29. They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.” News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. (Marc, 1: 21 to 28).
30. While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” (Matthew, 9: 32 to 34).
31. When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” “O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” (Marc, 9: 14 to 29).
32. Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matthew, 12: 22 to 28).
33. The deliverance of those possessed by evil spirits figure, with the cures, among the most numerous acts of Jesus. Among the facts of this nature there is one that is reported above in n° 30, where the proof of his obsession is not evident. It is probable that then, as now, they attributed to the influence of demons all maladies, of which the cause was unknown, mainly to dumbness, epilepsy, and catalepsy. But there are some cases of it where the action of undeveloped spirits is very evident. They have with those to which we have been witness such a striking analogy, that one recognizes with them all the symptoms of this kind of affection. The proof of the participation of an occult intelligence in similar cases is from the fact that a number of radical cures have been made in some spiritist centers, solely by the evocation and enlightenment of the spirit obsessors, without magnetism or medicine, and often in the absence and at a distance from the patient. The immense superiority of Christ gave to him such authority over imperfect spirits, then called demons, that it was sufficient for him command them to retire; for they could not resist his will (Chap. XIV, n° 46).
34. The narrative of the evil spirits having been sent into the herd of swine is contrary to all probability. Incidentally, it would hardly be explainable the presence of such a numerous amount of pigs in a country wherein that animal was seen as horrendous and useless for nutritional purposes. An evil spirit is no less a human spirit still, though imperfect enough to do evil after death as he did it before; and it is contrary to the laws of nature that he can animate the body of an animal. One sees there the amplification of a real common fact of the ignorance and superstition, or perhaps an allegory to characterize the impure inclinations of certain spirits.
35. Obsession and possession by evil spirits seem to have been very common in Judea in the time of Jesus, which gave him the opportunity of curing many. The undeveloped spirits had no doubt invaded this country, causing an epidemic of the disease (chap. XIV, n° 49).
Without being epidemic, the obsession of individuals is extremely frequent, and presents itself under various aspects which a profound knowledge of Spiritism makes easily recognizable. The health of the individual is often sadly affected by it, either by aggravating organic affections or causing them. Obsessions will some day be inevitably ranged among pathological causes requiring by their special nature special curative means. Spiritism, by making known the cause of the evil, opens a new way for the art of curing, and furnishes to science the means of success where it fails only by a lack of knowledge of the original cause of the evil (“The Mediums Book,” chap. 23).
36. Jesus was accused by the Pharisees of exorcising demons by demons. Even the good he did was, according to them, the work of Satan. They did not reflect that it would make no sense for the Devil to expel his own self. It is well known that the Pharisees of that time already considered all transcendental faculties as supernatural and consequently, as the work of the devil. According to them, Jesus himself received from the Devil such powers. This same doctrine is that which the Church upholds today against spiritual manifestations. *
* All theologians are far from professing absolute opinions upon the subject of demons. Here is that of an ecclesiastic, the value of which the clergy would not know how to call into question. The following passage is found in Conferences upon Religion, by Monseigneur Freyssinous, Bishop of Hermopolis, vol. II. p. 341. Paris, 1825: “If Jesus had employed evil spirits to cast out demons, the latter would then have been working to destroy their own empire, and Satan would have been employing power against himself. It is certain that a demon who would seek to destroy the reign of vice in order to establish that of virtue must be a strange demon. That is why Jesus replied to the absurd accusation of the Jews, ‘If I perform mighty works in the name of the demons, his kingdom must then be divided against itself!’ — an answer which admits of no reply.” This is precisely the argument which the Spiritists oppose to those who attribute to the evil spirits the good counsels which they receive. The demon would act like a professional thief who would return all that which he had stolen, and engage other thieves to become honest men.