Ephesians 6:13

I. CHRISTIANS NEED TO BE ARMED. Aldershot cannot dispense with Woolwich. The army must be equipped before it can take the field. The knight must don his coat of mail and draw his sword if he is to make any use of his martial skill and prowess. So the Church must be prepared for the great conflict with unbelief, worldliness, and immorality. The individual Christian must be armed to meet temptation and to win a triumph. Many a sanguine young Christian soldier has fallen shamefully through rushing rashly into the fray without due preparation.

II. THE REQUISITE ARMOR MUST BE DIVINE. "Armor of God."

1. Provided by God. We cannot forge our own armor. Our own resolutions, like home-made weapons, will be sure to betray some weakness and clumsiness. The Christian armor consists of God-given graces. The pilgrim had his armor given him at the house "Beautiful."

2. God-like. A steel breastplate is no protection against a poison-cup. The character of our defenses must be spiritual and holy, like the character of God, in order that we may be able to withstand great spiritual foes.

III. IT IS NECESSARY TO SECURE A COMPLETE SUIT OF ARMOR. "The whole armor." We are assailable in every part of our nature. It is useless to be only half-armed, for the subtle tempter is sure to aim his dart at the most vulnerable spot. We are all inclined to make much of favorite graces and to fortify ourselves against certain selected sins. Where we think ourselves most secure we are likely to be most open to attack. It will not be sufficient to be sound on all points but one. Achilles was said to be vulnerable only on the heel. But that was enough. His one weak place was fatal to him. God knows both the variety of foes we have to face and the different susceptibilities of our own constitution, and has provided complete armor accordingly.

IV. THE CHRISTIAN ARMOR IS VARIOUS IS KIND.

1. Defensive.

(1) We have first to be braced and girded by a firm grasp of the eternal verities of the faith. Looseness of conviction is a fatal source of weakness. Truth being the girdle we are not to embrace it, but it is to encircle us, i.e. we not to be satisfied with holding the truth, we must let the truth hold us.

(2) Our heart must be protected by righteousness. An evil conscience, with sin unrepented, unforgiven, and unamended, is fatal to future firmness.

(3) We must be active in spreading the gospel of peace.

(4) Where we have not sufficient resisting power in our own persons let us trust the defending grace of God. Then if the breastplate of righteousness is thin, the shield of faith held before it may still protect us.

(5) Salvation in part secured, in whole promised, will help us to hold our head erect in calm confidence.

2. Offensive. We have not only to stand the shock of the enemy's blows; we have to return them. The necessary weapons are supplied from the Divine armory.

(1) The Word of God. This is the sword of the Spirit, because God's Spirit inspired it and now gives it edge and penetrating power. Christ used this sword in his temptation. We resist evil by dwelling on Divine truths.

(2) Prayer. In the garden Christ prayed and Peter slept; in the house of Caiaphas Christ was faithful and Peter fell. - W.F.A.







Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. -
balteusbound around the loins to which the sword was commonly attached, seemed to the apostle to recall the inward practical acknowledgment of truth which is the first necessity in the Christian character. The metal breastplate suggested the moral rectitude or righteousness which enables a man to confront the world. The strong military sandals spoke of that readiness to march in the cause of that gospel whose sum and substance was not war but spiritual, even more than social peace. And then the large, oblong, oval wooden shield, clothed with hides, covered well nigh the whole body of the bearer, reminding him of Christian faith, upon which the temptations of the Evil One, like the ancient arrows, tipped, as they often were, with inflammable substances, would light harmlessly and lose their deadly point; and then the soldier's helmet, pointing upward to the skies, was a natural figure of Christian hope directed towards a higher and a better world; and then the sword at his side, by which he won safety and victory in the day of battle, and which, you will observe, is the one aggressive weapon mentioned in this whole catalogue - what was it but the emblem of that Word of God which wins such victories on the battlefields of conscience, because it pierces, even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. Thus girded, thus clad, thus shod, thus guarded, thus covered, thus armed, the Christian might well meet his foes. He was, indeed, more than a match for them, and might calmly await their onset.

(Canon Liddon.)

(Canon Liddon.)

I. ACTIVE ARMING. Take -

1. Truth: not mere information.(1) Truth is inward - to one's self. No self-deception, nor vanity, nor conceit.(2) Outward - to others. Candour, frankness, truth of word and life, Most sublime sights are these:(a) Simple truthfulness of character at home.(b) A powerful mind vindicating truth in the presence of foes.(c) The martyr calmly sealing truth with his blood.

2. Righteousness. This means truth towards God, justness, fairness, honesty, faithfulness (Micah 6:8). It is a breastplate, in forefront, to be borne bright and high, and seen by all.

