THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN BEFORE THE KNOWLEDGE OF SALVATION
Every mental faculty thus became perverted and distorted. As in a shipwrecked vessel the water runs in through every leak, so when Adam fell upon the lee-shore of sin and temptation, and made shipwreck of the image of God in which he was created, sin rushed into every faculty of body and soul and penetrated into the inmost recesses of his being.Or to use another figure; as when a man is bitten by a poisonous serpent the venom courses through every artery and vein, and he dies a corrupted mass from head to foot, so did the poison-fang of sin penetrate into Adam’s inmost soul and body, and infect him with its venom from the sole to the crown. But the fearful havoc which sin has made is never seen nor felt till the soul is quickened into spiritual life”
Now, as this is opened up to the conscience by the Spirit of God, we feel indeed to be of all men most sinful and miserable, and of all most guilty, polluted, and vile. But it is this, and nothing but this, which cuts to pieces our fleshly righteousness, wisdom, and strength, which slays our delusive hopes, and lays us low at the footstool of mercy, without one good thought, word, or action to propitiate an angry Judge. It is this which brings the soul to this point, that, if saved, it can only be saved by the free grace, sovereign mercy, and tender compassion of Almighty God. These are painful lessons to learn.
How trying is bodily illness! To be parched by fever, racked by internal pain, with nerves unstrung, temples throbbing, limbs tottering, appetite gone, are heavy afflictions. Wounds also festering, abscesses gathering, ulcers spreading, cancers eating—what a catalogue of ills this poor flesh is heir to!
Yet these are but types of the maladies and wounds which the fall has brought into the soul. But as it is one thing to read of disease in books and another to be sick one, one thing to walk through the wards of a hospital and another to lie there a dying patient; so it is one thing to know the fall by theory and another to feel it by experience.
This miserable state, brought upon us and into us by the fall, all the people of God must in some measure feel. It is of no use mincing the matter and saying that a person can be saved by the grace of God and the blood of Christ, without knowing anything of the depth of misery and wretchedness into which he is sunk as the fallen child of a fallen sire. We must go down into the depths of the fall to know what our hearts are and what they are capable of; we must have the keen knife of God to cut deep gashes in our conscience and lay bare the evil that lies so deeply imbedded in our carnal mind, before we can enter into and experience the beauty and blessedness of salvation by grace.