DECEITFULNESS OF SIN
by Archibald Alexander
All sin takes its origin from false views of things. Our first
parents would never have sinned--had they not been deceived by the
tempter. Eve saw that the forbidden fruit was beautiful, and she was
persuaded also good for food, that is, pleasant to the taste and nutritious.
Here was a deception. This fruit was never intended for nourishment,
whatever might have been its flavor. It was intended for trial, and not for
But the greatest deception practiced on our first mother
by the arch deceiver was, that the eating of this food would make her wise
to know good and evil, even as it is known to God. The deceitful words of
the tempter wrought this unfounded persuasion in her mind. The desire of
knowledge is natural, a part of man's original constitution, as well as the
appetite for food; but these natural propensities are not to be indulged by
every means, and gratified on all occasions, but should be kept under the
government of reason and conscience. The brutes were made to be governed by
appetite and instinct; but man is the subject of law, and he cannot but feel
the binding obligation of law. He is a moral agent, and may properly be
subjected to a trial whether he will obey the law of his Creator.
How widely different does sin appear after it is
committed--from what it did before. Passion or craving appetite creates a
false medium by which the unwary soul is deceived, and led into
transgression. After our first parents sinned, "their eyes were opened." A
sense of guilt unknown before now seized them, and this was like a new
vision—not of beauty, but odious deformity. Innocence was lost. Shame and
confusion take the place of peace and purity. Unhappy change! The guilty
pair are now sensible of their great mistake, of their guilty act, of their
disgraceful condition, of their ruined state. Their whole race is ruined!
What will they do when their Creator shall make his usual visit—heretofore
so delightful and instructive? Hark, he comes—his voice is heard in the
garden. The wretched culprits are seized with terror and consternation.
Guilt causes them to flee from the presence of the best and kindest of
fathers. They try to hide themselves. They run into the densest thickets of
the trees of the garden. But they cannot conceal themselves from the eye of
Omniscience. They cannot escape from the arm of the Almighty, much less
resist his power.
Behold, the Creator not finding his creature man in his
proper place, sends forth a voice, which must have been like the most
terrible thunder, when the awful sound penetrated his ear, and resounded
through his whole soul: "Adam, where are you?" Trembling, the guilty pair
come forth to meet the frowns of a displeased and righteous Judge. We need
pursue the interesting history no farther at present.
From this first transgression, by which sin entered into
the world, we may form some idea of its deceitful nature. This first sin is
a sort of example of all other sins. As they flow from this as streams from
a fountain, they all partake of the poison of their origin. In all sin there
is some bait—some apparent good—some expectation of pleasure or profit from
unlawful indulgence. In all sin the mind is under a delusive influence.
Right thoughts and motives are for the moment forgotten or overborne; the
attention, like the eye of a beguiled bird, is fixed on a point from which
it cannot be withdrawn. The enticement prevails, and guilt is contracted.