Alexander Campbell Demonology: An Address (1841)




E X T R A.

VOL. V. B E T H A N Y,   V A.   OCTOBER, 1841. NO. X.

D E M O N O L O G Y.

AN ADDRESS delivered to the Popular Lecture Club, Nashville, Tennessee,
March 10, 1841.



      WHILE the antiquary is gathering up the mouldering ruins of ancient temples, palaces, and cities; or poring over the coins, medals, and statues of other ages, seeking to prove or to embellish some theory of the olden times: while the astronomer is directing his largest telescope to some remote ethereal field, far beyond the milky way, in search of new nebulæ, unseen before, in hope to find the nucleus of some incipient solar system: while the speculative geologist is delving down to the foundations of the eternal mountains, in quest of new evidences of his doctrine of successive and long protracted formations of the massy strata of Mother Earth, "rock-ribbed and ancient as the Sun:" while the sceptic is exultingly scanning the metaphysical dreams of some imaginary system of Nature, or seeking in the desolations of the ancient Mythologies arguments against the mighty facts and overwhelming demonstrations of the Christian faith--may I be indulged, gentlemen, to invite you into the precincts of Demonology, and to accompany me in a brief excursion into the land of demons, whence, dark and mysterious though it be, we may, perhaps, guided by some friendly star, elicit some useful light on that grand and awful world of spirits, which, as we descend the hill of life, rises higher and higher in its demands upon our time and thoughts, as embracing the all-absorbing and transcendent interests of human kind.

      Think not, however, that I intend to visit the fairy realms and enchanting scenes of wild romance; or that I wish to indulge in the fascinating fictions of poets, ancient or modern; think not that I am about to ascend with old Hesiod into his curious theogony of gods and demigods, or to descend with our late Sir Walter Scott to the phantasmatic realms of his Celtic and Scottish ghosts and demons. I aim at more substantial entertainment, at more sober and grave realities, than the splendid fancies of those gifted and fortunate votaries of popular applause, rather than of the approvals of the conscientious and sedate.

      It is the subject of demons, as forming a portion of the real antiquities of the world--as connected with Pagan, Jewish, and Christian theology;--it is the subject of demons, sometimes called devils, not in [457] their fictitious, but true character, that I propose to discuss: for even here there is the fact and the fable, the true and the false, the real and the imaginary, as in every thing else. The extravagant fancies of the poets, the ghosts and spectres of the dark ages, have spread their sable mantles upon this subject, and involved it all either in philosophical dubiety, or in a blind indiscriminate infidelity.

      The inductive and Christian philosopher in this department, as in most others, finds both truth and fable blended in the same tradition; and, therefore, neither awed by authority, nor allured by the fascinations of novelty, he institutes an examination into the merits of a subject, which, if true, cannot but deeply interest the thoughtful; and which, if false, should be banished from the minds of all.

      That a class of beings of some sort, designated demons, has been an element of the faith, an object of the dread and veneration of all ages and nations, as far back as all memory reaches, no one who believes in a spiritual system--no one who regards the volumes of divine inspiration, or who is only partially acquainted with Pagan and Jewish antiquity, can reasonably doubt. But concerning these demons, of what order of intelligences, of what character and destiny; of what powers intellectual and moral, or immoral, there has been much debate, and still there is need of farther and more satisfactory examination.

      Before entering either philosophically or practically into this investigation, it is necessary that we define the true and proper meaning of the term demon. This word, it is said, is of Grecian origin and character--of which, however, we have not full assurance. In that language it is written and pronounced daimoon; and, according to some etymologists, is legitimately descended from a very ancient verb pronounced daioo, which means to discriminate, to know. Daimoon, or demon, therefore, simply indicates a person of intelligence--a knowing one. Thus before the age of philosophy, or the invention of the name, those were called demons, as a title of honor, who afterwards assumed the more modest title of philosophers. Aristotle, for his great learning was called demon, as was the celebrated Thucydides: hence among the Platonists it was for some time a title of honor. But this, it must be observed, was a special appropriation, like our use of the words divine and reverend. When we apply these titles to sinful men, who, because of their calling, ought to be not only intelligent, but of a divine and celestial temper and morality, we use them by a special indulgence from that sovereign pontiff with whom is the jus et norma loquendi.

      But as some of the Platonists elevated the spirits of departed heroes, [458] public benefactors, and distinguished men, into a species of demigods or mediators between them and the Supreme Divinity, as some of our forefathers were accustomed to regard the souls of departed saints, this term began to be used in a more general sense. Among some philosophers it became the title of an object of worship; while, on the other hand, it degenerated into the genii of poetry and imagination.

      In tracing the popular transitions and transmigrations of words, permit me, gentlemen, to say that we are not to imagine that they very ceremoniously advance, as our naval and military officers, from one rank to another, by some systematic or conventional agreement, amongst the heads of the departments in the army of words and phalanxes of human speech. On the contrary, the transitions are exceedingly anomalous, and sometimes inverted. In this instance the term demon, from simply indicating a knowing one, became the title of a human spirit when divested of the appendages of its clay tenement, because of its supposed initiation into the secrets of another world. Thus a separated spirit became a genius, a demigod, a mediator, a divinity of the ancient superstition according to its acquirements in this state of probation.

      But we shall better understand the force and import of this mysterious word from its earliest acceptation among the elder Pagans, Jews, and Christians, than from the speculations of etymologists and lexicographers. Historical facts, then, and not etymological speculations, shall decide not only its meaning, but the character and rank of those beings on whom, by common consent, this significant title was conferred.

      To whom, then, among Pagan writers shall we make our first appeal? Shall we not at once carry up the question to the most venerable Hesiod, the oldest of Grecian bards, whose antique style even antedates that of Homer himself almost one hundred years? Shall we not appeal to the genealogist of all the gods, the great theogonist of Grecian mythology? Who than he more likely to be acquainted with the ancient traditions of demons? And what is the sum of his testimony in the case? Hear him speak in the words of Plutarch:--"The spirits of mortals become demons when separated from their earthly bodies." The Grecian biographist not only quotes with approbation the views of Hesiod, but corroborates them with the result of his own researches, avowing his conviction that "the demons of the Greeks were the ghosts and genii of departed men; and that they go up and down the earth as observers, and even rewarders of men; and although not actors themselves, they encourage others to act in harmony with their views and characters." Zenocrates, too, as found in Aristotle, extends the [459] term to the souls of men before death, and calls them demons while in the body. To the good demons and the spirits of deceased heroes they allotted the office of mediators between gods and men.1 In this character Zoroaster, Thales, Pythagoras, Plato, Plutarch, Celsus, Apuleius, and many others contemplated The demons of their times.

