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weapon, the force of which he is unable to withstand. The Psalmist could say, When I cry unto Thee, then shall mine enemy turn back ; this I know, for God is for me.34 The Christian warrior fights best upon his knees. Then it is that his armour is impenetrable. Then every part of it is kept bright, and in full use and exercise. In prayer he enjoys a hope of salvation. In it he finds the blessedness of being interested in the righteousness of his Redeemer, since he is made accepted in the Beloved.35 By prayer he is led to cleave to the truth, and to abhor all false ways. By prayer his goings are established in the good ways of God, and he enjoys the consolations of the gospel of peace. By prayer his confidence in God is increased. By prayer he wields the shield of faith, which quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked one. By prayer also he unsheathes the sword of the Spirit, and ascertains the power of the word of God to support him in the conflict in which he is engaged; and he is assured that this word will hereafter be fulfilled in the eternal confusion and destruction of Satan, and his agents and followers.
To his prayers for himself, the Christian is directed to add supplication for all saints ; for all the children of God; for all who have God for their Father, and are looking forward to heaven
34 Psalm lvi. 9.
35 Ephesians i. 6.
as their home; all who are living in the world as a holy people unto the Lord their God, the whole family and household of faith, who are engaged in the same spiritual warfare with himself against the world, the flesh, and the devil. And especially he is commanded to pray for the ministers of the gospel of Christ; as the apostle said, And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds, that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. The success of the gospel in the world is the anxious desire of the true Christian; and therefore he will pray earnestly for those who minister the word of life to their fellow creatures, and especially for those on whose ministry he may himself attend. Brethren, pray for us.ső We need your prayers for our encouragement, and the strengthening of our hands in the work of the Lord. Pray then for us, while you pray for yourselves. Pray that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified ; 37 that many may believe and obey it, may be comforted by it, and eternally saved. Pray for yourselves, for all saints, for the ministers of Christ, for the
spread of the gospel ; and your prayer shall not be in vain. It shall be heard, and in due time shall be turned into praise.
36 1 Thessalonians v. 25.
37 2 Thessalonians iii. 1.
TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER
THE GROUND OF CONFIDENCE.
Philippians i. 6.
BEING CONFIDENT OF THIS VERY THING,
THAT HE WHICH HATH BEGUN A GOOD
WORK IN YOU WILL PERFORM IT UNTIL THE DAY OF JESUS CHRIST.
It is delightful to observe the affection that subsisted between the apostle Paul, and the churches which he had planted by the preaching of the gospel of Christ. In the Epistle for this day he makes mention of his thanksgivings and his prayers on behalf of the church which had been formed at Philippi by his instrumentality, or in consequence of his having preached the gospel at that place. He commences it by saying, I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. When he thought of them he remembered the
sufferings which he had endured there in the cause of Christ; he remembered also the wonderful interference of God on behalf of His servants, the gracious manifestation of His presence, which led them to sing praises to God, even in the dungeon into which they had been thrust; he remembered the deliverance which had been granted to them, and all the circumstances that attended it, in causing the conversion of the gaoler and his family; and doubtless also of other persons whose attention was directed to the doctrine of Christ, by means of the miraculous power displayed in favour of His persecuted servants. Every remembrance of these things filled his heart with gratitude to God; and he was accustomed to express his thankfulness for the Divine goodness continually. Always in every prayer of mine for you all, making request with joy. Whenever he prayed for them, praise and thanksgiving ascended together with his supplications.
When he bowed his knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to ask for blessings to be bestowed upon those who had received benefit from his ministry, he also offered up
his thanksgivings for all the favours which Divine bounty and goodness had conferred upon them. He reflected on the blessings which they had received with joy and gladness of heart; not only on account of the manifest tokens of Divine favour which had been displayed at the time when
he was present with them; but altogether, as he adds, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now. He thanked God that they had embraced the gospel, and had continued to adhere stedfastly to the cause of God, and the apostles' doctrine and fellowship,38 notwithstanding the persecutions to which they were exposed on account of their profession of Christianity. It is a great encouragement to the ministers of the gospel of Christ, to see that those to whom they make known the word of life, continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which they have heard.39
What the apostle had witnessed respecting them, led him to express, in the text, his confidence with regard to the future. Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Divine grace had begun, and therefore would carry on and complete the work. It was the work of God which had been begun in them; and consequently, it would not be left unfinished. He who had laid the foundation, would bring forth the head stone with shoutings of grace, grace, unto it. 40 And this, not only with regard to a few individuals among them, but to all who had truly embraced the gospel of Christ: as he added, Even as it is meet for me to think this
38 Acts ii. 42.
39 Colossians i. 23.
40 Zechariah iv. 7, 9.