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angel of the Lord went forth, and destroyed all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both of man and beast. Thus God delivered the Children of Israel out of the hand of Pharaoh.-But what was, perhaps, still more remarkable; when the Egyptians were pushed on by Satan once more, the Lord suffered them to follow his people into the Red Sea; and there he swallowed up Pharaoh, and all his army, in the depths of the sea. Then the Israelites sang a song of triumph; which, it is said, will be sung also in heaven. For, as the Lord conquered Pharaoh and all his army, so will Christ conquer the devil and all his angels; and the redeemed of the Lord will then for ever sing the song of Moses the man of God, and the song of the Lamb.
When Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took upon him the form of man, and dwelt on earth, the devil came to tempt him. But Christ overcame the temptations. Satan spoke in broken verses of Scripture, and with these he endeavoured to mislead Christ. But Jesus saw through his subtilty, and answered him with verses of Scripture whole and unbroken. (We must read about this some other day.) This shows the great advantage of knowing the Bible well; for with the help of the Bible we shall be able, as our Saviour did, to fight against Satan. And if we know the whole Bible well, we shall not be easily deceived by false teachers.
It was when the devil had entered into the heart of Judas Iscariot, that Judas went about to betray his Master, Jesus Christ. Satan would think he had
thus a great victory over the Son of God: and yet it was by this very way that Jesus conquered Satan. For St. Paul says, that it was by death that Christ destroyed him that had the power of death, even the devil, and delivered them who, through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage.
As soon as there was a Church of Christ established in any place by the faithful preaching of the Gospel, Satan did all he could to overthrow it. For this purpose, from time to time, he stirred up many people to persecute; but they did not prevail. Christ gave his disciples grace to endure all things for the sake of the Gospel. See how he speaks to the persecuted Church of Smyrna: "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
But there is another warfare between Christ and Satan; which all feel in their hearts, when they try to serve God in earnest. Christ says, "Love the ways of Religion." Satan whispers to us, "Religion is a very melancholy thing." Christ says, "Keep my sayings in your heart:" but the devil comes, and tries to snatch them away. Christ teaches us how to pray; but Satan wishes to hinder us from prayer. Now, which of these two shall prevail in your heart-Christ, or the devil?
If you will choose Christ, you will find him the best Master. Perhaps you say, "But Satan is so
busy about my
ning for me.
heart he is too hard, and too cunWhen I wish to be religious, he
turns all my thoughts the wrong way, after something else. When I would do good, evil is present with me. When I wish to fly from bad company, they follow after me, and laugh at me. When I am beginning to think of good thoughts, just then bad thoughts come into my mind. What am I to do? How can I conquer this enemy, who is so cunning, and so hard upon me?"
My friend, the answer is very plain. Christ to be your friend. Let him dwell in your heart by faith." Where Christ reigns, Satan may try to be master, but he never will. Open your heart to Christ in prayer. Tell him all your temptations. Beseech him to cast out Satan, and to take possession of your heart. Satan may bruise your heel; that is, he may torment and trouble your mind but this is not so deadly as bruising the head. And this is the promise; "Christ will bruise the head of Satan." He will set his foot upon him, and crush him. This he will do, even in your heart, if only you continue praying in the name of Christ:
For Satan trembles, when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.”
O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast overcome death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel; enable us, we beseech thee, faithfully to follow thee, and to fight manfully against the
world, the flesh, and the devil. Be thou our hidingplace and refuge, in every time of trial and temptaSuffer not the enemy to prevail, or do us harm. Deliver us from the curse, and the dominion of sin, that we may enjoy peace and safety through thee. Speak comfortably to our souls, whenever we mourn before thee with a godly sorrow for sin. Cleanse our consciences from dead works; and bestow on us the joys of thy salvation, to strengthen us for thy continual service. Guide us in the paths of holiness through this life; and finally, in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment, good Lord deliver us!
LABOUR AND SORROW, OUR PORTION HERE: COMFORT, ONLY IN CHRIST.
GENESIS iii. 16—19.
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
WHEN Adam and Eve had sinned against God, the ground was cursed for their sake. The children of
men are born into a world very different from the Paradise in which our first parents were placed. Pain, and death, were not known there: but when sin entered into the world, the curse immediately followed.
Concerning death, we will speak another time. What we have now to do with, is, the misery of man in this world, and the cure of it.
David says, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." This is the consequence of Adam's sin. Therefore, at the time of our birth, we enter the world with cries and tears; and the portion of man, in this earth, is, as Job says, to be of few days, and full of trouble. "Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward."
The earth, you know, brings forth plenty of weeds and thistles, briers and thorns: but to make the earth fit for sowing corn, men must plough and harrow, sow and reap; they must bear the hardships of winter, and the heat of summer; and thus, by the sweat of their face, they at length eat bread.
You know, too, that, in great towns and cities, man's lot is to labour. They " rise up early, and late take rest, and eat the bread of carefulness;" and some get very little sleep.
The poor often think this very hard. may be very sure of one thing; namely, that riches cannot of themselves make a man happy. They afford happiness only when used for God's glory. Perhaps you see a rich man well fed, finely dressed,