« ZurückWeiter »
gainst principalities, powers, rulers of the d a :
AMONGST the means, duties, ordinances, which I fi did discover in their right method, manner, and proceedings, I observed three ordinances made little use of, tho' molt necessary. The first is war with devils, held forth in Eph. vi. 12. The second is ministration of, and commuDion with angels, held forth in Heb. i. 4. The third is looking unto Jesus, held forth in Heb. xii. 2. These three have some suitableness among themselves, and accordingly I have observed some suitableness in this work: In them. selves it is suitable that war with devils should have encou. ragement from holy angels, and get that we should not stay here, or dwell on them, but look a little further, and rest on nothing on this side Jesus Christ. In the work, I have first enlarged by way of preface on each duty; I see they are ordinances little practised or made use of, and therefore I thought a confirmation of each duty, and a persuasion to it, as well as direction in it, was not altogether labour in vain: In the direction itself, I have followed each one from first to last: War with devils begins with the beginning of our life, and continues to death: Ministration of, and communion with angels begins at the beginning, and continues till the end of this world, or resurrection.day: Looking unto Jesus begios with eternity, and continues to eternity; it minds what was before the world was, aod minds what Thall be when time shall be no more. Now in that I have observed such a correspondency in all these ordinances, I thought it not amiss to join all those together; and tho' for the largeness they contain two volumes, yet to comprise them in one work. '
Thou hast now my last works of practical divinity, that ever I mean to publish to the world, and if last words are wont to bear the greatest weight, and to make the deepest impression, much more let these last practical lines find some entertainmeat from thee for thy fpiritual good. This (next to God's glory) is my chiefest end, and so I leave thee, and the book together in God's hands; may his Spirit inspire good motions, when thou readest my directions, and bring them to good issue. It is the prayer of,
Thy unworthy Friend, and
Eph. vi. 12. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but a
gainst Principalities, against Powers, againstthe Rulers of the darkness of this world, against Spiritual Wickedo nelles in Heavenlies.
CHA P. I. SECT. I.
MONGST other exhortations, our apostle
gives in this, Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, Eph. vi. 10. And to this
end he propounds, 1. The means, Put on the whole armour of God, ver. 11. And, 2. The motives, drawn from a Christian's fight and combat; wherein is, 1. The kind of combat; called wrestling, we wrestle. 2. The combatants themselves, to wit, Christians and devils; we are the defendants, and they are the assailants: They, who are they? 1. Negatively, or comparatively, not flesh and blood. 2. Affirmatively, or positively, priacipalities, powers, rulers of the darkness in this world, and spiritual wickedness in (or about) heaveolies.
SECT. II. . Of the several Do&trines deduced from the words. TROM every part we may deduce a several doctrine :
I As, 1. Our spiritual combat is a wrestling. 26 All God's people are to be in the fight. Our enemies are more than flesh and blood. 4. They are mighty and ma. licious enemies that war agaiost us, even principalities, powers, rulers, and spiritual wickednesses. My design is to insist on the first, only we shall begin with the three latter, and briefly say something of every one of them.
CH A P. II. SECT. I.
Of the first doctrine to be handled. LL God's people are to be in the fight, We wrestle. 1 This we is either exclusive or inclusive: 1. Exclu.
normalities, po wickedness E c deduced for a feveral ting
hibebe faints muatsand all Goe fought a good more
five, not the wicked. 2. Inclusive, but we that are faints, and the people of God.
1. Not the wicked; they serve pot in this war; instead of fighting the Lord's battles, they spend their time in chambering and waptopoess, in lusts and uncleanness, in carelessness and idleness; they sleep in security, they make Do resistancr for they are altogether ignorant of Satan's assaults. On that inen's eyes were opened! Oh that such men would know they are none of the we in this text! they are not the Lord's foldiers, but the devil's revellers; and therefore they fight not against him, nor will he fight against them: for they have made a covenant with death, and with hell are they ať agreemet, lsa, xxviii. 15.
2. All the saints must be in this fight, We wrestle, I Paul, and you Ephesians, and all God's people from first to last. First for Paul himself, I have fought a good fight, 2 Tim. iv. 7. and then for Paul and others jointly; for
tho' we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh, • for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but migh• ty thro' God to the pulling down of strong holds, 2 Cor. x. 3, 4. Or if we may bring in the examples of God's saints in all ages, Adam had his combat, Job his temptations; Moles, and Aaron, and Lot, and David, and all the patriarchs, and all the prophets, had their several onsets : Nor was it thus only before Christ's time, but since his coming; Peter was windowed, Paul was buffeted; the Hebrews endured a great fight of affliction, Heb. x. 32. and Timothy, was encouraged by Paul, · Thou, O man of • God, fly these things, and follow after righteousness, god
lipels, faith, love, patience, meekoess, fighting the good o fight of faith,' i Tim. vi. 11, 12. But to what purpose Tould I instance? Never was there any member of Christ's church, who was not exercised with this Christian warfare: Not Adam in innocency; not the apostles of Christ; no, nor Christ himself, when he was upon earth, « Then was • Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be temp. *ted of the devil,' Mat. iv. 1.
SECT. II. Ules. Ufe 1.' ARE all God's people to war with devils? then A consider all of you what religion will cost you:
You You that are strangers, kpow, that a Christian soldier must endure hardoefs; Thou therefore endure hardness as a good foldier of Jesus Christ, 2 Tim. ii. 3. Saiots must be win, powed, and buffetted, and tried, and tempted; sharp war, sudden violences, dreadful dangers, are the portion of God's people; They must thro' much tribulation enter into the kinga dom of God, Acts xiv, 22. they must proceed from one ae. ţion into another: Was it not Paul's case? How was he ia labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prifons more frequent, in death oft, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by .countrymen, in perils by heatheps, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils amongst false brethren, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in bunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness, 2 Cor. xi. 23, 26, 27. Certainly Christianity is not so easy as ma. ay take it to be. I speak not these things to dismay any, but to awaken all, and to advise all to cast up their accounts, and to be resolved men.
Ule 2. Are we to fight with devils ? then courage, · Christians ! you that are of the right stamp, of the num
ber of this we. O be not dejected because of the enemy, but be you of good heart! What, are you afraid of Satan's fiery darts ? know they are but as the waves toffing the air, yet saving Noah; or as the whale swallowing up, yet preserving Jonah; or as the dragon pursuing the woman, yet procuring her great preservation; or as the file grating the iron, yet making it clearer and brighter than before ; or as the mill grinding the wheat, yet making it useful; or as the coals heating perfume, yet makiog it thereby more odoriferous. You say this war is troublefome; this indeed is Jacob's voice, for never an Elau complained thus: But do you feel your spirits (harpned, your pride depressed, your fiesh cooled, your old map destroyed, your Bew man renewed day by day? Tell me, are not you provoked to more earnest and-ardent prayers by this war? Do not you accustom yourselves to more patience, as now experiencing the fragility and frowardness of your natures ? Are not Satan's temptations as thorns in your ways to keep you from straying and running wrong? O then be you noc