts, which offer or force themselves upon the Mind, may be observed even in the day-time, according to the nature or strength of the complexion of our Bodies; though how the Body doth engage the Mind in Thoughts or Imaginations, is most manifest in Sleep. For according as Choler, Sanguine, Phlegme, or Melancholy are predominant, will the Scene of our Dreams be, and that without any check or curb of dubitation concerning the truth and existence of the things that then appear.
Of which we can conceive no other reason then this, That the Inmost seat of Sense is very fully and vigourously affected, as it is by Objects in the day, of whose reall existence the ordinary assurance is, that they so strongly strike or affect our Sensitive Facultie; which resides not in the externall Organs, no more then the Artificer's skill in his instruments, but in some more inward Recesses of the Brain: and therefore the true and real seat of Sense being affected in our sleep, as well as when we are awake, 'tis the lesse marvel the Soul conceits her dreams, while she is a dreaming, to be no dreams, but reall transactions.Sect. V. Why Dreams, till we awake, seem reall transactions.
NOw that the Inward sense is so vigorously affected in these Dreams proceeds, as I conceive, from hence; Because the Brains, Animal spirits, or whatever the Soul works upon within in her Imaginative operations, are not considerably moved, altered or agitated from any external motion, but keep intirely and fully that figuration or modification which the Soul necessarily and naturally moulds them into in our sleep: so that the opinion of the truth of what is represented to us in our Dreams is from hence, that Imagination then (that is, the inward figuration of our Brain or Spirits into this or that representation) is far stronger then any motion or agitation from without, which to them that are awake <4> dimmes and obscures their inward Imagination, as the light of the Sun doth the light of a Candle in a room; and yet in this case also according to Aristotle Phansy is αἴσθησίς τις ἀσθενὴς a kind of sense, though weak.
But if it were so strong as to bear it self against all the occursions and impulses of outward Objects, so as not to be broken, but to keep it self entire and in equall splendour and vigour with what is represented from without, and this not arbitrariously, but necessarily and unavoidably, as has been already intimated, the Party thus affected would not fail to take his own Imagination for a reall Object of Sense: as it fell out in one that Cartesius mentions, (and there are several other Examples of that kind) that had his arm cut off, who being hoodwinkt, complained of a pain in this and the other finger, when he had lost his whole arm.
And a further Instance may be in mad or Melancholy men, who have confidently affirmed that they have met with the Devil, or conversed with Angels, when it has been nothing but an encounter with their own fancie.Sect. VI. The enormous strength of Imagination the Cause of Enthusiasme.
WHerefore it is the enormous strength of Imagination (which is yet the Soul's weaknesse or unwieldinesse, whereby she so farre sinks into Phantasmes that she cannot recover her self into the use of her more free Faculties of Reason and Understanding) that thus peremptorily engages a man to believe a lie.
And if it be so strong as to assure us of the presence of some externall Object which yet is not there, why may it not be as effectual in the begetting of the belief of some more internall apprehensions, such as have been reported of mad and fanaticall men, who have so firmly and immutably fancied themselves to be God the Father, the Messias, the Holy Ghost, the Angel Gabriel, the last and chiefest Prophet that God would send into the world, and the like?
For their conceptions are not so pure or immateriall, nor solid or rationall, but that these words to them are alwaies accompanied with some strong Phantasme or full Imagination; the fulnesse and clearnesse whereof, as in the case immediately before named, does naturally bear down the Soul into a belief of the truth and existence of what she thus vigorously apprehends: and being so wholly and entirely immersed in this conceit, and so vehemently touched therewith, she has either not the patience to consider any thing alledged against it, or if she do consider and find her self intangled, she will look upon it as a piece of humane sophistry, and prefer her own infallibility or the infallibility of the Spirit before all carnal reasonings whatsoever; as those whose Phansies are fortified by long use and education in any absurd point of a false Religion, though wise enough in other things, will firmly hold the Conclusion, notwithstanding the clearest Demonstration to the contrary.
Now what Custome and Education doth by degrees, distempered <5> Phansy may doe in a shorter time. But the case in both is much like that in Dreams, where that which is represented is necessarily taken for true, because nothing stronger enervates the perception. For as the ligation of the outward Organs of Sense keeps off such fluctuations or undulations of motion from without as might break or obscure these representations in sleep; so prejudice and confidence in a conceit, when a man is awake, keeps his fond imagination vigorous and entire from all the assaults of Reason that would cause any dubitation.
Nor is it any more wonder that his Intellectuals should be sound in other things, though he be thus delirous in some one point, no more then that he that thinks he sees the devil in a wood, should not be at all mistaken in the circumstance of place, but see the very same path, flowers, and grasse that another in his wits sees there as well as himself.
To be short therefore, The Originall of such peremptory delusions as mankind are obnoxious to, is the enormous strength and vigour of the Imagination; which Faculty though it be in some sort in our power, as Respiration is, yet it will also work without our leave, as I have already demonstrated: and hence men become mad and fanaticall whether they will or no.Sect. VII. Sundry natural and corporeal Causes that necessarily work
on the Imagination.
NOw what it is in us that thus captivates our Imagination, and carries it wide away out of the reach or hearing of that more free and superiour faculty of Reason, is hard particularly to define. But that there are sundry material things that do most certainly change our Mind or Phansy, experience doth sufficiently witnesse.
For our Imagination alters as our Blood and Spirits are altered, (as I have above intimated and instanced in our Dreams) and indeed very small things will alter them even when we are awake; the mere change of Weather and various tempers of the Aire, a little reek or suffumigation, as in those seeds Pomponius Mela mentions, which the Thracians, who knew not the use of wine, wont at their feasts to cast into the fire, whereby they were intoxicated into as high a measure of mirth as they that drink more freely of the blood of the grape: The virtue of which is so great, that as Josephus phrases it, it seems to create a new soul in him that drinks it, Μεταποιεῖ γὰρ καὶ μεταγεννᾷ τὰς ψυχὰς ἐν αὐταῖς γενόμενος It transforms and regenerates the Soul into a new nature.
But it doth most certainly bring a new Scene of Thoughts very ordinarily into their Minds that have occasion to meddle with it. Which made the Persians undertake no weighty matter nor strike up a bargain of any great consequence, but they would consider of it first both welnigh fuddled and sober. For if they liked it in all the representations that those two contrary Tempers exhibited to their Minds, they thought them <6> selves well assured that they might proceed safely and succesfully therein.
And yet Wine doth not always so much change the Thoughts and alter our Temper as heighten it, insomuch that its effect proves sometime contrary onely by reason of the diversity of persons; some being weeping drunk, others laughing, some kind, others raging; as it happens also in those that are stung with the Tarantula, Alii perpetuò rident, alii canunt, alii plorant, &c. as * Sennertus observes out of Matthiolus. But that which they both seem most to admire is, That the Phansie of the Tarantulati should be so mightily carried away with Musick; for they do not onely forget their pain, but dance incessantly. Of which Epiphanius Ferdinandus tells a very remarkable story of an old man ninety foure yeares of age, that could scarce creep with a staffe, who yet being bit by the Tarantula, presently upon the hearing of Musick leaped and skipped like a young kid.
A-kin to this is that kind of madnesse which they call S. Vitus his Dance, which disease Sennertus rightly affirms to proceed from a certain malignant humour gendred in the body of near cognation with this poison of the Tarantula; which will help us for the explicating of the Causes of stranger workings on the Phansie then has yet been mentioned; as for example, in the Λυκανθρωπία, γαλεανθρωπία κυνανθρωπία, which are distempers of the Mind, whereby men imagine themselves to be Wolves, Cats, or Doggs.Sect. VIII. The power of Meats to change the Imagination
THere are several relations in the forenamed * Authour concerning the power that Nourishment has to work upon Imagination, and to change a mans disposition into the nature of that creature whose blood or milk doth nourish him.
A Wench at Breslaw being struck with an Epilepsie upon the seeing of a Malefactours head cut off by the Executioner, when several other remedies failed, was perswaded by some to drink the blood of a Cat; which being done, the wench not long after degenerates into the nature and propertie of that Animal, cries and jumps like a Cat, and hunts mice with like silence and watchfulnesse that they do, pursuing them as close as she could to their very holes. This Narration he transcribes out of Weinrichius.
And he has another short glance upon another in the same Writer, of one that being long fed with Swine's blood, took a special pleasure in wallowing and tumbling himself in the mire: as also of another Girle who, being nourished up with Goat's milk, would skip like a Goat and brouze on trees as Goats use to do.
We might adde a fourth, of one who by eating the brains of a Bear became of a Bear-like disposition; but we will not insist upon smaller considerations.
BAptista Porta drives on the matter much further, professing that he had acquaintance with one that could, when he pleased, so alter the Imagination of a man, as he would make him fancie himself to be this or that Bird, Beast, or Fish, and that in this madnesse the party thus deluded would move his body, as near as it was capable, so as such Creatures use to doe; and if they were vocall, imitate also their voice.
This intoxicating Potion is made of the extract of certain herbs, as Solanum manicum, Mandrake, and others, together with the heart, brain, and some other parts of this or that Animal with whose image they would infect the Phansie of the party. And he doth affirm of his own experience, that trying this feat upon some of his comerades when he was young, one that had gormundized much beef, upon the taking the potion, strongly imagined himself to be surrounded with Bulls, that would be ever and anon running upon him with their horns.Sect. X. The power of Diseases upon the Phansy.
WHAT happens here in these cases where we can trace the Causes, sometimes falls out where we cannot so plainly and directly find out the reason. For Physicians take notice of such kind of Madnesses as make men confidently conceit themselves to be Dogs, Wolves, and Cats, when they have neither eat the flesh nor drunk the blood of any Cat, Dog, or Wolf, nor taken any such artificial potion as we even now spake of to bring them into these diseases.
The causes of this cannot be better guessed at then has been by Sennertus in that of S. Vitus his dance. For as there the Body is conceived to be infested by some malignant humour near a-kin to the poison of the Tarantula; so in these distempers we may well conclude that such fumes or vapours arise into the Brain from some foulnesse in the Body (though the particular causes we do not understand) as have a very near analogie to the noxious humours or exhalations that move up and down and mount up into the Imagination of those that have drunk the blood of Cats, or have been nourished with the milk of those Animals above named, or taken such intoxicating potions as Baptista Porta has described.
WE have given severall Instances of that mighty power there is in naturall Causes to work upon and unavoidably to change our Imagination. We will name something now more generall, whose nature notwithstanding is so various and Vertumnus-like, that it will supply the place of almost all particulars, and that is Melancholy; of which Aristotle gives witnesse, that according to the severall degrees and tempers thereof men vary wonderfully in their constitutions; it making some slow and sottish, others wild, ingenious, and amorous, prone to wrath and lust, others it makes more eloquent and full of discourse, others it raises up even to madnesse and Enthusiasme: and he gives an example of one Maracus a Poet of Syracuse, who never versified so well as when he was in his distracted fits.
But it is most observable in Melancholy when it reaches to a disease, that it sets on some one particular absurd imagination upon the Mind so fast, that all the evidence of Reason to the contrary cannot remove it, the parties thus affected in other things being as sober and rationall as other men. And this is so notorious and frequent, that Aretæus, Sennertus and other Physicians define Melancholy from this very Effect of it.Sect. XII. Several Examples of the foregoing Observation.
ARistotle affords us no Examples of this kind; others do. Democritus junior, as he is pleased to style himself, recites severall Stories out of Authours to this purpose. As out of Laurentius one concerning a French Poet, who using in a feaver Unguentum populeum to anoint his temples to conciliate sleep, took such a conceit against the smell of that ointment, that for many yeares after he imagined every one that came near him to sent of it; and therefore would let no man talk with him but aloof off, nor would he wear any new clothes, because he fancied they smelt of that ointment: but in all other things he was wise and discreet, and would talk as sensibly as other men.
Another he has of a Gentleman of Limosin (out of Anthony Verduer) who was perswaded he had but one leg, affrighted into that conceit by having that part struck by a wild Boar, otherwise a man well in his wits.
A third he hath out of Platerus, concerning a Countreyman of his, who by chance having fallen into a pit where Frogs and Frogs-spawn was, and having swallowed down a little of the water, was afterward so fully perswaded that there were young Frogs in his belly, that for many yeares following he could not rectifie his conceit. He betook himself to the study <9> of Physick for seven yeares together to find a cure for his disease: He travelled also in Italy, France and Germany, to confer with Physicians about it, and meeting with Platerus consulted him with the rest. He fancied the crying of his guts to be the croaking of the Frogs; and when Platerus would have deceived him by putting live Frogs into his excrements that he might think he had voided them and was cured, his skill in Physick made that trick ineffectuall. For saving this one vain conceit, the man was, as he reports, a learned and prudent man.
We will adde onely a fourth out of Laurentius, which is of a Nobleman of his time, a man of reason and discretion in all other things, saving that he did conceit himself made of glasse; and though he loved to be visited by his friends, yet had a speciall care that they should not come too near him, for fear they should break him.
Not much unlike to this is that of a Baker of Ferrara, that thought he was compos'd of butter, and therefore would not sit in the Sun nor come near a fire, for fear he should be melted.
It would be an infinite task to set down all at large. Sennertus has given some hints of the variety of this distemper, remitting us to Schenkius, Marcell. Donatus, Forestus and others for more full Narrations. Some, saith he, are vexed and tormented with the fear of death, as thinking they have committed some crime they never did commit; some fancy they are eternally damned, nay they complain that they are already tormented with hell-fire; others take themselves to be a dying, others imagine themselves quite dead, and therefore will not eat; others fear that the heavens will fall upon them, others dare not clinch their hands for fear of bruising the world betwixt their fists; some fancy themselves Cocks, some Nightingales, some one Animal, some another; some entertain conference with God or his Angels, others conceit themselves bewitched, or that a black man or Devil perpetually accompanies them; some complain of their poverty, others fancie themselves persons of honour, Dukes, Princes, Kings, Popes, and what not? Much to this purpose may you see in Sennertus, and more in Democritus junior.Sect. XIII. A seasonable application of the foregoing Examples for the weakning of the authority of bold Enthusiasts.
