when wounded, and, finally, beating down their enemies, that they may trample them under their feet.

It is characteristic of every Christian soldier to receive out of Christ's fulness, and to say, “In the Lord have I righteousness and strength." We cannot have a more striking illustration of our duty, in this respect, than the history of David's combat with Goliath. He would not go against his adversary with armour suited to the occasion: he went forth in the name of the God of Israel ; and, therefore, he did not doubt one moment the issue of the contest. He well knew that God could direct his aim, and that he was as sure of victory, without any other arms than a sling and a stone from his shepherd's bag, as he could be with the completest armour that Saul himself could give him. What David thus illustrated, we may see exemplified in the conduct of St. Paul. “If God be for us,” says he, “who can be against us?” Who is he that shall condemn me? Shall the law curse me, or Satan overcome me ? I fear none of them, since Christ has died, yea rather is risen again, and maketh intercession for

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ?-Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Thus it is that we must go forth against all the enemies of our salvation ; we must “have no confidence in the flesh,” neither must we have any doubt in our God : the weakest amongst us should boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what men or devils can do against me.” “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."


To be possessed of courage is not the only requisite for a good soldier ; he must be skilled in the use of arms; he must be acquainted with those stratagems which his adversaries will use for his destruction; he must know how to repel an assault, and how, in his turn, to assault his enemy; in short, he must be trained to war. Nor will his knowledge avail him anything, unless he stand armed for the combat. Hence, the apostle, having encouraged the Christian soldier, and inspired him with confidence in the Captain of his salvation, now calls him to put on his armour, and by a skilful use of it, to prepare for the day of battle.

As a skilful general will not attempt to storm a fort on the side that it is impregnable, but will rather direct his efforts against the weaker parts, where he has a better prospect of success; so Satan considers the weak part of every man, and directs his artillery where he may most easily make a breach. If a general knew that his adversaries were harassed with fatigue, or revelling, or intoxicated, amidst the spoils of victory, or separated from the main body of their army, so that they could have no succour, he would not fail to take advantage of such circumstances, rather than attack them when in full force, and in a state of readiness for the combat. Such a general is Satan. If he find us in a state of great trouble and perplexity, when the spirits are exhausted, the mind clouded, the strength enervated, then he will seek to draw us to murmuring or despair. Thus he acted 'towards Christ himself, when he had been fasting forty days and forty nights; and again on the eve of his crucifixion. The former of these occasions afforded him a favourable opportunity for tempting our blessed Lord to despondency, to presumption, to a total alienation of his heart from God; the latter inspired him with a hope of drawing our Lord to some act unworthy of his high character, and subversive of the ends for which he came into the world.

Armour is of two kinds, defensive and offensive : the one to protect ourselves, the other to assail our enemy. Now God has provided for us everything that is necessary for a successful maintenance of the Christian warfare. Is our head exposed to the assaults of Satan? there is a helmet to guard it. Is our heart liable to be pierced ? there is a breastplate to defend it. Are our feet subject to such wounds as may cause us to fall ? there are shoes, or greaves, for their protection. Is our armour likely to be loosened ? there is a girdle to keep it fast. Are there apertures, by which a wellaimed dart may find admission ? there is a shield which may be moved for the defence of every part, as occasion may require. Lastly, the Christian soldier is furnished with a sword also, by the skilful use of which he may inflict deadly wounds on his adversary.

But here it will be asked, how shall we get this armour ? and how shall we put it on ? To obtain it, we must go to the Armoury of Heaven, and receive it from the hands of the Captain of our salvation. No creature in the universe can give it us. He, and he only, who formed it, can impart it to us. As when God had decreed the destruction of Babylon, we are told that “the Lord hath opened his armoury, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation;" so, when he has commissioned us to go forth against sin and Satan, he must supply us with the arms whereby alone we can execute his will; and we must be daily going to him in prayer, that he would furnish us from head to foot, or rather, that he himself would be our Shield and Buckler, our almighty Protector, and Deliverer.

When we have received our armour, then we are to put it on. It is not given us to look at, but to use : not to wear for our amusement, but to gird on for actual service. We must examine it, to see that it is indeed of celestial temper, and that none is wanting. We must adjust it carefully in all its parts, that it may not be cumbersome and useless in the hour of need: and when we have clothed ourselves with it, then we must put forth our strength, and use it for the purpose for which it is designed. The hour of death is a season when Satan usually puts forth all his power, “having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."

Now, what shall we do in such seasons, if not clad in the whole armour of God? What hope can we have of withstanding such an enemy! If he should find us unarmed, would he not sift us as wheat, and reduce us to mere chaff ? Would he not scatter us as smoke out of the chimney, or chaff driven by a whirlwind ? Would he not precipitate thousands of us, as he did the swine, into instantaneous destruction, and into the abyss of hell ? But if we be armed with the Divine panoply, we need not fear : he can have no power against us any further than it is given him from above ; and, “howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think


;" his efforts against us shall ultimately conduce to our good, to make us more humble, more vigilant, more expert.--SIMEON.


When first my soul enlisted

My Saviour's foes to fight,
Mistaken souls insisted

I was not armed aright.
So Saul advised David,

He certainly would fail;
Nor could his life be saved,

Without a Coat of Mail.

But David, though he yielded

To put the armour on,
Soon found he could not wield it,

And ventured forth with none.
With only sling and pebble,

He fought the fight of faith ;
The weapons seemed but feeble,

Yet proved Goliath's death.
Had I by him been guided,

And quickly thrown away
The armour men provided,

I might have gained the day ;
But armed as they advised me,

My expectations failed;
My enemy surprised me,

And had almost prevailed.

91 Sam. xvii. 38.

« ForrigeFortsett »