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law is not made void, but confirmed and

2. pBoni this subject, let me exhort true
believers to justify the sincerity of their pro-
fession, by the holiness of their lives. We
may reason, my Friends, upon the good
tendency of our principles. We may shew,
to the conviction of every unprejudised
mind, that the doctrines of grace are doc-
trines accordmg to godliness. But all this
will have little influence, unless our argu-


merits be supported by more solid and sub-
siantial proofs. The enemie.'^ of llie gospel
Will judge of its tendency more from the
actions, than Trom the words of its profes-
sors. And though this be a false rule of
judorino;, and th u^^h a degree of perfection
be oittn expected from a religious charac-
ter, greater than is httainuhle in the present
state, yet it were mu^h to be wished, that
believers in general were more careful than
they ?ire, to remove every ground of oifencey
and to ado! n the doctrine of God our Savi-
our in all thin^js*

Consider, my Brethren, the eyes of ma^
ny are upon you. The glory of God,-
the honour of the Redeemer, and the sal-
vation of precious souls are intimately con-
nected with the part that you act. Be
biiimchu, therefore, mid harmless, the
children of God nithout rtbiihe, in the
midst of a crooked and perverse genera-
tion. Have no fdloKship with the nn-
fruitjul Korks of darkness^ but rather re-
prove them. Abstain J ro7n all appearance
«/ LVil. Nor tluiiiv tiiat a niereiy negativ©

SER. 8. BY FAITH. 255

good character is a sufficient justiiicahon of
the truth of vour faith. Aim at somethino-
higher. Study to be usfful, a* well as in-
nocent ; and let j/oiir light so nh'oie be-
fore men, that thej/ iiia^i see your good
works, and glorijij your Father which in in



1 John v. 4.

This is the victon/ tJiat overcometh the
world, even our faith.

1 HE Christian life is with great proprie-
ty represented as a state of warfare. We
are placed in this world as on a field of bat-
tle, where dangers stand thick on every
side, and where thousands are continually
fallino; around us. Our enemies are nu-
merous and powerful. JJe nrestlc not a-
gainst Jlesh and blood onli/, but against
principalfties and pozcers, against the rul-
ers of the darkness of this ziorld, against
spiritual wickednesses in high places. The

SER. 9. faith's victory, &c. 257

world, too, is a dangerous foe to the Chri-
stian. All that is in the world, the lust of
the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride
of life, is hostile to the growth of grace in
the soul. And when you add to this, the
powerful corruptions of our own deceitful
and desperately wicked hearts, which give
strength to every temptation, and second
all the attacks of our spiritual adversaries,
you will then have some idea of the diffi-
culties and dangers of the Christian war-

In these circumstances, hov%' shall crea-
tures, so weak and defenceless as we are,
maintain the combat with such formidable
foes ? By what means shall we resist their
united attacks, and rise superior to all their
machinations? The Scriptures inform us,
that faith is the weapon with which alone
we can successfully fight the battles of the
Lord. By the shield of faith, we are ena-
bled to quench all the fiery darts of the
wicked one. Through faith zee endure, as
seeing Him ic:ho is invisible. And this is

258 faith's victory ser.9.

the victory that overcometlt the ivorlcl^ even
our faith.

The words of the text contain a plain and
important proposition, which I shall endea-
vour to illustrate and improve, by shew-

I. What it is in the world that the Chri-
stian has to overcome : And,

II. How his faith enables him to obtain
the victor3^

I. I bea'in with shewino;, what it is in the
world that the Christian has to overcome.

This term, the worlds is used in differ-
ent significations in scripture. Sometimes
it is applied to the things, and at other
times to the men of the world. Love not
the world, says the apostle John, neither
the things of the world. If any man love
the world, the love of the Father is not in
him. When applied to the men of the
world, it generally signifies, the ungodly


and unbelieving, as distinguished from
those who receive the testimony of God,
and are walking accordmg to the rules of
his word. These latter are uniformly re-
presented as a people chosen out ot the
world, and actuated by other views and
principles. IVe know that we are of God,
and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

Now, the Christian's passage to heaven
lies through this dangerous and defiling
world. He has a part to act in it. He
nmst necessarily mingle in its cares and bu-
siness, share in its vexations and troubles,
and occasionally associate with worldly men.
Mucli watchfulness, therefore, is necessary
to preserve his heart pure, and his garments
clean, amidst so many defilements ; and,
notwithstanding all the entanglements that
he meets witii, to be continually pressing
forward in the way to heaven. The Morld,
by various methods, is perpetually attempt-
ing to draw him back into the ways of sin.
Its temptations are chiefly of two kinds, its
allurements, and its terrors.