THAT which is most observable & most usefull for the present matter in hand is, That notwithstanding there is such an enormous lapse of the Phansy and Judgement in some one thing, yet the party should be of a sound mind in all other, according to his naturall capacities and abilities; which all Physicians acknowledge to be true, and are ready to make good by innumerable Examples. Which I conceive to be of great moment more thoroughly to consider.
I do not mean how it may come to passe (for that we have already declared) but what excellent use it may be of for to prevent that easie <10> and ordinary Sophisme which imposes upon many, who, if an Enthusiast speak eloquently, and it may be rationally and piously (you may be sure zealously and fervently enough, and with the greatest confidence can be imagined) are so credulous that, because of this visible dresse of such laudable accomplishments, they will believe him even in that which is not onely not probable, but vain and foolish, nay sometime very mischievous and impious to believe; as, That the party is immediately and extraordinarily inspired of God; That he is a special Messenger sent by him, the last and best Prophet, the holy Ghost come in the flesh, and such like stuff as this: which has been ever and anon set on foot in all ages by some Enthusiast or other.
Amongst whom I do not deny but there may be some who for the main practical light of Christianity might have their judgments as consistent, as those Melancholists above named had in the ordinary prudentiall affairs of the world: But as for this one particular of being supernaturally inspired, of being the last Prophet, the last Trumpet, the Angel in the midst of Heaven with the Eternall Gospel in his hand, the holy Ghost incorporated, God come to judgement, and the like, this certainly in them, is as true, but farre worse, dotage, then to fancy a mans self either a Cock or Bull, when it is plain to the senses of all that he is a Man.Sect. XIV. That the causality of Melancholy in this distemper of Enthusiasm is more easily traced then in other Extravagancies.
BUT it being of so weighty a concernment, I shall not satisfie my self in this more generall account of Enthusiasm, that it may very well be resolved into that property of Melancholy whereby men become to be delirous in some one point, their judgement standing untouched in others. For I shall easily further demonstrate that the very nature of Melancholy is such, that it may more fairly and plausibly tempt a man into such conceits of Inspiration and supernaturall light from God, then it can possibly do into those more extravagant conceits of being Glasse, Butter, a Bird, a Beast or any such thing.Sect. XV. Melancholy a pertinacious and religious complexion.
FOR besides that which is most generall of all, that Melancholy enclines a man very strongly and peremptorily to either believe or misbelieve a thing (as is plain in that passion of Suspicion and Jealousie, which upon little or no occasion will winne so full assent of the Mind, that it will engage a man to act as vigorously as if he were certain that his jealousies were true) it is very well known that this Complexion is the most Reli <11> gious complexion that is, and will be as naturally tampering with Divine matters (though in no better light then that of her own) as Apes and Monkies will be imitating the actions and manners of Men.
Neither is there any true spiritual Grace from God but this mere natural constitution, according to the several tempers and workings of it, will not onely resemble, but sometimes seem to outstrip, by reason of the fury and excess of it, and that not onely in Actions, but very ordinarily in Eloquence and Expressions; as if here alone were to be had that live sense and understanding of all holy things, or at least as if there were no other state to be parallel'd to it.
The event of which must be, if a very great measure of the true Grace of God does not intervene, that such a Melancholist as this must be very highly puffed up, and not onely fancy himself inspired, but believe himself such a special piece of Light and Holiness that God has sent into the world, that he will take upon him to reform, or rather annull, the very Law and Religion he is born under, and make himself not at all inferiour to either Moses or Christ, though he have neither any sound Reason nor visible Miracle to extort belief.Sect. XVI. That men are prone to suspect some special presence of God or of a Supernatural power in whatever is Great or Vehement.
BUT this is still too general, we shall yet more particularly point out the Causes of this Imposture. Things that are great or vehement, People are subject to suspect they rise from some Supernatural cause; insomuch that the Wind cannot be more then ordinarily high, but they are prone to imagine the Devil raised it, nor any sore Plague or Disease, but God in an extraordinary manner to be the Authour of it.
So rude Antiquity conceiv'd a kind of Divinity in almost any thing that was extraordinarily great. Whence some have worshipped very tall Trees, others large Rivers, some a great Stone or Rock, othersome high and vast Mountains; whence the Greeks confound great and holy in that one word ἱερὸς, that signifies both; And the Hebrews by the Cedars of God, the mountains of God, the Spirit of God, and the like, understand high Cedars, great Mountains, and a mighty Spirit or Wind. We may adde also what is more familiar, how old Women and Nurses use to tell little Children when they ask concerning the Moon, pointing at it with their fingers, that it is God's Candle, because it is so great a Light in the night. All which are arguments or intimations, that mans nature is very prone to suspect some special presence of God in any thing that is great, or vehement.
Whence it is a strong temptation with a Melancholist when he feels a storm of devotion or zeal come upon him like a mighty wind, his heart being full of affection, his head pregnant with clear and sensible representations, and his mouth flowing and streaming with fit and <12> powerfull expressions, such as would astonish an ordinary Auditorie to hear, it is, I say, a shrewd temptation to him to think that it is the very Spirit of God that then moves supernaturally in him; whenas all that excesse of zeal and affection and fluency of words is most palpably to be resolved into the power of Melancholy, which is a kind of naturall inebriation.
And that there is nothing better then Nature in it, it is evident both from the experience of good and discreet men, who have found themselves strangely vary in their zeal, devotion and elocution, as Melancholy has been more or lesse predominant in them: and also from what all may observe in those that have been wicked, mad and blasphemous, and yet have surpassed in this mistaken gift of Prayer; as is notorious in Hacket, who was so besotted with a conceit of his own zeal and eloquence, that he fancied himself the Holy Ghost.Sect. XVII. The mistake of heated Melancholy for holy Zeal and the Spirit of God.
AND when men talk so much of the Spirit, if they take notice what they ordinarily mean by it, it is nothing else but a strong and impetuous motion whereby they are zealously and fervently carried in matters of Religion: so that Fervour, Zeal and Spirit, is in effect all one. Now no Complexion is so hot as Melancholy when it is heated, being like boiling water, as Aristotle observes (Ἐὰν ἱκανῶς θερμανθῇ, οἶον τὸ ζέον, & c.) so that it transcends the flame of fire; or it is like heated stone or iron when they are red hot, for they are then more hot by far then a burning Coal. We shall omit here to play the Grammarian, and to take notice how well Aristotle's τὸ ζέον suites with the very word zeale of which we speake; but shall cast our eyes more carefully upon the things themselves, and parallel out of the same Philosopher what they call Spirit, to what he affirms to be contained in Melancholy. ὅ τε χυμὸς καὶ ἡ κρᾶσις ἡ τῆς μελαίνης χολῆς πνευματικά ἐστι.
The Spirit then that wings the Enthusiast in such a wonderful manner, is nothing else but that Flatulency which is in the Melancholy complexion, and rises out of the Hypochondriacal humour upon some occasional heat, as Winde out of an Æolipila applied to the fire. Which fume mounting into the Head, being first actuated and spirited and somewhat refined by the warmth of the Heart, fills the Mind with variety of Imaginations, and so quickens and inlarges Invention, that it makes the Enthusiast to admiration fluent and eloquent, he being as it were drunk with new wine drawn from that Cellar of his own that lies in the lowest region of his Body, though he be not aware of it, but takes it to be pure Nectar, and those waters of life that spring from above. Aristotle makes a long Parallelism betwixt the nature and effects of Wine and Melancholy, to which both Fernelius and Sennertus do referre.
BUT this is not all the advantage that Melancholy affords towards Enthusiasme, thus unexpectedly and suddenly to surprise the Mind with such vehement fits of Zeal, such streams and torrents of Eloquence in either exhorting others to piety, or in devotions towards God; but it addes a greater weight of belief that there is something Supernatural in the business, in that the same Complexion discovers it self to them that lie under it in such contrary Effects.
For as it is thus vehemently hot, so it is as stupidly cold; whence the Melancholist becomes faithlesse, hopelesse, heartlesse, and almost witlesse. Which Ebbs of his Constitution must needs make the overflowing of it seem more miraculous and supernatural. But those cold and abject fits of his make him also very sensibly and winningly Rhetorical, when he speaks of disconsolation, desertion, humilitie, mortification, and the like, as if he were truely and voluntarily carried through such things, whenas onely the fatal necessity of his Complexion has violently drag'd him through the mere shadows and resemblances of them.
But he finding himself afterwards beyond all hope or any sense or presage of any power in himself lifted aloft again, he does not doubt that any thing less was the cause of this unexpected joy and triumph then the immediate arme of God from heaven that has thus exalted him; when it is nothing indeed but a Paroxysme of Melancholy, which is like the breaking out of a flame after a long smoaking and reeking of new rubbish laid upon the fire. But because such returns as these come not at set times, nor make men sick, but rather delight them, they think there is something divine therein, and that it is not from Natural causes.Sect. XIX. The notorious mockery of Melancholy in reference to Divine love.
THere is also another notorious Mockery in this Complexion, Nature confidently avouching her self to be God, whom the Apostle calls Love, as if it were his very Essence; whenas indeed it is here nothing else but Melancholy that has put on the garments of an Angel of light.
There is nothing more true then that Love is the fulfilling of the Law, and the highest Perfection that is competible to the Soul of man; and that this also is so plain and unavoidable, that a man may be in a very high degree mad, and yet not fail to assent unto it. Nay, I dare say, Melancholy itself would be his monitour to re-mind him of it, if there were any possibility that he should forget so manifest and palpable a Truth.
For the sense of Love at large is eminently comprehended in the temper of the Melancholist, Melancholy and Wine being of so near a nature <14> one to the other. ποιεῖ δὲ φιλητικοὺς ὁ οἶνος, But wine makes men amorous; which the Philosopher proves, in that a man in wine will kisse such persons as a sober man would scarce touch with a pair of tongs, by reason of their age and uglinesse. And assuredly it was the fumes of Melancholy that infatuated the fancie of a late new-fangled Religionist, when he sat so kindly by a Gipsie under an hedge, and put his hand into her bosome in a fit of devotion, and vaunted afterwards of it as if it had been a very pious and meritorious action.Sect. XX. That Melancholy partakes much of the Nature of Wine, and from what complexion Poets and Enthusiasts arise, and what the difference is betwixt them.
BUT now that Melancholy partakes much of the nature of Wine, he evinces from that it is so spiritous; and that it is so spiritous, from that it is so spumeous: and that Melancholy is flatuous or spiritous, he appeals to the Physicians, οἰ τὰ πνευματώδη πάθη καὶ ὑποχόνδρια μελαγχολικά φασιν εἶναι.
Wherefore the Philosopher assignes another companion to Venus besides the plump youth Bacchus, which the Poets bestow upon her, who, though more seemingly sad, yet will prove as faithfull an attendant as that other, and this is Melancholy. καὶ οἱ μελαγχολικοὶ οἱ πλεῖστοι λάγνοι ἑισὶν. ὅ, τε γὰρ ἀφροδισιασμὸς πνευματώδης.
Now besides this Flatulencie that solicits to lust, there may be such a due dash of Sanguine in the Melancholy, that the Complexion may prove stupendiously enravishing. For that more sluggish Dulcor of the blood will be sometime so quickned and actuated by the fiercenesse and sharpnesse of the Melancholy humour (as the fulsomnesse of Sugar is by the acrimony of Limons) that it will afford farre more sensible pleasure; and all the imaginations of Love, of what kind soever, will be farre more lively and vigorous, more piercing and rapturous, then they can be in pure Sanguine it self.
From this Complexion are Poets, and the more highly-pretending Enthusiasts: Betwixt whom this is the great difference, That a Poet is an Enthusiast in jest, and an Enthusiast is a Poet in good earnest; Melancholy prevailing so much with him, that he takes his no better then Poeticall fits and figments for divine Inspiration and reall Truth.
BUT that it is a mere naturall flatuous and spiritous temper with a proportionable Dosis of Sanguine added to their Melancholy, not the pure Spirit of God, that thus inacts them, is plainly to be discovered not onely in their language, which is very sweet and melting, as if sugar-plums lay under their tongue, but from notorious circumstances of their lives. And in my apprehension it will be a sufficient pledge of this Truth, if we set before our eyes those that have the most highly pretended to the Spirit, and that have had the greatest power to delude the people.
For that that Pride and tumour of mind whereby they are so confidently carried out to profess, as well as to conceive, so highly of themselves, that no lesse Title must serve their turns then that of God, the Holy Ghost or Paraclet, the Messias, the last and chiefest Prophet, the Judge of the quick and the dead, and the like; that all this comes from Melancholy is manifest by a lower kind of working of that Complexion.
For to begin with the first of these Impostours, Simon Magus, who gave out that he was God the Father, he prov'd himself to be but a wretched lecherous man by that inseparable companion of his, Helena, whom he called Selene, and affirmed to be one of the Divine powers, when she was no better then a lewd Strumpet.
There was also one Menander a Samaritan, that vaunted himself to be the Saviour of the world, a maintainer of the same licentious and impure opinions with Simon.
