Walking Between the Heights and the Depths

“By this [referring to the phrase ‘lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one] we are instructed that we need not only the grace of the Spirit, to soften our hearts within and to bend and direct them to obey God, but also His aid, to render us invincible against both all the stratagems and all the violent assaults of Satan…And these temptations are either from the right or from the left.  From the right are, for example, riches, power, honors, which often seem to dull men’s keenness of sight by the glitter and seeming goodness they display, and allure with their blandishments, so that, captivated by such tricks and drunk with such sweetness, men forget their God.  From the left are, for example, poverty, disgrace, contempt, afflictions, and the like.  Thwarted by the hardship and difficulty of these, they become despondent in mind, cast away assurance and hope, and are at last completely estranged from God…Then we pray that whatever is presented to us tending either way we may turn to good—namely, that we may not be puffed up in prosperity or yet cast down in adversity.”—John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559)

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