By every means she endeavored to entice him!
(George Everard, "The Arrow That Missed the Mark!" 1882)
It was well aimed, the point was dipped in deadly poison, the mark was near — and yet it failed! It might have wrought death to a precious soul, but it was received on a shield that could not be pierced, and a great victory was achieved, which it is well that every young man should remember.
What was the arrow? It was a terrible temptation, forged in Hell, that carried with it the venom of the old serpent!
Who shot it? A wicked woman, who used her position and influence in the endeavor to ruin one whom she ought to have guarded from harm and danger.
What was the mark? A young man, far from his home, and under the roof of her who would thus have done him a deadly injury.
You know the story well. I speak of Joseph, and Potiphar's wife, and the noble victory he won.
By every means she endeavored to entice him! Not once or twice, but again and again, she laid her net to take and ensnare him! She did her utmost to draw him into the sin which he abhorred. But he would not consent to her base proposals. He will neither excuse the sin to himself nor to her. He looks upon it as a black, foul, abominable thing — and a sin both against God and man. He will invent no smooth name to conceal its hideousness. He will hearken to no blathering words which will weaken his resolution. Even when she will almost compel him to evil by laying hold of his garment, he makes haste and flees and gets out, lest perchance her persuasions should conquer his purpose.
Thank God, what a young man did between three and four thousand years ago — young men may do now! The shield of Joseph's faith could not give way — the breastplate of a righteous determination against evil could not be pierced. So this poisoned dart of the wicked one fell harmless at his feet!
Refuse to drink from the fatal, though ensnaring, draught of sinful indulgence — and God can and will put into your hand one day a far sweeter cup.
Most earnestly would I beseech you to avoid the first downward step. Once yield to the Tempter, once overleap the barrier of self-restraint — and the descent to any depth of vice becomes fatally easy!
"Flee youthful lusts." 2 Timothy 2:22. Flee from them as from a serpent! Flee from this sin as from the most virulent plague! There is no end to the harm it may do to you in mind and body, as well as to your highest and eternal interests! Stand as firm as a rock, and like Joseph hold fast your integrity and maintain a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man.