« PreviousContinue »
cifying Christ, and is illustrated by such passages as John 3:18, 19. Is it asked how the prince or powers of this world were cast out? By putting to death the Lord of glory, the Jews filled up the measure of their iniquity, and from that hour were cast out from being the people of God, and have been so for nearly two thousand years. They were the chief persons concerned in our Lord's crucifixion, for the Roman power was only called in to effect their purpose. Pilate showed how unwilling he was to condemn Jesus contrary to all law and justice.
6th. The devil, a fallen angel, is also supposed to be called “the prince of the power of the air.” Eph. 2: 2. “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." Wakefield renders the passage thus" conformably to the ruler of this empire of darkness, the spirit that now showeth its power in the sons of disobedience.” was the opinion both of the Jews and heathen,” says Whitby on this text, “ that the air was full of spirits called demons; that from the earth to the firmament, all things were full of these companies or rulers; and that there was a prince over them who was called the governor of the world, that is, of the darkness of it.” This agrees to Zoroaster's angel of darkness, who was considered the author and director of all evil. The apostle evidently here alludes to this heathen notion, but he told the Ephesians, that this prince or governor of the world, was the spirit which wrought in the children of disobedience. The evil, or wickedness of men's minds, is the true devil, satan, or governor of this world.
7th. The devil is also supposed to be called “the god of this world.” 2 Cor. 4: 4. 66 In whom the god of this world (aionos) hath blinded the minds of
them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” The god of this world mentioned here, is the same as the prince or power of the air in the last, which Whitby says, they called the governor of this world, that is, of the darkness of it.” But the apostle declares, that this governor of the world, prince of the power of the air, or god of this world, was the spirit that wrought in the children of disobedience. This view is agreeable to the words before us, for this certainly blinded the minds of them which believed not. We have now finished our remarks on all the
passages which are supposed to contain the names and titles of an evil being in the universe, deemed by most Christians but little inferior in powers to its Creator. We have stated our views frankly, but in some cases very briefly. Such texts on which the greatest de. pendance is placed for proof, have been considered pretty fully. The result of this investigation has been, a deep conviction, that the more the subject is examined, it will be found that the Bible gives no countenance to that evil being Christians call the devil and satan. But of this our readers must judge for themselves.
FACTS STATED, SHOWING THAT THE DEVIL IS NOT A FALLEN
ANGEL OR REAL BEING.
In the preceding Sections several facts have been developed, showing that the devil is not a fallen an
gel. We shall now very briefly advert to some other facts, not easily reconciled to this doctrine.
1st. No distinct account is given in Scripture of an angel of God sinning in heaven, thereby becoming a devil
, and on account of which he was cast out of it. When proof is demanded of such things, we are referred to texts where satan or the devil is said to have fallen from heaven, and to be cast out into the earth. But we have shown that the sacred writers attached no such ideas to those passages, and by quotations from Jahn, Newton and others, that a very different thing was intended. How then is the fact accounted for, that no sacred writer gives such an account? Is it too much to expect, that such a remarkable event would be clearly and repeatedly mentioned, yea, recorded previous to the fall of man? If true, would all the sacred writers have been silent about it both be. fore and after the fall? This is contrary to God's usual conduct with men. When God was about to destroy the world by a flood, and the cities of the plain by fire, he forewarns the people of their danger, so as to avoid the consequences. But concerning a holy angel becoming a devil in heaven, his fall from it, and the direful consequences to our race, God says nothing about such things. The want of such information is indisputable, and we think no man will affirm, that this is either like God's usual dealings with men, or that he assigns any reason for withholding such information. How then do our orthodox friends account for all this, and where did they obtain such explicit information as they generally give to people about a fallen angel, and the consequences of his fall upon the human race? Was it from Paradise Lost and the Apocrypha, or was it from the Scriptures? We beg of them to re-examine this subject.
2d. If it be true that an angel fell from heaven, and has been walking about in the world seeking whom he might
devour, for nearly six thousand years, how is it to be accounted for, that no sacred writer asserts that any person ever saw him, or had personal intercourse with him? They repeatedly inform us of persons seeing good angels, and relate the conversations which men had with them. They even inform us of their appearance, and sometimes describe the clothing they had on. But do they ever intimate that any one ever saw the devil, describe his appearance and clothing, or relate any conversations held with him ? It cannot be for want of powers on his part to do all this, for our brethren believe that he can do more remarkable things than any of these. Is he ashamed to show himself among men ? We doubt this, for he is believed to be a shameless being. Well, does he conceal himself from men, that he may the more effectually accomplish his wicked designs against them? We doubt this also, for it is affirmed by his advocates, that he can assume a very fascinating form, yea, transform himself into an angel of light, the more effectually to deceive us. How then do our orthodox brethren account for it, that no sacred writer says any one ever saw the devil, or conversed with him ? We are aware, that they may object by saying " did he not assume the likeness of a serpent in Eden, and did he not converse with Eve ?" But brethren, you take this for granted, which is the very question you ought to prove. Besides, we have shown, Section 2. that this is a mistaken view of Gen. 3. You will perhaps object again by saying,“ did not satan make a personal appearance among the sons of God as stated in the first and second chapters of Job, and is not his conversation distinctly related ?” We answer yes;
but can you disprove the evidence which has been adduced, that satan was not a real being, but only the evil imaginary god of the Magians? If you can, we shall feel
greaily indebted to you if you take
the trouble to do this. But perhaps you will object again by saying, "did not the devil appear to the Saviour and hold a conversation with him ?" Answer; did you ever notice, that neither in the two first chapters of Job, nor in the account of our Lord's temptation, nothing is said about any form, color, or shape, which satan assumed ? Nor in either of these cases, are the conversations represented as held by him with sinful men. Besides, in considering those accounts, we think it has been shown that no such being was intended by the writers. If you can prove the contrary, we hope it will be done. Do you object further by saying, are we not told that satan transformed himself into an angel of light, and is he not represented in the book of Revelations under the form of a great red dragon ?” Yes; and you might add “having seven heads, and ten horns, and crowns on his heads; yea, as having a pretty long tail, which could sweep from the firmament a third part of the stars and cast them to the earth." But brethren, is it correct to assume as true, that the devil is a fallen angel, and then recur to the symbolical language of Scripture for proof, which proofs, when adduced, render your doctrine ridiculous ? Besides, have we not shown that such passages have no relation to such a subject? Is it still objected “does not the history of the world since revelation was completed, furnish accounts of the devil appearing to men in various forms, conversing with them; of persons who have sold themselves soul and body to him, and at the agreed time he has come and carried them away wholesale from the world ?" Yes; verily such stories have been told. But if any minister among us should preach such nonsense to the people, he might be looking out for another parish in some other quarter of the globe. If any man among us should seriously say he had seen the devil, and conversed with him, his friends