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twelve who was going to deliver him up.” This passage therefore cannot be adduced as affording any support to the commonly received opinion of the existence and agency of an invisible and powerful evil being.
The next instance in which the word occurs is John viii, 44, which is supposed to be more directly in point. It is the reply which Jesus made to those who sought his life. 'Ye are of your father the devil, and the lust 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 of a lie he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it.' Such is the influence of association, and of long established habits of thinking, that it will not be easy to suggest any interpretation of this passage, different from the common one, which will not appear to many very harsh and unsupported. It may, however, be observed that the Jews, with whom Jesus held this conversation, prided themselves on being the descendants of Abraham ; to which Jesus replied, that if they were Abraham's children,' i. e. the true children of the patriarch in character and disposition, they would do the works of Abraham ;' but knowing their evil designs he adds, ' Ye are of your father the devil, and the lust of
will do, who was a murderer from the beginning.' These words naturally direct our thoughts to Cain, and it is not improbable that the meaning of Jesus may be thus expressed : 'Ye have no just pretensions to the character of faithful Abraham, nor do
ye sustain any relation to him ; but are rather of the kindred and offspring of Cain, that calumniator and murderer, inasmuch as ye seek to kill me, a man who hath told you the truth; this did not Abraham.' But if this allusion be not admitted, Jesus must only be supposed to refer to the commonly received opinion of the origin of evil designs and wicked practices. In the language of his reproaches, and of his accusations against those, who were seeking his life, we are not to look for his authorized instructions upon a subject incidentally introduced.—The third and last place in which the word is to be found in the gospel of John, is ch. xiii, 2, which seems expressly to support the opinion of those, who maintain the exist. ence of such a being as the devil, and that he hath access to the human mind. The words are these : ' And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus knowing,' &c. It is to be observed that the words in italics interrupt the con. nection, and should be included in a parenthesis. They might be omitted without any injury to the
The text would then read as follows: * And supper being ended, Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, he riseth from supper,' &c. It is not improbable, that the
in question was officiously inserted by some transcriber of the authentic gospel; first as a marginal note, and afterwards incorporated with the text, of which other instances might be adduced. There seems to be
no reason for the observation, that the devil had put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus, when the evangelist is relating an interesting fact, which had no peculiar connection with Judas, and therefore would lead to no association of thought with the character of the apostate. The place for such an observation appears to be more proper and natural in a subsequent part of the narrative, when Jesus declared that one of the twelve should betray him, and in this connection a similar observation occurs, ver. 27. ' And after the sop Satan entered into him (Judas);' an expression as much open to objection as the former, and as likely to have been the marginal gloss of some transcriber. But if the genuineness of both passages be supposed unquestionable, as they are found in all the MSS. now extant, they are certainly the only passages which have yet occurred, which directly assert the agency of the devil over the human mind; and the weight to be ascribed to them will be more justly estimated, when the general sense of the N. T. upon this subject is fully ascertained.
DOCTOR WATTS's HYMNS
With Scripture and with each other.
IN the preface to his “ Hymns and Spiritual Songs,” this truly pious and excellent person declares, that he has “ avoided the more obscure and controverted points of christianity, that we might all obey the direction of the word of God, and sing his praises with understanding. The contentions and distinguishing words of sects and parties are excluded, that whole assemblies might assist at the harmony, and different churches join in the same worship without offence.”
It would seem, therefore, that the doctor did not, at the time he wrote, reckon the doctrines of the trinity, of the double nature of Christ, and of the atonement, among the “ obscure and contro. verted points of christianity.” They were, to his understanding, as perfectly clear and comprehensible, as if no controversy respecting their truth existed; for they are to be found, in one shape or other, in almost every page of this work; but, there is reason to believe, that he did not always continue of opinion that no offence could be taken at the manner in which it had been executed,
The late Mr. Henry Grove remarked to Dr. Watts, that several of his hymns laid the stress of our redemption on the compassion of Christ rather than on the love of God, and expressed his wish that he would alter them. The doctor answered that he should be glad to do it, but that it was out of his power; for, he had parted with the copy, and the bookseller would not suffer any alteration. Life of Watts, Boston edition, p. 32.
In the year 1738, the Rev. Martin Tomkins having expressed his disapprobation of the doxologies introduced by Dr. Watts, in a letter to the doctor, the latter made about twenty remarks on the margin of Mr. T.'s letter; that relative to the doxologies is as follows: " I freely answer, I wish some things were corrected; but the question with me is this: as I wrote them in sincerity at that time, is it not more for the edi. fication of christians and the glory of God to let them stand, than to ruin the usefulness of the whole book by correcting them now, and per. haps bring farther and false suspicions on my present opinions ? Besides, I might tell you,
that of all the books I have written, that particular copy is not mine. I sold it for a trifle to Mr. Law. rence, near thirty years ago, and his posterity make money of it to this day; and I can scarce claim a right to make any alteration in the book which would injure the sale of it.” Ibid.
That the doctor had it not in his power to make alterations in a book the copy of which he had sold, cannot be denied. But for the sake of