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I loath to hear them swear and stare,

When they the main have lost,
Forgetting all the byes, that wear

With God and Holy Ghost.
By wounds and nails they think to win,

But truly 'tis not so ;
For all their frets and fumes in sin,

They moneyless must go,
There is no wight, that us’d it more,

Than he that wrote this verse,
Who cries Peccavi now therefore,

His oaths his heart do pierce.
Therefore example take by me,

That curse the luck less time,
That ever dice mine eyes did see,

Which bred in me this crime.
Pardon me for that is past,

I will offend no more,
In this most vile and sinful cast,

Which I will still abhor.

А

DISCOURSE upon PRODIGIOUS ABSTINENCE*,

OCCASIONED BY THE

Twelve Months Fasting of Martha Taylor, the famed

Derbyshire Damsel: Proving that, without any Miracle, the Texture of Human Bodies may be so altered, that Life may be long continued without the

supplies of Meat and Driuk. With an Account of the Heart, and how far it is interested in the Business

of Fermentation.
BY JOHN REYNOLDS.

Humbly offered to the Royal Society.
London, printed by R.W. for Nevil Simmons, at the Sign of the Three Crowns

near Holbourn Conduit; and for Dorman Newman, at the

Surgeons Arms in Little Britain, 1669. Quarto, containing thirty-seven Pages, besides the Title and Dedication. To the deservedly famous and my honoured friend, Walter Necd. ham, doctor of physick, as also a member of, and curator

elect to the royal society. SIR, Ir were a solecism of the first magnitude to entertain you with any thing like a nar

rative of the superennial fast, under all the havocks and depredations whereof the Derbyshire damsel bath hitherto been sustained, though emaciated thereby into the ghastliness of a skeleton, to the great astonishment of the Vulgus, Your correspondencies are so faithful, and your circumstances so advantageous, as wholly to supersede the necessity of my engaging in, and the possibility of my gratifying you, hy such a province. However, indulge me, while bemoaning * This is the 59th number in the Catalogue of pamphlets, in the Harlejan Library,

myself, the liberty to tell you, that, concerning the Phænomena's attending this prodigious abstinence, my own thoughts have been so rniserably ravelled, and my scanty intellectuals so much overmatched thereby, that I could not with any complacency look into those, nor with any delight consult these. A just reverence to relormed theologues, asserting a total cessation of miracles, forbade me to immure myself in any such supernatural asylum; and a prejudicate opinion of human bodies, in this animal state, allowed me not to eureluge my fluctuating mind in physical causes clubbing togethe an anomalous copulation, to ingender so great an heteroclite. While thus lost in the chaos of confused apprehensions, and smarting under the hurricane of my own tumultuary thoughts, I hurry away to a very worthy and compassionate friend, who with a little deliberation runs through the diagnosticks of my malady, pitieth my case, and, after some sharp conflicts with his own modesty, affords the relief of a philosophical elixir (for so I call the ensuing discourse) wholly transferring the right, which he had in the happy results of his own contemplations, upon me. Now (Sir !) what, by much importunity, I extorted from him, for my own private satisfaction, I make bold io tender the world a view of, under the countenance and protection of your great name, which is not only able to secure it from the critical pharaphrases of an envious age, but also to command it the justice of an unprejudicate perusal, with such as know your worth. To my own grief, I have found it much an anodyne; or as a pleasant lullaby to my whimpering fancy; the issue of all hath been rest: Not knowing, but it inay minister the like seasonable relief to others, who have not wit and philosophy enough to start any greater objections, than myself; I judged it worthy to travel the world. The confidence, wherein I seek to intitle you to the patrociny of it, is no less than an assurance of your benign nature, singular ingenuity, and obliging goodness, which have begotten and pupilled in me that persuasion, ever since I had the happiness and honour to know you. Besides, your clearer intellectuals, and your vast acquaintance with nature's recondite mysteries, made it wholly incongruous to adopt any other the object of this dedication. I do still remember, with the deepest resentments of a grateful heart, the happy distinction betwixt parts spermatick and parts hematick, wherewith in pity you relieved me,

