“…they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick.”
“And when He had called unto Him his twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”
“Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, ‘We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.’ And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?’ And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus…”
Order of Contents
Vermigli, Peter Martyr – p. 91 of pt. 1, ch. 10, ‘Of Appearings of Devils; of their Answers & Sundry Illusions’ in The Common Places... (London, 1583)
Viret, Pierre – ‘The Sixth Dialogue of the Demoniac World, entitled, The Conjuration [Exorcism] of Devils’ in The Second Part of the Demoniac World, or World Possessed with Devils, Containing Three Dialogues… (London, 1583)
Viret (1511-71) was a Swiss reformed protestant reformer.
Perkins, William – pp. 229-246 of Ch. 7, section 3 in A Discourse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft, so far forth as it is Revealed in the Scriptures & Manifest by True Experience... (Cambridge, 1610)
Perowne, Thomas T. – ‘Exorcist’ in ed. William Smith & J.M. Fuller, A Dictionary of the Bible, Comprising its Antiquities… vol. 1.2 (Elz-J) (1863/93), pp. 1027-29
Perowne was an Anglican archdeacon and clergyman. He defends the orthodox view.
‘Exorcism’ in ed. Patrick Fairbairn, The Imperial Bible Dictionary… vol. 1 (A-J) (London, 1867) No author listed.
This treatment is short and orthodox. The general editor, Fairbairn, was a minister and professor in the Free Church of Scotland.
‘Exorcism, Exorcist’ in ed. McClintock & Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (1867-1887) Conservative
Denham, J.F. – ‘Exorcism & Exorcist’ in ed. John Kitto, Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, vol. 1 (A-H) (1880), pp. 682-83
Denham was a Cambridge scholar. He writes as a liberal, but has a good amount of helpful information.
Alt, Heinrich – ‘Exorcism’ in ed. Philip Schaff, A Religious Encyclopaedia, or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal and Practical Theology, vol. 2 (E-L) (1891), pp.
Alt was a pastor in Berlin, Germany.
Nevius (1829–1893) was, for forty years, a pioneering, reformed American missionary in China, appointed by the American Presbyterian Mission; his missionary ideas were also very important in the spread of the church in Korea. He wrote several books on the themes of Chinese religions, customs and social life, and missionary work.
Introductory Note, pp. iv-vi: “In relation to this particular form of New
Testament miracles [exorcism] there has never been any difficulty on the part of Chinese Christians, if indeed among the heathen portion of the com-
munity. And what is very striking in the accounts given by Dr. Nevius, is their uniform confidence shown in the power of Jesus, or even of an appeal to His name to expel the spirits and set the victims free. According to the testimony of many witnesses no earnest Christian believer has ever continued to be afflicted. This seems to be a generally accepted fact, by the heathen who have known the circumstances, as well as by believers.
It will be observed that nearly all the incidents related are given on the testimony not of missionaries, but of native Christians — mostly native pastors. The cases have been carefully investigated, however, by several different missionaries, who have shared in the interest taken by Dr. Nevius, and no one of them appears to have any doubt of the veracity of the witnesses. Some of the facts also have passed under their
own immediate observation.
Missionaries in China have all proceeded with great caution in this matter. Dr. Nevius and others have avoided any measures which might lead the people to suppose that they claim the power to cast out devils even in Jesus’ name. Nor does it appear that any native minister has claimed any such power. The most that has been done has been to kneel down and pray to Jesus to relieve the sufferer, at the same time inviting all present to unite in the prayer; and it seems a well established fact that in nearly or
quite every instance, the person afflicted, speaking apparently in a different personality and with a different voice has confessed the power of Jesus and has departed.
Whatever theory we may adopt by way of explaining these mysterious phenomena, the idea of intentional fraud on the part either of the afflicted, or of the Christian witnesses and sympathizers, is excluded. The absence of all motive to deceive, the great number of instances, the well tried character of the witnesses, and all the circumstances connected with their minute and consistent narratives, establish beyond reasonable doubt their
entire sincerity. Whatever the world at large may think, the native Christians of Shantung are as fully convinced both of the reality of demon-
iacal possessions, and of the available power of Jesus to remedy them, as were the disciples in the apostolic church.”
