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Updated Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices: Device #12

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DEVICE 12: TO CHOOSE WICKED COMPANY, TO KEEP WICKED SOCIETY
And oh! the terrible godlessness and wickedness that Satan has drawn men to sin—by moving them to hang out with and befriend proud people.
Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To meditate, until your hearts are affected, on those commands of God which expressly require us to shun the society of the wicked (Eph. 5:11): ‘ Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.’; (Prov. 5:14-16): ‘Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. 15 Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. 16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.’ 1 Cor. 5:9-11, 2 Thess. 3:6, Prov. 1:10-15. Turn to these Scriptures, and let your souls dwell upon them, until a righteous anger be raised in your souls against fellowship with worldly men. ‘God will not take the wicked by the hand,’ as Job speaks (34:20; 30:24). Why then should you? God’s commands are not like those who are easily reversed—but they are like those of the Medes, they cannot be changed. If these commands are not observed by you, then they will eventually  be witnesses against you, and millstones to sink you, in that day that Christ shall judge you. The commands of God must outweigh all authority and example of men. (Jerome).

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That their company is very infectious and dangerous, as is clear from the scripture above mentioned. Oh, how many have lost their reputations, and lost their estates, and strength, and God, and heaven, and souls—by associating with wicked men! As you shun a stinking carcass; as the seaman shuns sands and rocks, and reefs; as you shun those who have the plague-sore all over them, so should you shun the society of wicked men. As weeds endanger the corn, as bad infections endanger the body, or as an infected house the neighborhood—so does wicked company the soul. (Prov. 13:20).
Eusebius reports of John the Evangelist, that he would not allow Cerinthus, the heretic, in the same bath with him, lest some judgment should abide them both. A man who keeps ill company is like him that walks in the sun—tanned insensibly.
Bias, a heathen man, being at sea in a great storm, and perceiving many wicked men in the ship calling upon the gods: ‘Oh,’ said he, ‘refrain prayer, hold your tongues; I would not have your gods take notice that you are here; they sure will drown us all if they could.’ Oh, sirs, if a heathen can see so much danger in the society of wicked men, and can you see none?
Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, To always look upon wicked men the way Scripture describes them. The Scripture calls them lions for their fierceness, and bears for their cruelty, and dragons for their hideousness, and dogs for their filthiness, and wolves for their subtleness. The Scripture styles them scorpions, vipers, thorns, briars, thistles, brambles, stubble, dirt, chaff, dust, dross, smoke, scum. (2 Tim. 4:17, Is. 11:7, Ezek. 3:10, Matt. 7:6, Rev. 22:15, Luke 13:32, Is. 10:17, Ezek. 2:6, Judges 9:14, Job 21:18, Psalm 83:13, Psalm 18:42, Ezek. 22:18, 19, Is. 65:5, Ezek. 24:6.)
It is not safe to look at wicked men as they describe themselves by, or by their self flattery; this may hoodwink the soul—but looking at them under the names and notions by which Scripture describes them, may preserve the soul from frequenting their company and delighting in their society. Do not tell me what this man calls them, or how such and such count them; but tell me how does the Scripture call them, how does the Scripture count them? As Nabal’s name was, so was his nature (1 Sam. 25:25), and, as wicked men’s names are, so are their natures. You may know well enough what is within them, by the apt names that the Holy Spirit has given them. Such monsters are wicked men—which should make their company to all who have tasted of grace and God’s love, a burden and not a delight.
Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan, is, solemnly to consider, That the society and company of wicked men have been a great grief and burden to those precious souls that were once glorious on earth, and are now triumphing in heaven (Psalm 120:5, 6): ‘Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! 6 Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace.’ So Jeremiah: ‘Oh that I had in the desert a travelers’ lodging place, that I might leave my people and go away from them! For they are all adulterers, a company of treacherous men.’ (Jer. 9:2). So they distressed Lot’s righteous soul by their filthy conversation’ (2 Pet. 2:7); they made his life a burden, they made death more desirable to him than life, yes, they made his life a lingering death. Guilt or grief is all that godly gracious souls get by talking with wicked men.

‘O Lord, don’t let me go to hell, where the wicked are: for Lord, you know I never loved their company here’—said a gracious gentlewoman, when she was dying.

