to take in, - and then defines this serpent as "more
subtle than all the beasts of the field." Subsequently,
the ancients changed the meaning of the term, to their
sense, and then the serpent became a symbol of wisdom.
The Scripture in John, sixth chapter and seventieth
verse, refers to a wicked man as the devil: "Have not
I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" According
to the Scripture, if devil is an individuality, there is
more than one devil. In Mark, ninth chapter and thirty-eighth
verse, it reads: "Master, we saw one casting out
devils in thy name." Here is an assertion indicating
the existence of more than one devil; and by omitting the
first letter, the name of his satanic majesty is found
to be evils, apparent wrong traits, that Christ, Truth,
casts out. By no possible interpretation can this passage
mean several individuals cast out of another individual
no bigger than themselves. The term, being here employed
in its plural number, destroys all consistent supposition
of the existence of one personal devil. Again,
our text refers to the devil as dumb; but the original
devil was a great talker, and was supposed to have out-talked
even Truth, and carried the question with Eve.
Also, the original texts define him as an "accuser," a
"calumniator," which would be impossible if he were
speechless. These two opposite characters ascribed to
him could only be possible as evil beliefs, as different
phases of sin or disease made manifest.
Let us obey St. Paul's injunction to reject fables, and
accept the Scriptures in their broader, more spiritual
and practical sense. When we speak of a good man, we
do not mean that man is God because the Hebrew term
for Deity was "good," and vice versa; so, when referring
to a liar, we mean not that he is a personal devil, because
the original text defines devil as a "liar."
It is of infinite importance to man's spiritual progress,
and to his demonstration of Truth in casting out error,
- sickness, sin, disease, and death, in all their forms, -
that the terms and nature of Deity and devil be understood.
He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and
greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. -
John xiv. 12.
Such are the words of him who spake divinely, well
knowing the omnipotence of Truth. The Hebrew bard
saith, "His name shall endure forever: His name shall
be continued as long as the sun." Luminous with the
light of divine Science, his words reveal the great Principle
of a full salvation. Neither can we question the practicability
of the divine Word, who have learned its adaptability
to human needs, and man's ability to prove the
truth of prophecy.
The fulfilment of the grand verities of Christian healing
belongs to every period; as the above Scripture plainly
declares, and as primitive Christianity confirms. Also,
the last chapter of Mark is emphatic on this subject;
making healing a condition of salvation, that extends to
all ages and throughout all Christendom. Nothing can
be more conclusive than this: "And these signs shall
follow them that believe; . . . they shall lay hands on
the sick, and they shall recover." This declaration of
our Master settles the question; else we are entertaining
the startling inquiries, Are the Scriptures inspired? Are
they true? Did Jesus mean what he said?
If this be the cavil, we reply in the affirmative that the
Scripture is true; that Jesus did mean all, and even more
than he said or deemed it safe to say at that time. His