      Whoever, indeed, will be at pains to examine the Pagan mythologies, one and all, will discover that some doctrine of demons, as respects their nature, abodes, characters, or employments, is the ultimate foundation of the whole superstructure; and that the radical idea of all the dogmata of their priests, and the fancies and fables of their poets, are found in that most ancient and veritable tradition--that the spirits of men survive their fallen tabernacles, and live in a disembodied state from death to the dissolution of material nature. To these spirits in the character of genii, gods, or demigods, they assigned the fates and fortunes of men and countries. With them a hero on earth became a demon in hades; and a demigod, a numen, a divinity in the skies. It is not without some reason that the witty and ingenious Lucian makes his dialogist, in the orthodoxy of his age, thus ask and answer the following questions:--What is man? A mortal god! And what is God? An immortal man. In one sentence, all Pagan antiquity affirms that from Titan and Saturn, the poetic progeny of Coelus and Terra, down to Esculapius, Proteus, and Minos, all their divinities, were the ghosts of dead men, and were so regarded by the most erudite of the Pagans themselves.

      Think not, gentlemen, that because we summon the Pagan witnesses first, that we regard them either as the first in point of age or character. Far from it. They were a pack of plagiarists, from Hesiod to Lucian. The Greeks were the greatest literary thieves and robbers that ever lived, and they had the most consummate art of concealing the theft. From these Pagans, whether Greeks or Romans, we ascend to the Jews and to the Patriarchs, whose annals transcend those of the most ancient Pagans many centuries.

      In the times of the Patriarchs, in the infancy of the Abrahamic family, long before the time of their own Moses, we learn that in the land of Canaan, almost coeval with the promise of it to Abraham, demons were recognized and worshipped. The consultation of the spirits of the dead, the art and mystery of necromancy, the species of familiar spirits, and wizzards, are older than Moses, and spoken of by him as matters of ancient faith and veneration. Statutes, indeed, are ordained, and laws are promulged from Mount Sinai in Arabia, [460] from the voice of the Eternal King, against the worship of demons, the consultation of familiar spirits, the practice of necromancy, and all the arts of divination; of which we may speak more particularly in the sequel. Hence we affirm that the doctrine of a separate state--of disembodied ghosts, or demons--of necromancy and divination, is a thousand years older than Homer or Hesiod, than any Pagan historian, philosopher, or poet whatsoever. And so deeply rooted in the land of Canaan, so early and so long cherished and taught by the seven nations was this doctrine in all its branches, that, notwithstanding the severe statutes against it, traces of it are found among the Jews for almost a thousand years after Moses. Of the wicked Jeroboam it is said, "He ordained priests for the high places, and for the demons.2 Even David admits that his nation "learned the works of the heathen, served their idols, and sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons;" and he adds, "they ate the sacrifices of the dead;" a clear intimation that worshipping demons was worshipping the dead. Isaiah, too, lamenting their idolatry, asks the mortifying question, "Shall a people seek the living to the dead?"

      But there is a peculiarity in the acceptation of this term among Jews and Pagans which demands special attention. Amongst them the term demon generally, if not universally, denoted an unclean, malign, or wicked spirit: whereas amongst the Pagans it as often represented a good as an evil spirit. Who has not heard of the good demon of Socrates, and of the evil genius of Brutus? While among Jews and Christians so commonly are found the akatharta pneumata, or the ponera pneumata--the unclean and malign spirits, that our translators have almost uniformly translated them devils.

      In the Christian scriptures we meet the term demon, in one form or other, 75 times, and in such circumstances, as, with but one or two exceptions, constrain us to regard it as the representative of a wicked and unclean spirit. So general is this fact, that Beelzebub is dignified "The Prince of the Demons"--unfortunately rendered devils. This frequency of immoral and wicked associations with the word daimoon may have induced our translators to give us so many devils in their authorized version. But this misapprehension is now universally admitted and regretted: for while the Bible teaches many demons, it no where intimates a plurality of Devils or Satans. There is but one Devil or Satan in the universe, whose legions 'of angels and demons give him a sort of omnipresence, by acting out his will in all their intercourse with mortals. This evil spirit, whose official titles are [461] the Serpent, the Devil, and Satan, is always found in the singular number in both the Hebrew and Greek scriptures; while demon is found in both numbers, indicating sometimes one, and sometimes a legion.

      But that we may not be farther tedious in this dry work of definition, and that we may enter at once upon the subject with a zeal and spirit worthy of a topic which lays the axe at the root of the tree of modern Sadduceesism, Materialism, and Scepticism, we shall proceed at once to sum up the evidence in proof of the proposition which we shall state as the peculiar theme of this great literary adventure.--That proposition is--The demons of Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity were the ghosts of dead men.

      But some of you may say, You have proposed to dismiss this work of definition too soon: for here is the horrible word ghost! Of what is that term the sign in your style? Well, we must explain ourselves.

      Our Saxon forefathers, of whom we have no good reason to be ashamed, were wont to call the spirits of men, especially when separated from their bodies, ghosts. This, however, they did, not with the terrible associations which arise in our minds on every pronunciation of that startling term. Guest and ghost, with them, if not synonyms, were, at least, cousins-german. They regarded the body as the house, and therefore called the spirit the guest; for guest and ghost are two branches from the same root. William Tyndale, the martyr, of excellent memory, in his version of the New Testament, the prototype of that of king James, very judiciously makes the Holy Spirit of the Old Testament the Holy Ghost of the New; because, in his judgment, it was the promised guest of the Christian temple.

      Still it is difficult, I own, to hear the word ghost, or demon, without the recollection of the nursery tales and fictions of our irrational systems of early education. We suffer little children to hear so much of

-- -- --"Apparitions tall and ghastly,
That take their stand o'er some new-opened grave,
And, strange to tell, evanish at the crowing of the cock,"

till they become not only in youth, but often in riper years, the prey and sport of idle fears and terrors "which scarce the firm philosopher can scorn." Not only the graveyard,

-- -- --"But the lonely tower
Is also shunn'd, whose mournful chronicles hold,
So night-struck fancy dreams, the yelling ghost!"

Imagination once startled,

"In grim array the nightly spectres rise!
Oft have we seen the school-boy, with satchel in his hand,
When passing by some haunted spot, at lonely ev'n, [462]
Whistling aloud to bear his courage up. Suddenly he hears,
Or thinks he hears, the sound of something purring at his heels:
Full fast he flies, nor does tie took behind him,
Till out of breath he o'ertake his fellows,
Who gather round and wonder at the tale!"

