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SERMON XXXIII. .
THE CHRISTIAN CONFLICT, CONQUEST, AND
Rev. iii. 21.
To Him, that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my
throne ; even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
WE cannot, perhaps, discover a more common error among men than this :- a man found hoping for the end, who does not employ the means. The soul of the sluggard, saith the Wise Man, desireth and hath nothing.
The text is connected with the message sent to the Church at Laodicea. And unto the angel of the Church of the Laodiceans, write, These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. So, then, because thou art neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee, out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, , I am rich, and increased with goods, and have' need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that
that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten :-We continually mistake on this point : we are apt to think that they, who flatter us and humour us in our sins, are our friends; whereas the true friend rebukes those, whom he loves-Be zealous, therefore; and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Then he repeats what occurs at the end of almost every message sent to these Churches, To him, that overcometh--to the conqueror-To him, that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne; even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches,
There are three things before us.
1. A CONFLICT :--For there can be no Conquest, but what first implies a Conflict.
2. 'A CONQUEST, following the Conflict. .
3. A CROWN:The sitting down with Christ upon
his throne. This Crown he secures to the man, who enters into the Conflict, and obtains the Conquest.
1. We will consider the CONFLICT.
Some one is to be contended with: enemies are to be overcome: for conquest, as I have said, implies conflict.
The Church of Laodicea had fallen into a careless and sleepy state. It was all well !—They were a Church of Christ, and Christ would take care of his church!- whereas Christ says, come as a refiner. You are a Church, but a Church
a of what kind? Rise, and maintain the conflict, if you would receive the crown.”
This conflict will be in this world perpetual. Who can say that he has done conflicting, while he has to combat with the world, the flesh, and the devil? If any man might seem to have gained the complete victory, it must have been Paul the Apostle, who laboured more abundantly than all the apostles: yet had he done with the conflict? No! says he, “ Know ye not, that they, which run in a race, rún all; but one receiveth the prize? so
ye may obtain—I therefore so run, not as uncertainly: so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection : lest that, by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away. I must never lay down the conflict, while I am in this world; but I must labour and strive, I must run and fight, and I must fight and run, in order that I may gain the victory.”
The day is coming, Brethren! which will
declare the Christian Hero to be a Hero indeed! Then shall his achievements be recorded, when the great conquerors of this world are all passed by and forgotten! He shall be found to have been fighting the battles of his God-proposing nothing short of an everlasting victory over all his enemies ! Then will he be found the only truly honourable, noble, and successful conflictor! more worthy to be regarded of God, of angels, and of saints, than all the conquerors who have glittered on the page of history!
11. We will consider the CONQUEST here spoken of.
A Christian hopes to conquer, by simply trusting to the Captain of his Salvation-following his steps—using his arms-- looking up daily to him for help and strength, that he may not contend in vain. That conflict will not be crowned, which will not endure to the end; and, in order to endure, it must have a right spirit-warrantand power. The hope, which we have, is this: that greater is he, that is in us; than he, that is in the world.-I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life, which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God. Christ is our strength-our merit-our leader,-and our light to walk by.
Brethren! in order to maintain a conflict, with any prospect of conquest, we must set out in the
name of the Lord : I will go forth, says David: but it shall be in the strength of the Lord God. In such a conflict as this, the battle is not ours, but God's. A Christian may be foiled, indeed, and trodden down; and yet he may, at length, win the battle: and, in this way of using his Master's armour, and treading in his steps, he shall undoubtedly gain the victory.
Religion is a much more deep and spiritual warfare, than many of you, perhaps, suppose. We wrestle not only against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. But, remember, also, that your help lies in the power of God, and the armour of righteousness on your right-hand and on your left. Victory is assured :
« The feeblest saint shall win the day,
Though death and hell obstruct his way." If you ask me what a Christian has to overcome,
' I answer, with the Apostle, This is the victory, which overcometh the WORLD, even our faith. The World is the Christian's grand enemy. There Satan is displaying his baits before the eyes of men; ever crying, as it were, “ Look here !
“ Look there!” There, the Flesh is alarmed by frowns and allured by favours : its reasoningsits sensualities-are all called into action there. There, are ten thousand deceits suited to different frames and constitutions. Satan has his snares