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The Book of Temptation.
This little Book shows us what temptations are,
and the best way to resist them; and there is in this Book two grand temptations in particular set forth ; the one is that which beset Joseph in Egypt, (Gen. xxxix. 11.) and the other is that which beset our Lord in the Wilderness. (Matt. iv. 1.) And there are some good observations in this Book, and a holy and sure promise for them that over.
Dearly beloved, in my former treatise I have written to you for an example, and for your encouragement, as you see, a little Book callid The Trials of the Righteous, and now by God's assistance, I will exhibit to your view, soinething more concerning our trials and temptations. Now, temptation is an allurement or enticement oftentimes to some evil, which requires grace, resolution, and fortitude of soul to withstand, but it must be done by prayer, and by the help of God. And now, by the help of God, I will show you first, one of the greatest, and most alluring temptations which a man experiences under the whole heavens, and that is, the lusts of the flesh, which is the lust of our sinful nature; but for a more full explanation upon this, and to see the result of this great sin, look into my little Book, called the Book of Whoredom, and there you may see the thousands that it hast slain, or hast been slain by her, and if a man indulge himself in this great sin, and give place for it, I believe he is liable to fall away into all other sins, and if I study the Scripture right, I believe that pride connected with wicked lust, is one of the greatest ringleaders to all sins, and that it hast a great connection with all sin. And now hear what the Revelation to St. John saith concerning it, The woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth, and upon
her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. (Rev. xvii. 5, 18.) And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. (Rev. xviii. 24.) Therefore we see that this wicked lust that is too much in the heart of man, hast always done what it could to destroy the cause of God, and to take away the lives of his saints, and those words which we find in the Revelation to St. John, I believe that they have some reference and allusion more or less to all those that indulge themselves in this sinful practise of the lust of the flesh, in almost all ages of the world: and it appears to me to be a mystery which is of sin and Satan, so great as past my comprehension, yea, I dare not say that I can find it out from the beginning of its commencement. And now my brethren, this is grevious, and a sore temptation, therefore beware of it, for we oftentimes feel it lurking about within us, and it oftentimes besets a good man, as much as it doth a bad man, and the best way to resist it, and to overcome it, is by watching and praying, and walking in the valley of humiliation. And now remember poor Joseph and his trials and troubles in the land of Egypt, and how he was beset by this temptation, but not by his own lust, but by the wicked lust of a deceitful woman; but nevertheless, methinks that he had his own body to guard against, and if he had not been a man of prayer, then perhaps he would have fallen by the pleasing allurement. It appears that Joseph had experienced a great trial by being taken from his tender father, and that by his hard.hearted brethren, and to be sold into the hands of strangers; but it seems that he bore it all with much patience, and with a resig-! nation to the will of his God; but for all this it appears to me that Satan was not satisfied, as if Joseph's troubles were not enough, therefore he must tempt him with the proud lust of a woman, to see if he could cause his righteous soul to fall: now it
appears that this temptation was not soon over; methinks that it would have been enough to have been tempted by her once, but it was more than once, or twice, or thrice, but it was day by day that she tempted and enticed him to lie with her, and more than this, she would have forced him if possibly she could, for after all her enticements, when she saw that she could not prevail, she caught him by his garment saying, Lie with me ; but remember what he said unto her, How can I do this great wickedness, saith he, and sin
against God ? So he refused, and left his garment in her hand, an i fled, and got him out. (Gen. xxxix.) And for his innocency it appears, as it were that Satan threw his fiery darts at him like hail, and by false accusation he was cast into prison. But his God was with him there. Now, such temptations as these, and the like, my readers, are very sinful, and very pleasing and enticing to the flesh: for no doubt, methinks, but that this strange woman showed her splendour, and grand allurements, and pride, unto Joseph, and that her lips seemed sweet like the honey.comb, and her mouth smoother than oil : but consider her end, for it is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. Now, lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them. Therefore, my son, search the Book of the Proverbs of Solomon, and get instruction, and ponder the path of life by close meditation and prayer, that it may go well with thee at the end ; and when beset by any temptation that would lead you into sin, then endeavour to keep these words in mind, as Joseph did, and say, How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God. (Gen. xxxix. 