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sooner come into the quire, towards morning, to say their matins, than this deputy-apparition of Magdalen took up her wonted stall, and was seen devoutly tossing her beads amongst her sisters; so as they thought the Visitors had surely freed her of the crimes objected, upon her vehement penitence: but, bearing that Magdalen was still fast caged in her prison, they acquainted the Visitors with what they had seen, the morning before; who, upon full examination, found, that she had never looked out of the doors of her gaol. The process was at last sent up to Rome; whence, since the confession was voluntary, she had her absolution.

A story of great note and use, for many occasions; and too well known to the world, to admit of either denial or doubt, and ratified, as by the known consent of the time, so by the faithful records of Zuingerus, Bodin, Reney, Goulartius. Lord God, what cunning conveyances are here of the foul spirit! what subtle hypocrisy ! what powerful illusions ! enough to make sanctity itself suspected ; enough to shame the pretence of miracles. He can, for an advantage, be a holy Nun, as well as an ugly Moor: he can be as devout at Matins, Sacraments, Processions, as the best : what wonder? when he can, at pleasure counterfeit, an Angel of Light? In that glorious form, did he appear to Simon Stylites of old; to Gertrude of Westphalia, not without the entertainment of her joy and devotion: till Hermanus of Arnsburgh descried the fraud; and taught her to avoid it, by a means no less advantageous to that ill spirit, than her former devotion. Yea, yet higher, to Pachomius, and to Valens the monk, as Palladius reports, he durst appear and call for adoration; and had it, under the form of the Lord of Life, blessed for ever.

How vain is the observation of those authors, who make this the difference, betwixt the apparitions of good angels and evil: That the good make choice of the shapes, either of beautiful persons, or of those creatures which are clean and hurtless ; as of the shape of a lamb to Clement, or a hart to Eustace, or a dove to Gummarus : whereas the evil put themselves into the forms of deformed men, or of harmful and filthy beasts; as of a goat to the assembly of witches, of hogs in the churches of Agatha profaned by the Arians; of serpents, dragons, toads, and other loathsome and terrible creatures, to St. Hilary and Anthony, as Athanasius and Jerome, in their suppositious relations, have reported: and that, if at any time he take upon him the shape of a man, yet it is with some notable defect and incongruity of limbs * ; as with a right-foot cloven, or with a whole hoof; never entirely hunian: when we see that the very glory of angels escapes not their counterfeisance. We know how easy it is for the Almighty to ordain some such mark to be set upon the false shapes of evil spirits, for their better discovery : but why should we rather suppose this to be done, in the case of human bodies, than of heavenly angels ? why more, in the resem

* Est hæc res mirabilis, nunquam visos esse dæmonęs uroque pede humana ullibi apparuisse. Forner, de Ang. Ser, ix,

blance of men, than of all other creatures; since their deceit may be no less dangerous, in either?

But as for these visible devils, they are, in these days, very rare; and, where they have appeared, have wont to work more affright, than spiritual prejudice. Evil spirits are commonly most pernicious to the soul, when they are least seen; not caring so much for our terror, as our seduction.

O God, they are crafty ; but thou art wisdom itself: they are malicious; but thou art goodness. Let thy goodness and wisdom ever protect and safeguard us : so shall we be, not more wretched and unsafe in ourselves, than we shall be in thee secure and happy.

SECT. VII. THE VEHEMENCE OF SATAN'S LAST CONFLICTS. THESE spirits, because such are neither capable of sleep or weariness; as they are therefore ever busy and restless in their assaults, so their last conflicts use to be most vehement: whether it be, for that, now, the soul is passing out of their reach, as we find they did most tear and torture the demoniac, when they saw themselves upon the point of their ejection ; or, whether it be, for that the painful agonies of death yield them more hopes of advantage, since the soul, while it is struggling with those last pangs, must needs have her powers distracted in her resistances. "Cruelty, where it would prevail, will be sure to lay most load upon the weakest.

Hereupon it is, that holy men have been most careful to arm themselves strongliest, against those last onsets; and to bend all the forces of their souls, upon their safe dissolution. The holy sister of St. Basil, and Melania, whom St. Jerome magnifies for their sanctity, beseech God, with great fervency, that those envious spirits may not hinder them in their last passage: and devout Bernard, to the same purpose, when he drew near his end, sues to his friend for his earnest prayers, that the heel of his life might be kept safe from the Serpent; so as he might not find where to fix his sting.

