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hmmhmm
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 Christian in Complete Armour ~ Gurnall

I am reading this book, trying to for the third time now, each previous attempt have i due to different reasons laid it down. I feel lead to start again, and i share here something that blessed me. As i Continue to read this book i thought id post excerpts from it that i thought was good. I feel as just the 50 first pages are like a ping pong match, Gurnall just fires back and forth one charged spiritual deep thing after the other..... It is a strange book in a good way....



Those who use the armor of God, but not as God hath appointed; which appears in three sorts.

1. When a person useth a duty appointed by God, not as armor of defence, but as a cover for sin. Who would think him an enemy that wears Christ's colors in his hat, and marcheth after Christ in his exercise of all the duties of his worship? Such a one may pass all the courts of guard, without so much as being bid [to] stand. All take him for a friend. And yet some such there are, who are fighting against Christ all the while. The hypocrite is the man; he learns his postures, gets the Word, hath his tongue tipped with Scripture language, and walks in the habit of a Christian, merely on a design to drive his trade the more closely, like some highwayman in our days, who rob in the habit of soldiers, that they may be the less suspected. This is desperate wickedness indeed, to take up God's arms and use them in the devil's service; of all sinners such shall find least mercy, false friends shall speed worse than open enemies.

2. They use not the armour of God, as God hath appointed, who put a carnal confidence therein. We must not confide in the armour of God, but in the God of this armour, because all our weapons are only ‘mighty through God,’ II Cor. 10:4. The ark was the means of the Jews safety, but [being] carnally applauded and gloried in, hastened their overthrow: so duties and ordinances, gifts and graces in their place, are means for the soul's defence. Satan trembles as much as the Philistines at the ark, to see a soul diligent in the use of duty and exercise of grace; but when the creature confides in them, this is dangerous. As some, when they have prayed, think they please God for all day, though they take little heed to their steps. Other have so good an opinion of their faith, sincerity, knowledge, that you may as soon make them believe they are dogs, as that they may ever be taken in such error or sinful practice. Others, when assisted in duty, are prone to stroke their own head with a bene fecisti Bernarde, and so promise themselves to speed, because they have done their errand so well. What speak such passages in the hearts of men, but a carnal confidence in their armour to their ruin? Many souls, we may safely say, do not only perish praying, repenting, and believing after a sort, but they perish by their praying and repenting, &c., while they carnally trust in these. As it falls out sometimes, that the soldier in battle loseth his life by means of his own armour, [because] it is so heavy he cannot flee with it, and so close buckled to him that he cannot get it off, to flee for his life without it. If we be saved, we must come naked to Christ for all our duties; we will not flee to Christ while confiding in them. Some are so locked into them, that they cannot come without them, and so in a day of temptation are trampled under the feet of God's wrath and Satan's fury. The poor publican throws down his arms, that is, all confidence in himself, cries for quarter at the hands of mercy, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’ He comes off with his life—he went away justified; but the Pharisee, laden with his righteousness, and conceited of it, stands to it, and is lost.

3. They do not use the armour of God as such, who in the performing of divine duties, eye not God through them, and this makes them all weak and ineffectual. Then the Word is mighty, when read as the Word of God; then the gospel preached, powerful to convince the conscience, and revive the drooping spirit, when heard as the appointment of the great God, and not the exercise of a mean creature. Now it will appear in three things, whether we eye divine appointment in the means.

(1.) When we engage in a duty, and look not up to God for his blessing. Didst thou eye God's appointment in the means, thou wouldst say, Soul, if there come any good of thy present service it must drop from heaven, for it is God's appointment, not man's. And can I profit whether God will or no, or think to find, and bring away, any soul-enriching treasure from his ordinance, without his leave? Had I not best look up to him, by whose blessing I live more than by my bread?

(2.) It appears we look not at God's appointment, when we have low thoughts of the means. What is Jordan that I should wash in it? What is this preaching that I should attend on it, where I hear nothing but I knew before? what these beggarly elements of water, and bread, and wine! Are not these the reasonings of a soul that forgets who appoints them? Didst thou remember who commands, thou wouldst not question what the command is. What though it be clay, let Christ use it and it shall open the eyes, though in itself more like to put them out. Hadst thou thy eye on God, thou wouldst silence thy carnal reason with this, It is God sends me to such a duty; whatsoever he saith unto me I will do it, though he should send me, as Christ to them, to draw wine out of pots filled with water.

(3.) When a soul leaves off a duty, because he hath not in it what he expected from it. Oh, saith the soul, I see it is vain to follow the means as I have done; still Satan foils me, I will even give over. Dost thou remember, soul, it is God's appointment? Sure­ly then thou wouldst persevere in the midst of discouragements. He that bids thee pray without ceasing; he that bids thee hear, bids thee wait at the posts of wisdom. Thou wouldst reason thus, God hath set me on duty, and here I will stand, till God takes me off and bids me leave praying.



[The armour we use against Satan

must be divine by constitution.]



Observe Second. The Christian's armour must be of God in regard of its make and constitution. My meaning is, it is not only that God must appoint the weapons and arms the Christian useth for his defence: but he must also be the efficient of them, he must work in them and for them. Prayer is an appointment of God, yet this is not armour of proof, except it be a prayer of God flowing from his Spirit, Jude 20. Hope, that is the helmet the saint by command is to wear, but this hope must be God's creature; ‘who hath begotten us to a lively hope,’ I Pet. 1:3. Faith, that is another principal piece in the Christian's furniture, but it must be faith of God's elect, Titus 1:1. He is to take righteousness and holiness for his breastplate, but it must be true holiness: ‘Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,’ Eph. 4:24. Thus you see that it is not armour as armour, but as armour of God, that makes the soul impregnable. That which is born of God overcometh the world—a faith born of God, a hope born of God. But the spurious adulterous brood of duties and graces, being begot of mortal seed, cannot be immortal.

