Friday, June 30, 2017

Astrology and Medicine By Ellen H. Bennett 1897

Astrology and Medicine By Ellen H. Bennett 1897

It is the opinion of Hippocrates that astrology must be studied by physicians before they can be safely trusted to arrive at a correct prognosis, and to employ the appropriate medicines in the treatment of the cases submitted to their care.

Galen was of the same opinion. Dr. Watson says that, "Advocating the Hippocratic doctrine of critical days, he (Galen) attempts to support it on grounds purely theoretical, and drawn from the periodical changes in Nature, or the influence of the stars."

Galen said that the remedies appropriate to the cure of any malady "are only to be known and judged by the stars." Paracelsus, and Cornelius Agrippa, who was physician to the Emperor Charles V., said the same. Galen admonished his contemporaries " not to trust themselves to that physician (or rather pretender) who is not skilled in astrology."

Astrology has been discarded by the physicians of the nineteenth century (excepting among Eastern nations), yet medicine has not advanced any better without it.

Baron Liebig says: "Truly one is tempted to adopt the opinion that, among the sciences which have for their object a knowledge of Nature and of her forces, medicine as an inductive science occupies the lowest place."

Bamesey, in his work on "Astrology" (1652), remarks that, "Hippocrates and Galen farther say that a physician cannot safely give physic who is ignorant of the knowledge of the stars and superior bodies, not knowing indeed when to give purges, or vomits, or when to let blood, without much mischief, nor in what quantity—which ignorance oftentimes endangers the life of the patient, when, as those that know not the influence of the heavenly bodies, give vomits at such times as cause a purge, and purges when they become emetics, which in laxative diseases or fluxes prove very dangerous, if not deadly or totally destructive, and at other times when the physic never worketh at all. Yet you shall never find the ignorant without an excuse for their rashness; as when they administer a purge, if it cause vomiting then say they the party is of weak constitution and cannot retain the physic. And when physic is not given to be retained, it is either to work downward or upward immediately. The next day, perhaps, as it hath been often known, they give the patient a stronger potion, and then (the heavens being otherwise disposed, which they understand not) it works so violently that Nature is both weakened and overcome, which should have only helped; and also the disease increases which should have been diminished. And so, on the contrary, when an emetic is given at an unsuitable time, it causes purging, then they conclude the patient is strong, when perhaps he requires strength."

This is too often true of the adherents of the dominant or orthodox school of medicine at the present day. The homoeopathists have a law, similia similibus curantur, to guide them in their selection of remedies, and they are not in the habit of exhibiting emetics and purgatives, and do not follow the unscientific practice of mixing several medicines together, of which the physicians of the old school are still so enamoured. This accounts for the comparatively greater success of the system of medical treatment discovered by Hahnemann. Their law also agrees with the teachings of Astrology.

Every physician should provide himself with a copy of Zadkiel's "Ephemeris," and when he is called to visit a patient suffering with a serious complaint, acute or chronic, he should obtain the moment, as approximately as can be ascertained, when the patient was first seized with illness, or was compelled to take to his bed. Having ascertained this, he will soon calculate the exact longitude of the Moon, and it will be better still if he can cast a "figure of the heavens" for that moment. The approach of the first crisis may then be anticipated by calculating the hour when the Moon will arrive at 90 degrees distance in longitude (or three signs of the Zodiac), and the other crisis in like manner. [In measles, and those diseases which ran a rapid course, the crisis will determine when the Moon arrives at 45 degrees distance in longitude.] Then, if at the crisis the "aspects" formed by the Moon with the planets be fortunate, recovery, or at least a change for the better, may be looked for, and vice versa. The fact that the Moon moves more swiftly at one part of her orbit than at another, explains the reason why crises in disease sometimes determine quickly, and at other times come on very slowly.

Of the medicines in daily use by physicians, Saturn rules—aconite, assafoetida, belladonna, Indian hemp, colchicum, conium, spurge olive, black henbane, hyoscyamus, saw palmetto, lead compounds, mullein, white veratrum, American hellebore, poison ivy, comfrey, etc.

Jupiter governs pleurisy root, wild horehound, yellow jessamine, stramonium, dandelion, etc.

Mars rules antimony, arnica, arsenic, bryonia, aloes, capsicum, gentian, iron, sarsaparilla, squills, sulphur, lobelia, strong scented lettuce, etc.

Sol governs gold, garden marigold, tetterwood, chamomile, sundew, saffron, ruta, etc.

Venus rales silver, copper, digitalis, European elder, pulsatilla, zinc, etc.

Mercury governs purging agaric, cherry-laurel, bittersweet, marsh-tea, mercury, valerian, etc.

Luna governs silver, opium, blue flag, moon wort, and all herbs that turn to the Moon.

By observing the aspects of the Moon at the decumbiture and at the crisis, the appropriate remedies may be discovered.

Socialism is a Religion, by the Rev. John J. Ming 1907

Socialism a Religion by the Rev. John J. Ming 1907

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Socialism is not only opposed to Christianity, but as a materialistic theory shatters all religious belief to its very foundation. We should, therefore, expect that were it ever to gain ascendency, religion would be buried never to rise again, and we should expect this all the more, as its extinction in the future commonwealth has been repeatedly predicted by the highest authorities. But here we are sorely puzzled. No sooner have socialists professed their anti-religious views before the whole world than they assure us that socialism is in need of a religion, nay, is a religion itself, and even the sublimest and most perfect religion. Such assurances, impossible as they seem to be, have been given by several writers in the clearest and most positive terms.

Ladoff says:
"Socialism of to-day is sorely in need of a church with a great religious prophet at its head." [The Passing of Capitalism, p. 45]

Bax affirms:
"Socialism brings back religion from heaven to earth, which was its original sphere." [Religion of Socialism, p. 52]

Peter Burrowes terms socialism the religion of humanity.

"Granting 'the cause' of religion to be found once for all in the cause of the world's workers, socialism becomes with all its developments the religion of humanity."

Still clearer is the statement of Herron:

"Essentially, socialism is a religion, the religion of life and for which the world long waited."

"In its essence socialism is a religion; it stands for the harmonious relating of the whole of man; it stands for a vast and collective fulfilling of the law of love. As the socialist movement grows, its religious forces will come forth from the furnace of consuming experience." [Why I Am a Socialist. Chicago 1900. p. 27]

How shall we look on these and other like assertions? Are we to understand that those who made them retract what they maintain elsewhere and are converted from ungodliness to religiousness? Or do they consciously or unconsciously entangle themselves in inextricable contradictions?

No such interpretations are necessary to solve this perplexing riddle. We need only bear in mind that among the socialist writers "religion" has two quite different meanings. Hence, according as it is taken in the one or the other sense, it may at the same time, though not under the same conception, be accepted or rejected by them. It is first and obviously conceived as belief in a God, the Supreme Being, and as worship of the Creator of the universe. Religion in this sense is held by all consistent socialists in utter abomination. But it is taken also as a social and ethical theory; and as such it is deemed necessary for, and even identical with, socialism.

