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           Second. Ignorance, as it lets sin in, so it locks it up in the soul, and the soul in it.  Such a one lies in Satan’s inner dungeon, where no light of conviction comes. Darkness inclines to sleep; a blind man and a drowsy conscience go together.  When the storm arose, the mariners who were awake fell a praying to their god, but the sleeper fears nothing.  Ignorance lays the soul asleep under the hatches of stupidity. God hath planted in the beast a natural fear of that which threatens to hurt it.  Go to thrust a beast into a pit, and it hangs back; nature shows its abhorrency. Man being of a nobler nature, and subject to more dangers, God hath set a double guard on him; as [he has] a natural fear of danger, so also a natural shame that covers the face at the doing of any unworthy action.  Now an ignorant man hath slipped from both these his keepers; he sins and blusheth not, because he knows not his guilt; he wants that magistrate within which should put him to shame.  Neither is he afraid, because he knows not his danger; and there­fore he plays with his sin, as the child with the waves, that, by and by, will swallow him up.  Conscience is god’s alarm to call the sinner up.  It doth not always ring in his ear that hath knowledge, being usually set by God to go off at some special hour, when God is speaking in an ordinance, or striking in a providence; but in an ignorant soul this is silent.  The clock can­not go when the weights are taken off; conscience is only a witness to what it knows.

           Third. Ignorance shuts out the means of re­covery.  Friends and ministers, yea, Christ himself stands without, and cannot help the creature.  As such, threatenings and promises are of no use; he fears not the one, he desires not the other, because he knows neither.  Heaven’s way cannot be found in the dark, and therefore the first thing God doth, is to spring in with a light, and let the creature know where he is, and what the way is to get out of his prison-house, without which all attempts to escape are in vain.  There is some shimmering light in all.  There are some sins so cruel and costly, that the most prostrate soul may in time be weary of their service for low ends; but what will all this come to, if the creature be not acquainted with Christ, the true way to God, faith and repentance, the only way to Christ?  Such a one, after all this bustle, instead of making an escape from Satan, will run full into his mouth another way.  There are some ways which at first seem right to the traveller, yet wind about so insensibly, that when a man hath gone far, and thinks himself near home, he is carried back to the place from whence he set forth.  This will befall every soul ignorant of Christ, and the way of life through him.  After many years’ travel, as they think, towards heaven by their good meanings, blind de­votions, and reformation, when they shall expect to be within sight of heaven, they shall find themselves even where they were at first, as very slaves to Satan as ever. Romans 10:14-17! They must hear!-JK

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Ignorance above other sins enslaves a soul to Satan. A knowing man may be his slave, but an ignorant one can be no other. Knowledge doth not make the heart good, but it is impossible that without knowledge (of God!-JK) it should be good. There are some sins which an ignorant person cannot commit, there are more which he cannot but commit; knowledge is the key, Luke 11:52;
Christ is the door, John 10. Christ opens heaven. Knowledge opens Christ. In three particulars the point will appear more fully. First. Ignorance opens a door for sin to enter. Second. As ignorance lets sin in, so it locks it up in the soul, and the soul in it. Third. as it locks it up, so it shuts all means of help out.

First. Ignorance opens the door for Satan to enter in with his troops of lusts. Where the watch is blind, the city is soon taken. An ignorant man sins, and like drunken Lot, he knows not when the tempter comes, nor when he goes; he is like a man that walks in his sleep, knows not where he is, nor what he does.  ‘Father, forgive them,’ saith Christ, ‘they know not what they do.’ The apostle, I Cor. 15, having reproved the sensuality of some, ver. 32, who made the consideration of death, by which others are awed from sin, a provocative to sin, ‘Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die;’ he gives an account of this absurd reasoning: All have not the knowledge of God. An ignorant person is a man in shape, and a beast in heart. There is no knowledge in the land, saith the prophet, Hosea 4:1 and see what a regiment follows this blind captain, swearing, lying, killing, stealing, and what not. We read, II Tim. 3:6, of some ‘laden with sins;’ ‘silly women,’ and such who never ‘come to the knowledge of the truth.’ Here are trees full of bitter fruit, and what dung shall we find at the root, that makes them so fruitful, but ignorance?

William Gurnall

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How Satan holds on to his slaves.

 Satan keeps men busy keeping them from any serious thoughts of the miserable state they are in, while under his rule; or hear anything from others which might the least unsettle their minds from his service. Moses came to his people about their woeful slavery, and the gracious thoughts of God towards them; and then they began to desire to be gone. Pharaoh cunningly labours to prevent by doubling their task. Scatter them all over the land to gather straw, that they may not meet to entice one another’s hearts from my service.’ Thus Satan is very jealous of the sinner, afraid that every Christian that speaks to him, or ordinance he hears, should  persuade him,  nor have a thought of heaven or hell from one end of the week to the other; The prodigal came to himself, before he came to his father. He considered with himself what a starving condition he was in, his husks were not sufficient. Now and not till now he goes. Resolve thus, poor sinner, to sit down and consider what thy state is, and what it might be, if thou wouldst but change the bondage of Satan for the sweet government of Jesus Christ.

