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were liable to accusation, and accusation amounted to proof. Judicial proceedings were trammeled by the fetters of superstition, and nothing but a prospect of annihilating the settlement, seemed to awaken them to a just sense of their situation. No man's liberty, or even life, was safe from this monster of fanaticism. Every injury, every insult, or supposed one, and every hatred without a cause existing in the person hated, was sufficient to drag the imputed to prison and to death. But who now, does not look back on these ridiculous and horrible phantasies, as the effect of deluded minds, and who is not ashamed to
"Own our fathers have been fools so long?" The translation of the terms διαβολος, δαιμον, δαιμονsov, and darava, by the word devil, has not a little confounded the ideas of our ancestors, and indeed of our contemporaries. Having generally very imperfect ideas of the distinction in language by the mistranslation, and not caring to venture a search into what a most critical scholar, (Dr. Campbell,) has called an endless subject, they have suffered themselves to be carried along the popular current, and rested contented with the vulgar error, vox populi, vox Dei; or, the voice of the populace is the voice of God.
That this has been the case, is obvious from the following facts:
1. The origin of the Devil, as commonly believed, is too preposterous an idea to bear one hour's investigation. He is represented in the common opinion, as having been an angel of light, of great knowledge, and consequent power. That in the presence of God, where the scriptures represent joy and blessedness as perennial, he sinned. Pride is supposed to be his sin. On what his pride was founded, his biographers have not seen fit to inform us. How sin entered into a place of divine beatitude, we can no more imagine, than we can take a security that myriads of beatified
spirits of angels and men, shall not, at some future time, turn hell over into a pandemonium, and dethrone the Almighty. If sin could enter the mind of one dwelling in uncreated light, and perfectly pure from the lusts of the flesh, why may not those who have sojourned here as tenants in common in the school of vanity, return like the dog to his vomit, and like the swine that had been washed to his wallowing in the mire, Orthodoxy represents our very nature as polluted, and what warrants have we, that a recurrence of these evil propensities shall not at some future time visit us with power a thousand fold accumulated, and miseries a thousand fold aggravated? None at all. All the future, on this supposition is a blank, and those who harbour despair, do it with their eyes open to all these horrid, but legitimate deductions.
2. The unity, or oneness of the devil, grants him omniscience, and omnipresence, two attributes of Jehovah. Thus the power of ubiquity is granted him at once, and he is supposed to be the spirit which now worketh in the children of disobedience, throughout the habitable world, and in the accumulated millions of those who have departed this state of existence. For, admitting that men sin without "being thereto instigated by the devil," and we find no occasion for his existence. But if a personal devil is necessary to the existence of sin, and sin and suffering are to exist and accumulate ad infinitum, the ubiquity of the devil is as necessary to the works of misery, as is any given cause to produce a specified effect. Hence the unity of the devil renders him equal in two respects, to Jehovah.
3. His existence is supposed to run parallel with Jehovah's. If one is in scripture represented as alone possessing immortality, the common opinion is made to clash with the declaration. It is of little account that we read, Heb. 2: 14, and 1 John 3: 8, of his destruction, and that of his works. The vox populi is
a ready evidence to the contrary fact, and obtains an implicit credence.
4. The devil is supposed to have tempted our first parents. Let this be once taken for granted, and all the remaining abominations follow in its train. Let this be disproved, and they all vanish. But are we required to prove the negative? If we are not, it may be done, and it shall be done. "By one man sin entered into the world." Paul is our author-Now
prove by any other passage that sin entered by means of a personal devil, with as much clearness as this proves that man is the author of sin, and the Bible is neutralized; for that which is equally applicable in proof of two opposites, is not testimony in either case. Thus then, a negative is proved, or the scriptures cannot prove any thing relative to the subject-Need we seek any further for the origin of evil?
If then we find a personal, omniscient, omnipresent devil, was not originally wanted to deceive, and lead into sin, our first parents, what motive can call for his assistance at the present day? We think the examples set before the infants of our race more than sufficient to produce the effects imputed to the devil. If we are made subject to vanity, as the scriptures abundantly testify, no supernataral agency can be requisite to effect our moral degradation. But let us be thankful, that though we are thus subjected, it is through the wisdom of him who hath thus subjected us in the glorious hope, that the creature-the whole creation of God, shall yet be delivered from this bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God-Amen.
Since writing the above, the editor has read "the National Preacher, No. 9." containing two discourses, from Heb. 10: 12. As the book of Job is allowed to contain the doctrine of a personal devil with as much clearness as any other in the whole scriptures, we should be thankful to the person who will show us in what respect Dr. Matthews is wrong in the following paragraph. If a personal devil had nothing to do with the matter, by what testimony shall we be satisfied that such a personality exists?
"You are to view and receive afflictions as coming from the hand of God;-as sent by Him whose kingdom ruleth over all. You have only to open your Bible, and this truth will meet your eye in almost every page. All those iseases to which you are liable, are most explicitly ascribed to divine agency. When nations, or individuals were to be chastised, the pestilence is called for, and its course is directed, until His purpose, who administers the correction, is fully accomplished. It is stated in Scripture, that all the diseases of Egypt, also every sickness and every plague, though not mentioned in the book of the law, are sent and controlled by the hand of God. "I know, says the pious and afflicted Job, that thou wilt bring me to death. He killeth and he maketh alive." All other calamities with which you can possibly be afflicted are also his messengers. If the devouring flame consumes your property; if the tempest or hurricane visits you with desolation; this fire and this stormy wind are bat his servants, fulfilling his pleasure."
LIGHT OF TRUTH.
Being the Substance of a Lecture on Hosea 12: 14. By Rev. J. §. Thompson.
O HELL, I WILL BE THY DESTRUCTION.
Examination of the Hebrew words Sheol and Gehenna; and of the Greek word Hades, and the pagan Tartarus.
Christian auditors: You may ask me, wherefore have you changed the common reading of the text, and used the term Hell, instead of the grave? I reply, every person acquainted with the original languages, in which it hath pleased God to communicate to man the sacred intelligence of life and immortality, will readily admit, that the Hebrew word, translated grave, in the common version of the Text, is that very same term, which is translated Hell wherever the word oceurs in the Old Testament. I am therefore justified in reading my Text as I have done in your hearing; and the good sense of the passage, as well as the fulfilment of the prophecy, require this change in the mode of reading. But seeing the word Hell occurs in the sacred scriptures as the translation of three different words, Sheol, Gehenna, and Hades, I shall endeav
1st. To give an explanatory history of these terms.