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look on,--and there finding that their sanctification is the business of my sitting at thy right hand, may, in the midst of the discomforts and conflicts of their corruptions, have a full joy and triumph in the honour whịch thou hast given me.'-I am beset with the temptations of mine enemies, and persecutions for the name of Christ :-in this case I may give God praise for the power, which he hath given to his Son: I may, from mine enemies, appeal unto God's right hand : I may, like Stephen, when the stones and buffets are about my soul, look up by faith, and see there my captain standing up in my defence *: I
defence: I may acknowledge unto God the power given unto his Son; that though nothing of all this fall upon me without his provision and permission, yet sure I am, that he hath power and mercy in his right hand, that though mine enemies were as strong as a combination and army of kings, yet the Lord at his right hand hath, from him in my behalf, received power enough to strike through kings, when the day of his wrath is come.
Note, Secondly, Christ is at the right hand of his people, present with them, and prepared to defend them from all their enemies : present by his Spirit to strengthen, comfort, and uphold them, enabling them to glory and rejoice in all their sufferings, as knowing that they are but for a moment, and that which is needful to purge their faith, and to make them bear their shame", and to glorify the consequent power of Christ, which shall be revealed to their joy, when he will recompense double to us in mercy, and to our enemies in severity: present by his mighty power, and by his angels, to rescue, deliver, and protect them; to be as a wall of fire, as a shield, a buckler, a rock, a captain to his people .
And this is the ground of all the church's comfort, That more is with them than against them. The enemies have combinations and confederacies of men; but the church hath Emmanuel, God with them a : none can pull Christ from the hand of God, or from the right hand of his people; that is, none can take away either his power or his love from his people. The church and truth can never be crushed and overthrown, no more than a rock with the raging of
t Acts vii. 55. ul Peter 1,6,7. Jam. i. 2, 3. Isai. xxvii. 8, 9. * 1 Pet. iv. 13. y Isai. liv. 7, 8. Ixi. 7. z Zech. ii, 5, a Isai. viii. 9, 10.
the waves : they are heavenly things; and therefore nothing of earth or hell can reach to corrupt them. It was but a vain attempt of the giants to build a tower to heaven. The world was made, that there might be therein a church to worship and contemplate that God which made it: therefore in the creation, God never rested till he came to a church, to note, that that was the end thereof: and therefore it is easier to pull down the world, and to shake in pieces the frame of nature, than to ruin the church. The church hath Christ for her husband, he to whom all knees must bend, he whom every tongue must confess, he who will subdue all things to himself: so she hath love, power, and jealousy, all three very strong things, on her side. And therefore the only way to be safe, is to keep Christ at our right hand, to hold fast his truth, worship, and obedience: for so long as we have Emmanuel, all adverse power is but flesh, and all flesh is but grass, withered in a moment when God will blow
Note, Thirdly, Christ, in his appointed time, will utterly overthrow the greatest enemies of his kingdom, and deliver his church from under the sorest oppressions. There is not any one argument in the holy Scriptures more frequently repeated, than this of Christ's victories: prefigured they were in the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt b; in the deliverances of the ark out of the waters ; in the deliverance of the Jews from Babylon d;-to note, that, in the sorest extremities and greatest improbabilities, God will show himself jealous for his people. This victory is expressed by “treading of a wine-press e :" when there are none to help, when the church is brought to sorest extremities, though multitudes meet against her, as many as the grapes in a vintage, they shall all be but as clusters of grapes; he shall squeeze out their blood like wine, and make his Church to thresh them f.--By the dissipation of smoke out of a chimney: they shall be “as the smoke out of the chimney 5,” As Athanasius used to say of Julian the apostate, that he was but ‘Nubecula quæ citò transiret,' a little cloud
b I Cor. x. 2, 4. e Isai. Ixiii. 1, 6. 8 Hos. xiii. 3.
c 1 Pet. iii. 21, 22. d Rev. xiv. 8. Isai. xi. 10, 12, 15.
f Lam. i. 15. Rev. xiv. 20. Joel iii. 12. Micah iv. 13. h Isai. x, 17. i Nahum i, 10. Isai. xxvii. 4. xxxi. I.
which would quickly be blown away.
Smoke when it breaks out of a chimney with a horrible blackness, threateneth to blot out the sun, and to invade and choke up
all the air; but a little blast of wind scattereth it, and anon nothing thereof appears.-By 'fire consuming thorns and briersh: “while they be folded together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards,” that is, while they have plotted their counsels and confederacies so curiously that no man dares so much as touch them, and while they are drunken with the pride and confidence of their own strength, “they shall then be devoured as stubble that is full dryi."
Therefore the Scripture calleth Christ “a man of wark;' because he is furnished with all arts of victory : power invincible ; as a lion amongst shepherds, so is he amongst his enemies !: wisdom unsearchable, which must stand m if he purpose, none can disappoint him": authority--by the least intimation, to gather together all the forces of the world against the enemies of his church. If he but hiss unto them, they presently come in troops o. He can command help for his people P; and if that should fail, he can create help for his people, as he did for Israel, when he wrought miracles to deliver them 9.