Both Ladoff and Bax apprise us of this twofold conception they have of religion. The former says:

"Religion may be considered as composed of two principal disciplines. One of these disciplines is the ontological and presents some theory of the non ego, the not ourselves, the outward world at large, its origin, existence, and future and the mutual relations between this world at large and men. The other discipline is ethical and moral. It embraces some theory about social institutions and contains rules and regulations of human conduct corresponding to this theory. The first discipline of religion—the ontological or cosmological—is at present supplanted by scientific philosophy."

"The second discipline of religion, its ethical part, is still of great vital importance as a social power, modifying and regulating human interrelations and consociations for better or worse, according to conditions. Science has not yet succeeded so far in supplanting entirely the subjective, intuitional, emotional, and imaginative elements of religion by results of objective reasoning and impartial observation and investigation."

"It is therefore clear that religion may be of great assistance to secular Socialism, by arousing the human passion for righteousness, by appealing to race instincts and noble emotions, by directing the imagination to a grand vista of human bliss and happiness, of heroic deeds, of self-sacrifice and martyrdom, of fame and glory and immortality."

A Church and religion with this end in view, he adds, were recommended by Huxley, whom he calls the greatest scientist of the past century.

In like manner Bax characterizes the kind of religion which socialism disavows and the kind which it adopts.

"In what sense socialism is not religious will now be clear. It utterly despises the 'other world' with all its stage properties. That is, the present objects of religion. In what sense it is not irreligious will be also, I think, tolerably clear. It brings back religion from heaven to earth, which, as we have sought to show, was its original sphere. It looks beyond the present moment or the present individual life, though not, indeed, to another world, but to another and a higher life in this world. It is in the hope and the struggle for this higher social life, ever-widening, ever-intensifying, whose ultimate possibilities are beyond the power of language to express or thought to conceive, that the Socialist finds his ideal, his religion."

Herron similarly conceives socialism as a religion when he says that "it stands for a vast and collective fulfilling of the law of love."

Joseph Dietzgen maintains that socialism takes the place of the old religion, and, because it performs its office in a higher and pre-eminent sense, is the only true religion. In his sermons on the "Religion of Socialism" we find some explanations, which complete the views set forth by Bax and Ladoff.

"Religion has since time immemorial been so much cared for and hallowed, that even those minds who have given up the belief in a personal God, in a supreme protector of mankind, still adhere to some sort of religion. Let us for the sake of those conservatives use the old word for the new thing. This is not only a concession made to prejudice, in order the more easily to overcome it, but it is also justified by the thing itself."

Dietzgen marks out salvation as the first object of religion.

"All religions have this in common, that they strive for the salvation of suffering humanity, and to lead it up to the good, the beautiful, the righteous, and the divine. Well, social democracy is all the more the true religion as it strives for the very same end, not in a fantastic way, not by praying and fasting, wishing and sighing, but in a manner positive and active, real and true, by the social organization of manual and mental work."

"Work is the name of the new redeemer."

"We deal here with the salvation of mankind in the truest sense of the word. If there be anything holy, here we stand before the holy of holiest. . . . It is real, positive salvation of the whole civilized humanity. This salvation was neither invented nor revealed; it has grown out of the accumulated labor of history. It consists in the wealth of today which arose glorious and dazzling in the light of science, out of the darkness of barbarism, out of the oppression, superstition, and misery of the people, out of human flesh and blood, to save humanity. This wealth, in all its palpable reality, is the solid foundation of hope for social democracy."

"In the secrets which we have wrung from Nature; in the magic formulas by which we force her to do our wishes and to yield her bounties without any painful work on our part; in the constantly increasing improvement of the methods of production —in this, I say, consists the wealth which can accomplish what no redeemer ever could." [Philosophical Essays, pp. 93-95]

Besides salvation religion has for its object systematic thought.

"Religion is primitive philosophy. ... I called religion philosophy, because it claims not only to redeem us, with the help of gods, and by praying and whining, from the earthly miseries, but also to lend a systematic frame to our thinking. The universal significance of religion for uncultured tribes is founded on the universal need for a systematic knowledge of the world. Just as we generally have a practical need for the dominion over the things of the world, so do we generally have a theoretical need for a systematic view of life."

"Yet it is not sufficient to dethrone the phantastic and religious system of life; it is necessary to put a new system, a rational one, in its stead. And that only the socialist can accomplish."

"In place of religion social democracy puts a systematic conception of the universe."

"According to the religious systems God is the final cause."

"International social democracy is proud to know the 'final cause' on which everything rests, and to possess a scientific basis for everything and a 'systematic philosophy.'"

"This philosophy finds its 'final cause' in the real conditions."

"Therefore we are able to mold consciously and with systematic consistency our notions of justice and liberty after our material needs, that is the needs of the proletariat, of the masses."

Religion thus conceived does not interfere with the abolition of the worship of a personal God, but fully harmonizes with the most pronounced atheism. Thus the riddle of socialism as a religion seems to be satisfactorily solved.

This brand-new conception of religion as proposed by socialist writers still presents a difficulty, which peremptorily demands an explanation. Religion, of whatever kind, also as defined and adopted by socialists, implies a supreme being, to which it refers men and in subordination to which they find their happiness, their true life, their highest perfection. But where in all materialistic philosophy is there a being to which man could be subordinated, man who is autonomous and "made god after his own image"? Socialist philosophers have not failed to give us an answer.

E. Untermann writes:

"'Ni Dieu, ni maitre.' The united human mind, lifted to world control by the proletarian revolution, will become the natural 'god' of the universe and make itself master of a self-controlled universe, whose highest product it is." [The World's Revolutions. p. 170]

Long before Untermann wrote these lines, J. Dietzgen had defined humanity or civilized society as the only true and eternal sanctuary and as the supreme being in which socialists believe.

"The saints and the sanctuaries, the religious and the worldly ones, must disappear in order that the only eternal and true sanctuary, humanity or mankind, may live." [Philosophical Essays. p. 105]

"Civilized human society is the supreme being in which we believe, on its transformation to socialism we build our hope. Such a humanity will make love a reality, of which the religious enthusiasts have been only dreaming."

Fundamentally, the two writers are at one. As they put it, not individual man is the supreme being, for he is still dependent on his social and physical environment, but human society; and not human society in its initial stage, but society fully developed in knowledge and so far advanced in power as to be able to master and control the universe. Accordingly, the supreme being is not the first cause, the creator of the world, but the world's highest product and ultimate evolution. Nor has it as yet real existence. At present it is only an ideal which ought to inspire men with the highest moral sentiments, a final cause, an end which is to be achieved by their co-operation and which, vice versa, when attained, will bring complete happiness.

Whatever system refers men to humanity as their supreme being and ultimate end is usually called humanitarianism. Socialism, therefore, conceived as a religion, is humanitarian in the strict and proper sense. So it is, in fact, termed by socialist writers, and as such it is represented by them in glowing and enthusiastic descriptions.

Bax writes:

"Socialism has well been described as a new conception of the world presenting itself in industry as co-operative communism, in politics as international republicanism, in religion as atheistic humanitarianism, by which is meant the recognition of social progress as our being's highest end and aim. ... As the religion of slave industry was paganism, as the religion of serfage was Catholic Christianity, or sacerdotalism, as the religion of capitalism is Protestant Christianity, or biblical dogma, so the religion of collective and co-operative industry is humanism, which is another name for socialism."

Ladoff is yet clearer:

"Socialism is sorely in need of a moral or religious force. But such a religious force must be and is gradually being developed in a thoroughly rationalistic idealism, full of vigor and faith in the inherent nobility and great future of the human race here on our mother earth, in a self-sacrificing passion for social-economic justice in human society; in a tender sympathy with all downtrodden and dispossessed children of labor; in a hatred of all evil and wrong in human interrelations; in an arduous desire for a nobler, higher, and more truly human culture. Such a religion of a divine humanity, moving onward and onward on the high road of physical and spiritual perfection, is the religion of socialism."

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Long English Words from Times Past

Today when we think of big words, Antidisestablishmentarianism comes to mind, or if you will Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, otherwise known as P45. It could be worse. Our language could be German where long words are par for the course. Some long German words are Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz or Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften. However, the Victorian or Edwardian past had they're own long words, not as long as some today, but they are still worth looking at:

Longest English Word, according the The Bulletin 1918

The question of what is the longest word in the English language came up in connection with certain scientific, chemical words which cannot strictly be entered as claimants for the distinction. They are really compound words and are generally printed with a hyphen though they are sometimes used as one word. If they were admissible they would easily be winners. Ethyldioxydihydroteraphthalate, for example, is one, for which see Catalogue of Public Documents of the Sixty-Third Congress, p. 1832. This, however, is surpassed by methylethylpropylisobutylammoniumchloride which may be found in "Organic Chemistry for advanced Students" by Julius B. Cohen, New York, 1919, p. 620.

'Probably the longest regular, dictionary word in English is or was honorificabilitudinity. The definition given is honorableness. It is fortunately obsolete and was rare at that See the Murray-Oxford Dictionary where there is appended the following example of its use: "1800 Spirit Pub. Jrnls. (1801) IV. 147. The two longest monosyllables in our language are strength and straight, and the very longest word is honorificabilitudinity."

From the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable By Ebenezer Cobham Brewer

Agathokakological. (Southey: The Doctor.)

The giantess. (Croquemitaine, iii. 2.)

(The Three Hairs.)

Antipericatametanapiubeugedamphicribrationes Toordicantium.
One of the books in the library of St. Victor. (Rabelais: Pantagruel, ii. 7.)

(battle of the frogs and mice). A Greek mock heroic.

Cluninstaridysarchides. (Plautus.)


called the longest word in the (?) English language. It frequently occurs in old plays. (See Bailey's Dictionary) . The "quadradimensionality" is almost as long.
"Thou art not so long hy the head as Honorificatbilitudinitatibus." Shakespeare: Love's Labour Lost, v.1.

Inanthropomorphisability of deity.

They morramborizeverzengirizequoquemorgasaebaquevezinemaffretiding my poor. eye. (Rabelais: Pantagruel, iv. 15.)

A dye of an intense red colour.
"Dinitroaniline, cbloroxynaphthalic acid, which may be used for colouring wool in intense red; and nitrophenylenediamine of chromatic brilliancy."- William Crookes: The Times, October 5th, 1868.

"Why. not wind up the famous ministerial declaration with 'Konx Ompax' or the mystic 'Om' or that difficult expression Polyphrasticontinomimegalondulaton'"-The Star

"The general depth of modern researches in structural chemistry must he explained, even to those, who are not interested in the mystery of tryphenylmethans, the tetramethyldiamidobenzhydrols and other similarly terrific terms used by chemists."-.Nineteenth Century (Aug., 1893, p. 248).

From The King's English By George Washington Moon:

Words derived from the Saxon are usually very short in comparison with those of Latin origin, but some words of even Saxon derivation are polysyllabic, e.g. "straightforwardness," "forethoughtfulness," "unthoroughfaresomeness," meaning (in a word of Latin derivation), "impenetrability." Three of the longest words in the English language are "latitudinarianism," "attitudinarianism" and "platitudinarianism;" each has nine syllables. These three words, which are not only the longest words, but the longest rhyming words, in the English language, have satirically been said to be descriptive of the three divisions of the English church. The following is a German word,—


meaning, A Constantinopolitan itinerant bagpipe player.

A Ghost Story, by George Macdonald's 1905


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ONE of the most successful attempts in English fiction to create an atmosphere of eeriness and indefinable terror, and, at the same time, perhaps, the most enthralling story the late George MacDonald ever wrote, is a tiny book called “The Portent; a Story of Second Sight,“ which came out in 1864, and seems at present to have been long out of print. It appeared originally in those classical first two volumes of Cornhill edited by Thackeray, where, however, it was cut short abruptly at the end of the third installment. The little volume is very rare now, and few probably are acquainted with it. “The Portent" is an exquisite example of how to deal with supernatural themes poetically and yet within the artistic bounds of a novel. It is extremely unlike the conventional ghost-story, unlike, indeed, almost every other story of the unseen. There are no ghosts of the common or churchyard kind, visible to whoever happens to cross their beat. Spirits appear only to such as have the faculty to see them, a privilege accorded to few. In a word, this is a story of second-sight. The postulate on which it is based, and which the author evidently accepts with perfect credence, is that the material and spiritual worlds exist side by side, and that certain gifted human beings may, by a powerful effort of will, step across the narrow boundary. Among these privileged beings are the man and woman whose history this is, and their spiritual natures are furthermore connected by a mystical affinity, endowing them with powers of mutual influence or “operative volition.”

The plot is old-fashioned and conventional so far as it relates to worldly things. The idea of a family conspiracy against an heiress, by which she is kept in durance and deprived of education, so that, eventually, her relatives may make her out a lunatic and get hold of her property; and the further contrivance of the tutor who falls in love with the beautiful prisoner and turns out to be a far-off kinsman; all this seems like the machinery of a too-familiar romanticism. The lady is a somnambulist, like some of the people in Brockden Brown’s novels of New England, popular at the supposed date of the story, the eve of Waterloo. The mansion has a deserted wing and a haunted room, the tutor's chamber boasts a screwed-up door in the wainscoting, and other suggestive features such as Jane Austen derided. But Dr. MacDonald’s insight into the mental life of delicately balanced natures raises the story to a totally different sphere of interest; his imagination and his sense of spiritual beauty make of it something near akin to poetry.

A young Scot at divers crises of his fortunes is warned by a portent, the sound of a horse with a shoe loose, galloping towards him—a sound audible to him, inaudible to others. Anything more weird and thrilling than this apparition of sound, not of sight, heard in the depths of midnight landscapes, in the noonday crowd, and amid the thronging visions of the Haunted Chamber, can hardly be imagined; it is rendered more impressive by the dark, romantic legend that makes it an omen of dreadful meaning to the hero’s race. By family influence, the Scot becomes tutor to the children of an English peer, in whose household he meets with the partner of his psychical experiences. This beautiful young girl, a relative of the peer, is strange in manner, “possessed,” as it were, and her guardians have little difficulty in representing her as weak mentally. How the intellect of this child of nature is awakened, how super-sensuous affinities reveal themselves between her and the young Scot, with whose ancestry hers is distantly connected, and how they meet in the psychical borderland of dreaming and waking, is a strangely beautiful love-tale, wrapped in the enchanted atmosphere of a mystic world.

Writers of ghost-stories secure the necessary illusion by agitating the emotions powerfully, by cheating the understanding momentarily with a show of logical reasoning, or by a cunning appeal to reason and emotion together. The apparatus of the Radcliffian romance was pure sensation, sometimes subtly graduated, or even merely suggested, at other times applied in crude and violent doses. Horace Walpole, Maturin, "Monk" Lewis made no attempt to rationalise their gigantic and forceful images; Mrs. Radcliffe’s postponed explanation is an artless trick that most of her imitators scorned to adopt. They dealt violent blows upon the reader’s nerves, well satisfied to evoke temporary emotions of horror and awe. This sort of thing has ceased to impress the cultured reader, who will not respond to such brutal shocks, whereas he is moved intensely by moral attractions and repulsions. And so, the modern writer, Henry James for example, gives us something more recondite and refined, yet far more potent than these raw sensations, to sway the feelings. The author of "The Turn of the Screw” makes consummate artistic use of his scientific insight into the hidden springs of fear. His science helps him in more than one way, enabling him to give a sufficiently rational account of the phenomena represented and to lull the mind into belief in the objectivity of what we read, and telling him how to thrill the reader as if by a light touch on the nerve. Dr. MacDonald's psychology is not the less efficient because it is intuitive. It is somewhat akin to the naive faith of the primitive teller of ghost-stories, who thrills his remotest and most sophisticated readers because he sets forth his real beliefs in simple and direct language. The supernatural glamour pervading Dr. MacDonald's story enchants our minds, and makes the incidents seem but the normal happenings of the world in which for the time being we live.

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"What a wonderful thing waking is! The time of the ghostly moonshine—we sleep it by; and the great positive sunlight comes: it fills me with thoughts. As with a man who dreams, and knows that he is dreaming, and thinks he knows what waking is, but knows it so little that he mistakes, one after another, many a vague and dim change in his dream for an awaking, and when the true waking comes at last, is filled and overflowed with the power of its reality: so shall it be with us when we wake from this dream of life into the truer life beyond, and find all our present notions of being thrown back as into a dim vapoury region of dreamland, where yet we thought we knew, and whence we looked forward into the present; as (to use another likeness) a man who, in the night, when another is about to cause light in the room, lies trying to conceive, with all the force of his imagination, what the light will be like, is yet, when most successful, seized as by a new and unexpected thing, different from and beyond all his imagining, when the reality flames up before him, and he feels as if the darkness were cast to an infinite distance behind him. This must be what Novalis means when he says: ‘Our life is not a dream; but it may become a dream, and perhaps ought to become one.‘"

From this eloquent passage we see that Dr. MacDonald's story must be regarded rather as poetry than fantasy. The supernatural vision of the Highlander is to him no delusion of a dreamy temperament: if he does not believe it to be an authentic faculty, he at least classes it among those things not explained by our philosophy.

Dr. MacDonald’s style is simple and chaste; it often attains a high degree of imaginative beauty, as in describing the awakening of the sleep-walker, Lady Alice.

"She lay in something deeper than sleep, and yet not death. I rose, and once more knelt beside her, but dared not touch her. In what far realms of mysterious life might the lovely soul be straying? Thoughts unutterable rose in me, culminated, and sank like the stars of heaven, Is I gazed on the present symbol of an absent life—a life that I loved by means of the symbol; a symbol that I loved because of the life. How long she lay thus, how long I gazed upon her thus, I do not know."

"Gradually, but without my being able to distinguish the gradations of the change, her countenance altered to that of one who sleeps. The slightest possible colour tinged her lips, and deepened to a pale rose; then her cheek seemed to share in the hue, as the cloud the farthest from the sunset yet acknowledges the rosy atmosphere. I watched, as it were, the dawn of a soul on the horizon of the material. As I watched, the first approaches of its far-off flight were manifest; and I saw it come nearer and nearer, till its great, silent, speeding pinions were folded, and it looked forth, a calm, beautiful, infinite woman, from the face and form sleeping beside me."

Not less beautiful is this picture of the Haunted Room:

"By the dim light I caught only a darkling glimpse of a large room, apparently quite furnished; but how, except from the general feeling of antiquity and mustiness, I could not tell. Little did I think then what memories—sorrowful and old now as the ghosts that along with them haunt that old chamber, but no more faded than they—would ere long find their being and take their abode in that ancient room, to forsake it never, never more—the ghosts and the memories flitting together through the spectral moonlight, and weaving strange mystic dances in and out of the storied windows and the tapestried walls.”

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

History of Vampires by George Ripley 1872

History of Vampires by George Ripley 1872

VAMPIRE, a fabulous creature, which was widely believed in previously to and during the 18th century in Greece, Hungary, Moravia, Silesia, Poland, and Russia. Vampires are defined by Dom Calmet as persons "who have been dead a considerable time, sometimes more, sometimes less; who leave their tombs, and come and disturb the living, sucking their blood, appearing to them, making a noise at their doors and in their houses, and often causing their death." They usually, he informs us, visit their relatives and those in the prime of life and full health and vigor. The belief in vampires is probably of oriental origin; the ghouls of the Persians and Arabians seem to belong to the same family, though the superstition had been modified by Christianity. In the latter part of the 17th. and the first half of the l8th century, the plague and other fatal epidemics had prevailed in the countries we have named; and the sudden death of many persons from languor and exhaustion was attributed by their relatives and others to the blood having been drawn from them by these vampires, who had themselves died shortly before of the prevailing diseases. In hundreds of cases, the bodies of alleged vampires were disinterred, and in some the body was found not decayed, the complexion fresh, and liquid blood still in the veins. A sharpened stake was driven through the body, the heart taken out and the head removed, and both reduced to ashes. It was alleged that in some cases the body uttered a shriek when the stake was driven through it. The undecayed condition of the bodies, which was probably the result either of their burial alive, which often happened during the prevalence of severe epidemics, their peculiar condition after death from plague, resisting ordinary decay, as has been demonstrated in yellow fever, or the presence of antiseptic qualities in the soil in which they were buried, was regarded as positive proof of their having been vampires. In Poland, the name given to these night visitors is upior, in Russia, googooka; in Slavonia, oopir.—See Ranft, Tractat von dem Kauen und Schmatzen der Todten in Grabern (Leipsic, 1734); Dom Augustine Calmet, Dissertation sur les vampires (1747), which passed through 5 or 6 editions prior to 1757, and was reprinted in London in 1850 as the second volume of "The Phantom World," with notes by the Rev. H. Christmas; Lenglet-Dufresnoy, Traite historique et dogmatigve sur les apparitions, &c. (Avignon, 1751); and the marquis de Maffei, "Letter on Magic."

