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CONCLUSION. 159

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 an 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 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!

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

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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 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 eminent 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 Jirst estate, but left their own habitation," ver. 6; and respecting Satan, their governor and leader, (Eph. ii, 2,) our Saviour himself expressly

162 SATAN TEMPTED EVE,

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 subject 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.

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," I John iii, 12; and that he, whom the early Christians were taught to consider as their spiritual tempter, was the very same being who beguiled Eve, appears to be with sufficient plainness indicated

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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:" II 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 in all probability no subordinate adversary, but the "Prince of the power of the air," who, under the name of Satan, is described in the book of Job, as "going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it," i, 7; and as laying the hand of sore affliction upon that righteous man, in order that he might be induced to rebel against God and die. It was Satan who is declared to have provoked David, at a moment of self-exaltation, into the sin of numbering the people: I Chron. xxi, 1. It was Satan, who, in the book of the prophecies of Zechariah, is described as standing at the right hand of the angel to resist Joshua, the faithful servant and high-priest of the Lord: Zech. iii, 1, 2; comp. Ps. cix, 6.

On that memorable occasion when Jehovah pronounced the sentence of condemnation on Eve, her husband, and the serpent, it was predicted that this wily enemy of God and man should bruise the heel of the seed of the woman; that is, of him who was "made of a woman"—the Messiah of Israel; and on a reference to the New Testament, we perceive at once in what manner the events, thus obscurely indicated, were accomplished. Satan was the spiritual and powerful agent who tempted, buffeted, and persecuted

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