Parsons Believers Victory over Devils Devices

Parsons Believers Victory over Devils Devices

Parsons Believers Victory over Devils Devices is an Episcopal work, bordering on Methodism, but distinct from it. Excellent review of Satan’s Attacks and Believers’ victory.

Parsons Believers Victory over Devils Devices is an Episcopal work, bordering on Methodism, but distinct from it. Excellent review of Satan’s Attacks and Believers’ victory.

Parsons Believers Victory over Devils Devices

THE BELIEVER ‘ S VICTORY OVER SATAN ‘ S DEVICES.
BY REV. W. L. PARSONS, D. D.,
PROFESSOR OF MENTAL AND MORAL SCIENCE, INGHAM UNIVERSITY, LE ROY, N. Y.
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. 2 Cor. 2:11.
NEW YORK: NELSON & PHILLIPS. CINCINNATI :HITCHCOCK & WALDEN.
1876.

 EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION of Parsons Believers Victory over Devils Devices

This volume has been recommended for republication at our Book Rooms by a number of leading ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church. It comes from another school of evangelical theology. Its quotations are usually from thinkers of that school, as Edwards and James Brainard Taylor. The writer seems to have drawn little or nothing from Wesley, Fletcher, Watson, or Peck. His modes of expression, some of his theological assumptions and positions, and his inadequate statement of our views, ( p. 211, ) indicate a non-Wesleyan very clearly to one acquainted with both sides. Nevertheless, on the central point of the book, the doctrine of a higher plane of Christian life, for which Wesleyanism for a century found itself nearly or quite the sole unflinching witness, there is such a coincidence as renders his work rather the more interesting from its very coming from without the circle. It is well to compare notes with this in comer. Perhaps he will shed some hues of fresh light on some special sides of the subject. He may help break up our vocabulary where words have lost their force by effete use. He may aid us in dropping non essentials, and broadening our evangelicism, so as that

IV EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION of Parsons Believers Victory over Devils Devices

we may the more easily see identity of essence under varieties of phrase. At the same time, the work may be commended for its penetrative force of thought, for its clear, animated style of language, its variety of practical illustrations, and the author ‘ s strenuous purpose of bringing his readers by the way of a living faith into the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ.

Two or three variations in theology we will note :

1. On the most distinctive point of difference between the Arminian and Calvinistic theology, the freedom of the will, he seems to be Arininian, and is not. He therein rejects Edwards ’ s Law of Necessity, according to which the agent is by absolute causation necessitated to will one sole, predetermined way. He verbally main tains is a power of contrary choice.” The will, he would say, “can choose otherwise than the predetermined way.” But, alas! he would immediately add, “but it never will choose otherwise than the predetermined way.” This view takes off Edwards ‘ s causative necessity, to put on a uniformitarian necessity. It simply rejects the law of causation, and lays on the law of invariable sequence. To “ choose otherwise ” would be, in either case and equally, the violation of an inflexible law of being. The necessity is equally absolute, and the freedom is in words only. Arminianism denies that there is any such predetermined way of necessity or uniformity, according to which the agent chooses by invariable law.

EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION of Parsons Believers Victory over Devils Devices

2. On page 77 one of the doctrines of an article of the Church of England, adopted by the Methodist Episcopal Church, is unwarily pronounced a “lie.” Both Churches do declare that “the sinner does not possess the natural ability to do what God requires.” The doctrine of the sinner’s possession of “natural ability” is that Pelagianism against which the Church of ages has protested. The doctrine of, at any rate, the Western Church has been that for the power of repentance, or any acceptable or saving work, we are indebted to the grace of Christ, not to nature. From that Pelagianism, indeed, the author would practically rescue himself with the usual formula of his school, ” he can, but he never will. ” This is again substituting uniformitarianism in the place of causationalism. If the reader will, on page 77, for natural ability read adequate ability, and, page 78, after the word “ endowed, ” read by nature or grace, he will unite both our theologies..

3. On page 211 he gives, we suppose, what he understands to be the Wesleyan – Arminian view of the sinner ‘ s acceptance with God. But the phrase “ set aside, ” applied to the law, seems improperly used, as if we in any degree invalidated, lowered, or abolished the absolute law. We suppose a perfect agreement between us on that point. We both maintain that we are not justified by the deeds of the law, but by faith in Christ; and as we are justified, so we are sanistitied. The law still

VI EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION of Parsons Believers Victory over Devils Devices

remains in undiminished force and power, as the standard of absolute right, as the necessitation of the unceasing application of the atonement, as the measure of the demerit of our sin and damnation in apostatizing, and as the ultimate standard to which grace would bring us in glory.

