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traveling from place to place in a feeble state of health, was a work which no person destitute of Dr. Fisk's practical skill and ready tact could have accomplished. And few under similar circumstances would have prepared and furnished it to the public so speedily, with as few errors and mistakes as it contains.

For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.



In the January number, for 1838, of the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review, a communication was published on "the existence and fall of Satan and his angels," in which a new theory on the mysterious doctrine of evil spirits, and angelic beings in general, was advanced and supported by Scripture and reason, upon which it professes to be founded, by the author of this brief defence. It is easily perceptible from the notices of that article in different religious papers, and from a short review in the July number of this periodical, that one object in writing it has already been partially gained-that object was discussion. But it has not been discussed by all who have written about it with that Christian candor which was solicited for it, nor yet in that rational and Scriptural manner demanded by the subject.

While it has been favorably noticed by some as agreeing better with reason and the word of God than the old system, it has been ridiculed by others, who perhaps suppose that nothing is correct but the opinions of their ancestors; and it has again been considered by a third class as a mere speculation. I shall confine my remarks at present principally to the "calm review" of the Methodist Quarterly; but I cannot consistently overlook the observations of an editor of another religious journal.

This brother appears to think the introduction entirely too long, and altogether unconnected with the "twelve propositions." Some minds are too contracted to take in the whole of a subject, and they cannot readily perceive the relation one part sustains to another. If this editor had observed the heading of the article upon which he animadverts, he would at once have seen that something was necessary, in some part of the piece, on the existence of Satan, because that was a part of the title. And in writing on the general doctrine of fallen angels, could any thing more suitable be selected, as an introduction, than the importance of crediting their existence, and the foundation upon which that belief should rest, namely, upon the word of God?

As to that part of the new scheme with which he wishes to amuse himself and his readers, and which was only given as a bare supposition, it will be sufficient to remark, that such questions have engaged the attention of wiser men than the author, or even the intelligent editor of the paper alluded to.

With the "calm review" in the last number of the Magazine, the writer of this defence is considerably disappointed; and if the length of the introduction complained of by the above editor is an objec

tion to the new system, it will lie with greater force against the review, because its introduction is half a page longer than the remaining part of the article!

The reviewer esteems the "twelve propositions" a speculative theory, and seems to be seriously concerned for those who deal in such matters. Speculation is a word of rather indefinite signification; and the intransitive verb to speculate is perhaps materially different, in its proper meaning, from what it is commonly supposed to be. This verb comes from the Latin specio, to see; and is thus defined by Mr. Webster: 1. "To meditate, to contemplate, to consider a subject by turning it in the mind and viewing it in its different aspects and relations." It also means to purchase land, or any thing else, with an expectation of selling again at a profit.

Now if brother Comfort, in using this term, refers to the first of these definitions, then it is at once admitted that the new theory is a speculation; for the writer meditated on it; he contemplated it; and he considered the subject by turning it in his mind and by viewing it in its different aspects and relations. But if he means by it that it is a mere scheme of the mind, unsupported by reason or Scripture, the writer presumes to think otherwise.

If it is speculation to say that Satan was the inhabitant of a planetary world before he fell; that he was commanded to remain in it a certain length of time as a test of his obedience; and that he voluntarily left it before the end of his probation,-then it is also speculation to affirm that heaven was his dwelling place; that he sinned in it, and was cast out of it; for there is not a single word of Scripture to support this view of the subject; while there are several passages that prove, at least inferentially, the contrary doctrine.

All new theories are not idle speculations, and nothing should be discarded merely because it is novel. A celebrated philosopher was once imprisoned for maintaining the true system of the universe. He asserted that the earth revolved around the sun; but the popular and almost universal opinion was, that the sun moved around the earth; and even in prison he put his lips to the key hole, and exclaimed to those who were without, "The earth turns around still!" And until a better theory shall have been discovered than the one lately published, or until stronger arguments can be brought against it than those contained in the "calm review," many will believe that system still: notwithstanding the ridicule of some, and the cry of speculation by others.

