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6. He destroys the works of the devil, for the illustration and manifestation of all the divine perfections. The wisdom of God is manifested in outwitting all the policy of hell, and "taking the wise in their own craftiness, and turning his counsel headlong:" the power of God, in "spoiling principalities and powers,” and in bringing life out of death, and light out of darkness, salvation out of misery, and "glory to God in the highest" out of that which had the greatest tendency to dishonour him: the holiness of God, in expressing the greatest hatred and indignation against sin, as the abominable thing which his soul hates: his justice, in the execution of the penalty of the law upon the Surety, and justifying the ungodly upon the footing of a better righteousness than ever Adam had before he fell: the goodness, love, and mercy of God, in “finding a ransom," that we might "not go down to the pit:" his truth and faithfulness, in taking care that the threatening of the law should be fulfilled in the sufferings of Christ, and in fulfilling that ancient promise of the seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head, after the delay of four thousand years; the accomplishment of which is a glorious security for his accomplishing every other promise of the word. Thus you see why the Son of God destroys the works of the
V. The last thing in the method was the use of the doctrine, which I shall despatch in the following inferences:
1. See hence a glorious ray of the Godhead or supreme independent Deity of the glorious Redeemer. Why, he is here expressly called the "Son of God," the second person of the glorious Trinity, one God with the Father: and the work here ascribed to him declares him to be none other than the mighty, yea, the almighty God: for 'who else could destroy the works of the devil? He is "God manifested in the flesh, the great God, God blessed for ever, and God over all;" his name is JEHOVAH," most high over all the earth."
2. See hence how the kindness and love of God has appeared toward man upon earth. Why, here is the greatest evidence of it that was possible for God to give; he sends hist own Son upon an expedition into this lower world, arms him with his power and authority, as the Captain of salvation and Redeemer, to avenge his own and our quarrel (which, in his infinite wisdom, he knits together) upon that Abaddon and Apollyon, the devil, the deceiver and destroyer of mankind : when he gave him his commission, he promised to support him, that his arm should be with him, &c., in order to bruise the head of that enemy.
3. See hence the evil of sin, and the folly of those that are in love with it, and give themselves up to its power and ser
vice. Why it is just the work of the devil, his main work, and the strength of his kingdom. What a pitiful thing is it to be the devil's drudge, to do the devil's work, to lick up his vomit, and the poison of the old serpent!
4. See hence a good reason why the believer is at war with sin in himself, and wherever he finds it. Why, he takes it up as the "work of the devil" that Christ came to destroy; and therefore he denounces war against it, wherever he finds it. He has enlisted himself a volunteer under Christ in a day of power, to help down with the works of the devil all that he can; and therefore he resists the devil and his temptations to sin, "resists even unto blood, striving against.sin."
5. See hence what is the ground of that strong opposition that is made at this day against the settlement of honest ministers through Scotland. Why, the devil, and those that take part with him are afraid that, if a faithful ministry were settled in congregations, Christ the Son of God would be ma-nifested in the dispensation of the gospel, and his works in the hearts of sinners would be destroyed. What a melancholy thing is it to see the interest and influence that the devil has at this day, even in the judicatories of the church, to employ that power, which they have derived from Christ, against his, and for the devil's interest! The devil knows well enough, that that man who is thrust in upon a people without and against their will, is never like to do his kingdom harm: and therefore he pushes on men under his influence, to carry on the settlements of congregations with a high hand, with lax, little-worth young men, that have little or no knowledge of the devices of the devil, or of the work of grace upon their souls. If the devil see a man whom God has qualified with gifts and grace for preaching the gospel, for edifying souls, or pulling down the devil's kingdom, he will set all his forces against that man, and reproach him as a turbulent dangerous man, that would turn the world upside-down.
6. See hence whence it is that the testimony of the witnesses, Rev. xi. is said to "torment them that dwell upon the earth." By "men that dwell upon the earth," is just meant men of earthly sensual spirits, the "men of the world, whose portion is in this life;" they are sunk in this earth, and have no just notion of the things of heaven, or the things of the kingdom of Christ; men under the power of the god of this world. Why, a testimony for Christ, and his injured cause, cannot miss to torment them, because it disturbs the strong man in the peaceable possession of the house, it discovers the ways and works of the devil that men are promoting; and this cannot fail to gall, and vex, and torment them: and there
fore all care must be taken by those who are on the devil's side, to bury the witnesses and their testimony also.
7. See hence why hell and earth took the alarm when Christ appeared in the world; or we may see an answer to that question, Psal. ii. Why do the heathen rage? Why, it is against the Lord's Messiah, who came to destroy the works of the devil. You know, if a foreign enemy enter a kingdom, the king and all his subjects will take arms to oppose him: Christ was a foreigner, he came to invade the devil's kingdom, and set up his own.
8. See hence why the devils cried out when Christ was upon earth," Art thou come to torment us before our time?" and why the devils believe and tremble. Why, they know that Christ is to destroy all their works, and this torments them. The name of the Son of God is the terror of hell, because he "finishes transgression, and makes an end of sin," by which his kingdom falls in the world.
9. See the mystery of the conversion of the thief upon the cross. Why, Christ would show his power and ability to destroy the works of the devil in a poor soul, and to pull a captive out of his hand, even when he seemed to be at the lowest, or when he was really in the lowest step of his humiliation.