4. The infallibility of Christian perseverance in all cases is a doctrine repeatedly implied or expressed. The tendency of that doctrine to emphasize the ascertaining whether we are Christians, rather than the being Christians, and to induce Christians to cultivate doubt of the genuineness of our conversion, thus rendering a very simple subject very complex, is exemplified in the middle paragraph of page 111.

Table of CONTENTS of Parsons Believers Victory over Devils Devices

CHAPTER I. Introductory. — The Case stated. — Its Application to those who do and those who do not profess 11
CHAPTER II. Personal Existence of Satan. — Bible View presented. — Objections answered……..15
CHAPTER III. Character of Satan……….21
CHAPTER IV. The Battle Field surveyed. — The Human Mind and its Principles of Action……..24
CHAPTER V. What must be Satan ‘ s Methods of Working, as indicated by the Changeless Laws of our Mental and Moral Constitutions…………33
CHAPTER VI. Primary Importance to the Christian Life of the Right Adjustment of the Will to the Truth, illustrated by a “ Pastor ‘ s Sketch. ”…..… 37
CHAPTER VII. Satan, the “ Author and Finisher ” of Unbelief………………44
CHAPTER VIII. Satan, in the Height of his Power, obscuring the Essential Object of Faith, Christ Jesus the Lord; thus rendering impossible the Exercise of a Living Faith. · · · · · · · · · ·48
CHAPTER IX. Satan ‘ s Second Eclipse of the Object of Faith-hiding also the Deity of the Spirit, and for a Like Purpose………………55
CHAPTER X. The Mischiefs Satan accomplishes by removing from before the Eye of Faith the Godhead of Christ and the Spirit………………
CHAPTER XI. Satan, sowing Tares. — Pastor ‘ s Sketch illustrating the Necessity of having the Right Seed – Truth sown in the Heart, that a True Christian Character may grow therefrom. 60
CHAPTER XII. Satan, as the Father of Lies. — Principles premised. 1. His Object is to destroy the Soul. 2. Lies received are held as Truths, and thus they have all the Binding Force of Truth and all the Damaging Effect of Lies. 3. They exclude Corresponding Truths from the Mind. 4. To receive them Involves an Impeachment of the Divine Character. 5. They are anchored primarily in the Sensibility, not in the Reason. 6. They are adapted to meet the Idiosyncrasies and Prejudices of Men. 7. Language is not required to express them. 8. When thoroughly lodged in the Mind, it is difficult, and often impossible, to remove them…….70
CHAPTER XIII. The Lies whereby Satan keeps Men from becoming Christians…………74
CHAPTER XIV. The Lies by which Satan aims to weaken and waste the Inner Life of Christians……86
CHAPTER XV. The Fiery Darts of the Wicked One, illustrated by a Sketch of a Remarkable Case……. 101
CHAPTER XVI. Satan, as the “ Accuser of the Brethren. ”. 108
CHAPTER XVII. Wherein Satan is considered as the Tempter. 113
CHAPTER XVIII. Wherein appears the Christian ‘ s Deliverer. – Method of Victory shown………. 121
CHAPTER XIX. Satan, as transformed into an Angel of Light. — Pastor’s Sketches….132
CHAPTER XX. How to distinguish between Satan, so transformed into an Angel of Light, and Christ, the True Angel and Messenger of God, whom Satan counterfeits. 146
CHAPTER XXI. Satanic Plots. — Pastor ‘ s Sketch…. 159
CHAPTER XXII. Satan, the Enemy of Prayer and Vital Communion with God………… 168
CHAPTER XXIII. Satan, as Philosopher, Theologian, and Logician…………….. 180
CHAPTER XXIV. The Allies of Satan…….. 201
CHAPTER XXV. Satan, the Foe of our Sanctification and Growth in Grace………….. 209
Section 1. Theories of the Different Schools considered, and shown to differ only in Speculative, not Essential Points………….. 210
Section 2. All Attainments in the Divine Life the Result of knowing God in the Heart……. 213
Section 3. This Knowledge the Exclusive Gift of the Spirit — its Positive and Assuring Nature…… 218
Section 4. Conditions of receiving this Life – giving Knowledge of God. — A Theological Difficulty met.. 223
Section 5. The Relations of Revealed Truth to our Growing Sanctification………… 226
Section 6. The Relation between knowing God by the Spirit, and the Enjoyment of the Life of Holiness… 228
Section 7. The Natural and Life – giving Effect upon the Mind of knowing, from Heaven, certain Definite Things concerning God and ourselves — concerning his Relations to us and ours to him……… 229
Section 8. The Law of Progress in this Divine, Saving Knowledge; with a Sketch illustrating the Spirit’s Method. — The “ Higher Christian Life ” explained.. 241
Section 9. What may we reasonably hope to attain in this Life, in Respect to the State, ( 1. ) Of the Will; ( 2. ) Of the Intellect; ( 3. ) Of the Sensibility; – or in the Matter of Purpose, Knowledge, and Emotion?… 251
Section 10. The Relation of Faith to the Obtaining of this Saving Knowledge of God……… 259
Section 11. The Duty of Living in the Victorious Enjoyment of this Life – sustaining Knowledge of God. 261
Section 12. The Guilt of being without this Knowledge and its Saving Power………. 264
Section 13. The General View here presented, confirmed by its Power to harmonize the apparently Conflicting Views of the Different Schools of Evangelical Christians, and to simplify certain Vexed Questions in Theology…………….. 267
CHAPTER XXVI. Satan’s Methods of Opposing the Christian ‘ s Sanctification…………. 281
CHAPTER XXVII. Satan’s Efforts to Cripple the Ministers of the Gospel, and render their Preaching powerless… 294
CHAPTER XXVIII. The Great Fight with and Victory over Satan; with a Pastor ‘ s Sketch of the Battle Scene… 302

