Part 6 out of 6
at his condescension. Never was there so fine a specimen of patience,
gentleness, and humility, blended with true dignity, as upon that
remarkable occasion. He instructed her ignorance, endured her petulance,
corrected her mistakes, awakened her conscience, converted her heart, and
eventually honoured her as a messenger of mercy and salvation to her
Samaritan friends. At another time, when the disciples rebuked those who
brought their little children to him, that he might put his hands on them
and pray, he kindly interposed; and evincing the most sympathetic
tenderness towards the solicitudes which, on such an occasion, would
necessarily pervade the maternal bosom, he said, "Suffer little children,
and forbid them not to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of
heaven: and he laid his hands on them." On various occasions, when he
performed some of his most illustrious miracles, females were personally
concerned, and shared his distinguished notice and condolence. Such
particularly was the case when he met the funeral procession at Nain: it
was that of a young man, represented in the simple and affecting language
of the evangelist, as "the only son of his mother, and she was a widow."
The meeting was apparently casual; but Jesus was instantly and deeply
impressed with the circumstances: he in particular felt compassion for the
weeping parent--addressed her in kind and gentle terms--remanded the
spirit from its eternal flight, to inhabit again for a season the body
from which it had so lately departed, and delivered the reanimated youth
to _his mother_. He blended his tears with those of Martha and Mary, at
the sepulchre of their brother; and after instructing them upon the
subject of the resurrection from the dead, restored him to their wishes
and affections." Women "ministered unto Jesus of their substance,"--"the
daughters of Jerusalem" bewailed him when he was led to crucifixion--and
the "women that followed him from Galilee were deeply interested
spectators of his sufferings, observed his sepulchre, and prepared spices
and ointments. It was Mary Magdalene who enjoyed the honour and happiness
of a first manifestation after Jesus was risen from the dead, and she was
commissioned to go and inform the rest of his sorrowing disciples. "The
frequent mention," says Doddridge "which is made in the evangelists of the
generous and courageous zeal of some _pious women_ in the service of
Christ, and especially of the faithful and resolute constancy with which
they attended him in those last scenes of his suffering, might very
possibly be intended to obviate that haughty and senseless contempt, which
the pride of men, often irritated by those vexations to which their own
irregular passions have exposed them, has in all ages affected to throw on
that sex, which probably, in the sight of God, constitute by far the
better half of mankind; and to whose care and tenderness the wisest and
best of men generally owe and ascribe much of the daily comfort and
enjoyment of their lives."
2. _As the conduct of Christ naturally induced his disciples to imitate
the example of their illustrious Master, the subsequent admission of women
to all the privileges of the Christian Church, tended exceedingly to
confirm their elevation, and evince their importance in society_. When the
primitive converts to the Christian faith wished publicly to avow their
dereliction of heathen idolatry, and their emancipation from the bondage
of Judaism, by being baptized in water, _both sexes_ were admitted without
distinction to this solemn rite. At a very early period of the primitive
church, when the city of Samaria received the word of God by the preaching
of Philip, which with its accompanying miracles, diffused an universal
joy, "they were baptized, both MEN and WOMEN;" and the apostle Paul, in
writing to the Galatians, expresses himself in this triumphant strain:
"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many
of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. There is
neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither
MALE nor FEMALE, for ye are ALL ONE in Christ Jesus."
Sentiments like these, combined with the practice of an institution so
expressive and so remarkable, tended to circulate among the primitive
Christians those feelings of respect and affection for women, which, by
elevating them to their proper rank in society, must necessarily purify
the public morals, meliorate individual character, and ennoble the
intercourse of life. Admitted to an equal participation of the privileges
of God's house, where every minor distinction is annihilated by the
predominance of a diffusive charity, and feeling that their present joys
and future destinies were blended with those of the "holy brethren,
partakers of the heavenly calling;" the female part of the community rose
into importance as rational, but especially as immortal beings.
After the ascension of Christ, the historian of the Acts of the Apostles
informs us, that "the WOMEN, and Mary, the mother of Jesus," assembled
with the apostles to worship in the upper room at Jerusalem; being equally
interested in the great events which had recently occurred, and in the
devotional services in which they now engaged. Paul directs Timothy to
treat "the elder women as mothers, the younger as sisters, with all
purity." He also desires him to "honour widows that are widows indeed,"
and to afford them all proper relief by charitable contributions, a
practice for which the first Christians were highly distinguished. Women
are represented by an apostle himself as _fellow-labourers_ in the Gospel,
assisting them, not only by their example, to which he willingly pointed
the attention of the churches, but by their prayers, their visits of
mercy, and other similar methods of co-operatiug in the propagation of the
truth, and the promotion of individual happiness.
As the _immediate_ effects of original transgression upon the woman were
most obvious and most deplorable, and as her debasement from the eminence
assigned her by the Creator has been _completed_ by the misrule of
passion, and the gradual advancement of human degeneracy: so the _direct_
operation of Christianity is apparent, according to the degree of its
prevalence, in elevating her to a state which was known before only in the
garden of Eden--a state in which she again assumes a rank, which
regenerated man cheerfully concedes, wherein she regains the lost
paradise of love and tenderness; while the more _remote_ influence of this
system is discernible in the recognition of her rights, wherever its
benign dominion extends. Now she ascends to the glory of an intelligent
creature, gladdens by her presence the solitary hours of existence,
beguiles by her converse and sympathy the rough and tedious paths of life,
and not only acquires personal dignity and importance, but in some measure
new modifies, purifies, and exalts the character of man. If we cannot but
weep over the affecting representation of the departure of Adam and Eve
from the scene of innocence and of celestial manifestation, when
"The brandish'd sword of God before them blaz'd
Fierce as a comet: which with torrid heat
And vapours, as the Libyan air adust,
Begun to parch that temperate clime; whereat
In either hand the hast'ning angel caught
Our ling'ring parents, and to the eastern gate
Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast
To the subjected plain----"
and when, taking a hasty retrospect of their lost felicity, in consequence
of transgression, and cherishing gloomy forebodings of that melancholy
futurity, which seemed already to pour from its dark clouds the deluging
rain of grief and misery--
"Some natural tears they dropp'd, but wip'd them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide;
They, hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and slow
Through Eden took their solitary way;----"
--if we must mourn over so sad a scene, Christianity a wakens sympathies
of an opposite description, by exhibiting a goodly number of their
descendants as inhabitants of the CHRISTIAN CHURCH--the grand repository
of heavenly blessings, and the dwelling-place of peace--at whose holy
altar of truth souls are wedded, and at whose sacramental board they
celebrate an everlasting union. Nothing can present a scene more worthy
the attention of mankind, or more attractive to the eyes of witnessing
angels, than this association of persons in pious fellowship, without
distinction of birth or country, age or sex; participators in equal
proportions of the same happiness, children of one common parent, and
heirs of one rich inheritance!
3. _The, great principles asserted by the religion of Jesus, secure to
women, as an unquestionable right, that exaltation in society, which his
conduct, and that of his followers conferred_. These principles may he
traced in the New Testament, either as necessarily comprehending, by their
generality, a proper treatment of the female sex, or as developing
themselves in particular regulations and enactments.
Christianity breathes a spirit of the most diffusive charity and good
will: and wherever its "power" is felt, it moulds the character into the
image of benevolence. Love is the beauty and the strength of this
"spiritual building;" a love, at once comprehensive in its range, and
minute in its ramifications: adjusting the diversified claims of society
and religion with perfect exactness, and directing the exercise of all the
social affections. The fountain being purified, the streams become pure;
the heart, which is the centre mid spring of moral action, being renewed,
the conduct will be distinguished by a corresponding degree of virtue,
goodness, and sanctity. But as Christianity produces a general
transformation of character, by subduing the ferocious and brutal
propensities of man; clearing away the rank and noxious weeds that
overspread human nature, and sowing the seeds of moral excellence, the
effect must be discernible in the whole intercourse of life. Immorality
trembles, domestic tyranny retires abashed before the majesty of religion,
and peace pervades that dwelling where power was law, and woman a slave.
In fact, every precept of the Gospel that inculcates kindness, sympathy,
gentleness, meekness, courtesy, and all the other graces that bloom in the
garden of the Lord--indirectly, and by no unintelligible or forced
application, provides for the honour and glory of the female sex. If the
most effectual method of degrading woman be to barbarize man, the certain
means of dignifying _her_ is to christianize _him_.
It is to be noticed also, that there is no sex in conscience, and that for
the discharge of the duties of piety, each is equally capacitated, and
therefore equally responsible. If men were to give an account at the
tribunal of heaven, not only for their personal actions and principles,
but for those of women, to whom they are related by the ties of
consanguinity, or with whom they are connected by circumstances, there
would be some reason in assuming a jurisdiction over their faith, and
disputing their claims to rationality and to respectful treatment; but not
to insist upon the moral constitution of the female sex, and the whole
drift of divine revelation, the very terms of the initiatory ordinance of
the Christian church, to which they are equally entitled, illustrates and
secures their prerogatives--for it is "the answer of a good conscience
towards God." When men impose fetters upon other men, condemning,
imprisoning, fining, scourging, burning, and anathematizing them, merely
because they dare to think for themselves in matters which can only
concern God and their own souls, and will not have their faith decreed by
arbitrary power and exasperated ignorance, it need not excite surprise,
that they should assume the right of behaving to the weaker sex with all
the capriciousness of despotism; and no authority but that of Scripture,
which maintains the privileges of _all thinking beings_, can effectually
restrain the wickedness of man's UNMANLY usurpation.
The precepts of Christianity bespeak its characteristic regard to the
reciprocal duties and respective rank of the sexes, adjusting their claims
with a nicety that precludes disputation, and an authority that commands
assent. They are not arbitrary enactments; but being founded in the
highest reason, and connected with individual felicity, approve themselves
to every well-regulated mind. In our behaviour to others, we are not only
prohibited from indulging the vindictive and malignant passions, but
exhorted to do them good by the employment of our pecuniary resources,
social opportunities, and moral means, to advance both their temporal and
eternal interests. While these principles necessarily comprise the
discharge of all relative duties, these are besides specifically
enumerated and enforced. Husbands, in whose hands barbarism had placed a
tyrannic sceptre, are required by the religion of Jesus to renounce their
unjust domination, and to descend to the regulated and affectionate
intercourse of the domestic hearth. It is expressly enjoined upon them to
"love their wives," and not to be "bitter against them." "Let every one of
you in particular so love his wife even as himself: so ought men to love
their wives as their own bodies."--"Ye husbands, dwell with your wives
according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife as unto the weaker
vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life." "Let one of you
in particular so love his wife as himself, and the wife see that she
reverence her husband."
Christianity also expressly abolishes, at least by necessary implication,
polygamy and the power of divorce, as they existed among barbarous
nations, perpetuating the degradation of women, and spreading confusion in
society. "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication,
and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which
is put away, doth commit adultery." "Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak
to them that know the law.) how that the law hath dominion over a man as
long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law
to her husband so long as be liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is
loosed from the law of her husband." And, "Let every man have his own
wife, and let every woman have her own husband." Paley remarks, "The
manners of different countries have varied in nothing more than in their
domestic constitutions. Less polished and more luxurious nations have
either not perceived the bad effects of polygamy, or, if they did perceive
them, they who in such countries possessed the power of reforming the
laws, have been unwilling to resign their own gratifications. Polygamy is
retained at this day among the Turks, and throughout every part of Asia in
which Christianity is not professed. In Christian countries it is
universally prohibited. In Sweden it is punished with death. In England,
besides the nullity of the second marriage, it subjects the offender to
transportation, or imprisonment and branding, for the first offence, and
to capital punishment for the second. And whatever may be said in behalf
of polygamy when it is authorized by the law of the land, the marriage of
a second wife during the lifetime of the first, in countries where such a
second marriage is void, must be ranked with the most dangerous and cruel
of those frauds by which a woman is cheated out of her fortune, her
person, and her happiness.
"The ancient Medes compelled their citizens, in one canton, to take seven
wives; in another, each woman to receive five husbands; according as war
had made, in one quarter of their country, an extraordinary havoc among
the men, or the women had been carried away by an enemy from another. This
regulation, so far as it was adapted to the proportion which subsisted
between the number of males and females, was founded in the reason upon
which the most improved nations of Europe proceed at present.
