Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

good and evil, to be the supreme beings, without acknowledging the great God who is superior to both. And I doubt not it was from hence that Zoroaster had the hint of mending this great absurdity in their theology; But to avoid making God the author of evil, his doctrine was, that God originally and directly created only light or good, and that darkness or evil followed it by consequence, as the shadow doth the person; that light or good had only a real production from God, and the other afterwards resulted from it, as the defect thereof. In sum, his doctrine as to this particular was, that there was one supreme Being independent and self-existing from all eternity. That under him there were two angels, one the angel of light, who is the author and director of all good; and the other the angel of darkness, who is the author and director of all evil; and that these two, out of the mixture of light and darkness, made all things that are; that they are in a perpetual struggle with each other; and that where the angel of light prevails, there the most is good, and where the angel of darkness prevails, there the most is evil; that this struggle shall continue to the end of the world ; that then there shall be a general resurrection, and a day of judgment, wherein just retribution shall be rendered to all according to their works; after which the angel of darkness, and his disciples, shall go into a world. of their own, where they shall suffer in everlasting darkness the punishments of their evil deeds; and the angel of light, and his disciples, shall also go into a world of their own, where they shall receive an everlasting light the reward due unto their good deeds ; and that after this they shall remain separated for ever, and light and darkness be no more mixed together to all eternity. And all this the remainder of that sect, which is now in Persia and India, do without

any variation, after so many ages, still hold even to this day."

On these extracts, and other things stated in the pages referred to, I shall make a few general remarks. Zoroaster being a Jew, well acquainted with the Jewish scriptures, and skilled in all the learning of the East, was preeminently qualified for the game of imposture which he played. He did not invent religion, but only revived and improved the ancient Magian religion. As Prideaux says-- Hegrafted all his new scions on this old stock and they grew.” The Magian religion “had been for many ages past the ancient national religion of the Medes as well as of the Persians." Zoroaster's improved system soon became popular, national, and generally universal in the East. Though at first, it met with great opposition from the Sabians, yet he soon drew over to it Darius, whose example was soon followed by the "courtiers, nobility, and all the great men of the kingdom." The time in which he flourished was while Darius Hystaspis was king of Persia.” The sect flourished from his time, which, to “the death of Yazdejard, the last Persian king of the Magian religion, was about eleven hundred years. But after the Mahometans had overrun Persia, in the seventh century after Christ, the Archimagus was forced to remove from thence into Kerman, which is a province in Persia lying upon the Southern Ocean, towards India and there it bath continued even to this day." But for these and other important statements I must generally refer to Prideaux's account. Malte Brun says this sect exists in Africa, and that in Congo6. The good principle is named Zamba M-Poonga; and the evil principle which is opposed to him, Caddee M-Peemba.” Geog. B. 68. pp. 274, 328. Impostor as Zoroaster was, he did not choose to make “God the author of evil.” His conscience appears

to have been more scrupulous than that of some Chris. tians, who say, God positively hardened Pharaoh's heart, and that he influences men to sin. To avoid this absurdity he held" that God originally and directly created only light or good, and that darkness or evil followed it by consequence, as the shadow doth the person: that light or good had only a real production from God, and the other afterwards resulted from it as the defect thereof.” But, we shall notice some of the articles of Zoroaster's creed, more immediately connected with our present subject, and compare them with the articles found in Christian creeds of the present day.

1st. Zoroaster taught, that under the supreme God “there were two angels, one the angel of light, who is the author and director of all good, and the other the angel of darkness, who is the author and director of all evil.” It is very evident that his “angel of darkness," answers to the devil of Christians, for they believe their devil to be the author and director of all evil. They believe he was its author at first in deceiving Eve, and has been its author and director ever since. Both moral and physical evil are ascribed to him. The resemblance between them, is not only evident as it respects the powers and qualities both are said to possess, but the very name given to them. It is well known, that Christians call their devil, “the angel of darkness.” Between Zoroaster's “angel of darkness, and the devil of Christians, I can perceive little or no difference. If there be any, we should be glad to see it pointed out. The Magians first deified the principle of evil, then Zoroaster changed this god into an angel of darkness, and Christians have adopted him for their devil; and lest his origin should be lost in the lapse of ages, have called him by the same

But the resemblance is further manifest, by considering, that the angel of light and the angel of

name.

darkness « are in a perpetual struggle with each other ; and that where the angel of light prevails, there the most is good, and where the angel of darkness prevails, there the most is evil; and that this struggle shall continue to the end of the world.” I ask all candid Christians, if this is not what they believe concerning their devil? Is it not their faith and their phraseology, that God and the devil are in a perpetual struggle? That this struggle, shall continue between them unto the end of the world, and that God finally shall overcome the devil ? Who can deny all this? And what Christian man can have the face to deny that Christians have made a devil out of Zoroaster's angel of darkness, for it was impossible he could make his angel of darkness out of their devil. It is also apparent, that Christians believe as Zoroaster has taught them," that where the angel of light or the good God prevails, there the most is good, and where the angel of darkness, or their devil prevails, there the most is evil.” Prideaux, considers it a great absurdity in the ancient Magian religion, that

light and darkness, or good and evil were the supreme beings, without acknowledging the great good God who is superior to both.” But is the absurdity much less among Christians in holding to one Supreme God, and a devil whom they make but little inferior to him. It is true, they have not two gods in name, for they do not believe in the devil as a god. But what signifies a mere name, when in fact they ascribe to him all the characteristics of a God, yea the very same as the ancient Magians ascribed to their evil god, and Zoroaster to his angel of darkness. Their devil struggles with the true God, and is in a continual struggle with him, and is not to give it up until the end of the world. In all past ages, they say that their devil has had the ascendancy in this strug

gle, for evil hitherto has most prevailed. See Mr. Emerson's treatise on the Milennium.

I would suggest it for consideration, whether Zoroaster's “ angel of light," is not a corruption of the Scripture doctrine concerning the Messiah. He is called the angel of the Lord, and the angel of the covenant. Between him and the seed of the serpent there is a continual struggle, and this struggle is to continue to the end of the world, when all things shall be subdued to him. But, though he was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, yea, through death to destroy the devil, this devil was not a “fallen angel,” or “an angel of darkness,” or “an evil god," as we shall see Section 6. Paul, 2 Cor. xi. 14. seems to allude to this tenet of Zoroaster's creed, in saying, satan is transformed into an angel of light.". It is implied, that before this transformation he was “an angel of darkness," which are the very expressions used by Zoroaster. See on this text, Section 5.

2d. Let us now consider, what Zoroaster says shall take place at the end of the world, and compare it with the creeds of most Christians. He says

"then there shall be a general resurrection.” This article Zoroaster no doubt learned from his acquaintance with the Jewish Scriptures, for the resurrection from the dead, was the ultimate hope of believers in Christ, who was promised to the fathers. At this resurrection, he says there shall be “a day of judgment.” This, Zoroaster could not learn from the old Testament, for it does not teach such a doctrine, and when he made his creed, the New was not in existence. The phrase “ day of judgment,” used by him, is that now used by Christians, and in the same sense as he used it. In my answer to Mr. Sabine, I examined every text in which this phrase is found, and showed, that it is not once used in the Bible, in the sense which Zoroaster and Christians have attached to

« PreviousContinue »