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and little? Mean time, during thefe battles, is it not ground of comfort,
(1.) That there is a fentence paft in your favours againft the nations, even a fentence of condemnation and deftruction? and accordingly, fin is condemned in the flefh, Rom. viii. 3. And Satan is condemned to def truction; "The God of peace will bruife Satan under your feet."
(2.) Is it not ground of comfort, that the sentence past against fin and Satan is executed in part? Your old man is crucified; the head of the ferpent is bruised: "For this caufe was the Son of God manifefted, to destroy the works of the devil;" and, "By death he hath deftroyed him that had the power of death."
(3.) Is it not ground of comfort, that the day of full and final execution is at hand, wherein he will take vengeance on the nations? "For the day of vengeance is in mine heart; the year of my redeemed is come," Ifa. Ixiii. 4. the day of the Lord is at hand, wherein he will bring forth judgment into victory, and death fhall be fwallowed up in victory: Chrift will reign till all his enemies become his footftool; To bim every knee fhall bow.
[4.] Is it not ground of comfort, that the remaining power of the nations in the interim, fhall never be able to break the relation that is betwixt your Captain-general and you, nor to caft you out of his covenant, out of his heart, nor out of his love? "My covenant will I not break," fays he; "my loving kindness will I not take away," Pfal. lxxxix. 33, 34. He is fill the Lord thy God; and therefore, he will put out the nations before thee by little and little. I offer you,
[2.] A word of counfel. O believer, O believer, are you indeed engaged in battle againft the nations? And has the Lord begun to drive them out before you? Then purfue thy victory, and fight out the good fight of faith, for the Lord thy God is he that does fight for thee; as the apoftle fays in a like cafe, Phil. ii. 12, 13. Work out the work of your falvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of bis good pleafure: Even fo, fight out the battle against the nations;
for, The Lord thy God will put them out before thee, by little and little. And, fince the battle is the Lord's, and your Captain goes before you to divide the fpoil with the ftrong, go on courageoufly: and, that you may do fo the more fuccefsfully, I fhall branch forth this word of counfel in thefe particulars.
1. Put on the whole armour of God; and go not forth against the nations in your own ftrength, otherwise you will find them too hard for you; but, "Go on in the ftrength of the Lord, making mention of his righteousness, and his only; being strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might;" and ftrong in the grace that is in Chrift Jefus; having no confidence in the flesh, but always your confidence in, and dependence upon the Lord Jesus Chrift, the Captain of falvation.
2. Search out the nations that are moft invifible and hidden; for your greatest danger is from your most secret enemies: you wreftle not against flefh and blood, but against principalities and powers, and fpiritual wickedneffes. And there are spiritual lufts not easily discerned: if these be neglected, and more open enemies only noticed, it is as if one fhould gaze upon the fmoke, and neglect the fire that is within: or, as if one fhould gaze upon the ulcer, but never confider the corrupt humour within.
3. Having found out the enemy, and difcerned where the ftrength of the nations lie, then fet upon them, and endeavour, through grace, to bring them into a confumption, and that both by ftarving and ftorming of them.
(1.) By ftarving them. O ftarve them, and keep them from their food; “Make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lufts thereof." Beware of every thing that may contribute to ftrengthen the nations. Say not, A confederacy with them: do not spare them, nor let their ftrong holds ftand: draw not up a league with them, nor border too near to them. It is faid of Ifrael," The people fhall dwell alone, and fhall not be reckoned among the nations." Keep not company with the wicked: be not too much converfant with the world; many bury themselves, by digging too deep there.
(2) As by ftarving, fo by ftorming the nations. You are to confume them; and you ought to ftorm them, by bringing them under the battering engines of the gofpel, under the ftroak of God's word, which is the fword of the Spirit; under the ftroak of the blood of Chrift; for, we overcome by the blood of the Lamb; and under the ftroak of the Spirit of Chrift; for," If you, thro' the Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live."
4. Take all the advantages you can against the nations. Take advantage of the times and feafons, even when you are like to be overpowered with inward corruption, and under fear of falling one day by the hand of fome ftrong luft; then get to the mighty power of Christ, and reinforce yourself and refift; and, in refifting, believe you fhall overcome: remembering, for your encouragement, that the almighty Captain ftands within fight, when you are fighting in the valley; and he waits but a call from you, when diftreft in the battle; and he will come for your refcue. Jehofhapahat cried in the midst of the battle, and was helped: how much more may you expect his aid in your spiritual combat?
