Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

118 Son of God, “ the Lord of bois, the Lord azért in baze, is our leader and com. 1.6T. AS i a.on.y give you thefe two or three chat ot the Genera.

1. He is so wit, that ai the utilares of wijom and know. ledze are hid ia tir; "his eyes are as a tale of tre; and there is not asy thing that is cor ranijett in his ezbe Toe deepeit counte's of his eneries, Le pesetrites into thes; 6 he discovererh deep things out of darsneis, ard bricgeth out to light the itacow oé deach."

2. He is an experienced General; for he is “ che ancient of days, fet up from evcrizit.ng." Heksows the enemy's itrength, and had the experience of his atsau.c5 when here upon earth; and bis experience of terrptations makes him ready to succour them that are tempted.

3. He is a stour and martial General, he was never dared Hor daunted ; when he had the wrath of his Father, the powers of hell and earth to encounter, he fet his face like a fiint against ail. See how he challenges al tis enemies to encounter him, If.l.7-0. " Who is mine advertary? let him come near to me. I know that I shall not be atamed, Who is he that shall con. dern me? lo, they all thali was oil as a garment; the moth shall eat them up."

4. He is a powerfui General; all power in heaven and in earth is in his hard; for he is “ the man of God's right hand, whom he has made strong for himielf.” He spoiled principa. lities and powers, he treads them and their confederates in his anger, and tramples them in his fury.

5. He is a victorious General, he never loft a battle or engagement since the war commenced in Paradise ; and, as a token of his victory, he has carried the spoils of fin, Satan, death, and heil, along with him to heaven, Pral, Izviji. 18. “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity caprive,” &c.

Guest. 4. Who bears the expences of the war? I answer, The war is undertaken and carried on upon the expences of the great General: and well is he able to bear it; for “ in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily;" he calls none to go a warfare upon their own charges. He himself is the ar. moury of the house of David, where hang the thields of the men of war. Whatever the Christian soldier wants in his expedition, he hath it ready a: hand; as,

1. The soldier must be provided of meat and drink. Well, the General will fee to this, “ Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy waters shall be sure :" and before his soldiers want, he will feed them with his own flesh and blood; and all the fol. diers of his army, they live upon the flesh and blood of the Gea

neral i

neral: “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."

2. The foldier must have his clothing. Well, the General will see to that allo; they will buy of him white raiment to cover the shame of their nakedness; and they all pride themselves in the robe and garment that they receive from their General, II. Ixi. 10. “ I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.” .

3. The soldier must have his arms provided him. Well, the General will see to that allo: Eph. vi. you see there a complete stand of arms the General has provided for his soldiers, “ the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righ.. teousness, the girdle of truth, the sword of the Spirit.” Here is nothing wanting, either to offend the enemy, or to defend the soul in its warfare.

4. The soldiers of an army must have garrisons for winter.quarters, where they may be sheltered from stormy wind and tempeft. Well, the glorious General will see to this also; yea, he himself is their garrison, “ their dwelling, place in all generations, a hiding place from the storm, a covert from the tempeft, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”

5. The soldier must have his orders and directions when to move and when to stop. This shall not be wanting either; his law shall be "a lamp unto their feet, and a light unto their path: He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good, and what the Lord thy God requireth of thee.” When the foldier is to go on to the battle, he commands him to fight, to fand fast, to quit themselves like men, and to be frong. And sometimes he comniands them to retreat and flee, “ Flee youthful lufts." Speaking of lin he says, “Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”

6. T'he soldiers of an army, when fick and wounded, they must be looked to. Well, the General is a phyfician, and a tender-hearted shepherd, who " gathers the lambs with his arms : He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up all their wounds; and gives them the oil of joy for mourning, and the garments of praise for a heavy spirit.” Thus you see that the whole charges of the war lie upon the great General. In one word, he is the strength of the whole army, and the glory of their strength ; and he bids them go in his strength, “ making mention of his righteousness, even of his only.” Queft. 5. What auxiliaries hath the believer in this war? I

answer,

answer, The gorious General, although he needs no ausiliaries, at he has abundance at hand in care cf need ; as,

1. Under his standard, the royal battalion of the divine attributes and perfeétions stand ready for thy afiftance; " As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, fo the Lord is round aboni his people, from henceforth even for ever.” The perfections of God, through Christ, do, as it were, fix their tents rouri about the foldier. The power of God stands ready for thy protecion, his wisdom for thy direction, his holiness for thy fanctiscation, his justice for thy abfolution through the blood of the Lamb, his goodness to supply thy wants, his mercy to pardon thy lin, his faithfulness to fulól his promises.

2. There is his army of ange's ready to strike in for thy anstance in this war: “ Are they not all miniftering fpirits, sent forth to minister for them who are the heirs of salvare tion?” Where-ever a believer is there is a “ Mahaaaim, the hoft of God: The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him."

