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poison, we cannot but speak that we do know, and testify what we have heard : and if, like us, these things be with you, ye will set to your seals that our witness is true.
The most formidable weapon issued from this forge, is that one which was aimed at God himself-I mean that of sin in its origin ; and while we stay not to look at the dire effects it wrought among those “who kept not their first estate,” we are brought to take our stand before the appalling picture of its entering our world, and taking possession of our nature. With what art, with what craft and subtilty, was it wielded by that arm whose intention was to deal forth destruction ! and in how easy a manner was the conquest obtained over those from whom we are descended. Over them its power was triumphant, and its effects universal ; “sin entered into the world,” the weapon took effect, and buried its barbed point in the very vitals of man. So “ death entered by sin, and passed upon all, for that all have sinned ”. (Rom. v. 12). Hence it has not occasioned a mere torpidity in the constitution of man, but has so far succeeded, as to put him into a state of alienation from God, and he is emphatically declared to be dead in trespasses and sins ; led captive at the will of Satan, and delighting in serving divers lusts and pleasures, rendered hateful and hating one another. In the view of these things, we should hardly suppose the possibility of one Scripture being true, were it not that we are brought to know the meaning of that sweet sentence, “Sin shall not have dominion over you.” Here we behold the whole power of its reign, and our every faculty made subservient to its will ; the infusion of its virulent breath has rendered stagnant the whole mass, and we are become one hot-bed of corruption, in which are engendered all those noxious vapours which indicate the whole head is sick and the whole heart faint; like some mighty river whose progress has been unstopped, it has carried all before it, and all are ingulfed in the vortex of this great Ganges. When standing and looking at the heart-appalling sight, we are ready to cry out, “Behold its prosperity!” not so—though formed and used with so much success as to cause angels to fall, and men to be captivated—it has not prospered in the final overthrow of the Lord's heritage. Sin opened the door of death, yet gained no triumph while Jesus went into it, and, passing through it, vanquished the one and destroyed the other ; “putting away sin by the sacrifice of himself;" and in the glorious conquest won did fully show that even this weapon could not prosper.
In addition to the universality of sin, as having to do with all men, we are led to look at its special workings with some men ; and while in no instance a dormant principle, yet in many it works without feeling, or is unaccompanied with that sensibility that makes it to appear exceedingly sinful. While, on the other hand, the tempest-tossed one groans under the burden, and is filled with apprehension when beholding the interior of his own heart, he finds every chamber of the same to be the receptacle of every uncleanness. And it is under circumstances of this nature, that the applicability of our Scripture is made to appear ; in the former it is as one weapon-here, like an exploded bomb, it scatters terror around in the various lusts and evils now brought to view; and the poor child of God is driven to his wits' end, when finding that this weapon in his poor nature is ever in existence ; and such the keenness of its edge, that his spirit fails within him, while he tremblingly breathes the cry of distress, “O wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death”- this weapon of destruction which threatens my life?
Sin, alike in all, does not work alike with all ; but as a well-disciplined troop, is appointed to act as the prince of darkness shall deem most likely to answer the base purposes he has in view. Thus, the weapon never altering in its nature, assumes a different appearance ; and attacks sometimes as the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.” Thus, all men are not idolaters, nor are they all adulterers ; all do not fall a prey to the crying evils of intemperance or blasphemy, nor do we find in all the burning fire of lust. There are the root and stamina of it in all, and the different workings to be found in all; but lest I should deluge the pages of this favourite medium of communication, to the exclusion of more valuable matter, I will study brevity in delineating one or two of the characters who are exposed to the workings of this weapon, and for whose comfort it is said, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.”
To the Holy Ghost we are indebted for all we feel and know respecting sin : first, in breaking up the foundation that is inherent in us ; and, secondly, in feeling the law of our members warring against the law of our mind, thereby bringing us into a state of captivity. The Holy Spirit having no more to do with the creation of that sin and evil, than the natural sun, which shines upon the dunghil, can be said to engender the reptiles found beneath its surface ; in the darkness of the night they are hid, but when the sun arises they appear : so also with the hidden evils of our hearts, which only show themselves from the light of his countenance. And now, my poor brother, let us see whether you and I cannot join notes upon the subject, and to the praise of the glory of his grace respond, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” And should the reading of these pages come under the eye of any one who feels within himself all manner of concupiscence working, and that after having felt the sweets of pardoning love and the sprinkling of cleansing blood upon the conscience, does the burning lust of his nature threaten to quench the little spark of hope he once possessed ? and is he so filled with shame and confusion at what appears in his view increasing depravity, that he concludes he can by no means belong to those people that are called holy ? Has the weapon taken so formidable a position as to be ever with thee ? Are the hallowed moments of the sanctuary intruded upon ; and when you would secretly pour out your distressed feelings to the Lord, is the access closed by the multitude of vain thoughts that rush in, so that you are only as a beast before him ? Yea, do you oft find that you are of that class mentioned by the apostle, “filthy dreamers,” and are you fear ful that you shall become its prey ? This is impossible ; the disease is shown you for the purpose of making more valuable the remedy, "tossed with tempests and not comforted ;” and he that should comfort, or rather, he to whom you should look for it, standing afar off ; yet it is written (may the Lord enable you to read and understand), “ No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.”
One word as to the cause of their not prospering : it is not from any failure in them, nor for want of skill in him who shoots them forth; neither can it be attributed to the shield of nature they are repelled ; for, as before observed, they have been so far successful, and the direful consequences are not only feared but felt; and while “the noise of archers” is heard with all their horrid din, the child of God dwells in silence, with the exception of those sighs and groans which escape from his overwhelmed heart ; and to his utter astonishment he finds the Lord to arise for the poor and needy, and he is set on high from him that puffeth at him ; and being clothed with the “whole armour of God,” he stands in the evil day with his loins girt about with truth, so that it is impossible for any weapon to reach them ; his heart is protected by the breastplate of righteousness, through which no weapon can ever enter ; his feet are so well shod, that he runs for safety to the strong tower ; “the shield of faith” is so wielded by him, that all the fiery darts of the wicked are quenched ; upon his head appears the helmet of salvation, and in his hand “ the sword of the Spirit.” Thus the weapons are all blunted, and do not accomplish what was intended by the smith who forged them ; while they answer every purpose for which they were permitted to be shot forth. London. (To be continued.)
Away, my worldly thoughts ! Away the world!