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tion, or a benevolent one; that he can pray, or he can blaspheme; can serve his neighbour or destroy him.
Were he not accountable for his conduct, no means could preserve human society; for the raging anger and boisterous passions of wicked persons, would destroy as far as their power reached.
But wise civil laws have defined actions and placed bars against the operations of hatred and revenge.
Civil law is a rule of conduct for the external political acts of man, in civilized society. To this law, therefore, as the head of that civilized government to which he belongs, his bodily life and fortune, are justly accountable: the well-being of society demand it.
Now civil law never can act justly but in subservience to mo, ral law. If therefore, the civil law condemns or acquits as it ought, moral law does the same.
It would be absurdity to suppose that God, who is all just, could approve what truth and justice condemn. Moral turpitude can never find an abetter in the ALMIGHTY.
Hence it appears plain enough, (and each one's heart tells him so,) that as man is accountable to civil law upon earth ;-SO is he much more accountable to the law of his God, after death!
And if the punishments of the one be temporal, because the natural life is temporal ; so must condemnation in the moral world be eternal ; inasmuch as the entire nature of that world is eternal.
All must know that there may be sorrow and anguish of heart; distress of soul, and vexation of spirit within, while the body is well enough in health, and can both eat, and drink, and talk, and work. It is plain therefore, the moral part may be racked with anxiety, whilst the body shows little of it to the world. Such internal ruin and distraction may consequently last as long as the part diseased ; that is forever.
And as “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
So whatever is here, is changeable and perishable ; whatever is there, is fixed and immutable : The hell of evil ment as well as the heaven of good ones.
• Hebrews ix. 27. † Mark ix. 49.
THE VISION OF THOMAS SAY.
Almost all the old inhabitants of Philadelphia are familiar with an account which has been current for these sixty or eighty years past, of a vision, said to have been seen by Thomas Say. This extraordinary occurrence took place about the year 1725, and was said to have been supported by such strong testimony, both in relation to the respectability of the parties, and the facts alleged, as to have gained an extensive credence, especially among those to whom Mr. Say was known.
It is positively asserted, in the book of Proverbs, that 6 where there is no vision, the people perish;” and hence, many indivi.. duals, of the Christian church, are most conclusively satisfied, that there has been no period at which extraordinary manifestaLions have not been dispensed. This we conceive to be decidedly the opinion of the members of the New Church; and it is truly to be lamented, that such a general disbelief should prevail in the old church, in matters relating to the spiritual world. It is evident, and has become matter of history, that, until towards the middle of the eighteenth century, a belief in super-human agencies, and in the intimate connection between the natural and spiritual worlds, was not considered as confined to the ignorant alone. Of this fact, the form of indictments, as they at this day exist in our courts, affords abundant proof, that, at least amongst those who were learned in the law, it was believed that the Devil had access to the human mind. The forms, too, of prayers, most churches, proclaim a belief of the influence of Satan upon the passions and hearts of men; and if this be acknowledged, must not the invisible world be most closely and nearly conjoined to the visible system? If man has a soul, capable of perceiving, after death, the objects of the spiritual world, where is the difficulty of believing, that, for wise purposes, God, in his goodness, has permitted that even during their lives, some individuals should have been so prepared for the transition, as to have had their spiritual eyes opened? We can see none. We can just as readily believe it possible for a man to behold the spiritual world, during his life in the body, at this day, as we can in the days of Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John; and if it be possible, we can see no objection to a belief in revelation, at this period, except that which arises from a want of proper proof, as
to the credibility of the party. That the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg carry with them internal evidence of their truth, that their author, upon the score of character, learning, integrity, sound intellect, and every other quality which would render his testimony entirely unobjectionable, upon every point in accord, ance with the received notions of men, is most satisfactorily evi, dent to the receivers of the new dispensation; and yet, most of them have, probably, at some period of their lives, been as violently opposed to the New Doctrines, and as strongly prejudiced against them, as any of those who now labour under the persuasion that they are visionary.
With respect to the following account, we shall merely say, that upon any matter of fact, of a nature not above the power of human testimony to establish, we believe that in his life time, the evidence of Thomas Say would have been considered as entitled to the most implicit confidence; and we understand that he continued until his death, that is, for a period of seventy years, to assert the truth of his vision.
