« PreviousContinue »
and Elders acted upon the appeal that it shows us how we ought to made from certain brethren in An- refer and judge all matters likely to tioch, as we would act in a similar disturb the peace and harmony of the case, by the exercise of our own kingdom of Messiah. judgment upon the points referred, But some men will say, “ The case and upon the sacred scriptures sup- is not exactly parallel with ours." posed to bear upon them. Their On that view of parallelism scarcely a decision was sanctioned by the Holy case of discipline in the New TestaSpirit as sound and judicious, inso- ment could instruct us, unless it be much that in the letters moved by almost identical with that on hand. James to be written to the Gentile We have but two or three cases of brethren they say, “It seemed good discipline in the whole book, and we to the Holy Spirit and to us.” have but a very few rules on the
But the peculiarity of this sentence subject; but we have in the cases _“It seemned good to the Holy Spirit occurring and in the precep ts, given and to us," demands a little attention. certain principles which are to us as What means " and to us," unless much rules of action as the broadest they were two and not one! The precepts in the decalogue. How Holy Spirit, therefore, approved, and much is left to human judgment on they approved the measure. Hence some occasions by the words " and the sentence goes forth as emanating such like ?” This is the apostolic from both, as we would say, “ It custom: after specifying certain chaseemed good to the King and his racters he concludes with “and such Ministers,” meaning that each had like.”* Are we not, then, to judge thought upon the subject individually, in all such cases ? Are not cards, and on comparing their sentences dice, wheels of fortune, games of they agreed. This seems to autho-chance, theatres, balls, cabals, horserize me in concluding that having races, bull-fights, cock-fights, &c. to compared their own judgment of the be condemned by the church, and case with the scriptures of truth as they who practice them to be excomquoted and applied by James, they municated, by the potency of the felt that their mind and that of the words “and such like," as well as Holy Spirit agreed. They did not, “ enyyings, murders, drunkenness, then, say “and to us” to sanction the revellings, and they who practice such Spirit's decision, but to inform their things ?" If they are not by inference brethren that the case was to them so and implication, they are not all to obvious that the sentence to which be condemned. they came exactly corresponded with The 15th of the Acts, then, estabthe oracles of the Spirit of God. No lishes a principle of reference or other view can be taken of this pas-appeal in all difficult cases, to the sage, in my judgment, that will justify presbytery of a different church or the style of the Apostles.
churches; and authorizes such elders The legitimate inferences, therefore, to come together to consider and deare-that the case was referred to the cide the matter. It does not institute Apostles and Elders in the character stated, annual, biennial, or triennial of bishops or overseers of the flock of synods, councils, or conventions ; but Christ ; that they came together to it institutes a special conference or deliberate upon the subject, and came convention when exigencies may reto a conclusion so rational and con- quire. And it makes such decisions sistent, that it exactly tallied with the final and ultimate on the parties. words spoken by the Holy Spirit If I am asked how it makes such seven hundred years before that time. a decision final and imperative, I Such is the case; and its utility is,
• Galatians v. 21.
answer that this is the very spirit or tribunal that shall decide the question, intent of the appeal. If the parties they are more likely to be reconciled agree to refer it to certain Elders and to its award than they would be to Apostles, then by the very fact of that of an itinerant, local, or stated agreement, they pledge themselves to court, with whose creation they had be ruled by the decision. And, in- nothing to do. The method taught deed, if one party refuse reference us in this chapter of settling debated altogether, it is proof of conscious questions, whether of doctrine or disinjustice on its side, and will justify cipline about to affect our spiritual the other party in referring at its own relations, is, therefore, as evidently option. These are such common wise and judicious as it is plain and sense views and principles, that me practicable, and I trust does or will thinks a moment's reflection will commend itself to the understanding | demonstrate their necessity and utility and good sense of the whole Christian to every intelligent and candid man. brotherhood. Should any one, howThere is, then, no danger of inter ever, worthy of being heard, object to minable references and endless appeals the views offered, it will afford us
-of disturbing the peace of the whole pleasure to consider objections, and Christian community, by admitting still farther to expatiate on this inthe rational and scriptural mode of teresting and important subject. preventing unenlightened, partial, and
A. C. arbitrary decisions, and of guaranteeing the enjoyment of personal in
DEMONOLOGY. dependence, character, and Christian liberty to every member of Christ's An
An Address delivered to the Popular kingdom. Who could commit his! Lecture Club, Nashville, Tennesse. moral destiny to any particular com BY ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. munity, to whose decision, however Mr. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN partial, self-willed, unjust, and in- -While the antiquary is gathering formal, he must forever submit! I, up the mouldering ruins of ancient for one, most certainly would not. temples, palaces, or cities, or poring My guarantee is, that there are over the coins, medals, and statues of other elderships in Chrsit's kingdom, | other ages, seeking to prove or to to whom on any painful exigency I embellish some theory of the olden can appeal, as ultimate and final in times ; while the astronomer is dithe case.
