Puslapio vaizdai



TEXT.-Eph. vi, 11. "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil." VARIOUS appropriate and beautiful emblems are made use of in the scriptures, by which to represent the nature of those labors through which the christian is called to pass while travelling through this transitory world.

We find the life of the christian represented as a journey, in which the traveller is seeking a better country, even a heavenly. It is also compared to a race run for a prize, in which those who engage run "not as uncertainly," like those that "beat the air"-but all who run are sure to win. But the christian's life is frequently brought forward under the figure of a warfare. The author of our text, exhorts Timothy, his son in the gospel, to "fight the good fight of faith." This great apostle, when he drew near the close of life, looked back upon former scenes and labors, and exclaimed with exultation, "I have 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.

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At another time, Paul asserts, that he had fought not barely with men, but with characters which he denominates beasts." "If after the manner of men," says he, " I have fought with beasts at Ephesus," &c. What the apostle here denominates "beasts," were doubtless those clamorous

and violent opponents whom he once encountered in the city of Ephesus, who, when Paul preached Jesus and the resurrection, cried out "our craft is in danger." By this means an uproar was soon raised among the people, so that they set up a great shout for about the space of two hours, and cried "great is Diana of the Ephesians.". Paul's voice was lost in the cry of the multitude. In the same manner, the voice of scripture, truth and reason is often drowned at the present day by the popular clamor.

Christ is called a "leader and commander" he is styled "the captain of salvation," and his followers are called "soldiers of Jesus Christ." Sinners are called upon by this leader to follow him. "If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.'


It appears to be the principal design in the preaching of the gospel to persuade sinners to enlist, or engage, in the service of this glorious and triumphant commander, and under him to go a campaign against the common enemy.

The aptness of the figure contained in the text appears from the following considerations: In the wars of this world, when soldiers are called upon to take the martial field to defend their country from the invasions of the hos tile foe, in order to be of any advantage to the cause in which they are to engage, it is necessary, in the first place, that they be properly armed and equipped-an unarmed soldiery would rather encumber than assist an army.

The same is the fact concerning the christian warfare. Those who are called upon to take the gospel field and fight under the captain of salvation, are required to come, having on "the whole armor of God.”

Again to carry on a war to advantage it is necessary that the enemy be distinctly known; the soldiers should know who the enemy is, and what is the amount of his

strength. These things being understood, soldiers will know how to dispose of their forces, and where to direct the attack. In the christian warfare it is also necessary, above all things, that the soldiers of Christ should have a fair understanding of the power and situation of the foe, with whom they are called to contend.

The apostle Paul, being a veteran of the cross, having fought many obstinate battles with the enemy, was therefore Acwell qualified to point him out and tell who he was. cordingly, in our text, he makes bold to expose the enemy and tell his very name. The name he gives him is "the Devil." This is the enemy, against whose wiles "the armor of God" will enable the christian soldier to stand.

Having thus given a brief sketch of the nature and objects of the christian warfare, we proceed to consider these more particularly, and by the way exhibit the doctrine of the text, which we repeat" Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil." By noticing with care three subjects mentioned in the text, the nature and design of the christian warfare will be distinctly seen. We shall notice

1st. The armor of God.

2d. The Devil the enemy against which we have to


3d. Some of the wiles of the Devil.

First, we are to notice the armor of God. What this armor consists of, may be learned from the succeeding context. The apostle is particular (as you will discover by casting your eye over the chapter,) to mention every essential article. Therefore," says he, "take unto yourselves the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." He then goes on from the fourteenth to the eighteenth verses, to

mention the equipments and weapons with which the soldiers of the cross ought to be armed.

The first he mentions is the girdle. Literally, a girdle is a part of a military equipment, and its use is to keep the soldier's dress or uniform close around him. It is also used to attach other implements to, or suspend them from.

Now the christian's girdle is truth: "having your loins girt about with truth." Without this article, the christian would appear naked indeed. Having nothing to bind his uniform to him, or to which to fasten his weapons, the enemy might easily strip him of his clothing and wrench his weapons from his hand. But truth possesses a mighty power. The enemy despairs of success, in his assault upon the christian, the moment he perceives that his antagonist is "girt about with truth." Satan cannot contend against truth; for it is an attribute of Jehovah, and is unalterable in its nature. The hosts of darkness may exert their utmost powers; but they cannot overthrow the truth of God. Let the christian be girt about with truth, and he may fairly bid defiance to all "the wiles of the Devil." The enemy may attempt to force his weapons from him-he may try to weaken his confidence in his God-he may tempt him to quit his strong hold, the castle of omnipotence; but being "girt about with truth," the soldier of Jesus will stand unmoved amidst the buffetings of Satan-unshaken in the day of fiery trial and temptation.

But what do we mean by being "girt about with truth?" This may be understood in a twofold sense :

In the first place, it may imply that the christian ought to be very careful, at all times, to speak the truth. Not that he is under obligations to reveal all the truth he knows on all occasions. It may be necessary for the christian's own good, and for the good of others, and for the ultimate

advancement of the cause of truth, some times to keep the truth to himself. Prudence alone must determine the times and places where truth may be safely spoken. Some there are, who do immense injury to the cause of gospel truth, by contending for it in a passionate, boisterous and improper manner, on improper occasions. Tumultuous assemblies, scenes of mirth, revelry and dissipation, are not the places to contend for the truth. The still small voice of wisdom can seldom be heard in the shoutings of a mob-neither contend for the truth, with an angry opponent. Foolish indeed it is to attempt to combat the storm, or grapple with the whirlwind. It would be unwise to cast costly pearls before swine, for they would be incapable of judging of their value, and instead of laying them up safely, would only trample them under their feet. In like manner, if you proclaim truth in a plain unwary manner, to those who are opposed to it, when they are angry, or in an improper condition to hear it, either through ignorance, prejudice or pride, they will put erroneous constructions on it, or else treat the same with neglect and contempt. But still, if the christian speaks at all, he is under an imperious obligation to speak the truth "in soberness." In pecuniary concerns, truth ought to be kept always in view by the christian. This ought to be his polar star, to direct him in all his intercourse with the world.

Nothing makes one's character more invulnerable to the shafts of malice and envy, than a rigid adherence to truth. On the other hand, if a man does not regard truth, and hold his word or promise sacred, his character stands on a slender foundation, whatever good deeds he may have done-or whatever amiable dispositions he may possess.

He who invariably speaks truth, who is never known to be guilty of a falsehood, will in all probability, have a com

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