by Richard Gilpin
This text has been initially updated from EEBO-TCP by Project Puritas (Logan West, with David Jonescue and Alex Sarrouf.) www.puritansearch.org. Further revision and editing done by Monergism. Copyright Monergism via universal text usage permission from the above.
2 Cor. 2. 11. We are not ignorant of his Devices.
The accurate searches into the Secrets of Nature which this Age hath produced, though they are in themselves sufficient evidences of a commendable Industry; yet seeing they fall so exceedingly short of that discovery which Men aim at, giving us at best but probable conjectures, and uncertain guesses, they are become as little satisfactory to Men that look after the true causes of things, as those Ships of desire; whose great undertaking for Gold had raised high expectations in their attempts; but in the return, brought nothing home for their Ventures but Apes and Peacocks. While Men reflect upon themselves under such Disappointments, they cannot but check themselves, for over-promising themselves in their Adventures, with that of Zophar, Vain Man would be wise.
But how happy would it be for Men, if such failures of expectation might better inform them? If our Attainments in these pursuits will not bear our Charges, nor recompense our pains, and loss of time, with an answerable profit, though we may see cause sometimes (as a Divertisement or Recreation) to use them; yet how shall we satisfy ourselves to make them our chief and sole business?
If we knew of nothing of higher concern to us than these, our neglect of greater Matters were more excusable; but seeing we are sufficiently instructed, that we have more weighty things to look after, such as relate to a certain future estate of happiness or misery: the very discovery of this to a Rational Being must needs entitle such things to the first and greatest part of his care. He that knows that there is one thing necessary, and yet suffers himself to be diverted from the pursuit of that, by troubling himself about many things, is more justly chargeable with folly, than he that neglects his Estate, and finds himself no other Employment, but to pursue Feathers in the Wind.
Among those things that Religion offers to our study, God and our own hearts are the chief. God is the First and Last, and whole of our Happiness, the Beginning, Progress, and Completement of it is from him, and in him, for in that Centre do all the Lines meet, but our Heart is the Stage upon which this Felicity (as to the application of it) is transacted: upon this little spot of Earth, doth God and Satan draw up their several Armies; here doth each of them show their Power and Wisdom; this is treated by both, each of them challenge an interest in it; 'tis attacked on the one side, and defended on the other. So that here are Skirmishes, Battels, and Stratagems managed; that Man then that will not concern himself in his Enquiries, how the Matter goes in his own Heart, what Ground is got or lost, what Forts are taken or defended, what Mines are sprung, what Ambuscado's laid, or how the Battle proceeds: must needs lie under a just imputation of the greatest folly; neither can he be excused in his neglect, by the most pressing solicitations of other things that seem to require his attendance upon the highest imaginable pretenses of necessity: For what is he profited, that gains the whole World, if he loses his Soul?
But the exact and faithful management of such spiritual Enquiries, with their necessary improvement to diligent watchfulness, and careful endeavors of resistance, is another manner of work than most Men dream of: To discover the intrigues of Satan's policy, to espy his haunts and lurking places in our hearts, to note his subtle contrivances in taking advantages against us, and to observe how the Pulse of the Soul beats under his provocations, and deceitful allurements, how far we comply or dissent; requires so much attendance and laborious skillfulness, that it cannot be expected that such Men who design no more than to be Christians at the easiest rate, and content themselves with a formal superficiality of Religion; or such, who, having given up themselves to the deceitful sweets of worldly carnal delights, are not at leisure to engage themselves in so serious a Work; or such whose secret guilt of rebellious Combination with the Devil against God, makes them fearful to consider fully, the hazards of that wickedness, which they had rather practice with forgetfulness, lest the review of their ways, and sight of their danger, should awaken their Consciences to give them an unwelcome disquiet; it cannot (I say) be expected that any of these sorts of Men (whilst they are thus set) should give themselves the trouble of so much pains and toil as this Business doth require.
