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state of the Jews. This he attempts of dead men; and, as such, have by the adventures of a demon-first taken possession of men's living being dispossessed, finding no rest bodies, and have moved, influenced, and returning with others more wicked and impelled them to certain courses than himself to the man from whom of action. he was driven. Now if this was all Permit me, gentlemen, to demona figure to illustrate a figure, the strate that this is no abstract and Saviour has done that which he idle speculation, by stating a few of never before attempted, inasmuch as the practical aspects and bearings of his parables are all founded not upon this doctrine of demonology: fictions, but upon facts—upon the | 1st. It relieves the Bible from the actual manners and customs, the in- imputation of promulging laws against cidents and usages of society. non-entities in all its legislation
That must be a desperate position against necromancers, diviners, soothto sustain which degrades the Saviour sayers, wizards, fortune-tellers, &c. as a teacher below the rank of the When Jehovah gave this law to most ordinary instructors of any age. Israel, he legislated not against mere The last state of the Jews compared pretence, saying, “You shall not to a metaphor ! — compared to a permit to live among you any one nonentity !-compared to a fiction ! | that useth divination, an enchanter, a This is even worse than representing witch, a consulter of familiar spirits, a trope coming out of a man's mouth, a wizard, or a necromancer; for all “ crying with a loud voice,” “wan- that do these things are an abominadering through dry places” —unfigu- tion to the Lord: and because of rative language, I presume-seeking these abominations the Lord thy God a period, and finding a comma. At doth drive these nations out before length, tired and fatigued, returning thee.” A divine law demanding with seven fiercer metaphors more capital punishment because of a wickedly eloquent than himself, re- mere pretence! The most incredible possessing the orator, and making thing in the world! The existence him internally more eloquent than of such a statute, as before intimated, before. It will not help the matter implies not merely the antiquity of to say that when a disease leaves a the fact of demoniacal influence, but man it wanders through dry or wet supposes it so palpable that it could places through marshes and fens— be proved by at least two witnesses, through deserts and prairies—and and so satisfactorily as to authorize finding no rest for its foot, takes with the taking away of human life withhim seven other more violent diseases, out the risk of shedding innocent and seeks for the unfortunate man blood. from whom the doctors expelled it, That there have been pretenders to and, re-entering his improved con- such mysterious arts, impostors and stitution, makes that its eternal abode. hypocrites in necromancy, witchcraft,
In one sentence, then, we conclude and divination, as well as in every that there is neither reason nor fact thing else, I doubt not; but if the -there is no canon of criticism, no pretence to work a miracle, or utter law of interpretation—there is nothing a prediction, be a proof that there in human experience or observation were true miracles and true prophets, -there is nothing in all antiquity, the pretence of necromancy, witchsacred or profane, that, in our judg-craft, and divination, is also a proof ment, weighs against the evidence that there were once true necromanalready adduced in support of the cers, wizards, and diviners. The position, that the demons of Pagans, fame of the Egyptian Jannes and Jews, and Christians were the ghosts Jambres who withstood Moses in the presence of Pharaoh-the fame of To which we cheerfully respond, the the woman of Endor, who evoked living and inspired prophets only Samuel, or some one that personated knew a part of the future. God him-and of the Pythonic damsel alone knows all the future. But that followed Paul and Barnabas, angels or demons may know much who enriched her master by her more of it than man. How this may divination, stand on the pages of be, analogy itself may suggest. Supeternal truth, imperishable monu- | pose, for example, that one man posments not merely of the antiquity of sessing the discriminating powers of the pretence, but of the reality of a Bacon, a Newton, or a Locke, only demoniacal power and possession. of a more capacious and retentive
May I be permitted farther to ob- memory, had been coeval with Cain, serve, on this mysterious subject, that Noah, or Abraham, and with a deathnecromancy was the principal parent less vigor of constitution had lived of all the arts of divination ever prac- with all the generations of men since tised in the world, and was directly their day till now, an inductive philoand avowedly founded on the fact, sopher, of course, what would be his not only of demoniacal influence, but comparative power of calculating that demons are the spirits of dead chances and contingencies—the laws men, with whom living men could, of cause and effect—and of thence and did form intimacies. This the anticipating the future? Still, comvery word necromancy intimates. pared with one who had passed that The necromancer predicted the future mysterious bourne of time, he would by means of demoniacal inspiration. | be but the infant of a day, knowing He was a prophet inspired by the comparatively nothing of human desdead. His art lay in making or tiny. But, indeed, the powers of finding a familiar spirit, in evoking a knowing peculiar to disembodied demon from whom he obtained super- spirits, are to us as inscrutable as human knowledge. So the Greek the very elements of their spiritual term imports and all antiquity con forms and existence. But that they firms.
