Thursday, February 20, 2014

"the devil came pretending to be Christ"

Another example of Satan’s real works is this: by reason of his great power and skill, he is able to appear in the form and shape of a man, and resemble any person or creature...
—William Perkins
How many deluded enthusiasts both in former and latter times have been imposed on by Satan's appearing visibly to them, pretending to be a good angel. And moreover, he may be said to transform himself into an angel of light, because of his appearing in the form of holy men, who are the children of light, yea in the shape and habit of eminent ministers of God. So did he appear to Mr. Earl of Colchester in the likeness of Mr. Liddal an holy man of God, and to the Turkish Chaous baptized at London, Anno 1658, pretending to be Mr. Dury, an excellent minister of Christ. And how often has he pretended to be the Apostle Paul or Peter or some other celebrated saint? Ecclesiastical histories abound with instances of this nature. Yea, sometimes he has transfigured himself into the form of Christ. It is reported that he appeared to St. Martin gloriously arrayed, as if he had been Christ. So likewise to Secundellus, and to another saint, who suspecting it was Satan transforming himself into an angel of light had this expression, "If I may see Christ in heaven it is enough, I desire not to see him in this world"; whereupon the spectre vanished. It has been related of Luther, that after he had been fasting and praying in his study, the devil came pretending to be Christ, but Luther saying, "Away thou confounded devil, I acknowledge no Christ but what is in my Bible," nothing more was seen.
Increase Mather

The stronger any christian is, the more he doth walk by faith; and the more he doth live by faith, the more he doth choose to walk by the Scripture, the written word of God, the object of faith. It is recorded of Luther, that when he had fasted and prayed a whole day, and then had a vision of Christ, he cried out, and said, Avoid, avoid, thou confounded devil, I know no picture of Christ but the Scripture. Therein is Christ lively pictured, described, and set forth before our eyes: it is not so in revelations and visions.
—William Bridge

The scripture (saith Luther) is so full, that as for visions and revelations, Nec curo, nec desidero, I neither regard nor desire them. And when he himself had a vision of Christ, after a day of fasting and prayer, he cried out, Avoid Satan, I know no image of Christ, but the scriptures. An hankering mind after these things, speaks a sickly and distempered state of soul, as longing after trash in young distempered persons, doth a distempered state, or ill habit of body.
—John Flavel

That the Devil can mask himself in Christ's Person.
IT is a fearful thing when Satan intendeth to torment the sorrowful consciences with intolerable melancholy ; then the wicked villain, wasterlike, can mask and disguise himself into the person of Christ, so that it is impossible for a poor creature (whose conscience is troubled, to discover the villainy of the devil. From hence it falleth out, that many of those (that neither know nor understand the same) run headlong into despair, and make themselves away; for they are blinded and deceived so powerfully by him, that they are fully persuaded it is not the devil, but Christ himself that vexeth and tormenteth them in such sort.
I am a Doctor of Holy Scripture, and for many years have preached Christ; yet, to this day, I am not able to put Satan off, nor to drive him away from me, as willingly I would; neither am I able so to comprehend Christ and to take hold on him, as in Holy Scripture he is placed before me; but the devil continually seeketh how to put another Christ into my mind. Yet, nevertheless, we ought to render humble thanks to Almighty God, who hitherto hath preserved us by his holy Word, through faith and by prayer, so that we know how to walk before him in humility and fear, and not to depend or presume on our own wisdom, righteousness, strength, and power, but to cheer and comfort ourselves in Christ, who is always more than sufficiently strong and powerful; and although we be weak and faint, yet we continually vanquish and overcome through his power and strength in us poor, weak, and feeble creatures. For this may his holy name be blessed and magnified for evermore. Amen.
Martin Luther

Let Satan appear in what shape he will, we ought ever to put on great heart and good courage. For the faith of what Jesus is to us, will inspire with these. Let us ever look to Christ our conqueror, and ever resist our adversary.
—John Bunyan

LET Satan appear in every Form of Artifice, or of Rage, possessed, as he is, of such formidable Remainders of angelic Knowledge, or angelic Strength. We know, that by Christ were all Things created, whether visible or invisible, not excepting Thrones and Dominions, Principalities and Powers [Colossians 1:16]. So that all the Knowledge, and all the Force, which this Prince of Hell could ever boast, even in his primæval State, when a shining Cherub in the Regions of Glory, was only a feeble Reflection of the Glories of his great Original. His Hand formed this crooked Serpent [Job 26:13]; and how easily can his Hand crush him, and enable even the weakest of his Servants, to trample him under their Feet [Romans 16:20]?   
—Philip Doddridge