"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between
your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His
heel." Genesis 3:15
We look around us, and we see the world full of sin. We
look within us, and we find hearts full of the same sad plague. It is a
terrible fact—and we ask with a sigh, how did evil gain this rule?
God's word only can give the answer. We there read, that one in the form of
a serpent enticed our first parents, and, by prevailing, changed their
nature. But who is this serpent? We further learn that it is the devil. He
thus disguised himself, that he might deceive. The Bible does not close,
until this truth is left beyond a doubt. It is twice written, "that old
serpent, who is the Devil and Satan." The moving cause, then, of our being
born in sin, and living in sin, stands confessed—it is the Devil.
He obtained his first power over our race by deceiving.
He continues that power by deceiving still. His main art is to keep us blind
concerning himself, and concerning the great Deliverer. I am sure of this,
because I see many who pass all their days without one real thought, that
they have a foe always near, plotting their misery. They hear and perhaps
speak of him, as though he were an empty name, and not a mighty and most
malignant power. Reader! this may be your case. If so, turn not, I humbly
implore you, from a few words, which, by God's grace, may be light to your
darkness, and life to your captive soul.
Consider the nature of Satan. His titles show it.
He is the 'prince of this world'. Therefore his sway is world-wide. All the
millions of our race, without one exception, were born his slaves. They
entered life with his chains around their hands, and with his throne erected
in their hearts. Can they gain freedom for themselves? No. His guards are
too many and his fetters too strong. Do they desire it? No. The will, by
nature, chooses his service. Jesus warns, "You are of your father the Devil,
and the lusts of your father you will do." He is the god of this
world. He sets up the idol of fame, or pleasure, or money; and men fall down
and worship it. He opens his churches, and decks them with attractive show,
and serves therein a pleasing cup of error, and multitudes go in to learn
his creed. He is leader of countless troops.
There is not a spot, not a house, in all the world, which
he leaves unoccupied. Do we go forth? we are surrounded. Do we seek
solitude? we are followed. In the courts of God—in the place of
gathering—his vassals swarm around us. We read of a legion in one person.
How vast then must be the collected army! Hence there is a sense in which
omnipresence is his; because there is no place, which some of his
emissaries do not fill. So, too, omniscience may be claimed for him;
because there is nothing, which some ear does not hear for him. Whatever be
our acts, he beholds; whatever be our words, he hears. He is a spirit.
Therefore he has access to the secret places of the heart. He can
plant the seeds of all evil in the mind. If we close the outward gates of
sense, he can still come in, and defile the thoughts, and make every
imagination as wicked as himself. He entered into Judas Iscariot. He filled
the heart of Ananias. Reader! has he not often made lodgment within you? Oh!
think, then, why is not your lodgment among his slain ones!
He is as crafty as he is strong. His real
design is seldom known, until his bait is taken. His web is not seen,
until the victim is entangled. The hidden pit is only discovered by the
fall. He has been employed in the same work for nearly six thousand years.
Therefore he well understands his tools, and the materials on
which he works. He is studying our tempers and characters all the day long.
We know little of ourselves—he knows us perfectly. He sees the weak
point—the fitting time—and accordingly he lays the snare.
Gehazi little thought that Naaman's visit would be
the tempter's trap. Hezekiah as little thought that the embassy from
Babylon would unmask his vain-glory. A question from a servant girl in a
moment plunges Peter into cowardly guilt. Reader! ever watch, ever
pray, if you would escape temptation. This is a dark picture. Who can
view it, and not tremble? But, though fearful, it is only a faint outline
of the mighty and cruel enemy of souls.
Give ear now to the tidings which I proceed to proclaim.
Though he is strong, there is One far stronger. Though he is great,
there is One gloriously greater. Though he is mighty, there is one
Almighty. Though he is wily, there is One who is All-wisdom. Though
he is many, there is one Infinite. Though he is a captivator,
he has been taken captive. Though he is an enslaver, he has become a
slave. Though he forges chains, he is enchained. Though he has
brought low, he lies low. Though he is a conqueror, he has been
The blessed Jesus comes a Conqueror, a Deliverer, a
Redeemer, a Savior. He treads down the devil, and gives deliverance,
redemption, salvation to all the children of men, who stand under His banner
of victory. Reader! perhaps you are one of anxious spirit, and are not
ignorant of many tremblings, lest at last you should perish by the hands of
this foe. If so, how eagerly you will say, Give me proof that Jesus crushes
this tyrant's power. All praise be to the God of grace! proofs abound.
Listen to the voice of the Lord God in Eden. "He," the Seed of the Woman,
the Lord Jesus, "shall bruise your head." Did not God know what would
happen? He did. Can God speak, and His word not come to pass? Impossible!
