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THE WORD "DEVIL' A MULTIPLE.
their friends to the resentment of the povers whose councils they betray.
Besides, the learned tell us, that ministers of state make an excellent plea of their not betraying their intelligence, against all party inquiries into the great sums of money pretended to be paid for secret service; and whether the secret service was to bribe people to betray things abroad or at home; whether the money was paid to somebody or to nobody; employed to establish correspondences abroad, or to establish families and amass treasure at home; in a word, whether it was to serve their country or serve themselves, it has been the same thing, and the same plea has been their protection: likewise, in the important affair which I am upon, it is hoped you will not desire me to betray my correspondents ; for you know, Satan is naturally cruel and malicious, and who knows what he might do to show his resentment? at least it might endanger a stop of our intelligence for the future.
And yet, before I have done, I shall make it very plain, that, however my information may be secret and difficult, that yet I came very honestly by it, and shall make a very good use of it ; for it is a great mistake in those who think that an acquaintance with the affairs of the Devil may not be made
very useful to us all: they that know no evil can know no good; and, as the learned tell us, that a stone taken ou of the head of a toad is a good antidote against poison, so a competent knowledge of the Devil and all his ways, may be the best help to make us defy the Devil and all his works.
OF THE WORD 'DEVIL,' AS "IT IS A PROPER NAME TO THE DEVII.,
AND ANY OR ALL HIS HOST, ANGELS, ETC.
It is a question, not yet determined by the learned, whether the word Devil be a singular, that is to say, the name of a person standing by himself, or a noun of multitude; if it be a singular, and so must be used personally only as a proper name, it consequently implies one imperial devil, monarch, or god of the whole clan of Hell; justly distinguished by the term, The Devil, or as the Scots call him, The muckle-horned Dee'l, or as others in a wilder dialect, The Devil of Hell.
that is to say, The Devil of a devil; or (better still) as the Scripture expresses it, by way of emphasis, the great red dragon, the Devil, and Satan.
But if we take this word to be, as above, a noun of multitude, and so to be used ambidexter, as occasion presents, singular or plural, then the Devil signifies Satan by himself, or Satan with all his legions at his heels, as you please, more or less; and this way of understanding the word, as it may be very convenient for my purpose, in the account I am now to give of the infernal powers, so it is not altogetherimproper in the nature of the thing. It is thus expressed in Scripture, where the person possessed (Matt. iv. 24.) is first said to be possessed of the Devil, singular; and our Saviour asks him, as speaking to a single person, What is thy name ? and is answered in the plural and singular together, My name is Legion, for we are many.
Nor will it be any wrong to the Devil, supposing him a single person; seeing entitling him to the conduct of all his inferior agents, is what he will take rather for an addition to his infernal glory, than a diminution or lessening of him in the extent of his fame.
Having thus articled with the Devil for liberty of speech, I shall talk of him sometimes in the singular, as a person, and sometimes in the plural, as a host of devils, or of infernal spirits; just as occasion requires, and as the history of his affairs makes necessary.
But before I enter upon any part of his history, the nature of the thing calls me back, and my Lord B- of in liis late famous orations in defence of liberty, summons me to prove that there is such a thing or such a person as the Devil; and, in short, unless I can give some evidence of his existence
said very well, I am talking of nobody. D-mn me, sir, says a graceless comrade of his to a great man, your grace will go to the Devil.
D—mn ye, sir, says the d- then I shall go nowhere; I wonder where you intend to go ?
Nay, to the D- too, I doubt, says Graceless, for I am almost as wicked as my lord duke.
D. Thou art a silly empty dog, says the d- and if there is such a place as a hell, though I believe nothing of it, it is a place for fools, such as thou art.
GR. I wonder, then, what heaven the great wits go to, such as my lord duke? I don't care to go there, let it be where
as my lord
COMMON ACCEPTATION, AN EVIL SPIRIT.
it will; they are a plaguy tiresome kind of people, there's no bearing them, they'll make a hell wherever they come.
D. Prithee, hold thy fool's tongue; I tell thee, if there is any such place as we call nowhere, that's all the heaven or hell that I know of, or believe anything about.
GR. Very good, my lord —; so that heaven is nowhere, and hell is nowhere, and the Devil is nobody, according to my
lord duke ! D. Yes, sir, and what then? GR. And you are to go nowhere when you die, are you?
