« PreviousContinue »
have not seen them: the record is now to was not fulfilled to the very letter ? giventhat we might believe that Jesus The Jews were scattered throughout is the Christ. But if God has not given the whole world ; and yet, after all, this kind of evidence, has he thrown us as it was prophesied, they still preupon mere belief of written testimony? serve their national identity and By no means ; he has given us an- peculiarities; and while there was other kind of supernatural evidence, not a man living who could in reality equally powerful to the first, which say that he possessed a drop of the calls upon us to receive the gospel | Greek or Roman blood in his veins, with as much assurance as if we had the seed of Abraham remained intact lived when Christ rose from the dead. amidst the downfall of nations.
Mr. Campbell then said that he Mr. Campbell next particularly would now offer abundant reasons referred to the passage in Deuterowhy the oracle of God should be nomy which he first read, and showed heard with all reverence by those to the reason why the declaration in the whom it is proclaimed in the present passage was made. The people of day. The way in which the gospel | Israel had heard the awful voice of was at first attested by Christ and the Almighty from Mount Sinai, and his apostles was by the exhibition of so terrible was it, that they entreated sensible miracles, which left those Moses that it should not be spoken who witnessed them without excuse to them again. “Let God,” said in their unbelief. But, said Mr. they, “not speak to us again in his Campbell, miracles are also given to own person.” God heard their petius at the present hour for the purpose tion, and so he commanded Moses to of proving the truth of Christianity. declare that a “ Prophet shall the They are not of the first class, but a Lord their God raise up amongst kind which make their appeal to the their brethren like unto him," &c. intellect, and therefore in their uses as if he had said, “ This prophet shall and tendency as powerful as the first. be your oracle, and those who would In these remarks, Mr. Campbell re- not hear him would be destroyed ferred to the evidence of prophecy, from amongst the people.” Christ, and proved that none but God could then, is the only true oracle of God, utter prophecies; and therefore, in and when he has spoken, he has their nature, were as supernatural declared to us the mind and will of and powerful as miracles. The pro- | God. phecy more particularly adduced by Having showed that Jesus was the Mr. Campbell was one which referred oracle of God, the lecturer proceeded to the dispersion of the Jews, and to lay before his audience one great preserving them as a distinct nation oracle on which Jesus, as the Mesthroughout all time, as given by siah, founded his church. Before Isaiah, the prophet, 600 years before proceeding to do this, Mr. C. in order Christ. He showed that the writings to show the supremacy of Jesus of Isaiah were just as much public Christ as the oracle of God, recapituproperty then as they are now ; for | lated the scenes on the mount of they were not only read in the He- | Transfiguration. The oracle referred brew language, but also in Greek, to was the confession of Peter to the years before Jesus Christ was born. query of Jesus, “Who do men say The lecturer, in remarking upon this that I, the son of man, am ?” Peter, prophecy, said that, at the time it as the mouth of the Apostles, said, was delivered, there was the greatest “ We believe and are sure that thou improbability that it should ever be art the Christ, the son of the living fulfilled. Mr. Campbell then asked God.” Jesus having approved of the the audience if the prophecy referred 'confession, said, “Flesh and blood
hath not revealed it to thee, Peter, upon which the Christian Church but my Father, who is in heaven," was reared. All, then, who make &c. Mr. Campbell, in passing, the same good confession are built showed the total weakness of the upon Jesus Christ, and consequently Roman Catholic superstructure in entitled to a place in the Church of having been built upon a gross gram- God. From this, Mr. Campbell matical absurdity-in supposing that showed, in a clear and striking manthe Church of Christ was built uponner, that the Church of Christ was the flesh, blood, and bones of Peter, not founded upon either the 39 artiinstead of on the noble confession cles of the Church of England, or the which that Apostle made. The lec- | 158 folios of the Church of Rome; turer said that he was astonished that for it is not of human reason, but of there could be found a man, with the divine revelation. It is not contained least spark of common sense or intel- in the articles of Amiens, or upon ligence, who could receive such a the five points of Calvin, or upon any gross and absurd assumption. Mr. number of isolated abstractions of Campbell then went on to explain human opinion, or the metaphysics the reason why Jesus adopted the of all the Doctors of Divinity in the parabolic teaching. Every man, he world; but solely upon Jesus Christ said, had his own idiosyncrasy in himself. “ This is the tried rockthe manner of communicating his the sure foundation-stone ; and whothoughts to his hearers; and this, it soever buildeth thereon, shall never would appear, was the peculiar modebe ashamed.” Jesus Christ adopted in teaching his In referring to that part of the disciples. The lecturer, in confir- answer of Jesus, “ Flesh and blood mation of this, referred to a number hath not revealed it unto thee,” &c. of other passages, where his thoughts Mr. Campbell combatted the popular, so accommodated the beauties of ex- | but erroneous, idea that was enterternal nature to the purposes of the tained by the theologians of the instruction he was communicating to present day on the subject. It was his disciples.