"Cæsar found among the inhabitants of this island a species of polygamy,
if it may be so called, which was perfectly singular. _Uxores_, says he,
_habent deni duodenique inter se communes; et maxime fratres cum
fratribus, parentesque cum liberis: sed si qui sint ex his nati, corum
habentur liberi, quo primum virgo quaque deducta est_."
The same perspicuous writer adds, upon the subject of divorce, "The
Scriptures seem to have drawn the obligation tighter than the law of
nature left it. 'Whosoever,' saith Christ, 'shall put away his wife,
except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth
adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away, doth commit adultery.'
The law of Moses, for reasons of local expediency, permitted the Jewish
husband to put away his wife; but whether for every cause, or for what
causes, appears to have been controverted amongst the interpreters of
those times. Christ, the precepts of whose religion were calculated for
more general use and observation, revokes this permission, (as given to
the Jews 'for the hardness of their hearts,') and promulges a law which
was thenceforward to confine divorces to the single cause of adultery in
the wife. And I see no sufficient reason to depart from the plain and
strict meaning of Christ's words. The rule was new. It both surprised and
offended his disciples, yet Christ added nothing to relax or explain it.
"Inferior causes may justify the separation of husband and wife, although
they will not authorize such a dissolution of the marriage contract as
would leave either party at liberty to marry again; for it is that
liberty, in which the danger and mischief of divorces principally consist.
If the care of children does not require that they should live together,
and it is become, in the serious judgment of both, necessary for their
mutual happiness that they should separate, let them separate by consent.
Nevertheless, this necessity can hardly exist, without guilt and
misconduct on one side or on both. Moreover, cruelty, ill usage, extreme
violence, or moroseness of temper, or other great and continual
provocations, make it lawful for the party aggrieved to withdraw from the
society of the offender, without his or her consent. The law which imposes
the marriage vow, whereby the parties promise to 'keep to each other,' or
in other words to live together, must be understood to impose it with a
silent reservation of these cases; because the same law has constituted a
judicial relief from the tyranny of her husband, by the divorce _à mensa
et toro_, and by the provision which it makes for the separate maintenance
of the injured wife. St. Paul, likewise, distinguishes between a wife
merely separating herself from the family of her husband, and her marrying
again: 'Let not the wife depart from her husband; but, and if she do
depart, let her remain unmarried.'" 
Notwithstanding the survey we have taken of the general degradation of the
female sex, where the benign influences of Christianity have been unfelt,
the argument may be confronted by a formidable array of plausible
objections. It may be said, that amidst the barbarity of the SCANDINAVIAN
NATIONS, they treated their women with extraordinary respect. The
Scythians exempted the daughter from the punishment in which the son was
obliged to partake with the father, and the German women even inherited
the throne. Some of the laws, among the Goths, respecting illicit
intercourse, were highly reasonable and just, and our remote ancestors may
be cited as examples of treating women with the utmost veneration. It may
seem indicative also of the prevalence of similar sentiments, that the
ancient mythologies abound in female divinities: the Phoenicians
worshipped the goddess _Astarte_, the Scythians, _Appia,_ the
Scandinavians, _Friggia_, the wife of Odin. It may be further urged, with
regard to the GREEKS and ROMANS, that though the melancholy picture we
have already drawn of their conduct be true, yet their history presents
some remarkable evidences of the elevated condition of their women, and
the honourable regard which they obtained. Among the former, indeed, few
instances can be adduced, in addition to that of Areta, the daughter of
Aristippus, who fixed upon her son the surname of Μητροδιδακτος,
or _disciple of his mother_, in consequence of her having been his
instructer in the sciences and philosophy. The Romans, at some periods of
their history, paid extraordinary respect to their women; the institution
of the vestals is a memorial of the estimation in which female virtue was
held, and the emperor Heliogabalus was desirous that his wife should have
a voice in the senate. They allowed their women to celebrate an annual
feast, to commemorate the reconciliation between them and the Sabines, by
means of their wives; and they erected an equestrian statue to Cloelia,
and a temple to Fortune, in honour of the sex; because the mother and wife
of Coriolanus had caused that hero to retire weeping from his native
country, when he was irresistible by arms.  But the most plausible
objection to the general argument seems derivable from the history of
CHIVALRY, under whose influence it is alleged that women were not only not
degraded, but were actually advanced to the highest condition, and
possessed the most commanding influence. The knights, at their
installation, took solemn vows of self-devotement to the cause of female
honour; and ladies were constantly engaged as umpires at tournaments, took
off the armour of the conquerors, and irivested them with magnificent
robes. The middle ages witnessed the extraordinary sight of knight-errants
wandering over distant countries, with their sword and lance in hand, to
contest the point of the beauty and virtue of their ladies, with all who
ventured to intimate the slightest doubt or suspicion on the subject.
Their expeditions were usually made in consequence of some requisition on
the part of their mistresses, or to fulfil a vow voluntarily incurred in a
moment of intoxication and excitement.
The reply to these general objections has been in part anticipated.
Christianity assigns to women their proper place in society, neither
admitting of their being tyrannized over by despotic authority, nor
impiously honoured by a ridiculous adulation. They are to be viewed as
help meets, not, as slaves; to be respected and loved, but not deified.
While the religion of Jesus raises them to great consideration in the
scale of society, it imposes a salutary restraint upon human passions, and
checks every approach to the assumption of an unnatural superiority. It
bestows a rank which secures them from contempt or disregard, while it
equally prevents a senseless adoration: so that its principles disallow
the barbaric treatment of uncivilized nations and the follies of the
In the different periods and places to which the objection refers, the
conduct of mankind was marked with inconsistency. Greece and Rome exhibit
ample specimens of this nature; and the time of chivalry afford
illustrations equally remarkable. The knights of the order were not
distinguished by fidelity to their wives, or by a concern for the
education of their daughters: their devotion to the female sex was, in
fact, without principle and without love; they fought, from vanity and
fashion, for persons whom they had basely dishonoured and secretly
despised; and while their flattery and folly were sufficiently
discreditable to their own understandings and hearts, they tended in a
deplorable degree to corrupt the principles of those whom they
professed to value.
