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there is neither angel nor spirit, good or bad, who look on the idea of Satan as a mere personification of moral evil;* and who, instead of being roused to holy jealousy at the very thought of the devil, interlard their wicked conversation with his name, and consider the mention of his name as a proof of wit in themselves, and a call for merriment in others. The fact is, that those who think and speak lightly of the great enemy of God and man, have generally no scruple to profane the name of God himself, and are destitute of any proper impression of the evil of sin, and of the nature and the importance of salvation. They err, most egregiously, if any regard be due to the Word of God. The references in Scripture to the personal existence and agency of the devil, as the head of a multitude of apostate angels, are most express and very numerous. Satan is spoken of as "going to and fro throughout the earth," and as "going about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour." Those who are living in sin are represented as encouraged in it by him, and are spoken of as "taken captive by him at his will.” In a way which cannot be exactly understood or explained, he entices them to iniquity. He sinks them in sin, which is the uncleanness of the soul. All who are "dead in trespasses and sins" (and this includes all who "walk according to the course of this world,” and, of course, all who are in their natural state), are described as walking" according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." The external symptoms of the demoniacal possession at Gadara may have been more shocking than are now those of most enslaved sinners, but this can hardly be said as to the reality of the In all cases their state is dismal in itself-in some it is peculiarly horrid in the mode of its development. Was this demoniac neither to be bound nor tamed? and do not sinners often throw off all the restraints of reason and religion, and shame, and their friends, and human authority, and proceed desperately in their career of iniquity? Do not they "take counsel against the Lord, and against his Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us?" Was this demoniac driven by the devil, from the abodes of men, into the tombs and the wilderness?—and does he not still drive the abandoned away from all intercourse with God, and good society, into the haunts of corruption, and the wastes of the world? Do not


*See Lecture on Luke iv. 1-13.

sinners still, like this unclean spirit, say to Christ, if not in words, yet in the tenor of their wishes and actions, "What have we to do with thee?" Do they not desire to be let alone, and to continue as they are? Do not they desire to remain without the reach of the light, lest it should torment them, lest it should disturb them in their career, and make them melancholy? Was this demoniac reduced to a state of complete lunacy, so as to be a terror to others, and a torment to himself?-who are so mad as they who, in their mental delirium, mistake entirely their true interest, do all they can to spread moral ruin around them, and, in defiance of every remonstrance, rush headlong on their own perdition? So varied and numerous are the evil propensities which agitate them, that it may be truly said, Their name is Legion, for they are many. Even when the outward manifestations are not very striking, the inward sway of the wicked one may be complete; for he cunningly adapts his mode of procedure to the different turns of his deluded and degraded subjects. And, though this demoniac was happily delivered from Satan's sway, he always seeks the utter ruin of men's soul's and bodies; and it is truly terrible to think that, in his destruction of the herd of swine, there is furnished an appalling emblem of the end to which he is driving all his vassals, and of the perdition into which he will actually precipitate them, if they continue to give themselves up to his dominion. He will destroy them in a lake—even "the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone."

Now, seeing these things are so, ought you not all anxiously to inquire whether you be in the spiritual sense, delivered from Satan, or not? If you are practically slaves to known sin, you ought to conclude, at once, that you are his captives. And if you are merely in a careless state, you ought to come to the same conclusion, for he is only managing you in a quieter way. Do not conclude that you are delivered, merely because you may have felt some convictions and terrors. This unclean spirit could fall down before Christ, and deprecate his wrath; and yet he continues an unclean spirit still. The devils believe the coming wrath, and tremble. Extorted cries for deliverance from the abyss are not enough, though, probably, few of you go even so far as that. must desire and obtain freedom from the guilt and power of sin itself, in God's own way—that is, by faith in the atone ment of Christ, and the regenerating grace of his Spirit; you must obtain pardon and holiness, else your misery, though it


may he delayed for a time, will come at last. Think not that you can resist the authority of the Judge of all. When a whole legion of rebellious spirits, every one of them naturally more powerful than you, were fain to yield him trembling submission, well may the most stout-hearted of you be afraid. Safe and happy are they, and they only, who are "delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son."

2. Let us, from this subject, mark with satisfaction, the ability and readiness af Christ to control and to destroy the power of Satan. It seems likely that, if it had not been for the restraint of divine power, these malicious spirits would have destroyed, not only the property, but the lives, of the Gadarenes; and we may remark, in general, that we ought always to feel indebted to the Lord for the protection we enjoy from the malice of evil spirits. Considering the outward protection afforded by Providence, and by the employment of holy angels, we have no occasion to be too much alarmed by the fear of Satan. Fierce and terrific as these unclean spirits were to others, they were calm before our Lord, and departed at his command. And so it will be always. We should remember, too, that in the most important sense, including our spiritual deliverance," the Son of God was manifested for this purpose, that he might destroy the works of the devil."

