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the cries of protestant blood to the arbitrement of a popish power, who dare say that the Devil must be in it, if justice should be obtained that way: I should rather say, the Devil is in it, or else it would never be expected.
It occurs next to inquire from the premises, whether the Devil has more influence or less in the affairs of the world now, than he had in former ages; and this will depend upon comparing, as we go along, his methods and way of working in past times, and the modern politics by which he acts in our days; with the differing reception which he has met with among the men of such distant ages.
But there is so much to inquire of about the Devil, before we can bring his story down to our modern times, that we must for the present let that drop, and look a little back to the remoter part of his history, and draw his picture that people may know him when they meet him, and see who and what he is, and what he has been doing ever since he got leave to act in the high station he now appears in.
In the mean time, if I might obtain leave to present an humble petition to Satan, it should be, that he would, according to modern usage, oblige us all with writing the history of his own times; it would, as well as one that is gone before it, be a devilish good one; for, as to the sincerity of the performance, the authority of the particulars, the justice of the characters, &c., if they were no better vouched, no more consistent with themselves, with charity, with truth, and with the honour of an historian, than the last of that kind which came abroad amongst us, it must be a reproach to the Devil himself to be author of it.
Were Satan to be brought under the least obligation to write truth, and that the matters of fact, which he should write, might be depended upon, he is certainly qualified by his knowledge of things to be a complete historian; nor could the bishop himself, who, by the way, has given us already the devil of a history, come up to him. Milton's Pandemonium, though an excellent dramatic performance, would appear a mere trifling sing-song business, beneath the dignity of Chevy Chase; the Devil could give us a true account of all the civil wars in heaven; how and by whom, and in what manner he lost the day there, and was obliged to quit the field. The fiction of his refusing to acknowledge and submit to the Messiah, upon his being declared generalissime of the
heavenly forces, which Satan expected himself, as the eldest officer; and his not being able to brook another to be put in over his head; I say, that fine-spun thought of Mr. Milton would appear to be strained too far, and only serve to convince us that he (Milton) knew nothing of the matter. Satan knows very well, that the Messiah was not declared to be the Son of God with power till by and after the resurrection from the dead, and that all power was then given him in heaven and earth, and not before; so that Satan's rebellion must derive from other causes, and upon other occasions, as he himself can doubtless give us an account, if he thinks fit, and of which we shall speak farther in his history.
What a fine history might this old gentleman write of the antediluvian world, and of all the weighty affairs, as well of state as of religion, which happened during the fifteen hundred years of the patriarchal administration!
Then, who, like him, could give a full and complete account of the deluge, whether it was a mere vindictive, a blast from heaven, wrought by a supernatural power in the way of miracle? or whether, according to Mr. Burnet's theory, it was a consequence following antecedent causes by the mere necessities of nature, seen in constitution, natural position, and unavoidable working of things, as by the theory published by that learned enthusiast it seems to be?
Satan could easily account for all the difficulties of the theory, and tell us whether, as there was a natural necessity of the deluge, there is not the like necessity and natural tendency to a conflagration at last.
Would the Devil exert himself as an historian, for our improvement and diversion, how glorious an account could he give us of Noah's voyage round the world, in the famous ark! he could resolve all the difficulties about the building it, the furnishing it, and the laying up provisions in it for all the collection of kinds that he had made; he could tell us whether all the creatures came volunteer to him to go into the ark, or whether he went a-hunting for several years before, in order to bring them together.
He could give us a true relation how he wheedled the people of the next world into the absurd, ridiculous undertaking of building a Babel; how far that stupendous staircase, which was in imagination to reach up to heaven, was carried, before it was interrupted, and the builders confounded; hcw
their speech was altered, how many tongues it was divided into, or whether they were divided at all; and how many subdivisions or dialects have been made since that, by which means very few of God's creatures, except the brutes, understand one another, or care one farthing whether they do or no. In all these things Satan, who, no doubt, would make a very good chronologist, could settle every epoch, correct every calendar, and bring all our accounts of time to a general agreement, as well the Grecian Olympiads, the Turkish Hegira, the Chinese fictitious accounts of the world's duration, as our blind Julian and Gregorian accounts, which put the world, to this day, in such confusion, that we neither agree in our holy days or working days, fasts or feasts, nor keep the same sabbath in any part of the same globe.
This great antiquary could bring us to a certainty in all the difficulties of ancient story, and tell us whether the tale of the Siege of Troy, and the Rape of Helen, was a fable of Homer, or a history; whether the fictions of the poets are formed from their own brain, or founded in facts, and whether letters were invented by Cadmus the Phoenician, or dictated immediately from heaven at Mount Sinai.
