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world, but some infernal spirit from the dark world of woe. If wicked men were not infatuated, they could not think to obtain relief from trouble by plunging theniselves into sin ; nor could they entertain a hope of heaven while they live in the service of the God and prince of this world,
To consult with this woman Saul came in disguise: “And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and lie went and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night.” In vain however did he attempt to conceal himself: Satan, whose agent the woman was, soon discovered him to her. No sooner had she commenced her sorceries, than it was revealed to her by Satan that he who thus applied to her was the king of Israel. The woman, struck with alarm, started and exclaimed, “Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.” Who would not have expected that Saul, on finding himself discovered, would have been filled with fear and shame, and would have desisted from his purpose? Instead of this, however, he encourages her whom he ought to have condemned, and says,
“Be not afraid, for what sawest thou ?” He who had cause to fear for himself, cheers her up who feared nothing but himself. A
A person bent on a dark purpose will conceal himself if he can, and as long as he can; but if he be discovered, he will assume an air of bravery, and bid defiance to danger and shame.
Satan possessed over Saul a decided advantage. He also disguised himself, but Saul could not discover him.
When the woman started and cried out, Saul inquired, “ What sawest thou ?” She replied, “I saw gods ascending out of the earth.” It might have been expected that the hair of Saul would have stood erect upon his head, that the joints of his loins would have been loosed, and that his knees would have smote one against the other, to hear of a spirit raised. But sin had so hardened his heart, as to render him past feeling alarm. He heard of an apparition, and he hastily inquired, “ What form is he of?” The woman said, “ An old man cometh up, and he is covered with a mantle.” It does not appear that Saul saw the apparition, but from the description which the woman gave, he “perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.” So complete was the disguise of Satan, as to deceive Saul, and to receive from him that reverence in Samuel now dead, which he refused to pay to God in Samuel when alive.
That Satan, by the divine permission, should be able to personate Samuel is not strange, since he can “ transform himself into an angel of light.” Nor is it strange that he on this occasion should be permitted to personate Samuel, since God thereby designed to accomplish his purpose respecting Saul, in the punishment of his sin and the destruction of his person and throne. Satan assumed not only the appearance of Samuel, but the tongue, and he addresses Saul gravely, severely, and divinely.
With what gravity does Satan here speak. Why hast thou disquieted me to bring me up ?” How could Saul suppose that this apparition could be any other than that of Samuel, coming as it did in the habit of a judge, and speaking as it did in Samuel's well-known tongue? No earthly eye could distinguish between the garb of the true Samuel, and that in which this false spirit came; nor could any earthly ear distinguish between the voice of the one and the voice of the other. We have here an instance of the just and awful judgment of God, Saul had wickedly departed from God, and therefore God gave him up to his own heart's lusts. Saul was willing to be deceived, and therefore God brought his delusions upon him. Saul retained not the love of the truth, and therefore God gave him up to believe a lie. How ought we to guard against departing from God, against trifling with and stifling convictions, and against the indulgence of sin and error, lest God should say of us, “Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone.” There are many in every age of whom God says as of Israel of old, “But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.”
“ Hear the just law, the judgment of the skies,
We may also here see how exactly Satan can act out a character. Saul applied to the witch of Endor to bring him up Samuel. Satan, whose agent she was, assumed at her call the person of Samuel, and performed the character well. Whatever view we take of Satan's position, whether we view him as confined to the prison of hell, occupying there a burning throne; or whether we view him, by the divine permission,
going to and fro in the earth,” “ seeking rest and finding none;" or whether we view him as ranging through the regions of air, held by the Almighty in an adamantine chain of penal fire; it could be no disquietude to him to be
brought forward on the stage to converse with Saul. But if Samuel, whose soul was in heaven, and whose body was reposing peacefully in the grave, under the superintendence of Him who has the keys of hell and death, had been brought back to earth, it would have been to him a great disquietude. Aware of this, and acting in the character of Samuel, Satan gravely asks, “Why hast thou disquieted me to bring me up?" Satan cares not how little he is known as himself. By assuming disguise he can best effect his purposes. It was not in his own, but in the serpent's form, that he beguiled Eve, and ruined man.
To this counterfeit Samuel, Saul makes his doleful complaint. “ And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.” To this complaint of Saul, Satan makes a severe reply : “ Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the Lord hath done to him as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David. Because thou