Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

care of a whole legion of his soldiers, and thus bind them and the man with the same chain? Would not a single individual besifo firient for a guard ? Or might be not, in an instant, have inflicted such an injury on the brain, or the eye, as would cause thé disorder and all the symptoms of the disorder, without the constant presence of an evil spirit? Might not his servants be employed with advantage upon other business-in extending or defending the borders of his kingdom? Why then are so many of them employed to keep guard over one poor man,

- ceu'cæteia' qusquam Bella forent, nulli tota morerentur in uibe?' VI. It is a consideration of great importance in relation to this subject, that physicians with great unanimity, and almost with one voice, not only consider demoniacs as diseased, and prescribe reinedies for them, but expressly maintain the opinion, that the disease was not inflicted by a spirit, or dæmon, and that the narne

was borrowed not from the reality of the thing, but from the popular opinion respecting the origin of the disorder. Hippocrates, the prince of physicians, bas discoursed at large on the subject, in his treatise mugeing us vorop. [The authorities which Wetstein has quoted under this head, are too numerous to be inserted. They abundantly prove his assertion, that the physicians with one doice considered the cases of demoniacs as natural dis. eases.] Origen in a note upon Mat. xvii. 15, acknowledges that the physicians differ from him in opinion. Psellus also, de operat. dæm. observes, . The sons of the physicians would per. suade us to think that these disorders are not caused by dæmons.' We shall take the liberty of dissenting from Origen, who was a Platonick philosopher, and form our opinion concerning the nature and cause of the disorder from the testimony of the physicians. We shall also believe and maintain, that St. Luke, who was a physician, Col. iv. 14, agreed in opinion with his professional brethren, though he adopted the popular language of the times. As St. John 1 epistle iv. 1. gives the appellation of spirits to per'sons not inspired, but who were only supposed to be, so St. Luke speaks of dæmons in accommodation to the popular belief and language.

VI. In the last place, the most learned of the Jews and Christians in ancient times, have every where spoken of demoniacs in a manner which shews that they acknowledged no agency of the devil upon them. In modern times, they express themselves with more reserve and caution, through fear of offending the prejudices of the powerful. Bava Mehia f. 107. 2. • Thirteen things are said concerning morning breakfast. It is a remedy against cold, heat, accidents, and demons, &c.' Maimonides in Sabbat. Nez Series-vol. V.

6

* All the kinds of diseases, which are called melancholy, they call an evil spirit. For there is a species of the diseases above described, which causes the subject of it to avoid society, and to be alienated, as it were, from human nature, when he sees the light, or when he falls into the company of men. On the other hand, during the paroxysms of the disorder, they delight in darkness and solitude; and this disorder is frequent in illustrious men. Erubin. iii 4. * They call every injury which does not proceed from the hand of man, an evil spirit.'

[Numerous quotations from Jewish writers may be found in Wetstein, which it is unnecessary to insert.]

MISCELLANEOUS COLLECTIONS.

DR. OSGOOD. [We are gratified with the permission to extract the following passages from an interesting manuscript of the late venerable Dr. Osgood. They strongly mark his sense of the presumption and inconsistency of all encroachments of human authority in matters of faith and of the entire sufficiency of the scriptures. They exbibit also the devotional spirit, which eminently distinguished him. Those, who knew him, knew his attachment to religious liberty, and with what grief and indignation he regard. ed every attempt to restrain it. It will be remembered, that his professional intercourse corresponded with these enlarged and catholic views. He maintained to the fullest extent the inde. pendent rights of churches and private christians; and while attached to some of the opinions, which are usually denominated orthodox, he never thought himself required to refuse interchanges with those of his brethren, who differed from bim. His sentiments and example in this respect are entitled to our bighest veneration; and we wish they may be followed for the order and barmony of our churches.]

“With regard to theological creeds, whether Preshyterian or Epis- 1 copalian, though I embrace their principal doctrines, yet my mind is always in a state of insurgency against their imposition ;-against all subscription to articles of faith' enjoined by human authority. To me they appear as the primary habiliments of the Roman harlot, among her first acts of wantonness. The inspired teachers of the gospel were qualified, and of course authorized, to prescribe. But I feel indignant at seeing men without any pretensions to inspiration, assuming and exercising its powers and pre

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

rogatives. The whole mass of church-establishments, hierar. chies, canons, creeds, confessions, &c. &c.—are, in my view, human inventions, wood, bay and stubble; nay, worse, so many vile shackles wickedly imposed upon the understandings and the consciences of men. The fabrication of these shrines, if not to Diana, yet to buman pride and ambition, seems to have been the earliest employment of churchmen from the earliest times. The apostles were hardly dead, when these began to display their aspiring tenper; and the probability is, that they will never cease their usurpation, till the great head of the church sball appear in person to put them down. Their influence in this country is less perhaps than in any other of christendom; but even here, something of the spirit of Lord Peter' appears. It sickens one's very heart to hear every sectarian boasting, in the face of the world, from the pulpit and the press, of the perfect system of our CHURCH.'

• Whatever difficulties and obscurities may attend some parts and passages of the scriptures, still I am fully persuaded, that they are amply sufficient to make wise unto salvation all and every one, who studies them under the impression of so great and awful a concern. Proficiency in the knowledge of them will be greatly facilitated by a spirit of lively and fervent devotion. To candidates for the ministry nothing can be more important that such a spirit. It should form their babitual temper, daily warm their hearts, and animate their studies.'