      Parents are greatly at fault for permitting such tales to disturb the fancies of their infant offspring. The love of the marvellous and of the supernatural is so deeply planted in human nature, that it needs but little cultivation to make it fruitful in all manner of fairy tales, of ghosts and spectres. But there is an opposite extreme--the denial of spirits, angels, demons, whether good or bad. Here, too, media ibis tutissima--the middle path the safer is. But to our proposition: We have, from a careful survey of the history of the term demon, concluded that the demons of Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity were the ghosts of dead men. But we build not only upon the definition of the term, nor on its philological history; but upon the following seven pillars:--

      1. All the Pagan authors of note, whose works have survived the wreck of ages, affirm the opinion that demons were the spirits or ghosts of dead men. From Hesiod down to the more polished Celsus, their historians, poets, and philosophers occasionally express this opinion.

      2. The Jewish historians, Josephus and Philo, also avow this conviction. Josephus says, "Demons are the spirits of wicked men, who enter into living men and destroy them, unless they are so happy as to meet with speedy relief.3 Philo says, "The souls of dead men are called demons."

      3. The Christian Fathers, Justin Martyr, Ireneus, Origen, &c. depose to the same effect. Justin, when arguing for a future state, alleges, "Those who are seized and tormented by the souls of the dead, whom all call demons, and madmen."4 Lardner, after examining with the most laborious care the works of these, and all the Fathers of the first two centuries, says, "The notion of demons, or the souls of dead men, having power over living men, was universally prevalent among the heathen of these times, and believed by many Christians.5

      4. The Evangelists and Apostles of Jesus Christ so understood the matter. As this is a very important, and of itself a sufficient pillar on which to rest our edifice, we shall be at more pains to illustrate and enforce it. We shall first state the philological law or canon of criticism, on the generality and truth of which all our dictionaries, grammars, and translations are formed. Every word not specially explained [463] or defined in a particular sense, by any standard writer of any particular age and country, is to be taken and applied in the current or commonly received signification of that country and age in which the writer lived and wrote. If this canon of translation and of criticism be denied, then we affirm there is no value in dictionaries, nor in the acquisition of ancient languages in which any book may be written; nor is there any confidence in any translation of any ancient work, sacred or profane: for they are all made upon the assumption of the truth of this law.

      We have then only to ask first for the current signification of this term demon in Judea at the Christian era; and, in the second place, Did the inspired writers ever give any special definition of it? We have already found an answer to the first in the Greeks and Jews of the apostolic age--also, in the preceding and subsequent age. We have heard Josephus, Philo, Lucian, Justin, and Lardner, from whose writings and affirmations we are expressly told what the universal acceptation of the term was in Judea and in those times; and in the second place, the Apostles and our Lord, as already said, use this word in various forms 75 times, and on no occasion give any hint of a special, private, or peculiar interpretation of it; which was not their method when they used a term either not generally understood, or understood in a special sense. Does any one ask the meaning of the word Messiah, prophet, priest, elder, deacon, presbytery, altar, sacrifice, sabbath, circumcision, &c. &c.? We refer him to the current signification of these words among the Jews and Greeks of that age. Why, then, should any one except the term demon from the universal law? Are we not, therefore, sustained by the highest and most authoritative decision of that literary tribunal by whose rules and decrees all works sacred and profane are translated from a dead to a living tongue? We are, then, fully authorized to say that the demons of the New Testament were the spirits of dead men.

      5. But as a distinct evidence of the historic kind, and rather as confirmatory of our views than of the authority of the inspired authors, I adduce as a separate and independent witness a very explicit and decisive passage from the epistle to the Smyrneans, written by the celebrated Ignatius, the disciple of the Apostle John. He quotes the words of the Lord to Peter when Peter supposed he saw a spirit or a ghost. But he quotes him thus--"Handle me and see, for I am not a daimoon asomaton--a disembodied demon;"--a spirit without a body. This places the matter above all doubt that with them of that day a demon and a ghost were equivalent terms.

      6. But we also deduce an argument from the word angel. This [464] word is of Bible origin, and confined to those countries in which that volume is found. It is not found in all the Greek poets, orators, or historians, so far as known to me. Of that rank of beings to whom Jews and Christians have applied this official title, the Pagan nations seem never to have had the first conception. It is therefore certain that they could not use the term demon as a substitute interchangeable with the word angel--as indicative of an intermediate order of intelligent beings above men, and between them and the Divinity. They had neither the name nor the idea of an angel in their mythology. Philo the Jew has, indeed, said that amongst the Jews the word demon and the word angel were sometimes used interchangeably; and some have thence inferred lapsed angels were called demons. But this is not a logical inference: for the Jews called the winds, the pestilence, the lightnings of heaven, &c., angels, as indicative of their agency in accomplishing the will of God. In this sense, indeed, a demon might be officially called an angel. But in this sense demon is to angel as the species to the genus: we can call a demon an angel, but we cannot call an angel a demon--just as we can call every man an animal, but we cannot call every animal a man.

      Others, indeed, have just as fancifully imagined that the old giants and heroes, said to have been the fruit of the intermarriage of the sons of God with the daughters of men before the flood, were the demons of all the world--Pagans, Jews, and Christians. Their most plausible argument is, that the word heroes and the word love are the same; and that the loves of the angels for the daughters of men, was the reason that their gigantic offspring were called heroes. Whence the term was afterwards appropriated to persons of great courage as well as of great stature. This is sublimely ridiculous.

      But to return to the word angel. It is a Bible term, and not being found in all classic, in all mythologic antiquity, could not enter into the Pagan ideas of a demon. Now that it is not so used in the Christian scriptures is evident for the following reasons:--

      1st. Angels were never said to enter into any one.

      2d. Angels have, no affection for bodies of any sort, either as habitations or vehicles of action.

      3d. Angels have no predilection for tombs and monuments of the dead.

      In these three particulars angels and demons stand in full contrast, and are contradistinguished by essentially different characteristics: for--

      1st. Demons have entered into human bodies and into the bodies of inferior creatures. [465]

      2d. Demons evince a peculiar affection for human bodies, and seem to desire them both as vehicles of action and as places of habitation.

      3d. Demons also evince a peculiar fondness for their old mortal tenements: hence we so often read of them carrying the possessed into the grave-yards, the tombs, and sepulchres, where, perchance, their old mortalities lay in ruins.