Satan uses carnal people to oppose or overturn what God sends to bring the sinner out of Satan’s rule. Moses had Jannes and Jambres to resist him.  Paul on preaching to the deputy, had the devil in his chaplain at court to hinder him—Elymas, full of all subtlety and mischief. When God is parleying with a sinner, and persuading him to come over to Christ, inevitably there will be sinful friends or family who will seek to block or hinder.

Satan labours to delay the sinner. “I’ll repent later and continue to eat, drink and be merry…” it may be too late!  O go not back, drunkard, to thy good fellows; adulterer, to thy queans; covetous wretch to thy theiving and unlawful gain: the command saith, ‘Now repent;’ the imperative hath no future tense. God saith, ‘To-day, while it is called to-day.’ The devil saith, To-morrow. Which wilt thou obey, God or him?

Satan seeks a compromise and have some one sin that must be spared, and no matter though it be a little one. Now if ever you would get out of the devil’s rule, make no composition with him. Christ will be king or no king.  Say thy everlasting farewell to every sin, as to the sincere and fixed purpose of thy heart, or thou dost nothing. Paul joins his faith and purpose together, II Tim. 3:10, not the one without the other.  The people had to come out from Pharaoh’s idolatrous customs  before God solemnly espouseth them to be a nation peculiarly his. He that heard the cry of Israel in Egypt, will hear thine
also, yea, and [will] come and save thee out of the hands of thy lusts.  ‘Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit,’ Isa. 57:15; will the Holy God come near such an unclean creature? saith the contrite one. Isaiah himself cried he was undone at the sight of God, and this attribute proclaimed before him. Now God says that the creature may know his majesty and holiness, which seem so terrible to us, are no prejudice to his love; yea, so gracious a prince is thy husband, that he delights rather his saint should call him by names of love than state. ‘Thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. Hosea 2:16, that is, my husband, not my Lord.

Could Christ have sinned?

Recently I came across a U tube video of two prominent theologians namely Sinclair B. Ferguson and R.C. Sproul answering theological quesions one of which was ” Jesus peccable or impeccable?” i.e. could Jesus have sinned?  They gave the wrong answer, suggesting that to be fully human he had to have a nature like ours capable of sinning. SEE HERE (57 mins).

But what saith the Scriptures?

He came according to Romans 8:3 “in the likeness of human flesh” , not in sinful flesh. He did not assume the original human nature as Adam did but the flesh and blood of the children (weak) and subject to suffering and death.He is called “The holy child Jesus” and “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Acts 4:27, Hebrews 7:26). He had no original sin or guilt inherited from Adam, his nature was without corruption,  there was no inbuilt depravity capable of falling into sin under the tempter and no innate lust.. There was not the slightest possibility that Christ should fall into sin. The first Adam was lapsible, the last Adam was not. Why? Because God’s decree included that he would perfect all things and be made perfect as the Captain of our salvation. This does not in any way minimise or reduce the reality of his temptations throughout his life which he resisted unto blood. He, by the Holy Spirit, as fully human, resisted all temptation, notwithstanding the fact that he was also divine, and in his divinity could not be tempted so as to sin.”  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:” (I Peter 2:22).

From Herman Hoeksema’s Reformed Dogmatics.

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Let us see how those under a state of sin, are under the rule of Satan. Sinners are called the children of the devil, I John 3:10, John 8:44; and who rules the child, but the father? They are slaves; who rules the slave, but the master? Look to the sinner, there is nothing he is or hath, but the devil hath dominion over it; he rules the whole man, their minds blinding them. All the sinner’s apprehensions of things are shaped by Satan; he looks on sin with the devil’s spectacles, he reads the word with the devil’s comment, he sees nothing in its native colours, but is under a continual delusion. The very wisdom of a wicked man is said to be devilish, James 3:15,  because taught by the devil, and also such as the devil’s is, wise only to do evil. He commands their wills, though not to force them, yet effectually to draw them. His work, saith Christ, ye will do. You are resolved on your way, the devil hath got your hearts, and him you will obey; and therefore when Christ comes to recover his throne, he finds the soul in an uproar, as Ephesus at Paul’s sermon, crying him down, and Diana up. ‘We will not have this man to reign over us;’ ‘what is the Almighty that we should serve him?’ He rules over all their members;  all at the devil’s service, to defend the prince against any that shall invade— the head to plot, the hand to act, the feet swift to carry the body up and down about his service; he rules over all he hath. He commands their time; when God calls to duty, to pray, to hear, no time all the week to be spared for that; but if the sinner hears there is a merry-meeting, a knot of good fellows at the alehouse, all is thrown aside to wait on his lord and master. Wife and children crying, maybe starving while the wretch wastes their livelihood, at the foot of his lust (alcohol). The sinner is ‘in bond of iniquity,’ and being bound he must obey. He is said to go after his lust, as the fool to the stocks, Prov. 7:22. The pinioned malefactor can as soon untie his own arms and legs, and so run from his keeper, as he from his lusts. They are ‘servants,’ and their members ‘instruments of sin;’ even as the workman takes up his axe and it resists not, so doth Satan dispose of them, except God saith nay.

