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up immediately after his exaltátion, when whole thousands, by the preaching of a sermon concerning the death and refurrection of Christ, were brought in to the service of Christ ;, when whole nations were born to him at once ; when Heathenish idolatry fell down before the everlasting gospel ; whereby was fulfilled that prophecy of Isaiah, chap. Ix. 8. “ Who are thefe that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows ?”
6. Again, when there is any remarkable appearance for Christ and his cause, in a church or nation, in opposition to error, fuperftition, profaneness, or any of the works of the devil; when the Lord spirits his ministers, and the judicatories of his church, to give a fair, full, and faithful testimony for Christ, in opposition to any of these works of darkness; then is it that this standard is lifted up. What a pity is it that there should be such a faint display of Christ's banner against that damnable heresy of Arianism, vented of late in this church! It is to be feared, we shall never be honoured to do any signal service for Christ, when such an opportunity of doing him justice has been slighted; however, he will give the banner to them that fear him, that it may be displayed because of truth.
7. When God in his providence breaks and baffles wicked and blood-thirsty persecutors, who were making havock of his church and people, granting them respite and deliverance from trouble, then is it that this standard is lifted up, when he raiseth up saviours in mount Zion, to judge the mount of Efau. How remarkably was this standard lifted up for Israel, when Pharaoh and his host, in their pursuit, were overthrown in the Red fea, and made to sink like lead in the mighty waters? or when, by his servant Cyrus, he overthrew the power of Babylon, and brought back his people again to their native land ? on which occasion, Israel could not but say, “ When the Lord brought back the captivity of his people, we were like men that dreamed.” Thus God lifted up the standard in our land, when in his providence he raised up the prince of Orange, .as the instrument of our deliverance, when we were upon the point of being swallowed up with a deluge of Popish darkness and tyranny.
8. This royal standard' is lifted up by the Spirit of the Lord in the morning of conversion, when through discoveries of the glory of Christ, the soul is determined to make a surrender of its heart, and to lift up the everlasting doors, that this King of glory may come in. And 0, when he comes in, how remarkably does he drive back the enemy! he binds the strong man, spoils him of his goods; translates the poor soul from
the power of darkness to his own kingdom of light, life, and liberty.
9. The Spirit of the Lord lifts up the standard in every renewed manifestation and discovery of the glory of Christ, especially after a dark night of desertion, temptation, and despondency. Perhaps the poor believer was “ going mourning without the sun;" the wild beasts of hell, the roaring lion, and his emiffaries, were like to devour him, and the poor believer crying, “I am cast out of thy fight : My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgement is passed over from my God.” However, at length the Spirit of light, life, and power, comes, and by a discovery of the glory of Christ, forceth a day upon the poor creature, that was “ walking in darkness and saw no light.” O then the Spirit of the Lord lifts up the standard, and Satan is baffled, his fiery darts are blunted, the mourning of the poor soul is turned to singing and triumph. Thus you see when it is that the Spirit of the Lord may be said to lift up the standard against the enemy coming in like a food.
IV. The fourth thing was, to inquire whence is it that the lifta ing up of the standard, or the displaying of the glory of Christ by the Spirit of the Lord, gives a repulse to the enemy, or drives him back?
I answer, 1. The displaying of the glory of Christ by the Spirit of the Lord, fets faith in a lively exercise, which is the great engine whereby we are enabled to overcome Satan, the world, and all our enemies. As for Satan and his fiery darts, they are quenched by faith, Eph. vi. 16. and Rev. xii. 11. “ They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb," that is, by faith acting upon a glorious Redeemer and his atoning blood. As for the world, it is by faith that we trample upon its frowns and flatteries : “ This is the victory whereby we overcome the world, even our faith.” As for indwelling fin, Atheism, enmity, pride, carnality, and the like, every view of Christ by faith gives a new wound, and cuts off fome limb or member of the old man of fin: Acts xỹ. 9. the saints are there faid co“ purify their hearts by faith.” By faith “ we behold the glory of the Lord,” and so “ are changed into the same image, from glory to glory ;” and thus gradually the body of fin and death is wasted and weakened.
2. By displays of the glory of Christ, love is inflamed. And where the love of Christ is shed abroad on the heart by the Spirit of the Lord, the utmost affaults of hell are not able to prevail : “ Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house Vot. II.
for love, it would utterly be contemned.” When love is in exercise, the soul hates evil, and is ready to cry out, “ Depart from me, all ye evil doers; for I will keep the commandments of my God.” What but the love of God made Joseph to give such a repulfe to the hellish attack made upon him by his adultress mistress, “ How shall I do this great wickedness, and lin against God ?” See the influence of the love of Christ in the triumph of the apostle, Rom. viii, at the close, " Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation or distress,” &c.
3. Displays of the glory of Christ inspire the soul with courage and strength to oppose the enemy, when he comes in like a flood. By the fight of the great Captain of salvation, the be. liever becomes bold as a lion, to encounter the powers of hell. and corruption. O! says the believer, when he gets a Gght of Christ, “ Through him aslifting me I can do all things.” Pfal. xxxiv. 5. “ They looked unto him, and were lightened : and their faces were not ashamed."
