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I will now examine the New Testament to see whether
any thing occurs therein to corroborate ibe commonly received opinion of Fallen Angels, or Satan and the Devil.
HE only texts, or at least the principal ones,
are, in 1 Pet. ii. 4. and Jude v. 6. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but caft them down to Hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgement. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitations, he hath reserved in everlasting chains of darkness unto the judgement of the great day.
On these words I observe, first, That none of the Apostles could derive the least knowledge from the Old Testament, that any of the angels had been cast out of Heaven on account of their having finned against God; and we have no account that Jesus made any discovery of it to them.
Secondly, Had Peter, or Jude, known, from the Old Testament, or from Jesus, that there were fallen angels, it is natural to suppose they would have been explicit in mentioning them to the perfons they wrote to, otherwise they could not have understoood what beings they intended; and that for reasons already offered.
Thirdly, Neither of the particulars just mentioned, can be satisfactorily inferred from the word Angels. The primary import of the original word is, to relate any matter, particularly as a messen
ger, and in this sense, the same original word is rendered, James ii. 25. These messengers were sent to spy the interior parts of the land of Canaan ; and, upon their return, they related to Moses and to the people what they had seen and heard in traversing it.
And there is but one text where the original word can in the least be supposed to allude to fallen angels, and that is Matt. XXV. 41. Fourthly, That the word Tagtæpum, translated cast
ταρταρυά, down to Hell, is the only place in the New Testament where it is translated cast down to Hell.
Fifthly, All that the two Apostles have related of the conduct of the angels, is, that they sinned, and kept not their first estate, or principality, but left (not were cast out of) their own habitation ; where that was is not mentioned.
Of the punishment, it is said they were cast down to Hell, and delivered into chains of dark, ness to be reserved unto judgment of the great day. But there is not the least mention what their sinful conduct was, nor that they were cast out of Heaven and separated from the good angels.
Let us now fee whether the context in Peter favors the commonly received opinion or not.
In the foregoing chapters he faith to his brethren, that he and the apostles who were with the Lord on the Mount, Matt. xvii. I, &c. heard a voice from Heaven, saying, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
pleased. He then adds, That we have a more sure word of prophesy, i. e. a more particular and full revelation in the Old Testament concerning Jesus as the Son of God, which
will do well to give heed to, because those writings were indited by the Holy Ghost; and the meaning of those parts of them, respecting Jesus, are not confined to the prophets, or that people; but we
alfo are included therein ; And then he tells them, that in the time of those prophets, there were false ones among that people ; and there are, or will arise, false teachers among you, who will propagate false doctrines, even denying the Lord that bought them, and draw away many after them, and thereby bring upon themselves swift deftruction. And he describes the way or manner by which they will attempt to draw them away. And from v, 10-19, I think he represents their principle and conduct; and against such false prophets. Jesus warned his disciples, Matt. vii. 15. 26. 29. xxiv. II. Mark xiii. 21, 22, 23. See Acts xx. 30. And I apprehend the Apostle St. John alluded to such persons. 1 Ephes. iv. I, 2, 3, calling them Anti-Christs, i. e. opposers or enemies of Christ.
In the chapter under consideration, the Apostle warns the Christians to be aware of them that they might not fall under the same condemnation which would overtake those false teachers. And in verse 4, he mentions others, whom he calls angels, or messengers that sinned, &c.
The opinion of a very sensible anonymous author* on this subject, appears to me at least very probable, that the angels, i. e. the messengers that finned, are those men related Numb. xiii. xiv. who were sent to spy out the land of Canaan, whose report to Moses, &c, of the numbers and situation of some of its inhabitants, and the strength of their cities, discouraged the people from going up to take poffeffion of it. These were rulers and heads of the people whom God punished for giving such an account, by inflicting on them a great plague, so that they and all the people whom they caused to murmur against God, and Moses his fervant, died.
• An Enquiry into the Scripture meaning of the word Satan.
Heb. iii. 7. 19. Both the messengers and the peo- .. ple had seen the mighty power of God exerted in their deliverances and yet they did not believe, but rebelled. Those messengers who sinned, were Plain and pertitent examples of men like themselves, from whom they might and ought to take warning not to be seduced by the false teachers, and thereby be guilty of a like unbelief, i. c. in Jesus their Lord, and a wicked departure from his commands, which, from conviction they had embraced, and on that account, fall under an heavier condemnation and judgment from God, than he had inflicted on those messengers and the people seduced by them. But, I apprehend, that if we understand the passage we are commenting upon, of fallen angels, it was neither applicable, nor indeed intelligible to the apostles, or the people to whom he was writing, since they had no knowledge that any of the angels had sinned, or wherein it consisted; and, I may add, if they had, what was the conduct of angels, (properly such) to them?
The other instances are clearly taken from men like themselves; the probability therefore is, that these were of the same nature with those, who, in the time of Noah, God drowned by a deluge ; and then he introduces the similar conduct of the inhabitants of Sodom, &c. whom God destroyed by fire. But, as a contrast to these, he mentions the cases of Noah and Lot, who believed in God, and obeyed his word, and were saved from those judgments. These, and the former persons, were obvious examples of men of the like passions with themselves, which they could not only easily understand, but also easily apply the former as warnings, and the latter as encouragements to fortify their minds against those false teachers; but, I apprehend, they could not, as it respected fallen angels,
What force these observations will be admitted to have, as proofs, that by the word Angels that finned, &c. the Apostle did not intend fallen angels, but the rulers. and heads of the people, mentioned above, is fubmitted to the deliberate and unbiassed judgment of the reader.
In the preceding quotations from the Old Testament, where the words Devils and Satan, &c. OCcur, it appears to me, there is not any proof that the writers in using them, meant fallen angels ; and therefore they do not give the least account that Satan, in a secret or unperceived manner, infused, or put into the mind or heart of any one man, evil thoughts, or excited in him inordinate desires, by which he tempted him to fin. Likewise, in the New Testament it appears, that there is not any explicit relation that any of the angels were expelled Heaven for their having finned against God.
It will therefore follow, that in the former wri(tings in which it is recorded of individuals, or of the people in general who sinned against God by violating the obligations of natural or revealed religion, or both; they have not, even in a fingle inItance, attributed to the temptation of Satan. In this they are as entirely silent as they are respecting any man’s being poffeffed by one of them, or by a demon; and yet had Satan been the real agent, or instrument in tempting men to fin in like manner; or, as universally as it is now believed he doth, I think it will be allowed to be natural to expect the writers of the Old Testament would have given fome plain account of it, in fome instances; for it is certain they repeatedly mention many different causes or occasions from whence men were tempted to fin ; but, it is certain, they have not attributed it to Satan in a single instance. From those writings therefore it seems to be indisputably certain,