Hence it is, that, in former times, good souls have been so provident to hearten themselves against the faint pulse of their death, beds, with that vitiacum sacruni, the strongest spiritual cordial of the Blessed Eucharist : which hath yielded them such vigour of heavenly consolation, that they have boldly defied all the powers of darkness; and, in spite of all those assaults, have laid themselves down in peace.

O God, I know Satan can want no malice nor will to hurt. Í should be his, if I looked for favour from him. He must and will do so much of his worst to me, as thou wilt permit. Whether thou wilt be pleased to restrain him, or strengthen me, thy will be done. Oh, lead me not into temptation ; and, when thou doest so, shew thyself strong in my weakness : arm me, for my last brunt : stand by me, in my last combat ; make me faithful to the death, that thou mayest give me a crown of life,

sooner come into the quire, towards morning, to say their matins, than this deputy-apparition of Magdalen took up her wonted stall, and was seen devoutly tossing her beads amongst her sisters; so as they thought the Visitors had surely freed her of the crimes objected, upon her vehement penitence: but, bearing that Magdalen was still fast caged in her prison, they acquainted the Visitors with what they had seen, the morning before; who, upon full examination, found, that she had never looked out of the doors of her gaol. The process was at last sent up to Rome; whence, since the confession was voluntary, she had her absolution.

A story of great note and use, for many occasions; and too well known to the world, to admit of either denial or doubt, and ratified, as by the known consent of the time, so by the faithful records of Zuingerus, Bodin, Reney, Goulartius. Lord God, what cunning conveyances are here of the foul spirit! what subtle hypocrisy! what powerful illusions ! enough to make sanctity itself suspected; enough to shame the pretence of miracles. He can, for an advantage, be a holy Nun, as well as an ugly Moor: he can be as devout at Matins, Sacraments, Processions, as the best : what wonder? when he can, at pleasure counterfeit, an Angel of Light? In that glorious form, did he appear to Simon Stylites of old, to Gertrude of Westphalia, not without the entertainment of her joy and devotion : till Hermanus of Arnsburgh descried the fraud; and taught her to avoid it, by a means no less advantageous to that ill spirit, than her former devotion. Yea, yet higher, to Pachomius, and to Valens the monk, as Palladius reports, he durst appear and call for adoration; and had it, under the form of the Lord of Life, blessed for ever.

How vain is the observation of those authors, who make this the difference, betwixt the apparitions of good angels and evil: That the good make choice of the shapes, either of beautiful persons, or of those creatures which are clean and hurtless; as of the shape of a lamb to Clement, or a hart to Eustace, or a dove to Gummarus : whereas the evil put themselves into the forms of deformed men, or of harmful and filthy beasts; as of a goat to the assembly of witches, of hogs in the churches of Agatha profaned by the Arians; of serpents, dragons, toads, and other loathsome and terrible creatures, to St. Hilary and Anthony, as Athanasius and Jerome, in their suppositious relations, have reported: and that, if at any time he take upon him the shape of a man, yet it is with some notable defect and incongruity of limbs *; as with a right-foot cloven, or with a whole hoof; never entirely hunian: when we see that the very glory of angels escapes not their counterfeisance. We know how easy it is for the Almighty to ordain some such mark to be set upon the false shapes of evil spirits, for their better discovery: but why should we rather suppose this to be done, in the case of human bodies, than of heavenly angels? why more, in the resem

# Est hæc res mirabilis, nunquam visos esse dæmonęs vllibi apparuisse. Forner, de Ang. Ser.ix,

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their fury. No sooner is this living spirit of ours dislodged from the body, than it is presented, as in a Privy Sessions, to her Judge; from whom she receives a speedy doom, of life, or death. The sentence is instantly seconded, with an answerable execution. The good angels are glad actors, in the happy instalment of the just, in their glory: the evil angels seize upon the guilty soul, and drag it to their hell. For any third place, or condition ; let them take thought, that believe it: for me, I must profess I never saw any colour of ground for it, in the Sacred Oracles of God; and shall not easily believe, that a truth, mainly importing us, would have been concealed from our eyes.

