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were drawn up in India, but published during his late temporary resi. dence in Ireland for the recovery of his health. We hardly need observe that in a case where so much turns on modes of expression, the command of the language of the natives of India is one of the most important requisites.
The popular system of demoniacal possession which now prevails among the Hindus is a compound of several elements, based upon the worship of the dead and partaking of necromancy. It represents the devils, not as a race of spiritual creatures distinct from man, but the spirits of men deceased, gifted with a knowledge of the future, and endowed with a capacity of entering the bodies of the living.
These spirits are called, in their disembodied and invisible state, Bhootu, which means literally “ beings” or “ creatures;” they are also called Wareen, auræ, moving air. Their sudden entrance into the frame is called Jhupata, a blast. According to the Vedantu philosophy, if the spirit of a man is bound to earth by any unholy desires, it cannot attain to re-union with the Supreme Being, but lingers in the neighbourhood of the objects by which its desires were enthralled, to the injury and disturbance of the living. Solitudes and cemeteries are the especial resort of such spirits. Possession manifests itself in those visitations which are the most inexplicable as well as the most terrible that afflict our nature, in every form of madness or mental alienation, the dumb, the sullen, the obstinate, the melancholy and moping, as well as the violent, the foaming and the frantic. All forms of lunacy are forms of demoniacal possession; all convulsive seizures, accompanied with loss of consciousness; and indeed, among the vulgar, almost every kind of physical suffering which does not yield to medicine. The term by which the taking possession of a body by an evil spirit is designated is Suncharu, “ penetration” or “entrance.” The author of these papers tells us that it is impossible to be cognizant of the facts which occur in the possessions of the Hindus, without being convinced that they belong precisely to the same class as those of the demoniacs of the gospel, except that Hindu associations are found supplying the place of Jewish or Chaldean. “ Who, for example, hearing subject to epilepsy declare that as he was passing along an estuary a Juhpate or devil-blast entered him, and describe this devil as the spirit of a wicked Mussulman deceased, who would often throw him into the fire or drive him into the sea (which ipsissima verba we can attest), could fail to recal the demoniac mentioned in Matt. xvii. and Mark ix.? Or who could listen to one subject to the supposed divine possession, also an epileptic, asserting that he was possessed by several divine powers at once (as with our own ears we have heard), and not recal the demoniac whose name was Legion, or the passage in which seven demons are said to have been cast out of Mary Magdalene?"
There is another remarkable point of resemblance between the Jewish and the Hindu demoniacs. The demons in the gospel request permission, if cast out, to go into a herd of swine; and complain of being tormented before the time. This last phrase, “ before the time,” has no parallel in Hindu tradition or belief; but petitions not to be tormented, and if cast out to be allowed to go elsewhere, are commonly addressed to the exorcist by the demoniac. The exorcist threatens, if the demon refuses to go out, to torment him, to twist him, to burn
him, and in the fulfilment of this threat throws a little powder or ashes upon him with a stern and commanding air; and the possessed shrieks out, as if actually burnt and tortured. This command exercised over the system—this, perhaps for the moment, agonizing crisis, which may be necessary to restore him to a healthy state, is what the Hindu demoniac dreads. Comp. Mark v. 7.
India abounds in exorcists, and our author vouches from personal knowledge for the fact, that in cases of epileptic, hysterical and nervous paroxysms, the exorcist obtains control over the patient by professing himself to be for the time possessed by and to wield the power of Vetalu, the prince of the Hindu demons. Here, again, the reader of the gospels will be reminded of the accusation made against our Saviour, that he cast out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of the demons (Mark iii. 22); and of his retort, “If I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your children cast them out?" Matt. xii. 27.
Our author gives some curious particulars of the answers made by the demoniac to the questions of the exorcist. The first question asked is usually as to his name; and if he be a Mahometan, he gives in reply the name of a Mahometan demon; if a Hindu, of a Hindu demon. Mr. Murphy justly concludes that as the answer varies according to the personality of the possessed, it is he, and not any real demon, who is neither Mahometan nor Hindu, that gives it. In reference to this self-identification of the demoniac with the demon by whom he supposes himself possessed, he observes, that“ in many cases of cerebral and nervous derangement, in some forms of mania, in epilepsy and epileptic hysteria, in trance or ecstacy, in common somnambulism and the phenomena of mesmerism, there exists very commonly an inversion of consciousness, in the loss of one's own identity and the assumption of another's personality. Here, then,” he says, we have a sufficient proof that Jewish and Hindu possession are one and the same thing." We add," and that both are nothing more than bodily disease.” Our author, who treads cautiously over this tender ground, does not express himself so strongly as we have done, though it is clear enough that he thinks so; but he says, whatever be the solution, it must be the same for both, because the facts are the same. If madness and epilepsy, hysteria and chorea, were caused by demons in Judea, they are so at this moment in India; if they are mere bodily diseases in India, they were so in Judea in the age of Christ and the apostles.
