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Swedenborg's visions. Yea, I deny hardly any thing of that sort. So you will perceive that I easily believe, and require not too much demonstration.
“Jil. Whether I be willing to demonstrate their truth sensibly? 1. I do not know that I can give any such exhibition. 2. The faith itself is not interesting, nor have I the least wish to convince any. 3. My conscience is not clear that such acts are innocent. 4. They would not be, at least may not, demonstrations. A sensible inan, when I had asked, “Would you be convinced if I shewed you a spirit?" answered, “ No; I should grant any thing at the time, but afterward I should think you had frighted me out of my senses and then you could make me believe any nonsense.
“IV. What good ground had that information? I will tell you all I know. I have asked Miss More. She says, had you asked her, she would have told you that she knew nothing of the matter. Many people have known that I studied astrology, geomancy, and magic, and was of an abstract mind. They surmised. Cominon things looked extraordinary. Little things were greater. I was reported a conjuror. I was teased to tell fortunes, raise spirits, and sometimes to cast out a devil. Some pretended to a graver curiosity, and asked ine for a positive answer to, not seen and raised a spirit? I always replied, “I will tell you any thing about them out of books, but as to my own experience I will not say,' 'Can you deny it?' I said, “I will not deny it.' Thence they affirmed it abroad. To sum up all: 1. Ï believe. 2. I think I have reason. 3. No one was ever witness to any appearance with me. 4. I never told any one that ever I raised a spirit. 5. I will not deny it, I have said sometimes, that I thought I had seen a spirit.
“ As I take it, your main wish is to know, l. If I believe such an exhibition possible? I do. 2. If I have done it? I never did say, nor niean to say, that I have; (but for some reason) I will not deny it. 3. If I can do it? I do not know that I can. 4. If I be willing to try? I had rather be excused.
“I have now answered your letter as satisfactorily as I can. You see you need not be in any apprehensions for your philosophy on account of any experimental knowledge of mine. If I can say any thing more that is worth the while on this subject, or a better, I shall be glad of an epistle from you. “ Farewell
. I esteem you; and opinions I regard little. I am obliged by your friendly expressions in the letter. I wish
you all good and success in doing it. I should have
• Have you
answered sooner, but for bad eyes, and the company of strangers.
Pembroke College, Oxford; or a
Hanham, near Bristol, when in that country.” 1788, April.
LXIX. From Dr. Johnson.
May 1, 1789. The original letter, of which I here send you a copy, is in the possession of Richard Beatniffe, Esq. the recorder of Hull, and relates to a person who is much distinguished in most of the late publications concerning Dr. Johnson.
Boll-court, Fleet-street, Feb. 14, 1782. Robert Levet, with whom I had been connected by a friendship of many years, died lately at my house. His death was sudden, and no will has yet been found; I therefore gave notice of his decease in the papers, that an heir, if he bas any, may appear.
He has left very little; but of that little his brother is doubtless heir, and your friend may be perhaps his brother. I have had another application from one who calls himself his brother; and I suppose it is fit that the claimant should give some proof of his relation. would gladly know, from the gentleman that thinks himself R. Levet's brother,
In what year, and in what parish, R. Levet was born ?
What were the marks of his person; his stature; the.coJour of his eyes ?
Was he marked by the small-pox?
His answer to these questions will shew whether he knew him; and he may then proceed to shew that he is his brother.
He may be sure, that nothing shall be hastily wasted or
removed. I have not looked into his boxes, but transferred that business to a gentleman in the neighbourhood, of character above suspicion, . 1789, May.
