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has been to ridicule and to allegorize the idea of his own reality, in order to throw an unsuspecting world off their guard, (see this Vol. p. 11,) that he may find their hearts "empty, swept, and garnished," fitted and prepared for the reception of himself and his wicked spirits, "to enter in, and dwell there," by the most dreadful and alarming possession. The danger and extent of our spiritual warfare, indeed, is well expressed by Paul, his powerful opponent, in his own kingdom, the Gentile world, who was commissioned by CHRIST to open their eyes, to convert them from darkness to LIGHT, from the power of Satan unto GOD," Acts xxvi. 18.
"For, our wrestling is not merely with flesh and blood, [mankind,] but with the principalities, with the powers, with the mundane rulers of the darkness of this world, with the wicked spirits among the celestial beings," Ephes. vi. 12. Here the Apostle's imagery seems to be borrowed from the mysterious transaction of Jacob's wrestling with the angel of light, Gen. xxxii. 24.
The most effectual means of defence, we learn from our Lord's precept," watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation;" by over security, or self-confidence," the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak," Matt. xxvi. 41.
The most mischievous instrument employed by Satan for the destruction of souls, is THE WORD OF GOD itself, "adulterated" and perverted, according to "his methodism of error," or erroneous modelling of HOLY WRIT *, as we have actually seen in the foregoing cases of Eve, Vol. II. p. 13, and of CHRIST, Vol. III. p. 78, 2 Cor. ii. 17, Ephes. iv. 14. For, by the confession of the inspired Apostles themselves, "There are some parts of SCRIPTURE, (especially Paul's Epistles,) hard to be understood, and "hard to be interpreted," respecting" the mystery of THE GOSPEL," which the unlearned and unstable, tossed to and fro, and veering about with every wind of doctrine, wrest to their own, and their hearers' destruction; deceiving others, and deceived themselves; whilst false apostles, and false teachers, like the false prophets of old, foist in pernicious heresies, even denying THE LORD that bought them, (with his precious blood,) bringing on themselves speedy destruction: the old Serpent, by
What damned error but some sober brow
Will bless it, and approve it with a text?" Shakspeare.
his subtilty, corrupting their minds from the simplicity of the GOSPEL respecting CHRIST. Compare, in the originals, 2 Pet. iii. 16, Heb. v. 11, 2 Pet. ii. 1, 2, Gal. ii. 4, 2 Cor. xi. 3, 1 Cor. xi. 19, Ephes. vi. 19, Col. i. 26, 27, iv. 3, 2 Tim. iii. 13.
"To withstand the Devil," and his emissaries, namely, "false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles" of CHRIST, we are exhorted "to put on the divine panoply, to gird our loins with truth or sincerity, in opposition to guile or falsehood, to wear the breast-plate of righteousness, or a conscience void of offence toward GOD and toward men, and to be shod with the preparation, (or sandals,) of the Gospel of peace," in a meek and quiet spirit, a peaceable and inoffensive demeanor; "above all, to assume the shield of faith, whereby we may be enabled to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one, and to take the helmet of salvation, or the blessed hope of everlasting life. And in addition to this complete defensive armour, to take the sword of the Spirit, which is THE WORD OF GOD," carefully compared, and critically expounded, so as to vanquish the enemy at his own weapons, like the great CAPTAIN OF OUR SALVATION, who permitted no other offensive weapon to be employed in his cause. But it is two edged," and unless it be cautiously handled, and skilfully used, may recoil and cleave asunder the wretched victim of his own indiscretion, who dares to wield it, without due preparation and discipline.
To guard, therefore, against this danger of handling THE WORD OF GOD deceitfully, or unskilfully, we are further recommended" to pray with all prayer and supplication in spirit, at every season, (especially of emergency,) and to be vigilant thereunto, with all perseverance." Compare also in the originals, 2 Cor. xi. 13, 14, iv. 2, Ephes. vi. 10-18, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5, 1 Pet. v. 9, James iv. 7.
