« PreviousContinue »
Scripture of the fall of such an angel from heaven? If there be, we will thank any man to point it out. Paul does not even say, that "old serpent," or "that old serpent the devil and satan.” This is the more remarkable omission, as in this very chapter he speaks of satan being transformed into an angel of light.
2d. We allow, yea, contend, that the serpent is the same as the devil and satan, and are used in Scripture as convertible terms to express the same thing. As to this point, we agree perfectly with our orthodox friends. We only contend, that the devil and satan, is not a fallen angel, or evil being, as they suppose. What then is the tempter, the devil, and satan, of which the Scriptures speak? James says, "every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed." This is the real original serpent, devil, or tempter, as has been shown on various texts in the course of our remarks. See Sect. 2. particularly. No man could be tempted, unless he had lusts and desires, any more than a tree or stone. The Saviour was incapable of being tempted without them.
3d. Eve was beguiled by the serpent, or her desire after what was forbidden, and the apostle was in fear concerning the Corinthians, lest by any means their minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. He does not intimate that he was in fear that a fallen angel would do this? No, his fear was, least by any means this might be done, and in the course of the chapter, he points not to a fallen angel as the agent, but to false teachers who preached another gospel to them, and whom, verse 13. he calls "false apostles."
5th. The devil, a fallen angel, is also supposed to be called the prince of this world (o' arhon.) This word occurs in Luke xii. 58. xxiii. 13. Acts iv. 5. Luke xxiii. 35. xxiv. 20. John vii. 20. Acts iii. 17. iv. 8, 26. xiii. 27. Rom. xiii. 3. Matth. ix. 23. John
vii. 48. Acts xiv. 5. vii. 27, 35. xvi. 19. Acts. xxiii. 5. Matth. xx. 25. 1 Cor. ii. 6, 8. Luke xiv. 1. Matth. ix. 18. viii. 41. xviii. 18. John iii. 1. xii. 42. The word in the above texts is rendered chief, ruler, magistrate, prince, &c. It is applied to men as rulers, both civil and ecclesiastical, and that whether Jewish or heathen. In the following texts, it is rendered prince, and refers to the prince of the demons, or as it is rendered in our version, devils, Matth. ix. 34. xii. 24. Mark iii. 22. Luke xi. 15. Beelzebub was the prince of the demons. But that this heathen god had no reference to satan or the devil, see Dr. Campbell's 6th Dissertation. In Eph. ii. 2. this word occurs, and is rendered prince, which will be considered presently. The only passages, where it is supposed a reference is had to the devil, are the following, which I shall quote altogether, and then submit some remarks on them for consideration.
John xii. 31. "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince (o' arhon) of this world be cast out." And xiv. 30. "Hereafter I will not talk much with you for the prince (o' arhon) of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." And xvi. 8-13. "And when he (the comforter) is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me: of righteousness, because I go to my father, and ye see me no more: of judgment, because the prince (o' arhon) of this world is judged." On these passages, the principal question we have to consider is, who or what did our Lord refer to, by "the prince of this world ?" All orthodox people say-" the devil, a fallen angel." But that our Lord by "the prince of this world" meant the then reigning civil and ecclesiastical rulers, I shall now attempt to prove. This will appear from the following considerations.
1st. This view is in agreement with the general, yea, almost universal usage of the word arhon in the New Testament. Let any one turn to all the above texts and he must be convinced of this; for this word is.rendered magistrate, ruler, prince, &c. and applied to the rulers, both civil and ecclesiastical, then existing in Judea. It is not once used in reference to a fallen angel or the devil, unless it is proved from the three texts just quoted.
2d. From the scope and connexion of our Lord's discourse, where he speaks of the prince of this world. The three texts where this is mentioned, all occur in John's gospel, and in discourses of our Lord's only related by John. They were spoken by our Lord to his disciples in reference to, and in view of, his apprehension, sufferings, and death. The context of these passages show this, which the reader is desired to consult. As to the first, consult verses 27-34. and it will be seen, that our Lord was speaking in view of the hour of his crucifixion. As to the two last, they occur in that discourse delivered partly in the upper room where he had eaten the last passover, and partly on the road from thence to the garden where he was apprehended. In chap. xiv. 30. he says, "the prince of this world cometh," and at verse 31. he adds-"But that the world may know that I love the father; and as the father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence." Go where? let me ask. Evidently to the garden where he was apprehended, as is evident by reading on to chap. xviii. 15.
3d. The fact of the case shows, that by "the prince of this world," our Lord referred to the civil and ecclesiastical power, and not to a fallen angel. Let any one consult all the future history of our Lord's life, from the time he uttered these words, until he died on the cross, but he finds nothing that looks like
a fallen angel or devil coming to him. Well, did those powers come to him? Nothing can be more certain. Our Lord had no sooner ended his discourse, in chaps. 14, 15, 16, 17. than we are told chap. xviii. 1. "When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into which he entered, and his disciples." Well, what came to him here? From verse 3. and onward, we are informed, that Jesus was apprehended by the civil authority, urged on by the ecclesiastical. The prince of this world, or as the word is rendered in other places, the ruler or magistrate of this world came. Our Lord no doubt knew all that Judas, the chief priests, and civil authorities were engaged in for his apprehension. Well, he says, chap. xiv. 30. "The prince of this world cometh," (erhatai.) To testify to the world his love to the father, and obedience to his commandment to lay down his life, he says to his disciples, verse 31. "Arise, let us go hence." He proceeds to the garden, where he knew Judas and the officers were coming to apprehend him. He foresaw their coming, and says, "the prince or ruler of this world cometh," and he goes forth voluntarily to meet the result. Accordingly in chap. xviii. 3. it is said, "Judas then having received a band of men, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh (erhatai) thither with lanterns, and torches, and weapons." The chapter throughout shows all that took place af terwards, which the reader would do well to consult.
4th. The above is confirmed from the words which follow. He said "the prince of this world cometh," and immediately adds" and hath nothing in me." This is generally understood, that the devil, a fallen angel, had nothing of sin or corruption in the Saviour whereon to work. But this interpretation is perfectly gratuitous, for there is no evidence that this
was our Lord's meaning. But, on the view which I have given of the prince of this world, it is consonant to truth, and evidence stated in the context. Thus, when our Lord was taken before Pilate, and he had examined the case, what does Pilate say? His words are remarkable: "I find in him no fault at all," chap. xviii. 38. Very similar to those of our Lord; "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me," or against me.
5th. My view is also confirmed from the words which immediately precede the expression-" the prince of this world cometh." They stand thus"Hereafter I will not talk much with you." Why not? Our Lord assigns as a reason for his not talking much with his disciples afterwards-" for the prince of this world cometh." Was the devil, a fallen angel, to prevent his talking with his disciples? This must be affirmed by those who say that he referred to such a being. But how could he prevent him talking with his disciples? Let those explain this who believe it. It is easily perceived, how he was prevented, on my views of the prince of this world. The moment he was apprehended in the garden, his disciples forsook him and fled, and from this period, being in the hands of his enemies, he was not at liberty to talk much with his disciples, nor had he much opportunity if even liberty had been allowed him.
6th. The only thing remaining which deserves notice, is the following. "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." The word here rendered judgment, signifies condemned or condemnation, and is so rendered in other places. Is it asked, how the world were condemned? They were so, by their rejecting and crucifying Christ, and is illustrated by such passages as John iii. 18, 19. Is it asked, how the prince or powers of this world were cast out?