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woman, which seems to have been genuine, and not counterfeited ; and the exactness of the terms in which the fate of Saul and of Jonathan is foretold-an exactness scarcely resolvable into mortal sagacity and penetration.*
Were it not for these considerations, I should easily bring myself to look upon the more remarkable parts of the scene as the effects of imposture.
is allowed even by those who believe in the interposition of a miraculous power at Endor, that the pretended witch was a ventriloquist, that she had the art of speaking inwardly, and, as it were, "out of the ground,”ť and of causing the sound to proceed from any object, and in any direction, at pleasure; while her lips were entirely closed, and her countenance was unmoved. Having acquired this faculty, and combining with the use of it the practice of other illusions, she might readily address herself to the ears and the eyes of her visitors, in a manner which their ignorance would regard as præternatural. The simple fact therefore of Saul's seeing and hearing a form like Samuel's, has nothing of a miraculous character. But whence, I repeat, the panic of the ventriloquist? How is this to be explained, if the plantom now visible was of her own creation ; if nothing more had been done than what her own skill had been directed to accomplish, and had, in truth, accomplished ? Whence, too, so precise and unhesitating a denunciation of the speedy fall of the monarch and of his sons in battle?
In this part of my Essay, I shall remark on a few of Dr. Samuel Chandler's statements, in reference to the scene at Endor. I
Vol. I. p. 239. “ Saul paid him [viz. Samuel] the reverence due to his character, as though he had actually seen him."
I would rather say, “ because he actually saw him.” Not that I deduce this inference from the word which our translators render “perceived," but from the nature of the
* This view of the case is well illustrated by Delany, in his :“Historical Account of the Life, &c., of David," Vol. I. 268, &c. But no writer has done so much justice to it as Farmer, in his Dissertation on Miracles. In his note, p. 482, 8vo., and p. 309, 12mo., the learned author speaks of the complaint of Atossa in the Persæ of Æschylus, v. 688. He should have said, “ the complaiut of Darius," whose shade is in that drama evoked. + Is. xxix. 4.
Hist. of the Life of David, Vol. I. pp 234-261,
case. It can scarcely be imagined that Saul would salute an individual whom he did not see.
P. 241. this affair was transacted by night, the time most proper to manage deceptions of this kind.”
I do not controvert the observation, taken abstractedly: nevertheless, it has no relevancy to the piece of history before us. The monarch, not the ventriloquist, selected the night-season. For obvious reasons, Saul would be a nocturnal visitor to such a woman ; reasons, however, regarding himself, not her.
242. “Saul's servants were not admitted to be present."
The assertion is unauthorized; the bistorian being silent on this head. As the king's servants appear to have known why he visited the ventriloquist, and as they perhaps reported, after his death, what had passed at her house, it becomes likely that they were witnesses of the whole transaction. The negative conclusion cannot fairly be drawn from ver. 23.
246. “ – that Saul might not suspect her knowing him, she conceals it," &c.
Whence then her instant surprise and exclamation ? Saul had disguised himself by a change of dress : for there is no proof of the woman having seen him before. But the immediate and miraculous appearance of Samuel, would naturally indicate who was her visitor. 247, note.
that she did make use of these [magical] arts, and thereby knew she had forfeited her life, she herself confesses."
Her very profession of magical arts was a capital offence: her life was at the mercy of any and every informer, whether royal or plebeian. 254, note,
the old witch.” Dr. Chandler often uses this sort of language. But with what propriety? For any thing that appears, the woman might be young, or in middle age.
In solving the imagined difficulties of this scene, the hypothesis of a meditation and vision has no advantage over Delany's and Farmer's hypothesis. The vision, if such there was, must have been divine : and if divine, it was properly. miraculous. No powers belonged to the woman, except those of a ventriloquist and an impostor: in being made the unconscious instrument and occasion of furthering Saul's wishes, nothing more happened than we
every day perceive to happen in the ordinary course of God's Providence. It may be asked, therefore, what part of the transaction receives light from this idea of a vision ? That Sanl, in desperate circumstances, should resort to the ventriloquist, is sufficiently probable : that he should be cool and collected, at the beginning of the interview, yet bereft of self-possession, as soon as his doom was denounced, it is also easy to conceive. Nor would the miracle be without its use, in the impression which it made upon the spectators and the hearers of it--for it was the harbinger of the merited and the divine punishment of the guilty monarch.
