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CHAP. might exist alike in the prevailing tendencies of Asiatic thought, and in the moral status of the Hebrew Church itself, explaining the comparative absence of allusion to such topics in the early writings of the Bible; 'till the mightier power of good was revealed we were in mercy not suffered to know how mighty was the power of evil':' yet to say that nothing is recorded of Satanic influence till the period of the Babylonish exile is the arbitrary assumption of determined theorisers, aided in this matter by a rude and vulgar spirit of destructive criticism, which, guiding in old time the hands of Mani, could not rest till it had torn away the passages, and even books, of Holy Scripture' where resistance had been offered to his shameless innovation.
Satan's connexion with the Fall:
In pointing to the earlier intimations of some diabolic agency, I need not touch again3 upon the ancient passage in Leviticus (xvi.), where Azazel is commonly believed to be another name for 'demon,' and is so indeed interpreted by modern writers, who, as soon as the admission has been made, re
1 Ibid. p. 83.
2 Thus St Augustine aptly remarks (De Utilitate Credendi, c. 7), just after his own extrication from Manichæan errors: 'Nunc vero postea quam mihi sunt exposita atque enodata multa, quæ me maxime movebant, ea scilicet in quibus illorum plerumque se jactat, et quo securius sine adversario eo effusius exsultat oratio, nihil mihi videtur ab eis impudentius dici, vel (ut mitius loquar) incuriosius et imbecillius, quam Scripturas divinas esse corruptas; cum id nullis in tam recenti memoria exstantibus exemplaribus possint convincere. Si enim dicerent, eas sibi penitus accipiendas
non putasse, quod ab his essent conscriptæ, quos verum scripsisse non arbitrarentur, esset utcumque tergiversatio eorum rectior vel error humanior.' He then goes on to mention that they did reject the whole of the Acts of the Apostles, not for any critical reasons, but because the account there given would not square with their notions about the descent of the Holy Ghost on Mani cf. Tertull. De Præscript. Hær. c. xvii., where allusion is made to the arbitrary additions and subtractions of heresy, 'ad dispositionem instituti sui'.
3 See above, pp. 124 8q.
solve that being into 'a liturgical idea.' Neither CHAP. shall I urge at length that he who finally bore the title of 'adversary' and 'calumniator' of the human race is called 'the Satan,' and invested with peculiar guile and malice, in the opening of the Book of Job (i. ii.), no less than in the kindred vision of Zechariah (iii.), which belongs, unquestionably, to the age succeeding the Captivity. My present stand is rather on the sacred narrative of the Fall, which few, if any, even of our most daring critics, venture to bring down as low as the sixth century before the Christian era. Now if the true meaning how underof that narrative can be determined by consentient Jews and verdicts of Jewish and Christian writers, in all Christians. ages, it imports that man, through the extraneous solicitation of a personal seducer, and not merely through the motions of inborn concupiscence, was urged to the commission of the first dark sin which wrought disorder in himself, his children, and his species. That the visible agent of man's ruin was an agent merely in the hands of the great Evil One, St Paul has plainly intimated where he writes that the serpent who beguiled our first mother was the subtle, self-transforming potentate who is still active in the Christian Church (2 Cor. xi. 3, 14); and when the same Apostle turned with ardent hope to the eventual triumph of the Woman's Seed, his comfort flowed from a conviction that 'the God of peace will bruise Satan (not the serpent) under our feet shortly' (Rom. xvi. 20).
But excluding once again both these and other Heathen Christian testimonies, all of which, it is pretended on this by the modern sceptic, have been deeply tinctured point. with foreign superstitions, I appeal to universal
CHAP. heathendom itself in favour of the ancient exposiIV. tion of the sacred record. There is found to be a
Most rational conclusion.
singular consent', in East and West, in North and South, in civilised and semi-barbarous countries, in the Old World and the New, not only to the fact that serpents were somehow associated with the ruin of the human family, but that serpents so employed were vehicles of a malignant, personal spirit, by whatever name he was described.
As, therefore, the Old Persian is but one of a large cluster of cognate stories, it were surely far more rational to explain them all on the hypothesis of common parentage anterior to the primitive migrations, than to argue, first, that Hebrews only had been left without traditions on this subject till comparatively modern times; and secondly, that the age in which they finally contracted their belief in Satan and his angels, and so consummated, in the view of the objector, their portentous lapse into the eastern dualism, was, strange to say, the age, when, as a body, they are known to have imbibed far stricter tenets on the unity and monarchy of God.
