As no good is done, or spoken, or thought by any man without the assistance of God, working in and with those that believe in him, so there is no evil done, or spoken, or thought without the assistance of the devil, who worketh with strong though secret power in the children of unbelief. All the works of our evil nature are the work of the devil.
All outward means of grace, if separate from the spirit of God, cannot profit, or conduce, in any degree, either to the knowledge or love of God. All outward things, unless he work in them and by them, are in vain.
The best helps to growth in grace are the ill usage, the affronts, and the losses which befall us. We should receive them with all thankfulness, as preferable to all others, were it only on this account, -- that our will has no part therein.
Humility alone unites patience with love; without which it is impossible to draw profit from suffering; or indeed, to avoid complaint, especially when we think we have given no occasion for what men make us suffer.