, , , , , ,

The Puritans seemed fond of this image:



The skillful fisher hath his several baits for several fish,

but there is a hook under all;

Satan, that great angler,

hath his sundry baits for sundry tempers of men

which they all catch greedily at

But few perceive the hook till it be too late.

Anne Bradstreet, Meditation 23.

Thomas Brooks wrote, of Satan’s Devices:

Device (1). To present the bait and hide the hook; to present the golden cup, and hide the poison; to present the sweet, the pleasure, and the profit that may flow in upon the soul by yielding to sin, and by hiding from the soul the wrath and misery that will certainly follow the committing of sin. By this device he took our first parents: Gen. 3:4, 5, ‘And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened; and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ Your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods! Here is the bait, the sweet, the pleasure, the profit. Oh, but he hides the hook,—the shame, the wrath, and the loss that would certainly follow!2

Thomas Brooks, The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 1 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 12.

Thomas Manton, Sermon 1, The Temptation of Christ:

He persuadeth us to evil by profit, pleasure, necessity; we cannot live without it in the world. He hideth the hook, and showeth the bait only; he concealeth the hell, the horror, the eternal pains that follow sin, and only telleth you how beneficial, profitable, and delightful the sin will be to you: Prov. 9:17, 18, ‘Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there, and that her guests are in the depths of hell.’

Thomas Manton, The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, vol. 1 (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1870), 266.

Thomas Boston, Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer, 6th Petition:

The bait wherewith the hook of temptation is busked. This is always some seeming good, if it were but the satisfying of a lust or a humour. In drawing or alluring temptations, the bait it some seeming good to be got. Thus was the present world to Demas, and the thirty pieces of silver to Judas. In driving temptations, the bait is some seeming good to be kept, by preventing evil, as those spoke of, Matth. 13:21 who, ‘when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by are offended.’ And it is no small advantage in temptation, to see through the bait, that it is but a bait to deceive. For so one will perceive, that it will not quit the cost, that by the bargain they will never better their condition, Matth. 16:26. ‘For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’

Thomas Boston, The Whole Works of Thomas Boston: An Illustration of the Doctrines of the Christian Religion, Part 2, ed. Samuel M‘Millan, vol. 2 (Aberdeen: George and Robert King, 1848), 627–630.