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to you as Christians firmly persuaded of this Truth, that the Devils do rempt us.
From what hath been said, you may take a just Estimate of the Efficacy of the Devil's Temptations, and our Ability to refist him. He can proceed indeed no farther than to suggest the first Cogitations of any Object; and if Man also stopped here, he would never forfeit his Innocence, the Devil would never obtain his desired End. He can do no more indeed, yet this he im. proves to great Advantage, and with that Success which we all lament. He knoweth the Copstitutions of all Men, and can cunningly suggest those Sins unto them, to which they are most prone. He is unweasied in his Nature as well as Malice, and so can continually renew his Suggestions. He can improve them with the introducing of all those false Arguments which can recommend any Sin. He can propose the Pleafures of the World under the most fpecious Appearance; is not discouraged by any Repulse ; renews his Sollicitations with the most constant Diligence. If Man considers what Pleasures the World can give him; he amplifieth to him the Greatness of them. If the Commands of God be reflected on; he suggesteth their Difficulty. If past Sins be recalled to Mind; he exaggerates their Enormity, and suggests them to be Unpardonable. If good Christians, through long struggling and Constancy baffle him in all
these Attempts, by stifling his wicked Impressions in their first Rise, by withholding their Affent, and refusing to embrace his Motions ; he employeth other Methods, and excites wicked Men, who feldom resist his Suggestions, because always recommended with the apparent Shew of Profit or Pleasure, or some other Advantage, to assist him in his Design, by bad Examples or Counsels; and if these be not sufficient, by lajuries and Persecutions; which was the very Case St. Peter particularly speaks of in this place. Thus we see, what a vigilant and powerful Adversary we have to encounter; the Conviction of which will oblige us to reflect seriously upon our Ability and Means of resisting him; to enquire the most secure Methods of opposing him, and seriously apply our felves to the Acquisition and successful Use of them. This I proposed in the Second Place to treat of; wbich, God willing, shall be the Subject of another Discourse.
SE R M ON VII.
(PART II.) Preach'd on the 29th of September, 1689,
at Lambeth Chapel.
1 Pet. V. 8, 9. Tour Adverfary the Devil, as a roaring
Lion, walketh about, seeking whom he
Whom resist, stedfast in the Faith.
AVING represented to you in my former Discourse upon these Words,
the powerful and constant Opposition made to Mankind, in the Prosecution of their Duty, by the Temptations of evil Spirits; it is but necessary to lay open the Means of Resistance which are afforded to Men against these violent and continual Arfaults; left the Consideration of that Vi. gor, and for the most part Success, wherewith the Devil carrieth on his Assaults,
should discourage you from a resolute ResiItance.
What in other Combats is wont to encourage Men, may be reduced either to the Concern of some great loterest, as Life and Liberty lying then at Stake, to be recovered, or even improved by Victory, and forfeited by a Defear; or to the apparent Hopes of Success. These Arguments we find by daily Experience want not their EFfect to move Men to venture their Lives and Fortunes; even fingly, and without the Conjunction of each other. The fear of the Loss of all worldly Happiness will induce Men to fight, even when there is little Probability of Success; and the assured Hopes of Success will produce the fame Effect, although no great Interest be decided by it.
It may be wonder'd indeed, that what is so ordinary in temporal Matters, should feldom be discovered in fpiritual Concerns, where both these Motives are always joined together, and yet both seldom obtain their Effect. Here a far greater Interest lieth at Stake, than is ever the Occasion of temporal Quarrels : Here greater Certainty of Succels appears; since
appears; since here to obtain a Vi&tory depends not upon the Faithfulness of Allies, the Courage of other Men, or the lucky Accidents of Fortune, bur upon
the single Power of every private Man, for which every one can become answerable.
If after all this, the Resistance made by Men to the Assaults of evil Spirits be feeble and oft-times unsuccessful, we must afcribe it not to the want of Evidence in these Arguments, or Conviction of it in the Minds of Men, but to want of Considerasation; that Men blindly pursue the Objects of Sense, raise not their Souls from the Earth, and seldom enter into the Consideration of their spiritual Interests ; enquire not what Opposition they are like to meet with in the Prosecution of them, or what Abilities are conferred on them, whereby they may defeat this oppofition.
Men indeed are always ready to ascribe this want of Success to any Thing else rather than their own Default; and so they may
excuse themselves, care not either to vilify the Divine Justice, or depress their own Natures. Thus the Marcionites, and other Hereticks of old, pretended that the Devil was an Almighty Being, whose Will could not be resisted. And which is much to the fame Purpose in Relation to Man, some others fear not to maintain, that God giveth not sufficient Grace to all, whereby he may be refifted with Success. If Things were so, in vain would Men endeavour to resist him ; nay, it would be even irrational to undertake a Resistance, which we are before assured would be up. successful. We should then have no more