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lished herself her autobiography: "La vie intérieure et extérieure de B., par elle-même." And Poiret republished this with the rest of her writings, as—“ La dernière miséricorde de Dieu; la lumière née en ténèbres; le nouveau ciel et la nouvelle terre," etc. Finally, her life has been published at Leipsig, in 1809, in the Pantheon of Celebrated Women.
Jane Lead, of a noble family in Norfolk, had enjoyed a careful education, but displayed in her youth a passion for solitude. After the death of her husband, with whom she had lived in wedlock seven-and-twenty years, she had her first apparition, which, according to her own account, showed evidence of great excitement. She now withdrew from all domestic affairs, lived nearly isolated, and, as a member of the Philadelphian Society, had those apparitions of spirits which proceed from the light of Christ, the spiritual bridegroom, and from the Sophia in God, and the magic strength of those who are born again. This strength is to be con pared to a creative breath or to a life-giving flame, as she expresses it, and which propagates itself as a spiritual root which takes hold on others, and thus extends itself increasingly. He who possesses it is enabled by it to command the whole of nature,-plants, beasts, and the mineral kingdom, and when much magic operates through one organ, can mould all nature into a paradise. She has published a great number of writings, as-" Clouds," "The Revelation of Revelations," "The Laws of Paradise," "The Wonders of the Creation of God," "An Embassy to the Philadelphian Society." All these appeared in the ninetieth year of the seventeenth century at Amsterdam. Her writings are wholly included in "Jager's Acta Leadiana," Tübingen,
During the Thirty Years War,, Anna M. Fliescher of Freiburg, of whom Andreas Moller speaks at length in his account of that city, created a great sensation in Germany. She had before related similar visions and revelations, but was a greater enthusiast than those already mentioned, and suffered from epilepsy and terrible convulsions, so that in her paroxysms she was thrown hither and thither as by the devil's power; nay, was even lifted three ells into the air. She climbed up tall stones and roofs, and placed herself in the utmost peril while she sang holy songs. In
her transports, she saw a shining youth, who brought her the revelations, and exhorted her to good; but the devil, too, appeared to her with all sorts of temptations and plagues, so that her body and limbs were dislocated, and after the attacks were again reset by the youth. Moller says, the wrenching, agitation, and restoration of her limbs took place as though it were done by a surgeon, which was witnessed both by myself and two physicians of this city, as well as many other persons. Fräulein H—- had an actual dislocation of the hip-joint, which I magnetised, and in magnetic sleep replaced, but she had no visions.
At no time did more enthusiasts, visionaries, and prophets appear, than in the first half of the seventeenth century, and during the Thirty-years' War, in which troubles of all sorts, sorrow and suffering, hunger and plague, overspread Germany. Terror and misfortune, expectation and longing after freedom, so excited the minds of the religious partizans of that time, that religious zeal and heroic faith, as well as fanaticism and fantastic transports, were the order of the day. A great number of persons might, therefore, be added to these as examples, who in form and substance exactly agree with them. Most of them were bodily and spiritually sick, on which account their visions belong less to the category of religious imaginative pictures. Thus, Christiana Poniatowitzsch, a daughter of a Protestant clergyman, through her visions and prophesyings in Bohemia and Germany, excited great attention. She had both night and day, with both open and closed eyes, visions of all kinds, transports and communion with spirits, like Swedenborg; but with her transports she had, at the same time, the most horrible spasms, till at length she fell into a swoon, and the spasms and visions left her for ever.
Not only these religious ecstatics, but others, and even sober philosophers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, placed the power of imagination very high; nay, not seldom beside enthusiastic exaggeration, so that a father said to his ecstatic daughter Seraphine, and with great truth :— "Thou knowest not, dear child, what a fearful creature man carries about with him in his own imagination. Seraphine will not be the last victim of this murderess."
Many of the philosophical writers of that century have dwelt
largely on the nature of the imaginative power, which shows that they had a deeper conception of it than at present is the case, when imagination is regarded as a wholly fleeting, shapeless form of representation, and as a wind hurrying past. The most eminent of these philosophers are Paracelsus, Van Helmont, Campanella, Poiret, etc.
