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A Brief Commentary On The Apocalypse by Sylvester Bliss

The Unclean Spirits.

|And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the wild beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, that go forth to the kings of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.| Rev.16:13, 14.

The |dragon,| |beast,| and |false prophet,| being regarded as symbols: the first, of the Roman empire previous to its subversion by the northern barbarians; the second of the ten kingdoms which subsequently arose; and the third, of the eastern Roman empire -- now the Mohamedan power; the mouths of each, from which the frog-like spirits emerge, are next to be considered.

To the wild beast was given |a mouth, speaking great things and blasphemies,| the power of which was |to continue forty and two months,| Rev.13:5. The agreement of this with the corresponding appendages of Daniel's |little horn| (Dan.7:8), makes it evident that a |mouth| is a symbol of an ecclesiastical organization existing in a political one, -- that it symbolizes the agency by which the people are taught, and is representative of ecclesiastics, who are the mouthpiece of the nation in all matters of faith and worship, p.172.

The religion of Rome imperial, when symbolized by the dragon, was Paganism; that of the ten kingdoms, was the Papacy; and that of the eastern empire, is Mohammedanism. From these three, then, emerge the |unclean spirits.| Diverse as their origin appears, they have no marked individual peculiarities. Being alike in their characteristics, they must symbolize some common agency: -- a combination of religious teachers, whose views harmonize in a system of belief common to Paganism, Catholicism, and Mohammedanism.

The character of these teachers, is shown by the declaration that |they are the spirits of devils working miracles.|

There are two words rendered devils in the New Testament, viz.: {GREEK SMALL LETTER DELTA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER ALPHA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER IOTA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER MU}{GREEK SMALL LETTER OMICRON}{GREEK SMALL LETTER NU}{GREEK SMALL LETTER IOTA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER OMICRON}{GREEK SMALL LETTER NU} (daimonion) or {GREEK SMALL LETTER DELTA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER ALPHA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER IOTA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER MU}{GREEK SMALL LETTER OMEGA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER NU} (daimoon), and {GREEK SMALL LETTER DELTA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER IOTA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER ALPHA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER BETA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER OMICRON}{GREEK SMALL LETTER LAMDA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER OMICRON}{GREEK SMALL LETTER FINAL SIGMA} (diabolus). The latter signifies the Devil, or Satan, who is the same as Beelzebub the prince of the demons, Matt.12:25. He it was by whom Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, (Matt.4:1-11); who sowed the tares in the field, (Matt, 13:39); and for whom, with his angels, the final punishment for the wicked is prepared, Matt.25:41.

The word here, is daimoon. It is used, in different forms, sixty-five times by our Lord and his apostles; and on no occasion do they hint that they use the word in a sense different from its then accepted signification; to learn which, recourse must be had to the testimony of the Pagan, Jewish, and Christian writers of those times.(6)

HESIOD taught that, |The spirits of departed mortals become demons when separated from their earthly bodies;| and PLUTARCH, that |The demons of the Greeks were the ghosts and genii of departed men.| |All Pagan antiquity affirms,| says Dr. CAMPBELL, |that from Titan and Saturn, the poetic progeny of Coelus and Terra, down to AEsculapius, Proteus, and Minos, all their divinities were the ghosts of dead men; and were so regarded by the most erudite of the Pagans themselves.|

Among the Pagans, the term demon, as often represented a good as an evil spirit; but among the Jews, it generally, if not universally, denoted an unclean, malign, or wicked spirit. Thus JOSEPHUS says: |Demons are the spirits of wicked men.| PHILO says that |The souls of dead men are called demons.| |The notion,| says Dr. LARDNER, |of demons, or the souls of dead men, having power over living men, was universally prevalent among the heathen of these times [the first two centuries], and believed by many Christians.| JUSTIN MARTYR speaks of |those who are seized by the souls of the dead, whom we call demons and madmen.| Ignatius quotes the words of Christ to Peter thus: |Handle me and see; for I am not a daimoon asomaton, -- a disembodied demon,| -- i.e. a spirit without a body.