      From which facts we argue, as well as from the fact that the Pagans had neither Devil, nor angel nor Satan, in their heads before the Christian times, that when they, or the Christians, or the Jews spoke of demons, they could not mean any intermediate rank of spirits, other than the spirits of dead men. Hence in no instance in holy writ can we find demon and angel used as convertible terms. Is it not certain, then, that they are the ghosts of dead men?--But there yet remains another pillar.

      7. Among the evidences of the papal defection intimated by Paul, he associates the doctrine concerning demons with celibacy and abstinence from certain meats, as chief among the signs of that fearful apostacy. He warrants the conclusion that the purgatorial prisons for ghosts and the ghostly mediators of departed saints, which, equally with commanding to abstain from lawful meats, and forbidding to marry, characterize the times of which he spoke, are attributes of the same system, and indicative of the fact that demons and ghosts are two names for the same beings. To this we add the testimony of James, who says the demons believe and tremble for their doom. Now all eminent critics concur that the spirits of wicked men are here intended; and need I add that oft-repeated affirmation of the demoniacs, "We know thee, Jesus of Nazareth; art thou come to torment us before the time?" Thus all the scriptural allusions to this subject authorize the conclusion that demons are ghosts, and especially wicked and unclean spirits of dead men. A single saying in the Apocalypse makes this most obvious. When Babylon is razed to its foundation it is said to be made the habitation of demons--of the ghosts of its sepulchred inhabitants. From these seven sources of evidence, viz.--the Pagan authors, the Jewish historians, the Christian fathers, the four Evangelists, the epistle of Ignatius, the acceptation of the term angel in its contrast with demon, and the internal evidences of the whole New Testament, we conclude that the demons of the New Testament were the ghosts of wicked men. May we not henceforth reason from this point with all assurance as a fixed and fundamental principle?

      It ought, however, to be candidly stated that there have been in latter times a few intellectual dyspeptics, on whose nervous system the idea of being really possessed by an evil spirit, produces a [466] phrensied excitement. Terrified at the thought of an incarnate demon, they have resolutely undertaken to prove that every single demon named in holy writ is but a bold eastern metaphor, placing in high relief dumbness, deafness, madness, palsy, epilepsy, &c.; and hence demoniacs then and now are a class of unfortunates laboring under certain physical maladies called unclean spirits. Credat Judæus Appella, non Ego.

      On the principle that every demon is an eastern metaphor, how incomparably more eloquent than Demosthenes or Cicero, was he that had at one time a legion of eastern metaphors within him struggling for utterance! No wonder, then, that the swineherds of Gadara were overwhelmed by the moving eloquence of their herds as they rushed with such pathos into the deep waters of the dark Galilee!

      Great men are not always wise. The seer of 'Mesopotamia was not only admonished, but reformed by the eloquence of an ass; and I am sure that the Gadarene speculators were cured of their belief in eastern metaphors when they saw their hopes of gain forever buried in the lake of Gennesereth. It requires a degree of gravity bordering on the superlative, to speculate on an hypothesis so singularly fanciful and baseless as that which converts both reason and eloquence, deafness and dumbness, into one and the same metaphor.

      Without impairing in the least the strength of the arguments in favor of actual possession by the spirits of dead men, it may be conceded, that because of the similarity of some of the effects of demoniacal possession with those maladies of the paralytic and epileptic character, it may have happened on some occasions that persons simply afflicted with these diseases, because of the difficulties of always discriminating the remote causes of these maladies, were, by the common people, regarded as demoniacs, and so reported in the New Testament. Still the fact that the Great Teacher himself distinguishes between demons and all human maladies, in commanding the Apostles not only to "heal all manner of diseases--to cleanse the lepers, and raise the dead;" but also to "cast out demons;" and the fact still more palpable, that in number and power these demons are represented as transcending all physical maladies, precludes the possibility of contemplating them as corporeal diseases.

      "When I read of the number of demons in particular persons," says a very distinguished Biblical critic," and see their actions expressly distinguished from those of the man possessed; conversations held by the demons about their disposal after their expulsion; and accounts given how they were actually disposed of; when I find desires and passions ascribed peculiarly to them; and similitudes taken from [467] their manners and customs, it is impossible for me to deny their existence, without admitting that the sacred historians were themselves deceived in regard to them, or intended to deceive their readers."

      Were it not in appearance like killing those that are dead, I should quote at length sundry passages which speak of "unclean spirits crying with loud voices" as they came out of many that were possessed, which represent unclean spirits falling down before Jesus, and crying, "Thou art the Son of God," and of Jesus "charging them not to make him known;" but I will only cite a single parable framed upon the case of a demoniac. It is reported by Matthew and Luke, and almost in the same words. "When the unclean spirit," says Jesus, "is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest and finding none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then he goeth and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also to this wicked generation." On which observe, that "unclean spirits" is another name for demons--that is, a metaphor of a metaphor; for if demons are metaphors for diseases, the unclean spirits are metaphors of metaphors, or shadows of shades. Again, the Great Teacher is found not only for once departing from himself, but also from all human teachers of renown, in basing a parable upon a parable, or a shadow upon a shade, in drawing a similitude from a simile. His object was to illustrate the last state of the Jews. This he attempts by the adventures of a demon--first being dispossessed, finding no rest, and returning with others more wicked than himself to the man from whom he was driven. Now if this was all a figure to illustrate a figure, the Saviour has done that which he never before attempted, inasmuch as his parables are all founded not upon fictions, but upon facts--upon the actual manners and customs, the incidents and usages of society.

      That must be a desperate position to sustain which degrades the Saviour as a teacher below the rank of the most ordinary instructors of any age. The last state of the Jews compared to a metaphor!--compared to a nonentity!--compared to a fiction! This is even worse than representing a trope coming out of a man's mouth, "crying with a loud voice," "wandering through dry places"--unfigurative language, I presume--seeking a period, and finding a comma. At length, tired and fatigued, returning with seven fiercer metaphors more wickedly eloquent than himself, re-possessing the orator, and making him internally more eloquent than before. It will not help the matter to [468] say that when a disease leaves a man it wanders through dry or wet places--through marshes and fens--through deserts and prairies--and finding no rest for its foot, takes with him seven other more violent diseases, and seeks for the unfortunate man from whom the Doctors expelled it; and, re-entering his improved constitution, makes that its eternal abode.

      In one sentence, then, we conclude that there is neither reason nor fact--there is no canon of criticism, no law of interpretation--there is nothing in human experience or observation--there is nothing in all antiquity, sacred or profane, that, in our judgment, weighs against the evidence already adduced in support of the position, that the demons of Pagans, Jews, and Christians were the ghosts of dead men; and, as such, have taken possession of men's living bodies, and have moved, influenced, and impelled them to certain courses of action.

