Imagini ale paginilor


accident without a substance! “ The cloven foot walking about without the devil.” We do not misunderstand Mr. G. “ The word devil (he says) seems in general acceptation to signify nothing more than that propensity to ill observable in the human mind ;* and, like many occult qualities, is found of great use in the solution of various difficulties.” (Vol. i, p. 76.) Thus all Mr. G.'s difficulties are solved by applying this “ occult quality,” this “ propensity to ill,” to him who was holy, harmless, unde. filed, and separate from sinners.” The Socinians have now attached the “cloven foot to the Saviour of mankind ! No wonder that Jesus, no real devil being with him, putting this foot foremost, found his way to the pinnacle of the temple, that he might cast himself down; or to the mountain from which he might see the glorious kingdoms of the world, and worship-nothing. Who are they now who crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame? Who are they who count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing?

There is a passage in St. Jude to which Mr. G. has replied in a note; but which might have deserved some notice in the body of his work. “ It may be well,” says he, “ to mention a tradition which will serve to elucidate Jude 9, respecting Michael the archangel and the devil. Among the Talmudists there is something like the relics of such a matter, namely, of Michael and the angel of death disputing or discoursing about fetching away the soul of Moses. This messenger of death, therefore, is called the devil or adversary." (Vol. i, p. 94.) So the words "disputing and discoursing,"—the body of Moses" and the • soul of Moses”—“ devil” and “adversary,” are here made convertible terms. So much for Socinian precision ! This, to imitate it, is “ to elucidate,” or “to put darkness for light!” The passage is, however, a very ingenious contrivance! To get rid of the devil, another being, created by the fertile imagination of the Jews, is permitted by the Socinians to occupy his place. And this “eluci. dation” is supposed to be a satisfactory answer to all who urge the testimony of St. Jude, as evidence of the existence of the devil. Such are the arguments of these great masters of reason! Here is a being whose real existence, without a shadow of proof from the Scriptures, is taken for granted ; " the angel of death !” And yet after all, this “angel of death” may be “he that has the power of death, that is, the devil.” A good angel would not dispute with Michael, and contend about the “ body of Moses." To a good angel, Michael would not say, 6 The Lord rebuke thee.” And lastly, a good angel would not be the “adversary” (as Mr. G. calls this) either of Moses or of Michael. In fact, these words of Jude afford a direct and positive proof of the existence of a fallen angel, who is called by him “ the devil.”

* Query. Would Mr. G., and his consistent brethren of the Socinian unbelief, find "that propensity to ill (so) observable in the human mind,” if they were discussing the question of the depravity of human nature. Here, they find it." observable” in Jesus Christ himself. Is this more like a "free inquiry" after truth, or a contest for victory, in which even truth itself, with its inseparable companion, consistency, is to be immolated ?

When Jesus had sent out the “seventy, they returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan, as lightning, fall from heaven,” Luke x, 17, 18. Satan, we have learned, is the prince of demons, of whom our Lord, by a strong figure, thus predicts the final and entire overthrow. Mr. G., after a little flourish about the absurdity of a literal interpretation, supposes Satan here to mean 66 the adversaries of the Christian cause.” To this we must add that they were, as the words of our Lord demonstrate, especially the spiritual adversaries which were intended. “ Notwithstanding,” he subjoins, “in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you," Luke v, 20.

As we have found, in the facts which have been examined, ample reason to acknowledge the existence of the devil, we shall find in the general language of the New Testament sufficient reason to suppose him the tempter of mankind. We are exhorted to “ stand against the wiles of the devil,” Eph. vi, 11. We are represented to be in danger, “ lest Satan should get an advantage against as;" because of his “ devices," 2 Cor., ii, 11.

- The prince of the power of the air” is a “ spirit which worketh in the children of disobedience," Eph. i, 2. Thus “Cain, who slew his brother, was of the wicked one," 1 John

iii, 12. Is any man ignorant of the gospel which has been preached to him?" the god of this world hath blinded his mind,” 2 Cor. iv, 4. Does any man live in the commission of sin ?" he is of the devil,” i John iii, 8. “Ye are of your father, the devil, (said our Lord to his wicked countrymen,) and the lust of your father ye will do,” John viii, 44.

To conclude this part of the argument: the Scriptures speak of the judgment, the condemnation, and the punishment of the devil.

1. Of the judgment of the devil. “ Know ye not,” says St. Paul, “ that we shall judge angels?” By angels, we here understand fallen angels: for the holy angels will be ministers in the judgment of men.

• When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him,” Matt. xxv, 31. “ The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire,” Matt. xiii, 41, 42. Now the apostle's argument would lose all its weight, unless he meant to distinguish between fallen men and fallen angels.

