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Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness, is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother." This, and the preceding passage, were written by the same person. The language and sentiment of both are similar, and the quotations and remarks made are applicable to both. We shall add some brief remarks here. John says, "He that committeth sin is of the devil.” He was writing to Christians, who were the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and could not say to them as he did to the unbelieving Jews, "ye are of your father the devil." It appears from verse 7. that he said this to guard them against sin. Comp. John viii. 34. and Rom. vi. 10-23. "For the devil sinneth from the beginning." This corresponds to John viii. 44. "He was a murderer from the beginning." What devil sinned or was a murderer from the beginning? Answer; at verse 15. it is said "whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer," and at verse 12. "not as Cain who was of that wicked one and slew his brother." Cain, like the Jews, was of his father the devil, and the lusts of his father he did. This father was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth. And what was this? No man will assert that Moses intimates a fallen angel influenced Cain to slay Abel. If he that hateth his brother is a murderer, Cain was one before he slew Abel. It was from this hatred in his heart the bloody deed proceeded, and which in the eye of both God and man constitutes murder. Well, let it be recollected, that the very first time satan is mentioned in Scripture, the term is applied to a well, and the explanation given us in the margin is hatred. See Sect. 3. Besides, in Sect. 2. it has been shown, that Eve's
lust or desire when it had conceived brought forth sin and this devil sinned from the beginning. It came to be personified, yea, was deified, as we have seen in Sections 3, 4. is called satan in the book of Job, and devil and satan in other parts of Scripture. This view is agreeable to the passage, for it is said"he that committeth sin is of the devil," or, of evil desire or lust, for when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin. It is added, "for this purpose the son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." What then were the works of the devil? 1st. All agree that sin is the work of the devil. What then produces sin? James says, chap. i. 15. "then, lust when it hath conceived bringeth forth sin." Is it not plain that lust is the devil? Compare Mark vii. 21, 22. 2d. Death is also the work of the devil. Death entered by sin, and sin entered by lust conceiving and bringing it forth; and when sin is finish. ed it bringeth forth death. The wages of sin is death, see Rom. v. 12. and vi. 23. Death is the offspring of sin, sin is the offspring of lust; or lust was the occasion of the second, and these two the occasion of the first. Was the son of God manifested then to destroy sin? This is expressly declared, verse 5. "And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin." We think few can dispute, that "to take away our sins" in this verse, is the same as to destroy the works of the devil in the passage before us; and in both Christ is said to be manifested to do this. Yea, through death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil. See on Heb. ii. 14. below. Does the son of God by his manifestation destroy death? Nothing can be more explicitly stated than this. "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O! death, I will be thy plagues; O! grave, I will be thy destruction: re
pentance shall be hid from mine eyes." Hos. xiii. 14. See 1 Cor. xv. 53-58. At verse 26. it is expressly declared, "the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Suffer me now to ask-Is it any where said Christ was manifested to destroy a fallen angel? This I think no man will affirm. Why then is it so confidently affirmed that the devil is a fallen angel?
Heb. ii. 14, 15. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and deliver them, who through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage." As this is also one of the principal texts, relied on for proof of the existence of a fallen angel, called the devil, we shall give it all due attention.
Supposing then that we admit for a moment the existence of such a being as the devil, what follows from this passage? It follows, that he is to be destroyed, for it is expressly said, Christ died, that "through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil." But do our orthodox friends allow that he is to be destroyed through the death of Jesus Christ? No, they aver, that he is to exist forever, the enemy of God and the tormenter of men. But if this text teaches his existence, it as certainly teaches his destruction. I urge then the belief of both, or the rejection of both doctrines. But this is not all, for if this text teaches the devil to be a fallen angel, it as explicitly declares that he has the power of death. By the power of death is generally understood power to produce death, and retain men in this state when dead. But is it not a very extraordinary supposition, that such a wicked being should have such a power? Besides, is it not contrary to other parts of Scripture, where God says, "I kill and I make alive; I bring down to
the grave and also bring up again." Can any one think God has delegated this power to the devil? Job calls death the king of terrors, but not because the devil has the power of it. By taking into view other parts of Scripture we find death ascribed to a very different cause than the power of a fallen angel. In Rom. v. 12. we are told that by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin. And in chap. vi. 23. that the wages of sin is death, but not a word is said as if the devil had any concern with it. James, chap. i. 15. also says, that when "sin is finished it bringeth forth death," but says not a word about the devil having any power to produce it or continue it. Nor does the apostle say the sting of death is the devil, but the sting of death is sin. Besides, when speaking of the victory obtained by Jesus Christ over death, the apostle does not say"O! devil, where is thy power over death," but says "O! death, where is thy sting, O! grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." The apostle here renders thanks to God for victory over sin, and the law which is the strength of sin, and also over death, but renders no thanks to God through Jesus Christ for victory over a fallen angel or the devil. Can any candid man then think, that if such a being had power over death, that Paul, in giving thanks to God, would have omitted thanking him for victory over this malignant, wicked being, who had so long and universally exercised it? We should rather think, that had Paul believed this, victory over the devil would have been one of the principal things he would have mentioned.
What then, it may be asked, is the devil referred to in this passage? I answer, whatever has the power of death. What then has the power of death? I
answer, sin and the law the strength of sin, by which death came first to be introduced, and by which it hath passed through to all the human race. See Rom. v. 12, 13. The judgment, Gen. iii. 19. was by one to condemnation. Death reigned by one man's offence, and no power of man has been able to resist his universal sway; and but for the death of Christ, and his resurrection from the dead, no hope of a resurrection by man could ever be entertained.
But let us examine the passage itself a little more particularly. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same." Well, for what purpose did he take part in flesh and blood? "That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil." We have shown on 1 John iii. 8. what the works of the devil are, and that Christ was manifested to destroy them. But here Christ is said to destroy the devil himself. Sin and death, we saw there, were the works of the devil, and that Christ is actually to destroy those works. What devil was it then which produced such works? Such is the workmanship, but what devil was the workman? James tells us in plain words" then when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin; and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death." Christ by his death would accomplish very little to the purpose, to destroy a fallen angel, or even to destroy sin and death, if lust which bringeth forth sin was not destroyed. It would only be like lopping off the branches from a poisonous tree, while the stock from which they all sprung, was allowed to remain. But Christ by his death, is not only to destroy sin and death, the works of the devil, but lust or the devil. He is not only to destroy the workmanship but the workman, not merely the branches but the root, not only the streams of sin and death, but the fountain