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Titus iii. 3.
Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.”
“And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter, and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, before the cock crow thou
shalt deny me thrice; and Peter went out and wept Luke xxii. 61. bitterly.” Hence, was he convinced of the folly
of an arrogant self-sufficiency, that the best do not always" abide in him,"—and that the path to heaven is through the gate of humility, patience, perseverance, and faith in the certainty of his promises.
Receiving, therefore, every good gift from the Father of light, and not from any superior righteousness on our part, we are all equally debtors to the mercy of God. “ For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another," until the “ kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
Much more we might add;—but this is sufficient to show, from the Scriptures, that the spirit of malignity;—the spirit of the beast;—the spirit of the world;—Satan;—the serpent, &c.—is one power of evil from the beginning, who has separate spirits of his own nature, and from whom all the infirmities of mankind proceed. That this revealed knowledge is not agreeable to the pride of some of the professors of medicine we well know; but we are sure, there are many of that profession who look at things more than words, who have calmness to examine before they conclude, and shut not out the light of truth, from the mere sound of a word, that is discordant or undefined in their ordinary hearing: and to such persons we offer the following observations.
In all the works written upon diseases, in the profession of medicine, little notice is taken of the passions; which every one knows, by experience, he carries with him, and are visibly powerful in action upon the whole nervous system. In those works we see diseases classed and remedies suggested, derived from experience in the perception of laws that govern the human frame—that is, by their knowledge of the various chemical affinities which operate upon it. But the true cause of disease, being a base invisible spiritual power, they seem never to consider, or notice, in writing upon the subject; although every day's experience assures us of the existence, and strong effects of it—whose violence can suspend the serenity of the reasoning mind, and convert the whole countenance from the appearance of health to the pallidness of death-apparently retarding the regular circulation of the blood
-contracting the muscles-agitating the whole nervous system—and leaving the individual, if not of a robust constitution, in a relaxed and debilitated state! And then the reasonable mind, regaining its empire, feels regret and shame at its own weakness !
Man, in this state of suspended reason, is insane. But the Scriptures reveal, that the same malignant spirit which thus suspends the reasoning powers of the mind—called a temporary fit of passion-can also hold the faculties of the mind captive--and in that captivity it is called insanity, or madness by us; and possessed of a devil, or unclean spirit in the Scriptures. And if we calmly consider the various apparent feelings and actions of the suffering individuals; and then compare them with the catalogue given us of the fruits of the spirit of evil, there can be no doubt of the truth of it. Some are low and melancholy_some violent and malicious, with great cunning--some appear to suffer from horrid sights, and are agitated and convulsed, as though those sights were real; but from all in that state proceed foolishness and a silly pride, inconsistent with reason, and the truth of things.
But individuals labouring under temporary insanity, in their reasonable intervals know and dread when they are going into the captivity of this spirit of evil: and we have heard them frequently express a preference of any bodily pain, if they had their choice--and have desired care may be taken of them by their attendants, from a consciousness of their approaching state. Sometimes they are well, and in their right mind almost in an instant, after weeks, months, and, in some cases, years of suspended faculties of mind; and although they acknowledge the time of their illness has passed something like a dream, yet they always remember the mild, or severe treatment they received from those who have the care of them. And we can appeal with confidence to those gentlemen of the profession, who have had the most experience in these cases, and have examined their patients afterwards upon the subject.
This consciousness, and the restoration to a sound mind in an instant, is, therefore, an evident proof of the powers of the mind having been only suspended; and in the captivity of that power of evil, as revealed, until it be freed from it by the Holy Spirit of God.
As, however, we are all influenced, more or less, by these passions, we are all, more or less unreasonable in proportion to that influence: for no one is governed, at all times, in thought and actions according to the dictates of right reason in the Spirit of God. But insanity, in the common meaning of the word, commences when the powers of the reasonable mind are so far suspended, that the individual is incapable of directing his own affairs, according to the common laws of society—and in discerning right from wrong, either in the preser
vation of himself, or in being dangerous to the safety of others.*
But we ask those people, who suppose they possess the most calm and reflecting minds, whether that calmness is not at times disturbed by a temporary restlessness, that prevents the study of subjects the mind is desirous of knowing ?-and, whether it is not frequently drawn off, imperceptibly, from the subject before it, and against its inclination ?-and, in the daily occurrences of life, when trifles occur, by the apparent negligence or inattention of others—Is there not a power perceived to rise, independent of the mind, that gives the feeling of anger, which a strong mind checks and represses, yet not always immediately, but never without sensations of pain?—whereas the calm mind only dictates the expostulation of reason, and condemns the petulance of this power
passion! And do not the Scriptures say, that this anger proceeds from the spirit of evil, and that we must not give way to it? And, with all this evidence before us, can we doubt the truth, that these passions are the sole cause or root of all our imper
* By our Saviour restoring the insane to their perfect senses, and all the sick to health, who sought it in suffering humility-at the same time that he rejected the pharisees, who were wise in the cunning and hypocrisy of the spirit of this world—is a demonstration that the sorrows of the former are only in this world ; and that the sorrows of the latter commence on leaving it by their exclusion from the kingdom of heaven.