Against Powers 2/2

 Fifth.  The mighty works that are attributed to these evil spirits in Scripture declare their power; and these either respect the elementary, sensible, or in­tellectual part of the world.  The elementary: what dreadful effects this prince of the power of the air is able to produce on that, see in the word; he cannot indeed make the least breath of air, drop of water, or spark of fire, but he can, if let loose, as reverend Master Caryl saith on Job 1, go to God’s storehouse, and make use of these in such a sort as no man can stand before him; he can hurl the sea into such a commotion that the depths shall boil like a pot, and disturb the air into storms and tempests, as if heaven and earth would meet.  Job’s children were buried in the ruins of their house by a puff of his mouth, yea, he can go to God’s magazine (as the former author saith) and let off the great ordinance of heaven, causing such dreadful thunder and lightning as shall not only affright, but do real execution, and that in a more dreadful way than in the ordinary course of na­ture.  If man’s art can so sublimate nature, as we see in the invention of powder, that such hath a strange force; much more able is he to draw forth its power. Again, over the sensitive world his power is great; not only the beasts, as in the herd of swine, hurried by him into the deep; but over the bodies of men also, as in Job, whose sore boils were not the breakings out of a distempered nature, but the print of Satan’s fangs on his flesh, doing that suddenly, which in nature would have required more time to gather and ripen; and [over] the demoniacs in the gospel, grievously vexed and tormented by him.  But this the devil counts small game.

           His great spite is at the souls of men, which I call the intellectual world; his cruelty to the body is for the soul’s sake.  As Christ’s pity to the bodies of men, when on earth, healing their diseases, was in a subserviency to the good of their souls, bribing them with those mercies suitable to their carnal desires, that they might more willingly receive mercies for their souls from that hand which was so kind to their bodies; as we give children something that pleaseth them, to persuade them to do something that pleas­eth them not—go to the school, learn their book; so the devil, who is cruel as Christ as meek, and wisheth good neither to body nor soul, yet shows his cruelty to the body, but on a design against the soul —knowing well that the soul is soon discomposed by the perturbation of the other—[for] the soul cannot but lightly hear, and so have its peace and rest broken by the groans and complaints of the body, under whose very roof it dwells; and then, it is not strange, if, as for want of sleep, the tongue talk idly, so the soul should break out into some sinful carriage, which is the bottom of the devil’s plot on a saint. And as for other poor silly souls, he gains little less than a god-like fear and dread of them by that power he puts forth, through divine permission, in smiting their goods, beasts, and bodies, as among the Indians at this day.  Yea, there are many among ourselves who plainly show what a throne Satan hath in their hearts upon this account; such, who, as if there were not a God in Israel, go for help and cure to his doctors —wizards I mean.  And truly had Satan no other way to work his will on the souls of men, but by this vantage he takes from the body, yet, considering the degeneracy of man’s state,—how low his soul is sunk beneath its primitive extraction; how the body, which was a lightsome house, is now become a prison to it; that which was its servant, is now become its master —it is no wonder he is able to do so much.

           But besides this, he hath, as a spirit, a nearer way of access to the soul, and as a superior spirit, yet more [power] over man, a lower creature.  And, above all, having got within the soul by man’s fall, he hath now far more power than before; so that, where he meets not resistance from God, he carries all before him; as in the wicked, whom he hath so at his de­votion, that he is, in a sense, said to do that in them which God doth in the saints: God works effectually in them, Gal. 2:8; I Thes. 2:13.  Satan worketh effectually in the children of disobedience, Eph. 2:2, the word in the original being the same as in the former places, —he is in a manner as efficacious with them, as the Holy Spirit with the other.  His delusions [are] ‘strong,’ II Thes. 2:11; they return not, [without accomplishing their object].  The Spirit enlightens; he ‘blinds the minds of them which believe not,’ II Cor. 4:4.  The Spirit fills the saints, Eph. 5:18; ‘Why hath Satan filled thine heart?’ saith Peter to Ananias, Acts 5:3.  The Spirit fills with knowledge and the fruits of righteousness; Satan fills with envy and all unrigh­teousness.  The Holy Spirit fills with comfort; Satan, the wicked with terrors—as in Saul, vexed by an evil spirit, and Judas, into whom it is said he entered, and when he had satisfied his lust upon him (as Amnon on Tamar), shuts the door of mercy upon him, and makes him that was even now traitor to his Master, hangman to himself.  And though saints be not the proper subjects of his power, yet they are the chief objects of his wrath; his foot stands on the wicked’s back, but he wrestles with these, and when God steps aside, he is far above their match.  He hath sent the strongest among them home, trembling and crying to their God, with the blood running about their con­sciences.  He is mighty, both as a tempter to, and for, sin; knowing the state of the Christian’s affairs so well, and able to throw his fire-balls so far into the inward senses, whether they be of lust or horror, and to blow up these with such unwearied solicitations, that—if they at first meet not with some suitable dis­positions in the Christian, at which, as from some loose corns of powder, they may make fire, which is most ordinary—yet, in time, he may bring over the creature, by the length of the siege, and continued volleys of such motions, to listen to a parley with them, if not a yielding to them.  Thus many times he even wearies out the soul with importunity.

