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“ life;" that is, the objects of these lusts. The desires both of the flesh and of the mind, an incalculable swarm, are derivatives from human corruption here denominated “ the flesh.” « The “ temptations of the devil” are equally in number beyond the powers of arithmetic, so vast is their diversity and multitude. Surely the Chris-tian warrior may adopt, with a little variation, the complaint which he finds in the 69th Psalm:

They that hate me are more than the hairs “ of my head; they that would destroy me, “ being my enemies, are mighty."

In the primary temptation by which our ruin was effected, the world supplied the bait, and corporeal appetite the subject; while the devil was the tempter, who exhibited the one, and excited the other to undue concupiscence. In the generality of subsequent temptations the same process takes place. Some, however, seem to be purely Satanic. For the Tempter has obtained, since the fall, such easy access to our spirits, that in many cases no outward bait is necessary to his success.

An attempt to analyse these three classes of temptations would lead us beyond the bounds of the plan proposed in these essays. To enumerate the schemes and artifices of the devil, the corrupt propensities of the flesh, or the allure. ments which the world affords, is impossible, since they are almost infinitely varied. And even a list of those temptations which are most common would take up too much of the room allotted to our present subject. It will be more to edification, if we consider the necessity of withstanding temptation in every shape in which it may assault us, the impossibility of doing it by our own wisdom or strength, and the consequent propriety of the collect which we are now reviewing.

The war in which the Christian believer is engaged is a war of extermination. He must conquer or perish. The command which Israel received in the Canaanitish war, to destroy without exception that accursed race, may be considered as addressed to the Christian warrior respecting sin. His eye must not pity nor his hand spare. He must fight under this conviction, that he must ultimately exterminate corruption, or corruption will destroy both soul and body. Without this he is not a true soldier of Christ. With a view to final victory every temptation must be withstood; for every one that succeeds weakens the power of resistance, increases the influence of corruption, and thereby throws great additional weight into the adversary's scale. Until we are earnestly desirous of withstanding every assault, and firmly resolved not to yield an inch of ground to the invading foe, whatever sacrifices or labour the opposition may cost us, we have no reason to hope that the issue of the contest will be prosperous: nay, we have no solid evidence that we are cordially engaged in it.

If we are indeed enlisted under the banner of Christ, are acquainted with the nature of the Christian warfare, and have had any experience of it, we have learned the impossibility of ensuring success, yea of gaining the smallest advantage, by our own unassisted efforts. Indeed the first perception of danger, and the first desire of escape from ruin by an effectual opposition to sin, come from God; and every awakened person knows that they proceed from Him. And throughout every stage of the warfare it is

His grace that keeps alive the animosity to evil, and that gives strength for effectual resistance. The humble and grateful language of the Psalmist is adopted by every Christian champion: “ Blessed be the Lord my strength, who “ teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to “ fight.”

The total impotence of man to withstand temptation will be evident, if it be considered that “the world” which he is to oppose consists of objects exactly suited to his corrupt propensities, and that he is daily and necessarily conversant with these objects, and even dependent on them for his present existence. Moreover, “the flesh" which he is to combat, is himself, and every act of opposition to it is the amputation of a limb, the excision of a right eye. “ The devil" is a spirit possessed of that knowledge, subtlety, and might, to which human ability affords no counterpoise. Man even in his pristine state of perfection fell a prey to his devices. And how can fallen man, weakened both in his intellectual and moral faculties, in whose bosom Satan has a powerful, watchful, and ever obedient ally-how can fallen man oppose such an enemy? To these considerations on the awful and alarming power of Satan, another may be added. For the interval which has elapsed since the fall, during which he has been constantly employed in the infernal work of temptation, has furnished him with experience, by which his original subtlety must have been greatly improved. The address of Saul to the stripling David may be adapted to every Christian soldier with relation to his enemy the devil: “ Thou art not able to go against this “ Philistine to fight with him; for thou art but


« a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” And nothing but the same confidence in an Almighty Friend which David felt, can encourage a well-founded hope of success. " The “ Lord,” said the youthful hero, “ that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of “ the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out « of the hand of this Philistine.” « God is “ faithful,” says the Christian combatant,“ who “ will not suffer me to be tempted above that I

am able; but will with the temptation also “ make a way to escape, that I may be able to “ bear it." And He will, moreover, “ bruise “ Satan under my feet shortly.”

The necessity of imploring “grace,” in order that we may be enabled to “ withstand the

temptations of the world, the flesh, and the “ devil,” must be apparent from the observations which have been made on the enemies with whom we have to cope. For what can all our watchfulness and strength avail in such a contest, wherein human weakness and Satanic might, mortal weariness and faintness, and hellish vigilance and perseverance, are at issue? The propriety of earnest supplication, taught us by the voice of reason, is fully sanctioned by revelation. For after that we are commanded to " resist the devil,” and assured that “ he will “ flee from us;" we are instructed to “ draw “ near to God," and assured that “ He will “ draw near to us." (James iv. 7, 8.) The inference from this connection of resistance to the enemy and prayer to God needs not to be pointed out. St. Paul also, in a similar strain, after that he had exhorted the Ephesians to • take unto them the whole armour of God,” and had specified the several parts of that

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armour, concludes by calling upon them to be earnest in prayer and supplication. (Eph. vi. 18 ) Without the grace of God we “ can do “nothing;” but we can do all things through “ Christ who strengtheneth us."

Let the reader inquire whether he can cordially join in this petition of our collect or not. Let him ask himself, Does my heart correspond with my lips when I say, “Lord, we beseech “ thee, grant thy people grace to withstand " the temptations of the world, the flesh, and or the devil?" Am I conscious that I was once in amity with these threefold enemies of

my salvation? Is that amity now converted into enmity, and the fatal league disolved ? Am I painfully sensible of a warfare within my own bosom, “ the flesh lusting against the Spirit, “ and the Spirit against the flesh ?" Am I resolved to withstand every temptation, whatever sacrifices such a resistance may require, knowing that I must fight or lose the crown of glory, conquer or eternally perish? Is this resistance the daily and principal business of my life, since the world is always soliciting an unlawful regard to its vanities, the flesh constantly demanding sinful compliances with its dictates, and the devil, like a roaring lion, with unremitted diligence seeking to devour me? In the

In the progress of the warfare have I learned the total inefficacy of my own efforts? Do I know that the necessary vigilance and perseverance in it must result from the operation of Divine grace on my heart, independent of which I should immediately drop “the shield of faith," and cease to brandish “ the sword of the Spirit,” turn my back in flight, for which no armour is provided; nay, again join with the enemies of God to my own

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