There is a most beautiful incident related in the annals of the early Church by Mrs. Jamieson. A holy and exceedingly beautiful maiden in Antioch become the object of the sinful passion of a heathen nobleman. Unable to win her affection, he employed a magician to throw over her a fatal spell and win her in the toils of his snare. The magician himself became enamored of the fair girl, and sold himself to the devil on condition that he should be given power to captivate her with unholy passion. He began to apply all his arts, and throw over her mind the fascinating spell o his own imaginations. Suddenly the poor girl found herself, like a charmed bird, possessed by feelings and apparently by passions to which she had always been a stranger. Her pure heart was horrified by constant visions from which her whole being recoiled, and yet it seemed to her that she must herself be polluted and degraded. She began to lose all hope and to stand on the verge of a despair which was impelling her to throw herself away in hopeless abandonment to the power that possessed her.
In this condition of mind she went to see her bishop. This good man, with quick discernment, immediately pointed out to her that these influences and feelings were not from her own heart at all, but spells from the will of another. Their only power consisted in her fears and her recognition of them as her own. If she would stand firm in her will, refusing in the name of the Lord to acknowledge them as her thoughts, and disdaining either to fear them or for a moment to consent to them, their power would be wholly broken.
Unutterably comforted by this wise counsel, she returned to her home and set her face, in the strength of Christ, against these allurements of evil, and immediately she found them broken. Soon the magician became conscious that his power was ended and came to her in deep contrition, confessing his sin and asking her forgiveness and her prayers. It is said that afterwards he yielded himself to the Lord, having been convicted by the triumph of the grace of Christ through a pure and trusting will.
This little incident tells the whole story. Let us never reckon any temptation to be our own sin, by stand steadfast in our purpose, and God will give us the victory.
Reckon ourselves dead
Let us continually reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin. We should detach our spirits from every evil thing that touches them, tell the devil that these are his children, not ours. Those temptations he lays at our doors, refuse to acknowledge any relationship with them. Keep the hatches down, and as long as they do not get into the hold of our little vessel we can sail on not fearing the worst. As we so reckon, Christ will reckon, and make the reckoning true for us.
Let us reckon Christ to be in us and recognize Him as the indwelling Life and Keeper of our spirit, soul and body. It is a great principle that where we recognize God, there God will meet us. Recognize Him in the heavens and He will meet us in the heavens. Recognize Him by our side and He will speak to us from beside us. Recognize Him in our inmost heart and He will meet us there. Let us trust Him as a faithful Keeper. Let us set the Lord always before us, and say with the psalmist: 'Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken" (Psalm 16:8).
Let us abide in the love of Christ. Let us persuade ourselves that He loves us infinitely and perfectly, delights in us continually, and is wholly committed to us to carry us through and fulfill in us all the good pleasure of His will. Let us not think that we must wring from Him, by hard constraint and persuasion, the blessings which our faith compels. Rather He has set His heart on our highest good and is working out for us, in His loving purpose, all that we can receive of blessing.
~A. B. Simpson~
(continued with # 19)