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could he have gained them in a wrong walk? We go forward boldly when we have a good conscience. But it is when we are walking with God, for the love of God, for the love of righteousness itself, that we have this breastplate on, and thus we are fearless when called to go forward and face the enemy. We gain a good conscience before God, by the blood of the Lamb. By walking with God, we maintain it before men, and for communion with God, in order to have strength and spiritual understanding, and to have them increasingly. This is the practical strength of good conduct, of a conscience without rebuke. I exercise myself to this, said the apostle, day and night. What integrity in such a walk, what truthfulness of heart when no eye sees us ! We

are peremptory with ourselves, with our own hearts, and with regard to our conduct; we can, therefore, be peaceful in our ways. If the fruits of righteousness are sown in peace, the path of peace is found in righteousness. If I have a bad conscience, I am vexed with myself, I grow angry with others. When the heart is at peace with God, and has nothing to reproach itself with, when the will is held in check peace reigns in the soul, we walk on the earth but the heart is above it in intercourse with better things; we walk in a peaceful spirit with others, and nothing troubles our relations with God. He is the God of peace. Peace, the peace of Jesus, fills the heart. The feet are shod with it: we walk in the spirit of peace.

But, together with all this, a piece of defensive armour is needed, over all the rest, that we may be able to stand, in spite of all the wiles of the enemy; an armour, however, which is practically maintained in its soundness by the use of the preceding ones, so that if the latter is essential, the others have the first place in practice. This is the shield—Faith, that is to say, full and entire trust in God; the consciousness of grace, and of His favour maintained in the heart. Here, faith is not simply the reception of God's testimony (although it is founded on that testimony), but the present assurance of the heart with regard to that which God is for us, founded, as we have just said, on the testimony which He has given of Himin His power

self; trust in His love, and in His faithfulness, as well as

If our heart condemns us not, then have we confidence towards God.” The work of the Spirit in us, is to inspire this confidence. When it exists, all the attacks of the enemy, who seeks to make us believe that the goodness of God is not so sure, all his efforts to destroy, or to weaken, in our hearts, this confidence in God, and to hide Him from us, prove fruitless. His arrows fall to the ground, without reaching us. We stand fast, in the consciousness that God is for us; our communion is not interrupted. The fiery darts of the enemy are not the desires of the flesh, but spiritual attacks.

Thus we can hold up our heads: moral courage, the energy which goes forward, is maintained. Not that we have anything to boast of in ourselves, but the salvation, and the deliverance of God, are fresh in our minds. God has been for us; He is for us; who shall be against us? He was for us when we had no strength; it was salvation, when we could do nothing. This is our confidenceGod Himself-not looking at ourselves. The former parts of the armour give us freedom to enjoy the two latter.

Thus furnished with that which protects us in our walk, and in the practical confidence in God, and the knowledge of God that flows from it, we are in a state to use offensive weapons. We have but one against the enemy, but it is one which he cannot resist, if we know how to handle it-witness the Lord's conflict in the wil. derness with Satan. It is the Word of God. There, Jesus always answered with the Word, by the power of the Spirit. It sets man in his true position, according to God, as obedient man, in the circumstances around hiin. Satan can do nothing there--we have but to maintain that position. If Satan openly tempts us to disobedience, there is no wile in that. Not being able to do anything else, Satan acted thus with the Lord, and manifested himself as he is. The Lord drove him

away by the Word. Satan has no power, when he is manifested as Satan. We have to resist the wiles of the devil. Our business is to act according to the Word, come what may; the result will show that the wisdom of God was in it. But, observe here, this sword, is the sword of the Spirit. It is not the intelligence, or the capacity of man, although it is man who uses the Word. His sword is highly tempered, but he can neither draw it, nor strike with it, if the Holy Ghost is not acting in him. The weapons are spiritual; they are used by the power of the Spirit

. God must speak, however weak the instrument

may be.

The sword is also used actively in the spiritual warfare, in which it judges all that is opposed to us.

In this sense, it is both defensive and offensive. But, behind all this armour, there is a state, a disposition, a means of strength, which quickens and gives them their power. And this is a complete dependence on God united to trust in Him, which expresses itself in prayer.

