ADVANTAGES

Among the ancient pagan nations diabolical possession wasfrequent, as it is still among their successors. In the Old Testamentwe have only one instance, and even that is not very certain. We aretold that ""Saul (1 Samuel 16:14). The Hebrew rûah need not imply apersonal influence, though, if we may judge from Josephus (Ant. Jud.,VI, viii, 2; ii, 2), the Jews were inclined to give the word thatmeaning in this very case. In New-Testament times, however, thephenomenon had become very common. The victims were sometimesdeprived of sight and speech (Matthew 12:22), sometimes of speechalone (Matthew 9:32; Luke 11:14), sometimes afflicted in ways notclearly specified (Luke 8:2), while, in the greater number of cases,there is no mention of any bodily affliction beyond the possessionitself (Matthew 4:24; 8:16; 15:22; Mark 1:32, 34, 39; 3:11; 7:25;Luke 4:41; 6:18; 7:21; 8:2). The effects are described in variouspassages. A young man is possessed of a spirit ", . . . "(Mark 9:17, 21). The possessed are sometimes gifted with superhumanpowers: ""(Mark 5:2-4). Some of the unfortunate victims were controlled byseveral demons (Matthew 12:43, 45; Mark 16:9; Luke 11:24-26); in onecase by so many that their name was Legion (Mark 5:9; Luke 8:30).Yet, evil as the possessing spirits were, they could still helptestifying to Christ's Divine mission (Matthew 8:29; Mark 1:24, 34;3:12; 5:7; Luke 4:34, 41; 8:28). And they continued to do so afterHis Ascension (Acts 16:16-18).

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