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This brings me to the fourth head of discourse-THE END OP THIS MANIFESTATION—to destroy the works of the devil. Did Satan dishonour God ? Certainly he did, you say. Christ came to destroy the dishonouring service of Satan by honouring God. However God might be by the work of Satan, he is honoured by Jesus Christ in the salvation of a spiritual race, or the elect of God. Did Satan disgrace God's law by breaking it and misleading others to break it? Christ has honoured that law, he is “ the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” He has satisfied the demand of God on behalf of us who had dishonoured his law, and in reference to Satan who has disgraced it.
Has Satan destroyed the government of God in the world? To a great extent he has : many of us see it, and it is a painful sight. Our relatives, our dearest and best friends are given up to the service of the wicked one; and Satan seems so far to have destroyed the government of God in the world, that even many of us have in our own families sharp experience because of our attachment to the truth of God's word, and the doctrines of our holy religion ; and we experience what our Saviour said should be the case—“A man's foes shall be those of his own household,” and that he “ came not to send peace on earth, but a sword.” Nation is rising against
and we see, as it were, men rioting upon the destruction of men ; one human being living to the gratification of self at the expense of the misery of another; and there is such a diversified manifestation of the ruinous, destructive power of Satan, that we are ready to conclude there are very few vestiges left of the government of God in the world. But yet if Satan has disturbed the government, it is said with respect to Christ that “the government is laid on his shoulders," and that “his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” I know with respect to the wicked they will not acknowledge this ; but what will they think when I assert that they are constituted and made a means of promoting God's glory: that even Satan in his self-destroying power, and the wicked in their self-gratifying propensities, all are overruled by a wise and powerful God for the advancement of his glory and the salvation of them that are his, that the government of Christ is established on the earth, and Satan shall not by any means destroy it?
Thus Satan appears continually engaged in the establishment of his kingdom, and Christ engaged in pulling it down. I might run
through all the particulars to which I have called your attention, as to Christ being said to be made our peace, our strength, our beauty, and so on : Satan has cursed us- Christ has saved us : Satan has effaced Christ from our hearts; the Holy Spirit impresses his image on our souls. Hence you see that this is all accomplished for us by virtue of Christ's death ; so that our sins and iniquities are entirely removed from the book of God's remembrance by the precious blood of Christ. We are assured, where the Holy Spirit has enabled us to experience the application of the word to our own souls, that Christ has overcome Satan and destroyed his works, to promote our happiness and eternal glory. It was his Father's will that this should be the case ; and hence it is that he was sustained in it. His love for his people enabled him to persevere in the arduous work: and the divine purposes would have been frustrated if Jesus Christ had not succeeded in the undertaking.
And what shall I say by way of conclusion? I know, as I said before, I cannot change your hearts ; that is out of my power: although we talk of application, we know at the same time it is the province of the Spirit to do this. But I would say, See the independent Deity of Jesus Christ. Could a mere man have overcome Satan, such as I have represented him to you? Could a mere man have atoned for the sins of so many millions composing God's church? Could a mere man have sustained the weight of iniquity which Christ sustained ? Could a mere man have fulfilled God's divine law? Hence it was necessary that Christ should be perfect God and man in order to the accomplishment of this wonderful salvation, which it is our privilege to enjoy here, and hope to participate eternally hereafter.
See how the love of God the Father hath appeared unto men. Could he have exhibited it in any way more calculated to direct our affection towards him? Could there have been
exhibition of the love of God like to this? Do not the Scriptures say that “ a man may die for his friend;” but “ God commendeth his love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”
See the exceeding love of Christ. You cannot get an exhibition of it from any other quarter. You may read the writing of all the sages that have lived; you may dip into all the works of theology that have been written ; you may hear all the sermons which have been preached ; all are incapable of giving you an exhibition of God's love equal to that which the Spirit gives, when he shows you: Jesus Christ as a Saviour.
Consider the designation of sin in this passage—the works of the devil-and I ask if you will adhere to it? Whose servant art thou, O sinner? The servant of the devil. Whose work dost thou do? Thou art doing the devil's work. Is thy situation an honourable one, and enviable? Is it any thing of which thou canst boast ? Thou art the servant of the devil, and doing the work of the devil ; and thou shalt live with the devil hereafter, if not brought to believe in Christ. It is not merely a departure from some rule of morality-not merely defects in conversation or practice ; but thou art engaged in the service of the worst master, the most dishonourable being in the universe of God—the most hateful, debased, and accursed: every thing that language can express I would append to the designation of him whose servant thou art. Canst thou live in it? Canst thou continue in it? Art thou determined to go away to-night with an intention to fulfil thy desires in the gratification of sin ? If this is thy determination, go thy way; but remember that the end of thy way is deatheverlasting death.
See the blessed state and condition of believers. The works of the devil are destroyed in reference to him: there is “no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus”—those who
themselves to be such—because they " walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” All their sins are forgiven, for Christ has pardoned them; they are sanctified or set apart by the Father. They are “ complete in Christ Jesus," and looked upon as without a spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing :” the works of the devil, and the works of themselves, all that they have done, are entirely remitted to them, and they are enabled to experience in the reception of Christ that they are one with God by faith in Christ, and shall live and reign with him eternally hereafter.
My dear hearers, let me impress upon you this subject : when you return home to-night consider what you have heard, and propose this question to yourselves—Shall I for the time to come live in the service of God, and rely on Jesus Christ and the finished work of salvation wrought out by him, and be blessed with everlasting blessedness? May God the Holy Spirit enable you to decide of the Lord that you may live in the enjoyment of the peace of God here, and that we may have the happiness of seeing you in
heaven hereafter, that we may cast our crowns at the feet of Jesus Christ, and say, “Thou art worthy, for thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”
is to ople,
BELIEVERS COMPLETE IN CHRIST.
REV. J. SHERMAN,
SURREY CIIAPEL, OCTOBER 25, 1835.
“Ye are complete in him.”—COLOSSIANS, ii. 10.
One would suppose, my brethren, that in apostolical days there would be enough to warn the church that she should not receive new doctrines or false teachers. We, naturally enough, think that the influence which accompanied their messages to their congregations, the numerous converts which were made to their ministrations, and the simplicity and truth with which their testimony was delivered, were enough to assure their hearers that they were from God, and that therefore the message which they brought must necessarily be attended to. Yet such was the love of novelty, such the “ itching ears, such the wandering of men's minds, that the apostles themselves could not please some people. They were often, the apostle tells us, “ in peril amongst false brethren ;” and we are assured, from his fellow-apostles, they were in peril among erring brethren, weak brethren. It required, therefore, the utmost watchfulness on their part, as well as the most tender and pathetic exhortations, especially with regard to the weak of their flock, to keep them from the dissimulation of those who would preach “ another Gospel.”
This was necessary even in the Colossian church- a church that was much beloved of Paul, and dear to his heart; so that he had to exhort them to “ beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Some of these preachers preached philosophy; that is, they endeavoured to reduce the truths of the Gospel to the false rules of their philosophy, and followed those men who were fond of their own talents and endowments. Thus they put mere eloquence in the place of Christ, and philosophy in the place of the simple truths of the Gospel. They could not endure to hear plain truth in plain language, but it must be