Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

THE SPIRITUAL UNIVERSE-No. I. MATTER and spirit are familiar words. But who can compass either of them in his mind? All that we call visible, sensible, or material nature, is but a partial development of matter in its untold and incomprehensible modes and forms of existence. It suffices not to talk of it as school boys do-as being solid, fluid, or gaseous-developing the ideas of length, breadth, and thickness--or assuming the attitudes and bearings of suns, moons, planets, comets, with all their tenantry, moving in illimitable space, without top or bottom; without beginning or end. All this suffices not to unfold the secrets the worlds, and wonders of a material or a spiritual universe, and satisfies not the desires of man. And could we examine every form and mode of its existence, wherever found in the mineral, the vegetable, and the animal kingdoms, still we comprehend not one of its atoms in all its essence, laws, and modes of existence. Scill, we presume to negative all its essence, all its laws, accidents and properties, and to conceive of spirit as of a still more sublime, wonderful, and mysterious creation. We feel, too, that it is susceptible of personality-of an infinite variety and number of personalities--as distinct from each other in spiritual, in intellectual and moral peculiarities, as are the innumerable forms, modes, and characteristics of matter. So that we can conceive of as many families of spiritual personalities--of as many ranks, orders, and individualities, in a spiritual as in a material universe. No philosopher, sage, or christian, however elevated in genius, or cultivated in reason and imagi. nation, could, from all that human observation declares—from all that human science teaches—ascertain whether God, the unorigi. nated and unwasting fountain of this universe, delights more in magnitude than in number; more in number than in variety; more in variety than in utility; more in utility than in beauty, in its untold forms and modes of existence. But that he delights more in the happiness of his own dear children, than in all these, is evident from the fact that he has given to man a capacity to understand, a mind to discriminate, and a taste to enjoy them all-all that he has created or made in heaven, earth, or sea, and presented to man as a por. tion of his present inheritance—as a mere earnest and antepast of all that is to come.

But sin has been born, and misery has followed in its train. Hence, there is shade as well as brightness; pain as well as pleasure; sickness as well as health; death as well as life, and pain as

of man,

well as pleasure, in our portion of creation, in our planet, and among all its tenantry.

But sin was not born on earth : neither came it to our planet from heaven. It was concealed in the heart of a fallen seraph, and secretly conveyed from outer darkness to Paradise, the primeval abode of our most noble and illustrious ancestor. Thus are we lead to erect a tower of observation hard by the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, planted by God himself in primeval Eden. And at this point we shall place our telescope, erect our observatory, and endeavor to survey the spiritual, as well as the material universe.

But the Star of Bethlehem is, in this science of spiritual astron. omy, our polar star; and in our own system, the “Sun of Right: eousness” and Mercy, scattering his divine radiance over the history

and revealing to him worlds unseen by sense, unknown by reason, revealed from faith to faith, extending from the heaven of heavens to Tartarus Gehenna, and the realms of eternal desolation.

We are curious to know the number, variety, character, and condition of the tenantry--rational, spiritual, and immortal—that now fill the worlds that are, and that shall hereaftar fill the worlds, to come. And this, indeed, comprehends all that we shall propound on the present occasion, in reference to worlds above and to worlds below. But, on such themes as these, we must rein up and curb the winged steeds of imagination, and be content to listen to the oracles of heaven-inspired truth.

“ What saith the Scriptures," is, then, the only question; for when the Scripture developments are understood, all that can be known of man is known. We shall, then, take an inventory of what the Scriptures teach and contain on the subject of the tenantry of the universe-supernal, terrestrial, and infernal; leaving the ani. mal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms of earth, to the philosophers, the geographers, geologists, and the political economist. We shall confine ourselves to man, as the lord of earth and the heir of all its treasures. But it is not man in his physical or animal constitution, as the nere tenant or proprietor of earth, but as a rational, moral, spiritual, and everlasting being. In this view of him he is an heir of more than earth and time, of more than our solar system-an beir of God, in all his infinite realms of riches and glory, of beauty and blessedness.

The inspired inventory of the universe comprehends many ranks and orders of existence. There are angels, demons, authorities, principalities, powers. There are the Zoon, or Living Ones ; the CHERUBIM, or Knowing Ones; the SERAPHIM, or Burning Ones; the

SERIES IV.-VOL .

ELOHIM, or Gods; there are, also, the THRONES, DOMINIONS, and PRINCES, celestial as well as terrestrial.

Some imagine that these themes are not designed for mortal tongues, and are not to be taught, preached, or discussed by man. Then why are they written! why are they a portion of the revelation of God? These are Bible themes and Bible words, and are, more or less, intelligible. And ought not Christian knowledge to be commensurate with Christian revelation? So we opine, and, therefore, we will hazard a few thoughts on the spiritual universe, as opened to our vision by Him who came down from heaven to teach man the way to heaven and immortality. • I embark on no sea of conjectures. I explore no terra incognita. We have no theory to establish--no point to carry--no New Foundland to wage war about. Let us, then, with profound reverence, open our Bibles, and learn what is taught concerning spirits, good and bad--whether called angels, demons, dominions, thrones, principalities, powers--whether named Cherubim, Seraphim, or Elohim.

