« AnteriorContinuar »
In sending forth the following address nothing more, I think, is required than simply to state the circumstances which have led to its publication. Having been consulted by some of my congregation as to Spirit-Rappings, Tableturning, &c., during last winter 1855-56, when I had neither the leisure nor the means for an examination of the subject, I was obliged to content myself with offering such general advice and caution as are suggested by Scripture and com mon sense. During the summer 1856 I obtained the loan of Dr. Hare's work, which afforded me more definite materials for forming a judgment. This judgment I now openly proclaim, subject to animadversion and reply; willing to be convinced and to retract if I have set down anything in error or in too great haste.
Since this address was prepared I have read the treatises of the Rev. Mr. Beecher and others, which enter more fully into the subject at large, and discuss the different theories by which the manifestations are attempted to be accounted for. I have also been favoured with communications from a gentleman in Naples, with whom I have the honour to be personally acquainted, and whom I believe to be a most
Elliott: "Devil (dtx60λ05) from its derivation means an accuser. In the singular with the article (The Devil) it is uniformly used of the one great Evil Spirit, elsewhere called The Evil One, Satan, The Adversary, The Old Serpent, The Great Dragon, The Ruler of this World, The Prince of the Power of the Air. Applied to him the term is intended to characterize him as an Accuser. The Hebrew word in the Septuagint from which it is taken is equivalent to Satan and Tzar,-adversary, and enemy,-used in Job 1. 6. and Zech. 3. 1,2.-where the course of this world is represented as a Judicial Drama with man's cause impending in it before the Eternal One, and the Old Serpent-him who was originally man's tempter-now acting as his Satan, or Accuser. Indeed in Zech. the appellative noun and the explanatory verb occur together, Satan to act the Satan's (accuser's) part. Thus then Devil (d:z6olog) is the appellative of the one Great Evil Spirit, as by way of eminence our Accuser, to whom, in the grand pending Judicial Drama, there is opposed through God's mercy, Jehovah-Jesus, our πxpxzλytos or Advocate, our Advocate in person as God Man, to silence his accusations before God; our Advocate by his Spirit (who is thus the Comforter) to silence his accusations in the Believ er's own conscience. "There is no such word, (says Dr. Campbell), as Devils (Sta6ohot) in the plural with reference to unearthly Spirits, either in the Septuagint or the New Testament. There is but one Devil, there are many Dæmons (ôxjovix)" Dæmons is the proper translation of the word rendered Devils in our version of the Bible. Hence those possessed by these Evil Spirits were called Dæmoniacs. "The word Dæmon, says Mr. Elliott, is used both in the singular and plural number in the Old and New Testament; and in two senses. Its first and clearest signification is that of the imaginary Heathen Gods-Deut. 32. 17. Psl. 106. 37. The Dæmons of the Greek Religion are recognized by all their Poets and Philosophers, as the Spirits of Dead Men; and so the Hebrew Scriptures recognize the Baalim or Gods to whom Israel apostatized, as dead men deified - Psl. 106. 28. Numb. 25. 2, 3. Is. 8. 19. Is. 65. 4. In the record of Christ's miracles a malignant sense continually attaches to the word Dæmons, unclean, evil Spirits; real, though invisible, by
casting out of which from the unhappy beings possessed by them, Christ's mercy and power to save were most signally displayed, and evidence given both of the real existence of evil Spirits, of their conversancy with men, and of their malignity of character and influence, evidence such as none could mistake, and which unmasked them, so as nothing else could have done, to the very eyes, ears, and senses of men. Th3 Holy Spirit too by selecting this word Dæmons to designate such Spirits, showed that though the objects of Heathen Worship were fictitious, there were yet real and malignant Spirits that acted in and upheld it. An example from Acts 16. well illustrates this union. A woman had the Spirit of Pytho (Tuo0wvos) or Divination, a Heathen Deity neither imagined nor worshipped as a malignant Spirit (far from it). But the miracle of the Apostle evolved a real living Spirit (Exovrov) in the malignant sense of the word, from the woman. showed that, instead of Apollo, there was, a πνEUμα пhavns, a Spirit of malignancy and lies actually speaking in and by her, " In these and all other instances recorded in Scripture it is either a positively good, or evil Spirit engaged, an Angel of God, or an emissary of the Devil; but there is no mention of any Spirits of mixed or dubious character holding intercourse with mortals upon their own account without a definite commission, from either God or Satan.
With such considerations, before me, and giving them all due weight, and with my mind open to conviction, anxious only to get at the truth for my own guidance and for counsel to such as come under my spiritual charge, I have by a careful perusal of the work submitted to me (which professes to be a collection or summary of Spiritualist opinions and authorities) arrived at definite conclusions on some points and formed reasonable conjectures on others, which I shall endeavour, for perspicuity's sake to class under certain heads, though the heterogeneous nature of much of the materials, and the confused character of the statements, render classification difficult and incomplete.
1st. Taking Dr. Hare's book, if not as the standard of Spiritualist doctrine (which might not be altogether a fair presumption) as a sample of the insidious mischief to which its pretensions may, and probably will extensively,