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demons. Epilepsy and madness are kindred disorders. Some of the best physicians state, that epilepsy is often the consequence of madness; that the epileptic fit is always accompanied by deprivation of the understanding, and with convulsive agitations, or a frantic and mad behaviour. These are the statements of Dr. Mead, who composed a professional treatise on the diseases mentioned in the Sacred Volume.

Let us apply these conclusions to the illustration of perhaps the most remarkable case of demoniacal possession recorded in the New Testament- that found in the chapter before us, where the “possession" was transferred from the men to the herd of swine. What was the disease of the two men, in the country of the Gergesenes?—they were madmen. This appears from the text. The place which they frequented, showed that their minds were disordered; they dwelt among the tombs, amid all the horrors of the dead; a situation which no sane person would choose for a residence. They dwelt among

the tombs, the very touch of which carried pollution with it, and rendered them ceremonially unclean; the last place that a Jew in his senses would frequent. They were raging maniacs, so outrageous that no traveller was safe in their presence; for it is said, “ they were exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.” In the parallel passage in Mark, we meet with other symptoms of mental derangement; in chap. v. verse 5, we are told of one of them, that “always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.” In the parallel passage in Luke (viii. 27), we are informed that this same man “ ware no clothes;" all these things are marks of insanity. Those who have seen the madmen who sometimes stroll about the country, have observed every one of these symptoms. All the actions, then, of the two Gergesenes, show that they were maniacs. But this fact is still more clearly made out; for the Evangelists Mark and Luke plainly imply, that this was their real disease. These writers speak of only one of the maniacs, probably the fiercer of the two. Mark (v. 15), describes him that was “possessed by the demon,' after his cure, as “sitting clothed, and in his right mind;" and Luke (viii. 35), describes him similarly, “ the man out of whom the demons were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind.” After his cure, he was in his right mind; before his cure, he was not in his right mind; therefore the disease of which he was cured, was madness-the disease which the heathenish superstition of the Jews attributed to demoniacal possession. When a ghost entered into a man, he became mad; when it went out of him, he returned to his senses. This was the opinion of the Pagans and of the Hebrews. They saw no ghosts, for ghosts are invisible; they saw no ghosts enter the man, but because he was mad, they supposed that ghosts had entered into him; they saw no ghosts depart from him, but because he was restored to his judgment, they supposed that ghosts had gone out of him. These were the common sentiments and the common expressions of the Jewish populace. Hence, when it is said in the text, that the demons came out of the men, the meaning, abstracted from the superstition, simply is, the men were healed of their insanity. And when it is afterwards said, the demons went into the herd of swine, the meaning is, that the madness was transferred to the swine, as the leprosy of Naaman was transferred to Gehazi. Let it not be imagined that this is a straining of the signification of the words, " came out of the men." Nearly the same expression occurs in reference to the leprosy, which was not imagined to be caused by demons. In Mark (i. 42), it is said concerning a leper, “the leprosy departed from him," or went from him; and again, in Luke (v. 13), “and immediately the leprosy departed,or went from him. To “go from” a person, and " to come out of” a person, are very closely related. It is said in the text, that Jesus said unto the demons, i.e. unto the madness, “Go:" an expression like this is nothing unusual, for in the 4th chapter of Luke, he is said to have “ rebuked the fever” of Peter's mother-in-law. Thus, there is nothing in the language of the text hostile to the exposition, that the madness of the two men was transferred to the swine. It may be objected, however, that the demons or human ghosts must be real beings, for they are represented as speaking: “so the demons besought him, saying, Suffer us to go away into the herd of swine." The answer is simple and intelligible. The two men were mad; they supposed themselves to be possessed by demons; and they speak in accordance with their imaginary character. This is a common peculiarity among maniacs. In our Lunatic Asylums we witness men who fancy themselves kings or generals, and they use language corresponding to their fancied offices: the one, speaking in the plural of majesty, and requiring to be homaged as a sovereign; the other, commanding his troops, or consulting with his officers. In hypochondria, men have fancied themselves to be made of glass, and have not only spoken, but acted, under that impression; exhibiting the utmost terror when they came in contact with anything likely to shatter their brittle frames. In like manner, the insane Gergesenes imagined they were tenanted by human ghosts, and they accordingly addressed Jesus in language prompted by their peculiar phrensy. Every portion of the narrative, when examined with attention, is perfectly conformable to the rational interpretation, that the two men were mad; that they were cured by the miraculous power which Jehovah gave to Jesus; and that their madness was transferred to the herd of swine. If it were inquired, Why Jesus destroyed the swine? it might be answered, -Ist, That God did it by him; and that He who gave life has a right to resume it, and does resume it, both from men and beasts, for reasons with which we are never made acquainted. 2dly, The Jews sinned, not only by eating but by keeping swine, for they were beasts ceremonially unclean, and the use of them as food was prohibited by the Mosaic Law. The owners of the swine, being Jews, merited this chastisement for their disobedience. 3dly, The loss of the swine would tend to spread the fame of the miracle performed. The country of the Gergesenes was but an obscure place; and the remembrance of the miracle might have been lost, had it not been linked with some other extraordinary circumstance, to excite the attention of mankind. Other reasons for the destruction of the swine might be adduced, but these seem sufficient. This narrative is the strongest hold of such as contend for the reality of demoniacal possession; yet it appears to contain nothing at variance with the fact already established, that the possessed persons of the New Testament, were simply maniacs or epileptics. A little attention will enable any person to reconcile with this rational exposition, the other accounts of the cure of supposed demoniacs, which occur in the Gospels.

