Sunday Poems.

George Herbert notes one half of the truth: that at times our temptations are seen as outside us. The other half is that there are fallen angels, opposed to all that is good and proper.

The first time I went to church as a new convert, I assumed that the “house of God” would be void of any demonic influence. I could pass through the large wooden doors but the demons could not, as if I traversed over a magic portal, and experience a rest from evil subversion for as long as I was within the four walls of the church. You can surmise that I was more than surprised when disgusting thoughts still found a way into my mind. Later, I learned that even a priest can be serving the will of Satan within a church.
I realized that, outside of heaven, nowhere is safe from evil. That got me wondering about the mechanism of demonic power. I understand they can put thoughts into my mind, but the biologist in me wanted to know how.
When you receive a fright, your body responds nearly instantaneously. Someone scared you and then your heart immediately started racing and your senses sharpened to evaluate the unknown threat. I’m sure it also has happened where you received bad news and felt a physical response the very next moment. For demons to effectively influence us, I believe they can respond to one of our perceptions in a near-instantaneous manner.

This is another reason to be very wary of the secular or non Christian voice that preaches spirituality. Who teaches meditation or mindfulness. They don’t know what they are dealing with. You can be in the moment, an a Zen state of uncaring, while doing good or doing evil.

And devils are not our sins in perspective alone. They are encouraging our debasement.

Sinne. (II)

O That I could a sinne once see!
We paint the devil foul, yet he
Hath some good in him, all agree.
Sinne is flat opposite to th’ Almighty, seeing
It wants the good of vertue, and of being.

But God more care of us hath had:
If apparitions make us sad,
By sight of sinne we should grow mad.
Yet as in sleep we see foul death, and live:
So devils are our sinnes in perspective.

George Herbert, The Temple.

And when we consider these things, and the wrong we have done, we all too often damn ourselves. Moderns would say that Donne is dealing with his psychological issues: his inner demons. Their choice of analogy has more truth in it that we can handle.

A Hymn to God the Father

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow’d in, a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done;
I fear no more.

John Donne