A Book of Notes & Common Places, with their Expositions, Collected & Gathered out of the Works of Diverse Singular Writers… (London, 1581), pp. 360-1
“Exorcists. What the office of an exorcist was.
The exorcists’ office was, by a special gift of God, serving only for that time, to call forth foul spirits out of the bodies of them that were possessed. [John] Jewel, fol. 98.”
Institutions of Christian Religion… (London, 1606), ch. 47, ‘Of Baptism’, pp. 729-30
“Is Baptism to be administered without exorcism, or conjuring out of the Devil, or blowing?
To exorcise is to adjure a man by holy things, as by God, or by Christ, to do a thing, which men commonly call ‘to conjure’, as the 26th of Mathew, the high-priest says unto Christ, “I conjure thee by the living God, to tell us if thou be Christ.” And the sons of Sceva in the 19th of Acts conjured the devil by Jesus, whom Paul preached:
Hence come exorcists and true exorcism: which gift was peculiar to the Holy Ghost, by which the apostles at the first, and other faithful, drave devils out of the possessed, as we read in the Acts, and Christ says, they shall cast out devils, Mark 16; but yet without baptism as Tertullian observes: Therefore it is not to be retained:
First, because when Christ instituted baptism, He did not command any to exorcise;
Secondly, for that the devil is driven out by Christ even in baptism, for as Cyprian says, like as scorpions and serpents, which are of force on dry land, can do no hurt, being flung into the water, so an evil spirit can inhabit no longer in whom the Spirit of God begins to dwell after baptism and sanctification.
Thirdly, for that the apostles administered it without exorcism.
Fourthly, neither those that are possessed, or the heathen worshippers of devils are to be baptized, but only they who are holy and partakers of the Covenant of Grace and the members of Christ, and to say that such are subject to the devils’ destroying power were very absurd.
Fifthly, that gift of exorcising joined with the gift of miracles was but for a time, as that also was when many sick people were healed by the anointing of the ministers of the Church, and by invocation of the name of Christ (James 5:14), till such time as Christian religion was spread over all the world.
Sixthly, for that exorcism was never used at the circumcising of infants.
But whereas the heathen did bring testimony unto the Church, before their baptizing (as Tertullian witnesses) that they renounced the devil and his angels, this was a public testimony of repentance in them of years, as also that blowing, with clapped hands, which he that was to be baptized performed, did give the Church thereby to understand that he renounced Satan and his kingdom. But in the Papacy it is done by the baptizer, even [in] the face of infant to be baptized, and is therefore frivolous and to be rejected.”
A Catholic Appeal for Protestants, out of the Confessions of the Roman Doctors… (London, 1609), bk. 5, ch. 13, ‘Of Exorcism’, pp. 622-623 Morton was a reformed Anglican.
