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Thus an angel smote of the people, when David took a census of them, sixty thousand. An angel smote in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand men. On the other hand, the angels are represented in multitudes as engaged for particular purposes, and there is something venerable, excellent, and grand in the idea. For example, David pleased Achis as an angel of God. I. Sam. xxix. 9"And my lord is wise with the wisdom of an angel." II. Sam. xiv. 20-" For my lord the king is as an angel of God, that he can hear both good and evil." Amongst the Jews the chief person in the Synagogue was called the angel of the congregation. It was requisite for him to have a perfect beard, to be a born Jew, and to exceed all others in wisdom, ability, and holiness, in expounding of the Scriptures. So also is the angel of the New Testament the oldest teacher, the head of the congregation (Revelations, ii. 1, 8, 12, 18, etc.) Christ is the great ambassador and chief messenger (Heb. iii. 1); the uncreated angel, who also went before the Israelites in the pillar of fire (Exod. xxiii. 30); who took upon himself the office of saving mankind. In the Scriptures he is everywhere to be understood where divine names, works, properties, and honours are attributed to an angel. Christ is the angel of the covenant, and already was so understood in the Old Testament; the angel of light, who appeared in the flesh in order to announce to men the covenant of God, "the angel amongst thousands," Job. "And the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in,"-Malachi, iii. 1.
The angels appeared in different forms and with symbolical signs, and their sublime images are described in the Revelations of St. John. For instance, in the 13th chapter,-" And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud; and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire." And, again, in the 16th chapter: the angel with the seven vials pouring out the wrath of God. In the 20th chapter: the angel who had the keys of the bottomless pit in his hand, to bind the dragon, the old serpent. By an evil angel is understood a wicked man, a false prophet; for instance, Alexander the coppersmith,-I. Tim. iv. 14. The angel of the bottomless pit, of darkness, the messenger of the devil, or Satan himself.
general as was the belief in good and bad angels amongst the Jews, there were not wanting sceptics at the appearance of Christ, as the Sadducees, who methodically denied the existence of spirits and devils, which, however, did not prevent the reception of good and bad angels into the universal belief of the church. For now they were the publishers of the will of God, his servants and messengers, the executors of his commands and judgments, the administrators of various ordinances, even in the phenomena of nature. For example, an angel agitated the waters in the pool of Bethesda,-John, v. 4. The evil angels are as numerous as the good, and they whose power is recognised are legion,-Mark, v. 9. They have even a certain gradation of ranks. Beelzebub is the chief of the devils,-Matthew, xii. 24.
After the Jews had adopted the ideas of the Assyrians as to good and bad spirits, of mischievous and destructionbringing angels, the faith in their number and might augmented in proportion to the decline of religion, and at the time of Christ had reached such a height that it became as necessary to purify men within as without, and to purge their bodies and spirits equally from diseases. Christ did not bring the spirit-world into religion, he found it already there; and his mission of emancipation consisted in this, that he conducted men to true virtue and freed them from the power of the devil. For the Prince of Darkness-he who dwells in the air-is cast by the God of peace under our feet,-Romans, xvi. 20. In wickedness the Wicked One had terrible address; what misery he brought upon pious Job! what anguish he occasioned to David by inducing him to number the people! But what availed his power against Christ? His temptations had dared to attack the inner and divine principle: but Christ cast all those false pretences behind him; and his power and authority were so great that he cast out the devils who had taken possession of others, and released the possessed from the pains of hell. But the fiends did not quit their hold on men without a fierce resistance, nor did they always disappear without a trace. The devils of two possessed who came out of the tombs, and were so terrible that they made the country of the Gergasenes quite unsettled, implored the Lord that they might enter into a herd of swine; "and the whole herd ran head
long into the sea, and were drowned in the waters,”—Matt. viii. 28: a circumstance as interesting to the anthropologists as to the pious believers. The following passages in the gospel, the special anthropological interpretation of which I leave to the reader, are both expressive and important. For instance, "The devil sows tares amongst the good wheat,""-Matt. xiii. 24. He assumes the form of an angel of light,-II. Corinth. xi. 14. He goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,-I. Peter, v. 8. He produces also bodily disease; as the woman, who had the spirit of sickness for eighteen years, was bent and could scarcely look up,-Luke, xiii. 11. He blinds the senses "till they recover themselves out of the snares of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will,"-II. Timothy, ii. 26. The following passages are also important:-" Heal the sick; cast out devils,"-Matt. x. 8. "And they said of John, he has a devil,"―Matt. xi. 18; and of Christ, that he drove out the devils through Beelzebub. "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil," Ephesians, vi. 11. "Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God." "The devil will throw some of you into prison. He who sins is of the devil." He is also called metaphorically a devil in the Scriptures, who has a lying, calumnious spirit. The tables of the devil are feasts dedicated to idols, and at the same time to the devil. False gods, as some literally interpret it, are imps of the devil. Subtlety bears the name of serpent; devilish cruelty is represented under the name of a lion (I. Peter, v. 8); dominion amongst the children of unbelief under the image of a prince. The devil has not so much power as a divine tolerance.
