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ble, in a Christian's works, instead of prayer, selfdenial, labor for Christ, and in such a case these darts fall into the soul, then what a conflagration, perhaps what apostacy, what ruin, what death! Now in war it was the aim of persons so assailed to intercept and quench these burning arrows; and a most nimble and powerful exercise in the use of the shield did it require ; and in the Christian warfare, it is nothing but the Shield of Faith, and an equally nimble and dexterous use of it, that can defend the Christian. And this Bunyan found to his cost; for his great adversary assailed him with a fierce fiery storm of those darts, when he had but very little faith ; and his very experience in the use of his shield he had to gain in his conflicts with the Enemy. Now if
you compare these passages with some others; such as, “I would have come to you once and again, but Satan hindered me;" “ Lest Satan get an advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices ;" “ Lest by any means the Tempter may have tempted you, and our work be in vain;" and other passages of the like character; you will see delineated in the Scriptures the features of that Fiend, who tempted Bunyan; and you cannot doubt the meaning of the declaration that your adversary the devil goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Let it be marked that I have here confined myself to one class of passages in regard to Satan, those which present him in the character in which we have to do with him in the case of Bunyan. There are multitudes of passages, which I have
not touched, and shall not. In the revelation of St. John the devil is said to be concerned in throwing saints into prison, that they may be tried there; and here is a new mark of identity between the adversary of Bunyan and the devil of the Scriptures ; and a new proof that in every age his wiles and stratagems are the same. I could easily fill a whole volume with arguments drawn from Scripture, and another volume with proofs from experience, on this subject. There is one point of importance in Bunyan's experience of the wiles of the devil, which I have not noticed, and that is, the great advantage which early habits of sin give to the Tempter against our own souls. Perhaps we may note this in the case of Peter, in the readiness with which Satan could fill his mouth with profaneness in the recurrence of what were probably his oaths as a youthful passionate fisherman. You may note it much more clearly in the case of Bunyan, who used to swear so dreadfully in his childhood, so that when the devil in his manhood tempted him with blasphemies, he had a powerful advantage over him.
God indeed often uses a man's own sins to be terrible scourges to him; and in this is realized what is said in Jeremiah, Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee; know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God. The truth of this Bunyan found to his great cost under the assaults of the Tempter, opening anew the sluices of his youthful wickedness.
Bunyan's use of his temptations. The gloom of his mind in the early part of his
imprisonment.— His faithfulness to Christ in the midst of it.-His perfect disinterestedness. His little blind daughter.-Relation of his examination and imprisonment. That old enemy Dr. Lindale.-Bunyan's admirable answers and Christian deportment.-The nature and preciousness of religious liberty.–Parable by Dr. Franklin.
THERE never was a man, who made better use of his temptations, especially the temptations by his Great Adversary, than Bunyan. In the preface to his Grace Abounding, addressed to those whom God had counted him worthy to bring to the Redeemer by his ministry, he says, “I have sent you here enclosed a drop of the honey, that I have taken out of the carcass of a lion. I have eaten thereof myself, and am much refreshed thereby. Temptations, when we meet them at first, are as the lion that roared upon Samson ; but if we overcome them, the next time we see them we shall find a nest of honey within them.” Nor was there ever a man who traced the parental care, tenderness and goodness of God more clearly, or with more gratitude in those temptations, the designs of God in suffering such things to befall him, and the manner in which those designs were accomplished. It was for
this Bunyan said, that God suffered him to lay so long at Sinai, to see the fire, and the cloud, and the darkness, “ that I might fear the Lord all the days of my life upon earth, and tell of his wondrous works to my children.”
It was in the calm, clear light of heaven, in the light of Divine Mercy to his rescued soul, that Bunyan remembered his ways, his journeyings, the desert and the wilderness, the Rock that followed him, and the Manna that fed him. - Thou shalt remember all the ways which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and prove thee, and to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldst keep his commandments or no.” The grace of God was above Bunyan's sins, and Satan's temptations too; he could remember his fears and doubts and sad months with comfort ; they were “as the head of Goliah in his hand.” He sang of God's grace as the children of Israel, with the Red Sea between them and the land of their enemies.
It is not to be supposed that the temptations of Satan departed entirely from Bunyan when he was thrown into prison. On the contrary, he was for a time assailed through the same spirit of unbelief, of which his Adversary had made such fearful use, when he was passing through the Valley of Humiliation, and of the Shadow of Death. It was in the early part of his imprisonment, when he was in a sad and low condition for many weeks. A pretty business, he says it was ; for he thought his imprisonment might end at the gallows, and if it did, and he should be so afraid to die when the time
came, and so destitute of all evidence of preparation for a better state hereafter, what could he do! These thoughts, revolved in his mind in various shapes, greatly distressed him. He was afraid of dishonoring his Saviour, and though he prayed earnestly for strength, yet no comfort came; and the only encouragement he could get was this ; that he should doubtless have an opportunity to speak to the great multitudes that would come to see him die, and if God would but use his last words for the conversion of one single soul, he would not count his life thrown away nor lost. How delightful is the evidence of Bunyan's disinterestedness, forgetfulness of self, and love to souls, even in the darkness and distress of his sore spiritual conflicts !
But still the things of God were kept out of his sight, and still the Tempter followed hard upon him ; a desperate foe, and able still at times to overwhelm Bunyan's soul with anguish, although there remained only the hinder part of the tempest, and the thunder was gone beyond him. “ Whither must you go when you die ?” was the gloomy, moody, sullen question of unbelief in Bunyan's soul beneath his temptation. What will become of you? Where will you be found in another world? What evidence have you for heaven and glory, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified ? For many weeks poor Bunyan knew not what to do; till at length it came to him with great power, that at all events, it being for the word and way of God that he was in this condition of danger, perhaps in the path pf death, he was engaged not to