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God.” Will they not take the word of God for these things? and I am sure I have the testimony of my reader that I have spoken no otherwise than according to the word of God. Every thing which I have said, I have authenticated from the word of God: not from single passages, but from many passages; yea, I may say, from the whole tenor of it. And truly, I see not how any one in his right mind can refuse these interpretations of the word of God, which are simple, straight-forward, unperplexed, and harmonious with each other. Do we deny any point of or.' thodox doctrine or of sound morality, that they should speak against us in such unmeasured terms ? Are we wicked persons, are we blasphemers, because we interpret the word of God simply and honestly, and believe that which it declareth? Or are we now to believe nothing which to man seemeth impossible? Then, to take an instance, how should any rich man enter into the kingdom of heaven ; for that not only seemeth to man to be impossible, but by Christ is declared to be absolutely “impossible with man?" But, say these men, We must not believe any thing which looketh to us impossible. Then, O thou weakling! O thou wicked one! thou dost exclude all rich men from the kingdom of heaven. But we, who believe, that all things are possible with God, and that all things that are written shall surely come to pass, do take you, ye rich men, out of the hands of these disbelievers of hard and impossible things, and we do say unto you, “Be of good cheer! your salvation, though as impossible with men as to make a camel pass through a needle's eye, is possible with God and shall surely come to pass, if ye will be willing to make unto yourselves bags that wax not old; to lay up for yourselves treasures in the heavens; to make for yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, which shall be able to receive you into everlasting habitations."

And let this suffice for the second question, which concludes the first part of our inquiry into the Spirit's word to the church in Ephesus. And now for the second inquiry, which is one of a much shorter and simpler kind; namely, The description of the persons to whom the promise is made, “ To him that overcometh.”

This promise, though it be directed to the churches and uttered in the hearing of all mankind, is the inheritance only of him that overcometh ; and it is common to all the epistles, and therefore to be regarded as a point of great importance, and worthy of the most careful covsideration. It presents us the aspect of the church, of all saints, of all churches, as engaged in a controversy and conflict from which there is no escape by change of place or change of condition ; one continued restless warfare, wherein we must either overcome or be overcome by those we are matched against. Most wisely, therefore, do we denominate the church in its present condition the church militant, the church after the resurrection the church triumphant. These common words with which each charge beginneth, “ I know thy works,” do mark the period as a season of ceaseless labour: those common words with which each promise commenceth, “ To him that overcometh,” do mark it as a season of unremitting strife and warfare. And with what powers is the controversy and conflict carried on? With the powers of darkness, whose array and number is diversely set forth in Holy Writ. Our Lord enumerates them to be these; our own life, the gain of the world, and the shame of man's censure. Luke is. 24-26: " For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life, for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.” This enumeratiov presents ús, first, with our own self-love to be overcome; secondly, the world's kingdoms ; and thirdly, the good opinion of other men: which are truly the three most formidable foes to the Christian's progress in the footsteps of the Lord, and make every step to be like the sad and slow step of a condemned criminal, bearing his cross to the place of execution. Wherefore also the Lord ushereth in the enumeration with these solemn words of warning (Luke ix. 23): “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” He himself, in his strife with Satan, had two

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of these enemies presented to him,-his own life, which craved nourishment; the world's kingdoms, which lay in their glory at his feet: and for the third, he had a deeper and more perilous enemy,—spiritual delusion, the misinterpretation, misapplication, and abuse of the Holy Scriptures; which is the parent of heresy, schism, apostasy, and all the other more deadly sins whose proviuce is the church, where they lie in wait to destroy unstable souls. This third field of Christian conflict is occupied by the false and evil spirits, which, taking possession of vain and covetous teachers, become lying spirits in their mouth, whereby whole multitudes are led astray to their own soul's damnation, and to the injury of the truth. (2 Pet. ii. 1, 2.) These evil spirits, also, without the help of false teachers, work by their wiles directly upon the souls of Christians, and suggest continual forms of error, which lie around us like traps and gins on every side, to the inevitable roin of all who are not ever looking to the great Shepherd, who leads and guides his sheep in the right way, and delivers them from their enemies of whatever kind; for he is the good Shepherd, who giveth his life for the sheep." These our enemies, dearly beloved brethren, we are called by our Lord, in the strength of his ever-present, ever-belpful Spirit, to make constant head against, and evermore to overcome: and to him that overcometh the good Shepherd will give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Now the Apostle Paul, in enumerating the Christian's enemies, giveth a somewhat different reckoning of then, as follows (Eph. vi. 12): “ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” In this enumeration he meaneth not to exclude flesh and blood from the Antichristian array ; concerning whose miserable oppression he well discourseth in Rom. vii., Gal. v., and elsewhere; but, being filled with the thought of the devil's wiles, he hastily runneth over the enmity of Aesh and blood, in order to dwell upon Satan's confederacy against the saints ; wbich consisteth of, (1) The princedoms and powers, the lordships, the masteries, and every authority constituted on earth, which were then in combi

