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The Madness and Folly of Religion.

The Madness and Folly of Religion.

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" The prophet is afool,the spiritual man is mad." — Hosea ix. 7.



" The prophet is afool,the spiritual man is mad." — Hosea ix. 7.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 07, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE MADESS AD FOLLY OF RELIGIO. DELIVERED TO MEDICAL STUDETS, BY THE REV. T. BIEY. " The prophet is afool,the spiritual man is mad." — Hosea ix. 7. I SHALL not detain you by any minute criticism on the exact and literal applica- tion of this lanoruage ; suffice it to say, that it is capable of two senses, accord- ing as you regard it as the cause, or as the eff&ct, of the " days" of " visitation" and of " recompense," mentioned in the pre- ceding clause of the verse. If you take it to describe the cause of that visitation or judgment which was coming on the land, it will then mean that the prophets and spiritual men, or men inspired by the Spirit, and commissioned to address the people with the authority of God — that they had actually been accounted fools and madmen — that they had been ridi- culed and scorned as " vain babblers" — that their messages had been treated with contempt, and themselves with indignity  — and that, therefore, Jehovah, who had thus been despised and insulted in the persons of his own prophets, had deter- mined to punish the offenders by bring- ing upon them some terrible visitation. If you take it, in the second sense, as describing the effect of this visitation, it will then mean that those who had long been disobedient to the divine voice, as
addressed to them by the commissioned servants and in the " true sayings" of God, should at length be given up, as an appropriate punishment, to the influence of strong delusion, that they might be- lieve a lie — that men, pretending to be prophets, and falsely laying claim to in- tercourse with the Spirit, should arise 3U among them, and be permitted to deceiv them to their destruction — that these pro- phets should be fools and fanatics, though the infatuated multitude should confide in their counsels — and t\\L\t they, however venerated and obeyed for their spiritual pretensions, should only resemble the ora- cles and soothsayers of the heathen, of whom it is said by Isaiah, that God " turn- eth their wise men backward, changeth their knowledge into folly, and maketh their diviners mad." This last sense is perhaps the more probable of the two ; but, as the thing described in the first actually occurred among the Hebrews, whether intended in this passage or not, it is in allusion to that that we shall be guided in our ob- servations this morning. " Theprophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad.''^ Such was both the feeling and the phraseology indulged in by many of the Jews, in rela- tion to the very men of whom they had every evidence that they came from God, It sometimes meant the utter rejection of their message, and was intended to ex- press an absolute disbelief of the matter
of their testimony — and it sometimes meant a disapprobation of their zeal, and was intended only to censure the warmth and earnestness of manner with which they enforced what was admitted to be true. The phrase was also sometimes employed to stigmatize the penitent and the spiritual among the people, who, in obedience to conscience and to truth. THE MADESS AD FOLLY OF RELIGIO. 315 abandoned their follies and returned to God — according to the representation of one of the prophets, " He that departeth from evil is accounted mad." ow, something similar to all this takes place among ourselves. Human nature is the same now in this country that it was in the land of Judea three thousand years ago. Its dislike of God and of his servants is the same. Its pride and affectation of superiority is the same. It still has a high conceit of its capaci- ties and powers, and it expresses that conceit by despising, as unworthy its re- gard, the discoveries of revelation, or by ridiculing the weakness of the men who either enforce them with earnestness or who follow them with fidelity. " The preacher is a fool, and his disciple is

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