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It is not long since the passengers in a retired alley in Edinburgh had their attention aroused by some ragged urchins in the street collecting in a crowd, and crying out, “ Here's a daft wifie; here's a daft wifie.” At this moment a poor wretched old woman was seen running along, with her hair cut close, and dragging round her shivering shoulders a tattered garment, that ill protected her from the piercing cold. She had not gone far when she sat down on a stone step, and said to the children, “Now, if ye'll be still, I'll sing ye a sang :” they were interested, and she began, with a most melodious voice, to sing
“Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favoured sinners slain," &c. Medical men, sometimes designedly, but often unconsciously, pander to the infidel spirit of the age by the loose manner in which they assign what they call a reason—that is, some secondary cause—which is seized hold of as a sufficient pretext for setting God, as a first cause, entirely aside. There are few subjects on which our ignorance is more flagrant than in cases of insanity and epilepsy. The theories of these disorders are various : they are only united upon one point, which is, to set aside all supernatural agency. It is argued that these disorders, like hypochondria and some others, cannot be supernatural possessions, because they sometimes yield to a particular regimen of food and medicine. Now, in answer to this, we observe, that our Lord instructs us how, by certain restraints put upon our natural bodies-by moderation in food, by abstinence, by watchings, by prayer,&c.-the growth of his own Holy and Almighty Spirit may be cherished and increased in us; and how, by a contrary course, it inay be impeded and quenched. If this be the case with respect to the Holy Spirit of God, it follows, of course, that analogous reasoning must be applied to the encouragement or impediment of the power of Satan within the human body. Any individual, , however filled with the Holy Spirit, may, by a course of sin, or by wilful apostasy, cause the Spirit to leave him ;-a cause, therefore, acting through the body or mind, is sufficient to controul and eject the Spirit of God. This is a position which every one will acknowledge, except some fatalist, who calls himself a Calvinist. Having, then, once established the fact that the action of spirits may be controuled or influenced by the state of the material bodies in which they act, there is nothing to surprise us in finding that diseases owing to Satanic possession should be cured through the body, or, in other words, that these devils should be ejected by such means.
This is, however, the position most favourable to those who hold opinions opposite to ours; and we have far stronger ground when we assert that the spirit of every man is superior to evil spirits, or devils; and if not in the unregenerate, certainly in the regenerate,
who are privileged to draw at all times upon the power which resides in their Head, and by which they may eject evil spirits from themselves, resist them, and cause them to flee.
We know, by Matt. xii. 45 and xvii. 21, that devils have different degrees of power and malignity. Epilepsy is rare in children, except as a secondary disorder, and seldom seen but in the offspring of ancestors who have communicated hereditary impurity. Its most common occurrence is in persons enervated by habitual vice. Mania is still more rare in children: a tendency to it is generally transmitted to descendants; and it is often to be traced unequivocally to vice, particularly that kind of it in females which terminates in idiotcy. A person who made very extensive inquiries into the pedigrees and habits of maniacal patients in Scotland, was unable to discover a single instance of its breaking out, however much it might have prevailed in the progenitors, where the children had been rigidly brought up, their passions controuled, and subjected to strict moral discipline: and we are inclined to think that there is generally a fitting of the vessel for Satan's use before he can take up his permanent abode in it. This conclusion is not shaken by another fact; namely, that persons have been suddenly entered by devils, and urged to commit some atrocious crime. Such is the case with many
criminals who are executed. The man who murdered Mr. and Mrs. Bonar, in Kent, declared that the devil suddenly entered into him, and compelled him to commit the deed : and the following case, which occurred at a Police Office on the 26th of July last, is exactly similar.
A boy named Eades, not 11 years of age, the son of a respectable-looking man, a fellowship-porter, was brought before Mr. Broughton, charged under the following circumstances :
“ The father of the prisoner said that he had four children, whom he endeavoured to educate and bring up in the fear of God. The prisoner, for the last three years, had, however, been an incorrigible thief, and had nearly broken his mother's heart. He had done every thing in his power which was consistent with the duty of a father. He tried beating, without effect; and then chained him to a log of timber, with equal effect. He then tried flattery and persuasion, without any avail; and he was some time ago obliged to bring him to that office for stealing his mother's pocket, containing all her money, while she was asleep in bed, by pulling it from under her pillow. While he was in prison he and his mother watched him with a parent's eye; they visited him, and pointed out the gloomy horrors of a prison, and the certain reward of the wicked; when he acknowledged his crime, and promised to reform. Upon his release, and for fear he might have picked up bad company, he got him into a school in London-wall; from which place he ran away some time ago,
bringing with him the clothes of the school ; and it was only on that morning that he was brought from Barnet.
“Mr. Broughton. Well, boy, what do you say to this ?- Prisoner (in tears). I don't know; I cannot tell. Can you
read and write ?-Yes. “ Do you go to church ?-Yes. “Do you know the Ten Commandments ?-I do. “Repeat to me the Eighth ?-Thou shalt not steal.
“And why did you steal ?-I forgot the Commandment, because I was tempted.
“ By whom?-An evil spirit.
“ Did you ever see that evil spirit?-No; but I have both felt him and heard him.
“ Was it he who advised you to rob your father and mother?
-It was. 66 Did
you ever pray to God to protect you against his temptations ?--I oftew fervently did, but he still haunts me; and I am sure, if I was from under my father's care, I should yet become a good boy!
“ Does your father treat you with cruelty ?-He has beat me when I deserved it; otherwise he has treated me with affection and kindness.
“ What took you to Barnet?- I went there with a mower. “ Where did you sleep?- In the meadow. “ Did you pray while you were there ?-No.
