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148 Conversations on the
were accustomed, and to speak of Satan as a person or living agent, when he thereby only meant those selfish worldly desires, that hatred of God and goodness, which are supposed to characterize such a being. There is then, by Christ's own interpretation, no such evil being as we call Satan or the devil. And Satan, or the devil, is not a powerful evil being without us, but impious, malignant, cruel tempers and dispositions within us, which lead us to sin against God, and to hurt and destroy the peace, virtue, and happiness of our fellow-creatures. 3. This, our Lord’s sentiment of the nullity of Satan, or the devil, or the evil one, we find confirmed in other passages. Luke viii. 12. The devil cometh and taketh the word out of their hearts. ** Matth. xiii. 19. The evil one cometh and snatcheth away that which was soun in their hearts. Matth. xiii. 39. The enemy that soweth the tares is the devil. Mark iv. 15. Straightway cometh Satan and taketh away the word which was soun in their hearts. . Satan, the devil, the evil one that enters into men's hearts in these instances, can mean nothing but those evil passions and worldly desires, which extinguish the love of God, of truth and virtue in the hearts of men. John xiii. 2. The devil having now put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him.
27. And after the sop, then Satan entered into him.
Luke xxii. 3. Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot. - 'Pride, malice, disappointment in those worldly views which had led Judas at first to become one of Christ's disciples, and mortification and revenge at finding the wickedness of his heart discovered, these were the Satan, the devil that entered into and rankled in the breast of this most unhappy man, and excited him to betray his best benefactor and friend, who anxiously sought to make him good, into the hands of his enemies. For this black ingratitude he very soon openly condemned himself with bitterest remorse, “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.” Matth. xxvii. 4. In this declaration he furnishes a standing, perpetual testimony to the unspotted excellency of our Lord’s private character, to the reality of the miracles ascribed to him, and to the truth of his religion, hardly to be resisted, which must please and affect every rational enquirer and lover of truth. * All the other instances in which our Lord uses the term Satan, &c. admit of an easy explanation. John viii. 44. The devil is your father, and ye willingly perform the lusts of your father. He was a man-slayer from the first, and continued not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. A slayer of men] in being the cause of the death of the first progenitors of the human race. An allusion to the common opinion of the fall, Gen. iii. 5. - Luke
Luke xiii. 16. And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound, lo / these eighteen years, to be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day 2 In the popular language of the Jews, diseases and infirmities were attributed to Satan. See also Acts x. 38. Luke xxii. 31. And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold A Satan kath obtained leave to sift you all like wheat. Gur Lord warns his disciples of a great and dangerous trial being near; an allusion to the history of Job, i. 9–12. Matth. xxv. 41–46. Then will he also say to them on his left hand: Away from me, ye cursed 1 into that everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. Here is a reference to some fabulous story, and most probably of heathen origin; for there is no mention in the scriptures of any such beings, as a devil and his angels, except in this single passage, for which had there been any just foundation, it would not have been named in this passage only, and in such an incidental way. We find the prince of the powers of the air alluded to in Ephes. ii. 1. According to the Prince of the powers of the air, which Archbishop Newcome translates, according to the powerful ruler of the air; and then adds ; St. Paul adopts this description as well
known to Jews and Gentiles, without asserting its - truth;
truth; as much as to say, according to the head of evil spirits, whom you Ephesians speak of under this character. This points to the doctrine of evil spirits being a heathen doctrine, as we know from other sources, to which our Lord might allude in the passage before us. It has also been ably shewn by a French writer, in Bekker of Amsterdam’s works, that the translation of Jude, ver. 6, should be, not the angels, but the messengers, who kept not their first estate, &c. And also the parallel passage, 2 Pet. ii. 4. should be, not if God spared not the angels, but the messengers which sinned, cast them down to hell, &c. And the same writer has clearly proved, that there is no reference here to faller, angels, but to the history of the persons sent out by Moses to spy out and make report of the land of Canaan; and to their false and wicked account, so as to discourage their country men from obeying the divine command. The apostles of Christ, like their great Master, seem not to have understood that there was any devil, or evil being without them, whom men need to be afraid of, but only evil passions and worldly desires, and the wickedness into which these lead them. Acts v. 3. Then said Peter: Ananias, why hath Satan jilled thy heart to deceive the holy spirit P Here Satan was the vile, fraudulent, and avaricious desires that possessed him. Acts xiii. 10. Ofull of all guile, and of all craftiness / Son of the devil! enemy of all righteousness. i.e. resembling such a supposed being, not instigated by him. - * Romans xvi. 20.-and the God of peace will quickly trample Satan under your feet ; i.e. bad men, his instruments, according to Dr. Whitby, the persecuting Jews. - 1 Cor. v. 5.--to deliver such an one to Satan. See Luke xiii. 16. 2 Cor. xii. 7. 1 Tim. i. 20. An allusion perhaps to Job being put into Satan’s power to inflict suffering upon him to a certain degree. Some bodily disease was to be inflicted, to bring the offender to repentance. This mode of punishment, however, was confined to the age of miracles. See Archbishop Newcome upon the place. - 2 Cor. xi. 14. And no wonder; for Satan himself putteth on the appearance of an angel of light. Perhaps St.-Paul had in view Job i. 6. Eph. iv. 27.-neither give place to the devil, or, as it is in Mr. Wakefield's translation, nor give any room to the accuser. vi. 11.—stand against the wiles of the devil, or, against the devices of the accuser. 1 Thess. xi. 18. Satan hindered us ; i. e. wicked men, instruments of evil. 2 Thess. xi. 9.—according to the working of Satan;– the operations of evil, with fraud and delusion and false miracles. a