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erring truth, than he had the shameless effrontery to call it in question, and give it a bold and flat denial. Thou shalt “not surely die!” Wonderful discovery ! and found only in the depths of those deceptions which are nourished in the bosom of the “crooked Serpent.” His first, and with the exception of his menaces and terrors, his last resort, is to inject this delusion, either in unmingled, or diluted forms. His great strength lies in his powers of deception. With all his gigantic intellect, he would accomplish little without these artifices. This is his character; this is his nature; this is his work; the work for which he has the talent and the heart.
CHAPTER X. to extent of the or triurr's $11tts.
THAT we may perceive somewhat of the assiduity and success with which this arch-Deceiver has cultiwated his powers, we propose in the present chapter to advert to the ExTENT OF HIS DECEPTIONS. The Scriptures speak of “the depths of Satan,” and of his amazing power. They represent him as a “roaring lion going about seeking whom he may devour;”—as “going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it;” and as “deceiving the nations,” and the “whole world.”
His powers of locomotion are not known to us, nor are they to be comprehended by human organs. As a spirit, he is possessed of wonderful activity. Milton well represents him as an “archangel ruined.” The angel Gabriel flew from the supreme heavens to this world, a distance far beyond the starry firmament, during the time that the prophet Daniel was employed in uttering a short prayer. Nor is there any reason to believe that the activity of infernal spirits is less than that of these celestial beings. He who “maketh his angels spirits, his ministers a flaming fire,” has given to these invisible ones of the world of darkness, powers of moving from place to place, which, while we have no means of ascertaining, are so great, that when combined with their subtle artifices, would render them still more fearful engines of evil, but for him who restrains the wrath of devils as well as men. Not only are the measures of this common foe planned with wonderful adroitness, but from his amazing activity, laid out upon a large scale. He is the great moral juggler of the universe. This earth is spread out before him like a vast chessboard, every part of which he has been studying for 6,000 years. There is not a square of it which his eye has not surveyed; not a king, nor bishop, nor knight, nor castle, nor pawn, nor the meanest figure that has a part in the great game of life, with the power and value of which he is not acquainted, and which he knows not how to make use of to the best advantage, both for the purposes of defence and attack. If there were but less proportion between his skill and the value of the stake for which he plays, his indefatigable assiduity would not excite so much alarm. The stake is infinite ; the skill, blessed be God, falls short of that which is infinite; he is a creature, though probably the greatest of creatures. Yet though a creature, it is no ordinary place that he occupies; no common powers that he possesses. It is no small game that he is seeking after. His aim is to blind and infatuate men by millions, and make his victims as the sand of the shore. He does not indeed overlook individual and isolated man; nor suppress his exultation when he circumvents the poorest and meanest of our race. But his eagle eye is fixed upon the nations, and for nothing does he utter a louder shout of triumph, than when he has them hoodwinked in his hands, degraded and enslaved. Among the various ways in which he aims to do this, we will direct our attention, in the first place, to the eatensive prevalence of those institutions and customs by which large portions of the human race are held under his dominion. If every age is dis. tinguished by some peculiarity of moral character, it is for the most part a peculiarity in wickedness. Any one who has observed the amazing power which corrupt institutions and customs exert upon the character of the world, will not doubt that they constitute a part of that moral machinery by which this Deceiver retains the minds of men in inexorable bondage. Men and nations who would recoil from a sinful act, are cheated into upholding a sinful custom. Institutions and customs which, proposed for the first time, would strike the mind with horror, cease to be revolting when, by their long standing, men have become familiar with them. If they are handed down to them from their ancestors, they venerate them, because they are slow to believe that those whom they have been accustomed to respect could do wrong. No matter how absurd the usage, if it comes to them under the sanction of great names, and universal adoption, and by-gone ages. It is enough that it is inwoven with the framework of human society, and comes to them under all the force of a prescriptive law; they have no settled opinions about it, except that change would be an inroad upon the past.
As a general fact, the customs and institutions of the world belong to a concern in which the great Adversary traffics in wholesale deception. This invincible attachment to long-established usage, is the principal reason why, in most of the countries of the East, the female mind is so degraded. Woman holds too important a place in human society, fills too interesting a sphere, and is fitted to exert too wide an influence, to be overlooked by the common enemy. There, her place is the harem; the light of day may scarcely look upon her; her mind is unimproved, and her of fice is that of a pet-slave. Yet, strange to say, such is the power of custom, that even if the longimprisoned bird were let loose, it would return to its cage.