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continue in their enmity against God and his people : " The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Yea, the greatest misery of all the wicked, that remain in a Christless state, lies in this, though they do not see it to be their misery, namely, that they are under the power of all the nations of hell, under the power of the devil and their lufts, and in league with the nations that oppose the true Israel of God, in their way to the heavenly Canaan.
4. Hence we may see the reason of the multiplied experiences of the believer, both fad and sweet; because the nations are cast out before him by little and little, and not utterly destroyed while he is here. Hence many fad tales he hath to tell of the nations compassing him about; iniquities prevailing against him; and lufts again and again, and a thousand times, stirring, and working, and warring, and overthrowing him, and treading upon him. And, on the other hand, notwithstanding all this, he hath many sweet tidings to narrate of the Lord's humbling and healing, convincing and converting him: many convictions, many conversions does he get from time to time; and the next conviction more deep than the former, and the next conversion more sweet than the former; and one conversion on the back of another, because of one defection on the back of another, through the power of the nations of hell within and without him. As a dying faint that was asked, when he was converted? said, 'He had been converted a hundred times:' fo, in this fenfe, it is possible fome believers, of long standing, may he. converted a hundred times, and a hundred too. That saints may need conversion, is plain from what Christ said to Peter, who was a saint, to When thou art converted, firengthen thy brethren.” Yea, every new conversion of the believer, may be more remarkable than another, while the Lord is thus, by little and little, destroying the enemy; because every touch of the nations power and policy, in drawing him aside from the Lord, and the recurring power of corruption, is so horrible and monstrous to him, that he thinks with himself, Oh! will ever the Lord return again to the like of me? And, when the Lord returns, he wonders more than ever.
5. Hence we may see, why there is no justification by the deeds of the law, nor mortification by the means of the law: no justification by legal works, nor fanctifcation and mortification by legal means. How does this follow', say you ? Indeed it is plain, there can be no jultificaiion by the deeds of the law; for the best believer on earth muft own, that at best he hath two nations in his womb, and the company of two armies; an army of lufts, and an army of graces; the flesh lulting againli the Spirit, as well as the Spirit against the flesh: and when he finds nations of lufis and corruptions in his womb, in his heart, can be expect to be justified by the deeds of the law, by a legal righteousness of his own ? No; he is made content to be obliged to grace, free grace, through the righteousness of Christ, for justification.--And as there is no justification by legal works, so there is no mortification by legal means; they never saw the power of corruption, that are not convinced of this, that nothing in the world but the power of God can destroy it : Tbe Lord thy God will put out these nations before thee; by little and little. ( Sirs, pity ignorant Papists, that think their whipping, and scourging, and beating themselves, will do it: pity ignorant professors, that think their falling, and praying, and legal endeav. ours, will do it. It is true, our Lord speaks of fome devils that go not out but by fasting and prayer: not that these means of themselves do it ; nay, let our Lord explain his own word ; ike Lord thy God will put out these rictions; he will subdue your iniquities: such things go not furth but by falling and prayer; that is, by Christ Jesus, fought and found in these means. Neglect not the means then ; but, for the Lord's sake, remember, that if you go forth against lusts in the strength of means, oro only with a verbal meniion of the strength of Christ, without ever having taken on with this glorious Captair, or being joined to him in order to draw strength from him, your Leviathan lufts will but laugh at the shaking of your spear. Therefore,
6. Hence we may fee where the believer's strength lies. You heard before where the strength of the enemy lies; but now, Where lies the strength of the Israel of God?
Even in the God of Israel, the King of Ifrael : Tbe Lord thy God will put out these nations before thee.-Pial. lxxiii. 25.
My flesh and heart faileth ; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” My outward advantages, inward vigour, and all fail me; but my
God will not fail me. More particularly, Ifrael's strength lies in God, as manifefiing himself in Christ. There are two things in Christ that strength lies in, for the believer's safety and deliverance from the power of sin, and victory over the nations of lufts and devils: One is the blood of Chrilt; we overcome by the blood of the Lamb. The death of Christ was the death of fin, for he nailed fin to the cross, and deItroyed the devil's power.
Another is the Spirit of Christ, who being in the believer, greater is he that is in them, than he that is in the world; and the Spirit mortifies fin. Here lies the believer's great strength, for actual mortification of fia, and victory over it; “ If ye through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, ye ihall live,” Rom. viii. 13. And the Spirit carries on this work,
(1.) By the application of the death of Christ to the soul; for, it is the virtue flowing forth from the death of Christ, that destroys sin; and the Spirit applies that virtue, and implants the foul into Christ, that being ingrafted in him, and unite to him, the fin-killing, foul-quickening virtue of Christ may flow in to the believer.
