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The True Messiah; or, The Old and New Testaments, Examined According to the Principles of the Language of Nature

Boston: E.P. Peabody, 1842


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INTRODUCTION.

But, besides modern medicine being very far from consistent with itself, upon these various points; besides it being dangerous to seek to establish communications, of this kind, between the natural world and the universe of human spirits, on account of the degradation of our being, which necessarily prevents our entering into communication with any but the degraded beings who are found in unison with us; and as we are not in a state to understand them aright, even if they were disposed to be useful to us; we regard magnetic phenomena as of very little use to morals and religion, though we should be very far from discouraging any who wish to confirm their belief in immortality, by experiments in artificial somnambulism, by becoming eyewitnesses of the physical, or moral, penetration of certain extatic individuals, in whom the future state of man, disengaged from the dullness of matter, is seen as palpably as any other phenomenon in nature.

The enlightened Christian never needed those tardy experiments by which human sciences think, from time to time, to add to his faith. It was always enough, to make him perceive the finger of God, to observe with an impartial eye the admirable harmony of the old and new tial forms. "The art of playing on the flute, is undoubtedly separate from the man who plays on it. It is the same of what is well, or what is good ; goodness is necessarily a thing separate from the man who possesses it." And Alcimus adds : "The soul learns certain things by means of the senses, and others without their aid, because it considers these things in themselves ;" which very clearly proves that the ancients frequently attached the idea of reality to what, for the mod-erns, has been but an abstract quality. (See Diogenes Laertins, iii. 14, 12.) Philopones asserts that he has seen in one of the best books of Aristotle upon good, or philosophy, these expressions: "The ideas, or forms of things, contain their matter, as numbers contain the things numbered; for matter being in itself a thing undetermined, that is to say, without real attributes ; it is only forms that make objects." (De An. page 17, Venice, 15, 35.) According to Pythagoras and his disciples, things alone were objects in themselves, that is to say, real and eternal, though immaterial objects ; while material objects, as far as they were material, were in themselves nothing. Their ideas approached very near those brought forward among us by Berkeley, upon the non-existence of matter, as some-thing in itself ; and, consequently, when they spoke of the eternal world, they frequently meant only the substantial forms of this world ; such as we see them, and feel them, in the state of dreaming. In this connection, the recent somnambulic phenomena, observed in Germany, seem to have enabled some of her philosophers to understand the ancients better than they have ever been understood before. "Timeus," says Tiedmann, in his Life of Pythagoras, page 545, "promises those who observe the prescribed rules, the sight of the gods, (that is, of their trans-formed ancestors ;) we cannot but conclude from this, that the Pythagoreans had found the means of being in a real state of extasy ; "(that is, a state in which the interior and immortal man, being awake during a transient sleep of the body, can very naturally converse with those whose material organs sleep, definitely, the sleep of death.)

Stdlingfleet, who is known to have studied antiquity most profoundly, was convinced, like ourselves, that, originally, the name of a thing signified its essence. Whoever will consult the "Origins Sacrae," will find there the confirmation of almost all our ideas. Father Kircher was convinced that the first language could not be conventional. Clement, of Alexandria, said, in direct terms, that the ancients sometimes recounted their actions by a course of symbols. It was from Egypt that Greece received the use of symbols, her mythology, her temples for the cure of the sick, and the giving of oracles ; and Egypt had found all those things only by means of her antic men, her priests and priestesses. It is impossible to resist the evidence furnished by history, on this subject, and confirmed by new ex-penance in these last times. Aristeus Proconensis; who lived at the time of Cyrus, is represented, by his contemporaries, as a man who could make his-soul leave his



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