said that it was the Holy Spirit The lecturer then, in again allud- which revealed this truth to Peter. ing to the confession of Peter, said This, however, was a mistake. The that the whole communicated this Holy Spirit had his work, and Jesus great truth, THAT UPON ONE GRAND Christ performed his. Jesus Christ CONFESSION CHRIST WOULD BUILD said that it was not the Spirit that His Church. There were but three revealed the truth to Peter, but his ideas in this confession; and upon heavenly Father. Mr. Campbell reflection it will be found, said Mr. then showed when and how this was Campbell, that we have only three done, by a reference to the baptism distinct ideas of any man, viz.-1st, and transfiguration of Jesus, when a his person; 2nd, the office he sus- voice from the excellent glory protains in society; and in the 3rd place, claimed, “ This is my Son, the bethe character which he bears in ful- loved in whom I delight: hear ye filling the duties of his office. The him.” Every man, then, said Mr. same understanding of Jesus Christ C. that believed with Peter, and is what the grand confession of Peter confessed like him, is a fit subject indicated, viz. his person, his office, for baptism, and of the Christian and character that is to say, in his Church, for he has believed in Jesus person he is the son of God; in his Christ as the Son of the living God, office he was the anointed Prophet, and the Saviour of mankind. This, Priest, and King; and in his cha- then, is the only basis upon which racter he was the only foundation 'Christianity is reared—the faith that
saves the soul-the power of God But here another difficulty presents itand the wisdom of God to every man
self: If the spirits of bad dead men can
communicate information to the living, that believes, and the only foundation
why may not the spirits of good dead men of a glorious immortality.
also make revelations by which living men may be saved? The revelations of
bad spirits leads to condemnation, and OBJECTIONS TO ESSAY ON why not the revelations of good spirits DEMONOLOGY.
lead to justification?
But I have scattered difficulties enough NO. I.
for one sheet. Suffice it to say, that I am
sceptical in relation to revelations being DEAR BROTHER CAMPBELL-Your essay made by dead men or their spirits. on · Demonology" has perplexed me
Affectionately yours, M. WINANS. more than any thing ever written by you. This transmigration of spirits, or souls, is
NO. II. a doctrine that I have not sufficiently in- | vestigated to become a belierer in it. Dear BROTHER CAMPBELL, Your essay You say the habitation of Mary Magdalene on “ Demonology” has set me to examinwas rather her misfortune than her crime. ing and thinking on the subject. In my Viewing it in this light, you must, of last I let you know that my mind had course, admit, or rather contend, that the been much perplexed-the difficulty grew bodies of the living may be inhabited by out of your definition of Demons. I the spirits of the dead without the voli. dared not directly call in question your tion of the living; and if so, a kind of definition; and if admitted when I put fatality attaches itself to the idea. If the definition (spirits of dead men) in the those spirits pollute the living, an abstract room of (demons or devils), I was peroperation must of necessity be wrought plexed; for those spirits of dead men were for their relief, else their fate is sealed. frequently heard by living men to cry out
It seems to me that necromancy, witch- with a loud voice, and say many things craft, &c. &c. were not permitted to enter which were understood by the living ; any, without an act of volition on their besides, those possessed were always part; else I cannot see the propriety of known to be so possessed by the people of enacting laws against these things. Law that age: and physical power seems to be without volition appears to me to be use- imparted by those spirits to those whom less, to say the least of it; and if by an they inhabited-as in the case of the act of volition those spirits are let in, then Gadarene, who excelled Sampson, for he Mary Magdalene was a criminal because could not be bound with chains; and also she broke the law enacted against suffer- the case of the Asiatic, who subdued seven ing such spirits taking possession of her. men, stripping and wounding them.