It is further obvious, that in the very best periods of Greek and Roman
history there existed no security against a change in the treatment of
women, arising from the general recognition of any of those great
principles of moral conduct which constitute the basis of good government
and of well-regulated society. Passion predominated above reason, and
received its impulse solely from casual circumstances. It was, in fact,
accidental, whether it should operate amiably or malignantly; and the
felicity of one half of the human species depended upon the precarious and
ever vacillating humour of the other. Virtue was scarcely seen upon the
earth, except at occasional and often distant visitations, or as she shed
a fitful and flickering light into the retreats of systematic philosophy.
Woman was at the mercy of every wind--to-day honoured--to-morrow
despised--now a goddess--and anon a slave! Viewing heathen countries in
the most favourable aspect in which history presents them, and admitting
to the fullest extent the correctness of those details of virtue and
valour which she has transmitted to us, the conduct of the Celtic and
Scandinavian nations, and instances deduced from cultivated and classic
regions, or from modern times, can only be considered as _exceptions_
which do not impugn the general alignment, corroborated as it has been by
a historical and geographical delineation of society in every age of the
world, and every quarter of the globe.
Behold Christianity, then, walking forth in her purity and greatness to
bless the earth, diffusing her light in every direction, distributing her
charities on either hand, quenching the flames of lust and the fires of
ambition, silencing discord, spreading peace, and creating all things new!
Angels watch her progress, celebrate her influence, and anticipate her
final triumphs! The moral creation brightens beneath her smiles, and owns
her renovating power; at her approach man loses his fierceness and woman
her chains; each becomes blessed in the other, and God glorified in both!
(SEE p. 320.)
The concurrent evidence of a variety of passages of Scripture respecting
the existence of Satan, ind his interference in human concerns, have been
rejected with singular and pertinacious audacity, solely upon the ground
that the whole of these representations must be figurative, because they
are not consonant to _human reason_--which seems to be a very dignified
sort of personage, assuming to herself the right of calling revelation to
her bar, and disposing at pleasure of the doctrines of Heaven. As,
however, truth will always bear investigation, it may not be improper to
devote a few additional pages to this subject, with a view of satisfying;
the humble inquirer, that sound sense and divine testimony are really and
Whatever is revealed it becomes us to believe, and simply on this account,
that it _is revealed_; if the subject of the revelation be mysterious or
incomprehensible, this does not annul our obligation implicitly to believe
it, because sufficient reasons may exist in the Eternal Mind for the
concealment of its nature, or it may surpass the comprehension of our
limited capacities; but if it be naturally capable of investigation--if it
be not only a fact, but a fact in proof of which evidences may be adduced,
and explanations furnished, our minds cannot be better employed, than in
thus superinducing substantial evidence or vivid probability upon the
testimony of divine inspiration.
I. It is highly reasonable to suppose, that there are beings of a distinct
and superior order to ourselves in the universe. Nothing can be more
improbable than to imagine that this earth is the only inhabited region of
universal empire, the only peopled province in the creation of God;
especially when we observe that it forms but one, and that a small globe
of matter belonging to a system in which others, and some very superior
bodies, are found moving round the came centre, and legulated by similar
laws; and that this whole system itself is but one out of ten thousand
others that constitute the heavenly constellations, and "pave the shining
way to the divine abode."
The productions of Infinite Wisdom are wonderfully diversified. In the
present world we have an opportunity of observing them only in the
descending scale, from man, the summit of creation, down through all the
gradations of animal existence, to the scarcely discernible insects that
flit in the summer sunbeams, and to the minuter world of microscopic
discovery. But analogy would lead us to infer, that there may be beings in
the vast dominion of universal space as much superior to man as man
himself is superior to insects or animalculæ. It is not probable that
creative power should cease to operate precisely at the point where human
existence commences; and especially as _mind_ admits of incalculable
diversity in the extent of its energies and capacities, and as it is found
in all cases to possess a power of improvement and expansion, it is
likely, under other circumstances and in other worlds, it may he
inconceivably superior to the highest elevation it his ever attained in
this lower region. Hence we infer the great probabilily of angelic
II. It is reasonable to suppose, that superior intelligences were
constituted free agents, and capable therefore of retaining or forfeiting
their primeval character and happiness, for this is the evident lay of the
rational creation, so far it comes within the limits of our observation.
If this be the case, some of these beings may probably have misused their
liberty, and become depraved and corrupt. It is essential to the notion of
free agency, to suppose this possible, and though from the infinite
benignity of the Divine Being, we should infer that he would _create_ them
holy and happy, we cannot conclude they must _necessarily_ be _preserved_
in such a state. There is nothing in the nature of the blessed God, as a
just and holy Being, to require this, no obligation to do so resulting
from the mere circumstance of their being thus created, and nothing, in a
perfect system of holy government, to demand it. Indeed, quite the
reverse, because it is natural to infer, that the subjects of divine
government, however elevated in character and condition, should be
responsible to their Ruler, and liberty of thought and action, the power
of choice, and refusal of obedience and disobedience, is essential to
responsibility. There may, therefore, probably exist unholy or evil
spirits, such as have not kept their first estate, and consequently
amenable to righteous laws, and proper objects of punishment.
III. As it is reasonable to suppose that the government of God may admit
of the existence of fallen and evil spirits, as well as those of a more
honourable class, it is equally so to conclude, that a similar or
analogous variety of talent, capacity, and guilt may obtain to that which
we observe in the constitution of other intelligent creatures both good
and evil, in this world. Wicked men are not satisfied to be sought by
criminals, they have no wish to be alone in sin but are uniformly anxious
to seduce others into the perpetration of those iniquities which they
themselves have dared to commit. The first action of Eve after her
transgression, was to hand the forbidden fruit to her husband, and
persuade him to eat, and it is the earliest wish of a rebellious heart to
involve others in the guilt and misery of their own deeds, partly for the
sake of concealing their enormity, by diverting the eye from observing the
awful proportions of then individual offences, and partly to acquire
encouragement and support in the commission of yet unpractised crimes.
