Morning, July 25, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.” — Genesis 39:12

In contending with certain sins there remains no method of victory but by flight. The ancient naturalists wrote of basilisks, whose eyes transfixed their victims and rendered them easy prey; even so, the mere gaze of wickedness puts us in solemn danger. He who desires to be safe from acts of evil must hurry away from occasions of it. A covenant must be made with our eyes not even to look upon the cause of temptation, for such sins only need a spark to begin with and a blaze follows in an instant. Who would foolishly enter the leper’s prison and sleep amid its horrible infection? Only one who desires to be leprous himself would thus risk contagion. If the sailor knew how to avoid a storm, he would do anything rather than run the risk of weathering it. Cautious pilots have no desire to see how near the sandbar they can sail, or how often they may touch a rock without springing a leak; their aim is to keep as nearly as possible in the center of a safe channel.

This day I may be exposed to great peril; let me have the serpent’s wisdom to keep out of it and avoid it. The wings of a dove may be of more use to me today than the jaws of a lion. It is true I may be an apparent loser by declining evil company, but I’d be better off leaving my cloak than losing my character; it is not necessary that I should be rich, but it is imperative upon me to be pure. No ties of friendship, no chains of beauty, no flashing of talent, no attacks of ridicule must turn me from the wise resolution to flee from sin. I am to resist the devil and he will flee from me; but the lusts of the flesh, I must flee, or they will surely overcome me. Oh God of holiness preserve your Josephs, that an enchantress not seduce them with her wicked suggestions. May the terrible trinity of the world, the flesh, and the devil, never overcome us!

My notes:  Jesus said, “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” and many of us have seen how a snake instantly flees danger. So should we.   On another note, Spurgeon used the name “Madam Bubble” from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, one of the most published books but rarely read these days; I’ve changed her name to simply, “enchantress” for clarity among today’s readers. The basilisk, a mythical reptile that can kill with a gaze, may be familiar to readers of Harry Potter, so I’ve kept that term.  Harry Potter books outsell Pilgrim’s Progress today, I assume (with a bit of sadness).