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6. Because they have more for them than against them: their name is GAD, a troop; a company of two armies ; yea, they have many troops and regiments on their fide: and, if our eyes were open, according to Elifha's prayer, 2 Kings vi. 17. we might fee mountains full of chariots and horfes of fire, before the Ifrael of God. I will name ten regiments or (to keep by the words of the text) troops, they have upon their fide, by which they cannot fail to overcome at laft.
(1.) The greatest and ftrongeft is a troop of divine attributes furrounding them, as the mountains are about Jerufalem, Pfal. cxxv. 2. And hence, the place of their defence is faid to be the munition of rocks; attributes of God, like rocks of defence about them. It is under the fhadow of thefe attributes, they are fafe and victorious; for he fends forth his mercy and truth for that end: “Be merciful unto me, O God; be merciful unto me; for my foul trufleth in thee: yea, in the fhadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until thefe calamities be overpaft. He shall fend from heaven and fave me from the reproach of him that would fwallow me up: God fhall fend forth his mercy and his truth, Pfal. lvii. 1, 2. I am God allfufficient," fays God to Abraham; and fo to all his fpiritual feed. My wifdom, fufficient for your direction; my power, fufficient for your protection, &c. "My grace fhall be fufficient for thee; my ftrength fhall be made perfect in thy weaknefs." How can these that have fuch troops for them but overcome at last!
(2.) They have a troop of graces; namely, faith and all the reft, of which Chrift hath prayed that they fail not; "I have prayed for thee, fays Chrift to Peter, that thy faith fail not." And fo, he hath prayed that their hope fail not utterly; that their patience fail not; that their love fail not; that their graces fail not: therefore, corruption fhall fall before grace; "Sin fhall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law, but under grace." Under that grace of God, that is the fountain of all graces in them.
(3.) They have a troop of divine offices, and divine officers on their fide: Chrift, the chief Officer, clothed with all faving offices; whether general, as that of a Sa
viour, Redeemer, Friend, and Captain of falvation or particular, as Prophet, Prieft, and King; by whom they cannot but overcome at laft. And of under-officers, they have a guard about them, reprefented by Solomon's life guard about his bed; "Threefcore valiant men are faid to be about it, of the valiant of Ifrael. They all hold fwords, being expert in war: every man hath his fword upon his thigh, because of fear in the night," Song iii. 7, 8. Thefe officers, when faithful to their prince, and armed with the fword of the Spirit, and their feet fhod with the preparation of the gofpel of peace, are helped to defend the Lord's people from the fnares and corruptions of the times, and the troops of corrupt teachers, and corrupt judicatories.
(4.) They have a troop of faints and witneffes on their fide. Witnefling faints, in paft and prefent times; wit neffing faints, old and late, are fpoken of as helpers and encouragers in the holy war; as thofe fpoken of, Heb. xi. of whom it is faid, chap. xii. 1. "Wherefore, feeing we are compaffed about with fo great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay afide every weight, and the fin which doth fo eafily befet us, and let us run with patience the race that is fet before us; Looking, especially, unto Jefus, (that is, the head of the witneffing remnant) who, for the joy that was fet before him endured the crofs, defpifing the shame, and is fet down at the right-hand of the throne of God." Witneffing faints at prefent alfo, fo far as they are faithful witneffes for God, will be powerful wrestlers with him that shall prevail, and thro' God do valiantly.
(5.) They have a troop of angels on their fide; "The angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear him, and delivers them," Pfal. xxxiv. 6. What havock did one angel make in the camp of the Affyrians in one night, deftroying an hundred fourfcore and five thoufand: " they are all miniftring fpirits to the heirs of falvation, and deftructive fpirits to their enemies.
(6.) They have a troop of heavenly luminaries on their fide, whenever God pleafes to call them to the affiftance of his people; even as the flars in their courfes fought against Sifera. God has made fometimes the
ftars of heaven, the fun in the firmament, to fubferve the defign of his people's overcoming their enemies.
7. They have a troop of earthly creatures on their fide: God has fometimes raifed up an army of inferior defpicable creatures, frogs, lice, flies, and vermin; the molt inconfiderable like infects as a formidable troop to invade the enemies camp, and make Ifrael to overcome, as in Egypt; for, when their ways please the Lord, they are in league with the ftones of the field; and the beasts of the field are at peace with them, and at war with their enemies, Job v. 23. Deut. xxviii. 26, 27.
