CLXXVI. The Devices of Satan.

2 COR. ii. 11. “For we are not ignorant of his devices.”

IT is both unphilosophical and dangerous to deny the
existence and agency of evil spirits, or to consider such
topics to be too absurd for discussion.
Their non-existence cannot be proved, and the founda-
tion of our faith on this matter is the testimony of Scrip-
ture. There are many things in our experience which
tend to corroborate and confirm the testimony.
There are two mistakes into which we are liable to fall
regarding the prince of evil. On the one hand, we are apt
to over-estimate his influence, and think of him as if he
were another God. On the other hand, there is the danger
of imagining that because Satan is unseen we may give
ourselves no concern about him. Among the things which
render Satan a formidable enemy is the experience he has
acquired in dealing with human souls throughout the
history of the race. But we, on our side, may become
familiar with his ordinary tactics to ensnare men.
I. His employment of deceitful promises. “He is a
liar, and the father of it.” He deceives by exaggerating
the advantages that are to flow from yielding to his entice-
ments, and by concealing the dangers that are incurred.
II. He silvers over evil things with specious names. A
lie is softened into a mistake, an indulgence in intemper-
ance is a frolic, a wasting of the early years of life in folly
and wickedness is a “sowing of one’s wild oats.” Infidelity
has been re-baptized as freedom of thought. Poison, how-
ever you label it, is poison still, but the danger is all the
greater if it is called a harmless drug.
III. He caricatures sacred things, and holds them up to
ridicule. He represents the Christian life as one of ascetic-
ism and sourness, and talks of “vinegar-faced Christians.”
IV. He soothes the soul to sleep by the repetition of
current sayings, the fallacy of which is not detected. For
the beguiling of men, the adversary keeps certain aphor-
isms in constant circulation. Such as “God is merciful.”
“A man’s belief matters not if he be sincere.”
The one great security against his assaults is to be found
in prayer. Satan can never withstand an open Bible and
an earnest prayer to God.
W. M. Taylor, D.D.

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