9.) And again, we see that how our blessed Lord and Saviour was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, and was weak in the body, according to the flesh, and was an hungered. Then the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But our Lord answered him according to the Scriptures, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by the word of God. Therefore, in this he did not obey Satan, for he saw it good to fast and pray, for the sin of the world, and to do the will of God. And when the devil saw that he prevailed not against him, he quoted unto him authority, and it appears froin the 91st Psalm, and by a false suggestion, he would have had him destroyed himself by a fall fiom the pinnacle of the temple. And methinks, if the devil could have gained his design, he would then have triumph over the kingdom of Christ. But Jesus alluded to Scripture again, and that by authority, saying, Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God. (Deut. vi. 16.) Therefore, our blessed Lord gave no place for this temptation, for his love was so great towards fallen man, and he knew that if the foundation was taken away, the building must fall. Now, when the devil prevailed not
in this temptation, he also added another temptation. And again, the devil taketh him into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them: And saith, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan : for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
And so we see that our Lord resisted all the temptations of Satan : for he came to save the world from sin, and not to be the prince of sinners. No, Christ did not come into the world to act and to rule by the devil's authority: neither did he obey him in any thing. But he came to rescue poor sinful souls out of his hands, and to save them from everlasting misery. And our Lord's temptations were so great, so that I have not room enough in this little Book to enlarge upon them, neither can I fully enter into them. And may thou, O Lord, forgive me where I seem to come short. And now, my beloved brethren, in Christ stand fast: for we do see that there is temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Rev. iii. 10. My brethren, be not dismayed, but rather count it for joy when ye fall into divers temptations. But although it be not altogether joyous in the midst of them, yet it will prove joyous in the end, if we have fought well the battles of our Lord, and have gained the victory, through the blood of the Lamb. (James i. 2.) Brethren, I believe that there hath no temptation taken us, but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Cor. x. 13,) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(James iv. 7.) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Even so be it, Lord Jesus. Amen.
END OF THE TWENTY-THIRD BOOK,
By EDWARD Crook.
The Fall of the Righteous.
In this Book I exhibit to your view the Fall of the Righteous, collected from the Holy Scriptures, by chapter and verse; you have presented to your view the shameful fall of David, at that time when he committed adultery with Bath-sheba, the wife of Uriah, with an easy explanation thereto; and you have also the fall of Solomon set forth in this Book, which fell away by the allurements of roomen, and paid homage to strange gods : and there is also a warning to shun the evils of this world, and an exhor. tation to repentance.
My brethren, to you, and to all that dwell in the Island of England, and to whomsoever will, let him receive my Works freely which are of God, and they shall comfort his soul. Behold my two little Books which I have written before this, called The Trials of the Righteous and their Temptations, and there you see that how Joseph resisted that great iemptation. (Gen. xxxix. 9.) And how that the righteous have overcome great temptations : but some may say Ah, but I have not resisted them, but have fallen away by many temptations, therefore how shall I escape the damnation of hell ? But I those, be not dismayed, neither have hard thoughts of God, for if thou sincerely repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life and salvation, then thou shall be saved; for although there be many righteous that have resisted those great temptations, yet on the other hand, there are many that are righteous that have fallen by these grevious temptations, and yet by repentance they have found mercy from the hand of their God. Therefore I shall, by the help of God, first bring to your remembrance that sore and grevious temptation that beset David, and how he fell by it, and it is that temptation where he committed adultery with Bath-sheba, the wife of Uriah, Now, first observe the occasion or cause of this sin, it appears that it sprung in cne sense from self indulgence, sloth, and idleness: now it appears that when Joseph was beset by this temptation, he was in his business, and doing his duty towards God, and his master, therefore he was delivered, and had power to say, How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God. (Gen. xxxix. 9.) And in the behalf and honour of Joseph, he tempted not his mistress, but his mistress tempted him : but to the shame and dishonour of David, he tempted or forced Bath-sheba, but Bath-sheba tempter