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that then the good god shall overcome the evil god, and that from thenceforward each of them shall have his world to himself, that is, the good god his world with all good men with him, and the evil god his world with all evil men with him; that darkness is the truest symbol of the evil god, and light the truest symbol of the good god. And therefore they always worshipped him with fire, as being the cause of light, and especially before the sun, as being in their opinion the perfectest fire, and causing the perfectest light. And for this reason, in all their temples, they had fire continually burning on altars erected in them for that purpose. And before these sacred fires they offered up all their public devotions, as likewise they did all their private devotions before their private fires in their own houses. Thus did they pay the highest honour to light, as being in their opinion the truest representative of the good god; but always hated darkness, as being, what they thought, the truest representative of the evil god, whom they ever had in the utmost detestation, as we now have the devil: and, for an instance hereof, whenever they had an occasion in any of their writings to mention his name, they always wrote it backward, and inversed, as thus, uewey.”
Here Mr. Balfour, arguing on the subject of Job's troubles, and the imputed agency of an evil spirit as the cause of them, thus speaks :
But what shows such opinions prevailed where Job lived, are the facts and circumstances mentioned in the account itself. These we shall notice presently. Here I would only say, that it is evident satan is introduced as an evil being, and it is generally contended that he was the author of all Job's afflictions. This perfectly agrees to the opinions of the Magians, as stated by Prideaux. Besides, previous Scripture usage of the term satan, forbids us thinking, that the sacred writers recognized either an evil god or a fallen
angel under this name. Where, let me ask, do any of them intimate, that an evil being, such as the Persian evil god, or the Christian's devil, existed as a rival to Jehovah? To what else then could the writer refer, but to such heathen opinions? If such a being as the Christian's devil existed, how is it accounted for, that he remained so quiet until the days of Job? Job appears to have been the first man he ever troubled, from the creation of the world. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with many others were good men, and rich men, but he never attempted to injure them in their property, or smite them with a single boil in their whole lifetime. From any thing which appears to the contrary, they had no fear of such a being nor knew of his existence. Had satan just fallen from heaven, in the days of Job, and began his depredations on mankind? Admitting this true, how is it, that as Job was the first, so he was the last man he ever so tormented? The case of the woman, whom he is said to have bound eighteen years, is no exception to this, as we shall show, Section 5. Let it be accounted for then, why satan had such a particular hatred against Job, above all other men before or since. It is easily perceived, that these things are rationally accounted for, on the presumption, that in this account there is a reference to the evil god of the people among whom Job lived. Allowing this, the account is just what might be expected. The character given to satan, answers to that of their god, whom they believed to be the author and director of all evil.
The question which now comes forward for consideration is-Was this account of satan introduced for the purpose of establishing, or was it introduced to refute such opinions? Let satan here be considered, either the evil principle deified, or the devil of Christians, were such opinions intended to be sanc
tioned by the writer, or does he introduce them, to expose their fallacy, and establish the supremacy of the one living and true God in opposition to them? All I think will agree, that the whole must stand approved or condemned. No middle path can be here taken, for no ground is afforded for it. It is then a matter of no consequence, whether we consider satan in this account the principle of evil deified, or, that he was the Christian's devil. Whether the same or different, I shall proceed to show, by direct, and I think conclusive evidence, that neither of them had any influence in producing Job's afflictions. That they were all sent by the one living and true God, whom Job feared and obeyed, is evident,
1st. From Job's own testimony concerning his af flictions. Job's heathen neighbours supposed their evil god Ahraman was the cause of them. Christians believe their satan or devil was the cause of them. But does Job ascribe them to either? No, when one messenger after another is represented as announcing to him the loss of his property, and at last the death of his children, he says-"The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord." chap. 1: 21. He does not for a moment admit that either Ahraman or the devil had any kind of concern in his afflictions. He no more admits their influence in taking away his property and children, than in the bestowment of them. The giving and taking them away are alike ascribed to Jehovah. Similar were his views and feelings, when afflicted with sore boils. His wife desired him to curse God and die. But he says to her " Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What! shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" Job 2 9, 10. Does this look like acknowledging the Persian evil god or the Christian's devil? Notwithstanding the popular opinions, that Ahraman was the
cause of all evil, the severe bodily pain he suffered, and the taunts of his wife, he holds fast his integrity in the true God. Now, permit me to ask, if Job had believed, that either Ahraman or the devil brought his afflictions upon him, why did he ascribe them all to the true God without reservation? And why did he not correct his wife's mistake, by telling her, that Ahraman or the devil ought to be cursed? But Job had no faith in either, hence he told her, that she spoke as one of the foolish or heathen women speaketh. Job allowed of but one God, and it is evident, that his adversity and prosperity are both alike ascribed to him. See chap. 42: 10-12. and 1: 21.
2d. The speech of Job's wife, and his reply to her, shows, that neither Ahraman nor the devil was the cause of his afflictions. She no doubt heard what he said, chap. 1: 21. Upon seeing him still persisting in his integrity under his affliction of the boils, she was provoked at him, and in taunting language says to him, "dost thou still regain thy integrity? Curse God and die." On the word rendered to curse, Parkhurst thus writes: "The Lexicons have absurdly, and contrary to the authority of the ancient versions given to this verb the sense of cursing in the six following passages-1 Kings, 21: 10, 13. Job 1: 5, 11. And 2: 5,9. As to the two first the Seventy render Berek, in both, by eulogeo, and so the Vulgate by benedico, to bless. And though Jezebel was herself an abominable idolatress, yet as the law of Moses still continued in force, she seems to have been wicked enough to have destroyed Naboth upon the false accusation of blessing the heathen aleim and Moloch, which subjected him to death, by Deut. 13: 6. and 17: 2-7. Job's fear, chap. 1 5. was, lest his sons should have blessed the false aleim; and verse 11. he says ought to be rendered-- And indeed stretch forth thy hand now, and touch all that he hath, surely he hath blessed thee to
thy face,' i. e. hypocritically; the verb being used in á past tense. The Seventy render it, truly he will bless thee to thy face. And the Vulgate-unless he hath blessed thee to thy face. Comp. verses 5, 7. And 1 Kings 20: 23. Satan brings the same charge of hypocrisy against Job, chap. 2: 5. which the Seventy, Theodotian and Vulgate rendered in the same manner. And at verse 9. his wife says to him, dost thou yet retain thy integrity, thy regard for the true God, blessing the aleim and dying, or even to death?"Thus far Parkhurst, whose remarks shed additional light on this account. They agree with the usage of the word, which is rendered to bless, in other texts: they also accord, with the charge of hypocrisy, which is brought against Job by his friends throughout the book. But what deserves particular notice, these remarks show, that Job lived among a people who had a false aleim or god, and a contrast if not a contest between this god aud Jehovah is set forth in the account. The false god is spoken of as one, and not many, and what god could this be but Ahraman? For the Persians had only two, their good god and their evil god. That a contrast is set forth betwixt the false god and the true, is evident from Job's fear, chap. 1 5. lest his children should have blessed the false aleim or god, instead of cursing the true God as in the common version. It is also plain from the speech of his wife, who, instead of desiring Job to curse the true God, expresses her surprise, that he should continue to bless him though at the point of death in suffering from his hands. It is apparent, that she believed in Ahraman, and entertained the opinions concerning him as stated above by Prideaux. She was displeased with her husband, for continuing to trust in the true God at the gates of death, and even blessing him for his afflictions. In desiring him to renounce his confidence in the true God, did she