260 faith's vTCToiiy §er. 9.

1 The Chrl'^lian has to overcome the al-
lurements of the world.

These are its most dangerous temptations,
and too often they are the least suspected.
Many who have boldly withstood the shock
of persecution, have fallen a prey to the soft
alluring pleasures of sm. The world holds
out many fan' enticing charms. It addresses
the senses and imagination ; and, in ten
thousand ways, insmuates itself into our
heart. It first deceives, ,and then leads
captive the unwary soul. It first infatuates,
and then destroys. Sometimes it allures
the sinner into the fascinating paths of sen-
sual indulgence ; sometimes it presents to
him the flattering prospects of ambition ;
and at other times it draws its votary into
the pursuit of sordid gain. It^ temptations
are artiully varied, according to the differ-
ent age, temper, and condition of those to
whom they are presented. And ah ! my
brethren, how fatally successful is this de-
hiding enchantress ! How many, without
the least opposition, or, at best, after a very
feeble resistance, have yielded to her seduc-:

SER. $. OVER TilE WORLB. 261

tions, and have been carried down the
stream of carnal deUghts or worldly pur-
suits ! Thus, many a fan- appearance of re-
ligion has been blasted; and many, "^v'lO
once seemed to set their faces towards Zion,
have turned back, and walked no more with
Christ. Demas hath forsaken me, saith
the apostle, having loved this present
world. Those which received the seed a-
mong thorns, are thei/, which, when theij
have heard, go forth, and are choaked with
the cares, and riches, ajid pleasures of this
life, and bring forth no fruit to perfection*'.
They that will be rich, fall into tempta-
tion and a snare, and into many Joolish
and hurtful lusts, which drozon men in de-
struction and perdition. For the love of
money is the root of all evil; zcliich, while
some coveted after, they have erred from-
the faith, and pierced themselves through
with many sorrows-f. But,

' 2. The Christian, in his way to heaveii;

■^ Luke viii. 14, f 1 Tim. vi. 9, JO,



SER. 9.

has to overcome, not only the allurements,
but likewise the terrors of the world.

The friendship of the world is eiunify
with God; so that whosoever will be a friend
of the world is the enemy of God *. There-
fore said our Saviour to his disciples, If the
world hate you, ye know that it hated me
before it hated you. If ye 'were of the
world, the zvorld would, love his own ; but
because ye are not of the world, but I have
chosen you out of the world, therefore the
world hateth you f-. On this account the a^
postle hath affirmed, that all that will live
godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecu-
tion. The experience of every age confirms
the truth of this observation. Persecution,
of one kind or another, is, in a greater or
less degree, the common lot of all real
Christians. Sometimes it breaks out in o-
pen rage and violence, attacking their per-
sons, their property, and even their life.
We read of some who had trial of cruel
mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of

* James iv. 4.

f John XV. 18, 19,

SER. 9- OVEll THE WORLl). ^6S

bonds and imprisonment : They were ston-^
ed, were sawn asunder, were tempted^
were slain with the sword : they wander-'
ed about in sheep-skins and goat-skins ; be-'
ing destitute, afflicted, tormented : (of
whom tlie world was not. worthy ;) they
wandered in deserts, and in mountainSj
and in dens and caves of the earth.

At other times, though the enmity of the
seed of the serpent against the seed of the
woman, is restrained by various circumstan-
ces, from breaking out into acts of open vi-
olence, it still shews itself with no less evi-
dence in other ways — by stirring up oppo-
sition to serious godliness, and provoking to
slander, calumny, and unjust reproach. All
this the Christian is called to overcome. He
must deny himself, take up his cross, and
follow Christ. Whosoever, says he, shall be
ashamed of me and of my words, of him
shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he
comes in his ozvn glory, in the glory of Ids
Father, and of the holy angels. But who-
soever shall confess me before men, him
ivill I also confess before my Father which

2()4 faith's VICTOIIY SEE. 9i

is in heaven. He that Jindeth his life shall
lose it, and he that loseth his life for nitj
sake shall find it. Blessed are ye, when
men shall revile you, and persecute you^
and say all manner of evil against you
falsely for my sake. RejoJce, and he e.v-
cetding glad, for great is your reward in
heaven ; for so persectited they the pro^
phets which were before you^'.

