صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

The Devil

fed with Serpent Worship.

does it by their Miniftry. Therefore it is no Wonder, if by the fame Metonymy, what is fpoken or done by the Devil, is faid to be spoken or done by the Serpent, whofe Organs he ufurped. But farther it is plain, that it was the Devil which managed this Deceit, not only from the Incongruoufness of a brute Beaft's over-reaching Mankind in his highest Pitch of Reafon, but from the Atteftation of the holy Scripture it felf. The Author of the Book of Wisdom, who well understood the Doctrines and Traditions of the Jewish Church, and the Sense of the holy Scripture, tells us exprefsly, that by the Envy of the Devil, Death came into the World, Wifd. ii. 24. And our blessed Saviour, who was a better Explainer of the Scriptures, tells us, the Devil was a Murderer from the beginning, or the first Creation, alluding to his mifchievous Deftruction of Mankind; that he is a Liar, and the Father of Lies, both in the first and all the following Temptations of Mankind. Nay, farther than this, the Devil is exprefsly in Scripture called the Serpent. And the Dragon was caft out, that old Serpent called the Devil and Satan, Rev. xii. 9. And he laid hold on the Dragon that old Serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, Rev. xx. 2. All which Places are undoubted References to his firft Deception of Mankind, under the Form of a Serpent; which is evident in the word Old, which fuppofes him to be that firft Serpent, which has been deceiving Mankind, ever fince their firft Original.

2dly. You have no Reafon to expofe this divine Wrimuch plea- ter, for his relating the Devil to have taken the Form of a Serpent more than that of any other Creature: For this is but confonant to his other Practice in diverfe Places of the World; for we find him mightily delighted with Serpents, both in his Oracles and his idolatrous WorThips. It is known to all, how that the great Oracle of Delphos was delivered by the Pythoniffa, or the Prieftefs of the Serpent, and Heinfius has obferved, that the Greek Sur, comes from the Hebrew E, which fignifies a




Serpent; fo that the Pythius Apollo is nothing else but the Hebrew Ob or Abaddon, which the Hellenistical Jews render 'Auv, or Apollo. Alian in his various History fays, that Serpents among the Egyptians TiμavTai igues, are zealoufly worshiped; and Maximus Tyrius t fays, that the Serpent was the great Symbol of the Deity to moft Nations, and as fuch was worshiped by the Indians. And Grotius out of ancient Authors has made appear, that in the old Greek Myfteries, they used to carry about a Serpent, and cry 'Eua; which feems to be a perfect Triumph of the Devil, exulting, as it were, over the unhappy Deception of our firft Mother. Sigifmundus in his Hiftory of Mofcovia relates, that the Samogitha there worship a Serpent, which they keep by them; and tells a Story of a poor Man that was horribly abused by the Devil, for relinquishing the Worship of his Serpent. The like Guaginus in his Sarmatia Europea tells of the Lithuanians; as alfo Scaliger in his Exercitations, and that they facrifice to them Milk and Cocks. The like Serpent-worship the fame Scaliger relates of the People of Calecut in the Indies, in his Notes upon Ariftotle's Book of Animals. And Philip Melanthon tells a ftrange Story of fome Priests somewhere in Afia, that carry about a Serpent in a brazen Veffel, which they attend with a great deal of Mufick and Charms in Verfe; the Serpent lifts up himself, and opens his Mouth, and thrufts out the Head of a beautiful Virgin; the Devil thereby glorying in this Miscarriage, among thofe poor Idolaters. And fome Books of Travels into the West-Indies, give the like Account there. Now fince the Devil has made ufe of these viperous Animals in his Service in fo many Parts of the World; why fhould Men find Fault with Mofes's Hiftory, for afferting a Thing, fo agreeable to the Experience of all Mankind?

3dly, Neither is it neceffary to affert, that the Serpent This Ser pent not the was of the common creeping ferpentine Kind. It is moft probable fomething like that flying fiery Sort, which are viperous



* Lib. 17. Cap. 5.

+ Differt, 38.



