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ments, but more through momentary petulance than any sober conviction : at other times, he is represented as presiding where very extensive injury is done ; perhaps directing the campaigns of a Napoleon, or baffling some scheme of universal philanthropy. But to regard him as systematically busying himself in the concerns of individuals, more particularly as influencing, by his artful suggestions, their words and deeds, is looked on as most childishly superstitious. Nay, even among spiritual persons there is a lurking unbelief on this subject, which gives the enemy many an advantage over them: They are loth to admit that when engaged in promoting a good work, Satan is at their right hand, resisting them: that, by his whispered suggestions, their humility is often depressed into cowardice, their zeal quickened to rashness, their confidence urged on to presumption, and their prudence chilled into unbelief. In whatsoever quality the Lord has enabled them to excel, of that very excellence Satan will weave a snare for their feet ; and the snare once laid, he has abundant agencies at work to draw, or drive them into it. Theoretically, perhaps, this is not denied, but point out a living instance of such delusion, and you are presently reproved or frowned into silence.
The following direct testimonies from the scriptures to the existence and character of evil spirits, of whom one distinct chief or leader controls a number of subordinate devils, will establish our first point :
“ And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world : he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." Rev. xii. 9.
“ Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own : for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John viii. 44.
“But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.” Luke xi. 15.
“ If Satan be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand ? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.” v. 18.
“ Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well : the devils also believe, and tremble.” James ii. 19.
“He said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit; and he asked him, what is thy name; And he answered, saying, My name is Legion ; for we are many.” Mark v. 8, 9.
Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matt. XXV. 41.
“God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell." 2 Peter ii. 4.
These form but a small portion of the inspired declarations which might be adduced under this head, yet they suffice to place the fact beyond a cavil, and our next step is to ascertain the extent of power possessed by Satan; and the habitual employment of the infernal hosts.
THE POWERS AND EMPLOYMENTS OF EVIL
Always bearing in mind that our discoveries of things unseen must be limited by the plain declarations of God's word, we shall find it very difficult to fix the precise bounds of Satan's power and authority. That he possesses vast influence over man in his fallen state is very plain. Our Lord repeatedly calls him“ the prince of this world.” “Now shall the prince of this world be cast out." John xii. 31. “ The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” xiv. 30. “The prince of this world is judged." xvi. 11. St. Paul speaks of
the god of this world.” 2 Cor. iv. 4; and as “ the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” Eph. ii. 2. Considering how deliberately our first parents cast off their allegiance to God at the bidding of Satan, and by so doing, virtually transferred it to him, we may suppose his acquired dominion to be exceedingly great: inso
much that when earth's rightful Lord first came, in great humility, to make reconciliation for that iniquity of his creature, man,-Satan, exhibiting all the kingdoms of the world, could utter that fearful boast, “ All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them ; for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will, I give it.” Luke iv.6. His triumphant vaunt indeed was of short duration ; for He, whom he dared to tempt, speedily cast him out of his earthly possessions, and stripped him too, of a more terrible prerogative ; for the Son of God became partaker of flesh and blood, “ that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Heb. ii. 14, 15.
But beyond this, there is something that we cannot fathom: Satan is represented to us occasionally in situations far higher than a mere ruler of all the kingdoms of our earth could aspire to. Glimpses of a mysterious freedom of access to heavenly places are now and then afforded us; and though men have undertaken to explain away by a system of types and figures what our enfeebled intellect cannot grasp, still we have the plain declarations of God's word, which it would be our higher wisdom to receive in its obvious meaning ; and where we cannot comprehend, to lay our mouths in the dust, and silently adore.
The first of these instances occurs in the history of