Hence "_one_ sinner destroyeth much good." According to his capacity or
opportunity he becomes the centre of a large circle of impious
association, he sways inferior minds, and forms them into so many
satellites round his person, who individually acquire a lustre from his
pre-eminence, and feel the attraction of his base superiority. Hence the
world of wickedness is ruled by an incalculable number of petty princes,
who each assume independent empire, but all combine to carry on eternal
war against the order of providence, the good of society, and the glory
It is not absurd, then, to conclude, that a similar diversity prevails
amongst evil beings of a superior class, that some may be far more
atrocious in their characters than others, and more capacitated to do
extensive mischief. It is equally likely, that their influence over other
evil spirits may be proportioned to these circumstances, and that their
example or advice may excite to deeds of infernal daring. These
considerations would eventually conduct us to the probability of the
existence of one, pre-eminent above the rest in crime and in capacity, who
may influence the several chiefs of the infernal empire, as they exercise
a power over inferior demons; or that Satan, or the devil, is "the prince
of the power of the air."
IV. The _invisible_ nature of diabolical agency can be no sufficient
objection to its existence. Admitting that there are other proofs, this
circumstance could not diminish their force, much less destroy their
evidence. It must be granted, that without other proofs it would be a
radical objection, because in such a case the whole statement would he
gratuitous and conjectural. If it were allowable to suppose such an
agency, it might be equally so to refuse admitting it; every one may be
amused or not with a pure fiction, an imaginary creation. But do not
plead, that the invisibility of diabolical agency is any proof or any
presumption of its reality; but simply that it is no objection, that it
has no power to neutralize the evidence produced, and that unbelievers
have no authority, on this account, to treat the subject with that
profane and impertinent ridicule, which is a mere commonplace artifice to
evade unwelcome convictions.
God is invisible--but is this any argument against his being? The human
soul is invisible--is this a proof that it does not exist? The magnetic
influence cannot be seen--is this a reason that it does not operate? Are
the opinions or philosophers deduced from the analogies of nature, that
suns and stars and systems occupy the distant regions of space, which have
never yet been penetrated by the best constructed telescopes, rendered
improbable by the allegation, that no eye and no instrument can discern
them? The existence and operations of the devil are admitted to be
invisible to sense, and in many cases, perhaps, difficult of investigation
by reason--what then? Nothing.
V. The supposition that the operation of invisible spirits is secret and
imperceptible to ourselves, cannot be adduced as demonstrative against its
reality. What is more difficult to ascertain than the operation of our own
minds, and the motives by which we are impelled? Nor is it difficult only
to trace the process of reasoning that has led us to any particular
conclusion, and to recall the fleeting thoughts flinch have passed through
the mind in rapid succession, so as to tell how we came to be influenced
to a certain conclusion; but we often cannot discover what external
objects or what incidental circumstances, first directed us into the
inquiry, or led to the result.
Still more inconceivable is the manner in which spirit operates upon
spirit, where there is no external agency; and it is inconceivable,
because of our little experience on the subject, and because the usual
modes of impression are through the medium of sense. The ear, the eye, the
touch, convey impressions to the spirit; but when neither are sensibly
affected, we cannot trace the influence exercised upon us, although it is
highly irrational to deny its possibility. Besides, we know that "God, who
is a Spirit, operates upon our souls at times and under circumstances,
when we are unconscious of this influence; and, if we had no evidence from
Scripture, reason must admit that such an operation is not improbable."
The only objection which can arise here, is that of supposing the evil
spirit in any respects independent of God; a supposition, however, which
is not to be charged upon the advocates of diabolical agency. "It is
evident," says Dr. Leland, "to the common sense of mankind, that there is
a vast difference between the supposition of an almighty and independent
evil being, a supposition full of absurdity and horror; and that of an
inferior dependent being, who was made originally pure and upright, but
fell by his own voluntary defection into vice and wickedness; and who,
though permitted in many instances to do mischief, and to act according to
his evil inclinations, as wicked men are often permitted to do in this
present state, yet are still under the sovereign control of the most holy,
wise, and powerful Governor of the world. For, in this case, we may be
sure, from the divine wisdom, justice, and goodness, that God will, in the
fittest season, inflict a punishment upon that evil being and his
associates, proportionable to their crimes; and that in the mean time, he
setteth bounds to their malice and rage, and provideth sufficient
assistance for those whom they endeavour to seduce to evil, whereby they
may be enabled to repel their temptations, if it be not their own faults;
and that he will in his superior wisdom bring good out of their evil, and
overrule even their malice and wickedness, for promoting the great ends of
his government, This is the representation made to us of this matter in
the Holy Scripture, nor is there any thing in this that can be proved to
be contrary to sound reason. And we may justly conclude, that in the final
issue of things, the wisdom as well as righteousness of this part of the
divine administration will most illustriously appear."
: Compare Ps. cxxxii. 11. Isa. xi. 1. Jer. xxiii 5, and xxxiii. 15. Gen.
xii. 3, xxii. 18, xxvi. 4, and xxviii. 14.
: Lowth's Isaiah, ch. xi. translation and notes, VOL. II.
: There are, according to the Jews, four angels that surround the throne
of God--Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel. The latter they place,
conformably with his expression to Zacharias, [Hebrew], _before
him_, or _in his presence._
: The Ethiopic version, instead of "in those days," renders the
expression in the thirty-ninth verse of 1st chap. of Luke, "in that day."
: Selden. Uxor. Heb. lib. ii. cap. 1.
: This remarkable time cannot be stated with any certainty. The earliest
antiquity determines nothing upon the subject. Towards the end of the
second, or beginning of the third century only, was this attempted; when
those who were most curious in their researches fixed it about the
twentieth of May. Clemens Alexandrinus thinks that it was the
twenty-eighth year after the battle of Actium; that is, the 41st year of
Augustus; but Joseph Scaliger places it in his forty-second year; and,
after a most laborious investigation, shows that Christ was born about the
autumnal equinox, the latter end of September, or beginning of October.
SCALIG. Animad. ad Chron. Euseb. p. 174, et seq.--It was not till the
fourth century that this great event was believed to have occurred on the
twenty-fifth of December. They have not failed to assign what they deemed
important reasons for this decision. As the sun, they say, is then
beginning to rise on our hemisphere, and again to approach our pole, it is
the proper period to which the rising of the Sun of Righteousness should
be referred. The Romans have another reason, deduced from the preceding.
