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unrighteousness, and themselves therein: so by and through the grace of God, we may see his wiles and delusions, and the rottenness of his cause, as also the unsafe and dangerous foundation of his building, though endeavouring unduly to support the same, by that which was always designed to destroy him and his kingdom, (i.e.) the holy scriptures. May all men judge in this : matter, whether that spirit which would bring, pick, and cull out a few verses, and some times a few words out of a verse, in order to make them speak contrary to the < whole scope and tenor, or tendency of the holy scriptures,
and to plant a belief that we shall never overcome sin and unrighteousness in this world, though they (i. e.) the holy scriptures all along exhort, and teach us to avoid sin and unrighteousness, and live a holy righteous life in this
present world; I say, may all mortals judge whether such a spirit can be of God, or whether it be not of, and from the father of lies: wherefore, if it be plainly proved, that there have been those who have overcome sin and satan, and that Christ repeatedly, and his holy apostles (he in them, and they in him) exhorted to fight against sin and the devil, who is the author of all sin; and Christ faithfully promising most sweet and gracious rewards to those who shall overcome, in order to encourage the spiritual warrior to a faithful perseverance, and resisting of sin and satan : then it is hoped that satan will be wounded, his kingdom shaken, and this evil destructive principle, in some measure laid waste in some poor soul or souls, into whose hands these may come.
1st. Then beginning with the great apostle of the gentiles, (a notable soldier in the Lamb's spiritual war)“ I have (says he) fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all those that love his appearing." And if this be not encouragement, what is ? He also saith, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Here is example, exhortation, and encouragement, with experience.
2d. Another of the apostles, John, in his first epistle, chapter ii. verse 13th, is positive, that those young men he writes to, had already overcome the wicked one. “I write unto you (says he) young men, because you have overcome the wicked one." And in the 14th verse he repeats it again, as though he would doubly and deeply imprint it in their minds, “I have written unto you young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one." Here were young men, who were truly valiant and noble, to wage war with the wicked one. If it was possible for them, why is it not possible for us also ? Oh! that our young men of this generation, would take those young men for their examples, to make war with the wicked one, and truly endeavour to pull down his kingdom. It is worth our notice, that those young men had the word of God abiding in them; by this sword of the Spirit they overcame, by it they were cleansed, by taking heed to walk according to its directions, as it is written, " Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his ways? By taking heed thereto, according to thy word.” The great reason why young men are overcome, instead of overcoming, is their heedlessness to, and of the word; for not. withstanding their bones be full of marrow, and their veins full of blood, and nature strong, having many temptations to sin and evil; yet, by taking heed to the word, they might be reformed : and through the immediate power and strength thereof, may overcome the wicked one. So here were young men who actually overcame sin and satan, that this holy servant of Jesus wrote to, by way of encouragement. Is the arm of the Lord shortened ? Surely no. It is true, mortals are short in their duty, but not the Almighty in his holy arm of power, nor his dear Son, in his unparalleled love, and most pure doctrine; whose doctrine shall be set down, as the Spirit endited it to the seven churches in Asia. First, to the church of Ephesus. Secondly, to the church of Smyrna. Thirdly, to the church of Pergamus. Fourthly, to the church of Thyatira. Fifthly, to the church of
urdis. Sixthly, to the church of Philadelphia. Seventh; to the church of Laodicea. First, To the church of Ephesus. “He that hath an r to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the urches: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of e tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of od.” Rev. ii. 7. Here is an excellent promise and -ssed encouragement to such as believe, and are faith1, and are desirous to fight in the Lamb's war against 1 and satan : the same apostle gives a description of is tree of life, in the abovesaid book; “ That it bears elve manner of fruits, and bears its fruits every month, d its leaves are for the healing of the nations ;” which ystically points at Christ, who is faithful in his precis promises and doctrine, and has that virtue in him, at, through faith, will heal the nations of their wounds pich sin hath given them. Those who continually eat
the tree of life, shall live forever ; but a flaming sword il turn every way, to keep the unbelieving sinner from
