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SATANISM AN ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN EVIL.
head, the heart, the foulness and terror of rebellion against the Author and Governor of the universe. In this view, the sublime poem is a theodicy illustrating and vindicating the course of Divine Providence, and especially "justifying the ways of God to man." I seem to myself to have here touched on the thought which accounts for and explains all that has been said and written on the dark and perplexed subject of demonology.
Moreover, with the sublime creation before us at this moment, you will readily see that the huge, grostesque, fantastic and repulsive pictures given of me by Milton as well. as Dante and others, do not describe real bodily conditions, as indeed appears from their mutual contradictions, but are symbols of moral deformities so foul and terrible as to demand for their expression an appeal to the external senses.
Another conclusion ensues from these poetic lessons. Clearly I, in my worst, that is my essential features, am here at a great distance from my zenith. If the soul of Milton may in any considerable degree be taken as the type and measure of his age, the world is now growing too cultured and too wise to be wholly satisfied with the fond devilisms of the middle ages.
FEAR ENGENDERS MENTAL DECEPTIONS, INCLUDING BELIEF IN A PERSONAL DEVIL; THE TERRIFYING PULPIT; THE HERALDS' COLLEGE OF DEMONOLOGY; SATANIC ARISTOCRACY; VULGAR DEVILS.
Timor fecit deos. If the Latin poet is right in declaring that fear made his gods, he would not have been wrong had he asserted the same of devils. Fear is the prolific fountain of devilry. Had man not been a victim of fear, I should never have lived. Fear, the primal source of devilism, still overflows with its bitter and loathsome waters.
No fear so powerful as that which is begotten on false religion. In superstitious fear lies the great lever of the
FEAR THE DEVIL'S FATHER.
papacy. By this mighty force its priests hold millions and millions of the human race in a state either of brutish subjection or of ever-recurring alarm and distress. Wielding the thunder-bolts of high heaven, they deal damnation over the earth, which, though they fall harmless on Protestant lands, still strike terror into multitudes of the lowest sorts in the two hemispheres, as if the pains of purgatory and the torments of hell for ever depended on their nod. Horrible abuse of the simple, liberal and loving religion of Jesus of Nazareth! To do however little toward relaxing chains so galling and so debasing is reward enough for angelic succour, and yet even I aspire to the high and unfading distinction. For that purpose I lay to the charge of the Christian pulpit the discreditable task of impregnating the public mind with belief in me.
Take a specimen from the discourse entitled "Admonition to the Fallen," by Basil, bishop of Cæsarea (329-379):
"Think too of thy last day;-of the distress and the anguish as the hour of death draws nearer, of the impending sentence of God, of the angels moving on rapid wing, of the soul fearfully agitated by all these things, and bitterly tormented with a guilty conscience, and clinging pitifully to the things here below, and still under the inevitable necessity of taking its departure. Picture to thy mind the final dissolution of all that belongs to our present life, when the Son of Man shall come in his glory, with his holy angels; for 'he shall come and shall not keep silence;' to judge the living and the dead, and to render to every man according to his work when the trumpet, with its loud and terrible echo, shall awaken those who have slept from the beginning of the world, and they shall come forth, they that have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation: when the Ancient of days will sit on his throne like the fiery flame, and its wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issues from his presence. Where then shall thy soul hide itself? In what body can it endure those
40 PULPIT TERRORS CREATE AND SUPPORT DEVILISM.
unbounded and intolerable torments of the unquenchable fire, and the tortures of the undying worm, and the dark and frightful abyss of hell, and the bitter howlings and woful wailings, and weeping and gnashing of teeth;—and all those dire woes without end? Deliverance from these after death there is none; neither is there any device or contrivance for escaping these bitter torments. But now it is possible to escape them," "* &c.
The next specimen is from "The Fig-tree" of John Bunyan (1628-1688):
"And now he (Christ) begins to shake the fig-tree with his threatenings. 'Fetch out the axe.' Now the axe is death. Death therefore is called for. 'Death, come, smite me this fig-tree.' And withal the Lord shakes this sinner and whirls him upon a sick bed, saying, 'Take him, Death. He hath abused my patience and forbearance, not remembering that it should have led him to repentance, and to the fruits thereof. Death, fetch away this fig-tree to the fire, fetch this barren professor to hell !' At this, Death comes with grim locks into the chamber; yea, and Hell follows to the bed-side, and both stare this professor in the face; yea, begin to lay hands upon him, one smiting him with pains in his body, with head-ache, heart-ache, back-ache, shortness of breath, fainting qualms, trembling of joints, stopping at the chest, and almost all the symptoms of a man past recovery. Now, while Death is thus tormenting the body, Hell is doing with the mind and conscience, striking them with its pains, casting sparks of fire in thither, wounding with sorrows and fears of everlasting damnation the spirit of this poor creature.