Updated Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices: Device #11

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DEVICE 11: By polluting and defiling the souls and discernment of men with such dangerous errors, which generally carry the souls of men to all looseness and wickedness, as we often see in our experience.
Oh, how many are filled with these and suchlike Christ-dishonoring and soul- undoing opinions, that is—that the Scriptures are full of errors and gray areas (or uncertainties), and don’t need to be obeyed unless they agree with their own carnal thoughts; that it is a poor, low thing, if not idolatry too, to worship God in a Mediator; that the resurrection is already past; that there was never any such man or person as Jesus Christ—but that all is an allegory; that there is no God nor devil, heaven nor hell—but what is within us; that sin and grace are equally good—with a hundred other horrid opinions, which have caused wickedness to break like a flood over us.
Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That an incorrect, vain MIND is as revolting to God as a wicked LIFE.  One who had leprosy in his head was to be pronounced utterly unclean (Levit. 13:44). Gross errors make the heart foolish, and render the life loose. Error spreads like a gangrene, and makes the soul a leper in the sight of God. The breath of the erroneous is infectious, and, like the dogs of Congo—they bite even though they don’t bark.
It was God’s heavy and dreadful plague upon the Gentiles, to be given over to a mind that was lacking judgment, or an injudicious mind, or a mind rejected, disallowed, despised by God, or a mind that no one should glory in—but rather to be ashamed of (Rom. 1:28). I think that in these days God punishes many men’s former wickednesses, by giving them up to soul-ruining errors. Oh, Lord, this mercy I humbly beg, that you would rather take me into your own hand, and do anything with me, than give me up to those sad errors to which thousands have married their souls and are in the way of perishing forever. It were best that we never erred; next to that, that we fix our error. To persist in error is devilish.
Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, To receive the truth affectionately, and let it dwell in your souls fruitfully. When men stand against the truth, when truth is presented, and men bar the door of their souls against the truth, God in justice gives up such souls to be deluded and deceived by error, to their eternal undoing (2 Thess. 2:10-12): ’10 and with all wicked deception (or, as the Greek has it, “the efficacy of error,”) for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’
Oh, sirs, if you love your souls, do not tempt God, do not provoke God, by rejecting truth—giving yourself up to believe a lie, and damning yourself. There are no men on earth so guarded against error as those that love the truth and receive it with love. Such souls are not ‘easily tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, wherein they lie in wait to deceive’ (The Greek, signifies such sleights as cheaters and false gamesters use at dice.) It is not who receives most of the truth in his head—but who receives most of the truth affectionately in his heart—who shall enjoy the happiness of having his judgment sound and clear, when others are  deluded and deceived by them, who make it their business to infect the judgments and to undo the souls of men. The greatest sinners are sure to be the greatest sufferers.
Oh, souls, if you do not want your judgments polluted and defiled with error, ‘Let the word of the Lord,’ which is more precious than gold, yes than fine gold, ‘dwell plenteously in you’ (Col. 3:16). Let it dwell in you as an ingrafted word incorporated into your souls, so digested by you, that it becomes one with yourselves. It is not the hearing of truth, nor the knowing of truth, nor the commending of truth, nor the talking of truth—but the indwelling of truth in your souls—which will keep your judgments chaste and sound, in the midst of all those glittering errors that betray many souls into his hands, who can easily ‘transform himself into an angel of light’ (2 Cor. 11:14), that he may draw others to lie in chains of darkness with him forever. Oh, do not let the Word be a stranger—but make it your best friend! Then will you be able to stand in the day wherein many shall fall on your right hand, and on your left, by the subtlety of those who shall say, ‘Lo, here is Christ, or lo, there is Christ.’
Oh, souls, if truth dwells in you fruitfully, you are happy; if not, you are unhappy under all your greatest felicity. Truth at last triumphs.
Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That error makes the owner suffer loss. All the pains and labor that men take to defend and maintain their errors, to spread abroad and infect the world with their errors, will bring no profit, nor no comfort to them in that day, wherein ‘every man’s work shall be made manifest, and the fire shall try it of what sort it is,’ as the apostle shows in that remarkable scripture (1 Cor. 3:11-15). Ah, that all those who rise early and go to bed late, that spend their time, their strength, their spirits, their all—to advance and spread abroad God-dishonoring and soul-undoing opinions, would seriously consider this, that they shall lose all the pains, cost and charge that they have been, or shall be at, for the spreading of error; and if they are ever saved, it shall be by fire, as the apostle there shows. Oh, sirs, is it nothing to lay out your money for that which is not bread? and your strength for that which will not, which cannot, profit you in the day that you must make up your account, and all your works must be tried by fire? Error as a glass, is bright, but brittle, and cannot endure the hammer, or fire—as gold can, which, though rubbed or melted, remains firm and shiny.
Oh, that such souls would now at last ‘buy the truth, and sell it not’ (Prov. 23:23). Remember you can never over-buy it, whatever you give for it; you can never sufficiently sell it, if you should have all the world in exchange for it.
It is said of Caesar, that ‘he had greater care of his books than of his royal robes,’ when swimming through the waters to escape his enemies, he carried his books in his hand above the waters—but lost his robes. Oh, what are Caesar’s books to God’s books? Well, remember this, that one day, yes, one hour spent in the study of truth, or spreading abroad of truth, will yield the soul more comfort and profit than many thousand years spent in the study and spreading abroad of corrupt and vain opinions, which come from hell, and not from heaven, from the god of this world and not from the God who shall at last judge this world, and all the corrupt opinions of men.
Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, To hate, reject and abominate all those doctrines and opinions which are contrary to godliness, and which open a door to profaneness, and all such doctrines and opinions which require men to hold forth a strictness above what the Scripture requires; and all such doctrines and opinions which advance and lift up corrupted nature to the doing of supernatural things, which none can do but by that supernatural power that raised Christ from the grave; and such opinions which lift our own righteousness in the room of Christ’s righteousness, which place good works in the throne of Christ, and makes them co- partners with Christ. And all those opinions and doctrines which so set up and cry up Christ and his righteousness, as to cry down all duties of holiness and righteousness, and all those doctrines and opinions which make the glorious and blessed privileges of believers in the days of the gospel to be lesser, fewer and weaker, than they were in the time of the law. Oh, did your souls arise with a holy hatred, and a strong indignation against such doctrines and opinions, you would stand when others fall, and you would shine as the sun in his glory, when many who were once as shining stars may go forth as stinking snuffs. Gideon had seventy sons, and but one illegitimate child, and yet that illegitimate child destroyed all the rest (Judges 8:13, et seq.). One turn may bring a man quite out of the way. One old piece of gold is worth a thousand new counterfeits, and one old truth of God s more than a thousand new errors. True hatred is against all errors! It is sad to frown upon one error and smile upon another.
Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, To hold fast the truth. As men do not take hold on the arm of flesh—until they let go the arm of God (Jer. 17:5); so men do not take hold of error until they have let go their hold of truth; therefore hold fast the truth (2 Tim. 1:13, and Titus 1:9). Truth is your crown, hold fast your crown, and let no man take your crown from you. Has not God made truth sweet to your soul, yes, sweeter than honey, or the honeycomb? and will not you go on to heaven, feeding upon truth, that heavenly honeycomb, as Samson did of his honeycomb.
Oh, souls, have you not found truth sweetening your spirits, and cheering your spirits, and warming your spirits, and raising your spirits, and corroborating your spirits? Have not you found truth a guide to lead you, a staff to uphold you, a cordial to strengthen you, and a medicine to heal you? And will not you hold fast the truth? Has not truth been your best friend in your worst days? Has not truth stood by you when friends have forsaken you? Has not truth done more for you than all the world could do against you, and will you not hold fast the truth? Is not truth your right eye, without which you cannot see for Christ? And your right hand, without which you cannot do for Christ? And your right foot, without which you cannot walk with Christ? And will you not hold truth fast? Oh! hold fast the truth in your judgments and understandings, in your wills and affections, in your profession and conversation.
Truth is more precious than gold or rubies, ‘and all the things you can desire are not to be compared to her’ (Prov. 3:15). Truth is that heavenly mirror wherein we may see the luster and glory of divine wisdom, power, greatness, love and mercifulness. In this mirror you may see the face of Christ, the favor of Christ, the riches of Christ, and the heart of Christ—beating and working sweetly towards your souls. Oh! let your souls cleave to truth, as Ruth did to Naomi (Ruth 1:15, 16), and say, ‘I will not leave truth, nor return from following after truth; but where truth goes I will go, and where truth lodges I will lodge; and nothing but death shall part truth and my soul.’
What John said to the church of Philadelphia I may say to you, ‘Hold fast that which you have, that no man take your crown’ (Rev. 3:11). The crown is the top of royalties: such a thing is truth: ‘Let no man take your crown.’ ‘Hold fast the faithful word,’ as Titus speaks. Hold fast as with tooth and nail, against those who would snatch it from us. It is better to let go of anything, rather than truth! It is better to let go, of your honors and riches, your friends and pleasures, and the world’s favors; yes, your nearest and dearest relations, yes, your very lives—than to let go of the truth. Oh, keep the truth, and truth will make you safe and happy forever. Blessed are those who are kept by truth. ‘Though I cannot dispute for the truth, yet I can die for the truth,’ said a blessed martyr.
Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, To keep humble. Humility will keep the soul free from many darts of Satan’s casting, and erroneous snares of his spreading. As low trees and shrubs are free from many violent gusts and blasts of wind which shake and tear the taller trees, so humble souls are free from those gusts and blasts of error which shake and tear proud, lofty souls. Satan and the world have least power to fasten errors upon humble souls. The God of light and truth delights to dwell with the humble; and the more light and truth dwells in the soul, the further off darkness and error will stand from the soul. The God of grace pours in grace into humble souls, as men pour drink into empty vessels; and the more grace is poured into the soul, the less error shall be able to overpower the soul, or to infect the soul. I have read of one who, seeing in a vision so many snares of the devil spread upon the earth, he sat down mourning, and said within himself, Who shall pass through these? whereupon he heard a voice answering, Humility shall pass through them.
That is a sweet word in Psalm 25:9, ‘The humble, he will guide in judgment, and the meek he will teach his way.’ And certainly souls guided by God, and taught by God, are not easily drawn aside into ways of error. Oh, take heed of spiritual pride! Pride fills our fancies, and weakens our graces, and makes room in our hearts for error. There are no men on earth so soon entangled, and so easily conquered by error—as proud souls. Oh, it is dangerous to love to be wise above what is written, to be curious and unsober in your desire of knowledge, and to trust to your own capacities and abilities to undertake to pry into all secrets, and to be puffed up with a carnal mind. Souls that are thus a- soaring up above the bounds and limits of humility, usually fall into the very worst of errors, as experience does daily evidence. The proud soul is like him who gazed upon the moon—but fell into the pit. You know how to apply it.
Remedy (7). The seventh remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, The great evils that errors have produced. Error is a fruitful mother, and has brought forth such monstrous children as has set towns, cities and nations on fire. Errors in conscience produce many great evils, not only in men’s own souls—but also in human affairs. Error is that whorish woman that has cast down many, wounded many, yes, slain many strong men, many great men, and many learned men, and many professing men in former times and in our time, as is too evident to all who are not destitute of the truth, and blinded by Satan. Oh, the graces that error has weakened, and the sweet joys and comforts that error has clouded, if not buried! Oh, the hands that error has weakened, the eyes that error has blinded, the judgments of men that error has perverted, the minds that error has darkened, the hearts that error has hardened, the affections that error has cooled, the consciences that error has seared, and the lives of men that error has polluted! Ah, souls! can you solemnly consider of this, and not tremble more at error, than at hell itself?

Updated Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices: Device #10

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DEVICE 10: By convincing them to frequently compare themselves and their ways, with those who are believed or reported to be worse than themselves.
By this device the devil drew the proud pharisee to bless himself in a cursed condition, ‘‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.’ (Luke 18:11). Satan says—you are now and then a little lustful—but so and so daily defiles and pollutes himself by actual immorality and filthiness; you deceive and take advantage your neighbors in things that are unimportant and insignificant—but so and so deceives and takes advantage of others in the most important things, even to their ruin and undoing; you just sit, and chat, and sip with the drunkard—but so and so sits and drinks and is drunk with the drunkard; you are only a little proud in heart and habit, in looks and words.
Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider this, That there is not a greater nor a clearer argument to prove a man a hypocrite, than to be quick to see others faults—and blind about his own, than to see ‘a speck of dust in another man’s eye, and not a log in his own eye’ (Matt. 7:3, 4); than to use a magnifying glass to look at  other men’s sins rather than to see his own; rather to be always holding his finger upon other men’s sores, and to be amplifying and aggravating other men’s sins—and diminishing his own. History speaks of a kind of witches that, would put on their eyes when looking at others in the world—but returning home they boxed them up again. So do hypocrites.
Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, To spend more time in comparing of your internal and external actions with the Rule, with the Word, by which you must be judged at the end of time—than in comparing of yourselves with those who are worse than yourselves. That man who, comparing him self with others that are worse than himself, may seem, to himself and others, to be an angel. Yet comparing himself with the word of God, may see himself to be like the devil, yes, a very devil. ‘Have not I chosen twelve, and one of you is a devil?’ (John 6:70). Such men are like him, as if they were spit out of his mouth.
The nearer we draw to God and his Word the more rottenness we will find in our bones. The more any man looks into the sun, the less he sees when he looks down again. It is said of the dragon, that if he looks into a mirror he will die; so will sin, and a sinner (in a spiritual sense), when the soul looks into the Word, which is God’s mirror.
Satan is called ‘the god of this world’ (2 Cor. 4:4), because, as God first spoke, and it was done, so, if the devil holds up his finger, give the least hint—they will obey his will, though they undo their souls forever. Oh, what monsters would these men appear to be, if they would compare themselves with a righteous rule, and not with the most unrighteous men; they would appear to be as black as hell itself.
Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That even though your sins are not as great as those of others, without sound repentance on your side, and pardoning mercy on God’s side—you will certainly be as damned as others, though not equally tormented with others. Even though hell may not be so hot to you as to others,  you must as certainly go to hell as others—unless the glorious grace of God shines upon you through Christ. God will punish men according to their sins; the greatest sins will get the greatest punishments, and lesser sins will get lesser punishments. (As in heaven one is more glorious than another, so in hell one shall be more miserable than another—Augustine.)
Unfortunately, what a weak comfort will this be to you when you come to die, to consider that you shall not be equally tormented with others, yet must be forever shut out from the glorious presence of God, Christ, angels, and saints, and from those good things of eternal life, that are so many that they exceed number, so great that they exceed measure, so precious that they exceed estimation! Sure it is, that the tears of hell are not sufficient to bewail the loss of heaven; the worm of grief gnaws as painful as the fire burns. If those souls (Acts 20:37) wept because they should see Paul’s face no more, how deplorable is the eternal deprivation of the beautific vision! The gate of blessedness, the gate of hope, the gate of mercy, the gate of glory, the gate of consolation, and the gate of salvation—will be forever shut against them (Matt. 25:10).
But this is not all: you shall not be only shut out of heaven—but shut up in hell forever; not only shut out from the presence of God and angels—but shut up with devils and damned spirits for ever; not only shut out from those sweet, surpassing, unexpressible, and everlasting pleasures that are at God’s right hand—but shut up forever under those torments that are ceaseless, remediless and endless. Oh, souls, were it not ten thousand times better for you to break off your sins by repentance, than to go on in your sins until you feel the truth of what now you hear? It was a good saying of Chrysostom, speaking of hell: ‘Let us not seek to figure out where it is—but how we shall escape it!’
God is very merciful. Oh, that you would repent and return, that your souls might live forever! Remember this, the pain and torment for being punished for specific sins will be great—but even more great is the pain and torment of being punished for all eternity! For to be tormented without end— goes beyond the bounds of all desperation. Oh, this thought makes the damned roar and cry out for unquietness of heart, and tear their hair, and gnash their teeth, and rage for madness, that they must be in ‘everlasting burnings’ forever!
Surely one good means to escape hell is to take a turn or two in hell during our daily meditations.

