« הקודםהמשך »
sciences; but valuable and important as these discoveries are, how triling do they appear when compared with the astonishing and wonderful discoveries which have been made by the Swedenborgians, who are, it seems, beyond a doubt, “the only true church of God;" by them “the true science of the language of correspondence” is discovered, so that mankind are no longer left in the dark; the divine arcana are now laid open, and mysteries are no longer mysteries.” “God in me speaks to God in you;" so that I can talk to you of feasting on chariots and horses, and be perfectly understood. And although they read any chapter in the bible, without exception, publicly in the congregations, yet the most prudish lady, or the most delicate virgin, does not blush for being quite spiritual, and being acquainted with the
true language of correspondence.” They never notice indelicate expressions, being wholly occupied in applying the spiritual corresponding words. These, my friend, are glorious discoveries indeed. And what a pity it is that so many thousand pious learned men should have wasted so much time in endeavouring to explain the mysterious parts of the Prophets and the Revelations to no purpose, but to make work for booksellers ! It was very providential for them that the Swedenborgians did not appear in the more early ages of the church, but a very great loss to mankind in general; the more so, as it seems the great man, after whom the sect are named, composed
the whole of his numerous works under the immediate guidance of the Holy Ghost, and are more valuable than the bible. I must just take notice of another wonderful community
In the beginning of the year 1786, a strange sect of religious fanatics sprung up near Dumfries in Scotland; the first of whom seems to have been a lady Buchan, as from her they were called Buchanites. They were but few in number, and all lived in one house together, both men and women, and had all things in common. In 1791 an English.
man of some property joined their society, and gave all that he had to the common stock. The next day lady Buchan proclaimed a fast, which was to be strictly kept for six weeks; this was no ways pleasing to the Englishman, so that after he had fasted two days, he applied to the sheriff, in order to recover his property from out of the stock of the holy community; but the sheriff informed him that, as it was a free gift, it was not in his power to recover it.
Lady Buchan at times called herself the Holy Spirit, and in that character applied to many people in order to make them converts to this new sect.
The chief article of their faith was, that they should never taste of death, but should be translated, and when any one of them happened to die, the rest said it was for want of faith ; and, when lady Buchan died, they insisted on keeping her unburied, declaring that she could not be dead : under this assurance she was kept a long time; the magistrates however at last had her buried by force, to prevent any bad consequences that might arise from the horrid stench, which began to make the neighbourhood insupportable.
A little before she expired, she called her neighbours near her, and informed them that she had a secret to communicate to them, which was, that she was the Virgin Mary, the real mother of Jesus, the same woman mentioned in the Revelations as being clothed with the sun, &c. who was driven into the wilderness; that she had been wandering in the world ever since our Saviour's days; that though she yet appeared to die they need not be discouraged, for she would only sleep a little, and in a short time visit them again and conduct them to New Jerusalem. I had this curious account from some gentlemen in Scotland, except that part where she calls herself the Virgin, which I added from The Bee' for July 1791.
A short time after Mr Wesley's chapel was finished in the City Road, an old gentleman was buried in the burial-ground behind it, who on his death-bed in
formed his wife that he should soon come to life again ; on which account the door of the vault was not fastened, and the old lady paid him a visit every day, to see if he was come to life, and in this practice did she continue two years, when the poor old lady paid him her last visit, and was laid by his side.
I will make some further remarks on the Methodists in my next.
I am, dear friend, yours.
“More haughty than the rest, the
“ Olios made of conflagration,
Dear Friend, ALTHOUGH Mr Wesley was possessed of a very great share both of natural and acquired abilities, yet
suppose it scarcely necessary to inform you, that this is by no means the case with his preachers in general; for although there are amongst them some truly sensible, intelligent' men, yet the major part are very ignorant and extremely illiterate : many of these excellent spiritual guides cannot read a chapter in the bible, though containing the deep mysteries which
they have the rashness and presumption to pretend to explain. Many others cannot write their own names.
“ A motley crew, from various callings sprung,
Some of you have been gipsies, others sailors;
Mat. BRAMBLE. But so great is the ignorance of Mr Wesley's people in general, that they often neglect the more rational and sensible of their preachers, and are better pleased with such as are even destitute of common sense ; really believing that the incoherent nonsense which they from time to time pour forth, is dictated by the Holy Spirit. As these noisy declaimers never scruple to call themselves the “servants of the most High God,” ambassadors from heaven, &c. Peter Pindar, speaking of one of that stamp, seems to think that if he was sent from God, heaven had made a bad choice : take his own words :“ Whene'er I hear that stupid parson H-, God's bouse with ev'ry nousense fill,
And when with blasphemy each sentence cramm’d;
I'm come to tell ye, that you'll all be damn'd:
I'm God Almighty's servant-hear my voice. Which, if it were so, would be vastly odd,
Since heav'n would show bad judgment in the choice."
It is always observable that the more ignorant people are the more confidence they possess. This confidence, or impudence, passes with the vulgar as a mark of their being in the right; and the more the ignorance of the preachers is discovered, the more are they brought down to their own standard. Again, the more ignorant preachers having very contracted ideas of real religion and manly virtue, of course supply the want of it with a ridiculous fuss about trifles, which passes with the ignorant for a more
sanctified deportment, and hence arises much of the mischief which has been so justly charged on the Methodists. For by making the path to heaven so very narrow, and beset with ten thousand bugbears, many, despairing to be ever able to walk in it, have thrown off all religion and morality, and sunk into the abyss of vice and wickedness. Others have their tempers so soured as to become lost to all the tender connexions of husband, wife, father, child, &c., really believing that they are literally to hate father, mother, &c., for Christ's sake. Thus is sweet domestic peace and happiness for ever blasted.
“ Enlivening hope, and fond desire,
Resign the heart to spleep and care ;
DR JOHNSON. Many have in a fit of despondency put a period to their existence, it having become a burthen too intolerable to be borne. Some have been so infatuated with the idea of fasting to mortify the flesh, that their strict perseverance in it, has been productive of the most serious consequences : two instances of which lately occurred in one family in the City Road: the mistress was deprived of her senses, and the maid literally fasted herself to death; and Bedlam and private mad-houses now contain many very melancholy instances of the dreadful effects of religious despondency; not to mention the hundreds that have died from time to time in such places, and the numerous suicides which have been traced to the same source.
I knew one man who for many years believed him. self to be the Holy Ghost, and endeavoured to make his acquaintance believe the same : in other respects he appeared to be in his right senses.
Mr Bentley says, in his letter to the members of the House of Commons, dated May 12th, 1791, that although he had a fortune of one thousand pounds, and naturally liked good living, yet that he lived on