3. Readiness - like that of Israel leaving Egypt, or a soldier in camp.

4. Faith - a shield, therefore a protection. Like God, our refuge, strength, help. It quenches all the fiery darts, etc. Not easy to have such faith; try, however.

II. PASSIVE ARMING. The following are outward, external, not in the soul.

1. Salvation is the helmet.

2. Word of God is the sword.

(W. M. Johnston, M. A.)

I. THE PROHIBITION INVOLVED IN THE PRECEPT. The conflict may neither be forsaken nor suspended. The following are forbidden:

1. Indolent or even weary sleep.

2. Cowardly or even politic flight.

3. A treacherous, or even a desponding surrender. Treachery is apostasy; despondency is sinful distrust.

4. The declaration of a truce, or even an application for it. There is a termination to the war, but no truce. No favour will ever be shown to the foe by our Commander-in-Chief, and the soldier of Christ does not really need the cessation of the conflict.

5. The giving up of a military position until the war is fairly over. The orders to the individual soldier run thus - "Unto death"; and until death the warfare is not accomplished. Death is in fact the last enemy.

II. WHAT DO THESE WORDS DEMAND?

1. They require a distinct and solemn recognition of the fact that the time of our life on earth is a time of war - "an evil day." There are periods during which the sharpness of the conflict is greatly increased, and such seasons are peculiarly "the evil day" - but every day is a day of battle.

2. They require us to be always possessed by the conviction that we are personally called to this good fight. The true vocation of every believer is conflict; and to this rule there is not a single exception.

3. They demand the honest and manly facing of our foes. Some professed Christians turn their backs upon their spiritual enemies in contempt. They have speculated and theorized upon Satanic agency, until they have expunged God's doctrines concerning devils from their creed. They have flirted and compromised with the world, until they and the evil that is in the world are placed on the same side. They have modified and shaped their language concerning human depravity, until there dwells in their flesh, according to their opinion, no evil thing. And thus denying the existence of foes, they have turned their backs upon them. Other professing Christians look at our spiritual enemies more as spectators than as warriors. They are seen as objects of spiritual interest, and as subjects for religious inquiry, rather than as foes with which they personally have to do. To stand, in the sense of the text, requires that we face our foes - not to contemplate them; far less to despise them; but to fight them.

4. The text requires that having taken the field we keep it. We may not retire to the ranks of those who refuse to fight: we must stand. The militant position must be maintained throughout life. We may be weak; but must stand. We may be weary; but must stand. We may be fearful; but must stand. We may be defeated in some single fight; but must stand. We may See others fall about us; but must stand. Many may desert our cause; but we must stand. Consternation may spread through the army of the Lord of Hosts; but we must stand. It may seem as though all things were against us; but we must stand. The day of final triumph may seem long delayed, and with weak, and weary, and aching hearts, we may cry, "How long, Lord? how long?" - but we must stand. The measure of conflict and of service allotted to us may seem excessive, but having done all, we must stand. "Stand therefore." This requires,

5. that we be ready for attack or defence. To stand unarmed, is not to stand. To stand unclothed with armour, is not to stand. To stand in any sense unready, is not to stand. Having done all, your foes stand. Satan has done much; yet he stands. The world - the temporal, the sensual, and the social - has done much; yet it stands. The flesh has done much; yet it stands. Antichrist and error, and sin in every shape, have done much; yet they stand. No foe is as yet really slain. New foes are continually led to the field, and old foes show themselves in new forms. I read; "Gethsemane!" "Calvary!" Calvary? Who fought there? Your Captain - alone; for all His soldiers forsook Him and fled. With "Calvary" and "Gethsemane" on your banner, to be consistent, you must stand. Stand therefore! Now your orders are, Stand. Yet a little, and the command shall be, Retire. Come, ye faithful soldiers, inherit the kingdom prepared for you; and receive the crown of glory which fadeth not away.

(S. Martin, D. D.)

1. What kind of heart and courage such an one must have, to appear in the place of review.

2. Who is his chief Captain, to whom he must have regard.

3. What kind of equipment he must have, and what is the best armoury, the best arsenal.

4. Who are his worst enemies.

5. How he ought and must accustom himself to his armour.

6. What a severe regimen he must carry out.

7. Finally, what he has to expect, if he conduct himself in a knightly manner.

(Herberger.)How the equipment with the whole armour of God is -

1. So indispensable.

2. So accessible.

3. So glorious.

(Rautenberg.)

1. The more danger we are in, the more watchful we must be.

2. Our spiritual war is a sore, fierce, and dangerous war.

3. All must fight this spiritual combat.

4. Our enemies are more than flesh and blood.

(1)Spiritual enemies are terrible.

