« AnteriorContinua »
such a work, has been painfully felt by some; and may be known by any that will seriously enquire what God has said of such practices, and how common they are in England. But every reader will form his own opinion. And the writer having conscientiously endeavoured to testify what is true, to rebuke what is evil, and to maintain what is good, will commit himself to Him that knoweth all things, and judgeth righteously.
TO THE SECOND EDITION.
THE former Edition of this Book was received
with more satisfaction and approbation than the writer anticipated. He well knew that the current of modish theory ran in opposition to the ancient truths and recent facts which he opposed to its course. Opinions have their fashions; and one extreme disposes to another. On the subject of satanic agency, many have reeled from credulity to scepticism; and some have endeavoured to construe the truth of God into a lie. Arrogant ignorance may impeach the divine veracity; but facts will speak for God; though we believe not, yet he abideth faithful.
The case which is here narrated, the writer was unexpectedly and providentially called upon to examine. It was important, strange, and interesting: but it was also perplexing. Many who knew he was paying attention to it, were desirous to hear his testimony and opinion; particularly so, as many strange reports were in circulation, which, for the public good, it was better to rectify than neglect. Though frequently requested, he did not think it prudent to narrate the case in public congregations; his word might have been misunderstood and misrepresented. To write long letters to his enquiring friends, and to relate the affair in the circles of his acquaintance, to vindicate his sentiments and obviate their objections in conversation, would encroach too
much upon his time; and therefore, to publish the case with his reasonings upon it, and with observations upon the general subject of demoniac possession, &c. corroborated by quotations from Authors of established credit, appeared to him of all modes of communication, the safest, the least objectionable, the most useful and satisfactory, and, all things considered-the best.
Knowing that many who have never seen a case of evident demoniac possession, and have been, like himself, perplexed with learned and positive contradictions on the subject, and desire more satisfactory information than mere theory can give, in publishing what he had seen, carefully examined, and certainly known, he acted on the approved principle, "Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you."
The Author of the Bible frequently calls the attention of his readers to the subject of demoniac possession; and He illustrates, with all desirable plainness, His authorized mode of expulsion and relief. The inspired writers are good precedents; and if we grow ashamed of their common doctrines and righteous examples, it is time to search our hearts and amend our manners.. Some have thought that accounts of spiritual agency are to be despised, not considered; and that superstitious practices are to be neglected, not reproved: but all are not so averse to divine testimony and, example.. "No genuine truth," says Dr. Beattie, "did ever of itself produce effects inconsistent with real utility;" and certainly, what Essential Wisdom has often inculcated, cannot be so useless as to merit negligence.
Though the facts, which are here recorded, are too notorious to be contradicted; and though such as know the writer may not scruple his veracity; and those who know him not, have no good reason to impeach it, especially as the case is circumstantially