(8.) They have a troop or army of prayers on their fide, which God, the hearer of prayers, hath obliged himself to anfwer. Both the prayer of their High-prieft upon the throne, whom the Father hears always, and who hath prayed for Jerufalem, Zech. i. 12. and whom God anfwers with good words, and comfortable words, faying, "I am returned to Jerufalem with mercies, my houfe fhall be built in it," notwithstanding all oppofing enemies: and alf the prayers of his people, offered in the faith of acceptance through Chrift: these shall be anfwered, for the Lord hath faid it, Pfalm cii. 16, 17. "When the Lord fhall build up Zion, he will appear in his glory; he will regard the prayer of the deftitute, and not despise their prayer." As the prayer of faith hath power with God, fo this troop hath fometimes been terrible to his enemies; as to the Scots queen Mary, that was more afraid for John Knox's prayer, than for an army of ten thousand men.
(9.) They have a troop of promises to fide with them, and affure them, that they fhall overcome at laft: though they be overcome, yet it is promifed them, that they fhall overcome at laft: compare Rev. xiii. 7. "It was given him to make war with the faints, and to overcome them," with Rev. xvii. 14. "Thefe fhall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb fhall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with him, are called, and chofen, and faithful." It is promif ed, the Lamb fhall overcome them, and make his followers overcomers; and, "All the promises of God, are Yea and Amen in Chrift, to the glory of God:" and
therefore, this troop fhall overcome for them; "Heaven and earth fhall pass away, but not a jot or tittle of his word fhall fall to the ground."
(10.) They have a troop of providences, divine providences, however crofs in appearance to bring about their complete victory; for, All things fhall work together for good to them," Romans viii. 38.; even all the victories that the enemy, doth obtain over them: "All these things are against me," said Jacob; and yet they were working for him. All Joseph's troubles, and the afflictions that he met with, were but bringing about his advancement; and, fo all the foils and defeats that the believer meets with, contribute to his being victor at laft: even all the plots of hell, and rage of men and devils against Christ, contributed to bring about his triumphant victory; fo, all his people, however contradicted and conquered, fhall overcome at laft. Tho' a troop overcome them, yet having thefe numerous troops upon their fide, the final victory fhall be on their fide alfo.
IV. The next thing propofed was the application. If it be fo, as in the first branch of the doctrine, That the Ifrael of God, may for a time be foiled and defeat by troops of enemies and oppofitions, hence fee,
1. That the ftate of the church and children of God in this world, is not only a militant ftate, but may be a mastered state, may be conquered by their enemies within and without; Ifrael may be long in bondage to their enemies. Believers may be long under captivity to the law of fin and death; "I fee a law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of fin, which is in my members," Rom. vii. 23. Think it not a new or ftrange thing, to fee the cause and people of God oppressed and born down, vanquished and overcome.
2. Hence fee, it is no fmall oppofition that the Lord's people fhould lay their account with; A troop fall overcome him; importing, that confederate forces against them may be expected; "The kings of the earth may fet themselves, and the rulers of church and flate may take counsel together against the Lord, faying, Let us break U 4
their bands afunder, and caft their cords from us," Pfal. ii. 2, 3. See Pfal. lxxxiii. 1,—8.
3. Hence fee, that confederate powers against the people of God, may be conquering powers, for a time; they may gain the day for a while, and the Lord only knows how long. The Ifrael of God may be put to cry under the continued prevalence of inward corruption, and outward oppofition, as Pfal. xiii. 1, 2. "How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord, for ever? How long fhall mine enemy be exalted over me?"
4. Hence fee, that the true Ifrael of God are at the worst, but involuntary captives to their enemies, viz. fin, Satan, and the world of wicked men; but are never voluntary fubjects or fervants to them: Gad, a troop fball overcome him, against his will; he fhall never incorporate or be embodied with the troop, nor make league with the enemy. The doctrine of the falls and foils of believers, may be dangerous to the fecure, and a flone of ftumbling to them. Why, fay they, I am daily overcome by fin; daily mattered with corruption; my heart dead like a ftone in prayer; but, my blefling on the minifter, for he gives me hope, faying, Believers may be just like me; and fo I conclude myfelf among the number of believers, and hope to be faved as well as the beft: Alas! beware, man, left this kind of reafoning prove your fpot to be none of the fpots of God's children. The faints may be foiled, and fall before the enemy, but they will not ly in the puddle like the swine in the mire; but rather ftruggle like a fheep in the mire, reftlefs till relief and recruits come.
5. Hence fee the reafon of the variations and the changes in the believer's cafe and lot; a troop may overcome him, but he is overcome with a But. There is oppofition to oppofition in the cafe; and, as the enemy treads upon him; fo, fometimes he treads upon the enemy; and, by alternate turns, they defeat one another, fo as the issue seems dubious, and the poor believer fears, left, one day, he fall by the hand of Saul.
6. Hence fee matter of daily humiliation and exercife to the children of God, while they are here in this world, where they may expect, certainly, that a troop fhall o