In the year 1796, Dr. Benjamin Say, son of the subject of this article, and who was lately a representative in congress, from the city of Philadelphia, published a duodecimo volume, entitled “ A short Compilation of the extraordinary Life and Writings of Thomas Say, in which is faithfully copied, from the original manuscript, the uncommon Vision which he had when a young man.” From this work, the following extracts are made, which we submit to our readers, without further comment.
ED. EXTRACTS. Speaking of his father, the author says,
“ He was born in the city of Philadelphia, Ninth month 16th, 1709, old style, and nothing material occurred, which has come to my knowledge, until he was bound out as an apprentice to William Robinson, to learn to be a saddler and harness-maker, in which, I have often heard him say, he was remarkably active ; very few of the trade, after he had acquired a complete knowledge of it, were able to work with him, either with respect to neatness or facility.
“ His grand-father and his mother came from England with William Penn, and his father dying when he was five years old, his mother, after being a widow for a reasonable time, how long
I know not, married Benjamin Paschall, so that she became twice Paschall.
“ His parents being of a religious turn of mind, gave him such instruction as they conceived might contribute to the establishment of a moral and religious character, to which he appeared scrupulously to adhere. His step-father Paschall and uncle Robinson, I think I have heard him say, belonged to the Episcopal church, in the principles of which he was therefore edụcated; yet, notwithstanding this, he seemed to prefer the getting into stillness, and would, in consequence, often attend Friends meetings, where, he said, he frequently found spiritual comfort. His aunt often used all her influence, to endeavour to prevail upon him to continue his attention to the church, but without effect. He was united to the society of Friends when a young man. He had an austere master, and one who kept him very closely to work. He had a severe spell of the pleurisy, when about sixteen or seventeen years
in which he had the uncommon vision or trance, an account of which is contained in this book. After he had served a faithful apprenticeship, and acquired a competent knowledge of his profession, he commenced business in Water-street, where he was burned out. By his own industry he soon re-built his house, being exceedingly attentive to business, and was a pattern of sobriety to his day and generation.
6 He was remarkable for being executor to many estates, and guardian to a number of orphan children, to whom, I have frequently heard him say, he had been a faithful steward, and had nothing to reproach himself for; but, on the contrary, could retrospect upon his past conduct with pleasure and satisfaction ; having also often visited the widows and the fatherless, in their afflictions, administering comfort and consolation to this slight- . ed part of the community.
“ He was a zealous promoter and supporter of schools for the instruction of youth, black as well as white, believing that they were all equal in the Lord's eyes, and that he does not distinguish them for their colour, but agreeably to their virtues and the rectitude of their lives; and that although men make distinctions, yet it was necessary to furnish the blacks with schoollearning, that, by improving their understandings, they might make more valuable members of society, and be enabled to ac
quire a knowledge of the scriptures of truth, by which they might establish a good moral and religious character.
“ He was, for several years, one of the committee appointed by the society of Friends, to attend the school for the instruction of blacks, which was under their direction, and of which board he also acted as treasurer.
“ He was likewise, for several years, one of the managers of the house of employment, at the commencement of that valuable institution; where his persevering attention and acts of benevolence were manifestly afforded, and much contributed to its then eminence.
“ He was also one of the committee appointed to the care of the French neutrals, who flew to this city for refuge from Nova Scotia, about the year 1757; and although they had the smallpox amongst them, and he had two children, viz. myself and sister, who had not had the disorder, yet he maintained his post with fidelity, and discharged his duty to them, with that degree of commiseration which designates the Christian. He, however, brought that formidable complaint home to his said children, by which he was so unfortunate as to lose his daughter.
“ He had a natural talent for medicine, and therefore, after he had acquired a small capital, by his industry in the business that he was educated in, he commenced apothecary and chemist, in which he continued for several years.
advice to the poor gratis, which frequently proved very useful to them; indeed he performed many cures, which the learned professor would not be ashamed to acknowledge.
“ He was very humane and benevolent, frequently administering medical, pecụniary and religious aid to the poor and distressed, numbers of whom partook liberally of his beneficence.
“ He was married to Susannah Catharine Sprogel, on the 15th of the Sixth month, 1734, with whom he lived fifteen years in harmony and good understanding. She died in a very sudden manner; on the day of her death (Sabbath-day) as she was sitting at the table with him, she told him that she wished him not to go to meeting, as that would be the last day they would spend together; he endeavoured to reason her out of it, but in vain ; he, however, yielded to her solicitations, and the sequel proved her to be right, for she died in a fit on that very day, which in