“The Romish Apology:
‘The denial of exorcism and exufflation [blowing] used in baptism was condemned likewise in Julianus the Pelagian. (Augustine, De Nuptiis & Concupiscentia, bk. 2, chs. 17, 29 & Contra Julian. Pelag., bk. 6, ch. 2)’
The Protestants’ Appeal: Freeing them from heresy in this point:
Exorcism was in, and long after the time of, the primitive Church so visible and miraculous a power of expelling of devils by adjuration, that St. Cyprian in his days durst challenge Demetrianus to come and try what was the virtue [power] thereof in the Church: ‘So shalt thou perceive’ (says he) ‘that the devils fear us, whom thou fear,’ (Espencaeus in 1 Tim., Digression, bk. 1, ch. 14, p. 231) which was so manifest and sensible that St. Ambrose said [that] none could suspect therein any cousenage, or deceit (Ambrosius, Sermon 91, ibid. p. 233): which [exorcism] their bishop Espencaeus notes to have been used in those times, both in baptism, and out of baptism by those who were endued with the gift of exorcization. (quo supra, ch. 15, p. 235)
Exsufflation, or puffing with the mouth, was but a ceremony annexed unto exor∣cism, in signification that the devil was expelled (Bellarmine, bk. 1, de Baptism, ch. 15, §7): But our question is whether this exorcism be necessary in baptism? Their Durand [d. 1296] says that exorcism is but a sacramental adjunct and no sacrament, and that baptism is perfect without it. (bk. 6, Rational., ch. 82, p. 687, num. 8)
2. Where then was the heresy of Julianus the Pelagianist? St. Augustine shows that he did not believe that children are conceived in original sin, and that consequently by nature, they are not the sons of wrath and of the Devil: Therefore did he contemn exorcism and exsufflation, by which mysteries there is signified (says St. Augustine) that children, except they be freed first from the power of darkness (which is the Devil) they cannot enter into the kingdom of Christ. (Tome 7, de Nupt. & Concupisc., bk. 2, ch. 29, p. 855) Therefore the marrow of his error was the denial of man’s natural corruption and the power of God’s grace in man’s regeneration: for the which cause the Protestants, with the whole Church of God, have always condemned that Julianus for a most pestilent heretic.
3. As for exorcism, we may thus determine: It was in ancient times a miraculous and extraordinary gift and a sensible expulsion of devils, which gift is long since ceased (see this largely proved and confessed above, bk. 3, ch. 17, 18, 19): but now exorcism is an ordinary imitation of that same gift, which in these days is out of date. Then it was, upon just occasions necessary, now in baptism it is held not necessary by our adversaries themselves, in whose Church many millions of infants are baptized without exorcism or exufflation, except they shall admit their women-baptists [midwives who baptized in cases of ‘necessity’] into the order of their exorcists.
4. Notwithstanding, exorcism and exufflation, being a tradition so ancient, and containing a sign of man’s deliverance out of the power of Satan, may, according unto the discretion of diverse Churches, be used or omitted (Chemnitz, pt. 2, Examination of the Council of Trent, p. 33 & 219); and so it is, for Protestants use it where they think it may be well retained without scandal (as in England); others, for fear of superstition, omit it. And whosoever shall for a ceremony of such indifferency as exufflation is, wholly condemn any for heretics, either for the use, or disuse thereof, such an one (we say no more) meritò est exufflandus [by just deserving is blown away].”
A Dispute Against the English-Popish Ceremonies… (1637), pt. 3, ch. 1, ‘That the Ceremonies are unlawful, because superstitious…’, p. 2
“3. The ceremonies are proven to be superstitious by this reason: If there were no more, they have no necessary nor profitable use in the Church (as has been proved), which kind of things cannot be used without superstition.
It was according to this rule, that the Waldenses and Albingenses taught that the exorcisms, breathings, crossings, salt, spittle, unction, chrism, etc. used by the Church of Rome in baptism, being neither necessary nor requisite in the administration of the same, did occasion error and superstition rather than edification to salvation. (History of the Waldenses, pt. 3, bk. 1, ch. 6)”
A Complete Summary of Elenctic Theology & of as Much Didactic Theology as is Necessary trans. J. Wesley White MTh thesis (Bern, 1676; GPTS, 2009), ch. 17, ‘The Sacraments’, p. 231
“Objections: 1. Believers can expel demons (Mk. 16:17). Reply: Those who have the faith of miracles.”
Peter van Mastricht
Theoretical-Practical Theology (RHB), vol. 3, bk. 3, ch. 8, ‘The Evil Angels’, section 24
“XXIV. Then seventh, concerning remedies which we should oppose to any attacks or arts of the demons, it is asked whether spiritual things are sufficient here—prayers, battle, the apostolic armor [Eph. 6]—or whether some sort of external things must be added: holy water, the utterance of the name of Jesus, the use of relics, the sign of the cross, any consecrated things, a figure of the cross (made, that is, of wax), blessed images, and especially exorcism. The papists, in support of their superstitious exorcisms, affirm this.