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nation against the Lord and his Anointed : so that, be Christians conditioned as they may-subjects, servants, wives, children, or in any other inferior condition,-they must be prepared io meet from their kings, masters, husbands, parents, and other superiors, a desperate opposition to the truth. (2)“The rulers of the darkness of this world;" by which, if I err not, is meant, not so much spiritual wickednesses, as the potentates of the earth,-- perhaps the Roman emperors and others, whom Satan used as the body and limbs of his raging wrath against the woman's Seed; “ the dragon with seven heads and ten horns." I do not say but that, in a wider sense, all potentates, and perhaps the prince of darkness himself, may be meant by this expression considered apart; but in the present context I rather incline to look upon it as the Roman empire, which under various heads hath ruled the ascendant of darkness, and headed and guided the warfare against the church. And (3) “the spiritual wickednesses (the spirituals of the wickedness) in high places” (in the super celestials); by whom I understand the fallen spirits, with Satan at their head, who are the spiritual instigators of wickedness ; who combine the particles of many men's energies into a whole wicked forn, and work them with united strength against the church. Men are separate persons, though one substance; and before they can be united, for good or for ill, a spirit must intervene. The Holy Spirit bindeth the churches ; spirits of darkness bind the world: “The dragon gave him his seat, and his power, and great authority." These spiritual wickednesses were, when the Apostle wrote, still in the beavenly places, Satan having access to the congregation of the sons of God, as the accuser-general of the brethren; but both he and they are afterwards cast down from that liberty, and confined to the earth and the terrestrial regions, as is fully set forth in the xii th chap. of the Apocalypse. And this achievement was wrought, not so much by Michael and his angels, as by the blood of the martyrs of those churches, which are here seven times addressed with the spirit-stirring word of the Holy Ghost, “ To him that overcometh I will give,"&c. How glorious is the Christian's calling, to be God's champion against the evil powers of darkness, Satan and his angels! God crowneth Christ King over all: and he saith, Deny his right who dare, here are my champions ; and his saints step out into the field of conflict. And Satan, who is never slack to strife, contention, and murder, takes up the gage of battle, à l'outrance, to the uttermost; and he brings forth the marshalled principalities, and powers, and rulers of the dark. ness of this world. And the battle is fiercely joined, and ever and anon we hear the Spirit's voice running along our line, and thrilling to the heart of every soldier, “To him that overcometh I will give,” &c. And as he findeth one portion in one way pressed, and another portion in another, he varies the promise according to their various need; until every soul is on fire, and every heart resolved to conquer or to die. Oh what an honour is yielded to us, my fellow-soldiers, to be the champions for Christ our King !

While thus we derive from different parts of Scripture the number and nature of our enemies, we believe that this Book of the Apocalypse itself, as it contains in these three chapters our King's instructions to the chief captains, and the Spirit's instructions to every soldier; and again, in the last three chapters, the great rewards of the victorious army; so likewise in the intervening chapters doth it contain the array of enemies, against whom the church is marshalled in holy warfare ; especially in the siith, xiiith, and xiv th chapters; towards the end of which the battle is proclaimed to be finished, and the victory won (Rev. xiv. 12, 13): “Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours ; and their works do follow them." For immediately after this proclamation Christ cometh a victorions King riding on a cloud, and with the sickle in his hand as the great Reaper, the great Head of the reaping angels (Matt. xiii., xxiv.), he gathers into bis garner, into the cloud of his glory, all the faithful ones who have fought for him and overcome; and with them he proceedeth to tread the winepress, and do the other acts of power and judgment upon the nations. To that word of the Spirit, therefore, quoted above, I attach a great value in the machinery and structure of the Apocalyptic mystery ;--as proclaim from on high the end of the long and laborious work-day; the termination of the gallant conflict of the church against all the enemies of God and of his Christ. Now, the enemies

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