Updated Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices: Device #8

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DEVICE 8: Satan presents to our soul the outward mercies that sinful men enjoy, and the outward miseries that they are freed from, while they have walked in the ways of sin. 

Satan says, Do you see the many blessings that such and such enjoy, who walk in the sinful ways you are afraid to even think of, and the many crosses that they are delivered from, the crosses that make other men, who refuse to walk in sin, spend their days in sighing, weeping, groaning, and mourning? and therefore, Satan says, if you want to be free from the dark night of adversity, and enjoy the sunshine of prosperity—you must walk in their ways.

By this gimmick the devil took those in Jer. 44:16-18,“As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you. But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster. But since we left off making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.” (ESV) This is just the language of a world of ignorant, profane, and superstitious souls, who would have returned to bondage, yes, to that bondage that was worse than that the Israelites groaned under.

Remedy (1). The first remedy is, solemnly to consider, That no one knows how the heart of God stands towards a person, by his outward blessings to that person. He may be treating a man in mercy, even when His heart is turned against him, as you may see in Saul and others; and the hand of God may be set against a man, when the heart of God is affectionately set upon a man, as you may see in Job and Ephraim. The hand of God was severely set against them, and yet the heart and affections of God were strongly working towards them.

No one knows either the love or hatred of God—simply by his outward mercy or misery towards them; for all things come alike to all, to the righteous and to the unrighteous, to the good and to the bad, to the clean and to the unclean. The sun of prosperity shines as well upon thorny bushes of the wilderness—as upon fruit-trees of the orchard; the snow and hail of adversity comes upon the best garden—as well as upon the stinking ash-heap or the wild waste. Ahab’s and Josiah’s deaths concur in the very circumstances. Saul and Jonathan, though different in their natures, deserts, and deportments; yet in their deaths they were not divided. Health, wealth, honors, crosses, sicknesses, losses, are cast upon good men and bad men indiscriminately. Moses dies in the wilderness—as well as those who murmured. Nabal is rich—as well as Abraham. Ahithophel wise—as well as Solomon. Doeg is honored by Saul—as well as Joseph was by Pharaoh. Usually the worst of men have most of these outward things. Usually the holiest of men have least of earth, though most of heaven.

Cicero judged the Jews’ religion to be nothing, because they were so often overcome, and impoverished, and afflicted; and the religion of Rome to be right, because the Romans prospered and became rulers of the world; and yet, though the Romans had God’s hand, yet the Jews had his heart, for they were dearly beloved, though severely afflicted.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That there is nothing in the world that so provokes God to be furious and angry, as men’s taking encouragement to do evil from God’s goodness and mercy. This can be seen in the wrath which fell upon the old world, and by God’s raining hell out of heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah. This is clear in Jeremiah 44:20-28. The words are worthy of your best meditation. Oh that they were engraven in all your hearts, and constant in all your thoughts! Though they are too large for me to transcribe them, yet they are not too large for me to remember them. To argue from God’s mercy to sinful liberty—is the devil’s logic—men with this logic are walking in a mine field with gunpowder ready to be blown up! No such soul can ever avoid the wrath of God. This is the height of wickedness—for a man to be very bad, because God is very good. There is not a worse spirit than this in hell. Oh, Lord, does not wrath, yes, the greatest wrath, lie at this man’s door? Are not the strongest chains of darkness prepared for such a soul? To sin against mercy is bestial; no, it is worse. To render good for evil is divine, to render good for good is human, to render evil for evil is brutish; but to render evil for good is devilish; and from this evil deliver my soul, O God.

Such souls make God into a mere doll—one that will not do as he says; but they shall find God to be as severe in punishing as he is to others gracious in pardoning. Good turns aggravate unkindnesses, and our guilt is increased by our  responsibility.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That there is no greater misery in this life, than not to be in misery; no greater affliction, than not to be afflicted. Woe, woe to that soul that God will not waste his time disciplining! This is the saddest stroke of all—when God refuses to strike at all! (Hos. 4:17), ‘Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone.’ ‘Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel?’ (Is. 1:5). When the physician gives up the patient, you say, ‘Ring the chimes—the man is dead.’ So when God gives over a soul to sin without control, you may truly say, ‘This soul is lost,’ you may ring the chimes, for he is twice dead, and plucked up by the roots.

Freedom from discipline is the mother of carnal security, the poison of religion, the moth of holiness, and the introducer of wickedness. ‘Nothing,’ said one, ‘seems more unhappy to me, than he to whom no adversity has happened.’ Outward mercies often prove to be a snare for our souls. ‘I will lay a stumbling block’ (Ezek. 3:20). Vatablus’s note there is, ‘I will prosper him in all things, and not restrain him from sin by affliction.’ Prosperity has been a stumbling-block, at which millions have stumbled and fallen, and broke the neck of their souls forever! “Religion brought forth riches, and the daughter soon devoured the mother,” said Augustine. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:8-10

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the need that wicked men have, in spite of all their outward mercy and freedom from adversity, is far greater than all their outward enjoyments. They have many mercies, yet they lack more than they enjoy. The mercies which they enjoy are nothing to the mercies they lack. It is true, they have honors and riches, and pleasures and friends, and are mighty in power; their family is established, and their children surround them. ‘Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.’ ‘They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance. They play the drum and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.’ ‘They spend their days in wealth, their eyes stand out with fatness, they have more than heart can wish: and they have no bands in their death—but their strength is firm; they are not in trouble as other men.’

Yet all this is nothing to what they lack. They lack a saving interest in God, Christ, the Spirit, the promises, the covenant of grace, and everlasting glory. They lack acceptance and reconciliation with God; they lack righteousness, justification, sanctification, adoption, and redemption. They lack the pardon of sin, and power against sin, and freedom from the dominion of sin. They lack that favor with God, which is better than life, and that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory, and that peace which passes understanding, and that grace, the least spark of which is more worth than heaven and earth. They lack a house that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. They lack those riches that never perish, the glory that never fades, that kingdom that is never shaken.

Wicked men are the most needy men in the world, yes, they lack those two things that make their mercies sweet, that is, the blessing of God, and contentment with their condition! Without these things, their heaven is but hell on this side hell. (Psalm 49:11, 73:7; Job 21:12) When their hearts are lifted up and grown big upon the thoughts of their abundance, if conscience does put in a word and say, It is true, here is this and that outward mercy—Oh—but where is a saving interest in Christ? Where is the favor of God? Where are the comforts of the Holy Spirit? Where are the evidences for heaven? This word from the conscience makes man’s countenance change, his thoughts to be troubled, his heart to be amazed, and all his mercies on the right hand and left to be as if they where dead and withered. Ah, were but the eyes of wicked men open to see their spiritual needs under their temporal abundance, they would cry out and say, as Absalom did, ‘What are all these to me so long as I cannot see the king’s face?’ (2 Sam. 14:23, 32). What is honor, and riches, and the favor of creatures—so long as I lack the favor of God, the pardon of my sins, a saving interest in Christ, and the hope of glory! O Lord, give me these, or I die! Give me these, or else I shall eternally die!

Neither Christ nor heaven can be exaggerated. A crown of gold cannot cure the headache; a velvet slipper cannot ease the gout; honor or riches cannot quiet and still the conscience. The heart of man is a three-sided triangle, which the whole round circle of the world cannot fill, as mathematicians say—but all the corners will complain of emptiness, and hunger for something else.

Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That outward things are not as they seem nor as great as we esteem them. They certainly have a glorious outside—but if you view their insides, you will easily find that they fill the head full of cares, and the heart full of fears. What if the fire should consume one part of my estate, and the sea should be a grave to swallow up another part of my estate! What if my servants should be unfaithful abroad, and my children should be deceitful at home! Ah, the secret fretting, distressing, and gnawing that does daily, yes hourly, attend those men’s souls whose hands are full of worldly goods!

It was a good speech of an emperor: ‘You,’ said he, ‘gaze on my purple robe and golden crown—but did you know what cares are under it, you would not take it up from the ground to have it.’ It was a true saying of Augustine on the 26th Psalm: ‘Many are miserable by loving hurtful things—but they are more miserable by having them.’ It is not what men enjoy—but the principle from whence it comes, that makes men happy. Much of these outward things usually cause great distraction, great vexation, and great condemnation at last, to the possessors of them. If God gives them in his wrath, and does not sanctify them in his love, they will end up being witnesses against a man, and millstones forever to sink a man in that day when God shall call men to an account, not for the use—but for the abuse of mercy.

Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider the end and the design of God in heaping up mercy upon the heads of the wicked, and in giving them rest and quiet from those sorrows and sufferings that others sigh under. David shows the end and design of God in this. “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will make them vanish from this life.” Psalm 73:16-20. So in Psalm 92:7, “Although the wicked flourish like weeds, and evildoers blossom with success, there is only eternal destruction ahead of them.” God’s setting them up, is but in order to his casting them down; his raising them high, is but in order to his bringing them low. Exod. 9:16: ‘And in very deed, for this cause have I raised you up, for to show in you my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.’ I have constituted and set you up as a target—that I may let fly at you, and follow you close with plague upon plague, until I have beaten the very breath out of your body, and got myself a name, by setting my feet upon the neck of all your pride, power, pomp, and glory. Ah, souls, what man in his wits would be lifted up that he might be cast down; would be set higher than others, when it is but in order to his being brought down lower than others? There is not a wicked man in the world that is set up with Lucifer, as high as heaven—but shall with Lucifer be brought down as low as hell. Can you think seriously of this, O soul, and not say, O Lord, I humbly crave that you will let me be little in this world, that I may be great in another world; and low here, that I may be high forever hereafter. Let me be low, and feed low, and live low, so I may live with you forever; let me now be clothed with rags, so you will clothe me at last with your robes; let me now be set upon a ash-heap, so I may at last be advanced to sit with you upon your throne. Lord, make me rather gracious than great, inwardly holy than outwardly happy, and rather turn me into my first nothing, yes, make me worse than nothing, rather than set me up for a time, that you may bring me low forever. “Grant us, Lord, that we may so partake of temporal felicity, that we may not lose eternal happiness.” (Bernard).

Valens, the Roman emperor, fell from being an emperor to be a footstool to Sapor, king of Persia. Dionysius, king of Sicily, fell from his kingly glory to be a schoolmaster. The brave Queen Zenobia was brought to Rome in golden chains. Belisarius, a famous general, Henry the Fourth, Bajazet Pythias, great Pompey, and William the Conqueror, these, from being very high were brought very low; they all fell from great glory and majesty to great poverty and misery.

Remedy (7). The seventh remedy against this device of Satan is solemnly to consider, That God does often most plague and punish those whom others think he does most spare and love; that is, God does plague and punish them most with spiritual judgments—which are the greatest, the sorest, and the heaviest—whom he least punishes with temporal punishments. (Psalm 81:12, 78:26-31, 106:15) He gave them their requests—but sent leanness into their soul. It is a heavy plague to have a fat body and a lean soul; a house full of gold, and a heart full of sin. There are no men on earth so internally plagued as those who meet with least external plagues. Oh the blindness of mind, the hardness of heart, the searedness of conscience, that those souls are given up to, who, in the eye of the world, are reputed the most happy men, because they are not outwardly afflicted and plagued as other men.

Ah, souls, it were better that all the temporal plagues that ever befell the children of men since the fall of Adam should at once meet upon your souls, than that you should be given up to the least spiritual plague, to the least measure of spiritual blindness or spiritual hardness of heart. Nothing will better that man, nor move that man, who is given up to spiritual judgments. Let God smile or frown, stroke or strike, cut or kill—he minds it not, he regards it not; let life or death, heaven or hell, be set before him—it stirs him not; he is mad upon his sin, and God is fully set to do justice upon his soul. This man’s preservation is but a reservation unto a greater condemnation; this man can set no bounds to himself; he is become a brat of fathomless perdition; he has guilt in his bosom and vengeance at his back wherever he goes. Neither ministry nor misery, neither miracle nor mercy, can mollify his heart! And if this soul be not in hell, on this side hell—who is? It is better to have an ulcerated body—than a seared conscience. It is better to have no heart—than a hard heart. It is better to have no mind—than a blind mind.

Remedy (8). The eighth remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell more upon that strict account that vain men must make for all that good that they do enjoy. “In that day men shall give an account of good things committed unto them, of good things neglected by them, of evil committed by them, and of evils allowed by them. Then shall a good conscience be more worth than all the world’s good.” (Bernard) Ah! did men dwell more upon that account that they must before long—give for all the mercies that they have enjoyed, and for all the favors that they have abused, and for all the sins they have committed—it would make their hearts to tremble and their lips to quiver, and rottenness to enter into their bones; it would cause their souls to cry out, and say, ‘Oh that our mercies had been fewer and lesser, that our account might have been easier, and our torment and misery, for our abuse of so great mercy, not greater than we are able to bear. Oh cursed be the day wherein the crown of honor was set upon our heads, and the treasures of this world were cast into our laps; oh cursed be the day wherein the sun of prosperity shined so strong upon us, and this flattering world smiled so much upon us, as to occasion us to forget God, to slight Jesus Christ, to neglect our souls, and to put far from us the day of our account!’

Philip the Third of Spain, whose life was free from gross evils, professed, that he ‘would rather lose his kingdom than offend God willingly.’ Yet being in the agony of death, and considering more thoroughly of his account he was to give to God, fear struck into him, and these words broke from him ‘Oh! would to God I had never reigned. Oh that those years that I have spent in my kingdom, I had lived a solitary life in the wilderness! Oh that I had lived a solitary life with God! How much more securely would I now have died! How much more confidently would I have gone to the throne of God! What does all my glory profit me—but that I have so much the more torment in my death?’

God keeps an exact account of every penny that is laid out upon him and his, and that is laid out against him and his; and this in the day of account men shall know and feel, though now they wink and will not understand. The sleeping of vengeance causes the overflowing of sin, and the overflowing of sin causes the awakening of vengeance. Abused mercy will certainly turn into fury. God’s forbearance of sin, is not the overlooking of sin. The day is at hand when he will pay wicked men for the abuse of old and new mercies. If he seems to be slow, yet he is sure. He has leaden heels—but iron hands. The farther he stretches his bow, or draws his arrow, the deeper he will wound in the day of vengeance. Men’s actions are all in print in heaven, and God will, in the day of account, read them aloud in the ears of all the world, that they may all say Amen to that righteous sentence that he shall pass upon all despisers and abusers of mercy.

Jerome still thought that voice was in his ears. ‘Arise you dead, and come to judgment.’ As often as I think on that day, how does my whole body quake, and my heart within me tremble.

Updated Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices: Device #7

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DEVICE 7: BY MAKING YOUR  SOUL BOLD TO RISK THE CHANCE OF SIN

Satan says, You can walk by the prostitute’s door but you won’t go into the prostitute’s bed; you can sit and drink with the drunkard, but you won’t get drunk with the drunkard; you can look at Jezebel’s beauty, and you can flirt and tease with Delilah, but you will not commit sin with the one or the other; Like Achan you can  touch the bar of gold, but you will not steal the bar of gold.

Remedy (1). The first remedy is, soberly meditate on those scriptures which specifically command us to avoid the chance of sin, and the least appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22): ‘Abstain from all appearance of evil.’ Whatever is doubtful, unsound and distasteful, shun it, as you would a snake in your way, or poison in your food. Epiphanius says that in the old law, when any dead body was carried by any house, they were commanded to shut their doors and windows. Theodosius tore the Arian’s arguments presented to him in writing, because he found them contradictory to the Scriptures. Augustine retracted even ironies, because they had the appearance of lying.

When God had commanded the Jews to abstain from pig’s flesh, they would not even mention the word—but in their common talk would call a sow another thing. To abstain from all appearance of evil, is to do nothing where sin appears, or which has a shadow of sin. Bernard ‘Abstained from whatever is of evil show, or of ill report, so that he would neither wound conscience nor reputation.’ We must shun and be shy of the very presence and shadow of sin, if we have any concern about our reputation in the world or at home.

It was good counsel that Livia gave her husband Augustus: ‘It benefits you not only not to do wrong—but not to seem to do so.’ So Jude 23, ‘And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.’ It is a phrase taken from legal uncleanness, which was contracted by touching the houses, the vessels, the garments, of unclean people. Under the law, men where not to touch a menstruous cloth, nor would God accept a blemished peace-offering. So we must not only hate and avoid gross sins—but everything that may carry a odor or suspicion of sin; we must abhor the very signs and expressions of sin. So in Prov. 5:8, ‘Remove your way far from her, and do not come near the door of her house.’ In order not to be burnt, you have to dread the fire; If you don’t want to make the bell ring, you must not play with the rope. There is a story of two young men that threw away their belts, when they where in an idol’s temple, the idol cleansing water got on them.  Detesting the garment spotted by the flesh, One  of them said, every time I have been among worldly men, I returned home less a man than I was before.

To take a chance being around sin, and then to pray, ‘Lead us not into temptation,’ is the same as shoving  your finger into the fire, and then to praying that it won’t be burnt. So, in Prov. 4:14, 15, you have another command: ‘Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.’ This triple nuance of Solomon shows with a great emphasis, how necessary it is for men to flee from all appearance of sin, as the seaman avoids rocks and sand bars; and as men shun those who have the plague-sores all over them. Just ass weeds endanger the corn, as an infection endangers the blood, or as an infected house endanger the neighborhood; so the company of the wicked endanger the godly. Friendship with wicked friends is one of the strongest chains of hell, and binds us to a participation in both their sin and their punishment.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is to seriously consider, That ordinarily there is no victory over sin, without the soul turning from the chance of sin. It is impossible for that man to have victory over sin—who plays and sports with the chance of sin. God will not remove the temptation to sin, except you turn away form the chance of sin. With God it is just and righteous, that whoever dances on the edge of the pit should fall into it, and whoever will not turn away from the chance of sin will be a slave to it. As long as there is fuel in our hearts for a temptation, we cannot be secure. Whoever has gunpowder in their pocket cannot stay far enough away from a spark. To rush into a situation of sin is both to tempt ourselves, and to tempt Satan to tempt our souls! It is very rare that any soul that plays with sinful situations is not ensnared by that sin!

