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them to be immediately punished, for I was persuaded, whatever the nature of their opinions might be, a contumacious and inflexible obstinacy certainly deserved correction. There were others also brought before me, possessed with the same infatuation, but being citizens of Rome; I directed them to be carried thither. But this crime spreading, as is usually the case, while it was actually under prosecution, several instances of the same nature occurred. An information was presented to me without any name subscribed, containing a charge against several persons, who, upon examination, denied they were Christians, or had ever been so. They repeated after me an invocation to the Gods, and offered religious rites with wine and frankincense before your statue, (which for this purpose, I had ordered to be brought with those of the gods, and even reviled the name of Christ, whereas there is no forcing, it is said, those who are really Christians, into a compliance with any of these articles, I thought proper, therefore, to discharge them.
They affirmed the whole of their guilt, or their error, was. that they met on a certain stated day before it was light, and addressed themselves in a form of prayer to Christ as to some God; binding themselves by a solemn oath, not for the purposes
any wicked design, but never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery ; never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to eat in common a harmless meal. From this custom, however, they desisted after the publication of my edict, by which, according to your orders, I forbad the meeting of any assemblies. After receiving this account, I judged it so much the more necessary to endeavour to extort the real truth by putting two female slaves to the torture, who were said to administer in their religious functions : but I could discover nothing more than an absurd and excessive superstition. I thought proper, therefore, to adjourn all further proceedings in this affair, in order to consult with you.”
With such witnesses, and attestors, we are justified in accepting the extraordinary narratives in those books, as to the action of angels and devils upon man, as truthful; and by a candid examination of the subject, as therein contained, we have a skeleton of the science of Magic, and the nature of the beings called into action by that science unfolded ; as also by the simple invocation to “ The Lord” by Christians; and again in other eastern and western nations by other modes of action. I would now direct our thoughts towards those who understand themselves to be Christians, and who are swayed in faith by sacred testimony; so that they may fearlessly enter with me into the chambers of the supernatural, and clearly perceive who they are to join, and who avoid.
“ The devil goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
There appear to be devils many, subject to their leader. Thus: Several devils, or evil spirits, entered into the man in the cemetery, who, acted upon by them, while they held control over his body, tore himself; those devils came out and souled the swine, by entering their bodies. The devil tempted by speech “The Lord” for forty days. CHRIST:—"Mary Magdalen, out of whom went seven devils.”
:~"In my name shall they cast out devils.”
-“Behold I cast out devils." The Principle of Possession by spirits is thus clearly enun. ciated; the quality of those spirits is a secondary question.
“The Lord,” when in agony in the garden, was so prostrated; that an angel came and strengthened him, Angels appeared to the disciples at the resurrection of “The Lord.”
An angel guided and advised Philip to join himself to the eunuch's chariot.
An angel appeared to St. Paul and foretold the shipwreck. An angel struck off Peter's chains, and unlocked the gates
of the prison; showing the power of soul to act upon material substances.
We have frequent mention of the Angel from the Lord, Angel of the Lord, guiding the Christians; and the power of seeing those angels was acknowledged by St. Paul as a “spiritual gift."-" To some the discerning of spirits." Ezekiel states: "and the spirit entered into me, when he spake unto me.”
The Holy Spirit was promised, and if we would consent, it would come and dwell in us. And as God is greater than the devil, and angels than devils; it is plain that angels can enter into man as well as devils, and while there act in and guide them.
As we shall shortly show that angels possess as much control over physical nature, as devils; it is evident that if the Christian allows that the devil and his agents act upon man now-adays, it follows logically that angels do the same; and we have a right to expect that if the devils are as strong now, as they were 1860 years ago, angels also are as strong now, and are as much needed now as then.
