« AnteriorContinuar »
God and man. The fact is certain from the above texts, and the whole New Testament is an illustration of it, that the opposing Jews were the adversary of Christians and the chief cause of all their persecutions. They were the adversary, the devil, the slanderer, op false accuser, who went about as a roaring lion seeking whom they might devour. Hence they are in several texts denominated by the term devil and satan. It cannot be questioned, that Peter referred to the persecuting Jews, for they did go about like a roaring lion ; see Acts 17. and indeed all the New Testa. ment. It is also evident that the lusts and evil passions of men are termed adversary in several texts. And why are they termed so? I answer, because it is this devil or adversary within men, which makes them devils or adversaries in their conduct. I may add, the term satan we have seen signifies an adversary, and devil and satan are used synonimously in the New Testament, and both terms are used to express opposing persons and opposing things. That person or thing, is a devil, satan, or adversary to another which is opposed to it. The unbelieving, persecuting Jews are in Scripture compared to a lion. Thus Paul says, 2 Tim. iv. 16, 17.
At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion."
It is thought by some, that by the lion, Paul referred to Nero or his prefect Helius Cesarianus, to whom he committed the government in his absence, with power to put to death whom he pleased. The reason given for this application of lion to Nero is, that Marsyas said to Agrippa when Tiberias died" the lion is dead." Whether Paul ever heard
this saying is uncertain, and if he had, we doubt whether his wisdom and prudence, in his then critical circumstances, would have allowed him to make such an allusion. What leads me to conclude, that Paul, by the lion, referred to his persecutors the Jews, are the following things.
1st. They actually went about like a lion 10 devour him, and at the time he wrote' was in bonds from their persecutions. Nero, nor no other Roman magistrate sought after Paul or troubled him, until stirred up by the Jews. He was even obliged to appeal to Cæsar to be delivered from their hands. 2d. In Psalm xxii. 13, 21. where Christ and his enemies are spoken of, the persecuting Jews are expressly compared to a lion and a roaring lion. If raul compared them to this, he had the example of David for it. To this Psalm probably Paul alluded in the passage before us.
3d. To understand the apostle by the lion, referring to the persecuting Jews, rerders its usage uniform in the New Testament, but to understand it of a fallen angel, is at variance with its entire usage throughout the Bible. It is agreeable to the fact, that the Jews went about as a roaring lion, but it is contrary to all facts and experience, that a fallen angel ever did this. But Peter adds, “ whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” Who ever doubted, that the afflictions” of Christians in the apostolic age arose from the persecuting Jews? Compare verse 10. and va. rious other parts of the Episile. But was a fallen angel in various places at the same time afflicting them? Besides, how could they resist steadfast in the faith an invisible spirit ? It was with wicked men they had to contend, and from whom they suffered. See i Peter iv. 12. i. 7. The word devil we have seen signifies a slanderer or false accuser. Peter
then says in this passage-"your adversary the slanderer or false accuser goeth about as a roaring lion." That this referred to men, no one we think can doubt who reads chap. ii. 12, 15, 20. iii. 15–17. and iv. 4. of this epistle. Nor will any one dispute, that the words of antidikos "umon diabolos may be rendered thus; "the adversary your false accuser," or, " your adversary the false accuser.". The whole epistle, is a comment on this view of the passage, nor would any one have ever thought of a fallen angel, had the word diabolos been rendered false accuser as it is in some other places. Common sense, and common Scripture usage of words, lead us to no other interpretation. It should be remembered, that Peter was a Jew, and was familiar with the meaning of the terms satan and devil. Jesus had called him satan and Judas a devil; and could there be any impropriety in calling the persecutors of Christians is
your adversary the devil ?” And on account of their ferocious cruelty comparing them to a roaring lion walking about seeking whom they might devour.
Is it objected to this view of the passage—“the persecutors of Christians in Peter's day were many, but here he speaks of them as one." This objection has no force, for it is well known, that in Scripture the singular is frequently put for the plural and the reverse. Besides, all know, that when many are spoken of collectively they are considered as one, and especially when they act in unison about any object. The persecutors of Christians were indeed many, but never
did many act more in unison about any object than they did in opposing Christians and Christianity. They were one, and unwearied in their exertions to obtain their object.
Is it further objected—“ Peter speaks emphatically of the devil, as if he was a real being, for he calls him the devil ?” Answer; the word diabolos here is without
the article, therefore this objection is of no force. Even if it had been used, the objection would derive little or no force from it, for it was very natural and proper for Peter to speak of the persecutors of Christians in this emphatic manner.
John viii. 44. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own : for he is a liar and the father of it.” As this is perhaps the strongest text in proof that the devil is a fallen angel, we shall give it a particular consideration. It is then said, "ye are of your father the devil.” If the devil was the father of the unbelieving Jews whom our Lord here addressed, it is plain they were his sons or children. The question then is, what devil was their father ? Professor Stuart shall inform us. In his letters to Dr. Miller, p. 95–99. he thus writes:
6. The word son was a favourite one among the Hebrews; and was employed by them, to designate a great variety of relations. The son of any thing, according to oriental idiom, may be either what is closely connected with it, dependant on it, like it, the consequence of it, worthy of it, &c. But this view of the subject must be explained, by actual examples from th Scriptures. The following I have selected from the Old and New Testaments.
“ The son of eight days, i.e. the child that is eight days old; the son of one hundred years, i.e. the person who is one hundred years of age; the son of a year, i.e. a yearling; the son of my sorrow, i.e. one who has caused me distress; the son of my right hand, i.e. one who will assist or be a help to me; son of old age, i.e. begotten in old age ; son of valor, i.e. bold, brave; son of Belial, [lit. son of good-for-nothing,] i.e. a worthless man; son of wickedness, i.e. wicked; son of a murderer,
ive. a murderous person ; son of my vows, i.e. son that answers to my vows; son of death, i.e. one who deserves death ; son of perdition, i.e. one that deserves perdition ; son of smiting, i.e. one who deserves stripes ; son of Gehenna, i.e. one who deserves Gehenna; son of consolation, i.e. one fitted to administer consolation; son of thunder, i.e. a man of powerful, energetic eloquence or strength; son of peace, i.e. a peaceable man; son of the morning, i.e. morning star; son of the burning coal, i.e. sparks of fire; son of the bow, i.e. an arrow; son of the threshing floor, i.e. grain ; son of oil, ise. fat; son of the house, iol. domestic or slave; son of man, i.e. man, as it is usually applied; but perhaps in a sense somewhat diverse, in several respects, as applied to the Saviour.
“ Such is the wide extent of relation, similarity, connexion, &c. which the term son is employed to designate in the Hebrew, and in the Hebrew idiom of the New Testament; a latitude far greater than is given to it in the Occidental languages; and which no one, who is not conversant with the Hebrew, canscarcely estimate in an adequate manner.
“ In collecting and translating these idioms, 1 have, of course, followed the phraseology of the original languages to which they belong, and not our English version ; which not unfrequently paraphrases them, in order to render them intelligible to the English reader.
5. Nor are the Hebrew of the Jewish Scriptures and Hebrew-Greek of the New Testament, the only languages which exhibit this latitude of construction in respect to the word "son. The same idiom runs through all the Shemitish languages. In the Syriac version of the Scriptures, made, as is most probable, not long after the death of the apostles, and in a language which approximates nearest of all to the vernacular dialect of the Jews in our Saviour's time, the