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AS CONCERNING &
It is not the easiest thing in the case before me to determine who has the most right to a dedication of this work.
Ancient usage would have directed a solemn author to address these sheets to the great Majesty of Heaven, in congratulation of his glorious victory over the Devil and his angels; but I decline that method as profane.
The same reason forbids me addressing to Him who conquered him on earth, and who when the Devil was so insolent as to assault him, made him fly like a vanquished rebel, with but the word, Get thee behind me.
I had then some thoughts of inscribing it to Satan himself, but I did not really know how to relish holding a parley with the Devil, and talking to him in the first person; nay, and as it were, making all my readers do so too; and besides, as I knew there was so very little in the whole work that Satan would be pleased with, I was loath to compliment him, while I was exposing him; which would be to imitate the very hypocrisy by which he is distinguished, and you might say, I played the devil with the Devil.
These difficulties presenting, I think the giving my reasons for the making no dedication, is dedication enough.
SUGGESTIVE LINES ON THE DEVIL
(Alfred J. Hough, in Baltimore Sun.)
Men don't believe in a devil now, as their fathers used to do:
They've forced the door of the broadest creed to let his majesty through.
There isn't a print of his cloven foot, or a fiery dart from his bow
To be found in earth or air today. for the world has voted so.
But who is it mixing the fatal draught that
palsies heart and brain,
And loads the bier of each passing year with ten hundred thousand slain?
Who blights the bloom of the land today with the fiery breath of hell.
If the devil isn't and never was? Won't somebody rise and tell?
Who dogs the steps of the toiling saint and digs the pit for his feet?
Who SOWS the tares in the field of time wherever God sows his wheat?
The devil is voted not to be, and, of course, the thing is true;
But who is doing the kind of work the devil alone should do?
We are told he does not go around like a roaring lion now;
But whom shall we hold responsible for the everlasting row
To be heard in home, in church and state, to the earth's remotest bound,
If the devil by a unanimous vote is nowhere to be found.
HISTORY OF THE DEVIL.
BEING AN INTRODUCTION TO THE WHOLE WORK.
1 DOUBT not but the title of this book will amuse some of my reading friends a little at first; they will make a pause, perhaps, as they do at a witch's prayer, and be some time a resolving whether they had best look into it or no, lest they should really raise the Devil by reading his story.
Children and old women have told themselves so many frightful things of the Devil, and have formed ideas of him in their minds, in so many horrible and monstrous shapes, that really it were enough to fright the Devil himself to meet himself in the dark, dressed up in the several figures which imagination has formed for him in the minds of men; and, as for themselves, I cannot think by any means that the Devil would terrify them half so much if they were to converse face to face with him.
It must certainly therefore be a most useful undertaking to give the true history of this tyrant of the air, this god of the world, this terror and aversion of mankind, which we call Devil; to show what he is, and what he is not; where he is, and where he is not; when he is in us, and when he is not; for I cannot doubt but that the Devil is really and bona fide in a great many of our honest weak-headed friends, when they themselves know nothing of the matter.
Nor is the work so difficult as some may imagine. The
Devil's history is not so hard to come at as it seems to be; his original and the first rise of his family is upon record; and as for his conduct, he has acted indeed in the dark, as to method, in many things, but in general, as cunning as he is, he has been fool enough to expose himself in some of the most considerable transactions of his life, and has not shown himself a politician at all. Our old friend, Machiavel, outdid him in many things, and I may in the process of this work give an account of several of the sons of Adam, and some societies of them too, who have outwitted the Devil; nay, who have out-sinned the Devil, and that I think may be called out-shooting him in his own bow.
It may perhaps be expected of me in this history, that since I seem inclined to speak favourably of Satan, to do him justice, and to write his story impartially, I should take some pains to tell you what religion he is of; and even this part may not be so much a jest, as at first sight you may take it to be; for Satan has something of religion in him, I assure you; nor is he such an unprofitable Devil that way, as some may suppose him to be; for though, in reverence to my brethren, I will not reckon him among the clergy; yet I cannot deny but that he often preaches, and if it be not profitably to his hearers, it is as much their fault, as it is out of his design.
It has indeed been suggested that he has taken orders, and that a certain pope, famous for being an extraordinary favourite of his, gave him both institution and induction; but as this is not upon record, and therefore we have no authentic document for the probation, I shall not affirm it for a truth, for I would not slander the Devil.
It is said also, and I am apt to believe it, that he was very familiar with that holy father, Pope Silvester II., and some charge him with personating Pope Hildebrand the infamous, on an extraordinary occasion, and himself sitting in the chair apostolic, in a full congregation; and you may hear more of this hereafter: but as I do not meet with Pope Diabolus among the list, in all father Platina's Lives of the Popes, so I am willing to leave it as I find it.
But to speak to the point, and a nice point it is I acknowledge; namely, what religion the Devil is of; my answer will indeed be general, yet not at all ambiguous, for I love t speak positively and with undoubted evidence