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with God's spirit, they were not very wonderful men: they might as well have been mere clowns or simpletons; or hollow images, from whose open mouths the prophecies could have been echoed!
It matters but little, perhaps, whether we term the Gift of Prophecy natural or supernatural, if we only have a definite and correct idea of what it is-how far it may extend, and in relation to what subjects it may be exercised. I have no faith in supernaturalism. It seems to me an impeachment of God's wisdom and foresight to suppose that he ever finds it necessary to contravene or suspend the operation of any of the laws of nature: it implies some imperfection, or an inadequacy to the full accomplishment of all his designs, in the established instrumentalities of his government; so that he is obliged to intercept them by the introduction of some new and special agency. I believe that God acts always through a medium that is perfectly natural-natural to him, though sometimes above OUR nature. It may not, therefore, be properly called super-natural, but rather super-human. "The things which are impossible with men, are possible with God." With him all things are natural; for omnipotence is his nature.
Not only are the prophets of old reputed to have been
* Since the delivery of this lecture, I have been informed that Dr. Bu CHANAN, the well-known Neurologist, believes that there is in the human brain a prescient organ-of course, more largely developed in some persons than in others.
+ Luke, xviii. 27.
endowed with the power of foretelling the approach of events, sometime anterior, but they are said to have been sometimes aware of the fact that they were transpiring at the time of their occurrence, although at the distance of a long journey from the scene of action. As an instance, when the prince of Babylon marched against Jerusalem and besieged it, Ezekiel is said to have declared the event to his companions in captivity, on the same day, although he was then two hundred leagues from the spot. We have a parallel to this in the life of that remarkable man, EMANUEL SWEDENBORG. He was often aware of events at the time of their occurrence, though many miles distant from their localities. One memorable instance of this wakeful clairvoyance (for I know not what else to call it) possesses so much interest, and is so apposite to our present subject of discourse, that I will here introduce it. I present the incident as related by Emanuel Kant, the celebrated German scholar and philosopher, in a letter, dated August 10th, 1758, which he wrote to a distinguished lady of his acquaintance. "In the year 1756, when M. de Swedenborg, towards the end of September, on Saturday, at four o'clock, P. M., arrived at Gottenburg, from England, Mr. William Castel invited him to his house, together with a party of fifteen persons. About six o'clock M. de Swedenborg went out, and after a short interval, returned to the company quite pale and alarmed. He said that a dangerous fire had just broken out in Stockholm, at the Sundermalm, (Gottenburg is about
fifty German and near three hundred English miles distant from Stockholm) and that it was spreading very fast. He was restless, and went out often. He said that the house of one of his friends, whom he named, was already in ashes, and that his own was in danger. [Stockholm was at that time his place of residence.] At eight o'clock, after he had been out again, he joyfully exclaimed, "thank God! the fire is extinguished, the third door from my house.' This news occasioned great commotion through the whole city, and particularly amongst the company in which he was. It was announced to the governor the same evening. On the Sunday morning, Swedenborg was sent for by the governor, who questioned him concerning the disaster. Swedenborg described the fire precisely, how it had begun, in what manner it had ceased, and how long it had continued. On the same day the news was spread through the city, and as the governor had thought it worthy of attention, the consternation was considerably increased; because many were in trouble on account of their friends and property, which might have been involved in the disasOn the Monday evening a messenger arrived at Gottenburg, who was despatched during the time of the fire. In the letters brought by him, the fire was described precisely in the same manner stated by Swedenborg. On the Tuesday morning, the royal courier arrived at the governor's with the melancholy intelligence of the fire, of the loss which it had occasioned, and of the houses it had damaged and ruined, not in the least
differing from that which Swedenborg had given immediately after it had ceased."*
This account is as well attested as any historical part of the New Testament. Immediately following the narration just quoted, the distinguished writer offers the subjoined remarks: "My friend, who wrote this to me, has not only examined the circumstances of this extraordinary case at Stockholm, but also about two months ago, at Gottenburg, where he is acquainted with the most respectable houses, and where he could obtain the most authentic and complete information; as the greatest part of the inhabitants, who are still alive, were witnesses to the memorable occurrence."
It is said that a similar knowledge of distant scenes has been evinced by persons in the magnetic sleep, in our own neighborhood, within a very few years. Now and then may be found a person susceptible of a high state of clairvoyance. An individual is still living in the town of Rockport, in this State, who, some years ago, was subject to occasional paroxysms, during which (although apparently asleep, and utterly insensible to pain from the infliction of a blow or wound upon his flesh) he wound descry a vessel coming in from sea, while she was yet entirely below the horizon-before even her pennon could be discerned as she came up in the dim and distant offing. I am well acquainted with persons of the highest respectability who say that they have seen him many times while in this condition, and wit
* Hobart's "Life of Swedenborg," pp 71, 72.
nessed these wonderful phenomena. Attempts have been made, within a few years, to place him in the Mesmeric state by artificial means, but without success. Before Animal Magnetism was known in this region, some of the people in Rockport, (or Sandy Bay, as it was then called) were inclined to be a little superstitious in regard to the matter.
In the town where I last resided previous to my removal here, there lived, some years ago, a very singular personage; one who belonged to that class, of whom it is often remarked that they have "all sorts of sense but common:" a person seemingly under par with regard to some things, but very shrewd and rather witty in relation to other matters. I have been told that she would very often, in the morning, predict the arrival before night of some person entirely unexpected: and in one instance she foretold the approach of some one, from quite a distance in the country, who had not visited the place for many years. The old farm-house where she then resided, stood in a spot rather retired. A short distance in front rose a hill which obscured from the windows the view of the main road; so there was no chance for her to obtain sight of those approaching until they were within a few rods-and yet she is said to have prophesied their coming hours before the arrival. She was by many considered crazy, and probably would have been esteemed, in law, as non compos mentis. When questioned respecting her power of divination, her reply was that she heard voices which kept a perpetual ringing sound