Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Malachi. Of course, it will not be pretended that either of these books teaches the existence of such a being; and whether such a thing is taught in those books where the word does occur, let the reader determine by examining all the passages where it is found. Can it be supposed that the Jews of ancient times were knowing to the existence of a devil, who was doing extensive mischief in the world, enticing men to sin, and leading millions down to irretrievable ruin and misery; and yet, that such holy men as Joshua, Nehemiah, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, &c., should say not one word concerning him?

3. God never gave the Jewish people, through the medium of his prophets, any warning concerning the devil, any information in regard to the extensive and powerful evil influence which he was constantly exercising over them. Nor are any directions given how his influence might be resisted, and his power counteracted. All of which was certainly very necessary, if such a being really existed.

4. No person, of whom we have any account in the Old Testament, ever undertook to excuse himself for his crimes and iniquities, by saying he was enticed, or tempted, by the devil, and charging the blame upon him. The case of Eve may be thought an instance of this; but I remark, that we are not told that the serpent was a fallen angel, nor that the devil assumed the form of a serpent, and tempted Eve. Besides, Adam acknowledged no influence of the serpent or the devil in his case, but charges the blame upon his wife. We might as well, therefore, suppose Eve to be the devil, or the woman to be the form which the devil assumed, as to suppose this of the serpent.

5. The children of the Jews were not taught by their parents anything concerning the devil; nor were they cautioned to beware of his seductive wiles and stratagems; nor told that for disobedience they would be consigned over to his tender mercies. All this is perfectly unaccountable, if Jewish parents believed as some parents do now.

6. Among all the prayers recorded in the Old Testament, there is not a single instance of any individual ever praying, either for himself, or any one else, to be delivered from the influence or power of the devil in this world, or anywhere else. Either persons then

did not believe as many do now, or they were culpably negligent in this respect.

7. We are not informed, in the Old Testament, of any person who ever swore by the devil, or cursed by the devil, or ever wished any of their fellow-men to go to the devil. Certainly, wicked, profane Jews did not believe as profane men do now, or we should have some instances of this kind.

8. Another fact is, that no person under the Old Testament dispensation, either good, bad, or indifferent, ever expressed any fears of going to the devil himself, or of any other persons going to the devil. They express no such fears when well, when sick, nor on the bed of death. Nor do the living express any fears that their deceased relatives, friends, or acquaintances, had gone to the devil.

DEVILS. -This word is found in the Old Testament four times. It occurs once in Leviticus, once in Deuteronomy, once in 2 Chronicles, and once in Psalms. By consulting Section 2 of this Chapter, which contains all the passages where it occurs, every person can see that it is used to signify the heathen divinities, or false gods of the heathen; and in no other sense. As it is not pretended that this word is used to signify a fallen angel, no more need be said on it.

[ocr errors]

SATAN. - This word occurs both in the Old and in the New Testament. In the Old it occurs just eighteen times. Once in 1 Chronicles, fourteen times in the book of Job, and three times in Zechariah. In the Old Testament we have seen it signifies an enemy, an opposer, an adversary. It is used in precisely the same sense in the New. This word occurs in the New Testament thirtyseven times. Four times in Matthew, six times in Mark, six times in Luke, once in John, twice in Acts, once in Romans, twice in 1 Corinthians, three times in 2 Corinthians, once in 1 Thessalonians, once in 2 Thessalonians, twice in 1 Timothy, and eight times in Revelation. It is not found in Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, and 3 John, nor in Jude.

This word is applied in the New Testament as follows: To Peter, one of the disciples of Christ; to Beelzebub, the imaginary prince, or god, of the demons or spirits of dead men; to Judas, another

disciple of Christ, who deserted him, and thereby became an enemg or adversary to him; to the unbelieving Jews, who were the adversaries of Christ, and of his religion; to false teachers, they being the enemies of truth; and to the heathen opponents of the Gospel, and persecutors of the followers of Christ; see Rev. 2:13. It is also applied to the spirit of wickedness in man, and to the evil passions and desires of men; see Acts 5: 3, and John 13: 27.

DIABOLOS.- This word is found in the Greek Testament thirty-six times. Six times in Matthew, six times in Luke, three times in John, twice in Acts, twice in Ephesians, three times in 1 Timothy, twice in 2 Timothy, once in Titus, once in Hebrews, once in James, once in 1 Peter, three times in 1 John, once in Jude, and six times in the book of Revelation. It is not found in Mark, John, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Philemon, 2 Peter, nor in 2 and 3 John.

If the reader will examine Section 4 of this Chapter, he will see that the words devil and Satan are used in the New Testament as synonymous terms.


