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IV.

plotted their corruption, and ere long by means of CHAP. fruit derived from his own province of creation, he seduced them from their true allegiance: they de- and fall. clared that all they saw was Ahriman's, and therefore grew, it is narrated, as wicked as himself.

of the

Without dwelling on the obvious kinship The form which exists between this story and the sacred Tempter. narrative, it is worthy of especial notice that one form attributed in Persia to the Evil Principle, or at least one favourite organ used by him for man's undoing, is the serpent, of whose guile and malice traces are continually recurring in the farthest wilds of gentilism. Nor is this representation only to be met with in chapters of the Bundehesh: in genuine works of the Avesta also, the great 'homicidal serpent' is the object of men's dread and horror: while the Evil One himself is sometimes called 'the Serpent,' in direct allusion to his power of counteracting the Good Principle. Thus, Ormazd is heard declaring in the Vendidád*: 'I am Ahura-mazda, I am the giver of good things. When I formed this dwelling-place, the beautiful, the brilliant, the

1 I deem it quite superfluous, now that we can speak more positively about the age and origin of the Bundehesh, to answer such objections as those of Rhode and the older Rationalists, who used to affirm not only that the Mosaic version of the Fall was unintelligible without the Persian commentary, but also that the Hebrews had derived their knowledge of the whole tradition from a Persian source. Precisely the same kind of hardihood was shewn by Holwell and other sceptics, when they ventured to derive both Hebraism

and Christianity from the 'Hindú
scriptures:' see Part II. p. 4, n. I.

2 See, for instance, the Prose Edda,
§ 34 (Mallet's North. Antiq. p. 423,
Lond. 1847), where the second child
of Loki (the Ahriman of Scandina-
via) is the Midgard serpent, and the
third Hela (Death).

3 Above, p. 173.

4 Farg. XXII. §§ 1-6, where Spiegel's note is: Dass Agra-mainyus eine Schlange genannt wird, kann nicht befremden, da er ja bekanntlich auch im Bundehesh unter dieser Form erscheint.'

IV.

CHAP. note-worthy, saying, I will go forth, I will go over, then the Serpent beheld me. Thereupon the Serpent Agra-mainyus, who is full of death, created, with an eye to my creation, nine sicknesses, and ninety, and nine hundred, and nine thousand and ninety thousand.'

Satan and
Ahriman;

$ 2. Doctrine of the Evil One.

This extract brings us to a question of very grave importance: Is the doctrine of a personal, superhuman, Tempter as now current in all branches of the Christian Church the product of religious intercourse which Hebrews had maintained with their enslavers at the time of the Captivity? Is the Satan of the Old and New Testament, in other words, a modern copy of the Ahriman of the Avesta? In replying to this question I shall not survey afresh the main historical probabilities arising on the one side from the nature of the Babylonic (as distinguished from the Medo-Persian) creed, and on the other from the stern, uncompromising spirit of the Hebrew worthies who were sharers in the exile of their nation. On internal grounds alone I hold it to be far more likely that the Persian dogma, as it stands conspicuous in the Vendidád, was the corruption and distortion of a primitive truth bequeathed by the first parents of the human family. For no one who is able to discriminate at all, will question that under the more obvious features of resemblance there is lying also a most vital contrariety between the Hebrew and Old Persian theories on the nature of the Evil One.

As Satan in our sacred books is far from being

IV.

ent from

the seductive spirit of the world, or of man's lower CHAP. nature, 'conceived of in concrete personality';' so neither is he there esteemed an absolutely evil how differbeing, like the Ahriman of the Avesta, coeternal each other. and coequal with the Good, and like the Good an independent centre of creative energy. Satan is a fallen creature, his fall involved like man's fall in impenetrable mystery, and yet a fall which in results which it entailed on the creation has its dark analogy in the first great fall of man, as well as in that fiendish satisfaction which the fallen still experience in communicating their own misery to others. In neither case, however, is the sovereignty of God at all impugned by the existence of ungodlike passions in the creature, and the partial triumph of the powers of evil. Jew and Christian, equally possessed by a belief that there is One, and only one, true Principle of Existence, would alike recoil with horror from the notion which exalted the arch-demon to equality with the supreme and unapproachable Jehovah. The feeling of them both, in later as in earlier times, has been, that Satan is a 'murderer' and a 'liar,' not because he

