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accusation. The scandals in select circles cause only a ripple, even though the offenses occupy much space of the associated press. The principles of such affairs are often staged as heroes and heroines for the entertainment of a morbid public taste. Satan accuses the saints; the presumption is shouted from the housetops : “ There is none that doeth good, no not one.”
The saints—every good man and woman-must at some time face charges against their moral or religious character. This hellish machination goes on day and night. It is reasonable to conclude that much of the unrest, depression, and backslidings among the people of God may be traced to this cause; innocent men and women have not only cast away their hope through rumoured accusations, but have been driven to desperation and suicide.
The reader must keep in mind the suggestion made in a former chapter: that while Satan has the power by his presence of himself, or his minions, to create an atmosphere, unfathomable, impenetrable, yet surcharged with horror and dread; but his activities are seldom apart from human instrumentalities. Just as he is the arch slanderer, through the word of mouth, so is he the accuser, both of God and saints, through human personalities under his control.
A flood sweeps away, or lightning destroys a man's possessions; he looks up, curses and accuses God of cruelty and injustice. Death enters the home; the mourners charge God falsely. His accusations are confined to no particular method; the one most suited to the case is used, whether self-condemnation
or from another. Self-reproach, through memory and meditation, is a most powerful agency in carrying on this work. Once we begin to think on our waysseeking to turn our steps unto the testimony of God -we face a life of sins and blunders mountain high and unsurmountable. But when faith takes wings and lifts the agonizing soul “ out of the mire and clay," an everlasting reminder of the past clings to us, often robbing us of peace and joy. How many Christians have grown weary and given up because of memories blackened by consequences of past sins -sins which God said, if we confess and forsake, He would“ remember them against us no more forever."
If the truth, which can never be revealed until the Judgment Day, could be known! Our asylums are swarming with unfortunates who have lost mental balance because of remorse and condemnation, resulting from an accusing memory. Wherever Satan is unable to lure the saints into actual transgression their life and usefulness are often destroyed by tormenting spirits accusing them day and night. The Book holds out no deliverance from this scourge until the Accuser is forever cast down by the wrath of God at the final shifting of the scene.
SATAN A SPY
“ And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou ? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."- Job i. 7.
THE spy is the most dangerous man in the army; more is he to be feared than the genius of a Napoleon or a Lee. The sphere in which he operates has no duplicate in military activities; his bravery, boldness, and daring are unexcelled. Whether he be called from the ranks, or from among the commissioned officers, his counsel and suggestions get a hearing in the highest commandery of the army.
The movements of a spy are unknown even to his own corps, much less to the enemy. After receiving authority for such a perilous undertaking he is a free lance, going and coming at will. Not only does he go beyond the enemy's line, but mingles freely with them in the camp. There is nothing in his appearance to indicate who or what he is. To-day he is a civilian peddling fruits among the soldiers, or innocently driving a yoke of steers along the street or country road; to-morrow he is within the camp, dressed in their gay uniform, familiar with passwords and countersigns. Then he appears as a decrepit old woman, seeking a son who “run away to jine the solgers.” In a few hours he is quietly resting or joking with the boys of his own regiment.
When a spy is captured all military courtesies are set aside; he is not even allowed the honour of a court-martial; but without trial he is executed at once.
It is of special interest, in view of the application to our subject, to notice the particular business of a spy. Just as his movements are unknown, so is his mission unknown. He hurries to and fro, gathering up such bits of information here and there as he deems important for the cause he represents. If he belongs to the Federal forces he appears clothed in the “ butternut gray"; then by tactics of bravery and nerve he enters the Confederate gray lines. The slightest blunder is certain death. He takes a mental inventory of the whole situation, but in such a way as to attract the attention of no one. The strength of the fortifications, the size and number of the batteries, the commissary department, and the chances and probabilities of reinforcements. In a moment, under the cover of
, night, he fades out into the darkness and is gone. The budget of information is placed at the earliest possible moment into the war councils of his own army.
Satan plays the role of a crafty spy; he has access, by some mysterious power, to the heart life of men. At no point of the game for immortal trophies is he so dangerous as when he can take advantage because of his secret knowledge of men's weaknesses and sins. Only a vicious degenerate can be tempted into all the crimes known to the docket of the Bible ; few beings on this planet but are fortified at some point of character. They may be weak in many ways—but early training or environment have helped them to become strong in some particulars.
The spy seeks to know when and where a blow may be struck in the enemy's lines, at a place of least resistance. The soul battles are exactly the same; we have no special battles where we are strong; things that might overcome another will mean nothing to us. Our battles are ever fought around the points of weak fortification; the enemy rarely, if ever, has the pleasure of shouting over our downfall from the best that is in us.
The victories of athletic games—the pugilistic bouts in the sporting arena, the mortal duel with rapiers, the battle-fields where thousands fell have been lost and won by the application of this principle. The general with his field-glass sees a weakening in the enemy's line and orders a charge; the duelist observes a shortening of breath or an awkward movement and seizes the opportunity. It is the weak link in the chain of life that breaks ; sins of the lower nature -sensuality-might not appeal to some who fall an easy victim to pride, ambition, or covetousness; others who are liberal, honest to the cent, unassuming, are helpless when tempted in the realm of lower passions. We are at an incalculable disadvantage when our enemy is familiar with our vulnerable points.
So long as the heart is unregenerated and unpurified by the cleansing power of the Holy Ghost, Satan has access to every nook and corner of our heart life. He enters and discovers every vulnerable and invulnerable section of the soul's fortification. The