Billeder på siden
[ocr errors]

from which they have flowed. He is to destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil. See the following passages: Col. i. 20. Eph. i. 10. 1 Cor. 15. But it ought further to be noticed, that “the strength of sin is the law.” It is this which makes sin to be what it is, for sin is the transgression of the law, and where there is no law. there is no transgression. The law has always said the soul that sinneth shall die.” The law of Moses entered that the offence might abound. It gendered to bondage, and was the ministration of death. 2 Cor. iii. 7. comp. Rom. v. 20, 21. Gal. iv. 24. It could not give life, but cursed every one who did not continue in all things written in the book of the law to do them. Gal. ii. 21,

10. Well, did Christ through death abolish the law? The word which is in this

passage rendered destroy, Parkhurst says, means, “to render ineffectual, abolish, annul, destroy.” It is the same word which in 2 Cor. jii. 7. is rendered done away, and applied to the law of Moses, which was done away in Christ. And is rendered abolished, Eph. ii. 15. when speaking of this very law. “Having abolished in this flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances." It is also rendered abolished, 2 Tim. i. 10. where it is said of Christ, “ who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” This then is agreeable to the fact, for by the death of Christ the law was abolished. Christ through death destroyed or abolished the law, which was the strength of sin, and denounced death on the transgressor. It had the power of death, and might with as much propriety be called the devil or accuser as the writing, Ezra iv. 6. was called a satan or adversary to the Jews. The law is expressly said to have been the accuser of the Jews, John v. 45-47.

But it is added—and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” The Jews were kept in bondage under the law. But Christ delivers from this bondage, Rom. viii. 15. v. 1. viii. 1. and viii. 14. Whoever believes in Christ, is delivered not only from the law which is the strength of sin, but is led to crucify his flesh with its affections and lusts. And he is delivered from the fear of death, by the knowledge of life and immortality brought to light by the gospel. Indeed, the ultimate end of the death of Christ, is to bring men to a state of incorruption and glory. See i Cor. 15.

Acts xiii. 10. “O! full of all subtilty, and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness; wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord ?". The quotation from Professor Stuart, on John viii. 44. above, equally illustrates this passage. The term devil signifies å slanderer. Child of a slanderer, according to Mr. Stuart, signifies “a slanderous person,' as son of a murderer, means “a murderous person.” In fact, Paul, verse 8. gives for substance this very explanation. “Elymas the sorcerer withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.” Being full of all subtilty and mischief, he was a satan or devil, in opposing and slandering the faith of Christ.

Matth. xiii. 39. “The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world ; and the reapers are the angels.” The whole of this context is considered in the Second Part, to which the reader is referred. Here we shall only make a few brief remarks as to the devil of which this passage speaks.

1st. The tares said to be sown in the field, are called, verse 38. “the children of the wicked one." The word one is in italic, and the meaning is, “ wicked

persons." See Mr. Stuart's remarks quoted above on John viii. 44. The question then is, did a fallen angel mix those wicked children with the children of the kingdom? This must be affirmed, by those who say that the devil is a fallen angel. But though this is asserted, we have never seen any proof of it, nor will it be easily explained, how such a being could do this. Besides, we do not perceive what need there was, for the services of such a being to produce such a crop:

2d. What then is meant by the devil that sowed the tares? In the Second Inquiry we have shown, that the tares were the unbelieving Jews, who at the end of the world or age were destroyed. Well, what devil sowed them? The same devil or satan who put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus. No other devil was required to produce a crop of tares or wicked men, but the evil principles of their own hearts, for they were of their father the devil and the lusts of their father they did. See on John viii. 44. above.

Matth. XXV. 41. 6 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, depart from me ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." This passage must again be noticed in the Second Part, in considering Matth. 24, 25. Here I shall only notice the following things. 1st. It has been proved, we think beyond all controversy, that the unbelieving, persecuting Jews are repeatedly called the devil and satan. See the preceding passages in this Section and also Section 5. 2d. It has also been proved, that the angels or messengers of this satan, were the false teachers, or those who joined with the persecuting Jews in opposing the gospel and persecuting those who preached it. See on 2 Cor. xi. 14. and xii. 7. in Section 5. See also the next Section. As this will not be disputed, let us,

3d. Notice the everlasting fire which is here said to be prepared for the devil and his angels. This ever.. lasting fire, is not said to have been prepared for those whom our Lord is represented as addressing thus—" depart from me ye cursed.” No; it is said to have been prepared for the persecuting Jews and their angels or messengers. What then was this everlasting fire? In my Inquiry into the words Sheol, Hades, Tartarus and Gehenna, chap. ii. sect. 3. the following things have been shown at length, and to which I refer the reader. It has been shown, that fire is a figure used in Scripture to express God's temporal judgments on any people. The phrase, “everlasting fire,” has also been shown to refer to the temporal judgments of God which came on the Jews in the destruction of their city and temple, and is that punishment which they have been suffering for nearly two thousand years, and are still enduring. It has also been shown, that the phrase “everlasting fire,” is used as an equivalent expression for “hell fire.” All these, and other things connected with

this subject, have been shown there, and need not be į repeated here. See on this also 2 Thess. 2. consid

ered in the Second Part of this work. 4th. To whom did our Lord refer when he said, “ depart from me ye cursed” into everlasting fire, not prepared for them, but for the unbelieving Jews and their messengers ? The answer to this question will be given in considering Matth. 24, 25. in the Second Part, referred to, which to avoid repetition we omit here.

Acts x. 38. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil: for God was with him." Our Lord healed those who were possessed with demons, and cast them out: but it is no where said that he cast out diaboloi, devils ; and this is the only place where he is

said to have healed those who were oppressed of the devil. In curing persons he often commanded the demons to depart from them, yet on no occasion does he ever speak to diabolos, the devil, and command him to depart. His temptation in the wilderness may be thought an exception to this remark, which wil be considered in its place. If the devil, a fallen angel, inflicted bodily diseases in those days, we can see no good reason why he should not in these, for no one can think that his power is contracted or his malice abated by the lapse of seventeen centuries. But who in our day ascribes diseases to the devil ? If it is done it is merely in compliance with a popular mode of speaking. The question will then be asked-what devil were those persons oppressed with, for it is said our Lord healed all who were oppressed of the devil ? In answer to this, let it be observed, that Peter is here evidently speaking of our Lord's kindness in healing men of diseases generally, whatever they were. They are spoken of in the aggregate, and are called being." oppressed of the devil.” This is in perfect agreement with what has been stated Sections 3. and 4. that satan, the devil, or Ahriman, was the author of all evil, just as much as the good god Yazdan, was the author of all good. That the Jews had imbi. bed such an opinion, and used language in accordance with it, has been shown. Ascribing all diseases here to the oppression of the devil, shows that Peter spoke in accordance with this popular opinion. This our Lord did, in saying, that satan had bound a woman eighteen years with an infirmity. Satan is also said to have afflicted Job, but it has been shown, that this very account is introduced, for the purpose of refuting such an opinion, and establishing that God is the author of afflictions as well as of prosperity.

Eph. iv. 27. “ Neither give place to the devil.” In the preceding verse the apostle exhorts—“be ye

« ForrigeFortsæt »