fend against the apostasy, and so help us to persevere to the coming of Christ ; and love being seated in the heart, is fitly compared to a Breastplate that encompasseth the heart.-CRUDEN.

Scripture Illustration.

And thou shalt make the Breastplate of Judgment with cunning work ; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the Breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually. And thou shalt put in the Breastplate of Judgment the Urim and the Thummim ; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the Lord : and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.

And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote (Ahab) the king of Israel between the joints of the harness (Marg. reading, between the joints and the Breastplate): wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, “ Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host ; for I am wounded.”

For the Lord put on Righteousness as a Breastplate, And an Helmet of salvation upon his head;

+ Exod. xxviii. 15, 29, 30.

u 1 Kings xxii. 34,

And he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak.v

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having on the Breastplate of Righteousness. * Let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the Breastplate of faith and love. And they had Brea stplates, as it were Breastplates of iron. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them had Breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone.


Now let our cheerful eyes survey

Our great High-priest above ;
And celebrate his constant care,

And sympathetic love.
Though raised to a superior throne,

Where angels bow around;
And high o'er all the shining train,

With matchless honours crowned ;

The names of all his saints he bears

Deep graven on his heart;
Nor shall the meanest Christian say,

That he hath lost his part.

Isa. lix. 17.
* Ephes, vi. 13, 14.

y 1 Thess. v. 8. * Rev. ix. 9, 17.

& Exod. xxviii. 29.

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Those characters shall fair abide,

Our everlasting trust ;
When gems, and monuments, and crowns,

Are moulded down to dust.

So, gracious Saviour, on my breast,

May thy dear name be worn,
A sacred ornament and guard,

To endless ages borne.


Doctrinal Instruction.

Why are Righteousness and holiness compared to the Breastplate ? There is a twofold use that the soldier makes of, and benefit he receives from, this piece of armour, First : The Breastplate preserves the most principal part of the body, and that is the breast, where the very vitals of men are closely couched together ; and where a shot or stab is more deadly than in other parts that are remote from the fountain of life. A man тау outlive many wounds received in the arms or legs ; but a stab in the heart, or other vital parts, is the certain messenger of death approaching. Thus Righteousness and holiness preserve the principal part of a Christian, his soul and conscience; we live or die spiritually, yea, eternally, as we look to our souls and consciences. It is not a wound in estate, credit, or any other worldly enjoyment, that kills us in this sense. These touch not, hazard not the Christian's life, any more than the shaving of the beard, or paring of the nails do the man's ; spiritual vitals are seated in the

soul and conscience : it must be a spiritual dagger that stabs these; and that only is sin, which is said to “hunt for the precious life.” This is the dart that strikes the young man through the liver, who hasteth to his lust, as the bird to the snare, “and knoweth not that it is for his life.”c Now, Righteousness and holiness defend the conscience from all wounds and harms, from sin, which is the weapon Satan useth to give the conscience its deadly stab with.

Secondly: The Breastplate, by defending this principal part, emboldens the soldier, and makes him fearless of danger; and that is as necessary in fight as the other ; it is almost all one, for an army to be killed, or cowed. A dead soldier, slain upon the place, will do, in a manner, as much good as a dead-hearted soldier that is dismayed with fear; his heart is killed while he is alive; and a naked breast exposeth the unarmed soldier to a trembling heart; whereas one, otherwise cowardly, having his breast defended with a plate of proof, will more boldly venture upon the pikes. Thus, righteousness, by defending the conscience, fills the creature with courage in the face of death and danger ; whereas guilt, which is the nakedness of the soul, puts the stoutest sinner into a shaking-fit of fear. 6 The wicked flee when no man pursueth : but the righteous are bold as a lion.”d They say, sheep are . scared with the clatter of their own feet as they run ; so is the sinner with the din of his guilt. No sooner Adam saw his plate off, and himself to be naked, but he is afraid at God's voice, as if he had never been

b Proy, vi, 26.

c Prov. vii, 23.

d Proy. xxviii, 1.

acquainteď with him. Never can we recover truly our courage, till we recover our holiness : “If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God." e

He who means to be a Christian indeed, must endeavour to maintain the power of holiness and righteousness in his life and conversation. This is to have the Breastplate of Righteousness, and to have it on also ; he is a holy righteous man, that hath a work of grace and holiness in his heart, as he is a living man that hath a principle of life in him ; but he maintains the

power of holiness that exerts this vigorously in his daily walking, as he the power of natural life in whom the principle of life, seated in the heart, empowers every member to do its particular office in the body strenuously. Thus walked the primitive Christians, “ in whose veins," saith Jerome, “the blood of Christ was yet warm ;" their great care was to keep on this Breastplate of Righteousness close and entire, that it might neither loosen by negligence, nor be broken by presumptuous sinning : the character, then, a saint was known by from other men, was his holy walking, (Luke i. 6): there it is said of Zacharias and Elizabeth, “ They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” This was also holy Paul's every day's exercise, “ To have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men. ." Never did any more curiously watch the health of their body than he attended to the health of his soul, that no unholiness, or unrighteousness, which is the only bane of it, might distemper or

e1 John iii. 21.

f Acts xxiv. 16.

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