Bitten by this serpent's tooth
(J. C. Philpot, "The
Destruction through Death
of Him Who Had the Power of Death" 1858)
No man has ever sounded the depths of the fall.
The children of God have indeed discoveries of the
evil of sin. And they have such views at times of
the desperate wickedness and awful depravity of
human nature, that they seem as if filled with
unspeakable horror at the hideous enormity of
the corruption that works in their carnal mind.
But no man has ever seen, as no man ever can see,
in this time-state, what sin is to its full extent, and
as it will be hereafter developed in the depths of hell.
We may indeed in our own experience see something
of its commencement; but we can form little idea of
its progress, and still less of its termination. For sin
has this peculiar feature attending it, that it ever
spreads and spreads until it involves everything
that it touches in utter ruin.
We may compare it in this point of view to the
venom-fang of a serpent. There are serpents of
so venomous a kind, as for instance the Cobra
de Capello, or hooded snake, that the introduction
of the minutest portion of venom from their poison
tooth will in a few hours convert all the fluids of
the body into a mass of putrefaction. A man shall
be in perfect health one hour, and bitten by this
serpent's tooth shall in the next, be a loathsome
mass of rottenness and corruption. Such is sin.
The introduction of sin into the nature of Adam at
the fall was like the introduction of poison from the
fang of a deadly serpent into the human body. It at
once penetrated into his soul and body, and filled
both with death and corruption.
Or, to use a more scriptural figure, sin may be
compared to the disease of leprosy, which usually
began with a "bright spot," or "rising in the skin",
scarcely perceptible, and yet spread and spread
until it enveloped every member, and the whole
body becoming a mass of putrefying hideous
Or sin may be compared to a cancer, which begins
perhaps with a little lump causing a slight itching,
but goes on feeding upon the part which it attacks,
until the patient dies worn out with pain and suffering.
Now if sin be . . .
this venom fang,
this spreading leprosy,
this loathsome cancer;
if its destructive power be so great that, unless
arrested and healed, it will destroy body and soul
alike in hell, the remedy for it, if remedy there be,
must be as great as the malady. Thus if there be . . .
a cure for sin,
a remedy for the fall,
a deliverance from the wrath to come,
it must be at least as full and as complete
as the ruin which sin has entailed upon us.
The man who has slight, superficial views and feelings
of sin will have equally slight and superficial views of
the atonement made for sin. The groans of Christ will
never sound in his ears as the dolorous groans of an
agonizing Lord; the sufferings of Christ will never be
opened up to his soul as the sorrows of Immanuel, God
with us; the death of Christ will never be viewed by him,
as the blood shedding of the darling Son of God. While
he has such slight, superficial views of the malady, his
views of the remedy will be equally slight and superficial.
As we are led down into a spiritual knowledge of self
and sin, so we are led up into a gracious knowledge
of the Lord Jesus Christ.
By suffering all the penalties of our sin, Jesus redeems
us from the lowest hell and raises us up to the highest
heaven--empowering poor worms of earth to soar above
the skies and live forever in the presence of Him who
is a consuming fire!
"And she will have a son, and you are to name Him
Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."