The fable says, that the butterfly asked the owl how she should deal with the fire which had singed her wings.  He told her not even to look at its smoke.

It is seldom that God keeps that soul from acts of sin, who will not keep off from occasions of sin. You might as well go near occasions of sin, is as try to put out a fire with gasoline. Oh, souls, remember  how often you have been overcome by sin when you have boldly gone upon the occasions of sin! Look back, souls, to the days of your pride, where  you have been as easily conquered when tempted, triumphed over when assaulted—when you have played with the occasions of sin. If you want to be kept from sinning in the future and be made victorious over sin, oh! flee from the occasions of sin!

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That other precious saints, who were once glorious on earth, and are now triumphing in heaven, have turned from the opportunities of sin, as hell itself; as you may see in Joseph (Gen. 39:10), ‘And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.’ Joseph was famous for all the four cardinal virtues, if anyone ever was. In this one temptation you can see his fortitude, justice, temperance, and prudence, in that he shuns the situation: for he would not even be in her presence. It is a true test of a man when he is in a temptation that is an opening to give in to corruption. The Nazarite was not only not drink wine—but not even taste a grape, or the skin of a grape. The leper was to shave his hair, and cut back his nails.  The devil knows that corrupt nature has a seed-plot for all sin, which being drawn out and prepared by some sinful occasion, will quickly produce death and destruction. God will not remove the temptation, until we remove the occasion to temptation. A bird is safe flying up in the sky—but when she comes not near the snare, she is in danger. The shunning the occasions of sin puts a man in the company of  the godliest of men. A soul overcome by grace does not dare to come near temptation. So Job 31:1, ‘“I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?’ I set an alarm at the entrance of my senses, so that my soul might not be infected or endangered by them. The eye is the window of the soul, and if it is always open, your soul will pay for it.   If a man cannot love something entirely he should not look intently upon it.  The disciples were breathless, when they looked at the beauty of the temple. It is best and safest to have the eye always fixed upon the highest and noblest objects: as the mariner’s eye is fixed upon the star, when their hand is on the stern. So David, when he was himself, he shuns the occasion of sin (Psalm 26:4, 5): ‘I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.’

Stories speak of some who could not sleep when they thought of the trophies of other worthies that went before them. The highest and choicest examples are to some, and should be to all, very challenging and provoking; and oh that the examples of those worthy saints, David, Joseph, and Job, might prevail with all your souls to shun and avoid the occasions of sin! Everyone should strive to be like them in grace, who desire to be equal with them in glory. Whoever shoots at the sun, even though he falls short, will shoot higher than he who aims at a shrub. It is best, and it speaks out much of Christ within, to eye the highest and the worthiest examples.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That the avoiding the occasions of sin, is an evidence of grace, and that which lifts up a man above most other men in the world. True strength of grace is best displayed when one is tempted with a sinful occasion; when with Lot, a man can be unblemished in Sodom, and with Timothy can live temperate in Asia, among the luxurious Ephesians; and with Job can walk uprightly in the land of Uz, where the people were profane in their lives, and superstitious in their worship; and with Daniel can be holy in Babylon; and with Abraham, righteous in Chaldea; and with Nehemiah, zealous in Damascus, etc.

Many are more full of corruption than they show because they don’t have the opportunity for sin—but true godliness is seen when a man is tempted by occasions to sin and will not be bad. A Christless soul is so far from refusing occasions to sin, when they come his way, he looks and longs after them, and rather than go without them he will buy them, not only with love or money—but also with the loss of his soul! Nothing but grace can fence a man against the occasions of sin, when he is strongly tempted. Therefore, as you would cherish a precious evidence in your own life of the truth and strength of your graces, shun all sinful occasions.

Plutarch says of Demosthenes, that he was excellent at praising the worthy acts of his ancestors—but not at imitating them. Oh that this were not applicable to many who profess to be Chrstians in our times!

Updated Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices: Device #5

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DEVICE 5: TO PRESENT GOD TO THE SOUL AS ONE WHO IS ALL  MERCY

Oh! Satan says, you don’t need to make a big deal of sin, you don’t need to be fearful of sin, not so unwilling to commit sin; for God is a God of mercy, a God full of mercy, a God that delights in mercy, a God that is ready to show mercy, a God that is never weary of showing mercy, a God more prone to pardon his people than to punish his people; and therefore he will not punish your soul; so why, says Satan, should you make such a big deal about sin?

Remedy (1). The first remedy is, seriously to consider, That there is no greater judgement in the world than to be left in sin. You are left  in an unhappy state when God leaves you to yourself, and does not fight against your sins. Woe to whoever God winks at your sin. When God lets the way to hell be a smooth and pleasant way, that is hell on earth, and a dreadful sign of God’s anger against a man; a sign of his rejection, and that God does not intend good for him. That is a sad word, ‘Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone’ (Hosea 4:17); he will be unteachable; he has united with mischief, he shall have his bellyful of it; he falls with open eyes; let him fall at his own risk. And that is a terrible saying, ‘So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lusts, and they walked in their own counsels’ (Psalm 81:12). A soul given up to sin is a soul ripe for hell, a soul quickly heading to destruction!

Oh Lord! have mercy! I humbly beg, that whatever you give me up to, you will not give me up to the ways of my own heart; if you will give me up to be afflicted, or tempted, or reproached, I will patiently wait, and say, It is the Lord; let him do with me what seems good in his own eyes. Do anything with me, lay whatever burden you want upon me, rather than to give me up to the ways of my own heart.

Augustine says, ‘It is a human thing to fall into sin, devilish to persevere therein, and divine to rise from it. Deliver me, O Lord, from that evil man—myself!

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That God is as JUST, as he is merciful. As much as Scriptures declare God is  merciful, they also declare him to be just. See the example of His casting the angels out of heaven and His binding them in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day.* See the example of His kicking Adam out of Paradise. Witness His drowning of the old world. Witness His raining hell out of heaven upon Sodom. Witness all the troubles, losses, sicknesses, and diseases, which are in the world. Witness the city Tophet, which “has long been prepared; it has been made ready for the king. Its fire pit has been made deep and wide, with an abundance of fire and wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of burning sulfur, sets it ablaze.” (Isaiah 30:33) Witness His treasuring up of wrath against the day of wrath. But above all, witness the pouring forth of all His wrath upon His bosom Son, when Jesus bore the sins of His people, and cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

*God hanged them up in gallows, as it were, that others might hear and fear, and not act so wickedly.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That sins against God’s mercy will bring the greatest and most painful judgments upon men’s heads and hearts. Mercy is God’s Alpha or first characteristic, justice is His Omega or final characteristic. David, speaking of these attributes, places mercy first, and justice last, saying, “I will sing of Your love and justice.” (Psalm 101:1). When God’s mercy is despised, then His justice takes the throne!* God is like a prince, who does not sent his army against rebels before he has sent his pardon, and proclaimed it by a special messenger: he first hangs out the white flag of mercy; if this wins men in, they are happy forever; but if they remain rebellious, then God will put out his red flag of justice and judgment. If His mercy is despised, His justice shall be felt!

The higher we are in pride and rank, the more severe is our fall and misery.

God is slow to anger—but he compensates his slowness with severeness of punishment. If we abuse His mercy to serve our lust, then, in Salvian’s (a Christian writer of the fifth century)  phrase, God will rain hell out of heaven, rather than not visit for such sins.

This was true with the Israelites. He loved them and chose them when they were in their blood, and most unlovely. He multiplied them, not by ordinary means—but by miracle; from seventy souls they grew in a few years to six hundred thousand; the more they were oppressed, the more they prospered. Like camomile flowers, the more you tread it, the more you spread it; or like a palm-tree, the more it is pressed, the further it spreads; or like fire, the more it is raked, the more it burns. Their mercies came to them like Job’s messengers, one right behind the other: God put off their sackcloth and mourning, and clothed them with gladness, and ‘compassed them about with songs of deliverance’; he ‘carried them on the wings of eagles’; he kept them ‘as the apple of his eye.’ (Psalm 32:7; Exod. 19:4; Deut. 32:10) But they, became the greatest objects of his wrath when they abused His mercy. Just like I don’t know a man who can understand God’s mercies; neither do I know a man who can add up the miseries which are coming for sins!

For as our Savior prophesied concerning Jerusalem, ‘that a stone should not be left upon a stone,’ so it was fulfilled forty years after his ascension, by Vespasian the emperor and his son Titus, who, having besieged Jerusalem, the Jews were oppressed with a severe famine, in which their food was old shoes, leather, old hay, and the waste of beasts. There died, partly by the sword and partly by the famine, eleven hundred thousand; two thousand in one night were slaughtered; six thousand were burned in a porch of the temple; the whole city was sacked and burned, and laid level to the ground; and ninety-seven thousand taken captives, and forced to lowly and miserable service, as Eusebius and Josephus says. (Vespasian broke into their city at Kedron, where they took Christ, on he same feast day that Christ was taken; he whipped them where they whipped Christ; he sold twenty Jews for a penny, as they sold Christ for thirty pence.) And to this day, in all parts of the world, are they not the outcasts of the world? None more hated, than they. Men will be deeper in hell, because heaven was offered unto them; but they abused God’s mercy. Men’s offenses are increased by their obligations.

