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By cleavin convince their
word, are joined together, Rev. xii. ii. “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” By cleaving zealously to the cause of truth, they were helped to convince their belrolders, and confound their enemies, to confirm their friends, and fo overcome the troop of opposers.
2dly, When they overcome, or in what respects they may be said to overcome at last. These fix things are here imported.
1. The partial vi&ory they obtain in time, so as they get day about, as it were, with the enemy, when the Lord returns to them, and faith gets up its head, and their spiritual armour is exercised.
2. The final and full victory they obtain at death and judgment; when, as the last enemy to be destroyed is death ; so death itself shall be swallowed up in victory. They fall overcome at last; it imports,
3. A gradual victory; or that to which they coine by various degrees, risings and fallings, hopes and fears ; yet by little and little, as the Lord drove out the Canaanites before Israel.
4. A difficult victory, that is not obtained till the last, after much ado; for, “ The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” They must force their way all along to the very last. It imports,
5. A mysterious victory, wherein they conquer, even when conquered; and by being overcome, do overcome: as Christ, by death, defiroved death; fo they, by being conquered, do conquer; when, by their foils, they are excited to fight more couragiously; and by their falls they are made more circumspect, more huin. ble, tender, warry, and watchful. Thus they overcome at tbe last.
6. It imports a certain vi&tory in the issue ; He that overcome at the last, however uncertain at first, it seems to be; yea, and not only dubious, but desperate-like, when troops of enemies overcome them; yet he that promises the victory will give it to them, and make them afcribe it only to him, saying, “ Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through Jesus Chrift, our Lord,” I Cor. xv. 57.
In a word, they may be said to overcome at last, . when, however weak, yet, out of weakness they are made strong, Heb. xi. 34. When, after grievous dashes, they recover new strength; and so go from strength to strength, till they appear before the Lord in Zion, Psalm lxxxiv. 7. When, in extremity, they are helped, with surprising auxiliaries from heaven, fo that it may be said, " JEHOVAH'TIREH, In the mount of the Lord it shall be feen, the Lord will provide.” When, in the heat of the battle, the Lord makes himself known by his ancient name," JEHOVAH-NISSI, The Lord their banner.” When he lhews himself a present help in time of trouble, when all other helps and assistance is gone: "For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his fervants, when he feeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up or left,” Deut. xxxii. 36. When, tho' the enemy prevails, yet they keep the field; and when, tho they lose many battles, yet they gain the war. Then, and in these respects, they may be said to overcome at last.
ill. The third thing proposed was, To offer the grounds of the doctrine. And here also, there are two things to be evidenced; 1. Why a troop thall overcome them. 2. Why they shall overcome at last.
ist, Why it is so ordered of God, that his people, while on earth, should be thus foiled, defeat, and overcome?
I. It is so ordered, for the honour of God's perfections. That his wisdom may appear in leading them through the midst of their enemies: his power, in enabling their dead men to rise and regain the conquest, and overleap a 'wall: his faithfulness, in bringing them through fire and water to a wealthy land, according to his word: and his goodness, in not suffering them to be tenipted above what they are able, nor always trampled upon.
2. It is so ordered, for the exercise of their graces, and of their spiritual arms; yea, lie suffers them to be defeated, notwithstanding their arms, that they may learn not to trust to their graces and borrowed armour, but to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. VOL, VII. + U
able' luffer accorda hem
3. It is to make their victory the more remarkable, and their heaven the more sweet, where they shall fing an eternal *7Wllov a song of victory over all their ene. mies; and that while they are by the way, every new victory they obtain may be the more sweet, glorious, and wonderful; when, after they were dashed and conquer. ed, they become conquerors.
4. It is so ordered, that there may be a conformity be. 'tween them and their head, their Captain ; for, they are predestinated to be conformed to his image, both in fufferings and glory. Now, he was made perfect thro' suffering: by death he overcame death ; by being over.. come, he overcame.
