網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

strengthened by religious instruction in after life ; and from the universal influence of public opinion in their favor, people have been deterred from inquiring-are they true ? But, let any sober-minded man sit down and seriously reflect on such opinions, and we think he must be satisfied they cannot all be true. They are at variance with each other, and some of them are incredible and literally impossible, unless the devil be nearly equal to God himself. When brought to the test of Scripture and examined, we think they will be found wanting, and that they have no better foundation than the doctrine of witchcraft, which is now almost entirely exploded. The cvidence of this we hope will appear in succeeding Sections.

SECTION II.

REMARKS ON GEN. 3. SHOWING, THAT THE SERPENT WHICH

DECEIVED EVE WAS NOT A FALLEN ANGEL.

In considering the Scripture doctrine concerning the devil and satan, Gen. iii. claims our attention at the commencement. Those who are not familiar with its contents, will please turn to it and read it.

The common opinion is, that the serpent which deAceived Eve, was a fallen angel, and is throughout the Bible, called the devil and satan. This is taken for granted with so much confidence, that it will be con. sidered vain and impious to call it in question. But 1 do call it in question, and shall proceed to state facts and arguments, proving, that in whatever way this chapter ought to be understood, it gives no countenance to such opinions,

1st. Moses in the two preceding chapters of Genesis, makes no mention of an angel, who fell from heaven and had become a devil. If such an event had happened, or such a being did exist, he was either ignorant of it, was not authorised, or deemed it unnecessary to mention it. We may with equal truth assert, that God created the devil, as assert, that an angel by his fall from heaven had become so, from any thing that Moses has said in these chapters. But ought not his fall to have been announced in them, if it be true, that he is spoken of in the third as the cause of the fall of man?

2d. It is a fact equally indisputable, that Moses in this account, does not say that the serpent was a fallen angel. It is from what he does say, that we can learn what he believed, and not from his silence on the subject. It is not easily conjectured, how such an opinion came to be inferred from this account. The circumstances related, lead to a very different conclusion. I shall notice some of these. Observe then the connexion between the second and third chapters. In ch. ii. 19, 20. it is said, “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam, to see what he would call them : and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gaye names to all cattie, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” The third chapter begins thus—"Now the serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made." Any one reading these two passages, would conclude that the serpent was a beast of the field, which the Lord brought to Adam, and which he had named serpent. The connexion leads to this conclusion, unless we suppose God brought a fallen angel among the beasts of the

field to Adam, and that he gave him this name. But it would be foolish to assert this.

Again, let it be observed, that the woman did not accuse a fallen angel as her deceiver, verse 13. God says to her—“What is this that thou hast done ??? She answers him, “ the serpent beguiled me and I did eat." This proves that Moses did not believe that a fallen angel deceived Eve. Had either Eve or Moses believed such an evil being was the cause of her disobedience, would they have imputed it to a beast of the field ? When God made inquisition, he traces the evil from Adam to the woman, and from the woman to the serpent, and here both stop. But had there been any other agent concerned, I ask, would either of them have stopped here? But again, Moses does not represent the serpent as a fallen angel in the punishment inflicted, verses 14, 15. It is evident God calls the deceiver of Eve serpent. If a fallen angel used this reptile as a cover for his deception, it is certain he is not accused of the crime, nor does he suffer any punishment. From any thing said in the account, we may as justly accuse the angel Gabriel of deceiving Eve, as a fallen angel, and the punishment inflicted, fell on, and was as much suited to the former as to the latter. Was this fallen angel to go upon his belly and to eat dust all the days of his life?

3d. But another fact is, Moses in no part of his writ. ings, gives us any information about an angel who fell from heaven and had become a devil. Let any one sit down and read the five books of Moses, and he must rise from them fully convinced, that such a being is not once mentioned by him, under any name. Had Moses only recognised the existence of such an evil spirit, there might be some ground for supposing, that he used the serpent as a tool to effect the deception o. Eve. But his entire silence on this subject, throughout his whole writings, forbids such a supposition.

1st. Moses in the two preceding chapters of Genesis, makes no mention of an angel, who fell from heaven and had become a devil. If such an event had happened, or such a being did exist, he was either ignorant of it, was not authorised, or deemed it unnecessary to mention it. We may with equal truth assert, that God created the devil, as assert, that an angel by his fall from heaven had become so, from any thing that Moses has said in these chapters. But ought not his fall to have been announced in them, if it be true, that he is spoken of in the third as the cause of the fall of man?

2d. It is a fact equally indisputable, that Moses in this account, does not say that the serpent was a fallen angel. It is from what he does say, that we can learn what he believed, and not from his silence on the subject. It is not easily conjectured, how such an opinion came to be inferred from this account. The circumstances related, lead to a very different conclusion. I shall notice some of these. Observe then the connexion between the second and third chapters. In ch. ii. 19, 20. it is said, “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam, to see what he would call them : and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattie, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” The third chapter begins thus—"Now the serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made." Any one reading these two passages, would conclude that the serpent was a beast of the field; which the Lord brought to Adam, and which he had named serpent. The connexion leads to this conclusion, unless we suppose God brought a fallen angel among the beasts of the

field to Adam, and that he gave him this name. But it would be foolish to assert this.

Again, let it be observed, that the woman did not accuse a fallen angel as her deceiver, verse 13. God says to her—“What is this that thou hast done ??? She answers him, “ the serpent beguiled me and I did eat." This proves that Moses did not believe that a fallen angel deceived Eve. Had either Eve or Moses believed such an evil being was the cause of her disobedience, would they have imputed it to a beast of the field ? When God made inquisition, he traces the evil from Adam to the woman, and from the woman to the serpent, and here both stop. But had there been any other agent concerned, I ask, would either of them have stopped here ? But again, Moses does not represent the serpent as a fallen angel in the punishment inflicted, verses 14, 15. It is evident God calls the deceiver of Eve serpent. If a fallen angel used this reptile as a cover for his deception, it is certain he is not accused of the crime, nor does he suffer any punishment. From any thing said in the account, we may as justly accuse the angel Gabriel of deceiving Eve, as å fallen angel, and the punishment inflicted, fell on, and was as much suited to the former as to the latter. Was this fallen angel to go upon his belly and to eat dust all the days of his life?

3d. But another fact is, Moses in no part of his writings, gives us any information about an angel who fell from heaven and had become a devil. Let any one sit down and read the five books of Moses, and he must rise from them fully convinced, that such a being is not once mentioned by him, under any name. Had Moses only recognised the existence of such an evil spirit, there might be some ground for supposing, that he used the serpent as a tool to effect the deception o. Eve. But his entire silence on this subject, throughout his whole writings, forbids such a supposition.

« 上一頁繼續 »