Page images
PDF
EPUB

tan has long deceived so large a proportion of nominal Christendom, is still sustained ; and up to this time he keeps his ground, in defiance of increasing light on all sides; so that we only now and then hear of an individual rescued from the dominion of that blasphemous cheat, and enabled to see the snare coiled around him; while full as many, brought up in the doctrine and worship of the true God, turn aside unto fables, and believe the lie. When we consider that of all these multitudes, and the myriads beside who have not been specified, every single individual requires the vigilant superintendence of some subtle spirit to continue his de. lusion, to harden him against the truth, and even against the pleadings of his own natural reason, and the surrounding evidences of a power, goodness, holi. ness, that he refuses to acknowledge, we may partly conceive what active duty is required of each several angel among the fallen host: and how prodigious must be the diligence of their leader, ever seeing and direct. ing such a complicated work.

In this instance alone, we have gone beyond the track of Scripture history; but not that of prophecy. The Bible sets forth what should come to pass; and we look at what has occurred, and what will yet occur, before our eyes. The prolonged bondage and wretchedness of Canaan's race, the unbelief, dispersion, and continued degradation of Israel, and the great apostasy from the Christian Church, with its duration and consequences, are all most exactly foretold. And Satan, as “the god of this world,” “the prince of the power of the air,” “ the spirit that now worketh in the child

ren of disobedience,” is distinctly shown to be their governor, until, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, they are delivered out of his hand, and translated to the kingdom of God's dear Son.

VII.

SATANIC KNOWLEDGE.

THERE is a wisdom peculiar to the powers of evil whereof the apostle speaks: “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish;" James iii. 15; and there is a knowledge gained by close, continued observation, apart from any divine aid whatever, and which fits a man to deceive and defraud his neighbour. In this, we may believe Satan abounds; and we are quite sure that he has the

power

of communicating it, because the Scriptures distinctly say so. He can enable his servants to prophecy, but not true things: John saw an unclean spirit proceed out of the mouth of the false prophet. Rev. xvi. 13. He can endow them with miraculous powers; as witness Pharaoh's enchanters, and the predicted apostasy of him, “whose coming is after the workings of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders ;” 2 Thess. ii. 9; and who, under another name, is described as he that “ doth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth, in the sight of men; and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth, by

casionally took up their temporary abode with her ; the Rev. Lewis Way, Joseph Wolff, and others, who earnestly longed to lead into the fold this wandering sheep and her infidel household. This, of course, would raise Satan's opposition in no common degree; for the smallest portion of good leaven lodged in that lump might work the ruin of his kingdom in a place where every inch of territory is an important possession. Among the members of her establishment was a Dewish, a prétender to superior knowledge and sanctity, a teacher and worshiper of false gods, therefore of devils; held in esteem by Lady Hester, and in great awe and admiration by her dependants. This man's influence could not co-exist with that of a Christian minister; and though it does not appear that he took any part in resisting them, Satan contrived so to establish his character as to seal up his followers in deeper darkness than before. A tremendous earthquake buried Aleppo in ruins: the city was overthrown and the inhabitants perished. Situated many miles distant from the scene of devastation, without the possibility of any human communication, and indeed before it took place, this Dewish openly proclaimed that Aleppo was destroyed. In that advanced stage of the subterranean process, an observant being could doubtless tell that the crisis was at hand-could point the spot where, from circumstances ordered of God, it was evidently to burst: and thus by simply using the tongue of an ungodly man to convey the intima. tion, he established that man's claim to a prophetic spirit. It was much talked of at the time, and

questioned by some who would neither admit that a divine revelation was made to so evil a character, and for no good end, or that Satan has power to discover the yet unrevealed purposes of God. We admit both these objections, yet the tale is true; and on this ground it is perfectly explicable.

And on this principle we may account for securing revelations of future, or very distant events, by dreams or otherwise, where they often tend to foster a danger. ous superstition, or to strengthen belief in a false doctrine. Such things have come to pass within the knowledge of some who may read these

pages.

Inti. mations have been given of a death, or other occur. rence, and mentioned also by the party receiving the impression, hours before it was possible for intelligence to arrive: sometimes at the very moment the circumstance took place; and instances could be named where Popery has at once been embraced on the strength of such juggling devices of Satan. A person apparently in the soundest health may be told by another, seemingly inspired, that within such a period he should die; and the prediction may be literally accomplished. In many cases, aneurism for instance, an organic disease works its way for a long time without producing any sensible external effect : but Satan marks, and calculates, and confidently pronounces what, when the event comes to pass, is regarded as an oracle of God. That He can and does graciously warn and instruct his servants, both “ in dreams and visions of the night," and in various other ways, we cannot for a moment doubt ; neither would we approach by a single step the awful

« PreviousContinue »