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way to make every thing simple and clear. Now what becomes of the conversation between God and Satan? It is unphilosophical! What raised the hurricane? What caused the lightning to descend? Who afflicted Job's body with biles? Mr. G. has left you to find out all that as you may. He does not wish to be responsible for the difficulties of which he is the author.
Our "great High Priest was tempted in all things, like the children of men." His temptations are, by the evangelist, imputed to a diabolical agency. The whole account of this transaction is to be found in Matt. iv. But Mr. G. again objects to the literal interpretation. Without repeating that the whole account is couched in terms the most proper for conveying the truth of the facts to mankind, we will hear and answer his objections.
"Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness on purpose to be tempted by the devil." (Vol. i, p. 87.) Just
He came to bruise the serpent's head; and there must be a conflict before there could be a conquest. "I will put enmity (said God himself) between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed," Gen. iii, 15.
"He had fasted forty days, when he began to be hungry." (Vol. i, p. 87.) That he was hungry after a fast of forty days is no great wonder. And that he should fast forty days without being hungry till then, is as possible as that he should live forty days without food; or that Moses and Elijah should hold a fast of the same duration. "All things are possible with God." "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God:" by any means which God is pleased to ordain. "He knew the devil as soon as he appeared to him." (Vol. i, p. 87.) What then? "The devil walked with him through the city of Jerusalem, to a pinnacle of the temple." Suppose the devil to have assumed a hu man appearance, and where is the difficulty? "He next
accompanied him to a high mountain, where he could see all the kingdoms of the world; a thing naturally impossible!" (Vol. i, p. 87.) Perhaps it was a visionary representation. Or, the expression may possibly have a limited meaning, as in Luke ii, 1. "And then the devil, know. ing he was speaking to the Son of God, who was aware who he was, had the presumption to ask, that he would fall
down and worship him instead of God the Father." (Vol. i, p. 88.) Mr. G. is very much concerned that the devil should speak and act with great propriety and decorum, and in a manner worthy of the omniscience which he imputes to him. Satan has not, however, on this occasion, manifested so much presumption as Mr. G.'s jealousy has led him to suspect. He did not ask the Son of God to worship him instead of God the Father: but since the contest between them was for the dominion of the world, he with sufficient subtlety and impudence, proposed to cede to him the whole on condition that he would do him religious homage for it. Upon supposition that all these inconsistencies (an unlucky word!) still gain credit, I add one more, that if Jesus Christ were a deity, this was no temptation at all, for he knew him from the first, it required no effort to resist him, and nothing was to be gained, but every thing lost by obeying him." (Vol. i, p. 88.) All the "inconsistency," as Mr. G. calls it, arises from a false supposition, that if Jesus Christ was God, he was not man; that if he was almighty, he had no human infirmity. Suppose him human as well as divine, and the difficulty vanishes. On Mr. G.'s hypothesis, Jesus Christ had then received "miraculous powers;" (vol. i, p. 88;) if so, what effort was necessary to him in withstanding temptation? The power which afterward cast out demons was sufficient to withstand this temptation. The answer in one case serves equally with the other. In either case, "nothing was to be gained, but every thing (was to be) lost by obeying" the tempter.
Let us now attend to Mr. G.'s comment on the history of our Lord's temptation. "Contrast with this interpretation the following, which the very expression of being led by the Spirit seems at once to denote. As soon as Jesus had received from God all the miraculous powers conferred upon him at his baptism, his mind was occupied with the thought how he might be able to use these powers. Worldly thoughts first arose; worldly objects presented themselves to his view. This adversary to divine things, this Satan, suggested to him the use of his miraculous powers. How he might gratify his palate by speaking only to the stones; how he might command universal admiration and obedience, by publicly throwing
himself from the temple; how he might gain universal dominion by the corrupt use of his power." (Vol. i, p. 89.)
We may observe that, in his own comments, Mr. G. meets with no difficulty. He never applies his key to try whether it be fitted to all the wards of the lock. We will point out its deficiencies, its contradiction to the text, and its glaring improprieties.
1. There are in his hypothesis many great deficiencies. It affords no explanation, either proper or figurative, of most of the circumstances of the history. It includes no account of the "wilderness" into which Jesus was led; of the purpose for which he was led thither; of the leader who brought him thither; of the time which he spent there; of the fast which he held; of the "coming of the tempter; of Christ's journey from the wilderness to the holy city; of his being set on a pinnacle of the temple; of his journey from thence to an exceeding high mountain; of the view which he had of the kingdoms of the world; of the worship which some person requested; or of the promise which that person made to him.
