Satan Ensnares

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
~ Revelation 12:9

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
~ Genesis 3:4-6

And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear.
~ Revelation 13:4-9

And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.
~ 1 Chronicles 21:1-2

But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
~ Job 1:11

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
~ Luke 22:31

And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
~ John 13:2, Acts 1:25

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
~ 1 Corinthians 7:5, 2 Corinthians 11:3, 2 Corinthians 11:14

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
~ Ephesians 6:11-12, 1 Peter 5:8

But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
~ Revelation 2:24

Navigation Spiritualized, Or, A New Compass for Seamen: Consisting of Thirty-Two Points, of Pleasant Observations, Profitable Applications, and Serious Reflections, All Concluded With So Many Spiritual Poems, by John Flavel.

Chapter XXII.

Whilst thou by art the silly fish doth kill,
Perchance the devil’s hook sticks in thy gill.


There is skill in fishing; they that go to sea in a fishing voyage, use to go provided with their craft (as they very fitly call it) without which they can do nothing. They have their lines, hooks of several sizes, and their bait. They carefully observe their seasons; when the fish fall in, then they ply their business day and night.


But how much more skilful and industrious is Satan to ensnare and destroy souls? The devil makes a voyage as well as you; he hath his baits for you, as you have for the fish: He hath his devices and wiles to catch souls, 2 Cor. ii. 11. Eph. vi. 11. He is a serpent, an old serpent, Rev. ii. 9. Too crafty for man in his perfection, much more in his collapsed and degenerated state, his understanding being cracked by the tall, and all his faculties poisoned and perverted.

Divines observe four steps, or degrees of Satan’s tempting power:

First, He can find out the constitution-evils of men; he knows to what sin their natures are more especially prone, and inclinable.

Secondly, He can propound suitable objects to those lusts, he can exactly and fully hit every man’s humour: as Agrippa mixed her poison in that meat her husband loved best.

Thirdly; He can inject and cast motions into the mind, to close with those tempting objects; as it is said of Judas, John xii. 2. “ The devil put it into his heart.”

Fourthly, He can solicit, irritate, and provoke the heart, and by those continual restless solicitations weary it: and hereby he often draws men to commit such things as startled them in the first motion,

All this he can do, if he finds the work sticks, and meets with rubs and difficulties; yet doth he not act to the utmost of his skill and power, at all times, and with all persons; neither indeed need he do so; the very propounding of an object is enough to some, without any further solicitation; the devil makes an easy conquest of them.

And, beside all this, his policy much appears in the election of place, time, and instruments to tempt by: And thus are poor souls caught, “as fishes in an evil net,” Eccl. ix. 12. The carnal man is led by sense, as the beast; and Satan handles and fits him accordingly. He useth all sorts of motives, not only internal and intellective; but external and sensitive also; as the sparkling of the wine, when it gives its colour in the glass; the harlot’s beauty, whose eyelids are snares, hiding always the hook, and concealing the issue from them. He promises them gain and profit, pleasure and delight, and all that is tempting, with assurance of secrecy : By these he fastens the fatal hook in their jaws, and thus they are led captive by lim at his will.


And is Satan so subtil and industrious to entice souls to sin? Doth he thus cast out his golden baits, and allure souls with pleasure to their ruin? Then how doth it behove thee, O my soul, to be jealous and wary! how strict a guard should I set upon every sense! Ah, let me not so much regard how sin comes towards me in the temptation, as how it goes off at last. The day in which Sodom was destroyed, began with a pleasant sun-shine, but ended in fire and brimstone. I may promise myself much content in the satisfaction of my lusts : But how certainly will it end in my ruin? Ahab doubtless promised himself much content in the vineyard of Naboth, but his blood paid for it in the portion of Jezreel. The harlot’s bed was perfumed, to entice the simple young man, Prov. vii. 17. But those chambers of delight proved the chambers of death, and her house the way to hell. Ah! with what a smiling face doth sin come on towards me in its temptations ? how doth it tickle the carnal fancy, and please the deceived heart? But what a dreadful catastrophe and upshot hath it? The delight is quickly gone; but the guilt thereof remains to amaze and terrify the soul with ghastly forms, and dreadful representations of the wrath of God. As sin hath its delights attending it to enter and fasten it, so it hath its horrors and stings to torment and wound: And as certainly as I see those go before it to make a way, so certainly shall I find these follow after, and tread upon its heels. No sooner is the conscience awakened, but all those delights vanish as a night-vision, or as a dream when one awakes; and then I shall cry, here is the book, but where is the bait? Here is the guilt and horror, but where the delight that I was promised? And I, whither shall I now go? Ah, my deceitful lusts! you have enticed and left me in the midst of all miseries.

The Poem.

Here’s skill in fishing, that the devil knows;
For when for souls Satan a fishing goes,
He angles cunningly; he knows he must
Exactly fit the bait unto the lust.
He studies constitution, place and time,
He guesses what is his delight, what thine:
And so accordingly prepares the bait,
Whilst he himself lies closely hid, to wait
When thou wilt nibble at it. Dost incline
To drunken meetings? then he baits with wine:
Is this the way? If into this he’ll smell,
He’ll shortly pledge a cup of wrath in hell.
To pride or lust is thy vile nature bent ?
An object suitable he will present.
O think on this! when you cast in the hook,
Say, Thus for my poor soul doth Satan look.
O play not with temptations, do not swallow
The sugar’d bait, consider what will follow.
If once he hitch thee, then away he draws
Thy captive soul close pris’ner in his paws.