THE WILL OF GOD A COMMANDING MOTIVE TO ACTION.

Here let me beg the reader to pause a while, and to consider particularly what is meant by the will of God, and how important and awful a motive to action it implies.

What can have a tendency to impress an attentive mind so deeply, or strike it with so much force, as to think in any circumstances, God wills me to do, or to bear this? One such reflex. ion should be enough at all times to disarm the strongest tempta. tions, to silence every complaint, to defeat all opposition and to inspire us with the most inflexible courage and resolution. Did we take more leisure to attend to this, we could not possibly behave as we often do. He, that when solicited to any thing unlawful, will but stop, till he has duly attended to the sense, and felt the weight of this truth, "The Deity disapproves, and forbids my compliance,' must tremble at the thoughts of complying, and lose all inclination to it. When we think, who God is, and 'what his dominion and character are; nothing can appear so shocking to us, as that helpless, indigent beings, his own offspring, the effects of his power, the objects of bis constant care and bounty,

All op

should counteract his intentions, and rebel against his authority, pr be dissatisfied with what he appoints. The most loud ap. plauses and general friend-hip of our fellow.creatures are nothing, and can have no effect, when separated from his. position is impotence, when not approved by him : and the commands and threats of the whole world, could they be supposed to interfere with what we know he requires of us, would, if we had a just sense of things, be as much lost to us, as a whisper in the midst of thunder, or the attention to a toy in the moment of instant death and ruin.

What it is he wills, we can in general be al no loss to know, Whatever afflictions or disappointments happen to us, whatever pains we feel, or unavoidable inconveniences are mingled with the lot assigned us, these it is as certain that he wills us to hear, and to acquiesce in, as it is that we at all suffer by them; since it is demonstrable, that in his world and under his eye, nothing can befall as either contrary to or without his consent and direction Whatever opportunities fall in our way of doing good, it is his will that we embrace and improve. Whatever our consciences dictate to us, and we know to be right to be done, that he commands more evidently and undeniably, than if by a voice from heaven we had been called upon to do it.--And when couscious of faithful endeavours to be and to do every thing, that we ought to be and to do, with what joy of heart may we look up to him, and exult in the assurance of his approbation! When employed in acts of kindness and love, in forming good habits, and practising truth and righteousness, how resolute and immove. able must it render an upright person, and with what fortitude must it possess his breast, to consider, “I am doing the will of him, to whom the world owes its birth, and whom the whole creation obeys. I am following the example, imitating the per. fections, and securing the friendship and love of that Being, who is everlasting truth and righteousness; who cannot therefore be conceived to be indifferent to those who practise them; and who possesses

infinite

power, and can cause all nature to furnish out its stores to bless me.'

Thus does religion elevate the mind, and such is the aid, and force, and majesty it gives to virtue. The most effectual means of forming a good temper, and establishing good dispositions, is the contemplation of the divine administration and goodness, We cannot have our minds too intent upon them, or study enough to make every thought pay homage to the divinity, and to hallow our whole conversation by an habitual regard to him, whose prerogative it is, as the first cause and original ot all perfection, to be the guide and end of all the actions of his creatures.

Dr. Price.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

FROM BISHOP HOME'S'ESSAYS.- A GOOD CONSCIENCE.
Dr. Johnson thus speaks of his situation at Ransey, in one of
the Hebrides. • Such a seat of hospitality amidst the wiods and
waters fills the imagination with a delightful contrariety of images.
Without is the rough ocean and the rocky laud; the beating bil-
lows, and the howling storm; within is plenty and elegance,
beauty and gaiety; the song and the dance. Now apply this
to the state of a good man's muud, rejoicing in tribulation. So
sings a poet of conscience.

• 'Tis the warm blaze in the poor herdsman's hut,
That, when the storm howls o'er his humble thatch
Brightens his clay built walls, and cheers his soul.'

[merged small][ocr errors]

PATIENCE.

An Italian Bishop, who had endured much persecution with a çalm unruiled temper, was asked by a friend how he bad attain, ed such a mastery of himseif. "By making a right use of my eyes,' said he.

I first look up to Heaven, as the place, whither I am going to live forever. i next look down upon the earth, and consider how small a space of it will soon be all, that I can occupy or want. I then look round ine, and think, how many are far more wretched than I am.'

[ocr errors]

1

PLURALITIES.

f

An ingenious French author (Borsault) relates the following story-- An Abbé, who had no preferineni, exclaiming one day to Boileau against pluralities—Is it possible, says the ecclesiastic,' that the people you named, who have the reputation of being very learned men, and are such in reality, shoui, be mistaken in their opinion ? Unless these would absolutely oppose the doctrine laid down by the apostles, and the directions of councils, must they not be obliged to confess, that the holding several livings at the same time is simful? I myself am in holy orders, and, be it said without vanity, of one of the best families in Touraine.

It becomes a man of high birth to make a figure suitable to it, and yet, I protest to you, ihat if I can get an alibey, the yearly income of which is only 1000 crowns, my ambition will be satisfied; and be assured, that nothing shall tempt me to alter

my resolution.'-Some time after, an abbey of 7000 crowns a year being vacant, his brother desired it for him and was gratified in his request. The winter following he got another of still greater; and, a third being vacant, he solicited very strongly for this also, and obtained it. Boileau, hearing of these prefer

« ForrigeFortsæt »