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did but know how little reliance we ought to place on human power! Though we are passing through a dark stage, a stage of much trial, a stage that ought to bring men to their knees, that ought to bring the Church to humiliation, yet with regard to the issue of it, I can have no more doubt that it shall end in the purifying of the Church, than I can doubt my own existence. In the destruction of the " man of sin" it will end; therefore let no one be scared; for he who denies the Bible to the great mass of those over whom he has influence, will himself be destroyed by the Bible. We do not wonder at it; for as every page of that Bible is against him, why should we wonder, then, that he is against every page in that Bible?

But oh! how awful the thought, that some of you have Bibles and never read them; or if ye do read them, the "sword" has no edge, no point!" God has but one Book-yet on that Book you turn your backs! I dare say, many there are at this present moment to whom I am as a Nathan. You never read your Bibles; no. Why do ye not? Ye read the newspapers, ye read the periodicals of the day, but there the Bible rests in its dust; ye read it not; God has but one Book, and you turn your back upon that one Book. But it is not to such that I would address myself now; though I would warn you as with tears, and I would say, that with that Word He shall judge the world, and-judge you. Beware, then, how ye trifle with that Word.

I am speaking now to the saints of God, according to the text before me; and I would say, remember this is God's voice, the same as if you heard it; it is the same as if God spoke to you. Does He speak to you? does He seem to address you by name? Why do ye deal in generals? General readings are like general confessions nothing worth. How easy for a man to say, I am a sinner!' He does not know that he is a sinner; he never felt it. How easy to read the Word of God as a duty! But oh! to hear it speak to you! Oh! value this example !-"Thy Word have I hid in my heart hid in my heart!—that I might not sin against Thee." I will not put you to this test; I would only lay before you what the grace of God can do in some souls. Look at that 119th Psalm once more, beginning at the ninety-seventh verse, and see what grace can enable a man to do. "Oh! how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day." What! did he leave his vocation as a king?— never believe it. Are you to leave your occupations, where the Lord has placed you?-never believe it, never believe it. But he had his time for holy meditation, even when much engaged and occupied in needful and necessary occupation with "things that perish." "Oh! how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day!" Happy souls, that can find in the intervals of business, their hearts rising to God in holy meditation! I will not press that 148th verse upon you; I would only press it upon myself; and I would say, would that I were like him! would that I knew what it was, in the

power and demonstration of the Spirit! "Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate upon Thy Word." Ah! happy souls, that know something of this! We do not want to see it merely confined to sick beds—we have seen it there often, when life has been decaying, and eternity approaching—but we want to see it when a man is in health and strength, when his powers are all around him, vivid, strong, and powerful; to see him yet rising above it all by the power of the Holy Ghost, and finding in God's Word his treasury, and meditating thereon as one that hath found great spoil.

Oh! beloved, bear a word of exhortation. Ever honour the Holy Ghost. It is His "sword;" He gives it the edge, He gives it the point. Oh! that we were in that state of mind when we take up our Bibles, that we never could rest till we found some edge, some point in it, something to ourselves! Oh! if that were laid more upon your hearts, there would be more wrestling prayer for more apprehension of it in your experience.

Beware how ye blunt this "sword;" a little thing can blunt it. Beware of sin. Do not judge that only to be sin, that others find to be sin; that may be sin to you, that may be no sin to another. Whatever unsettles, whatever acts as a temptation or as a hindrance in you, lay it aside-it blunts the edge. Slothfulness-how I believe that does blunt the edge! There are many London saints pressed down, I know, weighed down, tired out, jaded; but in the morning, when their bodies are fresh, how little of that freshness is oftentimes felt here! Dear hearers, avoid whatever blunts the edge. Is it lightness of spirit? is it carnality? is it worldliness? is it too much license?-whatever it be, oh! avoid it.

And if the Lord graciously keep you from blunting the edge, remember, that you have the great means of brightening, and the great means of keenly setting that edge, too; that is, to use it. I believe, many a man in the intercourse of common life, who has been led to act out principle-who has not needlessly thrown himself into danger, but God has put him into the situation, he could not deny it, he must go forward-who was brought to say, • Whatever are the consequences that may ensue, I will avow principle,'-he avows his principles, he uses his "sword," and he is surprised he gets a keener edge and a sharper point to it. Let him not be surprised; it is one means whereby God accomplishes it.

