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of a multitude." How wonderful a being was this; yet his shape was that of man: how ennobled and glorious the human form, if even the heavenly hosts have this form, and worthy therefore being redeemed, to be raised from the dead, and to live forever in heaven, when it shall be made like unto Christ's glorious body. And how does that glorious body look ? see Rev. i. from 13 to 15 inclusive: "And in the midst of the seven candlesticks (John saw) one like unto the son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps (the bosom,) with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters," in commotion. This was the Son of God, Rev. ii. 18, and was also the Alpha and Omega, Rev. i. 11.
As to the form of departed human spirits, we believe they retain the same shape as when connected with their bodies, and that that shape is the same as is the body. Our proof of this, is the appearance of Moses and Elijah, on mount Tabor, when the Saviour was transfigured, in the presence of three of his disciples, who immediately knew Moses and Elijah, because they appeared in their original shape, as when in this life, or the disciples could never have distinguished them as being of the human kind, were it not for this reason. And if we ascertain that even one departed spirit is of the human form, we gain the principle, which establishes that all are the same. Many instances of the appearance of human spirits might here be given, if history and credible accounts might be allowed as evidence; but we desist, as we wish to build all our remarks, deductions, and inferences, in this work, on the statements of Scripture, and that alone. But all such appearances have ever been reported to have been in the human form, who have been seen by mortals.
By the foregoing, we think we have clearly established, that the form of angels is that of the human form; and therefore, think we have also ascertained, such to be the form of Satan and his angels; though shorn of their first splendor by the ruin of their apostacy, and the damnation of their being. So that were they permitted to appear in their true form, all that distinguishes the happy angels of heaven, would appear in these lost spirits, in an inverse degree; all that is glorious in one, would be all that is horrible in the other; other language we have not, by which to describe beings so lost, so ruined, so thunder scarred, and burnt by the blast of the just vengeance of the Eternal.. But by what means evil spirits, as stated in Scripture, got possession of human souls and bodies, is net revealed; the facts are stated, but the manner is conjecture. We know, that in the common walks of life, the associations of man with man, that one person's spirit influences another; and so powerfully,
that not unfrequently the ruin of a fellow associate is secured; while a contrary influence is also often exerted by the good, and result in consequences as felicitous as the other is disastrous. The whole intercourse of men is carried on by spiritual influence; which is evident when two persons converse, or when ideas are exchanged, by voice, by signs, or by writing; all is the work of mind, and mind is spirit. The body has nothing to do in this matter, and knows no more about the operations of the mind, no, not even the brain, than the chariot which conveys us when we ride for our pleasure, or the ship which bears its tonnage in gold, from one port to another. The body furnished with a tongue, with lips and the organs of speech, is that mode, by the means of which, we commonly communicate ideas, and is adapted to this state of existence. But this circumstance cannot preclude the idea that there exists no other modes by which spirits, without corporeal bodies, may operate upon, or influence other spirits than themselves, either for good or evil. If it does, then all the spiritual beings of another state, are without the means of association, a condition far inferior to us. But this is not so, as can easily be shown, from the evidence there is of the happy state of the society of the blessed, in communion with God, and association with each other. If then we perceive, that in the economy of the Creator toward rational existences, society itself is based upon the power of spiritual influence, whether with a body or without one, then a possibility presents itself of such spirits as have no corporeal bodies, influencing such as have.
But how a thought can be suggested to the mind of man, without the means of sound or signs, by a spirit, is undefinable by human powers; yet such is the fact, as can be shown from God's own word, who certainly knows what is the truth on this subject; see Acts, v. 3, "But Peter said, Ananias why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Ghost." And another case, similar to that of Ananias, is that of Judas, in his treachery to his Lord; see Luke, xxii. 3, 4, "Then Satan entered into Judas, and he went his way and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him (the Saviour) unto them." Is it not clear, therefore, that Satan suggested this thought to the mind of Judas? and is it not this which is meant by the words, "then entered Satan into Judas," by influencing his mind in addressing the suggestion to his constitutional or besetting sin, which was doubtless covetousness, but might have been resisted, as there were reasons why he should not have acquiesced, of far greater weight than those by which he allowed himself to be led and overcome?
Good spirits likewise have power to suggest thoughts to the minds of men, as can be proven from many places in the Bible; as when angels are said to have appeared to any one in a dream,
or in a vision, in open conversation or by impressions, as in the case of St. Paul, while tossing about in the Adriatic sea, exposed every moment to be plunged to the bottom; he says, "there stood by me this night the angel of God....saying, fear not Paul, thou must be brought before Cæsar; and lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee;" how good a thing it is sometimes, for the wicked to be in company with a good man. It does not appear that Paul saw the angel; yet he knew that one had stood by him that night, while he no doubt was praying for his own life, on account of the infant cause of Christianity, but also for the lives of the ship's company; and knew, from a powerful and sudden impression, that his prayer should be answered. Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus the Saviour, was warned in a dream to flee into Egypt, to save the life of the child. St. Peter also, and the Centurion, were both the subjects of visions; in which one of them, namely, Cornelius, was warned of God by a holy angel, to send for Peter. This angel he saw evidently about the ninth hour of the day, of whom he enquired what he should do. Acts, x. 3, 4.
It is not contrary to the laws of eternity, or of invisible beings, to commune or to converse with mortals; for even God himself, is said frequently to have done this, as in the case of Moses, who talked face to face with him, though invisible. Also, he conversed with Solomon twice; but these cases was in a dream, in which it is said that God appeared to Solomon-see 2d Chron. vii. 12-and related to that monarch that he had heard his prayer; and that he would answer it, and fulfill all that he had promised to David his father, if he, Solomon, and the Jews would keep his law.
Agreeable to this rule of spiritual impressions, we do not doubt that the whole race of man, including every individual who has the use of right reason, are from time to time, more or less the subjects of supernatural impressions, as carried on by both good and bad spirits, as well as by the Most High himself; and that those spiritual impressions are intended for the good and ill of mortals; by which human spirits now on probation may be profited or damaged as they may choose to make use of such impressions.
It is said in the New Testament-see Acts, vii. 53-by St. Stephen, when about to be stoned to death, that the Jews had even received the law by the disposition of angels, but that they had not kept it. The whole Scriptures are but one continued proof of the assiduity and care of good spirits in another world; as also the malevolence and assiduity of evil spirits to injure mankind. In proof of this last idea, we bring the case of Ahab, one of the kings of Israel-see 1st Kings, xxii. from the 19th to the 23d verse inclusive-where the anxiety of an evil spirit, or one of the fallen angels, is manifested, to go and influence Ahab
to go to the field of battle that he might there be slain; see the 20th and 21st verses of this chapter, which are exceedingly interesting, as follows: "And the Lord said, who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and sad, I will persuade him;" which he did, and was the cause of Ahab's death; for he was persuaded by this lying spirit in the mouths of Ahab's false prophets, to go to the battle, who said he should return in safety; but this was false, as he died on the day of battle, from the wound of an arrow, shot at a venture, which entered his body between the joints of his coat of mail. Does not this fact prove also, beyond a doubt, the real existence of evil angels; for we see he became a lying spirit in the mouths of the false prophets, to the ruin of Ahab-a work which a good angel could not engage in.
Philip, also, was directed by the angel of the Lord to go and baptize the Ethiopian. Acts, viii. 26. Peter was released from prison by the ministration of an angel. Acts, v. 19. Many other instances of spiritual impression, by dream, by vision, and open sight, might be brought from the Scriptures, as evidence of our position, but let these suffice.
If then we have succeeded in showing that spirits can and do influence spirit, both good and bad-natural and supernatural, we are now prepared, in a measure, to show how Satan, and evil sprits, may have had, in ancient times, and even now, can have the possession of the souls and bodies of such as give themselves into his power-even in this life. In order to investigate this mysterious subject, we shall bring to our aid, the all powerful principle of faith-a fact of the utmost importance to Christian theology, as well as to all other systems, whether religious or political-for it is said as a starting point, "that he that cometh to God must believe that he is," by which immense and unending consequences, to the human soul, as well as body, are effected. And by a parity of reasoning, may it not be said also of such as do believe in the being of Satan, that they may, if they will, of a set and intense purpose, come as nigh to him, and receive of his nature, in evil influence, equally as much as the same set and intense purpose, would procure to the soul and body of a man of an opposite and good influence in drawing nigh to God? If a man can be as holy as is possible, he also can be as wicked as is possible; and who can mark the boundaries of either of those principles, even in this life? It cannot be ascertained.
The power of faith and prayer, have been in all ages, the most effective means in conforming and influencing the soul to holy affections, and religious happiness: so much so, that the mind may in deed, and in truth, commune with God face to
face, though to the mortal, God is invisible, yet that circumstance makes no difference, because faith to the soul is as sight to the body, and equally convincing and satisfactory. Can this be otherwise? seeing that Enoch was translated by faith from earth to heaven, as stated Heb. xi. 5. Was it not by this principle, that Elisha the prophet, drew around him, while at Dotham, -being hemmed in by the Assyrian army-an exceeding great host of angels, so that he said to his frightened servant, Gehiza, "they that be with us, are more than they that be with them?” 2d Kings, vi. 16. By this principle, thousands and millions have died with transports, while characters of an opposite cast, have departed with curses and blasphemies burning on their tongues, or in stupid and sullen insensibility of mind, of which infidels make their boast. Now, is not this perfectly reasonable, and in accordance with the Scriptures? for it is written, "draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." James, iv. 8--but how nigh is not stated. And by a parity of reasoning, may it not be said, he that draws nigh to the devil, in ardor of desire to become exceedingly wicked, that the devil will draw nigh to him?
It is said by James, iv. 7: "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you;" and of course, if he is not resisted, he will not fly from us, but come nigher and nigher, as our conduct and evil affections may invite; even till a complete possession takes place, as can be proved, both from Scripture and otherwise.
But as to certain arts, by which evil spirits can be evoked, there is no doubt, yet little is known of such things in Christian countries. But among nations not blessed with the salvation of Christianity, they are known, or ancient history, with the Bible itself, is not to be relied on. To this very point, see Acts, xix. 19, "And many of them that used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned them,"--it is clear that at the time of the Saviour's ministry, the Jews had among them many demoniacs, as well as the Gentiles, and wherever the Gospel was carried, multitudes of evil spirits were dispossessed of their prey, by its power, and that on that very circumstance the name of Jesus Christ acquired its celebrity, as being of heavenly origin-"unclean spirits, crying with loud voices, came out of many," in subjection to that name. Acts, viii. 7.
Were we to travel in those countries, at the present time, where the devil is worshipped systematically, as in some parts of Persia, about the ancient site of Ninevah, in Ceylon, Burmah, Bagdad, and many parts of the East Indies, and other heathen countries, and were we parcticularly acquainted with circumstances and things relative to the effects, we should find equally as many, even now, who are possessed with devils, or evil spirits, as in the time of the Saviour; as there is no good reason why