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Souls in a STATE OF SIN are subject to Satan’s rules.

Every soul in a state of sin is under the rule of Satan; The reason why sin is set out by darkness. Men under sin and Satan are blind and cannot see the light of the good news of Christ (II Cor.4:4). Blindness is darkness.

1. Sin may be called darkness, because the spring and common cause of sin in man is darkness. The external cause [is] Satan, who is the great promoter of it; he is a cursed spirit, held in chains of darkness. The internal is the blindness and darkness of the soul. We may say when anyone sins, he doth he knows not what, as Christ said of his murderers. Did the creature know the true worth of the soul which he now sells for a song, the glorious amiable nature of God and his holy ways, the matchless love of God in Christ, the poisonful nature of sin, and all these, not by a sudden beam darted into the window at a sermon, and gone again like a flash of lightning, but by an abiding light, it would spoil the devil’s market. Poor creatures would not readily take this toad into their bosom. Sin goes in a disguise, and so is welcome.

2. It is darkness, as it brings darkness into the soul, naturally and judicially.

Sin bring darkness into the soul naturally. There is a noxious quality
in sin offensive to the understanding, it is mad and unreasonable  but sin besots the creature and makes it blind and without discernment.

Sin brings darkness into the soul judicially.  God punishes sin with more sin!

3. Sin runs into darkness. Impostors bring in their damnable heresies privily,  sinners like beasts go out in the night for their prey, loath to be seen, afraid to come where they should be found out. Nothing more terrible to sinners than [the] light of truth, because their deeds are evil, John 3:19. Sinners hate the light! choose such a cool preacher to sit under, whose toothless discourse shall rather flatter than trouble, rather tickle their fancy than prick their consciences, and then their sore eyes can look upon the light. They dare handle and look on the sword with delight when in a rich scabbard, who would run away to see it drawn.

4. Sin may be called darkness for its uncomfortableness, and that in a threefold respect. Darkness is uncomfortable, as it shuts out of all employment (work). What could the Egyptians do under the plague of darkness but sit still? Thus in a state of sin man is an unserviceable creature, he can do his God no service acceptably, spoils everything he takes in hand;  It may be writ on the grave of every sinner, who lives and dies in that state, ‘Here lies the man that never did God an hour’s work in all his life.’  Darkness is uncomfortable in point of enjoyment. Be there never such rare pictures in the room, if dark, who the better? A soul in a state of sin may possess much, but he enjoys nothing; this is a sore evil, and little thought of. One thought of its state of enmity to God, would drop bitterness into every cup; all he hath smells of hellfire; and a man at a rich feast would enjoy it sure but little, if he smelt fire, ready to burn his house and himself in it. (see Psalm 69). Darkness is uncomfortable, as it fills with terrors. Fears in the night are most dreadful; a state of sin is a state of fear. Men that owe much, have no quiet, but when they are asleep, and not then neither, the cares and fears of the day sink so deep, as makes their rest troublesome and unquiet in the night. The wicked hath no peace, but when his conscience sleeps, and that sleeps but brokenly, awaking often with sick fits of terror; when he hath most prosperity, he is scared like a flock of birds in a corn-field, at every piece going off. He eats in fear, and drinks in fear; when afflicted, he expects worse behind, and knows not what this cloud may spread to, and where it may lay him, whether in hell or not, he knows not, and therefore trembles, as one in the dark, not knowing but his next step may be into the pit.  Sin may be called darkness, because it leads to utter darkness. Utter darkness is darkness to the utmost. Sin in its full height, and wrath in its fu

The only light we have to dispel this darkness is the word of God (Psalm 119:105, 130) The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

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The subjects of Satan’s empire are all who are in the darkness of this world,  darkness meaning distress, ‘He that walketh in darkness, and hath no light,’ Isa. 50:10; expressing the nature of all sin; so, Eph. 5:11, sin is called the ‘works of darkness;’ sometimes the particular sin of ignorance;  blindness of the eye. Sin only sets Satan in the throne. So Gurnall takes the words in the two latter interpretations. First for the darkness of sin in general. Second, for the darkness of ignorance especially. And the sense will be, that the devil’s rule is over those that are in a state of sin and ignorance.

