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accommodating themselves to our weakness, and condescending to speak in the language of the vulgar, say figuratively, that "the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.'
But the angel Raphael, the conductor of young Tobit, gives him a reason more worthy of his ministry, and better calculated to enlighten the person whom he is guiding
He tells him that Sarah's seven husbands were given up to the cruelty of Asmodeus, only because, like horses or mules, they had married her for their pleasure alone. “Her husband,” says the angel, “must observe continence with her for three days, during which time they must pray to God together.”+
This instruction would seem to have been quite sufficient to keep off Asmodeus; but Raphael adds, that it is also necessary to have the heart of a fish grilled over burning coals. Why, then, was not this infallible secret afterwards resorted to in order to drive the Devil from the bodies of women?' Why did the apostles, who were sent on purpose to cast out devils, never lay a fish's heart upon the gridiron? Why was not this expedient made use of in the affair of Martha Brossier; that of the nuns of Loudun; that of the mistresses of Urban Gandier; that of La Cadiére; that of Father Girard; and those of a thousand other demoniacs in the times when there were demoniacs ?I
The Greeks and Romans, who had so many philters wherewith to make themselves beloved, had others to cure love; they employed herbs and roots. The agnus castus had great reputation. The moderns have administered it to young nuns, on whom it has had but little effect. Apollo, long ago, complained to Daphne, that, physician as he was, he had never yet met with a simple that would cure love
* Genesis chap. vi. of Chap. vi. v. 16, 17, 18.
Are there not still demoniacs, even in the nineteenth cen. tury? For a most edifying illustration of the fact, not only that demoniacs still exist, but also that there still exists in the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church a power to eject the saucy demons from their tenements of clay, see, in the Orthodox Journal the account of an excursion, performed near Birmingham, “in thunder, lightning and in rain," by the worthy and reverend Edmund Peach.--T,
Heu mihi ! qudd nullis amor est medicabilis herbis.* What balm can heal the wounds that love has made! The sinoke of sulphur was tried; but Ovid, who was a great master, declares that this recipe was useless.
Nec fugiat viro sulphure victus amor.t
Sulphur--believe me-drives not love away. The smoke from the heart or liver of a fish was more efficacious against Asmodeus. The reverend father Calmet is consequently in great trouble, being unable to comprehend how this fumigation could act upon a pure spirit. But he might have taken courage from the recollection, that all the ancients gave bodies to the angels and demons. They were very slender bodies; as light as the small particles that rise from a broiled fish; they were like smoke;, and the smoke from a fried fish acted upon them by sympathy.
Not only did Asmodeus flee, but Gabriel went and chained him in Upper Egypt, where he still is. He dwells in a grotto near the city of Saata or Taata. Paul Lucas saw and spoke to him. They cut this serpent in pieces, and the pieces immediately joined again. To this fact Calmet cites the testimony of Paul Lucas, which testimony I must also cite. It is thought that Paul Lucas's theory may be joined with that of the vampires, in the next compilation of the Abbé Guyon.
ASPHALTIC LAKE.-SODOM. A CHALDEE word, signifying a species of bitumen. There is a great deal of it in the countries watered by the Euphrates : it is also to be found in Europe, but of a bad quality. An experiment was made by covering the tops of the watch-houses on each side of one of the gates of Geneva: the covering did not last á useful purpose,
* Ovid's Metamorphoses, book i. t De Remedio Amoris, book i.
year, and the mine has been abandoned. However, when mixed with rosin, it may be used for lining cisterns: perhaps it will some day be applied to a more
The real asphaltus is that which was obtained in the vicinity of Babylon, and with which it is said that the Greek fire was composed.
Several lakes are full of asphaltus, or a bitumen resembling it, as others are strongly impregnated with nitre. There is a great lake of nitre in the desart of Egypt, which extends from lake Mæris to the entrance of the Delta; and it has no other name than the Nitre Lake,
The Lake Asphaltites, known by the name of Sodom, was long famed for its bitumen; but the Turks now make no use of it, either because the mine under the water is diminished, or because its quality is altered, or because there is too much difficulty in drawing it from under the water. Oily particles of it, and sometimes large masses, separate, and float on the surface; these are gathered together, mixed up, and sold for balm of Mecca.