LXX. Bishop Newton to a Gentleman at Lichfield,
MR. URBAN, THE inclosed is the original of a letter from the late very Jearned Bp. Newton, addressed to a worthy divine at Lichfield, since also deceased; and will doubtless be acceptable to your readers,
Grosvenor-street, March 29, 1739. Much am I obliged to my good friend for his accurate perusal and candid approbation of my Discourses on the Prophecies. Of all books the Revelation will admit of the greatest variety of interpretation. If I have succeeded in all the material parts, it is commendation sufficient. It is difficult, as I say, to irace out every minute resemblance, The full and perfect comprehension of this book will inake part of the happiness of the glorious millennium. I can only exhibit what appears to me inost probable; and my interpretation of the 14th chapter still appears to me more probable than yours.The clue that has principally conducted me through both parts of the Revelation, has been following the series of history and the successive order of events. After the description of the two beasts, secular and ecclesiastical, whose power was established, according to my opinion, in the 8th century, but, according to most other conimentators, much sooner, there would be a very long chasm, without the prediction of any memorable events, if the 14th chapter, as you say, relates to the time immediately preceding the first resurrection, or the millennium. What a long interval would that be without any prophecy; and bow thick the events would follow afterwards ! For all the particulars, not only of the 14th, but also of the 16th, 13th, and 19th chap ters, must be fulfilled before the commencement of the milien::070). I can hardly frame, even in imagination, any events that can answer more exactly to the proclamations of
the three angels than the three principal efforts towards a Reformation. Charlemagne, Valdes, Luther, and their followers, certainly deserve as exalted characters as are here given them; and it would be very strange, that there should be so many prophecies relating to the downfall of Popery, and yet none concerning the Reformation. The church of this period is not represented in that state of triumph and jubilation as you seem to imagine; there are hints of their suffering persecution in this very chapter: butif it was, as you imagine, yet why may not the true church be represented like the apostles and first Christians, “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing," as “glorifying in tribulation," as being “exceeding joyful in tribulation,” &c? If the dead are "blessed from henceforth,” because they shall remain a shorter time in the separate state, and be sooner raised again, why is not that reason assigned, but quite different ones, " that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them These are reasons for “the blessedness of the dead, who die in the Lord,” which hold equally at all times, and cannot be restrained and limited to any particular time; and therefore, I conceive, the words “ from henceforth” refer not so much to “ the blessedness of the dead," which is always the same, as to the writing and promulgating of this doctrine. I have expressed a doubt whether those prophecies of Ezekiel (chap. xxxviii. and xxxix) and that of St. John (chap. xx.) may not relate to the saine event; but I rather incline to think, that they relate to different events, for the reasons I have given. I believe those prophecies of Ezekiel to synchronize with the latter part of the 11th chapter of Daniel, and to relate to the fall of the Othman empire, which includes Gomer and many Europeans, as well as other nations. If Gog and Magog in the Revelation are the same, and are not mystic names, as I say, then we must suppose the Othman empire to subsist throughout the millennium, which I can never believe, nor reconcile with other prophecies. We shall have opportunities, I hope, of talking over these and other topics inore at large, when I come to Lichfield this summer; and then I will
moderate, if you please, between you and Charles Howard. If he was no better an advocate than he seems a divine, I should be sorry for his clients, provided you do, as, I suppose you do, represent his arguments fairly. You who live in the country have fine time to prosecute your studies, and to exercise and amuse yourselves with literary disputations; but we, who live in town, at least I can speak for myself, have so many interruptions and avocations, that it is not easy to find
opportunities to express how truly I am, dear Sir, your affectionate apd obliged humble servant, 1789, May.
LXXI. Dr. Benjamin Franklin to John Alleyne, Esq.
Craven-street, Aug. 9, 1768. You desire, you say, my impartial thoughts on the subject of an early marriage, by way of answer to the numberless objections which have been made by short-sighted people to your own. You may remember, when you consulted me upon the occasion, that I thought youth on both sides to be no objection. Indeed, from the marriages which have fallen under my observation, I am rather inclined to think that early ones stand the best chance of happiness. The tempers and habits of young people are not yet become so stiff and uncomplying as when more advanced in life : they form more easily to each other, and hence many occasions of disgust are removed. And if youth bas less of that prudence which is necessary to manage a family, yet the parents and elder friends of young married persons are generally at hand, to afford their advice, which amply supplies that defect; and by early marriage youth is sooner formed to regular and useful life, and possibly some of those accidents or connections that might have injured the constitution or reputation, or both, are thereby happily prevented. Particular circumstances of particular persons may possibly sometimes make it prudent to delay entering into that state; but, in general, when nature has rendered our bodies fit for it, the presumption is in nature's favour, that she has not judged amiss in making us desire it. Late marriages are often attended too with this further inconvenience, that there is not the same chance the parents sball live to see their offspring educated. Late children, says the Spanish proverb, are early orphans; a melancholy reflection to those whose case it may be! With us in America, marriages are generally in the morning of life, our children are therefore educated and settled in the world by noon; and thus our business being done, we have an afternoon and evening of chearful leisure to ourselves, such as your friend at present enjoys. By these early marriages we are blest with more children: and from the mode among us, founded in nature, of every imother suckling and nursing her own