Montanus professed himself to be the Spirit of God; but that it was the Spirit of Melancholy that besotted him, his two Drabs Prisca and Maximilla, evidently enough declare, who are said to leave their own husbands to follow him. We might adde a third, one Quintilla, a woman of no better fame, and an intimate acquaintance of the other two, from whence the Montanists were also called Quintillians.
Manes also held himself to be the true Paraclet, but left a Sect behind him indoctrinated in all licentious and filthy principles.
Mahomet, more successfull then any, the last and chiefest Prophet that ever came into the world, (if you will believe him) that he was Melancholick his Epileptical fits are one argument, and his permission of plurality of wives and concubines, his lascivious descriptions of the joyes of Heaven or Paradise, another.
But I must confesse I do much doubt whether he took himself to be a Prophet or no; for he seems to me rather a pleasant witty companion, and shrewd Politician, then a mere Enthusiast; and so wise, as not to venture his credit or success upon mere conceits of his own, but he builds upon the weightiest principles of the Religion of Jews and Christians: such as, That God is the Creatour and Governor of the world, That there are <16> Angells and Spirits, That the Soul of man is Immortall, and That there is a Judgement and an everlasting Reward to come after the natural death of the Body. So that indeed Mahometism seems but an abuse of certain Principles of the doctrine of Moses and Christ to a Political design, and therefore in it self far to be preferred before the vain and idle Enthusiasms of David George; who yet was so highly conceited of his own light, that he hoped to put Mahomet's nose out of joynt, giving out of himself that he was the last and chiefest Prophet, whenas left to the intoxication of his own Melancholy and Sanguine, he held neither Heaven nor Hell, neither Reward nor Punishment after this life, neither Devil nor Angel, nor the Immortality of the Soul; but though born a Christian, yet he did Mahometize in this, that he also did indulge plurality of wives.
It should seem that so dark and fulsome a dash of Blood there was mixed with his Melancholy, that though the one made him a pretended Prophet, yet the other would not suffer him to entertain the least presage of any thing beyond this mortal life.
He also that is said to insist in his steps, and talks so magnificently of himself, as if he was come to judge both the quick and the dead, by an injudicious distorting and forcing of such plain substantial passages of Scripture as assure us of the Existence of Angels and Spirits and of a Life to come, bears his condemnation in himself, and proclaims to all the world that he is rather a Priest of Venus, or a mere Sydereal Preacher out of the sweetness and powerfulness of his own natural Complexion, then a true Prophet of God, or a friend of the mystical Bride-groom Christ Jesus; to whose very person, as to her Lord and Sovereigne, the Church his Spouse, doth owe all reverential love and honour.
But such bloated and high-swoln Enthusiasts, that are so big in the conceit of their own inward worth, have little either sense or beliefe of this duty, but fancy themselves either equal or superiour to Christ; whom notwithstanding God has declared Supreme Head over Men and Angels. And yet they would disthrone him, and set up themselves, though they can shew no Title but an unsound kind of popular Eloquence, a Rhapsodie of slight and soft words, rowling and streaming Tautologies, which if they at any time bear any true sense with them, it is but what every ordinary Christian knew before; but what they oft insinuate by the bye, is abominably false, as sure as Christianity it self is true.
Yet such fopperies as these seem fine things to the heedless and pusillanimous: but surely Christ will raise such a discerning spirit in his Church, that by Evidence and conviction of Reason, not by Force or external power, such Mock-prophets and false Messiases as these will be discountenanced and hissed off of the stage; nor will there be a man that knows himself to be a Christian that will receive them.
WE have, I think, by a sufficient Induction discovered the Condition and Causes of this mysterious mockery of Enthusiastical Love in the highest workings of it, and shewn how it is but in effect a Natural Complexion, as very often Religious Zeal in general is discovered to be: As is also observable from the tumultuous Anabaptists in Germany; for amongst other things that they contended for, this was not the least, to wit, a freedome to have many Wives. So that it should seem that for the most part this Religious heat in men, as it arises merely from Nature, is like Aurum fulminans, which though it flie upward somewhat, the greatest force when it is fired is found to goe downward. This made that religious Sect of the Beguardi conceit that it was a sin to kiss a woman, but none at all to lie with her. The same furnish'd Carpocrates and Apelles, two busie Sectaries in their time, the one with his Marcellina, the other with his Philumena, to spend their lust upon.Sect. XXIII. Of Enthusiastical Joy.
BUT enough of this. Nearest to this Enthusiastical affection of Love is that of Joy and Triumph of Spirit, that Enthusiasts are several times actuated withall to their own great admiration. But we have already intimated the near affinity betwixt Melancholy and Wine, which chears the heart of God and Man, as is said in the Parable. And assuredly Melancholy, that lies at first smoaring in the Heart and Blood, when Heat has overcome it (it consisting of such solid particles, which then are put upon motion and agitation) is more strong and vigorous then any thing else that moves in the Blood and Spirits, and comes very near to the nature of the highest Cordialls that are. Which Aristotle also witnesses, asserting that Melancholy while it is cold causes sadness and despondency of minde, but once heated, ἐκστάσεις καὶ τὰς μετ' ᾠδῆς εὐθυμίας, Ecstasies and Raptures with triumphant joy and singing.Sect. XXIV. Of the mystical Allegories of Enthusiasts.
THere are Three delusions yet behinde, which, because they come into my memory, I will not omit to speak of, viz. Mystical interpretations of Scripture, Quakings, and Visions; all which are easily resolved <18> into Effects of Melancholy. For as for the first we have already shewn that Melancholy, as well as Wine, makes a man Rhetorical or Poetical; and that Genius how fanciful it is, and full of Allusions and Metaphors and fine resemblances, every one knows. And what greater matter is there in applying Moral and Spiritual meanings to the History of the Bible, then to the History of Nature? and there is no Rhetorician nor Poet but does that perpetually. Or how much easier is it to make a Story to set out a Moral meaning, then to apply a Moral sense to such Stories as are already a foot? And for the former, Æsop was old excellent at it without any suspicion of Inspiration; and the later Sir Francis Bacon has admirably well performed in his Sapientia Veterum, without any such peculiar or extraordinary illapses of a divine Spirit into him, a business, I dare say, he never dreamt of, and any man that understands him will willingly be his Compurgatour.Sect. XXV. Of Quaking, and of the Quakers.
AND for Quaking, which deluded souls take to be an infallible sign they are inactuated by the Spirit of God, that it may be onely an Effect of their Melancholy is apparent. For none have so high Passions as Melancholists; and that Fear, Love or Veneration in the height will cause great Trembling, cannot be denied; and to these Passions none are any thing nigh so obnoxious as those of the Melancholy Complexion, because of the deepness of their resentments and apprehensions.
That Fear causes Trembling there is nothing more obvious: and it is as true of Love, which the Comedian had judiciously noted in that passage where Phædria upon the sight of his Thais, speaking to Parmeno, Totus tremo, saies he, horreóque postquam aspexi hanc.
And for Veneration, which consists in a manner of these two mixt together, it is a Passion that Melancholy men are soundly plunged in whether they will or no; when they are to make their addresses to any person of honour or worth, or to goe about some solemn or weighty performance in publick, they will quake and tremble like an Aspin-leaf; some have been struck silent, others have faln down to the ground.
And that Phansy in other cases will work upon the Spirits, and cause a tumultuous and disorderly commotion in them, or so suffocate the Heart that motion will be in a manner quite extinct, & the party fall down dead, are things so familiarly known, that it is enough onely to mention them.
Wherefore it is no wonder, the Enthusiast fancying these natural Paroxysms with which he is surprised to be extraordinary Visits of the Deity, and Illapses of the holy Ghost into his Soul, which he cannot but then receive with the highest Veneration imaginable, it is no wonder, I say, that Fear and Joy and Love should make such a confusion in his Spirits, as to put him into a fit of trembling and quaking. In which case the Fervour of his Spirits and Heat of Imagination may be wrought up <19> to that pitch that it may amount to a perfect Epilepsie; as it often happens in that Sect they call Quakers, who undoubtedly are the most Melancholy Sect that ever was yet in the world.Sect. XXVI. That Melancholy disposes to Apoplexies and Epilepsies.
AND that Melancholy it self disposes a man to Apoplexies and Epilepsies, is acknowledged both by Philosophers and Physicians. For what is Narcotical and deads the motion of the Spirits, if it be highly such, proves also Apoplectical. Besides, grosse Vapours stopping the Arteriæ Carotides and Plexus Coroides, and so hindring the recourse and supply of Spirits, may doe the same. Some would illustrate the matter from the fumes of Char-coale, that has often made men fall down dead. But take any or all of these, Melancholy is as like to afford such noxious vapours as any other Temper whatsoever. And that an Epilepsie may arise from such like Causes, these two diseases being so near a-kin, as Galen writes, is very reasonable; and that the morbifick matter is πνευματική τις ὀυςία ὥσπερ ἆυρα, as his Master Pelops expresses it, it is evident from the suddain and easy discussion of the fit.Sect. XXVII. Of the nature of Enthusiastick Revelations and Visions.
BUT in both these there being a ligation of the outward senses, whatever is then represented to the Mind is of the nature of a Dream. But these fits being not so ordinary as our naturall sleep, these Dreams the precipitant and unskilfull are forward to conceit to be Representations extraordinary and supernatural, which they call Revelations or Visions; of which there can be no certainty at all no more then of a Dream.Sect. XXVIII. Of Ecstasie; the nature and causes thereof.
THE mention of Dreams puts me in mind of another Melancholy Symptome, which Physicians call Ecstasie, which is nothing else but Somnus præter naturam profundus: the Causes whereof are none other then those of natural Sleep, but more intense and excessive; the Effect is the deliration of the party after he awakes, for he takes his Dreams for true Histories and real Transactions.
The reason whereof, I conceive, is the extraordinary clearness and <20> fulness of the representations in his sleep, arising from a more perfect privation of all communion with this outward world; and so there being no interfearings or cross-strokes of motion from his body so deeply overwhelmed and bedeaded with sleep, what the Imagination then puts forth of her self is as clear as broad day, and the perception of the Soul is at least as strong and vigorous as it is at any time in beholding things awake, and therefore Memory as throughly sealed therewith as from the sense of any external Object.
The vigour and clearness of these Visions differs from those in ordinary sleep, as much as the liveliness of the images let in artificially into a dark room accurately darkned from those in one carelesly made dark, some chinks or crevises letting in light where they should not.
But strength of perception is no sure ground of truth: And such Visions as these, let them be never so clear, yet they are still in the nature of Dreams. And he that regardeth Dreams, is like him that catcheth at a shadow, or followeth after the wind, as Syracides speaks.Sect. XXIX. Whether it be in mans power to cast himself into an Enthusiastick Apoplexie, Epilepsie or Ecstasie.
WHether it be in any mans power to fall into these Epilepsies, Apoplexies, or Ecstasies when he pleases, is neither an useless nor a desperate question: For we may find a probable solution from what has been already intimated.
For the Enthusiast in one of his Melancholy intoxications (which he may accelerate by solemn silence and intense and earnest meditation) finding himself therein so much beyond himself, may conceit it a sensible presence of God, and a supernatural manifestation of the Divinity, which must needs raise that passion of Veneration and most powerful Devotion, which consists of Love, Fear, and Joy: Which single Passions have been able to kill men or cast them into a trance. How can they then (if they be well followed by imagination and desire in the Enthusiast of a nearer union with this inward Light) fail to cast him into Tremblings, Convulsions, Apoplexies, Ecstasies, and what not? Melancholy being so easily changeable into these Symptomes? And it is very probable that this may be the condition of some of those they call Quakers.
But for St. Austin's African Presbyter (who was named Restitutus) who by a lamenting voice or mournful tone would be cast into such an Ecstasie, he is found alone in that, and is hardly imitable, it arising from some proper and peculiar constitution of his own.
That Cardan and Facius his Father could cast themselves when they would into an Ecstasie, I can as easily believe as that the Laplanders could, and do in my own judgement refer them both to one cause, which Sennertus notes that Cardan somewhere does intimate concerning his Father, that he had δαίμονα πάρεδρον. which I conceive also to be the case of the <21> worser sort of Quakers. But this kind of Enthusiasm I do not so much aim at as that which is Natural.
As for those Visions that Enthusiasts see waking, we have already referred their Causes to that strength of Imagination in a Melancholy Spirit.Sect. XXX. Of Enthusiastick Prophecy.
AND for that Fervour of mind whereby they are carried out so confidently to foretell things to come, that there is nothing Supernatural in it may be evidenced, in that either some probable grounds, that ordinary prudence may discover, might move them to think this or that, (the vehemency of their own Melancholy adding that confidence to their presage as if God himself had set it upon their Spirit;) or else in that they most frequently presage false, and therefore when they foretell true, it is justly imputed to chance. As a man that dreams a nights, it is a hard case if in so many years dreams he light not on some ὀυθυονειρίαι, as they are called, such as are plainly and directly true, καθάπερ οἱ πολλὰ βάλλοντες ἐπιτυγχάνουσι πολλάκις, as they that shoot oft, may sometimes hit the mark, (as Plutarch speaks;) but 'tis more by luck then good skill.Sect. XXXI. Of the Presage of a mans own heart from a Supernatural impulse sensible to himself, but unexplicable to others, where it may take place, and that is not properly Enthusiasm.
AND yet notwithstanding I humbly conceive, and I hope may doe so without any suspicion of the least tincture of Fanaticism, that there may be such a presage in the spirit of a man that is to act in things of very high concernment to * himself, and much more if to the publick, as may be a sure guide to him, especially if he continue constantly sincere, just and pious. For it is not at all improbable but such as act in very publick affairs, in which Providence has a more special hand, that these * Agents driving on her design may have a more special assistance and animation from her: Of which as others have not the sense, so neither can they imagine the manner of it. And this is the case, I think, wherein that of Siracides may be verified, That a mans own heart will tell him more then seven watchmen on an high Tower. But this is Enthusiasm in the better sense, and therefore not so proper for our Discourse, who speak not of that which is true, but of that which is a mistake: the Causes whereof we having so fully laid down, we will now consider the Kinds of it, but briefly and onely so far forth as suits with our present purpose and design.