The orthodox deny it: (1) because Scripture commends to us nothing beyond the spiritual things which we mentioned (Eph. 6:11). Indeed, (2) it also expressly rejects all other things (2 Cor. 10:4). Moreover, (3) neither can any bodily things act upon spirits.”
On Jewish Exorcism
The Jewish Encyclopedia – ‘Exorcism’ (1906)
On Greek Orthodox Exorcism
Papademetriou, George C. – ‘Exorcism in the Orthodox Church’ at Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America
On Roman Exorcism
Foulis, Henry – Ch. 5, section 3, ‘The Romanists endeavor to inveagle the more ignorant people to them by their false and cheating Exorcisms’ in The History of Romish Treasons & Usurpations… (London, 1671), ‘A Continuation of the Rebellions & Treasonable Practices of the Romanists in England, from the year 1500-1600’, pp. 446-450
Stopford, Joshua – ch. 22, ‘Exorcisms’ in Pagano-Papismus, or an Exact Parallel Between Rome-Pagan & Rome-Christian, in their Doctrines & Ceremonies (London, 1675), pp. 211-231
Oates, Titus – The Witch of Endor, or the Witchcrafts of the Roman Jezebel in which you have an Account of the Exorcisms or Conjurations of the Papists, as they be set forth in their agends, benedictionals, manuals, missals, journals, portasses, which they use in their churches concerning the hallowing of the water, salt, bread, candles, boughs, fire, ashes, incense, pascal lamb, eggs, herbs, milk, honey, apples, wine, cheese, butter, new baked bread, flesh, font, marrying ring, pilgrims wallet, staff, cross, sword, etc.: proposed & offered to the consideration of all sober Protestants (London, 1679) 47 pp.
Beaulieu, Luke – pp. 21-27 of Ch. 2, ‘Of several parts of the Roman Worship, & first of their Exorcisms’ & Section 1, ‘Of their Many Consecrations’ in The Holy Inquisition, wherein is Represented what is the Religion of the Church of Rome & How They are dealt with that Dissent from it (London, 1681)
Harsnett, Samuel – A Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures to Withdraw the Hearts of her Majesty’s Subiects from their Allegeance, & from the Truth of Christian Religion Professed in England, under the Pretence of Casting out Devils, Practised by Edmunds, alias Weston, a Jesuit, & Diverse Romish Priestes, his Wicked Associates. Whereunto are annexed the Copies of the Confessions & Examinations of the Parties Themselves which were Pretended to be Possessed, & Dispossessed, Taken upon Oath Before her Majesty’s Commissioners, for Causes Ecclesiastical (London, 1603)
Harsnett (1561–1631) was an Arminian, Anglican clergyman and academic who became the Archbishop of York in 1629. He was a chief prosecutor of Darrel above.
Wikipedia: “In 1603, he wrote another book, A Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures, published by order of the Privy Council, which condemned exorcisms performed by Roman Catholic priests in the 1580s. Shakespeare used this book as a source, pulling words and phrases when writing the play King Lear, mainly spoken by Edgar while he feigns madness, and John Milton is said to have been influenced by it when writing L’Allegro.
As a member of England’s religious authority, Harsnett’s sceptical attitudes, divided equally between puritanism and popery, set important precedents for English policy. For example, by coming close “to denying the reality of witchcraft” he may have contributed to the relative lack of witch hunts in England, compared to other countries.”
A Whip for the Devil, or the Roman Conjuror, Discovering the Intolerable Folly, Profaneness & Superstition of the Papists in Endeavoring to Cast the Devil out of the Bodies of Men & Women by Him Possessed… All Faithfully Collected from their Own Authors, with Pleasant Notes & Observations Intermixed (London, 1683)
on Mt. 6:13 in A Godly & Learned Exposition of Christ’s Sermon in the Mount... (Cambridge, 1608), p. 315
“2nd Use. If we pray God to deliver us from evil, then we must beware of all satanical practises as means of help in any distress; this is gross hypocrisy to pray against the evils of Satan and to give ourselves to the practise of them.
Herein many offend, for the Papists say this prayer, but yet their religion in many things is a gross practice of magic and sorcery; for first: the consecration of their host in the mass is plain conjuration: and so are their exorcisms in halowing salt, bread, and water, their casting out of devils by certain words, by the sign of the cross, the application of relics and such like: nay, come to ourselues, what is more common among us than to use charmes and amuletts, to seek to witches and sorcerers when any strange affliction does befall us?
And the setting of a figure, though it be not gross magic, yet therein is a close and privy work of the devil, his hand is deep therein: and the Church in former times has condemned it for witchcraft: for charms, characters and amulets be but the devil’s watchword and sacraments to set him a working: what though the words used be good, yet therein is Satan’s deeper policy, who turns himself into an angel of light, under fair shows working the greater mischeif. But what horrible impiety is this, that when God gives us occasion to come unto Him, we leave Him and run for help to his professed enemies.”
Spiritual Refining… (London, 1652), Section 3, Sermon 32, p. 192
“Sixthly, escaping of worldly pollutions is not always an argument of a renewed nature, because sin may drive out sin, even as divines say about popish exorcisms, when the priest calls out devils from men possessed, it is by collusion: the devil recedes not because those exorcismes are of divine efficacy, but because hereby he would confirm people more in believing a lie.”
The Christian in Complete Armour… (London, 1655), ch. 4, section 1, pp. 197-98
“…though such has been the dotage, and is at this day of superstitious ones, that they think to charm the devil with their carnal exorcisms; hence the Romish reliques, cross, holy water, yea, and among the Jews themselves in corrupter times, who thought by their phylacteries and circumcision to scare away the devil, which made some of them expound that, Cant. 3:8, of circumcision, ‘Every man hath his sword on his thigh, because of fear in the night.’ By sword on the thigh, they expound circumcision, which they will vainly have given as a charm against evil spirits that affright them in the night.
But alas, the devil cares for none of these, no, not for an ordinance of God, when by fleshly confidence we make it a spell: he has been often bound with these fetters and chaines (as is said of him in the Gospel) and the chains have been plucked asunder by him, neither could any man thus tame him. He esteems, as Job says of the Leviathan, iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. It must be a stronger than the strong man must bind him, and none stronger but God the Father of spirits.”
Exorcists are Not a Church Office
A Dispute Against the English-Popish Ceremonies... (1637), pt. 3, ch. 8, Digression 1, ‘Of the vocation of men of Ecclesiastical order’
“Princes should do well to apply their power and authority to the extirpation and rooting out of Popes, Cardinals, Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, Suffragans, Abbots, Deans, Vice-Deans, Priors, Arch-deacons, Subdeacons, Chancelors, Chantours, Subchantours, Exorcists, Monks, Eremits, Acolytes, and all the whole rabble of Popish orders which undo the Church and work more mischief in the earth than can be either soon seen or shortly told.”
“(3) The next step [in the Roman heirarchy of offices] is that of Exorcists, whose pretended office is to cast out devils, in a feigned imitation of the miraculous operations of the first ages of Christianity. These sacred conju∣rers, who take upon them to dispossess devils, are inferior to the very deacons that serve tables [in Romanism], and yet equal to the very apostles, were they able to perform what they undertake. Though one would wonder why the bishops [of Romanism], the pretended successors of the apostles, did not reserve to themselves the power of casting out unclean spirits, as well as that of conferring the Holy Spirit, which, as they say, none but themselves can do. But these exor∣cists are men of that extraordinary power that they out-do the very apostles, for they did not cast out devils by laying on of hands, as these pretend to do.
The bishop tells them that they are spirituales imperatores ad abjiciendos daemones de corporibus obsessis — i.e. they are spiritual governors to cast out devils, etc. to which purpose he gives them power of laying hands super energumenos sive baptizatos sive catechumenos (Pontif. de Ord. Exorc.)….”
