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1 Pet. v. 8, 9. Be sober, be vigilant: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist, stedfast in the faith.

THERE are many who deny the influences of the Holy Spirit

No wonder therefore if the agency of Satan be called in question

But there is abundant proof in the Scriptures that Satan exercises a power over the minds of men

St. Peter had learned this truth by bitter experi


In this view the caution he gives us is worthy of par

ticular attention

I. The malice of Satan

Satan is the great adversary of mankind—

It was he who caused the fall of our first parents —~~ He has exerted a similar influence over all their descendants

He still maintains his enmity against the seed of the


He is justly compared to "a roaring lion❞—
He is subtle

[The lion prowls with subtilty in search of preyThis is noticed in David's description of wicked menSatan also uses many devices to destroy souls" He suits his temptations to us with astonishing craftHe draws us into his snare before we are aware of his designs

To be acquainted with his devices is a most eminent and useful part of Christian knowledge-]

He is active

a Gen. iij. 1—5.
Eph. vi. 11.
Job i. 7. and the text.

[The lion ranges far and wide in search of his prey And Satan"walks to and fro throughout the earth" He ceases not from his exertions day or night"

b Gen. iii. 15.

• 2 Cor. ii. 11.

e Ps. x. 9, 10. f Ib.

h Rev. xii. 10.

He is the more diligent as knowing that his time is limited

He has legions of emissaries acting in concert with himk

If at any time he suspend his attacks, it is but for a season, that he may return afterwards with greater advantage He is cruel

[The lion little regards the agonies which he occasions Nor has Satan any compassion for the souls which he destroys

The savage animal kills to satisfy the calls of nature

But our adversary reaps no benefit from the destruction of men

His exertions serve only to increase his own guilt and misery

Yet is he insatiable in his thirst for our condemnation"-]
He is powerful

[Feeble is the resistance of a lamb against the voracious lion

Still more impotent are men before “ the god of this world”—

Satan has a limited power over the elements themselves
The ungodly are altogether subjected to his will

Nor would the saints have the smallest power to resist him, if God should deliver them into his hands-]

If we believe this representation of Satan's malice, we cannot but desire to know II. The means of defeating it

Our adversary, though great, is not invincible

There is one stronger than he, that can overcome him—

And God has prescribed means whereby we also may vanquish him Moderation

[An undue attachment to the things of time and sense gives him a great advantage over us

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i Rev. xii. 12.

k Mark v. 9. | Compare Luke iv. 13. with Luke xxii. 53.

m This is strongly intimated in the word xatanin, “ he would swal. low us up."

n Job i. 12, 19. He is called “ the prince of the power of the air.”

• Eph. ii. 2. 2 Tim. ii. 26.

P Many who have appeared lights in the church have been swept away by the tail of this great dragon, Rev. xii. 3, 4.

9 Luke xi. 21, 22.

He will not fail to assault us on our weak side

But a deadness to the world will in some measure disarm him

He prevailed not against our Lord, because he found no irregular affection in him

Nor could he so easily overcome us if we disregarded earthly things

A contempt of life has been a principal mean whereby the saints and martyrs in all ages have triumphed over him Vigilance

[Unwatchfulness, even in a victorious army, exposes it to defeat

Much more must it subject us to the power of our subtle enemy

St. Peter had experienced its baneful effects
He had been warned of Satan's intention to assault himų

He had been commanded to pray lest he should fall by the temptation

But he slept when he should have been prayingy

He stands in this respect, like Lot's wife, a monument to future generations

But vigilance on our part will counteract the designs of Satan

The armed Christian, watching unto prayer, must be victorious-] Fortitude

[The timid Christian falls into a thousand snares"-
The only way to obtain a victory is, to fight manfully-
And this is the duty of every follower of Christ
We must never give way to Satan
We are called to wrestle and contend with him
Nor shall our resistance be in vain-]

[Unbelief is a powerful instrument in the hands of Satan

He excites it in us that he may turn us from the faith
We must therefore hold fast the doctrines of faith—

- It was he who instigated Judas to treachery, and Ananias to falsehood; but he wrought by means of their covetousness, John xiii. 2. Acts v. 3.

• John xiv. 30. t Rev. xii. 11. u Luke xxii. 31. * Luke xxii. 40. y Luke xxii. 45, 46. z Luke xvii. 32.

Eph. vi. 18. b Prov. xxix. 25. Eph. vi, 10, 13. d Eph. iv. 27. • Eph. vi. 12.

i James iv. 7. Satan is not only checked but terrified, and van quished by the resistance of the weakest Christian. VOL. I.

3 P


We should not suffer ourselves to be moved from the hope of the gospel

This is our anchor whereby we must' outride the storm-
We must also stedfastly exercise the grace of faith-
This is the weapon whereby we overcome the world

And by this shall we triumph over Satan himself

(Let not the ungodly despise this adversaryBut let them seek deliverance from him through the gospelk

And let the godly be continually on their guard against him

Soʻshall they experience that promised blessing"]

& Heb. vi. 19.
k Acts xxvi. 18.

h 1 John v. 4.
1 2 Cor. xi. 3.

i Eph. vi. 16.
m Rom. xvi. 20.



Luke i. 78. 79. Through the tender mercy of our God, the

Day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to thein that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

OUR Saviour's birth, though in many respects peculiarly low and abject, was attended with some circumstances not unworthy the occasion

We might mention his miraculous conception, the acclamations of angels, &c. &c.

But we shall only advert to the account given in the context of his Forerunner, who was prophesied of by Isaiah—named by the angel before his conception in the womb-bom in a preternatural way-celebrated by several to whom the spirit of prophecy was given after it had been withdrawn from Israel three hundred yearscommissioned to prepare men for the reception of the Saviour, and to publish the tidings in the text I, Our Saviour's incarnation

His birth is set forth under the idea of the rising sunHe is spoken of to this effect in the Old Testamento. Similar descriptions are also given of him in the New Testament

He admirably answers to these descriptions 1. In himself

[He is to us what the sun is in the material world He is the author of all light, natural, intellectual," spiritual-] 2. In the effects produced by him

[The face of nature withers or revives, according as the influence of the sun upon it is increased or diminished

So the soul continues dead or is quickened, according as the Sun of righteousness withholds or imparts his invigorating rays-] He hath visited our benighted world

[A dawning of his appearance had been long visible in the promises, in the prophetic writings, and in the Mosaic ritual

But at his incarnation he began more clearly to illumine this horizon

He diffused a light around him by his doctrine and example

They, who could see through the veil of his flesh, beheld his glory —]

This event is as interesting now as at the first moment it took place

We should endeavour to have our souls deeply impressed with it II. The causes of it

We confine our attention to those mentioned in the textThe final cause of it was the salvation of man

[The state both of Jews and Gentiles was truly deplorable

Nor is our state, if we be unregenerate, superior to theirs We are “ in darkness" with respect to our most important


By Balaam, Numb. xxiv. 17. by Isaiah, ix. 2. with Matt. iv. 16. by Malachi, iv. 2.

b By John Baptist, John i. 9. by our Lord himself, John viji. 12. by Peter, 2 Pet. i. 19. by John the evangelist, Rev. xxii. 16. and again as the light of heaven itself, Rev. xxi. 23. e Gen. i. 3.

d Job xxxviii. 36. e James i. 17.

{ John i. 14.

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