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On the whole, there doth not seem to be the least proof that the evil fpirit, mentioned in the vision, was defigned to reprefent a fallen angel; or was fo understood by the prophet to whom it appeared.

Another text I fhall take under confideration, is, 1 Sam. xvi. 14,* &c. Previous to my offering any obfervations upon it, I judge it will be proper to attend to what is related in chapter the tenth, wherein mention is made of God's fending Samuel to choose Saul, and anoint him to be King over his people. To whom Samuel said, The spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy, and thou fhalt be turned into another man: And after he had turned back from him, God gave him another heart; and when he and his companions came to the hill, a company of the prophets met him, and the fpirit of God came upon him, and he prophefied among them. Some time after this, God, by Samuel, fent him to go up against Amalick, and utterly destroyed it; as it is related chapter xi. but, inftead of his fully executing this commiffion, he spared Agag, &c. as v. 8, 9. Upon this, Samuel came to him, and, among other things, plainly told him, as v. 22, 23, that, for this act of perverse disobedience, God rejected him from being King. Soon after this, Samuel was fent to anoint David, the son of Jeffe, to be King in his stead, which he accordingly did; tho' the commencement of his reign did not take place till the death of Saul. I think there can hardly be any doubt that Saul was informed of David's being anointed King.

Let any one, for a moment, only confider thefe particular cafes, which. it is natural to believe, very deeply affected the mind of Saul: It was im

The fpirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil fpirit, from the Lord, troubled him. C


bittered with the just accufation of his own inexcufable guilt; or, in the words of Samuel to him: Rebellion is as the fin of witchcraft, and stubbornnefs is as iniquity and idolatry; thou hast rejected the word of the Lord in not executing it on the Amaelkites. That God, who had raised him up in a very fingular manner to be the first King over his people Ifrael; that he had withdrawn his fpirit from him by which he had prophefied among the prophets; and, finally, he had, by a special direction to Samuel, anointed David to be King; and to him he had given his fpirit. A proper attention to these very interesting particulars, will, I prefume, without any difficulty, explain in what fense we are to understand that an evil fpirit from the Lord troubled him; and also the true caufe from whence his fervants, who, no doubt, faw his unusual dejection of mind, faid to him, Behold! now, an eyil fpirit, from God, troubleth thee. To remove, or mitigate which, they gave him this advice: Let our Lord the King command thy fervants to feek out a man who is a cunning player on a harp, and it fhall come to pafs, when the evil fpirit, from God, is upon thee, that he will play with his hand, and thou fhalt be well. To which propofal he affented; and David was fent for; and when the evil spirit, from God, was upon Saul, he took an harp and played with his hand: So Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil fpirit departed from him.The fuccefs attending the advice of his fervants, shews plainly what was their opinion of the real cause, as well as the nature of his trouble.

I prefume it will be allowed there is not the leaft evidence in the context from whence we may justly fuppofe, that Saul's fervants believed the power of the mufical harp could poffibly expel a fallen angel from Saul, had they understood it to be fuch a


being. But it was not an improper expedient to relieve his mind, under its prefent disordered state; efpecially if we may fuppofe that he was rather fond of that kind of mufic.

Men, in common, and even very fenfible men too, through the force of habit, are very apt to affix to the words evil fpirit, they find in Scripture, the idea of a fallen angel; and then incautioufly conclude that thofe writers used them in the fame fenfe; but this is often, as in the cafe before us, a very capital error, as, I prefume, will appear more fully in the following pages.

There is another text in Judges chapter ix. 23. where it is faid, God fent an evil fpirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. After the death of Gideon, the father of Abimelech, he applied to the men of Shechem to obtain their confent, that, as one of his fons, he might rule over them in his stead; but that he might not have any competitor in the family of Jerubbaal his brother, who had fixty fons, he obtained money out of the house of Baal-berith, with which he hired vain and light perfons, and by these he flew them all, except Jotham, the youngest, who efcaped from that unnatural and unprovoked maffacre. Upon this, the Shechemites made him King. As they in general were not concerned in that wicked act, Jotham addreffed them to retaliate it upon Abimelech and thofe who were concerned with him; as v. 7-20. After Abimelech had reigned three years, it is faid God fent an evil spirit, &c. I think it is probable that the Shechemites, who were not concerned with him, in confequence of Jotham's expoftulation, meditated revenge against him and his adherents, and therefore commenced hoftilities against him; upon which Abimilech, with his forces, went against Shechem, and flew many of the people; after which he attacked Thebez,

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Thebez, and took it; but, upon his attempt upon the tower, he was flain. Upon his death, it is faid, verses 56, 57, Thus God rendered the wickednefs of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in flaying his brethren; and for all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads, and upon them came the curfes of Jotham, the fon of Jerubbaal.

From this relation, it appears plain, to me, that by an evil fpirit is not to be understood a fallen angel; but, that God, in the courfe of his Providence, raised, or stirred up an enemy to Abimelech and his adherents: as, verfes 56, 57. to punish them for the wicked act of flaying the fons of Jerubbaal his brother, who had rendered fignal fervices to his people against their enemies in the time of Gideon their father.

Another text is in Pfalms lviii. 49, where, it is faid, God caft upon them (the Egyptians) the fierceness of his wrath and indignation, by fending evil angels. I would just obferve that the Hebrew word here rendered angels, is often and justly tranflated Meffengers, and fometimes Prophets, who, from God, delivered his meffages to his people; and therefore the word Angels, doth, by no means, always intend angels as invifible fpirits, much lefs fallen angels. This can be determined only by the context, or parallel paffages. Now, it is indifputably, plain, in the context, the writer gives a fummary account of God's dealings with the Egyptians, as is particularly recorded in Exod. vii. to the xiii. But, it is certain, that Mofes hath not mentioned evil angels being fent among the Egyptians. The only angels, or meffengers he hath related whom God fent among them, were himself and Aaron, by whofe inftrumentality God caft upon them the fiercenefs of his wrath, &c. and in this fenfe, to the Egyptians they were evil angels,


or meffengers. Now, I think, it will be granted, that the Pfalmift could not derive any knowledge of evil angels, i. e. apoftate fpirits, being fent among the people of Egypt, but from the Hiftory of Mofes, in which there is not even any hint of fuch beings fent among them.

I here beg leave to obferve, that whatever real knowledge men have of angels, i, e. their intellectual powers, or their vifible communications with men, or their being the agents of God in his providential government in this world, that it is wholly derived from divine revelation, without which it is abfolutely impoffible they can have the leaft knowledge of either; and the reafon is as obvious as it is unquestionably true, viz. because they are the inhabitants of the invifible world. And this is equally true, as it refpects any of those beings having finned against God, and on that account expelled from Heaven. But, even fuppofing that was clearly revealed, yet that would be no proof of their tempting men to fin, by fuggesting to their minds evil thoughts, or raifing in them corrupt defires, terminating in finful actions. A real knowledge of these things muft depend upon revelation, or a relation of real facts in proof of it. But of these things the Old Teftament is entirely filent, as we have feen.*

Thus much concerning what we find in the Old Teftament.

Mr. Farmer's opinion is this,-That the Old Teftament contains no account of the fall of angels, much less does it reprefent them as fcaling Heaven, and being thrown down from thence. There is not even the most distant reference, or allufion to fuch an event in any of the Jewish prophets. Farther, he faith, I am far from taking upon me to fay there was not an early revelation of the rebellion of angels, and their expulfion from Heaven. But hitherto this point has been afferted only, not proved.


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