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9. It appears to have been the opinion of the orthodox Jews, that there were real personal devils. Matt. xii. 24. “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, this fellow doth not cast out devils but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils ;" see also Matt. ix. 24. If the Pharisees believed in no devils, any more than universalists of the present day, what did they mean by Beelzebub the prince of devils? And what did they mean when they affirmed that Christ cast out devils by this prince of the satanic host? Did they mean that Christ employed the worst of man's evil propensities to cast out those of less turpitude ? Or did they mean that he employed the worst of diseases to cure those of a more mild character?
10. The writers of the New Testament express themselves as though they believed in real devils, and demoniac possessions. Mark i. 34. “And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils, and suffered not the devils to speak because they knew him." Here the writer distinguishes diseases from devils, and says that Christ suffered not the devils to speak, as though he really believed that the devils thus cast out were beings capable of speaking, and understanding the character and mission of the Son of God. What cried out if there are no devils that are personal beings? and who did St. Luke suppose cried out if he did not believe in real demoniac possessions ?
11. Jesus Christ pursued a course directly calculated to confirm his disciples in the opinion that they were real and personal beings that he cast out. Luke x. 17, 18.
" And the seventy returned, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name; and he said unto them, I beheld satan as lightning fall from heaven.” If they believed in devils, this reply was calculated to confirm them in that belief; and if they did not believe in devils, what would Christ have the disciples believe it was that he saw fall from heaven? Luke iv. 35. “ And Jesus rebuked him saying, hold thy peace and come out of him." Here Christ, in casting out what is called a devil, speaks with authority, not to the man, but to the devil he was casting out of the man.
6 And Jesus rebuked him, (the devil) and said, come out of him," (the man.) Did they believe in the existence of real demoniac possessions, the solemn and direct address of our Lord,
to their imaginary demons was certainly calculated to confirm them in the error, if it be an error; and if they did not believe in the existence of devils, to whom would Jesus have had the by-stander suppose he was addressing himself, with such commanding authority ?
12. The disciples had “ authority over all devils,” to cast them out. See Luke ix. 1. By devils here cannot be meant bad men of any class or degree, nor any evil propensities in our nature, nor any personified principle of evil; for the disciples never had authority over these, nor could they have such authority consistently with moral agency on the part of the controlled. Had the disciples of our Lord possessed such power over evil, or even over the evil dispositions of men, they could have reformed every sinner at pleasure.
But before we close this subject, we may do well to devote a few moments to the consideration of some of the prinpal objections which have been urged against the commonly received opinion on the subject of devils.
I. It has sometimes been urged that the existence of devils cannot be accounted for on any principle consistent with enlightened reason, or honorable to God. It has often been asked with an air of triumph, who made the devil, or from whence came he.
This objection supposes that God created all beings, and that it would be absurd to suppose that he would or could create a devil or a host of devils. To this objection we reply:
1. Universalists, who are so very tenacious for the divine honour and holiness on the subject of the existence of devils, deny the doctrine of the fall of man ; supposing it to be perfectly consistent with wisdom, justice, goodness and holiness, for God to create man with all his present propensities to evil, many of whom appear inferior to the orthodox devil only in point of ability to do evil. Now, if God could create such a wicked race of beings as men have proved themselves to be, as universalists profess to believe, it can require but a very small degree of credulity more, to enable them to believe that he might create a race of devils. But if, as we believe, God created man "very good” and he has become depraved through the abuse of his moral powers, we think it easy to conceive that devils may have been originated
in the same way. Taking this view of the subject, we see that universalists must abandon their opposition to the doctrine of the fall, or else admit that God can create wicked beings; and hence, this objection to the existence of devils falls.
