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246 On the various Forms of Mental Disorders.
now referred, there has been no erroneous fact impressed upon the understanding, no illusion or belief of a particular message or sentence of condemnation or acceptance specifically revealed; a disorder so characterized would not fall under the head of moral insanity."
Most authors, and especially Heinroth, have referred to this form of mental disorder, those characters of antiquity who professed to foretell future events, as the Pythia at Delphi, Cassandra, etc. It is probable, however, that they are examples of a different mental condition, to some extent analogous to that of modern "second sight," and the socalled state of animal magnetism.
Some of the founders of religious sects may with more probability be regarded as the subjects of religious insanity; and have in some instances been themselves the dupes, when censured for having duped their credulous followers. Irving in modern times is a familiar illustration of the class. To what extent Mahomet was also an example, offers an inquiry of great interest, but cannot in this place be discussed. I may, therefore, refer to a work entitled, Mahomet considéré comme aliené, par le docteur Beaux, in a report to the Royal Medical Academy, by Dr. Renauldin.
"Among monomaniacs " observes Esquirol, "some believe themselves to be gods; pretend to be in communication with Heaven; assure us they have a divine mission; and present. themselves as prophets and soothsayers. We call them theomaniacs. Plato admitted a form of insanity, produced by inspiration, and regarded it as a gift of the gods. Divine breath animated both prophetesses and sibyls, and inspired them with a knowledge of the future. Areteus and Cælius Aurelianus also admitted a holy delirium. The monomania of enthusiasm, melancholia enthusiastica of Paulus Egineta, belongs to the same variety of delirium. This class of monomaniacs think themselves excited, agitated, and enlightened by a supernatural power. From ancient times enthusiasts and inspired persons have not been wanting. Paracelsus believed that he carried his familiar in the hilt of his sword. The enthusiasts of the Cevennes believed in the declarations of some that pretended to be inspired, who boasted of their power to predict future events, and of being acquainted with the profoundest mysteries. These persons had convulsions."
*Treatise on Insanity, p. 20.
(To be continued.)
Insanity and Demoniacal Possession.
Our attention as reviewers has been drawn to the above subject by two papers published in the Journal of Psychological Medicine, the one by the Rev. Joseph Souter, chaplain to the Essex County Asylum; the other by the Rev. J. May, chaplain to the Hanwell County Asylum.
It must be confessed that the subject is worn almost thread-bare, and these gentlemen have thrown little new light upon it, but it is interesting to read the remarks of chaplains to two large asylums, who have had similar opportunities of observation, and who have arrived at different conclusions.
Mr. Souter considers that the demoniacs mentioned in the New Testament were lunatics, and that insanity and possession by devils are convertible terms.
Mr. May refutes this opinion, and thinks that even at the present day there is an analogy between the demoniacs and the insane.
We differ in opinion from both these gentlemen, and it will be our object to shew that insanity and demoniacal possession are distinct things. First let us examine Mr. Souter's doctrine. Aware of the delicate ground upon which he is treading, at the conclusion of his paper he thus addresses "a large class of persons whose scruples he wishes to respect," and he says that in their opinion, "his view of the subject would go far to deprive our Saviour's most wonderful works of all that made them miraculous-and that he can scarcely flatter himself that any argument of his will carry conviction to their mind." What Mr. Souter's view of the subject is, and upon what arguments it is founded, we shall presently examine-but why this apology? It is made for this reason: because Mr. Souter was aware that he held opinions in common with Socinians of the present day, and because he must have known that the denial of the doctrine of the demoniacal possessions of the New Testament was the foundation of German rationalism. We give this as the reason for the apology, but we by no means wish to blame Mr. Souter for holding opinions, which he appears conscientiously to have adopted, and which were held by the learned Dr. Lardner, to whose works Paley is no little indebted, and which opinions have also been held by many worthy men since the time of Meade.
Mr. Souter speaks of demoniacal possession as a disease
which never appeared before the time of our Saviour, and which may never appear again; but unless Mr. Souter be correct in the opinions which he entertains, the sacred historians do speak of possession by the devil as something distinct from lunacy existing at the time of Christ, and church history verifies the fulfilment of the predictions made by our Saviour to his disciples, "in my name they shall cast out devils."
