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slumbers of the buried dead, we shall hail it with joy, we shall lift up our heads from the dust, as those who know that their redemption draweth nigh.
Hartley Wespall, Sept. 26, 1847.
WHO ARE CHRIST'S ENEMIES?
PHILIPPIANS iii. 18.-" The enemies of the cross of
SUCH is the term applied by St. Paul to some of the members of the visible church of Christ at Philippi. He writes of them that they are enemies to his Master's cross. It is a serious and heavy accusation; and heavily did the making of it weigh upon the apostle's spirit, as we may judge by his own words: "Many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you, even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ." And can we be surprised at this feeling? Can we wonder that a man, devoted as St. Paul was, heart and soul, to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to the preaching of His gospel, should feel
bitterly the conduct of those pretended converts, who, while they professed in words to believe in Christ, yet in deeds denied Him? Can we wonder at the tears which they occasioned him, who, by the perversion of the holy doctrines which he taught, showed themselves not only to be indifferent, but altogether hostile to the Gospel? No, truly, there is reason enough to account for the vehemence of his grief. Yes, and there is reason enough why we, in reading of his affliction, should sympathize with and participate in it.
For, my brethren, is it not a sorrowful thought that so soon the prophecy of our Lord respecting His church should have been fulfilled? Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Is it not sad to contemplate so quick a departure from the true faith; to know that within the narrow space of sixty years, after the death of Jesus on the cross, the death which he endured for us sinful men, even while some were yet living who had been spectators of His agony; there should be found within the fold of the Church, amongst those who had been baptized into the name of Christ, a number of men whose lives, and conversation were so at variance with the truth, as to call down upon them the open rebuke of an apostle; as to compel him who, in his zeal for his brethren made himself "all
things to all men," to denounce them as the enemies of the cross of Christ ?"
Surely, my brethren, no one can reflect on this and not be pained: no one who loves the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, but must feel pity, and indignation at such an exposure of man's weakness, and man's ingratitude. Nor will these feelings, I think, be lessened in intensity, if, from contemplating the conduct of our Lord's enemies at an early period of the Gospel preaching, we turn our minds to a scene nearer home to the character, and conduct of those who are Christ's enemies now. these are, the marks by which they may be known, and what is revealed to us concerning their end, is the subject I would propose for our consideration this morning.
It is an inquiry, I need hardly say, of great interest to us all; for if, in the character of those who are denounced in the Scriptures as "the enemies of the Son of God," we recognise any point of resemblance to ourselves, or to any of our friends, and acquaintance, any in whom we have a near interest, then surely the language of the apostle may, by God's blessing, be made serviceable to our good. If taken home, and applied to our own case, it may act as a timely, and wholesome warning; may be the means of saving a soul from death; reconciling an enemy with his truest friend; a sinner with his God.
In such an examination, the safest guide to follow. will be the sure Word of God. In it we shall find, without risk of incurring the charge of presumption or uncharitableness, the marks, and tokens by which the enemies of the Redeemer's cross are to be known. "Search the Scriptures," my brethren, "for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify" against you. But, as the Scriptures are a large volume, and can only be partially searched at one time, it will be enough for our purpose to-day to confine our attention to a particular passage in them,-a passage closely connected with the text-occurring in the same chapter of the Epistle to the Philippians - a passage wherein St. Paul gives us three distinct notes by which we may arrive at what we are in search of, and ascertain who are 66 the enemies of the cross of Christ." He tells us they are persons" whose god is their belly, whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things."
First, then, of those who make their belly their god. It must be clear, I think, to you all, that the characters intended to be described in these words, are such as "live after the flesh, and not after the spirit." Men who take more thought for their bodies than for their souls; who find their highest pleasure in doing the very opposite to the directions of our Lord in the Gospel; whose whole