(2)No outward prowess can daunt them.

5. The devil is our principal enemy, in all our conflicts, whether with flesh and blood, or with spiritual foes.

6. They who are quailed with what flesh and blood can do, will never be able to stand against principalities.

7. Our spiritual enemies have a dominion.

(1)God permits this.

(2)Yet is it usurpation on the part of Satan.

8. As our spiritual enemies have a dominion, so they have power to exercise the same. The Lord suffers this for the following reasons.

(1)That His own Divine power might be the more manifested.

(2)That there might be a greater trial of the courage of His saints and children.

(3)That He might execute the sorer vengeance upon the wicked.

9. Satan's rule is only in this world.

10. Ignorant and evil men are Satan's vassals.

(1)They resist him not, but yield to him.

(2)They are not subject to Christ.

11. The enemies of our souls are of a spiritual substance.(1) Invisible.

(2)Privy to what we do or speak.

12. The devils are extremely evil.

13. The devils are many in number.

14. The main things for which the devils fight against us, are heavenly matters.

(William Gouge.)

I. THE DAY REFERRED TO - "The evil day." "Day" a fit emblem, mixture of light and darkness, sunshine and storm, joy and sadness. Certain evils in this day to which we are all liable.

1. Evil day of affliction. Our bodies have the seeds of innumerable diseases in them.

2. Evil day of temptation.

3. Evil day of persecution.

4. Evil day of death.

II. THE ADVICE GIVEN.

1. We have recommended to us Divine armour. The Lord's warfare must be carried on by the Lord's weapons.

2. We must have the whole armour of God. Every part is vulnerable, and every part, therefore, must be defended.

3. The whole armour must be taken unto us.

III. THE MOTIVES URGED. "That ye may be able," etc.

1. That we may not be destroyed by the evils of this life. "Withstand."

2. That we appear victorious in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. "Having done all, stand." Great comprehensiveness in the words, "Done all."Application:

1. Let believers rightly remember their present state. This is your evil day, expect and prepare for trouble.

2. Examine your armour; is it Divine armour? whole, and entire?

3. Let grace sustain you, depend entirely on it.

4. Let glory animate you. Think of the day when, having done all, you will stand.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

1. It is very characteristic of Paul that he should give the first place to "truth." He is thinking of the truth concerning God and the will of God which comes to us from God Himself through His revelation in Christ and through the teaching of the Spirit; for all the elements of Christian strength are represented in this passage as Divine gifts. Truth appropriated and made our own gives energy, firmness, and decision to Christian life and action, relieves us from the entanglement and distraction which come from uncertainty and doubt, gives us a complete command of all our vigour. It is like the strong belt of the ancient soldier which braced him up, made him conscious of his force, kept his armour in its place, and prevented it from interfering with the freedom of his action.

2. He gives the second place to "righteousness." In the conflicts of the Christian life we are safe, only while we practise every personal and private virtue, and discharge with fidelity every duty both to man and to God. "Righteousness" is the defence and guarantee of righteousness. The honest man is not touched by temptations to dishonesty; the truthful man is not touched by temptations to falsehood; habits of industry are a firm defence against temptations to indolence; a pure heart resents with disgust and scorn the first approaches of temptation to impurity.

3. Paul gives the third place to what he describes as "the preparation of the gospel of peace." When we have received with hearty faith the great assurance by the remission of sins through Christ, we are released from the gravest anxieties and fears. We have escaped from care about the past, and are free to give our whole strength to the duties of the present and of the future. The discovery that God is at peace with us gives us confidence and inspires us with alertness and elasticity of spirit. We are not merely ready, we are eager for every good work.

4. The fourth place is given to "faith." There are a thousand perils against which faith in the righteousness and love and power of God is our only protection. When the misery of the world oppresses us, or we are crushed by the misery of our personal life, terrible thoughts about God pierce through every defence and fasten themselves in our very flesh, torturing us, and filling our veins with burning fever. We writhe in our agony. If by any chance we hear about "the unsearchable riches" of God's grace, we listen, not only uncomforted, but sometimes with a passion of unbelief. "Grace!" we exclaim, "where is the proof of it? Is there any pity in Him, any justice, any truth?" In these hours of anguish we are like soldiers wounded by the "darts" with burning tow fastened to them, or with their iron points made red hot, which were used in ancient warfare. We should have been safe if, when "the evil day" came it had found us with a strong and invincible faith in God; this would have been a perfect defence; and apart from this we can have no secure protection.