Woe is me, what a doleful, what a dreadful spectacle is this, which is now presented to my soul! the burning Tophet; the bottomless pit; the lake of fire and brimstone; the region of horror and death: wherein there is the perfection of all more-than-conceiveable anguish; the full consummation of the divine vengeance to sinners : exquisiteness, eternity of torment; despair and impossibility of release, or intermission; perpetual dying, perpetual living in a death that never can end. How are my thoughts at a loss in this place of confusion! whether shall I more tremble, O God, at the consideration of thy terrible justice, or be swallowed up with astonishment of these infinite and intolerable sufferings ? I should not know thee, if I did not, with holy Chrysostom, believe, that the utter loss of thy presence alone, is as a thousand hells: to be for ever banished from thy sight, in which is the fulness of joy, what can it be less, than fulness of turment? But, alas, this is far from a mere absence.

The very sin of the damned is no small part of their hell: for as all their powers, parts, faculties, are a; so many subjects of their insupportable pain and torture; so, out of that insufferable extremity, they conceive a desperate indignation and hatred against God: not, as he is in himself, infinitely good, for goodness can be no object of hate ; but, as he is to them, a severe, though most just, avenger of sin: to which is ever added a will obstinately fixed in evil; while they were in their way, they were in a possibility of reclamation; now that they are in termino, they can be no other than they are. As, therefore, the glorified souls are in a condition, like to the angels of heaven : so the damned are in the state of devils; not more capable of avoiding torment, than sin; equally reserved in everlasting chains of darkness, to the judgment of the great duy : when, woe is me! that, which seemed little less than infi. nite, shall yet receive a further aggravation of pain and misery; when the addition of the body shall give a further extent to this woeful cruciation, without all possibility of release for ever.

Alas, what anguish do I feel in myself, to see the body of a malefactor Haming at a stake! and yet this is but the act of a few minutes : for the air, so vehemently incended, instantly stops the passage of that free breath, which should maintain life; and the Aesh, by opposition of that combustible matter which encompasses

it, is soon turned into dead cinders. But, if I could conceive of a body frying a whole day in a continued flame, Lord, how should I be affected with the sad compassion of that intolerable torment, and burn inwardly with the sense of another's pain! but, to think of a whole year's broiling in such a fire, how can it but turn our bowels within us! What then, Oh, what is it, to conceive of lying in a fire more intense than nature can kindle, for hundreds, thousands, millions, yea millions of millions of years; yea, further beyond these, than these are beyond a minute of time to all eternity : where, besides the endurance, every thing, that makes towards the mitigation of other pains, adds to these !

Here is society of tortures ; but such, as tortureth more: those perpetual howlings, and shriekings, and wailings of so many millions of the damned, were enough to make the place a hell, even to him, that should be exempted from those sufferings. Here is some glimpse of knowledge of the blessed estate of glorified souls; enough to heighten their envy, enough to perfect their torment: even as meat is set before that man, which is doomed to famish. Shortly, here is exquisite disconsolateness, gloomy darkness, extreme horror, pain insufferable, hideous ejaculations, utter hopelessness, vesing indignation, furious blasphemies, infinite dolour and anguish; without relaxation, without pity, without possibility of remedy, or ease, or end. How can it be otherwise? O God, if thy mercy have prepared such a heaven for thy poor servants, whose very best works, for their great imperfection, deserve nothing but punishment; what a hell hath thy justice provided for those enemies of thine, that wilfully despite ihee, and offend of malicious wickedness! How infinitely art thou more just, than sinners can be miserable!

But it is enough, O my soul, to have looked into the pit; enough, to make thee to lament the woeful condition of those, that are there shut up; enough, to warn thee to avoid those sinful ways, that lead down to these chambers of death enough, to make thee think no tears can be sufficient, to bewail the desperate carelessness of wretched sinners, that run on in a known course of wickedness, without any regard of an ensuing damnation. Alas, so are they bewitched, they have not the grace to pity themselves and to foresee the danger of their own utter perdition; which if they could but look into, they would be ready to run mad with horror. Poor souls, could they but recover their reason, they would then think, “If a thousand days' pleasure cannot weigh with one hour's torment, what do I buy one hour's pleasure with the torment of more than ten thousand ages ? How do I dare to dance, for a few minutes, upon the mouth of hell, with the peril of an everlasting burning?" Surely, if infidelity had not robbed men of their wits, they could not resolve to purchase the momentary pleasures of sin, with so dreadful and eternal damnation.

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