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these manifestations, some influence upon the actual pythonic data which transcending the sphere of mere phy. we have in India, and apon the relasical agencies ; in a word, some powertion which natural phenomena assume of a moral kind, characterised by ma- towards the human mind at different lignity of nature and depravity of sen- stages of man's spiritual progess, of timent. « Many facts," says Schlegel, which relation these data afford conin his “ Philosophy of Life”—“ many clusive proof; such reasoning being facts in medical experience, and pecu. the only guide we can follow, when liar phenomena of disease—as well as the spiritual machinery introduced in the loathsome generation of insects in this pythonic system, with its duality the atmosphere, or on the surface of and antagonism, is manifestly false, the earth, and many diseased states in and we can neither admit a possession both-appear to point rather to some genuinely divine, nor one harmoniously intrinsically evil, and originally wild, and consistently demoniac in its operademoniacal character in the sphere of tions; and having now brought before nature." The opinion thus modestly our readers the two different aspects suggested by the great modern Ger in which these phenomena-divested man philosopher, is precisely that which of this false duality-divested also of was held as undoubted, and authori. the variety which they assume, from tatively maintained by the great lights the different modes of belief, religious, of the Church, during her conflict with superstitious, or scientific, prevailing paganism and the platonic philosophy in different countries and times, and The Fathers abound with passages at reduced to one single class of facts, tributing to “the blast of dæmons divers whether as presented in the Hindoo sicknesses and severe accidents, sudden system of possession, or in the evanand strange extravagances, blight in the gelical narratives, or in the records of grain, taint in the atmosphere, pesti- medical experience of our own days, lential vapours, foul madness, and ma- may be regarded by Christians; the nifold delusions"-especially those con- purely spiritual aspect, which sball nected with "offerings to idols, the represent all such phenomena, as the practice of magic, and the deceits of a immediate effect of a personal demofalse divination.” One of the most niac indwelling; or the mediate phy. curious passages on this latter subject sical aspect, which, looking upon them is the following, from Tertullian, Apo- still, indeed, as the effect of Satanic logy, i. 18. It indicates clearly the power, not in the former, personal, practice of mesmerism at the time when but in that, perhaps, far profounder, he wrote that work, A. D. 198 to 202: and more universal sense, in which “ Moreover if magicians also produce death and disease, and all the bodily apparitions, and disgrace the souls of sufferings of man, are the undoubted the departed; if they entrance children, work of that old Serpent, who was a to make them utter oracles,” &c.
murderer from the beginning, and who It is not our purpose, however, as we is expressly declared to have the power have already stated, to offer here any of death-presents them only as onedecision upon the pythonic question, or though, doubtless, a very peculiarpronounce upon the real character and branch of that great upas-tree of discauses of these phenomena of the hu. ease and mortality, which spreads its man system, which have existed in all shadow over the earth, giving the lie ages and countries, under different to every system of philosophic opti. names, exhibiting convulsive action nism, rebuking by its stern reality all of body in conjunction with a cer- the glorious dreams of poetry, all the tain derangement of the individual sun-lit, cloud-built visions of romance, consciousness, and an occasional ex. and standing upon our planet, the everaltation of the mental powers. Our present record and proof of the rebel object is rather to furnish some angel's conquest and dominion over additional materials to those which fallen man, till that day when the already exist, towards a right solution Redeemer, whom the shepherd prince of this question. Having, in our of Chaldea foresaw in his affliction, former paper, traced up to its origin shall stand upon the earth, and the last the notion of a twofold possession enemy-death-shall be destroyed beamong pagan nations, to which we fore him: having thus brought before are led by philosophical reasoning our readers all that we deem essential
they should have present to their minds, to enable them to understand rightly, and judge comprehensively the novel facts upon which we are about to enter, we return from our long and discursive circuit, and shall, in our next, proceed to redeem the promise which we made at the close of our former paper, to illustrate the subject of
Waren, or the divine afflatus of the Hindoos, by laying before them a series of pythonic sketches, drawn up on the spot several years ago, as memoranda of a system, the existence of which we discovered with some surprise, and the various ramifications of which, formed for some time a subject of interesting inquiry.