The foregoing is evidence of the New Testament signification of the word daimoon, here improperly rendered devils, -- spirits of which, the frog-like agencies are affirmed to be.

Demon worship is a characteristic of the three religions referred to. As already shown, all Pagans regarded their gods as the ghosts of dead men; and the Bible speaks of them as devils, i.e. demons. Moses says of them, |Even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods,| (Deut.12:31); while the Psalmist affirms that |they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,| Ps.106:37. |They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up,| Deut.32:17. Jeroboam |ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils,| 2 Chron.11:15. |The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils,| -- i.e. of demons.

Of the same kind are the gods of the heathen now. In the Youth's Day-Spring, for June, a missionary describing the alarm and grief of the Africans on the Gaboon river, at the near prospect of a death in their village, says: |The room was filled with women, who were weeping in the most piteous manner, and calling on the spirits of their fathers and of others who were dead, and upon all spirits in whom they believe, Ologo, Njembi, Abambo, and Mbwini, to save the man from death. These spirits could not help them, but they knew of none mightier, and so called on them.| Mr. White, a Wesleyan missionary, says: |There is a class of people in New Zealand, called Eruku, or priests. These men pretend to have intercourse with departed spirits, ... by which they are able to kill by incantation any person on whom their anger may fall.| The Sandwich Islanders, when they found that Christians supposed they worshipped the images of their gods, were much amused, and said |We are not such fools.| They used the idol as an aid to fix their minds on their divinity. Some of them supposed their divinity was a spirit residing in their idol.

The Mohammedans, while they recognize God, are also |taught by the Koran to believe the existence of an intermediate order of creatures, which they call Jin, or genii;| some of which are supposed to be good and others bad, and capable of communicating with men, and rewarding or punishing them. The 72d chapter of the Koran consists of a pretended communication from the genii to Mohammed. They are made to say: |There are some among us who are upright, and there are some among us who are otherwise;| and speaking of men: |If they tread in the way of truth, we will surely water them with abundance of rain,| i.e. will grant them plenty of good things. Thus they are recognized as dispensers of good. They bear a striking resemblance to the spirits which now pretend to communicate with men! All who are familiar with Arabian romances know how frequently genii, fairies, &c., figure as agents in the execution of wonderful exploits.

The Romanists also pretend to communicate with demons, -- i.e. with departed spirits. They deify the Virgin Mary, and supplicate the intercessions of many departed saints; and some they supplicate, whose claim to saintship is somewhat equivocal. Their teachings in this particular, Protestants generally recognize as the subject of the following prediction: |Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils,| -- demons, 1 Tim.4:1.

Demon-worship being common to Paganism, Mohammedanism, and Popery, when the frog-like agency emerges from them, the conditions of the symbol seem to require that it shall originate with, but shall pass beyond and outside the influence of those religions. The agency thus symbolized, was to |go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world.| Its fulfilment requires a wonderful and an alarming increase of those who teach and believe these doctrines; and as they are to work miracles, whereby the world will be deceived, their teachings are to be accompanied by extraordinary phenomena, which will be unexplainable by any of the known laws of science. The spirits of the departed are to be recognized by them as authoritative teachers, who are to be reverenced and obeyed. They will be regarded as communicating with mortals, as unveiling the hidden things of the invisible state, and as performing acts requiring the exercise of physical power. The former are evident from the analogy which exists between this and demon-worship; and the latter, from the ascription to them of miraculous acts.

