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WHITFIELD A FACTOR FOR THE DEVIL."
echoes through the expanse of heaven: 'Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire!' Lo, hell is moved from beneath to receive those who are ripe for destruction."
George Whitfield (1714-1770) shall supply a few words from his discourse on "The Kingdom of God :"
"I was long myself deceived with a form of godliness, and I know what it is to be a factor for the devil, to be led captive by the devil at his will, to have the kingdom of the devil in my heart; and I hope I can say, through free grace, I know what it is to have the kingdom of God in me. . . Now, when the Sabbath is over, and the evening is drawing near, methinks the very sight is awful to think in how short a time
every soul of you must die-some of you to go to heaven, and others to go to the devil for evermore! . . . O my dear friends, these are matters of eternal moment. Are you willing? Then Christ is willing to come to you. But you may say, Will Christ come to my wicked heart? Yes, though you may have many devils in your heart, Christ will come and erect his throne there; though the devils be in your heart, the Lord Jesus will scourge out a legion of devils, and his throne shall be exalted in thy soul. ... Fly then for your lives! The devil is in you while unconverted; and will you go with the devil in your heart to bed this night?
I terminate these illustrations of the way in which the pulpit has established on earth the throne of a personal devil by a quotation from Jonathan Edwards' (1703-1758) Discourse on "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God:"
“There is nothing which keeps wicked men out of hell but the mere pleasure of God. God is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it. They deserve to be cast into hell. Every unconverted man properly belongs to hell. They are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God that is expressed in the torments of hell. Yea, God is a great deal more angry with many that are now in this congregation, that, it may be, are at ease and quiet, than he is with many of those that are in
JONATHAN EDWARDS' HORRORS OF HELL.
the flames of hell. The wrath of God burns against them. Their damnation does not slumber. The pit is prepared. The fire is made ready. The furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow. The devil stands ready to fall upon them, and seize them as his own, at what moment God shall permit. They belong to him; he has their souls in his possession and under his dominion. The scripture represents them as his goods. The devils watch them. They are ever by them at their right hand. They stand waiting for them, like greedy, hungry lions that see their prey and expect to have it, but are for the present kept back if God should withdraw his hand by which they are restrained, they would in one moment fly upon their poor souls. The old serpent is gaping for them. There is laid in the very nature of cursed men a foundation for the torments of hell. Natural men's prudence and care to preserve their own lives, or the care of others to preserve them, do not secure them a moment. Whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever prayers he makes, till he believes in Christ, God is under no manner of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction. So that thus it is that natural men are held in the hand of God over the pit of hell; they have deserved the fiery pit, and are always sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked; his anger is as great toward them as to those that are actually suffering the execution of the fierceness of his wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate that anger; neither is God in the least bound by any promise to hold them up one moment. The devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, and would fain lay hold on them and swallow them up; the fire pent up in their own hearts is struggling to break out; and they have no interest in any Mediator; there are no means within reach that can be any security to them. In short, they have no refuge, nothing to lay hold of; all that preserves them every moment is the mere arbitrary will and uncovenanted, unobliged forbearing of an incensed God. The
DEMONOLOGY BECOMES A SCIENCE.
God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked. His wrath towards you burns like fire. He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire. You hang by a slender thread with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to burn it asunder. God will have no compassion, no mercy, no moderation. He will only laugh and mock. How many, is it likely, will remember this discourse in hell? be a wonder if some that are now present should hell in a very short time, before this year is out. And it would be no wonder if some persons that now sit here in some seats of this meeting-house in health, and quiet and secure, should be there before to-morrow morning."
And it would
not be in
In transcribing, especially the last passage, I almost feel as if the God there described and myself, as popularly described, had changed places. Certainly the heart of the preacher must have been in one of those morbid states which engender mental deceptions of the most fearful nature.
