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hath been universally allowed, that

there is a natural resemblance between Sleep and Death. The Roman orator observes, that Sleep is the image and figure of Death; and one of their poets, lamenting a friend who died in his youth, complains that a perpetual Sleep had seized upon him. Stobuus; in his Moral Collections, tells us of one, who when he lay in a drowsy state upon his death-bed, and was asked by a friend how he did, made answer,

Sleep is going to deliver me up to his brother.

a Cic. Tusc. I. 38.
Ergo Quintilium perpetuus sopor urget, Hor. Od. I. 24.
& Stob. Ed.



But the relation between Sleep and Death must needs have been very imperfectly traced by those, who could view the subject only on the darker side. The Egyptians indeed seem to have applied the dormant state of some insects to the survival of the soul after the death of the body; and the allusion, if I understand it rightly, was ingenious and elegant; though I have met with no authority whereby it might be shewn how far they carried it.

II. The transformation of the several species of Caterpillars, through their intermediate state of sleep to that of their splendid investiture in the spring, when they come forth from their winter-quarters in the condition of flies, is a fact well known to every observer of nature. It is worthy of admiration, that a creature, still preserving its identity, should pass from the baseness of the worm to the agility of a bird; one while crawling upon the ground, and presently traversing the air in a form which is dazzling to the eyes. But it is yet more remarkable, that, in the interval before this change is brought to pass, there should be a middle state of Sleep, in which the bodily powers are suspended, while a principle of animation is con


tinued. It is thought the Egyptians had an eye to this middle state and the change which follows it, in the configuration of their Mummies. The Caterpillar of the Silkworm-moth, and of many other like insects, passes into an Eruca or Chrysalis', which is swathed about the body and filleted about the upper parts so exactly after the fashion of the bodies anciently embalmed in Egypt, that the resemblance could not be accidental. There is no natural similitude in the lineaments betwixt a Man and an Eruca; but the art of the Egyptians effected a very striking one; and they must have been strange philosophers if their art fell to work so uniformly without any design. The sages of that country, who expressed all their notions by symbols, acted agreeable to the plan of their whole system, when they signified the transmigration of the human soul by the transformation of an insect.

A Christian, instructed in the doctrine of the resurrection, may make a much better use of the figure and complete the parallel in a satisfactory mannerb: but the Egyptian phi

a These are the terms used by Pliny. Lib. xi. cap. 32.

b This is elegantly done by the author of Deism revealed, in a work intitled Truth in a Mask. See Allusion the first.




losopher could apply it only to his fanciful doctrine of the metempsychosis : and to this it could not be accommodated without violence: for the change of the Eruca into a feathered fly, is not a transfusion of the same life into a different substance, but an actual regeneration of the same body into a more glorious shape.

III. Natural history hath some other appearances nearly related to this and equally unaccountable: but our design at present is to consider the figurative acceptation of Sleep in the scripture; which is consistent with itself, and delivers such doctrines as are more worthy of our attention, and more agreeable to the order of nature, than the fables of Egypt.

IV. When our blessed Saviour went into the house of the ruler of the Synagogue, with the design of raising up his daughter to life, he said to those who were assembled on the occasion, Why make ye this ado and weep, the damsel is not dead but sleepeth.” The people who were present, taking his words in the literal sense laughed him to scorn. Their laughter proceeded, as laughter generally

a Mark v. 39.



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