Sample Chapter 10. The Mischiefs Satan accomplishes by removing from before the Eye of Faith the Godhead of Christ and the Spirit

CHAPTER X. THE MISCHIEFS SATAN ACCOMPLISHES BY REMOVING FROM BEFORE THE EYE OF FAITH THE GODHEAD OF CHRIST AND THE SPIRIT.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.– 2 Cor. 4:3.

In the first place, the essential object of saving faith being hidden from the mind, a living trust therein is rendered impossible. We can not rely upon one for any thing beyond what he is able to do with th SATAN’S DEVICES ANDe powers we ascribe to him. If our ” God manifest in the flesh,” in whom we trust, is only a finite being, we have only a finite Savior, who can not restore to us the “life of God” which is lost by sin. Failing to find Jehovah manifested in Christ, we do not find him at all, and are left to wander in the wilderness of error and unbelief, and, perchance, betake ourselves to a cold naturalism, and grope about to find him in his works. Stars and flowers take the place of the Divine Christ; religious sentimentality and the works of the flesh ” are substituted for the new birth, and men have a “name to live” while yet dead in sin.

Again: another consequence of hiding the Deity of Christ and the Spirit will be, that, although the

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61 THE BELIEVER’S VICTORY.

intellect may, in some sense, apprehend the truth, yet the will, choosing the darkness involved in the pursuit of its own selfish ends, will reject and refuse to obey it until its unbelief does violence to all reason, and to all the sane practice of men on other sub jects, and becomes a “marvel” to the Son of God himself. The will does not surrender the weapons of its rebellion except to its Creator and Lord.

Again: in proportion as the true object of faith is hidden by Satan from the mind, the blessings of faith are lost. It is blessed to have faith in any being who is worthy of confidence, and the riches of the experience of faith will correspond to the perceived excellence, the benevolence, and the ability of that. being. The promises of God pledge to believers eternal and exhaustless good, ‘as great as their natures will enable them to receive. They are all ” yea and amen in Christ, ” and can bring in them to us no more of Divinity than we apprehend in him. With the eye of our faith open upon God revealed to us in Jesus, we dwell in that light which can come only from the Divine Mind; with our hearts stayed on Him, ” the peace of God which passeth all under standing, keeps our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus;” anchoring our being to Him by faith, we outride all the storms of earth, and are nearest heaven when on the crest of the topmost wave; with our ear open to Him, his word is a sword which cleaves down every foe, or a fountain whose living waters

62 SATAN’S DEVICES AND

well up and lave and refresh our whole being, and cool the fever of sin; walking with Him, we are in ” ways of pleasantness and paths of peace;” sitting at His feet, our pride is consumed by the glory of his meekness and lowliness of mind; seeing in our duty His will, it is the very elixir of privilege to do it; casting the burden of our sins upon His mercy, they are gone forever. But, alas! if our faith does not find Him manifested, all this is lost; the frosts of sin are not dissolved, and the vibrations of heavenly joy can not reach our hearts.

