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Let not false delicacy stop its ears,
Or cruel mercy shut all mercy out!
The following quotation of Lucan, from his own Pharsalia, on the civil war between Pompey and Cæsar, as made use of by him when bleeding to death in the warm bath, by order of Nero, whom he had been rash enough to eclipse in poetry, is emphatically descriptive of such a catastrophe as premature interment; though too mild to be equivalent, because there is no stifling the blood or breath:
"Sanguis erant lachrymæ: quæcunque foramina nova
"Now the warm blood at once, from every part,
"Runs purple poison down, and drains the fainting heart;
"There streams of blood-there crimson rivers stray!
"And the whole body seems one bleeding wound!"
PHILOSOPHIC DEMONSTRATIONS OF THE
Whether of noble or plebeian birth,
Frail man, at length, resumes his kindred earth;
By adventitious aid he's hither brought!
Vitality, or life, is an emanation or spark of the effulgence of divinity, absorbed by organized beings, and borrowed from the plenitude and ubiquity of deity! for an uncertain number of days, months, or years; and which must, from the declension of nature, return to that eternal ens primum, from whom it first proceeded! Impressed, however, (as wise men say,) with sufficient identity and consciousness, to constitute its individuality and capability to receive beatification, or endure rejection, according to its purity or contamination! for which there is not only scriptural authority. But philosophic reason likewise shews, that all ethereal and elastic bodies receive an exaltation above the grosser elements propor
tioned to their degree of attenuation or defecation from impurities!
The first reception of this principle constitutes the man! the privation of it eventually reduces him to pristine earth!
But, waving all metaphysical discussion, as extrinsic, of the ostensible design, the object is to understand the nature of the superlative horror called premature interment! and endeavour to find the surest means of relinquishing, in a natural way, this animating loan of heaven, without encountering those impediments which incorrigible ignorance and stubborn intractability have thrown in their way, and piled upon their own authors, mountains of supernumerary miseries, beyond those allotted to mortality by the laws of nature!
Let them, una voce, join like men in earnest, and defeat this remorseless gorgon of horror! who, under sanction of an antiquated gothic custom, has buried their predecessors alive, and, like a horrid vampyre, battened on their blood!!!
Let them form an invincible phalanx of guiltless warriors against this sarcophagus of terror, (to whom Moloch was a very dove!) and, regardless of his colossal bulk or more enormous chains, 66 drag the horrid Cacus from his den" to the tribunal of justice, taking the comparatively few cases that have transpired aloné' (in evidence) to pollute the page of blood-stained history, as a sample of his more extended ravages, lest growing stronger
by indulgence and neglect, the unintellectual savage should, without mercy, trample themselves and children under his brutal feet! and, after binding him with his own chains, let them brace their agitated nerves by resolute humanity, and try if they can, without fainting, muster intrepidity enough to explore the horrors of the grave, when, brought nearer to their view! For he that descends there to snatch the devoted victim thence, must not consult his own feelings, but theirs he means to serve! And he that rescues a living soul entranced in the delusive semblance of death, not, only serves the individual, his country, the world, but emancipates the emanative essence of deity itself from the ruthless detention of senseless earth! Yes, and of senseless man beside, whose ignorance would detain the spark of heaven from its indigenous source! Not that it can be detained entirely; for it must and will return, though compassed about by bars of steel or encased in adamant itself. But what must the possessor, feel, when that strong impulse (stopped at every avenue) is devastating all his frame to make its final exit?
Human penetration finds its limit here, and can go no farther; yet reason says it must be so! The spirit must find means to force its way. through all the impediments that ignorance and custom have laid in its passage, and when impeded in its wonted evolution, no man can tell the extent of horror that would ensue to the suffering
subject, and by the attempt alone to scan the awful consequences, the brain becomes distracted!!!
It has been said, "that if the whole bulk of "the earth were one continuous mass of solid "iron, (nearly 8000 miles diameter,) and the "least drop of water were confined in its centre, "such would be the expansive force of this fluid, "if heated or otherwise rarefied, that the whole "orbicular shell, or rather nearly solid sphere, "would not be able to resist its centrifugal or
impulsive energies to escape! but must be rent "asunder to liberate its intestine prisoner!"
Although the allusion may be justly considered extremely hyperbolical, yet, from the well-known energies of nature's omnipotent laws, the hypothesis is not preposterous, because the case is parallel, and the conclusion cannot be contradicted, though it is only quoted as a case in point, and a proof that other authors have taken notice of the unlimited powers of expansive forces!·
Besides, it is well known that the stoutest bombshells of iron have uniformly been rent asunder only by the freezing of water in them, and the expansion of the ice is entirely owing to the escapement of caloric or elementary fire from the water in the act of congelation, which accounts for the chrystallised appearance and numerous interstices in the refrigerated mass; so that the hyperbole is not at all monstrous!
Let it then, for the moment, be imagined, that his insulated or intestine drop has in itself,