2. The comment contradicts the text. St. Matthew. that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. G. grants that he had received the Spirit; and cites the words "led by the Spirit ;" but supposes him to be led only by his own thoughts: thoughts which could not be suggested by the Holy Spirit. The text names four
times the devil as the tempter. Now this word was perfectly unmanageable. Mr. G. knows that it means a slanderer, and he has not been able to find a place where the word is used, except where it is applied to some real being. As this word, therefore, would not bend to his purpose, he takes hold rather of the word Satan, which our Lord has once used, as more flexible. He could not make worldly thoughts into a slanderer, but he could suppose them an adversary.
3. Mr. G.'s "interpretation" has in it some glaring improprieties. According to him, the "first thoughts" which arose in the mind of Jesus after he had received the Holy Spirit, and when he was under the special guidance of that Spirit, were "worldly thoughts." (Vol. i, p. 88.) Here is the abstract "evil principle!" The
accident without a substance! "The cloven foot walking about without the devil." We do not misunderstand Mr. G. "The word devil (he says) seems in general acceptation to signify nothing more than that propensity to ill observable in the human mind ;* and, like many occult qualities, is found of great use in the solution of various difficulties." (Vol. i, p. 76.) Thus all Mr. G.'s difficulties are solved by applying this "occult quality," this "propensity to ill," to him "who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." The Socinians have
now attached the "cloven foot to the Saviour of mankind! No wonder that Jesus, no real devil being with him, putting this foot foremost, found his way to the pinnacle of the temple, that he might cast himself down; or to the mountain from which he might see the glorious kingdoms of the world, and worship-nothing. Who are they now who crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame? Who are they who count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing?
There is a passage in St. Jude to which Mr. G. has replied in a note; but which might have deserved some notice in the body of his work. "It may be well," says he, "to mention a tradition which will serve to elucidate Jude 9, respecting Michael the archangel and the devil. Among the Talmudists there is something like the relics of such a matter, namely, of Michael and the angel of death disputing or discoursing about fetching away the soul of Moses. This messenger of death, therefore, is called the devil or adversary." (Vol. i, p. 94.) So the words "disputing and discoursing,"-the "body of Moses" and the "soul of Moses"—"devil" and "adversary," are here made convertible terms. So much for Socinian precision ! This, to imitate it, is "to elucidate," or "to put darkness for light!" The passage is, however, a very ingenious contrivance! To get rid of the devil, another being,
*Query. Would Mr. G., and his consistent brethren of the Socinian unbelief, find "that propensity to ill (so) observable in the human mind," if they were discussing the question of the depravity of human nature. Here, they find it" observable" in Jesus Christ himself. Is this more like a "free inquiry" after truth, or a contest for victory, in which even truth itself, with its inseparable companion, consistency, is to be immolated?
created by the fertile imagination of the Jews, is permitted by the Socinians to occupy his place. And this "elucidation" is supposed to be a satisfactory answer to all who urge the testimony of St. Jude, as evidence of the existence of the devil. Such are the arguments of these great masters of reason! Here is a being whose real existence, without a shadow of proof from the Scriptures, is taken for granted; "the angel of death!" And yet after all, this "angel of death" may be "he that has the power of death, that is, the devil." A good angel would not dispute with Michael, and contend about the "body of Moses." To a good angel, Michael would not say, "The Lord rebuke thee." And lastly, a good angel would not be the 'adversary" (as Mr. G. calls this) either of Moses or of Michael. In fact, these words of Jude afford a direct and positive proof of the existence of a fallen angel, who is called by him "the devil."
When Jesus had sent out the "seventy, they returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan, as lightning, fall from heaven," Luke x, 17, 18. Satan, we have learned, is the prince of demons, of whom our Lord, by a strong figure, thus predicts the final and entire overthrow. Mr. G., after a little flourish about the absurdity of a literal interpretation, supposes Satan here to mean "the adversaries of the Christian cause." To this we must add that they were, as the words of our Lord demonstrate, especially the spiritual adversaries which were intended. "Notwithstanding," he subjoins, "in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you," Luke v, 20.
As we have found, in the facts which have been examined, ample reason to acknowledge the existence of the devil, we shall find in the general language of the New Testament sufficient reason to suppose him the tempter of mankind. We are exhorted to "stand against the wiles of the devil," Eph. vi, 11. We are represented to be in danger, "lest Satan should get an advantage against as;" because of his "devices," 2 Cor.. ii, 11. "The prince of the power of the air" is a "spirit which worketh in the children of disobedience," Eph. i, 2. Thus "Cain, who slew his brother, was of the wicked one," 1 John.