Wherefore setting aside all accuracie, we shall content our selves to distribute it, from the condition of the Persons in which it resides, into Political and Philosophical. For Enthusiasm most-what works according to the natural Genius of the party it doth surprise.Sect. XXXII. Several Examples of Political Enthusiasm.
WHerefore those whose Temper carries them most to Political affairs, who love rule and honour, and have a strong sense of Civil rights, Melancholy heating them makes them sometimes fancy themselves great Princes (at least by divine assignment) and Deliverers of the people sent from God; such as were in likelihood the false Messiases that deceived the people of the Jews, as Theudas and that Ægyptian Impostor, also Barchocab, Jonathas, Dositheus, and several others, who, it's likely, it being the common fame amongst the Jews that the Messias the Deliverer was about that time to come, according to the heat and forwardness of their own Melancholy, conceited themselves to be him. Which is the easier to believe, there being several Instances in History of those that have fancied themselves Monarchs, Popes, and Emperours, whenas yet they have been but Foot-boys, Grooms, and Serving-men.
Whether there might not be as much of Villany as Melancholy in some of these false Messiases, if it be suspected, it will be hard to take off the suspicion. But there was a German, in whom we may more safely instance, not many years agoe here in England. He styled himself a Warrior of God, David the second, and in deep compassion of the sufferings of his Countrey would very fain have got some few Forces here to carry over; with which he was confident he could have silenced the enemy, and settled all Germany in peace.
The man seemed to be a very religious man, and a great hater of Tyranny and oppression, and very well in his wits to other things; onely he was troubled with this infirmity, that he fancied himfelf that David the Prophets foretell of, who should be that peaceable Prince and great Deliverer of the Jews. He published a short writing of his, which I had the opportunity of seeing, which was full of zeal and Scripture-eloquence: I saw his person in London, if he that shewed me him was not mistaken. He was a tall proper man, of a good age, but of a very pale wasted Melancholy countenance.
Another also of later years I had the hap to meet withall, whose discourse was not onely rational, but pious, and he seemed to have his wits very well about him; nor could I discover the least intimation to the contrary, onely he had this flaw, that he conceited that he was by God appointed to be that fifth Monarch of which there is so much noise in this age; which imagination had so possessed him, that he would sometime have his servant to serve him all in plate and upon the knee, as a very learned and religious friend of mine told me afterward.
WHerefore I do not look upon this man as so sober as the former, nor on either as comparable to that David that was born at Delph, lived first in lower Germany with those of his Sect, after came to Basil, Anno 1544. and there dyed 1556. and was digged up again 1559. Wherein his prophecy of himself was in an ill-favoured manner fulfilled, who, to uphold the fluctuating minds of his followers, whom he would have perswaded that he was immortall, told them at his death, that he should rise again within three years, presaging that of himself that he denied would ever come to passe in any one else.Sect. XXXIV. A description of the person, manners, and doctrine of David George.
THIS David George, a man of very low parentage, was yet, in the judgement of his very enemies, one of notable natural parts, a comely person to look upon, and of a gracefull presence. He was also square of body, yellow-bearded, gray-ey'd bright and shining, grave and sedate in speech; in a word, all his motions, gestures and demeanours were so decent and becoming, as if he had been wholly composed to honesty and godlinesse. He lived very splendidly and magnificently in his house, and yet without the least stir or disorder. He was a religious frequenter of the Church, a liberal reliever of the poor, a comfortable visiter of the sick, obedient to the Magistrate, kind and affable to all persons, discreet in all things, very cunning in some, as in his closenesse and reservednesse in his Doctrine to those of Basil, where he liv'd, to whom he communicated not one Iota of it, but yet he sedulously dispersed it in the further parts of Germany both by Books and Letters; the main Heads whereof you shall hear as follows.
1. That the Doctrine hitherto delivered by Moses, the Prophets, Christ himself, and his Apostles, is maimed and imperfect, published onely to keep men in a childish obedience for a time, till the fulnesse and perfection of David George his Doctrine should be communicated to the world, which is the onely Doctrine that can make mankind happy, and replenish them with the knowledge of God.
2. That David George is the true Christ and Messias, the dear Son of God, born not of the flesh, but of the holy Ghost and Spirit of Christ, which God had reserved in a secret place, his Body being reduced to nothing, and has infused it wholly into the Soul of David George.
3. That this David the Messias is to restore the house of Israel, and re-erect the Tabernacle of God, not by the Crosse, afflictions and death, <24> as the other Messias; but by that sweetnesse and love and grace that is given to him of his Father.
4. That the power of remission of sins is given to this David George, and that it is he that is now come to judge the world with the last Judgement.
5. That the holy Scriptures, the Sayings and Testimonies of the Prophets, of Christ and of his Apostles do all point, if rightly understood in the true mystery of them, to the glorious coming of David George, who is greater then Christ himself, as being born of the spirit, and not of the flesh.
6. That all sin and blasphemy against the Father or the Son may be remitted or pardoned; but the sin against the holy Ghost, that is, against David George, is never to be remitted.
7. That the resurrection of Christ out of the grave, and the resurrection of the dead, is a mere Mysterie or Allegorie.
8. That Angels and Devils are onely Good men and Evil men, or their Vertues and Vices.
9. That Matrimony is free, no obligation, and that no man thereby is confined to one woman; but that procreation of children shall be promiscuous or in common to all those that are born again or regenerated by the spirit of David George.
These things are recorded in the Life and Doctrine of David George, published by the Rector and University of Basil 1559.Sect. XXXV. The evident Causes of that power of speech in David George.
AS for his own Writings, not a little admired by some, his moving Eloquence, his powerfull animations to the great duties of Godlinesse, I have already laid down such natural Principles as they may be easily resolved into, without any recourse to any supernatural Spirit. For a man illiterate, as he was, but of good parts, by constant reading of the Bible will naturally contract a more winning and commanding Rhetorick then those that are learned; the intermixture of Tongues and of artificiall Phrases debasing their style, and making it sound more after the manner of men, though ordinarily there may be more of God in it then in that of the Enthusiast.Sect. XXXVI. An account of those seeming graces in David George.
IF he may with some zeal and commotion of mind recommend to his Reader Patience, Peaceablenesse, Meeknesse, Brotherly-kindnesse, Equity, Discretion, Prudence, Self-denial, Mortification, and the like, there is <25> nothing in all this but what his own Sanguine temper may suggest without any inspiration from God.
For there is no Christian Vertue to be named which concerns manners, but Complexion will afford a spurious imitation of it: and therefore they answering in so near similitude one to another, it will be an easie thing to colour over those mere Mock-graces with Scripture Phrases; so that he that has but these complexionall Vertues and a Scripturall style, amongst the lesse skilfull will look like an Apostle or Prophet, but amongst the rude Multitude he may boast himself to be what he will, without suspicion or contradiction.
The most unlikely of all these imitations is Self-denial, which seems abhorrent from a Sanguine temper. But Enthusiasm is not without a mixture of Melancholy, and we are speaking now of Enthusiastick Sanguine, in which the fiercer Passions will also lodge; and therefore this Self-denial and Mortification may be nothing else but the Sanguine's conflict and victory over the most harsh and fierce Melancholy.
And that it is the Reign of Sanguine, not the Rule of the Spirit, is discoverable both from the complexion of the Head of this Sect, as also from the general disposition of his followers, and that tender love they bear to their own dear carkases, who would not, I dare say, suffer the least aching of their little fingers by way of external Martyrdome for any Religion; and therefore their prudence and discretion consists most in juglings, equivocations, and slight tergiversations, peaceable compliances with any thing rather then to suffer in body or goods: which is the natural dictate of Sanguine triumphant.
Which dominion yet seems far better then the Tyranny of Choler and Melancholy, whose pragmatical ferocity can neither prove good to it self nor just to others; being prone to impose, and as forward to avenge the refusal of every frivolous and impertinent foppery or abhorred falsitie, with inhumane and cruel persecutions.Sect. XXXVII. That David George was a man of a Sanguine Complexion.
NOW that Sanguine was the Complexion of David George, the foregoing description of his person will probably intimate to any Physiognomer. For it is very hard to find an healthy body very comely and beautifull, but the same proves more then ordinarily venereous and lustfull. We might instance in several both men and women,  Helena, Lais, Faustina, Alcibiades, Ismael Sophi of Persia, and Demetrius, who is said to have been of an admirable countenance and majestick graceful presence, mingled with gravity and benignity, also exceeding full of clemency, justice, piety and liberality; but so libidinous and voluptuous, that no King was ever to be compared to him.
BUT two surer signes are yet behind of this Prophet's natural Constitution, which are, His denying of a life to come and Existence of Angels or Spirits, and his allowing of plurality or community of Wives.
The former whereof I must confesse I cannot so much impute to any thing as to a more luscious and fulsome mixture of Sanguine in his Enthusiastick complexion. For nothing will so slake a mans desires, or dead his belief of that more Spiritual and Immaterial state and condition, as this sweet glut of Blood that so thickens and clouds the Spirits, that the Mind cannot imagine or presage any thing beyond the present concernment of this mortal Body.
And of the latter I think it is acknowledged by all, that no such genuine cause can be assigned as this same complexion of Sanguine that disposes men so strongly to the love of women.Sect. XXXIX. That is was dark fulsome Sanguine that hid the truth of the great Promises of the Gospel from his eyes.
WHerefore this Enthusiast being overborn by the power of his own constitution into the misbelief of those great Promises of Eternal life set forth in the Scripture, took the Holy Writers thereof either to be mistaken, or onely to have intended Allegories by what they writ. And that Fervour that he found in himself to Love, and Peace, and Equity, and the like, boiling so high as to the driving of him into a perswasion that he was inspired, he conceited his misbelief of those precious Promises of Immortality and Glory in the heavens a special piece of Illumination also; and the Resurrection of the dead to be nothing else but to be raised into a like ardency towards such things with himself, and to a like misbelief with him of that celestial Crown the Apostle speaks of. And therefore he not being able to raise his mind by faith to heaven, he brought heaven to earth in his vain imagination: Which was less pains then Mahomet took, who was fain to walk to the mountain, when he saw the mountain would not move to him.
THis is a brief account of David George, whose error the Father of our modern Nicolaitans did drink in so carefully, as if he were loath one drop should spill beside. Never was that in Solomon so plainly verified in any as in these two, As face answers to face, so the heart of man to man.
Wherefore concerning them both I dare pronounce, That though they equalized themselves to Christ, and made themselves Judges of the quick and the dead, yet they were more devoid of true judgment in matters of Religion then the meanest of sincere Christians: And though they have so deified or (as they phrase it) begodded themselves all over, I might say, bedaubed themselves with the feigned and counterfeit colours or paint of high swelling words of vanity to amaze the vulgar; yet they were in truth mere men, of shallow mindes and liquorsome bodies, cleaving to the pleasures of the flesh, and so deeply relishing the sweet of this present Life, that all hope or desire of that better was quite extinct in them; and therefore their settled and radicate ignorance made them so Enthusiastically confident in their own errour.Sect. XLI. A seasonable Advertisement in the behalf of them that are unawares taken with such Writers; as also a further confirmation that Enthusiastick madness may consist with sobriety in other matters.
BUT that my zeal to the Truth may not turn to the injury of any, I cannot pass by this Advertisement; That this poison we speak of is so subtilly conveyed and silently supposed in the reading these writings, that a good man and a true Christian may be easily carried away into an approbation of them without any infection by them (as not minding what they imply or drive at) or yet any defection from the main Principles of Christianity: and indeed by how much the heat seems greater toward the highest perfection of Holiness, the Reader is made the more secure of the Writer's soundness in the main Essentials of Religion, though it be far otherwise at the bottome.
For Madness and Melancholy drive high, and we have prov'd by divers Instances that a man may be most ridiculously and absurdly wild in some one thing, and yet sound and discreet in the rest; as Gazeus handsomely sets it out in a story of an old man that conceited himself God the Father. And Acosta verifies it in a true history of his own knowledge concerning a certain learned and venerable Professor of Divinity in the Kingdome of Peru, whom he doth affirm to have been as perfectly in his senses, as to <28> soundness of brain, as himself was at that time when he wrote the Narration; which being something long, I shall transcribe only what precisely makes to my purpose.
This Peruvian Doctor would sadly and soberly affirme that he should be a King, yea and a Pope too, the Apostolical See being translated to those parts; as also that holinesse was granted unto him above all Angels and heavenly hosts, and above all Apostles; yea, that God made profer unto him of Hypostatical union, but that he refused to accept of it. Moreover that he was appointed to be Redeemer of the world as to matter of Efficacy, which Christ, he said, had been no further then to Sufficiency onely. That all Ecclesiastical estate was to be abrogated, and that he would make new Laws, plain and easy, by which the restraint of Clergy-men from Marriage should be taken away, and multitude of Wives allowed, and all necessity of Confession avoided. Which things he did maintain before the Judges of the Inquisition with that earnestness and confidence, with so many and so large citations out of the Prophets, Apocalyps, Psalmes, and other books, with such unexpected Applications and Allegorical Interpretations of them, that the Auditory knew not whether they should laugh more at his fancy, or admire his memory. But himself was so well assured of the matter, that nothing but death could quit him of the delirium. For he dyed a Martyr to this piece of madness of his, to the eternal infamy of his Judges, who were either so unwise, as not to know that Melancholy may make a man delirous as to some one particular thing, though his Intellectuals be sound in others; or else so cruel and barbarous, as to murder a poor distracted man. The story you may read more at large in a late * Treatise concerning Enthusiasme.
