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sons, and ranked in the same class with them in the passages already referred to, and in Luke xiii. 32. John X. 20, 21. Mat. viii. 16. x. 1. 8. Mark i. 34. iij. 15. vi. 13. xvi. 17, 18. Luke jv. 40, 41. ix. 1, vii. 21. viji. 2. Acts viji. 7.
IV. In Mat. xi. 5. Luke vii. 22. where several classes of the sick, whom Jesus restored to health, are enumerated, there is no mention of demoniacs ; and it is highly improbable that these would have been omitted, if they had been supposed to constitute a distinct class of persons from any which had been mentioned.
V. Josephus, and the books of the physician Gittin. f. 672. inform us that medicines composed of roots, herbs and stones, were administered to demoniacs with success. Now we all know that medicines are frequently effectual in curing a real disorder of the body; but how they can act upon spirit is not so easily comprehended. VI. The opinion, we are opposing, tends to exalt the power
of the devil, and to lower that of Christ. For to make a man, who is really not blind, appear to others to be so, is an act requiring greater power than actually to make him blind. On the other hand to cure real blindness or deafness is more difficult than to cure that which is only believed to be blindness or deafness.
VII. The opinion, that demoniacs were persons labouring under some natural disease, is confirmed by the following quotations from writers of that and the succeeding age. Bechoroth vii. 5. • An epileptic person, upon whom a spirit of melancholy fell.' Vide 1. Sam. 16. 14-23, and the commentators. Tobit iii. 8. v. 17. viii. 3. Jos. Ant. vi. 8. 2. Certain passions and dæmons came upon Saul, causing suffocation and strangling. No remedy could be discovered by the physicians but this ; that if any person could be found, who was able to charm by singing, and to play upon the harp, such a person should be procured, and be ordered to observe when the dæmons came upon Saul and disturbed him, and to stand over him, and play on the harp and recite hymns. Saul was highly pleased with him when he was come; for he charmed his passion, and was the only physician against the vexation caused by the dæmons when they came upon him; by reciting hymns, and playing upon the harp, and bringing him to his right mind. Polyb. Exc. xxxi. de Antiocho, • He died in consequence of having a dæmon, as some say.". Undoubtedly his death was caused by disease and not by possession. Plut. Thes. p. 6. C. When Minos was bringing great calamities upon men by war, and a dæmon was destroying the country, (for a great dearth and pestilence prevailed, and the rivers were dried up) the God intimated that when they had ap
peased Minos, there should be a respite from their calamities.' Jos. Ant. vi. 11. 2. When an evil spirit and dæmons came upon thee, he (David) cast them out, and gave peace to thy soul.' viii. 2. 5. Concerning Solomon. “God enabled him to learn the useful and salutary art of expelling dæmons. He composed incantations, by which disorders are alleviated. He also bequeathed to posterity forms of exorcisms by which dæmons may be driven away, so as never to return. This method of cure bas great efficacy even to the present day. For 1 have seen one of my countrymen, whose name was Eleazar, releasing persons possessed by dæmons, in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons and captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of performing the operation was this. He applied a ring, having under the seal, one of the roots mentioned by Solomon, to the nostrils of the demoniac, and then drew out the dæmon through the nostrils; and, when the man fell down suddenly, he adjured the dæmon to return no more, still making mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed. And when Eleazar would demonstrate to the spectators that he had this power, he placed at a short distance a basin full of water, and ordered the dæmon to overturn it, as he went out of the man, and thus let the spectators know that he had left him. After tbis the wisdom and skill of Solomon were manifest. De bello Jud. vii. 6. 3. Concerning Machaerus. ' In the valley enclosing the city on the north side, there is a certain place called Baaras, which produces a root of the same name with itself. It is valuable for this single property, that if it be only brought to the sick, it expels immediately what are called dæmons; which are the spirits of the wicked, that enter into living men, and kill them, unless they obtain help. Tertullian Apol. 22. “They bring sickness, and other grievous evils upon mankind.' Augustin de Gen. ad lit. xii. 17. Perhaps the man was really insane ; but on that account he was supposed to be possessed by a dæmon.
VIII. If the blindness of the demoniac had been owing to some external obstacle, placed before the eye by the dæmon, the sight might have been restored at pleasure by the dæmon, by removing the external cause of blindness. But to do this was beyond his power. John X. 31. Can a dæmon open the eyes of the blind ?
From the preceding considerations Wetstein concludes, that by demoniacs and lunatics are intended persons afflicted with some real natural disease.
The second enquiry is; For what reasons are persons afflicted with certain diseases, called demoniacs, or lunatics?
Respecting lunatics little need be said, because it is generally admitted by the learned, that the appellation was derived from the popular opinion respecting the origin of the disorder. Chem. nitius in loc. It seems convenient to distinguish the words, demoniacs and lunatics, by supposing the former to mean persons who are distressed in consequence of the possession of satan; and the latter, persons, whose insanity is owing not to diabolical possession, but to an agitation of the humours of the brain, which are supposed to be affected by the moon.'
But it is maintained by many writers, that the demoniacs are 80 called, because the devil was either the immediate or the remote cause of the disorder, with which they were afflicted. The opinion of those, who contend that the devil was the remote cause of the disorder, is thus stated by Gerard. “Human nature was not so constituted by God at the beginning, as that men could become blind, deaf, or dumb; but, according to the just judgment of God, these disorders were introduced into human nature by the devil, on account of the sin of man: and the evangelists use this phraseology to denote that these disorders were the work of satan. But, even admitting that disease and death are incident to men in consequence of the sin of Adam, and the decep. tion of satan, in this account of the matter no reason is assigned, wby certain particular diseases should be referred to the devil, rather than all others.