At the return of the sun the feast of the Saturnalia was celebrated at
Rome. It was thought proper to substitute in the place of this feast,
which was distinguished by its profane rejoicings, that of our Saviour's
birth, for the purpose of inducing the people to separate joy from riot.
It is, however, the _event_, and not the _day_, we celebrate.
Comp. SAURIN, Discours Historiques, Critiques, &c. continuez par
Beausobre, tom. ix. p. 146-148, 8vo.
: Compare Lev. xii. 2, 4, 6, 8. Numb. viii. 16, 17. xviii. 15, 16. Five
shekels amounted to about twelve shillings and sixpence of our money.
: "This (_wise men_ from the East) is not only an indefinite, but
an improper version of the term. It is indefinite, because those called
μαγοι were a particular class, party, or profession among the Orientals,
as much as Stoics, Peripatetics, and Epicureans were among the Greeks.
They originated in Persia, but afterward spread into other countries,
particularly into Assyria and Arabia, bordering upon Judea on the East.
It is probable that the Magians here mentioned came from Arabia. Now to
employ a term for specifying one sect, which may with equal propriety be
applied to fifty, of totally different, or even contrary opinions, is
surely a vague way of translating. It is also, in the present
acceptation of the word, improper. Formerly the term _wise men_
denoted philosophers, or men of science and erudition: it is hardly ever
used so now, unless in burlesque. Some say _Magi_; but _Magians_
is better, as having more the form of an English word." CAMPBELL'S
Translation of the Four Gospels, vol. ii. _notes_.
"Salvete, flores Martyrum,
Quos, lusis ipso in limine,
Christi insecutor sustulit,
Ceu turbo nascentes rosas.
Vos, prima Christi victima,
Grex immolatorum tener,
Aram ante ipsam, simplices,
Palma et coronis luditis."
: Bishop Horne.
: Josephus has given an affecting account of this awful death. Vide
Joseph. Antiq. lib. xvii. cap. 6. and Bell. Jud. lib. i. cap. 33.
: So say the Jews, [Hebrew] _the passover of women is arbitrary_.
: Misn. Sanhedrin c. v. sec. 4. ap. GILL in loc.
: _At my Father's_ εν τοις του πατρος μου Syriac [Hebrew], _in domo
patris mei_. The Armenian version renders the words in the same manner.
It has been justly observed that τα του δεινος is a Greek idiom, not only
with classical writers, but with the sacred penmen, for denoting the house
of such a person.... Campbell.
: Judg. xi. 12. 2 Sam. xvi. 10. I Kings xvii. 18. 2 Kings iii. 13. and
ix. 19. _Sept. translation_,
: Blackwall observes, "'Tis the opinion of some learned men, that the
holy Jesus, the most tender and dutiful Son that ever was born, when he
called his mother plainly _woman_, declared against those idolatrous
honours which he foresaw would be paid her in latter ages, which is no
improbable guess. But in the more plain and unceremonious times it was a
title applied to ladies of the greatest quality and merit by people of the
greatest humanity and exactness of behaviour. So Cyrus the Great says to
the queen of the Armenians, Ἀλλὰ σὺ ᾆ γὺναι: and servants addressed queens
and their mistresses in the same language." Blackwall's Sacred Classics, V.
ii. p. 206. _second edit_.
: These water-pots contained two or three _baths_ apiece. A bath
was about seven gallons and a half.
: Bishop Hall.
: Mosheim's Eccl. Hist. vol. i. p. 432. ii. 56, 71.
: Bossuet, Serm. pour la Fête de la Conception.
: The bishop of Meux, who has been already quoted, does not fail to
suggest some delectable additions to her titles. He speaks in one of his
discourses of her "sacred body, the throne of chastity, the temple of
incarnate wisdom," &c. but the whole paragraph shall be introduced, though
perhaps it had better remain untranslated:--"Le corps sacrè de Marie, le
trône de la chastité, le temple de la sagesse incarneé, l'organe du
Saint-Esprit, et le siége de la vertu du Très-Haut, n'a pas dû demeurer
dans le tombeau; et le triomphe de Marie seroit imperfait, s'il
s'accomplissoit sans sa sainte chair, qui a été comme la source de sa
gloire. Venez done, Vierges de Jésus Christ, chastes épouses du Sauveur
des ames, venez admirer les beautés de cette chair virginale, et
contempler trois merveilles que la sainte virginité opère sur elle. La
sainte virginité la préserve de corruption; et ainsi elle lui conserve
l'être: la sainte virginité lui attire une influence céleste, qui la fait
ressusciter avant le temps: ainsi elle lui rend la vie: la sainte
virginité répand sur elle de toutes parts une lumière divine; et ainsi
elle lui donne la gloire. C'est ce qu'il nous faut expliquer par ordre;"
and he _does_ explain these _trois merveilles_ in a manner well
calculated to satisfy every Papist, and to sicken every Protestant. Vide
_Serm. pour l'Assumpt. de la Vierge_, P. 2.
: Quoted by M. Pascal, in the ninth of his "Lettres Provinciales."
Consult also "the Life of Melancthon," by the author of this work, chap.
: Picart, Ceremonies et Coutumes de tous les Peuples da Monde, tom. i.
: Dr. Johnson
: Dr. Johnson.
: Gen. xxxiii. 18, 19, Josh. xxiv. 32. This place was the metropolis of
the tribe of Ephraim. It was destroyed by Abimelech, but rebuilt by
Jeroboam, who made it the seat of the kingdom of Israel. It was afterward
called _Neapolis_; and Vespasian or Domitian having established a
colony there, it received the Roman appellation of _Flavia Cesarea_.
Herod gave it the name of _Sebaste_.
: It stood two hundred years. JOSEPH. Antiq. lib. xiii. cap. 18.
: JUST. MART. Apol. II.
