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angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment,” &c. Next look to the sixth verse of the Epistle of St. Jude, “ And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.” Next, vide Revelations, twelfth chapter and seventh verse, “ And there was war in Heaven : Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in Heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world ; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” In this sublime Book of the Revelations are some other passages, in which the Devil is either mentioned by name, or alluded to. I will now
introduce a few comments on these several passages, and then point out the importance of a right understanding of this fact.
First, with respect to the temptation of our Saviour. Will any one presume to assert, that this narrative of the Evangelist, is figurative, or allegorical ? Will they deny this temptation to have really occurred, and to have proceeded from Satan himself? If there be such opponents to the plain statement of the Gospel, it is needless for any believing Christian to attempt to controvert their denial of a positive fact. We next come to the ex. pression of Christ, “I saw Satan as lightning fall from Heaven.” An objection has been made to these words of our Saviour, implying (as in our English Transla. tion they certainly do imply), our Saviour asserting, that he was present in Heaven at the time of the expulsion of the rebellious angels. But was he not present on that occasion, and on every other that . ever occurred in Heaven ? None but a Socinian will deny this. The objection to this interpretation arises from the word “ fall” being in the orginal language in the future tense;" and therefore the passage is interpreted by some of our learned and truly pious commentators, to allude to the future triumph of the Gospel over the powers of darkness. Now respecting tenses in the original, these excellent commentators would allow, that the word “saw” was equally in the past tense in the Greek † as in the English ; had it been in the present tense, it could then have had no reference to the recurrence before the Creation. But here, setting the past tense in the verb, against the future in the participle, I would translate the passage thus, " I saw Satan as lightning about to fall from Heaven.” What expression is more common than to say of any person, who was known to have
actually gone on an expedition, “ I was present at the time, and saw him when he was about to set out.” No doubt Christ did witness the fall of the angels, and he also foresaw the future triumph of the Gospel ; but when we consider what occasioned his observation, I rather adhere to my own opinion. The seventy said to him, “ Lord, even the Devils are subject unto us through thy name.” Jesus then replied in the words alluded to, which I beg leave to interpret in the following manner: “ Why do you wonder that they are subject to you, who are my Disciples, and act under my authority ? Although originally they were made superior to you, yet they were always subject to the power of my Father; and I was, as one of the Trinity, witness to their overthrow, and total defeat; and by my Divine Power, they are compelled to submit to you, who perform miracles only in my name.” The texts taken from the Epistle of St. Peter, and from that of St. Jude, declare the fact of the rebellion of the angels in plain terms, which cannot be mistaken ; nor be any more ascribed to figure, or allegory, than the account given by St. Matthew of the Temptation of Christ. The prophetical nature of the Book of Revelations, directs us to apply a future interpretation to the words of the passage quoted ; but still it has a positive reference to the event which occurred in Heaven: we may therefore, allowably, interpret it in the following manner : “ As at the time when there was rebellion in Heaven, Michael, and the host of obedient angels, conquered and expelled the rebellious host, headed by Satan; so will Christianity ultimately triumph, and expel Infidelity, and all false religions from the earth.” * If there is any one who doubts of the truth of the “ War in Heaven," or considers its authenticity to be immaterial, he can have reflected but little on the state of man, and must have a very imperfect