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sources of his own, or his fellow creatures. As Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go · against this Philistine to fight with him, for thou cart but a youth, and he a man of war from his • youth :' so every believer knows himself to be a bruised reed, which every foot may easily crush ; and his spiritual enemies to be more in number than the hairs of his head, each of whom hath slain its thousands. What can he do but look to the mighty God of Jacob for help? Knowing that every day, in which he is upheld in the exercise of the functions of Divine life, he is a monument of almighty grace and power; and that his continuance in the faith and hope of the gospel, is as great a proof of the interference of Omnipotence, as though a mill-stone were suspended in the atmosphere without a prop, or a spark of fire were kept alive in the very midst of the raging sea. Surely, if the reader does not perceive the necessity of a daily importunate use of this petition, it is because he is a stranger to "himself, and his true conclition ; because he is not yet engaged in the spiritual warfare against the devil, the world and the flesh; because he is living in amity with the enemies of his soul's salration. He may be compared to the Syrian ar"my, which, being smitten with blindness, was led by the Prophet into the midst of Samaria ; and fancied themselves in perfect security, when they were surrounded by the walls and weapons of their enemies, and wholly in their power.'* Very melancholy is the situation of such persons. A poisonous serpent is cherished in their bosoms, and they are strangers to fear. Their house is on fire, and they are insensible to danger. The cordial use of the prayer before us is a striking characteristic of a christian, which distinguishes him from all others. The unawakened mind is conscious neither of danger without, nor weakness within. If duty is proposed, it thinks itself equal to the undertaking; it discerns none of the difficulties of the Christian life ; and therefore it can go on securely from day to day, without any lively aspiration after pardon for the past, or grace for the future. Whereas the genuine be. liever sees his danger, and knows his own imbecility ; and therefore like the Canaanitish woman, he cries • Lord help me! When he rises in the morning, or commits himself to rest at night; when he engages either in worldly business or religious duty ; in short, when he is placed in any supposed situation whatever, he knows his own inability, to think and act right, but so far as he derives help from above.

We are taught to pray, not for absolute deliverance from assaults of our enemies, but for den fence in them ; because it is oftentimes for the glory of God, and the profit of his servants that they should be assaulted. Such assaults are graciously permitted for the trial of their faith " which being much more precious than of gold

* 2 Kings, vi. 18, &c.

that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, will • be found unto praise, and honor, and glory, at * the appearing of Jesus Christ.'

Trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, and various kinds of adversity, are necessary for the purification of the children of God : and therefore it is written, whom the Lord loveth, He chasten.eth ; and scourgeth every son, whom He re

ceiveth.' Were we 6 without chastisement, *Whereof all are partakers, we should be bas<tards and not sons.' And, as inward affliction is necessary for our profit that we may become

partakers of His holiness,' so is temptation al80. For, as the approach of an earthly enemy drives the straggling soldiers into their garrison ; so the assaults of our spiritual enemies add speed to the pace of those, who are flying for refuge to the hope set before them in the gospel. How precious is Christ to the tempted soul! The • name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous,' in the time of trial, runneth into it, and

is safe. Since our Heavenly Father sees it right to permit us to remain in a state of trial, we must not pray to be taken out of it, but to be

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preserved from the evil :* that we may be enabled by His grace to bear the amictions He lays on us to His glory and our own advantage ; and that, « when the enemy cometh in like a flood, threatening to overwhelm us, the spirit of the • Lord may lift up a standard against him.'

We not only pray for exemption from danger, but also from the distressing apprehension of it : even, that we may not fear the power of any

adversaries.' For since their power is great, we should spend our days in anxious dread, had we no assurance of safety from above. Surely those persons, who have never trembled at a review of the hostile band, are in a dead stupor ; like Jonah who was asleep in the sides of the ship, when every other heart shook with horror. The believer, who knows, by experience, their rage, subtilty, and malice, will pray for deliverance from that • fear, which hath torment ;' lest his mind should be so enervated by its baneful influence, as to be incapable of fighting the good • fight of faith ;' and lest those days should be employed in groundless apprehensions, which should be filled up in communion with God, and obedience to his will. And, as it is only through faith that deliverance from evil, and from the fear of it, can be experienced, the soldiers of Christ

* Johp xvii. 15.

nly be

make it the subject of their earnest request, that their faith may be strengthened ; that they may be enabled surely to trust in God's defence.' It can only be through God's defence that we are for a moment safe from ruin : and it can in proportion to our faith in His protection, that we are for a moment exempt from fear. When David went forth against Goliah, had he considered his own weak and unarmed condition, he must have trembled at the prospect of the unequal contest. But faith excluded fear from his bosom, • Thou comest to me' (says the faithful stripling to the vaunting champion of Philistia) with a

sword, and with a spear, and with a shield : but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, • the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast • defied.' The issue of the combat is well known. • So Jet all Thine enemies perish, O Lord ; but • let them that love him be as the sun, when he • goeth forth in his might !**

The great object of faith, as recommended to us in this collect, is the might of Jesus Christ • our Lord.' For He, the once despised Nazarene, is the mighty God.'t This is our consolation, that greater is He that is for us than all who are against us. He, who once sat down, ,

* Judges v. 31.

+ Isaiah ix. 6.

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