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tues, of the serpent, communicated to them, and impressed in them, by virtue of the serpent's cohabitation with them."* We have, indeed, the authority of Theophrastus, for ascribing still to the serpents of Germany a more than ordinary degree of acuteness. Our hairy and white (it is right to add, that throughout the whole genera of serpents, we never met with, or heard of, a hairy species before,) " serpents in Germany are indued with such admirable and supernaturally excellent virtues, that they are and will be of special use for the attainment of knowledge, both natural and occult.” And he further adds, that the “simpler sort think themselves nothing bettered by this.”+ To Theophrastus we are, moreover, indebted for much information respecting a certain spiritual “ extract of mummies," possessed of rare qualities, such as inducing apes, by means thereof, to enter “ league and amity with its bitter enemy the serpent.”+ The mode of administering it to the human species is by incorporating it with fruits or grains, which is thus effected : “take the sperm, i. e. the eggs of the serpent, which are the elements and principles both of their corporal and spiritual mummy, mix them with earth, and sow some seed, or plant some herb fittest for your purpose in that earth.” A still better mode is by impregnating with the extract some fruit appropriated to the brain; for instance, a cherrystone, "out of which you may elicit the spirits and therewith roborate and acuate the brain, and no little advance knowledge."'$ For the insertion of such valuable secrets, we feel confident that no apology is due to our grateful readers. But there are matters of minor import compared with the grand object (that of infusing this mumial essence into the tree of life) by which “eternal sanity or immortality,” was from God granted to it. As, however, it quite exceeds our power of explanation, and is somewhat too prolix for this the eleventh hour of our article, we must beg leave to refer our readers to the work itself for particulars. The effects are prodigious, extending far beyond the mere acquisition of knowledge, the ignorant coming in for as full a share of benefit as the wise, being cured of divers diseases, (plague included.) The “mumial sympathetical virtue” descends, indeed, into the lower order of vegetation ; for instance, the sanative virtue of even so humble a plant as a root of succory, when properly impregnated with mumial sympathies, will, if • digged up and eaten in the hour and day of Venus, when the sun is in Leo, cure any wound."|| Analogous to this we might enlarge upon the famous “ Martial ring,” (more wonderful than the celebrated ring of Remigius,) invented by a brother of St. Augustine's, the virtues of which, in curing the cramp, tooth, and head-ache, were so notorious, that he was recommended to sell none to any but himself for some years ; and further, we are told, that if it were formed of “a long horse-shoe nail pulled out of a horse's hoof on purpose, in the hour Mars reigns, it would be ready to contract itself to fit the least, and amplify itself for the greatest, finger as you would."*
* “Paracelsus," 81, 82.
$ Ibid. 85.
+ Ibid. 83.
|| Ibid. 91.
The reader is, probably, not aware of some other curious particulars connected with the tree of life; such as, that when Adam was “now ready to die, he desired earnestly a branch of the bough of life in paradise," and, therefore, sent one of his sons there to fetch one, that he might escape this imminent death : his son received a bough from the angel ; but, in the mean time, Adam had changed life with death : and, therefore, his son implanted the bough on his father's sepulchre ; where, getting sap, it grew into a great tree, and so attracted the whole nature of Adam to its nutriment. This we give on the authority of the Sybelline prophecies; but further information is afforded by an ancient doctor in the eastern country, (one of the wise men of the East, we presume,) and a bishop of the church. He tells us, that Noah being commanded by God to carry Adam's bones and the tree on his sepulchre, into the ark; and when he sent his three sons forth into the world, he divided the osseous remains of our first parent amongst them “as such sacred relics as deserved to be kept." Now, bis eldest son, settling near Jerusalem, buried the scull which fell to his share in the mountain, afterwards known by and, in fact, from this circumstance, named Golgotha. Of the tree, by "remarkable and admirable providence preserved, the cross of Christ's crucifixion" was made : as, no doubt, many orthodox pieces of this wood are still preserved as relics, in the Roman Catholic church, we would earnestly recommend Dr. Milner, and his associate believers in the mission of La Seur Nativité, † that enough be forthwith collected and made into a casket, wherein this precious Apocalypse may be deposited. The rest of our volume is filled with a variety of philosophical and chemical experiments by Raymond Lully, one not far inferior in note to Paracelsus himself, and translated from the high German, by a student in the celestial sciences; amongst these, we have the manner of bringing about a courtship between Venus and Sol, (alias copper and gold,) a somewhat dangerous flirtation to superintend, requi
* * Paracelsus,” 93. + See this most curious and interesting article, No. 66, “Quarterly Review."
ring the utmost caution; otherwise, if the supervisor be overhasty in the introduction of his Sol and Venus, (the reddest and fairest he can get,) dreadful heart-burnings and altercations ensue, and, instead of a tender consummation,“ they will break his pot and blow
the cover.'* And thus have we brought our arduous task to its termination; and we “could weep,” would weeping do us good, to mark how dark and dubious is the line of demarcation between the sanities and follies of human life, and how far in the wilderness of error and absurdity the purest and best of men'may occasionally wander. We have traced, in the preceding pages, the paths of some, who, starting with truth for their guide, left her to pursue the wildest phantom of imagination, deluded partly by hopes of gain; but, what is far more lamentable, partly too, it must be confessed, by an opinion that they were under spiritual guidance, on which account, notwithstanding their many failings, (exclusive of the benefit we live to reap from their experiments, we cannot but look upon them as entitled to respect. Who, indeed, can ridicule, without some sighs of compunction, the man who thus concludes his work on the ultimate separation and decompositions of bodies.
