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AND SHUT THY DOORS ABOUT THEE : HIDE THYSELF
AS IT WERE FOR A LITTLE MOMENT, UNTIL THE INDIG-
NATION BE OVERPAST.
And

my fellow sinners, who are strangers to this retreat, will ask themselves, how they can endure the storm which must soon burst upon them. A horrible tempest must be the portion of their cup, unless they come with the people of God. Would you be separate from the retributions of the wicked ?-be separate from them now. Would you

be safe when the last tempest shall

pour its cataracts of vengeance on an ungodly world ?-by faith cast yourselves beneath the wings of the Almighty now. Would

you measure your eternity, in acts of holy intercourse with God ?-begin those acts

now.

SERMON XXXI.

The Believer's Conflict and Victory.

REVELATION XII. 11.

AND THEY OVERCAME HIM BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB, AND

THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY: AND THEY LOVED NOT THEIR LIVES UNTO THE DEATH.

The events referred to in the emblematical representations of the apostle in this chapter, are generally supposed to have taken place during some of the first centuries of the christian era. Some diversity of opinion exists, however, as to the particular occurrences in the early history of the church, in which these predictions were fulfilled. It seems highly probable, that this part of the prophecy has a primary reference to the first decided and extensive overthrow of pagan idolatry, and the establishment of christianity, by means of the promulgation of the gospel. Undoubtedly it also has a more general and extended relation to the progress of a pure christianity, from age to age

to the grand obstacles it has to surmount, and to the surprising success attending a heartfelt adherence to the great principles of the gospel, and a faithful testimony to its holiness and power, in the life and character of its friends. So that whatever be the specific events in which the prediction received its accomplishment, or whatever hidden and as yet unknown wonders may be intimated in some parts of this singularly sublime and affecting vision, it is not without obvious and important instruction. While we may learn from it what is the general condition of the true church through a series of ages, we may also learn what is the character and condition of genuine piety; what foes it has to encounter ; the nature of the conflict it carries on, and the weapons by which its conquests are achieved. The passage selected for present consideration, especially instructs us on all of these points. OF THE LAMB, AND BY THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY: AND THEY LOVED NOT THEIR LIVES UNTO THE

THEY OVERCAME BY THE BLOOD

DEATH.

These heroic confessors, whose signal victory the beloveıl disciple represents as the theme of gratulation, joy, and praise in heaven, afford us a beautiful and instructive example of what true christians are in the present world. The condition of the early christians was, indeed, in some respects peculiar. They met the prince of this world leading on his forces against them in unbroken and unweakened ranks. Theirs was a contest, not only with the strong remains of evil within themselves, but with a whole world lying in wickedness. The great Captain of their salvation, under whose banner they fought, had, to be sure, just overcome their grand foe, and set down with his Father on his heavenly throne. But his victory, though most decisive, did not exempt his followers from conflict. On the contrary, it made it necessary for them to contend with the same class of enemies. To follow him, was to fight and vanquish as he did. The particular form in which the grand enemy assailed them, was that of an unrelenting, persecuting heathen government.

The Roman empire, embracing at that period nearly the entire known world, was combined in horrid confederacy against the flock of Christ's disciples. Almost every instrument of torturing destruction, which human skill could contrive, or human power could wield, was employed to wear out the saints, and crush the rising cause of Christ. But instruments thus formidable in the hands of a power unlimited, vindictive, and cruel in the extreme, proved wholly insufficient to waste away the energies of the disciples, or arrest the progress of the church. With an unwavering dependence of heart on the promised presence and grace of their Master, and clad in the simple armor of his truth, THEY OVERCAME fears and foes. In this contest most of them suffered a violent death. But every death of persons in their circumstances, of their character and spirit, was a new triumph to their cause.

And so it ever is. Christians now, in these latter days of the wider spread of a pure christianity, while they are engaged in essentially the same spiritual warfare, no more die unto themselves than they live unto themselves. I say, while engaged in essentially the same spiritual warfare. And can it admit of any question, whether the followers of Christ are, from age to age, in one condition, as it respects the class of enemies with which they are to conflict, the nature of their supports, and the results of their unwearied spiritual struggles ? Except as varied by some unimportant circumstances, their condition in the present world is as much one as their character is one. Indeed, their character makes their condition. It occasioned the condition of the first christians. It made them the

persecuted, scattered, suffering little flock. They who have not the christian's feelings in regard to sin, his views in regard to God and truth, and his aims in regard to duty, can of course have none of his peculiar circumstances of annoyance, feel none of his peculiar motives, and hear none of his calls to duty—to conflict—to conquest. Place a worldly man in precisely the outward condition of a suffering, agonizing, and conquering christian, and he would probably be entirely unconscious of those things in that condition, which nearly engrossed the whole thought and efforts of the christian.

As it respects the enemies which assail the disciples of Christ in the present world, and with which a constant warfare is carried on, the bible teaches us, that there is one grand foe variously denominated by the inspired writers, who has an important agency in directing all the spiritual assaults made upon them, whether in the secret chambers of the inner man, or in the open field of religious duty. He is spoken of as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He is described as ever watchful of opportunity, and skilful in devising modes of assailing the children of God. An apostle speaks of this prince of soul-destroyers as one ever plotting to deceive that he may destroy. But what christian can be ignorant of his devices ? Now, it is this ruler of the darkness of this world, whom the early martyrs of our religion, are said to have overcome. At that period and in their case, his method of attack was more open. He assailed them by the strong arm of a persecuting power. His spirit prompted their attack.

. His legions, which he had enlisted from among men, all joined with fierce and relentless violence against them, as if moved by a single impulse. The dragon fought and his angels. But discomfited in that memorable contest, he has rarely since attempted by similar means to achieve his black designs. That was a mighty endeavor to which he had summoned his choicest legions, in order at once to put out the light of christianity, and leave the world to the unbroken reign of his darkness. In limited portions of the world, he has continued with various success to attempt something like this. But he is ever varying his weapons, his agents, and mode of assault, that what he could not otherwise compass, he may effect by surprise. He is the god of this world, and he knows how to make it subserve his interests in effecting the ruin of souls. He can make it assume, in the views of men, a value and importance

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