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“ Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” -John viii. 44.
“ Sin has many tools, but a lie is a handle which fits them all.” -0. W. Holmes.
SATAN opened his propaganda with a slanderous lie; this lie was believed by the innocent parents of the race. Simple and modest as this lie seemed to be, it opened a crevice in the moral government of God. Confidence, fellowship, and filial relations were destroyed by the breach. The nature and character of a lie may best be understood, and we can get the estimate God places on it, by carefully studying the damages it wrought. Eden was lost, God's favour lost, peace and plenty lost, innocence lost; humiliation, fear, banishment, toil, sweat, suffering and death took the place of Eden's pristine glories.
Nothing so reveals the depths to which Lucifer had fallen--and his great intelligence, losing none of its acumen, exercised in a way fitting to his depravity of character, as the launching of a lie. He has done nothing since—which more clearly exemplifies the Being our Bible teaches that he is. An egg was laid and a !lie was hatched; this lie has gone out spreading at a geometrical progression until the infinitude of God's footstool has felt the discordant jar.
A lie, and the Father of it; think of this tremendous statement. The thought will overwhelm our intelligence. Suppose all the peoples that have lived on the earth were lined up: to simplify matters—consider the billion and a half supposed to be living on the earth to-day ; just a small part of the number belongs to civilized, christianized nations. What is the situation? Under all the light of education and moral standards, justice, full and untrammelled, can scarcely be had, because of false swearing. An eminent authority says nine-tenths of the race has a price; this means that only one-tenth will rigidly adhere to the whole truth. How few will swear to their own hurt and change not.
Let us study this gigantic proposition from another view-point: every unregenerated heart is full of deceit In every unregenerated heart there is a germ of all the sins of the Decalogue ; lying is one of the “shall nots." A close student of men will agree with the Apostle Paul, when he said: “I have no confidence in the flesh.” Carnality will not swear against its own interests; the status of civilization, whether in religion or morals, does not seem to control this matter. When we consider the falsehood and false swearing which obtain among the best people, socially, financially, and so often religiously, then think of the millions living without moral standards, we can begin to appreciate the amount of lying carried on in this world.
As lying is one of the outputs of carnality, and human selfishness is the tap root of carnality, and selfishness dominates the entire race, with rare exceptions here and there, we can understand how easily and naturally prevarication and lying become efficient tools to further personal interests. We once attended a celebrated criminal case in court; scores of witnesses were summoned on both sides ; a bar of attorneys fought desperately every inch of ground. The prosecution covered the case beyond any question to the perfect satisfaction of the jury. And the witnesses were, in the main, both respectable and intelligent.
But behold, when the defense produced their side of the case, the witnesses equally honest looking and intelligent, every point of evidence made by the prosecution was absolutely refuted. A new story was told ; a new case from the one just stated. Think of it-on both sides there were eye-witnesses; then every witness on one side or the other perjured themselves—and perhaps all of them on both sides.
So completely has the father of liars woven the spirit of falsehood into the moral fibre of men that a sense of its fearful character is almost obliterated. Men make fortunes, secure positions, are elected to office, destroy rivals, win unsuspecting love, seduce innocence, and subdue kingdoms, by being an obedient offspring of their father, inheriting his disposition and ability to breathe out falsehoodLiars are children of the Devil.
Think of the almost infinite resources for evil: “ father of liars" does not fully justify the situation. While it is true he originated the first lie, and the
lying spirit has ever widened through the stream of racial propagation; but the clearer interpretation signifies that he is the father of lies. “See," he whispers, “the advantages to be gained-don't be white livered—tell it; get the hush money-make the promise—swear you did not see it-tell her how devotedly you love her, etc.” Who has not met these insidious pulls on the conscience ?
Yes, but he is only acting now as a tempter. Quite true; but when the will gives away, the oath, the promise, the false statement is made under a furious lashing of the conscience. The lie belongs to him; he originated—suggested—formulated it; then literally drew it out with quite as much pain as is felt during the extraction of a tooth by a dentist.
It has been said : « The Devil will leave his own brat on your door-step, then accuse you of being its father.” This is an inelegant, though a striking statement of a great truth. When he is unable to bring forth-deliver, etc.—his own conception, he at once charges us of being guilty of the thing conceived: the lie, vile imagination, or whatever it may be, quoting Scripture to prove it: “ As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” « Now,” he declares, “ you are guilty anyhow; why not enjoy the benefits ?" Father of lies; millions of them spawned every day and hour: big lies, little lies, business lies, social lies, political lies, and not a few-religious lies, black lies, white lies, church lies.
KINGSHIP OF SATAN
“ Wherein in time past ye walked according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”—Ephesians ii. 2.
“ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”—Ephesians vi. 12.
In a former chapter we discussed the origin of Satan, he being an archangel-Lucifer—a great shining leader of the heavenly hosts; now in his fallen estate he is no less a leader. A writer has said: “ He seems to have been the rightful prince of this earth, but he has become the traitor-prince through being untrue to the trust; and the usurper-prince through seeking to retain control of the earth as his own dominion, through deceiving man, to whom the earth's dominion was given, into obeying him, and in utter defiance of God." The angels which kept not their first estate, but went down with his insurrection, are his subjects.
He is superior in all villainies, but the Scriptures call him a King ruling his cohorts, and is the “angel of the bottomless pit." As angel he retains his old title, but as king, his relations stand out significantly. As chief Devil-archdemon--the title would imply rather Primus inter pares ; as commander-in-chief, a general of the highest rank. He is all these things :