Flavius Josephus, who was of that country, says that, in his time, there were no fish in the lake of Sodom, and the water was so light that the heaviest bodies would not go to the bottom. It seems that he meant to say so heavy instead of so light. It would appear that he had not made the experiment. After all, a stagnant water, impregnated with salts and compact matter, its specific gravity being then greater than that of the body of a man or a beast, might force it to float. Josephus's error consists in assigning a false cause to a phenomenon which may be perfectly true.*
* Since the impression of this article, some of the water of the Asphaltic Lake has been brought to Paris. This water differs from that of the sea, only in its being heavier and containing the same salts in a larger proportion than any known sea. Bodies which would sink in fresh water, or even in the sea, might float upon it,—which would be quite enough to make a people equally ignorant and superstitious cry outA miracle !
As for the want of fish, it is not incredible. It is, however likely, that this lake, which is fifty or sixty miles long, is not all asphaltic, and that while receiving the waters of the Jordan it also receives the fishes of that river: but perhaps the Jordan too is without fish, and they are to be found only in the upper lake of Tiberias.
Josephus adds, that the trees which grow on the borders of the Dead Sea bear fruits of the most beautiful appearance, but which fall into dust if you attempt to taste them. This is less probable; and disposes one to believe that Josephus either had not been on the spot, or has exaggerated according to his own and his countrymen's custom. No soil seems more calculated to produce good as well as beautiful fruits than a salt and sulphureous one, like that of Naples, of Catania, and of Sodom.
The Holy Scriptures speak of five cities being destroyed by fire from heaven. On this occasion, natural philosophy bears testimony in favour of the Old Testament, although the latter has no need of it, and they are sometimes at variance. · We have instances of earthquakes, accompanied by thunder and lightning, which have destroyed much more considerable towns than Sodom and Gomorrah.
But the river Jordan necessarily discharging itself into this lake without an outlet, this Dead Sea, in the same manner as the Caspian, must have existed as long as there has been a river Jordan; therefore, these towns could never stand on the spot now.occupied by the lake of Sodom. The Scripture, too, says nothing at all about this ground's being changed into a lake; it says quite the contrary ;- “ Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire, from the Lord out of heaven.
And Abraham got up early in the morning, and he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld ; and lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.'**
* Genesis, chap, xix.
These five towns, Sodom, Gomorrah, Zeborn, Adamah, and Segor, must then have been situated on the, borders of the Dead Sea. How, it will be asked, in a desart so uninhabitable as it now is, where there are to be found only a few hordes of plundering Arabs, could there be five cities, so opulent as to be immersed in luxury, and even in those shameful pleasures which are the last effect of the refinement of the debauchery attached to wealth? It may be answered, that the country was then much better.
Other critics will say,-how could five towns exist at the extremities of a lake, the water of which, before their destruction, was not potable? The Scripture itself informs us, that all this land was asphaltic before the burning of Sodom;—" And the vale of Sodom was full of slime-pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there."*
Another objection is also started. Isaiah and Jeremiah say, that Sodom and Gomorrah shall never be rebuilt :t but Stephen, the geographer, speaks of Sodom and Gomorrah on the coast of the Dead Sea ; and the History of the Councils mentions bishops of Sodom and Segor.
To this it may be answered, that God filled these towns, when rebuilt, with less guilty inhabitants; for at that time there was no bishop in partibus.
But, it will be said, with what water could these new inhabitants quench their thirst? all the wells are brackish; you find asphaltus and corrosive salt on first striking a spade into the ground.
It will be answered, that some Arabs still subsist there, and may be habituated to drinking very bad water; that the Sodom and Gomorrah of the Eastern Empire were wretched hamlets; and that at that time there were many bishops whose whole diocese consisted in a poor village. It may also be said, that the people who colonised these villages prepared the asphaltus, and carried on a useful trade in it. The arid and burning desart, extending from Segor
* Genesis, chap. xiv., v. 10.