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lightning from one end of the world (as it were) to the other, insomuch, as the apostle obferves, Rom. X. 18. “ their found (in a little time) went unto the ends of the earth ?" And to this I may add, that when at any time the renowned Captain of falvation “ girds his sword upon his thigh, and rides prosperously” in his chariot of truth, “ making the people to fall under him," convincing and converting finners unto his knowledge and obedience, that is a time when Christ destroys the works of the devil, and pulls down his strong-holds.
5. The day of a sinner's believing in Chritt is a rime when Satan's works are destroyed. It is the great design of helt, to fander God and his word among the children of men, as though he were not worthy of credit : thus he flandered him to our first parents ; Hath God faid fo and fo? Now, when a finner' is brought to “ sec to his seal that God is true," and is made to give such credit unto the record of God that he ventures his eternal falvation upon the veracity of a God of truch ; this, I fay, is just a stab (as it were) given the devil's heart, who " abode not in the truth" of God himself, and can, riot endure to see any poor finners abiding in it. The same I may say with respect unto every renewed act of faith on: Christ, upon the fooring of the promise of a God of truth; hence we are told, that it is by faith as a field that we “ quench the fiery dart's of Satan." .
6. Times of espousals, nearness betwixt God and a foul, are times of destroying the works of the devil. It was the great plot of hell, as you heard, to separate between God and man; and how doth it gall that enemy to the heart, when he sees himself defeated, and the poor foul, that was through his means put far off from God, brought fo nigh unto him, that he is just taken up, and taken in to the " chariot of the wood of Lebanon," and made to " sit down under his shadow with great delight,” having the banner of love displayed over it? Sirs, every new manifestation of the Son of God unto the soul gives a wound unto Satan's interest in the foul; it weakens unbelief, pride, carnality, hypocrisy, enmity, and the other branches of the body of fin and death. : 7. When at any time an honourable testimony is given to the Lord, to the doctrine, discipline, worship, and government of his church, in a day of uncommon defection and backiliding. It is the great work of the devil to sow the tares of error, and corruption, and tyranny, and discord, and division, in a church ; and when there evils are “ coming in like a flood,” the Lord spirits any of his faints or servants to lift up the banner, and to testify against these works of the devil, and to dismantle them of their fair colours under which they are
carried on ; this, i fay, torments the devil, and those that live under his government, as you read, Rev. xi. And Christ's kingdom and interest in all ages of the world, particularly in this church, has been maintained by a faithful witnessing for the Lord and his way, in opposition to errors and corruptions, &c.
. 8. When a believer dies, and goes away to glory, under a guard of angels, along that lan or' road that Christ opened when he. aseended, to take poffeffion of these vacant thrones that the devil deserted, when he “left his first habitation;" what a vexation is it unto that proud spirit, to see the poor believer, whom he tofled and tempted many a day in this lower word, going up in a triumphant manner to dit down on the throne he himself once sat upon ? &c. vii, in
The fourth thing here was, to give the reasons why Christ the "on of God is manifested to destroy the works of the devil, Unto this I answer in these particulars. '
1. Christ encounters this enemy, and destroys his works, be. cause it was his Father's will and pleasure ; and he did. always these things that pleased his Father, rejoicing always before him. “ i delight to do thy will, O my God : yea, thy law is within my heart. I lay down my life of myselt; this commandment have I received of my Father." The devil by his works had affronted and dishonoured the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ rejoiced to resent his Father's quarrel upon this enemy.
2. Christ destroys the works of the devil, because it was for his own honour to engage in this expedition. There is a new revenue of glory accrues to the crown of Christ, as Medi. ator, by this undertaking. All the ransomed in glory, through eternity, will be celebrating the glory of his atchievements, whereby “ through death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil,” Hence the ransomed, Rev. v. 9. cry, “ Worthy art thou to take the book, and to loose the sea ven seals thereof; for thou walt flain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood."
3. Christ destroys the works of the devil, out of the ancient and wonderful love that he did bear to man upon earth, particularly to that remnant of Adam's family which were given him by the Father from all eternity. It was the love of the Father that sent him, and it was the love of the Son that made him come to deliver us out of the paw of the roaring lion, when we were ready to be devoured of him. “He loved me (says Paul), and gave himself for me.” And O the love of Christ in this matter, it passes all understanding. 4. Out of regard to his own law, which the devil by hiş
works had dishonoured. The devil made it his business to abrogate and abolish the law of God from among the children of men, that it might not be the rule of their actions, and such is the devil's spite and malice against Heaven, that, if it were possible, he would not leave the least print of it in the world: but now, Christ had such a regard for the honour of the law, that he would magnify it, and make it honourable," both as a covenant and as a rule ; “I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it.”
5. Christ destroys the works of the devil, that he may “still this enemy and avenger.” When the devil had so far prevailed, as to deface the image of God upon man, to bring him under the curse, and to draw him into a confederacy against God with himself, he thought that he had carried the day, and that now man, and all this lower world, was his own ; and he was no doubt saying, like proud Pharaoh, “Now will I divide the spoil ;" I will tear, and devour, and rage as I have a mind. But how is this enemy stilled, filenced, and confounded, when he fees all his game spoiled, and his kingdom ruined, his head bruised, by the child born, and the fon given to us, whose name is“ Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace?
