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ORIGINAL CAUSE OF EXPULSION FROM HEAVEN. 309
OF THE ORIGINAL OF THE DEVIL, WHO
HE IS, AND WHAT HE WAS BEFORE HIS EXPULSION OUT OF HEAVEN, AND IN WHAT STATE HE WAS FROM THAT TIME TO THE CREATION OF MAN.
To come to a regular inquiry into Satan's affairs, it is needful we should go back to his original, as far as history and the opinion of the learned world give us leave.
It is agreed by all writers, as well sacred as profane, that this creature we now call a Devil, was originally an angel of light, a glorious seraph; perhaps the choicest of all the glorious seraphs. See how Milton describes his original glory:
Satan, so call him now, his former name
Is heard no more in Heaven; he of the first,
In favour and preeminence.-Par. Lost, lib. v.
And again, the same author, and upon the same subject:
Of angels, than that star the stars among.-Ib. lib. vii.
The glorious figure which Satan is supposed to make among the thrones and dominions in heaven is such, as we might suppose the highest angel in that exalted train could make; and some think, as above, that he was the chief of the archangels.
Hence that notion, and not ill founded, namely, that the first cause of his disgrace, and on which ensued his rebellion, was occasioned upon God's proclaiming his Son generalissimo, and with himself supreme ruler in heaven, giving the dominion of all his works of creation, as well already finished as not then begun, to him; which post of honour, say they, Satan expected to be conferred on himself, as next in honour, majesty, and power, to God the supreme.
This opinion is followed by Mr. Milton, too, as appears in the following lines, where he makes all the angels attending at a general summons, and God the Father making the following declaration to them:
Hear all ye angels, progeny of light,
Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers!
Hear my decree, which unrevok'd shall stand.
This day I have begot whom I declare
My only Son, and on this holy hill
Him have anointed, whom you now behold
For ever happy: him who disobeys,
Satan, affronted at the appearance of a new essence or being in heaven, called the Son of God; for God, says Mr. Milton (though erroneously), declared himself at that time, saying, This day have I begotten him, and that he should be set up above all the former powers of heaven, of whom Satan (as above) was the chief, and expecting, if any higher post could be granted, it might be his due; I say, affronted at this, he resolved
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave
Unworship'd, unobey'd, the throne supreme
But Mr. Milton is grossly erroneous in ascribing those words, This day have I begotten thee, to that declaration of the Father before Satan fell, and consequently to a time before the creation; whereas, it is by interpreters agreed to be understood of the incarnation of the Son of God, or at least of the resurrection: see Pool, upon Acts xiii. 33.*
In a word, Satan withdrew, with all his followers, malcontent and chagrined, resolved to disobey this new command, and not yield obedience to the Son.
But Mr. Milton agrees in that opinion, that the number of angels which rebelled with Satan was infinite; and suggests
* Mr. Pool's words are these: Some refer the words, this day have I begotten thee,' to the incarnation of the Son of God, others to the resurrection: our translators lay the stress on the preposition, of which the verb is compounded, and by adding ‘again,' (viz.) 'raised up Jesus again,' Acts xiii. 33, intend it to be understood of the resurrection; and there is ground for it, in the context, for the resurrection of Christ is that which St. Paul had propounded in v. 30. of the same chapter, as his theme or argument to preach upon.
Not that Christ at his resurrection began to be the Son of God, but that he was manifested then to be so.
DESCRIPTIVE OF THE FALL.
in one place, that they were the greatest half of all the angelic body or seraphic host.
But Satan with his powers,
Innumerable as the stars of night,
Or stars of morning, dew drops, which the sun
Be their number as it is, numberless millions and legions of millions, that is no part of my present inquiry; Satan, the leader, guide, and superior, as he was author of the celestial rebellion, is still the great head and master-devil as before; and under his authority they still act, not obeying, but carrying on the same insurrection against God, which they begun in heaven; making war still against heaven, in the person of his image and creature man; and though vanquished by the thunder of the Son of God, and cast down headlong from heaven, they have yet resumed, or rather not lost, either the will or the power of doing mischief.
This fall of the angels, with the war in heaven which preceded it, is finely described by Ovid, in his war of the Titans against Jupiter, casting mountain upon mountain, and hill upon hill (Pelion upon Ossa), in order to scale the adamantine walls, and break open the gates of heaven, till Jupiter struck them with his thunderbolts and overwhelmed them in the abyss. Vide Ovid. Metam. new translation :
Nor were the Gods themselves secure on high,
They're in their own ungodly ruins slain.-Lib. i. p. ix.
Then, again, speaking of Jupiter, resolving in council to destroy mankind by a deluge, and giving the reasons of it to the heavenly host, says thus, speaking of the demigods, alluding to the good men below:
Think that they in safety can remain,
When I, myself, who o'er immortals reign,
Who send the lightning, and heaven's empire sway,
Since, then, so much poetic liberty is taken with the Devil, relating to his most early state, and the time before his fall, give me leave to make an excursion of the like kind, relating to his history immediately after the fall, and till the creation of man; an interval which I think much of the Devil's story is to be seen in, and which Mr. Milton has taken little notice of, at least it does not seem completely filled up; after which I shall return to honest prose again, and pursue the duty of an historian.
Satan, with hideous ruin thus supprest,
Now to themselves as well as station lost,
In the remotest gulf of dark they land,
Here vengeance gives them leave to make their stand;
Not that to steps and measures they pretend,
Councils and schemes their station to defend,
Thus Hell began; the fire of conscious rage
EARLIEST PROPER NAME FROM SCRIPTURE.
The malice, viper like, takes vent within,
Hell's but the frenzy of defeated pride,
The wretch, whose crimes had shut him out on high,
Might end by death all human misery,
Might have it in our choice, to be, or not to be.
THE NAME OF THE DEVIL, HIS ORIGINAL, AND THE NATURE OF HIS CIRCUMSTANCES SINCE HE HAS BEEN CALLED BY THAT
THE Scripture is the first writing on earth where we find the Devil called by his own proper distinguishing denomination, Devil, or the Destroyer*; nor indeed is there any other
The meaning of the word Devil, is destroyer. See Pool, upon Acts xiii. 10.