Must the soul's armour be of God's make? Be exhorted then to look narrowly whether the armour ye wear be the workmanship of God or no. There is abundance of false ware put off now-a-days; little good armour worn by the multitude of professors. It is Satan's after-game he plays, if he cannot please the sinner with his naked state of profaneness, to put him off with something like grace, some flighty stuff, that shall neither do him good, nor Satan hurt. Thus many [are] like children, that cry for a knife or dagger, and are pleased as well with a bone knife and wooden dagger, as with the best of all. So they have some armour, it matters not what. Pray they must, but little care how it be performed. Believe in God? yes, they hope they are not infidels. But what [the armour] is, how they came by it, or whether it will hold in an evil day, this never was put to the question in their hearts. Thus thousands perish with a vain conceit [that] they are armed against Satan, death, and judgment, when they are miserable and naked, yea, worse on it [their conceit] than those who are more naked, those I mean who have not a rag of ci­vility to hide their shame from the world's eye; and that in a double respect,

First. It is harder to work on such a soul savingly, because he hath a form, though not the power, and this affords him a plea. A soul purely naked, nothing like the wedding garment on, he is speechless. The drunkard hath nothing to say for himself, when you ask him why he lives so swinishly; you may come up to him, and get within him, and turn the very mouth of his conscience upon him, which will shoot into him. But come to deal with one who prays and hears, one that is a pretender to faith and hope in God; here is a man in glittering armour, he hath his weapon in his hand, with which he will keep the preacher, and the word he chargeth him with, at arm's length. Who can say I am not a saint? What duty do I neglect? Here is a breastwork he lies under, which makes him not so fair a mark either to the observation or reproof of another; his chief defect being within, where man's eye comes not. Again, it is harder to work on him, because he hath been tampered with already, and miscarried in the essay. How comes such a one to be acquainted with such duties—to make such a profession? Was it ever thus? No, the word hath been at work upon him, his conscience hath scared him from his trade of wickedness, into a form of profession, but, taking in short of Christ, for want of a thorough change, it is harder to remove him than the other. He is like a lock whose wards have been troubled; which makes it harder to turn the key than if never pottered with. It is better dealing with a wild ragged colt, never backed, than one that in breaking hath took a wrong stroke; [with] a bone quite out of joint than false set. In a word, such a one hath more to deny than a profane person. The one hath but his lusts, his whores, his swill, and dross, but the other hath his duties, his seeming graces. O how hard it is to persuade such a one to light, and hold Christ's stirrup, while he and his duties are made Christ's footstool.

Second. Such an one is in deepest condemna­tion. None sink so far into hell as those that come nearest heaven, because they fall from the greatest height. As it aggravates the torments of the damned souls in this respect above devils, [because] they had a cord of mercy thrown out to them, which devils had not so, by how much God by his Spirit waits on, pleads with, and by both gains on [one] soul more than others, by so much such a one, if he perish, will find hell the hotter. These add to his sin, and the remembrance of his sin in hell thus accented will add to his torment. None will have such a sad parting from Christ as those who went half-way with him and then left him.

Therefore, I beseech you, look to your armour. David would not fight in armour he had not tried, though it was a king's. Perhaps some thought him too nice. What! is not the king's armour good enough for David? Thus many will say, Art thou so curious and precise? Such a great man doth thus and thus, and hopes to come to heaven at last, and darest not thou venture thy soul in this armour? No, Chris­tian, follow not the example of the greatest on earth; it is thy own soul thou venturest in battle, therefore thou canst not be too choice of thy armour. Bring thy heart to the Word, as the only touch-stone of thy grace and furniture; the Word, I told you, is the tower of David, from whence thy armour must be fetched; if thou canst find this tower stamp on it, then it is of God, else, not. Try it therefore by this one scripture-stamp. Those weapons are mighty which God gives his saints to fight his battles withal. ‘For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God,’ II Cor. 10:4. The sword of the Spirit hath its point and edge, whereby it makes its way into the heart and conscience, through the im­penitency of the one and stupidity of the other (wherewith Satan, as with buff and coat of mail, arms the sinner against God) and there cuts and slashes, kills and mortifies lust in its own castle, where Satan thinks himself impregnable. The breastplate which is of God, doth not bend and break at every pat of temptation, but is of such a divine temperament, that it repels Satan's motions with scorn on Satan's teeth. Should such an one as I sin, as Nehemiah in another case; and such are all the rest.

Now try whether your weapons be mighty or weak; what can you do or suffer more for God than an hypocrite that is clad in fleshly armour? I will tell you what the world saith, and if you be Christians, clear yourselves, and wipe off that dirt which they throw upon your glittering armour. They say, These professors indeed have God more in their talk than we; but when they come down into their shops, re­lations and worldly employment, then the best of them all is but like one of us. They can throw the tables of God's commandments out of their hands as well as we; [can] come from a sermon, and be as covetous and gripping, as peevish and passionate, as the worst. They show as little love to Christ as others, when it is matter of cost, as to relieve a poor saint or maintain the gospel; you may get more from a stranger, an enemy, than from a professing brother. O Christians, either vindicate the name of Christ, whose ensign you seem to march after, or throw away your seeming armour, by which you have drawn the eyes of the world upon you. If you will not, Christ himself will cashier you, and that with shame enough ere long. Never call that the armour of God which defends thee not against the power of Satan.

Take, therefore, the several pieces of your armour and try them, as the soldier before he fights will set his helmet or head-piece as a mark, at which he lets fly a brace of bullets, and as he finds them so will wear them or leave them. But be sure thou shootest scripture-bullets. Thou boastest of a breastplate of righteousness. Ask thy soul, Didst thou ever in thy life perform a duty to please God, and not to accommodate thyself? Thou hast prayed often against thy sin, a great noise of the pieces have been heard coming from thee by others, as if there were some hot fight between thee and thy corruption, but canst thou indeed show one sin thou hast slain by all thy praying? Joseph was alive, though his coat was brought bloody to Jacob; and so may thy sin be, for all thy mortified look in duty, and outcry thou makest against them. If thou wouldst thus try every piece, thy credulous heart would not so easily be cheated with Satan's false ware.

Objection. But is all armour that is of God thus mighty? We read of weak grace, little faith; how can this then be a trial of our armour whether of God or not?

Answer. I answer, the weakness of grace is in respect of stronger grace, but the weak grace is strong and mighty in comparison of counterfeit grace. Now, I do not bid thee try the truth of thy grace by such a power as is peculiar to stronger grace, but by that power which will distinguish it from false. True grace, when weakest, is stronger than false when strongest. There is a principle of divine life in it which the other hath not. Now life, as it gives excel­lency—a flea or a fly by reason of its life, is more excellent than the sun in all his glory—so it give strength. The slow motion of a living man, though so feeble that he cannot go a furlong in a single day, yet coming from life, imports more strength than is in a ship, which though it sails swiftly, hath its motion from without. Thus possibly an hypocrite may ex­ceed the true Christian in the bulk and outside of a duty, yet because his strength is not from life, but from some wind and tide abroad that carries him, and the Christian's is from an inward principle, therefore the Christian's weakness is stronger than the hypocrite in his greatest enlargements. I shall name but two acts of grace whereby the Christian, when weakest, exceeds the hypocrite in all his best array. You will say, then grace is a weak stay indeed, when the Christian is persuaded to commit a sin, a great sin, such a one as possibly a carnal person would not have it said of him for a great matter. So low may the tide of grace fall, yet true grace at such an ebb will appear of greater strength and force than the other.

1. This principle of grace will never leave till the soul weeps bitterly with Peter, that it hath offended so good a God. Speak, O ye hypocrites can ye show one tear that ever you shed in earnest for a wrong done to God? Possibly you may weep to see the bed of sorrow which your sins are making for you in hell, but ye never loved God so well as to mourn for the injury ye have done the name of God. It is a good gloss Augustine hath upon Esau's tears Heb. 12:16, 17. —Flevet quòd perdidit, non quòd vendidit —he wept that he lost the blessing, not that he sold it. Thus we see an excellency of the saint's sorrow above the hypocrite's. The Christian by his sorrow shows him­self a conqueror of that sin which even now overcame him; while the hypocrite by his pride shows himself a slave to a worse lust than that he resists. While the Christian commits a sin he hates; whereas the other loves it while he forbears it.

2. When true grace is under the foot of a temptation, yet then it will stir up in the heart a vehement desire of revenge. [It is] like a prisoner in his enemies' hand, who is thinking and plotting how to get out, and what he will do when out, waiting and longing every minute for his delivery, that he again may take up arms. ‘O Lord God, remember me,’ saith Samson, ‘I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. Jud. 16:28. Thus prays the gracious soul, that God would but spare him a little, and strengthen him but once before he dies, that he may be avenged on his pride, unbelief, and those sins whereby he hath most dishonoured God. But a false heart is so far from studying revenge, that he rather swells like the sea against the law which banks his lust in, and is angry with God who hath made sin such a leap, that he must hazard his soul if he will have it.


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CHRISTIAN

 2008/1/22 7:45Profile
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 Re: Christian in Complete Armour ~ Gurnall

Use. O how few are there endeavour thus to promove in their spiritual state, and labour to perfect what is yet lacking in their knowledge, patience, and the rest.

1. Tell some of adding faith to faith, one degree of grace to another, and you shall find they have more mind to join house to house, and lay field to field. Their souls are athirst, ever gaping for more. But of what? not of Christ or of heaven. It is earth. Earth they never think they have enough of, till death comes and stops their mouth with a shovel-full, dig­ged out of their own grave. What a tormenting life must they needs have, who are always crying for more weight, and yet cannot press their covetous desires to death? O sirs, the only way—if men would believe it—to quench this thirst to the creature, were to en­kindle another after Christ and heaven. Get but a large heart vehemently thirsting after these, and the other will die alone, as the feverish thirst doth when nature comes to her temper.

2. Others labour not thus to perfect grace, be­cause they have a conceit they are perfect already, and upon this fancy throw away praying, hearing, and all other ordinances, as strings for those babes in grace to be carried by, who are not arrived to their high attainments. O what fools does pride make men! Truly heaven were no such desirable place, if we should be no more perfect than thus—a sort of people that are too high for this world, and too low for another. The way by which God cures this frenzy of pride, we have in these days seen to be something like that of Nebuchadnezzar; to give them the heart of a beast, I mean, for a time, to suffer them to fall into beastly practices, by which he shows them how far they are from that perfection they dreamed of so vainly.

3. Others who have true grace, and desire the advancement of it, yet are discouraged in their en­deavour for more, from too deep a sense of their present penury. Bid some such labour to get more power over corruption, more faith on, and love to God, that they may be able to do the will of God cheerfully, and suffer it in the greatest afflictions pa­tiently, yea, thankfully, and they will never believe, that they whose faith is so weak, love so chill, and stock so little in hand, should ever attain to anything like such a pitch. You may as well persuade a beggar with one poor penny in his purse, that if he shall go and trade with that, he shall come to be lord-Mayor of London before he die. But why, poor hearts, should you thus despise the day of small things? Do you not see a little grain of mustard-seed spread into a tree, and weak grace compared to it, for its growth at last as well as littleness at first? Darest thou say thou hast no grace at all? If thou hast but any, though the least that ever any had to begin with, I dare tell thee, that he hath done more for thee in that, than he should in making that which is now so weak, as perfect as the saint's grace is now in heaven. (1.) He hath done more, considering it as an act of power. There is a greater gulf between no grace and grace, than between weak grace and strong, between a chaos and nothing, than between a chaos and this beautiful frame of heaven and earth. The first day's work of both creations is the greatest. (2.) Consider it as an act of grace. It is greater mercy to give the first grace of conversion, than to crown that with glory. It is more grace and condescension in a prince to marry a poor damsel, than having married her, to clothe her like a princess; he was free to do the first or not, but his relation to her pleads strongly for the other. God might have chosen whether he would have given thee grace or no, but having done this, thy relation to him, and his covenant also, do oblige him to add more and more, till he hath fitted thee as a bride for himself in glory.


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CHRISTIAN

 2008/1/22 15:13Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
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 Re:

Hi hmmhmm...

This book ([i]A Christian in Complete Armour[/i]) is a treasure! If you do have difficulty with any of the original English, David Wilkerson published a version in modern English during the 1980s (in a three volume set). I have both a copy of the original and this newer set, and they are amongst my most valued books. The words are just as alive and powerfully convicting today as they were in the 17th Century.

Good stuff!

:-)


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Christopher

 2008/1/22 15:24Profile
hmmhmm
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 Re:

I do have a little problem, but i see i have improved much by reading the KJV the last year :-) i see some slightly improvement. But if i find the three volume set at a "nice" price i might go for it, It may help me some time with the dictionary quite often :-P

but i do learn more this way, even as i am a slow learner and have a good but very short memory so often i have to go "what was now that word?...for the third time"

But praise God also for spell checking programs! now i receive much less "hate" mails for my spelling
;-)

i am grateful for all you who taught me to spell proper through PMs


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CHRISTIAN

 2008/1/22 15:47Profile
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 Re:

Hi hmmhmm...

I've looked for years for an audio version of this particular book. It is a lengthy book, but sometimes an audio version helps us by hearing the spoken words. I believe that the book is maintained by the [i]Banner of Truth Trust[/i] out of the UK. It would be wonderful if they could allow individuals to record their own audio version, similar to the [i]Why Revival Tarries[/i] audio book created here at SermonIndex.

This is certainly one of my "must have" recommendations for other believers. Thank you for publishing a portion of the book! Perhaps others will read it and discover the impact that the words of this obscure, unknown Puritan has had on many for over three centuries.

:-)


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Christopher

 2008/1/22 16:10Profile
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 Re:

Evening Brothers:
There is a pdf download of the book available for those who would like to have it on their computer
[url=http://www.ccel.org/g/gurnall/armour/home.htm]here.[/url]

Clint


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Clint Thornton

 2008/1/22 22:32Profile
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 Re: Christian in Complete Armour ~ Gurnall

. Let us consider the devil as a tempter to sin, and there he shows us his wily subtlety in three things. First. In choosing the most advantageous sea­son for temptation. Second. In managing the temptations, laying them in such a method and form as shows his craft. Third. In pitching on fit instruments for his turn, to carry on his design.



[Satan’s subtlety in choosing the most

advantageous seasons for tempting.]



First. Satan shows his subtlety in choosing the most proper and advantageous seasons for tempting. ‘To every thing there is a season,’ Solomon saith, Ecc. 3:1, that is, a nick of time, which taken, gives facility and speedy despatch to a business; and therefore the same wise man gives this reason why man miscarries so frequently, and is disappointed in his enterprises, ‘because he knows not his time,’ Ecc. 9:12. He comes when the bird is flown. A hundred soldiers at one time may turn a battle, save an army, when thousands will not do [it] at another. Satan knows when to make his approaches, when (if at any time) he is most likely to be entertained. As Christ hath the tongue of the learned to speak a word in season of counsel and comfort, to a doubting dropping soul, so Satan knows his black heart, and hellish skill, in speaking words of seduction and temptation in season; and a word in season is a words on its wheels. I shall give you a view of his subtlety in special seasons, which he chooseth to tempt in. These special seasons are:

1. Season. When the Christian is newly converted. No sooner is this child of grace, the new crea­ture, born, but this dragon pours a flood of temptation after it. He learned the Egyptians but some of his own craft, when he taught them that bloody and cruel baptism, which they exercised upon the Israel­itish babes, in throwing them into the river as soon as they were born. The first cry of the new creature gives all the legions of hell an alarm. They are as much troubled at it as Herod and Jerusalem were when Christ was born; and now they sit in council to take away the life of this new-born king. The apostles met with opposition and persecution in their latter days when endued with larger portions of the Spirit, but with temptations from Satan in their former, when young converts; as you may observe in the sev­eral passages recorded of them. Satan knew grace within was but weak, and the supplies promised at the Spirit's coming not landed. And when is an enemy more like to carry the town than in such a low condition? And therefore he tries them all. Indeed the advantages are so many, that we may wonder how the young convert escapes with his life; knowledge [being] weak, and [he] so soon let him into an error, especially in divided times, when many ways are held forth one saying, Here is Christ, another There is Christ. And the Christian [is] ready to think every one means honestly that comes with good words, as a little child that hath lost his way to his father’s house, is prone to follow any that offer their conduct [or] experience of what he knows little. And if Adam, whose knowledge [was] so perfect, yet was soon cheated—being assaulted before he was well warm in his new possessions—how much more advantage hath Satan of the new convert! In him he finds every grace in a great indisposition to make resistance, both from its own weakness, and the strength of contrary corruption, which commonly in such is unmortified. [This] makes it act with more difficulty and mixture, as in a fire newly kindled, where the smoke is more than the flame, or like beer newly tunned which runs thick. So that though there appear more strength of affection in such, that it works over into greater abundance of duty than in others, yet [it is] with more dregs of carnal passions, which Satan knows, and therefore chooseth to stir what he sees troubled already.

2. Season. When the Christian is beset with some great affliction, this is as blind lane or solitary place, fit for this thief to call for his purse in. An expert captain first labours to make a breach in the wall, and then falls on in storming the city. Satan first got power from God to weaken Job in his estate, children, health and other comforts he had, and now tempts him to impatience, and what not; he lets Christ fast forty days before he comes, and then he falls to his work; as an army stays till a castle be pinched for provision within, and then sends a parley, never more likely to be embraced than in such a strait. A temptation comes strong when the way to relief seems to lie through the sin that Satan is woo­ing to; when one is poor and Satan comes, What! wilt starve rather than step over the hedge and steal for thy supply? this is enough to put flesh and blood to the stand.

3. Season. When the Christian is about some notable enterprise for God's glory, then Satan will lie like a serpent in the way, ‘an adder in the path, that biteth his horse-heels, so that his rider shall fall back­ward.’ Thus he stood at Joshua's right hand ‘to resist him.’ The right hand is the working hand, and his standing there implies the desire to hinder him in his enterprise. Indeed the devil was never friend to temple-work, and therefore that work is so long a doing. What a handsome excuse doth he help the Jews unto—The time is not come! God's time was come, but not the devil's, and therefore he helps them to this poor shift, Ezra 1, 2, 6, 8, perverting the sense of providence as if it were not time, because they were so poor; whereas they thrive no better because they went no sooner about the work, as God tells them plainly. Paul and Barnabas had a holy design in their thoughts, to [go] visit the brethren in every city, and strengthen their faith. The devil knew what a blow this might give to his kingdom; their visiting might hinder him in his circuit, and he stirs up an unhappy difference between these two holy men, who grow so hot that they part in this storm, Acts 15:36-39. There were two remarkable periods of Christ's life, his intrat and exit, his entrance into his public ministry at his baptism, and his finishing it at his passion, and at both we have the devil fiercely encountering him. The more public thy place, Christian, and the more em­inent thy service for God, the more thou must look that the devil [will have] some more dangerous design or other against thee; and therefore if every private soldier needs armour against Satan's bullets of temptation, then the commanders and officers, who stand in the front of the battle, much more.

4. Season. When he hath the presence of some object to enforce his temptation. Thus he takes Eve when she is near the tree, and had it in her eye while he should make the motion, [so] that [by] assaulting two ports at once, it might be the harder for her to hinder the landing of his temptation; and if Eve's eye did so soon affect her heart with an inordinate desire, then much more now is it easy for him, by the presence of the object, to excite and actuate that lust which lies dormant in the heart. As Naomi sent her daughter to lie at the feet of Boaz, knowing well, if he endured her there, there were hope he might take her into his bed at last. If the Christian can let the object come so near, Satan will promise himself [that] his suit may in time be granted. Therefore it should be our care, if we would not yield to the sin, not to walk by, or sit at, the door of the occasion. Look not on that beauty with a wandering eye, by which thou wouldst not be taken prisoner. Parley not with that in thy thoughts, which thou meanest not to let into thy heart. Conversation begets affection: some by this have been brought to marry those, whom at first they thought they could not have liked.