We may, more profitably, consider the truth and comfort of this point, by discovering it in the several enemies of Christ and his people. First, The great enemy of the seed of the woman, is the serpent, that great red dragon, whose names are all names of enmity : the Accuser, the Tempter, the Destroyer, the Devourer, the Envious man, furnished with much strength and mighty succour, legions of principalities and powers attending on him; and with much wisdom, which the Scripture calleth vonuata, the wiles and trains and craftiness of Satan. And his arts of destroying
are two: To tempt and to accuse. His temptations are twofold: either unto sin, or unto discomfort; either to make us offend God, or to make us disquiet ourselves; either to wound us, or to vex us. And in all these his arts, Christ our captain will tread him under
(sai. xxxi. 4. m Isai. i. 2. n. Isai. xiv. 27. p Psal. xliv. 4. lxxi. 3. Jer. xlvii. 7. q Psal. cvi. 22.
k Exod. xv. 3. o Isai, v. 26. vii. 18.
our feet, and will give his church the victory at the last, either by arming us with sufficiency of grace and faith in his victories; putting us, by his Spirit, in mind of his temptations, which taught him compassion towards us, who are so much weaker, and encouraging our hearts to cry out unto him, who is our merciful and compassionate High-priest, like a ravished woman, in our extremities, as Paul did '; stirring up our faith to lay hold on him, when we are in darkness; and our spirit of adoption to cry unto him, when we are in danger; and our spirit of wisdom to solve the objections, to discern the devices of Satan, and to prepare
and arm our hearts accordingly to wrestle with him. Or else by rebuking of him, pulling in his chain, and chasing him away; and, as our second, undertaking the combat in person for us, when he is ready to prevail. Thus he overcometh him as a tempter, and ever giveth some comfortable or profitable issue out of them.
He likewise overcometh him as an accuser. Satan accuseth the saints, either by way of complaint and narration of the things which they have done '; wbich the apostle calleth éyxanéon, his laying of crimes to the charge of men"; and thus Christ overcometh him by his intercession, and, in the hearts of his saints, by making them judge and accuse themselves, that they may be able to clear themselves too! Or he accuseth by way of suspicion or pre-conjecture, as he did Job y; and herein likewise Christ overcometh him in his servants, by permitting him to tempt and vex them, that they may come the purer out of the fire,-and by putting a holy suspicion and jealousy into them, over their own hearts, which may still be a means to prevent them against evils, that are likely to assault them,--to teach them in every condition, as well possible as present, how to walk acceptably before God.
Another great enemy of the kingdom of Christ is, the lust of our own evil nature. “ The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Enmity in grieving, vexing, and quenching the holy Spirit in us, and lusting enviously against his grace. And here also Christ overcometh by the prevailing power of his Spirit, giving us more grace, demolishing the kingdom of sin, and judging the prince of this world, which before did rule in the children of disobedience. And this he doth by the judgement-seat and sceptre of his Spirit in the heart: for the judgement of the Spirit is too hard for the principality of Satan. The Spirit of Christ is a victorious Spirit: “He bringeth forth his judgement unto victory d.” He worketh out by degrees the dross and impurity of our nature and services. First, By faith, fixing upon better promises and hopes than lust can makeo. Secondly, By watchfulness eyeing corruptions, and so stirring up those arguments and principles, which are strongest against them. Thirdly, By leading us to more acquaintance with God in knowledge, love, and communion 3; and so fetching more wisdom and strength from him : for this is the way that we get all our strength, even by learning of him". Fourthly, By inclining the heart to hate and to complain of corruptions, to bemoan itself, as Paul and Ephraim didi. Fifthly, By bringing the heart into the light, there to approve and judge his actions k; by setting it always in God's eye, that it may not sin against him!. Sixthly, By convincing the heart of the beauty and excellency of Grace, of the unlikeness of sin to God, and so making the soul more full of desires for the one and against the other"; and thus kindling lust against lust”. Seventhly, By being always a present monitor and watchman in the soul, to supply it with spiritual weapons and reasoning against the temptation of lusto. Lastly, In one word, by daily supplies from the residue of Spirit which is in our head, whereby, according to the proportion and exigence of the members, he floweth into them P. This is that seed, that leaven, that vital instinct, which is ever in the heart, setting itself against the workings and life
r 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9. • Zech. iii. 1, 2. t Rev. xi. 10. *] Cor. xi. 31. 2 Cor. vii. Il. y Job i. 9, 10, 11. a Rom. viii. 7. Phil. iii. 8.
• Rom. viii. 33. a Phil. iv. 11, 13.
b Jam. iv. 4, 5.
e John xvi, 11.
d Matth. xii. 20. Isai. iv. 4. • 1 John v. 4. Heb. xi. 24, 28. f Job xxxi, 1. Psal. xxxix. 1.
& Job xxii. 21. 1 John i. 3. h Phil. iv, 12. i Rom. vii, 23. Mark ix. 24. Jer. xxxi. 18, 19. k John iii. 20.
I Psal. xvi. 8. m Isai. xxvi. 8. Ezek. xxxvi. 31.
a Gal, v. 17.
o Isai. xxx. 31. John xiv. 26. p Mal, ii. 15. Phil. i. 19.