As Satan has his device to destroy gracious souls, so he has his devices to destroy poor ignorant souls, and that sometimes, By drawing them to esteem ignorance, and to neglect, slight, and despise the means of knowledge. 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. Ignorance unmans a man; it makes a man a beast, yes, makes him more miserable than the beast which perishes. (Ignorant ones have this advantage—they have a cooler hell.) There are none so easily nor so frequently captured in Satan’s snares—as ignorant souls. They are easily drawn to dance with the devil all day, and to dream of supping with Christ at night. ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.’ Hosea 4:6. ‘You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.’ Matthew 22:29.
Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That an ignorant heart is an evil heart. ‘Without knowledge the mind is not good’ (Prov. 19:2). As an ignorant heart is a naughty heart, it is a heart in the dark; and no good can come into a dark heart—but it must pass through the understanding: ‘And if the eye be dark, all the body is dark’ (Matt. 6:22). A leprous head and a leprous heart are inseparable companions. Ignorant hearts are so evil that they let fly on all hands, and spare not to spit their venom in the very face of God, as Pharaoh did when thick darkness was upon him.
Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That ignorance is the deformity of the soul. As blindness is the deformity of the face, so is ignorance the deformity of the soul. As the lack of fleshly eyes spoils the beauty of the face, so the lack of spiritual eyes spoils the beauty of the soul. A man without knowledge is as a workman without his hands, as a painter without his eyes, as a traveler without his legs, or as a ship without sails, or a bird without wings, or like a body without a soul.
Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That ignorance makes men the objects of God’s hatred and wrath. ‘It is a people who err in their hearts, and have not known my ways. Therefore I swear in my wrath, they should never enter into my rest’ (Heb. 3:10, 11). ‘My people are a people of no understanding; therefore he who made them will have no mercy on them’ (Is. 27:11). Christ has said that he will come ‘in flaming fire, to render vengeance on them that know not God’ (2 Thess. 1:8). Ignorance will end in vengeance. When you see a poor blind man here, you do not loathe him, nor hate him—but you pity him. Oh! but soul-blindness makes you abominable in the sight of God. God has sworn that ignorant people shall never come into heaven. Heaven itself would be a hell to ignorant souls. They must needs err that know not God’s ways, yet cannot they wander so wide as to miss of hell. ‘My people are destroyed for want of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you’ (Hosea 4:6). Chilo, one of the seven sages, being asked what God had done, answered, ‘He exalted humble men, and suppressed proud ignorant fools.’ The Catholic Church says that ignorance is the mother of devotion—but the Scripture says, it is the mother of destruction.
Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That ignorance is a sin that leads to all sins. All sins are seminally in ignorance…. 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,’ says the prophet, ‘because there is no knowledge of God in the land.’ There are none so frequent, and so impudent in the ways of sin, as ignorant souls; they care not, nor mind not what they do, nor what they say against God, Christ, heaven, holiness, and their own souls. ‘Our tongues are our own, who shall control us?’ ‘They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens; and their tongue walks through the earth. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord?’ ‘Therefore, pride is their necklace, and violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes bulge out from fatness; the imaginations of their hearts run wild. They mock, and they speak maliciously; they arrogantly threaten oppression. They set their mouths against heaven, and their tongues strut across the earth. They say—’How can God know? Does the Most High know everything?’ Look at them—the wicked!’ Psalm 73:6-12
Thomas Brooks (1608—1680), Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, 157-159.