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of its own faculties, to build up some system, which, like an idol, made visible to the outward senses, and at all times accessible to the creature, is at all times open to creaturely comprehension.
But, returning from this little digression, and without further pursuing the fables of the ancients, or the parallels between them and the more refined speculations of later times, it may not be improper to introduce the sentiments of some of the first distinguished members of the Society of Friends, on the subject before us.
George Fox, in his Journal, vol. 2, p. 22, (p. 354, fol. ed. 1765,) says, “ The Devil abode not in the Truth. By departing from the Truth, he became a Devil.!' “There is no promise of God to the Devil, that ever he shall return into the Truth again; but to man and won man, who have been deceived by him, the promise of God is, that the Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head: shall break his power and strength to pieces.”
Page 402, (618, fol. ed.) he says, “The Devil, who is out of the Truth, tempted man and woman to disobey God; and so drew them into the fall from the Truth.”
William Penn, in his "Rise and Progress," in speaking of the original condition of man, says, “ But this happy state lasted not long: for man, the crown and glory of the whole, being tempted to aspire above his place, unhappily yielded against command and duty, as .well as interest and felicity: and so fell below it, lost the Divine Image, the wisdom, power, and purity he was made in. By which, being no longer fit for Paradise, he was expelled that garden of God, his proper dwelling and residence, and was driven out as a poor vagabond, from the presence of the Lord, to wander in the earth, the habitation of beasts. Yet God, who made him, had pity on him: for He, seeing man was deceived, and that it was not of malice, or an original presumption in him, (but through the subtlety of the serpent, who had first fallen from his own estate, &c.) in his infinite goodness, provided a way to repair the breach.”
The same author, in his “Christian Quaker,” says: “The world had not been long created, before man, being envied by Lucifer, the fallen angel, was betrayed of his innocence by him.”
(Vide Barclay's Works, fol. ed. pp. 391, 625. Also Ellwood's Sac. Hist. on the Fall of Adam.)
From these, and many other passages that might be mentioned, it is clear that the Society, from the beginning, have believed that the principle of evil, on the one hand, and the Grace which brings salvation, on the other, are both distinct from man, and form no part of him, other than as he yields his mind and members ser, vants to either.
On examining whether the serpent could have been any thing that constituted a part of the woman, it will be proper to remember, that male and female were created in the Divine Image; and in this Image there could be nothing that, of itself, separated from the Divine will; or else there must have been discordant properties in the Divine nature: properties repulsive to each other, and which, of themselves, separated from each other; thus producing its own dissolution. But these are conclusions we dare not admit. That Image, which constituted the character and the dignity of man, as he came
pure from the hands of his Creator, though it fell infinitely short of the Divine Original, was still a true copy; and the different capacities and attributes, if I may be allowed the expression, all harmonized and united together.
Even while Eve was reciting the Divine command, and the penalties of disobedience, the tempter denied the truth of the declaration of the Almighty. This evidently was sinful; but it was before Eve had sinned. Through the whole account, recorded in the Scriptures, the tempter is represented as distinct from the man and woman. And as they were represented to be distinct agents in the transgression, so judgment was passed upon each, separately and distinctly.
When the question was propounded to Adam, “Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat ? he endeavoured to excuse himself, by placing the blame on the woman; and Eve, in
to excuse herself, laid the blame on the serpent,who had beguiled her. What extenuation of the crime could it have been, to say, that she had beguiled herself? Or how could she have said, that something of the Divine Image, which she possessed, beguiled her ?
Thus far, the Omniscient Judge proceeded with interrogatives and expostulations; knowing that his frail and fallen creatures had been tempted, and thus drawn into sin; and therefore mercy and forbearance were extended to them. But towards the tempter, the grand enemy, there was no expostulation, no indulgence; but the curse unmixed, unmitigated, descended on him. In the several sentences pronounced on that occasion, the idea of distinct and separate agents is preserved through
out; and more particularly as relates to the serpent: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.” The line of separation is so completely drawn, that we cannot blend the two objects of this sentence in one.
When the promised Messiah came, and was about entering on his important mission, He was led of the Spirit into the Wilderness, where He encountered temptation. And here the tempter is spoken of in his most malignant character, “the Devil.” Let it be remembered, that in the Lord Jesus, “the Fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily.” It would be blasphemy to say, that the Devil here was not a distinct agent. And yet our Lord was tempted “as we are,” and “without sin.” But if the Devil was a distinct agent, in his temptations of our Lord, and is not a distinct agent in our temptations, He could not have been tempted as we are; yệt the apostle expressly declares that He was. Hence, if there was a malignant evil spirit, that tempted our Lord, in the days of his personal appearance on the earth, it completely establishes the position, that there is such an evil agent.
The idea that temptation is not sín, is intimately connected with the belief, that, thus far, it is the work of an agent distinct from man. Therefore, while the temptations are only presented, and not embraced, they are not the act of the individual, and attach no guilt to him, unless he does embrace them, or, in some degree, yield to them. But, as every temptation must be an attempt to destroy the government of Him whose right it is to reign in the hearts of His rational creatures, and, consequently, to destroy the Divine life in the soul, it must be highly criminal and offensive in the agent, whoever he may be." This,” says Robert Barclay, “is the Devil's guilt, (or sin,) and not theirs who are tempted, till they make it theirs by their own acts.” But if there is no evil agent, but the passions of men, then the first motions of temptation, even though resisted, are sin to the individual ; because the opposition to the law, and the enmity against the Divine Principle, are exclusively
So far as this subject is mentioned in the Scriptures of truth, the Devil is spoken of as distinct from man; and we have no reason to call in question, either the truths, or the manner of inculcating them, which Divine Goodness has been pleased to present to us, through the medium of Revelation.
The apostle Peter, in his 2nd Epistle, ii. 4., says, “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness.” And Jude remarks: “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.”
It is not necessary to recite the various passages in the Old and New Testaments, to show that the term angels, in its general signification, applies to a superior order of beings. How they are constituted, what are their capacities, and what could become a spring of action in them to sin, are questions that certainly do not concern us, and it is an evidence of folly and presumption, to enter into the enquiry.
But between their case and ours, their apostacy