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In what way angels became demons, it does not become us to determine. The two leading references to this mysterious event, are in the second epistle of Peter, and the general epistle of Jude. Our Lord himself seems to allude to the fact, when he says to the Jews who resisted his doctrines and mission, “ 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." While a reference appears to be made to a departure from his original state, when it is said, he abode not in the truth — the declaration, that he was derer from the beginning," can be understood, as we conceive, to refer only to those wiles by which he allured man from his original innocence, and with it destroyed his peace, and involved his posterity in ruin.
The language of the Scriptures, on the agency of the devil on the human mind, is explicit: the name Satan signifies an adversary," accuser.” He is described as a real being, when Jesus says, “ If Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself.”. He is called, “ the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air.” We are charged, “ Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” He is exhibited under various images--a serpent--the old serpent-a roaring and devouring lion. It is promised, “ the Lord God of peace shall bruise Satan under our feet shortly." The world of punishment, is called, a fire“
prepared for the devil and his angels.” Cain was said to be “ of that wicked one,” because he slew his brother. Jesus charged the Jews with a resemblance to this evil spirit. He is said to “ lie in wait to deceive." He is described as having access to the human mind; and endeavouring, by all possible means, to allure, or to alarm; to tempt, or to terrify. 66 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have
that he sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for you,
faith fail not:”. -there can be no doubt, from the connection of this passage, that the reference was to that future act of the disciple—the denial of his Master. When Peter charged Ananias with deliberate falsehood, he said, “ Why hath Satan filled thine heart, to lie against the Holy Ghost ?” and when Judas betrayed his Lord, before he left the table where he had eaten with Jesus, it is said, that “ Satan entered into the heart of Judas Iscariot."
In certain instances of what is usually called demoniacal possessions, it does not appear that the demoniac was afflicted with any bodily disease whatever. Such were the Gadarene demoniacs. The evangelists carefully distinguish between diseases of every description and possessions. It is impossible to suppose a maniac capable of knowing the Saviour, and of bearing such a testimony to his character and mission, at a time when he had not been heard of by them as the Messiah. We appeal to every one who has carefully perused the history of the Gospels.
Some reasons may be assigned for possessions in the days of our Lord, arising from the nature of his mission. He was said to be “ manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Such possessions, allowed at that particular time, proved the nature and malice of the adversary, and the superiority and mission of the Saviour. He produced, in his miraculous
agency, successive evidences of his power over disease, and over death: it was of importance that he should furnish some marks of his victory over “ him that had the power of death,” the grand adversary. Those who beheld the expulsion of demons from the bodies of mankind, would more readily receive him, as the deliverer destined to bruise the head of the serpent; and believe him, when he pronounced the forgiveness of sin. With what zeal would his apostles go forth to contend against an enemy thus early defeated, and whose kingdom had been already shaken! Thus, before he finally subdued these spirits of darkness on the cross, even in the days of his pilgrimage, he “ spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly !"