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the Arena, their conquered, disabled, and helpless an. tagonists like slaves, in which humbled condition the Apostle represents his body to be with respect to his mind.
From this notion of the sinfulness of “ the Flesh" we are enabled to apprehend Paul's reasonings about the sufferings of Jesus “ in the flesh.” “ Since The children are partakers of flesh and blood, Christ himself also in like manner partook of them.” Heb. ii. 14. “For [says Paul] what the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God hath done, who by having sent his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and on account of sin, hath condemned sin in the flesh.” (Rom. viii. 3.] 6 But now, through Christ Jesus, ye who formerly were far off, are brought near by the blood of Christ-For he is our Peace who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, having abolished by his flesh the cause of enmity.” [Ephes. ii. 16.] “You that were formerly aliens, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet he hath now reconciled by his fleshly body, through his death,” [Col. i. 20.].
Though these notions are sufficiently strange, yet they are not so very remarkable as the one I am about to consider. It is a singular, and a demonstrable fact, that the fundamental scheme of Christianity was deriyed from the Religion of the ancient Persians. The whole of the N. T. Scheme is built upon the Hypothesis, that there is a powerful and malignant Being, called the Devil, and Satan, the Chief of unknown myriads of other evil spirits; that he is, by the sufferance of God, the Prince of this world, and is the Author of Sin, woe, and Death. The Tempter. The Tormentor of men; and the Tyrant of the Earth ; that the Son of God, to deliver mankind from the vassalage of this monster, descended from Heaven, and purchased their ransom of the Tyrant, at the price of his Blood; for observe, my reader! that the idea of the death of Christ being an atonement to God for the sins of men, is a modern notion, for the primitive Christians, all of them, considered the death of Christ as a ransom paid to the Devil ; as may he proved from Origen, and other Fathers. That the New Testament represents this character as the sovereign of the world, may be proved by the following passages. “All this power will I give thee, and the Glory of them, [said the Tempter to Jesus, when he showed him all the kingdoms of the Earth,] for it is delivered upto me, and to whomsoever I will, I give it.” Luke, 4, Jesus calls him “ the Prince of this world ;" Jo. 12, and elsewhere. In his commission to Paul, be calls embracing his Religion, 6 turning from darkness upto light, and from the Power of Satan to God.” Acts xxvi. 18. Accordingly we find, that to become a Christian was considered as being freed from the tyranny of Satan. “God hath given life to you, (says Paul,) who were dead in offences, and sins ; in which ye formerly walked, according to the course, (or constitution] of this world, according to the Prince of the Power of the air," Ephes. ii. 1, and again, “If our Gospel be covered, [or hid,] it is covered among those that are lost, among those unbelievers, whose minds the God of this world bath blinded, to the end that the glorious Gospel of Christ should not enlighten them." 2 Cor. iv. 4. John says in his Epistle, that “ the whole world lieth in the power of the wicked one,” and Jesus in the Gospels compares him to “ a strong man armed keeping his goods;" and himself to one stronger than he, who strippeth him of the arms in which he trusted, and spoileth his goods. “ For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devil.” 1 Jo. iii. 8. And it is said, that he came to send forth the captive into liberty, and to heal those who were oppressed of the Devil," men are also said to have been “ taken captive of the Devil, to fulfil his will." 2 Tim. ii. 26. And we find, that the Christians attributed all their sufferings to the opposition of this Being. " Put on, (says Paul, the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. Far we struggle not against flesh and blood only; but against Principalities, against Powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in high places.” Ephes. vi. 12. Christians are also said to be delivered by God from the power of Darkness, and to be translated into the kingdom of his dear Son, that is, as Christians were considered as being the subjects of Jesus, and the rest of the world as being of the kingdoin of Satan, when a man became a Christian he was translated from the kingdoin of one, to the king. dom of the other. Jesus accused the Devil as being the Author of all evil, as a liar, and the Father of lies, and a murderer of men, and of women too, as appears in the Gospel, from the account of the old Lady whose back the Devil had bowed down, for eighteen years, Luke xiii. 10 (on what account it does not appear.) In short the N. Testament represents at him as being the source of all evil, and mischief, and the promoter of it; and the whole world as being his suhjects, and combined with him against all good.
But how does all this prove that these notions were derived from the Religion of the ancient Persians ? I answer by requesting you my Reader, to peruse attentively the following account of the fundamental principles of the Religion of Zoroaster, the Prophet of the Persians.