5. Season. After great manifestations of God's love, then the tempter comes. Such is the weak con­stitution of grace, that it can neither well bear smiles or frowns from God without a snare; as one said of our English nation,[2] it cannot well bear liberty nor bondage in the height. So neither can the soul. If God smile and open himself a little familiar to us, then we are prone to grow high and wanton; if the frown, then we sink as much in our faith. Thus the one, like fair weather and warm gleams, brings up the weeds of corruption; and the other, like sharp frosts, nips and even kills the flowers of grace. The Christian is in danger on both hands; therefore Satan takes the advantage, when the Christian is flush of comfort, even as a cheater, who strikes in with some young heir, when he hath newly received his rents, and never leaves till he hath eased him of his money. Thus Satan lies upon the catch, then to inveigle a saint into one sin or other, which he knows will soon leak out his joy. Had ever any a larger testimony from heaven than Peter? Matt. 16:17, where Christ pronounceth him blessed, and puts a singular honour upon him, making him the representative of all his saints. No doubt this favour to Peter stirred up the envious spirit the sooner to fall upon him. If Joseph's parti-coloured coat made the patriarchs to plot against him their brother, no wonder malice should prompt Satan to show his spite, where Christ had set such a mark of love and honour; and therefore we find him soon at Peter's elbow, making him his ins­trument to tempt his Master, who rebukes Peter with a ‘get thee behind me, Satan.’ He that seemed a rock even now, through Satan's policy is laid as a stone of offence for Christ to stumble at. So [with] David, when he had received such wonderful mercies, settled in his throne with the ruin of his enemies, yea, par­doned for his bloody sin, and now ready to lay down his head with peace in the dust, Satan chops in to cloud his clear evening, and tempts him to number the people; so ambitious is Satan then chiefly to throw the saint into the mire of sin, when his coat is cleanest.

6. Season. At the hour of death, when the saint is down and prostrate in his bodily strength, now this coward falls upon him. It is the last indeed he hath for the game; now or never; overcome him now and ever. As they say of the natural serpent[3], he is never seen at his length till dying; so this mystical serpent never strains his wits and wiles more, than when his time is short. The saint is even stepping into eternity, and now he treads upon his heel, which he cannot trip up so as to hinder his arrival in heaven, yet at least to bruise it, that he may go with more pain thither.



[Satan's subtlety in managing his temptations,

where several stratagems used by him to

deceive the Christian are laid down.]



Second. The second way wherein Satan shows his tempting subtlety, is in those stratagems he useth to deceive the Christian, managing his temptations, laying them in such a method and form, as shows his craft.

1. Stratagem. He hangs out false colours, and comes up to the Christian in the disguise of a friend, so that the gates are opened to him, and his motions received with applause, before either be discovered. Therefore he is said to ‘transform himself into an angel of light,’ II Cor. 11:14. Of all plots it is most dangerous, when he appears in Samuel's mantle, and silvers his foul tongue with fair language. Thus in point of error he corrupts some in their judgement, by commending his notions for special gospel-truths, and like a cunning chapman[4] puts off his old ware (errors I mean that have lain long upon his hand), only turning them a little after the mode of the times, and they go for new light, under the skirt of Christian liberty. He conveys in libertinism, by crying up the Spirit. He decries and vilifies the Scripture, by mag­nifying faith. He labours to undermine repentance, and blow up good works. By bewailing the corruption of the church in its administrations, he draws unstable souls from it, and amuseth them, till at last they fall into a giddiness[5], and can see no church at all in being. And he prevails no less on the hearts and lives of men by this wile, than on their judgements. Under the notion of zeal, he kindles sometimes a dangerous flame of passion and wrath in the heart, which like a rash fire makes the Christian's spirit boil over into unchristian desires of, and prayers for, revenge where he should forgive. Of this we have an instance of the disciples, Luke 9:54, where two holy men are desiring that ‘fire may come down from heaven.’ Little did they think from whence they had their coal that did so heat them, till Christ told them, ‘Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of,’ ver. 55. Sometimes he pretends pity and natural affection, which in some cases may be good counsel, and all the while he de­sires to promote cowardice and sinful self-love, whereby the Christian may be brought to fly from his colours, shrink from the truth, or decline some ne­cessary duty of his calling. This wile of his, when he got Peter to be his spokesman, saying, Master, pity thyself, Christ soon spied, and stopped his mouth with that sharp rebuke, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan.’ O what need have we to study the Scriptures, our hearts, and Satan's wiles, that we may not bid this enemy welcome, and all the while think it is Christ that is our guest!

2. Stratagem. Is to get intelligence of the saint's affairs. This is one great wheel in the politician's clock, to have spies in all places, by whom they are acquainted with the counsels and motions of their enemies, and [as] this gives them advantage to disappoint their designs, so also more safely to compass their own. It is no hard matter for him to play this game well, that sees his enemies' hands. David knew how the squares went at court, Jonathan's arrows carried him the news; and accordingly he removed his quarters, and was too hard for his great enemy Saul. Satan is the greatest intelligencer in the world; he makes it his business to inquire into the inclinations, thoughts, affections, purposes of the creature, that finding which humour abounds, he may apply himself accordingly,—[finding] which way the stream goes, that he may open the passage of temptation, and cut the channel to fall of the creature's affections, and not force it against the torrent of nature. Now if we consider but the piercing apprehension of the angelic nature, how quick he is to take the scent which way the game goes, by a word dropped, the cast of an eye, or such a small matter—signal enough to give him the alarm; if we consider his experience in heart-anatomy, having inspected, and as it were dissected, so many in his long practice, whereby his knowledge is much perfected, as also his great diligence to add to both these, being as close a student as ever, considering the saints, and studying how he may do them a mischief, as we see in Job's case, whom he had so observed, that he was able to give an answer ex tempore to God, [as to] what Job's state and present posture was, and what might be the most probable means of obtaining his will of him; and besides all this, the correspondence that he hath with those in and about the Christian, from whom he learns much of his estate, as David [did] by Hushai in Absalom's counsel;—all these considered, it is almost impossible for the creature to stir out of the closet of his heart, but it will be known whither he inclines. Some corrupt passion or other will bewray the soul to him, as they did [bewray] David to Saul, who told him where he might find him, in the wilderness of Engedi, I Sam. 24:4. Thus will these give intelligence to Satan, and say [to him], If thou wouldst surprise such a one, he is gone that way, you will have him in the wood of worldly employments, over head and ears in the de­sires of this life. See where another sits under a bower, delighting himself in this child, or that gift, endowment of mind, or the like; lay but the lime-twig[6] there, and you shall soon have him in it. Now Satan having thus intelligence, lets him alone to act his part. He sure cannot be at a loss himself, when his scholars, the Jesuits I mean, have such agility of mind, to wreathe and cast themselves into any form becoming the persons they would seduce. Is ambition the lust the heart favours? O the pleasing proj­ects that he will put such upon! How easily, having first blown them up with vain hopes, doth he draw them into horrid sins. Thus Haman, that he may have a monopoly of his prince's favour, is hurried into that bloody plot, fatal at last to himself against the Jews. Is uncleanness the lust after which the creature's eye wanders? Now he will be the pander, to bring him and his minion together. Thus he, finding Amnon sick of this disease, sends Jonadab, a deep-pated fellow, II Sam. 13.3, to put this fine device into his head of feigning himself sick, whereby his sister fell into his snare.

