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easily persuade ourselves, that we are in an enchanted world. It seems to us, that as many degrees of power as we add to those, which God hath given the tempter, so many apologies we acquire for our frailties, and that the more power the enemy hath, with whom we are at war, the more excusable we are for suffering ourselves to be conquered, and for yielding to superior force. Do we revolve any black design in our minds ? It is the devil, who inspires us with it. Do we lay a train for executing any criminal intrigues? It is the devil, who invented it ? Do we forget our prayers, our promises, our protestations ? It is the devil, who effaced them from our memory. My brethren, do you know, who is the most terrible tempter? Oar own cupidity. Do you know, what devil is the most formidable? It is self.

But, passing reflections of this kind, and taking, in its plain and obvious meaning, a truth, which the holy scriptures in a great many places attest, that is, that the devil continually endeavors to destroy mankind; I repeat my third proposition, The holy Spirit, who watcheth to save us, is infinitely more powerful than the devil, who seeks to destroy us.

The power of Satan is a borrowed power. This mischievous spirit cannot move without the permission of God; yea, he is only a minister of his will. This appears in the history of Job. Jealous of the prosperity, more still of the virtue of that holy man, he thought, he could corrupt his virtue by touching his prosperity. But he could not execute one of his designs, further than God, by loosening his rein, allowed him to execute it. The power of the Spirit of God is a power proper and essential to him, who exerciseth it.

Because the power of the devil is a borrowed power, it is a limited power, and although we are incapable of determining its bounds, yet, we may reasonably believe they are narrow. Jehovah will not give his glory to any other, Isa. xlii. 8. least of all will he give it to such an unworthy being as the devil.

The power of the Spirit of God is a boundless power. He acts on exterior beings to make them concur in our salvation. He acts on our blood and humors, to stir them to motion, or to reduce them to a calm. He acts on our spirits, I mean, on those subtile particles, which, with inconceivable rapidity, convey themselves into the divers organs of our bodies, and have an extensive influence over our faculties. He acts on our memories, to impress them with some objects, and to efface others. He acts immediately on the substance of our souls; he produceth ideas; he exciteth sensations; he suspendeth the natural effects of their union to the body. He sometimes, by this suspension, renders a martyr insensible to the action of the flames, that consume him ; and teacheth him to say, even amidst the most cruel torments, I glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience, or proof, (this is a metaphor taken from gold, which is proved by the fire, that purifieth it,) and experience hope ; and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in my heart, by the holy Ghost, which is given unto me, Rom. v. 3–5.

As the power of Satan is limited in its degrees, so it is also in its duration. Recollect a vision of St. John. I saw, said he, an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and


cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him ap, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more. Rev. xx. 1-3. Without mak

1–3 ing any vain attempts to fix the sense of this vision, let us be content to derive this instruction from it, that the power of the devil is limited in its duration, as well as in its degrees. There are periods, in which Satan is bound with a chain of the superior power of the Holy Ghost. There are times, in which he is shut up in prison, sealed with the seal of the decrees of God; a seal, that no created power can open.

The power of the Spirit of God is without limits in its periods, as it is in its degrees. Christian ! the worse thy times are, the more ready will this Spirit be to succor thee, if thou implore his aid. Art thou near some violent operation? Doth an object fatal to thine innocence fill thee with fear and dread? Do the sorrows of Death compass thee? Do the pains of hell get hold on thee ? Call upon the name of the Lord, say O Lord! I beseech thee, deliver my soul, Psal. cxvi. 3, 4. He will hear thy voice, and thy supplications, and, by the mighty action of his Spirit, he will deliver thy soul from death, thine eyes from tears, and thy feet from falling, ver. 1. 8.

How invincible soever the hatred of Satan to us may appear, it cannot equal the love of God for us ; whatever desire the devil may have to destroy us, it cannot compare with that, which the holy Spirit hath to save us. It would be easy to enlarge these articles, and to increase their number : but our time is nearly elapsed. What success can Satan have against a spirit armed with so much power, and animated with so much love? Surely, there is no inchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel. Ye have overcome

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them ; because greater is he, that is in you, than

, ke, that is in the world. Numb. xxiii. 23.

My brethren, the age, for which God hath reserved us, hath a great resemblance to that of the apostles. Satan is as indefatigable now in his attempts to destroy mankind as he was then. We also have our Simons, who call themselves the great power of God. We have men like Ebion and Cerinthus; and if the ministers of Jesus Christ conquer the world, the world also conquers some of the ministers of Christ.

In which class, my brethren, must you be placed? in that of the disciples of false Christs, or in that of the disciples of the true Saviour ? In the class of those, whom the world calls conquerors, or in the class of those who have conquered the world ? On a clear answer to this question depends the consequence you must draw from the words of the text.

If you be of those, who are overcome by the world, the text should alarm and confound you. You have put arms into the hands of this enemy. Nothing but a fund of obstinacy and malice could have induced you to resist the superior means, which God hath employed to save you. You are that vineyard, of which the prophet said, My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill; and he fenced it, and built a tower, and planted it with the choicest vine ; and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes, Isa. v. 1-3, and as you are the original of this portrait, you are also the object of the following threatening. And now, O`inhabitants of Jerusalem, I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up, and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down, and I will lay it


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waste, I will also command the clouds, that they rain no rain upon it, ver. v, 6.

But the text ought to fill you with joy and consolation, if you be of those, who have overcome the world. What pleasure doth it afford a believer to remember his combats with the world, and his conquests over it! What unspeakable pleasure, to be able to say to himself; “ In my youth, my vigorous constitution seemed to threaten to drive me to the utmost excesses; in my mature age, I walked in

I some slippery paths, which made me almost despair of preserving my candor and innocence; here, a certain company bad an absolute authority over my mind, and used it only to seduce me; there, an inveterate enemy put my resolution to the severest trial, and exhausted almost all my patience ; here, false teachers, who were so dexterous in the art of enveloping the truth, that the most piercing eyes could scarcely discern it, had well nigh beguiled me; there, violent persecutors endeavored to force me to an open abjuration of religion. Thanks be to God! I have resisted all these efforts; and although Satan hath sometimes succeeded in his designs, and hath made me totter, he hath always failed in his main purpose, of making me fall finally, and of tearing me for ever from the communion of Jesus Christ."

The victories you have obtained, my brethren, are pledges of others, which you will yet obtain. Come again, next Lord's-day, and renew your strength at the table of Jesus Christ. Come, and promise him anew, that you will be always faithful to that religion, the light of which shines in your eyes with so much glory. Come, and protest to him, that you will give yourselves wholly up to those powerful motives to virtue, which his gospel affords. Come, and devote yourselves entirely to

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