POST SCRIPT. [Since the foregoing was in type, our eye has fallen upon a critical notice of the first part of this paper, which describes it, as having for its scope and object, "to explain the miracles of the Redeemer on natural principles, and to limit his power by the faith of those on whom it was exercised." A judgment thus pronounced upon an isolated portion of a very extensive and complicated argument, which referred for its completion to an antecedent and a succeeding part, must necessarily be precipitate, and could hardly fail of proving unjust. But it is very evident, that even the brief fragment thus characterised was either read very hastily, or very imperfectly comprehended. Of the power of faith to triumph over matter, and the necessity of its presence to such triumph, not representing that power as independent of the divine will, or that necessity as a limitation of the divine power, but both as laws of the spiritual universe and the divine action,--the miraculous itself, the suspension of the natural laws of the material world, being only the result of other bigher laws of the spiritual world, with which we are imperfectly acquainted, but according to which laws, flowing as they do from the attributes of his own perfect and unchangeable nature, the Deity must ever be supposed to act, and not, as man, from passion, caprice, or expediency,—of this power and necessity of faith we have said nothing but what is to be adduced from the words of our Lord himself and his disciples, as quoted by us. And, so far from attempting, or wishing, to explain the Redeemer's miracles on natural principles, we expressly pronounced the power which wrought those miracles, to be a power as mysterious, and as far removed from human comprehension, as the dominion which Satan had obtained in the world through sin. We specially appealed to our Lord's restoring the dead son of the widow, calling back the tainted Lazarus from the tomb, and commanding the winds and waves to be still, in proof of his omnipotence, and his consequent power to command homage and acknowledgment, even from the shattered intellect of the maniac. We maintained these cures of the daimoniacs to be rightly selected as triumphant evidence of the power and mission of Him, who came to destroy the works of the devil. We placed them in the same category as the cure of the paralytic, the cleansing of the lepers, the raising of the dead, the pardon and restoration of the penitent sinner; as exertions of a divine power, manifestly above nature, which rebuked Satan, and drave him out of his usurped dominion over man. In all this there is surely no attempt to deny or explain away the miracles of our Divine Redeemer. The one sole point which, either in the former or the present portion of the paper we have suggested as debatable, was this, whether the daimons or pneumata expelled, were really and objectively (and not merely subjectively in the minds of the patients and spectators,] Satanic spirits ; or whether they ought not rather to be regarded as peculiar forms of physical disease, which, owing to the convulsive action, mental derangement, and temporary loss of proper consciousness which attended them, had assumed, in the popular superstition of the later Jews, this supernatural character ; as among the Greeks and Romans they were regarded as the visitations of Apollo and Dindymene. And this view of the question we considered not only as strongly pressed upon our examination by the system of possession and exorcism which we encounter in Hindoo life, and the ideas which we find stereotyped in the Hindoo languages, classic as well as vernacular ; but perfectly warranted, and almost forced upon our acceptance by the peculiar phraseology of the New Testament itself, as already pointed out. We have presented this, not as the sole, but as one of the views which may be taken of these daimoniacal affections by believers; as one which has already been openly adopted by several Christian commentators in regard to some, at least, of these cases, and is very widely diffused among medical men ; and one which our daily increasing acquaintance with the facts of Eastern life, and the language and ideas of Eastern nations, is likely to force still further upon our attention, however unwilling. And this view, the consideration of which is thus, at no distant day, inevitable, we have presented, for the first time, we believe, fully developed, and developed from a Christian point of view, fully harmonised with the most entire and undoubting belief in our Lord's divinity, and with every difficulty of language or of fact considered and removed ; thus rescuing this view of the question from the arsenal of infidelity, which it has hitherto contributed secretly to strengthen. This harmony we have based upon two principles, ever necessary to maintain ; the distinction between that knowledge which is given to purify the heart of man, and to direct him in his moral and religious conduct, and that which is merely calculated to inform his intellect; and the economy of instruction, observed in the Scriptures and in our Lord's own teaching, in other words, its adaptation to the ideas, the culture, and the capacity of those to whom the instruction is addressed. Our Lord himself has taught us, that, even in moral instruction, there is such an economy; that even in the law, which he came not to destroy but to fulfil and perfect; that even in that Scripture, which cannot be broken, there are precepts, intrinsically short of, nay opposed to, moral justice and perfection, as He came to reveal them; precepts avowedly given, because the Jews were incapable of receiving better; 1. Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so" (Matt. xix. 8). Thus there was a sufferance of moral imperfection and wrong, of that which the Redeemer pronounces, in the very next verse, to constitute adultery, because the moral and intellectual condition of the Jews was unsuited to a more perfect dispensation. And if this adaptation to the capacity of his people, this condescending regard to their weakness, and unwillingness to break too rudely and suddenly through ideas, which were the result of their social condition, characterise the teaching of Divine Wisdom in the moral education of the human race, how much more so in regard to matters of natural or speculative truth, of medical and psychological inquiry? Our Lord expressly tells his disciples, “ I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now" (John, xvi. 12). Thus also St. Paul, “I have fed you with milk and not meat, for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able" (1 Cor. iii. 2). And to him who does not see throughout the whole Scripture, and will not admit as necessary elements for understanding and interpreting it, these two great principles, the sacred volume will present difficulties far more insuperable than any which their concession, or the theory which we have based upon them, would involve. We humbly conceive, that in endeavouring to illustrate this difficult and obscure subject, from analogies of fact and language, never before made avail. able, and hitherto accessible to few, and to reconcile with Christian belief that view of it, which so many considerations seem to suggest, but which hitherto might seem at variance with faith, we have done a service to the cause of Christian truth. To harmonise faith in those great divine truths, which must ever be held unchanged and unchangeable, with the advances which knowledge is daily making in the realms of nature, of history, and of science, is a task, the performance of which is indispensable in the Church. For, unless faith ever permanent, and science ever advancing, ever widening its intellectual views, and changing its intellectual formulas, be continually brought into concord, absolute infidelity must ere long be the result. Who let us ask, best serves the cause of religion—the ecclesiastical authority, who issues a decree against the motion of the earth,“ decretum summi Pontificis contra motum terræ," as a Jesuit mathematician significantly terms it, or the commentator who humbly confesses the fact which he finds written in one revelation, the heavens which declare the glory of God, and the firmament which sheweth his handiwork; and endeavours, with earnestness and reverence, to reconcile it with the forms of expression employed in another revelation of a different character, and having a different object--the law of the Lord which is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony which is sure, making wise the simple : the statutes which are right, rejoicing the beart; the commandment which is pure, enlightening the eyes? The same holds good in regard to the discoveries in geological science; to unforeseen but well-established results of historic research ; and to these daimoniac cases, which, always a difficulty, our recent advances in ethnographical knowledge begin to place in quite a new light. And if any one should object, “ But why moot unnecessarily this difficult question," our answer is, that we have not done so unnecessarily. Our readers should remember that translations of the Gospels are now widely diffused, and frequently discussed, through that land where the dual system of demoniac and divine possession obtains, where men or women possessed with daimons, or with divinities, damsels with spirits of divination, and vagabond exorcists or “ perambulators" (Tipatexquivo], like the Sons of Sceva, abound; that the phenomena thus regarded by the common people, and even by the higher classes, who have not come into much contact with Europeans, are, when encountered by our medical practitioners there, looked upon and treated simply as cases of physical disease, madness, or epilepsy, or nervous affections, or the result of obstructed functions; and many of the Hindoos themselves who attend our medical schools, or whom an English education has taught to think for themselves, are beginning to take the same purely medical view of them. It is difficult, perhaps, for one who has not himself come into contact with it, to realise the extent of the difficulty which the evangelical demoniac narratives, as commonly and literally understood, present to the Hindoo mind. Thus literally understood, they are to the orthodox Hindoo, who believes in bis own dual system of possession, only a confirmation of his own creed; they strengthen his belief in the daimons and the divinities, and the exorcists of his own land ; and to him, therefore, our Lord is only one of many divine men. The educated Hindoo, on the contrary, who sees these cases treated in our hospitals as disease, not by thaumaturgists or clergymen, but by surgeons and apothecaries, draws from thence an argument against our Lord's divinity, and against the inspiration of the New Testament. We believe that in the two principles we have laid down is to be found the best, if not the only, answer to such objections. The very paper now concluded owes its origin to the remarks made to us upon the case of the Gadarene daimoniac, by a well-educated Hindoo gentleman, who was familiar with the demoniac system prevalent among his own people, on returning to us a copy of Warner's Diatessaron. He and many of his friends are, we know, readers of this magazine; and we trust, that in the very views which have elicited the hasty censure of our fellow countryman and co-religionist, our Hindoo readers will discover some of their greatest difficulties removed, and find our Lord's divinity and wisdom vindicated in perfect harmony with the facts and the ideas, in the midst of which they are themselves living. We must here, however, repeat emphatically, what we have before said, that we have presented the physical theory of possession as one side of the question only; as one meriting great consideration, and fully reconcileable with Christian faith; but not as excluding the spiritual view. Between these two views we leave every one to select that which best consorts with his own convictions and mode of thinking. But this we consider as undeniable, that what. ever view be taken of the Jewish, must be taken also of the Hindoo daimoniac cases, and of the analogous phenomena, lunacy, epilepsy, chorea, hysteria, &c., among ourselves. These may be all, as Schlegel seems to hint, the result of demoniac action. Such a view would be more consistent and harmonious, and one we could far more readily embrace, than that which characterises the same class of facts, as spiritual in one country and epoch, and physical in another. In conclusion, as the investigation of truth, and not the triumph of particular opinions is our object, we cheerfully commit our ideas to a candid examination, and the test of time; well assured, that, if founded on truth, they will ultimately prevail; contented, that, if erroneous, they should encounter that failure, which is the due meed of error.]
CONTEMPORARY WRITERS—MR. THACKERAY."
We have long marked the literary career of Mr. Thackeray with great interest, for a variety of reasons, of which, perhaps the foremost, was that we descried in him, through the haze of some imperfections, the shining sparkle of qualities of a very high or der-qualities which, we think, have at length been fairly recognised by the public. That most attractive in our eyes was the honesty of purpose-the vigorous, healthy tone of thought with reference to the various abuses of so ciety, which, quite apart from the wonderful power he possesses of dis. criminating character, his keen and exquisite perception of the foibles of human nature, and the charming quaintness of his style, were quite sufficient to give him a high place in the first rank of the writers of the day.
Long before we were aware of the connexion - now, we believe openly avowed — which Mr. Thackeray has with that weekly publication, whose admirable drollery, well-sustained wit, and inimitable caricatures, have long afforded delight to all classes of the public within these isles, we observed in its pages the traces of a higher cast of intel. lect, and a loftier tone of thought, than any which belonged to the mere throng of ephemeral writers which this age of adventurers had ever produced. Who is there among us that has not recognised, for example, in the “ Snob Papers," which have since been collected and published, with their author's name, many instances of that peculiar species of power to which we allude? We do not think the master spirit of the age has ever displayed a more profound and intimate knowledge of human nature than is to be found in those incomparable productions. The portraits there presented to our notice are possibly somewhat over. drawn, and are seasoned with that amount of exaggeration which, it may be, was essential, in order to attract the attention of superficial readers ; but a mirror is held up to nature, of
extraordinary clearness, and the most minute traits of the human heart are exposed to view with a microscopic power which is truly wonderful. A lady of our acquaintance, so amiable, so accomplished, and so entirely thoroughbred, as to place her above the reach of even the suspicion of this prevailing vice, after reading the book in question, confessed to us, in confidence, that she feared she was not entirely free from some of the foibles which its pages delineate. We differed from her in opinion, and do so still; but we cannot help thinking that these masterly sketches have demonstrated the fact, that there are, indeed, few of us who are exempt from that infirmity which it is their purpose to correct. May the effect of these gentle castigations be as permanent as it is salutary; and may we learn to look in upon our own hearts, and pluck up by the roots those small weeds, of whose existence we were, perhaps, previously unconscious! But to return. We became aware, from these and other similar papers, appearing at intervals in the pages of our esteemed cotemporary, Mr. Punch, that there was one, at least, behind the scenes, of whom we should some day or other hear more ; and the work whose title stands at the head of this paper, beyond all question, establishes the reputation of Mr. Thackeray as a writer of fiction, upon a basis far too secure to be ever hereafter disturbed by the fickle breath of popular applause. In “ Vanity Fair" he has given to the world a work which will endure as long as the joys and sorrows, the passions and the emotions, of the human heart, have power to charm the minds of men. We feel cordial pleasure in making this avowal, uninflu. enced by fear, favour, or affectiona pleasure the more cordial, from the circumstance of our having, upon a former occasion, in noticing another work, administered to Mr. Thackeray, "a punch on the head," which we are of Opinion he then most richly de
* “Vanity Fair.” By W. M. Thackeray. London : Bradbury and Evans. 1848.