Another remarkable analogy between the Jewish and Hindu notions of possession is, that the evil spirits which enter the human body are supposed to be different forms of Devee, the consort of Shiva, the Destroying Power, though, as we have already seen, they are in the belief of the Hindus the disembodied spirits of wicked men. This explains the relation in which demoniacal possession is represented to stand in Scripture to the power and agency of Satan. The passages in the gospel in which this name occurs in connection with disease, and especially possession, have contributed more than any thing else to produce the opinion that demons were fallen angelic spirits, the train and ministers of Satan, and that the triumph of Christ and his apostles consisted in compelling them to retire from the bodies into which they had entered. In the controversy between Dr. Sykes and his opponents, it was taken for granted on both sides, that if demons were evil spirits
they must of necessity be fallen angels.* But a careful comparison of Scripture with Scripture shews that there is no ground for such an opinion. Severe bodily ailments, as trials to faith and patience, are spoken of in the New Testament as the work of Satan. Thus the woman who had been bowed by a spirit of infirmity eighteen years (Luke xiii. 11), is said (ver. 16), to have been “ bound by Satan" eighteen years, although in the narrative manner of the cure there is no mention of any casting out of an evil spirit. Those who were cured by our Lord are spoken of indiscriminately, Acts x. 38, as being oppressed (varaðvvaoTEVÓPEVOL) by the Devil.” Maniacal and epileptic disease (in the language of the time, demoniacal possession) was a grievous affliction, and therefore also, in Jewish language, the work of Satan. Our Lord undid the work of Satan when he cured a madman, as when he loosed the woman whom Satan had bound; but the spirit of madness had no more to do with the prince of fallen angels than the spirit of infirmity. It is because Satan in Jewish language represented the principle of evil, especially as employed in vexing mankind with disease, and so tempting them to irreligious thoughts, that demoniacal possession is represented as an example of his power. Thus when the seventy return and say with joy (Luke x. 17), “ Master, even the demons are subject to us through thy name,” Jesus replies, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." The passage which has most of all contributed to produce the belief that the demons who possessed madmen were the train of Satan, is Mark iii. 22 and following verses ; Matt. xii. 26. We shall enter rather more fully into an examination of this occurrence, because we believe that in this, as in other cases, the earlier narrative of Mark contains the more exact account of the transaction. We place the passages of the two evangelists in parallel columns. Mark iii. 20—26.
Matthew xii. 22. “ And the multitude cometh toge- “Then was brought unto him one ther again, so that they could not so possessed with a demon, blind and much as eat bread. And when his dumb: and he healed him, insomuch friends heard, they went out to lay that the blind and dumb both spake hold on him: for they said, He is and saw. And all the people were beside himself. And the Scribes which amazed, and said, Is not this the Son came down from Jerusalem said, He of David ? But when the Pharisees hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of heard it, they said, This man doth not the demons casteth he out demons. cast out demons, but by Beelzebub the And he called them, and said unto prince of the demons. And Jesus them in parables, How can Satan cast knew their thoughts, and said unto out Satan? And if a kingdom be them, Every kingdom divided against divided against itself, that kingdom itself is brought to desolation ; and cannot stand. And if a house be di- every city, or house divided against vided agairist itself, that house cannot itself shall not stand: And if Satan stand. And if Satan rise up against cast out Satan, he is divided against himself, and be divided, he cannot himself; how shall then his kingdom stand, but hath an end."
stand?" Mark appears to us to have preserved the true connection of this incident. Our Lord having been engaged in teaching and in the healing of diseases, had been so pressed upon by the multitudes, that he had
See Farmer's Essay, p. 63.