Remember, my brother, that faith is the hand that holds it up. Whatever weakens faith, down it goes. I have sometimes felt inclined to ask the question, how is it possible that Satan can be af fected so much by text of Scripture? How can it so affect him? And sometimes I have been led out of one depth into another, to answer that question; and one of the ways in which I conceive it occurs is, when the saints of God, as poor, simple, dependent creatures, armed only with God's Word, leaving for a time comforting

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themselves in their safety, come in God's strength; and then he And feels and hates the truth, and hates all connected with it. in proportion as a man has acting faith, he does oppose Satan, and effectually oppose him too. But, beloved, there is one point that ought never to be overlooked, which is this-when you and I are arming ourselves by the power of the Spirit of God with God's sword to engage Satan and the hosts of Satan, the cause is no longer our cause, but God's cause; we have put the case into His hand, and it When you and is no longer ours, but His, and He conquers for us. I put our case into our Father's hand, it ceases to be our cause, it is His cause; and then we conquer-He conquers in us.

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But oh! forget not that the great truth of all truths, that ever prevails against our enemies, is the precious, precious blood of Christ. Observe the statement in the twelfth chapter of the Revelation-and with that I will conclude. "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels" (Michael there may set forth Christ, though I dare not say in that passage that it is so)-" Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world : he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused And they overcame him by them before our God day and night. the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." And that is the great truth whereby you and I shall overcome him. We want our hearts more steeled against the things of time, more to have the victory over indwelling sin; we want to see more power against our corruptions, both within and without: we want to live on the blood of Christ. May God the Spirit help you and me so to do-for I believe by that blood we shall overcome; and to a Triune God shall be equal glory for ever.



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Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance."—Ephesians vi. 18.

OUR subject is drawing to its close. The apostle had laid before them the whole of the spiritual armour of the Christian man. We have considered the "girdle of truth;"* the "breastplate of righteousness;"t the preparedness of spirit, which is compared to "sandals," which the Gospel, when truly felt, doth give unto a man; we have considered the "shield of faith,§ that is able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one;" we have looked at the hope of salvation, that bright and glorious "helmet" that protects the head and saves the soul of a man; we have looked at the "sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." And now the great and tremendous question presents itself, What is all this armour for? What is it all to us? Have we it? Is it on us? Are we using it? Oh! it is not a question for the pulpit, so much as it is for a near prospect of the coffin. Dying hours unfold to a man what is the hope of his soul; let not you and me wait for them-let nothing satisfy us but the clear, inward, spiritual, scriptural witness, that all these things are ours. And if there be any misgiving in any of our souls-I dare to say there is many of your souls-as ye think of the "girdle," as ye think of the "breastplate," as ye think of the "sandals," as ye think of the " shield," as ye think of the "helmet," and as ye think of the "sword"-I would say, give your souls the benefit of that question. My dear hearers, it is one thing to appear to be a Christian; it is one thing to talk as a Christian; it is one thing to write as a Christian; it is one thing to preach as a Christian; and it is another thing to be a Christian.


The subject prepares us for the solemn words of this text: "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance." We intend to consider this subject in this two-fold point of view: first, generally, what stress is laid on prayer in God's Word; and secondly, what is the especial stress that is laid on it in the passage before us.

I. With regard to the first point: that there is immense stress laid

See ante No. 382. † See ante No. 386. § See ante No. 390. See ante No. 391.

VOL. XI.-No. 393.-July 10, 1845.

See ante No. 389.
See ante No. 392.

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on prayer in God's Word. It is the first clear evidence of a work of grace. A man may talk, a man may write, a man may have zeal, he may cut off many of his gross sins, he may be addicted to his party, he may have notional views of truth, he may have fancied enjoyments; but does he pray? It is the first manifest proof of a work of grace in his soul. "Behold, he prayeth," said the Lord, when speaking of Paul to Ananias-" Behold, he prayeth!" It is the great means whereby all the blessings of salvation are brought to the soul of a man: "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." It is the peaceful path, in which, so far as you and I walk we shall find happiness and peace. "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." I would say, so far as you and I walk in that path we shall find it to be a happy path. Such stress does the Word of God lay on prayer, that it commands the most ungodly sinner to pray. wonder that truth does not make its way more in the hearts of men. How came Peter to tell Simon Magus to pray? What! was it mere carnal prayer? Show me where carnal prayer is ever asked for. What is carnal prayer? It shows, beloved, how much that soul is driven in argument, that ever betakes itself to such a shelterless refuge. God commanded, by His servant, Simon Magus to repent and to pray; so I would lay great stress on it-that there is no man but He commands him in His Word to pray. It is addressed to backsliders of the very worst description; He commands them to pray too. So in the fourteenth of Hosea, I read, (Israel and Ephraim were full of their adulteries,) "O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto Him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips."


It is common to the whole family of God, under all their circumstances, in every change of frame and position, yet still to pray. However depressed, however tempted, however harassed-and we know what that means-yet to be silent is only to aggravate our misery. Was it not so when David was silent? Nothing is more obvious than his misery. It is in the thirty-second Psalm and third verse-" When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long; for day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer." He was silent, and all this is but the effect. And in the deepest trial, there is not a depth, but as we are led to pray we can get beneath that depth of our trial. So in the hundred and

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