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enquiring, whether it be a fact. So Mr. B.'s "orthodox brethren" will first wish to be satisfied as to the fact, before they attempt a solution. Any man, orthodox or heterodox who undertakes to account for all of Mr. B.'s facts without such a previous question, will soon find himself in difficulty. Nor will any of Mr. B.'s orthodox brethren, be driven to conviction of this fact, by all the learning spent by him in proving that the Jews went to Babylon, and that the Babylonians believed in the existence of evil spirits.
Obj. 4. "It is a notorious fact not easily accounted for, that people in these days, make a very different use of the terms devil and satan from what were made in the days of the inspired writers. In old times people swore by the name of God, and cursed each other by their gods, but no one seems to have known how to swear by satan, or the devil." Surely Mr. B. has as much need to account for this fact as any one: for profane swearing, and taking of the devil's name in vain, is, to to say the least, quite as prevalent, and quite as little rebuked, in Universalist as in Orthodox circles.
Obj. 5. "The Old Testament is often quoted in the New and quoted to show what was the faith of believers during that dispensation. But it is never quoted or alluded to, showing than any of them believed the devil to be a fallen angel.” This is another of Mr. B.'s apocryphal facts, which will be credited or not, as his interpretations are received or not. But suppose we admit it. There are many things in the Old Testament which are not in the New, and many things in the New which are not in the Old.
Obj. 6. “It is a fact that in every country where the bible is not known or not studied where it is known, these superstitious notions have prevailed concerning witches, evil spirits, ghosts and the devil. And just in proportion as it has been known and studied these have gradually been exploded and renounced by the people." Here I am happy perfectly to agree with Mr. B. as to the general fact stated. But some of his examples are unfortunately selected, being rather excep
tions than illustrations of the general rule. He instances the case of our Puritan fathers, and refers particularly to Mather's Magnalia, while there never was a race of men who had a more thorough acquaintance with the scriptures than these same puritans. And does the Rev. Mr. Balfour boast of his thorough acquaintance with the scriptures, compared with that of Mather!! His attainments are those of the merest baby in the comparison-yea, few men in modern days can begin to compare with this same Mather, in respect to biblical acquisitions. And yet such is the arrogance of literary coxcombs, that Mr. Balfour can speak contemptuously of Mather. And then who are these Universalists that issue such boasts of their thorough acquaintance with the scriptures? Where did they come by all this knowledge? Are their means of biblical learning more elevated, more abundant, or more assiduously applied, than those of other denominations? How many of their ministers are even able to read the bible in its original languages? Yea, how many of those among them who pretend to publish criticisms in these languages, are able to read the Greek Testament without the aid of a Lexicon or translation? It is really amusing to hear pretensions to a monopoly of biblical science, coming from such quarters, and a threatening to pour daylight in upon the ignorance of the rest of the world, and to bring in such a brightness, that our children will blush that they had such ignorant and superstitious fathMr. Balfour, we pray, we beg, we beseech of you, not to do it!! Spare us a little-forbear to pour the full orbed splendors, the scorching radiations of your science all at once upon us!!
Obj. 7. "It is also a fact that the common opinions entertained of the devil are at variance with other plain and acknowledged truths of the bible." As for instance the devil's tempting men to sin. Then is the bible plainly at war with itself. But here Mr. B. refutes his own objection by citing some passages to show that the same things are sometimes ascribed to God, to the devil, and to men; and this fact obviates
all the difficulty that he makes out of the assertion of James, that every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lusts. For the devil cannot operate on the mind to its injury, but through its own lusts.
Obj. 8. "It is also a fact that men in sinning are never conscious of the influence of the devil upon them." And this is very true, and for a good reason. For in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird. But does our unconsciousness of satanic influence disprove it. Is Mr. B. conscious of that agency of God in which he lives and moves and has his being? Can he feel the touch of the invisible hand, that expands his lungs, and propels his blood? yet I suppose he does not doubt of that agency.
Obj. 9. "It is also a fact that the common opinions entertained of the devil, whether right or wrong, are the effect of early education, and popular opinion." It may be so; but such a fact is no proof of the right or the wrong of the opinions. Most of the right opinions we have in religion came to us originally through such sources, And some Universalista get their opinions from early education, though none would rely on such a proof of their falsity. Is it not rather strange, that all the rationality and freedom from bias, and all the unprejudiced examination of the scriptures should be on the side of the Universalists?
Obj. 10. The last fact which I shall mention is that allowing the personal existence of the devil fully proved, it is beyond all doubt that he had been much misrepresented and his character abused by many christian people." It may be so, and it is very kind in Mr. B. to undertake his vindication. May he have all success in this part of his learned labor? "Give the devil his due." But I see not what this has to do as a "fact showing that the devil is not a fallen angel or a real being," yet it is so called in the heading of the chapter. Many persons have been abused and yet they retain a personal existence.
Mr. B's reply to objections anticipated by himself, I am not interested to notice. It embraces few if any of the arguments which an intelligent believer of satanic agency would use.
His last chapter is employed in painting the ill effects of a belief in the existence of satan, and in ranting and railing against orthodox views in general. Now the effects of orthodox doctrines may be very bad in his esteem, and yet these doctrines still be found in the word of God. And it is therefore not needful to controvert him here. But if the question turned on the effects of the respective systems, it is to be hoped that orthodoxy would not shrink from a comparison with Universalism,
CREDULITY OF THE DISCIPLES OF BALFOUR.
A CAREFUL observer of the different systems of religious error will generally find them the most wanting in respect to those things, wherein their pretensions are highest. The Infidel boasts of a great enlargement and deliverance from superstitions, but if the biography of many of the leading Infidels can determine the matter, infidel character is especially prone to superstitions. Infidels are fond of dwelling upon and magnifying the existing differences among Christians, on questions with regard to religion and morals, while the writings of Infidels on these subjects, furnish one complete mass of contradiction and jargon. No class of persons make higher pretentions to candor than Infidels, and none violates its plainest rules more egregiously. None accuse their opponents more largely of credulity, while the charge of credulity attaches with unanswerable force to the Infidel. The compass of infidel credulity is thus vividly set forth in the language of Horne
"They admit that a few illiterate Jews devoted to a national religion, conquered their prejudices, and published a universal religion, which was free from the numerous rites and ceremonies of their nation, that they taught religious and moral doctrines, surpassing the wisdom of the highest heathenssubdued the power and policy of Jews and Gentiles-speedily propagated their tenets among many nations, and conquered the pride of learning, without divine assistance. The opposers of revelation admit that many persons united in propagating a forgery which produced them no advantage, and that not one of them was induced, either by promises or threats, to betray a plot, or disown a testimony which exposed them to in