In addition to these indirect but very effectual methods of making the world believe in me, direct means were taken for the same result. In the dark ages of European history, Demonology became a science. In some sort it had its Heralds' College, whose business it was to classify demons in such a way as to do and secure graduated justice to the infernal aristocracy. This would be satisfactorily done only by ascertaining what rank in the celestial hierarchy had been originally held by this devil and that. Here the schoolmen were busy. In "the Fall," what orders of angels were involved? The momentous question received something like a final answer. Lucifer was a Seraph; Agares, Belial and Barbatos, were of the order of Virtues; Bileth, Forcalor and Phoenix, of the order of Thrones; Goap, of the order of Powers; Purson, of Virtues and Thrones; and Murmur, of Thrones and Angels. Then came the inquiry, How many angels engaged in the revolt? Another weighty point was,
THE DIABOLICAL HIERARCHY.
Where did the battle take place? Another, How long did it last? Mark the precision of the answer given: "It lasted three seconds." Somehow, while Lucifer with his followers fell into hell, the rest of the rebels were, it was concluded, left in the air to tempt man. A most interesting question was that which asked, Whether more angels fell with me than remained in heaven with Michael? It was a knotty point. They might have known all about it, had they appealed to myself; but I fancy the answer would not have suited them, for I should have told them that the whole was a silly fable. Indeed, one grain of common sense would have spared the doctors a world of trouble, and saved society from terrific falsities.
The actual decision was, that I had been beaten by a superior force. Hence an inference, which scarcely agrees with the ordinary notion, that the devils are as numerous as human beings-the inference that devils of darkness were fewer in number than angels of light.
These preliminaries being settled, the learning of Christendom undertook to restore some degree of order in my routed forces. Hence extensive districts were allotted to certain of my leading subordinates. There was Zemimar, "the lordly monarch of the North," as Shakespeare styles him. was Gorson, king of the South; Amayon, king of the East; and Goap, prince of the West. them many spirits with blood as or of William the Conqueror. They were classed as Devil Dukes, Devil Marquises, Devil Counts, Devil Earls, Devil Knights, Devil Presidents, and (alas !) Devil Prelates.
These sovereigns had under blue as that of the Howards
You ask me, my patient listener, if I can trace the descent of any of these, my subjects, down into lofty personages of to-day, and, shrinking from the responsibility, I say in reply: "Present company always excepted;" though I possess genealogical registers which, if ever published, will display before the eyes of the world much impurity of heart combined with undoubted purity of blood, in the case of many who have
MILLIONS OF DEVILS WAGE WAR ON MEN.
occupied earthly thrones and worn glittering coronets, to say nothing of cardinals' hats and papal tiaras.—But (excuse me in this request) be so good as to interrupt my narrative as little as possible.
To resume Without undertaking to guarantee the figures, I must continue these wonderful discoveries, which throw those of Newton, Dalton and Liebig into the shade. My armed force comprised nearly twenty-four hundred legions. Now, as under the Romans two legions constituted a consular army, I had under my command 1200 armies; and as a legion may be roughly estimated as containing 6000 soldiers, my forces amounted to 14,400,000 men. This was a terrible pest to be let loose against the human race. Had I, being such as I am pictured by others, been in supreme command, I could hardly, methinks, have done a more unjust and cruel thing. However, eighty-five of my legions were, those high authorities declare, commanded by Beleth: Agares, the first duke under the Power of the East, led thirty-one legions; Leraie, a great Marquis, thirty legions; Morax, a great Earl, thirty-six legions; Furcas, a knight, twenty legions. It would be easy to carry the enumeration farther. Enough surely to explain how with these exact particulars, proceeding from the highest authorities of the day, belief in me as a personal fiend struck vigorous roots deep in the heart of society.*
No less effectual was another resource. Mediæval Christianity, in appealing to the senses, sagaciously preferred the eye as a channel to the mind and the heart. Hence pictures, carvings and engravings of various kind, infusing what were thought religious ideas by means of symbols. Here fear ran riot. On the assumption that devil and deformity were identical, I and mine were presented to credulous men, women and children, in forms which were impressive and lasting
Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, xv. 2; Hibbert's Philosophy of Apparitions, xiii.