"These things proving ineffectual, God sends a series of terrors, each worse than its predecessor. He takes hold of his axe again, and sends death to his wife, to his child, to his cattle. 'Your young men have I slain, and taken away your
* These extracts are taken from "History and Repository of Pulpit Eloquence," by Henry C. Fish. 2 vols. small quarto. New York, 1857.
BUNYAN'S SULPHUROUS TERRORS.
horses.' I will blast him, cross him, disappoint him, and cast him down, and will set myself against him in all he putteth his hand unto. . . . Now the axe begins to be heaved higher. 'I smote thee, yet thou hast not turned unto me, saith the Lord. In thy filthiness is lewdness. Because I have purged thee and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee. Cut it down; why doth it cumber the ground?' But to give a few particulars of this man's dying: 1. His fruitless fruit beleaguers him around his bed. 2. Some terrible discovery terrifies his guilty conscience. 3. Terrors take hold of him when he sees the yawning jaws of death gape upon him. 4. By reason of guilt his life hangs in continual doubt before him, and he is afraid day and night. 5. Want comes up against him, like an armed man. 6. Together with these stand by the companions of death-DEATH AND HELL, DEATH AND DEVILS, DEATH AND ENDLESS TORMENT IN THE EVERLASTING FLAMES OF DEVOURING FIRE.
"Death is at work, cutting him down, hewing both back and heart, both body and soul asunder. The man groans, but Death hears him not; he looks ghastly, distressingly, dejectedly; he sighs, he sweats, he trembles-Death matters nothing. Fearful symptoms haunt him; misgivings, direful apprehensions of God terrify him. Now he hath time to think what the loss of heaven will be, and what the torments of hell will be; now he looks no way, but he is frighted. "Now would he live, but may not ; he would live, though it were but the life of a bed-ridden man, but must not. He that cuts him down sways him, as the feller of wood sways the tottering tree-now this way, then that ;-at last a root breaks, a heart-string, an eye-string snaps asunder!
"And now, could the soul be annihilated or brought to nothing, how happy would it count itself! But it sees that may not be. Wherefore it is put to a wonderful strait. Stay in the body it may not ; go out of the body it dares not. Life
JOHN WESLEY'S " GREAT ASSIZE."
is going; the blood settles in the flesh, and the lungs being no more able to draw breath through the nostrils, at last out goes the weary, trembling soul, and is immediately seized by devils, who lie lurking in every hole in the chamber for that very purpose. His friends take care of the body, and wrap it up in the sheet or coffin; but the soul is out of their thought and reach, going down to the chambers of death!"
John Wesley (1703-1791) must not be overlooked. What ensues is taken from his sermon entitled "The Great Assize :" "The wicked shall be turned into hell, even all the people that forget God. They will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. They will be cast into the lake of fire burning with brimstone, originally prepared for the devil and his angels, where they will gnaw their tongues for anguish and pain, they will curse God and look upward. There the dogs of hell-pride, malice, revenge, rage, horror, despair— continually devour them. There they have no rest day or night, but the smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever; for their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Then the heavens will be shrivelled up as a parchment scroll. ... See! see! He cometh! He maketh the clouds his chariot! He rideth upon the wings of the wind! A devouring fire goeth before him, and after him a flame burneth! See! He sitteth upon his throne, clothed with light as with a garment, arrayed with majesty and honour! Behold, his eyes are as a flame of fire, his voice as the sound of many waters! How will ye escape? Will ye call to the mountains to fall on you, the rocks to cover you? Alas! the mountains themselves, the rocks, the earth, the heavens, are just ready to flee away! Can ye prevent the sentence? Wherewith? With all the substance of thy house, with thousands of gold and silver? Blind wretch! Thou camest naked from thy mother's womb, and worse than naked thou goest into eternity. Hear the Judge! Hear that voice which