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account were the whole Bible, or if nothing else were said of Satan in the Scriptures, this opinion would contain a faint shadow of probability. But we have other passages that teach his existence; and some, too, that will lead us to a correct understanding of this long-contested subject.
Let the following verses be attentively considered, in connection with the account in Genesis :
2 Cor. xi, 3: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” Rev. xii, 9: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.”' Rev. xx, 1, 2:'" And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.”
The last two passages, it is granted, are a part of the most figurative book in the Bible, and it is this that makes it the most mysterious. But that part of these verses most material to the present question, is explained by the inspired writer himself; while these two, the one in Corinthians, and the narrative in Genesis, reflect mutual light on each other.
Moses assures us that the serpent was the most subtle of all the beasts of the field: Satan, therefore, manifested much of the cunning for which he has since become so celebrated, in selecting that animal as the instrument of seduction. St. Paul, under the divine influence of the same spirit who inspired the Jewish historian, confirms the account of Moses, in saying that the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlely.
But, that we might not be led astray by this language, in understanding it of that animal alone, St. John, also moved by the Spirit of Truth, calls the “old serpent,” in evident allusion to the first temptation, “the Devil'' and " Satan ;" by which he can only mean the prince of darkness.
Now, as the Bible teaches us that there is in existence a spiritual, malignant being, called Satan,-as that being is likewise called "a serpent," and the "old serpent,”—as a serpent was apparently the tempter of the woman in Eden, and as that animal was actually a beast of the field, we conclude that Satan gained the characteristic appellation of “old serpent” from the temptation in the garden; and for this plain reason: that though, to the eyes of Eve, nothing save the bare serpent appeared, yet Satan was, at the same time, the great agent in that fatal business; using the animal merely as an instrument to gain his object.
In permitting evil spirits to tempt men to commit sin, or to entice them from the truth, let no one impeach the character of the Supreme Being. If we are opposed by numerous invisible adversaries, and of ourselves are perfect weakness, the grace of God is sufficient for us in every time of need. A necessary degree of strength was communicated to Adam, and it is likewise granted to every one of his offspring.
11th Proposition. After the day of judgment, the punishment of these angelic offenders will be greatly increased ör augmented; and they, in company with wicked men, will then be confined to the place of torment “where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched."
It is a doctrine that has obtained to a considerable extent among divines, that the misery of the lost, and the blessedness of the pious, will, in a future state, always increase. The last part of this opinion, that the righteous, in another world, will rise continually in the knowledge and love of God, is not only taught in the New Testament, and especially by St. Paul, in the fifteenth chapter of the first Corinthians, but it is also deducible from the nature of mind. The mind is an ever-active essence, and perhaps the only perpetual motion with which man will ever be acquainted. As the Christian will always be learning, so an increase of divine knowledge will naturally produce a larger measure of divine love; and as this love increases, so will also his happiness.
The same, however, cannot be said of the wretchedness of the ungodly. The most ignorant men are not always the most unhappy; and the Bible is not so clear on this point as on the other. But another thought will confirm its truth notwithstanding. Misery, of some kind, is the never-failing consequence of sin. If, therefore, the wickedness of the wicked will continue and increase, so must their torment likewise.
The justice and goodness of God require the resurrection of the human body. The soul of a believer cannot be properly rewarded for virtuous, and that of a sinner cannot be justly punished for vicious, actions, performed or committed while in connection with, and in part by, the body.
From this, then, we infer, that if it could even not be proved that men will always increase in happiness or misery after death, according to the nature of
their conduct, the felicity of a good man, and the pain of the sinner, will not be complete until the resurrection of the body.
In like manner the punishment of the fallen angels, though not for the same reason, will far exceed in severity what they now feel.'
No one, who has attentively read the Scriptures, can doubt that they are now in a state of punishment. Convinced of this, read the following passage, Matt. xxviij, 29: “And when he was come to the other side, there met him two possessed with devils. And behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" That this came from the demons themselves, though, perhaps, spoken through the vocal organs of the possessed individuals, as when language was put by Satan into the mouth of the serpent, appears from the following context: “And there was, a good way off from them, a herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine,” verses 30, 31.
Possessions of this kind, and the above especially, in which it is said the evil spirits entered into a herd of unclean animals, are frequently ridiculed by deists and others; but it is likely these same spirits found a purer residence in the filthy swine than they often meet with in the hearts of infidels!
The talented author of the “Physical Theory of Another Life," supposes the demons of the New Testament to be altogether different from the fallen angels. But this is a mistake. For Christ makes to cast out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils, to be synonymous with casting out Satan by Satan. And it is acknowledged that Satan is a fallen angel. See Matt. xii, 24-26.
