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INVASION OF SATAN'S KINGDOM.
433 Three days elapsed, after this honourable and successful struggle, before he shewed himself, and again joined the little handful of affrighted followers, who had in the mean time been sadly scattered and divided; and were also so confounded and dismayed, that they were almost ready to give up the cause for lost. Indeed, he overheard two of thein discoussing upon the subject; and it appears that they were greatly distressed, and said, alluding to their “ leader and cominander *,” who they imagined had been slain in the late baule, “ We thought it had been he which should have restored Israel 4."
It is hardly possible to describe the joy and transport which they all felt on his re-appearing among them again. It was however mingled with much shaine, fear, and unbelief. One of them was heard to say, after the strongest proofs of the fact had been given, that he would not give it credit until he had examined the very wounds which his Captain was known to have received on that day. His presence was to his followers as life from the dead : they were more than ever convinced of the just and glorious nature of the contest in which they were engaged; and, filled with regret, on account of their former ill conduct, they were deterinined to persevere in it with redoubled zeal. Being furnished with a more full and complete view of the measures to be taken against the common enemy of souls, and now encouraged by the progress already made in this holy warfare, they proceed to attack one of the strongest points of the enemy's entrenchinents first: indeed so had their Lord expressly commanded. Nor is it long before they have abundant evidence that the weapons of their warfare are not carnal; Lit mighty, through God, to the pulling down of the strongholds of sin g.
At ihe very first onset, 3000 oppressed souls were rescued from under the power of Satan il. Now is fulfilled that report which was made concerning the Captain of our salvation, That he would“ proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound T.” Every day now witnessed new conquests, and great multitudes joined the standard of the cross; among whom was a standard-bearer, one of the most powerful chiefs of the Prince of Darkness **. This man was an host in himself: it was, therefore, thought adviseable to send him and some others, in different directions, to make inroads upon other parts of the enemy's territory; and they succeeded beyond all expectation, overrupving a great part of the Gentile division of the enemy's country, carrying
Isaiah iv. 2. + Luke xxiv. 13, &c. § 2 Cor. X. 4, S.
|| Acts ii. 40, 48. * The apostle Paul. Acts ix. 1, &C.
Luke xxiv. 46, 47.
many of the strongest posts, some of which seemed impreg. nable *; and liberating a prodigious number of captives, who had long groaned under the most degrading and cruel oppression. Things went on in this way for some time; and the most happy effects were producer, until some of those, who had joined.the standard of the Redeemer, fell away to the enemy; and many others became lukewarın and indifferent; and things wore a most gloomy aspect for some ages; yea, sometimes it seemed as if the enemy would have recovered all that he had lost; but this has not been the case. At different times and in various places, active and brave officers in the arıny of the Messiah' have revived the contest with great advantage. Nearer to our own times, we have reason to be ashamed that the professed soldiers of Jesus Christ have contented themselves withi mere defensive operations, thinking it quite enough to retaio possession of the posts which they had taken. Lately, however, a strong compassion has been excited in favour of those poor captives who yet remain under the bondage of Satan.' A cry is heard throughout the camp of the Messiah, “ Who is on the Lord's side?" and formidable preparations are making, among different divisions of the army of the Lamb, for a general assault upon the powers of darkness. It is expected that this great Conqueror will shortly go forth upon a great white horse, and that the armies which are in Heaven will follow him upon white horses t; and the most glorious exploits are expecied to take place. - God send them all possible success! May there be a grand display of union and zeal, for it is one cause! and may the church soon have cause to exclaim and sing, “ The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of God and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever $!”
• Corinth, Ephesus, &c.
4 Rev. xvii. 11, &c.
Rev. xi. 15.
ON TIE MUTUAL KNOWLEDGE OF
SAINTS IN GLORY.
MR, COW PER'S SECOND LETTER.
My Dear Cousin,
Having gone as far as I thought needful to justify the opinion of our meeting and knowing each other hereafter, I find, upon reflection, that I have done but half my business, and that one of the questions you proposed, remains entirely unconsidered; viz." Whether the things of our present state
MUTUAL KNOWLEDGE OP SAINTS IN GLORY. 485 will not be of too low and mean a nature to engage out thoughts, or make a part of our coinnunications in Heaven."
