How The Estate Was Lost
In the story of the tares, in St. Matthew, the householder is made to remark, when he heard that the tares were springing up in the midst of his field, “An enemy hath done this.” Consequently, when we ask how the beautiful garden came to be ravished, and the god-like pair induced to sin, and the happy, holy scene turned into death and destruction, the reply is, an enemy did it.
Satan, who ruined the scene, and tempted the holy man and holy woman to follow him into evil, had not always been a devil. There was a time when he was an immaculate, holy, spotless angel of light. He once bore the name of Lucifer, the interpretation of which is “Light-Bearer.” Just what special office he filled among the angelic hosts, is beside the point, but we have reason to believe that he was an archangel, and among the very highest of all God’s created intelligences. But he fell into sin. What it was that ruined him, no man can say. What powerful temptation overcame him, it is impossible, accurately to state. A guess at it, is all that is allowed us. The Bible intimates that it was pride. His very position, power, wisdom and beauty, very probably led to his undoing. He seems to have gotten possession of the idea that he could rule in God’s stead. Some have supposed that he had been placed in charge of the earth before his fall, as a Sort of guardian angel, and, that that was what led him so promptly back to it, after his break with God. Others have supposed that he had been required to pay homage to the newly manifested Son of God, before even the world was created, and that he refused, and this led to his rupture with the Creator. At all events, we do know that he fell. When he fell, he lost all his holiness, all his beauty, all his angelic dominion. He seems, however, to have retained his intellectuality when he went into exile from heaven.
Just where he remained between his fall and the creation of man, it is impossible to say. However, we do know that he was early on the earth scene. There is a notion, current among some religious leaders, that the chief purpose that God had in creating man was to confer upon the human race the positions made vacant by the fallen angels, after He had carefully tested mankind out under a probationary scheme. Whether this can be given any credit or not, we do not know. What we do know, is that the speedy temptation of the human pair, by this great fallen angel, lends some color to the theory. As though Satan had looked upon this god-like pair, and soliloquized thus: “So this is the being that is to have my place? Well, we will see about that. Maybe I can devilize him, just as I have myself, and lead him to worship me instead of God.”
At all events, it looks as though that was what he did. He carefully surveyed the field and planned his attack. He shrewdly guessed, that unless he captured the woman, it would be time wasted to capture the man, for she would re-capture her husband. But if he did succeed in getting her, she would carry the man with her, and in that way he would have them both. Satan avoided Adam, and seems not to have had any direct contact with him. But he approached Eve. With a subtlety and finesse that commands our every respect, he brought his attack to bear upon the most vulnerable and vital spot in her armor. He attacked her faith. God had freely granted to this human couple the use of every tree in the garden except one, and that was the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” It was not God’s original plan, apparently, to confer that sort of ability upon His creatures, and he had forbidden them to touch the fruit of that tree. In doing so, He had assured the children of His creative hand, that in the day that they should eat thereof, they should surely die.
When Satan approached Eve, evidently disguised as a knowing creature of the Garden, called a serpent, but no doubt far different from the creatures that we now know by that designation, for this one could speak, he artfully insinuated that God had not told her the truth. If he did not deliberately declare that God had lied, he did intimate that God had concealed part of the truth from herself and her husband. In other words, he implanted a doubt in her mind against God. The ruse succeeded, and she entertained that doubt. Satan had assured her that God knew that she and her husband, if they ate of the forbidden tree, would not really die, but that, rather, they would be wise, and actually take their places alongside of God, in wisdom. Fortified with the discovery, as she supposed, that God had purposely misinformed them, she visited the Tree. With a doubt in her heart, as to God’s word about it, and with faith in that of Satan, she took the fruit, ate it, and later, just as Satan had predicted, induced her husband also to partake of it.
The deed was done. They had disobeyed God. Doubt, as it always does to this day, had broken the connection between them and God, and slowly they lost their god-likeness, their innocence, their beauty, their holiness, their peace of mind, their happiness. It can be well asserted, that from that moment, they began to die. But for God’s subsequent hand of restraint, providing a way for them to continue to live, though sinners, they would have sunk to their physical graves, and their doomed spirits would have entered the abode of their Tempter.
The awfulness of their fall was not only measured by what they lost, but also by what they had, so to speak, gained. They had, indeed, lost holiness, innocence and peace, and to their horror and woe, they had gained sin and carnality. Their hearts that had never known hate, now began to burn with that flame from hell. There can be no question but that they immediately began to quarrel. Adam’s language in laying the whole blame onto his wife, is proof that they had charged one another venomously about it, soon after they realized that God’s word was true, and that death was slowly congealing their veins.