Then this fact is true—the serpent's head must be bruised by Jesus. Take
comfort, then; take courage. Man was scarcely ruined, when he who ruined
him, was doomed to ruin. The savage joy of having marred
creation's beauty was only felt, to be turned into the writhings of hopeless
rage. Success was despair. He removed his foot from the neck of fallen man,
and fled from the garden with the undying sound echoing in his ears, "He
shall bruise your head." Such was the sure sentence of God.
Now take a case which shows that Satan's power has indeed
a power above it. You know the story of Abel. He trod this earth a
fallen being, as we are—hated by Satan, as we are—exposed to all his wiles,
as we are. But he trusted in the promised seed for escape; Satan could not
hold him. His early death, by a murderer's hand, landed him not in the
kingdom of hell, but of God. Thus the first soul which left a human
body, proved that Jesus could rescue the prey out of the destroyer's jaws.
You know, too, the story of Enoch. He was a man of
like nature with us, born in corruption. You cannot doubt that Satan shot
his every arrow at him. But his soul received no fatal wound. It was guarded
by faith in the coming Savior. By faith in this promise he walked with God.
By faith he mounted to heaven—another jewel in the Conqueror's crown. In the
same way, all the holy men of the old world found that there was
shelter and safety under the wing of the promised Conqueror. One promise
convinced them, and gave them life. How many testimonies tell you of this
rescue! Oh, let them not teach in vain!
But, in fullness of time, the Conqueror appears in
human form. Satan knows Him well. He heard the voice from heaven, "This is
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." He makes one desperate effort to
obtain the mastery. The blessed Jesus meets the conflict. Every advantage of
outward circumstance is given to the adversary. He draws from his quiver his
often-tried and most successful darts. He musters his strength and all his
skill. His empire depends on the outcome. The most that hell can do, is
done. But all in vain. Each blow falls harmless before the Word of the Lord.
The devil quits the field, baffled and beaten. He finds himself held down by
the chain, "He shall bruise your head."
He makes one effort more. He stirs up wicked men to seize
and nail the blessed Jesus to the cross. When the Woman's Seed bows His head
and dies; the enemy seems to triumph. But the end of the combat shows
where the victory is. If Satan is the stronger, let him keep Jesus in the
grave; let the prison detain the prisoner. But it does not—it cannot. Jesus
bursts the doors—comes again from the dead—shows Himself alive—and ascends
in triumph to the heavens. Thus the victory is forever won. The destroyer
lies forever destroyed beneath His feet.
And when a few more years are past, the Lord Himself
shall descend from heaven with power and great glory, and the devil shall be
cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, and shall be tormented day and
night forever and ever! There is everlasting fire prepared for the devil and
his angels. "He shall bruise your head." The point, then, is clear. God is
true. Jesus is Conqueror. The Goliath of hell is fallen!
Reader! this battle has been fought, this victory won,
that poor sinners may be rescued. May the Holy Spirit help you to behold
your high tower of safety, and to flee into it! Satan cannot but hate
you—for his name is hatred, as surely as God is love; and he desires to have
you, that he may sift you as wheat. But if you are found in Jesus, you are
high above his reach. He will attack. He will threaten. He will affright.
But Jesus will be your shield; and that shield must be shattered before you
can be harmed. Study the records of the Word. It is the history of the long
war between the children of light and "the power of darkness." You will see
that he has tried every weapon in the armory of hell. He has no other in
reserve. But all have failed. They cannot rise higher than the heel.
The head is safe with Christ in God.
Mark, too, how a mightier hand guides his blows to wound
himself. Satan's kingdom is made to totter under Satan's assaults. He
brought in sin—and so the door flew open for the Gospel. He
persecutes the early converts—and the truth spreads rapidly abroad
throughout the world. He casts Paul into the dungeon of Philippi—and the
jailor believes with all his house. He sends him a prisoner to Rome—and
epistles gain wings to teach and comfort all the ages of the Church.
Fear not, then, believer, the curse is on your foe.
Dust is his food. He cannot swallow the jewels of Christ's crown. He may
entice you with many things sweet to sense; but look to the Cross, and you
see them no more. He may terrify you with roarings, as of a lion; show him
the wounds of the Lamb, and he is gone. He may stand as your accuser
at the judgment seat; but if you are washed in the blood of Jesus, he can
find no mark in you, by which to claim you as his own. Be assured, if you
are one with Jesus by faith, His full triumph is yours, "and the God of
peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."
If such be your happy case, lift up your head with joy
and sing the holy song, "Your right hand, O Lord, is glorious in power. Your
right hand, O Lord, dashes the enemy to pieces. In the greatness of your
majesty, you overthrew those who rose against you. Your anger flashed forth;
it consumed them as fire burns straw." Exodus 15:6-7