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(3) The “ Orthodox” view has been most ably set forth by Bishop Martensen. He thinks the “cosmical ” principle, the tempting principle, becomes the actual devil, the personal devil, for the first time when man has allowed him entrance into the sphere of consciousness; that it is man, therefore, who gives the devil being. But it by no means follows from this that man is his own devil: “it is another, a superhuman principle to which existence is imparted by man, a tempting, seducing, making-possessed, a d inspiring power, to which man lends himself as to a non-ego.” And as to the Eden serpent, the legend of which is said to have been first united to the devil tradition in the Talmud about 200 A.D., Bishop Martensen says:
It is the law of the cosmical principle to be subordinate to the kingdom of God; but, in order to become the foundation upon which service may rest, it must first act as an exciting power, must throw itself in man's way, and show him the possibility of rebelling against God, of saying no when God says yes. According to the moral explanation, the serpent is to be regarded as the symbol of this impulse toward independence, becoming active in man and inciting him to become free apart from his Creator. But this impulse toward independence could most assuredly never become active in man, if it had no foundation whatever in the constitution of the creature, if it had not its deepest root in a principle which is active in all created things. The serpent is the outward expression for this principle which creeps up to man to obtain an entrance. ... The forbidden fruit is the glittering world phenomenon which invites man to enjoy it and to make himself its possessor.— Christian Dogmatics (Urwick's translation),
Dr. Hedge, in his chapter on “Dualism and Optimism,” says:
From the Zoroastrian religion, the principle of dualism passed into Judaism, and thence into Christendom. The pseudo-Christian idea of the Devil is its lineal and legitimate fruit. I call it pseudoChristian ; for though Jesus employed the term, or, if you please, the conception, as a given article in the mental furniture of his time, he by no means accents it in a way to authorize its acceptance as a necessary constituent of the Christian creed. It is scarcely any longer regarded as such. Of Christian beliefs once universally received, and never so much as questioned, there is none which seems to have passed into such general discredit, none which is losing so fast its hold of the popular mind. The Devil is still a name to swear by, and still, as a figure of speech, represents a spiritual fact, but no longer stands for an ontological or statistical one.
There is something very curious and not easily explained in this noiseless and imperceptible dropping out from the mind and creed of mankind of
a once universal and rooted conviction. For nearly two thousand years, the belief in Satan was as fixed as any belief whatsoever in the mind of Christendom. For more than a thousand, the doctrine of the Atonement was not, as modern Orthodoxy conceives it, a sat. isfaction of divine Justice, but was understood as a satisfaction of Satan, to whom the world was supposed to have become forfeit by sin. The early Church, among its regular officials, had always one whose business it was to fight the Devil
, in the person of any of his subordinates who might take possession of a human subject. In every church, the exorcist was as much a stated functionary as the deacon or the priest. The idea of Satan was not one of those which! the Protestant Reformation repudiated. . . . Luther insisted, “We are but guests in a world of which the Devil is the prince and the god.”
The real Devil, as figured in Mephistopheles, is “the spirit that denies,” the opposing, unbelieving, bitter, mocking spirit, -- the spirit whose idiom is sarcasm, whose life is a sneer. There is nothing more alien from Godhead, nothing more undivine, more antagonistic to all divineness, than such a spirit
, whose natural symbol is the ape, and whose theological expression is the sin against the Holy Ghost.” - Dr. Frederic H. Hedge (Ways of the Spirit, pp. 239, 242).
Thus through the world, like bolt and blast
That makes another's virtues less;
And all occasions of excess;
The strife for triumph more than truth;
Irreverence for the dreams of youth;
That have their root in thoughts of ill;
The action of the nobler will, -
Beneath our feet, if we would gain
Henry W. Longfellow (The Ladder of St. Augustine). Another phase of the doctrine of a personal devil will be considered in the chapter on Damnation (xlii., post).
What are the Different Orthodox and Other Leading Metaphysical Views concerning the “ Mystery of the Fall” and Christ's Teachings thereon ?
KANT considered the fall and redemption of man to mean simply the necessary transition of Reason from the state of nature to that of culture. Schleiermacher propounded as an explanation of sin that the sensuous consciousness has obtained a start before man's consciousness of God; that this bondage of the higher intellectual consciousness must at last appear to man himself as a false relation, as something from which he must strive to be released. Fichte made the ego begin with being held in bonds by the non-ego, because the
from its very conception, must first conquer for itself its own liberty: he made evil the vis inertiae, in consequence of which the ego inclines to remain in its original state of nature instead of undertaking the labor of going out of and beyond itself.