1 See Dr Mill's masterly sermons 'On the Temptation' (Camb. 1844), especially Serm. III. Of late years Cambridge has been also fostering in her bosom the main champion of the heterodox belief. Dr Donaldson's work, entitled Christian Orthodoxy, is devoted in no small measure to the maintenance of a theory, which involves our Lord Himself, and with Him the whole Christian community of every period, in the charge of swerving from the old (or ante-Babylonic) doctrine of the He

brew Church in reference both to
fallen and unfallen angels (cf. Part I.
p. 96, n. 1). The same tendency
(strange to say) is manifested at the
same time by the intelligent Parsee
writer, above quoted (p. 172, n. 2);
who in the teeth of the most cogent
evidence is able to declare that the
Ahriman of his forefathers was really
impersonal, or, as some scholastics
would express it, 'was merely the
evil of the world hypostasised' (pre-
cisely Dr Donaldson's own position
with regard to Satan).

IV.

CHAP. is the necessary antithesis of God, but simply because 'he abides not in the truth" of his original creation (St John viii. 44).

St Augustine and

chæans.

A most ample opportunity for testing both the the Mani- genuineness and depth of this conviction had been offered on the rise and early progress of the Manichæan heresy. No countenance was given in East or West to figments of the Persian misbeliever. Then it was that St Augustine, who amid the moral and intellectual tempests of his youth had learned to fathom the abyss of human depravity, stood forward to unmask the sophistries beneath which Mani sought to introduce into the Church the dogma of Two Principles; and worthy of our special notice is it, that the arm which levelled the proud system of Pelagius when he ventured to extenuate the malignity of moral evil, was uplifted with the same gigantic vigour for the overthrow of Faustus, the great champion of the Manichæans2.

Scriptural
notices
of the
Tempter

Turning, then, directly to the books of Holy Scripture, what can we detect in it to justify the charges of its modern adversaries? Is there any discernible variation in the language used at different periods with regard to the existence of diabolic agents and the personality of the Tempter? Now I find no difficulty whatever in admitting, just as when the elementary conceptions of a future life

1 See Dean Alford on this passage, who remarks that it is 'one of the most decisive testimonies for the objective personality of the devil. It is quite impossible,' he continues, 'to suppose an accommodation to Jewish views, or a metaphorical

form of speech, in so solemn and direct an assertion as this.'

2 See, especially, the treatise Contra Faustum, Manichæum (Opp. x. 221 sq. Bassani, 1807), where several of the Manichæan arguments are also given at length.

IV.

in the New

were made the subject of discussion', that a stea- CHAP. dier light may have been gradually thrown upon this question in successive stages of the Church's growth. The revelations of the Old Testament, and therefore more particularly of the earlier portions of it, were not absolute and ultimate. As centuries went over, many large accessions may be clearly dated in the measure of man's sacred knowledge. It is found accordingly that truths per- more vivid taining to the spirit-world have also gained a Testament. greater prominence and greater clearness of expression in the fulness of the times,' nay, even in the latest writings of the New Testament. It was our blessed Lord Himself, who in delivering the grand parable of the wheat and tares has singled out, for His direct antagonist, the wicked one; who told us also in His exposition that this wicked one is the Devil (St Matth. xiii. 39), and the reapers holy 'angels.' In like manner, one chief object of the Saviour's mission is declared to be the 'stripping from Himself of principalities and powers,' (Col. ii. 15)—the subjugation of those more than human adversaries, with which the Christian in his turn is summoned to do battle (Eph. vi. 12). 'The Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the Devil' (1 St John iii. 8), -the works of that 'old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan' (Rev. xx. 2). It is true that reasons

1 Above, pp. 137 sq.

2 In the spiritual world, where the lights are brightest, the shadows are deepest; and instead of hearing less of Satan, as the mystery of the kingdom of God proceeds to unfold itself, in the last book of Scripture,

that which details the fortune of
the Church till the end of time, we
hear more of him [Satan], and he
is brought in more evidently and
openly working than in any other.'
-Dean Trench, On the Parables,
p. 84, Lond. 1844.

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