The common and ordinary occurrences of life, no doubt, and even the ties of kindred, and of all temporal interests, will be entirely discarded from among that happy society, and possibly even the remembrance of them done away; but it does not therefore follow, that our spiritual concerns, even in this life, will be forgotten; neither do I think that they can ever appear trifling to us in any the most distant period of eternity. God, as you say, in reference to the Scripture, will be all in all; but does not that expression mean, that being admitted to so near an approach to our Heavenly Father and Redeemer, our whole nature, the soul, and all its faculties, will be ema ployed in praising and adoring him ? Doubtlesss, however, this will be the case; and if so, will it not farnish out a glorious theme of thanksgiving to recollect " The rock whence we were hewn, and the hole of the pit whence we were digged?" To recollect the time when our faith, which under the tuition and nurture of the Holy Spirit, has produced such a plentiful harvest of immortal bliss, was as a grain of mustard seed, small in itself, promising but little fruit, and producing less! To recollect the various attempts that were made upon it, by the world, the flesh, and the Devil, and its various triumphs over all, by the assistance of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ! At present, whatever our convictions may be of the sinfulness and corruption of our nature, we can make but a very imperfect estimate either of our weakness or our guilt. Then, no doubt, we shall understand the full value of the wonderful salvation wrought out for us: and it seems reasonable to suppose, that, ist order to form a just idea of our redemption, we shall be able to forin a just one of the danger we have escaped. When we know how weak and frail we were, surely we shall be more able to render due praise and honour to his strength who fought for us; when we know completely the hatefulness of sin in the sight of God, and how deeply we were tainted by it, we shall know how to value the blood by which we are cleansed as we ought. The twenty-four Elders, in the 5th of the Revelations, give glory to God for their redemption, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. This surely implies a retrospect to their respective conditions upon earth ; and that each remembered out of what particular kindred and nation he had been redeemed; and if so, then surely the minutest circumstance of their redemption did not escape their memory. They who triumph over the beast, in the 15th chapter, sing the song of Moses, the servait of God; and what was that song? A sublime record of Israel's deliverance, and the destruction of her enemies in the Red Sea ; typical, no doubt, of the song which the redeemed in Sion shall sing to celebrate their own salvation, and the defeat of their spiritual enemies. This again implies a recollection of the dangers they had before encountered, and the supplies of strength and ardour they had, in every emergency, received from the great Deliverer out of all. These quotations do not indeed prove that their warfare upon earth includes a part of their converse with each other, but they prove that it is a theme not unworthy to be heard, even before the throne of God; and therefore it cannot be upfit for reciprocal communication.
But you doubt whether there is any communication between the blessed at all: neither do I recollect any Scripture that proves it, or that bears any relation to the subject. But reason seems to require it so peremptorily, that a society without social in. tercourse, seeins to be a solecism, and a contradiction in terms; and the inhabitants of those regions are called, you know, in Scripture, an Innumerable Company, and an Assembly; which seems to convey the idea of society as clearly as the word itself. Human testimony weighs but little in matters of this sort ; but let it have all the weight it can; I know no greater names in divinity than Watts and Doddridge'; they were both of this opinion; and I send you the words of the latter:
“Our companions in glory may probably assist us by their wise and good observations, when we come to make the providence of God, here upon earth, under the guidance and direction of our Lord Jesus Christ, the subject of our mutual converse.”
Thus, my dear cousin, I have spread out my reasons before you for an opinion wbich, whether admitted or denied, affects not the state or the interest of our souls. May our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, conduct us into his own Jerusalem, where there shall be no night, neither any darkness at all; where we shall be free even from innocent error, and perfect in the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Yours, W. Cowper.
MR. COWPER'S THIRD LETTER ON THE SAME SUBJECT. My Dear Cousin,
It is reckoned, you know, a great achievement to silence an opponent in disputation; and your silence was of so long continuance, that I might well begin to please myself with the apprehension of having accomplished so arduous a matter. To be serious, however, I am not sorry that what I have said concerning our knowledge of each other in a future state, has a little inciived you to the affirmative; - for though the redeemed of the Lord shall be sure of being as happy in that state as infinite power, employed by infinite goodness, can enake them, and therefore it may seem immaterial whether we shall, or chall not, recollect each other hereafter; yet our present happiness ai least is a little interested in the question. A parents
MUTUAL KNOWLEDGE OF SAINTS IN GLORY. 487 & friend, a wife, must needs, I think, feel a little heart-ache at the thought of an eternal separation from the objects of her regard; and not to know them when she meets them in another life, or never to meel them at all, amounts, though not altogether, yet nearly to the same thing. Remember them, I think, she needs must. To hear that they are happy, will indeed be no small addition to her own felicity; but to see thein so, will surely be a greater. Thus, at least, it appears to our present human appreliension; consequently, therefore, to think, that when we leave them, we lose them for ever; that we must remain eternally ignorant whether they, that were Hesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone, partake with us of celestial glory, or are disinlierited of their heavenly portion, must shed a disa mal gloom over all our present connections. For my own part, this life is such a momentary thing, and all its interests bave so shrunk in my estimation, since by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ I became attentive to the things of another, that, like a worm in the bud of all my friendships and affections, this very thought would eat out the heart of them all, had I a thousand; and were their date to terminate with this life, I think I should have no inclination to cultivate and improve such a fugitive business. Yet friendship is necessary to our happiness here, and built upon Christian principles, upon 'which only it can stand, is a thing even of religious sanction
for what is that love which the Holy Spirit, speaking by St. John, so much inculcates, but friendship? The only love which deserves the name; a love which can toil, and watoh, and deny itself, and go to death for its brother. Worldly friendo ships are a poor weed compared with this; and even this union of spirit in the bond of peace, would suffer in my mind at least, could I think it were only coeval with our earthly mansions.
may possibly argue great weakness in me, in this instance, to stand so much in need of future hopes to support me in the discharge of present duty. But so it is :- I am far, I know, very far from being perfect in Christian love, or any other divine attainment; and am therefore unwilling to forego whate ever may help me in my progress. You are so kind as to enquire
health; for which reason I must tell you, what otherwise would not be worth men. tioning, that I have lately been just enough indisposed to con. vince me, that not only human life in general, but mine in particular, hanys by a slender thread. I am stout enough in appearance; yet a litle illness demolishes me.
I have had a severe shake; and the building is not so firm as it was. But I bless God for it with all
heart. If the inner man be but strengthened day by day, as I hope under the renewing influences of the Holy Ghost, it will be no matter how soon the outward is dissolved. He who bas in a manner raised me from the dead, in a literal sepse, has given me tire grace, I trust, io