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Against Powers 1/2

Against Powers

           Satan, in this second branch of the description, is set forth by his strength and puissance—called powers.  This gives weight to the former.  Were he a prince and not able to raise a force that might dread the saints, the swelling name of prince were contemp­tible; but he hath power answerable to his dignity, which in five particulars will appear.  First. In his names.  Second. His nature.  Third. His number. Fourth. His order and unity.  Fifth. The mighty works that are attributed to him.

The great power Satan hath not only over the elementary and sensitive part of the world, but over the intellectual also—the souls of men.

           First.  He hath names of great power.  [He is] called ‘the strong man,’ Luke 11:21; strong that he keeps his house in peace in defiance of all the sons of Adam, none on earth being able to cope with this giant.  Christ must come from heaven to destroy him and his works, or the field is lost.  He is called the roaring lion, which beast commands the whole forest. If he roars, all tremble; yea, in such a manner, as Pliny relates, that he goes amongst them, and they stand exanimated while he chooseth his prey without resistance; such a lion is Satan, who leads sinners captive at his will, II Tim. 2:26.  He takes them alive, as the word is, as the fowler the bird, which, with a little scrap is enticed into the net; or as the conqueror his cowardly enemy, who has no heart to fight, but yields without contest.  Such cowards the devil finds sinners [that] he no sooner appears in a motion, but they yield.  They are but a very few noble spirits, and those are the children of the most High God, who dare val­iantly oppose him, and in striving against sin resist to blood.  He is called the ‘great red dragon,’ who with his tail, wicked men his instruments, sweeps down the third part of the stars of heaven; the ‘prince of the power of the air,’ because as a prince can muster his subjects, and draw them into the field for his service so the devil can raise [the power of the air].  In a word, he is called ‘the god of this world,’ II Cor. 4:4, because sinners give him a god-like worship, fear him as the saints do God himself.       

 Second.  The devil’s nature shows his power; it is angelical.  Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, Ps. 103:20.  Strength is put for angels, Ps. 78:25.  They did eat angels’ food, the food of the mighty.  In two things the power of angelical nature will appear; in its superiority, and in its spirituality.

  1. Its superiority.  Angels are the top of the cre­ation; man himself is made a little lower than the angels.  Now in the works of creation, the superior hath a power over the inferior; the beasts over the grass and herb, man over the beasts, and angels over man.
  2. The spirituality of their nature.  The weak­ness of man is from his flesh; his soul, made for great enterprises, but weighed down with a lump of flesh, is forced to row with a strength suitable to its weak partner.  But now, the devils being angels have no such encumbrance, no fumes from a fleshly part to cloud their understanding, which is clear and pierc­ing; no clog at their heel to retard their motion, which, for swiftness, is set out by the wind and flame of fire.  Yea, being spiritual, they cannot be resisted with carnal force; fire and sword hurt not them.  The angel which appeared to Manoah went up in the fire that consumed the sacrifice.  Though such had been the dotage, and is at this day, of superstitious ones, that they think to charm the devil with their carnal exorcisms; hence the Romish relics, cross, holy water; yea, and [it existed] among the Jews themselves in corrupter times, who thought by their phylacteries and circumcision to scare away the devil, which made some of them expound that [passage] Song. 3:8, of circumcision: ‘Every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night.’  By sword on the thigh, they expound circumcision, which they will vainly have given as a charm against evil spirits that affright them in the night.  But alas, the devil cares for none of these, no, not for an ordinance of God, when by fleshly confidence we make it a spell; he hath been often bound with these fetters and chains, as is said of him in the gospel, and the chains have been plucked asunder by him, neither could any man thus tame him.  He esteems, as Job saith of the levia­than, iron as straw and brass as rotten wood.  It must be a stronger than the strong man [that] must bind him, and none [is] stronger but God, the Father of spirits.  The devil lost, indeed, by his fall, much of his power in relation to that holy and happy estate in which he was created, but not his natural abilities; he is an angel still, and hath an angel’s power.

