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judice or prepossession, at the feet of Christ and of his apostles, and to learn from them what are “ the principal doctrines of Christianity.”
Of the Existence of the Devil. Though the mere abstract, philosophical question of the existence of the devil, is rather curious than useful, yet to know that we have an invisible and inveterate foe, who makes the seduction of mankind his business, and their destruction his aim, is of great importance.
It is not our purpose to prove that there is an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, prescient, and infinitely malicious fiend. (Lect. vol. i, pp. 18, 73, 74, 84, 91, 92, 102.) Mr. G., for aught we know, may have heard igno. rant persons speak as if there were; and it must be con. fessed that he has made the best use of their misrepresentations. His attack on this 6 castle in the air” has afforded him a triumph to which he is heartily welcome. If he can prove nothing else, he can prove that there is not an in. finite devil. But all his arguments on this topic are mere waste of words. He has manufactured a man out of the straw of vulgar inaccuracy, and has innocently set it on fire. Leaving him to warm himself by the flame which he has kindled, we proceed to point out what we have learned on this subject from the sacred Scriptures.
By those divine oracles we are taught that there are beings celestial as well as terrestrial. He who created “ heaven” and “ earth,” created all things “in” them, “ visible and invisible, even “ thrones, dominions, prin. cipalities, and powers," Col. i, 16. These invisible in. habitants of heaven are intelligent beings; for they “ do always behold the face of the Father which is in heaven," Matt. xviii, 10: and moral agents ; for they not only know, but do his will, and are set forth as an example to us, who are taught to pray that his “ will may be done on earth, as it is done in heaven.” They are spiritual substances: not clothed with flesh like us ; for “he maketh his angels spirits,” Heb. i, 7.
These celestial spirits are called angels or messengers, because they have been known to mankind chiefly in the character of messengers from God.
From St. Peter and St. Jude we learn that some of these inhabitants of heaven “ abode not in the truth,” but fell from their rectitude and bliss. To disturb our enjoy. ment of the testimony of St. Jude, Mr. G. has given us a specimen of Socinian reasoning. “I cannot enter into a critical explanation of every passage. I will refer you to Simpson's Essay on the words Satan and Devil, where the subject is thoroughly investigated. Suffice it now to say that it refers to human beings, and the punishment temporal. It relates to the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness, to their rebellion and their sub. sequent punishment.” (Vol. i, p. 73.)
Let us hear by what means Mr. Simpson has perverted the sense of the words of the apostle. In the first place, he has taken the utmost freedom in giving a new version of the passage. We shall not, however, object to this ; except in the case of one word, viz., aldions, which our translators have properly rendered “everlasting.” It is from aɛt, always, and is the word which St. Paul uses in Rom. i, 20, where again it is, and must be, rendered “ eternal :" (" eternal power and yodhead.") It is used by Ignatius, in his epistle to the Magnesians, (sec. 8,) to point out the eternity of Jesus Christ, whom he denomi. nates, with respect to God, avrov Toyoç aidios, his eternal Word. But Mr. S., to get rid of a word which indicates eternal, instead of temporal punishment, has translated it in connection with the word dequois, without assigning any reason, and contrary to all authority, “ the chains of Hades.' In this case, then, we have a false translation.
With this exception, the utmost freedom of translation being allowed, the passage stands thus :—“And the (an. gels, or) messengers, who watched not over their princi. pality, but deserted their proper station, he hath reserved until the judgment of the great day, in everlasting chains, under darkness." Such, with the exception which we have noted, is Mr. S.'s translation, on which we re. mark:
1. That the passage is still perfectly applicable to our purpose.
2. That the application of it to Mr. G.'s purpose is be. yond all measure forced. (1.) How are the spies said to be messengers ? The word ayyełos means a messenger who bears tidings. But the spies were not sent with any message, news, or tidings. They were sent to spy out the land. (2.) Was it the sin of the spies that they did not watch over their principality, but deserted their proper station? Was it not that they brought an evil report of the land? (3.) Is being reserved in chains to the judgment of the great day, and in everlasting chains, merely a “temporal punishment ?" (4.) How can the sin of the spies refer to the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness, to their rebellion and their subsequent punishment ?
Thus, after the utmost latitude is allowed to Mr. G. in his translation, he is obliged to make a most arbitrary application of the passage, and misses the mark at last. The passage from St. Peter's epistle remains untouched, for it would not admit of a similar application, and is therefore fully in our possession. It stands thus : “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment,” 2 Pet. ii, 4.
