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heaven, and making the devil fall down, as from an earthly precipice! How much more agreeable to reason, and consistent with the context, to interpret this Satan, as the adversaries of the Christian cause !!
We are told, that the devil put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus, and that Satan entered into him. Is this lite ral? How is it then, that this very same act is ascribed to Judas himself, and elsewhere is positively asserted to have been done by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God? In this case, it must be allowed that the devil was only an agent of the Deity. And would not Judas's own evil passions have answered just as well ? Surely it comports better with all our ideas of God, that these adverse, antichristian passions were the devil that took possession of him.
Similar to this are those expressions in the Acts, “ Why hath Satan filled thy heart?” 6. Thou child of the devil.” - From the power of Satan unto God;" with many other such expressions. Paul says, “ There was given me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan.” Now as
this word is not in the genitive case, the literal translation is “an angel Satan.” This thorn in the flesh was, probably, a paralytic seizure, or some bodily infirmity, and this was the " angel Satan,” the adverse messenger.
We are told that our adversary, the devil, “ walketh about as a roaring lion seeking whom he 'may devour.” You will not, you cannot, contend that this is to be taken literally. The expression devour you will at once maintain to be figurative. The epithet roaring you will also assert to be inapplicable, as giving a signal of his approach, and representing the loud and tumultuous manner in which his schemes are executed. And does his “ walking about upon the earth,” suit your ideas of his ubiquity, his entrance into the heart, his being perpetually with every individual tempting him to sin ? In the succeeding verse it is added, Whom resist, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your
brethren that are in the world.” Now it is perfectly natural, that all this advice and warning should be given to
Christians by the apostle, in reference to the calumnious adversaries with whom they were surrounded, who were indeed a
roaring lion seeking to devour them, with fire and sword and tumultuous persecution.
But we read in Jude, and in a similar passage in Peter, that “ The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation,
on, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.” Is this the devil and are these his angels, so dreadfully formidable to human beings? Is this the roaring lion,” walking about the earth, this the omnipresent being perpetually whispering evil into the human heart? What! bound in everlasting chains ! This the “s prince of the power of the air ?” Confined in perpetual darkpess? You must be conscious that this passage, so interpreted, contradicts every idea of the devil you have been contending for. I cannot enter into a critical ex+ planation of every passage. I will refer you' to Simpson's Essay on the words Satan and Devil, where the subject is tho
roughly 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 subsequent punishment.
One expression more in Revelations, “ That old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, who deceiveth the whole world, was cast out into the earth.” This expression is not a little singular, if it is to be understood literally; he was cast out into the earth, where, according to your idea, he has been exercising almost sovereign dominion,* and yet, according to
Jude, verses 5 and 6. “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye onee knew this, how that the Lord having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the messengers, who watched not duly over their principality, but deserted their proper station, he hath reserved until the judgment of the great day, in the chains of death under darkness.”
Ayymous, messengers; to spy out the land. See Num. xiii. 1, 2, 16, 17.
Typsarras, observed, attended, watched. See 1 John, v. 8. Rev. i. 3, xxii. 7, 9.
apycov, principality. See Ephes. i. 21. Col. i. 16, ï. 10. These messengers were all rulers. See Num. xiii. 2.
O1XrTnprov, station. Schleusner 3. despois asdioss, the chains of Hades. The state of the dead
the former passage, is kept down in everlasting chains
under darkness. The language, as in all prophecies, is exceedingly hyperbolical. The prophecy relates to the contests between the Christian religion and all the adverse powers of this world, its perfect success, and their complete overthrow.
I must now very briefly mention one or two other passages where these words occur,
say, must be differently construed.
1 Sam. xxix. 4. “ The princes of the Philistines said, Let not (David) go down with us to battle, lest he be a Satan to us.”
1 Kings xi. 14. “ And Jehovah stirred up Satan untó Solomon, Hadad the Edomite."
supposed to be the regions below the earth. See Simpson's Essay on Satan, Beausobre and L'Enfant in loc. The Improved Version in loc. Barker's Inquiry, and Leigh's Critica Sacra.
It may be well to mention here a tradition which will serve to elucidate Jude, verse 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.” Lightfoot's Works, vol. i. p. 358 and 1006. This messenger of death, therefore, is called the devil or adversary,