Upon this consideration, I might rationally fix my Prognostic of the entertainment of the following Treatise. What acceptance soever it may find with such as are cordially concerned for their Souls, and the Realities of Religion, (and of such I may say as the Apostle Paul concerning Brotherly Love, 1 Thess. 4. 9. as touching this Matter, They need not that I write unto them, for they themselves are taught of God to be suspicious of Satan's devices; and by experience they find his deceits so secret, and withal so dangerous, that any help for further discovery and caution, must needs be welcome to them; yet) to be sure the Prince of Darkness (who is always jealous of the least attempts that may be made against his Empire) will arm his forementioned Subjects against it, and whomsoever else he can prevail upon, by the power of prejudice, to reject it, as urging us to a study more severe or harsh, than is consistent, either with the lower degrees of knowledge of many, or with that ease which most Men desire to indulge to themselves; or as offering such things which they (to save themselves from further trouble) will be willing to call Chimaera's or idle Speculations: and this last I may rather expect, because in this latter Age, Satan hath advanced so far in his general design against all Christianity, and for the introduction of Paganism and Atheism, that now none can express a serious conscientious care for holiness, and the avoidance of sin; but upon pain of the imputation of silliness, or whining preciseness; and none can speak or write of Conversion, Faith, or Grace, but he shall be hazarded by the scoffs of those that are unwilling to judge the private workings of the heart to Godward, or spiritual exercises of Grace, to be any better than conceited Whims, and unintelligible Nonsense: but seeing such Men make bold to jeer, not only that Language, and those forms of Speech which the Holy Ghost thought fit to make use of in the Scriptures, but also the very things of Faith, Grace, and Spirit, which are everywhere in the Sacred Oracles recommended to us with the most weighty seriousness, (which with them pass for no better than cheats and fancies) we can easily sit under their contempt; and shall (as we hope) be so far from being jeered out of our Religion, that their scorns shall have no more impression upon us, than the ravings of a frenzical Person that knows not what he speaks.
Notwithstanding these, (who are no way considerable for weight) there are, I hope, a great many, who seriously employ themselves in the Inwards, as well as the Outwards of Religion, (and who will not suffer themselves to be persuaded, that the Apostle obtruded an empty Notion upon Believers, when he recommended that observable Truth to them, Rom. 2. 28. He is not a Jew which is one outwardly, &c.) for their sakes have I undertaken this labor of collecting and methodizing the grand Stratagems, and chief ways of delusion of the great Deceiver. To these I must particularly account for some few things relating to this Discourse: As,
1. That I have satisfied myself in the Reasons of the publication of these Papers, and do not judge it requisite to trouble any so far, as to tell what these Reasons are. They who desire to resist such an Enemy, and whose experience doth convince them, that all helps are necessary, will not need them, and those that are Men of scorn, or of avowed carelessness, will not regard them though I should declare them.
2. To prevent the misapprehensions (which possibly some may otherwise labor withal) of a monstrous product from one Text, because they may observe one Text in the Front, and no other mentioned throughout the First and Second Parts; they may know, that I made use of several in the preaching of these Discourses, as suitable Foundations for the several Particulars herein mentioned; but in the molding up of the Whole, into the method of a Treatise, for the ease of the Reader, I thought fit to lay aside those Introductions, as also many other occasional Applications, which were proper for Sermons, and a great many things which were necessary to be spoken for Explication and Illustration of these Points to a popular Auditory, and have only presented the Substance in a more close connection; because if there be any little obscurity that may at first appear to any, for want of variety of words, the Treatise being under their eye, will be at leisure to attend their review in a second or third reading: Which however I would recommend earnestly to those that, in these Concerns, do really design to be wise for themselves.
3. Neither should it seem strange, that I have frequently made use of Instances from History, or other later Relations. Whosoever shall consider the nature of the Matter treated on, will not complain of this as a needless trouble put upon them; yet withal I have been so careful of doing any Persons an unkindness, by making too bold with them, that I mentioned no Names but such, as upon such occasions have been made public by others before. The rest I have only mentioned in the general, discovering their case where it was useful, but concealing the Persons.
4. It may perhaps seem a defect, that the several Directions, Remedies, or Counsels, which are requisite to be observed in making resistance against Satan, are not added, except some few hints in the latter end of the Third Part, and some other things in that Part, in the Applications of the several Doctrines therein, (which I thought fit, upon good grounds, to leave in the order of a Preaching Method) but such may be pleased to consider, that several have performed that part very fully, to whose Labors I had rather refer the Reader, than trouble him with a repetition: It was only my design to endeavor a more full discovery (though every way short of the thing itself) of Satan's Craft, because the knowledge of this is so necessary, and withal others have done it more sparingly. Such as it is, accept and improve for thy spiritual advantage; for that was the end of this undertaking, by him who desires that thy Soul may prosper,
Table of Contents
TO THE READER
PART I. - Containing a discourse of the malice, power, cruelty and diligence of Satan.
