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not over the people of Israel. To this the Deity replied that he had power over them also in the day of expiation, if any of them had sinned, or been guilty of any wickedness.
On this account, it is said, the Jews did at one time offer gifts to him on that day, that he might not mention their sins.
Buxtorf states that they made offerings to Satan in order to blind his eyes to their transgressions ; or in other words, as a bribe to let them go without accusation, and not make void their sacrifices to Jehovah. They founded this practice on Exodus xxiii. 8. “And thou shalt take no gift; for the gift blindeth the wise.” 10
As the quotation from Dr. Clarke says, the language of the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, or Jews, is employed in conformity to the tradition prevalent among them, that this Sammael or devil was the angel of death, without adopting the tradition itself. Of course, no sensible person can suppose that the inspired writer believed this foolish fable about Sammael and Gabriel; or that he intended to teach as a truth the silly fiction that Sammael, the imaginary Jewish devil, really had the power of death, or of separating the soul from the body,” in the case of those dying out of the land of Israel. 11
In this, as in a multitude of other instances, the writer teaches a great truth, viz., the destruction of death, in the popular language of the day. He says that the devil, the symbol or personification of evil generally, has “the power of death,” just as the Saviour speaks of the woman whom
10 We give this on the authority of Van Dale, in his Dissertationes de origine ac progressu Idolatriæ et superstitione, &c. Indaorum. Cap. vi. Amsterdam, 1696. We have never seen it stated elsewhere that the Jews made offerings to the Devil. Van Dale cites Buxtorf, Synagoga. Cap. xxi. The work is a very curious and learned one, and full of Rabinical lore. It may be found in the Library of Harvard University.
11 Byron, in his Hebrew Melodies, adopts the expression noted above. In the poem on the “ Destruction of Sennacherib,” he has the following:
“ The Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
Their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew still." It would be very foolish to argue from this, that Byron actually believed in the existence of Sammael, the “angel of death," the Jewish devil, or in any angel as presiding particularly over the death of mankind.
Satan hath bound," or, as the Revelator says, “ the devil shall cast some of you into prison,” without intending to assert the personality of the devil
, or that he has the power to do these things; without intending to be understood in any literal sense of the language.
And even now, among those in this day who profess to believe in the existence of a personal devil, there is not one, probably, who believes in any such absurdities as these. What man of ordinary intelligence really supposes that the devil, admitting his personality, has anything to do with our dying, with the natural dissolution of the body? or, in the words quoted, has “the power of death,” the power of destroying life? Who believes that he bows people down with bodily infirmities and disease ? that when a woman's spine is bent double, or a man is struck with palsy, or is born blind, or deaf and dumb, or is seized with a fever, or epilepsy, or is insane—that any or all these are the work of the devis ? Who is so ignorant or so weak as to charge such things on the devil ?
But why not? If he ever did these things, why not now? If he had such power in the days of the New Testament, why has he not the same power in these days ? Is it said, in reply to these questions, that the Saviour has wrested the power out of his hands? Well, if this be the fact, what is the cause of these diseases and bodily infirmities at the present day? If the devil caused them before the coming of Christ, and the Saviour deprived him of this power, who or what has caused them since the coming of Christ? If it be answered that sin is the cause, we ask if sin did not exist before the advent of the Saviour? If it be answered that these atlictions are the result now of physical transgression, disobedience to the natural laws of organization, we still ask, have not these causes always existed? And if they are sufficient in themselves to produce these infirmities in these times, what is the need of inventing a devil to account for them in the olden times ?
The simple truth is, that “Satan and “ Devil" terms employed to symbolize evil, the personations of the abstract principle; a prosopopeia, or figure of speech, by which certain attributes or qualities are clothed with personality, and represented as acting in the way a person would act possessing these attributes and qualities. And sometimes
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the words are used in a restricted, and sometimes in a general or universal sense. In some cases " devil " is used as the symbol of lust and passion; sometimes to represent the physical evils which men suffer; sometimes to describe the wickedness and unbelief which led men to oppose the gospel, and held the world in bondage to sin ; and sometimes as the personification of the abstract idea, the principle of evil in the world.
This last usage of the word, in its most comprehensive symbolization, is seen in Acts xxvi. 18, where Paul is sent to the Gentiles, to
eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God." Here Satan represents evil in its broadest definitions. It is the personification of error and falsehood, of idolatry, sensualism, and wickedness, in all their multitudinous forms. Paul enumerates them under the general head, or title, “ Works of the Flesh," while John calls them “ Works of the Devil" - "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” (Gal. v. 19-21.)
