22 Jan. 1807.
I RECEIVED the letter of my companion in travail and companion in trouble. What he hints at, I mean the works of the devil, is true. Satan lives upon five sorts of provision. Dust shall be the serpent's meat: upon the sins of the flesh and blood he feeds, flesh and blood being but dust and ashes. But his choicest dish is that of wreaking his vengeance on the meek, lowly, and childlike, disciples of Jesus; these lambs being in his bosom, and these little ones being his chief care and concern, and which have no other weapons than the simplicity of the gospel, he waits every opportunity to vent the spleen of his infernal rage upon them; but out of the mouths of these babes God has ordained strength to perfect praise, that he might still the enemy and the avenger. He is the eternal enemy of God for his banishing and cursing of him; and labours to avenge himself on the Almighty, by venting his desperation upon the feeble favourites of heaven, whom he knows God loves. His third diet is pride; hence called a king over all the children of pride; he works in the rich to be proud of their wealth; in the Pharisee and bond child to boast of their profession; and in the unguarded believer to be proud of his gifts, his attainments, and even of his comfortable frames; if a spirit of meekness, contrition, and self-abasement do not counteract it. The devil's fourth dish is lying; he sets up false gods, and represents the true one in a false light; he furnishes false prophets with false doctrine, and leads them to trust in a false heart; and to persevere in false worship, which is walking in falsehood. Fifthly, murder is his bent, both body and soul; he seeks whom he may devour, and to the most faithful servants that he hath he is the most cruel; witness Saul, Ahithophel, and Judas; none of whom the devil killed, for this would have been his own sin, and have added a fresh link to his chain; but he made them kill themselves, which added to their own crimes. But to me this seems to be the devil's master-piece. When the Doctor has had some indulgences, and been favoured with a comfortable frame, Satan is sure then to be upon the watch; the saints' comforts enrage and enflame his desperation. When Peter had made his noble confession to Christ, and had obtained the Lord's blessing upon it, then, then the devil desired to sift him, that he might blow away both his faith and his blessing. So when he comes to the Doctor he brings a dismal gloom; this blinds my eyes, and then throws me into a violent hurry, or fills me with a hasty spirit; and this deprives one of all the power of thought, and of recollection; then he calls in to his assistance carnal reason, to argue. against all truth, all grace, and providence; this animates and invigorates the native enmity of the mind, and sets the heart to fretting against God. In this confusion, unbelief comes in' with a thousand false constructions upon the work and ways of God, by setting scripture against scripture, providence against the promise, and the promise against providence. Hardness, obdurate hardness, and impenitency follow: these close, contract, straiten, and. at last bar and bolt the heart, and here I am shut up and cannot come forth. When the devil and the Doctor get thus together, there is not an influence or sensation in the mind of Satan but what I feel; his vengeance, his rage, his smoking jealousy, his inveterate hatred and desperation, smoke and burn through the whole soul; by which the devil eases his own mind, and obtains a momentary respite; and in this way it is that he obtains all the relief he has; and upon this head it was that he prayed to wreak his malice on the herd of swine, rather than be confined in. the depths of hell; for he calls that tormenting him before the time. But the cunning of Satan lies in charging all this upon God, and imputing it to his anger; and here I have ever been foiled. But sure I am that God's visits remove all this confusion, which is succeeded by a better treasure. God bless my dear friend! so prays thine most affectionately in the Son of God,