And so Capernaum, that was lifted up to heaven, was threatened to be thrown down to hell. Those that are lifted closest to heaven and despise is are lowered the lowest in hell. You who are so prone to abuse God’s mercy, consider this, that in the gospel days, the plagues that God inflicts upon the despisers and abusers of mercy are usually spiritual plagues; as blindness of mind, hardness of heart, numbness of conscience, which are ten thousand times worse than the worst of outward plagues that can come upon you. And therefore, even though you may escape temporal judgments, yet you will not escape spiritual judgments: ‘How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?’ (Heb. 2:3) says the apostle. Oh! therefore, whenever Satan presents God to the soul as one made up all of mercy, that he may draw you to sin, say to him, that sins against God’s mercy, will bring the greatest misery on the soul; and therefore whatever may happen to you you, you will not sin against mercy

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan, is seriously to consider, That even though God’s general mercy is extended to all his creation, yet his special mercy is confined to those who are divinely qualified. Augustus, during his formal feasts, gave inexpensive gifts, trifles, to some—but gold to others whom he set his heart upon. So God, by a hand of general mercy, gives these poor trifles—outward blessings, to those who he least loves; but his gold, special mercy, is only towards those who his heart is most set upon. So in Exodus 34:6, 7: ‘And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, patient, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.’ Exodus 20:6, ‘And showing mercy unto thousands of those who love me, and keep my commandments.’ Psalm 25:10, ‘All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.’ Psalm 32:10, ‘Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.’ Psalm 33:18, ‘Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him, upon those who hope in his mercy.’ Psalm 103:11, ‘For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward those who fear him.’ Ver. 17, ‘But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear him.’

When Satan attempts to draw you to sin by presenting God as a God of only mercy, simply reply, that though God’s general mercy extend to all the works of his hand, yet his special mercy is confined to those who are divinely qualified, to those who love him and keep his commandments, to those who trust in him, those that hope in him, and who fear him; and that you must be such a one here on earth, or else you can never be happy in eternity; you must partake of his special mercy, or else eternally perish in everlasting misery, in spite of  God’s general mercy.

Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That those who were once glorious on earth, and are now triumphing in heaven, looked at  the mercy of God as the most powerful argument to preserve them from sin, and to fence their souls against sin; and not as an encouragement to sin. Psalm 26:3-5: ‘For I am constantly aware of your unfailing love, and I have lived according to your truth. I do not spend time with liars or go along with hypocrites. I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked.’

Joseph strengthened himself against sin by remembering mercy: ‘How then can I,’ said Joseph, ‘do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ (Gen. 39:9). He had his eye fixed upon mercy, and therefore sin could not enter, though the hinderences entered into his soul; his soul being focused on God’s mercy, was not moved with his mistress’s audacity. Satan knocked often at the door—but the sight of mercy would not allow him to answer or open. Joseph, like a pearl in a puddle, keeps his virtue in tact. (The stone called Pontaurus, is of that virtue, that it preserves him who carries it, from taking any hurt by poison. The mercy of God in Christ to our souls is the most precious stone or pearl in the world, to prevent us from being poisoned with sin.)

Likewise with Paul: ‘Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ (Rom. 6:1, 2). There is nothing in the world that makes a man less like a saint, and more like to Satan—than to argue from God’s mercy to sinful liberty; from divine goodness to prodigal behavior. This is the devil’s logic, and in whomever you find it, you may write, ‘This soul is lost!’ A man may as well say, ‘the sea burns’, or ‘the fire cools’—than to say God’s free grace and mercy should make a truly gracious soul to live wickedly.

So the same apostle: ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service’ (Rom. 12:1). So John: ‘These things I write unto you, that you sin not (1 John 2:1, 2). What was it that he wrote? He wrote: ‘That we might have fellowship with the Father and his Son; and that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin; and that if we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins; and that if we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ These choice favors and mercies the apostle holds out as the choicest means to preserve the soul from sin, and to keep sin at the greatest distance away; and if this will not do it— you may write the man absent of Christ and grace, and undone forever!

Updated Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices: Device #4

(Still working on editing)

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DEVICE 4: By showing our souls the sins of very good men, and by hiding their faithfulness; by showing our soul their sins, and by hiding from our soul their sorrows and repentance. For instance he shows our soul the adultery of David, the pride of Hezekiah, the impatience of Job, the drunkenness of Noah, the blasphemy of Peter, etc., and he hides from the soul the tears, the sighs, the groans, the emotional pains, the humblings, and repentings of these precious souls.

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That God in his Word has been equally as careful to draw attention to the saints’ repentance and turning from sin, as He has to note their falling into sins. David falls greatly—but by repentance he rises sweetly. ‘blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!  ; For I know my transgressions,  and my sin is ever before me.  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. ;Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation’ It is true, Hezekiah’s heart was proud under the abundance of mercy that God had poured out to him; but it is as true that Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come upon him, nor upon Jerusalem, during Hezekiah’s lifetime. It is true, Job curses the day of his birth, but it is as true that he rises by repentance: ‘Behold, I am vile,’ says he; ‘what shall I answer you? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken—but I will not answer; yes twice—but I will proceed no further. I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear—but now my eye sees you; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes’ (Job 40:4, 5; 42:5, 6). Tertullian says that he was born for no other purpose but to repent.

Peter falls horribly—but rises by repentance sweetly; a look of love from Christ melts him into tears. He knew that repentance was the key to the kingdom of grace. At one time his faith had been so great that he leaped out of a boat into a sea of waters to come to Christ; now his repentance was so great that he leaped into a sea of tears, because he had denied Christ. Some say that, after his sad fall, he was continually weeping, and that his face was even furrowed with continual tears. As soon as he took in the poison he vomited it up again, before it got to his vital parts; As soon as he had touched this serpent, he turned it into a rod to punish his soul with guilt for sinning against such clear light, and strong love, and sweet discoveries of the heart of Christ to him. Luther confesses that, before his conversion, that the most displeasing word in all his study of the things of God was repent—but afterward he took delight in the word. Clement writes that Peter so repented, that for the rest of his life, every night when he heard the cock crow, he would fall down on his knees, and, weeping bitterly, would beg pardon of his sin. Oh, souls, you can easily sin like these saints—but can you repent with the saints? Many can sin with David and Peter, but cannot repent with David and Peter—and so must perish forever! Theodosius the emperor tried to force Ambrose to let him eat the Lord’s supper, excusing his own sinful act by David’s; to which Ambrose replies, You have followed David transgressing, now follow David repenting, and then you can come to table of the Lord.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is to seriously consider that these saints did not make a  habit of sin. They fell once or twice, and rose by repentance, so that they might remain close to Christ forever. They fell accidentally, occasionally, and with much reluctancy; but you sin presumptuously, obstinately, readily, delightfully, and customarily. The saints cannot sin with a whole will—but with a half-will, an unwillingness; not with a full consent—but with a dissenting consent. By making a habit of sinning you have brought on yourself a kind of curse that causes you to keep sinning.  To stop sinning is now the same to you as to cease to exist. Sin has become so familiar to you it has become your nature, which you cannot, which you will not cast off; even though you know that if you do not cast off your sin, God will cast off your soul forever.  You know that if your sin and soul are not torn apart, Christ and your soul can never meet. You make a habit of sin, and say—Didn’t David sin like this, and Noah sin like this, and Peter sin like this? No they did not! Their hearts turned aside to folly one day—but your heart turns aside to folly every day (2 Peter 2:14, Prov. 4:6); and when they had fallen, they turned away by repentance, and lived by faith in  Christ crucified. But you fall, and don’t have strength or will to rise—but wallow in sin, and will eternally die in your sins, unless the Lord is merciful to your soul. Do you think this is good reasoning? — These saints only tasted poison once, and yet narrowly escaped; but  you think you can daily drink poison, and somehow escape.  This is the crazy reasoning of proud souls. David and Peter sinned once terribly and deeply; they tasted poison only once, and were sick to death; but you taste it daily, and somehow think you will not taste of eternal death. Remember, O souls! that the day is close when self-flatterers will be found self-deceivers, yes, self-murderers! Though sin dwells in the regenerate, it does not reign over the regenerate; they rise by repentance.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That though God does not, nor never will, disown his people for their sins, he has severely punished his people for their sins. David sins, and God breaks his bones for his sin: ‘Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which you have broken may rejoice’ (Psalm 51:8). ‘And because you have done this, the sword shall never depart from your house, to the day of your death’ (2 Sam. 12:10). Though God will not totally remove his loving-kindness, or allow his faithfulness to fail, or break his covenant, or change what He has decreed or commanded, yet he will ‘visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes’ (Psalm 89:30, 35). The Scripture if full of examples of this. Everyone who is familiar with scripture knows this, and to cite more scriptures to prove it would be like lighting  a candle to see the sun at noon. Josephus reports that, not long after the Jews had crucified Christ on the cross, so many of them were condemned to be crucified that there were not places enough for crosses nor crosses enough for the bodies that were to be hung on. The Jews have a proverb, ‘That there is no punishment that comes upon Israel in which there is not one ounce of the golden calf’; meaning that that was so great a sin, God remembered it in every plague; that it had an influence into every trouble they fell into. Every man’s heart may say to him in his sufferings, as the heart of Apollodorus in the kettle, ‘I have been the cause of this.’ God is most angry when he shows no anger. God keep me from this mercy; this kind of mercy is worse than all other kind of misery.
There is an expression once used in a friend writing to a friend: ‘I account it a part of unhappiness not to know adversity; I judge you to be miserable, because you have not been miserable.’ Luther says, ‘There is not a Christian that carries not his cross.’ It is mercy that our affliction is not execution—but a correction. He who has deserved hanging, should be glad if he escape with a whipping. God’s corrections are our instructions, his lashes our lessons, his scourges our schoolmasters, his chastisements our admonitions. And to note this, both the Hebrews and the Greeks express correction and teaching by one and the same word (Musar, Paideia),*** because the latter is the true end of the former, according to that in the proverb, ‘Smart makes wit, and vexation gives understanding.’ Therefore, Luther correctly calls affliction The Christian man’s divinity.’ So says Job (Chap. 33:14-19), ‘But God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it. He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in bed. He whispers in their ear and terrifies them with his warning. He causes them to change their minds; he keeps them from pride. He keeps them from the grave, from crossing over the river of death. Or God disciplines people with sickness and pain, with ceaseless aching in their bones.’ When Satan shall tell you of other men’s sins to draw you to sin—then think of the same men’s sufferings to keep you from sin. Lay your hand upon your heart, and say, O my soul! if you sin with David, you must suffer with David!
Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That there are only two main ends of God’s recording the falls of his saints.  And the one is, to keep those from fainting, sinking, and despair, under the burden of their sins, who fall through weakness and infirmity.
And the other is, that their falls may be as landmarks to warn others to take heed lest they fall. It never entered into the heart of God to record his children’s sins, that others might be encouraged to sin—but rather that others might look to themselves, and cling more tightly and closely to Christ, and avoid all occasions and temptations that may cause them fall, as others have fallen, when they have been left by Christ. The Lord has made their sins landmarks, to warn his people to take heed how they come near those sands and rocks, those snares and baits, that have been fatal to the choicest treasures, namely—the joy, peace, comfort, and glorious enjoyments of the bravest spirits and noblest souls that ever sailed through the ocean of this sinful troublesome world; as you may see in David, Job, and Peter. There is nothing in the world that can so notoriously cross the grand end of God’s recording of the sins of his saints, than for any from thence to take encouragement to sin; and wherever you find such a soul, you may write him Christless, graceless, a soul cast off by God, a soul that Satan has by the hand, and the eternal God knows where he will lead him. I have known a good man, says Bernard, who, when he heard of any that had committed some notorious sin, he would say to with himself—he fell today, so may I tomorrow.