do know more of a spiritual system There are two subjects on which and more of human destiny than we, God is silent, and man most solicitous all antiquity, sacred and profane, fully to know—the world of spirits and reveals and confirms. his own future destiny. On these 2. But a second practical aspect of two subjects ghosts who have visited this theory of demons demands our the unseen world, and whose horizon attention. It is a palpable and irreis so much enlarged, are supposed to fragable proof of a spiritual system. be peculiarly intelligent, and on this The gross materialists of the French account originally called demons, or school, when Atheism triumphed over knowing ones. But this knowledge reason and faith, proclaimed from being forbidden, kindly forbidden to their own metropolis, and had it cut man, to seek it at all, and especially deep in marble too, that death was by unlawful means, has always been an eternal sleep of body, soul, and obnoxious to the anathema of Heaven. spirit, in one common unconsciousness Hence the popularity of the profession of being. Since that time we have of evoking familiar spirits, and hence had the subject somewhat refined and also the indignation of Heaven against sublimated into an intermediate sleep those who consulted them.
of only some six or seven thousand Still we may be asked, Has any years, between our earthly exit and spirit of man, dead or alive, power to the resurrection morn. These more foresee and foretell the future? Does speculative materialists convert deany one know the future but God? | mons into metaphors, lapsed angels,
or devils-into any thing rather than To me, in this branch of the arguthe living spirits of dead men. ment, it is perfectly indifferent whether
They see that our premises being it was a pretence or a reality : for, admitted, there must be a renunciation mark it well, had there not been a not only of the grosser, but of the senior and more venerated belief in more ethereal forms of materialism the existence of a spiritual system of those who lull the spirit to repose a general persuasion that the spirits in the same sepulchre with its kindred of the dead lived in another world mortality, in their opposition to the while their bodies lay in this, and inhabitation of the human body by that disembodied spirits were demons any other spirit than its own. They or knowing ones on those particular make but little argumentative gain points so interesting and so unapwho assume that demons are lapsed proachable to man; who ever could angels rather than human ghosts ; have thought of consulting them, of for who will not admit that it may be evoking them by any art, or of premore easy for a demon than an angel, tending in the face of the world to who has a spiritual body of his own, any familiarity with them! I gain to work by the machinery of a human strength by the denial or the admisbody, and to excite the human pas- sion of the thing, so long as its high sions to any favorite course of action! antiquity must be conceded. I do Were not this the fact, they must indeed contend, and will contend, have tenanted the human house to that a belief in demons, in a separate little purpose, if a perfect stranger to existence of the spirits of the dead, is all its rooms and doors could, on its more ancient than necromancy, and first introduction, move through them that it is a belief and a tradition as readily as they
older than the Pagan, the Jewish, or “ If weak thy faith, why choose the harder side ?" the Christian systems—older than To allegorize demoniacal influences, Moses and his law—older than any or to metamorphose them into rheto- earthly record whatever. rical imagery, is the shortest, though Not a few of our modern sages the most desperate escape, from all ascribe to a Pagan origin that which spiritual embarrassment in the case. antedates Paganism itself. They But the harder you press the sceptical must have a Grecian, Roman, or philosopher on the subject of his Egyptian origin for ideas, usages, peculiar idolatry, the more bold his and institutions existent ages before denial of all spiritual influences, the founders of these states or the celestial or infernal; and the more inventors of their superstitions were violently he affirms that demoniacal born. No earthly record, the Bible possessions were physical diseases ; alone excepted, reaches within hunthat necromancy, familiar spirits, and dreds of years of the origin of the divination, though older than Moses, idea of demons, necromancy, and of and the seven nations of Canaan, infernal as well as of supernal agency. were but mere pretences ; an imposi- Others there are who have more tion on the credulity of man, as idle faith in what is modern than in what as the legends of Salem witchcraft, is ancient. They would rather beor of the fairy tales of mother-land lieve their children than their fathers. of sprites and apparitions. But this, The moderns, indeed, in most of the let me tell you, sceptical philosopher, physical sciences, and in some of the relieves not the hard destiny of your physical arts, greatly excel the ancase. Whether necromancy in all cients. I say, in some of the useful its forms was real or pretended, true and fine arts we may, perhaps, excel or false, affects not the real merits of them as much as they excelled us in the question before us.