But let us consider some of the objections against this doctrine urged by Dr. Lardner and his followers. The great object of these writers is to shew that the word demon means a mere evil influence, and Mr. Souter has taken great pains in endeavouring to prove this: he says, "he never read of one single case possessed by Satan, the actual, the real Stáßodos but by δαίμονες, or δαιμόνια-evil infuences proceeding from the prince of evil." To this objection Mr. May properly answers that by dainovec were always understood, both by Jews and Christians, and also by heathens, real spiritual beings; and it is not supposed that Satan himself, for he is not omnipresent, but his emissaries were the agents who caused the affliction we are discussing; and further, he states the opinion in which we perfectly coincide, "that the word dauóviov in δαιμόνιον the septuagint version, is always used in reference to spiritual beings, and not to mere influences." No doubt the word Saíuovechas been used in different senses. The Greeks understood the word to mean a lower order of gods, who interceded with the gods for the benefit of man, and who carried on the government of the terrestrial world. demons who were the objects of heathen worship, were for the most part human beings who, for some real or imaginary excellence were exalted to the rank of gods as Isis and Osiris, Hercules and Bacchus. Besides these, there were supposed to be evil demons who afflicted men and animals with suffering and disease. Josephus adopts the notion that demons were the souls of the wicked, and that they entered into the bodies of demoniacs; and some of the early fathers considered demons to be the offspring of fallen angels and the daughters of men. Although it must be understood that in some passages of the New Testament, it is impossible to distinguish possession from disease, yet in other passages there is a plain distinction; perhaps the most striking one is, that which occurs in Matthew iv., 24, "They brought unto him those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunaticδαιμονιζόμενοι and σεληνιαζόμενοι,” the former word in
the Hebrew translation is rendered on seized, laid hold of, or possessed with demons; this word is used to express objects of idolatrous worship in Deut. xxxii., 17, Psalm cvi.,
The Hebrew translation of σεληνιαζόμενοι is as literal as possible from luna, but is not the word used to express madness in the Old Testament; thus in I Samuel, xxi., and in Deut. xxviii., 28, the word is derived from you and in Isaiah, xliv., 24, the word used is derived from all of which words have a signification totally distinct from Satanic possession. But the context makes the sense more evident than the translation, and derivations of particular words. To quote a few passages where a distinction is clearly made between disease and possession.
They brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils." Mark i, 32.
"And he healed many that were sick of diver diseases, and cast out many devils." Mark i, 34.
"They brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick." Matt. viii, 16.
"He called unto him his twelve disciples, and gave them power against unclean sprits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease." Matt. x, 1.
"Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils." Matt. x. 8.
"Unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them and many taken with palsies, and that were lame were healed." Acts viii, 7.
So plain is the meaning of these passages in the New Testament, that the only way in which the advocates for the identity between disease and possession can explain it, is by asserting that the expressions are figurative, and that the Evangelists made use of language common among the Jews of their day. Mr. Souter does not agree with those who think that our Saviour, and his followers, described insanity as demoniacal possession out of regard to the prejudices of the Jews; for as he very properly remarks, this solution of the difficulty implies that Christ and his disciples deliberately countenanced an opinion which they knew to be false; and fostered superstition, though their object was to proclaim only truth. But he regards the expression, demoniacal possession, as figurative. The same kind of objection is urged by the Socinians, against the doctrine of the personality of the Holy Ghost. The Socinians interpret the passages in scripture which prove this as applying to mere spiritual influences emanating from God;
so Mr. Souter considers that everything which the Evangelists predicate of demons, is perfectly easy of explanation, on the supposition that the Sauovia were not personal existencies. It is true, he says, that they are spoken of as casting their victims into the fire, &c. But every language has forms of expression analogous to this. It is just what we should expect in an eastern language, that the words and deeds of a man acting under the impulse of insanity, should be attributed, not to the man, but to the influence by which he is impelled."
Such is the explanation; but let us proceed to consider whether the instances given in the New Testament of demoniacal possession, will warrant any such interpretation.
Take the example of the demoniacs in the country of the Gergesenes, a country which, as Stanley, in his Sinai and Palestine, (p. 411) informs us was peculiarly frequented by demoniacs, even as late as the third century.
It is true that some of the symptoms correspond with those met with in the insane, but others differ, both in degree, and in kind. In degree, for although the insane when restrained, as formerly, by straps and gloves, and strait waistcoats, were able to break through all such fetters, yet we have never heard of an instance of a madman often bound with chains, who was able to pluck them asunder with the ease described by the Evangelist. Dr. Lardner gets out of the difficulty by saying that the chains rusted: but if so, much time must have elapsed; for he was often bound with chains, and the disease would have become chronic, and therefore would not have exhibited the fierceness of an acute attack. The symptoms differ in kind, for we find all the demoniacs speaking nearly in the same manner as those of the Gergesenes. "What have we to do with thee; art thou come to torment us before the time?" This is not the incoherent raving of a maniac; nor is it the delusion of a lunatic. The demoniacs do not differ from each other, as the insane differ; had these been insane, they would have behaved to Christ in the manner in which their particular delusion prompted them. But not only were their minds free from delusion, but they exceeded in the accuracy of their knowledge, even some of the disciples themselves. The permission given to the legion of devils to enter the swine, proves the same thing. Lardner would have us believe that the two demoniacs drove the swine into the sea; but this is, I think, too forced a solution of the difficulty to impose upon any one, and the passage does not admit of such an interpretation. Even Mr. Souter admits that there are very consider