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Spiritual Victories through the Light of Salvation

Spiritual Victories through the Light of Salvation
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Author: Church John
Title: Spiritual Victories through the Light of Salvation
Release Date: 2018-10-01
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Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Spiritual Victories through the Light ofSalvation, by John ChurchThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org.  If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: Spiritual Victories through the Light of SalvationAuthor: John ChurchRelease Date: October 1, 2018  [eBook #58001]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK SPIRITUAL VICTORIES THROUGH THELIGHT OF SALVATION***

Transcribed from the 1810 Ann Kemmish edition by David Price,email [email protected]

SPIRITUAL VICTORIES,
THROUGH THE
Light of Salvation.

 

BEING THESUBSTANCE OF A

SERMON,

Preached on SUNDAY, March the 11th,1810,

ATTHE

OBELISKCHAPEL,

 

By J.CHURCH,
Minster of the Gospel.

 

PUBLISHED BY REQUEST.

 

“O House ofJacob, come ye, let us walk in the Light of the Lord.”

 

SOUTHWARK:
Printed by ANN KEMMISH, King-Street, Borough.

 

1810.

 

p.iiPREFACE.

TO those Friends who requested the Publication of thisSermonI have only to say, I have endeavoredto recollect a considerable part of it; many ideas I haveomitted, and others I have introduced, as I had notthe least intention of making this public, nor should Ibut for your very pressing solicitationI wouldremark by way of Preface, that the success of Sermons,in point of usefulness, depends upon the operations ofGod the divine Spirit; and these influences are entirelysovereignThat although this Sermon was blest toyou in the hearing, it may not be so to you in thereadingnevertheless, as the friends ofimmortal truthyou being in the possession of thatlove (which rejoiceth in the truth) will alsorejoice in every attempt to exalt the Person of Jesus as thetruth; to comfort and establish Believers in thetruth, and to encourage all the heralds of truth,to be faithful unto deathI have sent forth thetruth in a very plain style; to you who know herexcellencies she will shine with unfading charms; whileyou adore the God of all graceand I subscribemyself,

Your willing Servant in the causeof truth,
J. CHURCH.

p. 1ASERMON.

Judges viith Chap. 20th Verse.

And the three companies blew the trumpets,and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their lefthands, and their trumpets in their right, to blowwithal; and they cried, The Sword of the Lord andof Gideon!”

The history of the church of God,in all ages past, as recorded in the Scriptures, is intended bythe Spirit to exhibit many things of vast importance to us, onwhom the ends of the world are come.

First.—The rebellion,ingratitude, and idolatry of the Israelites, give us an awfulproof of human depravity, and teach an humbling lesson to thespiritual Israel, who have the same sinful nature, are prone tothe same sins, and would often fall into them and theirconsequences, but for the grace of God.

Secondly.—The patience andlong-suffering of God, particularly marked out in thishistory—p.2he bare long with them; his mercy was extended,prolonged, and manifested to them, notwithstanding all theirprovocations, in forgetting his deliverances of them in timespast, and practising the same sins he had before resented.

Thirdly.—His disapprobationof their conduct, and the means he took to testify it, are setbefore us.  Our God is never at a loss for means toaccomplish his wise and holy purposes of justice or mercy, as isevident from the history before us.  The blessed Spiritoperating upon the souls of his people, often by his influencereproves their consciences of sin, as it is so opposite to thepurity of that divine nature, or holy principle he has blessedthem with.  Sin, committed by a believer, is a transgressionof the law, or dictates of faith; for there is no sin, condemnedunder the first covenant, but what, under the covenant of grace,is pointed out in more odious colours.—Hence the idolatry,rebellion, and ingratitude of the believer, are seen and lamentedby him as a child of God; and as God the Spirit communicateslight to his understanding, to discover it as sinful, heperpetually testifies that his sins are more sinful than thosewho know not God.

Fourthly.—The inseparableconnection between sin and sorrow, is felt by all, both elect andnon-elect.  By nations, families, and individuals, p. 3the moral andpenal evils of the Fall, will be, must be, and are felt byall.  The non-elect feel it in many awful forms, astransgressors, in the curse of the ground, in the calamities ofwar, in all the dreadful horrors of a guilty conscience, and inthe wrath of a sin-avenging God.  Nations feel ituniversally; this is evident by the calamities which befell theland of Canaan—so the 6th Chapter begins: “And thechildren of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord; and theLord delivered them into the hand of Midian.”  Theirsin was resented in this form, by the Lord—the prevailingof their enemies, which forced them to hide in dens, caves,mountains, and strong holds—their enemies destroyed theincrease of their country, and reduced them almost to a famine;“and Israel was greatly impoverished because of theMidianites” and people of Arabia.

Fifthly.—The tender mercy ofGod the Saviour appears as remarkable in their deliverance; inthe remembrance of his covenant of old, with their fore-fathers;his good hand was seen in bringing them out of trouble, althoughthey had brought these troubles on themselves—what asolemn, but gracious proof; “O!  Israel, thou hastdestroyed thyself! but in me is thine help.”  And whatencouragement does this give to poor backsliders to return toJesus, their first husband; p. 4for although they have brought thesetroubles on themselves, yet Jesus is ready to deliver them! What a striking account does the pious Nehemiah give of theconduct of the Israelites, and the goodness of God toman—9th chap. 28th verse; “But after they had rest,they did evil again before thee, therefore thou leftest them inthe hands of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them;yet when they cried unto thee thou heardest them from heaven; andmany times thou didst deliver them, according to thy tendermercies.”

