Religious delirium?
Spiritual chloroform?
Religious inebriation?

(Horatius Bonar, "Human Remedies")

"And whenever the tormenting spirit from God
 troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then
 Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit
 would go away." 1 Samuel 16:23

Here is music, religious music; the music of the
harp, the harp of David. This is soothing but it
does not reach the seat of the disease.

It is...
  something human,
  something external,
  something materialistic,
  something earthly,
  something that man can originate and apply.

It is effectual to a certain extent; it drives away
the tormenting spirit, and restores temporary
tranquillity; thus possibly deceiving its victim.

In like manner we find the human spirit afflicted
in every age, sometimes more and sometimes less.

And in all such cases man steps in with his human
and external contrivances.  I do not refer to the
grosser forms of dispelling gloom; drunkenness and
profligacy, in which men seek to drown their sense
of need, and make up for the absence of God.

I refer to the refined remedies: those of
art, science, music, gaiety, by which men
try to minister to a diseased mind.

What is Romanism and Ritualism,
but a repetition of Saul's minstrelsy?

The soul needs soothing.

It is vexed and fretted with the world.

Its conscience is not at ease.

It is troubled and weary.

It betakes itself to religious forms, something for
the eye and ear; to chants, and vestments, and
postures, and performances, sweet sounds and fair
sights, sentimental and pictorial religion, which is
but a refined form of worldliness.

By these the natural man is soothed, the spirit
tranquilized; the man is brought to believe that
a cure has been wrought, because his gloom has
been alleviated by these religious spectacles,
these exhibitions which suit the unregenerate
soul so well.

They but drug the soul, filling it
with a sort of religious delirium.

They are human sedatives, not divine medicines!

They result in a partial and temporary cure.

It is said that the evil spirit departed, but
not that the Holy Spirit returned. Saul's
trouble was alleviated, but not removed.

The disease was still there!

The results of David's harp were only superficial.

So is it with the sinner still.

There are many external remedies, which
act like spiritual chloroform upon the soul.

They soothe, and calm, and please, but that is all.

They do not reach below the surface, nor
touch the deep seated malady within.

Men try rites, sacraments, pictures, music, dresses,
and the varied attractions of ecclesiastical ornament;
but these leave the spirit unfilled, and its wounds
unhealed. They cannot regenerate, or quicken, or
heal, or fill with the Holy Spirit.

They may keep up the self satisfaction and
self delusion of the soul, but that is all.

They do not fill, they merely hide our emptiness.

Our age is full of such contrivances, literary
and religious, all got up for the purpose of
soothing the troubled spirits of man...
excitement,
gaiety,
balls,
theaters,
operas,
concerts,
ecclesiastical music,
dresses,
performances.

What are all these but man's remedies for
casting out the evil spirit and healing the soul's
hurt without having recourse to God's one remedy?

These pleasant sights and sounds may soothe
the imprisoned soul, but what of that? They do
not bring it nearer to God, they do not work
repentance, or produce faith, or fix the eye on
the true Cross. They leave the soul still without
God, and without reconciliation.

The religion thus produced is...
  hollow,
  fitful,
  superficial,
  sentimental.

It will not save nor sanctify.

It may produce a sort of religious inebriation, but
not that which God calls godliness, not that which
apostles pointed out as a holy life, a walk with God.

"And whenever the tormenting spirit from God
 troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then
 Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit
 would go away." 1 Samuel 16:23