      Permit me, gentlemen, to demonstrate that this is no abstract and idle speculation, by stating a few of the practical aspects and bearings of this doctrine of demonology:--

      1st. It relieves the Bible from the imputation of promulging laws against non-entities in all its legislation against necromancers, diviners, soothsayers, wizzards, fortune-tellers, &c. When Jehovah gave this law to Israel, he legislated not against mere pretences, saying, "You shall not permit to live among, you any one that useth divination, an enchanter, a witch, a consulter of familiar spirits, a wizzard, or a necromancer; for all that do these things are an abomination to the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive these nations out before thee." A divine law demanding capital punishment because of a mere pretence! The most incredible thing in the world! The existence of such a statute, as before intimated, implies not merely the antiquity of the fact of demoniacal influence, but supposes it so palpable that it could be proved by at least two witnesses, and so satisfactorily as to authorize the taking away of human life without the risk of shedding innocent blood.

      That there have been pretenders to such mysterious arts, impostors and hypocrites in necromancy, witchcraft, and divination, as well as in every thing else, I doubt not; but if the pretence to work a miracle, or to utter a prediction, be a proof that there were true miracles and true prophets, the pretence of necromancy, witchcraft, and divination, is also a proof that there were once true necromancers, wizzards, and diviners. The fame of the Egyptian Jannes and Jambres who withstood Moses in the presence of Pharaoh--the fame of the woman of Endor, who evoked Samuel, or some one that personated him--and of the Pythonic damsel that followed Paul and Barnabas, and who [469] enriched her master by her divination, stand on the pages of eternal truth imperishable monuments not merely of the antiquity of the pretence, but of the reality of demoniacal power and possession.

      May I be permitted farther to observe on this mysterious subject, that necromancy was the principal parent of all the arts of divination ever practised in the world, and was directly and avowedly founded on the fact, not only of demoniacal influence, but that demons are the spirits of dead men, with whom living men could, and did form intimacies. This the very word necromancy intimates. The necromancer predicted the future by means of demoniacal inspiration. He was a prophet inspired by the dead. His art lay in making or finding a familiar spirit, in evoking a demon from whom he obtained superhuman knowledge. So the Greek term imports and all antiquity confirms.

      There are two subjects on which God is silent, and man most solicitous to know--the world of spirits, and his own future destiny. On these two subjects ghosts who have visited the unseen world, and whose horizon is so much enlarged, are supposed to be peculiarly intelligent, and on this account originally called demons, or knowing ones. But this knowledge being forbidden, kindly forbidden man, to seek it at all, and especially by unlawful means, has always been obnoxious to the anathema of Heaven. Hence the popularity of the profession of evoking familiar spirits, and hence also the indignation of Heaven against them who consulted them.

      Still we will be asked, Has any spirit of man, dead or alive, power to foresee and foretell the future? Does any one know the future but God? To which we cheerfully respond, The living and inspired prophets only knew a part of the future. God alone knows all the future. But angels or demons may know much more of it than man. How this may be analogy itself may suggest Suppose, for example, that one man possessed the discriminating powers of a Bacon, a Newton, or a Locke, only of a more capacious and retentive memory, had been coeval with Cain, Noah, or Abraham, and with a deathless vigor of constitution had lived with all the generations of men since their day till now, an inductive philosopher of course; what would be his comparative power of calculating chances and contingencies--the laws of cause and effect--and of thence anticipating the future? Still, compared with one who had passed that mysterious bourne of time, he would be but the infant of a day, knowing comparatively nothing of human destiny. But, indeed, the powers of knowing peculiar to disembodied spirits, are to us as inscrutable as the very elements of their spiritual forms and existence. But that they do know more of [470] a spiritual system and more of human destiny than we, all antiquity sacred and profane fully reveals and confirms.

      2. But a second practical aspect of this theory of demons demands our attention. It is a palpable and irrefragable proof of a spiritual system.

      The gross materialists of the French school, when Atheism triumphed over reason and faith, proclaimed from their own metropolis, and had it cut deep in marble too, that death was an eternal sleep of body, soul, and spirit, in one common unconsciousness of being. Since that time we have had the subject somewhat refined and sublimated into an intermediate sleep of only some six or seven thousand years, between our earthly exit and the resurrection morn. These more speculative materialists convert demons into metaphors, lapsed angels, or devils--into any thing rather than the living spirits of dead men.

      They see that our premises being admitted, there must be a renunciation not only of the grosser, but of the more ethereal forms of materialism of those who lull the spirit to repose in the same sepulchre with its kindred mortality, in their opposition to the inhabitation of the human body by any other spirit than its own. They make but little argumentative gain who assume that demons are lapsed angels rather than human ghosts: for who will not admit that it may be more easy for a demon than an angel who has a spiritual body of his own, to work by the machinery of a human body, and to excite the human passions to any favorite course of action! Were not this the fact, they must have tenanted the human house to little purpose, if a perfect stranger to all its rooms and doors could, on its first introduction, move through them as readily as they.

"If weak thy faith, why choose the harder side?"

To allegorize demoniacal influences, or to metamorphose them into rhetorical imagery, is the shortest, though the most desperate escape, from all spiritual embarrassment in the case. But the harder you press the sceptical philosopher on the subject of his peculiar idolatry, the more bold his denial of all spiritual influences, celestial or infernal; and the more violently he affirms that demoniacal possessions were physical diseases; that necromancy, familiar spirits, and divination, though older than Moses, and the seven nations of Canaan, were but mere pretences; an imposition on the credulity of man, as idle as the legends of Salem witchcraft, or the fairy tales of the mother-land of sprites and apparitions. But this, let me tell you, sceptical philosopher, relieves not the hard destiny of your case. Whether necromancy in all its forms was real or pretended, true or false, affects not the real merits of the question before us. [471]

      To me, in this branch of the argument, it is perfectly indifferent whether it was a pretence or a reality: for, mark it well, had there not been a senior and more venerated belief in the existence of a spiritual system--a general persuasion that the spirits of the dead lived in another world while their bodies lay in this, and that disembodied spirits were demons or knowing ones on those peculiar points so interesting and so unapproachable to man; who ever could have thought of consulting them, of evoking them by any art, or of pretending in the face of the world to any familiarity with them! I gain strength by the denial or by the admission of the thing, so long as its high antiquity must be conceded. I do indeed contend, and will contend, that a belief in demons, in a separate existence of the spirits of the dead, is more ancient than necromancy, and that it is a belief and a tradition older than the Pagan, the Jewish, or the Christian systems--older than Moses and his law--older than any earthly record whatever.