           Third.  The number of devils adds to their pow­er.  What lighter than the sand? yet number makes it weighty.  What creature less than lice? yet what plague greater to the Egyptians.  How formidable must devils be, who are both for nature so mighty and for number such a multitude!  There are devils enough to beleaguer the whole earth; not a place un­der heaven where Satan hath not his troops; not a person without some of these cursed spirits haunting and watching him wherever he goes; yea, for some special service, he can send a legion to keep garrison in one single person, as Mark 5; and, if so many can be spared to attend one, to what a number would the muster-roll of Satan’s whole army amount, if known?  And now tell me if we are not like to find our march difficult to heaven—if ever we mean to go thither —that are to pass through the very quarters of this multitude, who are scattered over the face of all the earth?

           When armies are disbanded, and the roads full of debauched soldiers, wandering up and down, it is dangerous travelling; we hear then of murderers and robberies from all quarters.  These powers of hell are that party of angels, who for their mutiny and dis­obedience were cashiered heaven, and thrust out of that glorious host; and, ever since, they have straggled here below, endeavouring to do mischief to the chil­dren of men, especially travelling in heaven’s road.

           Fourth.  Their unity and order makes their number formidable.  We cannot say there is love among them—that heavenly fire cannot live in a devil’s bosom; yet there is unity and order as to this —they are all agreed in their design against God and man: so their unity and consent is knit together by the ligaments not of love, but of hatred and policy —hatred against God and his children, which they are filled with—and policy, which tells them that if they agree not in their design, their kingdom cannot stand. And how true they are to this wicked brotherhood, our Saviour gives a fair testimony, when he saith, Satan fights not against Satan.  Did you ever hear of any mutiny in the devil’s army? or that any of these apostate angels did freely yield up one soul to Christ? They are many, and yet but one spirit of wickedness in them all.  My name, said the devils, not our name, is legion.  The devil is called the leviathan.  ‘The Lord with his strong sword shall punish leviathan,’ Isa. 27:1, from their cleaving together, of %&- (lava), compact or joined together, used for the whale, whose strength lies in his scales, which are so knit, that he is, as it were, covered with armour.  Thus these cursed spirits do accord in their machinations, and labour to bring their instruments into the same league with them; not contented with their bare obedience, but where they can obtain it do require an express oath of their servants to be true to them, as in witches.

          

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How We May Know Whether We Be Under Satan As Our Prince, or Not

7.  And is there nothing, Christian, thou canst think on, wherein thou mayest be instrumental for God in thy generation?  He is not a good subject, that is all for what he can get of his prince, but never thinks what he may do for him; nor he the true Chris­tian, whose thoughts dwell more on his own happi­ness than on the honour of his God.  If subjects might choose what life stands best for their own en­joyment, all would desire to live at court with their prince; but because the prince’s honour is more to be valued than this, therefore, noble spirits, to do their prince service, can deny the delicacies of a court, to jeopard their lives in the field, and thank their prince too for the honour of their employment.  Blessed Paul upon these terms was willing to have his day of coronation in glory prorogued, and he to stay as companion with his brethren in tribulation here, for the furtherance of the gospel.  This, indeed, makes it worth the while to live[8], that we have by a fair op­portunity—if hearts to husband it—in which we may give a proof of our real gratitude to our God, for his redeeming love in rescuing us out of the power of the prince of darkness, and translating us into the king­dom of his dear Son.  And therefore, Christian, lose no time, but, what thou meanest to do for God, do it quickly.

           Art thou a magistrate? now it will be soon seen on whose side thou art.  If indeed thou hast re­nounced allegiance to Satan, and taken Christ for thy prince, declare thyself an enemy to all that bear the name of Satan, and march under his colours.  Study well by commission, and when thou understandest the duty of thy place, fall to work zealously for God.  Thou hast thy prince’s sword put into thy hand.  Be sure thou use it, and take heed how thou usest it, that when called to deliver it up, and thy account also, it may not be found rusty in the sheath through sloth and cowardice, besmeared with the blood of vio­lence, not bent and gaped with partiality and injustice.