5. Watch against the nations, and refift the first onset of the enemy. Corruptions are the natives, and they are not wholly deftroyed: if therefore you do not watch, nature will turn to her old bias. Native and natural inclinations are very forcible: as, bend the bough of a tree downward, if you let it go, it will ftart up by and by; fo, if you give up your watch, the nations will re turn, and refume their power. Particularly watch against, and refift the firft motions of fin: if you ftop not the current of a wicked motion, it will foon land in a wicked action; for, When luft bath conceived, it brings forth fin, James i. 15. Great evils arife from fmall beginnings one fpoonful of water will quench that fire, which afterwards whole buckets cannot abate; therefore it is a good rule, Principiis obfta, 'Resist the beginnings of fin.'
6. Put the nations in the hand of the Captain, that he may destroy them; and endeavour fo to do, in the daily exercise of faith and prayer. O feek to the Lord Jefus
that he would avenge you of these Philiftines; as in the parable of the unjuft judge, Luke xviii. 1,-8. The parable was put forth for this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint. The judge there mentioned was one that feared not God, nor regarded man: a widow comes to him, faying, Avenge me of mine adverfary: and thro' her importunity fhe prevailed with him: "And fhall not God avenge his elect, that cry day and night to him; tho' he bear long, yet he will avenge them speedily." Therefore, go to a God in Chrift, and cry, Lord, avenge me of my lufts, avenge me of my pride, avenge me of my unbelief, avenge me of my carnality, avenge me of mine enemies.
7. After all, rest not fatisfied with any fmall victory obtained over the nations: fit not down, as if you had no more ado; for the nations are not all dead and def troyed at once; you will have them to fight with, as long as you are on this fide of heaven: enemies will up again; and, therefore, you must up again, and prefs forward to a complete victory. As the body of fin and death remains while you are here; fo, whatever particular luft you have been troubled with, you cannot expect a full and final victory while here, even though it hath been a mortified luft, a fubdued luft. No doubt, Peter got his feet upon the neck of his fin of denying his Mafter, when he went out and wept bitterly after Christ looked to him; yet even that fame corruption afterwards did ftir in him, by a partial denying of his Mafter, though not in the fame degree; as when Paul withstood. him to the face, Gal. ii. 12. A particular corruption may, through grace, be fubdued, and it may cease to ftir fo violently for a time; yet you cannot fay that it is wholly killed; yea, it may afterwards rife up as violently as ever. A luft, that lay long dead, may revive again; and therefore you little need to be fecure, but much need to be fober and wathcful, and ftill going on in the warfare, ftill depending on the Lord for new fupplies of ftrength against new affaults. After one victory obtained, make ready for battle immediately;' when fomething is done, look to the Lord to do more: after one ftroak, feek another to be given; for it is by little and
and little the victory is obtained. Think not ftrange, therefore, though the nations rally their forces again and again, and be not difcouraged thereupon, but learn a daily, momentary, clofe, and conftant dependence upon the Captain of falvation, the Lord Jefus Chrift, that thro' him you may do valiantly. "It is he that girdeth you with ftrength, and fubdues the nations under you."
8. In order to purfue the nations to death, purfue the claim you have to the victory over them, in the ufe of all appointed means, with an entire dependence upon the Lord Jefus Chrift; not depending upon means; nay, nor yet depending upon fenfible manifeftations, nor relying even upon the graces of the Spirit, but upon the God of all grace; pleading your right and claim, by virtue of the divine promife, faying, Lord, haft thou not interpofed thy faithfulnefs, thy word, thy oath? and is not thy promife fealed; fealed by the blood of Christ, fealed in the facrament of the fupper? Haft thou not faid, "Solomon fhall reign? tho' now, behold, Adonijah ufurps the throne:" Haft thou not faid, Grace fall reign, and fin fhall not have the dominion? Behold how it ufurps. Well, put him to his word, and purfue your claim. Surely the Lord will not deny himself; nay, JEHOVAH-JIREH, In the mount of the Lord it fhall be feen: tho' you have no ftrength, no might against this great multitude; yet, let your eyes be toward him, who is mightier than the noife of many waters, and who hath wrapt in your intereft with his own glory, his own faithfulness and truth. Let your difficulties be never fo great, your enemies never fo many, and their power never fo invincible; it is not you they have to do with, but Chrift: and, can any thing be too hard for him? Wait on thy God continually, who hath here promifed to accomplish the warfare gradually: "The Lord thy God will put out these nations, before thee, by little and little."