recting his largest telescope to some I may be asked, Why say that I remote ethereal field, far beyond the will appeal to “ the Elders and Apos- milky way, in search of new nebulæ, tles” of another church, or churches ? unseen before, in hope to find the I answer, because the Elders to whom nucleus of some incipient solar system; I appeal acknowledge the supremacy while the speculative geologist is of the Apostles (not of the Pope, nor delving down to the foundations of of any superior ecclesiastical tribunal), the eternal mountains, in quest of and will, after judging the case as new evidences of his doctrine of sucfaithfully as they can, do, as they did cessive and long-protracted formations in Jerusalem, finally hear the Apostles, of the massy strata of Mother Earth, and accept their decision of the “rock ribbed and ancient as the matter.
sun;" while the sceptic is exultingly The multiplication of appeals, in scanning the metaphysical dreams of the very nature of things, seldom, if some imaginary system of Nature, ever, proves more satisfactory than or seeking in the desolations of the one. When the parties have liberty ancient Mythologies arguments against to choose—indeed, to constitute the the mighty facts and overwhelming demonstrations of the Christian faith blended in the same tradition ; and,
-may I be indulged, gentlemen, to therefore, neither awed by authority, invite you into the precincts of De- nor allured by the fascinations of monology, and to accompany me in novelty, he institutes an examination a brief excursion into the land of into the merits of a subject, which, if demons, whence, dark and mysterious true, cannot but deeply interest the though it be, we may, perhaps, guided thoughtful; and which, if false, by some friendly star, elicit some should be banished from the minds useful light on that grand and awful of all. world of spirits, which, as we descend That a class of beings of some sort, the hill of life, rises higher and higher designated demons, has been an elein its demands upon our time and ment of the faith, an object of the thoughts, as embracing the all-ab- dread and veneration of all ages and sorbing and transcendant interests of nations, as far back as all memory huinan kind.
reaches, no one who believes in a Think not, however, that I intend spiritual system-no one who regards to visit the fairy realms and enchant- the volumes of divine inspiration, or ing scenes of wild romance; or that who is only partially acquainted with I wish to indulge in fascinating fic- | Pagan and Jewish antiquity, can tions of poets, ancient or modern ; | reasonably doubt. But concerning think not that I am about to ascend | these demons, of what order of intelwith old Hesiod, into his curious ligences, of what character and des- | theogony of gods and demigods, or to tiny ; of what powers intellectual and descend with our late Sir Walter | moral, or immoral, there has been Scott to the phantasmatic realms of much debate, and still there is need his Celtic and Scottish ghosts and of farther and more satisfactory exademons. I aim at more substantial | mination. entertainment, at more sober and But before entering philosophically grave realities, than the splendid or practically into this investigation, fancies of those gifted and fortunate it is necessary that we define the true votaries of popular applause, rather and proper meaning of the term than of the approvals of the conscien- demon. This word, it is said, is of tious and sedate.
Grecian origin and character — of It is the subject of demons, as which, however, we have not full forming a portion of the real anti- assurance. In that language it is quities of the world—as connected written and pronounced daimoon ; with Pagan, Jewish, and Christian and, according to some etymologists, theology ;—it is the subject of de- is legitimately descended from a very mons, sometimes called devils, not in ancient verb pronounced daioo, which their fictitious, but true character, means to discriminate, to know. that I purpose to discuss : for even Daimoon, or demon, therefore, simply here there is the fact and the fable, indicates a person of intelligence a the true and the false, the real and knowing one. Thus, before the age the imaginary, as in every thing else. of philosophy, or the invention of the The extravagant fancies of the poets, name, those were called demons, as the ghosts and spectres of the dark a title of honour, who afterwards ages, have spread their sable mantles assumed the more modest title of upon this subject, and involved it all philosophers. Aristotle, for his great either in philosophical dubiety, or in learning, was called demon, as was a blind indiscriminate infidelity. the celebrated Thucydides : hence,
The inductive and Christian philo- among the Platonists it was for some sopher in this department, as in most time a title of honour. But this, it others, finds both truth and fable must be observed, was a special
appropriation, like our use of the of etymologists and lexicographers. words divine and reverend. When Historical facts, then, and not etywe apply these titles to sinful men, mological speculations, shall decide who, because of their calling, ought not only its meaning, but the characto be not only intelligent, but of a ter and rank of those beings on whom, divine and celestial temper and mo- by common consent, this significant rality, we use them by a special title was conferred. indulgence from that sovereign pontiff To whom, then, among Pagan with whom is the jus et norma writers, shall we make our first ap
peal ? Shall we not at once carry up But as some of the Platonists ele- the question to the most venerable vated the spirits of departed heroes, Hesiod, the oldest of Grecian bards, public benefactors, and distinguished | whose antique style even antedates men, into a species of demi-gods, or that of Homer himself almost one mediators between them and the hundred years ? Shall we not appeal Supreme Divinity, as some of our to the genealogist of all the gods, the forefathers were accustomed to regard great theogonist of Grecian mythothe souls of departed saints, this term logy? Who than he more likely to be began to be used in a more general | acquainted with the ancient traditions sense. Among some philosophers it of demons? And what is the sum of became the title of an object of wor- his testimony in the case ? Hear ship; while, on the other hand, it him speak in the words of Plutarch : degenerated into the genii of poetry -" The spirits of mortals become and imagination.