The existence of demoniacal intelligences, capable of communicating with and acting on mortals, appears to be in accordance with the teachings of the Saviour and apostles. Demoniacal possessions are clearly distinguished from all diseases; and demons are shown, by the admissions of the New Testament, to be actual intelligences, capable of physical power. When the fame of Christ |went throughout all Syria, they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those which had the palsy; and he healed them,| Matt.4:24. |When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth 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 goeth he, 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,| Matt.12:43-45. |And as they went out, behold they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.(7) And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake; and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils,(8) through the prince of the devils,| Matt.9:32-34. |And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son; for he is lunatic, and sore vexed, for oft-times he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil, and he departed out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour,| Matt.17:14-18. |And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit: and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with what authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him!| Mark 1:23-27. |And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God! I adjure thee, by God, that thou torment me not. (For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.) And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine; and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea (they were about two thousand), and were choked in the sea,| Mark 5:2-13.

In all these instances, the demons are recognized as actual intelligences, performing given acts. Without the admission of this, it will be difficult to explain the meaning of a large class of scriptures. It cannot for a moment be supposed that the inspired writers would be permitted to use language which should directly mislead the common mind.

Among the miracles which the apostles wrought, |unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many possessed with them, and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed,| Acts 8:7. |And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs, or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits, the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was, leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And many that believed, came and confessed, and showed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver,| Acts 19:11-16, 18, 19.

The necromancy, divination, and witchcraft, forbidden in the Old Testament and practised by the heathen of those times, were all of a similar character. A necromancer was one who had, or pretended to have communication with the dead, -- who sought |for the living to the dead,|(9) Isa.8:19. They practised divination in divers ways, but usually admitted their dependence on familiar spirits, -- the spirits of the departed, -- demons. |The king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination; he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver. At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering-rams against the gates, to cast a mount, and to build a fort. And it shall be unto them as false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity, that they may be taken,| Ezek.21:21-23. They observed times, i.e. they regarded some as lucky, and others as unlucky times for the commencement of any work, -- recognizing distinctions which God had not made. The heathen divinities were regarded as more propitious at some times than others. It is enumerated among the sins of Manasseh, that he |made his sons pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards,| 2 Kings 21:6.

They practised various arts, whereby they thought to protect themselves from evil, and to pry into the secrets of futurity. Because of these things, ancient Babylon was suddenly overwhelmed, -- |for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.| These could not save, as they supposed. Therefore God said to them: |Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast labored from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the star-gazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee,| Isa.47:12, 13. All these practices were forbidden by God, who said: |Neither shall ye use enchantments, nor observe times,| Lev.19:26.

Those who consulted with familiar spirits were termed wizards and witches, -- the practice of which was also expressly forbidden. To make witchcraft a mere pretence, is to impute to Jehovah the making of laws against pretences and nonentities. To suppose that he would legislate against, and inflict capital punishment, because of mere pretences, is incredible! God said to Moses, |Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,| Ex.22:18. And to the Jews he said, |Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God,| Lev.19:31. |And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.| |A man, also, or a woman, that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them,| Lev.20:6,27. When Egypt was to be destroyed, they were left to |seek to the idols, and to charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to wizards,| Isa.19:3.

The manner in which the familiar spirit spoke, was by |peeping,| |muttering,| whispering out of the dust, &c. God said to Ariel, |And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust,| Isa.29:4. |And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: (should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead!) to the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,| Isa.8:19, 20.

Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land; but when he |inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at En-dor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards out of the land; wherefore, then, layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware unto her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up to thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the Lord hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbor, even to David: because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedest his fierce wrath upon Amelek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover, the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to-morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him,| 1 Sam.28:6-20.

Micaiah |saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee,| 1 Kings 22:19-23.

When Paul was in the house of Lydia, he says, |It came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination, met us, which brought her masters much gain by her soothsaying: the same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation. And this she did many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour,| Acts 16:16-18.