About Exorcism at Baptism
The Nassau Confession (1578) – ‘Exorcism or Interdict of the Devil at Baptism’ in ed. Dennison, Reformed Confessions… (RHB, 2010), vol. 3, pp. 483-86
“Also, we find no instance in the gospel narratives in which the Lord Christ or the apostles ever practiced exorcism of those whose bodies were not possessed by the devil (albeit they were sinful men and subject to the spiritual tyranny of the devil). And yet the apostles otherwise commonly used the name of Jesus spoken to them whose bodies were possessed and did this by Christ’s command and promise.
Though the gift or power to cast out the devil from those whose bodies were possessed (as also the gift to heal the sick and perform other miracles) was in use in the early church as confirmation of the accompanying doctrine of the gospel, yet these gifts ceased, as did many other charismata, after the gospel was sufficiently confirmed by miracles.
Once again, however, it is a great error when one thinks that the exorcism or interdict of the devil at baptism has this spiritual efficacy to drive out the devil though it lacks any command and promise of God.
Thus the Word of God teaches that the tyranny of Satan (to which all men are subject, as they are also to the wrath of God) must only be remedied and thwarted through the merit and power of the Lord Christ and through the operation of the Holy Spirit. This does not happen because of exorcism, but rather on account of the divine promise and the covenant of grace which God has established with his people and church to which the infants belong who are born of Christian parents.
It is also certain from God’s Word that when adults or those who are mature have first newly come from heathendom to Christianity and are baptized, the devil is spiritually driven out and they are united with God, not by exorcism, but by the preaching of God’s Word, through which means the Son of God is powerful, with His Holy Spirit, and by faith and prayer. All of this is sealed, applied and confirmed in children and in adults through Holy Baptism.”
The Bremen Consensus (1595) – ‘Exorcism or Adjuration of the Devil’ in ed. Dennison, Reformed Confessions… (RHB, 2010), vol. 3, pp. 702-704
“Much more is exorcism or the casting out of the devil at baptism to be abolished…
II. Second, such expulsion is a futile superfluity and a wicked imposture both with regard to those who are not indeed possessed and also with regard to those who do not have this gift to cast out the devil… The gift and power to cast out the devil from men whose bodies were possessed was in use in the early church as confirmation of the accompanying doctrine of the gospel. But just as in the present day, no one lacking a special divine gift should think that he has received power to countermand bodily illness or to perform other outward miracles, so it is useless to presume to cast out the devil because such gifts are not now general as they were in the early church after the gospel has been sufficiently confirmed by the visible miracles dones in the past.”
Baxter, Richard – Question 49, ‘May One Offer his Child to be Baptized with the Sign of the Cross, or the Use of Chrism, the White Garment, Milk & Honey, or Exorcism, as Among the Lutherans, who [the Parent] Take These to be Unlawful Things?’ in A Christian Directory… (London, 1673), pt. 3, ‘Christian Ecclesiastics’, p. 826
Baxter was a congregationalist who may not have thought that all the enumerated things in the question were strictly unlawful in worship. His answer to the question is Yes, in some limited cases.
The Waldensian Confession of Turin (Leger) 1556
ed. Dennison, Reformed Confessions… (RHB, 2010), vol. 2, p. 106
“Third, concerning baptism: they accept in all humility the ordinance concerning this given by the Son of God, when administered as Christ instituted it, without adding, diminishing, or changing anything… as St. Paul commanded us. If one can show that the addition of exorcisms, salt, oil, and other similar practices are according to the Word of God, they are ready to accept them.”
The Guanabara Confession (Brazil) 1558
ed. Dennison, Reformed Confessions… (RHB, 2010), vol. 2, p. 121
“9. We believe that baptism is a sacrament… This institution is taught us in the Word of God, which was observed by the holy apostles… As for exorcisms, the adjuration of Satan, consecrated oil, spittle, and salt, we reject these as traditions of men. We are content solely with the form and institution left by our Lord Jesus.”
