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§ 104. Christ’s Explanations of Demonism purely Spiritual.—His Accommodation to the Conceptions of the Demoniacs.

It is important to inquire whether Christ assigned, in express words, any definite view of the origin of these diseases, or established any view by taking it as a point of departure. That he did not dispute the current opinion, does not prove that he participated in it; this would have been one of those errors, not affecting the interests of religion, which his mission did not require him to correct. Apart from its moral ground, it belongs to the domain of science, which is left to its own independent developement—to natural philosophy, psychology, or medicine; sciences entirely foreign to the sphere of Christ’s immediate calling as a teacher, although they might derive fruitful germs of truth from it. It was his peculiar office only to reveal to men the moral ground of both general and special evil, and thus to convince them that its thorough cure could be effected only by influences wrought upon the principle of moral corruption in which it originated. In order to this, the doctrine that these diseases were caused by indwelling evil spirits could be made use of as a point of departure, especially as the truth of the idea of a kingdom of Satan, in its moral sense, was presupposed.

In regard to Christ’s accommodation to the conceptions which the demoniacs themselves had of their own condition, our remarks in another place (p. 114) in reference to the distinction between formal and material accommodation are not fully applicable. The law of veracity, 150in the intercourse of beings in possession of reason, does not hold good where the essential conditions of rational intercourse are done away. In such cases, language obeys its natural laws only in proportion as the use of reason itself is re-established.

There lay a profound truth at the bottom of the demoniac’s consciousness that his feelings, inclinations, and words did not spring from his rational, God-allied nature (his true I), but from a foreign power belonging to the kingdom of the devil, which had subjugated the former. And this truth offered the necessary point of contact for the operation of Christ’s spiritual influence to aid the soul, which longed to be delivered from its distraction and freed from its ignominious bond age. In the mind of the demoniac, the fundamental truth was inseparable from the form in which he conceived it; it was, therefore, necessary to seize upon the latter, in order to develope the former.

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