And for our encouragement and support during this arduous and perilous warfare, we are assured, that "Greater is HE presiding in us, than he presiding in the world," 1 John iv. 4, as implied also in the doxology, or conclusion of the Lord's Prayer.
"THINE," and not Satan's, as he boasted even to THE SON OF GOD himself, Luke iv. 6. (See p. 79.) THE FATHER,
indeed, is greater than all," John x. 29. And though, in his infinite wisdom, He permits Satan to exercise a considerable sway in this world, for the punishment of the bad, and the trial of the good, yet it is but for a season. The time is approaching, when, in the regeneration, the whole world, convinced and converted, shall exclaim, THE LORD, HE IS THE GOD! THE LORD, HE IS THE GOD! and not Satan, nor his prime auxiliaries, Baal and Mammon, (idolatry and worldly-mindedness,) which now rule with divided sway; when the kingdoms of this world, from the rising to the setting sun, shall become the willing subjects of THE LORD and HIS CHRIST; and THE LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT shall be all in all; and reign for evermore, throughout all eternity. Amen.
And as OUR LORD began his Sermon on the Mount with an impressive warning to his disciples of that age, against "the leaven," or doctrine of the Scribes and Pharisees, so he concludes with a similar warning against false teachers, to the end of the world; with an infallible criterion for detecting such by their fruits or works; and he excludes from the happiness of heaven all workers of iniquity, however eminently gifted as teachers, in prophesying or preaching, expelling demons, and working miracles, in the name of CHRIST, Matt. vii. 21—24.
Thus does this divine discourse critically harmonize throughout with the Decalogue and the Lord's prayer, while it furnishes the finest comment and improvement of the whole religious and moral law of Moses.
The whole "mystery of THE GOSPEL" is summed up and comprized in one single text, furnished by that most highly gifted Apostle Paul, "according to the wisdom given to him," which he taught as a "father in Christ, worth ten thousand
This most comprehensive text is given in his Epistle to Titus, ii. 11-14.
"For the saving grace of GOD hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, expecting the blessed hope and glorious appearance of OUR GREAT GOD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST *, who gave
This rendering is ably vindicated by Sharp, Wordsworth, and Middleton. 1. From the grammatical construction of the Greek article, according to the rule noticed before, VOL. III.
himself [a ransom] for us, to redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
On this passage, more closely translated, we may remark, 1. THE GOD whose saving grace hath been manifested to all men in the Gospel, is "THE FATHER OF MERCIES, and GOD of all consolation, 2 Cor. i. 3, who willeth all men to be saved, and come unto information of the truth," 1 Cor. ii. 3, 4. 2. The epithet "THE SAVIOUR" is applied both to THE FATHER and to THE SON in the sequel.
"For when the kindness and philanthropy of GOD OUR SAVIOUR, [THE FATHER,] appeared, He saved us, not by works which we ourselves had done in righteousness, but according to his mercy, by the baptism of regeneration, and by renovation of the HOLY SPIRIT, whose influence He shed forth richly upon us, through JESUS CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR, to the end that, having been justified by HIS [THE FATHER'S] grace, we might be made heirs of eternal life, according to hope," Tit. iii. 4-7.
This noble passage, apparently designed for the illustration of the former, intimates, that "the grace" there noticed originated from "OUR SAVIOUR GOD," THE FATHER, and was effected by "OUR SAVIOUR GOD likewise, JESUS CHRIST," through the instrumentality of the HOLY GHOST, regenerating and sanctifying us, by his influence, in baptism, and afterwards in the course of our lives.