3. Stratagem. In his gradual approaches to the soul. When he comes to tempt, he is modest, and asks but a little; he know that he may get that at many times, which he should be denied if he asked all at once. A few are let into a city, when an army coming in a body would be shut out; and therefore that he may beget no suspicion, he presents may be a few general propositions, which do not discover the depth of his plot. These like scouts go before, while his whole body lies hid as it were in some swamp at hand. Thus he wriggled into Eve's bosom, whom he doth not, at first dash, bid take and eat. No, he is more mannerly than do so. This would have been so hideous, that as the fish with some sudden noise, by a stone cast into the river, is scared from the bait, so she would have been affrighted from holding parley with such a one. No, he propounds a question which shall make way for this. Hath God said? art [thou] not mistaken? Could this be his meaning, whose bounty lets thee eat of the rest, to deny thee the best of all? Thus he digs about and loosens the root of her faith, and then the tree falls the easier the next gust of temptation. This is a dangerous policy indeed. Many have yielded to go a mile with Satan, that never intended to go two; but when once on the way, they have been allured farther and farther, till at last they know not how to leave his company.

Thus Satan leads poor creatures down into the depths of sin by winding stairs, that let them not see the bottom whither they are going. He first presents an object that occasions some thoughts; these set on fire the affections, and they fume up into the brain, and cloud the understanding, which being thus dis­abled, Satan now dares a little more declare himself, and boldly solicit the creature to that it even now have defied. Many who at this day lie in open pro­faneness, never thought they should have rolled so far from their profession; but Satan beguiled them, poor souls, with their modest beginnings. O Christian, give not place to Satan, no, not an inch, in his first motions. He that is a beggar and a modest one with­out doors, will command the house if let in. Yield at first, and thou givest away thy strength to resist him in the rest; when the hem is worn, the whole garment will ravel out, if it be not mended by timely repentance.

4. Stratagem. The fourth way, wherein Satan shows his subtlety in managing his temptations, is in his reserves. A wise captain hath ever some fresh troops at hand, to fall in at a pinch when others are worsted. Satan is seldom at a loss in this respect; when one temptation is beat back, he soon hath another to fill up the gap, and make good the line.

Thus he tempts Christ to diffidence and distrust, by bidding him turn stones into bread, as if it were now time to carve for himself, being so long neglected of his Father, as to fast forty days, and no supplies heard of. No sooner had Christ quenched this dart with these words, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,’ Matt. 4:4, but he hath another on the string, which he let fly to him, tempting him to presumption. ‘Then the devil taketh him up and setteth him on a pinnacle,’ and bids, ‘Cast thyself down headlong; for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee,’ &c., ver. 5, 6. As if he had said, If thou hast such confidence on God and his Word, as thou pretendest, show it by casting thyself down, for thou hast a word between thee and the ground, if thou darest trust God. And truly, though Christ had his answer ready, and was prepared to receive his charge on the right hand and on the left, being so completely armed that no temptation could come amiss, yet note we, [that] Satan's temptations on Christ were like the serpents motion on a rock, of which Solomon speaks, Prov. 30:19. They make no impression, no dint at all; but on us they are as a serpent on sand, or dust, that leaves a print, when not in the heart yet in the fancy—colours that which is next door to it, and so the object there is ready to slip in, if great care be not observed. Especially in this case when he doth thus change his hand, as when we have resisted one way, falls afresh in another, yea, plants his succeeding temptation upon our very resistance in the former.

Now it requires some readiness in our postures, and skill at all our weapons, to make our defence; like a disputant, when he is put out of his road, and hath a new question started, or argument unusual brought, now he is tried to purpose. And truly this is Satan's way when he tempts the Christian to neglect of [the] duties of God's worship (from his worldly occasions, the multitude of them, or necessity of fol­lowing them); and this takes not, then he is on the other side, and is drawing the Christian to the neglect of his worldly calling, out of a seeming zeal to promote his other in the worship of God. Or first, he comes and labours to deaden the heart in duty, but the Christian too watchful for him there, then he is puffing of him up with an opinion of his enlargement in it, and ever he keep his sliest and most sublimated temptations for the last.

5. Stratagem. In his politic retreats. You shall have an enemy fly as [if] overcome, when it is on a design of overcoming. This was Joshua's wile, by which he caught the men of Ai in a trap, Josh. 8. We read not only of Satan's being cast out, but of the un­clean spirit going out voluntarily, yet with a purpose to come again, and bring worse company with him, Matt. 12:43. Satan is not always beat back by the dint and power of conquering grace, but sometimes he draws off, and raiseth his own siege, the more handsomely to get the Christian out of his fastnesses and trenches, that so he may snap him on the plains, whom he cannot come at in his works and fortifi­cations. Temptations send the saint to his castle, as the sight of the dog doth the coney to her burrow. Now the soul walks the rounds, stands upon its guard, dares not neglect duty, because the enemy is under its very walls, shutting in his temptations continually; but when Satan seems to give the soul over, and the Christian finds he is not haunted, with such motions as formerly, truly now he is prone to remit in his diligence, fail in his duty, and grow either unfrequent or formal therein; as the Romans, whose valour decayed for want of the Carthaginian troops to alarm them. Let Satan tempt or not tempt, assault or retreat, keep thou in order, stand in a fighting posture, let his flight strengthen thy faith, but not weak­en thy care. The Parthians do their enemy most hurt in their flight, shooting their darts as they run, and so may Satan do thee, if thy seeming victory makes thee secure.



[Satan's subtlety in choosing fitting

instruments for his purpose.]



Third. Satan shows his subtlety in pitching on fit instruments for his turn to carry on his designs. He, as the master-workman, cuts out the temptation, and gives it the shape, but sometime he hath his jour­neymen to make it up; he knows his work may be carried on better by others, when he appears not aboveboard himself. Indeed there is not such a suitableness between the angelical nature and man's, as there is between one man and another; and therefore he cannot make his approaches so familiarly with us, as man can do to man. And here, as in other things, he is God's ape. You know this very reason was given, why the Israelites desired God might not speak to them, but Moses, and God liked the motion: ‘they have well said,’ saith God, ‘I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee,’ Deut. 18:17, 18. Thus Satan useth the ministry of men like ourselves, by which as he becomes more famil­iar, so he is less suspected, while Joab-like, he gets another to do his errand. Now it is not any [one that] will serve his turn for this employment; he is very choice in his instruments he pitcheth on. It is not every soldier [that] is fit for an embassage, to treat with an enemy, to betray a town, and the like. Satan considers who can do his work to his greatest advantage. And in this he is unlike God, who is not at all choice in his instruments, because he needs none, and is able to do as well with one as another; but Satan's power being finite, he must patch up the defect of the lion's skin with the fox's. Now the persons Satan aims at for his instruments are chiefly of four sorts. 1. Persons of place and power. 2. Persons of parts and policy. 3. Persons of holiness, or at least reputed so. 4. Persons of relation and interest.