By sorcery, enchantment, &c., they performed wonders, or miracles, either real or pretended. |There was a certain man called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries,| Acts 8:9-11. When |Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent, then Pharaoh also called the wise men, and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods,| Ex.7:10-12. When Aaron turned the water of the river to blood, |the magicians did so with their enchantments,| v.22. In like manner they |brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt,| 8:7. But when Aaron changed the dust to lice, the magicians attempted the same with their enchantments, |but they could not,| Ex.8:18. These sorcerers who withstood Moses, we learn by Paul, were |Jannes and Jambres,| 2 Tim.3:8. They belonged to an ancient profession in Egypt; for, when Pharaoh dreamed his dreams, he first |sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dreams; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh,| Gen.41:8. In like manner Nebuchadnezzar |commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came, and stood before the king,| Dan.2:2.

These things were practised to some extent in Judah, but were all put away by Josiah. |Moreover, the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord,| 2 Kings 23:24.

The acts and influences of demoniacal agencies are apparent from the foregoing; and the symbolization under the sixth seal, seems to indicate a revival of those teachings and manifestations at the present time. Within a few years, the curiosity of the community has been excited, and large numbers of persons greatly interested, in various phenomena, known as Mesmerism, Animal-Magnetism, Clairvoyance, Pathetism, Neurology, Psychology, Biology, Electro-Biology, &c. &c. Similar manifestations have been before exhibited, but not in modern times to the extent now witnessed. These were regarded as harmless phenomena and independent of any supernatural agency, till audible sounds were heard communicating intelligible responses. Then the claim was set up that these are caused by departed spirits.

These sounds were first heard near Rochester, New York, in 1847; and, at the present time (1852), they are affirmed to exist in hundreds of places in this country, and other sections of the globe. They are audible raps, the cause of which, aside from the hypothesis of spiritual agency, has never been satisfactorily accounted for. By these raps, unimpeached and credible witnesses testify that correct answers have been given to questions, the facts respecting which were known to no one at the time of answering. Since then, furniture has been seen to move about the room, and other wonders, or miracles, been performed, by invisible agency, at the command of mediums to attending spirits, -- i.e. to demons. Mediums have written on paper, as they profess, involuntarily, lengthy communications, in poetry and prose, the subjects of which they claim to have been ignorant of, while the pen they held was moved independent of their own will. These exhibitions have been attested by hundreds of credible witnesses.

By such manifestations large numbers of persons have given their adherence to these real or pretended agencies as truthful and reliable intelligences; whose responses they receive with the same credence that we do the revelations of scripture. |Circles| are extensively formed, who have sittings, at stated times, to receive communications from the spirits of the departed; and these are enforced by miracles, audible sounds, the exercise of physical power, &c.

The reality and the credibility of these agencies are separate questions. Their reality is shown by their identity with similar manifestations of former times. The Bible affirms the existence of such: |For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places;| or |wicked spirits| in |heavenly places,| as the margin reads, Eph.6:12.

1. The familiar spirits of old responded in a manner similar to these. They did |peep| and |mutter;| their speech was low out of the dust; they spoke out of the ground, and whispered; or, as in the margin, did |peep| or |chirp| out of the dust. These |rap| and mutter. They respond from beneath chairs, tables and floors.

2. They exercised similar physical powers. They threw down and tare the persons they possessed. They turned the swine into the sea, &c. These claim that chairs and tables, are lifted and moved at will by an invisible agency.

3. They made similar pretensions to credibility. Simon Magus gave out |that himself was some great one;| and these, that they utter divine truths.

4. Similar regard was bestowed on those, which is claimed for these. To Simon |they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.| Yet |he had bewitched them with sorceries.| Similar claims by, and regard for these modern pretenders to the same art, do not relieve them from the suspicion of a like agency. |For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness: whose end shall be according to their works,| 2 Cor.11:13-15.

5. Both have given utterance to some truths. The legion of demons who were cast out of the man into a herd of swine, acknowledged Jesus to be |the Son of the Most High God;| and the pythonic spirit which so grieved Paul, declared the apostles to be |the servants of the Most High God, which show unto us the way of salvation.| Such communications with the invisible world being forbidden, their credibility is disproved.

