« PreviousContinue »
upon Christ than upon spiritual tastes and discoveries; you must lean more upon Christ than upon your graces; or else Satan will lead you into captivity.
Direct. 10. If you would not be taken in any of Satan's, snares, then be much in prayer. Prayer is a shelter to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to the devil. David's heart was more often out of tune, than his harp. He prays, and then, in spite of the devil, cries, Return unto thy rest, O my soul. Prayer is the gate of heaven, a key to let us into paradise. There is nothing that renders plots fruitless like prayer; therefore says Christ, Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation. You must watch and pray, and pray and watch, if you would not enter into temptation. When Sennacherib and Haman had laid plots and snares to destroy the Jews, they prayed, and their souls were delivered, and Sennacherib and Haman destroyed. David had many snares laid for him, and this puts him upon prayer; Keep me, says he, from.the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape, Psal. cxli. 9,10. Theproudhave hid. a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. I said unto the Lord, Thou art my God; hear the voice of my supplication, O Lord, Psal. cxl. 5, 6. .Saul and many others had laid snares for David, and this puts him upon prayer; and so the snares are broken, and he is delivered. Ah, souls, take words to yourselves, and tell God that Satan has spread his snares in all places and in all companies. Tell God that he digs deep, and that he has plot upon plot, and device upon device, and all to undo you. Tell God that you have neither skill nor power to escape his snares. Tell God that it is a work too high and too hard for any creature to work your deliverance, unless he put under his own everlasting arms. Tell God how his honour is engaged to stand by you, and to bring you off, that you be not, ruined by his plots. Tell God how the wicked would triumph, if you should fall into Satan's snares. Tell God of the love of Christ, of the blood of Christ, and of the intercession of Christ for you, that a way may be found for your escape. Tell God, if he, will make it his honour to save you from falling into Satan's snares, you will make it your glory to speak of his goodness, and to live out his kindness. Christians must do as Daedalus, who when he could not escape by a way upon earth, went by a way of heaven; and that is the way of prayer, which is the only way left to escape Satan's snares.
The next use is a use of thankfulness to those that escape Satan's snares, that are not taken by him at his will. O Christians, it stands upon you, with that princely prophet David, to call upon your souls, and say, Bless the Lord, O our souls, and all that is within us, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O our souls, and forget not all his benefits, who has not given us to be a prey to Satan, and to be ensnared by those shares that he has laid for our souls. The sense of this great favour did work up David's heart to praises; Blessed be the Lord, says he, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers, the snare is broken, and we are escaped, Psal. cxxiv. 6, 7. Ah, Christians, remember that the greatest part of the world, yea, the greatest part of professors are taken in Satan's snares. Can you think seriously of this, and not blush to be unthankful? What are you better than others? and what have you deserved of God or done for God, more than others, that you should by the help of a divine hand escape the snares, when others are taken, and held in the snares of the devil to their eternal overthrow? Will you be thankful for escaping the snares that men spread for your lives or estates? and will you not be much more thankful, for escaping those snares that Satan has laid for your precious souls?
Remember this, that deliverance from Satan's snares carries with it the clearest, and the greatest evidence of the soul and heart of God to be towards us. Many a man, by a common hand of providence, escapes many a snare that man has laid for him, but yet escapes not the snares that Satan has laid for him. Saul, and Judas, and Demas, doubtless escaped many snares that men laid for
them, but none of them escaped the snares that the devil had laid for them. Many are lifted up above the snares of men, by a common hand of Providence, who are left to fall into the snares of the devil by a hand of justice. Your deliverance from Satan's snares is a fruit of special love; can you thus look upon it, and not be thankful, O precious souls? I judge not.
The last use of this point is to bespeak Christians to long to be at home. O long to be in the bosom of Christ; long to be in the land of Canaan; for this world, this wilderness, is full of snares, and all employments are full of snares, and all enjoyments are full of snares. In civil things, Satan has his snares to entrap us; and in all spiritual things, Satan has his snares to catch us. All places are full of snares, city and country, shop and closet, sea and land. And all our mercies are surrounded with snares; there are snares about our tables, and snares about our beds. Yea, Satan is so powerful and subtle, that he will oftentimes make our greatest, nearest, and dearest mercies to become our greatest snares. Sometimes he will make the wife that lies in the bosom, to be a snare to a man, as Sampson's was, and as Job's was; sometimes he will make the child to be a snare, as Absalom was, and Eli's sons were; and sometimes he will make the servant to be a snare, as Joseph was to his mistress. Ah, souls, Satan is so cunning and artful, that he can turn your cups into snares, and your clothes into snares, and your houses into snares, and your gardens Into snares, and all your recreations into snares. And O how should the consideration of these things work all your souls to say with the church, Make haste my beloved, and be like a roe, or a young hart upon the mountain of spices, and to love, and look, and long for the coming of Christ. Shall the espoused maid long for the marriage day? the servant for his freedom? the captive for his ransom? the traveller for his inn? and the mariner for his harbour? and shall not the people of the Lord long much more to be in the bosom of Christ, there being nothing below the bosom of Christ, that is not surrounded with Satan's
What Paul once spake of bonds and afflictions, that they attended him in every place; that may all the saints say of Satan's snares, that they attend them in every place; which should cause them to cry out, Let us go hence, let us go hence; and to say with Monica, Austin's mother, ' What do we here? Why depart we not hence? Why fly we not swifter?' Ah, souls, till you are taken up into the bosom of Christ, your comforts will not be full, pure, and constant; till then, Satan will still be thumping you, and spreading snares to entangle you: therefore you should always be crying out with the Church, Come, Lord Jesus. Is not Christ the star of Jacob, that , giveth light to them that are in darkness? that Prince of peace, who brings the olive-branch of peace to souls that are perplexed? Is not the greatest worth and wealth in him? Are not the petty excellencies and perfections of all creatures epitomized in him? Is not he the crown of crowns, the glory of glories, and the heaven of heavens '. O then be still longing after a full, clear, and constant enjoyment of Christ in heaven; for till then, Satan will still have plots and designs upon you. He acts by a united power, and will never let you rest till you are taken up to an everlasting rest in the bosom of Christ.