The Hungarian Catholic Confession 1562
ed. Dennison, Reformed Confessions… (RHB, 2010), vol. 2, p. 510-11
Concerning the New Testament Sacraments…
“The substance of baptism consists of its element, i.e., water, and the word of institution of Christ, for the lawful and proper purpose of baptism. These things are necessarily required for baptism. The Antichrist has added to them as corrupt practices salt, oil, spittle, and superstitious exorcism, with the ungodly opinion of godparents concerning lamps and clothing…
We repudiate all sordid matters, both papist stipulations and legalities… Only the Lord could have opposed sin, the world, and the devil, and overcome the power of the hostile enemies of heaven. In baptism, we testify that we have long opposed these in Christ and will continue to do so in faith and the strength of Christ with the aid of the Holy Spirit.”
The Second Helvetic Confession 1566
ed. Dennison, Reformed Confessions… (RHB, 2010), vol. 2, p. 864-5
“We believe that is, of all others, the most perfect form of baptism, wherein Christ was baptized, and which the rest of the apostles used in baptism. Those things, therefore, which by man’s device were added afterwards and used in the church, we think unnecessary to the perfection of baptism. Of which kind is exorcism and the use of lights, oil, salt, spittle and such other things; as namely, that baptism is twice every year consecrated with diverse ceremonies.
For we believe that the baptism of the church, which is but one, was sanctified in God’s first institution of it, and is consecrated by the Word, and is now of full force, by and for the first blessing of God upon it.”
The Sandomierz Consensus 1570
ed. Dennison, Reformed Confessions… (RHB, 2010), vol. 3, pp. 238-9
“We understand the best and most perfect form and manner of holy baptism to be that which Christ Himself was baptized by St. John, and as all the apostles baptized, using water only. Therefore we so class all ceremonies and customs added by people to this holy matter so as to hold that without them baptism can be perfect and effectual. Thus [it can be] without exorcisms, without candles, without oil and salt, etc., and without the annual consecration of baptismal water.
For we firmly believe that there is only one baptism of the church universal, which during the Lord’s first institution was sufficiently consecrated by His Word, which remains forever.”
The Confession of John Sigismund (Germany) 1614
ed. Dennison, Reformed Confessions… (RHB, 2010), vol. 4, p. 82
“As regards exorcism, which in the rite of baptism was carried over from the papacy, his Grace, the Elector, holds that because it was neither commanded by Christ nor at any time used by the holy apostles in association with baptism, and is a superstitious ceremony, it detracts from the power and efficacy of baptism, and gives rise to vexatious thoughts among the simple on behalf of their children, as if they were physically posessed.
But in the early church, when there were still gifts for the performance of miracles and in particular for casting out devils, it had quite a different use and effect. The Lord Christ expressly testified (Mt. 17:21) that the evil spirits were driven out through fasting and prayer, and not by exorcism or a man’s admonition. Similarly, the holy apostle Paul (Eph. 6:13) and PEter (1 Peter 5:8), when they equip the Christian soldier with all kinds of weapons against Satan, have not a syllable’s reflection about exorcism. For such causes and many more besides, it is now more profitable that it be discontinued, and altogether done away with among the orthodox.”
The Irish Articles 1615
ed. Dennison, Reformed Confessions… (RHB, 2010), vol. 4, p. 105
“91. In the administration of baptism, exorcism, oil, salt, spittle, and superstitious ahllowing fo the water, are for just causes abolished; and without them the sacrament is fully and perfectly administered to all intents and purposes, agreeably to the institution of our Savior Christ.”
Hofmann, Daniel – The Orthodox Doctrine of Exorcism in the Administration of Baptism (1590)
Hofmann (1538-1611) was a professor of theology at Helmstedt, Germany.
Mylius, Georg – A Disputation on the Abrogation of Exorcism in Baptism (Jena, 1591)
Mylius (1548-1607) was a professor of theology at Jena & Wittenberg.