5. It is so ordered, to make them humble and dependent; humble in the sense of their own weakness, while they cannot stand before the enemy without being foil. ed and overcome; the devil, the world, and corruption being too strong for them ; and that they may learn to live a life of faith and dependence upon their powerful General. • 6. Hence it is thus ordered, to help their memory; Psalm lix. II. “ Slay them not, left my people forget.” Slay not the enemy, says God, but rather let them slay and overcome, lest my people forget their prayers, and forget my promise, and forget what they have ado for me, and what I have ado for them; left they forget to watch, and wait, and keep under my standard. . 2.dly, Why they shall overcome at last. Their victory
is sure. • 1. Because their Head has overcome; their Captain hath conquered all their enemies, and spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in his cross, Col. ii. 15.; and he is exalted far above all principality, and power, and night, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to cone, Eph. i. 26. · And therefore they may be convinced of judgment, and of victory, because the prince of this world is judged.
2. Because their Captain heads them, and goes before them in the van; “ The breaker is come up before them: and their King shall pass before them, and the Lord on
the head of them,” Mic. ii. 13. How can they but have fuccess in the issue, the angel of God going before them, as with Ifrael of old ?
3. They shall overcome at last, because the Captain follows them, and not only leads the van, but also brings up the rear; “ Depart ye, depart ye; go ye out from thence; touch no unclean thing: go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the L rd. For ye shall not go out with hafte, nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear-ward,” Isa. lii. 11, 12.; that is, God will both lead their van and bring up the rear, fecuring them from enemies that either meet them, or follow them; for, “ With his favour will he compass them.” God's prefence with his people, will be that to them, which the pil. lar of cloud was to Israel, both behind and before them. See Ifa. lviii. 8. “ Thy righteousness shall go before thee, and the glory of the Lord shall be thy rear-ward." Christ, thy righteousness, before thee, as thy van-guard; and the glory of God, Christ, the rear-ward, in whim God's glory shines, and on whom alone we can depend, when our sins pursue us, and are ready to take hold upon us, and when we are pursued by any other enemy.
4. They shall overcome at last, because their enemies are Christ's enemies; Exod. xxiii. 22. “ I will be an enemy to thine enemies, and an adversary to thine adversaries.” The troops that overcome them are the troops of hell, that fight against the God heaven; and therefore they shall not always prevail: “ When God arises, his eneinies shall be scattered, Psal. Ixviii. 1. Moab shall be destroyed, because he magnified himself against the Lord,” Jer. xlviii. 42.
5. Because his honour is engaged; his glory is concerned. It is said once and again, nay a fourth time, in the twentieth chapter of Ezekiel, He fought, or wrought for bis name's sake, ver. 4. 14. 22. 44. And, indeed, when his name and glory is concerned, he has more to life than they, in case they should not overcome at last; they would but lose their life, their soul, their salvation; but, he would lose his truth, his honour, his glory, which is infinitely greater: therefore, they shall overcome at last.
6. Because they have nore for them than against them: their name is Gad, a troop; a company of two armies ; yea, they have many troops and regiments on their fide: and, if our eyes were open, according to Elisha's prayer, 2 Kings vi. 17. we might see mountains full of cha. riots and horses of fire, before the Israel of God. I will name ten regiments or (to keep by the words of the text) troops, they have upon their side, by which they cannot fail to overcome at last.
(1.) The greatest and strongest is a troop of divine attributes surrounding them, as the mountains are about Jerusalem, Plal. cxxv. 2. And hence, the place of their defence is said to be the munition of rocks; attributes of God, like rocks of defence about them. It is under the Ihadow of these attributes, they are safe and victorious ; for he sends forth his mercy and truth for that end: “ Be merciful unto me, O God; be merciful unto me; for my foul trusteth in thee : yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. He shall fend from heaven and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up: God shall send forth his mercy and his truth, Pfal. lvii. 1, 2. I am God allfufficient,” says God to Abraham; and fo to all his spiritual feed. My wisdom, fufficient for your direction; niy power, fufficient for your protection, &c.“ My grace shall be sufficient for thee; my strength shall be made per. fect in thy weakness." How can these that have such troops for them but overcome at last!
(2.) They have a troop of graces; namely, faith and all the rest, of which Christ hath prayed that they fail not; “ I have prayed for thee, says Christ to Peter, that thy faith fail not." And so, he hath prayed that their hope fail not utterly; that their patience fail not; that their love fail not; that their graces fail not: therefore, corruption shall fall before grace; “ Sin Mall not have dominion over you ; for you are not under the law, but under grace.” Under that grace of God, that is the fountain of all graces in them.
(3.) They have a troop of divine offices, and divine officers on their side: Christ, the chief Officer, clothed with all saving offices; whether general, as that of a Sa.