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down and worship me.” Sometimes he makes use of the world as a bait to allure us to sin ; sometimes he makes use of it as a bugbear to fright us from duty.
What noise has the devil, the world, and the lusts and corruptions of men, made since the fall of man, by error, persecution, defections, and violences of all kinds ! and what a noise do these enemies make in the soul of the believer, when God, for holy and wise ends, lets them loose! The poor soul is many times put in such confusion, through the noise of these mighty waters, that it cannot hear the voice of God either in his word or providences,
They are compared to a flood, because of their multitude. A flood consists of an innumerable multitude of drops of water. So these enemies the believer has to grapple with in bis way to glory, they are a great (multitude, an innumerable host. We may easily gather, that the infernal} spirits, that go about to devour us, are innumerable, when we consider that a whole legion of them bad their residence in one poor man. And how many are the lusts of the heart and the snares of the world, which we lie every day exposed to ? David complains that his enemies " compassed him about like bees;" which many times put the poor believer to cry with Jeboshaphat, “ We know not what do against this great multitude that comes up against us."
They have a unity in bending all one way in their opposition against Christ and his cause. Whatever jarrings there may be among them in other things, yet as the waters of a flood, though they may take different channels, yet they keep the same course, and unite their force against the kingdom of Christ, and the salvation of souls
As floods are mighty, violent, and rapid in their motion ; the waters of a food they have a mighty strength with them. So the enemies of the Lord's people are violent and strong in their opposi. tion to the interest of Christ in the world, and his grace in the soul : the heathen are said to "range against the Lord, and his anointed, saying, Come let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
So also as floods of water are of a sweeping nature, and are ready to burl down every thing that is not well fixed : if a tree have not its root well fastened in the ground, the flood will bear it down. So, if a person be not rooted in Christ, the floods of temptations, afflictions, and corruptions, will very soon carry him down the stream. Hence it is, that loose professors in a day of trial are carried away; their house falls, and great is the fall of it,
And let it be remembered, a flood is in a continual motion : so the actings of sin and Satan, and the world, against Christ and bis cause are incessant: " The wicked are like the troubled still casting out inire and filth.
The enemy sometimes casts out a flood of error ; he studies to corrupt the simplicity of the gospel, and to turn men away from
the pure and precious truths of God. Hell bas in all ages of the world been studying to muddy the pure waters of the sanctuary, and never more than at this day, by Arian, Socinian, Sabellian, Arminian, Pelagian, and other heresies.
He is also permitted to come in with a flood of manifold corrup. tions upon the visible church. Sometimes he studies to corrupt the worship of God by superstition, mixed with the pure ordinances of divine institution. Sometimes, by attempting to introduce false doctrines not warranted by the word of God, to the spoiling and robbing of the church of God of her privileges and immunities. And sometimes he comes in with a flood of profanity corrupting the lives of professors, to the scandal of religion: then again, with a flood of neutrality and indifference about the things of God, under the colour of moderation. These, and many other floods, does Satan cast forth, whereby he sweeps multitudes away to hell. Believers, take heed to yourselves, for many of these foods are running with a mighty current among us at this day.
The enemy may come in within the borders of Zion : “ This man shall be the peace when the Assyrian shall come into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.” Satan and his confederates bave their synagogues even within the confines of the visible church -not only within the borders, but even into the palaces of Zion, her public assemblies for divine worship; these are called the palaces and dwelling-places of Zion, “ When the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan came also among them," he enters among these assemblies and dwelling places of the church in a more open and visible way, corrupting the worship of God; and then again in a more secret aud invisible way, stirring up enmity, unbelief, carnality, vanity of heart, by the preaching of the gospel, and often ascend the pulpits of the church, by an erroneous and corrupt ministry ; " There are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." There are men shall appear in your pulpits, pretending to take the care and feeding of your souls, who will give you a stone for bread, and a scorpion instead of a fish. A corrupt ministry is the saddest plague that ever came into the church of God.
Saian may come in, not only to the gates of Zion, but also to the dwellings of Jacob, raise some family storm and trouble, and take off any impression of God, or of the things of God that has been upon you. The devil lodgeth in the house of the wicked; and he may come in and work much mischief in the house of a godly Da. vid; witness the murder of Uriah, adultery with Bathsheba, Amnon's incest, Absalom's rebellion, adonijah's conspiracy. Indeed, your closets are not exempt, the tempter will go along with you to your knees, when you would incline to be alone with God, in order to divert your thougbts, disturb your minds, or alienate your affec- . tions from prayer, meditation, or other private duties that you set about. When Joshua appeared before the Lord, Satan stands at his right hand.
Then again, the heart is constantly open to temptation. Satan has very easy access to the hearts of men, by the port of the imagination and outward senses : through these gates or windows of the soul, he can very easily throw in his fiery darts, whereby if a strict watch be not kept, he will infaliibly set the whole combustible matter of indwelling sin and corruption as it were on fire: he has a way of drawing forth by his temptations, the latent Atheisın, enmity, pride, carnality, and unbelief of the heart; he has no more to do, but to hiss upon his confederates in our bosom, and imme. diately they come forth out of their fastnesses, to assist him in carrying on his assaults. And God knows, how far even a believer may be driven, if the enemy come in thus upon him like a flood. Melancholy instances thereof are left upon record in scripture, in the case of Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Peter, and many others, which are set up, not for our imitation or encouragement in sin, but as beacons, that we may be upon our guard against the inroads of the enemy that wait for our balting, and to know by heartfelt experience, that it is not of man that walketh to direct his steps.
The certainty of all this will appear from plain scripture testimony, the infallible oracles of Heaven certifying us, that the enemy will be upon us; “ The devil shall cast some of you
into prison; ye shall have tribulation ten days.” As long as the seed of the woman is within Satan's reach, he will be creating them some molestation or other.