When the godless have resisted the gentle drawings of the Holy Spirit, and have rejected grace, till they have forgotten God in their darkness, and are become as dry stubble, the devil finds in them his prey, and enters into them. the pious are tempted like Job for the wise purposes of God, they kiss the paternal hand of God in humility, and hold fast their faith, so that to them who serve God and love their neighbours all things are well,-Romans, viii. 28. The Holy Ghost enters into them, so that the hellish lion has no power over them. They arm themselves with spiri
tual weapons out of the armoury of Christ,-Ephesians, vi. 11. They pray fervently, are "sober and vigilant," I. Peter, v. 8. They resist in faith and avoid sin, and "they overcome all spiritual enemies through the blood of the Lamb," - Revelations, xii. 11. So that they exclaim joyfully, "Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,"-I. Corinthians, xv. 57.
Just as it is dark or bright in the inner man, do the objective impulses clothe themselves in correspondent terms; as soon as it is quiet within, the outward tempest of the world ceases. "Fear only has its seat," says Schiller, "where heavy and shapeless masses prevail, and the gloomy outlines waver between uncertain boundaries. Man rises superior to every terror of nature as soon as he is able to give it a form, and can make it a definite object. When he begins to assert his independence against nature as an appearance, he also asserts his dignity against nature as a power, and in all freedom stands up boldly before his gods. He tears away the masks from the spectres which terrified his childhood, and they surprise him with his own image, for they are merely his own imaginations.'
The idea of the divine and the spiritual adapt themselves to the individual and national mind, and the historical advance of cultivation; and if every representation or thought which the mind entertains modify itself according to circumstances, and if every fact be presented in a peculiar light, still the objective foundation which occasions the thought and the representation is not, therefore, wholly inoperative; or, in other words, the motive to the representation may be an outward spiritual power. Who will assert that man is an isolated being, standing alone in creation? who will deny a manifold variety of spiritual powers? and who knows the ways and means through which the Creator and Ruler of the world influences mankind? But spirits and devils are not that which they, for the most part, appear in flesh and in clothes; they are lifeless shapes of the imagination, and not belonging to space and physics, as they are so often believed to be, for the spiritual excludes the idea of natural space. No spirit can appear in nature as a shade, or as a sensible shape, being destitute of material substance which can act as a reflector of sensation from without. What, then, is the external
charm or the internal germ of the conception and birth of all the fables and phantasmagoria of all nations and all individuals?
It was not, in fact, merely the representation of spirits, and their influence on the physical and spiritual nature of man that Christianity has transmitted from the East, but the various species of magic were a heritage from the earliest times from Egypt, the fatherland of magic. Astrology, the casting of nativities, exorcism, are mentioned by Isaiah. "Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the star-gazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee,"-Isaiah, xvii. 12, 13.
The court magicians of Pharaoh are acknowledged to be real magicians, who turned water into blood, and made frogs and all sorts of vermin appear. How beautifully Isaiah makes answer to this:-" And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? from the living to the dead ?"-Isaiah, viii. 19.
Very extraordinary things took place in those times during the exorcism of spirits, and especially in remote places; and equally extraordinary ones occurred in the attempts of female sorcerers, as in that of the Witch of Endor in Samuel, xviii. 7. The penal laws of Moses speak expressly of such women. "A witch thou shalt not suffer to live." Of such men and women togther:-" If a man or a woman be a sorcerer or an astrologer, they shall die the death."
We will now see how the belief in spirits and in sorcery gradually shaped and completed itself in Christianity, till it finally issued in superstition and unbelief in the witchperiod of the Middle Ages.
In the early period of Christianity, men made little difference between the natural and the supernatural. Everything extraordinary was to them magical, or everything miraculous was a demoniac or theistic event. The laws of nature were not understood, and almost everything