What I have transplanted hither, is further to evidence the truth of what Physicians say of Melancholy, that it may onely befool the Understanding in some one point, and leave it sound in the rest; as also to confirm what I did above observe, that Enthusiasts for the most part are intoxicated with vapours from the lowest region of their Body, as the Pythiæ of old are conceived to have been inspired through the power of certain exhalations breathed from those caverns they had their recess in. For what means this bold purpose of contriving a new law for plurality of Wives amongst Christians, but that his judgment was overclouded by some venereous fumes and vapours?Sect. XLII. Of Philosophical Enthusiasm.
THAT other kinde of Enthusiasm I propounded was Philosophical, because found in such as are of a more Speculative and Philosophical complexion. And Melancholy here making them prone to Religion and devotion, as well as to the curious Contemplation of things, these natural motions and affections towards God may drive them to a belief <29> that he has a more then ordinary affection towards them, and that they have so special an assistance and guidance from him, nay such a mysterious, but intimate and real, union with him, that every fine thought or fancy that steals into their mind ought to be look't upon by them as a pledge of the Divine favour, and a singular illumination from God himself.
Wherein they seem to me to imitate the madness of Elionora Meliorina, a Gentlewoman of Mantua, who being fully perswaded she was married to a King, would kneel down and talk with him, as if he had been there present with his retinue; and if she had by chance found a piece of glass in a muck-hill, light upon an oyster-shell, piece of tin or any such like thing that would glister in the Sun-shine, she would say it was a jewel sent from her Lord and husband, and upon this account fill'd her cabinet full of such trash.
In like manner these inspired Melancholists stuff their heads and writings with every flaring fancy that Melancholy suggests to them, as if it were a precious Truth bestowed upon them by the holy Spirit; and with a devotional reverence they entertain the unexpected Paroxysms of their own natural distemper, as if it were the power and presence of God himself in their Souls.Sect. XLIII. Sundry Chymists and Theosophists obnoxious to this disease.
THIS disease many of your Chymists and several Theosophists, in my judgement, seem very obnoxious to, who dictate their own Conceits and Fancies so magisterially and imperiously, as if they were indeed Authentick messengers from God Almighty. But that they are but Counterfeits, that is, Enthusiasts, no infallible illuminated men, the gross fopperies they let drop in their writings will sufficiently demonstrate to all that are not smitten in some measure with the like Lunacy with themselves. I shall instance in some few things, concealing the names of the Authors, because they are so sacred to some.Sect. XLIV. A promiscuous Collection of divers odde conceits out of several Theosophists and Chymists.
LIsten therefore attentively, for I shall relate very great mysteries. The virtues of the Planets do not ascend, but descend. Experience teaches as much, viz. That of Venus or Copper is not made Mars or Iron, but of Mars is made Venus, as being an inferior sphere. So also Jupiter or Tinne is easily changed into Mercury or Quick-silver, because Jupiter is the second from the firmament, and Mercury the second from the Earth. <30> Saturn is the first from the Heaven, & Luna the first from the Earth. Sol mixeth it self with all, but is never bettered by his Inferiours. Now know that there is a great agreement betwixt Saturn or Lead, and Luna or Silver, Jupiter and Mercury, Mars and Venus, because in the midst of these Sol is placed.
What can it be but the heaving of the Hypochondria that lifts up the Mind to such high comparisons from a supposition so false and foolish? But I have observed generally of Chymists and Theosophists, as of severall other men more palpably mad, that their thoughts are carryed much to Astrology, it being a fancifull study built upon very slight grounds, and indeed I do not question, but a relique of the ancient Superstition and Idolatry amongst the rude Heathens, which either their own Melancholy, or something worse, instructed them in.
There are other pretty conceits in these Writers concerning those heavenly Bodies: as, That the Starres and Planets, the Moon not excepted, are of the same quality with precious stones that glister here on the earth; and that though they act nothing, yet they are of that nature as that the wandring Spirits of the aire see in them, as in a looking-glass, things to come, and thereby are inabled to prophesy.
That the Stars are made of the Sun, and yet that the Sun enlightens them.
That our Eyes have their originall from the Stars, and that that is the reason why we can see the Stars.
That our Eyes work or act upon all they see, as well as what they see acts on them. That also is a very speciall mystery for an inspired man to utter; That there is onely Evening and Morning under the Sun.
That the Stars kindle heat in this world every where for generation, and that the difference of Stars makes the difference of Creatures.
That were the heat of the Sun taken away, he were one light with God.
That all is Gods self.
That a mans self is God, if he live holily.
That God is nothing but an hearty Loving, friendly Seeing, good Smelling, well Tasting, kindly Feeling, amorous Kissing, &c. Nor the Spirit, say I, that inspires this mystery any thing but Melancholy and Sanguine.
That God the Father is of himself a dale of darknesse, were it not for the light of his Sonne.
That God could not quell Lucifer's rebellion, because the battel was not betwixt God and a Beast, or God and a man, but betwixt God and God, Lucifer being so great a share of his own Essence.
That Nature is the Body of God, nay God the Father, who is also the World, and whatsoever is any way sensible or perceptible.
That the Star-powers are Nature, and the Star-circle the mother of all things, from which all is, subsists, and moves.
That the Waters of this world are mad, which makes them rave and run up and down so as they do in the channels of the Earth.
That the blew Orb is the waters above the Firmament.
That there be two kinds of Fires, the one cold and the other hot, and that Death is a cold fire.
That Adam was an Hermaphrodite.
That the Fire would not burn, nor there have been any darknesse, but for Adam's fall.
That it is a very suspicable matter that Saturn before the fall was where Mercury, and Mercury where Saturn is.
That there are Three Souls in a man, Animall, Angelical, and Divine; and that after Death the Animal Soul is in the grave, the Angelical in Abraham's bosome, and the Divine Soul in Paradise.
That God has eyes, ears, nose, and other corporeal parts.
That every thing has Sense, Imagination, and a fiducial Knowledge of God in it, Metalls, Meteors and Plants not excepted.
That this Earth at last shall be calcined into Crystall.
That at the Center of the Earth is the Fire of hell, which is caused and kindled by the Primum mobile and influences of the Stars.
That the Arctick pole draws waters by the Axle-tree, which after they are entered in, break forth again by the Axle-tree of the Antarctick.
That the Moon, as well as the Stars, is made of a lesse pure kind of Fire mixed with Aire.
That the pure Blood in man answers to the Element of Fire in the great world, his Heart to the Earth, his Mouth to the Arctick pole, and the opposite Orifice to the Antarctick pole.
That the proper seat of the Mind or Understanding is in the mouth of the Stomack or about the Splene.
That Earthquakes and Thunders are not from natural causes, but made by Angels or Devils.
That there were no Rain-bows before Noah's flood.
That the Moon is of a conglaciated substance, having a cold light of her own, whereby the light of the Sun which she receives and casts on us becomes so cool.Sect. XLV. A particular Collection out of Paracelsus.
HItherto our Collections have been promiscuous, what follows is out of Paracelsus onely; as for example:
That the variety of the Altitudes of the Sun does not cause Summer and Winter, because the Sun has the same heat, be he higher or lower; but that there be Æstivall and Hybernall Stars that are the grand causes of these seasons.
That the absence of the Sun is not the cause of Night, forasmuch as his light is so great that it may illuminate the Earth all over at once as clear as broad day, but that Night is brought on by the influence of dark Stars that ray out darkness and obscurity upon the Earth, as the Sun does light.
That the Gnomi, Nymphæ, Lemures and Penates, Spirits endued with Understanding as much or more then Men, are yet wholly mortall, not having so much as an immortall Soul in them.
That the Stars are as it were the Phials, or Cucurbits, in which the Meteorical Sal, Sulphur and Mercury are contained; and that the Winds which are made of these, by the Æthereal Vulcanes, are blown forth out of these Emunctories, as when a man blows or breaths out of his mouth.
That the Stars are as it were the Pots in which the Archeus or heavenly Vulcan prepares pluvious matter, which exhaled from thence first appears in the form of clouds, after condenses to rain.
That Hail and Snow are also the fruits of the Stars, proceeding from them as flowers and blossomes from herbs or trees.
That Thunder is caused by the Penates, who taking Æthereal Sulphur, Sal-nitre and Mercury, and putting them into their Aludel, that is their Star, after a sufficient preparation there, the Star then poures them forth into the Aire; and so they become the matter of Thunder, whose sound is so great and terrible, because it is re-echoed from the arched roof of Heaven, as when a Gun is let off under an hollow vault.
That the Lightnings without thunder are as it were the deciduous flowers of the Æstivall Stars.
That the Stars eat and are nourished, and therefore must ease themselves; and that those falling Stars, as some call them, which are found on the earth in the form of a trembling gelly, are their excrement.
That those Meteors called Dracones volantes have a brutish understanding and sense in them.
That the Parelii and Paraselenæ are made by the Penates as by Artificers, that counterfeit the form and shape of a silver Pot in adulterate metall.
That all Humane and natural understanding is in the Stars, and conveyed from thence to man, and that he must suck it from thence to feed his Soul, as he takes in meat to nourish his Body.
That the reason of Divination is this, That a man has a sydereall body besides this terrestriall which is joyned with the Stars; and so when this sydereall body is more free from the Elements, as in sleep, this body and the Stars confabulating together, the Mind is informed of things to come.
That the Stars are struck with a terrour or horrour of the approach of any mans death, whence it is that no man dies without some sign or notice from them, as the dances of dead men, some noise in the house, or the like.
That as by a Divine faith the dead are raised and mountains cast into the midst of the Sea; so by the faith of Nature the influence of the Stars, who know all the secrets of Nature, is to be commanded, and thereby a man may know naturally what is to come.
That Giants, Nymphs, Gnomi and Pygmies were the conceptions and births of the Imaginative power of the influence of the Stars upon Matter prepared by them, and that they had no Souls; as it is most likely the Inhabitants of the more remote parts of the world have none, as not being the offspring of Adam.
That a Fowler by the help of his Star need not goe after Birds, for they will flie after him; and so Fishes swim to the Fisherman, and wilde Beasts follow the Hunter upon the same account of his Stars.
That the separation of the three parts of the world, Europe, Asia, Africa, is a certain representation of the three Chymicall principles, Sal, Sulphure and Mercury, of which three the whole World was made.
That there is an artificiall way of making an Homunculus, and that the Fairies of the woods, Nymphs and Giants themselves had some such originall, and that these Homunculi thus made will know all manner of secrets and mysteries of art, themselves receiving their lives, bodies, flesh, bone, and blood from an artificiall principle.Sect. XLVI. That Paracelsus has given occasion to the wildest Philosophick Enthusiasms that ever were yet on foot.
THese are the rampant and delirous Fancies of that great boaster of Europe Paracelsus, whose unbridled Imagination and bold and confident obtrusion of his uncouth and supine inventions upon the world has, I dare say, given occasion to the wildest Philosophical Enthusiasms that ever was broached by any either Christian or Heathen. That last conceit of his some have endevoured to Allegorize, as the Persians do the Alcoran, ashamed of the gross sense of it, but in my apprehension so frigidly and unsutably, that it would confirm a man the more, that the letter is the intended truth; and if one compare it with what he writes of Nymphs, Giants and Fairies in his Scientia Astronomica, he will make no further doubt of it.Sect. XLVII. That Paracelsus his Philosophy, though himself intended it not, is one of the safest sanctuaries for the Atheist, and the very prop of ancient Paganism.
THere is some affectation of Religion, I confesse, in his Writings, and farre more in his Followers, who conceive themselves taught of God; when I plainly discern, their Brains are merely heated and infected by this strong spirit of Phantastrie that breaths in Paracelsus his Books.
I know it is no part of Prudence to speak slightly of those that others admire; but that Prudence is but Craft that commands an unfaithfull silence. And I know not how any honest man can discharge his conscience in prudentially conniving at such falsities as he sees insnare the Minds of men, while they do not onely abuse their Intellectuals by foppish and ridiculous conceptions, but insinuate such dangerous and <34> mischievous Opinions as supplant and destroy the very Fundamentalls of Christian Religion.
For I appeal to any man, What is nearer to ancient Paganism then what this bold writer has uttered concerning the Stars? or what Sanctuary so safe for the Atheist that derides and eludes all Religion, as such a miraculous Influence of the Heavens as Paracelsus describes in his Scientia Astronomica? Wherefore I should be very much amazed at the Madness and Inconsistency of him and his followers, who have ever and anon a fling against Heathen Philosophy, when themselves take into their writings the very dregs of it, viz. the grosse Principles of the ancient Pagan Superstition and Idolatry, did I not remember that they are Enthusiasts, and follow not the guidance of Reason, but the strength of Phansy. Jupiter est quodcunque vides, &c. This taken in the coursest sense, I make no question but it was the grand Principle from whence did flow so many Varieties and Impurities of the Pagan Superstition, they fancying they met God in every object of their senses; and our exorbitant Enthusiasts professe, That every thing is God, in love or wrath: Which, if I understand any thing, is no better then Atheisme. For it implies that God is nothing else but the Universal Matter of the World, dressed up in several shapes and forms, in sundry properties and qualities; some gratefull, some ungratefull; some holy, some profane; some wise, some senselesse; some weak, some strong, and the like. But to slice God into so many parts is to wound him and kil him, and to make no God at all.Sect. XLVIII. How the Paracelsian Philosophy justifies the Heathens worshipping of the Starres, derogates from the authority of the Miracles of our Saviour, makes the Gospel ineffectual for the establishing of the belief of a God and a particular Providence, and gratifies the professed Atheist Vaninus in what he most of all triumphs in, as serving his turn the best to elude all Religion whatsoever.