"He spoiled principalities, and powers, making a show of them openly, and triumphing over them in his cross:" and with this great and decisive victory is connected the final triumph of all his people. Satan may sift them as wheat; but the Saviour prays for them, that their faith fail not. Satan may tempt them to sin, but he cannot force them; nay, they are secured against his attacks so far as they shall not prove fatal. Though they wrestle, not only against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places; yet, being strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, and taking unto them the whole armour of God, they shall be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. And, as this is very encouraging to those who are already delivered from the power of darkness, so it is, if properly considered, very encouraging for those who are yet under that power, to hope and to strive for deliverance, through Jesus' name, and in his strength. No man need say, or think, that he is "sold to do iniquity," or that his

case is hopeless, if he will only apply to Christ for deliverance. Though the devil, like a strong man, keep the palace of the heart, Jesus is a stronger than he, to overcome him, to take from him all his armour wherein he trusts, and to divide his spoils. Let this be well considered by those who are under his bondage, and then "peradventure God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."


3. There are various traits in the character of the Gadarenes, in which we ought carefully to guard against resembling them. For example, their covetousness, which led them to pursue gain in an illegal and disreputable way. When men addict themselves supremely to filthy lucre, there is no meanness, or worthlessness, of which they will not be guilty. Let us also guard against preferring, like them, our wordly gain to the good of our souls, the prosperity of the Gospel, and the overthrow of Satan's kingdom. they seem to have imputed their loss to Christ, and not to the evil spirits, and as it has been common for Infidels to throw on Christianity itself the odium of those calamities of which wicked men and Satan have made it the innocent occasion; let us reject every sentiment of this kind, remembering that many more and much heavier mischiefs would have arisen, had the restrains of Christianity been removed, and giving the praise and blame where they are respectively due. Especially, let us guard against the spirit which influenced the Gadarenes, when they besought Christ to depart out of their coasts. This was truly a diabolical spirit; and this request proved them to be, though in a different form, yet as much under the influence of Satan, as were the poor demoniacs. Perhaps the closest resemblance to this which has been exhibited in our times, is to be found in some who, having gone abroad from Christian countries into heathen lands for mere worldly reasons, have, in order that they might be left to pursue their ungodly gains and swinish pleasures undisturbed, set themselves to oppose the introduction of Christianity, and, in as far as they could, to rid the country altogether of Christ and his faithful preachers. It is reason of thankfulness that the progress of light has now rendered this display of enmity against the gospel more rare, and shamed many of its opposers into silence. Something of this spirit, however, in reference to their own case, is natural to all unrenewed men; "they say unto God,

Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways." Let all such remember that the Gadarenes were punished by Christ by being granted their request. Nor may it be altogether irrelevant to remark, that the Gadarenes, as a community, were, in the righteous judgment of God, signally punished, as for their sins in general, so in particular, for their rejection of Christ; for Josephus, who describes Gadara as a place of considerable importance, relates that it was the first town which, after suffering dreadful hardships, was taken by the Roman army, in the fatal war of Vespasian.* Direful, however, as was that calamity, it will be far surpassed by the ruin which, at the last day, shall overtake those to whom, as they persevered all their time on earth in saying to Christ, "Depart from us," he will then say, "Depart from me."

Finally. The situation and conduct of this man, after he was dispossessed, are very instructive as to the state and duty of the converted. Did the unclean spirit go out of the body of this man?-so, Satan loses his paramount influence over the souls of the converted, the Saviour is enthroned in their hearts, and always, when they resist the devil, he flees from them. Was this man found sitting at the feet of Jesus?so also Mary "sat at his feet, and heard his words;" and so it is the delight of all his true disciples to wait on him, in an humble, reverential, and inquiring posture of mind. Was this man delivered from his frenzy, and restored to his right mind?-so, whatever may be imagined to the contrary, it is when sinners become believing, holy, and deeply serious, that they cease to be foolish, and become truly rational and sober. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and to depart from evil, that is understanding." Paul says of himself, and all true believers, "God hath given us"- "the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Did this man desire to remain with Christ?-so it is the desire of all his people to be much with him in his ordinances, and to "follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth." This they are allowed to be, and to do, in a good measure. But they have various duties to attend to; and in particular, as the man, according to Christ's direction, returned, and showed to his house, and fellow-citizens, and fellow-countrymen, the great things which the Lord had done for him, so all Christians are, more or less, useful to their friends, and to society at large; *Josephus' Jewish Wars, Book iv.

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