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Entries in Temptation (2)


To overthrow our faith

From The Works of William Perkins, Vol. 1, "The Combat Between Christ and the Devil Displayed."

Satan's main drift in temptation is to overthrow our faith, whereby we believe every part and parcel of God's Word to be true: see this in his tempting of Eve; first he labors to weaken her faith in the truth of God's threatening, which done, he easily brought her to actual disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit. The same course he holds at this day; first he will seek to nuzzle men into ignorance, that he may keep them in unbelief. If he fails that way, then will he endeavor to plunge their souls into some damnable error and heresy; and by one of these means does he destroy the faith of many; for while a man remains in ignorance he can have no faith; and if he misses of the truth of God, he wants ground for his faith. Now the reason why the devil labors so much against our faith is, because we cannot truly rely upon god's mercy, nor depend upon His providence, nor yield any acceptable obedience to His commandments, unless we believe His Word.


Forecasting for weakness

From "The Combat Between Christ and the Devil Displayed," in The Works of William Perkins, Volume 1.

In discussing the timing of Satan's tempting of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-3), Perkins points out Satan's "policy" for tempting us:

He will not tempt all men at all times, neither always with the greatest temptations; but he forecasts for the time of man's greatest weakness, and thereto he reserves his strongest assaults. Now usually a man is most weak when he is under some grievous affliction; either in body, mind, or both; or when he lies in the pangs of death. These times does Satan observe; and keeps his strongest temptations against them come, as does notably appear by his dealing with Christ, not only at this time when he was a hungered, but also and especially at His passion; for the Scripture says, "He spoiled principalities and powers upon the cross" [Col. 2:14-15], whereby is apparent that the devil with his greatest power did then assault Him, thinking either then or never to give Him the foil, when as He did sustain the wrath of God due unto the sins of man. And so will he handle all the members of Christ; in their greatest extremities they shall be sure to feel Satan's deepest malice, unless God restrains his power. Which must teach is in the day of peace and strength, to prepare against the day of weakness by any affliction or by death itself, so that we may by God's grace be able to stand against the rage of Satan; for then he will be sure more eagerly to seek our ruin, and unless we prepare beforehand, we shall never be able to stand. Now our best preparation is to come to "hear the words of Christ and to do the same," for then, "though the winds blow, the rain falls, the waves beat, and Satan do his worst, yet being built upon the "rock," Christ Jesus, we shall never fall (Matt. 7:24-25)