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it is used four times in speaking of our Saviour's temptation in the wilderness (ver. 1, 5, 8, 11), and particularly ver. 1, it is said, that Jesus was led thither, to be tempted of the devil. It may be necessary to attend particularly to this instance, as it appears not only to support the notion of the actual existence of such an evil being, but his agency and influence, even over the mind of Jesus. It is however to be observed that the words are, "then was Jesus led up of the spirit," which a very able writer (Farmer) contends, in this connection, invariably means the spirit of God, or that divine impulse, by which the Jewish prophets were guided; which he proves by comparing this with various passages of the same import in the Old and New Testaments. It is reasonable to suppose, that the scene, which is here described by this evangelist, and also by Luke, passed in vision, and was intended for the instruction and admonition of Jesus. It cannot be supposed, that the devil, if he be the author of sin, had any such benevolent intention; nor can it be imagined, that Jesus was led by the spirit of God, to be exposed to the agency of this potent enemy; for that would be to admit, that the spirit of God was made the minister and agent of the devil.

Without entering minutely into the object of this vision, if such it were, it evidently contains this general important admonition, that Jesus was in no instance to wish to make use of that power which would accompany him, for his own perso nal gratification, or for any purpose not connected

with the object of his ministry. As the scenes of this vision passed before his mind, they would make the same impression which those in real life do, and which furnish us with motives to virtue or to vice; and, as far as they seemed to induce him to make an improper use of his miraculous power, they would appear to Jesus to be temptations to evil, and would be described by him or by his historians as suggestions of the devil. If the more popular interpretation of this part of the evangelical history be adopted, and it be supposed, that these suggestions occurred to the mind of Jesus, by the instigation of the devil, at different times, when he was actually in the situations described by the writer, it can only be concluded from these passages, that the Jews believed in the existence and agency of the devil; and, it may be contended, that they do not actually prove the existence of such a malevolent spirit, any more than the phrase "possessed of demons," which occurs much more frequently in the New Testament, demonstrates, that, in our Saviour's time, men were actually possessed by the spirits of deceased wicked men, which inflicted those dreadful disorders, from which they were relieved by the benevolent interposition of Jesus.

The next passage in which the word diabolos occurs is in the parable of the tares and the wheat, in the exposition of which Jesus says, Matt. xiii, 39, "The enemy that sowed them (the tares) is the devil." In this connection it may be justly doubted, whether Jesus means positively to assert the

existence of the devil, and his ascendency over the human mind. It is far more probable, that he uses the phrase in conformity to the prevailing notions of his countrymen. From a parable nothing can be conclusively inferred, but the doctrine or instruction which it is intended to inculcate; the circumstances are to be overlooked, and every thing which is collateral is to be considered only as the ornament of the allegory. In the present instance, it was not the design of Jesus to correct the unphilosophical notions of the Jews concerning the origin or principle of evil, but to repress the precipi tate zeal of those, who wished immediately to separate the tares from the wheat; and, in the explanation of the parable, it was not his intention to support a belief of the existence of an evil being, having access to the minds of men, opposing himself, and often successfully, to their virtuous desires and endeavours, and leading them irresistibly into the paths of vice and misery; but to teach his disciples, that the end of the age, or the period of final judgment, was the only proper time of separating the produce of the good seed from that of the bad, and that, as the appointed judge, he would then commission proper instruments to effect this necessary work. Most probably, indeed, the thoughts of Jesus were not extended beyond the awful period of his coming in the fulfilment of his prediction, relative to the capture and destruction of Jerusalem.

The only remaining passage in the gospel of Matt. in which the word diabolos occurs, is ch. xxv,

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41. Jesus is speaking of the final judgment, and of the sentence which will be pronounced upon the wicked. "Then shall the king say to them on his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." It is unquestionable, that the Jews believed in the existence of an evil being, at the head of many others, who were supposed to have rebelled against the great Supreme, to have been excluded from his presence, from the happiness which they originally possessed, and who were consigned with the instigator of their rebellion to a place of suffering and torment. But it is evident that this opinion was held by them in common with many other nations, and probably was borrowed from the Egyptians, who adopted it to account for the existence of evil in the world. It by no means follows from the use of this term in the N. T., nor from any allusions to such an opinion, that it is better founded than other absurd and unphilosophical opinions, which the Jews derived from the heathens. tain it is that this passage does not ascribe to the devil any agency over the human mind.


It has already been noticed that the word does not once occur in the gospel of Mark; our attention must therefore be transferred to the gospel of Luke. The term occurs five times in ch. iv, 2, 3, 5, 6, 13; but it is unnecessary to make any observations upon these passages, as they correspond with Matthew's account of our Lord's temptation. The word is used only once more in the gospel of Luke, ch. viii, 12. In the exposition of the parable of

the sower, the devil is said to take the word out of the hearts of those by the way-side, lest they should believe and be saved. If the observations which have been made upon the nature of a parable be well founded, this passage will not afford any solid foundation for the belief of the existence and agency of such a being. It only assumes, that such an opinion was admitted by the Jews.

We must now advance to the gospel of John, ch. vi, 70. Jesus answered, 'Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? We are so much accustomed to consider every thing sacred, which relates to the N. T., that sometimes we are not aware of the improprieties which occur in the English translation. On due consideration it will be allowed, that, in this instance, the language of this translation is very improper to be put into the mouth of Jesus, 'who was meek and lowly of heart, who when he was reviled, reviled not again,' and who cannot be supposed to have made use of words, which would shock a cultivated mind, even from the lips of the ignorant and prophane : 'one of you is a devil!' It is only justice to the evangelist to observe, that the primary meaning of the word translated devil is calumniator, accuser, which is also the meaning of the corresponding term Satan. Mr. Wakefield has therefore properly translated this verse, 'Did not I chuse you, the twelve, for myself, but one of you is an accuser* :' it is added, "He meant Judas Iscariot, one of the

* See also the New Version, a false accuser.

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