3. The celestial luminaries, and other creatures of God, are auxiliaries in case of need; they fought in their courfes for Israel againit Sisera. The locuits, the lice, the caterpillars, and other creatures, they came in array against Egypt in their quarrel.

4. All the saints and their prayers are thy auxiliaries, belie. Fer; they stand in the same quarrel, they are ay praying for thy prosperity and success; and their prayers shall be heard, because the quarrel is the Lord's.

5. He can make enemies themselves thy auxiliaries in this war: “ When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” The earth ma. ny times helps the woman, as we read, Rev. xii. He rules in the midit of his enemies; and he can take a poor creature out of the devil's army, and set him to fight his battles against him and all his confederates; as we see in the case of Paul, who, before his conversion, breathed out slaughter and cruelty against the disciples of the Lord; but, by con. verting grace, was made a champion in the cause of Christi. anity.

Queft. 6. What is the case of deferters in this war, who forsake the General's standard, and turn in to the enemy's tamp? I answer, It is death by the marshal-law of Heaven; deferters and apoftates shall be led forth with the workers of iniquity : “If any man draw back, my soul shall have no plea. sure in him : He that puts his hand to the plough, and looks back again, is not fit for the kingdom of heaven," Backsliders

[ocr errors]

in heart shall be filled with their own ways, and at last hung up in chains of darkness, as eternal monuments of the dread. ful wrath of the General.

Quest. 7. Can any of Christ's true soldiers ever be deserters? Answ. No: they may be captives by the enemy, they may be led captive by the law of fin and death ; but they shall never be guilty of total and final desertion. Quell. What security have they against that? Answ. They are secured against total desértion, by the immutability of God: “ Whom he loves, he loves unto the end." They are sicured against it by the promise of God to the great General, that “his feed shall endure for ever :" by the honour of the General; it would not be for his credit, that principalities and powers, whom he hath spoiled, should make a spoil of those that belong to him. They are secured by their union with Christ; they are not only his soldiers, but his members, and his body mystical shall never be mutilate. They are secured against it by the inhabitation of the Holy Ghost, which shall never be taken from him or his seed, as you see in the last verse of this chapter wherein my text lies, “My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy feed, nor out of the mouth of thy feed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.” They are secured against desertion by the very life of Christ : “ Because I live, ye shall live also.” The life of the soldier is bound up in the General : “ Our life is hid with Christ in God.” They are secured by the intercession of Christ ; " he prays for them, that their faith fail not.” In a word, " they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” .

Quest. 8. How long will the war Jast ? Answ. It lasts till death, and no longer ; for then the glorious General will found the retreat, and call his soldiers off the field. Hence Paul rejoiced at the prospect of his dissolution, because then he saw his warfare near a close : “ I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give me at that day : and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Quest. 9. When the war is ended, what comes of the victorious foldiers ? I answer, They “ return and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads ; they obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing flee away." And if you would know more particularly what provision the General VOL. II.

has

has made for his volunteers and victorious soldiers, when the war is ended, you may fee an account of it in the 2d and 3d chapters of the book of the Revelation, at the end of every epiftle to the l'even churches of the Lesler Aga, which you may read at your own leisure.

The ioth and last question shall be this, Will you give us your best advice, in order to our successful management of our Christian warfare, while we ate yet upon the field of battle ? Belide what has been offered already in the former part of this discourse, take these following.

1. See that ye be really joined to Christ's standard, lift up by the Spirit of ihe Lord. There is not a fon of Adam but is born under the devil's colours, wearing his livery; and while you are under the black standard of hell, I mean, in a natural state, you can never fight the battles of the Lord, or strike a fair stroke in his quarrel.

2. Study to be well acquaint with your glorious General, and keep him ever in your view. A fight of him lightens the heart, and inspires the soul with such courage and joy; that though hell, death, and all imaginable danger were in the soul's way, it will not be afraid. Hence the saints are so frequently called to look to him in their Christian work and warfare, ií: xlv. 22. “ Look unto me, and be ye faved, all the ends of the tarth.” This is what the soldiers exhort one another to, Heb. xii. 1. 2. “ Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesús.”

3. Observe carefully the orders of the General. By the marThal-law, it is death for a soldier to disobey the orders of his commander; what anarchy and confusion would there be in an army, if it were otherwise ? And though kings, parliaments, magistrates, and ministers, or be what they will, command or require you to do otherwise than your General has directed you, you have a ready answer at hand, " Whether it be right to obey God of men, judge ye."

.. 4. Be sure to keep the rank and sphere wherein the Gene. ral has put thee; for he is not the author of confufion, but a God of order. So soon as an army in battle begins to break Tank, and to fall into disorder, it is a sign thatthey are worsted by the enemy; and therefore great care is taken by a fkilful general, to keep the soldiers in their proper rank and order. So here, the Captain of salvation will have every one to abide in the vocation into which he is called; he will have magistrates to act under him in their sphere, ministers in theirs, and private Christians in their capacity: and if every one thus study to serve the Lord in their proper stations, the whole body thall

be

« PreviousContinue »