The Christian in Complete Armour (72)

We wrestle against devilish powers and spiritual wickedness regarding heavenly things (how it should be rendered, see Heb.8:5). Satan seeks to destroy God’s image in us. Woe to you if you seek to hinder God’s people, woe to you if you pretend religious fervour. Are you set to gain heaven and holiness? Here is another Gurnall gem of a paragraph, ” The Christian’s hopes are all heavenly; he cares not for anything the world hath to give him. Indeed he would think himself the most miserable man of all others, if here were all he could make of his religion. No, it is heaven and eternal life that he expects; and though he be so poor as to leave nothing in his will, yet he counts himself a greater heir, than if he were child to the greatest prince on earth. This inheritance he sees by faith, and can rejoice in the hope of the glory which it will bring him. The maskery and cheating glory of the great ones of this world moves him not to envy their fanciful pomp; but when on the dunghill himself, he can forget his own present sorrows, to pity them in all their bravery, knowing that within a few days the cross will be off his back, and the crowns off their heads together—their portion will be spent, when he shall be to receive all his. These things entertain him with such joy that they will not suffer him to acknowledge himself miserable, when others think him, and the devil tells him, he is such. This, this torments the very soul of the devil, to see the Christian under sail for heaven, filled with the sweet hope of his joyful entertainment when he comes there; and therefore he raiseth what storms and tempests he can, either to hinder his arrival in that blessed port —which he most desires, and doth not wholly despair of—or at least to make it a troublesome winter voyage, such as Paul’s was, in which they suffered so much loss. And this indeed very often he obtains in such a degree, that by his violent impetuous temptations, beating long upon the Christian, he makes him throw over much precious lading of his joys and comforts; yea, sometimes he brings the soul through the stress of temptation to think of quitting the ship, while for the present all hope of being saved seems to be taken away. Thus you see what we wrestle with devils for. “

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