Now, what can the question mean which is proposed in the twenty-ninth verse ? " Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" They were in torment already. It can only signify, then, “ Art thou come to increase our torment? or to inflict upon us that fearfully augmented punishment which we know to be in reservation for Satan and his angels ?"
And how are the words to be interpreted "before the time?" To what time have they reference ? Look again at the language of Peter and Jude, alluded to before, and the question is immediately answered:
“God spared not the angels that sinned, but delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.”_"The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under dark. ness"—this implies punishment—" unto the judgment of the great day.”
The day of final reckoning, then, is the time of which these spirits were speaking.
This idea of increased misery, after the last day, is found also in the Night Thoughts of Dr. Young:
_“The foe of God and man,
The Consolation, Night IX. • 12th and last Proposition. All the faithfuil angels, at the end of their probationary existence, were taken to heaven, are now ministering to the heirs of salvation, and otherwise employed as the messengers of God in different parts of the universe, and with them will eternally increase in the unalloyed happiness of the saints in light.
That they are in heaven, that they perform frequent visits of mercy to the earth, that they are particularly “ministering spirits” to the redeemed, and that they are called the messengers of the Lord, are facts generally admitted; and evidences of these facts will be unnecessary. I have only to add, in the language of a poet,
“If, then, a better system's thine,
Believe it, or make use of mine." Clarksburg, Md., Oct. 19, 1837.
ART. IX – Twelve Lectures on the Connection between Science and Revealed Reli
gion Delivered in Rome. By NICHOLAS WISEMAN, D. D., Principal of the English College, and Professor in the University of Rome. Andover: Gould
& Newman. 1837. 8vo., pp. 404.
DR. WISEMAN, we are told, in the advertisement to this edition of his Lectures, is the head of the English College at Rome, an institution devoted to the instruction of young men in theology, under the supervision of a cardinal, and receiving the attention of the head of the Romish Church. We are also told that Dr. Wiseman was born of English parents, in Spain ; and though we are not informed concerning the places in which he received his education, or the methods in which he pursued his early studies, it is evident that he is a man of varied learning; and he has shown himself, on another occasion, well acquainted with the writings of some of the most distinguished German authors.
About two fifths of the present work are taken up with the early history of the human race. Beginning without any thesis or theory on the subject, the author plunges deeply into comparative philology ; or, to call it by its recent and more learned name, ethnography; that is, the classing of nations by means of the comparative study of languages. He adverts to the limited views of the linguists of former times, in looking only for a lineal descent of words where collateral branches might have extended; and in relying upon direct etymological derivation without comparing the affinities of various kindred languages or dialects. Instead of supporting a system, Dr. Wiseman turns himself to facts, and does not begin to philosophize till he thinks that the boundaries of observation have been faithfully explored. When a considerable number of words in two languages nearly resemble each other, notwithstanding there is a great want of resemblance in other words, a strong presumption is furnished that they sprung from a common primary language.
Every one, who has any fondness for philological pursuits, must receive much gratification from examining the portion of the Lectures of which we are now speaking. Besides the condensed history which the author furnishes of the labors of the learned in this department, in different countries, he holds impartially the scales in which he weighs the opposite opinions concerning the original unity of all language. Among those who have aimed to demonstrate this unity, he singles out with special favor Alexander Von Humbolt, Julius Klaproth, and Frederic Schlegel ; the first of whom pronounces the following strong decision as the result of his extensive inquiries :
“However insulated certain languages may at first appear, however singular their caprices and their idioms, all have an analogy among them; and their numerous relations will be more perceived, in proportion as the philosophical history of nations, and the study of languages, shall be brought to perfection.” (p. 68.)
The difficulty of tracing the relationship of the new world with the old, by means of comparative philology, is admitted by Dr. Wiseman. Still, the traditions that prevail among the aborigines, on portions of this continent, relative to the early history of the human race, analogous to those of the Asiatics, go to establish, in his opinion, a common origin. Under the disadvantages of comparing the American unwritten dialects with those of Eastern Asia, it could hardly be expected that fragments enough could be found in the former, of a primitive language, to reconstruct their original speech, and show its identity with the language from which it had so long and so widely diverged.
The oneness of the human race is discussed in these Lectures at much length; and the aid of learned travellers and scientific physiologists is called in to prove a unity of origin, notwithstanding the
marked varieties which have been wrought by time and circumstances. The author does not deny or shun the difficulties of the subject. While he acknowledges that the way in which nature has wrought in producing this variety is mysterious, he maintains that there is no impossibility that races, apparently so peculiar and so unlike in many particulars, should have sprung from one family.
The following is a brief summary of what the author has attempted in a portion of this subject, which we select, together with the illustrations he has annexed. These are striking and ingenious.
