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CHAPTER VII.

"And now, methinks, I am where I began
Seven years ago; one vogue and vein,
One air of thought usurps my brain.

I did toward Canaan draw; but now I am
Brought back to the Red Sea, the sea of shame."

"I gave to Hope a watch of mine; but he
An anchor gave to me."

Luther-His conflicts and triumphs-Face to face with Satan-Bunyan-"Sell Him"-Wrestlings-A stroke-Gleam of light-New struggles-Not content-The" flesh" and the "spirit"-The unpardonable sin-"False opinions"-Satan's aim-Sunny gleams-" Flying fits"-The voice-"No use praying"-" Ancient Christian"-The settle-An echo-A mill-post at his back-Self-dedication.

LUTHER oftentimes-so vivid were his heart experiences-seems to stand before us in actual faceto-face conflict with Satan. At one moment, he puts him to flight with a joyous hymn of praise; whilst, at another, he dares him to write, at the bottom of a catalogue of his sins, the Scripture-"The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin"-and the tempter disappears. Not less vivid are Bunyan's wrestlings with the arch-fiend.

Scarcely has the Lord "set him down so sweetly, in the faith of His holy Gospel," and he has felt his "affections cleaving to Christ," and his love to Him

"as hot as fire"-when "the tempter comes upon him" with a temptation "more grievous and dreadful" than he has yet known. The temptation is, "to sell and part with this most blessed Christ-to exchange Him for the things of this life, for any thing."

For the space of a year, the suggestion follows him continually, so that he is not rid of it one day in a month, and at times not one hour in many days together, except when he is asleep. "Sell Christ for this," whispers the tempter, as he is "eating his food, stooping for a pin, chopping a stick, or casting his eye to look upon any object;""sell Christ for that; sell Him, sell Him!" Sometimes it will run in his thoughts, "not so little as a hundred times together, 'Sell Him, sell Him, sell Him!" whilst "for whole hours together, he is forced to stand as continually leaning and forcing his spirit, lest haply, before he is aware, there arise in his heart some wicked thought which may consent thereto." And, notwithstanding, "the tempter at times succeeds in persuading him he has consented;" whereupon he is "as one tortured upon a rack for whole days together."

After a while he recovers the shock; but again the temptation to consent "puts him into such fear," that, by the very force of his mind in laboring to gainsay and resist this wickedness, his body is put into action or motion by ways of pushing or thrusting with his hands or elbows"-the "destroyer" still

saying, "Sell Him!" and the tried man still answering, until he scarce well knows where he is or how to be composed again-"I will not, I will not, I will not! no, not for thousands, thousands, thousands of worlds!" The "reckoning" is, to make sure that, in the midst of these assaults, he does not set too low a value on Him.

On other occasions, the tempter appears as an angel of light "dragging him into bondage." At these seasons, he will "not let him eat his food at quiet;" but," forsooth, when he is set at the table at his meat, he must go hence to pray-he must leave his food, now, and just now-so counterfeit holy, also, would this devil be."

"Now I am at meat," he will "say in himself," at such moments, "let me make an end."

"No, you must do it now, or you will displease God and despise Christ."

And then he will feel "as guilty, because he has not obeyed a temptation of the devil, as if he had broken the law of God indeed.”

The reader will remember Christian's "dreadful fall," when Apollyon, "gathering up close" to him, "had almost pressed him to death." One morning, Bunyan is lying awake, harassed by "the wicked suggestion still running in his mind, as fast as a man could speak, Sell Him, sell Him, sell Him, sell Him!" and "in his mind he is answering, at least twenty times together- No, no, not for thousands, thousands, thousands!" when, at last, "after much

striving, even until he is almost out of breath," he feels this that pass through his heart, “Let Him go of He win; and he thinks also that he "feels his heart freely consent thereto." The battle seems lost; and down he fails, as a bird shot from the top of a tree, into great guilt and fearful despair." Hastening out of bed, he "goes moping into the field❞—where, for the space of two hours, he is "like a man bereft of life-past all recovery, and bound over to eternal punishment."

And yet he "concludes, with great indignation both against his heart and against all assaults, how he would rather be torn in pieces than be found a consenter thereto." In spite of his self-condemna. tory reasonings his heart is true and love

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