1. Instrument. Satan makes choice of persons of place and power. These are either in the commonwealth or church. If he can, he will secure the throne and the pulpit, as the two forts that command the whole line. (1.) Men of power in the commonwealth; it is his old trick to be tampering with such. A prince or a ruler may stand for a thousand; therefore saith Paul to Elymas, when he would have turned the deputy from the faith, ‘O full of all subtilty thou child of the devil!’ Acts 13:10. As if he had said, You have learned this of your father the devil—to haunt the courts of princes, wind into the favour of great ones. There is a double policy that Satan hath in gaining such to his side. (a) None have such advantage to draw others to their way. Corrupt the captain, and it is hard if he bring not off his troop with him. When the princes—men of renown in their tribes—stood up with Korah, presently a multitude are drawn into the conspiracy, Num. 16:2, 19. Let Jeroboam set up idolatry, and Israel is soon in a snare. It is said [that] the people willingly walked after his commandment, Hos, 5:11. (b) Should the sin stay at court, and the infection go no farther, yet the sin of such a one, though a good man, may cost a whole kingdom dear. ‘Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to num­ber Israel,’ I Chron. 21:1. He owed Israel a spite, and he pays them home in their king's sin, which dropped in a fearful plague upon their heads. (2.) Such as are in place and office in the church. No such way to in­fect the whole town, as to poison the cistern at which they draw their water. Who shall persuade Ahab that he may go to Ramoth-Gilead and fall? Satan can tell: ‘I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets,’ I Kings 22:22. How shall the profane be hardened in their sins? Let the preacher sew pillows under their elbows, and cry Peace, peace, and it is done. How may the worship of God come to be neglected? Let Hophni and Phin­ehas be but scandalous in their lives, and many both good and bad will ‘abhor the sacrifice of the Lord.’

2. Instrument. He employeth persons of parts and policy. If any hath more pregnancy of wit and depth of reason than other, he is the man Satan looks upon for his service, and so far does he prevail, that very few of his rank are found among Christ's disciples, ‘Not many wise.’ Indeed, God will not have his kingdom, either in the heart or in the world, main­tained by carnal policy, [for] it is a gospel command that we walk in godly simplicity[7]. Though the serpent can shrink up into his folds, and appear what he is not, yet it doth not become the saints to juggle or shuffle with God or men; and truly when any of them have made use of the serpent's subtlety, it hath not followed their hand. Jacob got the blessing by a wile, but he might have had it cheaper with plain dealing. Abraham and Sarah both dissemble to Abimelech; God discovers their sin, and reproves them for it by the mouth of a heathen. Asa, out of state-policy, joins league with Syria, yea, pawns the vessels of the sanctuary and all for help. And what comes of all this? ‘Herein thou hast done foolishly,’ saith God, ‘from henceforth thou shalt have wars.’ Sinful policy shall not long thrive in the saints' hands well. But Satan will not out of his way; he inquires for the subtlest-pated men, a Balaam, Ahithophel, Haman, Sanballat, men admired for their counsel and deep plots; these are for his turn. A wicked cause needs a smooth orator; bad ware, a pleasing chapman. As in particular, the instruments he useth to seduce and corrupt the minds of men are commonly subtle-pated men, such ‘that if it were possible should deceive the very elect.’ This made the apostle so jealous of the Corinthians, whom he had espoused to Christ, lest, as Eve by the serpent, so their ‘minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.’ He must be a cunning devil indeed that can draw off the spouse’s love from he Beloved; yet there is such a witchery in Satan's instruments, that many have been brought to fly on the face of those truths and ordin­ances, yea, [of] Christ himself, to whom they have seemed espoused formerly. Now in three particulars this sort of Satan's instruments show their master's subtlety.

(1.) In aspersing the good name of the sincere messengers of Christ—Satan's old trick to raise his credit upon the ruined reputation of Christ's faithful servants. Thus he taught Korah, Dathan, and Abiram to charge Moses and Aaron: ‘Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation is holy,’ Num. 16:3. They would make the people believe that it was the pride of their heart to claim a monopoly to them­selves, as if none but Aaron and his fraternity were holy enough to offer incense, and by this subtle practice they seduced for a while, in a manner, the whole congregation to their side. So the lying prophets, that were Satan's knights of the post to Ahab, fell foul on good Micaiah. Our Saviour himself was no better handled by the Pharisees and their confederates; and Paul, the chief of the apostles, [had] his ministry undermined, and his reputation blasted, by false teachers, as if he had been some weak sorry preacher. ‘but his bodily presence is weak,’ say they, ‘and his speech contemptible,’ II Cor. 10:10. And is this your admired man?

(2.) In covering their impostures and errors with choice notions and excellent truths. Arius himself, and other dangerous instruments of Satan, were too wise to stuff their discourses with nothing but heterodox matter. Precious truths dropped from them, with which they sprinkled their corrupt principles, yet with such art as should not easily be discerned. This, as one observes, our Saviour warns his disciples of, when he bids them ‘beware of the leaven of the Pharisees,’ that is, of their errors. But why leaven? [Just] for the secret mixture of it with the wholesome bread. You do not make your bread all of leaven, for none would then eat it, but crumble a little into a whole batch, which sours all. Thus Christ doth tell the disciples, that the Pharisees among many truths mix their er­rors; and therefore it behoves them to beware, lest with the truth the errors go down also. Again, leaven is very much like the dough, of the same grain with it, [and] only differs in age and sourness. Thus Christ intimates the resemblance of their errors to the truth, as it were, out of the Scriptures, but soured with their own false glosses. This indeed makes it easy for Christ's sheep to be infected with the scab of error, because that weed which breeds the rot is so like the grass that nourisheth them.

(3.) Their subtlety appears in holding forth such principles as are indulgent to the flesh. This brings in whole shoals of silly souls into their net. The heart of man loves a life to shape a religion according to his own humour, and is easy to believe that to be a truth that favours his own inclination. Now there are three lusts that Satan's instruments labour to gratify in their doctrine—carnal reason, pride, and fleshly liberty.

(a) Carnal reason. This is the great idol which the more intelligent part of the world worship, making it the very standard of their faith, and from this bitter root have sprung those Arian and Socinian heresies. And truly he that will go no farther than reason will carry him, may hold out in the plain way of the moral law, but when he comes to the depths of the gospel, must either go back, or be content that faith should help reason over.