It is, therefore, maintained by other writers, that the devil was the immediate cause of the diseases of the demoniacs ; that he sent one or more evil angels, who usurping, as it were, the seat of the soul, commanded or restrained at pleasure the notions of the tongue, hands or feet, which are usually voluntary, and also excited unusual motions by convulsion of the nerves.
But this opinion is pressed with many insuperable difficulties.
1. It never has been, nor can it be, proved. The scriptures make mention of dæmons as a multitude, but in the history of the demoniacs, no mention is made of the single individual, the devil. Nor is it any where said, that the devil had the bodies of demoniacs in bis power; or that he possessed them to use the modern term. It has indeed been contended, that the devil could not be said to be ejected or expelled, unless he bad first possessed or inhabited their human body. There is, however, no small inconsistency in relying upon this argument, and at the same time rejecting with indignation, the supposition, that Judas, the traitor, into whom satan is said to have entered, was possessed with the devil. v. Calvin upon Joho xvi 27.
The notion that the devil entered Judas essentially, as they say, is too foolish and trifling to merit consideration. Equally trifling is the question, whether the devil entered Judas substantially, in Luke xxii. 3.
II. I have said that the agency of the devil upon the persons of the demoniacs has not been, and could not be proved. From what could the proof arise ? From the confession of the demoni. acs, Mat. viii. "But this very circumstance is mentioned by phy. sicians as one of the symptoms of insanity. P. Aegineta iii. 14. Concerning melancholy and madness. Some insane persons imagine they are under the influence of higher powers, and predict future events, as if they were inspired.' Sextus Empiricus. ·Phrenetic and fanatical persons think they hear dæmons, but we do not.' At any rate, the testimony of a person, not in bis right mind, ought to have no great credit attached to it. Could then an attentive spectator infer the agency of the devil from the symptoms and other circumstances of the case ? Certainly not : since the same effects may be produced by very different causes. A man, for instance, may become blind in consequence of intemperance, or of a wound, or of exposure to bad air: and he may be deprived of sight by the Supreme Being, or by an evil spirit. Now a person deprived of sight by the agency of satan, is neither more nor less blind, and his blindness can be cured with neither greater nor less difficulty than that, which proceeds from natural causes. How then could the most inquisitive spectator investigate the real but secret cause of the disorder, 80 as to distinguish, with certainty, blindness caused by satan from that which proceeds from other causes. If we should see such men as the demoniacs at the present day, we should call them simply blind, deaf, dumb, epileptic, or insane, without thinking of satan as having any agency in regard to these disorders.
Did, then, our Saviour descend from heaven for the purpose of revealing this secret to mankind! It certainly was a secret of no great importance, since a knowledge of it would neither contribute to the present happiness, por the eternal salvation of men. From what source, then, can the proof arise, if not from the confession of the demoniacs, from the circumstances of the case, por from direct revelation ? But if any one rashly adopt the opinion of diabolical agency without proof, with what colour of justice can he condemn a thief or murderer, who should allege in his defence, that the deed was committed without his own knowledge or consent ; that the devil by art and cunning, got possession of his body, and made use of his limbs against his will. In consequence, the greatest confusion must be produced in society; and the certainty of testimony, and the evidence of the senses must be set aside.
III. It may reasonably be asked of such as refer these disorders to diabolical agency, how it happened, that, at the time of
the appearance of our Saviour in the world, the devil should possess a power over the bodies of men, which he does not possess at the present day, nor can be shewn by respectable testimony to have exercised since that time? Will any one seriously and considerately reply, that God permitted satan to exercise such a power, in order that our Saviour might have more ample opportunities and occasions of displaying his powers of healing ? Quacks and jugglers, we know, sometimes drink poison, or wound themselves, in order to shew by experiment the efficacy of their medicines. But they would not easily prevail upon others to take the poison, or wound themselves, for the mere purpose of being cured. Most men would like to be excused both from the evil and the remedy. No wise and good physician would be guilty of such a practice.
IV. The notion of an evil spirit, an emissary from the community of evil spirits, usurping the seat of the soul in the human body, and performing its functions, is so abhorrent to reason and probability, that its defenders only expose themselves to ridicule, and the religion of Christ to suspicion and contempt. Beza, I think, had this thought in his mind, when he remarks upon Luke viii. 31. “We must judge soberly of these things, according to the divine word; lest for the truth of God we substitute old wives fables.' See Lucian. Philopseud. 16. The ancients, indeed, who, according to the doctrine of metempsychosis, believed that one soul might animate two bodies in succession, supposed that dæmons were human souls. We have already quoted a passage from Josephus, proving this point. Justin Martyr likewise entertained the same opinion. v. Apol. ii. Men, who are possessed and agitated by the souls of dead men, whom they commonly call demoniacs and insane.' A much more incredible
A doctrine is held by some modern writers, now that the doctrine of transmigration of souls is exploded, viz. that evil spirits may be so intimately united with the human body, as to command at pleasure the tongue, the hands, &c. like the human soul.
V. Those writers, who ascribe these things to the immediate agency of the devil, and the evil angels his ministers, entertain an exalted notion of his power, but seem to have a poor opinion of bis cunning and policy. The limbs of the demoniacs were convulsed: their language was wild and incoherent; such as that of madmen is wont to be. But what secret fraud, what artful contrivance appears in all this? What could be more foolish, than that satan should place one of his subjects as a perpetual guard over a man, for the mere purpose of keeping his eyes shut ? Or what could be more impolitic than to commit one man to the