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The Harvard Religious Union held its fourth public meeting in Holden Chapel last night, at which Dr. C. C. Everett of the Divinity School gave a lecture on "The Devil."
All people, Dr. Everett said, have recognized the idea of malignant spirits; we find them in almost every nation at almost every time.
In order to have a devil, however, there must be a sharp distinction between good and evil. The evil one is always thought of as opposed to the good, and his realm is one of selfishness as opposed to the divine realm of love.
The Jews unquestionably received their idea of the devil at the time of their captivity. He is not spoken of in Genesis, although some regard the serpent in the Garden of Eden as a symbol of the devil. The first mention of Satan is made in Job, which, it is claimed, was written at the time of the captivity. In this book Satan is still an angel and has not yet become a tempter. The next mention of him is in Zechariah; and in Chronicles the idea of him is complete. The introduction of the idea of a devil made the grand ruler more exalted. After that all evil deeds were represented as the work of the devil and the divine Being was surrounded by nothing to mar its beauty.
That the idea of a devil has been a patent influence in moral development can not be doubted. In the struggle against sin it has given definiteness to the blows that they were struck against an enemy. But now the evil one is gone although the evil ones remain. In the time to come, people will do well if they fight evil with such vigor as our forefathers fought the devil.
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