Ancient Mysteries Spirit Land

Spirit Land

Spirit Land
Catalog # SKU4048
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Samuel Bullfinch Emmons
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


The Spirit Land

Samuel Bullfinch Emmons

This volume is intended as an antidote to a species of errors that have been rife in every age of the Christian church. Notwithstanding the disclosures the Most High made of himself to his ancient people, they were yet prone to turn aside from the worship of the true God, to follow the lying spirits of the prophets of Baal, and other deceivers, from the days of Moses till the destruction of Jerusalem. So, likewise, under the Christian dispensation, there has been a succession of Antichrists, until their name is legion, whose teachings have clouded the understandings and blinded the moral perceptions of men, subverting the faith of many whose mountains stood strong, and who had been counted the chosen people of God.

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The object of this treatise upon some of the various errors of the past and present ages is to explain their nature-investigate their origin-describe their injurious effects-and to offer and recommend the necessary measures for their banishment. Most persons, even those who have been well educated, can call to mind the avidity with which, in their days of childhood, they listened to the nursery tales of giants, dwarfs, ghosts, fairies, and witches. The effects of these juvenile impressions are not easily effaced from the mind, and the impressions themselves are but rarely, if ever, forgotten.

To doubt, in former times, the power of charms, and the veracity of omens, and ghost stories, was deemed little less than atheism. The terror caused by them imbittered the lives of persons of all ages. It either served to shut them out of their own houses, or deterred them from going abroad after it was dark. The room in which the head of a family died was for a long time untenanted; particularly if he died without a will, or was supposed to have entertained any peculiar religious opinions. If any disconsolate maiden, or love-crossed bachelor, became the instrument of their own death, the room where the fatal deed was committed was rendered forever uninhabitable, and not unfrequently nailed up.

If a drunken farmer, returning from market, fell from his horse, and by the fall broke his own neck, that spot, ever after, was haunted and impassable. In truth, there was scarcely a by-lane or cross-way but had its ghost, which appeared in the shape of a headless cow or horse. Ghosts of a higher degree rode in coaches, drawn by six headless horses, and driven by a headless coachman. As for the churchyards, the legitimate habitations of spectres, clothed all in white, the numbers who swarmed there equalled the living parishioners; and to pass such a place in the night was more perilous than the storming of Badajos.

Confuted and ridiculed as these opinions have been, in later days, the seeds of them are still widely diffused, and at times attempt to spring up in all their earlier excess. In the year 1832, crowds of men, women, and children flocked to the village of Waltham, a few miles from Boston, to see a ghost which was said to make its appearance towards midnight, walking to and fro in a turf meadow, declaring itself, in unearthly tones, to be the spirit of a murdered man, whose bones lay in a mud hole near by.

The excitement spread many miles around, and hundreds from the city and neighboring towns hied to the spot, with eyes agape, to behold the solemn visitor from the spirit world. And such was the credulity inspired in the minds of the people, that a clergyman in the vicinity declared from his pulpit, on the following Sabbath, that the awful crime of murder had been revealed by the spirit which had appeared in Waltham! Such is the excitability of the mind, and its tendency (notwithstanding the light that has been scattered abroad) to give credence to all the vagaries and nonsense of the darker ages.

Ignorance of correct reasoning has undoubtedly given rise to many superstitions. Inductive reasoning teaches us to infer general conclusions from particular facts which have come under our observation. This definition may be illustrated by an example. You know that water boils on the application of a certain degree of heat. You have seen this experiment tried many times without a single failure. You therefore conclude that water will always boil on the application of this degree of heat, although you have seen it applied but to a small portion of the water in creation. Thus you draw this general conclusion from the few particular facts which you have witnessed. But had you noticed several failures in the trial, your conclusions would have been doubtful. And if the experiment had failed ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, you would have adopted an opposite conclusion. You would have said that the application of the specified degree of heat would not boil water.

In this way, logical reasoning leads to the discovery of truth. Now, apply this principle of sound reasoning to the whole mass of pretended signs. Let me select one to show you the absurdity of believing in any. It is commonly reported that the breaking of a looking glass betokens death to some member of the family. This sign probably originated in the following manner:

A death happened to follow the breaking of a mirror. Some ignorant person immediately concluded that the breaking of the glass was a sure sign of death. The story soon spread among credulous people, and at length was handed down from generation to generation as an established truth. But you readily perceive the absurdity of forming this general conclusion from one or a few particular facts. We all know that death does not follow the supposed sign oftener than once in a hundred times; and therefore the breaking of the glass is almost a sure sign that no death will immediately take place in the family. But as mirrors are always breaking, and people are always dying, it is not strange that the latter event should sometimes follow the former. It would be a miracle if it did not. But the events have no connection whatever with each other. The coincidence in any case is altogether accidental. We might with the same reason affirm that the breaking of a teakettle is the sign of death, or any thing else, as the breaking of a mirror. But the truth is, there is no sign in the case.

It first originated in ignorance of correct reasoning, and has been perpetuated by the credulous. It is but a short time ago that a girl in Exeter, N.H., broke a mirror. She believed that ill luck always followed such an event and therefore became seriously affected in her mind. Finally, her strength failed, and she died a victim to her superstition. Hence we perceive the great importance of a just conception and well-informed judgment upon such apparently trifling, yet oftentimes serious events, in their effects upon social and individual happiness.

268 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover

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