           Art thou a minister of the gospel?  Thy employ­ment is high, an ambassador, and that not from some petty prince, but from the great God to his rebellious subjects; a calling so honourable, that the Son of God disdained not to come in extraordinary from heaven to perform it, called therefore the ‘messenger of the covenant,’ Mal. 3:1; yea, he had to this day stayed on earth in person about it, had he not been called to re­side as our ambassador and advocate in heaven with the Father; and therefore in his bodily absence he hath intrusted thee, and a few more, to carry on the treaty with sinners, which, when on earth, himself began.  And what can you do more acceptable to him, than to be faithful in it, as a business on which he hath set his heart so much?  As ever you would see his sweet face with joy—you that are his ambassadors —attend to your work, and labour to bring this treaty of peace to a blessed issue between and those you are sent to.  And then if sinners will not come off, and seal the articles of the gospel, you shall, as Abraham said to his servant, be clear of your oath.  Though Israel be not gathered, yet you shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord.

           And let not the private Christian say he is a dry tree, and can do nothing for Christ his prince, be­cause he may not bear the magistrate’s fruit or minis­ter’s.  Though thou hast not a commission to punish the sins of others with the sword of justice, yet thou mayest show thy zeal in mortifying thy own with the sword of the Spirit, and mourn for theirs also; though thou mayest not condemn them on the bench, yet thou mayest, yea, oughtest, by the power of a holy life, to convince and judge them.  Such a judge Lot was to the Sodomites.  Though thou art not sent to preach and baptize, yet thou mayest be wonderfully helpful to them that are.  The Christian’s prayers whet [the] magistrates and ministers’ sword also.  O pray, Christian, and pray again, that Christ’s terri­tories may be enlarged.  Never go to hear the Word but pray, Thy kingdom come.  Loving princes take great content in the acclamations and good wishes of their subjects as they pass by.  A vivat rex—long live the king—coming from a loyal breast, though poor, is more worth than a subsidy from those who deny their hearts while they part with their money.  Thou serv­est a prince, Christian, who knows what all his sub­jects think of him, and he counts it his honour not to have a multitude feignedly submit to him, but to have a people that love him and cordially like his govern­ment, who, if they were to choose their king, and make their own laws they should live under every day, would desire no other than himself, nor any other laws than what they have already from his mouth.  It was no doubt great content to David, that he had the hearts of his people, so as whatever the king did, pleased them all, II Sam. 3:36.  And surely God took it as well, that what he did pleased David, for indeed David was content under the rule and disposure of God as the people were under his.  Witness the calm­ness of his spirit in the greatest affliction that ever befell him: ‘Behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him,’ II Sam. 15:26.  Loyal soul! he had rather live in exile, with the good-will of God, than have his throne, if God will not say it is good for him.

 

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How We May Know Whether We Be Under Satan As Our Prince, or Not

Second.  Bless God, O ye saints, who upon the former trial, can say you are translated into the kingdom of Christ, and so delivered from the tyranny of this usurper.  There are few but have some one gaudy day in a year, which they solemnize; some keep their birthday, others their marriage; some their man­umission from a cruel service, others their deliverance from some imminent danger.  Here is a mercy where all these meet.  You may call it, as Adam did his wife, Evah, the mother of all the living; every mercy riseth up and calls this blessed.  This is thy birth-day; thou wert before, but beganst to live when Christ began to live in thee.  The father of the prodigal dated his son’s life from his return: ‘This my son was dead, and is alive.’  Is it thy marriage day: ‘I have married you to one husband, even Christ Jesus,’ saith Paul to the Corinthians.  Perhaps thou hast enjoyed this thy hus­band’s sweet company many a day, and had a nu­merous offspring of joys and comforts by thy fellow­ship with him, the thought of which cannot but en­dear him to thee, and make the day of thy espousals delightful to thy memory.  It is thy manumission; then were thy indentures cancelled, wherein thou wert bound to sin and Satan.  When the Son made thee free, thou becamest free indeed.  Thou canst not say thou wast born free, for thy father was a slave; not that thou boughtest thy freedom with a sum.  By grace ye are saved.  Heaven is settled on thee in the promise, and thou not at charge so much as for the writing’s drawing.  All is done at Christ’s cost, with whom God indented, and to whom he gave the prom­ise of eternal life before the world began, as a free estate to settle upon every believing soul in the day they should come to Christ, and receive him for their Prince and Saviour; so that from the hour thou didst come under Christ’s shadow, all the sweet fruit that grows on this tree of life is thine.  With Christ, all that both worlds have, fall to thee; all is yours, because you are Christ’s.    