when anxiously enquiring, upon a religious account, after the principium individuationis in human bodies; a notion (as to me it seems) more able to rescue the grand article of our creed concerning the resurrection of the same individual body from under suspicion, and the many gross absurdities, that some philosophasters, and half-witted atheists, would fain clog it with, than any offerture of human reason, that I ever yet had the happiness to meet with! Here methinks I could break forth into an töpnxx, and congratulate my great, though late, felicity, that the sido Kapaxonpisar ow use (as Origen, in one sense or other, calls it) the principle maintaining a numerical identity in hunian bodies, through the whole series of vicissitudes, cbanges, and sanctorian transmutations, betwixt the uterine formation, and the ultimate reunition of soul and body, should, after many a tedious search, and frustraneous disquisition, at last, be suggested by an hand able, in the maintenance of it, to grapple with any contradictor. In this you have sauified not only my reason, but my curiosity too; and therefore, sir, so great my opinion of your skill (absit omnis adulationis suspicio !) that, whatever dogma steps abroad with your name written upon it, I could almost surrender up myself as a perfect captive to it, were I not a man, and, which is more, a protestant, upon an implicit faith! But I have, I know not well how, digressed, and stepped aside into things heterogeneous to the purport of this dedicatory address. I therefore return to my ingenious friend's discourse, upon which, were my judgment in these matters worth any thing, I could afford to be liberal in the bestowance of my encomiums. But, as it is. shrouded under your patronage, so it is submitted to your censure; (this I am bold to do, knowing the author so much an admirer of you, that he cannot reluctate) whether more worthy of your pity or your approbation, none can bet ter judge, than your discerning and deserving self. Therefore, such as it is, I leave it to your mercy; and beg leave to tell you, that I should presently fall out with myself, did I not, upon a faithful scrutiny, find myself in the number of those that really love and honour you,

Farewel

Worthy Sir, YOUR requests to take into consideration the so much famed

prodigious twelve-months abstinence of the Derbyshire maid, having the force of commands, have produced these lean results of the imposed meditations. It cannot be unknown to a person of your large endowments, and hot pursuit after substantial science, that both divines, medicks, historians, yea, poets and legenders, have presented the learned world with a great variety of wonderful abstinents, some whereof I shall briefly recite, as well to reserve your sliding time for more noble employments, as to manifest that our contemporary Derbense is not so singular as some may imagine.

Most certain it is, that the * learned Moses + fasted forty days, and as many nights, whilst he abode on the burning mount; the great | Elijah went as long in the strength of a meal, and no less was the fast of the holy Jesus. 1 St. Austin reports, that, in his time, one survived forty days fasting: But most strange is the story fathered on ** Nicephorus, of three brethren affrighted by persecution into a cave, where they slept three-hundred and seventy-three years, as was known by the coin they produced, when they awaked. The learned ++ Fernelius saith, he saw a pregnant woman that lived two months without meat or drink. II Zacutus Lusitanus reports, that at Venice there lived a man that fasted forty days, another there forty-six days; and from Langius and Forstius, two considerable writers, another, full three years, and that with just stature, good habit, free countenance, and youthful wit. The famous $Sennertus is copious in such stories; he relates from Sigismundus and Citesius, a person, he saith, worthy of credit, that the people of Lucomoria, inhabiting some mountains in Muscovy, do every year die, in a sort, or rather, sleep or freeze, like frogs or swallows, on November 27, and so continue in that rigid state till April 24; in which time they use no evacuation, save only that a tenuious humour, distilling from their nostrils, is presently condensed by the ambient cold, much like to isicles, by the which those patent pores are precluded, and the most endangered brain fortified against the fatal assaults of brumal extremities. The same Sennertus rehearses a story of a virgin at Padua, from Viguntia, professor there, who, Anno 1598, was aMicted with a fever, then a tumour, then arthritick pains, and pains in the ventricle, and whole abdomen ; then with vomiting and nauseating of food, till, at last, she could take no food for two months; then, after another fit of vomiting, purging, and bleed. ing, she fasted eight months, and, after a little use of food, she fasted two months more. And, to be short, he stories it of three persons that fasted each two years, one three years, another four, one seven, another fifteen, another eighteen, and one twenty ; yea, one twenty-nine, another thirty, another thirty-six, and one forty years. Famous is the story, perhaps fiction, being poetical, of * Epimenides (whose words St. Paul is thought to cite in his epistle to Titus, Kpõreç dei frūsas) whom some report to have slept seventeen years, some seventy-seven years together : But enough of story; those, that are desirous to read more, are referred to Marcellus Donat. Lib. iv. de Med. Hist. Mirab. c. 12. Schenk Lib. iv. Observ. Guaguinus, Lib. iji. Hist. Franc. Petrarch. Lib. iii. de Mirabil. c. 22. Portius de Hist. Puellæ German. Uspergensis in Chron. Lentulus in Hist, Admir. Apol. Baccius Lib. de Vini Nutritione. Bozius Lib. xi, c. 4. de Signis Eccl. Fulgosius, Lib. i. c. 6. Lessæus, Lib. ix. Hist. Scot. Favorinus apud Gellium, Lib. xvi. c. 3. and especially Licetus that wrote a particular tract to solve the phænomena of this prodigy.

* Και έπαδεύθη Μωσής πάση σοφία Αίγυαλίων. Acts vii. 99. + Exod. xxxiv, 28. # 1 Kings xix. 8.

Matt. iv. 2.

