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liverance for himself and his companions, and “I believe God,” said he, “ that it shall be even as it was told me.” His faith, however, was tested to the uttermost; they escaped, it is true, all, but it was by clinging, some to boards, and some to broken pieces of the vessel. Such is the extremity to which the Lord sometimes reduces the objects of his love, not for his pleasure, but for the exercise and the confirmation of their faith.
He will, again, frequently vouchsafe a fulfilment of our prayer very different from the object of our anticipation. The thorn in the flesh was still left with St. Paul, but grace sufficient imparted for its endurance. In this instance, therefore, your calling it is to walk by faith; and though the result be the opposite of your cherished hope, yet doubt not that, inasmuch as you committed your way to the Lord, and trusted in him for the direction of your steps, the event which has transpired, untoward though it appear, is in truth most conducive to your real interests. Hereafter we shall see face to face, and no longer through a glass darkly. Then will the mysteriousness of the present dispensations be fully all unravelled ; and when from Zion's top we take a retrospect of the past, we shall re
cognize with fresh bursts of adoration and praise the infallible wisdom and infinite love which, amidst the intricate mazes of this shifting scene, have still guided our bark to the haven of eternal rest.
THE FAITH OF DEVILS.
MATT. viii. 29.
“ And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God ? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?”.
In the Gospel of this day there was related a miracle, the circumstances of which repel all the sophistry of ancient or modern Sadducees. The instances of demoniacal possession recorded in the Scriptures are, by this fraternity, attempted to be ascribed to natural causes; and they deprecate the notion that spirits, good or evil, should interpose in the affairs of mankind. The present instance, however, overthrows their hypothesis ; and when we read that the spirits which had possessed these demoniacs no sooner were expelled from their former tenements than they hurried into
the deep the whole herd of swine, we are compelled to acknowledge a supernatural agency, a legion of spirits unseen and independent of materiality. Strange that they who profess to believe the stupendous miracle, that God clothed himself with our flesh, should hesitate to admit the ministry of his spirits ; that, accepting the greater, they should reject as incredible the less !
The words of our text are prefaced by the significant term “ behold.” Our attention is thus summoned to the address with which these de. moniacs approached the Saviour. And truly there is here a notable confession, which, proceeding as it does from devils, may well put to the blush the doubt and unbelief which disgrace the children of men. It is with the terms of this confession, brethren, that I desire, in the first place, to engage your present attention.
I. Now, their appellation of Jesus as the Son of God is an evidence of the fact which St. James also testifies, that the devils believe in a God. And the passage before us affords an exemplification of that apostle's assertion, that they not only believe, but tremble. They live in the conviction that there is a high and holy One who inhabits
As far, I mean, as the angelic nature is immaterial without offering an opinion on this debated point.
eternity, and, in the consciousness of the relation which they occupy towards him, they shrink from the presence which they both dread and abhor. Yes," the devils believe, and tremble.”
And yet how many are there among ourselves who evince no belief of his being, nor bear impressed on their hearts any conviction of his presence. Not to speak of the notoriously profane, the swearer, the sensualist, but with an eye on the men of a decent exterior and fair moral character, I would ask, are there not multitudes among us who would pursue no other than their present course, if the being of a God were expunged from their creed? Is the principle by which they are influenced heavenly or earthly? Are their thoughts, their words, and actions controlled all by the belief of a living God? Let the laws of society, and the laws of the land, maintain their authority, and let the laws of our God be annulled, would there be felt any void among the principles by which they are actuated? Or is it not true that God is not in all their thoughts, nor has his will a place among the multifarious motives which influence their daily career ?
Again, the devils with one voice proclaimed Jesus the Son of God; a fact which Deists deny, and which the Jews esteemed blasphemy. St. James, too, affirms that they believe “there is