Question 1.But how comes Satan to this princi­pality?

Answer.  Not lawfully, though he can show a fair claim.  As,

1. He obtained it by  conquest; as he won his crown, so he wears it by power and policy.  But con­quest is a cracked title.  A thief is not the honester because able to force the traveller to deliver his purse; and a thief on the throne is no better than a private one on the road, or a pirate in a pinnace, as one boldly told Alexander.  Neither doth that prove good with process of time which was evil at first.  Satan indeed hath kept possession long, but a thief will be so as long as he keeps his stolen goods.  He stole the heart of Adam from God at first, and doth no better to this day.  Christ’s conquest is good, because the ground of the war is righteous—to recover what was his own; while Satan cannot say of the meanest creature, ‘It is my own.’

2. Satan may lay claim to his principality by elec­tion.  It is true he came in by a wile, but now he is a prince elect, by the unanimous voice of corrupt na­ture.  ‘Ye are of your father the devil,’ saith Christ, ‘and his lusts ye will do.’  But this also hath a flaw in it, for man by law of creation is God’s subject, and cannot give away God’s right; by sin he loseth his right in God as a protector, but God loseth not his right as a sovereign.  Sin disabled man to keep God’s law, but it doth not enfranchise or disoblige him that he need not keep it.

3. Satan may claim a deed of gift from God him­self, as he was bold to do to Christ himself upon this ground, persuading him to worship him as the prince of the world.  He showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world, saying, ‘All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it,’ Luke 4:5, 6.  Here was a truth, though he spake more than the truth—as he cannot speak truth, but to gain credit to some lie at the end of it.  God, indeed, hath delivered, in a sense, this world to him, but not in his sense to do what he will with it; nor by any approbatory act given him a patent to vouch him his viceroy: not Satan by the grace of God, but by permission of God, prince of this world.

Question 2.  But why doth God permit this apostate creature to exercise such a principality over the world?

Answer 1. As a righteous act of vengeance on man, for revolting from the sweet government of his rightful Lord and Maker.  It is the way God punish­eth rebellion: ‘Because ye would not serve me in gladness, in the abundance of all things, therefore ye shall serve your enemies in hunger,’ &c.  Satan is a king given in God’s wrath.  Ham’s curse is man’s punishment; ‘a servant of servants.’  The devil is God’s slave, man the devil’s.  Sin hath set the devil on the creature’s back; and now he hurries him with­out mercy, as he did the swine, till he be choked with flames, if mercy interpose not.

Answer 2. God permits this his principality, in order to the glorifying of his name in the recovery of his elect from the power of this great potentate. What a glorious name will God have when he hath finished this war, wherein, at first, he found all possessed by this enemy, and not a man of all the sons of Adam to offer himself as a volunteer in this service, till made willing by the day of his power!  This, this will gain God a name above every name, not only of creatures, but of those by which himself was known to his crea­ture.  The workmanship of heaven and earth gave him the name of Creator; providence of Preserver; but this of Saviour.  Herein he doth both the former; preserve his creature, which else had been lost; and create a new creature—I mean the babe of grace —which, through God, shall be able to beat the devil out of the field, who was able to drive Adam, though created in his full stature, out of paradise.  And may not all the other works of God empty themselves as rivers into this sea, losing their names, or rather swelling into one of redemption?  Had not Satan taken God’s elect prisoners, they would not have gone to heaven with such acclamations of triumph.  There are three expressions of great joy in Scripture; the joy of a woman after her travail, the joy of harvest, and the joy of him that divideth the spoil.  The exultation of all these is wrought upon a sad ground, many a pain and tear it costs the travailing woman, many a fear the husbandman, perils and wounds the soldier, before they come at their joy; but at last they are paid for all, the remembrance of their past sorrows feeding their present joys.  Had Christ come and entered into affinity with our nature, and returned peaceably to heaven with his spouse, finding no resistance, though that would have been admirable love, and would have afforded the joy of marriage, yet this way of carrying his saints to heaven will greaten the joy, as it adds to the nuptial song the triumph of a conqueror, who hath rescued his bride out of the hands of Satan, as he was leading her to the chambers of hell.

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