Page:EB1911 - Volume 08.djvu/138

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DEVIZES


was always conscious of the presence and opposition of Satan. "As I found he was about to begin again," says Luther, "I gathered together my books, and got into bed. Another time in the night I heard him above my cell walking on the cloister, but as I knew it was the devil I paid no attention to him and went to sleep." He held that this world will pass away with its pleasures, as there can be no real improvement in it, for the devil continues in it to ply his daring and seductive devices (vii. 191). I. A. Dorner (Christian Doctrine, iii. p. 93) sums up Protestant doctrine as follows:—"He is brought into relation with natural sinfulness, and the impulse to evil thoughts and deeds is ascribed to him. The dominion of evil over men is also represented as a slavery to Satan, and this as punishment. He has his full power in the extra-Christian world. But his power is broken by Christ, and by his word victory over him is to be won. The power of creating anything is also denied the devil, and only the power of corrupting substances is conceded to him. But it is only at the Last Judgment that his power is wholly annihilated; he is himself delivered up to eternal punishment." This belief in the devil was specially strong in Scotland among both clergy and laity in the 17th century. "The devil was always and literally at hand," says Buckle, "he was haunting them, speaking to them, and tempting them. Go where they would he was there."

In more recent times a great variety of opinions has been expressed on this subject. J. S. Semler denied the reality of demonic possession, and held that Christ in his language accommodated himself to the views of the sick whom he was seeking to cure. Kant regarded the devil as a personification of the radical evil in man. Daub in his Judas Ishcarioth argued that a finite evil presupposes an absolute evil, and the absolute evil as real must be in a person. Schelling regarded the devil as, not a person, but a real principle, a spirit let loose by the freedom of man. Schleiermacher was an uncompromising opponent of the common belief. "The problem remains to seek evil rather in self than in Satan, Satan only showing the limits of our self-knowledge." Dorner has formulated a theory which explains the development of the conception of Satan in the Holy Scriptures as in correspondence with an evolution in the character of Satan. "Satan appears in Scripture under four leading characters:—first as the tempter of freedom, who desires to bring to decision, secondly as the accuser, who by virtue of the law retorts criminality on man; thirdly as the instrument of the Divine, which brings evil and death upon men; fourthly and lastly he is described, especially in the New Testament, as the enemy of God and man." He supposes "a change in Satan in the course of the history of the divine revelation, in conflict with which he came step by step to be a sworn enemy of God and man, especially in the New Testament times, in which, on the other hand, his power is broken at the root by Christ." He argues that "the world-order, being in process as a moral order, permits breaches everywhere into which Satan can obtain entrance" (pp. 99, 102). H. L. Martensen gives even freer rein to speculation. "The evil principle," he says, "has in itself no personality, but attains a progressively universal personality in its kingdom; it has no individual personality, save only in individual creatures, who in an especial manner make themselves its organs; but among these is one creature in whom the principle is so hypostasized that he has become the centre and head of the kingdom of evil" (Dogmatics, p. 199). A. Ritschl gives no place in his constructive doctrine to the belief in the devil; but recognizes that the mutual action of individual sinners on one another constitutes a kingdom of sin, opposed to the Kingdom of God (A. E. Garvie, The Ritschlian Theology, p. 304). Kaftan affirms that a "doctrine about Satan can as little be established as about angels, as faith can say nothing about it, and nothing is gained by it for the dogmatic explanation of evil. This whole province must be left to the immediate world-view of the pious. The idea of Satan will on account of the Scriptures not disappear from it, and it would be arrogant to wish to set it aside. Only let everyone keep the thought that Satan also stands under the commission of the Almighty God, and that no one must suppose that by leading back his sins to a Satanic temptation he can get rid of his own guilt. To transgress these limits is to assail faith" (Dogmatik, p. 348). In the book entitled Evil and Evolution there is "an attempt to turn the light of modern science on to the ancient mystery of evil." The author contends that the existence of evil is best explained by assuming that God is confronted with Satan, who in the process of evolution interferes with the divine designs, an interference which the instability of such an evolving process makes not incredible. Satan is, however, held to be a creature who has by abuse of his freedom been estranged from, and opposed to his Creator, and who at last will be conquered by moral means. W. M. Alexander in his book on demonic possession maintains that "the confession of Jesus as the Messiah or Son of God is the classical criterion of genuine demonic possession" (p. 150), and argues that, as "the Incarnation indicated the establishment of the kingdom of heaven upon earth," there took place "a counter movement among the powers of darkness," of which "genuine demonic possession was one of the manifestations" (p. 249).

Interesting as these speculations are, it may be confidently affirmed that belief in Satan is not now generally regarded as an essential article of the Christian faith, nor is it found to be an indispensable element of Christian experience. On the one hand science has so explained many of the processes of outer nature and of the inner life of man as to leave no room for Satanic agency. On the other hand the modern view of the inspiration of the Scriptures does not necessitate the acceptance of the doctrine of the Scriptures on this subject as finally and absolutely authoritative. The teaching of Jesus even in this matter may be accounted for as either an accommodation to the views of those with whom he was dealing, or more probably as a proof of the limitation of knowledge which was a necessary condition of the Incarnation, for it cannot be contended that as revealer of God and redeemer of men it was imperative that he should either correct or confirm men's beliefs in this respect. The possibility of the existence of evil spirits, organized under one leader Satan to tempt man and oppose God, cannot be denied; the sufficiency of the evidence for such evil agency may, however, be doubted; the necessity of any such belief for Christian thought and life cannot, therefore, be affirmed. (See also Demonology; Possession.)  (A. E. G.*) 


DEVIZES, a market town and municipal borough in the Devizes parliamentary division of Wiltshire, England, 86 m. W. by S. of London by the Great Western railway. Pop. (1901) 6532. Its castle was built on a tongue of land flanked by two deep ravines, and behind this the town grew up in a semicircle on a stretch of bare and exposed tableland. Its main streets, in which a few ancient timbered houses are left, radiate from the market place, where stands a Gothic cross, the gift of Lord Sidmouth in 1814. The Kennet and Avon Canal skirts the town on the N., passing over the high ground through a chain of thirty-nine locks. St John's church, one of the most interesting in Wiltshire, is cruciform, with a massive central tower, based upon two round and two pointed arches. It was originally Norman of the 12th century, and the chancel arch and low vaulted chancel, in this style, are very fine. In the interior several ancient monuments of the Suttons and Heathcotes are preserved, besides some beautiful carved stone work, and two rich ceilings of oak over the chapels. St Mary's, a smaller church, is partly Norman, but was rebuilt in the 15th and again in the 19th century. Its lofty clerestoried nave has an elaborately carved timber roof, and the south porch, though repaired in 1612, preserves its Norman mouldings. The woollen industries of Devizes have lost their prosperity; but there is a large grain trade, with engineering works, breweries, and manufactures of silk, snuff, tobacco and agricultural implements. The town is governed by a mayor, six aldermen and eighteen councillors. Area, 906 acres.

Devizes (Divisis, la Devise, De Vies) does not appear in any historical document prior to the reign of Henry I., when the construction of a castle of exceptional magnificence by Roger, bishop of Salisbury, at once constituted the town an important political centre, and led to its speedy development. After the