Also, the state of the believer, while he is in this world, makes it evident. While he is in a militant state, standing upon the field of battle, surrounded with the armies of hell ; and is it to be supposed, that the believer can live quiet, free of the assaults of the enemy? Indeed, the experiences of the saints of God in all ages confirms this. Christ, the glorious Captain of our salvation, he was not exempted; the prince of this world came upon him with his craft and cuvning; he entered the lists with the powers of hell and earth, and with the corruptions of men; and shall any of his followers expect to be exempted? The ransomed company about the throne, are such as have come out of inuch tribulation, tribulation from the world, the devil, and their own heart.
Thus we find, that this world is not the believer's home or resting-place. If it were, of all men he would be the most miserable. While on this side of time, the enemy will be coming in like a flood upon him. But rise up thy heart, believer, though thou canst not find rest here, yet there remains a rest for thee. When thou comest to thy own country, thou shalt be beyond the envenomed arrows and fiery darts of Satan ; the accuser of the brethren is cast out of that happy land: there ihou shalt be beyond the spares and troubles of a wicked world! “ There the wicked cease to trouble, and the weary are at rest, There is no more sea." There thou shalt not be molested with the workings of indwelling sin, but “ presented faultless before the presence of his giory with exceeding great joy."
Hence it comes to pass, that the believer frequently expresseth such longing desire to be away, crying, When will the day break, and shadows flee away, and the happy morning of immediate vision dawn? It is little wonder, considering that, while here, that the enemy is breaking in upon him like a flood; whereas, if once death, the last enemy, has dislodged thy soul from the clay-tabernacle of the body, thy warfare is at an everlasting end; thou shalt have a victorious palm put in thy hand, a victorious diadem upon thy head, and a victorious song put in thy mouth. Hence Paul, when he saw the battle near to an end, cries, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing,
What need then have we of Christ, in his kingly office, to subdue, restrain, and conquer, all his and our enemies; none of Christ's offices can be wanting. We need him as a prophet, to open the mysteries of the kingdom, and to open our understanding to know them ; we need him as a priest to justify us, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, by his atoning blood, and prevalent intercession; and we need him also as a king to break up
before go up as our head, to fight our battles against the armies of the aliens that we have to engage with in our way to glory; he has his name written upon his thigh and vesture, King of kings, and Lord of lords ;' and the armies which are in heaven do follow him, even the armies of saints in the church militant, they follow him; and it is under his conduct we are made conquerors, yea, more than conquerors.
Take courage, poor tossed and tempted believers, who are combating with the enemy coming in like a flood, wrestling with Alesh and blood, principalities and powers, and perhaps are ready to faint and give over, saying, with David, “ One day or other I shall fall by the hand of the enemy;” some day or other the strong floods of temptation and corruption will carry me clean away, and I shall be a scandal to religion, and make the name of God to be blasphemed. Take courage, believer, though the enemy come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. Many a fiery dart now dipt in hell does now fly about thee; but be of good cheer, the victory is sure, for the Captain of thy salvation has said, that he will tread Satan under your feet shortly." Many a weary day hast thou with the workings of indwelling sin, crying, Wretched man that I am, who will deliver me! but be of good cheer, thy victorious General bas “ finished transgression and made an end of
sin;" he has said, that “ sin shall not have dominion, and that grace shall reign.” Many a heavy cross and trial does the world roll upon thy back, perhaps trials in thy 'person, in thy family, in thy relations, in thy name, in thy worldly estate ; but be of good courage, “ O thou afflicted, tossed with tempests, and not comforted, behold the Lord is laying thy stones with fair colours, and thy foundations with sapphires." Perhaps thou would give all the world to be rid of some predominant lust, some sin that easily besets thee; be comforted, the Spirit of the Lord has said, that he will subdue your iniquities, that your old man is crucified with him.” Perhaps thou art wracked with an evil heart of unbelief, and crying, Lord help mine unbelief;" well, here is comfort, the author and finisher of faith, he will “ fulfil in you all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.'
These are good tidings that victory is secured, by God's ordination and appointment. “Ye are they which continued with me in my temptations; and I appoint unto you a kingdom.” It is insured by covenant and promise, that thou shalt go from strength to strength, till thou appear before the Lord in Zion; "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” It is insured by the blood of a Redeemer; he has bought thy freedom from sin and Satan, and he will not leave the purchase of his blood in the hand of the enemy: Christ's vic. tory secures thine: he overcame as a public person, in the name of his whole mystical body, and thou may warrantably take up the spoils of his victory, saying, " Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The intercession of Christ in heaven secures the victory in the behalf of his friends who are grappling with his enemies : Satan seeks to winnow you, but he prays for thee, that thy faith fail not. The hand of Moses fell and fagged when Israel was engaged with Amalek; but the hand of the man of God's right hand, it never falls down, and therefore the true Israel of God shall prevail. Thy relation to Christ obligeth him to take care that thou be not taken away with the flood. He is thy Bridegroom, and will the Bridegroom suffer his bride to be trampled upon, if he can help it? He is thy head, and will not the bead see to the safety of the members? He is the Captain of thy salvation, and he will see to the welfare of his soldiers.
The tempted, weak believer may say, I am indeed persuaded, that all who belong to Christ, shall be secured against the enemy, though he comes in like a flood; but, alas ! that is still my fear, and the great question with me is, whether I belong to him? To put this matter beyond doubt, I only ask two or three questions. Hast thou not proclaimed and commenced war against all known sin; and are you not resolved through grace, to resist even to blood, striving against sin ? If so, though the enemy may come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will drive him back, and thou shalt be victorious at last. When the enemy comes in, and prevails