      Not a few of our modern sages ascribe to a Pagan origin that which antedates Paganism itself. They must have a Grecian, Roman, or Egyptian origin for ideas, usages, and institutions existent ages before the founders of these states or the inventors of their superstitions were born. No earthly record, the Bible alone excepted, reaches within hundreds of years of the origin of the idea of demons, necromancy, and of infernal as well as of supernal agency.

      Others there are who have more faith in what is modern than in what is ancient. They would rather believe their children than their fathers. The moderns, indeed, in most of the physical sciences, and in some of the physical arts, greatly excel the ancients. I say, in some of the useful and fine arts we may, perhaps, excel them as much as they excelled us in geometry, architecture, sculpture, painting, poetry, &c. &c. But though we excel them so much in many new discoveries and arts--in correct, traditionary, and spiritual knowledge they greatly excelled us; except always that portion of the moderns fully initiated into the mysteries of the Bible. Some seem to reason as if they thought that the farther from the fountain the waters are more pure--the longer the channel the freer from pollution. With me the reverse is the fact. Man was more intelligent at his creation and his fall in his own being and destiny than he has ever been since, except so far as he has been the subject of a new revelation. Would it not appear waste of time to attempt to prove that our national government is purer now than it was while its founders were all living amongst us? Equally prodigal of time the man who attempts to prove that the Patriarchal, Jewish and Christian institutions were purer [472] five hundred or a thousand years after, than at, their commencement. With Tertullian I will say, that in faith, religion, and morality, whatever is most ancient is most true. Therefore the Patriarchs knew more of man living and dead, of the ancient order of things in nature, society, and art, than we their remote posterity.

      The age of philosophy was the era of hypotheses and doubts. Man never began to form hypothesis till he lost his way. Now having traced the belief in demons and necromancy beyond the age of conjecture and speculative reasoning, and located it amongst the oldest traditions in the world, we are compelled by the dicta of our own inductive and sounder philosophy to admit its claims to an experience, observation, and testimony properly authenticated and documented amongst the earliest fathers of mankind. One of the oracles of true science is, that all, our ideas are the result of sensation and reflection, or of experience and observation; that the archetypes of all our natural impressions and views are found in material nature; and therefore man could as easily create a world as a ghost, either by imagination, volition, or reason. Supernatural ideas must therefore have a supernatural origin. So speaks the Baconian system, and therefore its author believed in demons, spirits, and necromancy, as much as your humble servant, or any other living Baconian.

      When any man proves he can have faith without hearing and testimony--the idea of color without sight--or of hardness and softness, of heat and cold, without feeling, and understand all the properties of material nature, without any of his five senses, then, but not till then, he may explain how, without a supernatural influence of any sort, he may form either the idea or the name of a spirit, a ghost, or a demon--of a spiritual, invisible, and eternal system of intelligences of a supernatural mould and temper. He that can create out of himself the idea of an abstract spirit, or of a spiritual system of any sort, may create matter by volition, and a universe out of nothing.

      Dispose of the matter as she may, we affirm it as our conviction that Philosophy herself is compelled to admit the existence of demons, familiar spirits, and the arts of necromancy and divination, which all ancient literature and ancient tradition--all Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian records assert. In this instance, as in many others, faith is easier than unbelief; and Reason voluntarily places herself by the side of Faith as her handmaid and coadjutor in sustaining a spiritual system, of which demons in their proper nature and character are an irrefragable proof.

      3. A third practical tendency of this view of demoniacal influence is to exalt in our esteem the character of the Supreme Philanthropist. [473]

      We will be asked, Whence have all the demons fled? What region do they now inhabit! Have they not power to possess mankind as formerly? Is necromancy, divination, and witchcraft forever exiled from the abodes of men?

      Many such questions there may be propounded, which neither philosophy, nor experience, nor religion do infallibly determine. But we may say in general and in truthful terms, that the heralds of salvation, from the day of their first mission to the end of their evangelical labors, were casting out demons, restraining Satanic influence, and making inroads upon the power and empire of Beelzebub, the Prince of the Demons. The mighty chieftain of this holy war had a personal rencounter with the malignant chief of all unclean spirits, angelic and human, and so defeated his counsels and repelled his assaults as to divest him of much of his sway, as a presage and earnest of his ultimate triumph over all the powers of darkness. His success and that of his ambassadors on two occasions called from his lips two oracles of much consolation to all his friends; "I saw," said he, "Satan fall like lightning from heaven." This he spake when they told him, "The demons are subject to us through thy word." "Behold," he adds, "I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and on all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you." The partial dethronement of Satan, Prince of the Demons, is here fully indicated. The Roman orator uses this style when speaking of Pompey's overthrow. His words are, "He has fallen from the stars." And again, of the fall of the colleague of Antonius--"Thou hast pulled him down from heaven." So spake the Messiah: "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." His empire over men from that day began to fall. And on another occasion he says, "Now is the Prince of this world cast out." These, together with other similar indications, allow the conclusion that the power of demons is wholly destroyed as far as Christians are concerned; and if not wholly, greatly restrained in all lands where the gospel has found its way. With an old prophet or diviner who tried his hand against God's people once, we may say, "There is no enchantment against Jacob--there is no divination against Israel." Some arrogate to human science what has been the prerogative of the gospel alone. They say the light of science has driven ghosts and witches from the minds of men; whereas they ought to have said, the gospel and power of its Author have driven demons out of the hearts, and dispossessed them of their power over the bodies of men.

      The error of these admirers of human science is not much different from that of some European theologists concerning Mary Magdalene. [474] They suppose her to have been an infamous, rather than an unfortunate woman, out of whom were driven seven devils. They have disgraced her memory by erecting 'Magdalene Hospitals' for infamous, rather than for unfortunate females; not knowing that it was the misfortune, rather than the crime of Mary of Magdala, that seven demons had been permitted to assault her person for the glory of the Messiah and her own eternal fame.

      As to the abodes of the demons, we are taught in the Bible what the most ancient dogmatists have said concerning their residence in the air: I say we are taught that they dwell pro tempore in the ethereal regions. Satan, their Prince, is called "the Prince of the power of the air." The great Apostle to the Gentiles taught them to wrestle against "wicked spirits that reside in the air;" for, says he, "you fight not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world; against spiritual wickedness in high places"--properly rendered, 'Against wicked spirits in the regions of the air.' Paul's shipwreck at Malta by the Euroclydon, and Job's misfortunes by an Arabian tempest, demonstrate the aerial power of this great antagonist when permitted to exert it against those he envies and calumniates.

