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temptation." This weapon ye find among the reft, Eph. vi. 18. "Praying always with all prayer and fupplication in the Spirit." This weapon Paul ufed, when a troop invaded him, and a neffenger from Satan attacked him; For this I befought the Lord thrice." The prayerlefs man is a vanquished man: but as long as a man can pray in faith and in the Spirit, he is armed against the devil and his troops. It is beft wreitling against fin and Satan, fighting on our knees; but cease praying, and victory is gone.
5. They overcome by the blood of Chrift, in a special manner; They overcame by the blood of the Lamb," Rev. xii. 11. This is the principal weapon, without which, the rest are ufelefs. It is the blood of Chrift that fatisfies juftice, purchases victory, cleanfeth from all fin, and washes away enemies as a flood. It is the blood of Chrift that poifons the old ferpent, and deftroys Satan's power: when Satan bruifed the heel of the woman's feed, Chrift, the promised Seed, gave the ferpent's head a blow, as it were, with his bloody heel, and broke the devil's head therewith; for, By death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil."
6. They overcome by the word, which is the fword of the Spirit, Eph. vi. 17. Hence Chrift repels Satan ftill with this word, "It is written, it is written." See 1 John ii. 1. "I have written to you, young men, becaufe ye are ftrong, and the word of God abides in you; and ye have overcome the wicked one." Are ye affaulted with the troops of temptation? Then call to mind God's word of command, his word of threatening, his word of promife. You may do thus, and thus, fays Satan: no, but fay you, So and fo, hath God commanded. There is no harm, fays Satan: nay, but, fay you, So and fo hath God threatened. You will be nothing the better of your religion, fays Satan: nay, but, fay you, So and fo hath God promifed. Is fin and corruption ftrong? Then plead the promife, faying, as it is, 1 Kings i. 13. "Haft thou not faid that Solomon fhall reign? and, behold Adonijah hath ufurped the throne." Thus they overcome.
These two weapons, the blood of Chrift, and the
SER. CXIX. word, are joined together, Rev. xii. 11. "They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their teftimony." By cleaving zealoufly to the caufe of truth, they were helped to convince their beholders, and confound their enemies, to confirm their friends, and fo overcome the troop of oppofers.
2dly, When they overcome, or in what refpects they may be faid to overcome at last. Thefe fix things are here imported.
1. The partial victory they obtain in time, fo as they get day about, as it were, with the enemy, when the Lord returns to them, and faith gets up its head, and their fpiritual armour is exercifed.
2. The final and full victory they obtain at death and judgment, when, as the laft enemy to be destroyed is death; fo death itfelf fhall be fwallowed up in victory. They fhall overcome at laft, it imports,
3. A gradual victory; or that to which they come by various degrees, rifings and fallings, hopes and fears; yet by little and little, as the Lord drove out the Canaanites before Ifrael.
4. A difficult victory, that is not obtained till the laft, after much ado; for, The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force." They muft force their way all along to the very laft. It imports,
5. A myfterious victory, wherein they conquer, even when conquered; and by being overcome, do overcome as Chrift, by death, defiroyed death; fo they, by being conquered, do conquer; when, by their foils, they are excited to fight more couragioufly; and by their falls they are made more circumfpect, more humble, tender, warry, and watchful. Thus they overcome at the laft.
6. It imports a certain victory in the iffue; He shall vercome at the laft, however uncertain at first, it feems to be; yea, and not only dubious, but desperate-like, when troops of enemies overcome them; yet he that promises the victory will give it to them, and make them afcribe it only to him, faying, "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through Jefus Chrift, our Lord," I Cor. xv. 57.
In a word, they may be faid to overcome at last, when, however weak, yet, out of weakness they are made ftrong, Heb. xi. 34. When, after grievous dashes, they recover new ftrength; and fo go from ftrength to ftrength, till they appear before the Lord in Zion, Pfalm lxxxiv. 7. When, in extremity, they are helped, with furprising auxiliaries from heaven, fo that it may be faid, JEHOVAH JIREH, In the mount of the Lord it fhall be feen, the Lord will provide." When, in the heat of the battle, the Lord makes him felf known by his ancient name, "JEHOVAH-NISSI, The Lord their banner." When he thews himself a prefent help in time of trouble, when all other helps and affiftance is gone: "For the Lord fhall judge his people, and repent himself for his fervants, when he feeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up or left," Deut. xxxii. 36. When, tho' the enemy prevails, yet they keep the field; and when, tho' they lofe many battles, yet they gain the war. Then, and in thefe refpects, they may be faid to overcome at last.
