Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour;
whom resist steadfast in the faith.
1 Peter 5:8,
The devil does not sleep; he looks around and exerts himself to exterminate the pure doctrine in the Church and will finally, it is feared, bring it to this, that should one pass through all Germany he would find no pulpit where the pure Word of God is preached as in former days. He tries with all his might to prevent the pure doctrine from being taught, for he cannot endure it. To escape from the enemy is most difficult. He lurks and watches everywhere, and pushes his affairs so hard that even the learned fall and the elect stumble, as did Moses, Peter and the other apostles. We think we are safe and permit matters to drift. We should pray and call on God to maintain the gospel and cause his holy name to be proclaimed more and more widely, but no one cares, no one prays for the advancement of the gospel. The consequence must be that God will overthrow both us and Satan. The end will be that our rashness and indifference shall bring us into great misery. The heart must thoroughly grasp this idea, that although we may feel secure concerning a matter and have Scripture for it, and be prepared and fortified in the best possible manner with clear proofs, it is after all the will and power of God that protect us and defend us against the devil, our adversary and most bitter foe.
But this occurs only when God awakens us and keeps us in his fear, so that we may always be concerned and cry: "Lord, increase our faith." Our hearts should always be in a condition as if we had only begun to believe today, and always be so disposed toward the gospel as if we had never before heard it. We should make a fresh beginning each day. Our faith must constantly grow and become stronger. Man is a poor, weak creature. Paul says, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels." This treasure is the gospel. An earthen vessel is easily broken and its contents spilled. When the devil notices what a treasure faith is and in what a poor vessel it is kept he rages and storms in his wrath to shatter the vessel and spill the treasure. Man is a poor, weak earthen vessel; if God would permit, Satan
would soon utterly destroy the whole vessel.