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sins." (Prov. v. 22.) “ All things are working for good unto those that love God.” (Rom. viji. 28.) All things are working out evil for them who depart from him ; which, on the first symptom of depravity and decline of holy and amiable affections, these unhappy beings immediately did, when they preserved not their first estate. They also absconded from their own habitation, (Jude 6 ;) the realms of peace, of love, of joy, no longer suited their sad change of nature: they sought to exercise their hate to God, their pride, revenge, and malice, in princedoms far apart, and, by the gratification of these malign passions, doubtless produced and endured the keenest misery. For, as that eminent writer, Dr. Blair, most justly observes, “seldom is there any punishment which revenge can inflict, more severe than is suffered by him whoinflicts it. The bitterness of spirit, the boilings of fierce passions, joined with all the black ideas which the cruel plans of revenge excite, produce more acute sensations of torment than any that are occasioned by bodily pain.” And if this remark be just, as applied to human creatures—if emanations of these black passions inspire such dire sensations, how great must be the misery from whence such anguish flows, and with what augmented force must it apply to apostate minds completely absorbed by evil! To contemplate with Dr. Watts the scale of blessedness, and its glorious termination, nearness to God, the supreme felicity of creatures, would be a delightful speculation; to ponder its reverse, attempt to trace
* Blair's Sermons.
the gradual growth of misery occasioned by departure from the source of bliss, and muse upon the horrors of its end, would be a melancholy, though perhaps not useless task.
Adhering to brevity, we shall not, however, dwell
upon the painful theme; nor is it indeed a theme on which mortality, in this its mixed state of good and evil, joy and woe, is competent very fully to descant. We never tasted that most pure delight resulting from the full possession of the amiable affections, and cannot judge of the misery caused by their total extirpation ;-we never were enthroned in realms of light, and cannot form an idea of the wretchedness produced by dire transition to regions of deep sorrow, darkness, and dismay ;-we have not been as yet endued with those capacities for happiness, to which proportionate susceptibility of anguish is probably annexed. The last extreme of intellectual misery experienced on our earth, despair of mercy, solely originates (blessed be God!) in the derangement of our mental faculties, and not in dread reality. We are not now wholly bereft of virtue, that only anchor on which affliction can securely rest. We yet have patience to endure, and hope to cheer; our blessed Pilot still can guide our tossed barks into the heavenly haven, if we will steer our course as he directs. Our minds are not wrought up to endless irritation-are strangers to the highest pitch of acute torment, that frenzied fury, revenge and desperation excite. It has never entered into the heart of man to conceive aright the joys which God prepares for those
who love him; (1 Cor. ii. 9 ;) it cannot enter into the heart of man to conceive the woe of those who utterly forsake him. That very sagacious observer, Dr. Johnson, remarks, “ that insane persons are all sensual in the lower stages of the distemper; that they are eager for gratifications to soothe their minds, and divert their attention from the wretchedness they suffer; but when they grow very ill, pleasure is too weak for them, and they even seek corporeal pain as an alleviation of their mental misery." And Mr. Boswell subjoins the following remarkable anecdote in confirmation of Dr. Johnson's observation :-“A tradesman who had acquired a large fortune in London, retired from business, and went to live at Worcester; his mind being without its usual occupation, and having nothing else to supply its place, preyed upon itself, so that existence was a torment to him. At last he was seized with the stone; and a friend, who found him in one of its severest fits, having expressed his concern, · No, no, Sir,' said he, don't pity me: what I now feel is ease, compared with the torture of mind from which it relieves me.”* When we compare Dr.
* Boswell's Life of Johnson, page 191, and a note, page 192.
