Bewitch signifies to deceive and lead astray by juggling tricks and pretended charms (Ac 8:9,11), where the Greek verb ἐξίστημι means literally to put out of one's self, to be out of one's mind. SEE SIMON (MAGUS). The word used by the apostle, in the passage Ga 3:1, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?" is βασκαίνω, which may be understood to mislead by pretences, as if by magic arts, to fascinate. SEE SORCERY.
When Christianity was first promulgated, the nations under the dominion of the Romans, which comprehended the larger part of the civilized world, were greatly addicted to mysterious practices, supposing that there existed in nature certain influences which they could control and manage by occult signs, expressed in different ways and on different materials, and among the nations most notorious for these opinions were the Jews and the Egyptians. It is not, therefore, surprising that some should have brought with them and engrafted on Christianity such opinions and practices as they had formerly entertained. Accordingly, we see that the apostles found it necessary very early to guard their converts against such persons, cautioning them to avoid "profane and vain babblings and oppositions of science, falsely so called" (1Ti 6:20); and in several other passages there are evident allusions to similar errors among the first professors of Christianity. Nor did the evil cease as the doctrines of the Gospel expanded themselves: a number of persons in succession, for two centuries afterward, are recorded as distinguished leaders of these wild opinions, who mixed up the sacred truths of the Gospel with the fantastic imaginations of a visionary science. SEE POSSESSED (WITH A DEVIL); SEE SUPERSTITION.