author of antiquity, or of sufficient authority, which says anything of that kind about him.

Here he makes his first appearance in the world, and on that occasion he is called the serpent; but the serpent, however, since made to signify the Devil, when spoken of in general terms, was but the Devil's representative, or the Devil in quovis vehiculo, for that time, clothed in a bodily shape, acting under cover and in disguise; or, if you will, the Devil in masquerade: nay, if we believe Mr. Milton, the angel Gabriel's spear had such a secret powerful influence, as to make him strip of a sudden, and with a touch to unmask, and stand upright in his naked original shape, mere Devil, without any disguises whatsoever.

Now as we go to the Scripture for much of his history, so we must go there also for some of his names; and he has a great variety of names indeed, as his several mischievous doings guide us to conceive of him. The truth is, all the ancient names given him, of which the Scripture is full, seem to be originals derived from and adapted to the several steps he has taken, and the several shapes he has appeared in to do mischief in the world.

Here he is called the serpent, Gen. iii. 1.

The old serpent, Rev. xii. 9.

The great red dragon, Rev. xii. 3.

The accuser of the brethren, Rev. xii. 10.

The enemy, Matt. xxiii. 29.

Satan, Job i.; Zech. iii. 1, 2.

Belial, 2 Cor. vi. 15.

Beelzebub, Matt. xii. 24.

Mammon, Matt. vi. 24.

The angel of light, 2 Cor. xi. 14.

The angel of the bottomless pit, Rev. ix. 11.
The prince of the power of the air, Eph. ii. 2.

Lucifer, Isa. xiv. 12.

Abbaddon, or Apollion, Rev. ix. 11.

Legion, Mark v. 9.

The god of this world, 2 Cor. iv. 4.

The foul spirit, Mark ix. 5.

The unclean spirit, Mark i. 27.

The lying spirit, 2 Chron. xxx.

The tempter, Matt. iv. 3.

The son of the morning, Isa. xiv. 12



But to sum them all up in one, he is called in the New Testament plain Devil; all his other names are varied according to the custom of speech, and the dialects of the several nations where he is spoken of; but in a word, Devil is the common name of the Devil in all the known languages of the earth. Nay, all the mischief he is empowered to do, is in Scripture placed to his account, under the particular title of the Devil, not of devils in the plural number, though they are sometimes mentioned too; but in the singular it is the identical individual Devil, in and under whom all the little devils, and all the great devils, if such there be, are supposed to act; nay, they are supposed to be governed and directed by him. Thus we are told in Scripture of the works of the devil, 1 John iii. 8; of casting out the devil, Mark i. 34; of resisting the devil, James iv. 5; of our Saviour being tempted of the devil, Matt. iv. 1; of Simon Magus, a child of the devil, Acts xiii. 10; the devil came down in a great wrath, Rev. xii. 12, and the like. And according to this usage in speech we go on to this day, and all the infernal things we converse with in the world, are fathered upon the Devil, as one undivided simple essence, by how many agents soever working everything evil, frightful in appearance, wicked in its actings, horrible in its manner, monstrous in its effects, is called the Devil; in a word, Devil is the common name for all devils, that is to say, for all evil spirits, all evil powers, all evil works, and even all evil things; yet it is remarkable the Devil is no Old Testament word, and we never find it used in all the Old Testament but four times, and then not once in the singular number, and not once to signify Satan, as it is now understood.

It is true, the learned give a great many differing interpretations of the word Devil; the English commentators tell us, it means a destroyer, others that it signifies a deceiver, and the Greeks derive it from a calumniator, or false witness; for we find that Calumny was a goddess, to whom the Athenians built altars and offered sacrifices upon some solemn occasions, and they call her Alaßoλn, from whence came the masculine Acáẞoλos, which we translate Devil.

Thus we take the name of Devil to signify not persons only, but actions and habits; making imaginary devils, and transforming that substantial creature called Devil, into everything noxious and offensive: thus St. Francis being tempted by

the Devil in the shape of a bag of money lying in the highway, the saint having discovered the fraud, whether seeing his cloven foot hang out of the purse, or whether he distinguished him by his smell of sulphur, or how otherwise, authors are not agreed; but, I say, the saint, having discovered the cheat, and outwitted the Devil, took occasion to preach that eminent sermon to his disciples, where his text was, Money is the Devil.

Nor, upon the whole, is any wrong done to the Devil by this kind of treatment; it only gives him the sovereignty of the whole army of Hell, and making all the numberless legions of the bottomless pit servants, or, as the Scripture calls them, angels to Satan the grand devil; and all their actions, performances, and achievements, are justly attributed to him, not as the prince of devils only, but the emperor of devils, the prince of all the princes of devils.

Under this denomination then of Devil, all the powers of Hell, all the princes of the air, all the black armies of Satan are comprehended, and in this manner they are to be understood in this whole work, mutatis mutandis, according to the several circumstances in which we are to speak of them.

