The Grace of Christ, or,
Sinners Saved by Unmerited Kindness
William S. Plumer, 1853
"We believe it is through the grace of our
Lord Jesus that we are saved." Acts 15:11
WICKED MEN ARE LIKE DEVILS
"You are the children of your father the Devil, and you
love to do the evil things he does." John 8:44
Such is the sad state of man by nature, that he bears a
fearful resemblance to devils--the fallen angels. This truth is very abasing
to human pride. To declare it, is a high offence in the judgment of many men
of uncircumcised ears and hearts. They wait not to ask what is meant by it,
nor what are the evidences of its truth. They instantly repel the charge
with indignation. This truth, like any other, may be announced in an
offensive manner; but it is a truth, which must never be given up. No one
asserts that unrenewed men now on earth are as wicked as they possibly can
be. If they live a day longer in sin, they will be worse. And if they go to
eternity without a change of heart, they will be far, far worse. Continuance
in sin hardens the heart, and makes men more and more reckless and
desperate. "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse." Satan himself
is more hardened and more malignant than when he first revolted. No man all
of a sudden sinks to the lowest depths of debasement.
Of course it is not asserted that men are now as bad as
devils. Man has not time on earth to work out such completeness of evil as
his elder brethren, who fell into sin, have attained. Moreover, most men
have some degree of conscience, some natural affection, some regard to the
proprieties of life, and some hope of future repentance, which restrain
their evil natures. And yet unconverted men are like devils in the sense in
which a child is like a man, or a cub like a lion. Let us see. All admit
that devils have no holiness. In this wicked men are precisely like them.
They do not love God's law, or nature, or government. They are alienated
from him, and opposed to all his attributes and authority. They do not
glorify him, do not delight in him, do not find pleasure in thinking on his
name. They choose sin and death, rather than holiness and life. "The carnal
mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither
indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."
Devils do not please God, neither do unconverted men.
Neither class intends nor desires to please him. Fallen angels are without
God in their prison-house; and unconverted men are without God in the world.
Neither devils nor fallen men feel towards God, as loyal subjects towards a
prince, as faithful servants to a master, as dutiful children to a father.
The lack of truth is a great sin among fallen angels and fallen men. Satan
is a deceiver, a slanderer, an accuser of the brethren, a liar and the
father of lies. Men also are deceivers. They lay snares privily. They use
cunning craftiness. They practice intrigue, imposture, and equivocation.
They love and make a lie. They are a lie. "They delight in lies." The wicked
are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born,
speaking lies. All the hopes of wicked men are but "refuges of lies," and
the last day will show it.
Satan is cruel, unrelenting, and a murderer from the
beginning. He delights in scenes of blood. His trade is to murder souls.
Wicked men are murderers. They hate one another. They hate the just. They
shed innocent blood. They murder souls. They have no compassion for the
perishing: "He who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no
murderer has eternal life abiding in him."
More than twice the whole number of inhabitants of the
United States in 1852, that is, more than fifty million people have been
murderously put to death in the last eighteen hundred years, simply because
they professed to love the truth of God and the Savior of sinners. Laws,
public opinion, and God's providence now restrain many, but the heart of
unrenewed man is as wicked as it ever was. It hates holiness, wherever seen.
Those men who go about murdering souls by teaching false
doctrine, are peculiarly like the great destroyer. Satan is a robber. He
would rob men of their salvation, Christ of his crown, and God of his glory.
He plotted and instigated the robbery, which the Sabeans perpetrated upon
Job. He is the great patron of pirates, burglars and thieves--and wicked men
do his bidding. They oppress, defraud, and rob one another. They do more.
They defraud the Almighty. "Will a man rob God? yet you have robbed me in
tithes and offerings."
Devils are greedy of sin and delight in wickedness.
Wicked men are just so. "They sleep not except they have done some
mischief." "They draw iniquity with a cart-rope." "They are mad upon their
idols." They have pleasure in those who do iniquity. They delight themselves
in vanity. They are bent on backsliding. Satan is a tempter and so are
wicked men. He would have Job curse God and die; so his wife invites him to
the horrid deed. He gives the text, "You shall not surely die," and the
Universalist takes it up and goes through the land, promising life to the
wicked, salvation to the impenitent, heaven to the unbelieving.
In some things, the ungodly do what devils never did.
They reject mercy and grace, kindly offered to them by the Lord. Devils
never did that. You say, They never had the opportunity. True, but they
never did it. Neither did they ever laugh at eternity, judgment and
damnation. They have too fearful a sense of the wrath of God to be able to
mock and jest at these most dreadful things.
If these things are so, then we understand something of
the import of our Savior's words to the wicked of his day: "You are the
children of your father the Devil, and you love to do the evil things he
does." John 8:44. How dreadful is sin! It converts angels into devils and
men into fiends! There is no unfitness in the arrangement which God has made
for having one great prison-house for all his incorrigible foes. The very
place prepared for the devil and his angels, will be the abode of finally
impenitent men. How dreadful will hell be, filled up with outlaws, robbers,
murderers, liars, hypocrites, wretches, enemies of God and of all
righteousness, from among angels and men.
And how startling is the thought that devils have
stronger emotions pertaining to religion than some wicked men. "The devils
believe and tremble." How many sinners neither believe nor tremble! And how
many others who seem to believe, laugh at things which lay hold on eternity!