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that power be artificially increased, we find the same gradation still going on. The most minute animals discoverable by the naked eye, for example, are succeeded by innumerable classes of creatures, smaller, and smaller still, till the assistance afforded by the best glasses can carry us no further ; leaving us to infer the existence of endless species wholly imperceptible to man. The rarest and most transparent bodies which we can discern, are dense, when compared to others, which science has demonstrated to operate powerfully upon the visible system ; and he who should limit his belief by the evidence of his bodily senses, would be as much despised by the experimentalist, as pitied by the Christian.

Taking it for granted, then, that invisible beings exist around us, and reasoning, from analogy, that some of them may probably be as highly (or even much more highly) endowed with rational faculties as ourselves; a question of the



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highest interest arises, whether these spiritual creatures are ever manifested to us, either by their own choice, or at the command of our common Creator. And I do not consider the discussion of the question by any means unsuitable to this place, or irrelevant to our religious instruction and Christian edification.

I. That spirits (by which word I understand invisible beings) are among us, and act upon us by some influence unperceived by ourselves, is abundantly revealed to us in the Word of God. The evil spirit, we are warned, watches opportunities to inflame our passions, to heighten our temptations, and to undermine our principles and resolutions. His subordinate agents appear to be acknowledged as the immediate causes of insanity, and of other bodily diseases; for not only did our Lord, in performing His miraculous cures, constantly address Himself to pos

persons as under the influence of supernatural agency (and in a manner

sessed persons

not to be explained upon any other supposition than the positive indwelling of an evil spirit), but, in healing a poor woman who had long suffered from a bodily infirmity, He observed that “Satan had bound her these eighteen years. That good spirits exert a countervailing power, and minister to soundness of mind, and health of body, (if, indeed, these are distinct blessings,) is at least equally clear from the same high authority. To the Holy Spirit of God are ascribed "all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works ;” to His inspiration we owe “the sure word of prophecy, the solace of holy psalms, the instruction of wise prophets, the profit and experience of faithful histories ?.' The angels of God, St. Paul asserts, are “all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister unto them that shall be heirs of salvation." And



Essay on Demoniacs. Rivington : 1775.
Bp. Andrews's Devotions.

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we read that some of the higher order of angelic natures, have sustained severe combats with the powers of darkness in defence of mankind, subject, undoubtedly, to the overruling decision of the great Disposer of events, “the God of battles.”

2. Nor is it less clearly revealed to us that spirits have, on many occasions, been manifested to men; not merely in visions, as when the prophets beheld and conversed with angels, but under circumstances in which the spectator could be subject to no suspension of his ordinary faculties of perception, and to no delusion of the imagination. The frequent appearances of the Lord Jehovah, the second Person of the ever blessed Trinity, to the patriarchs, many ages before His incarnation, the messages delivered to uninspired and waking men by angels, the re-appearance of departed holy persons recorded both in the Old, and in the New Testament, are more than sufficient to prove that the manifestation of spirits to the senses of men has been one among the appointed means in God's special government of His people. And here we are led unavoidably to refer to that most remarkable appearance of Samuel to Saul recorded in 1 Sam. xxviii., which has given occasion to so much ingenious speculation, and to such diversity of opinion. If, however, the account there given be read without any prepossession, I do not see how it is

1 Matt. xiv, 26.

possible to doubt that the spirit of the prophet actually appeared to the witch in a shadowy form, and spoke to the apostate king. Without entering into the question whether the unblest woman, mon with other professors of the forbidden art, really possessed the power of compelling spirits to appear; or whether the whole system of witchery was a mere juggle to deceive the ignorant and unwary,

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