AGain, how does Paracelsus justifie the Heathen's worshipping the Stars, he making them such knowing, powerfull, and compassionate spectatours of humane affairs! And why might they not pray to them as Anne Bodenham the Witch did to the Planet Jupiter for the curing diseases, if they have so much power and knowledge as to generate men here below, and conferre gifts upon them? For it would be no more then asking a mans Father or Godfather blessing. For if it be admitted that any one Nation is begot by the Starres, the Atheist will assuredly assume that they are all so.
Moreover how shall we repair the losse and damage done to the Authority of our blessed Saviour his Miracles? whereby not onely Christianity, but the first Fundamentalls of all true Religion are eminently established, viz. The discovery of a Speciall and Particular Providence of God, <35> and an hope of a Life to come. For if the Stars can make such living creatures of prepared Matter that have sense and understanding, which yet have no immortal Souls, but wholy return into dead Matter again, why is it not so with men as well as them? And if they can contribute the power of such wonder-working wisdome as was in Moses and in Christ, or what is so very nigh to it; what footsteps does there remain of proof that there is any God or Spirits? for all is thus resolvable into the power of the Stars. A thing that that zealous and industrious Atheist Cæsar Vaninus triumphs in exceedingly in his Amphitheatrum æternæ Providentiæ; where he cites several Astrological passages out of Cardan under pretence to refute them, in which he fetches the Original of those three eminent Law-givers, Moses, Christ, and Mahomet, from the influence of the Stars.
The Law of Moses is from Saturn, saies Cardan, that of Christ from Jupiter and Mercury, that of Mahomet from Sol and Mars; The Law of the Idolaters from the Moon and Mars.
And in another place Cardan imputes that sweetness, and meeknesse, and wisdome, and eloquence that was in our Saviour, whereby he was able to dispute in the Temple at twelve years of age, to the influence of Jupiter.
Pomponatius also acknowledges the wisdome and miracles of Christ, but refers all to the Stars; a man as far laps'd into Atheism, I conceive, as Vaninus himself: so that these wilde Fancies of the Enthusiasts are in truth the chief Props or Shelters that Atheists uphold or defend themselves by. * But how fancieful and confounded an account there is of Astrology, let any man that has patience, as well as sobriety of reason, judge.Sect. XLIX. That Paracelsus and his followers are neither Atheisticall nor Diabolicall; and what makes the Chymist ordinarily so pitiful a Philosopher.
I Do not speak these things as if I thought either Paracelsus or his followers thus Atheistical, but to shew their Phantastrie & Enthusiasme, they so hotly pretending to matters of Christianity and Religion, and yet handling them so grosly and indiscreetly, blurting out any garish foolery that comes into their mind, though it be quite contrary to the Analogie of Faith, nor has any shew of ground in solid Reason, onely to make themselves to be stared upon and wondred at by the world.
But the Event of it is, that as some admire them, so others execrate them, as men of an impious and diabolical spirit. Which I confesse I think too harsh a censure, well-meaning men being lyable to Melancholy and Lunacies as well as to Agues and burning Feavers. Yet a man should be so far off from thinking the better of any discovery of Truth by an Enthusiastick spirit, that he should rather for that very cause suspect it; because that Temper that makes men Enthusiastical is the greatest enemy <36> to Reason, it being more thick and muddy, and therefore once heated intoxicates them like Wine in the muste, and is more likely to fill their Brains full of odde fancies, then with any true notions of Philosophy.
But men of a purer blood and finer spirits, are not so obnoxious to this distemper: For this is the most natural seat of sublimer Reason; whenas that more Mechanical kind of Genius that loves to be tumbling of and trying tricks with the Matter (which they call making Experiments) when desire of knowledge has so heated it that it takes upon it to become Architectonical and flie above its sphere, it commits the wildest hallucinations imaginable, that material or corporeal fancie egregiously fumbling in more subtile and spiritual speculations.
This is that that commonly makes the Chymist so pitiful a Philosopher, who from the narrow inspection of some few toys in his own art, conceives himself able to give a reason of all things in Divinity and Nature; as ridiculous a project, in my judgment, as that of his, that finding a piece of a broken Oar on the sand, busied his brains above all measure to contrive it into an entire Ship.Sect. L. The Writer of this Discourse no foe to either Theosophist or Chymist, onely he excuses himself from being over-credulous in regard of either.
WHAT I have hitherto spoken I would have so understood, as coming from one that neither contemns the well-meaning of the Theosophist, nor disallows of the industry of the Chymist; but I shall ever excuse my self from giving any credit to either, any further then some lusty Miracle, transcendent Medicine, or solid Reason shall extort from me.Sect. LI. The Cure of Enthusiasm by Temperance, Humility, and Reason.
WE have spoken of the Kinds of Enthusiasm so far as we held it serviceable for our design, we shall now touch upon the Cure of this Disease. Where waving all pretense to the knowledge of Physick or acquaintance with the Apothecarie's shop, we shall set down onely such things as fall under a Moral or Theological consideration, giving onely instructions for the guidance of a mans life in reference to this grand errour of Enthusiasm: which a sober man cannot well determine whether it be more ridiculous, or deplorable and mischievous.
Now the most soveraign Medicine that I know against it is this Diatrion or Composition of Three excellent Ingredients, to wit, Temperance, Humility, and Reason; which as I do not despair but that it may recover those that are somewhat farre gone in this Enthusiastick distem <37> per, so I am confident that it will not fail to prevent it in them that are not as yet considerably smitten.Sect. LII. What is meant by Temperance.
BY Temperance I understand a measurable Abstinence from all hot or heightning meats or drinks, as also from all venereous pleasures and tactuall delights of the Body, from all softness and effeminacy; a constant and peremptory adhesion to the perfectest degree of Chastity in the single life, and of Continency in wedlock, that can be attain'd to. For it is plain in sundry examples of Enthusiasm above named, that the more hidden and lurking fumes of Lust had tainted the Phansies of those Pretenders to Prophecy and Inspiration.
We will adde also to these, moderate exercise of Body, and seasonable taking of the fresh aire, and due and discreet use of Devotion, whereby the Blood is ventilated and purged from dark oppressing vapors; which a temperate diet, if not fasting, must also accompany: or else the more hot and zealous our addresses are, the more likely they are to bring mischief upon our own heads, they raising the feculency of our intemperance into those more precious parts of the Body, the Brains and Animal Spirits, and so intoxicating the Mind with fury and wildness.Sect. LIII. What is meant by Humility, and the great advantage thereof for Wisdome and Knowledge.
BY Humility I understand an entire Submission to the will of God in all things, a Deadness to all self-excellency and preeminency before others, a perfect Privation of all desire of singularity or attracting of the eyes of men upon a mans own person, as little to relish a mans own praise or glory in the world as if he had never been born into it; but to be wholly contented with this one thing, that his Will is a subduing to the Will of God, and that with thankfulness and reverence he doth receive what ever Divine Providence brings upon him, be it sweet or sour, with the hair or against it, it is all one to him; for what he cannot avoid, it is the gift of God to the world in order to a greater good.
But here I must confess, that he that is thus affected, as he seeks no knowledge to please himself, so he cannot avoid being the most knowing man that is. For he is surrounded with the beams of Divine Wisdome, as the low depressed Earth with the raies of the Stars; his deeply and profoundly humbled Soul being as it were the Centre of all heavenly illuminations, as this little globe of the Earth is of those celestial influences. I professe I stand amazed while I consider the ineffable advantages <38> of a Mind thus submitted to the Divine Will, how calm, how comprehensive, how quick and sensible she is, how free, how sagacious, of how tender a touch and judgment she is in all things. Whenas Pride and strong desire ruffles the Mind into uneven waves and boisterous fluctuations, that the eternal light of Reason concerning either Nature or Life cannot imprint its perfect and distinct image or character there; nor can so subtile and delicate motions and impressions be sensible to the Understanding disturbed and agitated in so violent a storm.
That man therefore who has got this Humble frame of Spirit, which is of so mighty concernment for acquiring all manner of Wisdome, as well Natural as Divine, cannot possibly be so foolish as to be mistaken in that which is the genuine result of a contrary temper; and such is that of Enthusiasm, that puffs up men into an opinion that they have a more then ordinary influence from God that acts upon their Spirits, and that he designes them by special appointment to be new Prophets, new Law-givers, new Davids, new Messiases, and what not? when it is nothing but the working of the Old man in them in a fanatical manner.Sect. LIV. What meant by Reason, and what the danger of leaving that Guide; as also the mistake of them that expect the Spirit should not suggest such things as are rationall.
BY Reason I understand so settled and cautious a Composure of Mind as will suspect every high-flown & forward Fancy that endeavours to carry away the assent before deliberate examination; she not enduring to be gulled by the vigour or garishnesse of the representation, nor at all to be born down by the weight or strength of it; but patiently to trie it by the known Faculties of the Soul, which are either the Common notions that all men in their wits agree upon, or the Evidence of outward Sense, or else a clear and distinct Deduction from these.
Whatever is not agreeable to these three, is Fancy, which testifies nothing of the Truth or Existence of any thing, and therefore ought not, nor cannot be assented to by any but mad men or fools.
And those that talk so loud of that higher Principle The Spirit, with exclusion of these, betray their own ignorance; and while they would by their wilde Rhetorick disswade men from the use of their Rational faculties under pretence of expectation of an higher and more glorious Light, do as madly, in my mind, as if, a company of men travailing by night with links, torches and lanthorns, some furious Orator amongst them should by his wonderful strains of Eloquence so befool them into a misconceit of their present condition, comparing of it with the sweet and chearful splendor of the day, as thereby to cause them, through impatience and indignation, to beat out their links and torches, and break a-pieces their lanthorns against the ground, and so chuse rather to foot it in the dark with hazard of knocking their noses against the next Tree <39> they meet, and tumbling into the next ditch, then to continue the use of those convenient lights that they had in their sober temper prepared for the safety of their journey.
But the Enthusiast's mistake is not onely in leaving his present Guide before he has a better, but in having a false notion of him he does expect. For assuredly that Spirit of illumination, which resides in the Souls of the faithful, is a Principle of the purest Reason that is communicable to the humane Nature. And what this Spirit has, he has from Christ (as Christ himself witnesseth) who is the Eternal λόγος, the all-comprehending Wisdome and Reason of God, wherein he sees through the Natures and Ideas of all things, with all their respects of Dependency and Independency, Congruity and Incongruity, or whatever Habitude they have one to another, with one continued glance at once.
Whatever of Intellectual light is communicated to us, is derived from hence, and is in us Particular Reason, or Reason in Succession, or by piece-meal. Nor is there any thing the holy Spirit did ever suggest to any man but it was agreeable to, if not demonstrable from, what we call Reason. And to be thus perswaded, how powerful a Curb it will be upon the exorbitant impressions and motions of Melancholy and Enthusiasm, I leave it to any man to judge.Sect. LV. Further Helps against Enthusiasm.
TO these three notable and more generall Helps, we might adde some particular Considerations whereby we may keep off this Enthusiastical pertinacity from our selves, or discover it when it has taken hold upon others. As for example; If any man shall pretend to the discovery of a Truth by Inspiration, that is of no good use or consequence to the Church of God, it is to me little less then a Demonstration that he is Fanatical. If he heaps up Falshoods as well as Truths, and pretends to be inspired in all, it is to me an Evidence he is inspired in none of those Mysteries he offers to the World.Sect. LVI. Of the raised language of Enthusiasts, and of what may extraordinarily fall from them.
THere are certain advantages also that Enthusiasts have, which are to be taken notice of, whereby they have imposed upon many; as, That they have spoken very raisedly and divinely, which most certainly has happened to sundry persons a little before they have grown stark mad; and that they may hit of something extraordinary is no pledge of the truth of the rest.
For this unquiet and tumultuous spirit of Melancholy shaking their whole bodily frame, is like an Earthquake to one in a dungeon, which for a small moment makes the very walls gape and cleave, and so lets in light for a while at those chinks; but all closes up again suddenly, and the prisoner is confined to his wonted darkness. This therefore was a Chance in Nature, not a gracious visit of the Spirit of God.Sect. LVII. Of Enthusiastick Prophecy that ordinarily happens to fools and mad-men, and the reason why; as also why Ecstaticall men foresee things to come, and of the uncertainty of such Predictions.
HEreunto you may also joyn the luck of Prophecy, be it sleeping or waking; for such things have happened to mad-men and fools, and Aristotle offers at a pretty reason that may reach both. Ἡ γὰρ διάνοια των τοιούτων οὐ φροντιστικὴ, ἀλλ' ὦσπερ ἒρημος καὶ κενὴ πάντων, καὶ κινηθεῖσα κατὰ τὸ κινοῦν ἂγεται. To which he also addes why Ecstaticall men foresee future things, Ὅτι αἱ οἰκεῖαι κινήσεις οὐκ ἐνοχλοῦσιν, ἀλλ’ ἀποῤῥαπίζονται. τῶν ξενικῶν οὖν μάλιστα αἰσθάνονται. All which intimates thus much, That an alienation of mind, and rest from our own motions, fits us for a reception of impressions from something else, and so by a quick sense and touch we may be advertised through a communication of motion from the Spirit of the world what is done at a distance, or what Causes are conspiring to bring this or that to passe; which turning off again make the Prediction false: For every thing that offers to be, does not come into actuall Being. Wherefore all these Presages are not θεόπεμπτα, but may be onely δαιμόνια. Ἡ γὰρ φύσις δαιμονία, οὐ θεία. they are the words of Aristotle, but such as some skilful Platonist will most easily explain.
