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quent and fervent in duty; when Paul was buffeted, then he prayed thrice, frequently and fervently; a school, wherein God teaches his people to be more tender, meek, and compassionate to other poor, tempted souls, than ever; a school, wherein God teaches his people to see a greater evil in sin than ever, and a greater emptiness in the creature than ever, and a greater need of Christ and free grace than ever; a school, wherein God will teach his people that all temptations are but his goldsmiths, by which he will try and refine, and make his people more bright and glorious. The issue of all temptations shall be to the good of the saints; as you may see by the temptations that Adam and Eve, and Christ and David, and Job and Peter, and Paul met with. Those hands of power and love that bring light out of darkness, good out of evil, sweet out of bitter, life out of death, heaven out of hell, will bring much sweet and good to his people, out of all the temptations that come
them, Rem. 3. Wisely consider that no temptations hurt or harm the saints, so long as they are resisted by them, and prove the greatest afflictions that can befal them. It is not Satan's tempting, but your assenting; not his enticing, but your yielding, that make temptations hurtful to your souls. If the soul, when it is tempted, resists the temptation, and says with Christ, Get thee behind me Satan; and with that young convert, “I am not the man that I was;' or as Luther counsels all men to answer all temptations with these words, 'I am a Christian;' if a man's temptation be his greatest affliction, then is the temptation no sin upon his soul, though it be a trouble upon
his mind. When a soul can look the Lord in the face, and say, 'O Lord, I have many outward troubles upon me; ! have lost such and such a near mercy, and such and such à desirable mercy; and yet thou that knowest the heart, knowest that all my crosses and losses do not make so many wounds in my soul, nor fetch so many sighs from my heart nor tears from my eyes, as those temptations do that Satan follows my soul with ;' when it is thus with the soul, then temptations are only the soul's trouble; they are not the soul's sin.
Satan is a malicious and envious enemy; as his names are, so is he. His names are all names of enmity; the Accuser, the Tempter, the Destroyer, the Devourer, the Envious Man. And this malice and envy of his he shews, sometimes by tempting men to such sins as are quite contrary to the temperature of their bodies, as he did Vespasian and Julian, men of sweet and excellent natures, to be most bloody murderers. And sometimes he shews his malice by tempting men to such things as shall bring them no honour or profit; to blasphemy and atheism, the thoughts and first motions whereof, cause the heart and flesh to tremble. And sometimes he shews his malice by tempting them to those sins which they have not found their natures prone to, and which they abhor in others. Now if the soul resists these, and complains of these, and groans and mourns under these, and looks up to the Lord Jesus to be delivered from these, then shall they not be put down to the soul's account, but to Satan's, who shall be so much the more tormented, by how much the more the saints have been by him maliciously tempted.
Make present and peremptory resistance against Satan's temptations; bid defiance to the temptations at first sight. It is safe to resist, it is dangerous to dispute. Eve lost herself and her posterity, by falling into lists of dispute, when she should have resisted, and stood upon terms of defiance with Satan. He that would stand in the hour of temptation, must plead with Christ, It is written. He that would triumph over temptation, must plead still, It is written. Satan is bold and impudent, and if you are not peremptory in your resistance, he will give you fresh onsets. It is your greatest honour and your highest wisdom, peremptorily to withstand the beginning of a temptation, for an after-remedy comes often too late. Katherine Bretterge once, after a great conflict with Satan, said, ' Reason not with me, I am but a weak woman. If thou hast any thing to say, say it to my Christ, he is my advocate, my strength, and my Redeemer; and he shall plead for me. Men must not seek to resist Satan's craft with craft, but by open defiance. He shoots with Satan in his own bow, who thinks by disputing and reasoning to put him off. As soon as a temptation shews its face, say to the temptation, as Ephraim to his idols, . Get you hence, what have I any more to do with you?' O say to the temptation, as David said to the sons of Zeruiah, What have I to do with you? You will be too hard for me. He that does thus resist temptations, shall never be undone by temptations.
