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viour, Redeemer, Friend, and Captain of salvation : or particular, as Prophet, Priest, and King; by whom they cannot but overcome at last. And of under-officers, they have a guard about them, represented by Solomon's life guard about his bed; “ Threescore valiant men are said to be about it, of the valiant of Israel. They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh, because of fear in the night,” Song iii. 7, 8. These officers, when faithful to their prince, and armed with the sword of the Spirit, and their feet thod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, are helped to defend the Lord's people from the snares and curruptions of the times, and the troops of corrupt teachers, and corrupt judicatories.

(4.) They have a troop of saints and witnesses on their fide. Witnesling laints, in past and present times; wita nelling faints, old and late, are spoken of as helpers and encouragers in the holy war; as those spoken of, Heb. xi. of whom it is said, chap. xii. 1. “Wherefore, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay alide every weight, and the fin which doth fo easily befet us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us; Looking, especially, unto Jesus, (that is, the head of the witnessing remnant) who, for the joy that was set before him endured the crois, despising the shame, and is set down at the right-hand of the throne of God.” Witnessing saints at present also, so far as they are faithful witnesses for God, will be powerful wreltlers with him that shall prevail, and thro' God do valiantly.

(5.) They have a troop of angels on their fide; “The angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear him, and delivers them,” Psal. xxxiv. 6. What havock did one angel make in the cainp of the Assyrians in one night, destroying an hundred fourscore and five thousand: they are all ministring fpirits to the heirs of salvation, and destructive spirits to their enemies.

(6.) They have a troop of heavenly luminaries on their side, whenever God pleases to call them to the affistance of his people; even as the fiars in their courses fought against Sisera. God has made fometimes the


stars of heaven, the sun in the firmament, to subserve the design of his people's overcoming their enemies.

7. They have a troop of earthly creatures on their fide : God has sometimes raised up an army of inferior despicable creatures, frogs, lice, flies, and vermin; the mult inconsiderable like insects as a formidable troop to invade the enemies camp, and make Israel to overcome, as in Egypt; for, when their ways please the Lord, they are in league with the stones of the field; and the beasts of the field are at peace with them, and at war with their enemies, Job v. 23. Deut. xxviii. 26, 27.

(8.) They have a troop or army of prayers on their side, which God, the hearer of prayers, hath obliged himself to answer. Both the prayer of their High-priest upon the throne, whom the Father hears always, and who hath prayed for Jerusalem, Zech. i. 12. and whom God answers with good words, and comfortable words, saying, I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies, my house shall be built in it,” notwithstanding all opposing enemies: and alfi, the prayers of his people, offered in the faith of acceptance through Chrilt : these shall be anfwered, for the Lord hath said it, Psalm cii. 16, 17. “ When the L rd fhall build up Zion, he will appear in his glory; he will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.” As the prayer of faith hath power with God, fo this troop hath fometimes been terrible to his enemies; as to the Scots queen Mary, that was more afraid for John Knox's prayer, than for an army of ten thousand men.

(9.) They have a troop of promises to fide with them, and assure them, that they shall overcome at lait: though they be overcome, yet it is promised them, that they shall overcome at laft: compare Rev. xiii. 7. “ It was given him to make war with the faints, and to overcome them," with Rev. xvii. 14. “ These fhall make war with the Lub, and the Lamb fhall overcome them; for he is Lrd f lords, and King of kings; and they that are with him, are called, and chofen, and faithful.” It is promifed, the Lamb fhall overcome them, and make his followers overcomers; and, “ All the promises of God, are Yea and Amen in Christ, to the glory of God:” and therefore, this troop shall overcome for them; " Heaven and earth shall pass away, but not a jot or tittle of his word shall fall to the ground.”

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(10.) They have a troop of providences, divine providences, however cross in appearance to bring about their complete victory; for, : All things shall work together for good to them,” Romans viii. 38. ; even all the victories that the enemy, doth obtain over them : “ All these things are against me,” said Jacob; and yet they were working for him. All Joseph's troubles, and the afflictions that he met with, were but bringing about his advancement; and, fo all the foils and defeats that the believer meets with, contribute to his being victor at last: even all the plots of hell, and rage of men and devils against Christ, contributed to bring about his triumphant victory; so, all his people, however contradicted and conquered, shall overcome at last. Tho' a troop overcome them, yet having these numerous troops upon their fide, the final victory shall be on their side also.