The only passage of Scripture the review ventures against the distinctive features of the "twelve propositions," is John viii, 44. Let us quote the part he alludes to: "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." "He abode not in the truth," brother C. thinks may be taken as the cause of his fall, just as reasonably as his leaving his own habitation. He therefore asks, "Why may we not as well explain Jude by what our Saviour and Peter have said, as to explain them by him?" For a very good reason. Christ refers to the fall of man and the conduct of Satan in that transaction; while Jude alludes to the conduct of this enemy in his own fall. This will presently appear.

If the Saviour in this verse speaks of Satan's downfall, why may VOL. IX.-Oct., 1838.


we not understand him to teach that he was cast out of heaven for committing murder, as well as that he was thus punished for not abiding in the truth? To give the verse this interpretation, then, and if the allusion is to his own fall, it is as rational as any other. Satan first was guilty of murder, and then of leaving the truth, and for this he had to forsake his habitation!

But the literal signification of the Greek word ¿v@póπOKтóvos, which means properly a man-killer, will prove clearly that Christ is speaking of the fall of our first parents through the agency of the old serpent, by which death was brought upon them and all their offspring; and by which, especially, many have suffered death for righteousness' sake in the work of persecution against the followers of Jesus Christ. The Jews, in the chapter in question, were seeking the life of their Redeemer; and in the conversation they had with him at the time uttered several gross falsehoods. They said they had never been in bondage to any man; when they not only were slaves to the world, the flesh, and the devil, and several times had been captives to other nations, but they were likewise, at the very time in which they were speaking, under the jurisdiction of the Roman government. See also verses 39-43. These things (murder and lying) Christ charges home upon them, and therefore says, "Ye are of your father the devil.” "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth." He tempted Eve in the garden to partake of the forbidden fruit, through which death came into the world; and he instigated Cain in the first actual murder that was ever perpetrated. In that temptation he abode not in the truth; or, in other words, he told a lie to accomplish his object; he assured his victim, among other things that were not so, that “she should not surely die." And in that murder, Cain, who was the mere instrument of the devil, as every man is who maliciously takes away the life of his fellow-creature, pursued the same course; for he told the Lord that he knew not where his brother was, when he knew it at the same time.

But that this is the true meaning of this text will appear from the reason given by Christ why Satan abode not in the truth, "because there is no truth in him." Now to say that Satan continued not in the original condition of angels, whether they were in heaven or somewhere else, and to adduce, as a reason of this, his present moral deformity, is no reasoning at all. It proves, indeed, that he is a devil now; but it can never prove that he ever was in heaven, nor even that he was once holy. This may be the inference, but where is the positive proof? And to say that Satan abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him, is to intimate that he was morally bad when he left the truth; but if that was his first sin, it was that which first corrupted his nature.

Now apply this part of the text to his temptation in Eden, and all will be natural and easy. Satan committed murder because he is a murderer; he told a lie because there is no truth in him. He is evil, only evil, and that continually. I conclude, therefore, that the most consistent and rational interpretation of this disputed text is that which refers the whole to the conduct of Satan after the creation of man.

This review, then, which is little besides a series of profitable moral reflections, very creditable to the heart that suggested them, and

equally apropos to the new as to the old system, leaves the "twelve propositions" just where it found them; no Scripture against them, but some passages and much reason in their favor. It is a very flimsy objection to this theory to say, with brother Comfort, in the close of his article, "that it necessarily involves, as its counterpart, the doctrine, that there was a time since their creation when the holy angels were not the denizens of the kingdom of heaven as they now are." It certainly does, as every child could have seen. But what then? " Why, there is no proof of this." And there is none to establish the contrary opinion. But the circumstantial evidence is plainly on the side of the new system. The angels are even now not always in heaven, unless they are omnipresent, which is an absurdity; for many of them are ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation, and consequently, at least occasionally, dwell with the children of men. Yet no person pretends to adduce this fact as a reason why heaven is not their dwelling place at present. That is now their home; but they are permitted to leave it on errands of mercy to visit other worlds in the regions of space inhabited by intelligent beings. A different part of the universe was originally their place of probationary residence; but having been faithful, according to the commandment of their Maker, they were taken from it to stand in his presence, and be his messengers for good in the extensive plans of benevolence which he devises by his wisdom and executes by his authority, through their agency, in the various provinces of his empire.

