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man who had been bowed down for eighteen years. She is said to have had a spirit of infirmity; and our Lord himself says that Satan had bound her, v. 16. But let it be observed, first, That nothing is said that implies possession. She is not called daluoviCouévn a demoniac. Our Saviour is not said to dispossess the demon, but to loose her from her infirmity. Secondly, That it is a common idiom among the Jews to put spirit before any quality ascribed to a person, whether it be good or bad, mental or corporeal. Thus the spirit of fear, the spirit of meekness, the spirit of slumber, the spirit of jealousy, are used to express habitual fear, etc. Thirdly, That the ascribing of her disease to Satan does not imply possession. The former is frequent, even where there is no insinuation of the latter. All the diseased whom our Lord healed are said to have been oppressed by the devil, υπό του διάβολου, Acts 10: 38. All Job's afflictions are ascribed to Satan as the cause, Job i, and ii, yet Job is nowhere represented as a demoniac.
10. A late learned and ingenious author (Dr. Farmer) has written an elaborate dissertation, to evince that there was no real possession in the demoniacs mentioned in the gospels, but that the style there employed was adopted merely in conformity to popular prejudices, and used of a natural disease. His hypothesis is by no means necessary for supporting the distinction which I have been illustrating, and which is founded purely on scriptural usage. Concerning his doctrine / shall only say in passing, that if there had been no more to urge from sacred writ, in favor of the common opinion, than the name δαιμονιζομενος, or even tlie phrases δαιμόνιον έχειν, εκβαλλείν, etc., I should have thought his explanation at least not improbable. But when I find mention made of the number of demons in particular possessions, their actions expressly distinguished from those of the man possessed, conversations held by the former about the disposal of them after their expulsion, and accounts given how they were actually disposed of; when I find desires and passions ascribed peculiarly to them, and similitudes taken from the conduct which they usually observe; it is impossible for me to deny their existence without admitting, that the sacred historians were either deceived themselves in regard to them, or intended to deceive their readers. Nay, if they were faithful historians, this reflection, I am afraid, will strike still deeper. But this
* The following observation from the judicious Mr. Jortin's excellent remarks on Ecclesiastical History, (2d ed. vol. i. p. 10), appears to me a strong confirmation of the judgment 1 bave given. “ In the New Testament, where any circumstances are added concerning the demoniacs, they are generally such as show that there was something preternatural in the distemper; for these disordered persons agreed in one story, and paid homage to Christ and to his apostles, which is not to be expected from madmen, of whom some would have worshipped, and others would have Vol. 1.
only by the way. To enter further into the question here, would be foreign to my purpose. The reader of Dr. Farmer's performance, which is written very plausibly, will judge for bimself.
11. I observe further, that though we cannot discover with certainty, from all that is said in the gospel concerning possession, whether the demons were conceived to be the ghosts of wicked men deceased, or lapsed angels, or (as was the opinion of some early Christian writers)* the mongrel breed of certain angels (whom they understood by the sons of God mentioned in Genesis 6: 2), and of the daughters of men ; it is plain they were conceived to be malignant spirits. They are exhibited as the causes of the most diresul calanities to the unhappy persons whom they possess, dumbness, deafness, madness, palsy, epilepsy, and the like. The descriptive titles given them always denote some ill quality or other. Most frequently they are called suverpara uzco) ugra, unclean spirits, sometimes atvevụdru rovnou, malign spirits. They are represented as conscious that they are doomed to misery and torments, though their punishment be for a while suspended : “ Art thou come bither," Baouvivai nuūs, “ to torment us before the time ?" Matt. 8: 29.
12. But, though this is the character of those demons who were dislodged by our Lord out of the bodies of men and women possessed by them, it does not follow that the word demon always conveys this bad sense, even in the New Testament.
