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We will answer this question by asking another. Christ speaks of mammon as a real being, Matt. 6: 24; Luke 16: 9, nor does he give any intimation that he did not believe in the existence of such a being. Now, if Christ believed that no such being as mammon existed, why did he not inform the people of that fact? Mammon was one of the heathen gods the god of riches; and if the silence of Christ respecting his disbelief in the existence of demons proves that such beings do really exist, then his silence respecting his disbelief in mammon proves that such a god as mammon does really exist. Again, Christ and his disciples speak of the devil, of death, and of wisdom, as real beings; but who believes that they intended to countenance the belief of the heathen respecting the existence of an evil god, or of the Jews respecting the existence of an all-powerful evil spirit, called the devil, who was once an angel of God? In Chapter II. of this work we have shown that Christ used the term devil in the same sense that the term Satan is employed in the Old Testament; and that it is not once used to signify a personal being called the devil. Is it to be supposed that, when Christ and his disciples speak of death and wisdom as personal beings, they meant to recognize the real existence of the angel of death, supposed to exist by the Jews? or the goddess of wisdom, supposed to exist by the heathen? Certainly not. No more is it to be supposed that, when they speak of demons, they meant to recognize real existence of such beings. Once more. The disciples of Christ speak of the doctrine of preëxistence; John 9:1-3; of the doctrine of transmigration; Matt. 14: 1, 2, and 16: 14; Mark 6: 15, 16; Luke 9: 7, 19; nor were either of these doctrines pointedly or particularly condemned by Jesus Christ. But are we to infer from this fact that these doctrines are true? In Gal. 3: 1, Paul speaks of witchcraft, nor does he say that he did not believe in witchcraft. But are we to infer from this that Paul really believed in the existence of witches? we read of a certain damsel who was possessed of ation," or "of Python," as it is in the margin. heathen prophetess, or fortune-teller, and it was supposed by the heathen that she was inspired by the spirit of Apollo Pythias. Paul is said to have cast this spirit out of her; and nothing is said, either by Luke or Paul, respecting the falsity of the heathen notions respecting the source of the inspiration of this damsel, nor even of
In Acts 16: 16,
a spirit of divinThis damsel
the inspiration itself. But are we to infer from this that Luke and Paul believed she was really inspired, and that, too, by the spirit of a dead man? Christ and his disciples speak of these, and many other things, in the common language of the age, and they frequently allude to the opinions of the Jews, without telling us how those opinions originated, or whether they believed them true or false. In the language of Mr. Balfour: "To have corrected all the false opinions of the age, would have been an arduous and vain work; and had they not spoken of things in the common language of other people, they could not have been understood; but would have subjected themselves to the charge of vanity and affectation. They did then what we do now speak in the popular language of the day. We speak now of St. Anthony's fire, St. Vitus' dance, and of the rising and setting of the sun; and people would smile at the man who refused to do so."
2. It is objected that "Jesus spoke of Beelzebub as the prince of demons; Luke 11: 18, 19, and never intimated that no such being existed; but, on the contrary, spoke as if such a being did really exist."
ANSWER. When Jesus spoke of Beelzebub, he spoke in answer to a charge brought against himself by the Jews, namely, that he cast out demons by the power of Beelzebub. He spoke in accordance with the generally received opinion, and reasoned with the Jews on their own received principles. He showed the inconsist ency of supposing that Beelzebub would lend his aid in overcoming and casting out his own demons. The argument was conclusive; and it appears the Jews deemed it so, for they never undertook to refute it. The Jews evidently believed Beelzebub to be the prince of demons. But what authority had they for thus believing? Certainly not the authority of the Bible; for that contains no such doctrine. On the contrary, it affirms that Baal-zebub was the god of Ekron, 2 Kings 1: 2, 3, 6, 16. After the Jews adopted the heathen fables respecting demons, and the prince which presided over them, it was the easiest thing in the world to apply the terms Beelzebub and Satan to that prince.
