« VorigeDoorgaan »
of Wisdom, and the Voice of Folly, speaking within him.
Upon the whole, Goodness is eternal, derived from God, and congenial to the Soul; but Evil is only of a temporary Nature, flowing from the Spirit of Evil, and could not subsist in this world, unless we yield ourselves a subject for it to dwell in, by giving up to his wicked Suggestions: Even as this earth, which we inhabit, would never be wrapped up in fogs and mists, to obscure it from the glorious Light of the Sun, unless those gross materials were first exhaled from its own Bosom; so should we never be deprived of those divine Illuminations, which are showered down upon us, from the Sun of Righteousness, were not our hearts clouded and obscured by the impure desires, which are cherished in our own Bosoms, through the Suggestions of the Spirit of Evil. And, as this earth, till it is purged by fire, and thoroughly renovated at the last day, will have its intervals of Clouds and Sunshine, Darkness and Light, Tempests and Calms; so shall we, till the great day of our perfect Renovation in the Lord, be subject to our Changes and Trials, our Moments of Darkness and Light, Tempests and Calms. But whenever we open our Hearts to the vivyfying influence of God's Spirit, it is ready to shine in upon us, like the eye-lids of the Morning, lifting themselves over the Mountains to chace away the Shades of Night.
It is from this view of things, (as I said before), from these conficting passions, to which our fall hath subjected us, that the Christian Life is so often compared to a Warfare; and it was to enable us to con
quer and to triumph in this warfare, that our blessed Saviour came down from the Eternal Bosom of his Father, and taught us in what divine Armour we were to march forth under his glorious Banners-invulnerable, and “ able to quench the fiery darts of the evil Spirit.”—The Apostle, further, besides teaching us how to gird on our Armour, does not neglect to teach us our Discipline also-a noble Discipline, and easy to be learned-namely, “ Prayer, and
, Supplication in the Spirit, and Watchfulness with all Perseverance."
Every single article in this noble Magazine of Christian Armour, would require a separate explanation. But as we may not have another opportu. nity, I will press into this discourse as much of a general Explanation, as the time will allow. Now, he who has his Loins girt about with Truth; He who is animated, in his Spiritual Warfare, with a thorough Belief of the glorious Doctrines of the Christian Revelation; He who is fortified with the Breast-plate of Righteousness, having a Conscience void of offence towards God and towards Man; He who hath his feet shod with the Preparation of the blessed Gospel, who loves the holy Ordinances of religion, who rejoices to frequent the Courts of God's House and to join in public Worship with his fellow Creatures; He who hath taken to Himself the Shield of Faith, who has conceive: just notions of God's everlasting Veracity, who has a stedfast Belief in the glorious promises given us of a Life to come, and is actuated by an ardent “ Longing after Glory, Honour and Immortality;" and,
finally, He who hath taken that powerful two-edged Sword of the Spirit, which the Apostle recommendsnamely, the word of God, as his guide and conductor through life,-having his Faith and Hope fortified by Scripture, being ever able and ready, from a deep study of those holy oracles, to give an Answer to the evil Spirit, and to conjure down every mutinous Passion, that would lead him from duty-The man, I say, who is accoutred in this glorious armour given us by Christ, shall be far more able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil Spirit, all the wicked suggestions of Sin and Folly, than the man who is wrapped in a Coat of Sevenfold Mail, to resist his enemies of Flesh and Blood—the armed hosts of the tyrants of this world.
In vain shall Satan level his keenest artillery against a man thus armed, in Christ Jesus. All the baits and allurements of earthly things—all the blandishments of Prosperity-all the stings of Adversity, will be pointed against him with innocuous aim. Such a man, with far more propriety, than the man of virtue, represented by a wise heathen, may be said to be Four-square. Toss him wheresoever you will, he still falls on a solid and firm Foundation; especially if he has acquired the true discipline belonging to this Christian Warfare;—namely, if he is fervent in Prayer, and Watchful with Perseverance. Then, though the billows of this world should beat tempestous around him; though he should cast his eyes upwards and behold the mountains full of Horses and Chariots of Fire thronging on every side; yet he will find himself borne up by the Arms of Omnipotent Love! He will go forth magnanimous in the strength of his God, and be more than conqueror with this divine Armour. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of his course, he will proceed under his banners from strength to strength, till at last he arrives at Zion, where the weary are at rest, where there is no enemy to encounter, no ensnaring objects to draw us from God; but where we shall be everlasting conquerors, wearing the immortal crown, which is to be the reward of this heavenly Warfare!
Wherefore, my Brethren, as the last words I would say to you; put on this glorious Christian armour, by which you shall stand proof against every assault in this world, and even rise superior to the assaults of Death itself. In whatever station you are, when once you are thus become strong in the Lord, and in the Power of his Might, your whole conduct will become an ornament to your profession. Among those of inferior stations, there will be a cheerful and willing obedience for conscience-sake; among those of higher rank, there will be a command enforced and upheld by all the amiable qualities of the Christian and the Gentleman-In whatever part of your Sovereign's dominions your lot shall be fixed, these accomplishments will confirm the esteem and high regard of your fellow-citizens, towards you. .
Such esteem and regard, it is but justice to say you will carry with
from this city. And now, at a time when I am to take my last leave of you, and what I am to say cannot be called Aattery—it is my duty
to bear this testimony to you, Gentlemen Officers,
ini your public conduct, there have been no Deeds of Violence, no Causes of Complaining, heard in our streets, either occasioned by any of yourselves, or those under your command; so in your private and more social hours, it may be said also, with the greatest truth, that a noble Decorum of Conduct, that Decency and Chasteness of Conversation, so different from the too common modes of conduct in the gay world, is what ought to be forever remembered to your Honour. May every worldly felicity and success always attend you. And so in the words of St. Paul, I bid you finally “farewel! Be perfect, be of good Comfort. Be of one mind; live in peace, and the God of Love and Peace shall be with you."