The Polytheism of Genesis One by Rev. A. E. Whatham 1911

The Polytheism of Genesis Chapter 1 by Rev. A. E. Whatham 1911

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Describing the character of the record of the Creation contained in the first chapter of Genesis, Professor Bennett tells us that it is "the last of many editions of an ancient Semitic story, its priestly writer having purged it of its polytheistic superstition and made it a noble and simple declaration of the making of all things by God, who is one, holy, and benevolent." In like manner Professor Zimmern refers to " the strictly monotheistic tone .... that pervades the whole chapter"; while Professor Sayce alludes to its "devout" and "uncompromising monotheism." Finally Hommel, referring especially to the first eleven chapters of Genesis, asserts that "the Bible exhibits nothing but the purest monotheism."

That in contrast to "the exuberant and grotesque polytheism" of the Babylonian cosmogony, the Book of Genesis may be said to open with "a sublime and dignified narrative" is undoubtedly true, and from this standpoint we are prepared to accept Professor Bennett's view of Gen., chap. i; but whether we have here a narrative written from the position of an uncompromising monotheism, as all these writers contend, is a doubtful matter, and, as we are about to show, one which is made even more so by the further statements of these same writers.

Professor Sayce thinks that the "us" in Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7, refers to a polytheistic document which lay before the Hebrew writer; while in his earlier work he had referred to this "us" as constituting one of the traces of a persistent polytheism among the bulk of the people which were left upon "the language and possibly the thoughts of the enlightened few." Professor Zimmern sees here a reference to the conception of other divine beings which was a relic of the early polytheistic foundation of the Hebrew story. Professor Bennett thinks that the meaning of this "us" is definitely determined by Isa. 6: 1, 2, where Yahweh is described as surrounded by his heavenly court. Professor Davidson acknowledges that "the language is obscure," although he gives the explanation of Professor Bennett as that "of most expositors." Professor Driver, however, rejects this on the ground that "it would make the angels take part in the creation of man, which .... is not probable," and he therefore, with MacLean, sees here "a plural of majesty." But, as Professor Wade points out, this interpretation "will not explain Gen. 3:22, which indeed is practically conceded by Driver himself, who explains the phrase here "as one of us" as indicating that man "has become like one of the class of divine beings to which Jehovah also belongs." Indeed, as he further admits, it is to this class of beings that the serpent refers in Gen. 3:5, where the phrase "as God" signifies, and should be so rendered, "as gods" (RVm), thus harmonizing with the phrase "sons of God" in Gen. 6:2, which should there also be rendered "sons of gods." Professor Driver unreservedly admits that in Gen. 6:1-4 we have "an ancient Hebrew legend .... a piece of 'unassimilated mythology,'" adding, "as a rule the Hebrew narrators stripped off the mythological coloring of the pieces of folklore which they record, but in the present instance it is still discernible." Now if we have here a piece of pure mythology, similar to the classical myths which record the marriages between the gods and mortals, in other words, a polytheistic narrative, we are fully justified in seeing in Gen. i: 26 an allusion to a polytheistic conception of deity. In fact, when compared with Gen. 3:5, 22, this is the only possible conclusion. So examined, with all the associated facts considered, Gen., chap. 1, is seen to be a narrative not of a devout monotheist, jealous for the recognition of the essential oneness of deity, but of a henotheist not yet fully evolved from the polytheistic thought underlying such a belief. Thus in the "us" of Gen., Chaps, i-11, we have a definite reference to divine beings upon whom the title gods, or sons of gods, is unreservedly bestowed, a more correct term than that of "angels" given them in II Pet. 2:4, and Jude, vs. 6. Notwithstanding therefore the assertion of many scholars that Gen., chap. 1, was written at a very late period by a Hebrew scribe anxiously striving from the standpoint of a strict and devout monotheist to bestow a thorough and exhaustive treatment on all aspects of his subject, the evidence we have even so far produced shows that such an opinion is absolutely without warrant. And here we are supported by the last scholar who has written on this subject. Professor Toffteen, referring to the phrase in Gen. 1:26, "Let us make man in our image," describes it as plainly polytheistic "implying a recognition of more than one God." "Gen., chap. 1," he adds, "uses Elohim in a polytheistic sense." Finally he concludes touching the date of the document "P," which includes the first and much of the rest of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, that it belongs to "a very early date, most probably to about the time of Samuel, Saul, and David.'" Owing therefore to the polytheistic thought so plainly exhibited in Gen., chap. 1, this chapter must have been written before a pure monotheism was first taught in Israel, that is, before the eighth century at least, which brings us now to consider the polytheism of the Hebrew-Israelites and their fathers.

