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And if those qualities and experiences which the devils are the subjects of, have nothing of the nature of holiness in them, then they can be no certain signs that persons who have them are holy or gracious. There is 1.0 certain sign of true grace, but those things which are spiritual and gracious. It is God’s image, that is, his seal and mark, the stamp by which those that are his are known. But that which has nothing of the nature of holiness, has nothing of this image. That which is a sure sign of grace, must either be something which has the nature and essence of grace, or is flowing from, or some way belonging to its essence : For that which distinguishes things one from another, is their essence, or something appertaining to their essence ; and therefore, that which is sometimes found wholly without the essence of holiness or grace, can be no essential, sure, or distinguishing mark of grace. II. The devils are not only absolutely without all true holiness, but they are not so much as the subjects of any common grace. If any should imagine that some things may be signs of grace which are not grace itself, or which have nothing of the nature and essence of grace and holiness in them; yet, certainly, they will allow that the qualifications, which are sure evidences of grace, must be things, that are near akin to grace, or having some remarkable affinity with it. But the devils are not only wholly destitute of any true holiness; but they are at the greatest distance from it, and have nothing in them in any wise a kin to it. There are many in this world, who are wholly destitute of saving grace, who yet have common grace. They have no true holiness, but, nevertheless, have something of that which is called moral virtue ; and are the subjects of some degree of the common influences of the Spirit of God. It is so with those in general, that live under the light of the gospel, and are not given up to judicial blindness, and hardness. Yea, those that are thus given up, yet have some degree of restraining grace while they live in this world ; without which, the earth could not bear them, and they would in no measure, be tolerable members of human society. But when any are damned, or cast into hell, as the devils are, God wholly withdraws his restraining grace, and all merciful influences of his Spirit whatsoever, and they have neither saving grace nor common grace ; neither the grace of the Spirit, nor any of the common gifts of the Spirit; neither true holiness, nor morai virtue of any kind. Hence arises the vast increase of the exercise of wickedness in the hearts of men, when they are damned. And herein is the chief difference between the damned in hell, and unregenerate and graceless men in this world. Not that wicked men in this world have any more holiness or true virtue than the damned, or that wicked men, when they leave this world, have any principles of wickedness infused into them ; but when men are cast into hell, God perfectly takes away his Spirit from them, as to all its merciful, common influences, and entirely withdraws from them all restraints of his Spirit and good providence. III. It is unreasonable to suppose, that a person's being in any respect as the devil is, should be a certain sign that he is very unlike and opposite to him; and, hereafter, shall not have his part with him. True saints are extremely unlike and contrary to the devil, both relatively and really. They are so relatively. The devil is the grand rebel ; the chief enemy of God and Christ; the object of God’s greatest wrath; a condemned malefactor, utterly rejected and cast off by him ; forever shut out of his presence ; the prisoner of his justice ; an everlasting inhabitant of the infernal world. The saints, on the contrary, are the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem ; members of the family of the glorious King of heaven; the children of God; the brethren and spouse of his dear Son; heirs of God; joint heirs with Christ; kings and priests unto God. And they are extremelyolifferent really. The devil, an account of his hateful nature, and those accursed dispositions which reign in him, is called Satan; the adversary; abaddon and apollyon ; the great destroyer; the wolf; the roaring lion ; the great dragon ; the old serpent. The saints are represented as God's holy ones; his anointed ones; the excellent of the earth ; the meek of the earth ; lambs and doves ; Christ's little children; having the image of God,
pure in heart; God's jewels; lilies in Christ's garden ; plants of paradise ; stars of heaven; temples of the living so D. The saints, so far as they are saints, are as diverse from the devil, as heaven is from hell ; and much more contrary than light is to darkness; and the eternal state that they are appointed to, is answerably diverse and contrary.
Now it is not reasonable to suppose, that a being, in any respect as Satan is, or the being the subject of any of the same properties; qualifications, affections or actions, that are in him, is any certain evidence that persons are thus exceeding different from him ; and in circumstances so diverse, and appointed to an eternal state, so extremely contrary in all respects. Wicked men are in scripture called “the children of the devil.” Now is it reasonable to suppose, that men's being in any respect as the devil is, can be a certain sign that they are not his children, but the children of the infinitely holy and blessed God & We are informed, that wicked men shall, hereafter, have their part with devils ; shall be sentenced to the same everlasting fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels. Now, can a man's being like the devil in any respect, be a sure token that he shall not have his part with him, but with glorious angels, and with Jesus Christ, dwelling with him where he is, that he may behold and partake of his glory?
