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Satan feareth; and though he ufeth every artifice to make others unbelievers, yet he himself believes and trembles. Remember the battles and victories of your Redeemer: confider the virtues of his blood, and the efficacy of his Spirit. Let faith behold him in his present exaltation at the Father's right hand, pleading your caufe, and obferving your conduct; covering your heads, and healing your wounds: while he prepares for you those crowns of glory that shall never fade away: and then cry out with the apostle, in holy triumph, "If God be for us, "who fhall be against us?". "Who fhall "feparate us from the love of God? fhall tribulation, or diftrefs, or perfecution, or famine, " or nakedness, or peril, or fword? Nay, in "all thofe things we are more than conquerors "through him that loved us."-Be bold, O Christians! in the cause of righteoufnefs. Let . the wicked blufh; they have reafon to do fo; their work is bafe, and their wages deadly: but furely the difciples of Jefus have no caufe to be afhamed, whether they confider the nature of their fervice, or the reward that attends it. And what a reproach is it, that the flaves of Satan' should act more vigorously for their mafter, than we do for ours? Their caufe is not only bad in itself, but defperate too, as to any profpect of fuccefs: whereas the intereft for which we contend, is fo juft and honourable, that the very attempting to fupport it is glorious; and unlefs we were to fuppofe, that Omnipotence may become weak, and the Creator be overmatched by the workmanship of his own hands, we are fure

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of victory. What then fhould we fear? Be ftrong, O believers! and of good courage; you fight the battles of the Lord of hofts; and greater is he that is with you, than all that can be againft you. Say not that you are the fons of the Moft High, and born from above, unless you can prove your defcent, by daring to be holy in fpite of devils and men. The battle be hot, but it cannot last long. Death will foon come, and tell you, that your warfare is accomplifhed; and angels, who now minifter to you with joy, will carry you home in triumph to your Father's houfe; and the Redeemer, by whofe blood and Spirit you overcome, will put the crown upon your head, and "grant unto you to fit with him in his throne, even as he "alfo overcame, and is fet down with the Fa"ther in his throne."


3dly, The ftability of the gospel-church is a neceffary confequence of the doctrine in my text. Zion's King fhall have a feed to serve him as long as fon and moon endure. The church he hath purchased with his blood is built upon a rock, against which the gates of hell shall never prevail. The heathen may rage, and the people imagine vain things; the kings of the earth may fet themfelves, and the rulers take counfel together, against the Lord, and against his Anointed, faying, Let us break their bands afunder, and caft away their cords from us But he that fitteth in the heavens fhall laugh; the Lord fhall have them in derifion; and at length he fhall fpeak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his fore difpleasure.


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The proudeft of his enemies fhall lick the duft, when he arifeth to plead the caufe that is his own: and therefore his people may well rejoice under the heavieft preffure of affliction, and look by faith through the darkest cloud, to the complete redemption of Ifrael from all his troubles. "For Jerufalem fhall be a burdenfome ftone for "all people: all that burden themselves with "it fhall be cut in pieces, though all the people "of the earth fhould be gathered together against it."


4thly, This important fubject fuggefts a variety of useful inftructions to all who bear office in the church of Chrift; and more especially to those who labour in word and doctrine*. To us is committed the miniftry of reconciliation, that by the manifeftation of the truth as it is in Jefus, the eyes of finners may be opened, and they turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. We are commanded "to preach the word, to be inftant in feafon and out of feafon, to reprove, rebuke, and exhort, "with all long-suffering and doctrine.”—"meekness inftructing those that oppose them"felves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging the truth; " and that they may recover themfelves out of "the fnare of the devil, who are taken captive "by him at his will."




This, my fathers and brethren, is the great aim of the facred office we bear; to which, not our public miniftrations only, but every part of


*Preached at the opening of the General Affembly of the Church of Scotland, 1772.

our conduct, ought to be fubfervient. Let us keep this aim continually in our eye, as a lamp to our feet, and a light unto our path; and, in particular, let us place it full in our view when we are affembled together in the name of our Lord, to deliberate and judge in matters which belong to his fpiritual kingdom; remembering, that as all our authority is derived from him, fo the exercise of that authority can be no further valid than as it is regulated by his will, and fubordinated to the purpose for which the Son of God was manifefted; and confequently, that every act and decifion of an oppofite tendency, shall be finally difowned and reprobated by him, who came to destroy the works of the devil. Amen.




Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gofpel of Chrift.

IT will be to little purpose to inquire what kind of converfation becometh the gospel of Chrift, till we be fatisfied, in the first place, that this charge, which was originally addreffed to the Philippians, may, with equal propriety, be addreffed to us.

The qualifying particle ONLY, with which the Apoftle introduces the exhortation, plainly denotes, that, in his own judgment the demand he made was no lefs moderate than it was just: Only let your converfation be as it becometh the gofpel of Chrift. This is all I require; and you cannot with decency afk, nor in reafon hope, that less should be accepted. To this conclufion he was naturally led by the character and circumftances of thofe to whom he wrote. His epiftle was infcribed, not to unbelieving Jews or Gentiles, but to faints in Chrift Jefus; to men who had been converted to the Chriftian faith, as we learn from the foregoing part of the chapter. And it is material to obferve, that as christianity had been treated with peculiar indignity at Philippi, where Paul and his companion Silas were, by order of the magiftrates, publicly fcourged and caft

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