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with which they enter into conversation, on it. Treatises on the subject of Temptation, therefore, it has long struck the Author, are loudly called for. To supply, in part, what he thus conceives to be demanded, he has committed to the public the following pages.
Should they be instrumental in fortifying any against the devices of Satan, he will deem himself amply rewarded for all the labour they have cost him. And in order that they may promote this object, he now leaves them with the providence
and grace of God.
Hackney, November, 1836.
To temptation, it is evident, there are attached, by different classes of persons, both very great importance, and very little. Some persons assign to it an almost unlimited influence over their animal spirits, the disposition of their enemies towards them, and their own purposes and resolves ; for every instance of depression they suffer, every intrigue affecting their reputation, to which they are subject, and every dereliction with which they are chargeable, they attribute to the devices of Satan : so that, from their professions and conduct, it would appear, that the being that has by far the greatest power over our character and happiness, is, “the wicked one.” Others, however, and these, too, by no means despisers of spiritual religion, in practice at least, almost deny its very existence. As though they
thought it inconsistent with the principles of God's moral government, and with a particular providence, that a wicked spirit should be permitted to seduce men from their allegiance to their Creator, and, by stirring up against them the spirit of their enemies, and operating on their own spirits, to make a direct attack on the happiness of the children of God; in the measures they adopt for preserving consistency of character, and promoting personal enjoyment, they never appear to contemplate means of defence against temptation. This light estimate of temptation in this class of persons may, no doubt, in part, be accounted for by the great importance that is attached to it by the other. We are all apt to be governed by the influence, or, it may be, the abuse of a thing, rather than by its merits or use. Thus, seeing men of superstitious temperament, or, as is frequently the case, of lax principles, attribute every thing they either suffer or commit, to causes extraneous to themselves, when causes within themselves might be assigned with much greater propriety ; we can easily conceive of persons, in a sort of disgust, denying the existence of these causes altogether.