The History of Exorcism
On the Renaissance
Menghi, Girolamo & Gaetano Paxia – The Devil’s Scourge – Exorcism during the Italian Renaissance (Weiser Books, 2002)
van Dijkhuizen, Jan Frans – Devil Theatre: Demonic Possession and Exorcism in English Renaissance Drama, 1558–1642 Pre (Cambrdige: D.S. Brewer, 2007)
Sands, Kathleen R. – ‘The Doctrine of Transubstantiation & the English Protestant Dispossession of Demons’ History, 85, no. 279 (July, 2000): pp. 446–462
eds. Bremer, Francis J. & Tom Webster – ‘Exorcism’ in Puritans and Puritanism in Europe and America: a Comprehensive Encyclopedia Pre (2006), p. 389-90
On the Englishtenment
Midelfort, H.C. Erik – Exorcism & Enlightenment: Johann Joseph Gassner & the Demons of Eighteenth Century Germany Pre (Yale Univ. Press, 2005)
In American History
Cuneo, Michael W. – American Exorcism: Expelling Demons in the Land of Plenty (Doubleday. 2001) This is a sociological account.
Latin: On Exorcism
Dalby, Christoph – On Exorcism, as it is Accustomed to be Conjoined with the Baptism of Infants, Also on Woman-Baptizing, that is, the Baptism of Infants wherein Women Usurp in the Case they Call, ‘Of Necessity’: the Judgments of Evangelical Doctors having been Collected… (Herborne, 1612)
Dalby (fl. 1612) was a reformed minister. The first half of the volume consists of a prefatory epistle and 28 quotes of divines about not retaining exorcism in baptism. The second half of the volume contains a prefatory epistle and numerous more quotes against women baptizing infants in the case ‘of necessity’.
Erni, Heinrich – A Theological-Philosophical Disputation on the Demonic Possession of Men & the Ejection of Demons (Zurich, 1626)
Erni (1565-1639) was a reformed professor of philosophy, logic and theology at Zurich.
Beckmann, Friedrich – A Theological Dissertation on Exorcism, in the Form of an Academic Dissertation 2nd edition, illustrated with additions (d. 1667; Frankfurt, 1689)
Beckmann (d. 1667) was a professor of logic, metaphysics and theology at Frankfurt, Germany.
Strimesius, Samuel – Annotation 5, ‘On the Baptismal Exorcism of Infants’ in A Hexad of Annotations, Comprehending Controversies Between Protestants on the Person of Christ, God-Man, of Baptism, & of Rites which are Not Wholly Indifferent (Frankfurt, 1706), pp. 48-60
Strimesius (1648-1730) was a reformed professor of philosophy, physics and theology at Frankfurt, Germany.
Nonnen, Nicolaus – A Theological Dissertation Exhibiting Something of the Demoniacs which are Mentioned in the New Testament (Bremen, 1743) 29 pp.
Nonnen was a reformed professor of theology and practical philosophy at Bremen, Germany.
Maresius, Samuel – The Exorcist, or of Exorcisms, a Solitary Book, to which is Added Three Dissertations: 1. on the God of Forces [Dan.11:38], 2. Of the Eucharistic Cup, 3. of Prayers for the Dead (Groningen, 1648) 275 pp. There is no table of contents. The Exorcist is 178 pp. The Eucharistic Cup is on p. 209 and is about retaining the Cup in the Supper.
Maresius (1599-1673) was a reformed professor of theology at Sedan, France & Groningen, Netherlands.
French: on Exorcism
Perrault, Francois – The Anti-Demon of Mascon… Together with The Demonology, or a Discourse Touching in General the Existence, Power & Powerlessness of Demons & Sorcerers, & of Real Exorcisms, & of Remedies Against Them, Contra the Unbelief & Misbelief of This Time (Geneva, 1656) ToC
Perrault (c.1572-1657) was French reformed.
“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.”
1 Sam. 16:23
“…they brought to Him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, ‘It was never so seen in Israel.'”
“‘Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not… And they brought him unto Him: and when He saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And He asked his father, ‘How long is it ago since this came unto him?’ And he said, ‘Of a child.’ And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him…’… Jesus… rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, ‘Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.’ And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. And… his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why could not we cast him out?’ And He said unto them, ‘This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.'”