But it seems that the expulsion of de- Whether those spirits were visible or inmons was classed among the miracles invisible I have not been able clearly to the days of the Lord and his Apostles; make out. The circumstances would seem therefore I conclude that from that time to justify the notion that they were visithe spirits of the dead (if they be demons) ble, as well as audible, in some cases. In have been prohibited from inhabiting the the case of the Gadarene they were countliving, eise miracles are still necessary in ed, and found to be “ about two thousand." order to their expulsion.
I infer from your essay that witches, * If demons are expelled by the gospel, wizards, and necromancers of all grades then it would be hard to distinguish be- were inspired by the spirits of dead men ; tween sins and demons.
and, as a matter of course, those books, If evil spirits, or the spirits of evil men used by the heathen world were the revewho have died, become demons, and enter lations of the spirits of dead men, of which into living men, then I should suppose that there were burnt in Ephesus at one time the spirits of good men may in like man- in value fifty thousand pieces of silver. ner enter into living men; and if the bad Brother Campbell, did Jannes and spirits make bad men, then the good spirits Jambres work real miracles, as well as make good men. And who knows but Moses, only inferior in their kind? And what the doctrine of personal election can did Simon the sorcerer work real miracles be sustained on this ground ? If those in Samaria, before Philip went there? Or spirits enter without the volition of the were the people deceived by Jannes and party, surely the d' ctrine is true. And Jambres and by Simon? how can the Holy Spirit be distinguished I had almost concluded that all the from the spirits of good men who have curious arts of the ancients were mere died, seeing that the same effect is pro- deceptions, by which the people were duced by theirinhabitation ?
imposed on, and led to worship nonenities -and things having no power. Were not spirits of dead men ; especially when idols of all kinds called demons by the you attempt to conceive of their ancients? And were not the worshippers of idols called the worshippers of demons ?
manner of operating upon or through If so, is an idol any thing ?-has it a real human bodies. And to make them existence, or real powers?
metaphors, rhetorical figures, or any Should there not be a distinction drawn
sort of allegoric representations of between wizards, witches, &c. and those possessed of demons? Enough for this
things, is at once to abandon every time. Yours as ever, M. WINANS. safe principle of interpretation, and
to make of non-effect the volume of REPLY TO M. WINANS.
I teach that the Bible means what BROTHER WINANS–You are one it says that when it speaks of a of that class of men whose instant demon, it means just a demon, and assent to the essay on Demonology no more nor less than a demon ; and I little expected; but of whose final when it details the operations of a and ultimate acquiescence I as little demon, I understand these operations doubted. You believe some things to be as real as the operations of only because you cannot believe their a man, or any other agent of which contraries, and to assent to others the Bible speaks. only because you cannot dissent from I do not think that a demon means them. Therefore I anticipate the an angel as respects nature or charfinal and happy removal of all your acter, though it may sometimes be doubts. But should you never con- used to represent officially a messencur with me in this matter, it will ger from God, as the winds or the not in the least mar that good opin- / waves may be. But angels are not ion I have formed of your understand demons, though it should seem that ing, nor that affection I have cherished demons are sometimes messengers. for you on the ground of your moral Demons were not always courted excellence.
