Sunday Meditation – Know Your Enemy

“The devil is a very subtle enemy. The Christian is endangered most by his pol­icy and craft. He is called the old serpent—the serpent subtle above other creatures; an old serpent above other serpents. Satan was too crafty for man in his perfection, much more now in his maimed estate, having never recovered that first crack he got in his understanding, by the fall of Adam. And as man hath lost, so Satan hath gained more and more experience; he lost his wisdom, indeed, as soon as he became a devil, but, ever since, he hath increased his craft; though he hath not wisdom enough to do himself good, yet he hath subtlety enough to do others hurt. God shows us where his strength lies, when he prom­iseth he will bruise the head of the serpent; his head crushed, and he dies presently. Now in handling this point of Satan’s subtlety, we shall consider him in his two main designs, and therein show you his wiles and policies. His first main design is to draw into sin. The second main design is to accuse, vex, and trouble the saint for sin. Satan shows his subtlety in choosing the most proper and advantageous seasons for tempting. ‘To every thing there is a season,’ Solomon saith, Ecc. 3:1, that is, a nick of time, which taken, gives facility and speedy despatch to a business; and therefore the same wise man gives this reason why man miscarries so frequently, and is disappointed in his enterprises, ‘because he knows not his time,’ Ecc. 9:12. He comes when the bird is flown. A hundred soldiers at one time may turn a battle, save an army, when thousands will not do it at another. Satan knows when to make his approaches, when (if at any time) he is most likely to be entertained. As Christ hath the tongue of the learned to speak a word in season of counsel and comfort, to a doubting dropping soul, so Satan knows his black heart, and hellish skill, in speaking words of seduction and temptation in season.”

William Gurnall


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