The Wiles of Satan


Like it or not, every Christian is engaged in a fierce and high-stakes battle with Satan. In this enlightening book, Puritan pastor William Spurstowe succinctly illustrates from 2 Corinthians 2:11 (“…lest Satan should get an advantage of us—for we are not ignorant of his devices”) his premise: that “Satan is full of devices, and studies arts of circumvention, by which he unweariedly seeks the irrecoverable ruin of the souls of men.” Spurstowe explains how Satan’s long experience and single-minded determination make him such a formidable adversary. He then proceeds to methodically expose, explain, and disarm nearly two dozen common traps that Satan has used to ensnare every generation of the unwary. Finally, he prescribes ten helpful remedies or antidotes that can be used to counter even the most tempestuous temptation.

William Spurstowe (1605–1666) was a Presbyterian pastor and member of the Westminster Assembly; he served the Parliament of Richard Cromwell. Originally published in 1666, this classic treatise has been carefully prepared to benefit a new generation of Christian readers. Archaic language has been gently modernized, and dozens of helpful footnotes have been added to aid the reader. This edition includes a biographical preface, Scripture index, and review questions designed to guide group discussion or personal reflection.


  1. Containing an introduction to the text (2 Corinthians 2:11).
  2. Containing the main proposition, and sum of the discourse.
  3. In which the great ability of Satan to tempt is shown:
    1. Because his nature is both spiritual and intellectual
    2. Because he has been tempting mankind for a long time
    3. Because this is the only pursuit he is engaged in
    4. Because all of the evil spirits in his realm are united in purpose
    5. Because he artfully disguises his temptations as the lusts of our own depraved hearts
    6. Because our corrupt reason is a suitable field for him to sow his temptations.
  4. Containing an enumeration of Satan’s wiles:
    1. By using lesser sins to make way for the commission of greater ones
    2. By instilling dissatisfaction and a restless importunity to the commission of the sin
    3. By ceasing to tempt or feigning flight
    4. By convincing us that the ends justify the means
    5. By disguising things so that they appear to be what they are not
    6. By ensnaring us in the use of lawful things
    7. By suiting temptation to our age and condition
    8. By insinuating suggestions and temptations with such subtlety that we cannot distinguish them from our own reasoning
    9. By cultivating erroneous doctrine
    10. By calling down the Word of God and its ministers
    11. By displaying false signs, wonders, or miracles
    12. By perplexing us with temptations which seem to be unique
    13. By spoiling our performance of holy duties:
      1. in doing our duties for wrong ends
      2. in doing our duties unseasonably
      3. by harassing us as we attempt to perform our duties
    14. By providing a false remedy
    15. By instilling a false sense of guilt upon the conscience
    16. By giving us a sense of fear or shame which will not allow us to speak to others of our temptations
    17. By tempting us in areas where we consider ourselves strong
    18. By convincing us that we may quickly repent of the sin and be restored
    19. By keeping a wounded conscience raw and smarting
    20. By drawing us aside when we are in the midst of pursuing some great mercy
    21. By making our calling and duties interfere with each other
    22. By keeping us at one extreme or another.
  5. Wherein are laid down several antidotes against the wiles of Satan:
    1. Christian sobriety and watchfulness
    2. Resolution and Christian courage
    3. Make use of the Lord Jesus Christ:
      1. As a pattern to know how to resist temptations
      2. As an aide and comfort
    4. Be abundant in the use of prayer
    5. Take heed of giving place to the Devil
    6. Take heed of venturing upon the occasions of sin, and coming near the borders of temptation
    7. Be diligent and industrious in your calling
    8. Be sincere of heart
    9. Remember that whatsoever is profitable to the enemy is hurtful to you, and whatsoever is profitable to you is hurtful to your enemy
    10. Have an eye often to Scripture encouragements.

ISBN 9781365129728 (e-book), 9781530756797 (paperback). 126 pages.
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The paperback can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CreateSpace (preferred by publisher) or any other retailer.