This having been a word much in use among the heathen, from whom the Hellenist Jews first borrowed it, it is reasonable to expect, that, when it is used in speaking of pagans, their customs, worship and opinions, more especially when pagans are represented as enploying the term, the sense should be that which is conformable, or nearly so, to classical use. Now, in classical use, the word signified a divine being, though not in the highest order of their divinities, and therefore supposed not equivalent to Mrós, but superior to human, and consequently, by the maxims of their theology, a proper object of adoration. - All demons," says Plato, are an intermediate order between God and mortals.” Í But though they commonly used the term in a good sense, they did not so always. They had evil demons as well as good. "Juxta usurpatam," says Calcidius, “penes Græcos loquendi consuetudinem, tam sancti sunt dæmones quam prosesti et infidi.” But when no bad quality is ascribed to the demon or demons spoken of, and nothing affirmed that implies it, the acceptation of the term in pagan writers is generally favorable. Who has not heard of the demon of Socrates ?
reviled Christ, nccording to the various liumor and behavior observable in such persons.”
• Just. M. Apol. i.
13. In this way the word is to be understood in the only passage of the Acts (17: 18), where it occurs; Oi de Zivor duiuovio. doxxi xarayyedevs civar, “Others said, he seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods.” So our translators render it.
The reason of this verdict is added, “because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection,” τον Ιησούν και την Ανάστασιν. They supposed the former to be a male, and the latter a female divinity ; for it was customary with them to deify abstract qualities, making them either gods or goddesses, as suited the gender of the name. This, if I remember right, is the only passage in the New Testament in which datuóvia is not rendered devils, but gods. If our translators had adhered to their method of rendering this word in every other instance, and said, “ He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange devils,” they would have grossly perverted the sense of the passage. Now this may suggest a suspicion of the impropriety of this version of the word any-where, but especially where it relates to the objects of worship among the pagans, with whom the term, when unaccompanied with a bad epithet, or any thing in the context that fixed the application to evil spirits, was always employed in a good sense.
14. There is a famous passage to this purpose in the writings of the apostle Paul, (1 Cor. 10: 20, 21), on which I shall lay before the reader a few observations. “A Duet ta pOvn, datuovious θυει, και ου Θεω ου θέλω δε υμάς κοινωνους των δαιμονίων γίνεσθαι. Ου δύνασθε ποτήριον Κυρίου πίνειν και ποτήριον δαιμονίων" ου δύνασθε τραπέζης Κυρίου μετέχειν, και τραπέζης δαιμονίων. In the English Bible thus rendered, "The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to God; and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils ; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and the table of devils." Passing the impropriety so often observed above, of representing a name as common to many which Scripture has invariably appropriated to one, the sentinent itself expressed by our translators, that the Gentiles sacrifice to devils, is not just, whether we consider the thing abstracıly, or in relation to the intention of the worshippers.
Considered abstractly, the pagan worship and sacrifices were not offered to God, whom they knew not, aud to whose character and attributes there was nothing in the popular creed (I speak not of philosophers) that bore the least affinity. But, as little were they offered to that being whom Christians and Jews call the devil or Satan, with whose character or history they were equally unacquainted. Nor is it enough to say, that the characters of their deities were so bad, that they partook more of the diabolical nature than of the divine. For this does not hold universally. Pagan gations sometimes deified men who had been their benefactors.