: "_Living water, ὑδως χων. It may surprise an English reader,
unacquainted with the Oriental idiom, that this woman, who appears
by the sequel to have totally misunderstood our Lord, did not ask what he
meant by _living water,_ but proceeded on the supposition that she
understood him perfectly; and only did not conceive how, without some
vessel for drawing and containing that water, he could provide her with it
to drink. The truth is, the expression is ambiguous. In the most familiar
acceptation, _living water_ meant no more than running water. In this
sense, the water of springs and rivers would be denominated _living_,
as that of cisterns and lakes would be called _dead_, because
motionless. Thus, Gen. xxvi. 19. we are told, that Isaac's servants digged
in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. It is _living
water,_ both in the Hebrew and the Greek, as marked on the margin of
our Bibles. Thus also Lev. xiv. 5. what is rendered _running water_
in the English Bible, is in both these languages _living water_. Nay,
this use was not unknown to the Latins, as may be proved from Virgil and
Ovid. In this passage, however, our Lord uses the expression in the more
sublime sense of divine teaching, but was mistaken by the woman as using
it in the popular acceptation." CAMPBELL'S Trans. of the Four Gospels,
vol. ii. p. 518, _notes_.
: "It is no unusual practice with the Jews; we often have heard of it.
R. Jonathan and R. Jannai were sitting together; there came a certain man,
[Hebrew], and _kissed the feet_ of R. Jonathan." Again, "R. Meir stood
up, and Bar Chama, [Hebrew], _kissed his knees_, or _feet_. This
custom was also used by the Greeks and Romans, among their civilities and
in their salutations." GILL in loc. Consult also HARMER'S Observations,
vol. ii. chap. 6.
: "There is in these denominations no inconsistency. By birth she was
of _Syrophenicia_, so the country about Tyre and Sidon was
denominated, by descent of _Canaan_, as most of the Tyrians and
Sidonians originally were; and by religion a _Greek_, according to
the Jewish manner of distinguishing between themselves and idolaters. Ever
since the Macedonian conquests, Greek became a common name for idolater,
or at least one uncircumcised, and was held equivalent to Gentile. Of this
we have many examples in Paul's epistles, and in the Acts. _Jews and
Greeks_, Ἑλληνες, are the same with _Jews and Gentiles_" CAMPBELL'S
Transl. of the Gospels in loc. _notes_.
: The question has been often agitated, whether the possessions of the
New Testament are to be ascribed to demoniacal influence, or whether they
are so represented in conformity to the popular prejudices of the age,
being in reality nothing more than diseases. Surely a distinct existence
must be attributed to these, as evil spirits, when we consider their
number, the actions particularly ascribed to them, the conversation which
they held respecting themselves, the Son of God, and their own destiny,
the desires and passions they are represented as manifesting, and various
other circumstances of their history. Is it credible, that a mere
_disease_ should be said to have addressed Christ in such language as
the following: "What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art
thou come hither to torment us before the time?" Comp. Matt. viii. 29, and
the succeeding verses.
: Bishop Hall.
: Bishop Hall
: Doddridge on the Care of the Soul.
: The whole narrative is contained in the eleventh chapter of John, and
this reference in the fifth verse.
: Three hundred Roman pence, or denarii, amount to about _nine pounds
seven shillings and sixpence_ sterling.
: Bishop Hall.
: The farthing was a _quadrant_, or fourth part of a Roman _assis_, a
coin of similar value with the τεταρτχμοριον of the Greeks, or the fourth
part of an obolus (the least Athenian coin,) that is, two brass pieces.
These were the same with the _prutas_ of the Jews, two of which make a
: Barrow's Works, vol. i. p. 457, fol.
: Paley's Moral Philosophy, vol. i. p. 254--257.
: Sermon on the Duty and Reward of Bounty to the Poor.
: Acts xvi. "Philippi was a city of Macedonia near the confines of
Thrace. It lies near the sea, as it were at the head of the Archipelago.
It was so named from Philip, king' of Macedon, who repaired and enlarged
it; but its more ancient name was Dathos. It was also called Crenides from
its numerous springs, whence flowed the river mentioned Acts xvi. 13;
κρηνη, _kreenee_, in Greek meaning a spring. Julius Cæsar is said to have
planted there a Roman colony; and the neighbourhood of Philippi was the
scene of conflict between him and Pompey, and afterward between his
assassinators, Brutus and Cassius, and his partizans, Antony and
Octavius. It is said still to retain some monuments of its former
splendour, although it is much depopulated and sunk to decay." Bevan's
Life of the Apostle Paul, p. 367.
: For information on the subject of proselytes, consult Dr. Gill's
"Dissertation concerning the Baptism of Jewish Proselytes," chap. i. in
vol. iii, of his Body of Divinity.
: GREGORY'S Evidences, Doctrines, and Duties of the Christian Religion,
vol. ii. pp. 127, 128.
: Bp. Taylor's Holy Living, Chap. i. sect. 3.
: The purple die is called in I Maccab. iv. 23, _purple of the sea,_
or _sea purple_; it being the blood or juice of a turbinated shell-fish,
which the Jews call [Hebrew] _Chalson_; this they speak of as a
shell-fish. Hence those words 'Go and learn of the _Chalson_, for all the
while it grows, its shell grows with it:' and that purple was died with
the blood of it, appears from the following instances: _The best fruits in
the land_, Gen. xliii. 11, are interpreted, the things that are the most
famous in the world, as the Chalson, _&c,_ with whose blood, as the gloss
on the passage says, they die purple: and the purple died with this was
very valuable, and fetched a good price. The tribe of _Zebulon_ is
represented as complaining to God, that he had given to their brethren
fields and vineyards, to them mountains and hills; to their brethren
lands, to them seas and rivers: to which it is replied, All will stand in
need of thee because of Chalson; as it is said, Deut. xxxiii. 19 _They
shall suck of the abundance of the seas_; the gloss upon it, interpreting
the word _Chalson_ is, it comes out of the sea to the mountains, and with
its blood they die purple, which is sold at a very dear price.... It may
be further observed, that the fringes which the Jews wore upon their
garments, had on them a riband of blue or purple. Numb. xv. 38, for the
word there used is by the Septuagint rendered _the purple_, in Numb. iv.
