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whereof, we become sons, not in name only, but in nature; and, as St. Paul reasons, upon a principle univer. sally admitted, “ If sons, then are we also heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus." This pow. erful renovation pulls down at once every idol from the throne, and lays them all under the feet of the man in Christ;" for every thing tends to the place of its origi. nal. “ They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; and they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit:"-" They have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, whereby they know the things that are freely given them of God." And these they find to be a portion sufficient to fill the most enlarged capacity of their souls. Being risen with their Lord, they “ seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God." They are dead to whatsoever is confined to their present state of existence; and the new life they have received, being “ hid with Christ in God," they are enabled to conclude, with the most absolute certainty, “ that when he who is their life shall appear, then shall they also appear with him in glory, and ever after be with the Lord.”
“ May he who at first commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shine into all your hearts, to give you the light of the knowledge of his glory, in the face of Jesus Christ,” that each of you may be disposed and enabled to say, What have I to do any more with idols? And let those who have experienced the power of di. vine grace, show by their future conduct, that they find enough in their God and Saviour to render them completely happy; and that the draught they bave got of the pure water of life, hath effectually quenched their thirst after the muddy pools of earthly enjoy nients.
Beware, O Christians! of every thing that may sully your profession, or grieve the Spirit, and thereby breed in you a distrust of yoar personal interest in God's par. doning mercy and sanctifying grace: for it is “ by faith you stand ;” and in the same proportion that your faith fails, idols will regain their influence in your hearts. I shall therefore conclude with that affectionate exhortation of the apostle Jude, “ Ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy
of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Amen.
Preached at the opening of the General Assembly of the Church
of Scotland, 1772.
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that
He might destroy the works of the Devil.
AMONG the various motives to the love and practice of universal holiness with which this sacred epistle abounds, the one I have now read to you doth certainly merit peculiar attention; and must to every ingenuous mind appear not only most persuasive, but likewise most animating. For who that hath any thirst for true glory, would not aspire to the high dignity of becoming a
a worker together" with the Son of God? Or can any man have reason to entertain the least doubt of victory and triumph, who is engaged in a cause which the great Lord of beaven and earth hath undertaken to support?
1. 1 propose, therefore, in the first place, to offer a few remarks for establishing your faith of the important doctrine contained in my text.
2. Secondly, I shall give you some account of the principal means by which the Son of God hath hitherto conducted his salutary undertaking, and shall finally destroy the works of the devil.–And then direct you to the practical improvement of the subject.
I. First, then, that you may see the evidence by which the doctrine here asserted is confirmed and illus. trated, in the clearest and most satisfying light, I shall lay before you the several parts of it, in the same method and order of time in which the Spirit of God hath placed them in the sacred Scriptures.
If we look back to the Old Testament writings, we sball find this doctrine published in paradise immedi. ately after the apostacy of our first parents, when Satan's usurped domination commenced. Then it was that God said unto the serpent, " Because thou hast done tbis, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his beel.” This was an early intimation of a Saviour, who should defeat the malice of Satan, the grand adversary, and prevent the total ruin of mankind.
To prefigure the manner in which he was to achieve this great deliverance, it deserves our notice, that expi. atory sacrifices were very early appointed. Thus we read, that “ Abel offered unto the Lord the firstlings of his flock;" and when we consider that it was not till af.
ter the deluge that the use of animal food was permitted to man, we can hardly doubt, that the “coats of skins," which God is said to have made for Adam and Eve, must bave been the skins of animals offered in sacrifice by bis own direction and appointment. These were significant emblems, or types, of that great atonement which Christ was to make in due time by the sacrifice of himself; in allusion to which, he is styled, in the New Testament writings, a Lamb, “the Lamb of God,"_" the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
But lest these typical representations of the promised seed should prove too thick and obscure a vail, it pleased God gradually to unfold the purposes of his grace, by raising up prophets at different periods of time; who, though they separately bare witness to this illustrious person, yet they perfectly agreed in the report they gave of him; representing him as an irresistible conqueror, “ who should divide the spoil with the strong," as “the King whom God had set upon his holy bill of Zion," as “the Lord strong in battle," « and mighty to save;" who should “ proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound ;-wbo should finish transgression, and make an end of sins," or offerings for sin, “and make reconciliation for ini. quity, and bring in everlasting righteousness."
Accordingly, when the fulness of time was come, the Son of God made his entrance into the world in the de. clared character of Saviour and Redeemer. A heavenly herald was employed to announce his appearance,
and to appoint bim a name expressive of his office: “ Thou shalt call his name Jesus,” said the angel to Joseph; “ for he shall save his people from their sins.” A spe. cial messenger was raised up to prepare the way before him, to bid Satan defiance, and to call upon men to “re
pent, because the kingdom of God'was at hand." This was John, who soon after had the honour to introduce Christ by baptism into the field of battle, and to point him out to the men of that age as “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."
And now let us review his personal conduct, and trace bim through the course of his public ministry, where we shall behold the most striking proofs of the Apostle's assertion, that for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. No sooner is he baptized, and consecrated to his office by the visible descent of the Holy Ghost, than he suffers himself to be “ led by the Spirit into the wilderness," and continued there for the space of forty days “ tempt. ed of the devil.” The circumstances of this combat, and the happy issue of it, are recorded by three evangelists, and are so generally known, that I need not stay to repeat them. This was the first signal defeat of the adversary: in the wilderness was the serpent's head broken as tempter, which on Calvary was afterwards bruised as tormentor.
Having thus vanquished the devil in single fight, our Lord forthwith invites men to fight under bis banner. He chooseth twelve apostles, whom he appoints to be the stated attendants upon his person, and the principal leaders of the army under him. With these be joins seventy of a subordinate rank, to whom he gives orders to attack the enemy, and to exercise the power of his word and spirit against him. In obedience to his command, and relying upon his aid, they resolutely go forth two by two, into every city and place whither he himself was to come; and after a rapid and most successful progress, like young soldiers flushed with their first prosperous adventure, they return again with joy, saying, “ Loril, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.”