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Home School Of Preaching The steps into and resistance of temptation

The steps into and resistance of temptation

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The steps into and resistance of temptation

John Flavel

The stability of our souls in the hour of temptation depends upon the care we exercise in keeping our hearts. The careless heart is an easy prey to Satan in the hover of temptation; his
principal batteries are raised against the heart; if he wins that he wins all, for it commands the whole man: and alas! how easy a conquest is a neglected heart! It is not more difficult to surprise such a heart, than for an enemy to enter that city whose gates are open and unguarded. It is the watchful heart that discovers and suppresses the temptation before it comes to its strength. Divines observe this to be the method in which temptations are ripened and brought to their full strength.

The steps into temptation

1. There is the irritation of the object, or that power it has to provoke our corrupt nature; which is either done by the real presence of the object, or by speculation  when the object (though absent) is held out by the imagination before the soul.

2. Then follows the motion of the appetite, which is provoked by the fancy representing it as a sensual good.

iii. Then there is a consultation in the mind about the best means of accomplishing it.

iv. Next follows the election, or choice of the will.

5. And lastly, the desire, or full engagement of the will to it.

The steps to resist temptation

All this may be done in a few minutes, for the debates of the soul are quick and soon ended: when it comes thus far, the heart is won, Satan has entered victoriously and displayed his colours upon the walls  of that royal fort; but, had the heart been well guarded at first, it had never come to this other wise
temptation had been stopped in the first or second act. And indeed there it is stopped easily; for it is in the motion of a soul tempted to sin, as in the motion of a stone falling from the brow of a hill it is easily stopped at first, but when once it is set in motion "it acquires strength by descending

From "On Keeping the Heart"  by John Flavel

 

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