“ Lastly, in the end of all things shall be the last separation, the great day when God shall come in majesty and glory, before whom shall be carried not swords, garlands, diadems, sceptres, &c., and kingly jewels with which princes, kings, Cesars, &c. do pompously set forth themselves, but his cross, his crown of thorns, and nails thrust through his hands and feet, and spear with which his side was pierced, and sponge in which they gave him vinegar to drink, and the whips wherewith he was scourged and beaten. He comes not accompanied with troops of horse, and beating of drums, but four trumpets shall be sounded by the angels, towards the four parts of the world, killing all that are then alive with a horrible noise, in one moment, and then presently raising them again, together with them that are dead and buried. For the voice shall be heard, • Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment.' Then shall the twelve apostles sit down, their seats being prepared in the clouds, and shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel. In that place, the holy angels shall separate the bad from the good, the cursed from the blessed, the goats from the sheep. Then the cursed shall like stones and lead be thrown downward ; but the blessed shall like eagles fly on high.t
* “ Paracelsus," 118.
+ Ibid. lib. viii., p. 97.
ART. VI.-Opere di Lodovico Antonio Muratori. Arezzo, 1767.
8vo. 36 vols, in 4. Storia della Italiana Letteratura di Gerolamo Tiraboschi. 1787-94. 16 rols. in 4.
There is a voluminous class of books, usually called books of reference, neither read by their possessors, nor consulted by any but the very few for whose peculiar benefit they are written, and who make them minister no less to their own reputation than to the public advantage. The writers of these volumes, considered as authors, are esteemed, at the best, industrious and judicious, but heavy compilers : regarded as men, they are universally supposed to be devoid of every spark of originality and vigour of mind. The highest merit ascribed to them is that of swelling volumes, useful to the few who know how to employ them to advantage, but impossible to be read without fatigue.
Tiresome as they are generally esteemed, their acknowledged utility is sufficient to justify any one in the attempt to make them better known, whether as a class of writers distinct from
every other, or as individuals whose intellectual character, and whose habits, are marked by the most striking peculiarities. The deservedly popular histories of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, of the Age of Lorenzo de Medici, and of the Republics of the Middle Ages, (we mention these as specimens of the works of the same class which have appeared during the last half-century,) are extremely dissimilar in some respects, but
possess three characteristics in common,-genius for historical composition, more or less conspicuous in each, but innate in all,- philosophical observation and reflection,—and variety and abundance of facts. For their genius, they were indebted to nature ; for their philosophical spirit, to the age in which they lived, (of which we shall say more hereafter ;) but for their facts, almost exclusively to the authors of those ponderous volumes, some of which will form the subject of the present article, especially those which have furnished the most ample materials for the genius of Gibbon, Roscoe, and Sismondi to work upon. Whatever be the political bias, or the literary ability, or the general principles which an author brings to an historical work, the only true and solid foundation for his labours is to be found in the authenticity, the order, and the importance of his facts. Without these, his genius would produce nothing but poetry, his eloquence would be mere declamation, and his philosophy would be the baseless and cloudy metaphysics of the North. The old registrars of diaries and chronicles, the collectors of anecdotes and letters, the pub. lishers of secret memoirs, the discoverers of ancient documents and forgotten laws, would be of the greatest utility to the his
torian if his life were long enough to examine a tenth part of them. Fortunately for him there are dry compilers, and superstitious antiquarians, and writers of partial and suspected memoirs ; an intermediate class of men, destined, as it were, by nature, to re-arrange the chaos of events, and to prepare them for the use of the historian. They have the patience to search for facts, wherever they are scattered; they have the courage to accumulate them in immense numbers, and the perseverance to verify them amid the multitude of popular errors; they have the sagacity to scent out and discover truth among intentional lies, invented ages ago, and persisted in, from generation to generation, for the purpose of bolstering up theological dogmas, or flattering national vanity.
The writers of this class have no merit on the score of elegance or eloquence; they can never be quoted as models of style, nor as depositaries of the treasures of a language. Their minds are not fitted for the task of generalizing, or of throwing light on many ideas and many facts at once; and they afford neither profit nor pleasure to readers of a philosophic turn of mind. They do not exhibit facts in a way to awaken wonder or interest; they never relate one without sifting its accuracy, and they disprove and destroy many romantic and delightful traditions; they are, therefore, never popular. Lastly, their works are always in many volumes, each volume of a thousand folio or quarto pages, at the very least. Who then can read them? Or who, if he could, would, unless he were compelled to have recourse to their assistance. From these volumes the most popular authors draw the immense wealth which has been hoarded by those who knew not how to turn it to account, and render it current and fit for the purposes of circulation. The great historians who have benefited so largely by this class of writers, have sometimes spoken of their benefactors as men of no genius, but in this they were mistaken. Literary genius is susceptible of classification into various orders. The genius of Galileo and of Newton could have produced nothing like the genius of Dante and of Shakspeare. The genius of Muratori would never have dictated a page of Montesquieu; nor would Montesquieu have contemplated without dismay the task of verifying, as Muratori does, year by year, page by page, and line by line, the authenticity of musty parchments; and in spite of the traditions of ages, the concurrent testimony of innumerable writers, and the interests of powerful governments, convict them of falsehood from the time of Constantine downwards. Unquestionably, the writers of whom we are now treating are men of genius, -genius of an extremely slow and cold character; they are incapable of raising themselves to the celestial regions, or of unfolding the operations of nature; incapable of agitating or elevating the imagination; incapable of combining