Hence every soul in a state of sin is under the rule of Satan. Ignorance above other sins enslaves a soul to Satan; and therefore all sins are set out by that which chiefly expresseth this, namely, darkness.

Hence the gospel is needed to bring light into that darkness viz:

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” II Cor.4:3-6

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Satan’s empire is confined to place.

‘The place where the devil rules is in this world, that is, here below, not in heaven. He is the ruler of this lower world, not of the heavenly. The highest the devil can go is the air being called the prince thereof. Never can this fiend look into that holy place since he was first expelled (see pic), but [he] rangeth to and fro here below as a vagabond creature,excommunicated the presence of God, doing what mischief he can to saints ontheir way to heaven.

But is not this matter of great joy, that Satan hath no power there, where the saints’ lies? What hast thou, Christian, which thou needest value, that is not there? Thy Christ is there, and if thou lovest him, thy heart also, which lives in the bosom of its Beloved. Thy friends and kindred in Christ are there, or expected, with whom thou shalt have a merry meeting in thy Father’s house. This made Job a happy man indeed, who, when the devil had plundered him to his skin, and worried him almost out of that too, could then even vouch Christ, in the face of death and devils, to be his Redeemer; whom he should see with those eyes, that now stood full with brinish (salty) tears. Satan may for a time disturb, yea, deprive thee of things, but he cannot come to the rolls, to blot thy name out of the book of life; he cannot null thy faith, make void thy relation, nor [can he] hinder thee a happy issue of thy whole war with sin, though [he may] worst thee in a private skirmish; these all are kept in heaven, among God’s own crown-jewels, who is said to keep us by his ‘power through faith unto salvation.’

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Satan’s empire is bounded by time.

He rules over the darkness now in this present world (Titus 2.12). On this stage of time this mock king acts the part of a prince; but when Christ comes he will be consigned to hell and with all the wicked of men and angels shall lie under the immediate execution of God’s wrath. For this very end Christ hath his patent and commission, which he will not give up, till ‘he shall have put down all rule,’ I Cor. 15:24. Then, and not till then, will he deliver up his kingdom to his Father, ‘when he shall have put down all rule;’ ‘for he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet,’ ver. 25. Satan doom is cast already, as Adam’s was upon his first sin, but full execution is stayed till the end of the world. The devil knows this; it is an article in his creed, which made him trembling ask Christ (through his demons) why he came to torment him
before his time.

Hence:  All satan’s rewards will die with those who sought them. ‘All this will I give thee.’ ‘Am not I able to promote thee?’ saith Balak to Balaam.  Oh the naughty heart of man loves the wages of unrighteousness, which the devil promiseth, so dearly, that it fears not the dreadful wages which the great God threatens. They that are resolved they will have these things, are the men that
will fall into the devil’s snare, and are led into those foolish and hurtful lusts,
which will drown them in destruction and perdition, I Tim. 6:9 and be like Demas, who saith Paul, forsook me, ‘having loved this present world,’ II Tim. 4:10.

This should encourage us:  O Christian, in thy conflict with Satan—the
skirmish may be sharp, but it cannot be long. Let him tempt thee, and his
wicked instruments trounce thee, it is but a little while, and thou shalt be rid of
both their evil neighbourhoods.  Persevere until the battle is over, and thine
enemy shall never rally more. Visualise the crowned saints,  dividing the spoil, and receiving the reward of all their services and sufferings here on earth. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory2 Corinthians 4:17.

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Satan’s power is ministerial, appointed by God for the service and benefit of the saints. It is true, as it is said of the proud Assyrian, ‘he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so,’ Isa. 10:7; but it is in his heart to destroy those he tempts. The thoughts which God thinks to us are peace, while Satan’s are to ruin our graces, and destroy their souls. And his counsel shall stand in spite of the devil.  This is God’s plan, ‘Deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus,’ I Cor. 5:5; ‘Some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white,’ Dan. 11:35. This God intends when he lets his children fall into temptation. As we do with our linen, the spots they get at our feasts, are taken out by washing, rubbing, and laying them out to bleach. The saints’ spots are most got in peace, plenty, and prosperity, and they never recover their whiteness to such a degree as when they come from under
Satan’s scouring. We do too little, not to fear Satan; we should comfort
ourselves with the usefulness and subserviency of his temptations to our good. All things are yours who are Christ’s. He hath given life to be yours, hath given death also. He that hath given heaven for your inheritance—Paul and Cephas, his ministers and ordinances to help you thither—hath given the world with all the afflictions of it, yea, the prince of it too, with all his wrath and power, in order to the same end. This, indeed, is love and wisdom in a riddle, but you who have the Spirit of Christ can unfold it. Amazing-JK