imbibing Zoroaster's opinions, which were opposed to the worship of idols? But this 1 merely suggest for consideration, and leave the reader to his own reflections, on the topics which have been discussed in the present Section.





The term Satan, among Christians, is as much a proper name for a fallen angel, as Peter and Paul are for two of Christ's apostles. In correction of this mistake, Dr. Campbell says, Dissert. 6. Satan, though conceived by us as a proper name, was an appellative in the language spoken by our Lord; for, from the Hebrew it passed into the Syriac, and signified no more than adversary or opponent. It is naturally just as applicable to human as to spiritual agents, and is, in the Old Testament, often so applied.” The truth of this statement we have seen, Sect. 3.

It has been alleged that the New Testament speaks more frequently and explicitly about the devil and satan.than the Old. Let us see how this matter stands. The term satan occurs thirty-four times in the Old Testament, and is fifteen times rendered adversary, or by some similar word. But though it occurs thirty-five times in the New Testament, it is not once rendered by any word. It is easily perceived then, that this circumstance gives to the New Testament the appearance of teaching the existence of such a being, which the Old has not. But every

man must see, that it is a very false appearance. This false appearance is very much increased, from the very frequent occurrence of the term devil, and the plural devils, to which like the term satan, people have attached the idea of a fallen angel. But it is well known that the words daimon and daimonion, have no reference to that being Christians call the devil, but to demons or dead men deified. The reader is requested to consult Farmer, Jahn, and Dr. Campbell on this subject. It is only with the word diabolos, rendered devil, we are concerned in this Inquiry, which occurs in the New Testament thirty-six times. Excluding all the other places where the words devil and devils are the rendering of daimon and daimonion, all must see what an alteration it makes on the face of the New Testament. Even in our English version, the term diabolos, is sometimes rendered slanderer and false accuser, as the word signifies. Dr. Campbell, where Judas is called a devil, renders it spy, and diabolos is rendered in a similar manner by other translators. Supposing then, that the words shaitan and diabolos, had been rendered adversary and slanderer, or by similar words, it would have been difficult to find a fallen angel under those names in the Bible. In the Old Testament the term satan signifies an adversary, and is used to express the angel of Jehovah, the evil passions of men, a piece of writing, the evil principle deified, &c. The terms satan and devil are used in a similar way in the New Testament, which we shall now proceed to show.

Matth. xvi. 23. “But he turned, and said unto Peter, get thee behind me, satan : thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” See also the parallel text in Mark viii. 33. which I need not transcribe. Here our Lord does not say that Peter was possessed of satan, that he acted like him, or that he was in

fluenced by him, but positively calls one of his own disciples satan. But was Peter a fallen angel or wicked spirit? The expression “get thee behind me. satan,is the same that our Lord used, Luke iv. 8. when he was tempted of the devil and satan. There is nothing at all remarkable in calling Peter satan, as David and the angel of the Lord were called so in the Old Testament. “Get thee behind me adversary," was highly proper language, for Peter was our Lord's adversary, not from design, but from ignorance and mistaken views, as is evident from the context, and also from the reason assigned; “For ihou savourest not the things which be of God, but those which be of men." The Old and New Testament writers therefore perfectly, harmonise in the sense attached to this word.

Luke xxii. 31, 32. “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, satan hath desired to have you that he may

sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Peter in the last text, was a satan or adversary, and now our Lord told him satan desired to sift him as wheat. But where in the history of Peter do we find that an evil being ever attempted to injure him. But if we consult verses 3235. and verses 54–63. of this chapter, we see that Peter was three times put through the sieve and sifted like wheat, by being three times charged with being one of our Lord's disciples, and he as often denying him. Peter's faith seemed to fail himn for a season, but our Lord prayed for him that it might not entirely fail. In Psalm 109. and other places in Sect. 3. we have seen that the unbelieving Jews are called a satan or adversary to our Lord.

Here they showed themselves so by sifting Peter as wheat, for their opposition was chiefly against the Saviour. To assert, that a fallen angel influenced the Jews,

has no evidence to support it from text or context. Indeed, only render the term satan adversary, and no one would think of a fallen angel as concerned in this affair. Our Lord only says, " behold the adversary hath desired

that he



you as wheat." Mark iii. 23. “ And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, how can satan cast out satan.” See the whole context. The following remarks from Jahn are sufficient on this passage. He says, p. 226"Jesus, in Matt. xii. 24-30, Mark iii. 22-30. Luke xi. 16—24, employs against the Pharisees the argUMENTUM AD HOMINEM, which has no bearing in this case any further than the refutation of the adversary is concerned. The ground of his employing this species of argument in the present instance was this. The Pharisees, if we may.

believe Josephus, taught, that the demons, hy which men were possessed, were the spirits of bad men, who were dead, and were commissioned on their present business of tormenting the children of men by Beelzebub. Jesus, therefore, replied, provided this were the true state of the case, that Beelzebub, by lending his assistance in casting out his own devils, was overturning his own kingdom. He then adds, that this powerful spirit, for such the Pharisees supposed him to be, could not be compelled to perform such an unwelcome task, unless a stronger one than Beelzebub himself; should first come, should bind him, and take away his arms."

Lúke x. 18. 6 And he said unto them, I beheld satan as lightning fall from heaven.” The following remarks from Jahn are also sufficient on this text. He says, p. 225—"Jesus, in Luke x. 17, does not assert the operations of demons in men, for he couples Satan with serpents and scorpions, which places us under the necessity of interpreting all of these words tropically, and of understanding by them cunning and

powerful adversaries, who opposed the progress of the Gospel, but with all their power were unable to interrupt its advancement. The expressions which he employs are as follows. '] see, (Hebrew an'nn) I see Satan,' i.l. all the adversaries of the Gospel, who are afterwards called serpents, scorpions, and the enemy's host, “fall like lightning from heaven,' i.e. from the political heaven, from power and authority. Consult Isai. xiv. 12, 13. Matthew 24th chapter, Luke x. 15. Revelation xii. 7-9, see also Cicero, where he says to Mark Antony, you have hurled your colleagues down from heaven. ('the adversaries of the Gospel occur in Luke xxii. 31. under the name of Satan.) Behold, (he proceeds,) I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy,' i.e. of overcoming and subduing by your niraculous gifts all adversaries, • and nothing shall by any means hurt you, i.e. oppress and overcome you, (comp. adexinoet with the Hebrew poy.) Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the 'spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven,' i.e. rejoice rather in the favour of God, than in the power of casting out devils, or of healing the most difficult diseases." In addition to these remarks I would ask, how many fallings from heaven has satan had, for he fell from heaven before he tempted Eve, and fell again it seems while the seventy disciples were on their tour of preaching? But how did he get to heaven to make a second fall from it, and while there, was he also walking about on our earth seeking whom he might devour?

Luke xii. 16." And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?" Jahn on this passage says, p. 227– “Jesus liberates the woman, described in Luke xiii.

« ElőzőTovább »