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rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire !" Zech. iii. 1, 2. Perfectly consistent with these views is the language of tho Apocalypse; in a passage bear. ing so emphatically on our subject, that it must be given entire. 6 And there was war in heaven: Mi. chael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought, and his angels; and prevailed not: neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world : he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before God, day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Wo to the inhabitants of the earth, and of the sea; for the Devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." Rev. xii. 7-12. Whatever, and whenever this casting out may be, it does not appear to have taken place in Paul's time; for in writing to the Ephesians, he says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in heavenly places.” Eph. vi. 12. So reads the margin of our authorized version; and Wiclif, in 1380, translates it, “ Agens spiritual thingis of wickednesse in hewinli, thingis." The Geneva version, 1557, has it, “Against spiritual wickednesses which are above;" and the Rhenish, 1582, “ Against the spirituals of wickedness in the celestials." In this, as in other instances, a growing dimness of vision on our mysterious and awful subject, has perhaps biased both translators and commentators, to put a gloss on what they cannot easily reconcile with their established systems. There is yet another very remarkable passage belonging to this head. In the book of Daniel, we find a heavenly instructer coming to show the prophet what shall befall his people, the Jews, in the latter days, who thus expresses himself: “ The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me.” Dan. X. 13. And again he says, “ Now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia ; and when I am gone forth, the prince of Grecia shall come....and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.” Dan. x. 20, 21. It is not to be supposed that mere mortal kings were thus enabled to resist angels: we can but understand it of a certain authority exercised by these wicked spirits, these principalities, and powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world, over nations that, in the practice of idolatrous abominations sacrificed unto devils, as the Apostle declares. We build no theory on these extraordinary declarations of the Most High: we merely point them out, and endeavour to show how they harmonize with other parts of the same immutable word.
Micaiah's vision is also observable. When adjured by the king to declare the truth of what the Lord had revealed concerning his projected enterprize, he thus disclosed it:" I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him, on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead ? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Where. with ? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also : go 'forth and do so.
1 Kings xxii. 19–22. This is repeated with scarcely any verbal variation in 2 Chron. xviii. 18—21. We cannot suppose the prophet of the Lord was at liberty to invent a fiction concerning the inhabitants of heaven; more especially as his warning was exactly fulfilled: neither can we reasonably suppose that a holy angel would volunteer to become a lying spirit, to mislead a sinner to his final ruin. The doom of Ahab had long been fixed : dogs were to lick his blood in the place where the innocent blood of the murdered Naboth had flowed; and his obstinate determination of going up to battle to Ramoth Gilead was the means of its fulfilment. Still he was warned: the conscientious Jehosophat would not be satisfied unless a true prophet of the Lord was inquired of, after the encouragement given by Ahab's lying flatteries: and the whole device was then laid
bare, though the wicked king rejected the merciful intimation, and committing the faithful messenger to prison, rushed open-eyed upon his own destruction.
One more instance of Satanic interference in matters far above our level, may be adduced. The Apostle Jude, when denouncing those who “speak evil of dig. nities," adds, " Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil, he disputed about the body of Moses, but durst not bring against him a railing accu. sation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” Jude 9. Some indeed, identify this passage with that already cited from Zechariah, explaining it of the Jewish polity, or Mosaic law; and would therefore object against our advancing it as on additional testimony; but for such identification we can see no warrant. It would rather seem to refer to the fact, that the Lord so hid the actual human body of Moses, that “ No man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.” Deut. xxxiv. 6.
These occasional glimpses of the invisible world are exceedingly awful : instead of regarding the adversary as a contemptible being, we can scarcely overrate his importance. Possessed of a power that we cannot rightly estimate, and filled with a malignity the most direful and implacable, he is not a solitary individual waging alone the war of rebellion and ruin: he has hosts unnumbered at command, as we have already shown; and doubtless he knows too well the value of order and subordination not to avail himself, as a skilful general, of his whole disposable force. What, then, is his employment, and to what object does he bend these superhuman energies and mighty means? The answer may be found in any part of the Bible-we trace him by his operations, where he is not actually named ; and we know that so far as it concerns us, all may be summed up in three words, Hostility to man. He sought to deface the work of creation, in its bright morning prime; and to a sad extent he succeeded : the work of redemption was undertaken, through the tender mercies of God, to repair that deadly breach; and to resist it is the perpetual aim of Satan and his angels. Alike to him is the task to impede a great national movement towards Christ, and to lure a little child from the way of righteousness. In either case he puts forth his subtle power, and never loses sight of the object. Foreknowledge he does not possess : that is the prerogative of Deity alone; but his calculations must be wonderfully accurate, considering that to the high angelic faculties of his nature, he adds the experience of some six thousand years of intimate concern in the affairs of men: and a perfect acquaintance with all knowledge and all mysteries, attainable by created intelligence. Before him are spread out all the phenomena of nature: the stars in their course, the ocean in its depths, the earth in all her hidden recesses, and all the complicated operations of her vast elemental laboratory, are visible to him. Long ere the shadow of a cloud encroaches on the unruffled sky bounded by our horizon, he perceives the coming storm, and prepares to seize such victims as he hopes may be delivered to him during the terrible convulsions. While all above is peace and serenity, he watches the internal combustion, and gloats over