It has been claimed that the Hebrews never were polytheists. In the issue of this journal for May, 1899, I undertook to show that this was a mistake. Recently, however, this claim has been repeated on the ground that the worship by Israel's fathers of the gods of Babylon and Egypt shows merely that they abandoned themselves to the worship of the foreign gods in whose country they sojourned, and not that they themselves had possessed their own special deities. The tendency to a persistent idolatry among the Israelites is freely acknowledged, but this, it is claimed, "cannot be counted as among the relics of a once prevalent Israelitish polytheism." Thus MacLean, relying upon Kautzsch, does not hesitate to say that there is "no trace of Hebrew polytheism." To us, however, it seems that there is not only a very clear trace of an original and continuous Hebrew polytheism, but that the very plain evidence of this is lost sight of by those scholars who deny it because of their failure to take into consideration the origin and development of that part of the Hebrew people who only later became known as the nation of Israel. Jacob went down into Egypt with a family of seventy souls, which returned to Canaan four hundred years later as a nation with some six hundred thousand men capable of bearing arms, besides women, children, their own old people, and many followers, about two million persons. As Jacob's descendants increased in Egypt they adopted the religion of the country, and the question has now to be asked, Was such an adoption contrary to their own idea of deity? But this necessitates the prior question, What was their religion when, as a family, a mere handful of people, they had gone down into Egypt? Hommel would have us see in Abraham a monotheist, who, however, was nothing more than a henotheist, since the god of Melchizedek, to whom he willingly paid tithes, was a mere Canaanite deity. Jacob also was a henotheist, as can be seen from the covenant made between himself and Laban, where the deities of Abraham and Nahor are two different gods. This is further proved by Jacob demanding that his household should put away the images and amulets of the gods which they, as former members of Laban's household, had been accustomed to worship. These Jacob simply buried beneath the sacred terebinth at Shechem, thus showing his respect for them, although they formed no part of the worship of his own special deity (Gen. 35:2-4). But Jacob's action does not show that his household had put the conception of their own gods out of their hearts, for their later adoption of the gods of Egypt shows that they had remained inherently true polytheists. Nor must we neglect to note that the number of persons mentioned as comprising Jacob's family which went down to Egypt could not have included all that came out with him from Padan-Aram. When we recall Abraham's three hundred servants born in his house, and then think of the enormous number of cattle Jacob must have owned (Gen. 32:13-20), we can readily understand that he too must have had a great number of servants. All this is confirmed by the statement of Joseph to Pharaoh's butler and baker, that he had been stolen out of the land of the Hebrews. Such a description of Canaan at that time shows that it must have been full of these people, most of whom were descendants of Abraham's, Isaac's, and Jacob's servants brought from Padan-Aram. These could never have been more than nominal worshipers of El Shaddai, the more or less personal deity of their respective masters (Gen. 6:3), so that it was only natural that they should have first included him among their own gods of Padan-Aram, and then have lost both in a later acceptance of the gods of their new Canaanite home. It was, as Joshua indicates, thus in Egypt with Jacob's own immediate descendants, and all owing to an inherent tendency to polytheism derived from their original fathers, who had themselves been polytheists (Josh. 24:2, 14, 15). Professor Kautzsch, however, would have us believe that the fathers of the Hebrew-Israelite-Egyptians whom Joshua was addressing had not "from the first .... their own specifically Israelitish gods, but that they abandoned themselves to the worship of the foreign gods in whose country and sphere they sojourned." But the fathers of the Babylonian Hebrews, southern Arabians, were pronounced polytheists who, in conquering the Sumerian-Babylonians, adopted their polytheism because they themselves were polytheists. Their descendants, that is, so many of them as finally went down into Egypt and there became Hebrew-Israelite-Egyptians, followed in their footsteps by adopting the gods of Egypt. Finally, when these stood on the borders of Canaan ready to commence its conquest, notwithstanding their newly-adopted faith in Yahweh, they were ready at once to recognize in the gods of the Canaanite nation real gods, whom they at once confused with Yahweh, putting him on a level with them. When Jacob went down into Egypt there was. as I have already intimated, no Israelite nation; it was yet to be born. From its fathers, the sons of Jacob, it had evidently inherited little knowledge of, or loyalty to El Shaddai, the personal god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Indeed, with the exception possibly of Joseph, the sons of Jacob may be viewed as just as much attached to the gods their mothers had brought with them from Padan-Aram as to their father's god, El Shaddai. Before they went down to Egypt we see Judah having commerce with a supposed kedeshah, or sacred prostitute of a heathen shrine (Gen. 35:21). If, then, the Canaanite-Israelite held his monotheism loosely, and was ready to worship at Canaanite shrines, so also must the sons of Jacob have held the henotheism of their father loosely, and have been equally ready to worship at the shrines of the Egyptians. Thus it was that before long their descendants in Egypt, possessing already the strange gods of their fathers, grew up to recognize the gods of the Egyptians as equally their gods. With them there was no "adoption" of these latter gods. Being already more or less polytheists, the gods of the country in which they were born were naturally the gods whom they included as such among the traditional gods of their fathers. Thus it is that Professor Sayce explains the calf-worship of the Israelites, when Moses seemed to have deserted them, as "their own faith in the days before the Exodus." Some modern scholars reject the once generally accepted opinion that the Israelites borrowed the calf-worship from the Egyptians, attributing it rather to "the primitive conception of the Semitic stock to which the Hebrews belonged, the bull being a symbol of deity throughout the Semitic world." Others, however, still accept the old view. We agree with the latter, since the Israelites, while from an original Semitic stock, had grown up in a country in which Egyptian and not Semitic ideas prevailed. Indeed, it is doubtful whether they knew anything at all about Semitic faith and ritual. Nor is there anything in the argument that the Israelites just freed from Egyptian bondage would not have adopted an Egyptian deity to worship. They had asked for gods, new gods like Yahweh, to whom they had only recently been introduced by Moses. In Aaron making them a calf they did not necessarily see in it an Egyptian god, but a deity whose mere image and style of worship they were familiar with, and that was all. As for the inference sought to be drawn from the words of Aaron that the Israelites thought they were worshiping Yahweh, this is doubtful. They wanted gods, and they had no particular choice, as the form of their request shows (Exod. 32:1-6). If Aaron chose to represent that the god he had made for them was Yahweh, they did not care so long as they could worship with their accustomed heathen rites. Thus in spirit and action they were still out-and-out idolatrous polytheists. This Yahweh himself is represented as indicating, and this was the cause of Moses demanding a reconsecration to Yahweh with the terrible slaughter of the apostates. It is now freely conceded that while through the judges and the monarchy Yahweh alone was Israel's God, "it was generally held that the gods of other nations—Chemosh, Milcom, and so on—had a real existence and authority in their respective lands." But this, unfortunately, was not all. In the time of the Judges the Israelites frequently forsook Yahweh for the Baals, the gods of the people among whom they dwelt; Solomon reared altars for Ashtoreth, Chemosh, Milcom, and others in Jerusalem itself for his heathen wives, and here he himself bowed to them; while on the very edge of the exile men, women, and children took their customary part in the worship of the queen of heaven (Judg. 2:11; I Kings 11:1-7; Jer. 7:18).

Note.—In my claim that the Hebrews had originally been and continued to remain polytheists, I am perfectly aware of the fact that there is no definite trace of any special gods existing among the Hebrew-Israelites that had belonged to their Babylonian and Aramaic forefathers as peculiarly their own original deities. In this sense, of course, it is true that "there is no trace of a Hebrew polytheism." But this is an entirely different matter from the denial that there is any trace "of a once-prevailing Israelitish polytheism." The Arabian forefathers of the Israelites, when they conquered Babylon, because they were polytheists, themselves adopted the polytheism of their new home. The Aramaic-Hebrews did the same thing, and so did the Egyptian-Hebrews, and finally the Canaanite-Hebrews. These facts show plainly that the Hebrews from the first had been polytheists whose original gods they at each migration exchanged for those of the country in which they took up their abode. All this seems to us to present a very clear trace of "a once prevailing and still continuing Israelitish polytheism." A. E. W.

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A Letter to the Dead Edgar Allan Poe by Andrew Lang 1886

A Letter to the Dead Edgar Allan Poe by Andrew Lang 1886

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Sir,—Your English readers, better acquainted with your poems and romances than with your criticisms, have long wondered at the indefatigable hatred which pursues your memory.  You, who knew the men, will not marvel that certain microbes of letters, the survivors of your own generation, still harass your name with their malevolence, while old women twitter out their incredible and unheeded slanders in the literary papers of New York.  But their persistent animosity does not quite suffice to explain the dislike with which many American critics regard the greatest poet, perhaps the greatest literary genius, of their country.  With a commendable patriotism, they are not apt to rate native merit too low; and you, I think, are the only example of an American prophet almost without honour in his own country.

The recent publication of a cold, careful, and in many respects admirable study of your career (“Edgar Allan Poe,” by George Woodberry: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., Boston) reminds English readers who have forgotten it, and teaches those who never knew it, that you were, unfortunately, a Reviewer.  How unhappy were the necessities, how deplorable the vein, that compelled or seduced a man of your eminence into the dusty and stony ways of contemporary criticism!  About the writers of his own generation a leader of that generation should hold his peace.  He should neither praise nor blame nor defend his equals; he should not strike one blow at the buzzing ephemerae of letters.  The breath of their life is in the columns of “Literary Gossip;” and they should be allowed to perish with the weekly advertisements on which they pasture.  Reviewing, of course, there must needs be; but great minds should only criticise the great who have passed beyond the reach of eulogy or fault-finding.