Again: by hiding the Deity of Christ and the Spirit, Satan shuts the mind up to its own idea of God as conceived in the darkness of sin, and deprives it of the right idea as God himself manifests it, to inspire a true worship. The result is seen, the world over, in the chaos of false and spurious religions. Every man becomes a god unto himself. The ” gods many and lords many,” thus conceived, are as antagonistic as selfish men, and as little in harmony as the congress of deities on Olympus. The social and religious principles becoming allied, men are drawn together in brotherhoods of selfishness, into hierarchies, sects, and warring parties; but their synagogues will be, so far, the ” synagogues of Satan. ” The Satanic graces of pride, jealousy, hatred, revenge, and their like, will combine in a common opposition to that Christianity which derives its life from the Deity of the despised Nazarene, and from

THE BELIEVER’S VICTORY. 63

that cross to which the same opposition. nailed the Son of God.

The idea of God, thus conceived, has no redeeming power in it, but the very opposite. The Phari sees were zealously religious under the idea of God as they found it in their own selfish hearts; Paul, under the idea, as God the Holy Spirit manifested it to him. Their hearts remained as unchanged, and as full of pride and hatred, as his had been before the Divine manifestation met him on his way to Damascus. As they conceived the character of God, they felt it their duty to crucify Christ. As he learned it from God himself, his love for Christ at once became a passion, and he would henceforth glory in nothing but in “Christ and him crucified.”
By this process, then, Satan inveigles the mind into all manner of unbelief, and easily leads it captive at his will.

PREFACE.

To comprehend the forces which resist one ‘ s progress in any right direction, is a most important study — an essential condition of success. To know our enemy, – – how, when, where, and with what weapons he will attack us, – goes far to insure a victory.

This principle applies, in all its force, in spiritual matters. We have, in the Christian warfare, relent less and most artful foes to contend with; and, if we would not ” beat the air, ” and be shamefully driven from the field, we must know our enemy, in his tactics and in his defenses, and how we may effectually use against him those weapons which are mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. ” A successful reconnoissance of the foe is half the battle.

If this volume has any merit, it lies, in the author ‘ s judgment, in this; that it brings the
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viii PREFACE,

opposing forces which are at work, on the one hand, to destroy, and, on the other, to save the soul, into an open field, face to face; that it exposes the enemy at his work of death, so that he can be seen and understood, and so that the powers of the gospel may be intelligently and effectually brought to bear against him, till the ” prey of the terrible shall be delivered.”

The work aims to be a sort of ” hand – book ” for all who would ” fight the good fight of faith, ” whether they have or have not, yet entered upon the duty; whether they are in the infancy or childhood of the spiritual life, or whether they have made the highest attainments known among the saints. It seeks to meet the wants of men of all denominations, or of none, who hope to reach heaven through the redemption of Christ; to make the way clear from Egypt to the Land of Promise; and to show how to enter the land and gather its precious fruits. The things it attempts to present are as needful to be known, and well known, both to the Christian and to him who would be such, as the fundamental rules of arithmetic, to the mathematician.

PREFACE.

The chapter on the subject of Sanctification aims to give a more complete and satisfactory view than would easily be gained from writers who have presented only some specific phases of that doctrine. The author entertains the hope that he has presented it from a stand-point from which all Christians will be able to see eye to eye, in respect to it, and to be quickened to lay hold of ” the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. ” The chapter contains, in its last section, some applications of principles which may afford some light to the popular mind, on certain vexed questions in theology.

Various ” pastor’s sketches” are introduced, which, it is hoped, will make clear some of the more essential and difficult points, and help to fix them in the memory.

The work contains no learned disquisitions concerning the existence or nature of Satan. Its object is entirely practical, and its teachings will be found scarcely less important to those who deny, than to those who admit, his personal existence. The author has followed the simple method of the Bible, and has felt authorized, wherever he has found lies doing

PREFACE.

their fatal work, to charge their fatherhood upon Satan; and so on, through all the catalogue of abominations ascribed to him in the Scriptures.
It is needless to say that nothing is claimed for the work as a mere literary performance. The object of the writer has been to communicate, in a simple way, a kind of instruction, the great need of which in the churches, his own ministry — spent some what largely in revivals of religion — has made him deeply and painfully feel.
The author would be most happy to have each of its readers regard the work as affectionately dedicated to himself, and to have it read with that peculiar interest which is awakened by a conscious personal friendship existing between author and reader.

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