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CONTENTS.-A Sermon by the Rev. Julius Mark, of Chelmsford :-Satan permitted to Tempt Job-Memoir of Miss Emma Cornwell, of Saffron Walden-(ECCLESIASTICS.) To the Editor-(MISSIONS.) Resolution of the Essex Auxiliary Missionary Society-Address-(SUNDAY-SCHOOLS.) The Instrumentality as related to the Design of Sunday-schools An Address to Sunday-school Teachers--(REVIVALS. No. 1.)
Thou art neither Cold nor Hot--thou art Lukewarm. Rev, iii. 15, 16,-(MISCELLANEOUS.) Importance of Decision in .Nonconformists-Candid Confession (POETRY.) “ Fight the Good Fight of Faith.” 1 Timothy vi. 12.
NOW THERE WAS A DAY WHEN THE SONS OF GOD
CAME TO PRESENT THEMSELVES BEFORE THE
LORD, AND SATAN CAME ALSO AMONG THEM. AND THE LORD SAID UNTO SATAN, WHENCE
COMEST THOU? THEN SATAN ANSWERED THE
DOWN IN IT.
CONSIDERED MY SERVANT JOB, THAT THERE IS
THEN SATAN ANSWERED THE LORD, AND SAID,
DOTH JOB FEAR GOD FOR NOUGHT? HAST NOT THOU MADE AN HEDGE ABOUT HIM,
AND ABOUT HIS HOUSE, AND ABOUT ALL THAT HE HATH ON EVERY SIDE? THOU HAST BLESSED THE WORK OF HIS HANDS, AND HIS SUB
STANCE IS INCREASED IN THE LAND. BUT PUT FORTH THINE HAND NOW, AND TOUCH
ALL THAT HE HATH, AND HE WILL CURSE
THEE TO THY FACE. AND THE LORD SAID UNTO SATAN, BEHOLD, ALL
THAT HE HATH IS IN THY POWER; ONLY UPON HIMSELF PUT NOT FORTH THINE HAND. SO SÁTAN WENT FORTH FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD.
This passage of Scripture will lead us to consider, in the first place,
I. The character of Satan.
III. The conduct of God with reference to both.
1. The character of Satan.
We observe in it the following things :
1. Subtlety. The term subtlety, conveys an idea which is hateful to an honest man. It is a disposition to act deceitfully-to deceive under a pretence of friendship-to act the hypocrite. Hence, we read of “the wiles of the devil,” and of his “ cunning craftiness, by which he lies in wait to deceive.” Hence, he is said, to “ transform himself into an angel of light," to put off his proper color, and to assume the appearance of religion, by which he deceives mankind. We wisely seclude ourselves, if possible, from men
who have much of this disposition about them; we wish to expel them from our society if they are in it, and when they are out, to keep them out; feeling that we cannot safely trust ourselves in their hands, nor depend upon them for a moment. When, however, the term is applied to the devil, the degree of the evil increases, because men possess only limited wisdom, and in many respects, therefore, their subtlety may be counteracted; but this enemy being superior in wisdom is the more potent foe. His very name seems to import something of this ; Satan--the accuser-he who hurls the darts of slander. Some suppose that he is so called, from the depth of skill which he possesses, far surpassing the knowledge of mortals, and altogether unsearchable by man. We may pursue it in some of its windings with respect to time, and the instruments with which he has worked; thus with respect to the first sin, we see something of Satan's subtlety in the time which was chosen, and the instrument which was employed; Eve being alone, and likewise the weaker vessel. Another instance may be found in the book of Numbers, relative to the matter of Baal Peor. Here he cast a stumbling block before them, by throwing out a suitable temptation through which the anger of God descended upon them. We have another instance in the circumstance of Ahithophel; though he was defeated, his craft was manifest. Thus it was in the case of Judas, he carried the bag, and was least suspected. In these instances we see the subtlety of Satan, both as to time and instrumentality. Well might the Apostle, perhaps with this in view, exhort the Ephesians :-“ Put on the whole armour of God, by which ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
. 2. Malice. If malice be added to subtlety, it renders the character so much the more dangerous. In Satan, however, both are united. We can hardly tell which is the most hateful of the two; the former seems the most dangerous, but when both are conjoined, it is dreadful! for how are we to act with a foe malicious as well as cunning ? Malice seems to be not so much the operation of any one simple passion, as the combination of all the passions, directed against any particular object to which we have conceived an aversion. Satan has the most bitter hatred against the church of Christ, and he has manifested this malice, by the opposition which he has made in every age against it, either by fierce persecution, false accusation, or violent temptations. “ He goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
3. Power. This is a mighty addition to the dreadfulness of the enemy. Craft is bad, malice makes it worse, but power added to these, makes him still more terrible !-Such is the adversary we have to encounter ; though not Almighty, yet mighty. Hence, he is said to be “the Prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." His power consists in his being able to inflict diseases and death on the bodies of men. Many have been destroyed by him. Thus some of the professing Israelites “ were destroyed of the Destroyer;" and Job "was smitten with sore boils, from the sole of his foot, unto his crown." It would appear that he has power over storms, for we have ample evidence that the wind mentioned in this chapter, which beat down Job's house, was raised by the devil. And it seems he has power to affect the mind, for of Saul we read, “ that he was afflicted with an evil spirit,” the effect of which, was a deep an,
settled melancholy. Many cases mentioned by the Evangelists, illustrate the subject, and show that he can disturb the elements, destroy the balance of reason, afflict the body with deadly diseases, and devastate the prosperity and the comforts of man. We, however, see this power more manifestly displayed, in driving sinners headlong to perdition. “ They are taken captive by the devil at his will."
4. A promptitude of nature to do evil to the children of God. He is never destitute of this disposition to harm them, and he is always the same in his disposition to harm them. He is represented as unwearied in his labours, as perpetually at his work, just as Joshua with his army made a circuit about Jericho ; so Satan is represented as going about to see what is our situation, what our weakness, in what direction, and with what temptation he may most effectually assail us. This is his present and his constant work. Though he has been so long under the fiery wrath of God, his proud heart remains the same still, and the promptitude of his nature to evil, is discovered by the opportunities which he seizes of doing it. This text leads us to consider in the next place,
Let us contemplate his piety, his suffering, his patient submission. As to his piety, we are told, that he was “ a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God and eschewed evil.”
It is said he was a perfect man; but it is evident this cannot be understood absolutely, for he says in another place, “If I shall say I am perfect, he would prove me perverse," The follow