(b) Another lust that Satan cockers is pride. Man naturally would be a god to himself, though for clambering so high he got his fall; and whatever doctrine nourisheth a good opinion of man in his own eye, this is acceptable to him; and this hath spawned another fry of dangerous errors—the Pela­gian and Semi-pelagian, which set nature upon its legs, and persuade man he got alone to Christ, or at least with a little external help, of a hand to lead, or argument to excite, without any creating work in the soul. O, we cannot conceive how glib such stuff goes down. If one workman should tell you your house is rotten, and must be pulled down, and all new materials prepared; and another should say, No such mat­ter; such a beam is good, and such a spar may stand —a little cost will serve the turn: it were no wonder that you should listen to him that would put you to least cost and trouble. The faithful servants of Christ tell sinners from the Word, that man in his natural state is corrupt and rotten, that nothing of the old frame will serve, and there must needs be all new; but in comes an Arminian, and blows up the sinner's pride, and tells him he is not so weak or wicked as the other represents him. If thou wilt, thou mayest repent and believe; or, at least, by exerting thy natural abilities, oblige God to superadd what thou hast not. This is the workman that will please proud man best.

(c) Satan by his instruments nourisheth that desire of fleshly liberty, which is in man by nature, who is a son of Belial, without yoke; and if he must wear any, that will please best which hath the softest lining, and pincheth the flesh least; and therefore when the sincere teachers of the Word will not abate of the strictness of the command, but press sincere obedience to it, then come Satan's instruments and say, These are hard task-masters, who will not allow one play-day in a year to the Christian, but tie him to continual duty; we will show you an easier way to heaven. Come, saith the Papist, confess but once a year to the priest, pay him well for his pains, and be an obedient son of the church, and we will dispense with all the rest. Come, saith the Familist[8]Quoted from the Funk and Wagnalls online Encyclopedia —L. B. W., the gos­pel charter allows more liberty than these legal preachers tell you of. They bid you repent and be­lieve, when Christ hath done all these to your hand. What have you left to do but to nourish the flesh? Something sure is in it, that impostors find such quick return for their ware, while truth hangs upon the log. And is it not this, that they are content to afford heaven cheaper to their disciples than Christ will to his? He that sells cheapest shall have most customers, though, at last, best will be best cheap; truth with self-denial [is] a better pennyworth, than error with all its flesh-pleasing.

3. Instrument. Satan makes choice of such as have a great name for holiness. None so good as a live bird to draw other birds into the net. But is it possible that such should do this work for the devil? Yes, such is the policy of Satan, and the frailty of the best, that the most holy men have been his instruments to seduce others. ‘Abraham’ he tempts his wife to lie, ‘Say thou art my sister.’ The old prophet leads the man of God out of his way, I Kings 13:11; the holi­ness of the man, and the reverence of his age, it is like, gave authority to his counsel. O, how should this make you watchful, whose long travel and great progress in the ways of God, have gained you a name of eminency in the church, what you say, do, or hold, because you are file-leading men, and others look more on you than their way!

4. Instrument. Satan chooseth persons of relation and interest, such as by relation or affection have deep interest in the persons he would gain. Some will kiss the child for the nurse's sake, and like the present for the hand that brings it. It is like David would not have received that from Nabal, which he took from Abigail, and thanks her. Satan sent the apple by Eve's hand to Adam. Delilah doth more with Samson than all the Philistines' bands. Job's wife brings him the poison, ‘Curse God and die.’ Some think Satan spared her life, when he slew his children and servants—(though she was also within his commission)—as the most likely instrument, by reason of her relation and his affection, to lead him into temptation. Satan employs Peter, a disciple, to tempt Christ, at another time his friends and kinsfolk. Some martyrs have confessed, the hardest work they met withal, was to overcome the prayers and tears of their friends and relations. Paul himself could not get off his snare without heart-breaking. ‘What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart?’Acts 21:13.


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 2008/1/23 3:30Profile
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 Re: Christian in Complete Armour ~ Gurnall

Religion is [so] burdensome to none, as to those who are infrequent in the exercise of it. Use makes heavy things light. We hardly feel the weight of our clothes, because fitted to us, and worn daily by us, whereas the same weight on our shoulder troubles us. Thus the grievousness of religious duties to carnal ones, is taken away in the saints, partly by the fitness of them to the saints’ principles, as also by their daily exercise in them. The disciples, when newly entered into the ways of Christ, could not pray much or fast long; the bottles were new, and that wine too strong, but by the time they had walked a few years, they grew mighty in both. Dost thou complain that [the] heaven-way is rugged? Be the oftener walking in it, and that will make it smooth.


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 2008/1/25 2:08Profile
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Sweden

 Re:

Try by this whether you have grace or no. Dost thou walk in the exercise of thy grace? He that hath clothes, surely will wear them, and not be seen naked. Men talk of their faith, repentance, love to God; these are precious graces, but why do they not let us see these walking abroad in their daily conversation? Surely if such guests were in thy soul, they would look out sometimes at the window, and be seen abroad in this duty and that holy action. Grace is of a stirring nature, and not such a dead thing, like an image, which you may lock up in a chest, and none shall know what God you worship. No, grace will show itself; it will walk with you into all places and companies; it will buy with you, and sell for you; it will have a hand in all your enterprises; it will comfort you when you are sincere and faithful for God, and it will complain and chide you when you are otherwise. Go to, stop its mouth, and Heaven will hear its voice, it will groan, mourn and strive, even as a living man when you would smother him. I will as soon believe a man to be alive, that lies peaceably as he is nailed up in his coffin, without strife or bustle, as that thou hast grace, and never exercise it in any act of spiritual life. What! man, hast thou grace, and carried as peaceably as a fool to the stocks by thy lust? Why hangest thou there nailed to thy lust? If thou hast grace, come down and we will believe it; but if thou beest such a tame slave as to sit still inder the command of lust, thou deceivest thyself. Hast thou grace, and show none of it in the condition thou art placed in? May be thou art rich; dost thou show thy humility towards those that are beneath thee? dost thou show a heavenly mind, breathing after heaven more than earth? It may be thy heart is puf­fed with thy estate, that thou lookest on the pooras creatures of some lower species than thyself, and disdainest them, and as for heaven thou thinkest not of it. Like that wicked prince that said, He would lose his part in paradise rather than in Paris. Art thou poor? why dost [thou] not exercise grace in that condition? Art thou contented, diligent? May be instead of contention thou repinest, canst not see a fair lace on thy rich brother's cloth, but grudgest it; instead of concurring with providence by diligence to supply thy wants, thou art ready to break through the hedge into thy neighbour's fat pasture; thus serving thy own turn by a sin, rather than waiting for God's blessing on thy honest diligence. If so, be not angry we call thee by thy right name, or at least question whether we may style thee Christian, whose carriage is so cross to that sacred name, which is too holy to be written on a rotten post.


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CHRISTIAN

 2008/1/25 2:29Profile





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