Praying always." This dependence must be constant. When it is real, and I feel that I can do nothing without God, and that He wills my good in all things, it expresses itself. It seeks the strength which it has not: it seeks it from Him in whom it trusts. It is the motion of the Spirit in our hearts, in their intercourse with God, so that our battles are fought in the communion of His strength and His favour, and in the consciousness that we can do nothing, and that He is all. “At all times.” With supplication.” This prayer is the expression of the man's need, of the heart's desire, in the strength that the Spirit gives him, as well as in confidence in God. Also, since it is the Spirit's act, it embraces all saints, not one of whom can be forgotten by Jesus (and the Spirit in us answers the affections of Christ, and reproduces them). We must be watchful and diligent, in order to use this weapon; avoiding all that would turn us away from God, availing ourselves of every opportunity, and finding, by the grace of the Spirit, in everything that arises, an occasion (by means of this diligence) for prayer, and not for distraction.

The apostle asks, from his heart, for this intercession on their

part, in the sense of his own need, and of that which he desired to be for Christ.

The mission of Tychicus, expressed Paul's assurance of the interest which the love of the Ephesians made

them take in having tidings of him, and that which he himself felt in ascertaining their welfare, and spiritual state in Christ. It is a touching expression of his confidence in their affection-an. affection which his own devoted heart led him to expect in others.

He presents the Ephesians as enjoying the highest privileges in Christ, and as being able to appreciate them. He blames them in nothing. The armour of God, by which to repel the assaults of the enemy, and to grow up in peace unto the Head in all things, the preservative armour of God, was naturally the last thing that he had to set before them. It is to be noticed that he does not speak to them in this epistle of the Lord's coming. He supposes believers in the heavenly places, in Christ; and not as on earth, going through the world, waiting till He should come to take them to Himself, and restore happiness to the world. That which is waited for in this epistle, is the gathering together of all things under Christ, their true Head, according to the counsels of God. The blessings are in the heavens, the testimony is in the heavens, the Church is sitting in the heavens, the warfare is in the heavens.

The apostle repeats his desire for them, of peace, love, and faith; and concludes his epistle with the usual salutation by his own hand.

This epistle sets forth the position and the privileges of the Church, in its union with Christ.

EXTRACT. “The skies have been wondrously grand of late ; such a magnificent array of stars thrown out on that dark back-ground. This evening, however, I was walking by the sea, it was cola, windy, and cloudy; not a star to be seen. It suddenly struck me: there they are though, all those shining myriads, and that lovely milky way, as bright as ever ; though unseen, no change in them, however clouds may fill these lower heavens. The thought was cheering, So is God: no change in Him, or in His love, however dark and cloudy our poor hearts may be. Oft am I thrown on such thoughts as these : without them what and where, in this dark and lonely world, should we be! The only relief is to look right into the very heart of God, and there to find out love.

“ I have been out again, the clouds are partly gone - and there (as I said) are still those beautiful constant stars- as bright and lovely as ever.” — Wetton.

89

No IV.

HEADS OF PSALMS.

BOOK I.

In the first place we get, in Psalm I., the righteous man; and, in Psalm II., the counsels of God as to Messiah. Then, in general, Psalms III.–VII., the sufferings of Christ in the remnant, whether from enemies or from a sense of their own state; and in result, VIII., the Son of Man set over all the works of God's hands.

In IX. and X., we get particulars of God's executing judgment against the heathen in Zion, in favour of the needy; and, in particular, the ways of the wicked one.

In XI.- XV., the sentiments and spirit of the remnant,—the moral movements of their heart in this time of trial.

XVI. The place Christ Himself takes in His dependance, in trusting in the time of humiliation; ending in His joy in God's presence in resurrection. XVII. His appeal to right, which ends in His being displayed in glory, as man of course; a lower kind of thing, but still part of His glory.

In XVIII., the sufferings of Christ are made the centre of all God's ways in Israel, from Egypt to the manifestation of the glory of Messiah.

XIX. The testimony of creation, and of the law; according to the letter of which the remnant presents itself in conscience before God.

In XX., the remnant prophetically sees Christ in His day of trouble, and in His sufferings from man,-in which God hears Him in order to His establishment in His royal rights. XXI. He is answered with length of days for ever and ever, and excellent majesty; and judges His enemies. XXII. He is in sorrow, in which no remnant can enter; in which, through all the concentration of

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