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and to “ overcome every foe, by the blood of the

Lamb, and the word of their testimony; and “ have not loved their lives unto the death :"1 Nay, they have generally acquitted themselves most honourably when their adversaries were most formidable, and their temptations apparently most invincible ; because they were then most simply dependent, and most fervent in praying for the allsufficient grace of the Lord Jesus, and most steadfast in contemplating his sufferings and the glory that followed.

In order to maintain this conflict with good hope of success, we must“ take to ourselves," and

put on the whole armour of God."2 Conscious “sincerity” in our profession of the gospel must be as the “girdle” of our loins, without which we shall be entangled and embarrassed in all our conduct: an habitual obedient regard to our Lord's commands, as the rule of “righteousness," must be our “breastplate” in facing our foes : while a distinct knowledge and cordial reception of the “ gospel of peace,” and the way of access, pardon, reconciliation, and acceptance in the divine Saviour, must be “ the shoes of our feet,” our only effectual preparation for firmly standing our ground, or comfortably marching to meet our assailants. Above all, “faith,” or a firm belief of the truths and reliance on the promises of God, must be our “shield,” with which we may ward off and extinguish the “ fiery darts of Satan,” and prevent their fatal effects. “ Hope” of present support and heavenly felicity must be as a “helmet” to

i Rev. xii. 11.

2

Eph. vi. 10---13.

1 Thes. v. 5,6.

cover our head in the day of battle; and with the plain testimonies, precepts, promises, and instructions of the word of God, as with “ the sword of “ the Spirit,” we must, after our Lord's example, repel the tempter, and so resist him that he may flee from us. In short, “the weapons of our warfare are “not carnal :” for worldly wisdom, philosophical reasonings, and our own native strength and resolution (like Saul's armour when put upon David,) can only encumber us. But when, conscious of our weakness and unworthiness, and distrusting our own hearts, we “strive against sin, looking "unto Jesus,” relying on his

power, truth, and grace, and observing his directions; when we aim to do his will, to seek his glory, and copy his example; then indeed we are armed for the battle: and, however men may despise our weapons, (as Goliath did David the shepherd, with his staff, his sling, and stones ;) we shall not be put to shame in the event, but shall be made more than conquerors over every inward and outward foe. This armour is prepared in Christ, “our wisdom,

righteousness, sanctification, and redemption," and in “his fulness of grace ;" we take it to ourselves by " the prayer of faith,” by searching and meditating on the scriptures, and attendance on the means of grace. By watchfulness, sobriety, habitual circumspection, and caution, we put it on and keep it bright: and thus we are continually prepared for the conflict, and not liable to be surprised unawares, or to fall into the ambushments of our vigilant enemies : and, when we live at

* Matt. xxvi. 41. Luke xxi. 34-36. Rom. xiii. 11-14. 1 Pet. v. 8,9.

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peace with our brethren, and pray for, warn, counsel, and encourage them also; we "fight the good “ fight,” as a part of the great army, which is enlisted under the Redeemer's standard, to wage war against sin, the world, and the powers of darkness.

IV. As far as we are enabled in this manner, successfully to oppose our own corrupt passions and various temptations, we gain victories which afford us present comfort, lively hopes, and discoveries of the Lord's love to our souls; and hereafter “glory, honour, and immortality.” Our Captain assures every one of his soldiers of this inestimable recompense : and, if they be slain in the conflict, this will only put them more speedily in possession of the conqueror's crown. In respect of others, our warfare is directed to the encouragement and help of our fellow-soldiers; the salvation (not the destruction of our fellow-sinners; the benefit of all around us; and, above all, the honour of our divine Saviour, by the success of his gospel among men : while our bold profession of the truth, our exemplary conduct, expansive benevolence, fervent prayers, improvement of talents, and unremitted attention to the duties of our several stations, with quietness and prudence, as well as zeal, are peculiarly suitable to promote these important ends. The religion of Jesus is thus continued from age to age, by the conversion of sinners to the faith: and, though the seed of the serpent still bruises the Redeemer's heel, in the sufferings of his people, yet Satan is, as it were, put under the feet of every true Christian, at death ; and Christ will at length finally and completely crush his head, while all his faithful soldiers shall attend his triumphs and share his glory.

V. It must appear from this compendious view of our conflicts, that all who are really engaged in them experience a variety of changing emotions in their minds, to which others remain entire strangers. They must often mourn their ill success, or that of the common cause, or rejoice in the advantages attained or hoped for. Sometimes they are ashamed and alarmed by being baffled, and at others they resume courage and return to the conflict. They always come far short of that entire victory over their appetites, passions, and temptations, to which they aspire: and they cannot therefore be so calm as indifference would render them. Much self-denial must be required in such a case, and perpetual fears of being surprised by theenemy. Yet their alarms, tears, groans, and complaints, are evidences that they are Christ's disciples ; their joys, with which “ a stranger intermeddleth not," far more than counterbalance their sorrows; and they can often triumph in the assured hope of final victory and felicity, even amidst the hardships and sufferings of the field of battle.

ESSAY XVII.

ON THE PRIVILEGES ENJOYED BY THE TRUE BELIEVER,

The sacred oracles continually teach us that the upright servant of God, notwithstanding his mourning for sin, and all his conflicts, fears, chastisements, and tribulations, is favoured and happy above all other men, even in this present world. And, when the apostle observed that, “ if “ in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are “ of all men most miserable ;" he only meant that, if a Christian could be deprived of the hope of heaven, and all those earnests, consolations, and lively affections which result from it, his peculiar trials, his tenderness of conscience, his antipathy to sin, and his thirstings after God and holiness, would be superadded to the ordinary burdens of life, without any proportionable counterpoise to them. But, as this is not and cannot be the case, so the Christian, with the hope of glory and his other peculiar privileges, may be and actually is, in proportion to his diligence and fruitfulness, of all men the most happy. In order to evince this truth, it may be useful to appropriate the present Essay to the consideration of the most distinguished privileges of the real Christian, which no other man in the world can partake of; for they constitute “a joy with which a stranger inter“ meddleth not;" even the secret of the Lord,

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