The Gospel MessengeróDecember 1891

By Elder W. M. Mitchell

In the opening up of the gospel dispensation and in the first few years of the apostolic ministry, there were many varieties of disease and afflictions among the people which baffled all medical aid or human skill to remove. And in almost every instance of these aggravated and desperate cases, the horrid infirmity and the malignity of it, is ascribed to some Satanic power or influence over the poor afflicted one. And in keeping with this idea, if one was deaf or dumb, so that he could neither hear nor speak, he was said to be under the power of a deaf and dumb spirit, just as a noted liar is under the reigning power and dominion of a lying spirit, as all Ahab's prophets were.--1 Kings xxii. 22. These spirits or devils had such power over men, women and children as to seriously affect both body and mind, so that while some were crooked and bowed down in body so that they could not by any means straighten themselves, others had desperate mental afflictions attended with convulsions, throwing them into both fire and water.

Now whatever these infirmities, afflictions and diseases made have been ascribed to, there is no question but that all diseases of every kind bodily or mental, have one common origin. All originate in sinning against God. Sin has brought pain, pain, misery, disease, death upon man. And "whosoever committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning." Sin, there, against God is the root and great fountain head of all manner of disease among the people. Some were thought to be afflicted in both in mind and body to such an extent as to render confinement necessary, yet the seed and root of all manner from whence these afflictions come are in all men, though never were so fully developed in their own most horrid and malignant form in some as in others. It is a great mercy that they are not.

But let us turn for a moment away from this horrid feature of manís sin to the sublime and comforting thought of the never failing remedy. In all these horrid and malignant cases which were brought to Jesus for healing, there was not a failure to cure in a single case. Fever left the body by the power of His word, and devils came out by the same Omnipotent authority. It mattered not how varied the cases of affliction might be or how severe and aggravated the malady, or what might be the character of the particular devil that tormented and had the ascendancy over the poor afflicted one, whether it was a foul; unclean spirit, a lying spirit, a malicious sprit, or a "legion of devils" in one man, basely debauching his whole character, they were cast out by the power of Jesus. Now without enlarging upon this thought, it seems evident that the effectual cures of all these hopeless and helpless cases are clear illustrations of the merits of Christ's atonement for sin, and the all prevailing power of his word and Spirit to heal, cleanse and purify unto himself the very worst and most desperate cases of sin and transgression with which any of his chosen and redeemed people have ever been afflicted. The very name, Jesus was given to signify "He shall save his people from their sins." But as we have presented these things as a mere passing thought, we now submit them for the consideration of the reader.

So long as even Christian people remain in this world they are liable to be greatly tormented with some kind of devil--some kind of foul spirit or besetting sin. Sometimes there may be more than one that greatly afflicts them and gives much trouble and distress to others. For the time being, they appeal to be subjugated and under the dominion of some particular lust or passion, so that no advice of friends, no labor of their brethren in the church, or any power on earth can heal them but Jesus. Some have a daily fault-finding spirit and are so under its controlling power that nothing at home or abroad suits them. They are always murmuring and grumbling about something or against some body, either in the church or out of it, at home or abroad. Now to say the least of it, this murmuring, grumbling, fault-finding spirit, is quite an unpleasant thing in a family or community, and very unwholesome in a church. It is a bad little devil anywhere you find him, and he will wound, bruise, and sometimes tear and rend families, neighborhoods and churches asunder. And as this terrible disease of fault-finding progresses, it soon becomes more and more obstinate until it gets into a chronic state, and then the poor afflicted one displays unmistakable symptoms of a regular "chronic grumbler." He grumbles at things in nature and providence, the cold, the heat, the wind, the storm, the rain, or the drought. He murmurs at his work, or when he has no work to do, and complains against his family, his wife and his children, the cook and the washer. His diet is never right, and he seems never to be more in his element than when he is fault-finding. He sees faults in all preachers, "some speak too loud, and others too low; some too fast, others too slow;" some go right to their work, making a good start, but soon get off the track and scatter about too much, another is too slow to start in preaching and has too many preliminaries and apologies, and thus he runs through a long catalogue of faults, whether real or imaginary, about almost everything and every body, except himself. When this grumbling-fault-finding spirit enters into a man, and so dwells there as to form his general character, he becomes bigoted and self-conceited, and regards himself as quite sharp-sighted to discover, and pull out little motes from the eyes of others, but he cannot see that large fault-finding beam of self-conceit and evil surmising that is in his own eye.

Now it is presumable that all Christian people will agree that this evil-surmising fault-finding spirit is a very bad thing, and yet there are but few even among them who are not to some extent afflicted with it.

It is a sore evil "under the sun," and no doubt it is one of the devils that the apostle says, "Resist and he will flee from you."--James ix. 7. God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble, and through grace alone can we hope to triumph over this or any other foul spirit with which we are afflicted. "O, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?"--Rom. vii. 24. "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." This is the only source to which we can hopefully look for deliverance from this or any other evil with which poor frail man is afflicted.--M.

Submitted by Elder David Montgomery | Print This Page

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