Unhappily, taste and circumstances combined to make you a censor; you vexed a continent, and you are still unforgiven.  What “irritation of a sensitive nature, chafed by some indefinite sense of wrong,” drove you (in Mr. Longfellow’s own words) to attack his pure and beneficent Muse we may never ascertain.  But Mr. Longfellow forgave you easily; for pardon comes easily to the great.  It was the smaller men, the Daweses, Griswolds, and the like, that knew not how to forget.  “The New Yorkers never forgave him,” says your latest biographer; and one scarcely marvels at the inveteracy of their malice.  It was not individual vanity alone, but the whole literary class that you assailed.  “As a literary people,” you wrote, “we are one vast perambulating humbug.”  After that declaration of war you died, and left your reputation to the vanities yet writhing beneath your scorn.  They are writhing and writing still.  He who knows them need not linger over the attacks and defences of your personal character; he will not waste time on calumnies, tale-bearing, private letters, and all the noisome dust which takes so long in settling above your tomb.

For us it is enough to know that you were compelled to live by your pen, and that in an age when the author of “To Helen” and “The Cask of Amontillado” was paid at the rate of a dollar a column.  When such poverty was the mate of such pride as yours, a misery more deep than that of Burns, an agony longer than Chatterton’s, were inevitable and assured.  No man was less fortunate than you in the moment of his birth—infelix opportunitate vitae.  Had you lived a generation later, honour, wealth, applause, success in Europe and at home, would all have been yours.  Within thirty years so great a change has passed over the profession of letters in America; and it is impossible to estimate the rewards which would have fallen to Edgar Poe, had chance made him the contemporary of Mark Twain and of “Called Back.”  It may be that your criticisms helped to bring in the new era, and to lift letters out of the reach of quite unlettered scribblers.  Though not a scholar, at least you had a respect for scholarship.  You might still marvel over such words as “objectional” in the new biography of yourself, and might ask what is meant by such a sentence as “his connection with it had inured to his own benefit by the frequent puffs of himself,” and so forth.

Best known in your own day as a critic, it is as a poet and a writer of short tales that you must live.  But to discuss your few and elaborate poems is a waste of time, so completely does your own brief definition of poetry, “the rhythmic creation of the beautiful,” exhaust your theory, and so perfectly is the theory illustrated by the poems.  Natural bent, and reaction against the example of Mr. Longfellow, combined to make you too intolerant of what you call the “didactic” element in verse.  Even if morality be not seven-eighths of our life (the exact proportion as at present estimated), there was a place even on the Hellenic Parnassus for gnomic bards, and theirs in the nature of the case must always be the largest public.

“Music is the perfection of the soul or the idea of poetry,” so you wrote; “the vagueness of exaltation aroused by a sweet air (which should be indefinite and never too strongly suggestive) is precisely what we should aim at in poetry.”  You aimed at that mark, and struck it again and again, notably in “Helen, thy beauty is to me,” in “The Haunted Palace,” “The Valley of Unrest,” and “The City in the Sea.”  But by some Nemesis which might, perhaps, have been foreseen, you are, to the world, the poet of one poem—“The Raven:” a piece in which the music is highly artificial, and the “exaltation” (what there is of it) by no means particularly “vague.”  So a portion of the public know little of Shelley but the “Skylark,” and those two incongruous birds, the lark and the raven, bear each of them a poet’s name, vivu’ per ora virum.  Your theory of poetry, if accepted, would make you (after the author of “Kubla Khan”) the foremost of the poets of the world; at no long distance would come Mr. William Morris as he was when he wrote “Golden Wings,” “The Blue Closet,” and “The Sailing of the Sword;” and, close up, Mr. Lear, the author of “The Yongi Bongi Bo,” an the lay of the “Jumblies.”

On the other hand Homer would sink into the limbo to which you consigned Molière.  If we may judge a theory by its results, when compared with the deliberate verdict of the world, your aesthetic does not seem to hold water.  The “Odyssey” is not really inferior to “Ulalume,” as it ought to be if your doctrine of poetry were correct, nor “Le Festin de Pierre” to “Undine.”  Yet you deserve the praise of having been constant, in your poetic practice, to your poetic principles—principles commonly deserted by poets who, like Wordsworth, have published their æsthetic system.  Your pieces are few; and Dr. Johnson would have called you, like Fielding, “a barren rascal.”  But how can a writer’s verses be numerous if with him, as with you, “poetry is not a pursuit but a passion . . . which cannot at will be excited with an eye to the paltry compensations or the more paltry commendations of mankind!”  Of you it may be said, more truly than Shelley said it of himself, that “to ask you for anything human, is like asking at a gin-shop for a leg of mutton.”

Humanity must always be, to the majority of men, the true stuff of poetry; and only a minority will thank you for that rare music which (like the strains of the fiddler in the story) is touched on a single string, and on an instrument fashioned from the spoils of the grave.  You chose, or you were destined

To vary from the kindly race of men; and the consequences, which wasted your life, pursue your reputation.

For your stories has been reserved a boundless popularity, and that highest success—the success of a perfectly sympathetic translation.  By this time, of course, you have made the acquaintance of your translator, M. Charles Baudelaire, who so strenuously shared your views about Mr. Emerson and the Transcendentalists, and who so energetically resisted all those ideas of “progress” which “came from Hell or Boston.”  On this point, however, the world continues to differ from you and M. Baudelaire, and perhaps there is only the choice between our optimism and universal suicide or universal opium-eating.  But to discuss your ultimate ideas is perhaps a profitless digression from the topic of your prose romances.

An English critic (probably a Northerner at heart) has described them as “Hawthorne and delirium tremens.”  I am not aware that extreme orderliness, masterly elaboration, and unchecked progress towards a predetermined effect are characteristics of the visions of delirium.  If they be, then there is a deal of truth in the criticism, and a good deal of delirium tremens in your style.  But your ingenuity, your completeness, your occasional luxuriance of fancy and wealth of jewel-like words, are not, perhaps, gifts which Mr. Hawthorne had at his command.  He was a great writer—the greatest writer in prose fiction whom America has produced.  But you and he have not much in common, except a certain mortuary turn of mind and a taste for gloomy allegories about the workings of conscience.

I forbear to anticipate your verdict about the latest essays of American fiction.  These by no means follow in the lines which you laid down about brevity and the steady working to one single effect.  Probably you would not be very tolerant (tolerance was not your leading virtue) of Mr. Roe, now your countrymen’s favourite novelist.  He is long, he is didactic, he is eminently uninspired.  In the works of one who is, what you were called yourself, a Bostonian, you would admire, at least, the acute observation, the subtlety, and the unfailing distinction.  But, destitute of humour as you unhappily but undeniably were, you would miss, I fear, the charm of “Daisy Miller.”  You would admit the unity of effect secured in “Washington Square,” though that effect is as remote as possible from the terror of “The House of Usher” or the vindictive triumph of “The Cask of Amontillado.”

