Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

the opportunity. A believer may often be charged with being off his guard; but no such charge can justly be brought against the devil; in this point he is wiser than the children of light.

When the devil came to him he first poured a whole shower of fiery darts into his mind; the corruption of his heart caught the flame, and the whole course of nature was set on fire of hell, James iii. 6. The smoke beclouded his understanding; or, as Paul says, the god of this world had blinded his eyes; his judgment was confused, and every divine sensation seemed to be swallowed up with horror and dismay. Satan having thus gained an advantage of him, he presented him afresh to the bar of judicature, and there accused him of the very blasphemous thoughts which himself injected into his mind; he tempted him to believe that he had fallen from grace; he suggested hard thoughts of the Saviour to him, and then accused him of it. He suggested to him that he had sinned against the Holy Ghost; and that all the confusion and horror that Prodigalis felt were the effects of the just judgment of God for his unpardonable sin; and was no less than an earnest of what he would suffer to eternity.

Prodigalis felt for his soul-comforting witness, but he could not feel him; his faith seemed not to do her usual office: therefore the poor soul sunk into the real fears of death, and horrors of hell, as bad as ever. Destruction appeared on one side, and Satan on the other; and the devil

brought many of Moses's old accusations against him, as if it were Moses that was accusing him as an unbeliever.

Poor Prodigalis never was more confounded than now at his first trial he had no sensible hope of mercy; but to be arraigned, after justification, was a mystery too profound for him to make a judgment of. Therefore he gave all over for lost; not doubting but he was given up as a reprobate into the hands of Satan; and that he would certainly prevail to make him vent the horror and rebellion of his burdened heart in blasphemous expressions.

While Prodigalis was sinking in despondency, these words came with a divine power to his mind; "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings," 1 Pet. iv. 12, 13. These words gained the attention of the poor man, which Satan could not endure; for he can do nothing with us any longer than while he employs our mind, and we are attentive to his lies; which is his wisdom and our folly.

The devil, perceiving that poor Prodigalis was attentive to another voice, laid violently against him; but the other having received a little encouragement from the above text, was persuaded that he should enjoy the sentence of justification again; nay, he was persuaded that it would come with power a second time; and therefore he put

up these petitions; "Hear the right, O Lord! attend unto my cry; give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips: let my sentence come forth from thy presence: let thine eyes behold the things that are equal. Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me," Psalm xvii. 1—3.

As soon as Prodigalis had ended his petitions, the glorious Advocate answered his prayer in the joy of his heart; and applied these words with such power, that the sham court grew too hot for the cunning accuser; "No weapon formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn." Poor Prodigalis recovering his spiritual might, and seeing his beclouded evidences appear, if possible, ten times brighter than ever, and finding the word of God flow in upon his mind, he laid hold of the sword of the Spirit, and said to his accuser, "It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died," Rom. viii. 33, 34. The devil immediately vanished.

This sham trial served to teach Prodigalis the use of God's sword; and evidently fulfilled the scriptures: "Submit yourselves therefore to God; resist the devil, and he will flee from you," James iv. 7.

Ahimaaz. I dare say the poor man found his love warmer, his faith stronger, and saw the office, use, and faithfulness of his Advocate in a clearer light than ever he had done before. There are

none that know, but those who experience it, how the immutable love of God, and the faithfulness of the Saviour, which appears in so many repeated deliverances, does endear the Almighty to the poor helpless believer, who is perpetually buffeted by the common enemy of God and man.

Cushi. Indeed, Prodigalis never had seen the Saviour in his office as an Advocate but once before, and in this confusion he had lost sight of him: but by means of trials we are led to feel our need of the Saviour in every character that he sustains, which we know nothing of until various trials make us sensible of our need of them, and the Saviour condescends to appear in and fulfil them.

And I doubt the want of observing and considering these things is one reason of the dejection of too many precious souls in our days. Our kind Intercessor ought to be viewed in that office every time we pray. As our Mediator he is wanted when there appears a controversy between God and conscience. An Advocate and a Wonderful Counsellor must be felt for in temptations, or else the accuser's wisdom will be too much for us. And these characters our Lord sustains; and he will ever discharge his offices with divine rectitude, if the prayer of faith implores his aid.

Prodigalis was so confirmed in the faithfulness of his Lord, and in the power of faith, that he secretly wished the same trial to come over again, that he might shew his loyalty, his love, and his

faithfulness to his Lord, and not dishonour him by his unbelief, as he had done, in giving place to the devil; which he saw was a sin reflecting dishonour on every perfection of his Lord.

Ahimaaz. He had better have left his resolutions out of the conflict; for if Satan were to be let loose upon him an hundred times, if the spirit of faith ceased to operate, he would feel the workings of unbelief more or less. I have been vain enough ere now, when I have found my heart fixed, and my consolations powerful, to defy a temptation; thinking that my mountain stood so strong that I should never be moved. But, alas! what are the best of men against Satan's rage, if not panoplied and fortified by the great Jehovah? It was not without cause that Paul bid Timothy be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; which strength consists in a firm persuasion of the immutable love, promised aid, and momentary support of the Almighty God and Saviour Christ Jesus.

Cushi. It is true what you say: but as Satan desires to have us, that he may sift us as wheat, for his own gratification, so the Lord does sometimes enable his children to triumph over him in turn.

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy! when I fall I shall arise: when I sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me," Micah vii. 8. I do not say that the above text is a direct answer to the devil himself; but as he is the chief agent of all the enmity that is displayed against the children

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »