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this being represented as foreknowing the counsels of God, and preventing their accomplishment!
These attributes are all divine. And if there actually be a being possessing these attributes, that being ought to be a deity. If he be a deity, he ought to be the object of worship. Not, I will allow, from motives of affection, but certainly from the principle of fear. Decide this as you will, I know not how you can controvert the proposition, that to suppose the existence of such a being is to violate the Unity of God.
2nd. If the Devil possess not these attributes, all the super-human powers ascribed to him are useless. Is he not omnipresent? Does he only wander about as a prowling lion, seeking whom he may devour; present only in one place; tempting only one person at a time? How often will it occur to a human being in the course of his life to encounter him? How few are there, upon this supposition, who will be troubled with his presence at all?
Is he not omniscient? Does he not know the springs and motives of my con
duct? Can he not dive into the secrets of my heart? Then what impediment can he throw in my way? What obstruction can he offer to the execution of my plans? He can do nothing till he sees the effect, and when the deed is done, no alteration can take place, and I have no_ thing more to fear.
Can he not perform a miracle? Can he not counteract or impede the laws of nature, i. e. the laws of God? Then he is no more to me than a simple human being, who would maliciously rejoice to thwart me in any of my designs.
Does he not possess the power of prescience? Can he not foretel the counsels of the Deity? Then he is but an agent in his hands: as harmless, as infantine, compared with the God of heaven, as the ruthless conqueror who deluges the earth with blood,--as the tortuous reptile, which, with a tridentic hiss, may terrify children, but is unable to inflict a wound.
In fact all his super-human powers are 'futile. A malicious human agent would answer every purpose. Nay I ask you who are advocates for the natural depra
vity of the human heart, you who contend that it is corrupt to the very core, you who contend that not one natural propensity can be virtuous, that the very best suggestion and action is worthy of hell, -I ask, whether you need any thing more or worse than a human heart? Whether you want a devil to render it more black, more depraved, more corrupt, more diabolical?
If the dilemma strikes you as it does me, we have no need of further discussion. The devil must either possess divine attributes, or he is an agent of God. In the former case the Unity of God is destroyed. In the latter, our passions, as forming a good substitute, will require all our circumspection and vigilance. If the Almighty can retain this infernal being in fetters whenever he pleases, and suffer him to roam at large only when he wills, and to whisper evil designs into the ears of human beings only when he chuses, this permission of the Almighty, is the same as if it were his own act and deed. For to permit what you can prevent is the same as to perform. The parent, who
puts the poniard into his servant's hand, to stab his child, is himself the murderer.
Thus far then, reason having been our guide, may I not take it for granted that our path is clear? That there is but One Supreme, Intelligent, Self-existent, Uncontrouled, All-controuling Mind, Undivided, Unopposed?—
Speak ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Him first, Him last, Him midst, and without end."