bred in Arabia and Egypt, that are of a fhining yellowish Colour, like that of Brafs; which by the Motion of their Wings, and the Vibration of their Tails, reverberating the Sun-Beams, do afford a moft glorious Appearance. Now if the Serpent, whofe Body the Devil abufed, was of this Sort, tho' perhaps it was a Species far more glorious, it was a very proper Creature for him to make use of for this Defign. For thefe Serpents were *Deut.viii. called * Saraphs, or Seraphim, which gave the Name to thofe bright lofty Angels, which were frequently in ancient Times employ'd by God Almighty, to deliver his Will to Mankind; which were wont to take a fplendid Form upon them, fomething like thofe fhining Seraphs. Now the Devil, who is used to imitate the divine Actions by an artificial Mimicry, obferving, that good Angels did minifter to Adam and Eve in this bright Appearance, he ufurps the Organs of one of thefe foining Serpents, which he rendred fo artificially glorious, as to reprefent to Eve the ufual Schechinah, or angelical Appearance fhe was accustomed to; and by this Means, renders himself more fuccessful in his accurfed Project. Now unlefs the Angels did appear in fuch a Kind of Form, which we fuppofe here the Devil to imitate, there can be no Account given of the Seraphim and Cherubim, which were the only fymbolical Imagery allow'd of in the Jewish Church; and which feem to be nothing elfe, but the Reprefentation of thofe diverfe Appearances of Angels, fome in the Form of Cherubim, beautiful flying Oxen; others in the Shape of Seraphim, winged and thining Serpents. Now when the Devil had taken this angelical Reprefentation upon him, it was no Wonder that he did more cafily deceive our firft unhappy Mother, who might then probably take him to be fome good Angel come from Heaven to affift her, as fhe might often have experienc'd before, during their Stay in Paradife. And if this be fo, which I take to be the moft probable Account of it; then all that Banter, which your Gentlemen make use of, about the fpeaking Snake, and the Fright of the Woman, will fall to the Ground; and this Relation of Mofes will


be built, not only upon a firm, but a very rational Bottom. But if you have a Mind to be fatisfied more in this Matter, I refer you to Archbishop Tenison's learned Treatife of Idolatry, Cap. 14.

Phil. But granting all this to be true, that the Devil appeared to Eve in the Shape of an Angel of Light, or, as you will have it, like one of the flying lucid Seraphs, O.R. P.41. and thus deceived Eve; yet methinks it would have been but juft, that fome good Angels fhould have fuccoured a poor, ignorant, weak Woman; furely thofe juft Guardians of human Affairs would not have permitted fo unequal a Conflict. Certainly, a Perfon, who had fo great a Price fet upon her Head, as the Salvation of all Mankind, might well have deferv'd a Guard of Angels. Nay, farther it seems to reflect upon the Wisdom and Goodnefs of God himself, to fuffer his whole Creation, which he had been fo many Days a working, to be ruin'd in a Moment's Time by a malicious Spirit. I can never think, but that God Almighty would have contrived fome Way or other, to have hindred fuch a fatal Mifcarriage, when he fo easily might; he would never have left a poor young Creature open to all the Wiles of an old crafty Devil, and have damn'd all her Pofterity, for not being fo cunning as he.

Cred. This Objection of yours, Philologus, is grounded God nor obupon a Mistake common to you and fome of the ancient liged to Heathens, that a good and a juft God could not permit keep Man Evil among free Agents. For when any evil Action came ning by an to affect them nighly, they were prefently up with their irrefiftible an Dii fint? And fo would chufe to be Atheists, rather Power. than own a God, who would permit any Thing to cross their Humour. Now you make ufe of the Inverfe of that Argument, and would prove that, because there is a good God, therefore he would never fuffer fuch a wicked Action of the Devil. But, that which is the Ground of both these Arguments, is an unreasonable Mistake, viz. the Opinion that a Fuft and Wife God cannot permit Evil. Now it is true, that there are fome Part of natural Evils which God could not permit, fuch as might happen to


This would

have deftroy'd


the inanimate Parts of the Creation, as any blundered irregular Formation of their Parts, any Defect in their Nature or Conftitution: For all fuch Evil as this must then needs proceed from God, who gave them this irregular Nature, in which they could have no Hand themselves. Therefore we freely own, that God cannot permit Evil of this Kind; becaufe fuch Permiffion were tantamount to the doing it. All the Queftion is, whether he cannot permit moral Evil among free Agents, and fuch natural Evils which are the Punishments of them. Now unless

we grant that he could, it is impoffible there fhould be any fuch Thing as a free Agent, which is to act on either Part. For if God could not permit Evil, then Man could do nothing but Good, then his Actions would all be determined on one Side; and fo could be no more faid to be free, than a Stone is fuch, which neceffarily falls downwards. Nor does this Permiffion at all reflect upon God's Goodness; for God only gives his Free-Will and Power to his Creatures, which is an Act of Goodness; but it is owing to their ill Use of it, that they commit Evil. But you'll fay it is not the Difficulty how to reconcile God's Holiness with the Permiffion of Evil; but how to think he should permit an Evil of fo vaft a Confequence. Now to this, I anfwer,

ft, It must be granted, that Adam and Eve, who together with the Devil committed this Evil, were free Agents; and therefore all the Restraints God could lay upon them to refift the Devil's Temptations, must be fuch as were confonant to their Free-Will. For God to have given them fuch powerful Influxes of his Spirit, as to have made it impoffible for them to Sin, would have been in Effect to have altered their Natures, and to have changed them from free to neceffary Agents. For that would have been to have over-ruled them by as abfolute an Impulse, as he does Stones and Trees. All that we can suppose reasonable for God to do is, to difpenfe to them fuch abundantly fufficient Measures of his Grace, as might enable them to encounter with the strongest Temptations; but yet in fuch a Way, as might be confiftent with their Reason

« السابقةمتابعة »