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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/199

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185
AGNOSTICISM: A REJOINDER.

He will judge whether I fall under his description; but I repeat that I believe it, and that he has removed the only objection to my believing it.[1]

Far be it from me to set myself up as a judge of any such delicate question as that put before me; but I think I may venture to express the conviction that, in the matter of courage, Dr. Wace has raised for himself a monument ære perennius. For, really, in my poor judgment, a certain splendid intrepidity, such as one admires in the leader of a forlorn hope, is manifested by Dr. Wace when he solemnly affirms that he believes the Gadarene story on the evidence offered. I feel less complimented perhaps than I ought to do, when I am told that I have been an accomplice in extinguishing in Dr. Wace's mind the last glimmer of doubt which common sense may have suggested. In fact, I must disclaim all responsibility for the use to which the information I supplied has been put. I formally decline to admit that the expression of my ignorance whether devils, in the existence of which I do not believe, if they did exist, might or might not be made to go out of men into pigs, can, as a matter of logic, have been of any use whatever to a person who already believed in devils and in the historical accuracy of the Gospels.

Of the Gadarene story. Dr. Wace, with all solemnity and twice over, affirms that he "believes it." I am sorry to trouble him further, but what does he mean by "it"? Because there are two stories, one in "Mark" and "Luke," and the other in "Matthew." In the former, which I quoted in my previous paper, there is one possessed man; in the latter there are two. The story is told fully, with the vigorous, homely diction and the picturesque details of a piece of folklore, in the second Gospel. The immediately antecedent event is the storm on the Lake of Gennesareth. The immediately consequent events are the message from the ruler of the synagogue and the healing of the woman with an issue of blood. In the third Gospel, the order of events is exactly the same, and there is an extremely close general and verbal correspondence between the narratives of the miracle. Both agree in stating that there was only one possessed man, and that he was the residence of many devils, whose name was "Legion."

In the first Gospel, the event which immediately precedes the Gadarene affair is, as before, the storm; the message from the ruler and the healing of the issue are separated from it by the accounts of the healing of a paralytic, of the calling of Matthew, and of a discussion with some Pharisees. Again, while the second Gospel speaks of the country of the "Gerasenes" as the locality of the event, the third Gospel has "Gerasenes," "Gergesenes," and "Gadarenes" in different ancient MSS.; while the first has "Gadarenes."

  1. "Popular Science Monthly" for May, 1889, p. 76. VOL. XXXV.—12*