2. Of the condemnation and punishment of the devil. When our Lord alludes to the final punishment of wicked men, he

says, “ Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” Matt. xxv, 41. Thus has he marked the antecedent sin of the devil and his angels, and the punishment prepared for them, as distinguished from the wicked men who are doomed to share it with them.

Thus we find that there is a wicked devil, the tempter of mankind, who is distinguished from men on the one hand, and from mere abstract principles on the other. We must now proceed to answer Mr. Ĝ.'s incidental objections.

1. When it is so plain a fact that there is an infernal devil, and spiritual Satan, it can answer no purpose for Mr. G. to quote a hundred texts of Scripture to prove that men or women are sometimes called devils, (i. e., calumniators,) or satans, (i. e., adversaries.) The exist. ence of ten thousand human devils, and earthly satans, brings no evidence that there is no chief of demons, no spiritual devil or hellish Satan.

If. It will not answer Mr. Go's purpose to show that “ nearly every office which is usually ascribed to the de. vil, is in some part of the Scriptures ascribed either to God or to angels.” (Vol. i, p. 108.) This assertion, as far as it relates to angels, he has not attempted to prove, and therefore that part of it goes for nothing. If he mean to impute the same things to God, in the same sense as to the devil

, then, 1. He must exculpate Judas, who betray. ed, and the chief priests, who crucified, our Lord ; " for be. ing delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknow. ledge of God, they by wicked hands crucified and slew him,” Acts ii, 23. 2. He makes God the author of sin. Nothing can be more obvious than this ; for if what is wickedness in Satan be ascribed, in the same sense, to God, it is wickedness still. Nor is this the only argument by which Mr. G., in support of his system, certainly with no other design, makes God the author of all sin, and lays on him the blame of all the mischief in the universe. “ If the Almighty,” says he, “can retain this infernal being in fetters whenever he pleases, and suffer him to roam at large only when he wills,--this permission of the Almighty is the same as if it were his own act and deed. For to permit what you can prevent is the same as to perform.' Now cannot God equally prevent all the wickedness of mankind? But does he prevent it?

No. In the sense of Mr. G. he permits it: that is, though he forbids it, he does not not absolutely prevent it. Is, then, all the sin of mankind to be charged on the Almighty, as his own act and deed ? 3. He rather proves, than disproves, the existence of the devil; for if the works which are attributed to God are in the same sense attributed to the devil, the latter must have a real existence as well as the former. If, on the other hand, he impute similar works to the best and to the worst of beings, but not to each in the same sense, his argument proves only that two beings, with different designs, and therefore both intelligent, are employed among mankind.

But to prevent the mischief which his observation may in another way effect, it will be necessay to show, 1. That Satan tempts men, by soliciting them to sin ; but that God, in this tempteth no man.” God tempts them as he tempted Abraham, by putting their faith to a severe trial, that “ the trial of their faith might be found unto praise and honour and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” 2. Bodily disorders may have been in. flicted on men by the devil, as in the case of Job, with intent that those men may “curse God and die.” But God inflicts them often as a salutary chastisement ; that, like Job, those men may bless God and live. 3. The wick. ed dispositions and conduct of men are imputed to the devil, because he delights in wickedness; but God is said to har. den their hearts; that is, to give them up to judicial hard. ness, because their wickedness is incorrigible. 4. God is said to send on some “ a strong delusion that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned,” and thus, not “ to promote the deceit of Satan,” but to give up to him as incurable those “ who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."


For what purpose any man, calling himself a Christian minister, could make such a comparison between God and the devil, without any explanation, is left to the Searcher of hearts to determine. It could not possibly serve his hypothesis; while it tends to undermine the credit of divine revelation. Thus do some men “sport themselves with their own deceivings.”

III. Mankind have undoubtedly other sources of temptation. “ Our animal passions and bodily appetites expose us to innumerable temptations.” (Vol. I, p. 71.) But Mr. G.'s appeal to the mercy or to the justice of God is by no means a proof that these are the only means of our probation. In the present case such an appeal is, in fact, only an appeal from sacred Scripture to the passions of mankind. If Mr. G. grant that, in the dispensations of divine Pro. vidence, we meet with many trials, and that, unless it be our own fault, those trials are salutary, he will find it difficult to prove that temptations from Satan may not be in general equally beneficial. The effects which the Scriptures attribute to diabolical agency he attributes to other causes. What then has he gained ? If the effects, viz., the number and weight of our trials, be the same, what difference will it make in our views of either the justice or the mercy of God that the causes are many or few, that they are great or diminutive? Where is the in. justice of calling a moral agent to a combat, in which he

« ÎnapoiContinuați »