Nay, he could tell us how and in what manner he wheedled Eve, deluded Adam, put Cain into a passion, till he made him murder his own brother; and made Noah, who was above five hundred years a preacher of righteousness, turn sot in his old age, dishonour all his ministry, debauch himself with wine, and by getting drunk and exposing himself, became the jest and laughing-stock of his children, and of all his posterity to this day.
And would Satan, according to the modern practice of the late right reverend historian, enter into the characters of the great men of his age, how should we be diverted with the just history of Adam, in Paradise and out of it, his character, and how he behaved at and after his expulsion; how Cain wandered in the land of Nod, what the mark was which God set upon him, whose daughter his wife was, and how big the city was he built there, according to a certain poet of noble extraction,
How Cain in the land of Nod
When the rascal was all alone
Like an owl in an ivy tod
Built a city as big as Roan.-R.CH.
ILL FEELING TOWARDS MANKIND.
He could certainly have drawn Eve's picture, told us every feature in her face, and every inch in her shape, whether she was a perfect beauty or no, and whether with the fall she did grow crooked, ugly, ill-natured, and a scold; as the learned Valdemar suggests to be the effect of the curse.
Descending to the characters of the patriarchs in that age, he might, no doubt, give us in particular the characters of Belus, worshipped under the name of Baal, Saturn, and Jupiter, his successors, who they were here, and how they behaved; with all the Pharaohs of Egypt, the Abimilechs of Canaan, and the monarchs of Assyria and Babylon.
Hence also he is able to write the lives of all the heroes of the world, from Alexander of Macedon to Lewis XIV., and from Augustus to the great king George; nor could the bishop himself go beyond him for flattery, any more than the Devil himself could go beyond the bishop for falsehood.
I could enlarge with a particular satisfaction upon the many fine things which Satan, rummaging that inexhaustible storehouse of slander, could set down to blacken the characters of good men, and load the best princes of the world with infamy and reproach.
But we shall never prevail with him, I doubt, to do mankind so much service as resolving all those difficulties would be; for he has an indelible grudge against us; as he believes, and perhaps is assured, that men were at first created by his sovereign, to the intent that, after a certain state of probation in life, such of them as shall be approved, are appointed to fill up those vacancies in the heavenly host, which were made by the abdication and expulsion of him, the Devil and his angels; so that man is appointed to come in Satan's stead, to make good the breach, and enjoy all those ineffable joys and beatitudes which Satan enjoyed before his fall. No wonder, then, that the Devil swells with envy and rage at mankind in general, and at the best of them in particular; nay, the granting this point is giving an unanswerable reason why the Devil practises with such unwearied and indefatigable application upon the best men, if possible, to disappoint God Almighty's decree, that he should not find enough among the whole race to be proper subjects of his clemency, and qualified to succeed the Devil and his host, or fill up the places vacant by the fall! It is true, indeed, the Devil, who we have reason to say is no fool, ought to know better than to suppose that if he could
seduce the whole race of mankind and make them as bad as himself, he could, by the success of his wickedness, thwart or disappoint the determined purposes of heaven; but that those which are appointed to inherit the thrones, which he and his followers abdicated and were deposed from, shall certainly be preserved in spite of all his devices for that inheritance, and shall have the possession secured to them, notwithstanding all that the Devil and all the host of Hell can do to prevent it.
But, however, he knows the certainty of this, and that when he endeavours the seducing the chosen servants of the Most High, he fights against God himself, struggles with irresistible grace, and makes war with infinite power, undermining the Church of God and that faith in him which are fortified with eternal promises of Jesus Christ, that the gates of Hell, that is to say, the Devil and all his power shall not prevail against them ; I say, however, he knows how impossible it is that he should obtain his ends, yet so blind is his rage, so infatuate is his wisdom, that he cannot refrain breaking himself to pieces against this mountain, and splitting against this rock, qui Jupiter vult perdere hos dementat.
But to leave this serious part, which is a little too solemn, for the account of this rebel; seeing we are not to expect he will write his own history for our information and diversion, I shall see if I cannot write it for him: in order to this, I shall extract the substance of his whole story, from the beginning to our own times, which I shall collect out of what is come to hand, whether by revelation or inspiration, that is nothing to him, I shall take care so to improve my intelligence, as may make my account of him authentic, and, in a word, such as the Devil himself shall not be able to contradict.
In writing this uncouth story I shall be freed from the censures of the critics, in a more than ordinary manner, upon one account especially; that my story shall be so just and so well grounded, and, after all the good things I shall say of Satan, will be so little to his satisfaction, that the Devil himself will not be able to say, I dealt with the Devil in writing it; I might, perhaps, give you some account where I had my intelligence, and how all the arcana of his management have come to my hands; but pardon me, gentlemen, this would be to betray conversation, and to discover my agents, and you know statesmen are very careful to preserve the correspon lence they keep in the enemy's country, lest they expose