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In all these respects the believer in Christ will walk circumspectly; because he knows that he is living in an evil world. He will endeavour to employ his time, as he may have opportunity, to the glory of God. He will seek to understand the Lord's will, as it is revealed in His holy word, and will pray for the teaching of the Holy Spirit to enable him to receive it with pure affection, that he may not live in ignorance and sin. It will be his earnest desire and prayer that he may be filled with the Holy Ghost, so as to live under His Divine influence continually. He will consider what cause he has for gratitude to his heavenly Father in Christ Jesus, and will express his thankfulness in songs of praise derived from God's holy word, in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in his heart to the Lord. And humility will characterize his conduct to others, according to the station which he occupies in society. Let us implore Divine grace to conform us to the mind and will of God, as He has made it known to us in His holy word; that we may live as the obedient children of God, showing forth His praise and salvation from day to day, to the glory of His holy name.

3 1 Peter ii. 13, 17; i. 14.






Ephesians vi. 10, 11.





The exhortation contained in these words intimates to us the weakness of mankind, and the power and subtilty of our spiritual enemies. The apostle had before described all men as being, by nature, dead in trespasses and sins; and therefore as walking or living openly in the practice of them, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience. The true Christian alone is delivered from this bondage.

For he alone can

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say with truth, We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness,' or under the dominion of the wicked one. But as long as the believer in Christ is in this world, he is like a person who is living in an enemy's country, and is obliged to be continually on his guard, lest he should be surprised and overpowered by the usurper, whose tyranny and dominion he has renounced.

Blessed be God, He has fully equipped His people for the contest in which they are to be engaged through life. He has provided armour for them which is proof against all the weapons that their adversaries can wield; and He has promised His Divine aid and protection, when they call upon Him for it, wherewith they shall be enabled successfully to withstand the violence, and to defeat the stratagems, of their foes; and finally to triumph over all their assaults.

The text makes mention,

First, Of the most subtil and powerful of our spiritual adversaries;

Secondly, Of the method which he employs to seduce mankind; and,

Thirdly, Of the means whereby he may be effectually resisted.

These topics are afterwards spoken of more at large in the remainder of the Epistle for this day. May we be led, by the consideration of this subject, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, to the exercise of watchfulness and prayer; that as good soldiers of Christ Jesus, we may fight manfully under His banner, and may obtain the victory over sin and Satan, in the strength of the Lord and in the power of His might.

4 Ephesians ii. 1, 2.

5 1 John v. 19.

First, The devil is spoken of as an adversary who is to be withstood and resisted by the Christian. He is described in the word of God as the leader in that apostacy of the fallen angels which occasioned their being cast out of heaven, their own original habitation, into the dire abode which they now occupy; and where they are reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. These infernal spirits, however, exercise their baneful influence upon the inhabitants of this world.

The apostle shows that by the devil he did not mean merely one individual, but innumerable hosts of evil spirits which infest our fallen world. For he adds, We wrestle, not against flesh and blood only, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness, or wicked spirits, in high places. Here the vast power of our spiritual adversaries is intimated, and the severity of the contest in which the Christian is engaged with them. To the wiles of the devil the fall of our first parents is attributed. His malice against the Most High is unbounded, and is exerted in every possible way; for which his vast intellectual endowments afford him great facilities. His rage is peculiarly directed against our Lord Jesus Christ, the Seed of the woman, whose heel or human nature he was to be permitted to bruise; and against all those who are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

These persons especially be and his emissaries are continually endeavouring to seduce and subvert. For this purpose they are going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.? He is described by St. Peter as our adversary the devil, who, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. The method, whereby he seduces mankind, is to be noticed in the

Second place. This is called in the text, the wiles of the devil. Craftiness and subtilty are the arts which he uses principally to effect his purposes. He frequently succeeds with mankind by calling evil good and good evil, by putting darkness for light and light for darkness, or bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.' He observes the different dispositions of the children of men, and suits his temptations to their various tastes and circumstances. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is still successfully presented to many, who thus become ac

6 Jude 6.

7 Job i. 7.

8 1 Peter v. 8.

9 Isaiah V.


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