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camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel “ was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these.” Hence it is, that whereas faith both justifies and purifies our fallen race, in the devils it is effective of no such result. The time, indeed, is at hand, when to the impenitent among mankind Jesus will be known in no other character than that in which he now appears to the lost spirits. They to whom his name and service are now irksome and a torment, will become sealed for ever in their obduracy. The day of grace once ended, either by the arrest of death or by the second advent of the Son of man, the sinner will no more have access to the fountain opened for his sin : the gulf which intervenes between him and his God will be henceforth impassable for ever.
III. The history with which our text stands connected, suggests to our minds a consideration to which I would now briefly call your attention. We have here a palpable manifestation of the truth of the inspired testimony that our conflict in the world is not merely with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, with the rulers of the darkness of this world, with spiritual wickedness in high places. The announcement that our adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour, may well excite in us a spirit of vigilance. How far his agency is concerned in many cases of insanity in the present day, it is impossible accurately to define : but the fact that the brain of the insane sometimes presents, upon dissection, an appearance as healthy as is found in the generality of the sane, gives sanction to the suspicion that some instances of insanity are cases of demoniacal possession. But, not to enlarge upon a subject interesting rather than edifying, we know that, as in Ananias and in Judas, so, as regards all the children of disobedience, Satan is the spirit that is working in their hearts. You have need, brethren, of the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day: you need the strength of the Holy Spirit to uphold you in the hour of battle.
You have to wrestle against infidelity. The spirits of darkness will endeavour to instil into your heart a disbelief of the truth of which they are themselves well assured, and at which they tremble. And yet most strange must appear to the devils the prevalence of human infidelity.
They are not infidels; they believe, and tremble; and amazed must they be at the infatuation of man, who lends to their suggestions so ready an ear.
If they cannot beguile you into a disbelief of the Gospel, they will insinuate doubts into your
mind; they will argue with you your interest in Jesus. And this they will do as angels of light. They will suggest to you the thought that God is too holy to love such a sinner as you. Whereas, in truth, the love of God originates wholly with himself. True, indeed, when he looked on mankind, he beheld only sin and deformity ; but he looked into himself, and there he beheld the motive which he in vain sought in the children of men : he saw that his own nature is love, and his love he set on our fallen race. And now he has himself devised the redemption by which he may be manifested in his mysterious character as a just God and a Saviour.
Even to the advanced Christian the spirits of evil will insinuate doubts as to the reality of his adoption. Similar was the weapon with which. Jesus was himself assailed when tried by the tempter in the wilderness.
But, despite all the hostility of our adversaries, in Christ there is abundant encouragement for all who will live godly. Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. At him Satan and his host all tremble ; and if upon him you wait in the exercise of prayer, and in his name go forth to the battle, in his strength you shall be more than conquerors. Without his perinission they cannot prevail against even a herd of swine. And
yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Then shall the faith of his tried followers be found unto praise, and honour, and glory; and they who have in his might overcome, shall with him inherit all things. In the mean time, to the true warriors who, in the battlefield of the church, are fighting the good fight of faith, there is given the inspiriting assurance, that “ neither angels, nor principalities, nor powers, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
REVERENCE AND GODLY FEAR.
HEB. xii. 28, 29.
“ Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for o’r God is a consuming fire.”
The Gospel is addressed to man, as to a being endued with certain feelings and affections over which there presides a conscience. We are naturally driven by fear, drawn by hope, carried cheerfully on our way by love. To our hopes, to our fears, and to our love, the Gospel makes its appeal. It sometimes sets forth our privileges ; sometimes our responsibility; sometimes they are exhibited in connexion to our view. In the passage now before us the apostle both encourages the Hebrews by a representation of the superior