The Lost Gospel and Its Contents

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a selection from SECTION XXIII. DEMONIACAL POSSESSION: The question of Demoniacal Possession now demands a passing notice. The author of "Supernatural Religion" ascribes all such phenomena to imposture or delusion; and, inasmuch as these supposed miracles of casting out of evil spirits are associated with other miracles of Christ in the same narrative, he uses the odium with which this class of miracles is in this day regarded, for the purpose of discrediting the miracles of healing and the Resurrection of Jesus. I cannot help expressing my surprise at the difficulty which some writers, who desire fully and faithfully to uphold the supernatural, seem to have respecting Demoniacal Possession. The difficulty seems to me to be not in the action of evil spirits in this or in that way, but in their existence. And yet the whole analogy of nature, and the state of man in this world, would lead us to believe, not only in the objective existence of a world of spirits, but in the separation of their characters into good and evil. Those who deny the fact of an actually existing spiritual world of angels, if they are Atheists, must believe that man is the highest rational existence in the universe; but this is absurd, for the intellect of man in plainly very circumscribed, and he is slowly discovering laws which account for the phenomena which he sees, which laws were operative for ages before he discovered them, and imply infinitely more intellect in their invention, so to speak, and imposition and nice adjustment with one another, than he shows in their mere discovery. A student, for instance, has a problem put before him, say upon the adjustments of the forces of the heavenly bodies. The solution, if it evinces intelligence in him, must evince more and older intelligence in the man who sets him the problem; but if the conditions of the problem truly represent the acts of certain forces and their compensations, can we possibly deny that there is an intellect infinitely above ours who calculated beforehand their compensations and adjustments. All the laws of the universe must be assumed to be, even if they are not believed to be, the work of a personal intellect absolutely infinite, whose operations cannot be confined to this world, for it gives laws to all bodies, no matter how distant. The same reasoning, then, which shows that there is an intelligent will, because it can solve a problem, necessitates an infinitely higher Intelligence which can order the motions of distant worlds by laws of which our highest calculative processes are perhaps very clumsy representations. Those who, like the author of "Supernatural Religion," are good enough to admit (with limitations) the existence of a Supreme Being, and yet deny the existence of a spiritual world above ours, seem to me to act still more absurdly. For the whole analogy of the world of nature would lead as to infer that, as there is a descending scale of animated beings below man reaching down to the lowest forms of life, so there is an ascending scale above him, between him and God. The deniers of the existence of such beings as angels undertake to assert that there are no beings between ourselves and the Supreme Being, because nature (meaning by nature certain lower brute forces, such as gravitation and electricity), "knows nothing" of them. The Scriptures, on the contrary, would lead us to believe that just as in the natural world there are gradations of beings between ourselves and the lowest forms of life, so in the spiritual world (and we belong to both worlds) there are gradations of beings between ourselves and God Who created all things. The Scriptures would lead us to believe that these beings are intelligent free agents, and, as such, have had their time of probation-that some fell under their trial, and are now the enemies of God as wicked men are.... --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
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