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all the sane men of the Sanhedrim. Is this consistent with the idea that he was merely a deranged man? Besides, would insanity say, “If thou cast me out, suffer me to go into the herd of swine”? Or if it was the doing of a crazy man to destroy these swine, how could the whole city lay the blame upon Jesus, and demand that he should leave the place. Indeed, is there not much in this Gadarene demoniac that shows the absurdity of assuming that he was merely a deranged man?
The second case, which is brought in proof that the symptoms of demoniacs are like those of insanity, epilepsy or hypochondria, is that of the dumb and blind man mentioned in Matthew xii. 22, and Luke xi. 14; which some suppose to be the same as that related in Mark vii. 32. It is supposed that insanity or melancholy was the disease. But does either of these deprive a man of sight or of speech? Who ever heard of such a case? It is not said that this man was born blind, or a deaf mute. But it is implied that an evil demon obstructed his sight, and prevented his speech! We can see no evidence that this man was an epileptic, hypochondriac, or insane.
The next case brought is that of the young man mentioned in Matthew xvii. 15, and in Luke ix. 38, who was lunatic from his childhood ; who was seized and torn by an evil demon, and who fell often into the fire and into the water; who foamed at the mouth and gnashed his teeth, and wallowed upon the ground. It is assumed that this was a case of epilepsy merely. But this is a mere begging of the question. What if these symptoms resembled somewhat those of that disease? Might not the cause be different? If one person is deprived of reason by intemperance, and another by a blow upon the skull, and if they exhibit a similarity of appearance and conduct, is it proper to affirm that the latter person is a drunkard? And why should the opposers of real possession by evil spirits assume, contrary to the inspired word, that this is a case of epilepsy? But
The third point which some opposers of real possessions attempt to establish is, that the Evangelists, Christ, and the Apostles, regarded demoniacs as merely diseased persons. It is assumed, but not proved, "that the Evangelists introduce demoniacs among sick people, as a separate class of sick," and "that in some instances they comprehend demoniacs under the head
VOL. VI.-NO. XXXIII.
of diseased persons without expressly mentioning then”; and that they did not think it necessary always to mention them, because they did not conceive that there was anything in their case sufficiently peculiar to render the distinction of any importance.
But how did these critics learn that demoniacs are included where there is no mention of them? We look at the Scripture narratives, and see that continually the writers do distinguish between demoniacs and diseased persons. “And they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments; and those that were possessed with demons; and those that were lunatic; and those that had the dropsy." Matthew iv. 24: In commissioning the apostles he said : “Heal the sick; cleanse the lepers ; raise the dead; cast out devils," [demons.] Matthew x. 8. “They brought unto him all that were diseased, and those that were possessed with demons.” Mark i. 32. “And he gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases." Luke ix. 1.
It would seem that there is no ground for the assumption that demoniacs and diseased persons are the same, for the distinctness of the above quotations must settle the question.
But again, it is said that the word demon is used tropically for disease, as Bacchus is for wine, and Ceres for corn; that Christ and the Evangelists made use of language very much as physicians in speaking of “St. Anthony's fire,” “the nightmare,” and "lunacy,” although the causes of these diseases are well known, and there is no ground for using such language except by accommodation. But we object to such an abuse of the divine word. It makes Christ but a vain empyric and the
Evangelists but mysterious quacks. It represents them as imposing upon the credulity of men, and making use of the superstitions of the ignorant to advance their own honor. Could it consist with the uniform simplicity and integrity of Christ to speak of demons as he did, to command them, to threaten them, and to speak of them as knowing him, if it were but a hallucination of superstition? When the demoniacs cried, “We know thee who thou art, the Son of God," would it consist with integrity to forbid them to make him known, because they knew that he was the Christ, if it were all a delusion? And if any will attempt to free themselves from difficulty by represent
ing it as mere tropes and figures, they assume principles of exegesis that will run all truth into myths, and destroy all history and all certainty.
What can we do with the words put into the mouths of demons, if we deny real possessions by evil spirits? “Thou Jesus of Nazareth, art thou come to torment us before the time?” “We know thee, who thou art, the Holy One of God”; “I adjure thee by God that thou torment me not? How absurd to attribute all this to insanity, hypochondria, or epilepsy, and how would our blessed Saviour appear, if the opponents of real possessions could maintain their positions ! He would be acting the ridiculous farce of commanding the ravings of insanity, the reveries of hypochondria and the stupidity of epilepsy not to make him known; because they knew that he was the Messiah !
But it is alleged, fourthly, that “the doctrine of real possessions is inconsistent with the other doctrines of Christ and his apostles," and therefore they could not have intended to teach it. And in proof of this it is urged that Christ and his apostles teach us that all things are under the direction of God, however minute they may be; and that it can not be supposed that God would permit so great miseries to be inflicted by demons.
How remarkably logical and forcible is this argument! As though all things could not be under the control of God, as truly when he permits demons to assail us as when he suffers insanity or epilepsy to afflict us! But do they not admit that it consists with the perfections of God to allow these evils to come in some way? And how does it appear that it would be more inconsistent with the divine character to allow demons to inflict these sufferings than to occasion them by diseases? The evils are the same on either supposition. Besides, it is a fact well known that God permits evil men to inflict great sufferings upon their fellow creatures, and those of a most appalling kind. Why then may he not suffer evil spirits to do the same? Should it be said, by way of objection to this, that they are of a different order of beings, and that it can not be supposed that God would allow them to inflict such evils on men, because the goodness of God forbids it? But why, then, does not the
goodness of God forbid wild beasts of great power and rage to assail men? They are of a "different order of beings.” Their argument would seem to be futile.
But, again, it is said, "that wicked spirits are kept in custody, and reserved unto the judgment of the great day; and that this can not be reconciled with the notion that they are roving about to do mischief.”
But can not an evil spirit be in custody while it is accomplishing some purpose of God in afflicting men? Are not the tenants of a state prison in custody, while they have such liberty as to employ themselves in the business which the government prescribes for them? Or will it be said that Satan was not in custody while he scaled the walls of Paradise to sow sedition? Because some length of chain was given him, was he liberated from the place where he is reserved unto judgment? And if indeed this prince of the demons has influence upon the children of men, though reserved in chains, what absurdity is there in supposing that his subjects have likewise an influence upon men? And what is there in this opinion that contradicts the doctrine that the fallen angels are reserved in chains under darkness, though they may do mischief to the children of men?
But, again, it is said, “that Christ no where denies that the evils in question were the result of diseases.” But what occasion had he to deny it? There were none in his time that had made such discoveries as have since been made; that these evils were the results of insanity, melancholy, or epilepsy. And how could Christ be expected to say what was not called for in the circumstances ? But he has said enough concerning real possessions by evil spirits to convince reasonable men that Ke held a different opinion from those who deny them.
But we now turn away from “these whispers of fancy” and the delusions of vain critics, to the direct arguments which prove the existence of demoniacal possessions. It will be impossible to do justice to the subject, however, without some apparent rep- . etition of things already said or implied in the above discussion.
1. The demons are represented as saying enough to prove their real existence: “What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God Most High! Art thou come to torment us before the time?” And they uttered many things that insane
men or epileptics would not have known. Besides, they answered questions with propriety that were proposed to them. Demons were declared to depart from the possessed and enter into the swine. And is it possible for a sane man to suppose that either epilepsy or insanity is here represented as invading two thousand swine! Or if the swine had been frightened down the precipice by the boisterous mad-men in the presence of the multitude, why did the whole city complain of our Saviour? Why should we not, then, believe the direct testimony of the sacred historian that here were demons, and that they did the mischief?
2. No symptoms of disease are implied in the narrative concerning the dumb demoniac in Matthew ix. 32, and in Luke xi. 24, nor in the dumb and blind demoniac in Matthew xii. 22. For anything that appears to the contrary, these persons were in a sound state of bodily health, and nothing but demoniacal influence interrupted the use of the organs of speech and of sight. Moreover, did anybody ever know that insanity, melancholy, or epilepsy, made men blind or dumb? “Credat Judæus Apella !”
3. But we are informed that the damsel of Philippi, Acts xvi. 16, practised divination, and brought much gain to ber employers. Could this have been a deranged person, or an epileptic? Or would such an one know enough of Paul and Timothy, or others, to say: “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who show unto us the way of salvation”?
4. The account of certain vagabond Jews, in Acts xix. 13, who attempted to cast out demons by calling over the demoniacs the name of Jesus, proves beyond question that there was something in the case besides disease. The evil spirit said : “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?” and the demoniac “leaped upon them, and overcame them; and they fled from the house naked and wounded." Here were the seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, together with the chief priests; and surely these were enough to confine one crazy man, if that were all that was needed. And how can we account for the results upon these pretenders without admitting the existence of a powerful demon ?
5. The demoniacs themselves affirmed that they had legions