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XI

Now, in the two next verses following, the prophet briefly comprehendeth four kinds of temptations, and therein all the tribulation that we shall now speak of, and also some part of that which we have spoken of before. And therefore I shall peradventure (unless any further thing fall in our way) with treating of those two verses, finish and end all our matter.

The prophet saith in the ninetieth psalm, "Scuto circumdabit te veritas eius; non timebis a timore nocturno, a sagitta volante in die, a negotio perambulante in tenebris, ab incurso et demonio meridiano. The truth of God shall compass thee about with a shield, you shall not be afraid of the night's fear, nor of the arrow flying in the day, nor of business walking about in the darknesses, nor of the incursion or invasion of the devil in the midday."

First, cousin, in these words "the truth of God shall compass thee about with a shield," the prophet for the comfort of every good man in all temptation and in all tribulation, besides those other things that he said before—that the shoulders of God should shadow them and that also they should sit under his wing—here saith he further that the truth of God shall compass thee with a shield. That is, as God hath faithfully promised to protect and defend those that faithfully will dwell in the trust of his help, so will he truly perform it. And thou who art such a one, the truth of his promise will defend thee not with a little round buckler that scantly can cover the head, but with a long large shield that covereth all along the body. This shield is made (as holy St. Bernard saith) broad above with the Godhead and narrow beneath with the Manhood, so that it is our Saviour Christ himself. And yet is this shield not like other shields of the world, which are so made that while they defend one part the man may be wounded upon another. But this shield is such that, as the prophet saith, it shall round about enclose and compass thee, so that thine enemy shall hurt thy soul on no side. For "with a shield," saith he, "shall his truth environ and compass thee round about."

And then incontinently following, to the intent that we should see that it is not without necessity that the shield of God should compass us about upon every side, he showeth in what wise we are environed by the devil upon every side with snares and assaults, by four kinds of temptations and tribulations. Against all this compass of temptations and tribulations that round-compassing shield of God's truth shall so defend us and keep us safe that we shall need to dread none of them at all.

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