With these remarks I submit it to the farther consideration of an intelligent, scientific, and Bible-reading public; well prepared to bear its fate if it should go down to oblivion, and thankful to God if I shall have succeeded, in the least degree, in removing difficulties from any mind, and in throwing light on the mysterious doctrine of evil spirits.

Harrisonburg, Va., August 7, 1838.


A WRITER in the Constitution, a respectable periodical published in Middletown, Conn., has given the following account of the system of popular instruction in Prussia:

The universities belong to the state alone; secondary instruction pertains to the provinces; primary instruction belongs chiefly to the department and to the parish.

Every parish is required by law to have a school. It is one part of the office of the pastor or curate to inspect this school. He is assisted by a committee of some of the most considerable persons in the parish, who are called the committee of superintendence and management.

In the city parishes, where there are many schools and establishments for primary instruction of a higher order than the country schools, the magistrates form a superior committee, and as such preside over the different schools with their several committees, and

form them into one harmonious system. This superior committee is called the school commission.

In the chief town of every circle there is another inspector, whose authority extends to all the schools of the circle, and who corresponds with the local inspectors and committees, under the title of inspector of schools for the circle. He is usually a clergyman, and in the Catholic circles the office is committed to the dean.

In Prussia, as well as in the rest of Germany, the first two degrees of authority in primary instruction are committed to the clergy; but above these degrees ecclesiastical influence ends, and the influence of the civil power is introduced. The inspector of schools for the circle corresponds with the regency of every department through the medium of the president of the regency. This regency includes several counselors, who are charged with different duties, and, among others, there is a special counselor for the primary schools, called school counselor. He receives a salary as well as the rest of his colleagues. He is the medium of connection between the public instruction and the ordinary civil administration of the province. He is rominated on the presentation of the minister of public instruction; and as soon as he is nominated he forms a part of the council of regency in his character of school counselor, and thus becomes responsible to the minister of the interior. He makes reports to the council, whose decisions are established by the majority. He inspects the schools, quickens and keeps alive the zeal of the school inspectors, school committees, and school masters. All the correspondence of the parish inspectors, and the superior inspectors, is addressed to him. He conducts the correspondence relative to schools in the name of the regency, and also, through the medium of the president, with the provincial consistories and the school board, as well as with the minister of public instruction. In short, the school counselor is the true director of primary instruction in each regency.

The double character of primary instruction, as parochial and departmental, is represented by the school counselor, who has a seat in the council of the department, and is responsible both to the ministry of the interior and to that of public instruction. All secondary instruction is under the care of the school-board, which forms a part of the provincial consistory, and is nominated by the minister of public instruction. Higher instruction in the universities is directed by the royal commissary, who acts under the immediate authority of the minister. Thus nothing eludes the power and observation of the minister, and, at the same time, sufficient liberty of action is allowed to the several departments of public instruction. The universities elect their own officers. The school-board proposes, and superintends the professors of gymnasia, and examines all the more important points of primary instruction. The council of regency, on the report of the school counselor, and in pursuance of the correspondence of the inspectors and committees, decide on most subjects pertaining to the lower stage of instruction. The minister, of course, does not enter into the details of popular instruction, but he is thoroughly informed as to results, and directs every thing by instructions emanating from him as a centre, and giving a national unity to the system. He does not interfere minutely with secondary instruction; but nothing is done without his

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