 O Christian, look upon thyself now, and bless thy God to see what a change there is made to thy state, since that black and dismal time, when thou wert slave to the prince of darkness.  How couldst thou like thy old scullion’s work again, or think of returning to thy house of bondage, now thou knowest the privileges of Christ’s kingdom?  Great princes, who from baseness and beggary have ascended to kingdoms and empires—to add to the joy of their present honour—have delighted to speak often of their base birth, to go and see the mean cottages where they were first entertained, and had their birth and breeding and the like.  And it is not unuseful for the Christian to look in at the grate, to see the smoky hole where once he lay, to view the chains wherewith he was laden, and so to compare Christ’s court and the devil’s prison—the felicity of the one and the horror of the other—together.  But when we do our best to affect our hearts with this mercy, by all the enhancing aggravations we can find out, alas, how little a portion of it shall we know here?  This is a nimium excellens—a surpassing excellence, which cannot be fully seen, unless it be by a glorified eye. How can it be fully known by us, where it cannot be fully enjoyed?  Thou art translated into the kingdom of Christ, but thou art a great way from his court. That is kept in heaven, and that the Christian knows, but as we [know] far countries which we never saw only by map, or some rarities that are sent us as a taste of what grows there in abundance.

           Third.  This, Christian, calls for thy loyalty and faithful service to Christ, who hath saved thee from Satan’s bondage.  Say, O ye saints, to Christ, as they say to Gideon, ‘Come thou and rule over us, for thou hast delivered us from the hand, not of Midian, but of Satan.’  Who so able to defend thee from his wrath, as he who broke his power? who like to rule thee so tenderly, as he that could not brook another’s tyranny over thee?  In a word, who hath right to thee besides him, who ventured his life to redeem thee? —that being delivered from all thine enemies, thou mayest serve him without fear in holiness all the days of thy life.  And were it not pity that Christ should take all this pains to lift up thy head from Satan’s house of bondage, and give thee a place among those in his own house, who are admitted to minister unto him—which is the highest honour the nature of men or angels is capable of—and that thou shouldst after all this be found to have a hand in any treasonable practice against thy dear Saviour?  Surely Christ may think he hath deserved better at your hands, if at none besides. Where shall a prince safely dwell, if not in the midst of his own courtiers? and those such were all taken from chains and prisons to be thus pre­ferred, the more to oblige them in his service.  Let devils and devilish men do their own work, but let not thy hand, O Christian, be upon thy dear Saviour. But this is too little, to bid thee not play the traitor. If thou hast any loyal blood running in thy veins, thy own heart will smite thee when thou rendest the least skirt of his holy law; thou canst as well carry burning coals in thy bosom, as hide any treason there against thy dear Sovereign.  No, it is some noble enterprise I would have thee think upon, how thou mayest ad­vance the name of Christ higher in thy heart, and [in the] world too, as much as in thee lies.  O how kindly did God take it, that David, when peaceably set in his throne, was casting about, not how he might entertain himself with those pleasures which usually corrupt and debauch the courts of princes in times of peace, but how he might show his zeal for God, in building a house for his worship that had reared a throne for him, II Sam.

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How We May Know Whether We Be Under Satan As Our Prince, or Not