They claim that spirits of the departed are brought into direct and intelligent communication with the living, who desire to interrogate them. What more was claimed by the necromancers of old? Said Saul to the woman of Endor: |Divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up whom I shall name unto thee,| 1 Sam.28:8.

They claim that not all, but only those persons are mediums who are peculiarly susceptible to spiritual influences. Wherein, then, admitting their claims, do the |mediums| differ from those of old, who divined by a familiar spirit?

Their responses are frequently disproved by facts; and themselves admit the existence of unreliable spirits, which communicate like them. They give contradictory responses, and mutually criminate each other; but their reality is not disproved by any discrepancy, or want of truthfulness in their responses; for if they are spirits, none but unclean spirits would respond in a forbidden manner.

These spirits are to be discredited, because they preach a different gospel from that preached by Paul, who says: |I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed,| Gal.1:6-9. |If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maran-atha.| 1 Cor.16:22. Said John, |Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world,| 1 John 4:1. Also Isaiah said, |And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,| Isa.8:19, 20.

Because of these practices, the nations were driven out from before the children of Israel. And with the miracles to be wrought, the frog-like spirits are to go forth to |the whole world to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.|

In the time of Abraham, |the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full,| (Gen.15:16); but in four hundred years they had practised all the abominations for which they were to be destroyed, and the practice of which God has expressly forbidden. He said to Israel, in the wilderness, |When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nation. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do,| Deut.18:9-14.

Similar pernicious practices and dangerous heresies, are to prepare the way for the final destruction of the nations who reject the claims of Jehovah. Peter declares that |there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not,| 2 Pet.2:1-3. And Paul says of that wicked: |Whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness,| 2 Thess.2:9-12.

|The battle of that great day of God Almighty,| it would seem, must commence by a conflict of opinions. Mind will war with mind, and puny man will stoutly contend against the truths of the Almighty. In this revival of demon-worship, the old gods of the heathen are to be set up against the claims of Jehovah. His declarations are to be made to give place to |doctrines of demons.| The teachings of God and of these spirits are to be brought into direct conflict.

The followers of the spirits have baptized their new theological dogmas, |The Harmonial Philosophy,| of which Reason is the final umpire. Revelation no longer speaks to them in tones of authority. From the Bible, it is claimed, |the seal of infallibility must be broken away, before a new light and beauty can enliven and embellish the mystical disclosures of any seer, prophet, or evangelist.| So writes Andrew Jackson Davis, the Poughkeepsie seer, one of the leaders of this new school, who complains that |owing to the dogmatism of infallibility, the Bible is taught now-a-days as it was nearly four centuries ago.| -- Review of Dr. Bushnell, p.10.

The Scriptures are, with those of his faith, only |the paper and ink relics of Christianity,| (Ib., p.21); which they regard as |a foundation as impermanent as the changeful sand| (Ib. p.24), and not adapted |to the wants or requirements of the nineteenth century,| Ib. p.26. They reject Him, whom they style |the cruel and capricious God generally worshipped by the Bible Christians,| Ib. p.47. |The Jewish God,| says Davis, |is cruel, capricious and tyrannical,| whose |kingdom is more despotic, and more contracted in principle, than the present government of the Russian empire,| Ib. p.61. He adds, |The Old Testament idea of a Deity is the outgrowth of the despotic stage of human mental development,| and |a superannuated monotheistic conception,| Ib. p.62. In their opinion, |the developments of republicanism, and of mental happiness among men, depend very much upon the absence of these dogmatical compilations, or fossil relics, of an old Hebrew and Chaldean theology,| Ib. p.70. With them |the Bible account of creation is a very interesting myth, -- mainly a plagiarism from the early traditions and cosmological doctrines of the ancient Persians and Chaldeans;| and, instead of being |a divine revelation of truth,| is |a pagan relic, which should no more command serious respect than the ancient doctrines of Fetichism,| Ib. p.90.

