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degree, who are children of God. Let us, then, arm ourselves with the word of God ; let us take this sword of the Spirit, and then we may bid defiance to the batred of the world, and the rulers of its darkness. Let us use it constantly—let us use it habitually let us use it faithfully-let us use it spiritually; then shall we not only overcome by its power, we shall also be the more won by its intrinsic excellence. It will grow in beauty before our spiritual perceptions, and we shall every day have increasing confidence in the "weapon of our warfare:” and at
“ length, when the last struggle shall commence on the banks of the river of death, its heavenly proof shall be more and more revealed : it will cleave asunder the bars of the grave—it will divide the waters before us—it will touch the gates of heaven, and cause them to fly open, and disclose the glories within to our view-it will give us the blessed experience of a saint of God, who, on entering into his rest, and when he could no longer look on the characters of his Bible, suffered his hand to stiffen in the embrace of death, over that glorious passage so brilliant with the Christian's hope : "O death, where is thy sting; O grave, where is thy victory ?”
JOHN XVII. 15–26.
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou
shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth : thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even 80 have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word ; That they all may be one ; as thou, Pather, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us : that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them ; that they may be one, even as we are one : I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one ; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast lored me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou had given me, be with me where I am ; that they may behold my glory, ackich thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee : but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
Our Lord in praying to his heavenly Father, on behalf of his followers, had one grand object in view; not that they might be at once removed from their state of trial to their state of glory, but that they might be fitted by the exercises of the one, for the enjoyment of the other. “I
pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." He might at once have transformed his followers into his own image; he might at once have adorned them with the perfection of holiness, and transferred them from the ungenial clime of this world of sin and sorrow, to their newly-acquired land in heaven, where they might for ever flourish in the courts of the house of their God. But this was not suited to the end he had in view. He desired to purify and to prepare his people, by a certain process through which they were gradually to pass, in their way to their heavenly inheritance. And thus he left them in the wilderness, to prove and try them; he left them in the land of the enemy, to teach them watchfulness, and dependence on him, who is alone the strength of his people in the day of battle; he left them in the furnace, in order that by means of the useful though painful exercise of trial, they might at length come forth purified as silver and tried as gold. Nothing will take the place in the heart of the believer of the dearly-bought experience resulting from the “divers temptations” into which, by the providence of God, he is permitted to fall. they that have come out of great tribulation."
In praying that his disciples should not be taken out of the world, but preserved from the evil, there was this important end to be attained, namely, that the power of God should be exhibited in them, by the exercise of the graces and excellences of the Christian character. He himself, the holy one of God, bad appeared for a little while in the midst of the sinful children of men, and by the light of his presence had illumined the region of the Shadow of Death. He was "the true Light;" but he
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was soon to be hidden from the view of man: and therefore he would not leave himself without witness; he would not depart where he was before, without casting a reflection of his glory on his people, and leaving them in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation to shine as lights in the world; to be a sign and a token before a godless world of the power of God, in transforming them from sin to holiness; to be in fact the " salt of the earth” and “ the light of the world.” When our beloved Master retired from his scene of suffering and humiliation, he left his followers that it might be with them as with him in trial, and that on them the impression of his own character might be visible, so that all who looked on them might recognize them as his servants and the soldiers of his kingdom; that they should be as a candle not put under a bushel, but on a candlestick; manifesting the retiring and unobtrusive, but important and influential graces of the Christian character in private; and that they also should be as cities set on a hill which could not be hid; sending forth the light of their heavenly knowledge and the warmth of their heavenly love to all around; not restraining their influence within a contracted circle of their own, but knowing only the limits of the world, as the boundary of their exertions and their prayers, and making man's necessity alone the measure of their energies in endeavouring to disperse the darkness of sin before the light of the gospel.
This prayer of our Master ought to produce this impression on our hearts. It ought to lead us to submit with cheerfulness to all the trials and provings of this life, because it is his will that we should be cast in the midst of them, while the result is,-our own profit-a witness to a dark world,-and glory to God. It ought
to lead us not to be restless, or weary, or faint in our minds: not to cry with the peevish desire of getting rid of our troubles, “Oh that I had wings like a dove, for then would I flee away and be at rest,” but earnestly to aim at improvement under every circumstance, whether for the present joyous or grievous ; earnestly to seek that the power of Christ may manifestly rest upon us, and his light shine around us; to tarry the Lord's leisure, and be ready with meekness and resignation to follow him who was made perfect through suffering ; eager not for the removal of the suffering, but that we may “ be kept from the evil,” that the “evil one touch harm us not, that our provings may yield peaceable fruits, and that our "faith may be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” The people of God, when called into the gospel of his dear Son, are separated from the world-they come out of the midst of it. It is no longer their home, their family, their household. Their thoughts and affections and pursuits are elsewhere; they no longer partake in its joys, or tremble at its frowns. They are “of God”— citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, members of his household, heirs of his kingdom. Their bodies may be still in the world, their thoughts are not, they are in heaven ; all their affections are centred there. Their glorious home in heaven, their mansion in the Father's house, is the point of attraction, and the mark after which they strain. - They are not of the world;" its deceits, its vanities, its utter worthlessness have been revealed to them, and they renounce it; the realities of the “inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away,” have been made known to them, and this they take as their portion for ever.