The word diabolos is translated in the common version of the New Testament thirty-three times devil, twice false accusers, and once slanderers. Had it been invariably rendered by words which properly define it, no one would ever have dreamed that it was used to signify a fallen angel. Donnegan defines this word thus: Diabolos - an accuser, a calumniator. See Donnegan's Greek and English Lexicon, p. 356. We are aware that some writers say it signifies the devil; meaning a fallen angel, such as has been generally believed in; but before it can be allowed to have this signification, it must be proved that such a being exists; or, at least, that the New Testament writers believed in the existence of such a being, and applied this word to him; which we think cannot be done. This word is applied in the New Testament in the same manner that Satan is, and signifies precisely the same thing. If the reader, therefore, will examine all the texts where it occurs, and read them as if it was rendered slanderer, accuser, calumniator, opposer, enemy or adversary, he cannot fail of understanding them in their true


In closing this chapter, we will state some objections to the com

mon view of the subject, and reply to some objections against the views which we have presented.

1. The common view of the subject is absurd. It supposes sin to have originated in heaven. Now heaven is everywhere represented in the Scriptures as a holy, happy place, into which nothing sinful, unholy, or unclean can ever enter. To suppose, therefore, that sin and rebellion against God originated there, is absurd in the


2. It is contrary to experience. It supposes man to be influenced to sin by a personal devil. Now no rational man, acquainted with human nature, ever felt, or imagined that he felt, any such influence.

3. It is unphilosophical. It supposes more causes than are necessary, to account for the wickedness of man. We think the fact of man's animal nature being so closely connected with his spiritual is abundantly sufficient to account for all his sin and wickedness, without resorting to the supposition that a personal devil has any concern in the matter. We have no doubt that thousands have imagined they felt the influence of such a being. So have thousands imagined they felt the influence of witches; and this fact proves as much in one case as in the other.

4. It comes directly in contact with the plain declarations of the Bible.

1st. It supposes sin to have been introduced into our world by a fallen angel. Whereas, the Bible declares that by one man, not by one devil, nor by one fallen angel; but "by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin." See Rom. 5: 12.

2d. It supposes man to be tempted by a personal devil. But when the Bible speaks out plainly on this subject, it declares that every man, yes, every man from Adam down to latest posterity; every man is tempted, not by the devil, not by a fallen angel, but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." See James 1: 14, and 4: 1-4, and Prov. 1: 10.


3d. This theory supposes that the works of the devil will remain, and that he himself will exist throughout the ceaseless ages of eter nity. But the Bible affirms that he himself, and all his works, shall be destroyed. Heb. 2: 14; 1 John 3: 8. Whatever this devil may be supposed to be, then, one thing is certain; he is des

tined to be completely destroyed, together with all his works. So far, therefore, as the salvation of the human race is concerned, it is a matter of no consequence whether such a being as a personal devil has any real existence or not.

We will now notice some objections to our views. It is objected,

1. That personal pronouns are applied to the devil in the Bible, and the Scriptures frequently speak of him as a real being; and represent him as talking, acting, &c.

To this we reply, that personal pronouns are applied to many inanimate things in the Bible; and oftentimes they are represented as talking, acting, &c. The earth is personified. Job 31: 38. The heavens are personified. Jer. 2: 12, 13. The sea. Job 38: 8, 9. Destruction. Job 28: 22. Death and the grave. 1 Cor. 15: 55; Job 28: 22. The hosts of heaven. Ps. 148: 1-5. The mountains and hills. Isa. 55: 12. The trees of the forest. Judges 9: 7-16. Wisdom also is personified. Proverbs, chapters 8 and 9; also, Prov. 1: 20-33. Seeing so many things are personified in the Scriptures, is it any marvel that evil, that wicked men, that the lusts and passions of men, should be personified? So far from it, it is just what we should be led to expect.

2. It is said, If the idea of a personal devil and an endless hell be given up, our preachers will have nothing to preach about. We frankly confess, we know of many preachers who, in such a case, would lose a principal topic of conversation and pulpit declamation. But then it must be confessed that, if in reality no such being as a personal devil exists, the less that is said about him the better. And if these preachers can find no better subjects to discourse upon, they had better abandon the ministry, and be silent.

3. It was remarked by a certain old lady, that the existence of a devil was perfectly clear; else how could mankind make a picture of him? We know there have been a great many pictures of the devil, and we also know that a great many pictures of things exist in the human imagination, and are even put upon paper, which have no existence in reality. Mankind are extremely fond of pictures; and perhaps some will esteem it a hard case that we should attempt to rob them of their beautiful pictures of the devil.

In conclusion we remark, that until the facts and objections stated

« VorigeDoorgaan »