Taking this earth's organization of humanity, as a “pattern of the Heavens ;" we have on this earth a great variety of physical and mental strength, and knowledge, and also of moral quality; and according to that strength, knowledge, and quality, under favouring circumstances, will those powers be brought into action; and therefore it behoves all those who wish to associate with spirits, and to invite them into the house of their body, to take as much care as to who the visitants are, as we do in our ordinary domestic circles; when persons wish to be introduced to us, and visit us at “home:" and we may as logically hermitize ourselves from our fellow men in the flesh because there are bad spirited men in society, as hermitize ourselves from our friends out of the flesh, because there are bad spirits in ethereal society. Neither the Lord, or any one of his apostles, interdicted Christians from angelic intercourse; on the contrary, it threads the woof of society with its glory-hue, from the first to the last of the sacred writings.
I will now draw attention to a few of the incidents of angelic power acknowledged by Christians, as displayed by disembodied spirits, and narrated in the inspired books. Those facts will show the strength and power of spirits clothed with soul—a strength analogous to the storm cloud, which, under certain conditions, jets itself out in the lightning's flash, and by the thunder-bolt, shatters in pieces an oak, kills a man, destroys the gable end of a brick building, scattering the bricks hither and thither, or shatters the spire of a village church. Deny the power of the imponderable elements to effect these marvels, and then we may deny the power of those imponderables, guided by unseen intelligence, to produce the like results. Mortals surrounded by, and composed of ponderables, can shape and direct those ponderables, so as to create a castle, or blow up a cliff. Spirits surrounded by, and composed of imponderables, can create results as visible as the shattered oak or broken spire.
There are two classes of Christians. The one vitally believes the truth of the spirit narratives of scripture, the other sentimentally believes ; the one thinks they are things of the past, necessary to create the sacred books; and that those sacred books, having been made, neutralizes the power of angels, and renders it unnecessary for them to interfere physically with man's actions. The other, like a feather, floats its yes, or no, in the wind of opinion. The absurdity of the one is perceived, when we remember that the Bible is mainly an Historical book, showing the actions of men in power, and the influences of a spiritual kind which were brought into play to influence those men. The Bible is a guide-book for reading the history of nations, and individuals, through time down to this hour. If angels do not now interfere with national and individual affairs, because the Bible is in existence, the nations are worse off than they were 2000 years ago.
With the 671 per cent. of practical infidels in Great Britain, as shown by “ The Lord's day Committee ;” and the 90 to 100 per cent. of the populations of foreign nations, who never see, never hear of the
Bible and its narratives ; that there are no angelic agencies in existence on earth to carry out the behests of Deity, seems astounding. It is acknowledged that there are devils in plenty, -Satanic agency and devilry are the watch words when any new power or energy in matter is discovered. The pulpit and the
heave with wind and ink. Satanic agency, or imposture, are the puff balls of mental activity. God's wisdom is not in the laws of matter, but the devil's is. Is the picture over-charged—verily not, I have in my mind the pulpit declarations of leading preachers; and I have also in my possession written letters by such, plainly laying down the law of the non-intervention, the non-necessity of the intervention of God's messengers, or angels, in human affairs.
Keeping in view the action, the controling action of spirit upon man, nationally and individually, and the inference we deduce, that as man is the same now as he was 2000 years and more ago; let Christians recall to their minds the following facts from the Sacred Books; and then we shall be in a position to ask the question :-Is there proof that such power is still brought to bear on humanity, nationally and individually?
Abraham, on the plains of Mamre, as he was sitting in front of his tent, saw three angels-one, the leader, he called “The Lord,” foretold the birth of a son to Abraham-the three ate and drank. The leader was called “ The Lord”—he was seen, and took physical food.
I would direct attention to the words “The Lord;" educationally, “The Lord” in our minds means Jesus Christ, whether during the time of his physical life, or before, or after; and every incident in the Old Testament where “the Lord” is used, the belief is that it was the Jesus Christ; this is a gross error ;
“ The Lord” is an eastern phrase applied to the leader, or man in power connected with a party; a title as “My Lord” is in England. During the late Indian war, Sir Colin Campbell, as commander-in-chief, was, by the Indian Rajahs and authorities, recognised as, and spoken of by them.