geometry, architecture, sculpture,
painting, poetry, &c. &c. But our natural impressions and views though we excel them so much in are found in material nature ; and many new discoveries and arts—in therefore man could as easily create correct, traditionary, and spiritual a world as a ghost, either by imagiknowledge, they greatly excelled us, nation, volition, or reason. Superexcept always that portion of the natural ideas must, therefore, have a moderns fully initiated into the mys- supernatural origin. So speaks the teries of the Bible. Some seem to Baconian system, and therefore its reason as if they thought that the author believed in demons, spirits, farther from the fountain the waters and necromancy, as much as your are more pure—the longer the channel humble servant, or any other living the freer from pollution. With me, Baconian. the reverse is the fact. Man was When any man proves he can have more intelligent at his creation and faith without hearing and testimony his fall in his own being and destiny —the idea of color without sight_or than he has ever been since, except of hardness and softness, of heat and so far as he has been the subject of a cold, without feeling, and understand new revelation. Would it not appear all the properties of material nature, waste of time to attempt to prove without any of his five senses, then, that our national government is purer but not till then, he may explain how, now than it was while its founders without a supernatural influence of were all living amongst us? Equally any sort, he may form either the idea prodigal of time the man who at- or the name of a spirit, a ghost, or a tempts to prove that the Patriarchal, demon-of a spiritual, invisible, and Jewish, and Christian institutions eternal system of intelligences of a were purer five hundred or a thousand supernatural mould and temper. He years after, than at, their commence- that can create out of himself the idea ment. With Tertullian I will say, of an abstract spirit, or of a spiritual that in faith, religion, and morality, system of any sort, may create matter whatever is most ancient is most true. by volition, and a universe out of Therefore, the Patriarchs knew more nothing. of man living and dead, of the ancient Dispose of the matter as she may, order of things in nature, society, and we affirm it is our conviction that art, than we, their remote posterity. Philosophy herself is compelled to
The age of philosophy was the era admit the existence of demons, famiof hypothesis and doubts. Man liar spirits, and the arts of necromancy never began to form hypothesis till and divination, which all ancient he lost his way. Now, having traced tradition — all Patriarchal, Jewish, the belief in demons and necromancy and Christian records assert. In this beyond the age of conjecture and instance, as in many others, faith is speculative reasoning, and located it easier than unbelief; and Reason amongst the oldest traditions in the voluntarily places herself by the side world, we are compelled, by the dicta of Faith as her handmaid and coadof our own inductive and sounder jutor in sustaining a spiritual system, philosophy, to admit its claims to an of which demons, in their proper naexperience, observation, and testi- ture and character, are an irrefragable mony, properly authenticated and proof. documented amongst the earliest 3. A third practical tendency of fathers of mankind. One of the this view of demoniacal influence is to oracles of true science is, that all our exalt in our esteem the character of ideas are the result of sensation and the Supreme Philanthropist. reflection, or of experience and ob- We will be asked, Whence have servation ; that the archetypes of all | all the demons fled ? What region
do they now inhabit? Have they | the conclusion that the power of denot power to possess mankind as mons is wholly destroyed as far as formerly? Is necromancy, divination, Christians are concerned ; and if not and witchcraft for ever exiled from wholly, greatly restrained in all lands the abodes of men ?
where the gospel has found its way. Many such questions there may be With an old prophet or diviner who propounded, which neither philoso- tried his hand against God's people phy, nor experience, nor religion do once, we may say, " There is no eninfallibly determine. But we may chantment against Jacob—there is say in general and truthful terms, no divination against Israel.” Some that the heralds of salvation, from arrogate to human science what has the day of their first mission, to the been the prerogative of the gospel end of their evangelical labors, were alone. They say the light of science casting out demons, restraining Sa- has driven ghosts and witches from tanic influence, and making inroads the minds of men ; whereas they upon the power and empire of Beel- ought to have said, the gospel and zebub, the Prince of the Demons. power of its Author have driven The mighty chieftain of this holy demons out of the hearts, and disposwar had a personal encounter with sessed them of their power over the the malignant chief of all unclean / bodies of men. spirits, angelic and human, and so The error of these admirers of defeated his counsels and repelled his human science is not much different assaults as to divest him of much of from that of some European theolohis sway, as a presage and earnest of gists concerning Mary Magdalene. his ultimate triumph over all the They suppose her to have been an powers of darkness. His success and infamous, rather than an unfortunate that of his ambassadors on two occa- woman, out of whom were driven sions called from his lips two oracles seven devils. They have disgraced of much consolation to all his friends: her memory by erecting “ Magdalene “I saw," said he,“ Satan fall like Hospitals " for infamous, rather than lightning from heaven.” This he for unfortunate females, not knowing spake when they told him “ The de- that it was the misfortune, rather mons are subject to us through thy than the crime of Mary of Magdala, word.” “Behold,” he adds, “I give that seven demons had been permitted you power to tread on serpents and to assault her person for the glory of scorpions, and on all the power of the the Messiah and her own eternal enemy, and nothing shall by any fame. means hurt you.” The partial de- As to the abodes of demons, we thronement of Satan, Prince of the are taught in the Bible what the Demons, is here fully indicated. The most ancient dogmatists have said Roman orator uses this style when concerning their residence in the air. speaking of Pompey's overthrow. I say we are taught that they dwell His words are, “ He has fallen from pro tempore in the ethereal regions. the stars.” And again, of the fall of Satan, their Prince, is called “the the colleague Antonius-" Thou hast Prince of the power of the air." The pulled him down from heaven.” So great Apostle to the Gentiles taught spake the Messiah : “I beheld Satan them to wrestle against “ wicked as lightning fall from heaven." His spirits that reside in the air;" for, empire over men from that day began says he, “ you fight not against flesh to fall. And on another occasion he and blood, but against principalities says, “Now is the Prince of this and powers, against the rulers of the world cast out.” These, together darkness of this world, against spiriwith other similar indications, allow tual wickedness in high places ;"