Page images

there was a day, when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Sabean and Chaldean freebooters came also among them, to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said unto the Sabean and Chaldean freebooters, from whence camest thou? And the Sabean and Chaldean free-booters answered the Lord and said, from going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto the Sabean and Chaldean free-booters, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in all the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedest me against him to destroy him without cause. And the Sabean and Chaldean free-booters answered the Lord and said, skin for skin, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto the Sabean and Chaldean freebooters, Behold he is in thy hand, but save his life. So went the Sabean and Chaldean free-booters forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown."

The next passsge to which we may turn our attention is Psalm 109: 4. For my love they are my adversaries, but I give myself unto prayer. Now as the original of the term adversary, (though here in the plural) is the same as that which in the sixth verse is translated, or as Mr. B. says, is left untranslated, satan, Mr. B. concludes that they must both mean the same thing. Indeed who ever will take the trouble to consult his "Inquiry," will find him to insist that the terms satan and adversary are synonymous. He asserts, p. 62, respecting verse 6th, that "in the Jewish mode of parallelism, a wicked man, in the first part of the verse, is the same as satan in the second." But Mr. B. cannot deny, on his own ground, that the terms he and him in this and some of the following verses refer to adversary or adversaries previously mentioned. Now, if adversary and satan, and wicked man, are synonymous, we may safely read the whole in the following manner. "For my love they

are my satans, but I give myself unto prayer. And satans have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love. Set thou a satan over satan, and let satan stand at satan's right hand; when satan shall be judged, let satan be condemned, and let satan's prayer become sin. Let satan's days be few, and let another take satan's office. Let satan's children be fatherless, and let satan's wife be a widow." The reader may follow out the passage if he pleases and get the full sense of it according to our author.

Mr. B. invokes particular attention to his 4th Section of this Inquiry. What there is in it that demands that attention, I am unable to discover. The object is to prove, that the Jews got their notion of satan from the heathen, during their intercourse with them in the time of the captivity. I presume that all readers who are satisfied by such proofs as Mr. B. has exhibited, that the existence of the devil is not recognised in Scripture previous to the captivity, except as he dwelt in lust or desire or in the Sabean and Chaldean free-booters, will readily enough admit, that the Jews got their notion of him from the heathen. But those who are convinced, that the Scriptures taught the existence of evil spirits before the captivity, will not read his fourth section with much interest. What if the heathen did have such and such notions of evil spirits, that is no proof that the Jews had not previously notions more consistent and true.

When Mr. Balfour comes upon an examination of the evidence in the New Testament, he contrives by an artifice in which he is well practiced, to leave out of the examination, a large number of passages commonly relied on for proof of the existence and agency of evil spirits. This he does by considering the passages in which satan and diabolos occur, leaving out those in which daim on and daimonion occur. He justifies the rejection of these passages from the consideration,by one or two sweeping and false assertions. He says, "it is well known, that the words daimon and daimonion have no refence to that being, christians call the devil, but to demons or dead men deified." "It is only with the word diabolos,

rendered devil we are concerned in this inquiry." He then reters us to Dr. Campbell for proof that it is well known that demons are dead men deified. And in the next chapter he quotes Dr. Campbell as saying that it is difficult to ascertain the precise idea of these words, since they are never confounded with diabolos. So that by his own showing Dr. Campbell is far from laying it down as a well known truth, that demons are dead men deified. The quotation from Dr. Campbell expresses no more, than what the Orthodox have generally believed, that while both the words demon and devil mean evil spirits of some character, they are not strictly speaking synonymous-no nearer so perhaps than the devil and his angels. But such false dealing as this, was sufficient for the purpose of blinding many readers, who had not the means, and many more who would not take the trouble, to detect the falsehood. But as an honest reasoner, he was bound to state what ideas the believers in diabolical agency attached to the word, and show their fallacy if he could; instead of dismissing them in the gross, with one sweeping assertion, designed to convey the idea that no one relied upon them for proof. This way of proof is more expeditious than convincing.

