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rock of Euphrates, and which was the type of their captivity, we leave unto higher conjecture.
14. We shall not, I hope, disparage the resurrection of our Redeemer, if we say the sun doth not dance on Easterday. And though we would willingly assent unto any sympathetical exultation, yet cannot conceive therein any more than a tropical expression. Whether any such motion there were in that day wherein Christ arose, Scripture hath not revealed, which hath been punctual in other records concerning solary miracles; and the Areopagite, that was amazed at the eclipse, took no notice of this. And if metaphorical expressions go so far, we may be bold to affirm, not only that one sun danced, but two arose that day-that light appeared at his nativity, and darkness at his death, and yet a light at both; for even that darkness was a light unto the Gentiles, illuminated by that obscurity:-that it was the first time the sun set above the horizon:-that although there were darkness above the earth there was light beneath it; nor dare we say that hell was dark if he were in it.
15. Great conceits are raised of the involution or membranous covering, commonly called the silly-how, that sometimes is found about the heads of children upon their birth, and is therefore preserved with great care, not only as medical in diseases, but effectual in success, concerning the infant and others, which is surely no more than a continued superstition. For hereof we read in the Life of Antoninus, delivered by Spartianus, that children are born sometimes with this natural cap; which midwives were wont to sell unto credulous lawyers, who had an opinion it advantaged their promotion.1
1 promotion.] By making them gracious in pleadinge: to whom I thinke itt was sufficient punishment, that they bought not wit, but folly so deare.-Wr.
Even till recently the opinion has been held, that a child's caul (sillyhow) would preserve a person from drowning! In the Times of May 6, 1814, were three advertisements of fine cauls to be sold at considerable prices specified. The following appear at subsequent dates :-"To voyagers. A child's caul to be sold for 15 guineas. Apply, &c." Times, Dec. 8th, 1819.
Another for 16 guineas: Times, Dec. 16, 1829.
"A child's caul to be disposed of. The efficacy of this wonderful production of nature, in preserving the possessor from all accidents by sea and land, has long been experienced, and is universally acknow
But to speak strictly, the effect is natural, and thus may be conceived: animal conceptions have (largely taken) three teguments, or membranous films, which cover them in the womb: that is, the chorion, amnios and allantois. The chorion is the outward membrane, wherein are implanted the veins, arteries, and umbilical vessels, whereby its nourishment is conveyed. The allantois is a thin coat seated under the chorion, wherein are received the watery separations conveyed by the urachus, that the acrimony thereof should not offend the skin. The amnios is a general investment, containing the sudorous or thin serocity perspirable through the skin. Now about the time when the infant breaketh these coverings, it sometimes carrieth with it, about the head, a part of the amnois or nearest coat; which, saith Spigelius, either proceedeth from the toughness of the membrane, or weakness of the infant that cannot get clear thereof. And therefore, herein significations are natural and concluding upon the infant, but not to be extended unto magical signalities, or any other person.
16. That it is good to be drunk once a month, is a common flattery of sensuality, supporting itself upon physick, and the healthful effects of inebriation.2 This indeed seems
*De Formato Fætu.
ledged the present phenomenon was produced on the 4th of March inst. and covered not only the head, but the whole body and limbs of a fine female infant, the daughter of a respectable master tradesman. Apply at No. 49, Gee-street, Goswell-street, where a reference will be given to the eminent physician who officiated at the birth of the child.” Times, March 9th, 1820. Another advertised, £6, Times, Sept. 5th, 1820. Another for 12 guineas, ditto, Jan. 23rd, 1824. See New Monthly Mag., May, July, Aug. 1814.
Intellect, surely, was not yet in full march at this period.
2 inebriation.] Noe man could more properlye inveighe against this beastly sinn, then a grave and learned physitian, were itt for noe more but the acquitting his noble faculty from the guilt of countenancinge a medicine soe lothsome and soe odious. Certainlye itt cannot but magnifie his sober spirit, that does make his own facultye (as Hagar to Sarah) vayle to divinity, the handmayd to her lady and mistresse : especially seeinge the naturall man cannot but confesse that itt is base, unworthye the divine offspring of the human soule, which is immortall, to put of itself for a moment, or to assume the shape, or much less the guise of (the uglyest beast) a swine, for any supposable benefit accruing thereby to this outward carcasse, especially when itt may bee far
plainly affirmed by Avicenna, a physician of great authority, and whose religion, prohibiting wine, could less extenuate ebriety. But Averroes, a man of his own faith, was of another belief; restraining his ebriety unto hilarity, and in effect making no more thereof than Seneca commendeth, and was allowable in Cato; that is, a sober incalescence and regulated æstuation from wine; or, what may be conceived between Joseph and his brethren, when the text expresseth they were merry, or drank largely; and whereby indeed the commodities set down by Avicenna, that is, alleviation of spirits, resolution of superfluities, provocation of sweat and urine, may also ensue. But as for dementation, sopition of reason and the diviner particle, from drink; though American religion approve, and Pagan piety of old hath practised it, even at their sacrifices, Christian morality and the doctrine of Christ will not allow. And surely that religion which excuseth the fact of Noah, in the aged surprisal of six hundred years, and unexpected inebriation from the unknown effects of wine, will neither acquit ebriosity3 nor ebriety, in their known and intended perversions.