Manes, a Persian who tried to combine the Oriental philosophy with Christianity, maintained that there are two supreme principles, light and darkness, the one good, the other evil, which produce all the happiness and calamities of the world. The Manicheans, accordingly, hold to an irreconcilable conflict between nature and mind.*
The Infralapsarians are those Calvinists who consider the decree of election to contemplate the apostasy as past, and the elect as being in a fallen and guilty state. The 'Supralapsarians consider this decree to contemplate the elect as persons to be created, and to apostatize with the rest of the race, and then to be recovered by divine grace. The former considered the election of grace as a remedy for an existing evil; the latter, as a part of God's original purpose in regard to men. Bishop Martensen, after adverting to the effort of Leibnitz and
* See ante, chap. xviii., Dr. Hedge on “Dualism."
other Supralapsarians to set forth the alleged fall as a felix culpa, says:
The true optimism and the true Theodicy are to be looked for in the blending of the Supralapsarian and the Sublapsarian views. Christian optimism recognizes the unconditional necessity of the Incarnation; and, as upon this principle it regards human nature in the light of redemption, it can adopt the exclamation, Felix culpa! For, though sin was not willed by God, it could not occur beyond the range of his counsels: though God has not ordained it, it becomes a teleological force for the revelation of God's love. ... History is the living drama of freedom, wherein all points are affected by the movement not only of divine thought, but also of holy will. ... The pessimist views and subjective ideals regarding the world belong only to the stand-point of sinfulness itself.— Christian Dogmatics (Urwick's translation), $ 89.
And yet, somehow, when one does take a survey of history or lifts his eyes out of the books of the metaphysicians to the world around, he is reminded of Bishop Francis Hare's aphorism: “Nothing is farther than earth from heaven, nothing is nearer than heaven to earth.” And this suggests the aphorism of Nathaniel Hawthorne: “ No fountain so small but that heaven may be imaged in its bosom”; and also the inquiry of Tulloch: “How happened it that Jesus' doctrine of sin escaped the taint of asceticism, and of that conception of evil, then not unknown within as well as without Palestine, which regarded matter as the abode of corruption ?”
I see that good men are not so good as I once thought they were, and I find that few are so bad as either malicious enemies or censorious separating professors do imagine. — Richard Baxter.
Who made the heart, 'tis He alone
Decidedly can try us:
Each spring, its various bias;
We never can adjust it.
But know not what's resisted.
In men whom men pronounce as ill,
I find so much of goodness still ;
I find so much of sin and blot,
Between the two when God has not.
Go has bu one enemy, evil; but the evil has the good and itself.- Julius Müller.
Schleiermacher's averment, that sin comes from the sensuous consciousness having gotten the start of man's consciousness of God, recalls a conversation between a doctor of medicine and a doctor of divinity in a story written by a medical professor, the heroine of which met with a moral misfortune a few months before her birth, her mother being bitten by a rattlesnake. The medical side of the colloquy (marred by this abridging) is party as follows:
Ministers work out the machinery of human responsibility in an abstract kind of way: doctors have to study a child from the moment of birth upwards, and our algebra must constantly consider two factors,- friction and strength (or weakness) of material. We see him, for the first year or so, trained by his maker to pure selfishness, in order that he may be sure to take care of himself. When he comes to make his first choice between right and wrong, he is at a disadvantage from this vis a tergo of a whole year's life of selfishness. If stout, red, and lively, we expect to find him troublesome, noisy, and perhaps disobedient, more or less : if he is weak and pale-faced, he will be very likely to sit in the house and read books about other good children that were indifferent to the out-door amusements of the wicked little red-cheeked children. Some of the little folks .we watch grow up to be young women, and occasionally one of them gets nervous, what we call hysterical; and that girl will begin to play all sorts of pranks,- to lie and cheat, perhaps in the most unaccount able way, so that she might seem to a minister a good example of total depravity. We don't see her in that light. We give her iron and valerian, and get her on horseback if we can, and so expect to make her will come all right again. By and by, we are called to see a baby threescore years and ten or more old. We find that this old baby has never got rid of that first year's teaching which led him to fill his stomach with all he could pump into it, and his hands with everything he could grab. People call him a miser. We are sorry for him; but we cannot help remembering his first year's training.
We see all kinds of monomania and insanity. We learn from them to recognize all sorts of queer tendencies in minds supposed to be sane, so that we have nothing but compassion for a large class of persons condemned as sinners by theologians, but considered by us as invalids. We have constant reasons for noticing the transmission of qualities from parents to offspring; and we find it hard to hold a child accountable in any moral point of view for inherited bad temper or tendency to drunkenness, as hard as we should to blame him for inheriting gout or asthma.
Ministers talk about the human will as if it stood on a high lookout, with plenty of light, and elbow-room reaching to the horizon. Doctors are constantly noticing how it is tied up and darkened by inferior organization, by disease and all sorts of crowding interferences, until they get to look upon Hottentots and Indians — and a good many of their own race as a kind of self-conscious blood