An Essay on the Demoniacs of the New Testament

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General Books, 2013 - 72
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1805 edition. Excerpt: ... the reality of the possessions which are taken notice of in Scripture; and rest their belief of those possessions upon the authority of Scripture. We shall therefore proceed to examine the sentiments of the sacred writers on this subject. SECTION X. Prop. x. The doctrine of demoniacal possessions, instead of being supported by the Jewish or Christian revelation, is utterly subverted by both. This is a point of the greatest importance, and therefore deserves to be fully considered. Here I would observe, I. That whether the doctrine of possessions be true or false, it was not originally founded on revelation; nor did it ever receive the sanction of any of the prophets either of the Old or New Testament. With regard to the prophets of the Old Testament, they stand clear from all suspicion of countenancing the doctrine of real possessions. It is not pretended that they ever expressly taught it. In all their writings no traces of it are to be found, no mention of a single instance of reputed possession, nor any allusion to it. For, with regard to Saul, of whom we read, that an euil spirit from the Lord troubled him *, it is sufficient to observe, that the word spirit is often ap - 1 Sam. xvi. 14. xviii. 10. F 4 plied i plied to the temper and affections of the human mind *; and that the Jews were wont to call all kinds of melancholy an evil spirit f. Saul's disorder, therefore, was a deep melancholy. This appears, not only from the language in which it is described, but also from the history of its curef for it was not cured by prayer, but by music; a proper method of exhilarating the animal spirits, though not of expelling demons. Some, indeed, have inferred from the case.of Elisha, on whom Ihe hand of the Lord came when the ininstrcL...

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