And to the downfall of this kingdom of evil, and the utter abolition of sin, and sorrow, and suffering, Jesus alludes in his reply to the seventy disciples on their return from their mission, reporting the success of their labors —- “I beheld Satan as (like) lightning fall from heaven.” (Luke x. 17–21.) “ Heaven” here is used as in verse 15: “ Thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell." That is, this city, which had been exalted to great prosperity, should be utterly destroyed. So Satan, or the kingdom of sin and wickedness, which had exalted itself to great power, holding all the nations in subjection, the Saviour saw falling speedily into wreck and destruction before the power and progress of the “ kingdom of God,” or the gospel.12 The same figure is found in Isaiah xiv. 12, in reference to the overthrow of the king of Babylon: “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."
12 John makes Satan to represent the enemies of the gospel. “I see Satan," that is, all the adversaries of the gospel, who are afterward called serpents, scorpions, and the enemy's host, “fall like lightning from heaven," that is, from the political heaven, from power and authority. Cicero says to Mark Antony, “ You have hurled your colleagues down from heaven." Still, we think the interpretation we have given in the text is the true one.
We have now gone over the ground covered by the title of this article, and the results of our investigation may be summed up in the following:
1. The Jews of our Saviour's time believed in a personal devil, and regarded him as the author of physical and moral evil; of the diseases and infirmities of the body, and the temptations and wicked suggestions of the spirit.
2. This doctrine is not found in their Scriptures ; no traces of it appear in their early history; no allusions to it are found in any of the historical or prophetical books of the Old Testament; nor in the poetical, save in the introduction to the book of Job, where it stands isolated and alone, shut up in the first two chapters, in marked contrast with all the rest of the
poem. 3. Of course, as it is not a doctrine of Revelation, they must have borrowed it from the heathen, somewhere between the close of the Old Testament and the opening of the New. They probably first came in contact with the idea during their captivity in Babylon ; though it does not seem to have made much impression on their religion or literature for some hundreds of years—otherwise we should find it in the later books of the Old Testament. But gradually it grew up into form and distinctness, and in the four hundred years before the coming of Christ, it took on the shape in which it appears among the common people of the New Testamente
4. The Saviour, in his intercourse with the people, when healing diseases, or speaking of the wickedness of the age, or describing the character and conduct of evil men, adopts the language of the times, without regard to its philosophical fitness; the only language, in fact, which the people could understand. And he did this on the same ground that we say to a little child, “ the sun rises, 6. the stars set,' * the moon changes,” “the winter is gone,” &c., without going into a scientific exposition of the revolutions of the earth and moon, which the child could not comprehend until after years of growth and study.
5. By so doing, Christ did not endorse the errors of the Jews respecting the devil, any more than he endorsed other errors which he passed over without correction, denial or or reproof. He did not sanction the dogma by alluding to it in their phraseology, any more than hundreds of people in this day, who, not believing in a personal devil, vet when conversing with those who do of the exceeding wickedness of some bad man, say, “ He is a perfect Satan,” or “He acts as if the devil possessed him,” or “ He is a legitimate child of the devil.”
6. Finally, the Saviour speaks, on this and many other subjects, in the popular dialect of the people he is teaching. And without daily and hourly entering into endless unprofitable controversies, he preached the great doctrines of the Gospel, laid down general principles, and set in action spiritual forces, which in the long run he knew would educate and reform the world, and deliver all men from the bondage of error and sin into the glorious liberty of the children of God!
T. B. T.
Whittemore's Modern History of Universalism.
The Modern History of Universalism: Extending from the Epoch of the Reforination to the Present Time. Consisting of Accounts of Indi viduals and Sects who have believed that Doctrine; Sketches, Biographical and Literary, of Authors who have written in favor of and against it; with Selections from their Writings, and Notes, Historical, Explanatory, and Illustrative. By Thomas Whittemore. Vol. I. Bose ton: Abel Tompkins. 1860.
We welcome the appearance of this volume with peculiar satisfaction. Numerous difficulties in the way of its execution — difficulties inhering in the nature of the subject, and difficulties attended upon the failing health of the author had led us to fear that a work which only the author could write, might be hopelessly deferred. We have known much of the vast and varied sabor necessary to collect even the materials for the volume; of the author's perplexities in the