The Wiles of the Devil
The devil has a kind of method and air of modesty in his temptations. He knew that he could not draw from Peter such a blasphemous denial with the first fiery dart of temptation. Peter would have at the first trembled at such a suggestion. And therefore, like a strategic general, he ranks his forces so as that the first temptations, like weaker soldiers, fall and make way for the stronger, which are the old experienced and sturdy fighters. The former temptations serve only to weaken Peter, the latter to overthrow him.
At first the devil tempts us to small sins, to indulge a little of our corrupt desires to wear out some of our vigour. This he does to manipulate our thoughts and causes us to think that we will be able to hold out for the better when the temptation is more robust…
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