none in a state of sin and disobedience can come to joy the paradise of God. The above is an excellent omise to all those who overcome sin, and the devil, 10 is the author of it. Secondly, To the church of Smyrna : “ He that hath
ear to hear, let him hear what the spirit saith to the urches : He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the cond death :" Rev. ii. 11. Which is that eternal death hich is in hell, or that lake of fire which burns forever, here the worm never dieth, and the fire never goeth out. his holy warfare is certainly a fighting for life, against ernal death and hell; which is of much greater conseience than natural life and death. Oh! fight for your ves against sin and satan, against pride and vanity, and I manner of wickedness; put on the whole armour of ght; look unto God, through Christ the victorious Pamb, that you may be saved from the eternal lake of re, and not be hurt of the second death. Oh! may we now a dying daily to sin, to the world, the flesh, and he devil, that we may live unto God, through faith in is dear Son Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, To the church of Pergamus: “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna ; and I will give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it.” Rev. ii. 17. Here are four excellent promises to him that overcometh, the Lord opens his treasury of life, and of wisdom, in order to invite souls to the mighty battle of the Lamb, who is not like the princes of this world, who sometimes promise great things to their soldiers or followers, and do not perform ; but God's promises are all yea and amen for
The first promise is, “To eat of the hidden manna :" the children of Israel eat manna, (outwardly) as it is written, in the wilderness, and are dead; but those who eat of this hidden manna, this angel's food, who are hid with God in Christ, these shall never die : (i. e. spiritually) for his hidden manna is the flesh and blood of the Son of God, who said, “ Except ye eat my flesh, and drink my blood, ye have no life in you.” John vi. 31.49, 50, 51, &c.
Second promise is, “ To have a white stone;" this stone is Christ, who is the chief corner stone of God's building or church, the New-Jerusalem, which the wise letter-learned master-builders set at nought; but he is the head of the saint's building or corner, and a holy precious stone, the elect or chosen of God, the gift of God, to all those who truly believe, and overcome' sin, as he did ; and as it is written, “ If he give us his Son, shall he not with his Son give us all things ?” There is abundance of talk and writing about the philosopher's stone; but this white stone (which is the gift of God to those who overcome sin and satan) is the true philosopher's stone. (A philosopher is a lover of wisdom, and Christ is the wisdom of God :) this stone will certainly do miracles for them that have it, through the virtue of its power, it will procure joy in tribulation, patience in afflictions, health in sickness, riches in poverty, strength in weakness, liberty in bonds, and to sum up all (which indeed is a great sum) life in death.
Third promise, “ And in the stone a new name:" how ny gay sparks and beaus would do abundance to gain nour, or a name among men ? Nothing is dear to them this world, neither their estates, nor the nearest relan they have in the world, so that they may gain a ne here below; no, not even their own lives; but, Oh! Imortals know the virtue of this name, and were they in te with it, then the world, and all its fading beauty and Liity, would be nothing to them in comparison of this me, which is better than the names of sons of worldly pry, and maids or daughters of honour; for those outrd names are fading, viz. To-day a king, a prince, a ke, an earl, a lord, a knight, and (has been, and may
again) to-morrow on the scaffold: but this name ich the King of kings giveth those who overcome sin d satan, is a name which will outlast time, and endure eternity. Fourth promise is, “ That it should be secret, (only the world) but surely known to him that hath it." reat men, when their acts and titles of honour are azoned abroad in the world, they have many enemies any ways, who envy them; and yet some are so vain
to love grandeur and popularity, notwithstanding; 1 it he that hath a name which Christ gives, so long as
is sensible of it in himself, he is therewith satisfied. Now as this is the portion (and more which is hereter mentioned) of those who overcome the wicked ne, then, on the contrary, what will become of those ho live and delight in sin, and are daily overcome with ? For the holy scriptures are positive “ That the ricked, with all those that forget God, shall be turned ato hell.” This is the determinate will of God; and hat we may take the more notice of it, to observe and o his will, he hath caused it to be written down in the "anguage of the Holy Spirit, in the holy scriptures of ruth, which are of no private interpretation, but naked nd open to mean capacities. The holy scriptures are not to be interpreted to the private interest of any parcicular person or set of persons only; but are a general