first endeavoured to relieve himself by retiring into a boat, and then had withdrawn into the mountain and delegated the twelve to assist in the work of preaching and healing, which was become too laborious for his single strength (Mark iii. 7-19). But when he descended, the multitudes again came together, and, without waiting to take food, he resumed his labours. There must have been something of unusual excitement in his manner, not to be wondered at when we consider that labour of body was added to the toil of the spirit, and that exhaustion aggravated both. His friends were alarmed and went out to seize him, “ for they said, He is beside himself.” The Scribes who had come down from Jerusalem gave to the same apparent state of his mind a different turn; they said, “ He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the demons he casteth out demons.” Now Matthew not only omits all mention of the apprehensions of our Lord's friends, but also the imputation that he was himself possessed by Beelzebub; and yet this is the key of the passage. We have seen before that, according to Hindu conceptions, he who can cast out demons is supposed for the time to be possessed by and to wield the power of Vetalu, the prince of the Hindu demons; and, substituting Beelzebub for Vetalu, we have exactly the same hypothesis. Our Lord proceeds not to deny the fact of his own possession, which would have availed nothing with such opponents, but to shew, as Mark says “ in parables,” or, in modern phrase, by an argument from analogy, the absurdity of the imputation that he cast out demons by Beelzebub. As in this argument he speaks of Satan, it has been concluded that Beelzebub and Satan are the same, and Satan also prince of the demons. But these names are never interchanged. Satan is, according to the religious notions of the age, the cause of physical suffering and mental disease, and in this view the infirmity of the woman, the thorn in the flesh of St. Paul, the demons of Beelzebub, are all his ministers; and every relief given to such suffering is a defeat to him. If, therefore, the same being, Beelzebub, who sends his demons to possess the maniac, entered also into the body of our Lord to enable him to cast out those demons, the power of evil would indeed be working against himself. But the Jews never supposed that Satan was the instrument of possession; he is said to enter into Judas Iscariot, when an evil purpose was to be carried into execution, but never to enter into a demoniac or be cast out of him. It is not wonderful, however, that the case of a demoniac should be spoken of, as by our Lord to the seventy, as a special example of a triumph over Satan. To tempt a pious man to curse God (Job i. 11), was supposed to be a deed in which he gloried; and no doubt the ravings of the demoniac, like those of the maniac, were often blasphemous. We have seen that, according to the conception of the Hindus, all the evil spirits are different forms of Devee, the consort of the Destroyer, though at the same time they were the disembodied souls of men. In the same way all the spirits of evil were to the Jews influences of Satan, the demons who possessed madmen among the rest, though in their origin human spirits.
Mr. Murphy endeavours to answer the question,“ how the demons came to have a knowledge of our Lord,” as they appear to have had from Matt viii. 29; Mark v. 7; Luke iv. 34, 41; Acts xix. 15–17 (the damsel that had a spirit of Python). This apparently supernatural knowledge has been generally attributed to the angelic nature of the possessing spirit. Mr. Murphy gives a different explanation; he says that in some forms of mania, in ecstasy, in somnambulism and mesmerism, there exists “ a real exaltation of the faculties, a genuine intuition transcending present time and place--in a word, a portion, however limited or temporary, of true prophetic vision." He goes on to give some curious information respecting the Gnostic vision, second sight, or mesmeric clairvoyance, to which the Hindus have laid claim for ages. We were in hopes to find at last some well-attested instances of this possession of superhuman knowledge, free from those admixtures of imagination, credulity, loose observation and imposture, which in different proportions vitiate the evidence of all accounts of clairvoyance that we have hitherto seen; we were therefore greatly disappointed to find nothing but a quotation from one of the old epics of the Hindus, in which a seer describes to a blind monarch the fate of his hundred sons who are about to be slain in battle. We are thus thrown back upon our previous opinion, that the recognition of Jesus by the demons is only a proof that the demoniac partook in his countrymen's conceptions of the Messiah, and had heard of Jesus by common rumour before he saw him. The language of the demoniacs to our Lord is easily explained in this way; his language to them, as it assumes the reality of possession, creates a greater difficulty. It is no doubt the reason why so many, in spite of the demonstrated identity of possession with mania and epilepsy, still cling to the notion that evil spirits had entered into the bodies of the demoniacs of the gospel. Mr. Murphy thinks that our Lord was pleased “ to employ the formulæ of the school of the exorcist, as he used clay and spittle to the blind and the deaf, not indeed as efficient modes of operation, except so far as they might happen to be really efficacious for the management or cure of disease, but from that benevolent condescension to the weak. ness of his brethren which characterized the whole of his mission.” We cannot consider this explanation as satisfactory. The use of language to which every one else attaches certain ideas, must be held as an evidence that the speaker shares in them-an evidence to be rebutted, not by presumptions that he must have thought differently, but by proof that he did so. To countenance by his language what he knows to be the errors of others, derogates more from the character of a teacher than to be himself in error. Respecting the precipitation of the swine, Mr. Murphy observes, that “a single man rushing on a sudden and with violent action towards a flock of sheep, will send them all rushing in terror in one direction.” Whether this holds good of swine we cannot say; but we should wish to be at liberty to suppose, as in the case of the men of Bethshemesh (1 Sam. vi. 19), some error in the number two thousand.
It appears that the publication of the first part of these papers had alarmed some persons, as if the author had attempted to explain the miracles of our Saviour by natural causes. He disclaims any such intention, and says his design was to inquire into a fact, whether possession were objective and real, or 'subjective, that is existing only in the conception of the patient and the spectators. In the latter opinion we believe that all inquirers will ere long unite, and to produce this conviction we have gladly lent our aid in making Mr. Murphy's valuable communications more extensively known.