“ We have seen it well established, first, that among animals acknowledged to be of one species, there have arisen varieties similar to those in the human race, and not less diverse from one another. Secondly, that nature tends, in the human species, to produce varieties in one race approaching to the characteristics of the others. Thirdly, that sporadic varieties of the most extraordinary sort may be propagated by descent. Fourthly, that we can find sufficient proofs, in the languages and in the characteristics of larger bodies, or entire nations compared, of their transition from one race to an. other. Fifthly, that though the origin of the black race is yet involved in mystery, yet are there sufficient facts collected to prove the possibility of its having arisen from another, particularly if, in addition to the action of heat, we admit that of moral causes acting upon the physical organization.
“And here I will remark, that we are often precipitate and unjust, in judging of the past by causes now in action. It is, indeed, true, that nature is constant and regular in her operations; but if, in the short course of our experience, or that of past observers, no variation may have been noted in the uniformity of her workings, it is that the little segment of our duration's cycle, over which we and they have travelled, is but as a straight line, an infinitesimal element, whose curvature can only appear when referred to a much larger portion of her circumference. That, besides the partial laws with which we are acquainted, there have been others once most active, whose agency is now either suspended or concealed, the study of the world must easily convince us. There were times, within the verge of mythological history, when volcanoes raged in almost every chain of mountains; when lakes dried up, or suddenly appeared, in many valleys; when seas burst over their boundaries and created new islands, or retired from their beds and increased old continents; when, in fine, there was a power of production and arrangement on a great, magnificent scale; when nature seemed employed not merely in the yearly renovation of plants and insects, but in the procreation from age to age of the vaster and more massive elements of her sphere; when her task was not confined to the embroidering the meadows in the spring, or to the paring away of shores by the slow eating action of tides and currents, but when she toiled in the great laboratories of the earth, upheaving mountains, and displacing seas, and thus giving to the world its great indelible features. And how are we to account for this, but by supposing in nature a two-fold action: one regular from the beginning, and uniform to the end; the other a mysterious, slow-moving power, which, though revolving on the same plane, travels over it with an imperceptible motion, proportioned to the wants of the entire system.” (pp. 144, 145.)
Geology, another fruitful subject in its relation to the Mosaic history, is handled next to the history of man, in this course of Lectures. The statements here made concerning the conclusions of modern geologists, in regard to the changes on the earth's surface, are valuable in themselves, while they serve to allay the fears of those who have taken alarm, lest the cosmogony of the Old Testament should not only not be verified, but should be even brought into discredit, by means of new discoveries in geological science. We cannot forbear, in this connection, to extract the pleasing reflections of the author at the close of one of his lectures :
“And surely it must be gratifying thus to see a science, formerly classed, and not, perhaps, unjustly, among the most pernicious to faith, once more become her handmaid ; to see her now, after so many years of wandering from theory to theory, or rather, from vision to vision, return once more to the home where she was born, and to the altar at which she made her first simple offerings; no longer, as she first went forth, a wilful, dreamy, empty-handed child, but with a matronly dignity, and a priest-like step, and a bosom full of well-earned gifts, to pile upon its sacred hearth. For it was religion which, as we saw at the commencement of this lecture, gave geology birth, and to the sanctuary she hath once more returned." (p. 192.)
Of the lectures on the remaining subjects, namely, Early History, Archæology, and Oriental Literature, sacred and profane, we have not room to speak particularly. The treatment of these, as well as of the other great subjects, is marked with frankness on the part of the author, when he is met by difficulties; while he ever takes delight in verifying the Scripture histories, by the light shed through the advancement of learning and science, and by the great discoveries to which these have given birth. The history of science and literature here unfolded, in relation to the Scriptures, is applied in its results to the verification of revealed truth, not only as that history is drawn from the friends of religion, but as it is deduced from the writings of those who have carried on their investigations without any reference to the Bible, or any suspicion that the results would be so applied. Thus the antiquary and the orientalist are unawares made tributary to the theologian. The writings, too, of unbelievers, and even of those opposed to the Scriptures, are in this way employed in defence of religion, contrary to their expectation and their will.
On the whole, we have been highly gratified with these Lectures. They are adapted to convey much instruction. And, though the style has not the freedom and ease which we should have expected if the author had been mainly conversant with English scholars, yet it is perspicuous and pure, and sometimes beautiful. Dr. Wiseman, as we have said, is a Catholic ; and we add, so far as we discover his character and disposition from this work, a man of generous and liberal feelings. If he believes in the adage said to have been current in the church to which he belongs, that “ignorance is the mother of devotion," he has no fears, on the contrary, that science and learning can, on the whole, or in the end, be converted into weapons of hostility against the Christian faith; for, thus far, the more searching they have become, the more have the fears of the timid believer subsided, and the conviction of the ingenuous inquirer been strength. ened.-- North American Review.