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The Christian Warfare.

The Christian Warfare.

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Isai. xiv. 2. They shall take them captives whose captives they
were, ana they shall rule over their oppressors.

Isai. xiv. 2. They shall take them captives whose captives they
were, ana they shall rule over their oppressors.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 24, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE CHRISTIA WARFARE. THE REV. C. SIMEO, M.A. Isai. xiv. 2. They shall take them captives whose captives they were, ana they shall rule over their oppressors. I the midst of the prophecies relating to the de^ liverance of the Jews from Babylon, we shall find many expressions which necessitate us to look for- ward to some other event for their full accomplish- ment. The destruction of Babylon is undoubtedly the subject of this and of the preceding chapter. The whole forms one prophecy, abounding with the most beautiful imagery, and, in point of composition, equalling, if not excelling, the most admired poems of antiquity. But if we could confine the preceding part of this verse, and the verse before it, to that event, (which yet we cannot with any propriety,) what must we do with the words before us ? they were never accomplished at that period : the Jews did not carry the Babylonians into captivity ; nor at any subsequent period did they rule over them. But if we understand these words as looking for- ward to another redemption, then will they be easy; and their accomplishment will be seen, not only in the Church at large, but in every individual member of it. The grace of Christ triumphed over all its opponents in the Apostolic age ; and will in a yet more extensive manner in the Millennial period. The peculiar 2()4 ISAIAH, XIV. 2. [496. peculiar way in which his grace triumphs, is a sub-  ject worthy of our more particular attention : and
the words of our text afford us a fit occasion for setting it before you. We shall, I. Trace a work of grace on the souls of men — Taking such a view of it as is suggested by our text, there are four distinct states in which the Christian will successively be found : — a state, ]. Of captivity — [This is the state of every man, before the grace of God enters into his heart. The Jews in Babylon were not more enslaved than we are by nature. Our principles and ac- tions are altogether in bondage to the world. othing ap- pears so free as the mind : yet, in our natural state, we are so shackled with prejudice, that we cannot exercise it aright : we cannot apprehend truth, when it is proposed to us : " the things of the Spirit of God appear even foolishness to us ; neither can we receive them," because our faculties are pre- occupied by the current sentiments of the world. Our ways too are under the same constraint. Custom has prescribed the paths in which we shall walk ; and we dare not violate its arbitrary laws. Let us even see the light of a bright ex- ample set before us, we feel not ourselves at liberty to follow it. As far as fashion autliorizes an holy life, we will go : we may perform a round of religious duties ; but to cultivate real piety is contrary to our inclination, and beyond our power. As the world by its maxims, so s'i?i by its allurements, fet- ters and controuls us. So interwoven with all our faculties is sin, that we cannot resist its inlluence. Sooner might an Kthiopian change his complexion, or a leopard his spots, than the natural man break fortli from the dominion of sin. Though he do not yield to it in a gross and shameless way, yet his thoughts and desires are altogether vitiated by it ; nor is so much as one inclination or affection free from its maliu;nant taint. A principle of evil resides within liim, and dictates every imagination of his heart"'.
We may observe also, that Satan maintains a tyrannic sway over the natural man, as over his rightful vassal. How he works upon our minds, we cannot exactly say : (for we know not how our own spirit operates upon our material l)ody ; and therefore we must not wonder if we cannot declare how that wicked spirit o])erates on our spirits:) l)ut he certainly does *' work ill all the children of disobedience," and " lead them captive at his will." And when the grace of God first comes into » Gen. vi. 5. 496.] THE CHRISTIA WARFARE. 265 into the soul, it finds us altogether under the power of " that strong man armed."] 2. Of conflict — [The first entrance of grace into the soul stirs it up im- mediately to break its bonds, and assert its liberty. The person who is once enlightened to see what masters he has served, and what will be his recompence, is filled with indig- nation against himself for so long submitting to such ignomi- nious bondage. He first probably begins with efforts made in his own strength : but when he finds how unavailing they are, he will betake himself to prayer, and implore help from above. ow the sins to which he once addicted himself, are resisted ; and the very inclinations to them are bitterly be- wailed. ow he cannot be satisfied with taking his notions of sin and duty from the world, or with conforming himself to the standard which the world approves : he inquires what God's will is, and determines to renounce whatever is incon- sistent with it. Difficulties he meets with, innumerable diffi- culties, in his new course ; his in-dwelling corruptions, like a stream obstructed by a dam, threaten to bear down all be- fore them : and Satan exerts himself, by various wiles and de- vices, to divert him from his purpose : and the world, Satan's

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