§ 3. Doctrine of Holy Angels.
Angelology The spirit which impelled some modern writers to heathen to explain the scriptural notices of Satan, the great
influence. Tempter, by referring to the influence exercised
upon the Jew by Persian dualism, is shewn afresh in their impatience of all statements with respect to the existence of the 'holy,' or unfallen, angels. These also we are told 'belong to a class of concep
1 See, for instance, Part II. p. 140; Part III. p. 145; and above, p. 195.
tions no longer possible in the world',' and therefore CHAP. (such is the conclusion of philosophy) they must all of them be proved to have originated in some thoroughly pagan system. The abettors of this startling argument have had recourse especially to effects supposed to have been wrought upon the Hebrews by the 'Zend religion of the Persians2;' and they point triumphantly, in confirmation of their view, to the existence of the Sadducees3, a The Sadhigh and philosophic order, who are thought to have preserved the purer creed of earlier generations with remarkable fidelity,—in so far at least as they dissented from the superstitions of the Pharisees, in confessing neither angel nor spirit. Efforts have again been made in this particular instance to support the theory of extensive amalgamation between Hebrews and Babylonians by adverting to the fact that various forms of error and exaggeration in the sphere of angelology did spring up, as it would seem, spontaneously among both Jews and Christians of succeeding times.
The chief reliance has been placed, however, on Inference to
1 Dr Donaldson's Christ. Orthod. p. 349 (following Schleiermacher).
2 Here Dr Donaldson accepts the dictum of Strauss without the least qualification: Christ. Orthod. p. 137.
3 The author of Christian Orthodoxy, p. 372, affirms that 'their disbelief in angels and devils is passed over [by New Testament writers] in guarded silence, as far as any censure is concerned.' He then adds, 'In many respects our Lord seems to have approved and recommended their views;' and again (p. 373), 'It is difficult to resist the impression that Jesus [our blessed Lord] and
His brother James, being known by the characteristic title of this sect, openly allowed many of the fundamental doctrines of the Sadducees'! Such language has not unnaturally exposed its author to the animadversions of the last Bampton Lecturer (Mr Mansell), who, after pointing out the real origin and affinities of Dr Donaldson's hypothesis, declares that 'by this method of exposition,' according to which our Saviour lent His high authority to the dissemination of religious falsehood, Christian Orthodoxy may mean anything or nothing' (p. 419).
CHAP. one definite testimony of the Jerusalem Talmud. In that passage', it is written: 'R. Simeon Benbe drawn Lachish saith, The names of angels went up by binical tes- the hand of Israel out of Babylon. For before it
is said, “Then flew one of the seraphim unto me:" "The seraphim stood before Him,” Isai. vi.; but afterward, "the Man Gabriel" [Dan. ix. 21] and "Michael your prince" [Dan. x. 21].' Now whatever else may be implied in such assertions, we are doubtless pointed by them to a circumstance, which cannot fail to have arrested the attention of all Biblical scholars, viz. that after the great exile, personal appellations had begun to be assigned in some few cases (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel) to the ministering angels of the Hebrew Church. Character But equally apparent is the fact that these angelic designa designations are in no way borrowed from the titles of gods and genii which abound in writings of the Medo-Persians, as indeed of every other ancient people; they have no apparent relation, etymological or otherwise, with the element-worship of the East; in thought as well as grammar they are all of them the purest Hebrew; Michael, for example, signifying 'who is as God?' and so protesting in its very form against approaches to polytheism2.
Real points under discussion.
On looking, therefore, with a critical eye upon the question now before us, we discover that the chief external evidence in favour of supposing that
1 Lightfoot's Heb. and Talmud. Exerc. upon St Luke (ch. i. v. 26): Works, xii. 24, ed. Pitman.
2 See Dr Mill's examination of this very point in his Christ. Adv. Publ. for 1841, pp. 55, 57. Hengstenberg, Genuineness of Daniel, p. 138, remarks with justice that 'both
Gabriel and Michael [the two names peculiar to Daniel] occur only in such visions, as from their dramatic character demand the most exact description possible of the persons concerned, and the bringing of them out into stronger relief.'