All that I aim at is this, That Prophecie may arise from on this side of the pure and infallible Deity, and it is our mistake that we think that what Predictions fall out true, are certainly foreknown by the Foreteller. For the present conspiracy of Causes that shoot into the vacant mind may corrupt and alter, and be blown away like clouds, that at first seem to assure the husbandman of a following rain.Sect. LVIII. That if an Enthusiast should cure some diseases by touching or stroaking the party diseased, yet it might be no true Miracle.
BUT there is yet a stronger allurement then Prophecy to draw on belief to the Enthusiast, which is a semblance of doing some Miracle, as the curing some desperate disease; as it hapned very lately in this Nation. For it is very credibly reported, and I think cannot be denied, That one by the stroaking of a mans arm that was dead and uselesse to <41> him, recovered it to life and strength. When I heard of it, and read some few pages of that miraculous Physician's writing, my judgement was, that the cure was natural, but that his Blood and Spirits were boiled to that height, that it would hazard his Brain: which proved true, for he was stark mad not very long after.
There may be very well a Sanative and healing Contagion as well as morbid and venemous. And the Spirits of Melancholy men being more massy and ponderous, when they are so highly refined and actuated by a more then ordinary heat and vigour of the Body, may prove a very powerfull Elixir, Nature having outdone the usual pretences of Chymistry in this case.Sect. LIX. Of the Willingness and Patience to suffer in Enthusiasts.
THeir Willingness also to suffer or Patience in suffering may seem to give an extraordinary Testimony to some Enthusiasts, as if there were something Divine or Supernatural in them. But admiration will abate, if we consider how passionately some abhor from the Sense of Pleasure, accounting it the Summum malum, the greatest evil. For which Paradox, Antisthenes is noted in * Aulus Gellius, as also for his suitable Motto, Μανείην μᾶλλον ἢ ἡσθείην, as if downright Madness were more tolerable then it. Others there are who according to mere Complexion love to conflict with troubles and dangers: such as those are who undergoe Warfares and Sea-voyages with a natural delight. Others make it their study, and pride themselves in it, to become insensible of pain, or to bear it as if they were not at all affected by it; insomuch that the Condition has passed into a term of Art amongst the Stoicks, who call this power Ἀπάθεια and Ἀναλγησία.
But this is nothing but a Spartan obfirmation of Mind back'd with the sense of shame, a desire of glory, or the contentment of being conscious to themselves of their own Stoutness and tolerance. Of which a notorious Instance is that of the Lacedæmonian Lad, who having concealed a Fox under his coat, would not cry out though he was a gnawing of his very entrails.
Anaxarchus his pain though it seems not so sharp, yet his courage appears as great; in that he could Philosophize so freely, while he was by the cruelty of Archelaus braying in a mortar; whence he cried out in the midst of their thumpings upon him, Πτίσσε, πτίσσε Ἀναξάρχου θύλακον, οὐ γὰρ πτίσσεις τὸν Ἀνάξαρχον. adding therein wit to his philosophy, and comparing his Body to the Sack, but making his Soul as good as absent, and the Sack empty, by her professed insensibleness of the strokes and unconcernedness in what befell the Body: Which yet notwithstanding, setting aside his natural surmise of the Soul's Immortality, was nothing but sullen and inconsiderate Stoicism; for his Body had then more reason to defie their blows then his Soul, she alone being capable <42> of sense and pain. So that the special support of his Mind was but inveterate errour and fancy.
How Wrath and Indignation will also hold up the Spirits against Fear and Pain, is seen in that brief Instance of Theano, who being forcibly urged to betray the secrets of her Country, but out her tongue and spit it at the face of the Tyrant. These are Examples evident enough of that affected and not altogether unattainable power of Indolency amongst the Heathen.
What to call that which * Gellius reports of a certain Gladiator of Cæsar's, who would laugh when his wounds were a drying and cleansing, I know not: for it seems more then a simple Ἀναλγησία or Indolentia. But out of these Examples and Considerations it is manifest, That there is no such divinity or supernatural holiness in the stoutly and peremptorily bearing of pain, nor any necessity of a Divine assistance therein. Either simple Resolution of mind upon some imbibed Dogma, or the power of some concealed Passion, may enable them to bear up against all.
And yet these are but small things in comparison of what the Enthusiast is armed with upon the account of his peculiar condition. For besides that his very Complexion makes him stiff, inflexible and unyielding, (for there is no Temper so sturdy and peremptory as Melancholy is, even in cases more dispensable) there is yet a further force added thereto from the strong conceit he has of being inspired, and consequently of his Cause being infallibly good: For this tends naturally to the making of him invincible in his Sufferings, he being conscious to himself both of the firm goodness of his Cause, as he conceives, and of the indispensableness of his duty in adhering thereto. To which you may adde the certain expectation of future glory and happiness for his Martyrdome. So plain it is that there is nothing supernatural or miraculous in the case.Sect. LX. That the resolved Sufferings for mistaken points in Religion is no good argument against the truth all Religion.
I Must confess that an ordinary reflexion upon this resolvedness of suffering to the utmost extremity in persons that are thus mistaken in the points they suffer for, cannot but make such as are Atheistically inclined subject to think That there is no Truth nor Certainty at all in Religion; since that where men seem to themselves so certain, that they dare and do actually pawn their lives upon it, yet they are so grossly mistaken. And it is plain they are so, in that persons of contrary perswasions suffer with the like confidence and to the like extremity, chusing rather to leave their lives then their Opinions and Party. Which is found true both in Jewes, Mohametans, Papists and Protestants.
This indeed at first sight bears no small shew of Reason; but if more nearly lookt into, will prove but a weak and sorry Sophism. For if this Ratiocination were solid, it would follow That there were nothing true <43> in Philosophy neither. For assuredly men are as firmly perswaded contrary ways in the same points there, as they are in Religion; and there can be but one part true. But that they are not so perswaded of the matter that they will die for it, is not because they do not as firmly believe there Opinions in Philosophy, but because there is no obligation of Conscience and an Eternal interest founded in them as there is in Religion. Otherwise if it were a conscientious point of Religion to be a Copernican, Tychonist, or Aristotelean, in reference to the Systeme of the World; I think there is no question to be made but there would be Martyrs for them all, at least for two of them; the one being so exquisitely consonant to Reason, the other so grossly accommodated to Sense.
Besides, I cannot but note, That it is very low and unphilosophical in these Atheistical Witts, to make their Appeal concerning these noble Theoremes of the Existence of God and the Truth of Religion to so petty a Court of Judicature as mere Humane Testimony. For such in their arguing do they make the Sufferings of Martyrs in opposite Religions, and fancy their laying down of their lives but as the laying of great wagers. Which Topick some have Sarcastically called the Argument of Fools.
But whatever force Humane Testimony hath in these Cases, it is so farre from serving the Atheist's turn, that it makes against him. For admit that these Anti-Martyrs (as I may so call them) give witness singly one against another, yet they jointly give witness against the Atheist, sealing it with their blood, That there is a God, and a Life to come. Which I take not to be onely the Effect of Education, but of a natural Sagacity in the better sort of men, and a proneness in them to think so: which being further strengthened by the Institutes of Religion, especially so clear and convictive as Christianity, may very well get the power of engaging a mans Conscience to lay down his life even for such things as mere Education has impressed upon him, or some Melancholy conceit. But the firme bottome and support of all, and that without which they would not suffer for any thing, is the sincere and unshaken belief That there is a God, and an Happiness to be expected after this life. Whereupon the Conscience being scrupulous, and not daring to act or assent to such things as it may be she onely suspects to be evil or false, chuses the safer way for her main interest, namely, rather to suffer then to sin.
So that it is not so much the firm belief of these things they suffer for (suppose either Papist or Protestant) as the care of doing nothing that they suspect is sinfull, which makes them undergoe Martyrdome.
Whence the very ground of the Atheist's Paralogism is also found invalid. Nor is it plain from their suffering that they are so firm and determinate in the points they suffer for that are false. But admit the Enthusiast be, Fanaticism is but a disease of Religion, and implies no more that there is no Religion, then Madness that there is no Reason, or any Corporeal Disease that there is no such thing as Health or an humane Body in the world.
WHatever credit the Enthusiast may conciliate to himself from his moving Eloquence, his mysterious style and unexpected notions, they are easily to be resolved into that Principle of Melancholy above named, the sense of which Complexion is so deep and vigorous, that it cannot fail to inable the Tongue to tell her story with a great deal of life and affection; and the Imagination is so extravagant, that it is farre easier for her to ramble abroad and fetch in some odde skue conceit from a remote obscure corner, then to think of what is nearer and more ordinarily intelligible.
But these things are so fully and plainly comprehended in those Generall Causes of Enthusiasm we have already declared, besides what we have particularly touched upon before, that it will not be worth our labour to insist any longer upon them. When we have satisfied a Scruple or two concerning what we have said of Melancholy and Enthusiasm, I think we shall have omitted nothing materially pertinent to this present Speculation.Sect. LXII. How we shall distinguish betwixt pure Religion and Complexion.
AND the first is, How we can distinguish betwixt Religion and Melancholy, we having attributed so notable Effects thereunto. The second is, Whether we have not reviled and vilified all Enthusiasm whatsoever, and invited men to a cold Pharisaicall stupidity and acting, merely according to an outward letter without an inward testimony of life.
The meaning of the first Scruple must be restrain'd to such things as in their externals are laudable and approveable, viz. whether such as they be out of a Divine or Natural principle, whether from God or Complexion. For in those things that are at their very first view discerned to be culpable, it is plain that they are not from God.
I answer therefore, That there are three main discriminations betwixt the Spirit and the most Specious Complexion. The first is, That that Piety or Goodness which is from the Spirit of God is universal, extirpating every vice, and omitting nothing that is truely a divine virtue.
The second is, A belief of those Holy Oracles comprehended in the Old and New Testament, they being rightly interpreted; and particularly, of that Article, That Jesus Christ, even he that died on the Crosse at Jerusalem betwixt two thieves, is the Son of God, and Soveraign of men and Angels, and that he in his own person shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.
The third and last is, An universall Prudence, whereby a man neither admits nor acts any thing but what is solidly rational at the bottome, and of which he can give a good account, let the successe be what it will. He that finds himself thus affected, may be sure it is the Spirit of God, not the power of Complexion or Nature that rules in him. But this man to others, if they be unbelieving, and so rude and unprepared as not to be capable of Reason, he is nothing to them, unlesse he can do a Miracle. How vain then is the Enthusiast that is destitute of both? But those ancient Records of Miracles done in the behalf of Christianity are a sufficient Testimony of the Truth of our Religion to those whose hearts are rightly fitted for it.Sect. LXIII. That the devotional Enthusiasm of Holy and Sincere souls has not at all been taxed in all this Discourse.
TO the Second scruple I answer, That there has not one word all this time been spoken against that true and warrantable Enthusiasm of devout and holy Souls, who are so strangely transported in that vehement Love they bear towards God, and that unexpressible Joy and Peace they find in him. For they are modest enough and sober in all this, they witnessing no other thing to the world then what others may experience in themselves, and what is plainly set down in the holy Scriptures, That the Kingdome of God is Righteousness and Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.
But in none of these things do they pretend to equalize themselves to Christ, whom God has exalted above men and Angels, but do professe the efficacie of his Spirit in them to the praise and glory of God, and the comfort and incouragement of their drooping Neighbour. But what is above this, without evident Reason or a Miracle, is most justly deemed to proceed from no Supernatural assistance, but from some Hypochondriacall distemper.
And what I have said in behalf of Christians, is in its measure due to those diviner sort of Philosophers, such as Plato and Plotinus, whom you shall finde, upon the more then ordinary sensible visits of the divine Love and Beauty descending into their enravished Souls, profess themselves no less moved then what the sense of such expressions as these will beare, ἀνακινεῖσθαι,ἐκβακχεύεσθαι, ἐνθουσιᾷν or ἐνθουσιάζειν. To such Enthusiasm as this, which is but the triumph of the Soul of man inebriated, as it were, with the delicious sense of the divine life, that blessed Root and Originall of all holy wisedom and vertue, I must declare my self as much a friend, as I am to the vulgar fanatical Enthusiasm a professed enemy. And eternall shame stop his mouth that will dare to deny but that the fervent love of God and of the pulchritude of vertue, will afford the spirit of man more joy and triumph then ever was tasted in any lustfull pleasure, which the pen of unclean Witts do so highly magnify both in Verse and Prose.
MOreover for these Rapturous and Enthusiasticall affections even in them that are truely good and pious, it cannot be denied but that the fewell of them is usually naturall or contracted Melancholy; which any man may perceive that is Religious, unlesse his Soul and Body be blended together, and there be a confusion of all; as it is in mistaken Enthusiasts, that impute that to God which is proper to Nature.
But Melancholy usually disposes, and the Mind perfects the action through the power of the Spirit. And a wise and holy man knows how to make use of his opportunity, according to that Monition of the Apostle, If a man be sad, let him pray; if cheerfull, let him sing Psalmes.Sect. LXV. That there is a peculiar advantage in Melancholy for Divine speculations, with a prevention of the Atheist's objection thereupon.
