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and that which relates to him as a sinner; in other words, all the danger, and inconvenience, and guilt, which refer to the present and future state. From the day of the first apostacy, the baneful results of the defection have been too palpably obvious to be overlooked or denied. Whence come those civil discords and national contentions, which deluge as with a flood the kingdoms of the world, and spread devastation all around? or those domestic quarrels which turn the habitation of man into an image of the abodes of demons? or those insupportable anxieties and tortures which are frequently found in the human breast? or the miseries of poverty, pestilence, tyranny, and death, which fill the earth with lamentation, mourning, and woe?" Do they not flow from the guilty deed of our first parents in eating the forbidden fruit? And are they not the inflictions of a righteous Being upon man for his sins? It is not, however, denied us to pray, that He would remember mercy, and deliver us from the unsparing destruction which we too justly deserve. But the principal evil here intended, respects the soul. It consists in the inveterate depravity of the heart, which makes us such an easy prey to every evil snare and powerful temptation. This is the fruitful source of all our danger,-the overflowing fountain of all our sorrow and sin. Delivered from this, by the potent influence of sanctifying grace, we have little else to apprehend: and this is the rescue which we should, therefore, most earnestly implore. Thus, a late pious prelate of the established church, observes; "To pray against the evil of sin; is to pray against all evils whatsoever; for the evil one cannot hurt us but by sin: and no other evil can befal us but for sin, God inflicting them as the due reward of our transgressions: Sin, therefore,

* Bp. Hopkins.

being the chief and principal evil, and all others but retainers to it, is the enemy from which we should seek immediate escape."

Secondly. The request we are thus directed to make: "Deliver us from evil." A learned writer* has observed on this word, that it may intend either preservation from an apprehended calamity, or a rescue from one which now surrounds us. Do we affirm too much, when we say, that the spirit of the petition combines both? Are we not commanded by "prayer and supplication† to make known our requests unto God?" Is it, my brethren, a day of clouds and darkness,—of anticipated trouble and affliction? "I would seek unto God; and unto God would I commit my cause."§



The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night." Is it a season of pain and sorrow,-of the dominion of evil designs and temptations?

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Call upon me, saith God, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me."|| Now, if you have been emancipated from the chains of sin, and are thankful to God who has given you freedom, your petition will be, that you may not be again entangled and overcome. And if you dread the thought of returning to folly, and with importunate entreaties seek help from above, you will be kept from backsliding. Remember, therefore, that if you have suffered any spiritual declension from the ways of God, and have lost the comfort of former days in religion, your case is sorrowful, but not hopeless. David prayed under the divine displeasure: "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit." Nor did he offer this request in vain. In a word, the Saviour, by teaching us to make this a part of our daily prayer, shows us, that although we "have destroyed ourselves,

• Dr. Campbell.
Job v. 8.

+ Deprecation.

Psalm 1. 15.

Phil. iv. 6.

yet in him there is help." Did not He come to preach deliverance to the captives? Has He not "redeemed us from the curse of the law, by being made a curse for us?" Be assured, therefore, that none who pray, "Lord, save me, I perish," are rejected. "He will hear their cry, and will save them." Do you doubt his interposition on your behalf? Consult his promises. "No weapon formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn."* Again, "when the enemy cometh in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him."+ And once more: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." Let these promises suffice. They are calculated to encourage you to come boldly to the throne of grace. Wherefore, amidst all your apprehensions of evil, and when struggling with the corruptions of the heart, you exclaim, "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" you may joyfully add, "I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Thirdly. But in what way is this deliverance granted? I reply, sometimes by the most unexpected and painful methods. The Almighty frequently sends it, by placing obstacles in our path, to thwart our purposes, and divert our feet from the course we have chosen. Thus we read in the prophecies of Hosea: "Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them but shall not find them: then shall she say, I

* Isaiah liv. 17.

+ Ibid. lix. 19.

1 Cor. x. 13.

will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now."* The first metaphor is borrowed from husbandmen, who plant a fence round their field to preserve their cattle from going astray; and denotes, in its application to providence embarrassment and affliction-means, painful in their nature, but salutary in their operation. The other image is of the same kind, but supplies us with a stronger representation. If lighter sorrows will not do, God will send heavier: if a hedge of thorns should not prevent, he will build a wall. Sometimes he does it by opening a way of escape in the most extraordinary manner. Thus he delivered Joseph from the pit, the Israelites from threatened destruction by the Red Sea, and David, when he intended to wreak his vengeance on Nabal. Sometimes he does it by resuming mercies which he sees we are about to abuse and pervert to our own injury. But the spirit of the request must be regarded as a prayer for sanctification. This blessing combines every other; all other interpositions and deliverances are but so many means to this end. By the mortification of our sinful nature, and the purifying prevalence of divine principles, we are preserved from the evil deed, and best prepared to encounter the evil temptation. Betake yourselves, therefore, to "the throne of grace," my beloved brethren; repose on a divine arm for strength, and you shall not fail. Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the


* Hosea ii. 6, 7.

evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."* With such moral weapons as these, you may add in faith and hope, "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under our feet shortly."+ But I hasten to close by a brief consideration of,


Praise, as well as prayer, should be blended with private and social devotion. Under the former dispensation this was always the case, nor does it become us to omit it in the present. The doxology under consideration celebrates the divine perfections, and forms a suitable close to every supplication we make, either for personal or public blessings. It is a proper expression of our thankfulness for mercies received, of his right to the adorations we present, and of faith in his ability to fulfil the petitions and grant the desires we offer up. The allusion is supposed to be to the praises of the pious king of Israel, when the people had consecrated their service to the Lord. Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation and said, Blessed be thou Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory,

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