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world, with a religion to which the world of mankind were wholly opposed ; and with doctrines calculated to bring this opposition into exercise, and to stir up all the powers of darkness against them. . In these circumstances how unequal was the contest? what prospect was there that they would succeed, except to an eye of faith? Nor are present prospects, to an eye of sense, essentially different. The carnal heart is still the same, and the gospel is the same a stumbling-block and foolishness to worldly men. “The heathen still rage, and the people imagine a vain thing—the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed ; saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. But he that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, and the Lord shall have them in derision."
This leads us,
II. To consider the reasons, on which our confidence may be grounded, that these babes shall finally prevail and triumph over all opposition.
And here I would observe,
1. That the promises, which God hath made, are an ample ground of confidence, God is able, out of the mouth of babes, to perfect strength; and he has pledged his faithfulness that he will do it. He has promised, that the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head--that he will build up his church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. He says, by the prophet Isaiah, “ No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper-behold, all they that be incensed against thee, shall be ashamed and confounded. Fear not, thou 'worm Jacob, I will help thee, saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the holy one of Israel-thou shalt thresh the mountains and beat them small, and thou shalt rejoice in the
Lord, and glory in the holy one of Israel.” Proa mises of this nature, are to be found in almost every page of the sacred scriptures.
2. Past and present experience is another ground of confidence.
There have been numerous instances in which these babes, when in the most unpromising circumstances, contrary to all human probability, have received strength, to triumph over the most formidable opposition. Christ himself, when he came into the world, in the unpromising situation which has been described, had strength to confound his enemies ; even in death he conquered, and led captivity captive, and will reign, till all liis enemies shall be made his footstool. His disciples and apostles also, when they went forth to preach his gospel to an opposing world, were enabled by the power of God, which was made perfect in their weakness, to confound the enemy and avenger, and to spread the triumphs of the cross. All the conquests of the Alexanders and Cesars of the world shrink, in comparison with the conquests of these babes. In one age their line went out into almost every part of the habitable world ; wherever they went they overturned idolatry, shook the foundation of Satan's kingdom, and built up the kingdom of God upon its ruins. Nor at the present day does God leave himself without witness. In the most unlikely places, and by the weakest means, the most obstinate enemies and despisers of Jesus have been brought to bow at his name. Where the standard of the avenger and enemy lately stood, and bid bold defiance to the captain of our salvation, the baner of his cross now waves, and thousands flock to it. The number of the babes, and their confidence in God is increased!, while the enemy are weakened. And thus it will continue to be, from time to time, until that day of God's power arrive, when all his elect people shall be gathered in and made willing--when
converts shall exceed the drops of the morning dew, and the enemy and avenger be confounded and put to eternal shame. The reasons on which we found our hope and confidence of all this, as we have suggested, are, the promises of God, with the past and present experience he has given of his faithfulness and power.
III. To consider the manner, in which strength is perfected out of the mouth of babes; or the peculiar, way in which the church are enabled to withstand opposition and still the enemy.
I would here observe, that the way in and by which strength is perfected out of the mouth of babes is, principally, by prayer; by a bold and consistent confession of the name of Christ ; and by faithfully preaching the gospel. Hence the reason and propriety of the phraseology of our text : “ Out of the mouth of babes, hast thou ordained strength.”
1. One peculiar way in which the people of God are enabled to withstand opposition, and become instrumental of stilling the enemy, is by prayer.
Christ himself, when on earth, opposed the enemy in this way. He was much in prayer for himself and his disciples, and for all who were given to him of the Father. His prayers were prevalent, and all the schemes of the enemy and avenger, relative to his death and the destruction of the church, were disconcerted. All the followers of Christ endeavor to imi. tate him in this example, and give themselves unto prayer. The efficacy of prayer in building up the cause of God-in obtaining deliverance and mercies for the church and for individuals, and strengthening them for the Christian warfare, is wonderful. Under all distresses, from within and without, the children of God have, in every age, found relief, and been made strong by the power of God. All, therefore,
who have a spirit of prayer', are safe, whatever apparent danger arise ; because they have power to prevail with God, and to overcome the world. God hath promised to the seed of Jacob, that they shall not seek him in vain. And his address to Jacob, when he had wrestled with the angel, is applicable to all, who have a true spirit of prayer. “ Thou hast power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”
2. Another way, in which the friends of Jesus are enabled to still the enemy, is by a bold and consiste ent confession of the name of Christ, before men.
Everyone who makes a public confession of Christ, or a profession of faith in him, joining to his people, and observing his ordinances and commands, honors the cause, bring's an accession of strength to it, and proportionably weakens the cause of the enemy and avenger. It must, however, be a consistent confession. The language of the life, must accord with the language of the mouth. There must be, also, a continuance in professing Christ and espousing his cause; upon all proper occasions ; even in a time of danger; and a readiness to contend earnestly for the faith of the gospel, when attacked by cnemies.
Christ himself witnessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate. And he requires of all his followers, that they be ready to confess him before men, although it should be at the risque of life. And when he warned his disciples, that they should be carried before kings and princes for his sake, he added, I. will give you a mouth, that none of your adversaa ries shall be able to stand before it.
We have an eminent instance of the fulfilment of this prediction, and of strength thus perfected out of the mouth of babes, in Acts, Chap. iv. The apostles being called before the Jewish rulers, to answer by what name they had healed an impotent man, with a view to ena trapping and confounding them, they readily witnes
sed the following noble confession : “ Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him, does this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner ; neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby ye must be saved." Here was strength to still the enemy ; for when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and took notice that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled they were confounded, and began to consult privately what they should do? expressing doubts, whether they should succeed in their opposition.
Instances of persecution for the truth, and acts of violence, are not so frequent, at the present day, although instances are not wanting. But attempts to : injure the cause of Christ, by sophistry, ridicule, and cavilling against the truth and against the preachers of it, are not wanting. False teachers also arise, and men of corrupt minds, who attempt to warp the minds of the unwary from the truth to their corrupt ways. Such, therefore, must be opposed, by “contending earnestly for the faith, once delivered unto the saints. In this way strength has often been perfected out of the mouth of babes, strength sufficient to still the enemy, silence their cavils, and more and more to increase the light, and establish the truth on an immovable foundation.
3. Another eminent and peculiar way, in which the disciples of Christ are enabled effectually to oppose the enemy, is by faithfully preaching the gospel.
In this way much has been donc, by the mouth of babes, to still the enemy, and build up the gospel kingdom. When Christ sent forth his apostles and ministers to conquer the world, and deliver it from the dominion of Satan, what were the weapons? They