III. The third thing propofed was, To offer the grounds of the doctrine. And here alfo, there are two things to be evidenced; 1. Why a troop fhall overcome them. 2. Why they shall overcome at laft.
1ft, Why it is fo ordered of God, that his people, while on earth, fhould be thus foiled, defeat, and overcome?
1. It is fo ordered, for the honour of God's perfections. That his wifdom may appear in leading them through the midst of their enemies: his power, in enabling their dead men to rife and regain the conqueft, and overleap a wall his faithfulness, in bringing them through fire and water to a wealthy land, according to his word: and his goodness, in not fuffering them to be tempted above what they are able, nor always trampled upon.
2. It is fo ordered, for the exercife of their graces, and of their spiritual arms; yea, he fuffers them to be defeated, notwithstanding their arms, that they may learn not to truft to their graces and borrowed armour, but to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
3. It is to make their victory the more remarkable, and their heaven the more fweet, where they fhall fing an eternal nov a fong of victory over all their enemies; and that while they are by the way, every new victory they obtain may be the more fweet, glorious, and wonderful; when, after they were dafhed and conquered, they become conquerors.
4. It is fo ordered, that there may be a conformity between them and their head, their Captain; for, they are predeftinated to be conformed to his image, both in fufferings and glory. Now, he was made perfect thro' fuffering: by death he overcame death; by being overcome, he overcame.
5. It is fo ordered, to make them humble and dependent; humble in the sense of their own weakness, while they cannot ftand before the enemy without being foiled and overcome; the devil, the world, and corruption being too ftrong for them; and that they may learn to live a life of faith and dependence upon their powerful
6. Hence it is thus ordered, to help their memory; Pfalm lix. 11. "Slay them not, left my people forget." Slay not the enemy, fays God, but rather let them flay and overcome, left my people forget their prayers, and forget my promife, and forget what they have ado for me, and what I have ado for them; left they forget to watch, and wait, and keep under my ftandard.
2dly, Why they fhall overcome at last. Their victory is fure.
1. Because their Head has overcome; their Captain hath conquered all their enemies, and spoiled principalities and powers, and made a fhow of them openly, triumphing over them in his crofs, Col. ii. 15.; and he is exalted far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but alfo in that which is to come, Eph. i. 21. And therefore they may be convinced of judgment, and of victory, because the prince of this world is judged.
2. Because their Captain heads them, and goes before them in the van; "The breaker is come up before them: and their King shall pass before them, and the Lord on
the head of them," Mic. ii. 13. How can they but have fuccefs in the iffue, the angel of God going before them, as with Ifrael of old?
3. They fhall overcome at last, because the Captain follows them, and not only leads the van, but also brings up the rear; "Depart ye, depart ye; go ye out from thence; touch no unclean thing: go ye out of the midft of her; be ye clean that bear the veffels of the Lord, For ye fhall not go out with hafte, nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Ifrael will be your rear-ward," Ifa. lii. 11, 12.; that is, God will both lead their van and bring up the rear, fecuring them from enemies that either meet them, or follow them; for, With his favour will he compass them." God's prefence with his people, will be that to them, which the pillar of cloud was to Ifrael, both behind and before them. See Ifa. lviii. 8. "Thy righteousness fhall go before thee, and the glory of the Lord fhall be thy rear-ward.” Chrift, thy righteoufnefs, before thee, as thy van-guard; and the glory of God, Chrift, the rear-ward, in whom God's glory fhines, and on whom alone we can depend, when our fins purfue us, and are ready to take hold upon us, and when we are purfued by any other enemy.
4. They fhall overcome at laft, because their enemies are Chrift's enemies; Exod. xxiii. 22. "I will be an enemy to thine enemies, and an adverfary to thine adverfaries." The troops that overcome them are the troops of hell, that fight against the God heaven; and therefore they fhall not always prevail: "When God arifes, his enemies fhall be fcattered, Pfal. Ixviii. 1. Moab fhall be destroyed, becaufe he magnified himfelf against the Lord," Jer. xlviii. 42.
5. Because his honour is engaged; his glory is concerned. It is faid once and again, nay a fourth time, in the twentieth chapter of Ezekiel, He fought, or wrought for bis name's fake, ver. 4. 14. 22. 44. And, indeed, when his name and glory is concerned, he has more to life than they, in cafe they fhould not overcome at last; they would but lofe their life, their foul, their falvation; but, he would lofe his truth, his honour, his glory, which is infinitely greater: therefore, they fhall overcome at last. U 2