This being premised, and my authority being so good, Satan must not take it ill if I treat him after the manner of men, and give him those titles which he is best known by among us; for indeed, having so many, it is not very easy to call him out of his name.

However, as I am obliged by the duty of an historian to decency, as well as impartiality, so I thought it necessary, before I used too much freedom with Satan, to produce authentic documents, and bring antiquity upon the stage, to justify the manner of my writing, and let you see I shall describe him in no colours, nor call him by any name, but what he has been known by for many ages before me.

And now, though being writing to the common understanding of my reader, I am obliged to treat Satan very coarsely, and to speak of him in the common acceptation, calling him plain Devil; a word which in this mannerly age is not so sonorous as others might be, and which by the error of the times is apt to prejudice us against his person; yet it must be acknowledged he has a great many other names and surnames which he might be known by, of a less obnoxious import than that of Devil, or Destroyer, &c.



Mr. Milton, indeed, wanting titles of honour to give to the leaders of Satan's host, is obliged to borrow several of his Scripture names, and bestow them upon his infernal heroes, whom he makes the generals and leaders of the armies of Hell; and so he makes Beelzebub, Lucifer, Belial, Mammon, and some others, to be the names of particular devils, members of Satan's upper house, or Pandemonium; whereas, indeed, these are all names proper and peculiar to Satan himself.

The Scripture also has some names of a coarser kind, by which the Devil is understood; as particularly, as is noted already in the Apocalypse, he is called the Great Red Dragon, the Beast, the Old Serpent, and the like: but take it in the Scripture, or where you will in history, sacred or profane, you will find that in general the Devil is, as I have said above, his ordinary name in all languages and in all nations, the name by which he and his works are principally distinguished: also the Scripture, besides that it often gives him this name, speaks of the works of the devil, of the subtilty of the devil. of casting out devils, of being tempted of the devil, of being possessed with a devil; and so many other expressions of that kind, as I have said already, are made use of for us to understand the evil spirit by, that in a word, Devil is the common name of all wicked spirits: for Satan is no more the devil, as if he alone was so, and all the rest were a diminutive species who did not go by that name; but, I say, even in Scripture, every spirit, whether under his dominion or out of his dominion, is called the Devil, and is as much a real devil, that is to say, a condemned spirit, and employed in the same wicked work, as Satan himself.

His name, then, being thus ascertained, and his existence acknowledged, it should be a little inquired what he is; we believe there is such a thing, such a creature as the Devil; and that he has been, and may still with propriety of speech, and without injustice to his character, be called by his ancient name, Devil.

But who is he? what is his original? whence came he? and what is his present station and condition? for these things and these inquiries are very necessary to his history, nor, indeed, can any part of his history be complete without them.

That he is of an ancient and noble original must be acknowledged, for he is heaven-born and of angelic race, as has been touched already; if Scripture evidence may be of

any weight in the question, there is no room to doubt the genealogy of the Devil; he is not only spoken of as an angel, but as a fallen angel, one that had been in neaven, had beheld the face of God in his full effulgence of glory, and had surrounded the throne of the Most High; from whence, commencing rebel, and being expelled, he was cast down, down, down, God and the Devil himself only know where; for indeed we cannot say that any man on earth knows it; and wherever it is, he has, ever since man's creation, been a plague to him, been a tempter, a deluder, a calumniator, an enemy, and the object of man's horror and aversion.

As his original is heaven-born, and his race angelic, so the angelic nature is evidently placed in a class superior to the human, and this the Scripture is express in also; when speaking of man, it says, he made him a little lower than the angels.

Thus the Devil, as mean thoughts as you may have of him, is of a better family than any of you, nay, than the best gentleman of you all; what he may be fallen to, is one thing, but what he is fallen from, is another; and therefore I must tell my learned and reverend friend J. W., LL.D., when he spoke so rudely of the Devil lately, in my opinion he abused his betters.

Nor is the Scripture more a help to us in the search after the Devil's original, than it is in our search after his natnre; it is true, authors are not agreed about his age, what time he was created, how many years he enjoyed his state of blessedness before he fell, or how many years he continued with his whole army in a state of darkness before the creation of man. It is supposed it might be a considerable space, and that it was a part of his punishment too, being all the while inactive, unemployed, having no business, nothing to do but gnawing his own bowels, and rolling in the agony of his own selfreproaches, being a hell to himself in reflecting on the glorious state from whence he was fallen.

How long he remained thus, it is true we have no light into from history, and but little from tradition; Rabbi Judah says, the Jews were of the opinion that he remained twenty thousand years in that condition, and that the world shall continue twenty thousand more, in which he shall find work enough to satisfy his mischievous desires; but he shows nc authority for his opinion.

« VorigeDoorgaan »