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ment to fight in certain hopes of victory. Attend, O my soul, to the promise, and fear not the accomplishment of it-" In righteousness shalt thou be esta"blished; thou shalt be far from oppression, for thou "shalt not fear, and from terror, for it shall not come "near thee. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee, shall fall for thy sake. Be"hold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals "in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for "his work, and I have created the waster to destroy. "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, "and every tongue that shall rise in judgment against "thee, thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of "the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is "of me, saith the Lord." Thou art here forewarned of thine enemies: they shall gather against thee. But the Lord is not with them. He is thy defender and mighty deliverer, and he will bring all opposition to nought for thy sake. However numerous their hosts may be, yet they shall fall. Whatever weapons of war they may form, yet none of them shall prosper. prosper. This is the certain heritage of all believers. Their righteousness and their strength is of me, saith the LordI will fight their battles, and I will never leave them nor forsake them: I will make them daily conquerors, and behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised them, I will make them more than conquerors.
Is this, O my soul, the infallible word of promise? Has the Lord of hosts undertaken to stand by his people? Has he engaged to lead them out to war by his wisdom, to defend them in battle by his power, and to give them eternal victory to the praise of his own grace? O what motives are these to strengthen thy heart and thy hands. What hast thou reason to fear, since the Almighty is on thy side? The battle is his. If hosts of enemies oppose, yet following his orders, and trusting to his strength, thy victory is infallibly
sure: For then thou wilt fight against them strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, and thou wilt be invincible
IN THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD. This armour is the provision which God has made for the safety of his soldiers. He puts it on them, and he keeps it on them. It is a whole armour, a complete defence from head to foot. In great mercy their God, who provided it, has revealed to them the use of every part. In the sixth of the Ephesians the apostle has described it at large. He supposes them to be acquainted with the christian doctrines, and to have walked in the comfort of them, and he calls upon them to bring them into practice in their daily warfare. "It only remains, my "brethren, says he, that ye be strong in the Lord," for no strength less than his can keep you, "and in the "might of what he is able to do"-by faith relying upon his promise, and trusting to his power, "putting "on the whole armour of God," that being strengthened mightily by his Spirit in the inner man, ye may be preserved dependent upon the Lord, and enabled to engage in his strength, and to conquer to his glory. Unless his word and arm, you will thus rely upon you not be able to stand against the wiles of the devil: for we wrestle not only against flesh and blood, but also against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world; against spiritual wickedness in high places: therefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be enabled to withstand in the evil day against the combined legions of earth and hell, and after ye have done all to stand conquerors in the field of battle, when your enemies are driven out of it. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth-this is the first grace in use
SAVING KNOWLEDGE; what the Holy Spirit teaches. He guides believers into all truth necessary for their salvation. As the military girdle went round the loins, and bound all the armour together, so the knowledge of the truth, as it is in Jesus, binds together all
the graces. It is of the essence of every one of themit is light in the understanding to discover what they are, that they may be received into the heart in love, and that in obeying the truth their influence may operate upon the life and conversation. When a man is thus taught of God, then he sees his need of the breast-plate of righteousness, and he puts it on, namely the
IMFUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS of the God-man. The breast-plate was armour for the vital parts-so is the righteousness of Christ—it is a perfect protection from every stroke of every enemy. He that wears it upon his heart, believing in the life and death of Immanuel, is armour-proof against all weapons. If the strength of his adversaries could be collected into one arm, which was to strike one mighty blow, his breast-plate would ward it off. The armour of God could not be hurt. The soldier with it on cannot perish, but shall have everlasting life. Therefore covered with this invincible breast-plate he may face the stoutest foes, and attack them without fear. He may march on undaunted, "having his feet shod with the preparation of "the gospel of peace."
PEACE WITH GOD through Jesus Christ is another grace of the Spirit, which mightily strengthens the inner man. Whoever sees the truth of the gospel, and believes it, will discover God to be at peace with him, perfectly reconciled to him in Jesus, and who out of his fatherly love will over-rule all things for his good. In the sense of this he may go on with holy boldness, as the soldier did with his greaves on. When his feet and legs were armed with them he was not afraid of thorns or briers, of rough roads or sharp spikes. In like manner the peace, which the gospel brings, carries the Christian soldier fearless through difficulties. He will march on conquering if he keep on his greaves. If he maintain peace with God through Jesus Christ, he will not be stopt by war, or trouble, or temptation. But he must remember, that
to every piece of armour faith is essentially necessarythe girdle is good for nothing without the belief of the truth-the breast-plate is no defence without faith in the righteousness of God our Saviour-the greaves are no more than if the feet were covered with a bit of thin gauze, unless faith be mixed with the gospel: "Therefore TO ALL THESE take the shield of faith, "wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery "darts of the wicked one." What excellent things
are here spoken of
FAITH, as a grace of the Holy Spirit! When they used to fight with bows and arrows, the soldier could hold up his shield and keep himself safe: so the Christian soldier, if the fiery darts of Satan fly thick about him, by faith will quench them all. He has much combustible within him, and one spark would set him in a flame, if he had not his shield: but armed with it, and opposing it to the arrows of the wicked one, he may lift up his head with joy: For he has the helmet of salvation upon it. The grace here meant is
HOPE, and it is fitly compared to an helmet, which was armour for the head, and a defence for all the senses which are seated in the head. It is called the helmet of SALVATION, because it ALWAYS SAVES. It never can be destroyed. None of the senses of the spiritual man can perish in this warfare: and therefore it is a hope that maketh not ashamed. Hope with his helmet on fears no blows. It can truly say, I am commanded to be strong and of good courage, not to be afraid or dismayed: for the Lord my God is with me, whithersoever I go. Trusting to this command, hope is in wars and fightings full of glory and immortality. The Lord's orders to march forward are the ground of hope and this supplies him with a weapon, which none of his enemies can withstand, even the sword of the Spirit, "which is the
WORD OF GOD." The scripture is called a sword(an offensive weapon-and it is the only one, which the christian soldier has-all the rest being for his de
fence) because it is mighty through the Spirit working by it to cut off all opposers. Our Lord in combat with the old serpent defeated him with this sword. And the noble army of his followers, now crowned in glory, overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony-they held fast their confidence in the word, and with it, as with a two-edged sword they slew the old dragon, and gained eternal victory over him. Fight against him, O my soul, with the same weapon. Keep the sword in thy hand. Thou wilt stand in need of it every moment against that subtil foe. The word is the means of overcoming the devil, and it is mighty through God, when heard and read in faith, and inwardly digested by prayer. The best soldier in the Lord's army is best acquainted with the necessity of prayer: he not only believes what God says of his armour, but he also depends upon him for the daily experience of it: and therefore when he has put his ar mour on, in the
PRAYER OF FAITH he calls upon the Captain of his salvation for orders, courage, strength, victory, and every thing needful-" Praying always with all prayer "and supplication in the Spirit, and watching there"unto with all perseverance." O my God, teach me thus to pray. I would depend on thee, and express my dependence without ceasing: for I am sensible that without thee I can do nothing. Although thou hast chosen me to be a soldier, yet I have neither counsel nor strength for war. My foolish heart loves ease: it would have the crown, but it would be excused striving lawfully for it. I find nothing in myself that disposes me to endure the hardship of the christian warfare. My whole trust therefore is in thee Jesus, my Lord, and my God. Thou hast called me to the battle: thou must fit me for it, keep me in it, and make me conqueror. All is of thee. The whole armour of God, which I have received, the saving knowledge, the righteousness, and the peace, that precious faith and glorious hope, that sure word, wherein thou hast caused