2. From the concurrent
(note on John xvii. 3,) in the article of CHRIST's intercession. testimony of Clemens Alexandrinus and all the early Fathers, in favour of this rendering. 3. The Geneva Bible translators, 1593, so explain it in their note, "CHRIST here, most plainly called THAT MIGHTIE GOD,' and his appearance and coming is called by the figure metonymie 'our hope.' 4. The Assembly of Divines, 1651, observe in their annotations, " To the confutation and confusion of all that deny the deity of CHRIST, the Apostle here calleth him, not only GoD, but THE GREAT GOD. 5. The parallel passage, του Θεου ήμων και Σωτήρος Ιησου Χριστου, “ of OUR GOD and SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST," 2 Pet. i. 1, (which differs only in the position of nuov before or after Zornoos, without affecting the sense; for the pronoun, in fact, understood, ought to be repeated twice, namely, Tov Oεov nμwv кaι Σwrηpos nμwv, after each noun, as judiciously remarked by Middleton, p. 622,) is so rendered, and understood of CHRIST alone, by the versions of Wickliffe, Coverdale, Matthews, Cranmer, the Bishops' Bible, the Geneva, the Rhemish, and also by Wells, Dodd, Doddridge, Wesley, &c. 6. Hence we may conclude that this passage was also so understood by our Bible translators in 1609, "of the great God, and our Saviour, JESUS CHRIST." For had they meant two distinct persons they should have repeated the pronoun," and (of) our Saviour." The ambiguity, however, ought to be removed, in order to establish this most powerful text for CHRIST's divinity in its full lustre; plucking up Unitarianism by the roots.
2. But while the Apostle is thus careful to "ascribe unto THE FATHER the honour due unto his name," in the great work of our salvation, he is equally zealous to glorify the SON for his kindness and gracious condescension in becoming OUR GREAT GOD and SAVIOUR also, or THE TUTELAR GOD of his peculiar people, the Christians, as well as SAVIOUR, which seems to be the most correct interpretation of that important phrase. Compare Acts xix. 28; Luke i. 32; Isaiah ix. 6.
3. The evidence of our regeneration, as a holy people, separated as "a peculiar treasure to CHRIST, above all people, though all the earth be his," Exod. xix. 5, is to be shewn by denying ungodliness and worldly lusts," by a sincere reformation in religion and morals; for the former must precede the latter: and the evidence of our sanctification, by "living soberly with respect to ourselves, righteously toward men, and piously toward GOD, in our progress toward Christian perfection; the highest duty, as most difficult of attainment, being here placed last, by this consummate Teacher of the Gospel *.
Of all the various confessions of faith, or articles of religion, that have been published since the Apostles' creed, by the several Christian Churches of the East and West, the simplest, and most comprehensive, and most scriptural, perhaps, is furnished by the Albigensian confession, about A.D. 1200, for which, alas! this small primitive Christian Church, (called Albigenses or Albigeois, from Albi, their principal town, in France,) was nearly extirpated in the home crusade stirred up against them by the see of Rome, about A.D. 1096, which lasted a century; and also by the inquisition, expressly instituted to take cognizance of their heresies. It had been fortunately preserved among their surviving remains, the Merindolians and Caprarians, who presented it A.D. 1544 to Francis I. king of France. Molineus published it from the French original, in his Monarchia Francorum, whence it was copied by Sands, in his Historia Ecclesiastica, p. 425, and thence by Jortin, in his Life of Erasmus, Vol. I. p. 611, of which the following is a literal translation.
ALBIGEOIS CONFESSION OF FAITH, A.D. 1200.
1. "We believe that there is ONLY ONE GOD, who is SPIRIT, CREATOR of all THINGS, FATHER OF ALL, ABOVE ALL, and THROUGH ALL, and IN US ALL, to be worshipped in spirit and truth; to WHOM alone we look up, as THE GIVER of life, food, and raiment, of health and sickness, of prosperity and adversity: and WHOM we love, as THE AUTHOR OF ALL GOODNESS, and fear as THE SEARCHER OF HEARTS.
II. "We believe that JESUS CHRIST is THE SON OF GOD, and HIS IMAGE; in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the GODHEAD; through whom we know THE FATHER, who is both OUR MEDIATOR and OUR ADVOCATE; nor is there ANY OTHER NAME given to man whereby we can be SAVED; in whose NAME alone we invoke THE FATHer. Nor do we utter any PRAYERS before GOD, except those that are contained in HOLY SCRIPTURE, or are plainly conformable to the sense thereof.
III. "We believe that we have a COMFORTER, THE HOLY SPIRIT, proceeding from THE FATHER and THE SON; by whose inspiration we pray, and by whose efficacy we are