The meanings of the words daimon and daimonion as given in Wahl's Lexicon, are as follows-An evil angel subject to the dominion of satan-that is the same as an unclean spirit, a fallen angel, an evil spirit. In Robinson's Calmet they are made to mean, good and bad angels, but generally bad angels. And it is there further stated, that the Hebrews express demon by serpent, satan, or tempter, sheddim or destroyers. Now all the instances in which a word occurs to which standard writers give such a meaning, Mr. Balfour leaves out of what professes to be a repetition of the proofs on which the Orthodox have relied. By such a method of argument, of the fairness of which you will better judge when I rehearse some of the passages there omitted, he disposes of scores of passages which according to his plan of argument, would otherwise need consideration, and these instances contain some

of the strongest proofs relied on by any one, to prove the doctrine in question.

Some of these instances I will now adduce, requesting the reader to carry along with him, Mr. B.'s definition of daimon, viz: dead men deified, and see how it will apply. Matt. 9: 32. As they went out behold they brought to him a dumb man, possessed of a devil (dead man deified.) And when the devil (dead man deified) was cast out, the dumb spake, and the multitudes marvelled. But the Pharisees said, he casteth out devils (dead men deified) by the prince of devils (dead men deified.) Here the historian tells us, not only that the man was dumb but that he was possessed of a devil, and that the restoration of his speech was the result of the devil's being cast out. And Mr. Balfour has so disposed of the subject, as not to have told us the reasons why we should not believe it. Again, Luke 8: 26. And when they went forth to land, there met him out of the city, a certain man which had devils of a long time, and wore no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, what have I to do with thee, Jesus thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man, For oftentimes it had caught him, and he was kept bound with chains, and in fetters, and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness. And Jesus asked him saying, what is thy name? and he said legion, because many devils were entered into him. And they besought him, that he would not command them to go out into the deep. And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountains, and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine.

These will serve as examples of passages, where evil spirits are spoken of under the name of daimonion or daimon and which are omitted by Mr. Balfour; because, he tells us, that it is well known that these words have no reference to

that being, christians call devil, but to demons or dead men deified. Surely if this fact were well known, Mr. B. should have exhibited some of the grounds of that knowledge. Because with the books before him, that he occasionally quotes, it must be well known to him, that his opponents have not attained to that knowledge, and will require the proof. And it is much to be regretted, that he has not tried the force of his methods of interpretation, upon these passages-since their testimony is so full and explicit, that we are at a loss to conceive how a plausible evasion could be made out.

One fact which should convince Mr. B. of the disingenuousness and insufficiency of his method of disposing of these passages, is, that in some instances the word demon is made to mean essentially the same as satan or beelzebub. In Matt. 12: 22, we have an account of Jesus casting out devils (demons) and the pharisees attributing it to beelzebub and of Jesus replying-If satan cast out satan he is divided against himself, and how can his kingdom stand? And if I by beelzebub cast out devils, how do your children cast them out? Here demon, satan and beelzebub are used as in such a sense synonymous, that when demons are cast out, satan is said to be cast out, in such a sense that the casting out of demons is at least the casting out of satan's angels. Then in Acts 10: 38. Peter in allusion to Christ's practice of healing demoniacs, says -who went about doing good, healing all that were oppressed with the devil, (diabolos)—as if those possessed of demons, were oppressed with the devil, as if the influence of demons and the influence of the devil were the same influence.

Now with regard to the question, whether evil spirits were actually present, in those said to be possessed with the devil, I have a few considerations to advance. And as Mr. B. has passed this subject in silence, I am under the necessity of conjecturing what objections he would advance to the doctrine of real possessions. This necessity I regret, inasmuch as our opponents are supposed to be the best able to frame their own objections. Though he has asserted, that it is well known that demons are dead men, and hinted at no oth

« PreviousContinue »