It is probable that the sin of these angelic beings was pride. Hence St. Paul directs that a bishop should not be “a novice, (or young convert,) lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil,” i Tim. iii, 6. How that pride was manifested, is not explained. But there may possibly be an allusion to their sin in that passage: “ How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations ! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north : I will ascend above the heights of the clouds : I will be like the Most High," Isa. xiv, 12-14.
At the time of our Lord's appearance, these fallen spi. rits were permitted, in many instances, to take possession of the bodies of mankind. Mr. G. readily grants “ that it was a common opinion among all the heathen nations, that the spirits of departed men and heroes were permitted, after their death, to enter the bodies of human beings." (Vol. i, p. 73.) A similar notion, he admits, obtained among the Jews, who, he says, “ gave the name of demons to those spirits which were permitted to enter the human frame to do evil.”. (Vol. i, p. 74.) This notion is, however, deemed by him perfectly erroneous, (vol. I, p. 101,) and the demonology of the Jews is treated by him as in no way connected with the Scripture account of the devil, or with the design of the mission of Jesus Christ. (Vol. i, p. 98.) It will therefore be necessary to examine it.
The demoniacs, of whom we have so many accounts in the New Testament, were persons really possessed by de.
Such is the account which the evangelists give of them. They do not speak of them as supposed to be possessed, but as being really so. “ There met him two pos. sessed with demons, Matt. viii, 28. Such is their uniform language. These demons were wicked spirits. “ And they that were vexed with ean spirits (came :) and they were healed,” Luke vi, 18. “ When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than him. self; and they enter in, and dwell there : and the last state of that man is worse than the first,” Luke xi, 24–26. Hence, their uniform language is, “ He was casting out a demon,” Luke xi, 14. The circumstances of these cases admit of no other supposition than of real possessions. While the men said to be possessed were cut off from all intercourse with persons who might give them any in. formation respecting Jesus Christ, and therefore knew nothing of him, what were they who said, “ What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God ? art thou come hither to torment us before the time ?” who in answer to the question, “ What is thy name ? said, Legion : because many demons were entered into him ?” Luke viii, 30.—Who besought him to “ suffer them to go away into the herd of swine ?” Who went into the herd of swine, and drove them, in spite of their keepers, into the sea ? Matt. viii, 28–32. What is that but a spirit, that seeks rest but can find none? that resolves to return to his first abode ? and that taketh with him seven other spirits, more wicked than himself?
Mr. G. grants that such were the opinions of the Jews, and supposes that “ it was no part of the office of Jesus to controvert them;" (vol. i, p. 98;) but rather that “he adopted the phraseology” of those “ to whom his instruc. tions were addressed.” (Vol. i, p. 73.) He makes, indeed, some apology for this, by supposing the doctrines of de. monology to be merely philosophical: and “our Saviour (says he) was not sent to teach philosophy.” (Vol. i, p. 98.) But will this be a sufficient vindication of him who came “ to bear witness of the truth ?” Did Jesus Christ not only overlook the superstitions of the age in which he lived, but confirm them? Mr. Yates says it is the opinion of the Unitarians that Jesus Christ, “ by the force of his doctrines and example, saves men from ignorance and superstition.” (See p. 32.) Was it then for this purpose Jesus Christ falsely declared that the demons he cast out were “ unclean spirits ?” Luke xi, 24. Nay, is not this to charge the Son of God with imposture ? Did he not represent his actually “casting out demons by the finger of God,” as a proof that “the kingdom of God was come ?” Luke xi, 20. Was he not, then, on Mr. G.'s hy. pothesis, a false and uncommissioned teacher ? If so, it is time to give up our appeals to the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and to receive, as the only true apostles of God, the So. cinians, who now teach that “whatsoever was written of old time was (not) written for our learning,” but in conformity to the superstitions of the times! Happily for us, however, Mr. G. has lucid intervals; and at one of those seasons, more favourable to truth, he says, in proof that he ought not to be afraid of attacking popular prejudices, " that Jesus and his apostles pursued one direct course, in opposition to long-established opinions, and regardless and fearless of consequences, leaving them to God.” (Vol. i, p. 108.)
Şuch is Mr. G.'s consistency ! On the supposition that Jesus Christ was a “ teacher sent from God,” and that what Mr. G. calls “ his instruc. tions” were not, like those of the Jewish scribes, the 66 doctrines of men,” but the truth of God, with what pro. priety could he say, “We have nothing to do with all those passages in the New Testament, where persons are spoken of as being possessed: they have no reference to our sub. ject;" (vol. i, p. 74;) except that those passages are an