Osiris is said to have invented the plough, and to have been the first who taught the Egyptians husbandry. Though not, on that account, entitled to adoration, yet surely not deserving to be looked on as the devil or enemy of mankind. But admitting it to be true, as it doubtless is, that the characters of their gods were often such as to resemble the devilish nature more than the divine, evil spirits are not understood as excluded from the import of the term dainovia. As little, on the other hand, ought that term to be confined to such. The proper notion is, beings, in respect of power (whatever be their other qualities) superior to human, but inferior to that which we Christians comprehend under the term divine. For this reason, even the higher orders of the heathen divinities, those whom they styled Dii majorum gentium, are included in the apostle's declaration. For though they more rarely applied to such the terms δαίμων and δαιμόνιον, the power ascribed to thern by their votaries was infinitely short of omnipotence, as indeed all their other attributes were short of the divine perfections. Paul acknowledged no God but one, of whom the Gentiles were ignorant, and to whom therefore they could not offer sacrifice. All beings of a subordinate nature, however much they might be accounted superior to us, he classes under the same general name. “ But can Jupiter himself be included in this description-Jupiter, to whoın almighty power and supreme dominion are attributed, and who is styled by the poets, The father of gods and men, the greatest and best of beings ?" The attributes sometimes given to Jupiter must be considered as words merely complimental and adulatory; they being utterly inconsistent with the accounts which the same persons give of his origin and history. They are like the titles with which earthly potentates are saluted by their flatterers, when styled fathers of their country, absolute lords of earth and ocean. De la Motte's reply to Madame Dacier* is here very apposite : “What! could Homer seriously believe Jupiter to be the creator of gods and men ? Could he think him the father of his own father Saturn, whom he drove out of heaven, or of Juno his sister and his wife ; of Neptune and Pluto his brothers, or of the nymphs who had the charge of him in his childhood; or of the giants who made war upon him, and would have dethroned him if they had been then arrived at the age of manhood ? How well his actions justify the Latin epithets, optimus, maximus, so often given him, all the world knows." Jupiter has, therefore, no right to be held an exception, but is, with strict propriety, comprehended in the same duluovia, attributed by the apostle to all the heathen gods. But daquóvrov, as we have seen, is one thing, and o diáßolos is another. Now, if a supposed reseinblance, in disposition, between the heathen gods and the devil, were
• De la Critique; seconde partie- Des Dieux.
a sufficient foundation for what is affirmed in the common version ; any vicious person of whom mention is made in history, such as Cain, Hain, Jezebel, in whom one night fancy a likeness in character or actions to some divinities of the heathen, might, with equal propriety as the devil, be called the objects of their adoration.
15. There are two passages in the Old Testament, one in the Pentateuch (Deut. 32: 17), the other in the Psalms (96: 5), to which, particularly the first, the apostle had doubtless an allusion. In both, the term used by the Septuagint is datuóvia; the Hebrew term is not the same in both places, but in neither is it a word which is ever translated diabolos by the Seventy. In the Psalm referred to, the term in the original is that which is commonly rendered idols. Now, in regard to idols, the apostle had said in the saine Epistle, (1 Cor. 8: 4), that “an idol is nothing in the world;" in other words, is the representation of no real existence in the universe, though it may be the representation of an imaginary being. It is as much as to say, Jupiter, and Juno, and Saturn, and all the rest of the heathen gods, as delineated by the poets and mythologists, are nonentities, the mere creatures of imagination. Now, if an idol represent no real being, it does not represent the devil, whose existence is, on the Christian hypothesis, beyond a question. But I am aware of the objection, that, if idols represent no real beings, they either do not represent demons, or demons are not real beings. I answer, It is true, that no individual demons, actually existing, are properly represented by their idols ; nevertheless, these may with strict justice be said to represent the genus or kind; that is, beings intermediate between God and man, less than the former, greater than the latter. For to all who come under this description, real or imaginary, good or bad, the name de mons is promiscuously given. The reality of such intermediate order of beings revelation every-where supposes, and rational theism
oes not contradict. Now, it is to the kind expressed in the nition now given, that the pagan deities are represented as corresponding, and not individually, to particular demons actually existing. To say, therefore, that the Gentiles sacrifice to demons, is no more than to say, that they sacrifice to beings which, whether real or imaginary, we perceive, from their own accounts of them, to be below the Supreme. “What are men?” says a dialogist in Lucian.* The answer is, “ Mortal gods. What are gods? Immortal men.” In fact, immortality was almost the only distinction between them.
16. This leads directly to the examination of the justness of the sentiment, that the Gentiles sacrifice to devils, in the second
* Vitarum auctio. Τι δαι οι άνθρωποι; θεοι θνητοι· τι δαι οι θεοι; άνθρωποι αθάνατοι.