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NEW EVANGELICAL MISCELLANY.
The Times of REFORMATION.
Ep. to Heb.
The ever-memorable Mr. John Hales.
ESSAY ON SAUL'S VISIT AT ENDOR [1 Sam. xxviii. 6].
Dec. 31, 1827.
GRAY. Saul was the survivor of Samuel.* How shall we explain the prophet's subsequent appearance to that monarch? In the popular opinion, it was effected by diabolical agency: in the judgment of some respectable authors, a miracle, of power and of knowledge, was performed on the occasion; according to other learned and able writers, t the whole was the result of the successful fraud of the woman whom Saul consulted-while there are those who imagine that the scene, or a part of it, passed in vision.
There is not the shadow of a proof of diabolical agency having been employed in this transaction. No hypothesis can be more unnecessary: none more objectionable. What eyidence have we that the Satan of the prevailing creed possesses the power so attributed to him? To imagine that he possesses it, is to arraign the natural and moral perfections of the Supreme Being: nor does the historian glance at any such instrumentality. Witchcraft, Sorcery, Magic, (by whatever name it be called,) was strictly denounced, under the Jewish Theocracy, and capitally punished; not because there was any thing in it, for it was a perfect nonentity, a pretence, a fraud; but because to seek the knowledge of futurity from any other source than the oracle of God, was an act of treason.
Shall we say then that a miracle was now wrought, that Samuel's appearance to Saul was produced by the special exercise of Divine power, and that his language was the language of real prophecy? Two considerations, in particular, are favourable to this opinion: the terror of the
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* 1 Sam. xxy. 1.
I Private Correspondence.