Updated Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices: Device #3

Little Rascals

DEVICE 3: BY CONDONING AND LESSENING SIN
Oh! says Satan, it’s just a little pride, a little worldliness, a little uncleanness, a little drunkenness, etc. Just like Lot said about Zoar, “is it not a little one?—and my life will be” (Gen. 19:20). Oh! says Satan, it is just a very little sin that you are thinking about. You can commit it without any danger to your soul. It is just a little one; you can commit it, and your soul will live.
Remedy (1). First, seriously consider, that those sins which we often consider small, have brought the greatest wrath of God upon men, like the eating of an apple, gathering a few sticks on the Sabbath day, and touching the ark. Oh! the dreadful wrath that these sins brought down upon the heads and hearts of men! The least sin is contrary to the law of God, the nature of God, the being of God, and the glory of God; and therefore it is often punished severely by God; and do not we see daily the vengeance of the Almighty falling upon the bodies, names, states, families, and souls of men—for those sins that are just little ones in their eyes? Surely if we are not completely forsaken by God, and blinded by Satan—we have to see it! Therefore, when Satan says it is but a little one—you must say, Oh! but those sins you call little, are the kind that cause God to rain hell out of heaven upon sinners as he did upon the Sodomites!

Remedy (2). Seriously to consider, That giving in to a less sin makes way for the committing a greater sin. The one who, to avoid a greater sin, will give in to a lesser, God in justice will allow that soul to fall into a greater. If we commit one sin to avoid another, it is just we should avoid neither, we don’t have law or power in our own hands to keep off sin as we please; and we, by yielding to the lesser, do tempt the tempter to tempt us to the greater. Sin has a nature that creeps up on us; it creeps on the soul by degrees, step by step, until it has the soul to the very height of sin. David gives in his wandering eye, and this led him to the terrible sins that caused God to break his bones, and to turn his day into night, and to leave his soul in great darkness. Jacob and Peter, and other saints, have found this true by awful experience, that yielding to a lesser sin has paved the way for a greater. The little thief will open the door, and make way for the greater; and the little wedge forced in, will make way for the greater.
First, Satan will attract you to sit with those getting drunk, and then drink with those getting drunk, and then finally to be drunk with those who are drunk. First he will draw you to unclean thoughts, and then to be unclean in your looks, and then to be unclean in your words, and finally to be unclean in your practices. He will first draw you to look at block of gold, and then to desire the block of gold, and then to handle the block of gold, and then finally by wicked ways to take the block of gold, though you risk losing God and your soul forever; as you may see in Gehazi, Achan, and Judas, and many others. Sin is never at a stand-still (Psalm 1:1), first ungodly, then sinners, then scorners. Here they go on from sin to sin, until they reach the top of sin, that is, to sit in the seat of scorners.
By all this we see, that the giving in to lesser sins, draws the soul to commit greater sins. Oh! how many have fallen like this, first to have low thoughts of Scripture and ordinances, and then to ignore Scripture and ordinances, and then to twist however he wants the Scripture and ordinances, and then to cast off Scripture and ordinances, and then at last to advance and lift up themselves, and their Christ-dishonoring and soul- damning opinions, above Scripture and ordinances.
Sin creeps up on a man’s soul by unnoticeable degrees. “The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end of his talk is evil madness.” (Eccles. 10:13) Corruption in the heart, when it begins to errupt, is like a hole in a damn, it begins very small, until it eats through, and breaks open taking down everything in front of it. The controversies of the soul are quick, and quickly ended; and what only took a little bit of time may undo a man forever. When a man has begun to sin, he does not know where, or when, or how he stop sinning. Usually the soul goes on from evil to evil, from folly to folly, until it is ripe for eternal misery!
Remedy (3). The third remedy against this third device that Satan has to draw the soul to sin, is to seriously consider, that it is sad to sin against God for something so small. The rich man would not give a crumb to Lazarus, therefore he should not receive a drop (Luke 16:21). There is nothing crazier in the world than to risk going to hell for a small matter. “I tasted but a little honey,” said Jonathan, “and I must die” (1 Sam. 14:29). It is a most unkind and unfaithful thing to separate oneself from God, for a little. Little sins carry only need a little temptation to cause one to sin. Therefore when a man sins with just a little temptation he shows viciousness and unkindness. It is devilish to sin without any temptation; it is little less than devilish to sin with very little temptation necessary. The less the temptation is to sin—the greater is that sin. Saul’s sin in not waiting for Samuel, was not so much in the matter—but it was much in the malice of it; for though Samuel had not come at all, yet Saul should not have offered sacrifice; but this cost him dear—his soul and kingdom.
It is the greatest unkindness that can be showed to a friend, to take a chance on the condemning, bleeding, and grieving of his soul—for a petty sin. So it is the greatest unkindness that can be shown to God, Christ, and the Spirit, for a soul to put God upon condemning, Christ upon bleeding, and the Spirit upon grieving—by giving in to little sins. Therefore, when Satan says it is just a little one, you must answer—that often this shows the greatest unkindness to God’s glorious majesty, when we enter into the smallest sins, and therefore you will not displease your best and greatest friend—by giving in to his greatest enemy.
Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan, is seriously to consider, That there is great danger, yes, many times most danger—in the smallest sins. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1 Cor. 5:6). If the serpent can just sneak in his head, he will get in his whole body. Greater sins startle the soul quicker, and cause the soul to seek repentance, than lesser sins do. Little sins often slide into the soul, and breed, and work secretly and indiscernibly in the soul, until they come to be so strong, that they trample on the soul, and cut the throat of the soul. There is often greatest danger to our bodies in the least diseases that we get, because we are likely to make light of them, and to neglect treating them right away, so they grow so strong that we can’t get over them. So there is often the most danger in the least sins. We tend not to take notice of them, and to neglect those heavenly helps that should weakened and destroyed them, instead they grow very strong, so strong that we are ready to scream, the medicine is too weak for the disease! I would pray, and I would hear—but I am afraid that sin piled up so big, that I will never be able to overcome it; So just as I have started to fall, I will keep falling, and finally perish in it, unless the power and free grace of Christ acts gloriously, beyond what I can presently ask or imagine. The viper is killed by the little young ones that are nourished and cherished in her belly—so are many men eternally killed and betrayed by the little sins, as they call them, that are nourished in their own belly.
Someone might say I am not sure that the little sin is as great as the big sin—there stubbornness shows their weakness. A little hole in the ship sinks it. A small break in a dyke causes the whole thing to crumble. A little stab at the heart kills a man. A little sin, without a great deal of mercy, will damn a man!
Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan, is seriously to consider, That other Christians have chosen to suffer the worst persecution, rather than commit the least sin, at least, what the world calls least sin. You see this in Daniel and his friends, who would rather choose to burn, and be cast to the lions—than they would bow to the idol which Nebuchadnezzar had made. When this ‘slight offense’, in the world’s account, and a hot fiery furnace stood in competition, the options where that they must either fall into sin, or be cast into the fiery furnace. Their tenderness of the honor and glory of God, and their hatred and indignation against sin was displayed because they would rather burn than sin! They knew that it was far better to burn for their not sinning, than to have God and conscience raise a hell, a fire in their hearts for sin.
I have read about the noble servant of God, Marcus Arethusius, minister of a church in the time of Constantine, who was the cause of overthrowing an idol’s temple; afterwards, when Julian became emperor, he forced the people there to build it up again. They were ready to do it—but Marcus refused; consequently his own church members took him, and stripped him of all his clothes, and abused his naked body, and gave it up to the children, to cut it with their pocket knives, and then forced him to be put in a basket, and drenched his naked body with honey, and set him in the sun, to be stung with wasps. They showed all this cruelty because he would not help rebuild this idol temple! It came down to this, if he would do the littlest thing to help, if he would just give a half-penny to help rebuild it, they would save him. But he refused, even though giving of a half- penny might have saved his life; and in doing this, he lived up to the principle that most Christians talk of, and all profess—but few come up to, that is—that we would rather choose to suffer the worst persecution that men and devils can invent and inflict, than to commit the least sin that would cause God to be dishonored, our consciences wounded, religion reproached, and our own souls endangered.
Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, to seriously consider, That the soul is never able to stand under the guilt and weight of the least sin, when God reveals it to the soul. The least sin will press and sink the strongest sinner as low as hell, when God opens the eyes of a sinner, and make him see the horrid filthiness and abominable vileness that is in sin! Lice and gnats are such little, base, and vile creatures but by these little poor creatures, God plagued stout-hearted Pharaoh, and all Egypt, so much that, fainting under it, they were forced to cry out, “This is the finger of God!” (Exod. 8:16; 10. 19). When little creatures, yes, the least creatures, are armed with a power from God, they will press and sink down the greatest, proudest, and strongest tyrants alive!
So when God puts a sword into the hand of a little sin, and arms it against the soul, the soul will faint and fall under it. Some, who have only thought about adultery, without any actual acting on it; and others, having found a sin they had overlooked, and didn’t try to make it right, knowing, by the light of natural conscience, that they did not do what they should have done have been brought low; and others, that have had some unworthy thought of God, have been so frightened, amazed, and terrified for those sins, which are small in men’s eyes, that they have wished they had never been born; that they could take no delight in any earthly comfort, that they have been put to their wits’ end, ready to end their life, wishing they would be annihilated.
William Perkins told a story about a good, but very poor man who was starving, stole a lamb, and was about to eat it with his poor children, and like he always did before eating, started to ask God’s blessing, dared not do it—but fell into a great struggle of conscience, and acknowledged his fault to the owner, promising to pay him back as he was able.
Remedy (7). The seventh remedy against this device is, to seriously consider, That there is more evil in the least sin than in the greatest affliction; and this is seen as clear as the sun, by the severe dealing of God the Father with his beloved Son, who poured out his fiercest wrath upon him for the least sin as well as for the greatest.
“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23); of ALL sin, whether great or small, Oh! this should make us tremble—as much at the least spark of lust as at hell itself; considering that God the Father would not spare his only begotten Son, no, not for the least sin—but would make him drink the cup of his wrath!
These are remedies that may fence and preserve our souls from being drawn to sin by this third device of Satan.