3. It is said that "Jesus rebuked these demons; but how could he rebuke a thing which did not exist?"
ANSWER. When it is said that Jesus rebuked these demons, we are to understand that he rebuked the disease, which was sup
posed to be produced by demons. And that there is nothing inconsistent in this idea, must be admitted, inasmuch as it is expressly said of Peter's wife's mother, who was sick of a fever, that Jesus "rebuked the fever, and it left her." Luke 4: 38, 39.
4. "These demons are represented as talking; but how could they be said to talk, unless they really existed?"
ANSWER. When these demons are represented as talking, we are to understand by it, not that the demons spoke, but that the persons themselves, who were supposed to be possessed, uttered the words which are ascribed to the demon. It was supposed, by those who believed in demoniacal possession, that all the actions, words or deeds, of the man thus possessed were produced by an evil spirit, and hence, whatever the demoniac himself said or did was ascribed to the demon. Besides, the language which is ascribed to the demons in Luke 4: 40, 41, is, in Luke 4: 33-36, Luke 8: 26-38, Matt. 8: 28-34, and Mark 5: 1-21, ascribed to the demoniacs themselves.
5. "These demoniacs acknowledged themselves to be possessed with demons; but how is this fact to be accounted for, if, indeed, there was no such thing?"
ANSWER. - How is it to be accounted for that, during the time of the Salem witchcraft, many persons acknowledged themselves to be bewitched; and even, in some cases, that they were witches, and had power to bewitch others? The fact is, it was a current opinion among the Jews that madness was owing to a possession with an evil spirit; hence the madmen themselves, who once had their senses, must of course have had the same notion. “These madmen, as is not uncommon, knew themselves to be so; and, therefore, thought themselves possessed, and spoke in that character." They not only believed themselves to be possessed, but they thought that the process of expelling the demons from them would be attended with pain. They also believed that these demons were sent to punish them for their sins; and that the demons themselves would some time or other be sent to some place of punishment. Hence, they besought Jesus to "torment them not." Luke 8: 28. This is explained by the next words. "For he (Jesus) had commanded the unclean spirit to come out." The demoniac thought it would be a painful operation to expel the demons, and chose to remain as he was. When it is said the demons" besought Jesus that ho
would suffer them to enter into the swine," we are to understand that the demoniacs themselves made this request. And this was certainly very characteristic of a person laboring under insanity When it is said the demons "went out of the man, and entered intc the swine," we are to understand that Jesus transferred the disease, under which the demoniac was laboring, to the swine. That the swine were made mad, is sufficiently evident from the manner in which they acted.
6. "These demons are represented as having been perfectly acquainted with the character of Jesus; but if it was the demoniacs who are represented thus, how is the fact of their understanding the character of Jesus to be accounted for?"
ANSWER. These demoniacs had undoubtedly heard of the fame of Jesus, of his wonderful miracles, and of his power to cure those diseases which were supposed to be produced by demons. Many of them were undoubtedly brought to Jesus by their friends, for the express purpose of having the demons cast out of them. And in all cases when Jesus came where there were any demoniacs, it would be very natural for the people to inform them who he was; and also to tell them of his power to cast out demons. Besides, in many cases, no doubt, these demoniacs had seen Jesus, and understood perfectly well the character which was ascribed to him by his followers. It was, therefore, perfectly natural that they should express themselves precisely in the manner they did, in relation to him. In so doing, they only imitated the example of other diseased persons who were not demoniacs.
In conclusion, we will only remark, that the whole theory of demoniacal agency is contrary to the general teachings of the Bible; inasmuch as that everywhere represents that all of our diseases and afflictions come from God alone. Besides, the very same diseases with which the demoniacs were afflicted prevail at the present day; and no one dreams that they are produced by supernatural agency. On the contrary, they are always ascribed to natural causes.
BIBLE DOCTRINE OF REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS.
Promises to the obedient.
Deut. 28: 1-13. And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shalt thou be in the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and fiee before thee seven ways. The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy store-houses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways. And all the people of the earth shall sce that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them.