An interesting inquiry still remains. Why did Jesus and his Apostles use the common language respecting possession by demons or human ghosts, if they did not believe the doctrine it taught? One answer to this objection is obvious and satisfactory:— It is customary with all sorts of persons to speak, on many subjects, in the language of the illiterate, though that language is known to be founded on a false philosophy. Examples of this occur among ourselves every day. We call certain persons lunatics; although we be not certain, whether or not the moon has any influence on their disease. We still speak of St. Anthony's fire, and St. Vitus's dance; although we deny the united power of these saints to produce or to remove bodily disorders among men. We still speak of the rising and setting of the sun; although we are convinced that the sun moves not from his place in the heavens, and that it is the earth which revolves around him. The Prophets of God also adopt the common language, when they speak on philosophical subjects; although it is grounded upon erroneous opinions respecting the operations of nature. Joshua says to the sun, Stand thou still!" although, as already mentioned, the sun moves not. The Scriptures also speak of the dew". falling from the heavens," and " dropping from the clouds;" although the researches of modern philosophers have proved that it does not fall, but even rises from the earth and from plants. Paul speaks of the Galatians being bewitched;" though we cannot suppose he believed in witchcraft. Many use the same expression in conversation, at the present day, who as little admit the superstition which gave it birth. Jesus himself says, “ God maketh the sun to rise,” though such language is at variance with philosophical truth; he spoke, however, so as to be understood the ignorant. The Messias also says, “ Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground, and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Such may have been the notion of the illiterate Jews; but we know that the whole of a grain of corn does not die, and that if the portion which is to produce the future plant did die, its productiveness would be destroyed. Many similar quotations might be made; but these sufficiently evince, that men in general, that the messengers of God, that Jesus and his Apostles, make frequent use of the vulgar phraseology, even when it originated in a mistaken view of nature. By so doing, they do not countenance, much less support, the popular errors in science; they do not assert, that the sun does move, that the seed does die, that the dew does fall, that the earth has foundations, that men are bewitched. Why, then, may they not adopt the common language on the subject of demons, without countenancing its truth? Did they express themselves with philosophic accuracy on this subject, while they neglected to do so on all other matters of scientific research? We can no more infer their opinions concerning “possessions,” from their saying a man was “possessed with demons,” than we can a friend's opinion respecting astronomy, when he says

66 the sun rises," or a physician's opinion respecting the nature of a disease, by his calling it “St. Anthony's fire.” No person ever contended that the Apostles believed in the power of the moon to cause or to aggravate diseases of the brain; yet they inform us, that the people brought to Jesus were not only those “possessed with demons,” but also “ those who were lunatic.From this passage, a lunar influence over diseases might as much and as forcibly be supported by apostolic authority, as a demoniacal influence over diseases. The plain truth is, Jesus and his Apostles adopted the commonest and most intelligible language upon all scientific subjects, without hazarding an opinion whether the ideas conveyed by that language were, or were not, philosophically correct. Nor is this to be wondered at, when we consider the object of the mission of the Son of Man. He was sent, not to instruct the human race in science, but in religion. He was not a lecturer on astronomy, and therefore he said with the vulgar, “the sun rises;" he was not a lecturer on agriculture, and he said with the vulgar, “the seed dies;“ he was not a lecturer on medicine, and he said with the vulgar, “madmen are possessed by demons.” To teach the causes of diseases, was not mentioned in his commission. He came solely to reveal the character of God;


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