BUT there is also a peculiar advantage in Melancholy for Divine Speculations: And yet the Mysteries that result from thence are no more to be suspected of proving mere Fancies, because they may occasionally spring from such a Constitution, then Mathematicall Truths are, who owe their birth to a Mathematicall Complexion; which is as truly a complexion as the Religious complexion is, and yet no sober man will deny the truth of her Theorems. And as it would be a fond and improper thing to affirm that such a Complexion teaches a man Mathematicks, so it would also be to affirm that Melancholy is the onely mother of Religion.Sect. LXVI. How it comes to passe that men are so nimble and dexterous in finding the truth of some things, and so slow and heavy in other some; and that the dulnesse of the Atheist's perception in Divine matters is no argument against the truth of Religion.
BUT most certain it is, and Observation will make it good, That the Souls of men while they are in these mortall Bodies are as so many Prisoners immured in several prisons, with their single loop-holes looking into severall quarters, and therefore are able to pronounce no further then their proper prospect will give them leave. So the severall Complexions of mens Bodies dispose or invite them to an easie and happy <47> discovery of some things, when yet notwithstanding if you confer with them concerning other some, that lie not within their prospect or the limits of their natural Genius, they will be enforced either to acknowledge their ignorance; or if they will take upon them to judge (which is the more frequent) they will abundantly discover their errour and mistake.
Which sometimes seems so gross and invincible, that a man may justly suspect that they want not onely the patience, but even the power of contemplating of some Objects, as being not able to frame any conception of what they are required to think of: And such are the duller sort of Atheists, that rank the notion of a Spirit, and consequently of a God, in the list of Inconsistencies and ridiculous Non-sense. Wherein though they seek to reproach Religion, they seem to me mainly to shame themselves, their Atheism being very easie to be parallel'd with Enthusiasm in this regard. For as some Enthusiasts being found plainly mad in some one thing, have approved themselves sober enough in the rest: so these Atheists, though they shew a tolerable wit and acuteness in other matters, yet approve themselves sufficiently slow and heavy in this.Sect. LXVII. That the Enthusiast, though he be necessarily assaulted by his own Complexion, yet not irresistibly; and that therefore the guilt of his extravagancies lies at his own door.
I Have now with what briefness I intended run through the Nature, Causes, Kinds, and Cure of Enthusiasm, and looking considerately back on the Stage I have gone, fancy all my steps perfect, unless in that part that concerns the Causes of this Distemper; whole enumeration may seem defectuous, in that I have omitted the activity of the Devil, and the wilfull wickedness of the Mind of man, but resolved all into Complexion, or present temper, or rather distemper, of the body arising form natural causes that necessarily act thereupon. Whence men may judge my Discourses as well an excuse for, as a Discovery of, this Disease of Enthusiasm.
But I answer, That though these causes do act necessarily upon the body, and the body necessarily upon the Mind, yet they do not act irresistibly, unless a man have brought himself to such a weakness by his own fault; as he that by his intemperance has cast himself into a Fever, who then fatally becomes subject to the laws thereof. And though the Devil of himself may doe much, yet he can doe no more then God permits, who will suffer no man to be tempted above what he can bear, provided he be sincere and faithfull, and give not himself to fanatick fits, either from Pride, or for some sinister projects in the world. For to such as these Enthusiasm may prove Balneum diaboli, as is vulgarly said of Melancholy; whenas, on the contrary, it may the laver of Regeneration to them that unfeignedly love and fear God, and endeavour to be <48> simple and true of heart in all things. So plainly unexcusable are those that have so notoriously miscarred in this fanatick Distemper.
And further touching the Defectuousness in my Enumeration of the Causes of Enthusiasm, in that I omitted the Agency of the Devil, I answer, that his Causality is more vagrant, more lax and general then to be brought in here, where my aim was to indigitate the more proper and constant causes of that Disease. I might adde also less philosophical for this present search, which was onely into the natural principles of the said Distemper. And for that of the vitiosity of mans will, it is evidently supposed in my prescription of the Cure of Enthusiasm, the neglect whereof is plainly a mans own fault. For it is his own fault that he is not temperate, humble, and attentive to Reason: without recourse to which indispensable vertues he can never be freed from that foulness and uncleanness of his Astral Spirit  (which is the inmost lodge and Harbour of all imposturous fancyes and Enthusiastick dreams) nor can ever arrive to that secure state of the Soul, where the importunities of deceitfull Imagination are alwaies declined and eluded by the safe Guidance and Conduct of the Intellectual Powers.
Sect. I. THE great Affinity and Correspondency betwixt Enthusiasm and Atheism. fol. 1
Sect. II. What Inspiration is, and what Enthusiasm. 2
Sect III.A search of the Causes of Enthusiasm in the Faculties of the Soul. ibid.
Sect. IV.The severall Degrees and Natures of her Faculties. ibid.
Sect. V. Why Dreams, till we awake, seem reall transactions. 3
Sect. VI. The enormous strength of Imagination the Cause of Enthusiasme. 4
Sect. VII. Sundry natural and corporeal Causes that necessarily work on the Imagination. 5
Sect. VIII. The power of Meats to change the Imagination. 6
Sect. IX. Baptista Porta his Potion to work upon the Phansy.
Sect. X. The power of Diseases upon the Phansy. ibid.
Sect. XI. Of the power of Melancholy, and how it often sets on some one absurd conceit upon the Mind, the party in other things being sober. 8
Sect. XII. Several Examples of the foregoing Observation. ibid.
Sect. XIII. A seasonable application of the foregoing Examples for the weakning of the authority of bold Enthusiasts. 9
Sect. XIV. That the causality of Melancholy in this distemper of Enthusiasm is more easily traced then in other Extravagancies. 10
Sect. XV. Melancholy a pertinacious and religious complexion. ibid.
Sect. XVI. That men are prone to suspect some special presence of God or of a Supernatural power in whatever is Great or Vehement. 11
Sect. XVII. The mistake of heated Melancholy for holy Zeal and the Spirit of God. 12
Sect. XVIII. The Ebbs and Flows of Melancholy a further Cause of Enthusiasm. 13
Sect. XIX. The notorious mockery of Melancholy in reference to Divine love. ibid.
Sect. XX. That Melancholy partakes much of the Nature of Wine, and from what complexion Poets and Enthusiasts arise, and what the difference is betwixt them. 14
Sect. XXI. That a certain Dosis of Sanguine mixt with Melancholy is the Spirit that usually inspires Enthusiasts, made good by a large Induction of Examples. 15
Sect. XXII. More examples to the same purpose. 17
Sect. XXIII. Of Enthusiastical Joy. ibid.
Sect. XXIV. Of the mystical Allegories of Enthusiasts. ibid.
Sect. XXV.Of Quaking, and of the Quakers. 18
Sect. XXVI. That Melancholy disposes to Apoplexies and Epilepsies. 19
Sect. XXVII. Of the nature of Enthusiastick Revelations and Visions. ibid.
Sect. XXVIII. Of Ecstasie; the nature and causes thereof. ibid.
Sect. XXIX. Whether it be in mans power to cast himself into an Enthusiastick Apoplexie, Epilepsie or Ecstasie. 20
Sect. XXX. Of Enthusiastick Prophecy. 21
Sect. XXXII. Several Examples of Political Enthusiasm. 22
Sect. XXXIII. David George his prophecy of his rising again from the Dead, and after what manner it was fulfilled. 23
Sect. XXXIV. A description of the person, manners, and doctrine of David George. ibid.
Sect. XXXV. The evident Causes of that power of speech in David George. 24
Sect. XXXVI. An account of the those seeming graces in David George. ibid.
Sect. XXXVII. That David George was a man of a Sanguine Complexion. 25
Sect. XXXVIII. Further and more sure Proofs that David George was of a Sanguine Temper. 26
Sect. XXXIX. That it was a dark fulsome Sanguine that hid the truth of the great Promises of the Gospel from his eyes. ibid.
Sect. XL. The exact likeness betwixt David George and the Father of the modern Nicolaitans, with the Authour's censure of them both. 27
Sect. XLI. A seasonable Advertisement in the behalf of them that are unawares taken with such Writers; as also a further confirmation that Enthusiastick madness may consist with sobriety in other matters. ibid.
Sect. XLII. Of Philosophical Enthusiasm. 28
Sect. XLIII. Sundry Chymists and Theosophists obnoxious to this disease. 29
Sect. XLIV. A promiscuous Collection of divers odde conceits out of several Theosophists and Chymists. ibid.
Sect. XLV. A particular Collection out of Paracelsus. 31
Sect. XLVI. That Paracelsus has given occasion to the wildest Philosophick Enthusiasms that ever were yet on foot. 33
Sect. XLVII. That Paracelsus his Philosophy, though himself intended it not, is one of the safest sanctuaries for the Atheist, and the very prop of ancient Paganism. ibid.
Sect. XLVIII. How the Paracelsian Philosophy justifies the Heathens worshipping of the Starres, derogates from the authority of the Miracles of our Saviour, makes the Gospel ineffectuall for the establishing of the belief of a God and a particular Providence, and gratifies that professed Atheist Vaninus in what he most of all triumphs in, as serving his turn the best to elude all Religion whatsoever. 34
Sect. XLIX. That Paracelsus and his followers are neither Atheisticall nor <Y5r> Diabolicall; and what makes the Chymist ordinarily so pitiful a Philosopher. 35
Sect. L. The Writer of this Discourse no foe to either Theosophist or Chymist, onely he excuses himself from being over-credulous in regard of either. 36
Sect. LI. The Cure of Enthusiasm by Temperance, Humility, and Reason. ib.
Sect. LII. What is meant by Temperance. 37
Sect. LIII. What is meant by Humility, and the great advantage thereof for Wisdome and Knowledge. ibid.
Sect. LIV. What meant by Reason, and what the danger of leaving that Guide; as also the mistake of them that expect the Spirit should not suggest such things as are rationall. 38
Sect. LV. Further Helps against Enthusiasm. 39
Sect. LVI.Of the raised language of Enthusiasts, and of what may extraordinarily fall from them. ibid.
Sect. LVII. Of Enthusiastick Prophecy that ordinarily happens to fools and mad-men, and the reason why; as also why Ecstaticall men foresee things to come, and of uncertainty of such Predictions. 40
Sect. LVIII. That if an Enthusiast should cure some diseases by touching or stroaking the party diseased, yet it might be no true Miracle. ibid.
Sect. LIX. Of the Willingness and Patience to suffer in Enthusiasts. 41
Sect. LX. That the resolved sufferings for mistaken points in Religion is no good argument against the truth of all Religion. 42
Sect LXI. Of the remote Notions, mysterious Style, and moving Eloquence of Enthusiasts. 44
Sect. LXII. How we shall distinguish betwixt pure Religion and Complexion. ibid.
Sect. LXIII. That the devotional Enthusiasm of Holy and Sincere souls has not at all been taxed in all this Discourse. 45
Sect. LXIV. That the Fewell of Devotion even in warrantable and sincere Enthusiasm is usually Melancholy. 46
Sect. LXV. That there is a peculiar advantage in Melancholy for Divine speculations, with a prevention of the Atheist's objection thereupon. ibid.
Sect. LXVI. How it comes to passe that men are so nimble and dexterous in finding the truth of something things, and so slow and heavy in other some, and that the dulnesse of the Atheist's perception in Divine matters is no argument against the truth of Religion. ibid.
Sect. LXVII. That the Enthusiast, though he be necessarily assaulted by his own complexion, yet not irresistibly; and that therefore the guilt of his extravagancies lies at his own door. 47
 De situ Orbis lib. 2. cap. 2.
 Antiquitat. Judaic. lib. 11. cap. 4.
 * Medicin. Practic. lib. 1. part. 2. cap. 17.
 * In his Institution. Medic. lib. 2. part. 3. Sect. 2. cap. 4.
 Magiæ natural. lib. 7. cap. 2.
 Aristot. Problem. Sect. 30.
 Sennert. Medicin. Practic. l. I. part. 2. cap. 8.
 Medicin. Practic. l. 1. part. 2. cap. 8.
 Aristot. Problem. sect. 30.
 Aristot. Problem. sect. 30.
 Problem. sect. 30.
 See me Explanation of The Mystery of Godliness, Book 5. ch.8. also Book 6. chap. 17.
 Sennert. Institution. Medic. lib. 2. part. 3. sect. 2. cap. 6.
 In his Institut. Medicin. lib. 2. part 3. sect 2. cap. 4. See also Bodin's Magor. Dæmon. lib. 2. cap. 5.
 * See Des-Cartes Letter to the Princess Elizabeth, ou il est parlé du Genie de Socrate.
 * Prov. 16. 10. & 21. 1.
 Ecclus. 37.14.
 See Jo. Baptist. Port. de Human. Physiogn. lib. 2. cap. 13.
 * Dr. Meric Casaubon's Treatise concerning Enthusiasm, chap. 3.
 Paracels. de Meteroris, c. 3.
 Paracels. de Meteor. cap. 4.
 De Meteoris cap. 5.
 De Meteor. c. 6.
 De Meteor. c. 7.
 De Meteor. c. 8.
 De Meteor. c. 9.
 De Meteor. cap. 10.
 See Paracelsus his Scientia Astronomica.
 Paracels. de Natura rerum lib. 1.
 See my Explan. of the Mystery of Godliness, Book 7. chap. 15, 16, 17.
 * Noct. Attic. lib. 9. cap. 5.
 Nonnus in his Synagog Histor upon Greg. Nazianzen's Invectives against Julian the Apostate.
 * Noct. Attic. l. 12. c. 5.
 James, ch. 5. v. 13.
 Sect. 51, 52, 53, 54.
 See Mystery of Godliness, Book 6. ch. 13. sect. 7.
Cite as: Henry More, Enthusiasmus triumphatus, 2nd ed., from A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings (1662), https://www.cambridge-platonism.divinity.cam.ac.uk/view/texts/diplomatic/More1662E, accessed 2023-12-01.