Poiret, in his "Divine Housekeeping," agrees entirely with Pordage, that the spirit, the creative imagination, perceives things no otherwise than through an infusion of itself into them, or through a pouring of its own light into them, by which it becomes, to a certain degree, present to external objects. Thus, for instance, the divine communication of a revelation takes place through an immediate illumination of the human soul, and thus is God made present with men. This revelation cannot take place in a soul which is not the image of God; which is not of a divine nature. But man possesses the same creative power, though in a less degree, and of a less noble quality, in his reason and imagination. As God created the actual world through the inbeaming of his imagination and his will, so he conferred imagination on man, by the help of which he can represent things to himself. He gave him not, indeed, the creative power of mind, to bring forth material things, but the equally, and, in a certain sense, not less active imagination, by means of which he originally could handle physical objects as he could the pictures of his own imagination. Thus, for example, through imagination, he could so operate on an animal, by his will, which he beheld at a distance, that it should come nearer to him, so that in this manner he could rule absent things even as he now rules present ones. Originally man could by gestures and words, by the exertion of his imagination and his will, command the whole physical world. Thus, as we now can move our members as we will, because secret force flows from us into them, so could man through secret spiritual influence operate on the physical world, which was present to him or near to him; for, says Poiret, one is just as conceivable or inconceivable as the other. It was merely a renewal of the original nature of man, when the saints of the old time, in concert with their imaginations and the force of their wills, performed such wonderful things through the
might of their word; and thence the theurgic faith of all time in the omnipotence of adjuration. For example, when Noah called the animals to him into the ark; when Joshua commanded the sun; and Moses the Red Sea. Man did not originally receive speech in order to communicate his thoughts to his fellows; for that he could originally do through a secret influence, or through the mere desire of communication. He says, also, what Franz von Baader confirms, that man can not plasticly create, but he can dominate and imaginate over that which is created.
After the above concise summary of this last historical period, I quote as a conclusion the following judgment upon it, from my work on Magnetism:-1st. A certain prophetie faculty is a common property of the human race, which becomes conspicuous in proportion as man withdraws himself from the external physical world. 2nd. Man discovers from this a higher power of the spirit, and a less circumscribed sphere of action for it; and this power can, according to the direction of the will, adapt itself to good or evil. 3rd. But it easily happens that the imagination acquiring a predominating action in the inner world of mind, separates itself from the guiding understanding, and then loses itself in an unrestrained flight in obscure paths, so that the subjective image of contemplation takes the place of the objective one of reality, and attributes to it external substances; as the apparitions of the Angelic Brethren show. 4th. The imagination thus excited, can in so free a flight and in the predominating religious mood of mind, be easily misled. to fanaticism, if the general intercourse with man be interrupted or wholly abandoned. 5th. In such a state of things visions may have an injurious reflex action on the body, and injure the health, 6th. In such a wavering condition of the body and the soul, the functions of life become, in fact, diseased: the senses produce visions, and the muscles spasms, as an abnormal condition, in which transports and madness are more frequently the result than truth and strength. 7th. As the soul and the body have their true equilibrium, and occasion mutually defective functions and sympathies, so can an over-excited or false subjective condition of the senses draw all or several of the objective senses into a diseased sympathy of suffering; as we have seen
in the witches of the Philadelphian Society, and as we frequently find to be the case in the magnetic phenomena of a degraded class of persons, in which smell, taste, and feeling, all have a smack of the spiritual cesspool within them. 8th. In so great a susceptibility and, as it were, demoralized state of the imagination, the objective impression of the senses easily passes in tone and form over into the inner movements of the subjective life, so that a loud sound, or a flash of light, may change themselves into a speaking voice and fixed luminous image, as is often the case with excitable, imaginative artists; and which is then the result of an exclusive attention to one object, as in the instance of the drawings left by the devil with Pordage, which on being looked at appeared to move; by which the reversal of the polarity of the senses, and the passing over of the inner sense to the outward organs of the senses, is no longer so perplexing. 9th. It is, therefore, not to be wondered at, if uneducated magical seers, or enthusiastic minds, once sunk in such a visionary life, exert no judgment and no discrimination, in order to distinguish the subjective image of the imagination from the objective reality. 10th. Apart from deception and wilful deceit, self-delusion is very possible; appearance and fact, truth and error, may no longer be distinguishable from each other. 11th. So long as man lives on earth he must cherish his body, and allow it to receive all that is good for it, as well as cultivate the soul: for the sound body only has a sound soul. Where the limbs are contracted by spasms, the spirit sees apparitions. 12th The business of life is not mere visionary contemplation and indolent seclusion, but an active faith to do the work of love in a social community.