CHAPTER I. - Introduction
CHAPTER II. - Of the Malice of Satan in particular.
CHAPTER III. - Of Satan's Power.
CHAPTER IV. - Of Satan's Knowledge Natural, Experimental, and Accessory.
CHAPTER V. - Instances of Satan's Power.
CHAPTER VI. - Of Satan's Cruelty.
CHAPTER VII. - Of Satan's Diligence in several Instances.
CHAPTER VIII. - Of Satan's Cunning and Craft in the general.
CHAPTER IX. - Of Satan's Deceits in particular.
CHAPTER X. - That Satan enticeth by our Lust.
CHAPTER XI. - That Lust darkens the Mind.
CHAPTER XII. - Of Satan's perverting our Reason.
CHAPTER XIII. - Of Satan's diverting our Reason
CHAPTER XIV. - Of Satan's maintaining his Possession
CHAPTER XV. - Of Satan's keeping all in quiet
CHAPTER XVI. - Of Satan's third grand Policy for maintaining his Possession
CHAPTER XVII. - Satan's Deceits against Religious Services and Duties.
CHAPTER XVIII. - Satan's second grand design against Duties, is to spoil them.
PART II: - Containing the manifold subtilties and stratagems of Satan
CHAPTER I. - That it is Satan's grand Design to corrupt the Minds of Men with Error.
CHAPTER II. Of the Advantages which Satan hath, and useth, for the Introduction of Error
CHAPTER III. - Of Satan's improving these Advantages for Error.
CHAPTER IV. - Of Satan's second way of improving his Advantages
CHAPTER V. - Satan's Attempts against the Peace of God's Children
CHAPTER VI. - Of the various Ways by which he hinders Peace.
CHAPTER VII. - Of the second way to hinder Peace.
CHAPTER VIII. - Of Satan's third way to hinder Peace by Spiritual Sadness.
CHAPTER IX. - Of his fourth way to hinder Peace, by Spiritual Distresses.
PART III: - Containing an account of the combat betwixt Christ and Satan
CHAPTER I. - The First circumstance of the Combat. The time when it happened.
CHAPTER II. - The second Circumstance, Christ's being led by the Spirit.
CHAPTER III. - The Third Circumstance, the place of the Combat.
CHAPTER IV. - The Fourth Circumstance, The end wherefore Christ was led to the Wilderness
CHAPTER V. - Of Christ's Fast, with the Design thereof.
CHAPTER VI. - That Christ's Temptations were real and not in Vision
CHAPTER VII. - The general view of these Temptations.
CHAPTER VIII. - The rise of Christ's first Temptation.
CHAPTER IX. - A particular consideration of the matter of the first Temptation
CHAPTER X. Of Satan's chief end in this Temptation
CHAPTER XI. - Of the Temptation to distrust upon the failure of Ordinary Means.
CHAPTER XII. - Of Satan's proceeding to infer Distrust of Sonship from Distrust of Providences
CHAPTER XIII. - The preparation to the second Temptation.
CHAPTER XIV. - That presumption was the chief design of this Temptation.
CHAPTER XV. - Self-Murder another of his Designs in this Temptation.
CHAPTER XVI. - Of Pride, Satan's chief Engine to bring on Presumption
CHAPTER XVII. - Of Satan's subtlety in urging that of Psal. 91. 11, 12. to Christ.
CHAPTER XVIII. - The manner of Satan's showing the Kingdoms of the World
CHAPTER XIX. - Satan's ends in tempting Christ to fall down and worship him.
CHAPTER XX. - The Nature of Idolatry.
CHAPTER XXI. - Of Worldly Pleasure.
CHAPTER XXII. Of Christ's Answer in the general.
CHAPTER XXIII. - The second Direction, that Temptations are not to be disputed.
CHAPTER XXIV. - The third Direction of repelling a Temptation without delay
CHAPTER XXV. - The fourth Direction. Of repelling a Temptation by Scripture Arguments.
CHAPTER XXVI. - The fifth Direction of Prayer