To whom goest thou for protection?  As it be­longs to the prince to protect his subjects, so princes expect their subjects should trust them with their safety.  The very bramble bids, ‘If in truth you anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow,’ Judges 9:15.  Now who hast thy confi­dence?  Darest thou trust God with thy soul, and the affairs of it in well-doing?  Good subjects follow their calling, commit state matters to the wisdom of their prince and his council.  When wronged, they appeal to their prince in his laws for right; and when they do offend their prince, they submit to the penalty of the laws, and bear his displeasure patiently, till humbling themselves they recover his favour, and do not, in a discontent, fall into open rebellion.  Thus a gracious soul follows his Christian calling, committing himself to God as a faithful Creator, to be ordered by his wise providence.  If he meets with violence from any, he scorns to beg aid of the devil to help him, or be his own judge to right himself; no, he acquiesceth in the counsel and comfort the Word of God gives him.  If himself offends, and so comes under the lash of God’s correcting hand, he doth not then take up rebellious arms against God, and refuse to receive cor­rection; but saith, ‘Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?’ whereas a naughty man dares not venture his estate, life, credit, or anything he hath, with God in well-doing; he thinks he shall be undone presently, if he sits still under the shadow of God’s promise for pro­tection; and therefore he runs from God as from under an old house that would fall on his head, and lays the weight of his confidence in wicked policy, making lies his refuge.  Like Israel, he trusts in perverse­ness; when God tells him, ‘In returning and rest he shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be his strength;’ he hath not faith to take God’s word for his security in ways of obedience.  And when God comes to afflict him for any disloyal carriage, instead of accepting the punishment for his sin—and so to own him for his Sovereign Lord, that may righ­teously punish the faults of his disobedient subjects —his heart is filled with rage against God, and instead of waiting quietly and humbly, like a good subject till God upon his repentance receives him into his fa­vour, his wretched heart, presenting God as an enemy to him, will not suffer any such gracious and amiable thoughts of God to dwell in his bosom, but bids him look for no good at his hand: ‘This evil is of the Lord; why should I wait on the Lord any longer?’  Whereas a gracious heart is most encouraged to wait from this very consideration that drives the other away: ‘Because it is the Lord afflicts.’

  1. Whom dost thou sympathize with?  He is thy prince, whose victories and losses thou layest to heart, whether in thy own bosom or abroad in the world.  What saith thy soul, when God hedgeth up thy way, and keeps thee from that sin which Satan hath been soliciting for?  If on Christ’s side thou wilt rejoice when thou art delivered out of a temptation, though it be by falling into an affliction.  As David said of Abigail, so wilt thou here: Blessed be the ordinance, blessed be the providence which kept me from sinning against my God; but if otherwise thou wilt harbour a secret grudge against the word which stood in thy way, and be discontented, thy design took not.  A naughty heart, like Amnon, pines while his lust hath vent.  Again, what music doth the achievements of Christ in the world make in thy ear? When thou hearest [that] the gospel thrives, the blind see, the lame walk, the poor gospellized, doth thy spirit rejoice in that hour?  If a saint, thou wilt, as God is thy Father, rejoice [that] thou hast more brethren born; as he is thy prince, that the multitude of his subjects increase.  So when thou seest the plots of Christ’s enemies discovered, powers defeated, canst thou go forth with the saints to meet King Jesus, and ring him out of the field with praises? or do thy bells ring backward, and such news make thee haste, like Haman, mourning to thine house, there to empty thy spirit, swollen with rancour against his saints and truth?  Or if thy policy can master thy passion, so far as to make fair weather in thy countenance, and suffer thee to join with the people of God in their acclamations of joy, yet then art thou a close mourner within, and likest the work no better than Haman his office, in holding Mordecai’s stirrup, who had rather have held the ladder.  This speaks thee a certain enemy of Christ, how handsomely soever thou mayest carry it before men.

           

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How We May Know Whether We Be Under Satan As Our Prince, or Not

  First.  Is Satan such a great prince?  Try whose subject thou art.  His empire is large; [there are] only a few privileged who are translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.  Even in Christ’s own territories —[the] visible church I mean—where his name is professed and the sceptre of his gospel held forth, Satan hath his subjects.  As Christ had his saints in Nero’s court, so the devil his servants in the outward court of his visible church.  Thou must therefore have something more to exempt thee from his government, than living within the pale, and giving an outward conformity to the ordinances of Christ; Satan will yield to this and be no loser.  As a king lets his mer­chants trade to, yea, live in a foreign kingdom, and, while they are there, learn the language, and observe the customs of the place.  This breaks not their al­legiance; nor all that, thy loyalty to Satan.  When a statute was made in Queen Elizabeth’s reign, that all should come to church, the Papists sent to Rome to know the pope’s pleasure.  He returned then this answer, as it is said, ‘Bid the Catholics in England give me their heart, and let the queen take the rest.’ His subject thou art whom thou crownest in thy heart, and not whom thou flatterest with thy lips.

           But to bring the trial to an issue, know that thou belongest to one of these, and but to one; Christ and satan divide the whole world.  Christ will bear no equal, and Satan no superior; and therefore, hold in with both thou canst not.

           Now if thou sayest that Christ is thy prince, answer to these interrogatories.

  1. How came he [Christ] into the throne?  Satan had once the quiet possession of thy heart; thou wast by birth, as the rest of thy neighbours, Satan’s vassal; yea, hast oft vouched him in the course of thy life to be thy liege lord; how then comes this great change?  Satan, surely, would not of his own accord resign his crown and sceptre to Christ; and for thyself, thou wert neither willing to renounce, nor able to resist, his power.  This then must only be the fruit of Christ’s victorious arms, whom God hath exalted ‘to be a Prince and a Saviour,’ Acts 5:31.  Speak therefore, Hath Christ come to thee, as once to Abraham to Lot, when prisoner to Chedorlaomer, rescuing thee out of Satan’s hands, as he was leading thee in the chains of lust to hell?  Didst thou ever hear a voice from heaven in the ministry of the word calling out to thee as once to Saul, so as to lay thee at God’s foot, and make thee face about for heaven; to strike thee blind in thine own apprehension, who before hadst a good opinion of thy state; to tame and meeken thee; so as now thou art willing to be led by the hand of a child after Christ?  Did ever Christ come to thee, as the angel to Peter in prison, rousing thee up, and not only causing the chains of darkness and stupidity to fall off thy mind and conscience, but make thee obe­dient also—that the iron gate of thy will hath opened to Christ before he left thee?  Then thou hast some­thing to say for thy freedom.  But if in all this I be a barbarian, and the language I speak be strange, thou knowest no such work to have passed upon thy spirit, then thou art yet in the old prison.  Can there be a change of government in a nation by a conqueror that invades it, and the subjects not hear of this?  One king unthroned and another crowned in thy soul, and thou hear no scuffle all this while?  The regenerating Spirit is compared to the wind, John 3:8.  His first at­tempts on the soul mat be so secret that the creature knows not whence they come, or whither they tend; but, before he hath done, the sound will be heard throughout the soul, so as it cannot but see a great change in itself, and say, ‘I that was blind, now see; I that was hard as ice, now relent for sin; now my heart gives; I can melt and mourn for it.  I that was well enough without a Christ, yea, did wonder what others saw in him, to make much ado for him, now have changed my note with the daughters of Jerusalem; and for, What is your Beloved? as I scornfully have asked; I have learned to ask where he is, that I might seek him with you.’  O soul, canst thou say it thus with thee?  Thou mayest know who has been here; no less than Christ, who, by his victorious Spirit, hath translated thee from Satan’s power into his own sweet kingdom.
  2. Whose law dost thou freely subject thyself unto?  The laws of these princes are as contrary as their natures; the one a law of sin, Rom. 8:2; the other a law of holiness, Rom. 7:12; and therefore if sin hath not so far bereaved thee of thy wits, as not to know sin from holiness, thou mayest, except [thou] resolve to cheat thy own soul, soon be resolved.  Confess therefore and give glory to God; to which of these laws doth thy soul set its seal?  When Satan sends out his proclamation, and bids the sinner go, set thy foot upon such a command of God.  Observe what is thy behaviour; dost thou yield thyself, as Paul phraseth it, Rom. 6:16[5]; ‘yield yourselves,’ a metaphor from princes’ servants or others, who are said to present themselves before their lord, as ready and at hand to do their pleasure; by which the apostle ele­gantly describes the forwardness of the sinner’s heart to come to Satan’s foot, when knocked or called. Now doth thy soul go out thus to meet thy lust, as Aaron his brother, glad to see its face in an occasion? Thou art not brought over to sin with much ado, but thou likest the command.  Transgress at Gilgal, saith God, this liketh you well, Hosea 4:5[6].  As a courtier, who doth not only obey, but thank his prince that he will employ him.  Needest thou be long in resolving whose thou art?  Did ever any question, whether those were Jeroboam’s subjects, who willingly fol­lowed his command? Hosea 5:11.  Alas, for thee, thou art under the power of Satan, tied by a chain stronger than brass or iron; thou lovest thy lust.  A saint may be for a time under a force; sold under sin, as the apostle bemoans; and therefore glad when deliverance comes; but thou sellest thyself to work iniquity.  If Christ should come to take thee from thy lusts, thou wouldst whine after them, as Micah after his gods.

How Satan Came To Be Such a Prince

           

Question 1. But how comes Satan to this princi­pality?                        Answer.  Not lawfully, though he can show a fair claim.  As,

  1. He obtained it by  conquest;as he won his crown, so he wears it by power and policy.  But con­quest is a cracked title.  A thief is not the honester because able to force the traveller to deliver his purse; and a thief on the throne is no better than a private one on the road, or a pirate in a pinnace, as one boldly told Alexander.  Neither doth that prove good with process of time which was evil at first.  Satan indeed hath kept possession long, but a thief will be so as long as he keeps his stolen goods.  He stole the heart of Adam from God at first, and doth no better to this day.  Christ’s conquest is good, because the ground of the war is righteous—to recover what was his own; while Satan cannot say of the meanest creature, ‘It is my own.’
  2. Satan may lay claim to his principality by elec­tion.It is true he came in by a wile, but now he is a prince elect, by the unanimous voice of corrupt na­ture.  ‘Ye are of your father the devil,’ saith Christ, ‘and his lusts ye will do.’  But this also hath a flaw in it, for man by law of creation is God’s subject, and cannot give away God’s right; by sin he loseth his right in God as a protector, but God loseth not his right as a sovereign.  Sin disabled man to keep God’s law, but it doth not enfranchise or disoblige him that he need not keep it.
  3. Satan may claim a deed of gift from God him­self,as he was bold to do to Christ himself upon this ground, persuading him to worship him as the prince of the world.  He showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world, saying, ‘All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it,’ Luke 4:5, 6.  Here was a truth, though he spake more than the truth—as he cannot speak truth, but to gain credit to some lie at the end of it.  God, indeed, hath delivered, in a sense, this world to him, but not in his sense to do what he will with it; nor by any approbatory act given him a patent to vouch him his viceroy: not Satan by the grace of God, but by permission of God, prince of this world. 

           Question 2.  But why doth God permit this apostate creature to exercise such a principality over the world?

           Answer 1. As a righteous act of vengeance on man, for revolting from the sweet government of his rightful Lord and Maker.  It is the way God punish­eth rebellion: ‘Because ye would not serve me in gladness, in the abundance of all things, therefore ye shall serve your enemies in hunger,’ &c.  Satan is a king given in God’s wrath.  Ham’s curse is man’s punishment; ‘a servant of servants.’  The devil is God’s slave, man the devil’s.  Sin hath set the devil on the creature’s back; and now he hurries him with­out mercy, as he did the swine, till he be choked with flames, if mercy interpose not.

           Answer 2. God permits this his principality, in order to the glorifying of his name in the recovery of his elect from the power of this great potentate. What a glorious name will God have when he hath finished this war, wherein, at first, he found all possessed by this enemy, and not a man of all the sons of Adam to offer himself as a volunteer in this service, till made willing by the day of his power!  This, this will gain God a name above every name, not only of creatures, but of those by which himself was known to his crea­ture.  The workmanship of heaven and earth gave him the name of Creator; providence of Preserver; but this of Saviour.  Herein he doth both the former; preserve his creature, which else had been lost; and create a new creature—I mean the babe of grace —which, through God, shall be able to beat the devil out of the field, who was able to drive Adam, though created in his full stature, out of paradise.  And may not all the other works of God empty themselves as rivers into this sea, losing their names, or rather swelling into one of redemption?  Had not Satan taken God’s elect prisoners, they would not have gone to heaven with such acclamations of triumph.  There are three expressions of great joy in Scripture; the joy of a woman after her travail, the joy of harvest, and the joy of him that divideth the spoil.  The exultation of all these is wrought upon a sad ground, many a pain and tear it costs the travailing woman, many a fear the husbandman, perils and wounds the soldier, before they come at their joy; but at last they are paid for all, the remembrance of their past sorrows feeding their present joys.  Had Christ come and entered into affinity with our nature, and returned peaceably to heaven with his spouse, finding no resistance, though that would have been admirable love, and would have afforded the joy of marriage, yet this way of carrying his saints to heaven will greaten the joy, as it adds to the nuptial song the triumph of a conqueror, who hath rescued his bride out of the hands of Satan, as he was leading her to the chambers of hell.

Living Out A Never Ending Love Story With My Master & Redeemer!

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