7, and sometimes _hyacinth_; and the whole fringe was by the Jews called
[Hebrew], _purple_. Hence it is said, 'Does not every one that puts on
the purple (i.e. the fringes on his garments) in Jerusalem make men to
wonder? and a little after, the former saints or religious men, when they
had wove in it (the garment) three parts, they put on it [Hebrew],
_the purple_. And there were persons who traded in these things, and were
called, [Hebrew], _sellers of purple_, as here; that is, for the
_tzitzith_, or fringes for the borders of the garments, on which the
riband of blue or purple was put, as the gloss explains it. The Jews were
very curious about the colour and the dying of it, that it should be a
colour that would hold and not change, and that the riband be died on
purpose for that use. Maimonides gives rules for the dying of it, and they
were no less careful of whom they bought it; for they say that _the
purple_ was not to be bought, but of an approved person, or one that was
authorized for that purpose; and a scruple is raised by one, whether he
had done right or no in buying it of the family of a doctor deceased. Now,
since Lydia might be a Jewess, or, at least, as appears by what follows,
was a proselytess of the Jewish religion, this might he her business, to
sell the purple for their fringes, and, it may be, the fringes
themselves. GILL in loc.
: Eighth Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
: Herod. Euterpe.
: Tacit. de Moribus Germanoram, chap, xviii. xix.
: Tacit. Hist.
: Plut. in Solone.
: DIONYSUS HALICARN. ii. c. 25.
: Cranz's Greenland.
: Georgi's Description of the Russian Nations. Weber's Russia.
: Consult Steller.
: Weber and Georgi.
: Clarke's Travels, part i. p. 35, 4to.
: Thornton's Present State of Turkey, (1807) 4to. p. 376.
: Collin's Voyages, 1807, p. 152.
: Peyssonel II. p. 246.
: Quart. Rev. May, 1811, p. 330.
: Inquiry into the Origin of Ranks.
: Voyage en Chine de l'Ambassade Hollandaise, vol. ii. p. 116, _et
: Barrow's China, p. 141, 541.
: P. Du Halde, vol. i. 278.
: P, Du Halde, vol. in. p. 211.
: Barrow's China, p. 145.
: Ibid. p. 518.
: Edinburgh Rev. July, 1809, p. 428, 429.
: It may be proper to observe, that the Hindoos never bury their dead;
but if they can afford it, always burn them. If they be too poor, or the
person be rendered unclean by some incurable disease, they are either
thrown into a river or left on the ground to be devoured.
: A kind of celestial beings, which are fabled by the Hindoos.
: it is not generally known, that women, in certain cases, burn
themselves with any part of their husbands' effects, as a substitute for
him; but on inquiry of my Pundit, whether this be now practised, he
assured me it was, and that he had himself seen many instances of it.
: _Shraddha_, or _Pinda_, is an offering made to the manes of
any deceased person, on an appointed day after his or her death. It
consists of rice, and other article, often made into cakes, and is
continued annually for seven generations by all his or her descendants,
called _Sapinda_, and in some cases to fourteen generations by all
the descendants, who, when beyond the seventh generation, are called
: The following law, from the same book, will show how uncleanness for
death or birth must be observed in the different casts: viz. If a person
die, or if a child be born, the _Sapinda_ shall be unclean ten days
for a _Brahmman_, twelve for a _Kshetra_, fifteen for a _Bysha_,
and one month for a _Soodra_: during which time they can make no
offering to their ancestors or the gods.
: _Dospinda_ an inferior offering made to the manes.
: This may happen if her own son be an infant, or very far off, or if
she have no son.
: The Hindoos believe the metemphsychosis, and say that certain
diseases, as mahabhead, consumptions, and some others; also dreadful
accidents, such as being killed by a _Brahmman_; and great sin, such
as killing a Brahmman, are the fruit of sins committed in a former life.
: A person with such diseases, accidents, or sins cannot have the rite
of burning his body performed till an offering of atonement has been made,
which qualifies him for having his obsequies performed; viz. _Dahon_
or burning (in which case the wife may die with him,) and the
_Shraddha_, or _Pinda_. This, however, does not gain such on one
admission into bliss, which is only done by the _Sahemaron_, or the
wife's dying with him.
: Bap. Period. Accounts, vol. i. No. 6, p. 473-476.
: Bapt. Period. Accounts, No. xvii. p. 324.
: Cordiner's Description of Ceylon, vol. ii. p. 16.
: History of Sumatra, 4to. 1811, p. 257, 381, 382.
: Vogel, p. 649. Voyages des Hollandois, i. 349.
: Turnbull's Voyage round the World, p. 6.
: Turnbull, p. 11.
: Malcolm's History of Persia, vol. ii. p. 333, 434, 455, 4to. 1815.
: Sale's Koran, vol. ii. p. 79, _n_. and 472, _n_.
: Malcolm's History of Persia, vol. i. p. 173, _n_.
: Dampier, ii. p. 6. 86. Forster's Voyage, i. p. 212. ii. p. 71.
Meiners, vol. i. p. 80.
: Arvieux, i. p. 229, 230. Meiners, vol. i. p. 96.
: Lewis and Clark's Travels up the Missouri, p. 33, 34. 4to. 1814.
: Seventh Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 1811, p. 59.
: Some Account of New Zealand, 1807, p. 13.
: Maggil's Account of Tunis, p. 92.
: Jackson's Account of the Empire of Morocco, 4to, 1809, p. 152.
: Brown's Travels in Africa, &c. 2d ed. 4to. 1806, p. 335, 339.
: Park's Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa, Sic. 4to. 1799,
: Durand's Voyage to Senegal, p. 104, 105.
: Park's Travels, p. 157.
: Park's Travels, p. 226, 267.
: Park's Travels p. 347.
: Barrow's Travels in Southern Africa, second edit. 1806, vol. i. p.
: Barrow's Travels, vol. i. p. 206.
: Dampier, ii. p. 86.
: Des Marchais, ii. p. 178.
: Labat, ii. p. 299. Adanson, p. 32. Oldendorp, i. p. 376.
: Meiners, i. p. 52--54.
: Cavazzi, ii. p. 123. Meiners, i. p. 59, 69. See also Rees's
Cyclopædie, and Encyclop. Brit, under the word's _Ansiko,
Anthropophagi, Batta_. Marsden's Hist, of Sumatra, 3d ed. 4to. 1811, p.
390-395, & 463.
: This subject has been already more than once remarked upon this
work. See vol. i. p. 21 and 255.
: Paley's Mor. Philos. vol. i. p. 3. ch. vi. & vii.
: Plutarch in Rom. I. p. 123. Livy II. p. 13, 40.