when they possessed men; nor when In this material and sceptical age courted, did they always appear to —this age of general laws and general them that sought their aid. The providences--this reign of Nature facts, not the philosophy of them, is and secondary causes, in which flesh first to be considered. But the diffiovercomes spirit, and the animal man culty you suggest seems to grow out controls the spiritual-in which that of an idea not necessary to the subwhich is seen prevails over that ject at all. Familiar spirits and which is unseen, and the temporal spirits of divination are represented over the eternal, I have long since as spirits sought after; while demons discovered that the neologistical in the work of possession were always speculations of Genevan metaphysi- unwelcome guests. Misdeeds and recians are much more popular and bellion may have, in many instances, fascinating than the old-fashioned superinduced such a visitation ; or, as doctrine of angels, spirits, demons, in the case of a man born blind, they and a spiritual system.
may have been permitted, in extraDifficulties there are in forming ordinary eras, to domineer over men, any conception of spiritual existences, that the power and glory of God either of their mode of existing or might be demonstrated in their vanoperating. But that they do exist quishment and expulsion. and operate, is as certain and as evi- Nor does it follow that because dent as that we ourselves live. evil demons delighted in possessing
Regarding demons, the difficulty and in tormenting the unhappy vicis the same, whether you imagine tims of their power, that good dethem to have been angels or the mons possess any desire of inhabiting
human bodies ; for, when absent from and these miracles only served as a the body, they are at home with the foil to set off the superior powers of Lord. But as proved in my essay the Divine Spirit in his messengers. on Demonology, the scriptural accep- Idols were not called demons by tation of the term warrants not the the ancients; but some of the demons application of it to the spirits of the were worshipped in the statues and saints as lingerers about the coasts of busts erected to their memory. That time, and reluctantly separating from there is a difference between demons, the depositories of their old mortalities. wizards, and necromancers, no one
The remaining difficulty suggested conversant with the scriptures of in your laconic remarks as to the truth can doubt. But our principles comprehension of the modus operandi of interpretation demand that the of spirits of any sort, human or an- term demon be taken in its commonly gelic, upon our spirits—lays not only received sense in the times of the against demonology, as I have viewed Apostles, and in no special and priit, but against the gospel history it- vate interpretation of our own. self! inasmuch as spiritual influence, What that acceptation was I have direct and indirect, by various in- shown, and I believe incontestibly strumentalities, is the order of things set forth. It appearing, then, that under the new economy, and is every in our Saviour's time it was so where supposed to be essential to the understood, especially in Judea, Galicomplete subjugation of our nature to lee, and Samaria, we must admit the the Lord, and the perfect fruition of fact that the demons of the New the reign of grace, both now and Testament were the spirits of dead hereafter. “If the spirit of him that men ; for so all the Apostles seemed raised up Jesus our Lord from the to have used it. Paul characterizes dead, dwell in you, he that raised up Popery by its demon doctrines; and Christ from the dead shall also quicken John in the Apocalypse says that our mortal bodies by his spirit that Babylon in ruins shall be the habitadwells in you.”
tion of demons certainly neither There is no need of ghostly revela- | angels nor human bodies, but the tions, since we have one from the spirits of the slain inhabitants. But Holy Spirit, on any point touching I have yet many things to say on our spiritual relations and eternal this subject, hard indeed to be uttered, destiny; and, therefore, no oracle, and harder to be believed, because of suggestion, or communication from the dulness of hearing of this generaany ghost or demon, would, were it tion. Meanwhile I rejoice in your offered, be accepted by any one con- consolation—that the Lord's triumph versant with the precepts and pro- over demons has greatly retrenched, mises of the gospel. I wonder not, if not wholly circumscribed their then, that you are sceptical in all dominion over men. Indeed I have such revelations. We agree in this, long reflected with pleasure on these as in a thousand other points; and, words of an old seer-" There is no therefore, I contemplate the doctrine enchantment against Jacob, nor diviof demons as no way responsible for nation against Israel.” Happy the such opinions, reasonings, and con- people in such a case! clusions, as some might superficially Yours in haste and all affection deduce from your doubts and diffi- for the hope's sake,
A. C. culties on the subject.
In reply to some of your questions LETTERS FROM EUROPE-XII. touching Jannes and Jambres, and Edinburgh, August 14, 1847. Simon the Sorcerer, I give it as my MY DEAR CLARINDA—Though peropinion that they did work miracles ; sonally in Edinburgh, my subject is