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pillars, strong, bearing up the house against wind and weather; nothing but fire and sword could dissolve them. As therefore this house was made up of great timber, so this church in the wilderness was made up of giants in grace. These men had the faces of lions; no prince, no king, no threat, no terror, no torment could make them yield. They loved not their lives unto the death. They have laughed their enemies in the face, they have triumphed in the flames. None ever showed higher saints than were they in the church in the wilderness. Others talked, these have suffered; others have said, these have done; these have voluntarily taken their lives in their hands, for they loved them not to the death, and have fairly and in cool blood laid them down before the world, God, angels, and men, for the confirming of the truth which they have professed.
That which makes a martyr, is suffering for the word of God after a right manner. And that when he suffereth not only for righteousness, but for righteousness' sake; not only for truth, but of love to truth; not only for God's word, but according to it, to wit, in that holy, humble, meek manner that the word of God requireth. A man may give his body to be burned for God's truth, and yet be none of God's martyrs. 1 Cor. 13:1-3.
When we see our brethren before us fall to the earth by death, through the violence of the enemies of God, for their holy and Christian profession, we should covet to make good their ground against them, though our turn should be next. We should valiantly do in this matter as is the custom of soldiers in war; take great care that the ground be maintained, and the front kept full and complete.
There are but few when they come to the cross, cry,
Welcome, cross! as some of the martyrs did to the stake they were burned at. Therefore, if you meet with the cross in thy journey, in what manner soever it be, be not daunted and say, Alas, what shall I do now? but rather take courage, knowing that by the cross is the way to the kingdom. Can a man believe in Christ, and not be hated by the devil? Can he make a profession of Christ, and that sweetly and convincingly, and the children of Satan hold their tongue? Can darkness agree with light?
THE CHRISTIAN WARFARE.
Departing from iniquity is not a work of an hour, or a day, or a week, or a month, or a year; but it is a work that will last thee thy lifetime, and there is the greatness and difficulty of it. Were it to be done presently, or were the work to be quickly over, how many are there that would be found to have departed from iniquity; but for that it is a work of continuance, and not worth any thing unless men hold out to the end; therefore it is that so few are found actors or overcomers therein. Departing from iniquity, with many, is but like the falling out of two neighbors; they hate one another for a while, and then renew their old friendship again.
But again, since to depart from iniquity is a work of time, of all thy time, no wonder if it dogs thee, and offereth to return upon thee again and again; for sin is mischievous, and seeks nothing less than thy ruin. Where fore, thou must in the first place take it for granted that thus it will be, and so cry the harder to God for the contin uing of his presence and grace upon thee in this blessed work, that as thou hast begun to depart from iniquity, so thou mayest have strength to do it to the last gasp of thy life.
And further, for that departing from iniquity is a kind of warfare with it-for iniquity will hang in thy flesh what it can, and will not be easily kept under-therefore no mar
vel if thou find it wearisome work, and that the thing that thou wouldst get rid of is so unwilling to let thee depart from it.
And since the work is so weighty, and makes thee to go groaning on, I will for thy help give thee here a few things to consider of: And,
1. Remember that God sees thee, and has his eyes open upon thee, even then when sin and temptation are flying at thee to give them some entertainment. This was the thought that made Joseph depart from sin, when solicited to embrace it by a very powerful argument. Genesis 39:6, 7.
2. Remember that God's wrath burns against it, and that he will surely be revenged on it, and on all that give it entertainment. This made Job afraid to countenance it, and put him upon departing from it: "For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure." Job 31:23.
3. Remember the mischiefs that it has done to those that have embraced it, and what distress it has brought upon others. This made the whole congregation of Israel tremble to think that any of their brethren should give countenance to it. Joshua 22: 16-18.
4. Remember what Christ hath suffered by it, that he might deliver us from the power of it. This made Paul so heartily depart from it, and wish all Christians to do so as well as he. 2 Cor. 5:14.
5. Remember that those that are now in hell-fire went thither for that they loved iniquity, and would not depart from it. Psalm 9:17; 11: 6.
6. Remember that a profession is not worth a pin, if they that make it do not depart from iniquity. James 2:16, 17.
7. Remember that thy death-bed will be very uneasy. to thee, if thy conscience at that day shall be clogged with the guilt of thy iniquity. Hos. 7:13, 14.
8. Remember that at the judgment-aay Christ will say, Depart from me, to those that have not here departed from their sin and iniquity. Luke 13:27; Matt. 25:41.
Lastly, Remember well, and think much upon what a blessed reward the Son of God will give to them at that day, that have joined to their profession of faith in him a holy and blessed conversation.
He that will depart from iniquity must be well fortified with faith and patience and the love of God; for iniquity has its beauty-spots and its advantages attending on it; hence it is compared to a woman, Zech. 5:7, for it allureth greatly. Therefore I say, he that will depart therefrom had need have faith; that being it which will help him to see beyond it, and that will show him more in things that are invisible, than can be found in sin, were it ten thousand times more entangling than it is. 2 Cor. 4:18. He has need of patience also to hold out in this work of departing from iniquity. For indeed, to depart from that is to draw my mind off from that which will follow me with continual solicitations. Samson withstood his Delilah for a while, but she got the mastery of him at the last. Why so? because he wanted patience; he grew angry and was vexed, and could withstand her solicitations no longer. Judges 16:15-17. Many there be, also, that can well enough be contented to shut sin out of doors for a while; but because sin has much fair speech, therefore it overcomes at last. Prov. 7:21. For sin and iniquity will not be easily said nay. Wherefore, departing from iniquity is a work of length, as long as life shall last. A work, did I say? It is a war, a continual combat; wherefore, he that will adventure to set upon this work, must needs be armed with faith and patience, a daily exercise he will find himself put to by the continual attempts of iniquity to be putting forth itself. Matt. 24:13; Rev. 3:10.
THE CHRISTIAN ARMOR.
The war that the church makes with antichrist is rather defensive than offensive. A Christian also, if he can but defend his soul in the sincere profession of the true religion, doth what by duty, as to this, he is bound. Wherefore, though the New Testament admits him to put on the whole armor of God, yet the whole and every part thereof is spiritual, and only defensive. True, there is mention made of the sword, but that sword is the word of God—a weapon that hurteth none, none at all but the devil and sin, and those that love it. Indeed, it was made for Christians to defend themselves and their religion with, against hell and the angels of darkness.
OBJECTION. But he that shall use none other than this, must look to come off a loser.
ANSWER. In the judgment of the world this is true, but not in the judgment of them that have skill and a heart to use it. For this armor is not Saul's which David refused, but God's; by which the lives of all those have been secured, that put it on and handled it well. You read of some of David's mighty men of valor, that their faces were as the faces of lions, and that they were as swift of foot as the roes upon the mountains. Why, God's armor makes a man's face look thus; also it makes him that useth it more lively and active than before. God's armor is no burden to the body, nor clog to the mind, but rather a natural, instead of an artificial fortification.
But this armor comes not to any, but out of the King's hand. Christ distributeth his armor to his church. Hence it is said, "It is given to us to suffer for him." It is given to us by himself, and on his behalf.
I saw also, that the Interpreter took him again by the hand and led him into a pleasant place, where was builded a stately palace beautiful to behold; at the sight of which Christian was greatly delighted: he saw also upon