Their bodies were affected. Aches, pains, and weariness took possession of them. Organs, that had hitherto been perfect, now refused to function. They began to wither and grow old. Death had begun, and though it was divinely stayed till many years later, yet it eventually claimed them, and has claimed every child of the race from that day to this. Look, and you will see in the face of every adult human, some marks of approaching death.
Their minds were affected. The ability to think clearly, intuitively and logically, was lost, and the warped, hazy, illogical condition set in, that has compelled all mankind ever to learn, and never to come to the knowledge of the truth. Fear clutched their hearts. It was the first fear they had known. They were afraid of God — they had disobeyed Him, and were now reaping the results that He had warned them of. They were ashamed of themselves. They saw their own nakedness, and now comprehended its shame, and sought pitifully to cover themselves with improvised loin cloths made of leaves. Their world around them began to change. It went topsy turvy. Their peaceful animal neighbors suddenly went wild with blood lust and carnage, while the guilty authors of it, slunk fearfully away from the ferocious creatures, and sought concealment among the forest trees. The fruits on which they had so comfortably lived, disappeared midst storm and earthquake, and hunger stared them in the face. God sought them in their sullen, fear-struck hiding place. Instead of the blessings of a pleased Creator, they cowered beneath a withering curse. He robed them in skins, taken reeking from the slain beasts, and expelled them from the Garden, commanding an angel to prevent their eating of the Tree of Life, which, apparently, they had not touched, hitherto. Their hearts were dark with crime, sorrow, remorse, hatred of God, hatred of one another, and slowly there sunk into their souls, that principle of sin, that “flesh nature” discussed in St. Paul’s Roman letter; that “old man” which he mentions in Colossians and Ephesians; that “superfluity of naughtiness” of St. James; that “sin which doth so easily beset us,” of Hebrews; that “when I do good, evil is present with me,” of the seventh of Romans; that “filthiness of the flesh and spirit;” that nature, that has been the basis of all crime, all hatred, all evil, all war, all lust, all malice, all murder, all theft, all brutality, all vice, all false religions, all pollution from that day till the present. That has made the earth run red with blood, that has burned and ravaged, and rioted, and enslaved, and carried the incendiary’s torch, and the murderer’s dagger, and the hater’s poison,. and the talebearer’s defamation, and created the false priest and the pseudo prophet, and planted superstition, and inaugurated the inquisition, and destroyed little children, and devised the caste system, and produced the child widows, and robbed heaven, and populated hell, and defamed God, and crucified Jesus Christ. Carnality!
Implanting carnality was the devil’s master stroke. Personal sins cannot be inherited, but carnality is handed on from father to son. Personal sins can be forgiven, but carnality is not susceptible to forgiveness, nor to control, nor to law, nor to custom, but breaks out anywhere, and anytime, and harks back at once to its mighty satanic progenitor, and the deeds of its father will it do. By inoculating the soul-stuff of our first parents with the virus of carnality, Satan insured the perpetuation of sin. By this means, he pledged the sinfulness of even a godly parent’s offspring. He defiled the race to be.
The deadliness of carnality has not been sufficiently emphasized even by the holiness people. Like some kinds of gas used by the world war combatants, it can neither be seen, smelled nor tasted. The only evidence of its presence was when men began to cough, look pale, breathe with difficulty, wither up, and die. So with carnality. Oftentimes, its presence is difficult to detect. It simulates many human characteristics that are virtues. It lies silent and unfelt sometimes in the soul. Only when the test comes, does its presence become known. Then it reveals itself with terror. Only to those who are expert in dealing with it, is it easily detected. It produces a strange languor in prayer, a weakness in testimony, a hesitance in service, a disposition to look for something other than the fiery spirit of God with which to operate the activities of the Church. It creates a stingy attitude toward giving, and a longing for the comforts and flesh pots of this world.
The true child of God ought ever to be on his guard against it. He should turn the flaming Spirit of God upon any thing, that remotely appears like an evidence of this old carnal nature, that like an acetylene torch, it may burn every trace of it away. To be free from all carnality is the greatest cleansing fact that a holy Christianity can know. It is well worth your vigilance. Your time cannot be spent to better advantage than to search carefully through your heart, ascertaining whether all carnality has been removed. There can be no greater joy than to know to a certainty, that at last it is all gone. Then, the last citadel of the old enemy who ruined Eden is overthrown, and the soul is ready as far as the sin question is concerned, to meet God.