The first Use may lie in several inferences, for our instruction. e I. From what has been said, it may be inferred, by parity of reason, that nothing that damned men do, or ever will experience, can be any sure sign of grace. Damned men are like the devils ; are conformed to them in nature and state. They have nothing better in them than the devils ; have no higher principles in their hearts; experience nothing, and do nothing of a more excellent kind : As they are the children and servants of the devil, and as such shall dwell with him, and be partakers with him, of the same misery. As Christ says, concerning the saints in their future Vol. VII. 2 F
state, Matth. xxii. 30, that “they shall be as the angels of Gö3. in heaven.” So it may be said concerning ungodly men, in their future state ; that they shall be as the fallen, wicked angels in hell. - Each of the forementioned reasons, given to shew the truth of the doctrine, with respect to devils, holds good with respect to damned men. Damned men have no degree of holiness.; and therefore, those things which are nothing beyond what they have, cannot be holy experiences. So it is true that the damned men are not only absolutely destitute of all true holiness, but they have not so much as any common grace. And lastly, it is unreasonable to suppose, that a person's being in any respect as the damned in hell are, should be a certain sign that they are very unlike and opposite to them, and hereafter shall not have their portion with them. II. We may hence infer, that no degree of speculative knowledge of things of religion, is any certain sign of saving grace. The devil, before his fall, was among those bright and glorious angels of heaven, which are represented as morning stars and flames of fire, that excel in strength and wisdom. And though he be now become sinful, yet his sin has not abolished the faculties of the angelic nature ; as when man fell, he did not lose the faculties of the human nature. Sin destroys spiritual principles, but not the natural faculties. It is true, sin, when in full dominion, entirely prevents the exercise of the natural faculties, in holy and spiritual understanding ; and lays many impediments in the way of their proper exercise in other respects : It lays the natural faculty of reason, under great disadvantages, by the many and strong prejudices which the mind is brought under the power of : And in fallen men, the faculties of the soul, are doubtless greatly impeded in their exercise, through that great weakness and disorder of the corporeal organ, which it is strictly united to ; which is the consequence of sin. But there seems to be nothing in the nature of sin or moral corruption, that has any tendency to destroy the natural capacity, or even to diminish it, properly speaking. If sin were of such a nature, as necessarily to have that tendency and effect, then it might be expected that wicked men, in a future state, where they are given up entirely to the unrestrained exercise of their corruptions and husts, and sin is, in all respects, brought to its greatest perfection in them, would have the capacity of their souls greatly diminished : Which we have no reason to suppose ; but rather on the contrary, that their capacities are greatly enlarged, and that their actual knowledge is vastly increased ; and that even with respect to the Divine Being, and the things of religion, and the great concerns of the immortal souls of men ; and that with regard to these things, the eyes of wicked men are opened ; and they, in some respects, emerge out of darkness into clear light, when they go into another world. The greatness of the abilities of the devils, may be argued from the representation in Eph. vi. 12. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,” &c. The same may also be argued from what the scripture says of Satan's subtilty. Gen. iii. 1. 2 Cor. xi. 3. Acts xiii. 10, And as the devil has a faculty of understanding of large capacity, so he is capable of great speculative knowledge, of the things of God, and the invisible and eternal world, as well as other things; and must needs actually have a great understanding of these things ; as these are the things which have always been chiefly in his view ; and as his circumstances from his first existence, have been such as have tended chiefly to engage him to attend to these things. Before his fall he was one of those angels who continually beheld the face of the Father, which is in heaven. And sin has no tendency to destroy the memory; and, therefore has no tendency to blot out of it any speculative knowledge that was formerly there. As the devil’s subtilty shews his great capacity, so the way in which his subtilty is exercised and manifested, which is principally in his artful management, with respect to things of religion; his exceeding subtle representations, insinuations, reasonings, and temptations, concerning these things, demonstrates his great actual understanding of them. As in order to the being a very artful disputant in any science, though it be only to confound and deceive such as are conversant in the