If God works all things after the counsel of His own will; then know that God’s purposes are some way or other concerned in Satan’s tempting of the best of saints. If Satan could not enter into a herd of swine without Christ’s leave, surely he cannot without it disturb one saint; the Devil must have leave from God before he could touch a hair of Job’s head; and this is very observable, that Satan generally sets most upon the most holy, and those who bring most glory to God, because he envieth their glorifying of Him: this is the chief design of Satan in all your temptations, and the destruction of the soul is his subordinate end. The Devil’s assaults are not so much against the weakest as strongest saint; and therefore it is no good inference to conclude, you cannot be a Child of God because so much hurried, for it’s rather an argument you are one of God’s choice jewels. David is called “a man after God’s own heart,” yet he was often set upon by the evil one. Job, God gives him the character of “a perfect and an upright man,” yet none more plagued by the Serpent than he. And Satan desired to have Peter in his own power, to sift him as wheat, though one of whom Christ said, “He would build his church upon that faith of his, wherein he believed Christ to be the Son of God.” And St. Paul, though Christ asserts “he was a chosen vessel,” yet he must have a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him. In a word, our dear sinless Saviour passed not through the world without Satanical temptations, and some of the worst sort, for he tempted His Maker to worship him. From hence we may not wonder that we sometimes hear the best and strongest saints mourn under temptations, because Satan sets most violently upon them, knowing they are the greatest enemies unto his Kingdom of Darkness, and most capable to glorify God, and enlarge Christ’s Kingdom. Moreover, he knows God will have more dishonour in the fall of one eminent saint, than of many weak ones; hence he sets most upon them by his temptations. And if the saints would be conquerors in times of temptation, they must not deal with Satan by presenting their duties, what they have done, or their own holiness and righteousness; because Satan will find a flaw in the best of yours; but you must alway fight him and overcome him with the Blood of the Lamb, and His Righteousness, and rather confess thyself a sinner, leaning upon Christ’s Righteousness, than stand upon anything of thine own, for then Satan will be too hard for thee. 0 labour to be one of those who come out of great tribulation and temptation, with thy robes washed in the Blood of the Lamb.
Hercules Collins (1646 -1702) From a sermon delivered in 1696 entitled “Mountains of Brass: Or A Discourse Upon The Decrees of God”