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speaketh fair, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shalt be showed before the whole congregation.” “But the fearful and unbe. liering, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burnetli with fire and brimstone; which is the second death." Rev. xxi. 3. If these things are so, then surely the apostle has done well to admonish us to “put off these works of darkness;". -and oh, my hearers, we should do well, yes, we should be wise, and that too for ourselves, to obey the injunction of the apostle, “ for the night is far spent, the day is at hand, when every man's works will be tried so as by fire.” · II). We will NOW EXAMINE THE APOSTLE'S EXHORTATION, “ LET US PUT ON THE ARMOR OF LIGHT.”
The Christian in this night of darkness and error is compared to a soldier on guard in the night, and in time of war; and how apt and instructing is the allusion. In the night, on guard, a soldier must have his armor all on; he must not lie down; he must keep awake, not sleep, stand at his post; he must watch the approach of the enemy, hail the approach of a friend, understand the use of his armor, have in readiness the watchwords of the camp; and he will watch for the dawn of the morning with as much anxiety as a bride for the return of the bridegroom. Just so with a Christian in this night of moral darkness. He is called to watch, and to have on the armor of light. He must stand up, and having done all, must stand. He too must keep awake, as says the prophet, Isa. li. 17: “Awake, awake, stand us, O Jerusalem.” He must not sleep, as Paul says, I Thes. v. 6: “Therefore let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober.” He must watch his enemies, both outward and inward; he must hail and rejoice over one sinner that repenteth; he must learn and understand the use of his spiritual armor; he must be ready with the word at all times, so that he may give the reason of his hope with meekness and
fear. And if he is a good soldier in Christ, he will watch for the dawn of the morning when the Captain of his salvation shall come the second time without sin unto salvation ; when his enemies will all be slain, and the shoot of victory be heard by all the righteous dead, and the last loud blast of the trump of God shall proclaim aniversal peace in the kirgdom of Christ.
Then how happy will that soldier of the cross be, wliom, when his Lord comes, he shall find with his whole armor of light on. So doing, “ stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth. The truth will make you free. It will strengthen you to combat error; it is all-powerful, for God is truth; and he hath all power in heaven and earth. You will never be afraid that your eause will not prevail; for truth is mighty and will prevail. You will never want to use carnal weapons, for the holiness of truth will forbid the thought. And that man who resorts to carnal weapons to support his cause, may depend upon it he is not on iruth. “And having on the breastplate of righteousness." This, too, is the armor of God prepared for us by Christ himself. This righteousness will give us confidence, that we shall not be afraid to front all enemies, even death itself, knowing that in him and by his robe we shall be justified from all things wherein the law could not jus. tify; for we, being weak in the flesh, could not justify ourselves by the works of the law, but Christ becom. ing the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth, we, therefore, may have confidence, who have fled for refuge, to lay hold on the hope sei hefore us; and such need not be ashamed before him at his coming. “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” This teaches us That we must walk after the example of John, who prepared a people made ready for the Lord, and Christ, who fulfilled all righteousness. How necessary, my brethren, that our walk be found according to the examples of Christ and the apostles, that our feet
may be shod with the gospel of peace, that we may be ready to enter in through the gate into the city.
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ve shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wick. ed.” This is an important part of the armor. Faith is able to carry us through all the trials of life. By faith we receive and enjoy all the rich promises of God. By faith we live upon his word, as the children of Israel lived on manna in the wilderness. By faith we please God; by faith we believe in the day spoken of in our text; and through faith we shall be able to subdue kingdoms, work righteousness, obtain promises, stop the mouths of lions, quench the violence of fire; in one word, come off conquerors through him who hath loved us.
“And take the helmet of salvation." This is our hope, and the evidence of this only can be obtained by our diligence in the calling, and by our love for the Author of our salvation. How do we know that we are in a state of salvation ? Answer. By our hope. And how do we know our hope is a good one? By its being founded on the grace of God, and not on our works. Then the speaker, say you, has contradicted himself, for he has just told us that hope was obtained by our diligence, and that part suited his belief exactly. You have mistaken me; I did not say our hope was obtained by our diligence; but the evidence of its being a good one. Will not smoke ascend, and will not water run down? If you have a good hope, you have a good heart, and from that heart will proceed good fruits.
Again; "The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” This, being our only rule of life, and the only means of trying the Spirit, may be truly compared to a sword, for it cuts off all false rules, doctrines, spirits, and leaves nothing but “thus saith the Lord.” And here, again, we may try ourselves : In every trial do we fly to the word of God for direction? Do we square our lives by its rules? Is this word our law-book, our director? And, like David, can we say, “How love I thy law ?”
110 LECTURE ON THE TIMES AND ITS PUTIES.
" Praying always with all prayer, and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” These con stitute the whole armor of light, or of God, as the apostle calls it in Eph. vi. 13. Here again is another rule to try ourselves by. Is prayer a solemn, an interesting, and soul-reviving duty ? Do we in trials, in afflictions, in joy and sorrow, in light and darkness, in coldness and warmth, find peace, comfort, consolation, and reconciliation in this duty ? Or do we pray to be seen of men, or to stop the gnawings of a guilty conscience; or do we neglect this weapon altogether? Let God and our own consciences decide-and let us decide quickly, and justly-for the “day is at hand which will try every mun's work, whether it be good or evil.”_"Let us, then, put on the whole armor of light."
1. By our subject we learn that the night of sin, error, darkness, and every evil work, is almost spent.
2. The day is near when all these things will be brought to light, and every evil work will receive a just recompense of reward.
3. We are admonished to cast off the works of darkness. And,
4. We are exhorted to put on the armor of light.
WHAT IS TRUTH?
JOHN xviii. 38. Pilate saith unto him, What is Truth? In this question by Pilate, we have the same thing presented which all mankind are professedly seeking after; yet with as little desire, perhaps, io know, believe, or practise the truth, as the individual wlió asked the question.
Pilate was noted for his depravity, wickedness, and crime; and when he had asked the question, went out, without waiting for a reply, and did that which he knew was wickedly wrong. For he said to the Jews, “ I find in him no fault al all ;” and yet he released unto them a murderer, and took Jesus and scourged him, crowned him with thorns, mocked and emote him, and said unto the Jews, “ Take ye him and crucify him, for I find no faull in him." Just'so at the present day: we find many inquirers after truth, but few who are willing to hear, and fewer still who are willing to practise it.
I. I shall, in ihis discourse, endeavor to show some things that are true; although in this question a field is open which neither you or I could fully explore, even with the talents of the highest seraph, or the ability of an elect angel. Yet, by divine permission,