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or to angels. The devil is said to tempt So is God, in various places. The devil is said to produce temporal calamities. So is God, in numerous instances. Bodily disorders are imputed to the devil. God is frequently said to be their author. The wicked dispositions and conduct of of men are imputed to the devil. God is often said to harden their hearts. The devil is said to have put into the heart, what God is also said to have done. God is said to deceive men and prophets into vicious conduct. God is even said to second and promote the deceit of Satan. 2 Thess. ii. 8-12. "And for this causé, God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteous
7th. The charge, that a disbelief in the doctrine of a devil is unfavourable to vira tue, is most unjust.* What! does virtue
"If the devil doth not tempt us, this is no encouragement to us to sin. 'Tis no reason why we should be less vigilant and careful, from whencesoever our temptations arise; 'tis certain we have a sufficient number of them.
depend upon the belief of a devil? Cannot a man discharge the duties he owes to his neighbour, can he not worship God, can he not practise the duties he owes to
"If the devil doth not tempt us, this may be a comfort to those, who are ready to run into despair, upon account of his temptations. Wrong notions in religion, if they have not really led men into sin, have occasioned great dejection and sorrow to many very pious persons; they have imagined the devil so very busy with them, that they have not dared to trust to the mercy of God, which is undoubtedly exceedingly dishonourable to the kind and compassionate Father of the universe, as well as tor menting to themselves. Salvation is not in the power of the devil to hinder, but is in the hands of God to bestow, who is very ready to grant it to the sincerely penitent and reformed, and he will, to this purpose, afford them all the help that can be rea. sonably expected from a tender and affectionate parent.
"If the account we have given of the devil be just, then all notions of witchcraft, or of being possessed by the devil, are vain and groundless. 'Tis all deceit and imposition upon the weakness and credulity of mankind. For shame! let us entertain more honourable sentiments of the moral government of God; let us think ourselves safe under the protection of his Providence, safe from the malice both of devils and wicked men. Let us learn not to disturb ourselves with any vain, superstitious fears of the devil, or of evil spirits. We are not subject to any malicious powerful beings; the Lord God omnipotent only reigns, whose tender mercies are over all his works. This consideration should fill us with ease and tranquillity; otherwise we do not give God the honor that is due to him; we do not repose that confidence in his Providence, which his wisdom and goodness justly require from us." Dixon's Sovereignty of the Divine Administration, p. 21, 55.
himself, without believing that the devil is always at his elbow, to prompt, to deceive, to seduce him? Must we be indebted to an infinitely malignant being, for whatever good there is within us? How absurd the idea!
Finally. The system, in favour of which I have now been arguing, appears to me to present the strongest possible incentives to piety, religion and virtue. Because it rests the whole responsibility upon yourselves. We warn thee, Christian; not to ascribe thy crimes to the influence of an infinitely malignant, irresistible, omnipotent being, because we tell thee, no such being exists in the universe of God. Impute not thy sins to another; impute them to the perversity and wilful depravity of thine own heart. Expect not that the plea will avail thee before the bar of thy God, I could not resist the temptation, for the tempter was all-powerful." Thy ill-regulated mind caused the failure. The vice is in thyself. Thou didst not cultivate the better, the higher parts of thy nature. Thou didst not listen to the
voices of thy reason and judgment, but hast suffered thy meaner passions to gain the ascendancy.
Go to, now.-No excuse will avail thee.
Thou hadst it in thy power to have resist-
-He reigns alone: let no inferior creature