2. Leaving universalists to contend with the above difficulties of their own creating, we would remark that we believe the devils to be fallen spirits. In this position we think ourselves borne out by the scriptures of divine truth. It is true that this subject is wrapped in much obscurity, but this is no objection to the doctrine of fallen angels, since the fact itself is revealed. No clearly revealed truth is to be rejected because all the circumstances that pertain to it are not revealed. As the scriptures were given for man's special benefit, it could not be expected that they should record circumstantially the events of other worlds, but only advert to them as they in some way shed light upon our present allotment, or future destiny; and such references the scriptures make to the fall of angels. 2 Peter ii. 4. “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment.” Jude 6. “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Here are two direct references to the fall of angels, for the purpose of illustrating the dealings of God with men. The argument is that of induction, in which it is shown that certain false teachers cannot escape punishment, from the fact of the punishment which God inflicted upon transgressors in past time. To show this, that God has heretofore punished the rebellious, three cases are adduced, viz. the angels that sinned were cast down to hell; the inhabitants of the old world were destroyed by a flood-brought in upon the ungodly; and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were condemned with an overthrow, turned into ashes, and made an example unto those who should after live ungodly. The fall of angels is not only referred to, but is classed with those awful events, the drowning of the old world by a flood, and the consuming of Sodom and Gomorrah by a storm of fire ; and it is worthy of remark that St. Peter notices these events in the order of time in which they occurred. Here then is an event, the sip
and punishment of angels, awful from the very association in which inspiration has placed it, as well as from the description given of it. Now we ask what this event was, if the commonly received notion of the fall of angels is not true?
That some rational accountable beings are intended by “the angels that sinned,” no one can doubt, for none but rational accountable beings can sin and become subjects of punishment; and as we have no account of any order or race of beings, save angels and men, there can be no doubt but one or the other of these is intended. If then it is clear that by “the angels that sinned,” we are to understand apostate angels, according to the commonly received doctrine, or men of some particular class, character or office, here called angels, it only remains to show that the latter cannot be true, and the former will appear to be the true sense of the text. We will then show from the text itself, that to suppose men are intended by “the angels that sinned," is utterly inconsistent with universalism, and must prove it to be false. The Apostle says, Jude 6. “ The angels which kept not their first estate but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” On this we remark:
1. The expression, “the angels which kept not their first estate but left their own habitation,” clearly describes an action in past time, and shows that the sin of the angels, or beings here spoken of, was committed at some period prior to the time of the Apostle's writing.
2. The expression," he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness," clearly marks an event past, yet extending to the present time; showing that the angels or beings referred to were then, at the time the Apostle wrote, in confinement held in reserve.
3. The expression, “unto the judgment of the great day," connected with the last, thus : « he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day," clearly points out a future event as the object of their confinement; their judgment and punishment at some future day of retribution, here called “the judgment of the great day.” Note then, that if men are intended by the angels that sinned, the apostle here speaks of men who had sin
ned in past time, who were then in chains under darkness for their crimes, and who were to be reserved in these chains to be judged and punished at some future day; which must forever refute the notion that men receive their full punishment as they pass through life, and establish the doctrine of future punishment as clearly as it can be made out in form of words. We say then, as angels or men must be intended by the apostle, and as universalists cannot, consistently with their theory, admit the latter, they must subscribe to the former ; and that this is really the doctrine of the text, is clear from the fact that the term angel is the one which the scriptures uniformly employ to designate the inhabitants of the invisible world. The united testimony of these two apostles, speaking on the same subject, we think sufficient" to settle the question concerning the fall of angels; but still we will add a few more quotations from the scriptures, which we think refer to the same event. 1 John iii. 8. " He that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the begin ning.” Here the devil is represented as being the first sinner, with whom moral evil originated. John viii. 44. “ Ye
your father the devil, he was a murderer from the be ginning, and abode not in the truth.” This text clearly proves that the devil is a fallen being, for it says "he abode not in the truth ;'' now, he must have once been in the truth to justify such an expression. Luke x. 18. " And he said unto them I beheld satan as lightning fall from heaven.". If this does not teach the doctrine of satan's fall it must be hard to conceive in what language it could be taught. Job iv. 18, 19. “Behold he put no trust in his servants and his angels he charged with folly, how much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust.” Here is an allusion to the fall of angels too plain to be overlooked. The text says expressly that he charged his angels with folly;"> and what clearly proves that the inhabitants of the world of spirits is meant by angels is, the comparison which is instituted between these angels and men, whom the writer distinguishes by the expression,
“ them that dwell in houses of clay." The meaning appears to be this. If he put no trust in his servants, the angels, who are disembodied, but charged them with folly, how much less shall he put confidence in men, who are embodied or dwell in houses of clay.