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kind of relievo. At which junctures, all their belches were received for sacred, the fourer the better, and swallowed with infinite confolation by their meagre devotees. And to render these
yet more complete; because the breath of man's life is in his nostrils, therefore the choiceft, most edifying, and most enlivening belches, were very wisely conveyed through that vehicle, to give them a tincture as they passed.
Their gods were the four winds, whom they worshipped, as the spirits that pervade and enliven the universe, and as those from whom alone all inspiration can properly be said to proceed. However, the chief of these, to whom they performed the adoration of latria *, was the almighty North ; an ancient deity, whom the inhabitants of Megalopolis, in Greece, had likewise in the highest reverence: Omnium deorum Boream maxime celebrant f. This god, though endued with ubiquity, was yet supposed by the profounder Æolists to possess one peculiar habitation, or (to speak in form) a cælum empyræum, wherein he was more intimately present. This was situated in a certain region, well known to the ancient Greeks, by them called Exoria, or, the land of darkness. And although many controverfies have arisen upon that matter; yet so much is undisputed, that, from a region of the like denomination, the most refined Æolists have borrowed their original; from whence, in every age, the zealous among their priesthood have brought over their choicest inspiration ; fetching it with their own hands from the fountain head, in certain bladders, and disploding it among the sectaries in all nations; who did, and do, and ever will, daily gasp and pant after it.
* Latria is that worship which is paid only to the Supreme Deity. Hawkes.
† Paujan. 1. 8.
Now, their mysteries and rites were performed in this manner.
It is well known among the learned, that the virtuofo's of former ages had a contrivance for carrying and preserving winds in casks or barrels, which was of great affiftance upon long sea-voyages; and the loss of so useful an art at prefent is very much to be lamented, although, I know not how, with great negligence omitted by Pancirollus *. It was an invention afcribed to folus himself, from whom this fect is denominated ; and who, in honour of their founder's memory, have to this day preserved great numbers of those barrels, whereof they fix one in each of their temples, first beating out the top. Into this barrel, upon folemn days, the priest enters; where, having before duly prepared himfelf by the methods already described, a fecret funnel is also conveyed from his posteriors to the bottom of the barrel, which admits new fupplies of inspiration from a northern chink or crany.
* * An author who writ de artibus perditis, &c. of arts loft, and of arts invented.
Whereupon you behold him swell immediately to the shape and size of his vessel. In this posture he disembogues whole tempests upon his auditory, as the spirit from beneath gives him utterance, which, issuing ex adytis et penetralibus, is not performed without much pain and gripings. And the wind, in breaking forth, deals with his face as it does with that of the fea; first blackening, then wrinkling, and at last bursting it into a foam *. It is in this guise the sacred Æolist delivers his oracular belches to his panting disciples; of whom some are greedily gaping after the sanctified breath; others are all the while hymning out the praises of the winds ; and, gently wafted to and fro by their own humming, do thus represent the soft breezes of their deities appeased.
It is from this custom of the priests, that some authors maintain these Æolifts to have been ancient in the world; because the delivery of their mysteries, which I have just now mentioned, appears exactly the same with that of other ancient oracles, whose inspirations were owing to certain fubterraneous effluviums of wind, delivered with the same pain to the priest, and much about the fame influence on the people. It is true indeed, that these were frequently managed and directed by female officers, whose organs were understood to be better disposed for the admission of those oracular gusts, as entering and passing up through
* This is an exact description of the changes inade in the face by enthusiastic preachers.
a receptacle of greater capacity, and causing also a pruriency by the way, such as, with due management, hath been refined from carnal into a spiritual ecstasy. And, to strengthen this
profound conjecture, it is farther infifted, that this custom of female priests * is kept up still in certain refined colleges of our modern Æolists, who are agreed to receive their inspiration, derived through the receptacle aforesaid, like their ancestors, the Sibyls.
And whereas the mind of man, when he gives the fpur and bridle to his thoughts, doth never stop, but naturally fallies out into both extremes of high and low, of good and evil; his first flight of fancy commonly transports him to ideas of what is most perfect, finished, and exalted; till having soared out of his own reach and fight, not well perceiving how near the frontiers of height and depth border upon each other, with the same course and wing, he falls down plum into the lowest bottom of things ; like one who travels the east into the west; or like a strait line drawn by its own length into a circle. Whether a tincture of malice in our natures makes us fond of furnishing every bright idea with its reverse; or whether reason, reflecting upon the sum of things, can, like the sun, serve only to enlighten one half of the globe, leaving the other half by neceflity under shade and darkness; or whether fancy, flying up to the imagination of what is
highest Quakers, who suffer their women to preach and pray.
highest and best, becomes over-thort, and spent, and weary, and suddenly falls, like a dead bird of paradise, to the ground; or whether, after all these metaphysical conjectures, I have not entirely mifled the true reason; the proposition, however, which hath ftood me in so much circumstance, is altogether true, That as the most uncivilized parts of mankind have some way or other climbed into the conception of a god, or supreme power, so they have seldom forgot to provide their fears with certain ghastly notions, which, instead of better, have served them pretty tolerably for a devil. And this proceeding seems to be natural enough: For it is with men, whose imaginations are lifted up very high, after the fame rate as with those whose bodies are fo; that as they are delighted with the advantage of a nearer contemplation upwards, so they are equally terrified with the dismal profpect of the precipice below. Thus, in the choice of a devil, it hath been the usual method of mankind, to single out fome being, either in act, or in vision, which was in most antipathy to the god they had framed. Thus also the feet of Æolists pofsefled themselves with a dread, and horror, and hatred of two malignant natures, betwixt whom and the deities they adored, perpetual enmity was established. The first of these was the Camelion *, sworn foe to inspiraVOL. I. Ff
* I do not well understand what the author aims at here, any more than by the terrible monster mentioned in the following lines, called Moulinavent, which is the French name for a wind-mill,