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154 Conclusion.

Ess. vii.] And now I would finish this Essay, as I began it, with a full declaration of my full reliance on that essential and unalterable principle of Christianity, that God is ONE-that there is no other God but JEHOvah. That principle is, indeed, weakened and contradicted by those religionists, (if such are still to be found,) who hold that the Son and the Holy Spirit are not God- but gods ; objects of faith, worship, and spiritual allegiance; and yet created beings, of a nature inferior to that of the Father. Such a sentiment is utterly at variance with the scope and tenor of the Bible, and is, in no slight degree, assimilated to the corrupt and degraded heathenism of ancient Greece and Rome. But, in the doctrine, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are God—the true GodJehovah-the Supreme Being—the Maker and Governor of the universe; or, in other words, that God has been pleased to manifest himself to us, as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—there is nothing which really contravenes his unity: nothing which can, in any degree, involve our partaking in the errors and sins of an idolatrous system.

God is an infinite and unsearchable Being. The mode of that union, and of that distinction, which, as Christians, we believe to subsist in Him, is placed far beyond the utmost reach of our limited comprehension : it is concealed alike from the uneducated peasant and from the profound and enlightened philosopher; and it can never be a fit subject, either for the speculation, or for the definition, of men. But the doctrine, that there is such a union, and that there is such a distinction, will not cease to be regarded as of inexpressible value, by those persons who bow with reverence before the divine authority of the sacred records, and who are, from their own experience, aware of its practical influence and operation. May

Ess. vir.]
Conclusion.

155 the writer and the readers of this Essay never become so infatuated as to contradict the absolute unity of the unchangeable Jehovah! and may they also, through the grace of God, be ever preserved from denying the eternal divinity of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ! sempre con

ESSAY VIII.

ON THE SCRIPTURAL ACCOUNT OF THE SPIRITUAL ADVERSARY.

WHEN we take a calm view of the moral degradation which marks the history and character of man; when we endeavour to trace the multiform appearances of sin, and observe the force with which it rages and spreads in the world ; and when we call to mind the consequence which it is calculated to produce, in the absolute ruin of our immortal part- we can scarcely continue insensible of a strong impression, that there exists some powerful, active, personal, agent, who rules over and conducts the kingdom of darkness ; and who, in a proper sense of the expressions, is the AUTHOR OF EVIL.

If the inquiry be suggested, why the weight of this impression is not more fully acknowledged, and why some persons, who exult in the exercise of their reasoning powers, are found rashly rejecting the doctrine of a Satanic influence, as absurd and imaginary—a satisfactory answer to such an inquiry is afforded us in the lamentable fact, that this doctrine has been made the vehicle of so many foolish imaginations, and of so many idle tales-tales impressed on our minds and memories even from early youth-that the views of men on the subject have been very generally corrupted. Thus, that effort of the human mind, which is employed to sweep away the absurd and ridiculous phantom, is too often found to extend itself, until, in reference

Ess. vin.] Fall of Satan and his Angels.

157 to the present awful subject, we have also discarded the sober dictates of good sense, probability, and truth.

In order, then, to form a just view of the doctrine in question-a view which shall be free at once from credulity and from scepticism-let us lay aside both our imaginations and our prejudices, and let us, with a humble spirit, examine the testimony given on the subject, in the records of divine revelation. For, as the Scriptures plainly declare that the Supreme Being is absolutely opposed to all moral evil—that his light condemns it, that his power subdues it, and that his judgments will, in the end, assuredly overtake it-so they also teach us, in a very explicit manner, that there exist powerful spirits, and one éminent above the rest, in whom all manner of moral evil dwells, and to whose agency it may be directly traced. • We read that the beings now alluded to were once numbered among the angels of God; and we may therefore conclude, without a question, that they were created holy. In what manner they became sinful, the Scriptures do not reveal, and it is impossible for us to conceive; but certain it is, that these children of light became the “Rulers of the darkness of this world”-that they lost the character of saints, and with it the joys and privileges of heaven. The apostle Jude describes them as the angels which " kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation," ver. 6; and, respecting Satan, their governor and leader, (Eph. ii, 2) our Saviour himself expressly asserts that he "abode not in the truth:” John viii, 44.

Again, on another occasion, when the disciples were astonished to find that “even the devils were made subjeet to them,” Jesus explained the fact by a reference, as appears most probable, to the original fall of his mighty adversary. “I beheld Satan," said he, “as lightning fall from heaven:” Luke x, 18.

158

Satan tempted Eve, . [Ess. VIII. The next point in the history of Satan, revealed to us in the Bible, is one of mournful interest, because it has been fraught with the most destructive consequences to ourselves : I mean the seduction of our first parents into the commission of that sin of infidelity and disobedience, which resulted in the moral ruin of mankind. That the serpent who tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge was the devil—or that the devil spake and acted in the serpent -is generally allowed and understood by Christians; and is amply evinced to be true, partly by the whole analogy of the character of Satan, as the deceiver and destroyer of men, and partly by the obvious bearing of particular passages in the New Testament. It was plainly in allusion to his appearance in the temptation of Eve, that the devil is described in the Revelation of John, as "that old serpent..... which deceiveth the whole world,” Rev. xii, 9; and the same doctrine may be elicited from the declaration of Jesus, that Satan was “a murderer from the beginning :” John viii, 44. Cain, whose crime was one of the first conspicuous consequences of the fall of his parents, is described as being "of that wicked one,” 1 John ii, 12; and that he, whom the early Christians were taught to eonsider as their spiritual tempter, was the very same being who beguiled Eve, appears to be with sufficient plainness indicated by the apostle Paul: “ But, I fear," said he to his Corinthian converts, “lest, by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ:" 2 Cor. xi, 3.

In the subsequent parts of the Old Testament, there are but few allusions to the character of Satan; yet was he recognized, on more than one occasion, by its inspired writers, as a personal agent employed in resisting good and in actively promoting evil. It was,

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