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asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces : neither could any man tame him.”
In countries where the gospel light has not yet shown full-orbed, demon possession with manifestations similar to those of Bible times are known to be common. F. B. Meyer relates numerous cases in Russia; many by prayer were cast out in the name of Jesus Christ. “I confess," he says, “these incidents have greatly impressed me. I wonder how far it would be right to deal with certain forms of drunkenness and impurity as cases of demonpossession. It may be there is more of this demon work among us than we know, and especially in cases of mania." Dr. Howard Taylor, of the China
, Island Mission, it is said, was accustomed to diagnose the symptoms of demon-possession in the same way as of any other disease. Dr. Nevins, of the Presbyterian Mission Board, tells of hundreds of cases, witnessed by himself, where by faith in the Son of God the demons were cast out, and the victims were clothed and in their right mind.
Cotton Mather says of Salem witchcraft: “ Those persons said to be bewitched would swoon, froth at the mouth, their bodies would cramp into irregular shapes; meanwhile they would utter accusations against good people who, they said, had bewitched them. This excited sympathy of the court. As soon as the court rendered judgment, those bewitched victims would be relieved of their physical cramps and mental torture.” Salem witchcraft was real cases of demon-possession, but the court blundered in that the demons were located in the wrong persons.
Sir Walter Scott says that similar manifestations of Satan as were witnessed at the time of the Salem witchcraft occurred simultaneously in every country on earth. He writes again : “Anna Cole, living at Hartford, was taken with strange fits which caused her to express strange things unknown to herself, her tongue being guided by a demon. She confessed to the minister that she had been familiar with a devil." Pages could be filled with modern examples which coincide so exactly with New Testament records that we have no doubt the causes are the same.
Professor Webster, late of Wheaton College, said in a lecture before the students: “I once knew a man possessed of a demon. He became so vicious that he had to be confined in a cell in jail. When he heard any one swear or blaspheme, he would go into convulsions of laughter. When any one used the name of God or Christ, he would curse everything good, and foam at the mouth. He possessed superhuman strength, like the man living among the tombs.”
The soul is God's masterpiece, created to be the habitat of the Paraclete, but may, as truly, become the habitat of a demon. We believe that Diabolus has so organized his forces that his minions represent various sins; they are specialists—skilled labourers : drink demons, lust demons, lying demons, anger demons, theft demons, pride, blasphemy, etc. Demon possession to-day expresses itself in sins we try to control by means of courts, education, etc. Homes become a miniature hell because of drink, pride, lust, or lying demons.
Our penitentiaries are crowded with men who were controlled by a demon, forced them into drink, anger, or theft, until the deed was committed. We may feel thankful that there are so few Scriptural cases of demon possession about us—the old time possession. The wise Enemy has shifted, but at the same time has greatly enlarged his field of operation. There are no witch victims to-day: the courts would not punish the witches, but the bewitched would be safely cared for in an asylum. But observe, there are ten thousand other insidious ways in which he possesses men and women, enlarging his kingdom daily; his victims multiply, but not among the tombs. The name of Jesus continues to be the only remedy.
« So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown."- Job ii. 7.
“Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil.”'--Acts x. 38.
A NECESSARY concomitant of demon possession is its influence upon the individual's moral faculties; an entirely new type of moral tastes are developed : tempers, sympathies, and, especially, doctrines which are diametrically opposed to genuine spiritual religion and revelation. Demon possession bitterly and persistently rejects, whether by a nominal professor or unbeliever, the doctrines of repentance, new birth, etc., through a blood atonement.
In demon possession the fight is on the inside ; in demon oppression the fight is on the outside. In the one, Satan controls the man : body, mind and soul; in the other, he depresses, afflicts the man: body, mind, and soul. In the one, the victim is the incarnation of evil ; in the other the victim is generally the purest and holiest of men and women.
The Devil or demons may be ejected by the power of the Holy Ghost, but the hellish enterprise is never given up; all the engineering of the pit is utilized to keep ransomed souls out of the kingdom. Once a choice is made, all hell is aroused unto wrath and riot to torment, nag, and finally drag the discouraged pilgrim back into sin and apostasy. This is often accomplished successfully through an afflicted body. Who knows but that the drama enacted in the land of Uz has been repeated many, many times since Job sat on his ash pile ? “But," says the objector, “ sickness and disease
” come as a result of exposure, natural laws violated, inoculation by infection and contagion." True, but remember he is the “prince of the power of the air." What he did once he can do again, and more efficiently. Think of the strenuous war being waged on germs, microbes, and bacilli; we have diseases more violent than ever before. Yet when the race of life was less complicated and simple, none of the modern precautions were thought of; flies swarmed about everything placed on the table, and their mission thought to be one of beneficence. There are many actual and implied statements in the Bible which teach that disease and sickness are often the result of demon oppression; a large part of our Lord's ministry was relieving those who were oppressed of the Devil and demons.
Then his work is just as effective in the realm of the mind; the mental faculties, filled with confusion
! and doubt, are incapable of exercising their normal functions. Multitudes are able, because of their intelligence, to guard the approaches through the physical organism, or to the extent of subjection at least; but are as completely oppressed in mind as others are in body. We do not claim that any are entirely immune from his attacks; but he is wise and sagacious enough to select such victims for