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“What men call evil, only is
Illumiued thinkers can never force themselves to believe that evil, as an end, essential and absolute, can exist under the moral government of an infinite God whose nature is goodness, whose essence is love. But, from the stand-point of observation, there are conditions and diverse actions, resultant of human conduct, designated by moral philosophers as evil. Comparison is elemental in human nature. Contrasts there must be. Can better terms be found to express certain qualities, certain properties and relations in the physical world, than straight lines and curves, heat and cold, light and darkness—better terms to express certain moral conditions in the conscious reasoning world than wisdom and folly, truth and error, good and evil? All these are relative in significance, of course, and consequently the more applicable to men and spirits, as fiuite existences.
All counsels, exhortations, commands-all rewards and punishments—all praise and reproof in learned bodies--all jurisprudence and orderly society, are based upon the
ground that inen are moral actors and capable of good and evil. The reason why moral precepts are addressed to men and women rather than to the lower orders of creation, is because they have a rational and spiritual nature; because they can understand moral obligation, and are conscious of a divine consciousness within them. Moral ability measures the extent of moral responsibility. According to the original gift, so is the expected measure of the talent.
That there are educated and ignorant, good and bad men on earth, are not debatable propositions. Death, being more chemical than psychical, a mere musical ripple upon the ocean of life, and neither a spasmodic educator or savior, there necessarily must be educated and uneducated, good and evil spirits, of higher or lower conditions in the summer and winter lands of the future, so constantly peopled from this earth. And yet, as on earth, they all constitute a banded brotherhood and sisterhood of interests, and are the subjects of eternal progression.
Prof. Wm. Denton, in a lecture delivered in Music Hall, Boston, entitled, “ Spiritualism Superior to Christianity," said: “No wonder that those who believe in this Orthodox religion, believe also, that we shall be miraculously changed at death. But Spiritualism teaches us that spirits when they pass from the body to the future life, take with them everything which is necessary for their individuality. Take out of any one the good or bad tendencies that distinguish him, and he will become somebody else immediately.”
Admitting an intercommunion between this and the spiritworld—a conscious presence of spiritual beings, and of minds influencing minds, as among the facts connected with the Spiritual Philosophy, it is as natural as evident that all classes of spirits may, under conditions adapted to their magnetic and spiritual states, impress, inspire, entrance, and at times partially, and then again completely, control mortals. The higher operating influences are usually denominated
entrancements and inspirations; the lower, possessions and obsessions.
Threading the historic testimony of India, Egypt, China, Persia, Syria, Greece, Rome, the medieval ages, down to American Indians, we have the same chain of general state. ments—by willing or unwilling witnesses—of the existence and power of demoniacal spirits.
We have previously shown by valid authors that the term demon is used indiscriminately without reference to the moral status of the spirit. In further confirmation, as evidence in point, we subjoin the following:
Demon, in the Greek, is daimon, to know, a god, used like Theos and Thea of individual gods It is defined and used by scholars, lexicographers and classical writers thus:
Jones-Demon, “ the spirit of a dead man.”
Grote, the celebrated Grecian historian, declares that “ demons and gods were considered the same in Greece.”
Lucianus, a Greek writer, born at Samosata, in Syria, used demon in the sense of " departed souls.”
Archbishop Whateley says: “ The heathen authors aliude to possession by a demon (or by a god, for they employ the two words with little or no distinction) as a thing of no uncommon occurrence.”
The Psalmist David speaks of the “operation of evil angels.'
Plato, speaking of a certain class of demons, says :
“ They are demons because prudent and learned. Hence, poets say when a good man shall have reached his end, he receives a mighty destiny and honor, and becomes a demon according to the appellation of prudence."
Worcester, in his synonyms, says:
“ Demon is sometimes used in a good sense; as, “The demon of Socrates, or the demon of Tasso'—and then, to illustrate, quotes from that fine author, Addison : My good demo, who sat at my right hand during the course of this whole vision,'” &c.
That learned savant, Cardan, honored with the friendship of Gregory XIII, says:
“No man was ever great in any art or action, that did not have a demon to aid him."
RALPH WALDO EMERSON writes :
“Close, close above our heads
DR. LARDNER writes:
“ The notion of demons, or the souls of the dead, having power over living men, was universally prevalent among the heathen of those times, and believed by many Christians.
" The demons of Paganism, Judaism and Christianity were spirits of dead men.”
EURIPIDES, Hipp. v, 141) makes the chorus address Phedra :
“O young girl, a god (demon) possesses thee; it is either Pan, or Hecate, or the venerable Corybantes, or Cybele, that agitates thee."
Dr. CAMPBELL says;
"All Pagan antiquity affirms that from Titan and Saturn, the poetic progeny of Cælus and Terra, down to Æsculapius, Proteus, and Minos, all their divinities were ghosts of dead men, and were so regarded by the most erudite of the Pagans themselves.”
Bishop Whately ably argues for the “reality of demoniac possession,” as related in the New Testament, against those rationalizing critics who would explain away the narratives and the language of Christ himself as simply an “accommodation” to a vulgar superstition. He shows that the belief in spiritual possession was held, not only by the Jews and primitive Christians, but generally by heathen antiquity; that “the heathen authors allude to possession by a demon (or by a god, for they used the two words with little or no distinction), as a thing of no uncommon occurrence." He tells us that they represent the priests and priestesses of
their celebrated oracles as possessed of a spirit of divination similar to that of the damsel of Philippi mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. He considers that the agency attributed to demons in the New Testament, “ was not a mere fanciful description in figurative language of natural diseases, but literally and undoubtedly a fact.”
Certain'churchites consider all demons “evil spirits”—that is, irredeemable, fallen angels. On the other hand, a few German Rationalists and many Universalists, theorizing outside of facts, and recently well established principles of psychological science, regard“ demons," all the spiritual beings of the spirit-world, as perfect and holy. The truth lies between these extremes. Demons are simply the immortalized men of the other life — spirits occupying various planes or mansions in that “house not made with hands”—the temple of the Eternal.
The Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads, abound in references to the Devatas and Soors-good angels and subordinate celestial beings; and to the Dews, Asoors and Danoos - evil spirits, and the method of destroying their influences. Upham says this “ doctrine of demons, in full force today in the island of Ceylon, is older than Buddhism. Gotama found it when he there made his appearance, 540 B. C. (Ast. Res. viii, 531.)
The Chaldean philosophy, with whom at Babylon the Jews had so much to do, contains an elaborately coustructed system relative to the obsessional powers of demons. Speaking of the devices they employ to carry out their arts and selfish schemes, Psallus, quoting from Marcus, of Mesopotamia, says:
“ They effect these things not as having dominion over us, and carrying us as their slaves withersoever they please, but by suggestion ; for applying themselves to the spirit which is within us, they themselves being spirits also, they instil discourses of affections and pleasures, not by voice verberating the air, but by whisper insinuating their discourse.
If the insinuating demon be one of the subterraneous kind, he distorteth the possessed person, and speaking by him, maketh use of his