Dangers and Temptations of the
Enemy of Souls
By: Gerhard Tersteegen
1. Let us love, and esteem, and use the Holy Scriptures, or the Bible, according to the state and circumstances of our souls. It is undeniably the best and most divine book in the world, and a revelation or expression of the will of God to us; and it manifests an extremely reprehensible ingratitude and arrogance to neglect and despise it. We must not, however, forget that the power and illumination of the Spirit of God are indispensably necessary to understand it aright, and to walk according to it.
2. Let us constantly set before us the pure and holy word, and self-denying life of Jesus Christ for our imitation. “He that saith he abideth in him, must also walk as he walked.” We ought not to look much about us, nor pay attention to others, except so far as they are in Christ, and follow his steps.
3. Let us never forget the doctrine of Jesus Christ, especially respecting the denial of self, and of all created things, as the primary and most necessary characteristic of his true disciples. He has said, “The way is narrow, and the gate is strait.” Let us therefore regard and reject everything, internally or externally, that would represent it to our corrupt and carnal natures as a broad way.
4. Let us watch and pray: watch over our deceitful hearts, thoughts, and affections, that we may not suffer them to wander thoughtlessly and at liberty to the creature; but continue near to God, yea, cleave unto him with our affections, desires, and inclinations. Let us also watch over our senses, our ears, eyes, mouth, and tongue. They are the port-holes, into which sin, confusion, and a thousand temptations will enter, if we open them too frequently, needlessly, and imprudently. Finally, let us also watch over our corrupt natures, that we may never give way to them, nor follow their will.
5. Let us also, at the same time, pray, and that more with the heart than the mouth, especially for the Spirit of Jesus, that he may rule and work in us. It is he who alone can lead us into all truth, and will do so; without him, it would be impossible for us to continue, or perform anything good.
6. Above all things, let us love one another, and exercise filial intercourse with God in our hearts, and a reverential walk in his presence; because this simple exercise, if we are faithful and steadfast in it, introduces us, through the divine co-operation, into that true fellowship with God in spirit, on which all religion, and our eternal salvation depends.
7. Let us seek, in serenity of mind, to be very faithful and attentive to the inward teachings and admonitions of the Spirit of grace. Although we may be delivered from the law, and no longer so conscious of its threatenings, reproofs, and the terror it excites in the conscience, yet we can never be disunited from the law of the vivifying Spirit of Jesus, whose gentle and internal attractive influences and directions we ought the better to attend to and follow, with so much the more ease and fidelity.
8. Let us avoid all unnecessary converse and hurtful association with the world and frivolous people, and likewise with those, who under the name of piety, live in false liberty, according to the impulse of the flesh, sense, and reason; because, by intimate intercourse with them, the minds of those that are unsettled, may easily and often unconsciously imbibe something of their disposition, and suffer from it; whilst those who are truly the children of God, and their society and conversation, ought to be so much the more dear and precious to us.
9. Let us especially beware, in all our actions, words, and gestures, both in our outward and inward walk, of all subtle hypocrisy, dissimulation, and a self-assumed deportment, which is so displeasing to God; but seek, on the contrary, to do all things in simplicity, sincerity, and cordiality, without reference to man, but solely in order to please God.
10. Let us ever keep watch over our corrupt reason, in which the Old Serpent so gladly lurks, and endeavors under the most plausible pretexts, to allure us from simplicity of heart, into all kinds of useless speculations and injurious debates; so that the better part is often forgotten and neglected in consequence of it, and the man falls imperceptibly into all kinds of errors and mistakes, as painful experience daily confirms.
Finally. Ye know, that the Son of God is manifested to take away our sins, and in him there is no unrighteousness. He that abideth in him sinneth not. He that sinneth, hath neither seen nor known him. Little children, let no man deceive you. He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous, etc. (1 John, 3:5, 7)