Sixthly.—I remark again, thatour God has ever manifested himself a God, hearing prayer: thechildren of Israel cried unto the Lord, and the Lord sent aprophet to them; and after reproving them, we have an account ofa deliverer, raised up by the Lord himself.  Whatencouragement does this give to us in all our trials, without andwithin, whether in body, soul, circumstances, family, ornation.  God has even condescended to hear the cries of manywho had no grace, yet, led by the light of nature to call on himin trouble; and will he turn a deaf ear to his saints in trouble?surely not.  Believer, the remedy’s beforethee—PRAY.

In taking one more view of this history, we must admire theconduct of God in over-turning all the schemes of men, theirwisdom, counsel, p.5and power: that in providence as well as in grace, hiswisdom, power, and faithfulness, might be clearly seen and adoredby his people.  His wisdom in the permission of the Fall,and its awful consequences, seems to go before, and make way forthe displays of his love, mercy, power, and faithfulness. This is seen in his dispensations, generally, and particularly ingrace & providence.  How often has infinite wisdompermitted heavy troubles to come on the Church, to wean her fromthe creature—to shew her the value of Jesus, as adeliverer—and to lead her to him by many intreaties; thatwhile we feel our strength perfect weakness, we may the moreclearly discover the good hand of our God, in our support anddeliverance, and give him the glory due to his name for it. The principal end God has in view in all his dispensations, ishis own glory—this is the first cause and last grand end ofall things—“for of him, and through him, and to him,are all things.”  Had the victory we are consideringbeen gained by well disciplined men, led on by wise, noble,valiant generals, who had often been successful in war—hadthis been the case, the creature would have been extolled, andGod nearly forgotten.  But this victory was a display of thepower of Jehovah—his hand clearly seen, his mercydisplayed, and all the honor given to him to whom it isdue.  The means, the feeble means the Lord made use of weresimply, a weak p.6un-armed man, with only three hundred men, led by him,with lamps, trumpets, and pitchers—to carnal reason a veryunlikely method to conquer two hundred thousand Midianites, wellskilled in the art of war.  But this was God’s method,and we have a right to submit our wisdom to God’s plan;“for my thoughts are not as your thoughts, nor my ways asyour ways, saith the Lord; for as the heavens are high above theearth, so are my ways above your ways.”  And thisvictory, through such feeble means, is a confirmation of thistruth—the angel Jehovah Jesus, appeared to Gideon as he wasthreshing wheat, in a secret place, to hide it from the enemy;and assured him, that however mean himself and family were, heshould deliver Israel from their present servitude.  Gideon,astonished at such an appearance, such a salutation, and such adeclaration, began to ask, “How this could be?” The blessed Jesus tells him, “Surely I will be withthee.”  Gideon, like the rest of God’s people,could not give God the credit of God, nor take him at hisword—he could not honor him by believing on him, and prays,“If I have found grace in thy sight, shew me a sign thatthou talkest with me.”—As believers in Jesus, we arecalled to walk by faith, and not by sight, as seeing him who isinvisible, or out of sight—depending on his word, oath, andfaithfulness, as the word of a covenant God, who cannot lie: thisis honoring Jesus—yet God condescended p. 7to give Gideonthe request of his lips; and to confirm his faith, he, with arod, touched the rock, and caused fire to come out of it, and,consume the slain Kid and unleavened cakes, all moistened withthe broth, which Gideon, at his command, had put thereon. Gideon was fearful and apprehensive of immediate death, as he hadseen an angel; but the Lord kindly assured him that he was in nodanger.—How strange and groundless the fears of God’speople—frequently they take covenant-love dispensations astokens of wrath; forgetting it is written, “I will no morebe wroth with thee, nor forsake thee.”—We are seldomsatisfied with the wise and gracious conduct of our God; when wehave no sign or clear evidences we murmur—when we have weoften fear they are not of a right kind.  Well may saints becalled children, seeing they possess the weakness of them.

After this, Gideon built an altar, and called it JehovahShalom—believing what the Lord had declared, “that hewould send peace to Israel.”  It is worthy ofobservation, that the people of God only rear up altars to theLord, as they believe in him—there is no praying orpraising but by faith in Jesus; this leads the soul out to God,and “without faith it is impossible to pleaseGod.”  Gideon then testified his zeal for the serviceof God, and in God’s strength he threw p. 8down the altarof Baal, and cut down the grove that was by it.  This shewsthe effect of faith in Jesus; it is a faith which worketh by loveto God’s service, and produces a zeal for his glory. This alarms Satan, who stirs up persecution against all who lovethe Redeemer’s cause, as in the instance ofGideon—his fellow-citizens sought his life, for opposingtheir idolatry; but Joash, his father, remonstrated with them,that it did not become the people of God to plead for Baal; andthat if Baal was truly God, he ought to exert his power inpunishing those who had broken down his altar; and he called hisson Jerubbaal, that is, let Baal contend with himself (if hecan).

Understanding the Midianites had crossed Jordan, Westward, andwere encamped in the valley of Jezreel, at no greatdistance—filled with the Spirit of God, as a spirit ofcourage, Gideon sounded a trumpet, and assembled his friends, tothe number of thirty-two thousand

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