Sucii, Christians, is the warfare in whicli
you must engage, if you would obtain the
prize of your high calling in Christ Jesiis,
Like good soldiers you must learn to en-
dure hardness, rising superior to the smiles
and frowns of the world, unallured by its
flatteries, and undismayed by its terrors.
An arduous contest, indeed, but one that is
truly glorious : a contest, in which thou-
sands, once weak and fallible as we, have
proved victorious, and are now arrayed in
white robes, with palms in their hands, be-
fore the throne of God and of the Lamb.

f " ""-" '■•■ • ' • ' ' '

"* Matth. X. 32, 39. and v, ll, 12,

s£R. p. OVER THE WORLD. 265,

This naturally brings me to the

Second £:eneral head of discourse, which
was, to shew, how the Christian s faith enables
him to obtain the victory over the world.

Here it is necessary to inquire, what is
that faith to which such powerful and glo-
rious efiects are ascribed. Faith, in gener-
al, is described by the apostle to be the sub-
stance of things hoped foi\ and the evi-
dence of things not seen. It has a respect
to things invisible and future. It gives them
a real and proper subsistence in the mmd,
representing them, not as mere probabdi-
ties, but as absolute certainties, on which it
may rely with the firmest credit, and the
most unsuspicious confidence. But the faith
of the Christian has a peculiar respect to
the testimony of God, respecting his Son
Jesus Christ. And therefore the Apostle,
after he had affirmed in the text^ This is
the victory that overcometh the world, even
our faith, immediately subjoins, If ho is he
that overcometh the world, but he that be-
lieveth that Jesus is the Son of God f

^66 faith's VICTORY !§EII. C^,

This proposition, that Jesus is the Son of
God, is the very sum and substance of the
gospel. It is a truth which comprehends in
it, by necessary connection and conse-
quence, all the grand and fundamental doc-
trines of the gospel. For, if Jesus be the
Son of God, in the high and exclusive sense
in which this title is ascribed to him in
Scripture, then, the atonement which he
made when he offered up himself without
spot unto God, must be every way perfect.
If the atonement which he offered be every
way perfect, then God is reconciled, justice
is satisfied, the law is magnified, and the
most unworthy sinner who feels his need of
mercy, and relies for it on this atonement,
is safe for eternity, and may rejoice in hope
of the glory of God. These truths, my
Brethren, are inseparably connected. They
form so many links of the same chain ; and
the belief of them is essentially necessary to
that faith by which the world is overcome.

It has become fashionable in the present
day to represent these, and the other pecu-
liar doctrines of Christianitv as mere mat-


ters of opinion, subjects of speculation which
have no immediate connection with prac-
tice, and of which a man may without dan-
ger entertain his own ideas. The apostle
was evidently of a different opinion, when
he declared, This is the victory that over-
cometh the world, even our faith ; and
when he boldly challenged the adversaries
of the gospel to produce a single instance of
this victory having ever been obtained by
any other means, fVho is he that overcometh
the world, but he that believeth that Jesus
is the Son of God.

Let us now attend to this important part
of the subject, and consider, how the faith
of a Christian enables him to obtaui the
victory — first, over the allurements ; and,
secondly, over the terrors of the world.

1. Faith enables the Christian to over-
come the allurements of the world, by
shewing him the vanity and unsatisfving
nature of all earthly enjoyments.

268 faith's VICTORY SER. 9.

The world does not appear in its true co-
lours to those Vrho do not look beyond it to
7kn unseen and everlasting state. It assumes
a false and deceitful appearance, somewhat
like those enchanted scenes which fabulous
writers tell us deceived the unwary travel-
ler. Thus, unthinking men, blinded by the
devices of Satan and the deceitfulness of
their own hearts, pursue the vanities of life,
forming to themselves a thousand schemes
which are never realised, ever complaining
of the sad disappointment of their hopes,
yet still pursuing the empty shadows which
elude their grasp. But faith dissolves the
enchantment. It draws aside the veil, and
shews us, with convincing evidence, how
vain and unsatisfying those objects are
which are most highly valued by worldly
men. It presents to our mmd the cross of
Christ, and discovers to us its infinite im-
portance and value. And O ! my Breth-
ren, how much does the believing contem-
plation of this glorious object darken the
lustre of the world in our eyes ! What con-
tempt does it pour upon all its boasted ho-
nours, and riches, and pleasures ! He who


was the prince of life, and the Lord of all
things was despised and rejected of men, a
man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.
Poverty, reproach, persecution, and death
was the portion which he possessed in this
world. How poor and inconsiderable, then,
must earthly enjoyments appear, in the es-
timation of him whose judgment is always
according to truth. ' Why should I covet
' great things in the world, when my bless-

* ed Master had not where to lay his head ?

