I Peter 5:8, 9
Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he would devour: whom resist steadfastly in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
JOHN MASON (1600-1672): Satan is a restless, powerful, and malicious enemy; ever striving to drive the sinner to desperation.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The assurance of [some believers] is greatly dampened by the assaults of Satan. There are three principal things which our great enemy seeks to accomplish: incite us to sin, hinder the exercise of our graces, and destroy our peace and joy. If he fails largely in the first two, he is often very successful in the third. Posing as an angel of light, he comes to the soul preaching the holiness of God and exceeding sinfulness of sin, his object being to overwhelm the conscience and drive to despair.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The devil is trying to rob you of your assurance; he is trying to make you think that you are not a Christian. He says, “A Christian, with thoughts and imaginations such as you have at the present moment! The thing is inconceivable, you are not a Christian at all!”
MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): Once upon a time the devil said to me, “Martin Luther, you are a great sinner, and you will be damned!”
“Stop! Stop!” said I, “one thing at a time; I am a great sinner, it is true, though you have no right to tell me of it. I confess it. What next?”
“Therefore you will be damned.”
“That is not good reasoning. It is true that I am a great sinner, but it is written, ‘Jesus Christ came to save sinners;’ therefore I shall be saved! Now go your way.” So I cut the devil off with his own sword, and he went away mourning because he could not cast me down by calling me a sinner.
JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): The tempter came upon me with a more grievous and dreadful temptation―and that was, To sell and part with this most blessed Christ, to exchange Him for the things of this life. The temptation lay upon me for the space of a year, and did follow me so continually that I was not rid of it one day in a month, no, not sometimes one hour in many days together, unless when I was asleep…But still the temptation would come, Sell Christ for this, or sell Christ for that―‘sell him, sell him!’ Sometimes it would run in my thoughts, not so little as a hundred times together, ‘Sell him, sell him, sell him!’ Against which I may say, for whole hours together, I have been forced to stand as continually leaning and forcing my spirit against it―answering as fast as the destroyer said, ‘Sell him’―“I will not, I will not, I will not, I will not!” But at last, after much striving, even until I was almost out of breath, I felt this thought pass through my heart, ‘Let him go, if he will!’ and I thought also, that I felt my heart ‘freely’ consent thereto. Oh, the diligence of Satan! Oh, the desperateness of man’s heart!
Now was the battle won, and down fell I, as a bird that is shot from the top of a tree, into great guilt, and fearful despair―where, for the space of two hours, I was like a man bereft of life, now past all recovery, and bound over to eternal punishment. And that scripture did seize upon my soul, “O profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat, sold his birthright; for ye know, how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, so he sought it carefully with tears,” Hebrews 12:16,17. Nothing now for two years together would abide with me, but damnation, and an expectation of damnation…
But about ten or eleven o’clock one day, as I was walking under a hedge, full of sorrow in guilt, God knows, and bemoaning myself―suddenly this sentence bolted in upon me: ‘The blood of Christ remits all guilt.’ At this I made a stand in my spirit; with that, this word took hold upon me, begin, The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin, 1 John 1:7. Now I began to conceive peace in my soul, in methought I saw as if the tempter did leer and steal away from me, as being ashamed of what he had done.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Sometimes the devil does what we are discussing almost alike an avalanche…It is not always so, but sometimes the devil comes, as it were from every direction with all his malignity and power, he trains his guns, as it were, upon us, and shoots his fiery darts at us.
THOMAS GOODWIN (1600-1679): Art thou baited with hellish blasphemies cast into thy soul?
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Ah! I recollect a dark hour myself when I, who do not remember to have even heard a blasphemy in my youth, much less to have uttered one, found rushing through my mind an almost infinite number of curses and blasphemies against the Most High God.
I specially recall a certain narrow and crooked lane, in a country town, along which I was walking one day, while I was seeking the Saviour. All of a sudden, it seemed as if the floodgates of hell had been opened; my head became a very pandemonium; ten thousand evil spirits seemed to be holding carnival within my brain, and I held my mouth lest I should give utterance to the words of blasphemy that were poured into my ears. Things I had never heard or thought of before came rushing impetuously into my mind, and I could scarcely withstand their influence. It was the devil throwing me down and tearing me. These things sorely beset me; for half-an-hour together, the most fearful imprecations would dash through my brain. Oh, how I groaned and cried before God!
The temptation passed away, but ere many days, it was renewed again, and when I was in prayer, or when I was reading the Bible, these blasphemous thoughts would pour in upon me more than at any other time. I consulted with an aged godly man about it.
He said to me, “Oh, all this many of the people of God have [endured] before you! But,” he asked, “do you hate these thoughts?”
“I do,” I truly answered.
“Then,” said he, “do this with those evil thoughts: Grown over them, repent of them, and send them on to the devil, the father of them, to whom they belong, for they are not yours.”
RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): Some are haunted with hideous representations to their imaginations, and with vile and unworthy thoughts of God, of Christ, or the Word, which, as busy flies, disquiet and molest their peace. These are cast in like wildfire by Satan, as may be discerned by the strangeness, the strength and violence, and the horribleness of them even to corrupt nature. A pious soul is no more guilty of them than Benjamin was when Joseph’s cup was put into his sack. Among other helps recommended by godly writers, such as detestation of them and diversion from them to other things, let this be one, to complain to Christ against them, and to fly under the wings of His protection, and to desire Him to take our part against His and our enemy. Shall every sin and blasphemy of man be forgiven, and not these blasphemous thoughts, which have the devil for their father, when Christ Himself was molested in this way so that he might succour all poor souls in this condition?
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Never let that slip, “I have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” and hold that fast―“I now have redemption in His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”