      Evident it is, then, from such testimonies, facts, and allusions, that the atmosphere, or rather the regions above it, the ethereal or empyreal, and not heaven, nor earth, nor hell, is the proper residence of the ghosts of wicked men. They have repeatedly declared their perfect punishment or torment as yet future, and after the coming of the Lord, when he shall send the Devil and his emissaries into an eternal fire. How often did they say to Jesus, "Art thou come to torment us before the time?" That they are miserable, wretchedly miserable, is inferrible from the abhorrence of the nudity and awful forebodings of their present position. They vehemently desire to be embodied again. They seek rest, but find none; and would rather possess any bodies, even the swine, than continue naked and dispossessed. Their prison is called by the Messiah, "outer darkness;" by Paul it is called epourania, high places, aerial regions. This is the, Hebrew-Greek name of that region where there is neither atmosphere nor light; for, strange though it may appear to uneducated minds, the limits of our atmosphere are the limits of all terrestrial light. These intervals between the atmospheres of the planets is what we would call "outer darkness." Could a person ascend only some fifty miles above this earth, he would find himself surrounded with everlasting night--no ray from sun, or moon, or stars could find him where there is no medium of reflection. [475]

      That they may still inspire oracles, as they were wont before the Christian era--(this, too, has been counterfeited)--and possess living men in heathen lands, or in places where Christianity has made little progress, is not altogether improbable. Of this, indeed, we have not satisfactory evidence, and therefore ought not to speak dogmatically. I know many affect to regard the whole matter as a piece of childish superstition, as did our two last great poets, Scott and Byron; who, nevertheless, like them, are under the influence of that same childish superstition. One thing is abundantly evident and satisfactory--that although the number of such spirits is vast and overwhelming, and although their hatred to the living is intense and enduring, the man of God, the true Christian, has a guardian angel, or a host of sentinels around him that never sleep; and, therefore, against him the fiery darts of Satan and the wiles of the roaring lion are employed in vain. For this we erect in our hearts a monument of thanks to Him who has been, and still is, the Supreme Philanthropist and Redeemer of our race.

      This view of demonology not only vindicates the law of Moses from the imputation of catering to the superstitious prejudices of mankind, by regarding as real the most idle fictions and pretences; and justifies Paul in placing witchcraft amongst the works of the flesh; it not only affords to weak and doubting minds new and striking evidences of a spiritual system; it not only develops our great indebtedness to the Author of the Christian faith in rescuing man from the tyranny of the arch apostate, the Prince of Demons; but it also inducts us into still more grand and sublime views of the magnitude, variety, and extent of the world of spirits--of our relations to them--and throws some light upon our present liabilities to impressions, suggestions, and influences from classes of agents wholly invisible and inappreciable by any of those senses which connect us with external and sensible existence.

      That we are susceptible of impressions and suggestions from invisible agents sometimes affecting our passions and actions, it were foolish and infidel to deny. How many thousands of well authenticated facts are found in the volumes of human experience of singular, anomalous, and inexplicable impulses and impressions wholly beyond all human associations of ideas, yet leading to actions evidently essential to the salvation of the subjects of them, or of others under their care, from imminent perils and disasters; to which, but for such kind offices, they must inevitably have fallen victims. And how many in the midst of a wicked and foolish career have, by some malign agency, been suddenly and unexpectedly led into the most fatal coincidences [476] and suddenly precipitated to ruin, when such unprecedented exigencies are exceptions to all the known laws of cause and effect, and inexplicable to all their wonted courses of action! To assign to these any other than a spiritual cause, it seems to me, were to assign a non causa pro causa; for on no theory of mind or body can they be so satisfactorily explained, and so much in harmony with the Bible way of representing such incidents. Thus the angel of the Lord smote Herod that he died, and in various dreams admonished the faithful of the ways and means of escaping impending evils.

      Will it not be perceived and admitted that if evil demons can enter into men's bodies, and even take away reason, as well as excite to various preternatural actions, and if in legions they may crowd their influences upon one unhappy victim, spirits, either good or bad, may make milder and more delicate approaches to the fountains of human action, and stir men up to efforts and enterprizes for weal or woe, according to their respective characters and ruling passions.

      Certain it is that angels, beings, too, of a more embodied and less abstract existence, have not only demonstrated their ability to assume the human form, but to exert such influence upon the outward man as to prompt him to immediate action--as in the case of Peter, who was suddenly stricken on the side by the hand of an angel when fast asleep between a Roman guard, and roused to action. The gates and bars of the prison open at his approach and shut on his escape, touched by the same hand; and thus the Apostle is rescued from the malice of his foes.

      What an extended view of the intellectual and moral universe opens to our contemplation from this point! We see an outward, visible, and immense expanse every where, studded with constellations of suns and their attendant systems, circling in unmeasured orbits around one invisible and omnipotent centre that controls them all. Amazed and overwhelmed at these stupendous displays of creative power, wisdom, and goodness, in adoring ecstacy we inquire into the uses of these mighty orbs, which, in such untold millions, diversify and adorn those undefined fields of ethereal beauty that limit our ideas of an unbounded and inconceivable space.

      Reasoning from all our native analogies, and from the scattering rays of supernal light that have from suns unseen reached our world, we must infer that all these orbs are the mansions of social beings, of every conceivable variety of intelligence, capacity, and employment; and that in organized hierarchies, thrones, principalities, and lordships, they constitute each within itself an independent world; of which societies we are allowed to conclude that there are as many varieties of [477] intellectual and moral organization and development as there are planets for their residence.

      In all these intellectual assemblages, spread over the area of universal being, there are but two distinct and essentially diverse confederations--one under the rightful sovereignty of Messiah the Lord of all, and the other under the usurped dominion of that antagonist spirit of insubordination and self-will which has spread over our planet all the anarchy and misrule, all the darkness and gloom, all the sorrow and death which have embittered life, and made countless millions groan in spirit and sigh for a discharge from a conflict between good and evil, pleasure and pain, so unequal and oppressive.

      This rebel angel, of such singular and mysterious character, is always found in the singular number--as the Satan, the Devil, and the Apollyon of our race. With him are confederate all disloyal spirits that have conspired against Heaven's own will in adoration of their own. In reference to this usurper and his angelic allies against the Lord's Anointed, we are obliged to consider those unhappy spirits, who, during their incarnation, took sides with him in his mad rebellion against the Eternal King. The number of angels that took part with him in his original conspiracy remains amongst the secrets of eternity, and is not to be divulged till the Devil and his angels, for whom Tophet was of old prepared, shall be separated from the social systems of the universe, and publicly sentenced to the bottomless gulph of irremediable ruin.

