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tians have a great number of names for their devil. But it is apparent, that whether such a being is called Ahraman, Arimanius, satan, or devil, the leading features of his character among all nations are the same. The evil god has become the Christian's devil. In fact they make their devil the worst being, for though it was believed that their evil god, should at the end of the world have a world to himself with all wicked men, yet it does not appear, that they believed he was to be the eternal tormentor of men. But it is well known, that this is a principal article in most orthodox creeds, and no man would be deemed orthodox, who denied it. I shall only add, that though the Persians and Christians agree in hating Ahraman or the devil, yet the latter have not carried their hatred so far as to write the devil's name inverted. In the next Section we shall see, that the Magian creed was much improved by Zoroaster, and that Christians have not only adopted his sentiments, but the very language in which he expressed them.
Psalm 38 20. comes next to be considered. "They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries.' Here the word satan occurs in the plural, and is rendered as usual adversaries. It is useless to make any remarks on this text, for its context clearly shows, that David is not speaking of fallen angels but of men. In verse 19. he calls them his enemies, and speaks of them as lively, strong, and multiplied.
Psalm 71: 13. "Let them be confounded and consumed, that are adversaries to my soul." The word satan is also used here in the plural, and is again. rendered adversaries. In verse 10. David calls these satans or adversaries his enemies, and the whole Psalm shows, that he is not speaking of wicked spirits but of wicked men.
Psal. 109: 4. "For my love they are my adversaries." Here again the word satan occurs in the plural form,
and is rendered adversaries. It is generally contended, that this psalm relates to Christ and his adversaries, or satans. It is certain, that verse 8. is quoted Acts 1. and is applied to Judas. This term occurs in several other parts of the psalm which we shall briefly notice. In verse 6. it is said "set thou a wicked man over him: and let satan stand at his right hand.” Here, the word satan is left untranslated, but is rendered adversary in the margin. In the Jewish mode of parallelism, a wicked man in the first part of the verse, is the same as satan in the second. For an illustration of what is said about satan, or a wicked man standing at his right hand when he shall be judged in verse 7. see on Zach. 3: 1, 2. below. In verse 20. it is said "let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the Lord, and of them that speak evil against my soul." The word satan, is here again used in the plural, and rendered adversaries. It is rendered in the same way, verse 29. "Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame, and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle." On the whole of this psalm, and the use of the term satan in it, we would merely remark, that no person who reads it, can suppose that there is the least reference to a fallen angel in it. It is evident, that if the psalm refers to the Messiah, Judas and the persecuting Jews are designated by the term satan; and shows us, the propriety of the terms devil and satan being applied to them in the New Testament, as we shall afterwards
Zach. 3: 1, 2. is the last place where the term satan occurs in the Old Testament. "And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto satan, the Lord rebuke thee, O satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee is not this a brand plucked
out of the fire." Here the word satan is again left untranslated, except in verse 1. where it is rendered "to resist him." In the margin it is to "be his adversary." In the Seventy's version, the word satan is throughout this passage rendered diabolos. On the whole of it I remark,
1st. Let the word satan be only rendered adversary throughout these verses, and the idea of a fallen angel vanishes. The reader can easily put this remark to the trial, by substituting the term adversary for satan, in reading the passage. From our habit of associating the idea of a fallen angel with the term satan, and not with the word adversary, this and some other texts are supposed to teach such a doctrine. But can this false association establish it?
2d. If it were necessary, it could be shown, what satan or adversary was meant. Let any one read Ezra, chaps. 3. and 4. and notice particularly what is said concerning Tatnai, and Shethar-boznai in chap. 5. and little doubt can remain, that they were the satan or adversary referred to. It is allowed, that Zachariah prophesied about the time the events in the book of Ezra took place. Compare with this what is said on Ezra 4: 6. above. If people will interpret this passage literally of a fallen angel, why not also interpret the following chapters in the same book literally. See chaps. 1, 2, 5, 6.
3d. In this passage and in Psal. 109: 6. above, Jahn thinks there is an allusion to the forms of judicial trials in ancient times. He thus writes: "The ceremonies which were observed in conducting a judicial trial, were as follows. 1. The accuser and the accused both made their appearance before the judge or judges, Deut. 25: 1. who sat with legs. crossed upon the floor, which was furnished for their accommodation with carpet and cushions. secretary was present, at least in more modern
times, who wrote down the sentence, and indeed every thing in relation to the trial; for instance, the articles of agreement, that might be entered into, previous to the commencement of the judicial proceedings, Isai. 10: 1, 2. Jer. 32: 1-14. The Jews assert that there were two secretaries, the one being seated to the right of the judge, who wrote the sentence of not guilty, the other to the left, who wrote the sentence of condemnation. Comp. Matth. 25: 33-46. That an apparitor or beadle was present, is apparent from other sources. 2. The accuser was denominated in Hebrew SATAN, or the adversary, Zach. 3: 1-3. Psalm 109: 6. The judge or judges were seated, but both of the parties implicated stood up, the accuser standing to the right hand of the accused. The latter, at least after the captivity, when the cause was one of great consequence, appeared with hair dishevelled, and in a garment of mourning."
Such are all the texts in the Old Testament, where the term satan occurs. The reader can now judge for himself, if it is ever used by the writers as the name of a fallen angel, who ruined our first parents and all their posterity.
THE OPINION, THAT THE DEVIL OR SATAN IS A REAL BEING, WITH OTHER CONNECTED OPINIONS, SHOWN TO HAVE THEIR ORIGIN IN HEATHENISM.
It has been shown in the two preceding Sections, that the Old Testament gives no countenance to the
common doctrine of a fallen angel, under the name serpent, satan, or any other. Indeed, we think it has been established, that the account of satan in the two first chapters of Job, was introduced for the express purpose of refuting such opinions. A very important inquiry arises, How came such opinions to be imbibed by Christians, become so current in the world, and even seem to derive countenance from the New Testament. To account for these and other things shall be our business in the present Section.
1st. In the early stages of the Jewish history, we read of witches and witchcraft. Injunctions are given against these, before we hear any thing about satan or the devil. But notice, that nothing is said to them. about witchcraft until they were about to enter Canaan. Many of the injunctions delivered to the Jewish nation, were for the purpose of fortifying them against such heathen notions, and preserving them in the fear and service of the one living and true God. See the following among other passages concerning this. Levit. 19: 26, 31. 20: 6, 27. Deut. 18: 9-. 12. Exod. 22: 18. comp. Isai. 47: 12, 13. 1 Sam. chap. 28. The inhabitants of Canaan were given to idolatry, and witchcraft with similar superstitions were its effects on the minds of the people. But such a being as Christians call the devil, was neither worshipped, feared, nor known among them. They had abundance of idols, but no devil or satan, nor are the Jews cautioned to beware of imbibing from them such an opinion. It is then a very great mistake, which many good people have made, in calling witchcraft the devil's art, and in thinking witches and wizzards. were in league with him. Concerning this, Michaelis, on the laws of Moses, thus writes, vol. iv. page 89. "We must however entertain very different sentiments on this point, in reference to the time of Moses. For in the Biblical writings prior to the Babylonish cap