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evidently imply the interest, which he takes, and the power, which he exerts, in human offices. To destroy the works of the devil is declared to be the great object of our Saviour's advent. But our Saviour's office related entirely to men. It was for the inhabitants of this world, that his instructions and sufferings were immediately designed. By consequence, this earth is the theatre of those works of the devil, which Christ came to destroy. It is further noticeable, that the progress of christianity is represented in the following language, I beheld satan as lightning fall from Heaven. These passages clearly prove, that the world which we inhabit, is not secure from satanical influence. But the scriptures inform us more fully and more minutely. They represent, that this influence is not confined either to the bodies, or the souls of men, but is occasionally exerted on both. His great object is to corrupt the mind, and not unfrequently to injure the body. It was he, we have seen, who allured our first parents to taste the prohibited fruit. It was he, who provoked David to number the people. Christians are required to stand against the wiles of the devil. The apostle speaks of him as " an adversary going about, seeking whom he may devour." Bad men are mentioned, as "led captive by him at his will:" and yet, as within the possibility of being recovered from his snares. And our Saviour has taught us, that the devil comes and takes away the word from the hearts of indocile hearers, lest they should believe and be saved. Now, I well know, that the authority, here adduced is sufficient to substantiate any narrative; and that no person, who does not reject revealed religion, can question facts which rest on such foundation. Yet it may not be altogether useless to observe, that the doctrine of these passages is supported by analogy. Vicious men are not contented to keep their vices to themselves; and the more excessive their vices are, the greater effort do they make to propagate them. As soon therefore, as it is shown, that there are devils or vicious beings, superior to man, it becomes, in
a high degree, probable, even without any express testimo ny, that such beings will use their power in disseminating their own vices,-in promoting rebellion against the divine government.
Nor have the scriptures been less particular in showing that satanical influence has, at some times, been exerted to injure the bodies of men. To such influence they attribute the tormenting disorder, under which Job suffered. Of one of the patients, restored by our Saviour, he speaks thus; "This woman, whom satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years." When St. Peter first instructed Cornelius in christianity, he represented its author, as "anointed by the Holy Ghost, and with power; and going about doing good, and healing all, who were oppressed of the devil."
Let us now suppose an objector introduced, who observes, "All which you have already endeavoured to prove, I am not much concerned to refute." In those passages, which have been quoted, Satan or Devil, is the term used. That there is such a being as this may perhaps, without great reluctance, be conceded. But as yet, the subject, originally mentioned, has not been entered upon. That subject was dæmoniacs or persons said to be possessed. But from these persons, it is never said by Christ, or the evangelists, that Satan was ejected, or that Devils were ejected: the term, used on these occasions, is always either daquaves or Saruovia. Now, the number of persons said in the gospel to be possessed is very considerable; and this distinction being uniformly preserved, there is reason to think, that when Christ or the evangelists used the term dæmon, they never meant the same as when they spake of the Devil or Satan.
In reply I acknowledge the facts in general stated in the objection. Possessions are attributed usually if not invariably to demons, and not to devils.
The term dauov, occurs three times in the gospels, and
twice in the apocalypse. The word datuoviov is found in the New Testament about sixty times. The word dapovičoμεyol, meaning possessed by dæmons, is used in thirteen places. Moreover the word diabolos is never used in the plural number when applied to any but human beings. That this word and datavas mean the same thing, there can be no doubt. And considering, that neither of these words, when not applied to men, is used in the plural number, and possessions, with but one, if any exception, are attributed to dæmons, which word is frequently used in the plural number, the probability is so strong, as to be little short of certainty, that the individual being, called satan or the devil, was not the immediate agent in those, who are said to have been dæmonized or possessed. I say, not the immediate agent; for he may have been, and probably was, the principal, or commander over those less elevated, but numerous spirits, called dæmons. Both they and he, it is evident, are of the same moral character. They are alike in opposition both to God and men.
That Satan is the enemy of God, needs not to be proved. That the dæmons are such, is evident from this consideration, that they are condemned to be tormented. Those, who possessed the man at Gadara, exclaimed to our Saviour, "Art thou come to torment us before the time?" None, but the enemies of God, are reserved for punishment.
The dæmons manifested their hostility to men, by the bodily sufferings, which they occasioned. The hostility of satan, or the devil was exhibited in the same manner, as appears from two passages, already cited; in one of which our Saviour speaks of a daughter of Abraham, whom satan had bound eighteen years; in another, it is said, that Jesus went about "healing all those, who are oppressed of the devil."
Now as satan and the dæmons are spirits of the same moral character, and both have displayed their malignity by doing injury to the bodies of men, it does not seem at all
material to determine how great may be their resemblance, in other respects, or why both do not pass under the same
There is, however, a remarkable passage in the 25th of Matthew, which ought to be noticed in connexion with this subject. There we read of a " place, prepared for the devil and his angels." There is, in my mind, a very strong presumption, that by the angels of satan, here spoken of, are meant the dæmons.
Mr. Farmer, whose name has already been mentioned, and who has written, with great ingenuity and learning against possessions, as commonly understood, argues in the following manner. The terms, answering to damon a. mong the Greeks, designate heathen deities, many and perhaps most of whom, were the souls of dead men. He shows, that the Jews and early christians sometimes used the term in the same sense. "Now," saith he, "the sacred writers having given us no notice of their using the word in a new or peculiar sense, did certainly employ it in reference to possessions, in the same sense in which other persons did." His inference is, that as Christ and the evangelists believed in one God only, and did not believe, that human souls went from one body to another, they could not design to assert, that the persons possessed, were under any supernatural influence whatever; but must have meant this only, that the persons in question, had those disorders, whether of body or mind, which were usually attributed to dæmons.
In reply to this I observe 1st. that if the premises be just, there is between them and the conclusion, a very enormous chasm.
The Greeks and the Jews, and even early christians used the term dæmons to signify pagan gods, or the souls of dead men. Christ and the evangelists did not use the term in any new sense. What is the inference? Irresistibly this, that Christ and the evangelists, used the terms to signify pagan gods, or human souls. But this conclusion is, saith Mr.
Farmer, inconsistent with fact. Unquestionably it is. What then are we to do? Nothing can be more certain, than that where an inference, legitimately made, is false, the reasoning is good, but the premises are bad. If it were true then, that the Jews, Greeks, and christians did invariably use the words answering to demon, to signify human souls or pagan gods, it would follow, that Christ and those who wrote the gospels, did not use it in the same sense, in which others used it. But, it is not true, even by the concessions of this learned author, that the word damon among the Greeks always signified beings of human origin. He allows, that some philosophers taught, that pagan demons were evil spirits of a rank, superior to mankind, and that many of the christian fathers were of the same opinion. Therefore, Christ and the evangelists might have used these words, as they had been previously used by some of the Greeks, and as they were frequently afterwards used by some of the christian fathers, and yet have meant by them neither less, nor more, than evil spirits of a rank superior to mankind; which perfectly corresponds with the ideas, usually entertained of possessions.
Another argument, distinct from this, ought not to be omitted. It is certain, that the word eos, among the Greeks, was frequently applied to dead men, and seldom or never applied to such a being, as Jehovah, or the God and Father of Jesus Christ. Yet, that the writers of scripture apply the term to this glorious Being, will not be denied. It is evident then, that some words are used by the sacred writers, to express characters, very different from those, to which the same terms were applied among the Greeks. So that were it fact, which even by concession, it is not, that the Greeks before the coming of Christ, or the christian fathers afterwards, invariably used the term dæmon to signify characters, different from those, to which possessions are commonly attributed, it would not follow, that Christ and the evangelists used this term in the same manner.