We fear that even the holiness ministry has not studied with sufficient care, into this dread inheritance, this moral corruption, called “inbred-sin.” This is what makes the Adamic fall such a calamity, such an amazing catastrophe. When the sin principle was generated in the hearts of the guilty pair in the garden, it entered into the very fabric of the soul, and became an item for transmission to posterity. Then began the serpent’s trail. It flared out in the heart of Cain, and the first born human child became the first to imbrue his hands in his. brother’s blood. The first soul to enter the eternal world, there to await the Resurrection and the Judgment, was sent there by an assassin’s club, and was a victim of the out-break of carnality. Since that historic crime, ages ago,. the stream of murdered men, women and little children, victims all, of the uncontrolled, lawless spirit of inbred-sin, has increased to a dark, bloody, turbulent tide, that now flows from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas in one constant hideous river. Poison, knife, exploding weapon, bludgeon, halter, infanticide, fratricide, uxoricide, patricide, matricide, suicide, homicide; and then, a sudden, unusual outbreak of carnality occurs, and men gather in regiments, battalions, brigades and armies, and with bomb, machine gun, poison gas,. heavy cannon, and bayonets; with stealthy approach, mine and counter-mine, heavy bombardment, open struggle, charge and counter-charge, swell the vast number of stricken souls that annually ascend to the bar of God, into a colossal deluge, as black-faced with hate, hoarse with animosity, and ferocious with anger, they kill and hill, and kill till the intermediate abode swarms with souls, hot and bloody from earth’s battle fields. What is the animus and occasion of war — CARNALITY!
Why do not preachers preach against it more? They often mention it, but seem for the most part to give it a semi-harmless caste, as though it emanated from some sprite, or mischievous fairy. Seldom do we hear a preacher take the mask off this dread inheritance of the race and paint it as it is, the first-born and chief offspring of the devil. Sometimes, holiness people tolerate this hideous thing for years, all the while professing to be sanctified wholly, because they do not know the hidden movings, the secret workings of this racial depravity. Oh, would that the ministry would uncover it! Would that they unsheathed sharp swords against it! Would that its evidences might become the theme of prayer meeting exhortation and pulpit utterance. Would that skilled penmen took brief against it, and painted its horrible ancestry, its fearful history, and the bloody tribute under which now it lays the race. Would that periodicals published within the church, for the ministry, laity, young people or children, would utter frequent pronouncements on its symptoms, its subtlety, its deadliness, its ruinous effect upon spirituality, and the absolute certainty that God can never admit it into heaven. Would that the laity, aroused by the need of the present times, would demand of its ministry more frequent pulpit efforts along the line of this age-long foe, that they would urge a similar need upon our editors and contributors, that they would denounce this inbred menace in prayermeeting, and in Sunday school class, in order that the whole church might put on her beautiful garments of holiness, and freed from the corruption of carnality might shine forth “bright as the sun, fair as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners” (Solomon’s Song 6:10).
The possibility of a full deliverance from it, will be discussed in future chapters, but we can anticipate enough here, to say that nothing so honors the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, nothing will be more pleasing to God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Ghost, as to secure complete and utter cleansing from it, and nothing will more enhance the influence of any Christian man or minister than to live day by day beyond the touch and tarnish of this depraved nature.
Who will unite in a crusade against carnality? Who will accept the odium of leading an assault against this entrenched foe?. As long as it blocks the path of the believer, his return to the possession of the “lost estate” is barred. Indeed, the lost estate is holiness. Carnality is unholiness. Consequently, this is the great brass gate and the frowning wall, with which our adversary, the devil, would guard against our recovery of that estate. Who will resolutely, by the help of God, assault the walls? Who will crash the gate? These times, in spiritual circles, demand heroic souls. They need men and women who will not count their lives dear unto themselves, that they may be able to obtain a holy heart, and lead others into the same gracious possession.
The times call for a ministry that will be devoted to one thing, and that is the generation of a holy people. Men and women who will face poverty, with a smile, wear Shabby garments if need be, take the small Churches and ride the rough Circuits; who will subdue kingdoms, obtain promises, stop the mouths of lions, quench the violence of the flames of public Contempt, despise the edge of the sword, out of weakness be made strong, wax valiant in fight, turn to flight the armies of the enemy and accept tortures not accepting deliverance in order to plant the Kingdom of Holiness!
The same great Captain that led the gathering of the clans around the Sea of Galilee, and who later gathered a mightier host around the Mediterranean sea, and after that, secured a still greater following around the Atlantic ocean, is now marshaling His armies around the Pacific! Jesus is His name! Holiness is His Kingdom! Who volunteers?