Observe. That a person in a Christless graceless state is naked and unarmed, and so unfit to fight Christ’s battles against sin and Satan. Or thus, A soul out of Christ is naked and destitute of all armour to defend him against sin and Satan. God at first sent man forth in complete armour, ‘being created in true righteousness and holiness,’ but by a wile the devil stripped him, and therefore as soon as the first sin was completed, it is written, ‘they were naked,’ Gen. 3:7, that is, [they were] poor weak creatures, at the will of Satan, a subdued people disarmed by their proud conqueror, and unable to make head against him. Indeed it cost Satan some dispute to make the first breach, but after that he hath once the gates opened to let him in as conqueror into the heart of man, he plays rex [or king]. Behold, a troop of other sins crowd in after him, without any stroke or strife; instead of confessing their sins, they run their head in a bush, and by their good-will would not come where God is, and when they cannot fly from him, how do they prevaricate before him? They peal one of another, shifting the sin rather than suing for mercy. So quickly were their hearts hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. And this is the woeful condition of every son and daughter of Adam; naked he finds us, and slaves he makes us, till God by his effectual call delivers us from the power of Satan into the kingdom of his dear Son, which will further appear, if we consider this Christless state in a fourfold notion.

First. It is a state of alienation from God: ‘Ye were without Christ, being aliens from the com­monwealth of Israel, and strangers from the coven­ants of promise,’ &c. Eph. 2:12. Such an one hath no more to do with any covenant-promise, than he that lives at Rome hath to do with the charter of London, which is the birthright of its own denizens, not [of] strangers. He is without God in the world; he can claim no more protection from God, than an out-lawed subject from his prince. If any mischief befalls him, the mends is in his own hands; whereas God hath his hedge of special protection about his saints, and the devil, though his spite be most at them, dares not come upon God’s ground to touch any of them, without particular leave. Now what a deplored con­dition is that wherein a soul is left to the wide world, in the midst of legions of lusts and devils, to be rent and torn like a silly hare among a pack of hounds, and no God to call them off! Let God leave a people, though never so warlike, presently they lose their wits, cannot find their hands. A company of children or wounded men may rise up, and chase them out of their fenced cities, because God is not with them; which made Caleb and Joshua pacify the mutinous Israelites at the tidings of giants and walled cities with this, ‘They are bread for us, their defence is departed from them.’ How much more must that soul be as bread to Satan, that hath no defence from the Almighty? Take men of the greatest parts, natural or acquired accomplishments, who only want an union with Christ, and renewing grace from Christ. O what fools doth the devil make of them, leading them at his pleasure, some to one lust, some to another! The proudest of them all is slave to one or other, though it be to the ruining of body and soul for ever. Where lies the mystery, that men of such parts and wisdom should debase themselves to such drudgery work of hell? Even here. They are in a state of alienation from God, and no more able of themselves to break the devil’s prison, than a slave to run from his chain.

Second. The Christless state is a state of ignor­ance, and such must needs be naked and unarmed. He that cannot see his enemy, how can he ward off the blow he sends? One seeing prophet leads a whole army of blind men whither he pleaseth. The imperfect knowledge saints have here, is Satan’s advantage against them. He often takes them on the blind side. How easily then may he with a parcel of good words carry the blind soul out of his way, who knows not a step of the right! Now that the Christless state is a state of ignorance, see Eph. 5:8: ‘For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.’ Ye were darkness, not in the dark, so one that hath an eye may be. A child of light is often in the dark con­cerning some truth or promise, but then hath a spir­itual eye, which the Christless person wants, and so is darkness. And this darkness cannot be enlight­ened, but by its union with Christ, which is expressed in the following phrase: ‘But now are ye light in the Lord.’ As the eye of the body once put out, can never be restored by the creature’s art, so neither can the spiritual eye—lost by Adam’s sin—be restored by the teaching of men or angels. It is one of the diseases Christ came to cure, Luke 4:18. It is true, there is a light of reason, which is imparted to every man by nature, but this light is darkness compared with the saints’, as the night is dark to the day, even when the moon is in its full glory. This night-light of reason may save a person from some ditch or pond—great and broad sins—but it will never help him to escape the more secret corruptions, which the saint sees like atoms in the beams of spiritual knowledge. There is such curious work the creature is to do, which cannot be wrought by candle-light of natural knowledge. Nay more, where the common illumination of the Spirit is superadded to this light of nature, yet there is darkness compared with the sanctifying knowledge of a renewed soul, which doth both discover spiritual truths, and warm the heart at the same time with the love of truth, having like the sun a prolific and quickening virtue, which the other wants; so that the heart lies under such common illuminations, cold and dead. He hath no more strength to resist Satan, than if he knew not the command; whereas the Christian’s knowledge, even when taken prisoner by a temptation, pursues and brings back the soul, as Abraham his nephew, out of the enemies’ hands. This hints the third notion,

Third. The Christless state is a state of impotency: ‘For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly,’ Rom. 5:6. What can a disarmed people that have not sword or gun do to shake off the yoke of a conquering enemy? Such a power hath Satan over the soul [as that], Luke 11:21, he is called the strong man that keeps the soul as his palace. If he hath no disturbance from heaven, he need fear no mutiny within; he keeps all in peace there. What the Spirit of God doth in a saint, that in a manner doth Satan in a sinner. The Spirit fills his heart with love, joy, holy desires, fears; so Satan fills the sinner’s heart with pride, lust, lying. ‘Why hath Satan filled thy heart?’ saith Peter. And thus filled with Satan (as the drunkard with wine), he is not his own man, but Satan’s slave.

 

Fourth. The state of unregeneracy is a state friendship with sin and Satan. If it be enmity against God, as it is, then friendship with Satan. Now it will be hard to make that soul fight in earnest against his friend. Is Satan divided? Will the devil within fight against the devil without?—Satan in the heart shut out Satan at the door? Sometimes indeed there ap­pears a scuffle between Satan and a carnal heart, but it is a mere cheat, like the fighting of two fencers on a stage. You would think at first they were in earnest, but observing how wary they are, [and] where they hit one another, you may soon know they do not mean to kill; and that which puts all out of doubt, when the prize is done you shall see them making merry to­gether with what they have got of their spectators, which was all they fought for. When a carnal heart makes the greatest bustle against sin by complaining of it, or praying against it, follow him but off the stage of duty, where he hath gained the reputation of a saint—the prize he fights for—and you shall see them sit as friendly together in a corner as ever.

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