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of that congregation :-To deliver fuch an one unto Satan for the deftruction of the flesh, that the fpirit may be faved in the day of the Lord Jefus,

To an attentive and unbiaffed man who reads thefe words and the context, I believe he will find it extremely difficult to form a juft conception in what fenfe the perfon was to be delivered unto, or put in the power of Satan, if understood to be an invifible fpirit, especially to answer the end there mentioned; for it cannot confiftent with reason be fuppofed, much less believed, that a malevolent fpirit, being the avowed enemy of man, as is generally believed he is, would exert his power over him, to effect that falutary end; but on the contrary, try his utmost to continue his impenitence perpetual, that he might not be faved. If we may be permitted to fuppofe, that by his being delivered unto Satan, means not only his being separated from the congregation, equally as he was before his converfion; but also excluded from the benefits he enjoyed as a member of Chrift's body; and that this would have a very probable tendency to bring him to a true fenfe of his crime, that he might be faved. It will, I prefume, be the most natural and rational explication of the Apoftle's general meaning, and which feems to be confirmed from the effect it produced, as mentioned by him, 2 Ephef, ii. 5, &c. vii. 12.

Somewhat fimilar to the incestuous Corinthian being delivered unto Satan, &c. is what the Apostle mentions, Tim. iii. 20, of his conduct towards Hymencus and Alexander, whom he had delivered unto Satan, that they might learn not to blafpheme. But can any rational man really believe, that if they had been delivered into the power of a malignant fpirit, the fuppofed enemy of man, that he would have exerted it to reform them from their



wicked conduct, that they might not in future blafpheme, but act confiftent with their Christian character ?-I prefume he cannot believe this of him, but, on the contrary, that he would have exerted his influence over them to continue it. Whatever therefore the Apostle meant by the word Satan, he cannot in reafon be understood to intend a malignant apoftate angelic fpirit.

Should any one fuppofe that by delivering either of the perfons unto Satan, the Apostle intends his inflicting on them fome bodily or mental diforder, by which means the former might be faved in the day of the Lord Jefus, and the latter perfons learn thereby not to blafpheme; it may be justly replied, that fuch a fuppofition hath not the least countenance or fupport from any thing of the kind in all the Bible, and therefore is inadmiffible in explaining the genuine meaning of the Apostle. Should it be urged that the bodily and mental diforders which the Demoniacs were afflicted with, related in the Evangelifts, were inflicted by the Devil, as a fallen angel, it may be juftly replied, that they are not attributed to such a being, but to a demon or demons, i. e. the foul or fpirit of man departed. For in every instance which in our tranflation the word Devil or Devils, is rendered Diamonion and not Diabolos.

In reference to this very cafe of the offender, the Apostle faith to his brethren, chap. ii. 10, 11, that he forgave him upon his repentance in the perfon, or by the authority of Chrift, and that the brethren ought to do the like, for which he affigns this reafon, viz. Left Satan get an advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices. If the Apostle and his brethren were not ignorant, but really knew what they were; or as the original word is rendered the mind, as chap. iii. 24.

iv. 4.

iv. 4. xi. 3. of Satan; it is certain they were better qualified to prevent his getting an advantage of them, than all other men who have not that knowledge of his devices; but if they really had that knowledge of them, it is natural to ask from whence or by what means they obtained it, for it is certain that they could not, from any part of the Old Teftament writings, know not that there is fuch a being as a fallen angel, as I have made appear.

By Satan, or the enemy, I think it probable the Apoftle means the enemies of the Christian religion, who might take advantage by refusing to receive the penitent offender again into their fellowship, by representing them as rigorously inflexible in their conduct towards them.

Should it be objected that the Apostle ufeth the word Satan in the fingular, and therefore that my explication of many enemies doth not accord therewith; I anfwer, fo he does of the word Satan and Tempter, in 1 Theff. ii. 18. iii. 5. But I have fhewed it to be at least very probable that he means the Jews who were his and their enemies.

Since the publication of this Tract, it hath been objected that the opinion therein maintained is injurious to practical religion, by inducing men to believe that they have no other enemy to encounter with, but what arifes from themselves and the fnares of the world;-I know of no better anfwer to it, than the Apostle James hath given, in the words already cited. That every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own luft and enticed, &c. See Matt. xiii. 21, 22, 23. Mark iv. 17, 18, 19. And this is unquestionably confirmed from the experience of every finner, at this time, and in all paft ages, and alfo from the teftimony of all history, both facred and prophane.




F the explanation of the paffages quoted in the preceding pages, are justly founded and admitted, it will have an immediate and happy tendency to relieve the minds of thofe who believe, that at certain times they are conflicting with the fecret and evil fuggeftions of Satan, and the influence they judge they have upon their heart, as what occafions much difquietude and perplexity, and interrupts their peace; and in fome perfons this is very confiderable.

To those who may fee just reason to be of the fame opinion with the writer, will plainly fee, that much of the fubject of fermonizing is not founded in fcripture, but arifes from mistaking, or not clearly understanding the genuine meaning of those writers on the fubject here difcuffed. To fhew men in the clearest manner by what means, or from what real and apparent caufes they are liable to, or are tempted to fin, which they themselves are capable of perceiving with certainty, from what paffes within them, or their own inward feeling or experience; or that every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own luft and enticed; and that luft when it hath conceived, bringeth forth fin, will certainly have a plain and direct tendency to warn them against it; and if thereby they are drawn into fin, by what means they may deliver themselves out of it, i. e. by over ruling or fubduing their lufts, or evil defires for the future. But to exhort men to refist a tempter, whofe fuggeftions or devices on



their hearts, they are not able to distinguish from their own evil lufts or defires, muft, I prefume, appear to every rational man, but of little practical ufe; whereas that which was just mentioned they perfectly well know, because it is grounded upon almost every day's experience in themselves and in others.

In the foregoing pages I have offered to the reader's confideration every material paffage in the New Teftament, where in general or particular is related the devices or temptations of the Devil, &c. with my obfervations and explications of them. As I am convinced, they run counter to the very general and long eftablished opinion which men of every denomination have of Satan, &c. and of his tempting men to fin, I muft beg a truce with fuch perfons, requesting that with as little bias and prejudice as they are capable of, they will examine the feveral texts I have offered, and the contexts, and weigh the evidence on which they have been explained, as what appears to me to be their genuine import; and I would hope that the fenfible and difcerning part of my readers will not fuffer themfelves to be influenced and governed in their judgment by the antiquity of their opinion, or, because it has been fanctioned by many men of distinguished learning and abilities, who, in their annotations on thofe paffages, have given a very different sense of them than I have offered.*

• The veneration that men haye for writings of great name and eminent piety, incline them to admit all their opinions at once, without examination; on the other hand they reject, without hefitation, the doctrines proposed to them by those who are cenfured as impious and prophane; Fearing to partake of other mens guilt, they dread conviction as a crime. FARMER.


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