| demons when separated from their In tracing the popular transitions earthly bodies.” The Grecian biograand transmigrations of words, permit phist not only quotes with approbame, gentlemen, to say that we are tion the views of Hesiod, but corrobonot to imagine that they very cere- rates them with the result of his own moniously advance, as our naval and researches, avowing his conviction military officers, from one rank to that “the demons of the Greeks were another, by some systematic or con- the ghosts and genii of departed men ; ventional agreement, amongst the and that they go up and down the heads of the departments in the army earth as observers, and even rewardof words and phalanxes of human ers of men ; and although not actors speech. On the contrary, the transi- themselves, they encourage others to tions are exceedingly anomalous and act in harmony with their views and sometimes inverted. In this instance characters.” Zenocrates, too, as the term demon, from simply indicat- found in Aristotle, extends the term ing a knowing one, became the title to the souls of men before death, and of a human spirit when divested of calls them demons while in the body. the appendages of its clay tenement, | To the good demons and spirits of because of its supposed initiation into deceased heroes they allotted the the secrets of another world. Thus office of mediators between gods and a separated spirit became a genius, men.* In this character, Zoroaster, a demi-god, a mediator, a divinity of Thales, Pythagoras, Plato, Plutarch, the ancient superstition, according to Celsus, Apuleius, and many others, its acquirements in this state of pro- contemplated the demons of their bation.
times. But we shall better understand the Whoever, indeed, will be at pains force and import of this mysterious to examine the Pagan mythologies, word from its earliest acceptation among the elder Pagans, Jews, and ators of the dark ages, and of the less favored
• Hence the saint worship and saint mediChristians, than from the speculations 'portions of our Anglo-Saxon race.
one and all, will discover that some mise of it to Abraham, demons were doctrine of demons, as respects their recognised and worshipped. The nature, abodes, characters, or em- consultation of the spirits of the dead, ployments, is the ultimate foundation the art and mystery of necromancy, of the whole superstructure; and that the species of familiar spirits, and the radical idea of all the dogmata of wizards, are older than Moses, and their priests, and the fancies and spoken of by him as matters of anfables of their poets, are found in cient faith and veneration. Statues, that most ancient and veritable tra- | indeed, are ordained, and laws are dition—that the spirits of men survive promulged from Mount Sinai in Aratheir fallen tabernacles, and live in a bia, from the voice of the Eternal disembodied state from death to the King, against the worship of demons, dissolution of material nature. To the consultation of familiar spirits, these spirits in the character of genii, the practice of necromancy, and all gods, or demi-gods, they assigned the the arts of divination; of which we fates and fortunes of men and coun- may speak more particularly in the tries. With them a hero became a sequel. Hence we affirm that the demon in hades; and a demi-god, a doctrine of a separate state-of disnumen, a divinity in the skies. It embodied ghosts, or demons-of neis not without some reason that the cromancy and divination, is a thouwitty and ingenious Lucian makes sand years older than Homer or his dialogist, in the orthodoxy of his Heisod, than any Pagan historian, age, thus ask and answer the follow- | philosopher, or any poet whatsoever. ing questions :- What is man? A And so deeply rooted in the land of mortal god? And what is God? An Canaan, so early and so long cherished immortal man. In one sentence, all and taught by the seven nations was Pagan antiquity affirms that from this doctrine in all its branches, that, Titan and Saturn, the poetic progeny notwithstanding the severe statutes of Colus and Terra, down to Escu- against it, traces of it are found lapius, Proteus, and Minos, all their among the Jews for almost a thousand divinities were the ghosts of dead years after Moses. Of the wicked men, and were so regarded by the Jeroboam it is said, “ He ordained most erudite of the Pagans themselves. priests for the high places, and for
Think not, gentlemen, that because the demons.” (Duet. xviii. 10. Lev. we summon the Pagan witnesses first, | xvii. 7), &c. Even David admits that we regard them either as the that his nation “learned the works first in point of age or character. of the heathen, served their idols, and Far from it. They were a pack of sacrificed their sons and daughters to plagiarists, from Heisod to Lucian. demons;" and he adds, “ they ate the The Greeks were the greatest literary sacrifices of the dead;" a clear intithieves and robbers that ever lived, mation' that worshipping demons was and they had the most consummate art worshipping the dead. Isaiah, too, of concealing the theft. From these lamenting their idolatry, asks the Pagans, whether Greeks or Romans, mortifying question, “ Shall a people we ascend to the Jews and to the seek the living to the dead ?” Patriarchs, whose annals transcend! But there is a peculiarity in the those of the most ancient Pagans acceptation of this term among Jews many centuries.
and Pagans which demands special In the times of the Patriarchs, in attention. Amongst them the term the infancy of the Abrahamic family, demon generally, if not universally, long before the time of their own denoted an unclean, malign, or wicked Moses, we learn that in the land of spirit; whereas amongst the Pagans Canaan, almost coeval with the pro- it is as often represented a good as an