“And why?--Because they would only make a mockery of me (bursting into tears). Indeed, I would be a good boy if I could. I pray to God to make me one ; but the moment I have said my prayers the devil tells me to thieve !
“ The Magistrate said he really did not know what to do with the boy. His first impression was that his faculties were deranged; but yet the correctness of his answers had a tendency to remove that impression. In order, however, to give the father and the trustees of the school an opportunity of conferring with each other, he would remand the prisoner for a week.”
Many of the Lord's people have been objects of direct attack by Satan ; some have had sufficient spiritual discernment-that is, enough of the gift of discernment of spirits—to be able to detect him at once; and by not "giving place” to him, but, on the contrary, by“ resisting” him, have been enabled to make him instantly « flee from them.”
ös flee from them.” One of the most judicious, learned, upright, and concientious servants of God, whom we have the gratification to reckon amongst our acquaintance, told us, that some years ago he distinctly heard a voice speaking to him, which he instantly recognised to be the voice of the enemy: not from the sound, which had nothing in it unpleasing to the ear, nor from the sentiments conveyed, which contained nothing
positively wrong: he instantly flew to his knees, and prayed earnestly for deliverance : the voice spoke louder and more distinctly; and it was not for some time that the tempter entirely forsook him, being rebuked by the Lord.
There is reason to suppose, that in those diseases where the mind retains its powers of action with less disturbance than the rest of the frame, the spirit is capable of some feeble participation with the world of spirits, into which it is about to enter, before it finally quits its tabernacle. Perhaps the observations respecting the power of the body to influence the spirit may apply here also; and that, owing to the enfeebled state of the material frame, the spirit yields more readily to its own spontaneous impulses, whatever those may be. It was in his dying hour that Jacob prophesied the fate of all his sons, and their descendants, through many thousand ages : it is this which was remarked by the ancient Greek physician as a frequent concomitant of brain fever: it is this which beamed forth in the last moments of the life of Stephen : it is this which gives such romantic interest to the death-bed scenes of many biographical tracts : and it is this which is the solution of the following remarkable incident, noticed in the same work from which we have already so largely quoted. In describing the death-bed of an infidel scholar, he says, “Well,' he murmured almost inarticulately; 'I am now quite in darkness! Oh, there is something at my heart-cold, cold ! Doctor, keep them off! Why-Oh death— he ceased : he had spoken his last on earth.” In a note on this passage the author adds, “I once before heard these strange words fall from the lips of a dying patient, a lady. To me they suggest very unpleasant, I may say, fearful thoughts. What is to be kept off?”—We have no doubt that the surmise of the author, which he dare not express, is correct, and it is the infernal spirits who are " to be kept off:” but vain is the help of man for such an end. They who have committed the keeping of their souls to Jesus, will find Him faithful, and protecting, and “ keeping off” from them all who would harm or terrify them, when walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
That accomplished physician, and elegant scholar, Sir Henry Halford, has given an interesting account of the remarks of Aretæus on brain fever, which he has illustrated by several allusions from other writers, wherein the faculty of spiritual perception in the dying hour is recognised. Aretæus “ states that the first effect of the subsidence of the violent excitement is, that the patient's mind becomes clear; that all his sensations are now exquisitely keen ; that he is the first person to discover that he is about to die, and announces this to his attendants; that he seems to hold converse with the spirits of those who have departed -before him, as if they stood in his presence; and that his soul
VOL. VI.-NO. 11.
acquires a prophetic power "....." that the by-standers fancy him to be rambling and talking nonsense, but that they are afterwards astounded at the coming to pass of the events which had been predicted: τη αποβασει δε των ειρημενων θαυμαζασι ανθρωποι. Indeed, he attempts to account for it, by supposing that the soul, whilst - shuffling off this mortal coil,' whilst disengaging itself from the incumbrances of the body, becomes purer, more essential, entirely spiritual, as if it had already commenced its new existence.'
Sir Henry Halford cites passages from the Greek tragedians, from Cicero, and from Shakspeare, to shew the belief that has at all times prevailed respecting the prophetic powers enjoyed by dying men : but this is not the point for which we have alluded to the subject. Milton writes :
When old experience does attain
To something like prophetic strain ; and a more modern poet makes the wizard say to Lochiel ;
'Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
And coming events cast their shadows before. This prophetic power cannot extend to very distant events from the information of Satan; and therefore the instances, where such predictions were manifestly not from the Spirit of God, are probably nothing more than what the imagination of the poets has suggested, founded upon some unexpected contingency.
It was said of old, Ira furor brevis est, and it is certain that ungoverned passions of any kind do greatly induce a habit favourable to satanic impulses. A field of battle, a prize-ring, a gaming-table, and such scenes, seem to be the very quarters that malignant spirits would select for the display of their own peculiar powers. The excitement arising from the use of spirituous liquors prepares men also for diabolical possession. A young man was very lately under serious religious impressions, attended by a painful sense of sin, and harassed by doubts in which he had much indulged in former years. Under the fallacious hope of obtaining peace of mind he resumed the practice of eating opium, to which he had been formerly addicted : during this an evil spirit entered into him, and caused bim to imitate the power of the Holy Spirit in prophesying: the evil spirit was detected and ejected by the Spirit of God in some of His servants the prophets in London, but the poor man was himself much dejected afterwards. In such instances the possessions seem to be transitory, and merely sufficient to cause the victims to commit the acts which shall end in their destruction, as the devils who entered into the herd of swine immediately hurried them to the edge of a precipice whence they were sure to be drowned.
The faculty of second sight, called in Gaelic taistearaichd, cannot be accounted for, in many instances, otherwise than by the suppo