And indeed although sometimes effects succeed which may relieve the body, yet if they carry mischief or peril unto the soul, we are therein restrainable by divinity, which circumscribeth physick, and circumstantially determines the use thereof. From natural considerations physick commendet' the use of venery; and haply incest, adultery, or stupration, may prove as physically advantageous as conjugal copulation; which notwithstanding must not be drawn into practice. And truly effects, consequents, or events which we commend, arise ofttimes from ways which we all condemn. Thus from the fact of Lot we derive the generation of Ruth and blessed nativity of our Saviour; which notwithstanding did not extenuate the incestuous ebriety of the generator. And if, as is commonly urged, we think to extenuate ebriety from the benefit of vomit oft succeeding, Egyptian sobriety will con
better relieved by soe many excellent, easie, warrantable wayes of physick.-Wr.
"Drunkenness (methinks) can neither become a wise philosopher to prescribe, nor a virtuous man to practise."-Bp. Hall, Heaven upon Earth, § 3.
3 ebriosity.] Habitual drur.kenness.
demn us, which purged both ways twice a month without this perturbation; and we foolishly contemn the liberal hand of God, and ample field of medicines which soberly produce
17. A conceit there is, that the devil commonly appeareth with a cloven hoof: 4 wherein, although it seem excessively ridiculous, there may be somewhat of truth; and the ground thereof at first might be his frequent appearing in the shape of a goat, which answers that description. This was the opinion of ancient Christians concerning the apparition of Panites, fauns, and satyrs; and in this form we read of one that appeared unto Antony in the wilderness. The same is also confirmed from expositions of Holy Scriptures; for whereas it is said,* "Thou shalt not offer unto devils," the original word is seghnirim, that is, rough and hairy goats, because in that shape the devil most often appeared; as is expounded by the Rabbins, and Tremellius hath also explained; and as the word Ascimah, the god of Emath, is by some conceived. Nor did he only assume this shape in elder times, but commonly in latter times, especially in the place of his worship, if there be any truth in the confession of witches, and as in many stories it stands confirmed by Bodinus. And therefore a goat is not improperly made the hieroglyphick of the devil, as Pierius hath expressed it. So might it be the emblem of sin, as it was in the sin-offering; and so likewise of wicked and sinful men, according to the expression of Scripture in the method of the last distribution; when our Saviour shall separate the sheep from the goats, that is, the sons of the Lamb from the children of the devil.
* Levit. xvii.
+ In his Dæmonomania.
4 hoof.] 'Tis remarkable that of all creatures the devil chose the cloven-footed, wherein to appeare, as satyrs, and goatishe monsters: the swine whereon to worke his malice: and the calves wherein to bee worshiped as at Dan and Bethel. For which cause the Spirit of God cald those calves (raised by Jeroboam for worship) devils: 2 Chron. xi. And that he chose his priests of the lowest of the people was very suitable. For where their god was a calfe, 'twas not improper that a butcher should be the preiste.-Wr.
Of Popular Customs, Opinions, &c.; of the Prediction of the Year ensuing from the Insects in Oak Apples; that Children would naturally speak Hebrew; of refraining to kill Swallows; of Lights burning dim at the Apparition of Spirits; of the wearing of Coral; of Moses' Rod in the Discovery of Mines; of discovering doubtful matters by Book or Staff.
1. THAT temperamental dignotions, and conjecture of prevalent humours, may be collected from spots in our nails, we are not averse to concede; but yet not ready to admit sundry divinations vulgularly raised upon them. Nor do we observe it verified in others, what Cardan* discovered as a property in himself; to have found therein some signs of most events that ever happened unto him. Or that there is much considerable in that doctrine of cheiromancy, that spots in the top of the nails do signify things past; in the middle, things present; and at the bottom, events to come. That white specks presage our felicity; blue ones our misfortunes. That those in the nail of the thumb have significa tions of honour; those in the forefinger, of riches; and so respectively in other fingers (according to planetical relations, from whence they receive their names), as Tricassus † hath taken up, and Picciolus well rejecteth.5
We shall not proceed to query what truth there is in palmistry, or divination from those lines in our hands, of high denomination. Although if any thing be therein, it seems not confinable unto man; but other creatures are also considerable; as is the forefoot of the mole, and especially of the monkey, wherein we have observed the table-line, that of life and of the liver.
2. That children committed unto the school of nature, without institution, would naturally speak the primitive language of the world, was the opinion of ancient heathens, and
* De Varietate Rerum.
+ De Inspectione Manús.
5 spots, &c.] This saying has remained to the present day. Such superstitions will only cease when the ignorance of the lower orders, through whom they find their way into the nursery, shall have given place to the general diffusion of knowledge-especially of religious knowledge.