10. See hence, that we in this land and generation, cannot miss a sharp stroke from the Lord. Why, the works of the devil are prevailing in our day; error, ignorance, unbelief, pride, fulness of bread, idleness, atheism, security, cursing, swearing, Sabbath-breaking, contempt of the gospel, barrenness under the means of grace; yea, we are come that length, that even in the established church, and in the courts of Christ which are constituted in his name, iniquity is established by a law, by which the avowed enemies of the interest of Christ have their hand and power set up, and the poor members of Christ are oppressed and cast out, as though they were the dross and off-scourings of the earth. Sirs; there seems to be a formed design and conspiracy among the prophets in our day, to crush and suppress all that have the least show of serious religion and godliness. Now, I say, when the works of the devil so much prevail, and men are (as it were) avowing the devil's works, and defending them, have we not reason to think that the Lord will visit for these things, and that he will some way or other be "avenged on such a nation as this?" When sinners will maintain and support the works of the devil among them, in opposition to the manifestation of the Son of God in the gospel; when they turn a deaf ear, and pull away the shoulder, and refuse obedience to his laws; then commonly he manifests himself in a way of
some awful providence, he puts on his terrible majesty, and clothes himself with vengeance, to destroy these rebels, Matth. xxii. Matth. xxiii. at the close, their house was left unto them desolate, and they and their temple, city, and nation, utterly destroyed, because they would not receive the Son of God, manifested first in the flesh, and then in the ministry of bis apostles.
11. See one great reason why believers breathe so much after manifestations of the Lord: O that I knew where I might find him! O to see thy power and glory, as I seen thee in the sanctuary! O when wilt thou come unto me?" Why, here is one great reason for it, because by the manifestation of Christ, the works of the devil in their souls are destroyed. Sin, ignorance, unbelief, pride, enmity, and the other parts of a body of sin, get a wound by Christ's appear, ing and manifesting himself: all these locusts of hell are either killed, or obliged, like wild beasts, to creep into their holes, and disappear, when the Sun of righteousness begins to shine. And to this I may join another inference, namely, It lets us see why believers weary so much in the Lord's absence, and cry for his presence. Why, while he is absent, the "enemy comes in like a flood," the works of the devil get up their head, and this is the burden of the poor soul.
12. From this doctrine we may see how much it is our common duty to keep up the memorials of a Redeemer's death, and why the truly godly love to flock to a sacrament. Why, by the death of Christ, especially, a dead stroke was given to the kingdom of Satan and his works, and therefore they love to show forth his death till he comes again; and because in this ordinance the Lord frequently manifests himself to the souls of his people, so as he does not manifest himself to the world. By viewing him, and his death and blood in that or dinance, they get fresh courage to fight their way through the wilderness, knowing that "through death Christ has destroyed him that had the power of death."
Use second may be of Trial, whether the Son of God was ever savingly manifested to thy soul. Sirs, here is a touchstone to try your manifestations, whether they be genuine : why whenever Christ is manifested in a saving way, the tendency of it is to destroy the devil's works; for, for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Hence is that intestine war that the believer finds in his breast after he comes once to know the Lord. "What wilt thou see in the Shulamite as it were the company of two armies. The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh." Many a heavy groan goes up to heaven from the heart of the believer, when he
finds the works of the devil prevaling in his soul! "O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of sin and death!"
1. If ever the Son of God was manifested in thy soul, if ever the "light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, shined into thy heart," thou wilt be always clear for pulling down the works of the devil, and for building up the works of the Son of God. Here I might tell you of several works of the devil that you will study to pull down, and some works of Christ that you will study to build up.
1st, You will pull down self-righteousness, and put on the righteousness of Christ. Self-righteousness is one of the main works of the devil. Indeed, it is hard to convince a man that is obeying the law as well as he can for his life and acceptance before God, that he is working the devil's work: no, you will sooner fasten a conviction upon publicans and harlots than upon him, because he thinks he has the law of God on his side; and then, when he is obeying the law, he thinks he is doing God a service, and working the works of God. But, sirs, allow me to tell you, that, if you be obeying the law for life, righteousness, justification, or acceptance before God, you are working the devil's work; for you are making a Christ of your obedience, you are justling Christ out of his room, who was "made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." And as long as a man is doing so, he is affronting the Son of God in his priestly office, rejecting the righteousness and satisfaction of Christ, and putting his own filthy rags in the room thereof, as the Jews did, Rom. x. 3: "They went about to establish their own righteousness, and would not submit unto the righteousness of Christ.” That man or woman, in whom Christ has been savingly manifested, casts away his or her own righteousness as filthy rags, and cries, "Surely in the Lord have I righteousness; in him will I be justified, and in him alone will I glory" or with Paul, Phil. iii. 8, 9: "Yea, doubtless, I count all things but loss and dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."
2dly, You will be much employed in pulling down the image of the first Adam, and in setting up the image of the second Adam in your souls. By nature we bear the image of the first Adam, which lies in the darkness of the mind, rebelhion of the will, and carnality of the affections. Now, if ever the Son of God was savingly manifested in thy soul, it will be thy great care and exercise to have this destroyed. And, in