THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER - SATAN
How has an American genius in literature considered this world, the human history, and the relationship between mankind and God?
THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGERSo, human beings could have destroyed themselves through wars. Strong people, strong groups, strong communities, and strong nations must have destroyed weak people, weak groups, weak communities, and weak nations. And then only the strongest might have remained, but they should have killed themselves eventually. A million years later, only forlorn graves and scattered bones might tell that once mankind has lived on this earth.
by Mark Twain
One day, a little while after this, Satan appeared again. We were always watching out for him, for life was never very stagnant when he was by. He came upon us at that place in the woods where we had first met him. Being boys, we wanted to be entertained; we asked him to do a show for us.
"Very well," he said; "would you like to see a history of the progress of the human race?—its development of that product which it calls civilization?"
We said we should.
So, with a thought, he turned the place into the Garden of Eden, and we saw Abel praying by his altar; then Cain came walking toward him with his club, and did not seem to see us, and would have stepped on my foot if I had not drawn it in. He spoke to his brother in a language which we did not understand; then he grew violent and threatening, and we knew what was going to happen, and turned away our heads for the moment; but we heard the crash of the blows and heard the shrieks and the groans; then there was silence, and we saw Abel lying in his blood and gasping out his life, and Cain standing over him and looking down at him, vengeful and unrepentant.
Then the vision vanished, and was followed by a long series of unknown wars, murders, and massacres. Next we had the Flood, and the Ark tossing around in the stormy waters, with lofty mountains in the distance showing veiled and dim through the rain. Satan said:
"The progress of your race was not satisfactory. It is to have another chance now."
The scene changed, and we saw Noah overcome with wine.
Next, we had Sodom and Gomorrah, and "the attempt to discover two or three respectable persons there," as Satan described it. Next, Lot and his daughters in the cave.
Next came the Hebraic wars, and we saw the victors massacre the survivors and their cattle, and save the young girls alive and distribute them around.
Next we had Jael; and saw her slip into the tent and drive the nail into the temple of her sleeping guest; and we were so close that when the blood gushed out it trickled in a little, red stream to our feet, and we could have stained our hands in it if we had wanted to.
Next we had Egyptian wars, Greek wars, Roman wars, hideous drenchings of the earth with blood; and we saw the treacheries of the Romans toward the Carthaginians, and the sickening spectacle of the massacre of those brave people. Also we saw Caesar invade Britain—"not that those barbarians had done him any harm, but because he wanted their land, and desired to confer the blessings of civilization upon their widows and orphans," as Satan explained.
Next, Christianity was born. Then ages of Europe passed in review before us, and we saw Christianity and Civilization march hand in hand through those ages, "leaving famine and death and desolation in their wake, and other signs of the progress of the human race," as Satan observed.
And always we had wars, and more wars, and still other wars—all over Europe, all over the world. "Sometimes in the private interest of royal families," Satan said, "sometimes to crush a weak nation; but never a war started by the aggressor for any clean purpose—there is no such war in the history of the race."
"Now," said Satan, "you have seen your progress down to the present, and you must confess that it is wonderful—in its way. We must now exhibit the future."
He showed us slaughters more terrible in their destruction of life, more devastating in their engines of war, than any we had seen.
"You perceive," he said, "that you have made continual progress. Cain did his murder with a club; the Hebrews did their murders with javelins and swords; the Greeks and Romans added protective armor and the fine arts of military organization and generalship; the Christian has added guns and gunpowder; a few centuries from now he will have so greatly improved the deadly effectiveness of his weapons of slaughter that all men will confess that without Christian civilization war must have remained a poor and trifling thing to the end of time."
Then he began to laugh in the most unfeeling way, and make fun of the human race, although he knew that what he had been saying shamed us and wounded us. No one but an angel could have acted so; but suffering is nothing to them; they do not know what it is, except by hearsay.
Yet, God intervened. Abraham was blessed. Moses was supported. Jesus came as a son of man, the Son of God, and nobody but God. Islam was given. And thus there came to be achieved a balance between evil and good in the human world. In this way, the human history can survive in these 4,000 years since the emergence of Abraham.
As for Mark Twain, if he had been happy, he had to deal with unhappy people. If he had been living a happy life, he had to deal with tragic aspects of the world. Otherwise. he would have become a simple foolish and rich servant of Satan like every successful rich man is.
But, suffering of others is nothing to you, you cannot understand the mysterious stranger.
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Gal 4:17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.
Gal 4:18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
Gal 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,