      The whole human race, at one time or other, have been involved in this war against Heaven. Many have, indeed, deserted the dark banners of Beelzebub, and have become sons of light. Hitherto, alas! the great majority have perished in the field of rebellion, and gone down to the pit with all their armor on. These spirits, shown to be the demons of all antiquity, sacred and profane, are now a component part of the empire of Satan, and as much under his control as the original conspirators that took part with him in his primeval defection and rebellion.

      How numerous they are, and how concentrated in their efforts, may be gleaned from sundry allusions in the inspired writings, especially from the melancholy history of the unfortunate Gadarene who dwelt among the tombs, tortured by a legion of them--not, perhaps, by six thousand demons in full tale, according to the full standard of a Roman legion; but by an indefinite and immense multitude. How innumerable, then, the agents demoniacal and angelic on Satan's side! What hosts of fallen men and fallen angels have conspired against the happiness of God's moral empire! No wonder that Satan is sometimes [478] spoken of as omnipresent! If Napoleon in the day of his power, while in the palace of the Thuilleries, was said to be at work in Spain, in Portugal, in Belgium, and in France at the same time--with how much less of the figurative, and more of the literal, may Satan, whose agents are incomparably more multitudinous and diversified, as well as of vastly superior agility and power, be represented as wielding a sort of omnipresent power in all parts of our terraqueous habitation? And how malignant too!! The fabled Furies themselves were not more fierce than those unclean and mischievous spirits whose sweetest pleasure it was to torture with the most convulsive agonies those unhappy victims whom they chose to mark out for themselves.

      But here we must pause: and with this awful group of exasperated and malicious demons in our horizon, it is some relief to remember that there are many good spirits of our race, allied with ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels of light, all of whom are angels of mercy and sentinels of defence around the dwellings of the righteous, the true elite of our race. These we learn, from high authority, are ministering spirits waiting on the heirs of salvation. These attending spirits know our spiritual foes, and are able to cope with them: for when Satan and Michael fought for the body of Moses the fallen seraph was driven to the wall and lost the day. For how many services rendered, for how many deliverances from evil spirits and from physical disasters, we are indebted to the good and benevolent, though invisible agents around us, will never be known, and therefore never told on earth; but it may nevertheless be known and told hereafter.

      And with what unspeakable pleasure may some happy being in this assembly yet sit down, side by side, with his own guardian spirit under the eternally verdant boughs of the life-restoring tree in the paradise of God, and listen to the ten thousand deliverances effected for him by the kind ministrations of that generous and beneficent minister of grace, that watched his path, numbered his steps, and encamped around his bed from the first to the last moment of his terrestrial day! With what grateful emotions will the ransomed spirit listen to the bold adventures and the triumphant rencounters with belligerent foes, of his kind and successful deliverer; and while, in the midst of such social raptures he throws his immortal arms around his kind benefactor, he lifts his bright and beaming eye of grateful piety to Him who gave him such a friend and deliverer in the time of peril and of need; and who, through such a scene of trials and of conflicts, brought him safely to the peaceful city of eternal rest! [479]

      1 Hence the saint worship and saint mediators of the dark ages, and of the less favored portions of our Anglo Saxon race. [460]
      2 Deuteronomy xviii. 10. Leviticus xvii. 7, &c. 2 Chron. xi. 15. Psalm cvi. 26-37. [461]
      3 De Bello Jud. cap. viii. 25; cap. vi. sect 3. [463]
      4 Jus. Apology, b. i. p. 65, par. 12, p. 54. [463]
      5 Vol. viii. P. 368. [463]


      The preceding essay bears the impress or an almost extemporaneous effusion on a subject requiring much and profound thought. The invitation to address THE POPULAR LECTURE CLUB of the city of Nashville, was received but a few evenings before its pronunciation. Meanwhile, having almost daily lectures on portions of the Christian system, I had leisure only to sketch, with much rapidity, at various intervals, the preceding remarks. True, indeed, the subject had been often on my mind, especially since the time of my writing a few essays on that sceptical and abstract something called Materialism. The facts and observations crowded together in this popular lecture are matters of grave and serious import, and not hasty or crude imaginations, occurring at the impulse of the moment. True, indeed, I should rather have given them under more favorable circumstances, a more logical and philosophical form; but this is not the most popular, nor, to the great mass, the most intelligible form. At the request of some who heard them, and of many who heard of them, I am induced to publish the identical draft which I read to the audience, with only a very few verbal alterations.

      I think the subject of demons is one that fairly comes in the path of every student of the New Testament, and ought to be well understood; and as the reader will doubtless have observed, I regard it as constituting an irrefragable proof of a spiritual system, a full refutation of that phantasm called Materialism, to those who admit the authority of Jesus Christ and the twelve Apostles. To such it is more than a mere refutation of Materialism--it is a demonstration of a separate existence of the spirits of the dead--an unequivocal evidence of a spiritual system, and of a future state of rewards and punishments.

A. C.      

[The Millennial Harbinger (October 1841): 457-480.]


      Alexander Campbell's "Demonology: An Address Delivered to the Popular Lecture Club, Nashville, Tennessee, March 10, 1841" was first published in The Millennial Harbinger, New Series, Vol. 5, No. 10, October 1841. The electronic version of the essay has been produced from the College Press reprint (1976) of The Millennial Harbinger, ed. Alexander Campbell (Bethany, VA: A. Campbell, 1841), pp. 457-480.

      Pagination in the electronic version has been represented by placing the page number in brackets following the last complete word on the printed page. I have let stand variations and inconsistencies in the author's use of italics, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling in the essay. Emendations for accidental corruptions and misspellings are as follows:

            Printed Text [ Electronic Text
 p. 460:    premulged [ promulged
            Hegce [ Hence
 p. 461:    [dagger] Chron. xi. 15. [ 2 Chron. xi. 15.
            Psalm cvi. 37; xxvi. 26-37. [ Psalm cvi. 26-37.
 p. 462:    synonymes, [ synonyms,
 p. 464:    sacrafice, [ sacrifice,
 p. 465:    word heros [ word heroes
 p. 466:    ghos's of wicked [ ghosts of wicked
 p. 469:    risque [ risk
 p. 471:    embarassment [ embarrassment
 p. 476:    aud striking [ and striking
            developes [ develops

      Addenda and corrigenda are earnestly solicited.

Ernie Stefanik
Derry, PA

Created 16 January 1999.
Updated 7 July 2003.

Alexander Campbell Demonology: An Address (1841)

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