The thorns

(Octavius Winslow, "Christ and the
 Christian in Temptation" 1877)

"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will
 bow down and worship me." Matthew 4:9

Alas! the world constitutes one of the most
seductive temptations of the Christian.

The world is Satan's great weapon.

Satan is constantly presenting it in endless
forms of attraction
, wearing as many disguises,
and backed by every species of argument.

It is his chicanery to present only the bright
of the world, carefully concealing the
darker and more repulsive one. He presents
the flower; and conceals the thorns . . .
  its emptiness and heartlessness,
  its selfishness and malice,
  its deceitfulness and malignity,
  its ingratitude and baseness,
  its hollow friendships and its false loves.
Oh! these are the thorns the cunning Tempter
conceals when he presents the world and the
glory thereof, in exchange for the homage and
the worship he asks.

There is not a stratagem Satan does not
employ by which to bring the world to bear
upon the Christian . . .
  the eye delighting in beauty;
  the ear ravished with sounds;
  the taste delicate and dainty.

"The lust of the flesh and the lust of the
eye and the pride of life" are so many media
through which the attractive power and
ascendancy of the world attain an easy
conquest in the mind of the Christian.

Seduced by its power,
convinced by its arguments,
ensnared by its glitter,
the world may enchain you a slave at its feet.

The deceiver attempts to draw . . .
  the heart from Christ;
  the mind from devout meditation;
  and the whole soul from things that
  are divine, heavenly and eternal!