4. Displays of the glory of Christ, by the word and Spirit of the Lord, dispirit the enemy, though coming in like a flood. The devil and his auxiliaries know very well, to their fad esperience, that Christ is match and more for them ; the head of the serpent bears the marks of Christ's heel, his wound shall never be healed. And therefore, whenever Christ takes the field, to efpoufe the cause of the poor soul oppressed by the enemy, immediately he loseth heart, and gives way: hence is that prayer of David, Pfal. Ixviii. 1. 2. 66 Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered : let them also that hate him, flee before him," &c.
V. The fifth thing was the Application. And the first use may be of Information, in a few particulars. Is it so that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him ? then,
1. See hence what it is that makes a church“ terrible as an army with banners," to the powers of hell, and the wicked of the world. It is not carnal wisdom and policy ; it is not a yeilding to the humours of men in the matters of Chrift; it is not a fquaring our conduct according to the wisdom of this world : no, it is the presence of the Spirit of the Lord, and a following the standard of the word, which he has given for " a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our paths.” How terrible was the church of Scotland in the days of our refore mation, when the Spirit of the Lord reled upon our worthy reformers, enabling them to contend earnestly for the faith, and for the royal prerogatives of the King of Zion, in oppo
fition to Papists, malignants, and other enemies of a covenanta ed reformation ? A faithful minifter, and his moyen with God, by the confeffion of the queen of Scotland, was at that time more terrible and dreadful to her, than an army of ten thousand men. But, alas! the Spirit of the Lord is departed in a great mea. sure, and a worldly, politic, carnal, selfish, party-spirit is come in its room, which cannot miss but make us base and contemptible both in the eyes of friends and foes.
2. See from this doctrine the ground and cause of all our defections and backllidings at this day; why, the Spirit of the Lord, that lifts up the standard, is departed hence, the enemy comes in like a flood. We have grieved the Spirit, quenched the Spirit, refifted the Spirit; and hence it is that he does not lift up a standard against the floods of error, profanity, tyranny, and oppreslion, that are broke in upon us. If you ask, what way have we grieved the Spirit, and provoked him to depart from us? I answer, It is by our not regarding or following the standard, when lifted up in the dispensation of the glorious gospel. When Christ is not receia ved; when the precepts and promises of the word are not believed or regarded; when magistrates, ministers, or people, do not in their several stations Thew a regard to the convictions of the Spirit, or his motions on their hearts; this grieves him, and provokes him to depart from a church, or a particular person.
3. See hence what it is that makes the gospel successful among a people, for destroying Satan's kingdom, and pulling down his strong holds; it is the Spirit of the Lord, accompanying the preaching of the word, and displaying the glory of Christ therein. However contemptible the gospel may appear to a blind world, who look on it only with the eye of carnal reason; yet to them that believe, it will be found to be the power of God to salvation : " The weapons of our war. fare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” It is not the flourish of words, it is not the force of human rhetoric, or flaunting harangues of morality, that will ever serve the turn: no, it is a faithful display of the glory of Christ, a simple proposal of the gospel, an opening of the mysteries of the kingdom. This is the chariot in which the Spirit of God rides; and when he rides in his own chariot, he rides prosperously, and the peo. ple fall under him.
4. See hence what it is that makes the ordinances of the gospel so fweet and desirable to a gracious soul, insomuch that “ one day in his courts is better than a thousand.” What makes preaching sweet, or a communion-table so de
firable to the saints? Why, there they find the Spirit of the Lord lifting up the standard, displaying the glory, fulness, suitableness, and excellency of Christ and his love : Cant. ii. 3. 4. “ I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and · his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me into his banqueting-house, and his banner over me was love." In gofpel-ordinances, believers are privileged with discoveries of the love and loveliness of a glorious Redeemer; hence is that of David, Psal. xxvii. 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” • 5. See hence what it is that spirits a believer to hold on his way, even though death and hell, the devil and the world, stand in his way; why, the Spirit of the Lord lifts up the Itandard ; and you know, 'as the army is heartened to keep and stand their ground by the sight of the standard, so are believers heartened by displays of the glory of Christ : “ They Ihall sing in the ways of the Lord : for great is the glory of the Lord.” Let a believer but fee Christ in his glory, he is able to look the law, justice, conscience, and the world, in the face, and say, “ Who can lay any thing to 'my charge ??? Then it is that he rides upon his high places ; being clothed with the fun, he treads the moon of this world under his feet : then is he able to encounter death, the king of terrors, in his most formidable aspect; and to say with Paul, “ I am teady not to be bound only, but also to die for the name of the Lord Jesus." ;;'; . : 6. See hence whence it comes that we shall frequently find such surprising turns in the case or exercise of the Lord's people. Sometimes the believer is at such a low ebb, that he is giving up the day for loft, quitting the field, yielding the cause to the enemy, as if all were loft, like David, “ One day or other I shall fall by the hand of the enemy;" the armies of hell, and swarms of corruptions, are too strong for me: but all on a sudden recovers his spirit, girds himself with gladness, puts on his harness, triumphing in his high places, giving a bold defiance to hell and all its emiffaries, saying with David, Psal. iii. 5. 6. “ I laid me down and Slept; I awaked, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that set themselves against me round about.” Whence comes this sudden change and alteration with the believer? The matter is this, when the enemy was coming in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord lift up a standard against him ; and the very light of the standard, an uptaking of the glory of Christ, puts new spirits and life