The Doctrine of Zoroaster was, that there was one supreme Being, independant, and self-existing from all Eternity ; that inferior to him, there were two Angels, one the Angel of Light, who is the Author, and Director of all Good ; and the other the singel of Darkness, who is the Author, and Director of all Evil; that these two are in a perpetual struggle with each other; and that where the Angel of Light prevails, there the most is good ; and where the Angel of Darkness prevails, there the most is evil. That this struggle shall con. tinue to the end of the world ; that then there shall be a general resurrection, and a day of Judgment, wherein just retribution shall be rendered to all according to their works ; after which, the Angel of darkness, and his followers, shall go into a world of their own, where they shall suffer in darkness the punishment of their evil deeds. And the Angel of Light, and his followers shall also go into a world of their own, where they shall receive in everlasting Light the reward due to their good deeds.
It is impossible but that the reader must see the a. greement of the Doctrines of the New Testament, with
all this ; and since it is undoubted, that these tenets of Zoroaster are far more ancient than the New Testament, and since, as we have seen, that that book is much indebted to Oriental notions for many of its Dogmas, there is no way of accounting for this coincidence
that I know of) besides supposing the Devil of the N. T. to be of Persian Origin. It is however in my power to make this coincidence still more striking, from the words of Jesus himself, who says, Mat. xiii. 24, 6 The kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while men slept, his enemy (mark the expression!) his enemy came, and sowed tares among the wheat.-- But when the blade sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came near, and said unto him, • Sir! didst thou not sow good seed in thy field ? whence then hath it tares ?' And he saith unto them an enemy hath done this,” you know the rest of the Parable. The explanation of it is as follows, “ He who soweth the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world ; and the good seed are the Sons of the kingdom, and the tares are the sons of the Evil One, and the Enemy who sowed them is the Devil.” Here you see, as far as it goes, a precise agreement with the Doc. trine of Zoroaster; and to complete the resemblance, you need but to recollect, that at the day of Judgment, according to the words of Jesus, the wicked go into the fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels, and the righteous go into Life eternal with the Son of God.
But is there not a Satan mentioned in the Old Testament; and is he not there represented as an evil, and malevolent Angel ? I think not. This notion probably arises from the habit of interpreting the Old Testament by the New. The Satan mentioned in the Old Testament, is represented as God's minister of punishment, and as much his faithful servant as any of his Angels. The Prologue to the book of Job certainly supposes, that this Angel of punishment by Office, appeared in the court of Heaven, nay he is ranked among the Sons of God.” This Satan is merely the supposed Chief of those ministers of God's will, whose office is to execute his ordered commands upon the guilty, and who may be
sometimes, as in the case of Job, the minister of Probation only, rather than of Punishinent; and there is no reason why he should be ashamed of his office more than the General of an army, or the Judges of the criminal courts ; who, though they are not unfrequently minis, ters of punishment, are not therefore excluded the royal presence ; but on the contrary, their office is considered as honourable ; i. e. punishinent without malevolence does not pollute the inflictor. Consider the story of the destruction of Sodom, Gen. xix. of Egypt, Ex. xxii. of Sennacherib, 1 Kings xxix. 35, also Joshua v. 13. The term Satan signifies an adversary, and is applied to any angel sent upon an errand of punishment. For example, Num. xxii. 23, 66 The Angel of the Lord stood in the way, for an adversary (literally for a Satan? against Balaam, with his sword drawn in his hand.” 6°Curse ye Meroz saith the Angel of the Lord,” whose office is to punish. So also Ps. xxxv. 5, “Let the Angel
of punishinent] of the Lord chase them, si. e. drive them before him in a military manner, pursue them] let their way be dark and slippery, and the Angel of the Lord following them.”
2 Sam. xxiv. 16 66 The Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel the angel [of punishinent,] stretched forth his hand and smote the people.” 1 Chron. xxi. 16. “ David saw the angel [of punishment] having a drawn sword in his hand.”
This notion is referred to in the Apocryphal History of Susannah, verse 59. "The angel of the Lord waiteth with his sword that he may cut thee in two."
Thus we see, that the term Satan is in the Old Tes. tament applied to any angel of the Lord sent upon an errand of pupishment. And the term itself is so far from being reproachful (for David is said 1 Sam. xxix 4. to have been a Satan to the Philistines,”') that I am not sure, that if I had by me a Hebrew concordance, but I could point out places, where God himself is represented as saying, that he would be an Adversary or a Satan to bad men, and wicked nations. And though there is in the Old Testament a particular angel styled by way of eminence, “ 'The Satan,” it is so far from being evident, that he is an evil Being, that I would ur.