August. in Epist. 86. ad Casulanum. ** Nicephor. lib. xiv. Car: 45.

t'i Fernel. Lib. vi. Patholog. Cap. 1. Zac. Lusit. de Medic. Princ. Hist. p. 914. $$ Sennert. Pract. Lib. iii. Par. 1. Sect. ii. Cap. 2. de longâ Abstin. p. 383.

Now, sir, it would be our ambition to advance towards the same noble work, were it not our duty to serve those a while that blot all these stories with one dash of uubelief. That pen certainly drops blasphemy, that dares to rase the sacred records; and that uncharitableness which presumes to write falshood upon all human testimonies; they that assent to nothing, not confirmed by Autopsia, are unfit to converse in human societies; for how can I expect that any body should believe me, whilst I myself will believe no body? It is an argument of an empty brain, to presume to comprehend all things, and thereupon to reject those things, from an existence in the world, that have not their science in its intellectuals. Many things foreign and strange may well be admitted on good testimo, nies, since the most obvious objects are scarce pervious to the most eagle-eyed philosopher; witness the mistakes discovered by Descartes, Gassendus, &c. in Aristotle himself, one of the most sublimated wits in all the republick of Natural Philosophy; and likewise the spots in Hippocrates and Galen, those mirrors in medicine, modestly pointed at by our famous Harvey, Glisson, Willis, &c. but, further to satisfy these incredulous persons, it is affirmed, that some of these abstinents have been † watched by the most wakeful eyes and jealous ears, to detect their fraud, if guilty of any; as was that maid that refused all food, except only water, for three years, by Bucoldianus, with whom she abode for twelve days, at the command of Ferdinand the emperor; so that Apol. lonia Schrejerana was taken by the senate of Bern, and put into, the hospital of their town, and there watched till they were satisfied in the truth of her total abstinence.

But enough to these that cut the knot to save the trouble of un, tying it; yet I may not step aside to those in the contrary ex, tream, that believe a century of such reports, with a faith almost as miraculous as these miracles themselves, for so they seem to them. But, sir, as it is human infidelity to disbelieve all such re

Yid. Sennest. ubi supra. Zac. Lusit, ubi supra. Plutarch. in Sympos, & Lib. de Facię in Orb. Lunæ.

+ Sennert. ubi supra.

ports, because some are false, so it is superstitious charity to be. lieve all, because some are true. Some persons, as scant in their reading, as they are in their travels, are ready to deem every thing strange to be a monster, and every monster a miracle. True it is, the fast of Moses, Elijah, and the incarnate word, was miraculous, and possibly of some others; yet why we should make all miracles, I understand not ; for what need have we now of miracles ? Since such supernatural operations * are for them that believe not, not for them that believe, as witnesseth that + celestial philosopher St. Paul; and thence we infer, beings are not to be multiplied without necessity. Moreover, to what end are such miracles wrought? Certainly, the infinitely wise operator labours not for nought; therefore these abstinents, if miraculous, should confirm some doctrine rejected, or refute some error received ; infranchise some saints oppressed, subvert some wickedness exalted, foretel some extraordinary events and issues of providence to be performed, or for some other end, at which miracles have been usually levelled; but not a cry of these from most of our abstinents. More. over, the fast of our blessed Saviour and his Prodromi procured not the least detriment to their health, but it is otherwise with most of these.

Near of kin to these miracle-mongers are those that suppose these pretended fasters to be invisibly fed by angels. But it is in. credible that such a favour should be shewn to persons of no known sanctity, as some of these (reported to be Ethnicks) were. More. over, either this food was visible, or invisible; if visible, it is strange, that vigilant observers, and jealous suspecters, could nei. ther discover the ingress at the fore-door, nor the excrementitious egress at the back-door; but, if it were invisible, then altogether incongruous to our bodies, and therefore miraculous; of which before. Neither is it of easy credibility, that food should be supplied by dæmons possessing them; for we read of no footsteps of such a possession in the story, and it would be strange if the devil should grow so modest as to content himself with a single trophy of a captivated rational; and as strange, that a cloven foat should make such inroads, and not leave a doubled, yea redoubled im. pression. Cousin-germans to these are the presumers that the fasters are dead, and acted by dæmons; but this notion is also in. congruous, not only to their transmigration, from feeding to fasting, without any shew of a dissolution, but also to their regress from fasting to feeding (as it happened to some of these) and health again.

And as for the admirers of occult philosophy, who resolve these phrases into the effects of occult qualities, we only repose, that, though an antipathy to this or that food, and possibly to all food, may cause abstinence; yet, without food, I cannot understand how it gives sustenance. But others attribute all this to the influ. ence of celestial bodies, whose operations I deny not to be great

+ 1 Cor. xiv. 42.

t 2 Cor. xii. 3.

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