Here stands before us an awful and glorious universe, arranged and governed by grand Hierarchies and Thrones, placed around one radiating flaming central throne, filled by the peerless Prince Mes. siah, now crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Supreme Monarch of all the sovereignties, dominions, and territories of his own awful, glorious, boundless, everlasting universe.

'Tis well for us--for our weak eyes and dim vision--that these celestial glories are dimly veiled and figured forth in the costume and livery of earth, and time, and sense, in condescension to our intellectual infirmities. We shall, therefore, gently raise the cur. tain, and admit into our dark cell a few rays of this supernal light, to dispel its gloom, and to lead us out into a brighter and a better world.

There are two of these spiritual agencies, of the lowest rank, that, from their number, and vigilance of man, first engage our attention. They are ANGELS and DEMONS. But who and what are these?

A. C.

[blocks in formation]

The question last propounded, is, Who and what are angels and demons? It is easier to say what they are, than to show who they are:

They are both official titles-an ANGEL is a messenger ; a

[ocr errors]

DEMON is a knowing one, a leader, or teacher. Etymology and history alike teach that a DAIMOON, or demon, (from dacin scire, to know,) indicates a knowing one; figuratively, a teacher, or a guide. Angellos is a messenger, an ambassador, a missionary—one sent to announce, or bear a message.

But who are they, is a question still more curious and interesting, They are, by appropriation, made to indicate, in their highest sense, spirits. Hence, demons are often called “spirits,” and “unclean spirits.” Angels, in the celestial acceptation of that word, are also spirits. True, the word is often applied to man, as well as to spirits, when acting as agents for others. Still, they are primarily, both in etymology and history, knowing, or intelligent spirits. Before we can either understand the scriptures, or teach them to others, on these two grand themes of ancient and modern controversy, we must be able to show the causes or reasons of distinction and difference between the spirits called demons, and the spirits called angels. They are different orders of spirits, apart from their character, office, or work. Such is my conclusion, for reasons here. aster to be set forth.

But to ascertain, with all evidence and authority, the proper and essential difference between these two orders of spirit, it will be necessary to take a broad view of the use of the word demon, both in classic and sacred use. Thus we may, inductively, come to a very satisfactory result, as to the New Testament acceptation of the term demon.

First, then, its Pagan and classic use. We may say, in general terms, that the Pagan philosophers, one and all, so far as I am in. "formed, regarded demons as holding a middle rank between gods and men, and were a sort of internuntios between them, carrying up the prayers of men and bringing down the blessings of the gods, in answer to them. Some of them were regarded as angels of destruction, to execute the wrath of the gods upon the impinus.' They had two classes of demons—"the agathon daimoon, or eudaimoon--the good demon, the guardian spirit, or tutalary genius, assigned to every one at his birth, to guard himself and fortunes through life; and also, the kakodaimoon—a malignant demon, who seems to have delighted itself in vexing or tormenting men. “All demons," says Plato, a are an intermediate order between God and mortals."* " And who has not read of the demon of Socrates ?"

The Jewish usage is still more important, to assist us in ascertaining its Christian acceptation, than the Pagan writers. In the

* Παν ο δαιμονιον Μέλαξυ εστι Θεου και Θείλον.

Septuagint version it would seem that demons were regarded as the souls or spirits of dead men.

We need not go back to Deuteronomy, to accuse the Jews of demononolatry--to show that they “sacrificed to demons, and not to gods, to new gods that came newly up, whom their fathers feared not;" or to show that they regarded demons as the souls of deceased wicked men, since Josephus himself, a cotemporary witness with the apostles, testifies " that the spirits of wicked men deceased, were by the Jews called demons."

Indeed, according to the Grecian and Roman Apotheosis, or godmaking power, by which they not only placed the statues of great men, especially heroes, living and dead, amongst their gods in their temples, but occasionally reared temples and altars to living heroes, really offering sacrifice to them. So find we the Pagans at Lystra, converting Paul into Mercury, and Barnabas into Jupiter, bringing decorated oxen to the gates of their city, to sacrifice to them as gods.

But the New Testament itself suffices to indicate that the demons, or (as they are called in the Common Version) devils, were the spirits of deceased wicked men. To sustain and elucidate this view of demons, we shall state a few facts, and offer a few remarks

upon them.

Ist. We have, in the New Testament, but one Devil, and many demons. Diabolos, or Devil, is found in the Christian Scriptures only thirty-eight times. Of these, thirty-four are applied to him we call “ the Devil,” and “Satan,” and are, in every case, preceded by the definite article THE.

Of the remaining four cases-the first John vi. 7–Jesus calls one of the Twelve a Devil, not the Devil; and Paul, using it in the plural form three times, (the only times it is found in the plural number, and without the definite article,) applies it to men and women: but only to those that do not restrain their tongue. They are the only Devils named in the plural form in all the New Testament Scriptures. Thus counting, one by one, we have ho Diabolos thirty-four times; Diabolos, without the article, applied to Judas 28 a slanderer, or false accuser, once; and thrice with reference to candidates for the diaconate, or deacon's office, translated “slanderers, false accusers"- Tim., iii. 11; 2 Tim., iii. 3; Titus, ii. 36 Thus the matter is briefly disposed of. We have Devil, or Diable, as a proper name, thirty-four times, applied to one otherwise called Satan, or Ho Satanas.

We find the word Satan, thirty-seven times in the New Testament.

« ZurückWeiter »