The proneness which wretched maniacs do so continually exemplify, of inflicting on themselves corporeal injury, is a fact so notorious, as not to require the statement of specific instances to support it. Mr. Boswell further remarks, “ that we read in the gospels, that those unfortunate persons who were possessed with evil spirits, (which, after all, I think is the most probable cause of madness, as was first suggested to me by my respectable friend, Sir John Pringle,) had recourse to pain, tearing themselves, and jumping sometimes into the fire, sometimes into the
Johnson's observation and the extraordinary illustration of its justness by which it is supported, water.” In this joint opinion of Mr. Boswell's and Sir J. Pringle's we do perfectly agree. We must here refer our readers to pages 17 and 45, in which will be found reason suspecting, and Scripture positively asserting, that through the malign interference of the great evil agent does proceed every calamity which assails the human race; therefore, insane persons, or those afflicted with any other violent disorder, may with equal justness be said to be possessed of the devil, as were those unhappy beings mentioned in the gospel. And there is good reason to believe that those unhappy persons who are mentioned in the gospel as being possessed by devils, were only afflicted by what term madness, or certain kind of fits, which were usually attributed by the Jews to the agency of evil spirits ; by the heathens, to the wrath of the gods; and in more modern times, to witchcraft. And the correctness of this supposition is further and most powerfully strengthened by our finding madness, and the being possessed of devils, spoken of in the New Testament as one and the same disease. “He has a devil and is mad : why hear ye him?” (John x. 20.) Again, that the friends of Christ went out to lay hold on him: for they said, he is beside himself, and hath an unclean spirit. (Mark iii. 21. 30.) When a youth was brought unto Jesus, lunatic, and sore vexed, we are told that Christ rebuked the devil, and he departed out of him. (Matt. xvii. 15. 18.) And the truth of the opinious stated on this subject is confirmed almost into certainty by the annexed description of the deportment of this unfortunate young man, and that of other miserable beings recorded in the gospel, which entirely corresponds with the lamentable recitals of insane persons in our days :-Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is lunatic and sore vexed, for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and ofttimes into the water; and Jesus rebuked the devil, (clearly proving to what source he attributed lunacy and its concomitant sore vexation,) and he departed out of him. And there met him two possessed with devils coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass that way. (Matt. viii. 28.) And when He was come out of the ship, immediately there met bim out of the with that already inserted from Dr. Blair, namely, that the exquisite wretchedness which malign tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who wore no clothes, neither abode in any house, who had his dwelling amongst the tombs, and no man could bind him, no not with chains; because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces; neither could any man tame him, or appease the violence of his outrageous fury ;-and always night and day he was in the mountains and in the tombs, (was driven by the horribly agitated state of his perturbed mind from human society, amidst the most wild and gloomy scenes,) venting his misery by the most dismal outcry, and by furiously and barbarously cutting and mangling himself with stones, (Mark v. 2. 34,) like a wretched distracted maniac—fully justifying Dr. Johnson's opinion as to madmen seeking corporeal pain as an alleviation of their mental misery; and also again strengthening the belief, that being possessed by the devil, and the malady of madness, as spoken of in the gospel, are one and the same disorder. But though the above narration has sufficiently elicited the justness of the position it was intended to support, yet we cannot omit subjoining some remarks on the subsequent surprising recital : for when we consider that the express design of Christ's mission on our earth was to oppose the dominion of the great hellish chieftain, it certainly favours the opinion of Dr. Porteus, rendering it highly probable “that during the time of our Saviour's appearance on earth, the tyranny of the evil one had been permitted to arrive at its utmost height, and to have extended in a peculiar manner to the bodies as well as to the souls of men-of both which he sometimes took an absolute and extraordinary possession.” (Porteus, Lecture iv. p. 68.) This consideration materially diminishes the astonishment excited by the miserable man, whose mind and body were so wholly and deplorably possessed by that shrewd and piercing serpent (Isa. xxvii. 1) and a combination of his subordinate confederates, being fully sensible that it was the high and delegated champion of Almighty God to whom he was then approaching. Therefore, when he saw Jesus afar off he ran and worshipped him, acknowledged his authority, and cried with a loud voice, saying, What have