Updated Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices: Device #2

DEVICE 2. BY PAINTING SIN WITH VIRTUE’S COLORS.
Satan knows if he would present sin in its own nature and dress, the soul would run from it rather than give in to it; so he does not present it to us in its natural colors—but presents it painted and gold coated with the name and appearance of good moral quality, so that we may be more easily overcome by it, and take more pleasure in committing it. PRIDE, he presents to the soul under the name and notion of neatness and purity; and COVETOUSNESS (which the apostle condemns for idolatry) to be but good business or being a good steward; and DRUNKENNESS to be good fellowship, and RIOTOUSNESS (unrestrained living for pleasure) under the name and notion of being open minded, and WANTONNESS (Undisciplined lifestyle) as the innocence of youth.
Remedy (1). Consider that sin is not the least bit less filthy, vile, and abominable—by its being colored and painted with virtue’s colors. A poisonous pill is never the least bit less poisonous because it is coated with gold; nor is a wolf the least bit less a wolf because he has put on a sheep’s skin; nor is the devil the least bit less a devil because he appears sometimes like an angel of light. So neither is sin any less filthy and abominable by its being painted over with virtue’s colors or moral quality.

Remedy (2). Consider that the more sin is painted with the color of virtue, the more dangerous it is to the souls of men. This is made clear in these days, by those very many souls that turn away from what is holy—where their souls have had sweet and glorious communion with God—into ways of highest vanity and folly, by Satan’s neat coloring over of sin, and painting evil with the name and color of virtue. This is so well known known that all I need to do is state it. The most dangerous insect is too often found under the fairest and sweetest flowers, the fairest glove is often put on the wickedest hand, and the richest robes are often put on the filthiest bodies. So are the fairest and sweetest names put on the greatest and the most horrible vices and errors that exist in the world. Oh! that we didn’t have so many sad proofs of this among us!

Remedy (3). Consider to look on sin with an eye with which within a few hours we shall see it.  Oh, souls! when you lie on a your death bed, and stand before a judgment-seat, sin will be unmasked, and its dress and robes will then be taken off, and then it will appear more vile, filthy, and terrible than hell itself; then, what formerly appeared most sweet will appear most bitter, and what appeared most beautiful will appear most ugly, and what appeared most delightful will then appear most dreadful to the soul. Oh, the shame, the pain, the arrogance, the bitterness, the horror, the hell the sight of sin, when its dress is taken off, will be produced in poor souls! Sin will surely be proven evil and bitter to the soul when its robes are taken off. A man may have the stone, but not feel it inside of him. Conscience will work at last, even though right now one may not feel guilty or accused by it. Laban showed himself for what he was when leaving.(Laban can be seen as symbolizing those whose concern for the welfare of their immediate family, nominally a virtue, is taken to the point where it has lasting negative ramifications) Sin will be bitterness in the final end, when it will appear to the soul in its own filthy nature.
The devil deals with men as the panther does with beasts; he hides his deformed head until his sweet scent has drawn them into his danger. Until we have sinned, Satan is a parasite; when we have sinned, he is a tyrant. O souls! the day is at hand when the devil will pull off the paint and garnish that he has put upon sin, and present that monster, sin, in such a monstrous shape to your souls, that it will cause your thoughts to be troubled, your countenance to be changed, your stomach will be upset, and your knees will knock, and your hearts to be so terrified, that you will be ready, with Ahithophel (King David’s top counselor that eventually conspired to overthrow him) and Judas, to strangle and hang your bodies on earth, and your souls in hell, if the Lord has no more mercy on you than he had on them. Oh! therefore, look upon sin now as you must look upon it to all eternity, and as God, conscience, and Satan will present it to you another day!

Remedy (4). Seriously to consider, That even those very sins that Satan paints, and puts new names and colors on, cost the best blood, the noblest blood, the life-blood, the heart-blood of the Lord Jesus. That Christ should come from the eternal fellowship with his Father to a region of sorrow and death; that God should be made flesh, the Creator made a creature; that he who was clothed with glory should be wrapped with rags of flesh; he who filled heaven and earth with his glory should be cradled in a manger; that the almighty God should flee from weak man—the God of Israel into Egypt; that the God of the law should be subject to the law, the God of the circumcision circumcised, the God who made the heavens working at Joseph’s homely trade; that he who binds the devils in chains should be tempted; that he, whose is the world, and the fullness thereof, should hunger and thirst; that the God of strength should be weary, the Judge of all flesh condemned, the God of life put to death; that he who is one with his Father should cry out of misery, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46); that he who had the keys of hell and death at his belt should lie imprisoned in the tomb of another, having in his lifetime nowhere to lay his head, nor after death to lay his body; that that HEAD, before which the angels cast down their crowns, should be crowned with thorns, and those EYES, purer than the sun, put out by the darkness of death; those EARS, which hear nothing but hallelujahs of saints and angels, to hear the blasphemies of the multitude; that FACE, which was fairer than the sons of men, to be spit on by those beastly wretched Jews; that MOUTH and TONGUE, which spoke as no man ever spoke, accused for blasphemy; those HANDS, which freely moved the scepter of heaven, nailed to the cross; those FEET, “like unto fine brass,” nailed to the cross for man’s sins; each sense pained with a spear and nails; his SMELL, with stinking odor, being crucified on Golgotha, the place of skulls; his TASTE, with vinegar and gall; his HEARING, with disapproval of him, and SIGHT of his mother and disciples mourning him; his SOUL, comfortless and forsaken; and all this for those very sins that Satan paints and puts fine colors upon! Oh! how the thought of this should stir up the soul against sin, and force the soul to fly from it, and to use all holy means to subdue and destroy sin!
After Julius Caesar was murdered, Antonius brought his coat, all bloody and cut, and laid it before the people, saying, “Look, here you have the emperor’s coat bloody and torn”—consequently the people were in an uproar, and cried out to execute those murderers; and they took their tables and stools, and set them on fire, and ran to the houses of those who had slain Caesar, and burnt them. When we consider that sin has slain our Lord Jesus, oh, shouldn’t it provoke our hearts retaliate against sin—which has murdered the Lord of glory, and has done this sin that all the devils in hell could never have done?
Someone once gave good advice, “Never let go out of your minds the thoughts of a crucified Christ.” Let these be food and drink to you; let them be your sweetness and consolation, your honey and your desire, your reading and your meditation, your life, death, and resurrection.