For our part, we would rather remember the wise words of J. C. Colquhoun,** who says that "those persons who, in modern times, adopt the doctrine of the Devil in its strictly literal and personal application, do not appear to be aware that they are in reality polytheists, heathens, idolaters."
Seeking supremacy in everything over the ancient creeds, the Christians claim the discovery of the Devil officially recognized by the Church. Jesus was the first to use the word
§ "Les Hauts Phenomenes de la Magie," p. 12, preface.
** "History of Magic, Witchcraft, and Animal Magnetism."
* Ecclesiastes xii. 13; see Tayler Lewis's "Metrical Translation."
"The great conclusion here; Fear God and His commandments keep, for this is all of man." f See Micah vi., 6-8, Noyes's translation. J Matthew xvii. 37-40.
"legion" when speaking of them; and it is on this ground that M. des Mousseaux thus defends his position in one of his demonological works. "Later," he says, "when the synagogue expired, depositing its inheritance in the hands of Christ, were born into the world and shone, the Fathers of the Church, who have been accused by certain persons of a rare and precious ignorance, of having borrowed their ideas as to the spirits of darkness from the theurgists."
Three deliberate, palpable, and easily-refuted errors — not to use a harsher word — occur in these few lines. In the first place, the synagogue, far from having expired, is flourishing at the present day in nearly every town of Europe, America, and Asia; and of all churches in Christian cities, it is the most firmly established, as well as the best behaved. Further — while no one will deny that many Christian Fathers were born into the world (always, of course, excepting the twelve fictitious Bishops of Rome, who were never born at all), every person who will take the trouble to read the works of the Platonists of the old Academy, who were theurgists before Iamblichus, will recognize therein the origin of Christian Demonology as well as the Angelology, the allegorical meaning of which was completely distorted by the Fathers. Then it could hardly be admitted that the said Fathers ever shone, except, perhaps, in the refulgence of their extreme ignorance. The Reverend Dr. Shuckford, who passed the better part of his life trying to reconcile their contradictions and absurdities, was finally driven to abandon the whole thing in despair. The ignorance of the champions of Plato must indeed appear rare and precious by comparison with the fathomless profundity of Augustine, "the giant of learning and erudition," who scouted the sphericity of the earth, for, if true, it would prevent the antipodes from seeing the Lord Christ when he descended from heaven at the second advent; or, of Lactantius, who rejects with pious horror Pliny's identical theory, on the remarkable ground that it would make the trees at the other side of the earth grow and the men walk with their heads downward; or, again, of Cosmas-Indicopleustes, whose orthodox system of geography is embalmed in his "Christian topography"; or, finally, of Bede, who assured the world that the heaven "is tempered with glacial waters, lest it should be set on fire"* — a benign dispensation of Providence, most likely to prevent the radiance of their learning from setting the sky ablaze!
Be this as it may, these resplendent Fathers certainly did borrow their notions of the "spirits of darkness" from the Jewish kabalists and Pagan theurgists, with the difference, however, that they disfigured and outdid in absurdity all that the wildest fancy of the Hindu, Greek, and Roman rabble had ever created. There is not a dev in the Persian Pandaimonion half so preposterous, as a conception, as des Mousseaux's Incubus revamped from Augustine. Typhon, symbolized as an ass, appears a philosopher in comparison with the devil caught by the Normandy peasant in a key-hole; and it is certainly not Ahriman or the Hindu Vritra who would run
* See Draper's "Conflict between Religion and Science."
away in rage and dismay, when addressed as St. Satan, by a native Luther.
The Devil is the patron genius of theological Christianity. So "holy and reverend is his name" in modern conception, that it may not, except occasionally from the pulpit, be uttered in ears polite. In like manner, anciently, it was not lawful to speak the sacred names or repeat the jargon of the Mysteries, except in the sacred cloister. We hardly know the names of the Samothracian gods, but cannot tell precisely the number of the Kabeiri. The Egyptians considered it blasphemous to utter the title of the gods of their secret rites. Even now, the Brahman only pronounces the syllable Om in silent thought, and the Rabbi, the Ineffable Name, mn\ Hence, we who exercise no such veneration, have been led into the blunders of miscalling the names of Hisiris and Yava by the mispronunciations, Osiris and Jehovah. A similar glamour bids fair, it will be perceived, to gather round the designation of the dark personage of whom we are treating; and in the familiar handling, we shall be very likely to shock the peculiar sensibilities of many who will consider a free mentioning of the Devil's names as blasphemy — the sin of sins, that "hath never forgiveness."*
Several years ago an acquaintance of the author wrote a newspaper article to demonstrate that the diabolos or Satan of
* Gospel according to Mark, iii. 29: "He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation" ( amartematos , error).
the New Testament denoted the personification of an abstract idea, and not a personal being. He was answered by a clergyman, who concluded the reply with the deprecatory expression, "I fear that he has denied his Saviour." In his rejoinder he pleaded, "Oh, no! we only denied the Devil." But the clergyman failed to perceive the difference. In his conception of the matter, the denying of the personal objective existence of the Devil was itself "the sin against the Holy Ghost."
This necessary Evil, dignified by the epithet of "Father of Lies," was, according to the clergy, the founder of all the world-religions of ancient time, and of the heresies, or rather heterodoxies, of later periods, as well as the Deus ex Machina of modern Spiritualism. In the exceptions which we take to this notion, we protest that we do not attack true religion or sincere piety. We are only carrying on a controversy with human dogmas. Perhaps in doing this we resemble Don Quixote, because these things are only windmills. Nevertheless, let it be remembered that they have been the occasion and pretext for the slaughtering of more than fifty millions of human beings since the words were proclaimed: "Love Your Enemies. "t
It is a late day for us to expect the Christian clergy to undo and amend their work. They have too much at stake. If the Christian Church should abandon or even modify the dogma of an anthropomorphic devil, it would be like pulling the f Gospel According to Matthew, v. 44.
bottom card from under a castle of cards. The structure would fall. The clergymen to whom we have alluded perceived that upon the relinquishing of Satan as a personal devil, the dogma of Jesus Christ as the second deity in their trinity must go over in the same catastrophe. Incredible, or even horrifying, as it may seem, the Roman Church bases its doctrine of the godhood of Christ entirely upon the satanism of the fallen archangel. We have the testimony of Father Ventura, who proclaims the vital importance of this dogma to the Catholics.
The Reverend Father Ventura, the illustrious ex-general of the Theatins, certifies that the Chevalier des Mousseaux, by his treatise, Mœurs et Pratiques des Démons, has deserved well of mankind, and still more of the most Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. With this voucher, the noble Chevalier, it will be perceived, "speaks as one having authority." He asserts explicitly, that to the Devil and his angels we are absolutely indebted for our Saviour; and that but for them we would have no Redeemer, no Christianity.
Many zealous and earnest souls have revolted at the monstrous dogma of John Calvin, the popekin of Geneva, that sin is the necessary cause of the greatest good. It was bolstered up, nevertheless, by logic like that of des Mousseaux, and illustrated by the same dogmas. The execution of Jesus, the god-man, on the cross, was the most prodigious crime in the universe, yet it was necessary that mankind — those predestinated to everlasting life — might be saved. D'Aubignee cites the quotation by Martin Luther from the canon, and makes him exclaim, in ecstatic rapture: "O beata culpa, qui talem meruisti redemptorem!" O blessed sin, which didst merit such a Redeemer. We now perceive that the dogma which had appeared so monstrous is, after all, the doctrine of Pope, Calvin, and Luther alike — that the three are one.
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