Ignorance is Certainly Not Bliss, Nor the “Mother of Devotion”

Ephesians 4:17,18
       Walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.

JOHN BALL (1585-1640): The mother of unbelief is ignorance.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Faith is an intelligent grace; though there can be knowledge without faith, yet there can be no faith without knowledge…Devout ignorance damns; which condemns the Church of Rome, that think it a piece of their religion to be kept in ignorance; these set up an altar to an unknown God. They say ignorance is “the mother of devotion;” but sure where the sun is set in the understanding, it must needs be night in the affections. So necessary is knowledge to the being of faith, that the Scriptures do sometimes baptise faith with the name of knowledge: By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, Isaiah 53:11. Knowledge is put there for faith.

THOMAS VINCENT (1634-1678): That popish axiom is long since exploded, that “Ignorance is the mother of devotion.”

WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): Ignorance cannot teach wisdom; nor is she the mother of any good thing.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Ignorance is the mother of persecution.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Consider, that ignorance is a sin that leads to all sins. All sins are seminally in ignorance. It puts men upon hating and persecuting the saints. They shall hate you, and put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. All these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me, John 16:2,3. Paul thanks his ignorance for all his cruelties to Christians: I was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly, I Timothy 1:13. It was ignorance that put the Jews upon crucifying Christ: Father, forgive them, saith Christ of his murderers, for they know not what they do, Luke 23:34. For if the princes of this world had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, I Corinthians 2:8. Sin, at first, was the cause of ignorance, but now ignorance is the cause of all sin. Swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and whoring abound, saith the prophet, because there is no knowledge of God in the land, Hosea 4:1,2.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): Ignorance of God mists and mars the judgment.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): There is no greater darkness than the ignorance of God.

RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): Ignorance, like darkness, breeds fears.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Half our fears are the result of ignorance…Ignorance is worst when it amounts to the ignorance of God. Ignorance of God is ignorance of bliss; but knowledge of God is a divine armour, by which we are able to ward off all the blows of the enemy.

THOMAS WATSON: Ignorance is Satan’s stronghold.

THOMAS BROOKS: Ignorance is the mother of mistake, the cause of trouble, error, and of terror; it is the highway to hell, and it makes a man both a prisoner and a slave to the devil at once…There are none so easily nor so frequently taken in Satan’s snares as ignorant souls.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Ignorance of Scripture is the root of all error and makes a man helpless in the hand of the devil.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): While the soul is ignorant of the doctrine of Justification there can be no real and intelligent assurance of its acceptance in the Beloved. While the soul is unacquainted with the teaching of the Word upon Sanctification it is open to receive all the crudities and errors of the Perfectionists or “Holiness” people. While the soul knows not what Scripture has to say upon the doctrine of the New Birth there can be no proper grasp of the two natures in the believer, and ignorance here inevitably results in the loss of peace and joy. And so we might go right through the list of Christian doctrine. It is ignorance of doctrine that has rendered the professing church helpless to cope with the rising tide of infidelity. It is ignorance of doctrine which is mainly responsible for thousands of professing Christians being captivated by the numerous false ‘isms’ of the day.

J. C. RYLE: The worst ignorance in the world is not to know ourselves.

C. H. SPURGEON: Self ignorance is not bliss; in this case it is misery.

GEORGE SWINNOCK (1627-1673): Ignorance and [false] confidence are often twins.

THOMAS BROOKS: An ignorant heart is an evil heart.

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688):
                    Ignorance: I will never believe that my heart is thus bad.
                    Christian: Therefore thou never hadst one good thought concerning thyself in thy life.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): It is natural to the corrupt heart of man to deny its weakness and sinfulness, and to boast of its strength and righteousness―the religion of the natural man is made up of pride, ignorance, and a guilty conscience; these effectually keep the sinner far from God.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Ignorance is the pedestal of pride.

JOHN CALVIN: It is a common fault that ignorance is closely followed by obstinacy.

R. C. CHAPMAN: The mistake of ignorance is one thing; the darkness of self-will is another.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): Those that are blind spiritually, are not for a remedy, and not only ignorant, but unteachable, and so their blindness groweth upon them.

THOMAS WATSON: The seeming peace a sinner has is not from the knowledge of his happiness but the ignorance of his danger.

A. W. PINK: Though they have occasional twinges of conscience when they act wrongfully, they are very largely ignorant of the awful fact that they are a complete mass of corruption into the pure eyes of the thrice holy God.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): So long as men remain in their natural blindness of understanding, they are not sensible of their spiritual wants, and of this in particular. But as soon as God opens the eyes of their understanding, they see the state they were in before; they are then deeply convinced, that “every man living”―themselves especially―are by nature, “altogether vanity;” that is, folly and ignorance, sin and wickedness.

JOHN BUNYAN: Ah, poor soul! study your misery, and cry to God to show you your confused blindness and ignorance.

A. W. PINK: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free, John 8:32—free from ignorance, free from prejudice, free from error, free from the wiles of Satan, free from the power of evil…Where God is truly sought—that is, sought sincerely, humbly, trustfully, with the desire to learn and do that which is pleasing to Him—the soul will not be left in ignorance.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): He giveth understanding unto the simple, Psalm 119:130; to the most ignorant and unlearned persons, who are but willing to learn.


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