D. Yes, you dog ; don't you know what that incomparable noble genius, my Lord Rochester, sings upon the subject; I believe it unfeignedly; (sings,) After death nothing is,
And nothing death. GR. You believe it, my lord ! you mean, you would fain believe it if you could; but since you put that great genius, my Lord Rochester, upon me, let me play him back upon your grace;
am sure you have read his fine poem upon Nothing, in one of the stanzas of which is this beautiful thought,
And to be part of thee *
The wicked wisely pray.
lord duke is a wise infidel. D. Why! is it not wiser to believe no Devil, than to be always terrified at him? GŘ. But shall I toss another poet upon you, my lord ?
If it should so fall out, as who can tell,
't should be too late when their mistakes appear. D. D—mn your foolish poet, that's not my Lord Rochester?
GR. But how must I be damn’d, if there's no Devil ? Is not your grace a little inconsistent there? My Lord Rochester would not have said that, an't please your grace.
D. No, you dog, I am not inconsistent at all, and if I had the ordering of you, I'd make you sensible of it; I'd make you think yourself damn’d for want of a Devil.
GR. That's like one of your grace's paradoxes ; such as when you swore by God, that you did not believe there was
* Meant of nothing.
any such thing as a God or Devil ; so you swear by nothing. and damn me to nowhere.
D. You are a critical dog; who taught you to believe these solemn trifles ? who taught you to say there is a God.
GR. Nay, I had a better schoolmaster than my lord duke.
D. Why, who was your schoolmaster pray?
D. The Devil! the devil he did ! What, you're going to quote Scripture, are you? Prithee don't tell me of Scripture, I know what you mean, the devils believe and tremble; why then I have the whip-hand of the Devil, for I hate trembling, and I am delivered from it effectually, for I never believed anything of it, and therefore I don't tremble.
GR. And there, indeed, I am a wickeder creature than the Devil, or even than my lord duke, for I believe, and yet don't tremble neither.
D. Nay, if you are come to your penitentials, I have done
GR. And I think I must have done with my lord duke, for he same reason. D. Ay, ay, pray do, I'll go and enjoy myself; I won't
the pleasure of my life; I know the consequence of it.
GR. And I'll go and reform myself, else I know the consequence too.
This short dialogue happened between two men of quality, and both men of wit too; and the effect was, that the Lord brought the reality of the Devil into the question, and the debate brought the profligate to be a penitent; so, in short, the Devil was made a preacher of repentance.
The truth is, God and the Devil, however opposite in their nature, and remote from one another in their place of abiding, seem to stand pretty much upon a leved in our faith ; for as to our believing the reality of their existence, he that denier one, generally denies both ; and he that believes one, necessarily believes both.
Very few, if any, of those who believe there is a God, and acknowledge the debt of homage which mankind owes to the supreme Governor of the world, doubt the existence of the Devil, except here and there one, whom we call practical atheists; and it is the character of an atheist, if there is such
CERTAINTY OF EXISTENCE.
a creature on earth, that, like my lord duke, he believes neither God nor Devil.
As the belief of both these stands upon a level, and that God and the Devil seem to have an equal share in our faitlig so the evidence of their existence seems to stand upon a level too, in many things; and as they are known by their works in the same particular cases, so they are discovered after the same manner of demonstration,
Nay, in some respects, it is equally criminal to deny the reality of them both, only with this difference, that to believe the existence of a God is a debt to nature, and to believe the existence of the Devil is a like debt to reason; one is a demonstration from the reality of visible causes, and the other a deduction from the like reality of their effects.
One demonstration of the existence of God, is from the universal well-guided consent of all nations to worship and adore a supreme power; one demonstration of the existence of the Devil, is from the avowed ill-guided consent of some nations, who, knowing no other god, make a god of the Devil for want of a better. It may
be true, that those nations have no other ideas of the Devil than as of a superior power; if they thought him a supreme power it would have other effects on them, and they would submit to and worship him with a different kind of fear.
But it is plain they have right notions of him as a devil, or evil spirit, because the best reason, and in some places the only reason, they give for worshipping him is, that he may do them no hurt; having no notions at all of his having any power, much less any inclination, to do them any good ; so that, indeed, they make a mere devil of him, at the same time that they bow to him as to a god.
All the ages of paganism in the world have had this notion of the Devil ; indeed, in some parts of the world, they had also some deities which they honoured above him, as being supposed to be beneficent, kind, and inclined, as well as capable, to give them good things; for this reason, the more polite heathens, such as the Grecians and the Romans, had their Lares, or household gods, who they paid a particular respect to, as being their protectors from hobgoblins, ghosts of the dead, evil spirits, frighful appearances, evil geniuses, and other noxious creatures from the invisible world; or, to