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ever, so animating a report of that good land, and have heard, from the very word of God, such glorious things concerning it, that we see no motive in this world adequate to arrest our progress; and in the belief of the glory before us, and knowing that we are encompassed with a great cloud of witnesses-witnesses the most illustrious, whose regard signally compensates for the shame which we may suffer, in being at any time made a spectacle to a scornful generation; we press forward, neither to be intimidated by all the force of joy or sorrow with which the world assails us, persuaded that one m()ment of heaven will be more than recompence for the loss of all the world's joys, or endurance of its utmost inflictions of pain and distress.
Faith, however, leads to victory in another > way,-by acts of direct application to Christ, and by receiving out of his fulness and sufficiency an overcoming power. It is through Christ strengthening the believer, that he is able to do all things, and that he is enabled to overcome the world. When he feels its lusts reviving—its
' cares hurting him—its spirit stirring and contending for some conformity to the world, he flees directly to Jesus and his word. He hears the Sa
viour say, “Fear not, I have overcome the world.” He does confide, and confidence is victory. The god of this world comes to the disciples as he did to their Lord, and showeth them some of this world's glory, gains, or gratifications, adapting the temptation to the natural disposition or circumstances of situation, and saying, All these things will I give you; this gain, that glory, these pleasures; only yield to sin.
We know the enemy by this he counsels us to sin; but we know in whom we have believed; and repairing to him, he dispels the illusions of error, corrects our judgments of things, and imparts strength to resist every assault. By the love he feels for us, and the love actually shed abroad in our hearts, we are more than conquerors. And thus, by the simple exercise of faith, apprehending Christ, and resting in the promise with unshaken confidence, is the believer enabled to stand, in the evil day, against all that the world can bring against him of force to overawe, or of inducements to corrupt him on the side of interest; he not only stands, but conquers. Indeed, to keep his ground is victory; and none will do this but the believer. And hence, the Apostle challenges men to produce a single instance,
from all their ranks, of one having overcome the world without faith. • Who is this, cries he, “ that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” The Stoic does it not~the Epicurean does it not-the Pharisee does it not. The mere moralist is often as far from victory, as the regardless of moral obligation; and the unbelieving poor, as the unbelieving rich. Some fight against one side of the world and for another; and he who has overcome its grossness, yields to its more imposing displays, and is led into captivity by its refinements.. Go round the globe, and ask, “Who is he that overcometh the world ?” None will be found a conqueror, but “ he that believeth."
And let believers remember, that in proportion to faith will their conquests be; and that the conflict will not be over till death. It is a daily warfare. It is not said, overcame, but “overcometh,” to denote the continued nature of the work, and the necessity of being prepared for the world's successive attacks ; for as long as there are extant in our frame, the least remains of native unsanctified lusts and passions, we shall have somewhat to trouble our peace; and as long as we are within the sight and contact of the external
world, it will not give us rest. It may have the face of a friend, but it has the heart of an enemy; and we are never beyond reach of its hostility, until we have triumphed over death itself, and joined the fellowship of those of whom the world was not worthy, and by whom it was overcome, “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony."
6 Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
RELIGIOUS JOY SURMOUNTING TEMPORAL
HABAKKUK iii. 17-19. Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls : yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.”
That the world is insufficient for our hapa piness, who does not confess? or, at least, who does not feel? The objects of time and sense, the pursuits of wealth, the enjoyments of pleasure, and the acquisition of fame, are found, by experience, often to destroy peace and wound the conscience, but never of themselves to establish the soul in a rational satisfaction. Flashes of mirth cast transient glances of joy over the scenes