Chapter X.—Another Cavil Met, I.e., the Devil Who Instigated Man to Sin Himself the Creature of God. Nay, the Primeval Cherub Only Was Gods Work. The Devilish Nature Superadded by Wilfulness. In Mans Recovery the Devil is Vanquished in a Conflict on His Own Ground.
If, however, you choose to transfer the account 2831 of evil from man to the devil as the instigator of sin, and in this way, too, throw the blame on the Creator, inasmuch as He created the devil,—for He maketh those spiritual beings, the angels—then it will follow that 2832 what was made, that is to say, the angel, will belong to Him who made it; while that which was not made by God, even the devil, or accuser, 2833 cannot but have been made by itself; and this by false detraction 2834 from God: first, how that God had forbidden them to eat of every tree; then, with the pretence that they should not die if they ate; thirdly, as if God grudged them the property of divinity. Now, whence originated this malice of lying and deceit towards man, and slandering of God? Most certainly not from God, who made the angel good after the fashion of His good works. Indeed, before he became the devil, he stands forth the wisest of creatures; and 2835 wisdom is no 2836 evil. If you turn to the prophecy of Ezekiel, you will at once perceive that this angel was both by creation good and by choice corrupt. For in the person of the prince of Tyre it is said in reference to the devil: “Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God: Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty” (this belongs to him as the highest of the angels, the archangel, the wisest of all); “amidst the delights of the paradise of thy God wast thou born” (for it was there, where God had made the angels in a shape which resembled the figure of animals). “Every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle; and with gold hast thou filled thy barns and thy treasuries. From the day when thou wast created, when I set thee, a cherub, upon the holy mountain of God, thou wast in the midst of stones of fire, thou wast irreproachable in thy days, from the day of thy creation, until thine iniquities were discovered. By the abundance of thy p. 306 merchandise thou hast filled thy storehouses, and thou hast sinned,” etc. 2837 This description, it is manifest, properly belongs to the transgression of the angel, and not to the princes: for none among human beings was either born in the paradise of God, not even Adam himself, who was rather translated thither; nor placed with a cherub upon Gods holy mountain, that is to say, in the heights of heaven, from which the Lord testifies that Satan fell; nor detained amongst the stones of fire, and the flashing rays of burning constellations, whence Satan was cast down like lightning. 2838 No, it is none else than the very author of sin who was denoted in the person of a sinful man: he was once irreproachable, at the time of his creation, formed for good by God, as by the good Creator of irreproachable creatures, and adorned with every angelic glory, and associated with God, good with the Good; but afterwards of his own accord removed to evil. From the day when thine iniquities, 2839 says he, were discovered,—attributing to him those injuries wherewith he injured man when he was expelled from his allegiance to God,—even from that time did he sin, when he propagated his sin, and thereby plied “the abundance of his merchandise,” that is, of his Wickedness, even the tale 2840 of his transgressions, because he was himself as a spirit no less (than man) created, with the faculty of free-will. For God would in nothing fail to endow a being who was to be next to Himself with a liberty of this kind. Nevertheless, by precondemning him, God testified that he had departed from the condition 2841 of his created nature, through his own lusting after the wickedness which was spontaneously conceived within him; and at the same time, by conceding a permission for the operation of his designs, He acted consistently with the purpose of His own goodness, deferring the devils destruction for the self-same reason as He postponed the restitution of man. For He afforded room for a conflict, wherein man might crush his enemy with the same freedom of his will as had made him succumb to him (proving that the fault was all his own, not Gods), and so worthily recover his salvation by a victory; wherein also the devil might receive a more bitter punishment, through being vanquished by him whom he had previously injured; and wherein God might be discovered to be so much the more good, as waiting 2842 for man to return from his present life to a more glorious paradise, with a right to pluck of the tree of life. 2843
Ezek. xxviii. 11-16 (Sept.).306:2838 306:2839 306:2840 306:2841 306:2842 306:2843
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