Farewell, farewell, thou sombre and solitary spirit: a genius tethered to the hack-work of the press, a gentleman among canaille, a poet among poetasters, dowered with a scholar’s taste without a scholar’s training, embittered by his sensitive scorn, and all unsupported by his consolations.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Destructive Bookishness: Books to Avoid, Article in the Christian Herald 1894

Destructive Bookishness - Books to Avoid, Article in the Christian Herald 1894

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AMID this deluge of books many people are being drowned. They know not which way to turn. Every one you meet has a book or two to suggest, and the papers have whole columns of literary commendations and condemnations. The question what to read is much discussed, but not so much the question what not to read.

Better stand off from all those books which were made not because the author had anything to say, but because the publisher and the author wanted to make a commercial success. Such books are generally of large type, profuse illustration and showy binding. They must have so many words, so many pages, so many pictures. You are aware from the appearance of the book that it was merely made to sell. We believe, however, that a book will be of little practical service to you unless the author was compelled by an inward consciousness of duty to print it. The book into which an honest and earnest author throws his whole soul is the one that will magnetize, lift and vivify you. Avoid that book which has the appearance of literary jobbing.

We also advise that you take only small doses of love story. The majority of novels are made to set forth desperate love scrapes. It is well enough for a man to read sufficient of this literature to keep him from being awkward when he himself becomes a party to some affair of the heart. But much reading of love stories makes one soft, insipid, absent minded and useless. The probability is that when you fall into love, you will not fall into it according to the cheap novels. Excessive reading of love stories will make you a fool before you know it.

We further advise you not to read a book merely because some one else likes it. Do not waste your time on Shakespeare, if you have no taste for poetry or the drama, merely because so many like Shakespeare, nor pass a long time with Sir William Hamilton, when metaphysics are repulsive to you, though your literary friends are enraptured with the great-headed Scotchman. When you read a book by the page, every few minutes looking ahead to see how many chapters you have to finish before you will be through, you had better stop that book and take something else. There is no reason in you dousing your palate with vinegar because your friends are especially fond of the sour, or of spreading your bread with honey because your host has a taste for the saccharine. There comes ever and anon a fashion of certain styles of reading. Be not overborne by the pressure. For a while there was prevailing a Tupperian epidemic, and we all went to writing poor blank verses. Then there came a Carlylian epidemic, and we all wrote turgid, involved, twisted and break-neck sentences, each noun with as many verbs as Brigham Young had wives, and as little acquainted with them. Then came the Renanish epidemic, and the attempt everywhere was made to mingle romance and religion, with frequent punches at religion, and we prided ourselves in being skeptical. Be independent in your literary tastes. Make up your mind what is best for you to read, and read it. Master a few good books. Life is short, and books are many. Instead of having your mind a garret crowded with rubbish, make a parlor with rich furniture beautifully arranged, into which you would not be ashamed to have the whole world enter.—Christian Herald.

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The Albigenses & Waldenses by Lewis Spence 1920

The Waldenses and Albigenses by Lewis Spence 1920

From: An Encyclopædia of Occultism: A Compendium of Information on the Occult By Lewis Spence

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Albigenses: A sect which originated in the south of France in the twelfth century. They were so called from one of their territorial centres, that of Albi. It is probable that their heresy came originally from Eastern Europe, and they were often designated Bulgarians, and undoubtedly kept up intercourse with certain secretaries of Thrace, the Bogomils; and they are sometimes connected with the Paulicians. It is difficult to form any exact idea of their doctrines, as Albigensian texts are rare, and contain little concerning their ethics, but we know that they were strongly opposed to the Roman Catholic Church, and protested against the corruption of its clergy. But it is not as a religious body that we have to deal with the Albigenses here, but to consider whether or not their cult possessed any occult significance. It has been claimed by their opponents that they admitted two fundamental principles, good and bad, saying that God had produced Lucifer from Himself; that indeed Lucifer was the son of God who revolted against Him; that he had carried with him a rebellious party of angels, who were driven from Heaven along with him; that Lucifer in his exile had created this world with its inhabitants, where he reigned, and where all was evil. It is alleged that they further believed that God for the re-establishment of order had produced a second son, who was Jesus Christ. Furthermore the Catholic writers on the Albigenses charged them with believing that the souls of men were demons lodged in mortal bodies in punishment of their crimes.

All this is, of course, mere tradition, and we may be sure that the dislike of the Albigenses for the irregularities then current in the Roman Church, brought such charges on their heads. They were indeed the lineal ancestors of Protestantism. A crusade was brought against them by Pope Innocent III., and wholesale massacres took place. The Inquisition was also let loose upon them, and they were driven to hide in the forests and among the mountains, where, like the Covenanters of Scotland, they held surreptitious meetings. The Inquisition terrorised the district in which they had dwelt so thoroughly that the very name of Albigenses was practically blotted out, and by the year 1330, the records of the Holy Office show no further writs issued against the heretics.

Waldenses: The name of a Christian sect which arose in the south of France about 1170. They were much the same in origin and ethics as the Albigenses (q.v.), that is, their religious system rested upon that of Manichaeism, which believed in dualism and severe asceticism. It undoubtedly arose from the desire of the bourgeois class to have changes made in the clerical discipline of the Roman Church. Its adherents called themselves cathari thus demonstrating the eastern origin of their system. There were two classes of these, neophytes and adepts,— the perfecti only being admitted to the esoteric doctrines of the Waldensian Church. Outwardly its aim and effort was rationalistic; but the inner doctrine partook more of the occult. It was in 1170 that Peter Waldo, a rich merchant of Lyons, sold his goods and gave them to the poor, and from him the sect was named. The earliest account of Waldensian beliefs is that of an enemy, Sacconi, an inquisitor of the Holy Office, who wrote about the middle of the thirteenth century. He divides the Waldensians into two classes, those of Lombardy, and those north of the Alps. The latter believed that any layman might consecrate the sacrament of the altar, and that the Roman Church was not the Church of Christ; while the Lombardian sect held that the Roman Church was the Scarlet Woman of the Apocalypse. They also believed that all men were priests. As their opinions became more widespread, persecution became more severe, and the Waldensians latterly withdrew themselves altogether from the Church of Rome, and chose ministers for themselves by election. Papal bulls were issued for their extermination, and a crusade was directed against them; but they survived these attacks, and so late as the time of Cromwell were protected by him against the Duke of Savoy and the French king. Their ministers were later subsidized by the government of Queen Anne, and this subsidy was carried on until the time of Napoleon, when he granted them an equivalent. Latterly they have received much assistance from various Protestant countries of Europe, especially from England; and at the present time number some 12,000 to 13,000 communicants.

During the Middle Ages, it was strongly held by the priesthood of the Roman Church that, like the Albigenses, the Waldensians had a diabolic element in their religion and they have been from time to time classed with the various secret societies that sprang up in mediaeval Europe, such as the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, and so forth; but although they possessed an esoteric doctrine of their own, there is no reason to believe that this was in any way magical, nor in any manner more "esoteric" than the inner doctrine of any other Christian sect.

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