(2.) By the implantation of grace, and of grace contrary to corruption : in opposition to unbelief, he implants faith ; in opposition to enmity, he implants love; in opposition to slavith fear, he implants fortitude and spiritual courage.
(3.) By the excitation of the grace he hath implanted; which, though it be active in itself, yet, by reason of our indisposition, needs to be whetted and actuated : when the Spirit lets grace alone, fin revives, and gathers strength.
(4.) By drawing forth faith, especially to a lively exercise; and then this is the victory whereby we overcome the world, even our faith; while the Spirit of faith draws forth the grace of faith : for faith carries up the foul to him in whom firength lies; and then fays, “I can do all things through Christ strengthening me:" And faith employs the strength of Christ against the strength of the enemy, and so triumphs in its noble General, being strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Faith begets in the foul an antipathy against all sins and lusts, purifying the heart, and setting it directly against fin. Tell a carnal heart, fin lies at the door; why, let it come in, it is a friend of mine : but, acquaint a believer, exerciling faith, that there is fin in such a thing; Oh! it is an abomination. Faith discovers the danger the foul is in by the nations of lusts that encompass it, and excites all the faculties of the foul to rise up against it, saying, “Rise, Samson, for the Philistines are upon thee;" canst thou sleep in the midst of troops and armies of lufts? And fo it rouzes the foul to figh, and groan, and pant, and pray, and cry, and wrestle ; and to to overcome, under the standard of the glorious Captain.
Uje 3. The third Ufe is for Examination. Hence we may fee matter for trying our state by: What is the mark of a candidate for heaven, a traveller to Canaan? Why, The Lord bis God is driving out the nations before bim, by little and little. Is the battle with the nations commenced, and fairly begun ? And, is the Lord grad. ually carrying it on ?
QUEST. How shall I know if the war is commenced, and progressively going forward ?
Answ. For a folution of this inquiry, you may take a mark or two out of the bofom of the text.
I. Have you got a view of the nations, that are in your way? I mean, a view and discovery of
your cor. ruption, your original and actual sin, and your natural bondage and slavery by reason thereof? Have
feen nations of lufts within you ? And have you seen them to be such powerful nations, that nothing but the power cf omnipotence can drive out? And, consequently, have seen your own utter impotency to drive them out of yourself? Have you feen them to be such politic nations, and so fraudulent, that nothing but the infinite wisdom of God conld counteract this policy of hell ; knowing your heart to be deceitful above all things, as well as desperately wicked? Have you seen them to be fuch fpiritual nations, spiritual wickednesses in high places, that no carnal weapon could avail in this warfare, but only such spiritual weapons as are mighty, through God, to the pulling down of the strong holds? Have you seen them to be fach numerous nations, that your name is Legion; a legion of laits, a legion of devils, that nothing but a word from Jefus can put out?Now, this mark excludes all that never saw themselves, and their own natural bondage and thraldom; they are yet serving the nations, which they ought to be driving out. They who know the plagues of their own heart, and have experienced the power of these nations in their way, look more like the travellers to Canaan. But take this mark in conjunction with what follows.
2. Have you got a discovery of a God in Christ, the glorious Captain of salvation, in whom alone your help and salvation lies, and who alone can put out these nations before you? Hath the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ been given to you, so as to revealChrist in you, and so as you have sometime or other got Christ in you the hope of glory, Christ in you the hope of victory? Have you feen Christ, as a victorious Conqueror, triumphing over all the nations of spiritual enemies,“ Travelling in the greatness of his strength, treading the wine-press alone, when of the people there was none with him, staining all his raiment with the blood of the enemy, and trampling them in his fury;” as this is elegantly represented, Ifa. Ixiii. 1, 2, 3. Have you feen help laid upon One that is mighty, One whose name is Jesus and Jehovah both ? Jehovah is his name, in the firit word of our text; and his name is called Jesus, because he saves his people from their fins. As many discoveries as you have got of the glory of Christ as the Captain of salvation, so many marks of victory begun have you. But this mark excludes all that never get their eyes opened to see any form or comeliness in Christ, or any beauty, wherefore they should defire him : and hence the beauty and glory of a present world bulks more in their eyes. 3. Hath the discovery of the glory of the Conqueror