6. He destroys the works of the devil, for the illustration and manifestation of all the divine perfections. The wisdom of God is manifested in outwitting all the policy of hell, and “ taking the wife in their own craftiness, and turning his counsel headlong :" the power of God, in “ spoiling principalia ties and powers,” and in bringing life out of death, and light out of darkness, salvation out of misery, and “ glory to God in the highest” out of that which had the greatest tendency to dishonour him : the holiness of God, in expressing the greatest hatred and indignation against sin, as the abominable thing which his soul hates : his justice, in the execution of the pea nalty of the law upon the Surety, and justifying the ungodly upon the footing of a better righteousness than ever Adam had before he fell : the goodness, love, and mercy of God, in finde ing a ransom, that we might not go down to the pit : his truth and faithfulness, in taking care that the threatening of the law should be fulfilled in the sufferings of Christ, and in fulfilling that ancient promise of the feed of the woman his bruiling the serpent's head, after the delay of four thousand years ; the accomplishment of which is a glorious security for his accomplishing every other promise of the word. Thus you see why the Son of God destroys the works of the devil. Vol II.
V. The V. The last thing in the method was the use of the doctrine, which I shall difpatch in the following inferences.
1. See hence a glorious ray of the Godhead or supreme in. dependent Deity of the glorious Redeemer. Why, he is here expressly called the Son of God, the fecond person of the glo. rious Trinity, one God with the Father : and the work here afcribed to him declares him to be none other than the mighty, yea, the almighty God; for who else could destroy the works of the devil? He is “God manifested in the flesh, ihe great God, God blessed for ever, and God over all;" his name is JEHOVAH, “ most high over all the earth."
2. See hence how the kindness and love of God hath appeared toward man upon earth. Why, here is the greatest evi. dence of it that was poflible for God to give ; he fends his own Son upon an expedition into this lower world, arms him with his power and authority, as the Captain of salvation and Redeemer, to avenge his own and our quarrel (which, in his infinite wisdom, he knits together) upon that Abaddon and Apollyon the devil, the deceiver and destroyer of mankind : when he gave him his commission, he promised to support him, that his arm should be with him, &c. in order to bruise the head of that en my, &c.
3. See hence the evil of Gn, and the folly of those that are in love with it, and give themselves up to its power and service. Why, it is just the work of the devil, his main work, and the strength of his kingdom. What a pitiful thing is it to be the devil's drudge, to do the devil's work, to lick up his vomit, and the poison of the old serpent ? &c.
4. See hence a good reason why the believer is at war with fin in himself, and where-ever he finds it. Why, he takes it up as the work of the devil that Christ came to destroy; and therefore he denounces war against it, where-ever he finds it. He has listed himself a volunteer under Christ in a day of power, to help down with the works of the devil all that he can; and therefore he resists the devil and his temptations unto sin, and “ resists even unto blood, striving against fin.” .. 5. See hence what is the ground of that strong oppofition that is made at this day against the settlement of honeft minifters through Scotland. Why, the devil, and those that take part with him, are afraid that, if a faithful ministry were settled in congregations, Christ the Son of God would be manifested in the dispensation of the gospel, and his works in the hearts of finners would be destroyed. What a melancholy thing is it to see the interest and infience that the devil has at this day, even in the judicatories of the church, to employ that power, which they have derived from Christ, against his,
and for the devil's interest! The devil knows well enough, that that man that is thrust in upon a people without and against their will, is never like to do his kingdom harm; and therefore he pushes on men under his influence, to carry on the settlements of congregations with a high hand, with lax, little-worth young men, that have little or no knowledge of the devices of the devil, or of the work of grace upon their fouls. If the devil see a man whom God has qualified with gifts and grace for preaching the gospel, for edifying souls, or pulling down the devil's kingdom, he will set all his forces against that man, and reproach him as a turbulent dangerous man, that would turn the world upside-down.
6. See hence whence it is that the testimony of the wit. nesses, Rev. xi. is said to “ torment them that dwell upon the earth.” By " men that dwell upon the earth,” is just meant men of earthly sensual spirits, the “men of the world, whose portion is in this life;" they are sunk in this earth, and have no just notion of the things of heaven, or the things of the kingdom of Christ; men under the power of the god of this world. Why, a testimony for Christ, and his injured cause, cannot miss to torment them, because it disturbs the strong man in the peaceable poffesfion of the house, it discovers the ways and works of the devil that men are promoting ; and this cannot miss to gall, and vex, and torment them : and therefore all care must be taken by those who are on the devil's side, to bury the witnesses and their testimony also..
7. See hence why hell and earth took the alarm when Christ appeared in the world; or we may fee an answer to that queflion, Psal. ij. Why do the heathen rage ? &c. Why, it is against the Lord's Messiah, who came to destroy the works of the devil. You know, if a foreign enemy enter a kingdom, the king and all his subjects will take arms to oppose him: Christ was a
foreigner, he came to invade the devil's kingdom, and set up - His own.
8. See hence why the devils cried out when Christ was upon earth, “ Art thou come to torment us before our time ?” and why the devils believe and tremble. Why, they know that Christ is to destroy all their works, and this torments them. The name of the Son of God is the terror of hell, because he “ finishes transgression, and makes an end of fin," whereby his kingdom falls in the world.
9. See the mystery of the conversion of the thief upon the crofs. Why, Christ would show his power and ability to de. froy the works of the devil in a poor soul, and to pull a captive out of his hand, even when he seemed to be at the loweit, or when he was really in the lowest step of his humiliation.