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part where he is most vulnerable, the assault should be made with the greatest force, in order that the victory may be more easily won by a decisive blow. With the same views, a knowledge of the nature and malignity and injurious tendency of sin, as described in the first part of this Work, will suggest to us the wisdom of arming ourselves to withstand its violence. Sin is compared, by St. Paul, to a despotic prince, exercising a tyrannical authority throughout his dominions :-“ Sin hath reigned unto deatha.” All mankind are the subjects of its vast einpire, and the whole world is the seat of its extensive power. It has caused a sentence of death to be inflicted upon the apostate race of Adam:

By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, for that all liave sinned b.” No man is exempted from its fatal stab; though penitent believers in Christ will escape “ the second death,” which is banishment to hell, into which obdurate sinners will finally be thrustd.

Such is the destructive power of sin over all who submit to its hateful influence.

The expediency, therefore, of offering resistance to sin may be established on the strongest grounds. Its tendency to despoil us of righteousness and peace, to fill the mind with enmity against God and dislike of His reasonable service, the fetters with which it binds our souls and bodies, and the disqualifications which it brings us under for serving God or for enjoying his presence, are considerations which might serve to convince us that we should not tamely yield to sin, but oppose, with the greatest Rom. v. 21.

1 Rom. v. 12. c Rev. xx.6.

Rev. xiv. 9-12.

a

determination, all its malevolent attempts to bring us under its dominion.

Do we, then, aspire after liberty, that noble freedom of the Children of God; which consists in the emancipation of our souls from the chains of sin, and in our being brought into a capacity to delight in God, and to advance our nature to the highest degree of perfection to which it can arrive ?

To attain so exalted and happy a condition, who would not be willing to shake off the usurped authority of sin? Who would be so lost to the excellence of the soul, and the joys which are prepared for it in heaven, as to suffer it to be enslaved by hurtful lusts, prejudices, and passions ? Who would suffer his heart to be the abode of unclean spirits, instead of having it “for an habitation of God through the Holy Ghost,” whose influences fill it with sanctity and gladness?

Another motive to resist all unrighteousness, equally cogent with those which have been stated, is the dishonour which it offers to the Law of God. Can those who call themselves Christians freely allow themselves in practices which are affronting to God ? How contrary would such a temper be to the whole tenor of their baptismal covenant, in which they promised “ to renounce the world, the flesh, and the Devil, to confess the faith of Christ crucified, to fight manfully under his banner, and to continue his faithful soldiers and servants unto the end of their lives dd."

How, then, shall they who, by a profession so solemn, are dead to sin, live any longer thereine ! Christians, on the contrary, are exhorted to put

off dd Baptismal Service. e Rom. vi. 7-22.

“ the body of sin',” and to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to re

prove them."

Stimulated by such resistless motives, the obedient Christian will inquire, How am I to contend successfully against iniquity? How can I “ fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal lifeb?"

Now, we must carry our resistance, first, against every kind of sin, whether it be notorious and atrocious, or less heinous and secret sin ; whether it be sin of omission or commission, of ignorance or presumption. Secondly, we are required to oppose most strenuously our besetting sins—those constitutional iniquities which are grafted in us, and too frequently gain the ascendancy over us; such as, pride, revenge, covetousness, worldly-mindedness, self-righteousness, an unforgiving, or malevolent spirit. These sins, by long indulgence, take deep root in the soul, and cannot be subdued but by a persevering and courageous opposition.

Nor will it be allowable to give any quarter even to sins of the most pleasing form, or to those which promise the greatest advantage. Every beloved lust must be sacrificed, every darling sin must be forsaken, and every favourite idol renounced, if we have any wish to please God who calls us to holinesshh.

1. That resistance which will ensure a conquest over sin, must be firm. There are seasons when the courage of the warrior must rise to the highest pitch, to overcome the obstacles that surround him; and when nothing but the most resolute bravery will give him the superiority over his foe. i Rom. vi. 6.

& Eph. v. 11. di Tim. vi. 12.

hh Mark ix. 43–50.

The Christian combatant must display the same undaunted and unyielding spirit in defending himself against those legions of darkness which will assail him. A victory over such foes cannot be hoped for, without the most daring valour and resolution. Hence, to make us“ more than conquerors" over our adversaries, the Scripture urges us

to endure hardness, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ';" to fight courageously under His banners; and “to resist, even unto death,” rather than to give up our souls as a prey to the ravages of sin, and to the dominion of Satank.

2. Our opposition should be persevering. In an arduous and protracted contest, the most valiant efforts continued only for a short time will prove fruitless. Patience, and unremitting endeavours, accompanied with a resolution to conquer or die, are often requisite to bring the battle to a favourable issue'. Our resistance to sin must be carried on in this spirit; because it will strive hard for the victory; nor will it desist from its rancorous hostility, till death shall place us beyond its power.

In our encounters with sin, we may, at times, obtain a partial advantage over it, and fancy we have subdued it ; but, if we are not vigilant, it will soon recover its native strength, and rally its forces : and if it should find us unprepared, it will teach us, by more vigorous attacks, and by an easy victory over us, that it is dangerous to sleep at our post, or relax our exertions, whilst so formidable an enemy is in existence.

Hence the policy of daily striving, by prayer and faith and watchfulness, to subdue our iniquities, and to give them no opportunity of acquiring strength: i 2 Tim. ii. 3.

* Eph. ii. 2.

"1 Pet. v. 8,9.

for as a few sparks of fire lying amongst the dying embers may be sufficient to raise a flame, so a little indulgence shewn to a less-offensive sin may in time take away our dread of committing the most outrageous violations of God's Law, and produce in us a total " hardness of heart, and contempt of his holy word and commandment.'

Let us, then, not tamely yield to transgression; but vigorously and unceasingly oppose it, lest it should insinuate itself into the camp of our hearts, before we think it has arrived at the gates. How much wiser is it “ to abstain from all appearance of evil",” than to sport with the dagger, which has stabbed our fellow-creatures, and deprived them of that happiness, which the Son of God could not regain but through the bitter pains of crucifixion !

3. Again; we are enjoined by the Lord, not only to resist, but to inortify sin; that is, to kill it by a lingering, though certain death. Believers are, in a spiritual sense, dead to sin, and alive to righteousness". For this reason, they are addressed by St. Paul, in the following terms: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the eartho;" yea, even

crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts P,' “ that the body of sin may be destroyed, that henceforth you may not serve sin?."

How much better is it to cut off a mortified limb, than to endanger, by retaining it, the whole body'!

And is it not equally wise to renounce the most pleasurable vanities, rather than to kill our souls, and rob them of the hallowed pleasures of heaven? And should we not be willing to suffer a little momentary pain, and to submit to self-denial for a short m 1 Thess. v. 22.

* Rom. vi. 11. • Col. iii. 5.
4 Rom. vi. 6. Mat. v. 30.

P Gal. v. 24.

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