These |Harmonial Philosophers| are antagonistic to the teachings of Jehovah in nearly all their theological notions. They scout the idea that any actual evil exists in the universe. They deny the existence of the devil, and of evil spirits. |Everything,| says Davis, |is forever progressing in goodness and perfection,| Ib. p.180. The salvation of all men, is with them as certain as the operation of fixed laws. They recognize no Saviour and no atonement in their system of faith. The teachings of spirits, and |a certain organization of labor, capital and talent,| they fancy, |will effect the desired cure| for all actual or supposed ills, Ib. p.178. They recognize no responsibility in the sinner, but attribute his wrong-doings to ignorance and accident; and their laws of right, are the dictates of their own wisdom.

Their system is essentially Pantheistic, all things being regarded by them as a part and parcel of Deity. They argue that |every object which has an existence in the universe must be in its nature good and pure, on the principle that the effect must partake of the nature of the cause, and the stream must be the corresponding emanation of the fountain from which it flows.| -- Elements of Spiritual Philosophy, p.55. They teach that human spirits are |formed primarily from the animating essences that pervade the creation, -- which essences,| they say, |are the breath and presence of the Divinity;| and hence they argue, |that there are no spirits which are intrinsically evil in their nature, and none which do not present in their inward depths the reflection of divine purity,| Ib. p.56. Going still further, they claim that there is no existing |source of positive evil,| |no principle of this nature in the human spirit,| and that consequently |there can be no evil designs to emanate from such a source,| Ib. p.60.

These assertions are put forth authoritatively; for the |Elements of Spiritual Philosophy| are attested by witnesses to be |written by Spirits of the Sixth Circle, R. P. Ambler, Medium.| And if they are met by the declarations written by those who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, they reply: |The Christian who deifies his Bible is as much an idolater as the heathen who burns his incense before his household image. It is surely attributing to the book what the Pagan attributes to his image.| -- Shekinah, April No., p.251. Christianity, they denominate, |learned scepticism, baptized in the name of Jesus,| &c., Ib., p.301. Thus are they warring against the word of God, and placing themselves in direct conflict with the Almighty.

This warfare is not only avowed to be against the God of the Bible, but is recognized by themselves as the last great conflict previous to the millennium. They regard this subject as |the great question of the age, which is destined to convulse and divide Protestantism, and around which all other religious controversies must necessarily revolve.| -- Davis' Review of Bushnell, page 3. The millennium which is to be thus ushered in, they regard as a period when |every one that desires will be able to hold direct intercourse and conversation with the spirit world.| -- Spiritual Tel., Vol.1, No.1. Says Davis: |The thunders of a stupendous reformation are soon to issue from the now open mouth of the Protestant church. The supernatural faith,| i.e. a belief in the authenticity of Scripture, |will be shaken, as a reed in the tempest. New channels will be formed for the inflowing of new truths, and then a long-promised era will steal upon the religious and political world.| -- Review of Bushnell, p.187.

In another place he says: |You may be assured of the truth of this approaching crisis. The world must recognize it, because it will be accompanied with war; for politics are inseparably connected, all over the world, with religious systems. Religion will develop reason; but politics will impel the masses to unsheath the sword, and to stain the bosom of Nature with blood! Friends of progress! be not discouraged; for the FINAL CRISIS must come; then the strange interregnum,| Ib. p.217. |Protestantism as now constructed will first decay; because it is to be divided into two, -- the smallest party will go back into Catholicism; the other will go forward into Rationalism. And then, after a succession of eventful years, a political revolution will hurl the Catholic superstructure to the earth, and the prismatic bow of promise will span the heavens. The children of earth will then be comparatively free and happy! for the millennial epoch will have arrived; and there will be something like a realization of peace on earth, and good will toward all men!| Ib. p.221.

Such are their delusive hopes, while setting themselves against the Lord, and against his Anointed. The Bible teaches that multitudes will be deceived by them, and, if it were possible, some of the elect; and hence:

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Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
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