TEMPTATION is Satan's sieve: and a wonderful sieve-maker is Satan.
For he can ply as sieves advantages, gifts, even graces.
More than this: he can turn what we have not into an exceptionally searching sieve.
In one case pride, vanity, self-confidence, contempt of others, are likely to come to the surface. In the other case discontent, envy, rebellion. All alike hideous blotches, eating ulcers.
Nevertheless, it is at his own cost that he sifts, and not necessarily at all at ours; although for the time being it cannot but be at our deadly peril.
For he can never carry his point and destroy us, unless we first make a covenant with death and an agreement with hell: whereas we shall infallibly save our souls alive, if holding fast our profession and our patience, we are careful to maintain good works.
Meanwhile he is doing us an actual service by bringing to the surface what already lurked within. However tormenting and humiliating declared leprosy may be, it is less desperate than suppressed leprosy.
Or rather, nothing is desperate which can and will turn to Christ: --
"There came a leper to Him, beseeching Him, and kneeling down to Him, and saying unto Him, If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His Hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed."