Dr. William Perkins (1558-1602)
The Order of Salvation and Damnation
by Dr. William Perkins
Chapter 10 – Of Sin, and the fall of Angels
The fall, is a revolting of the reasonable creature from obedience to sin.
Sin is the corruption, or rather deprivation of the first integrity. More plainly, it is a falling or turning from God, binding the offender by the court of God’s justice, to undergo the punishment.
Here a doubt may be moved, whether sin be a thing existing, or not. The answer is this: of things which are, some as positive, others privative. Things positive, are all substances, together with those their properties, powers, inclinations and affections, which the Lord hath created and imprinted in their natures. The thing is called privative, which granteth or presupposeth the absence of some such thing, as ought to be in a thing. Such a thing is sin, which properly and of itself is not anything created, and existing; but rather the absence of that good which ought to be in the creature: though it be inherent in things positive as a privation, yet it is always to be distinguished from them.
Sin has two parts: a defect or impotency; and disorder.
Impotency is nothing else but the very want or loss of that good, which God hath integrated in the nature of His creatures.
Disorder, is the confusion or disturbance of all the powers and actions of the creature.
The fall was effected on this manner. First, God created His reasonable creatures good indeed, but withal changeable, as we have shewed before. For to be unchangeable good is proper to God alone. Secondly, God tried their obedience in those things about which they were conversant. Deut. 13:3, “Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Thirdly, in this trial God doth not assist them with new grace to stand, but for just causes forsaken them. Lastly, after God hath forsaken them, and left them to themselves, they fall quite from God: no otherwise, then when a man staying up a staff on the ground, it standeth upright; but if he never so little withdraws his hand, it falleth of itself.
The fall is of men and Angels.
The fall of Angels, is that by which the understanding, pointing out a more excellent estate, and of it own accord approving thereof, and the will choosing the same as pleasing unto it (their nature in the meanwhile remaining fit to make choice either of the contrary, or of a diverse object.) they are the sole authors of their fall from God. 2 Pet. 2:4, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” Jude 6, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” John 8:44, “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.”
In the fall of Angels, consider: First, their corruption, arising from the fall; which is the depravation of their nature, and is either that fearful malice and hatred, by which they set themselves against God, or their insatiable desire to destroy mankind; to the effecting whereof, they neglect neither force nor fraud. 1 John 3:8, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Eph. 6:12, “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.”
2) Their degree and diversity: for of these Angels, one is chief, and the rest attendants. The chief is Beelzebub, prince of the rest of the devils, and the world, far above them in all malice. Matt. 25:41, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” 2 Cor. 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Rev. 12:7, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.”
Ministering Angels, are such as wait upon the devil, in accomplishing his wickedness.
3) Their punishment. God, after their fall, gave them over to perpetual torments, without any hope of pardon, Jude verse 6 and 2 Peter 2:4, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” Thus he did first, to admonish men what great punishment they deserved. Secondly, to shew that gracious sins must more grievously be punished.
The fall of angels was the more grievous, because both their nature was more able to resist, and the devil was the first founder of sin.
Their punishment is double. The first, is their dejection form heaven. 2 Peter 2:4, “God cast the angels that sinned unto hell.” The second, is the abridging and limitation of their power, Job 1:12, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.”
The more grievous pain, is that torment in the deep, which is endless and infinite, in time and measure. Luke 8:31, “And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.”