Fool, monster, beast or devil?
(by John Newton, author of "Amazing Grace")
There is indeed a difference among men, but it is
owing to the restraints of Divine Providence, without
which earth would be the very image of hell. Education
and self interest, fear and shame, human laws, and
the secret power of God over the mind, combine to
form many characters that are 'externally decent and
respectable'. And even the most abandoned are under
a restraint which prevents them from manifesting a
thousandth part of the wickedness which is in their hearts.
But the heart itself is universally
deceitful, and desperately wicked!
Man, with all his boasted understanding and attainments,
is a fool; so long as he is destitute of the
saving grace of
God. His conduct, as to his most important concernments,
is more absurd and inconsistent then that of the lowest idiot.
Man is a fool.
The most admired philosophers, legislators, logicians,
orators, and artists, are as destitute as infants of that
knowledge which alone deserves the name of true wisdom.
Professing themselves to be wise they became fools.
There is no fool like the sinner, who prefers the toys
of earth to the happiness of heaven, who is held in
bondage by the customs of the world, and is more
afraid of the breath of man, then the wrath of God.
Man in his fallen estate is a monster; a
stupid, obstinate, and mischievous creature; no words
can fully describe him. With respect to his affections
and pursuits, he is degraded far below the beasts!
Man in his natural state is a beast, yes
beasts that perish. In two things he strongly resembles
them: in looking no higher then to sensual gratifications,
and in that selfishness of spirit which prompts him to
propose himself and his own interest as his proper and
But in many respects he sinks sadly beneath them. Men
are worse than beasts in their obstinacy; they will not
be warned. If a beast escapes from a trap he will be
cautious how he goes near it again, and in vain is the
net spread in the sight of any bird. But man, though he
is often reproved, hardens his neck; he rushes upon his
ruin with his eyes open, and can defy God to his face,
and dare damnation.
And as for malignity and wickedness of his will, can
be compared to nothing so properly as the devil.
resembles Satan in pride; this stupid, weak creature
values himself upon his wisdom, power, and virtue,
and will talk of being saved by his good works.
I have drawn but a sketch, a few outlines of the
picture of fallen man. To give an exact copy of him,
to charge every feature with it's full aggravation of
horror, and to paint him as he is, would be impossible.
Fallen men take different courses, but all are traveling
down to the pit; and, unless sovereign mercy interpose,
will soon sink to rise no more.
But Jesus is mighty to save. His grace can pardon
the most aggravated offenses, and subdue the most
inveterate habits of sin.