* Why should I wish to stand high in the
' esteem of that world which crucified my
' best Friend and beloved Saviour ? Let o-
' thers eagerly pursue the vain trifles of life ;
' let them heap up gold as the dust of the
' earth ; let them pant after fame ; let them
' seek for happiness in the low and pitiful
' pleasures of sin — but God forbid that I
' should glory, save in the cross of our Lord
' Jesus Christ ; by whom the world is cru-
^ cijied to me, and I unto the world/

Thus will the Christian reason, whose
faith has taught him to look upon this world
in its true and proper light.


2. The faith of a Christian enables him
to overcome the alhirements of the world,
by pointing out to him the dangerous con-
sequences of the unlawful pursuits of worlds
ly men.

Faith opens to the mind boundless pros-
pects beyond death and the grave. It
teaches us to consider the remote, as well as
the immediate consequences of our actions,
to stretch forward our thoughts to the ulti-
mate end of our being, and to pursue a plan
which will infallibly secure our final and e-
ternal happiness. But this is not the plan
which most men pursue. Present ease, pre-
sent interest, or present enjoyment is all that
they have in view. The objects of a future
and invisible state are too distant, and, in
their apprehension, too uncertain, to have
any abiding intiuence on their tempei: and
conduct. But faith brings these objects
near, and leads the mind attentively to con-
sider the different ends of the righteous and
the wicked. Does the world hold out to
the Christian its fair and flattering charms ?
Does it tempt him with the prospect of


the wages of unrighteousness ? or endeavour,
with its Siren voice, to allure him into thd
forbidden paths of sensual indulgence ? how
feeble will be the influence of such tempta-
tions on the mind of that man, who, belieA-
ing the threatening of God, is firmly persuad-
ed that the end of these things is death.
Faith enables him boldly to reply, ' How
shall I do this great wickedness and sin
against God? I see that the ways of siil
lead down to the chambers of destruction,
and therefore, depart from me, ye evil do-
ers, for I will keep the conunandments of
my God. You say that such a thing is
for my interest : but how can that be foi'
my interest which would rob me of ever-
lastino; treasures ? You tell me that such
a life is a life of pleasure : Be it so. But
shall I purchase a few momentary plea-
sures at the expence of endless pain ? I be-i
lieve the testimony of God, tliat the zi)a-
ges of sin is death. I behold indignation
and wrath, tribulation and anguish ap-
proaching with swift and certain steps to
overwhelm a world of ungodly sinners. By
the eye of faith I survey the unbelieving



StR. ^J.

and impenitent. I see the Judge descend-
ing in the clouds. I hear the voice that
will reach the deepest caverns of the grave,
Arise, ye dead., and come to judgment !
It is the sound of ihe last trumpet that
summons assembled worlds to receive h'om
the lips of the Judge tlieir final and ever-
lasting doom. Ah ! what piercing accents
are these that reach my ear ! Depart from
wze, ye cursed^ into everlasting fire, pre-
pared for the devil and his angeh ! — And
is this the end of unsfodly men ? will these
be the consequences of the unlawful pur-
suits in which they are engaged ? My
soul, come not thou into their secret ; but
flee these things, and follow after i^igh-
teousness, godliness, faith, love, patience^
meekness, and all the graces which ought
to adorn the Christian character, and
which lead to peace, and life eternal.'

3. Faith enables the Christian to over-
come the allurements of the world, by fill-
ing his soul with those pure and spn-itual
delights, which produce a disrelish for the
perishing pleasures of sin.


