31 August 2009

The Devil's Shifting Tactics

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "The Snare of the Fowler," a sermon on Psalm 91:3, delivered Sunday morning, March 29, 1857, at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.


t was once said by a talented writer, that the old devil was dead, and that there was a new devil now; by which he meant to say, that the devil of old times was a rather different devil from the deceiver of these times. We believe that it is the same evil spirit; but there is a difference in his mode of attack.

The devil of five hundred years ago was a black and grimy thing well portrayed in our old pictures of that evil spirit. He was a persecutor, who cast men into the furnace, and put them to death for serving Christ.

The devil of this day is a well-spoken gentleman: he does not persecute—he rather attempts to persuade and to beguile. He is not now so much the furious Romanist, so much as the insinuating unbeliever, attempting to overturn our religion, while at the same time he pretends he would make it more rational, and so more triumphant. He would only link worldliness with religion; and so he would really make religion void, under the cover of developing the great power of the gospel, and bringing out secrets which our forefathers had never discovered.

Satan is always a fowler. Whatever his tactics may be, his object is still the same—to catch men in his net. Men are here compared to silly, weak birds, that have not skill enough to avoid the snare, and have not strength enough to escape from it. Satan is the fowler; he has been so and is so still; and if he does not now attack us as the roaring lion, roaring against us in persecution, he attacks us as the adder, creeping silently along the path, endeavoring to bite our heel with his poisoned fangs, and weaken the power of grace and ruin the life of godliness within us.

C. H. Spurgeon


11 comments:

Stan McCullars said...

He is not now so much the furious Romanist, so much as the insinuating unbeliever, attempting to overturn our religion, while at the same time he pretends he would make it more rational, and so more triumphant.

Did he have evolution in mind?

donsands said...

Good words.

"Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from the evil one. For Your's is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory. Amen."

stratagem said...

"endeavoring to bite our heel with his poisoned fangs, and weaken the power of grace and ruin the life of godliness within us."

Does this last imply CHS thought that believers could become unsaved through Satan's activity - or, was he referring only to a destruction of the fruit in our lives?

Mike Riccardi said...

Stratagem,

Spurgeon definitely held to the perseverance of the saints. I think what he would say (indeed, what he has said) is that Satan attempts to finally destroy the faith and salvation of one truly in Christ all the time, but it's something that can never actually happen.

But based on the wording: "weaken the power of grace," and "ruin the life of godliness," it seems to me like your second alternative was more what he had in mind. That is, Satan always goes about trying to make us more worldly and less godly, thus stealing both our joy and God's glory in His testimony through His people.

stratagem said...

Mike - that's what I had hoped he meant - thank you brother.

Stefan said...

The sermon is on Psalm 91:3, not Psalm 93:1:

"Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler." (KJV)

Jim said...

Sounds like he is describing NT Wright and the New Perspective on Paul precisely. What a gem every paragraph of Spurgeon's sermons are-solid.

Ryan Fishel said...

"[The Devil] would only link worldliness with religion; and so he would really make religion void, under the cover of developing the great power of the gospel, and bringing out secrets which our forefathers had never discovered."


Pragmatic church, of any variety.

David Sheldon said...

On a similar note to Mr. Spurgeon:

Thomas Manton said the following on 2 Thess. 2 about the "mystery of lawlessness" some 3 1/2 centuries ago:

“What is the mystery of iniquity? I answer - The design of usurping Christ's kingdom, and his dignities and prerogatives over the church, to countenance the kingdom of sin and darkness, under the mask of piety and religion. Surely it is something, quite contrary to the gospel, which is the 'mystery of godliness,' 1 Tim. 3:16. So that this mystery is such a course and state design as doth frustrate the true end and purpose of the gospel, and yet carried on under a pretense of advancing and promoting it.”

Manton surely knew that Satan was lurking in the shadows of all this "mystery of iniquity" just like Spurgeon. I believe Spurgeon had the same idea as Manton when he said in the quote ..."He (satan) would only link worldliness with religion; and so he would really make religion void, under the cover of developing the great power of the gospel...."

Unfortunately, in our modern day apostasy Satan, the fowler, has been allowed an incredible foothold. His beguiling is probably for the most part already in a post-saturation stage of development. God help us to hang on to or call out the saints through the gospel. Glad "our" tactics are still the same and still powerful!

Thanks to Pyro!

Stefan said...

Ryan:

I was thinking the same thing. Pragmatism fits well, too, because of its subtlety and pervasiveness. It's such a seemingly natural part of the way we do church.

Kellen Lewis said...

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