By Jonathan Edwards
Those who are in a natural state are the children of the devil.
As the saints are the children of God, so the ungodly are the children of the devil. 1 Jn. 3:10,”In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.” Matt 13:38-39,”The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom: but the tares are the children of wicked one. The enemy that sowed them is the devil.” John 8:44,”You are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do.” They are, as it were, begotten of the devil. They proceed from him. 1 Jn. 3:8,”He who commits sin, is of the devil.”
As Adam begat a son in his own likeness, so are wicked men in the likeness and image of the devil.
They acknowledge this relation, and own themselves children of the devil, by consenting that he should be their father. They subject themselves to him, hearken to this counsels, as children hearken to the counsels of a father. They learn of him to imitate him, and do as he does, as children learn to imitate their parents. John 8:38,”I speak that which I have seen with my Father, and you do that which you have seen with your father.” How awful a state is this! How dreadful is it to be a child of the devil, the spirit of darkness, the prince of hell, that wicked, malignant, and cruel spirit! To have anything to do with him is very dreadful. It would be accounted a dreadful, frightful thing only to meet the devil, to have him appear to a person in a visible shape. How dreadful then must it be to be his child; how dreadful for any person to have the devil for his father!
Man before his fall was in a state of liberty; but now he has fallen into Satan’s hands. The devil has got the victory and carried him captive. Natural men are in Satan’s possession and they are under his dominion. They are brought by him into subjection to his will, to go at his bidding, and do what he commands. 2 Tim. 2:26,”Taken captive by him at his will.” The devil rules over ungodly men. They are all his slaves, and do his drudging. This argues their state to be dreadful. Men account it an unhappy state of life to be slaves; and especially to be slaves to a bad master, to one who is very hard, unreasonable, and cruel. How miserable do we look upon those people, who are taken captive by the Turks, or other such barbarous nations, and put by them to the lowest and most cruel slavery, and treated no better than they treat their cattle! But what is this to being taken captive by the devil, the prince of hell, and made a slave to him? Had not a man better be a slave to anyone on earth than to the devil?
The devil is, of all masters, the most cruel, and treats his servants the worst.
He puts them to the vilest service, to that which is the most dishonorable of any in the world. No work is so dishonorable as the practice of sin. The devil puts his servants to such work as debases them below the dignity of human nature. They must make themselves like beasts to do that work to serve their filthy lusts. And besides the lowliness of the work, it is a very hard service. The devil causes them to serve him at the expense of the peace of their own conscience, and oftentimes at the expense of their reputation, at the expense of their estates, and shortening of their days. The devil is a cruel master; for the service upon which he puts his slaves is to undo themselves. He keeps them hard at work day and night, to work their own ruin. He never intends to give them any reward for their pains, but their pains are to work out their own everlasting destruction. It is to gather fuel and kindle the fire for themselves to be tormented in to all eternity.
The soul of a natural man is the habitation of the devil.
The devil is not only their father and rules over them, but he dwells in them. It is a dreadful thing for a man to have the devil near him, often coming to him. But it is a more dreadful thing to have him dwell with a man, to take up his constant abode with him; and more dreadful yet to have him dwell in him, to take up his abode in his heart. But thus it is with every natural man. He takes up his abode in his heart. As the soul of a godly man is the habitation of the Spirit of God, so is the soul of a wicked man the habitation of unclean spirits. As the soul of a godly man is the temple of God, so the soul of a wicked man is the synagogue of Satan. A wicked man’s soul is in Scripture called Satan’s house, and Satan’s palace. Matt. 12:29,”How can one enter into a strong man’ s house?” meaning the devil. And Luke 11:21,”When a strong man armed keeps his palace, his goods are in peace.” Satan not only lives, but reigns, in the heart of a wicked man. He has not only taken up his abode there, but he has set up his throne there. The heart of a wicked man, is the place of the devil’s rendezvous. The doors of a wicked man’s heart are open to devils. They have free access there, though they are shut against God and Jesus Christ. There are many devils, no doubt, that have to do with one wicked man, and his heart is the place where they meet. The soul of a wicked man is, as it was said of Babylon, the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Thus dreadful is the condition of a natural man by reason of the relation in which he stands to the devil.
Meet the author: Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 – March 22, 1758) was a Christian preacher and theologian. Edwards “is widely acknowledged to be America’s most important and original philosophical theologian,” and one of America’s greatest intellectuals. Edwards’s theological work is broad in scope, but he was rooted in Reformed theology, the metaphysics of theological determinism, and the Puritan heritage. Recent studies have emphasized how thoroughly Edwards grounded his life’s work on conceptions of beauty, harmony, and ethical fittingness, and how central The Enlightenment was to his mindset. Edwards played a critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening, and oversaw some of the first revivals in 1733–35 at his church in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Edwards delivered the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, a classic of early American literature, during another revival in 1741, following George Whitefield’s tour of the Thirteen Colonies. Edwards is well known for his many books, The End For Which God Created the World, The Life of David Brainerd, which served to inspire thousands of missionaries throughout the 19th century, and Religious Affections, which many Reformed Evangelicals still read today. Edwards died from a smallpox inoculation shortly after beginning the presidency at the College of New Jersey (Princeton). He was the grandfather of Aaron Burr, third Vice President of the United States.