The mind of man is restless in pursu-
ing after happiness, and if it does not find
it in religion, it is sure to seek for it in.
the world. But, blessed be God, true re-
ligion is no enemy to happiness. On the
contrary, the faith of the gospel promotes it
in the highest degree. There is a peace
and a joy in believing, that the world know-
eth hot, a peace that passeth all under-
standing, and a joy that is unspeakable and
full of glory. The Christian's happiness is
not all in reserve. Though it is only at the
right hand of God that he expects fulness of
joy, yet here he is often made to experi-
ence the foretastes of heaven. God sends
forth the Spirit of his Sen into the hearts of
his people, as the earnest of their inheri-
tance, and causes them, from happy experi-
ence, to say, Thou hast put gladness in our
heart, more than in the time when their
corn and wine increased. In the secret
exercises of meditation, prayer, and praise ;
in the various acts of social worship, and in
the solemn and delightful services of the
Sanctuary, the Christian experiences a plea-
sure which he would not exchange for all



that the world can bestow. Ah ! my Friends,
how do such joys as these embitter the plea-
sures of sin, and elevate the soul above the
vanities and allurements of the world ! How
poor and contemptible, in comparison, are
all its gay and glittering objects ! * What !'
may the believer say, when solicited by
these vanities, * shall I pollute my sacred

* joys with the unhallowed streams of car-

* nal delights? Shall I foolishly part with

* my heavenly birth-right, for any of the
' unsatisfying objects of this transitory
^ state ? No ; I never can consent to such

* an exchange. Upborn on the wings of
' faith and hope, I can look down with in-

* difference, and even with contempt, on
' the kingdoms of this world, and all the

* glory thereof. I covet not the poor pe-
' rishing pleasures of sin. My soul aspires
' after nobler joys. In communion with
' my God, in the love of my Saviour, in the
'^ fellowship of the saints, and in the bright

* and boundless prospects of immortality, I
' find a new and increasing satisfaction
' which must for ever determine my choice,

* even were the flatteries and allurements of


' the world ten thousand times greater than
' they are/

In this manner doth faith enable the Chri-
stian to obtain the victory over the allure-
ments of the world. I^et us now observe,

II. How faith enables the Christian to
overcome its terrors.

1. It does so, by the gracious supports
which it yields under every trial.

I do not speak here of the common cala-
mities of life, such as pain or sickness, loss
of substance, or of friends, to which all men
are liable in the present state. Although,
in these cases, faith affords the Christian
the noblest support, yet the evils I have
chiefly in view are those which ai:e peculiar
to the people of God, and which, in the
course of divine providence, they are often
called to endure, on account of their sted-
fast adherence to Christ and his service.
These are the evils in the world, to which
the apostle in the text seems particularly to

2.76 PAlTTl's VICTORY SER.^,

refer. And how great are the supports
which faith affords to the Christian under
every trial of this kind. Is he, for example,
called to endure the trial of cruel mockings ?
Does he meet Mith much unmerited re-
proach because he refuses to comply wiih
the sinful customs aiid practices of the
world ? In this case, he is supported by such
declarations as these, Hearken i/iifo nie^ye
that know 7'?gJifeonsness, the people in
zc'hose heart is my law ; fear ye not the
reproach of men, neither l>e ye afraid of
their revilings. I'or the moth shall eat
them vp like a ii'armcnf, and the worm
shall eat them as zcool ; but mi/ riohteoas-
ncss shall be for ever, and my salxuttion
from generation to generation. If ye be
reproached for the name of Christ, happy
are ye ; for the Spirit of glory and of God
resteth upon you : on their part he is evil
spoken of, but on your part he is glori-

Does the opposition of the world proceed
the length of open violence? Fahh has still
its support at hand, to contirm and cncou-

SE K . 9. O V E R TIJ E WO P LT). 277

raa,e the Christimi, Fear riot, for J am zcifh
tine ; he not diswnj/erl, for I am thif Ood.
J will strei}i>;then thee, yea, I will help thee,
yen, T will uphold tlfce with the right hand
of my ri^hteoKsjiess. IV hen thou passest
through the tcaters, J will he with thee ;
and fhrongh the rivers, they shall not over-
flozii thee ; when thou walkest through the
Jire, thou shalt not he hurnt, neither shall
the flames kindle upon thee.

Aniniatod by siicli c^raclous rncourapjing
words, the behcver can even i!;lory in tri-
bulation.- AJy Brethren, says an apostle,
count it all joy zcdien ye fall into divers
temptations ; knowing this, that the trying
of your faith worketh patienee. On this
account, it is represented as a peculiar pri-
vilege, to suffer for Christ's sake. Unto
you it is given, in the hehalf of Christ, not
only to believe on him, but also to suffer for
his sake. And to the same purpose it is

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