Make strong and constant resistance against Satan's temptations. Make resistance against temptations by arguments drawn from the honour of God, the love of God, your union and communion with God; and from the blood of Christ, the death of Christ, the kindness of Christ, the intercession of Christ, and the glory of Christ; and from the voice of the Spirit, the counsel of the Spirit, the comforts of the Spirit, the presence of the Spirit, the seal of the Spirit, the whisperings of the Spirit, the commands of the Spirit, the assistance of the Spirit, the witness of the Spirit ; and from the glory of heaven, the excellency of grace, the beauty of holiness, the worth of the soul, the vileness, bitterness, and evil of sin, the least sin being a greater evil than the greatest temptation in the world. And look that you make constant resistance, as well as strong resistance. Be constant in arms. Satan will come on with new temptations, when old ones are too weak. In a calm, prepare for a storm. The tempter is restless, impudent, and subtle. He will suit bis temptations to your constitutions and inclinations. Satan loves to sail with the wind. If your knowledge be weak, he will tempt you to error; if your conscience be tender, he will tempt you to scrupulosity, and to much preciseness, as to do nothing but hear, pray, read; if your consciences be wide and large, he will tempt you to carnal security; if you are bold spirited, he will tempt you to presumption ; if timorous, to desperation ; if flexible, to inconstancy; if proud and stiff, to gross folly; therefore still fit for fresh assaults; make one victory a step to another. When you have overcome a temptation, take heed of unbending your bow, and look well to it, that your bow be always bent, and that it remains in strength. When yo have overcome one temptation, you must be ready to enter the list with another. As distrust, in some sense, is the mother of safety, so security is the gate of danger. A man had need to fear this most of all, that he fears not at all. If Satan be always roaring, we should be always watching and resisting him. And certainly he that makes strong and constant resistance of Satan's temptations, shall in the end get above his temptations, and for the present is secure enough from being ruined by his temptations.
For a close of this, remember that it is dangerous to yield to the least sin, in order to be rid of the greatest temptation. To take this course were as if a man should think to wash himself clean in ink, or as if a man should exchange a light cross made of paper, for an iron cross which is heavy, toilsome, and bloody. The least sin set home upon the conscience, will more wound, vex, and oppress the soul, than all the temptations in the world can; therefore never yield to the least sin, to be rid of the greatest temptation. Sidonius Apollinaris relates, that a certain man named Maximus, arriving at the top of honour by indirect means, was the first day very much wearied, and fetching a deep sigh, said, Damocles, how happy do I esteem thee for having been a king but the
space of a dinner! I have been one a whole day, and can bear it no longer.' I will leave you to make the application.
THE DEVICES OF SATAN TO DESTROY AND ENSNARE
ALL SORTS AND RANKS OF MEN.
The Devices of Satan against the Great and Honourable.
I SHALL begin with the honourable and the great, and shew
you the devices that Satan has to destroy them. I will instance in those only that are most considerable.
Dev. 1. His first device to destroy the great and honourable of the earth, is by working them to make it their business to seek themselves; to seek how to greaten themselves, to raise themselves, to enrich themselves, to secure themselves, as you may see in Pharaoh, Ahab, Rehoboam, Jeroboam, Absalom, Joab, Haman. But vere the scriptures silent, our own experience abundantly evinces this way and method of Satan to destroy the great and the honourable; to bury their names in the dust and their souls in hell, by drawing them wholly to mind themselves, and only to mind themselves, and in all things to mind themselves; and always to mind themselves. All, says the apostle, seek their own. All comparatively, in respect of the paucity of others that let fall their private interests, and drown all self-respects in the glory of God and the public good.
Now the remedies against this device, are these
Rem. l. Solemnly consider that self-seeking is a sin that will put men upon a world of sins; upon sins not only against the laws of God and the rules of the Gospel, but against the very laws of nature, that are so much darkened by the fall of man. It put the pharisees upon opposing Christ, and Judas upon betraying Christ, and Pilate upon condemning Christ. It put Gehazi upon lying, and Balaam upon cursing, and Saul and Absalom upon plotting David's ruin. It put Pharaoh and Haman upon contriving ways to destroy those Jews that God did purpose to save by his mighty arm. It puts men upon using wicked balances, and the bag of deceitful weights. It puts men upon ways of oppression, and selling the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes. I know not any sin in the world, but this sin of self-seeking will put men upon it, though it be their eternal loss.
Rem. 2. Seriously consider that self-seeking does exceedingly abase a man. It strips him of all his royalty and glory. Of a lord, it makes a man become a servant to the creature, aye, often to the worst of creatures, yea, a slave to slaves; as you may see in Judas, Demas, Balaam, and the scribes and pharisees. Self-seekers bow down to the creatures, as Gideon's many