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devil, is from a word compounded as follows; osa, through, and bandw, to cast—To dart or strike through
-to stab with an accusation, &c. Therefore, the term Diabolos, rendered devil, signifies an accuser, a slanderer, an impostor.
Christ, addressing his disciples, says, “ Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil.” Here is no less than Christ's unequivocal declaration, that one of his disciples (Judas) is a devil. But a devil is not the devil, some will say, but is not the devil a devil? We acknowledge, that we have no better evidence to prove Judas to be a real devil, in propria persona, than the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Again-We read “Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. In the original Greek, the word rendered slanderers, is diabolous, the legitimate word for devils ! devil that tempted Christ. Now we believe all God's threatenings will be executed—all the promises will be performed. But why exhort the deacons' wives to sobriety, &c. and not to become devils, unless it is not only possible, but certain, too, that a contrary course would make them devils ?
We read, “ Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; diabolos [that tempted Christ,] and deliver them who through fear of death, were all their life time subject to bondage.” Has the devil the power of death? Yes. In other words : The devil causes death. What is death? “ To be carnally minded is death.” Paul also says,
of sin is death."
Thus we see, that the devil and death are companions; they walk hand in hand. Wherever you find the devil, there you find death-that is, the carnal mind—and we never find death without finding the devil in company.
Now, we have a trace of him, we will inquire how came this death into our world? This Diabolos, this devil, has the power of death, caused its existence, and brought it in his train. But how did it come? Ans. “ By man came death." The man existed before death, of course before the devil; and this fact proves that the devil did not produce sin, nor cause man to sin, but the sin of man brought the devil into existence.
How came sin into the world ? The Scriptures say By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” -If death came, or was caused by sin, what has the devil to do with the matter? Ans. If the devil has the power of death, what concern has sin in the business? Here are sin and the devil claiming the honour of being the cause of the mischief, and each of them have the inspired writers for historians ! Now we believe both of them are guilty ; and as we never find death, but in company with the devil, and never find sin, except in company with death, we therefore, believe they are related, and belong to one family : and perhaps are one and the same, and merely called by different names, to suit the occasion-In proof of this we read as follows in the Scripture :
“ And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil and satan, which deceiveth the whole world." What a deceiver, to deceive the whole world! by how many names he is called! He must have deceived Paul. Let us inquire of Paul, and learn by what name he calls him. "Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.” Surely this is that old serpent, with another name, or something as mischeivous ; for this sin first deceived Paul, and then, not contented with having done that mischief, slew, or killed him! This sin, of which Paul speaks, is most certainly, the very devil himself, or some one quite as bad, who, unsoliacited, is performing his business for him!
Let us inquire farther, how this sin, or this old serpent, called the devil and satan, deceives pepole. It appears he deceived the whole world, Christ only excepted.
We read that “ Every man (Paul and Christ included) is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, [desire,] and enticed: then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin ; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
James calls the devil by the same name as Paul, He also makes man the progenitor of the devil—First, the man's desire--Second, the man's desire conceives -Third, after the conception, in proper time, the birth takes place, and the devil appears, and death in his company. How stubborn is truth? But is this really that old serpent, of whom so much has been said ? The very same. Look at him-view him well, so you can recollect his countenance, and beware of his seductions. Remember the caution to the deacons' wives, and profit by the warning.
We are aware that the devil's portrait is not sufficiently coloured, and shaded, yet, to be seen to advantage by all, and will proceed in the delineation of his features. In attending to this, it is necessary to notice a prominent error in the religious world, which has a tendency to lead the mind astray, and to produce absurdity. We mean the popular doctrine of the fall of man.
It has been taught, that man was created immortal, and by sinning became mortal, or liable to disease and death. The Scriptures teach no such doctrine. The constitution of man, as ordained by his Maker, has remained the same, so far as relates to his mortality. The declaration which is mistaken for a denunciation of vengeance.
Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,” is only a confirmation of the truth, and its consequences as stated, of man's origin, that he was“ formed of the dust of the ground.”
Man, therefore, was as much dust before he sinned, as afterwards. Sin did not aflect the constitution of his moral, or rather spiritual condition. What could, or what did the Maker expect to result from the work of his hands, different from that which experience has produced ? Common sense must answer--Nothing. The declaration of Christ is true now, was always truth, and will remain so throughout the wasteless ages of eternity. 6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Now for the devil. Of what is he born ? Ask James. He has told you of his origin, conception, birth, &c. Can the flesh produce a spirit? If it can, you may call that spirit devil, and give him all the rights of primogeniture which Milton conferred upon him. But, still the devil which is born of the flesh, cannot be older than the flesh. We are farther instructed, that the “flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh.” In other words, the desires born of, or produced by the flesh, are opposed to the spirit (or nature] of God in man.
We have seen that these opposing desires produce, when they conceive and bring forth, sin, or devil, which, when finished, produces death.
We will direct the reader's attention to a prominent passage, for the further elucidation of the subject. We read of man, after he had sinned, or produced death, that he was denied access to the tree of life; evidently that he should remain dead for a season, until God's purpose shall be accomplished in man's redemption through Jesus Christ, who will destroy death, and sin, or devil, the cause of it, in such an effectual manner, that man shall be incorruptible and immortal. We take the liberty to read the passage corectly, and not to be fettered by an erroneous translation, 66 And the Lord God said, Behold the man is to become as one of us" in the future tense ; know good and evil” and the connexion amounts to
this, because he is not, in the present tense, like God, and is so ignorant as to know only evil, the Lord turns him out of the garden.
We have now seen that man's constitution is such as to make his subjection to vanity, or sin, not only a probable, but a certain event. 66 That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” The Apostle declares, “I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing." In the name of reason, how can that come out of man, which is not in him?
Paul add s, 66 Now if I do that I'would not, it is not I that do it, but sin that dwelelth in me." The Devil was in Paul, on his own confession. Do we not read of Christ, that "he was tempted in all points like as we are yet without sin ?"" Again. “For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." How was Christ tempted ? Let James and Paul answer.
The man Christ Jesus was tempted as we are.
How are we tempted ? Every man is tempted when he is drawn away
of his own lust and enticed." Christ, then, was drawn away of the lust of the body he bore, which was the same flesh and blood of which the children were partakers. How far was he drawn ? Ans. He was drawn not so far as to have the lust conceive, nor bring forth, consequently, he did not sin, nor die ; that is, become carnally minded, as a consequence. Paul declares of himself, " I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity.” The law in Christ's members, did not bring him into captivity. If it is objected that Christ had not in his flesh the evil propensities to combat, common to all mankind : We answer-Then he was not tempted as we are, and the account of bis being tempted of the devil that tempts mankind, is incorrect.