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IV. The next thing proposed was the application. If it be fo, as in the first branch of the doctrine, That the Ifrael of God, may for a time be foiled and defeat by troops of enemies and oppositions, hence see,

I. That the state of the church and children of God in this world, is not only a militant state, but may mastered state, may be conquered by their enemies within and without; Israel may be long in bondage to their enemies. Believers may be long under captivity to the law of fin and death; “I see a law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of fin, which is in my members,” Rom. vii. 23. Think it not a new or strange thing, to fee the cause and people of God oppressed and born down, vanquished and overcome.

2. Hence fee, it is no small opposition that the Lord's people Mould lay their account with; A troop Mall overcome bim ; importing, that confederate forces against them may be expected; “ The kings of the earth may fet themselves, and the rulers of church and state may take counsel together against the Lord, saying, Let us break

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-8. 3. Hence fee, that confederate powers against the people of God, may be conquering powers, fir a tine ; they may gain the day for a while, and the Lord only knows how long. The Israel of God may be put to cry under the continued prevalence of inward corruption, and outward opposition, as Pfal. xiii. 1, 2. “ How long wilt thou forget ine, O Lord, for ever? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?"

4. Hence see, that the true Israel of God are at the worst, but involuntary captives to their enemies, viz. fin, Satan, and the world of wicked men; but are never voluntary subjects or servants to theni: Gad, a troop Shall overcome bim, against his will; he shall never incor. porate or be embodied with the troop, nor make league with the enemy. The doctrine of the falls and foils of believers, may be dangerous to the secure, and a lione of stumbling to them. Why, say they, I am daily o. vercome by fin; daily înaltered with corruption; my heart dead like a stone in prayer ; but, my blefling on the minister, for he gives me hope, saying, Believers may be just like me; and so I conclude myself among the number of believers, and hope to be saved as well as the best : Alas! beware, man, left this kind of rea. foning prove your spot to be vone of the spots of God's children. The saints may be foiled, and fall before the enemy, but they will not ly in the puddle like the swine in the mire; but rather struggle like a sheep in the mire, restless till relief and recruits come.

5. Hence fee the reason of the variations and the changes in the believer's cafe and lot; a troop may o. vercome him, but he is overcome with a Eut. There is opposition to opposition in the case; and, as the enemy treads upon him; fo, sometimes he treads upon the enemy; and, by alternate turns, they defeat one another, so as the issue seems dubious, and the poor believer fears, left, one day, he fall by the hand of Saul.

6. Hence fee matter of daily humiliation and exercise to the children of God, while they are here in this world, where they may expect, certainly, that a troop shall o


vercome them; and therefore, they ought not to be fecure, but watchful; they ought not to be proud, but hum. ble; they ought not to be lazy, but active; they ought not to faint, but to fight. Spiritual action is the firit, the fecond, the third, and the last part of a Christian. Religion is no easy business; nor is it enough to begin well in the way of God: unless we hold on, we cannot be victorious: “ He that endures to the end, shall be saved.” It is dangerous to sit down and make a truce with the eneny, or go into a cessation of arms. Yea, it is dan gerous to parley with temptation, and to reason with the devil, whether you should venture on such a sin or not; though you should musler up arguments, you may find the devil is a better politician than you: his agents also, that oppose God's work and cause, may defeat you in point of policy; and reason more strongly against the cause of Christ, than you can do for it: they may silence you in dispute; but, it were best for you in such a case, to say with the woman, that spake with the spirit of a martyr, Indeed, I cannot dispute for Christ; but I can " burn for him.” So may you say, when unable to allswer subtile adversaries, Though I cannot reafon and argue for Chrift, yet I will fight for him, witness for him, I will do for him, I will suffer for him; and, thro' grace, I will die for him.

7. Is it fo, as in the second branch of the doctrine, that the true lfrael of God shall uvercome at lalt? Hence see then, matter of examination and trial. Let us search and try if we be of the tribe of Gad; that however con. quered for a while, shall overcome at last. be, in a spiritual sense, what Gad was in another. The tribe of Gad was a warlike and a wreliling tribe; a va. liant and a victorious tribe, i Chron. v. 18. 20. xii. 8. Try then what Spirit you are of.

(1.) Have you got a warlike spirit; a disposition for the holy war against fin, Satan, and the world ? If so, then

you have seen yourself by nature, to be a slave to thefe enemies, a slave to your lufts, a slave to Satan, and a drudge to the world; you have found the cursed chain of fin, dragging you downward, downward, down. ward! You have feen yourself in prison and bondage

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