N. P.S. By way of Postscript to the above Essay, I subjoin a translation of the note of a learned foreigner on 1 Sam, xxviii. 20.
Though I am well aware that most of the Biblical scholars of the present day resolve this appearance of Samuel into fraud; and thoagh I grant that their hypothesis best explains a number of perplexing circumstances in the narrative; there remain, however, other difficulties, which their opinion does not solve, and which are so weighty as to prevent me from subscribing to its correctness. In the first place, why should the woman have given so unwelcome an answer to Saul ? Why foretell so fatal an issue of the battle ? All this is perfectly opposed to the custoin of such impostors, who naturally seek to gratify and flatter, not to displease and alarm, the ind viduals consulting them. Nor could she be in any reasonable dread of danger from pursuing her usual course. Besides (and the question is very material), whatever her sagacity, how could she venture on predicting such a result of the engagement? I do not mean, the vast slaughter and total defeat of the Israelites-consequences which might naturally enough have been suggested to her by Saul's despondency: I speak of Saul's own death in the conflict, and of that, moreover, of his sons. None of the advocates of the hypothesis before us, have glanced at these formidable objections; much less have they removed them.
« But no such difficulties accompany the hypothesis, w bich represents. Samuel's appearance as the effect of a miracle, and not of human craft. The arts which this woman professed, and was about to exercise, were, no
doubt, empty and delusive. Contrary to her own exp ctation and previous opinion, Samuel is really seen, as though risen from among the dead! Hence we can assigu a suficient cause of her exclamation, in ver. 12 ; an exclamation, of which no just account can be given, if she beheld merely a false and personated image of the prophet: för such an image she liad, in truth, undertaken, and hoped, to exhibit; and yet she perceives an object of a very different description! Saul, too, perceived the same Samuel with the woman ; though some of the commentators deny the fact. From the 14th ver. we learn that the figure, be it what it might, was saluted by Saul, after the oriental manner. Would Saul have done this, without seeing him whom he saluted ? During his conversation with Samuel, the king stood erect, and was not stretched upon the ground: nor until the conversation was finished did he throw himself thither. (Ver. 20.)
“On the supposition of a miracle having been wrought, we shall cease to wonder at the prophet's severe rebuke of Saul, at his repetition of what he had said to him in a former interview [ch. xv.], at which neither the woman nor any third party was present, and at the definite prophecy of the monarch's fast-approaching death, and of that of his sons.
“ That the hypothesis of a miraculous appearance, on this occasion, inay encounter some objections, I know i but I do not think them valid enough to set it aside; and, if we allow for the intricacy of the subject, they may be competently answered. : (1.). Do any persons deem it incredible that God who, so far, had withholden a reply to Saul, should now address him thus solemnly and specially? I will ask, in returni, who shall presume to say, what is fit to be done, or not to be done, by the Supreme Being ? Who shall arraign this method of convincing the wretched king of his guilt and folly ? In this there is nothing unworthy of the Divine character ; nothing that is not analagous to God's methods of proceeding with the people of that
age and country. (2) Tlie same answer may be given to the objection derived from the imagined improbability of the return of a dead man to life. Now, surely, the effect is within the compass of Omnipotence: there are well-attested examples of it; and wliy might it not now take place?
“ After all, I would rather discuss the question, than be understood as deciding it : I have contrasted one hypothesis with another, and am not so pertinaciously attached to my own, as to continue the defence of it, after the doubts which I have expressed shall have been removed.” *
THE LAST MAN.
BY THOMAS CAMPBELL.
[This beautiful and even sublime poem having been reprinted in one of the Annuals, we venture to insert it in our Magazine, persuaded that the author will not regret that one of the noblest works of his fine imagination should be put in circulation amidst a class of readers to many of whom it is probably new. The Christian spirit that animates the “vision” is not the least of its charms. ED]
All worldly shapes shall melt in gloom,
The sun hiinself must die,
Adown the gulf of time!
As Adam saw her prime !
The earth with age was wan,
Around tbat lonely man !
In plague and famine some !
To shores where all was dumb !
With dauntless words on high,
As if a storm pass'd by,
Libri Histor. Vet. Test. A. J. A. Dath., &c. [Halæ. 1784], pp. 301-303.