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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
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.
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.
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
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.