5. The fifth place is given to "salvation." We are insecure unless we make completely our own the great redemption which God has achieved for us in Christ. If we have mean and narrow conceptions of the Divine redemption, or if we think that it lies mainly with ourselves whether we shall secure "glory, honour, and immortality," we shall be like a soldier without a "helmet," unprotected against blows which may be mortal. But if we have a vivid apprehension of the greatness of the Christian redemption, and if our hope of achieving a glorious future is rooted in our consciousness of the infinite power and grace of God, we shall be safe.

6. But all these are arms of defence. Have we no weapons for attacking and destroying the enemy? Are the same temptations and the same doubts to return incessantly and to return with their force undiminished? The helmet, the shield, the breastplate, the belt, may be a protection for ourselves; but we belong to an army, and are fighting for the victory of the Divine kingdom and for the complete destruction of the authority and power of the "spiritual hosts of wickedness" over other men; it is not enough that our personal safety is provided for. We are to fight the enemy with "the Word of God." Divine promises are not only to repel doubts, but to destroy them. Divine precepts are not only to be a protection against temptations, but to inflict on them a mortal wound, and so to prevent them from troubling us again. The revelation of God's infinite pity for human sorrow, and of His infinite mercy for human sin, of the infinite blessings conferred upon men by Christ in this world, and of the endless righteousness and glory which He confers in the world to come - the Divine "Word" to the human race - is the solitary power by which we can hope to win any real and enduring victory over the sins and miseries of mankind.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

From, Strong and Free.
(From "Strong and Free. ")

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

dead,just outside the gateway of your Father's house. While its hospitable door of love stands open, hasten in! You are losing the very best part of this life, and the whole of the life to come, while you so recklessly linger away from Jesus.

(Theodore L. Cuyler, D. D.)

(H. W. Beecher.)

areslaves. But what is the motive? Says the servant, "My master will not understand it. It will not put me forward in the world. Whatever I gain, he will reap." But the apostle says that you are servants of God. "With goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men; knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, he shall receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free." Take the fulness of that thought of God with you, that you are consecrated to the Lord Jesus Christ, following in His providence, following in His personal knowledge of and love for yourself, believing that from your childhood you have been an object of the paternal thought and care of Christ, in comparison with which ordinary parental care is poor and pale.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. MEN FIGHT WITH THAT WHICH OPPOSES THEIR REAL OR FANCIED INTERESTS. We can ill brook anything which interferes with what we believe to be our advantage or our good. There is ever a disposition to contend with such a thing, and subdue it or remove it. This is seen in daily life. How varied are the supposed interests of men; some of them noble, and some of them ignoble; some of them meritorious, and some of them worthless. One seems to believe that his chief good consists in the acquisition of worldly riches; and what efforts he makes - what conflicts he goes through with external difficulties, trials, and disappointments in order to secure them. He fights with circumstances, struggles with hindrances, until, perhaps, he conquers and gains his end. Another has his soul bent on pleasure, the mere sensual or sensuous enjoyment of his being, and thinks the interest of his manhood lies there. What shifts he will make, what measures he will adopt, what sacrifices he will endure to reach his desires, and to steep his soul in his delights. He contends with the barriers of time and place, until he overcomes. Another is fired with the nobler enthusiasm for knowledge, and how often have we heard of its pursuit under difficulty, so that he who finds his enjoyment or interest lie in that direction, will contend with outward hindrances and obstacles, and even fight with the laws which should rule his own physical system, that he may climb the steeps of literature, or repose in the bowers of science. Another still bends his mind to business, and prostrates his manhood at the shrine of commerce. And if health is lost, what efforts and means are used to regain this highest temporal blessing. There will be a fight with climate, locality, and all the circumstances of abode, in order to subdue disease, and reach convalescence. It is, then, natural for men thus to fight with whatever appears to interfere with their advantage, or to stand in the way of their interests; and in proportion to the estimated value and importance of the interest or advantage involved, will be the keenness of the conflict, the eagerness of resistance or aggression, and the strength of the desire to overcome the difficulty of the position. It is not in human nature for a man to be stoical and passive when his prospect is darkened, his interest assailed, or his happiness at stake. This general truth will aid us in advancing to consider the highest conflict in which we can engage.

II. MAN'S HIGHEST INTERESTS ARE ASSAILED AND ENDANGERED AND THEREFORE HE OUGHT TO FIGHT. These highest interests do not lie in the acquisition of worldly wealth, nor in the attainment of human wisdom. They consist in his relation to God, to moral law, and to a future state. And these interests are constantly assailed. Our relation to the Divine Being is assailed by the devil. Such is his hostility to God, that his highest aim is to secure our disobedience, disloyalty, and rebellion, in order that Jehovah may be dishonoured and defied, and that we may be spiritually destroyed. Our relation to moral law is assailed by the flesh - exciting us to transgression, moral disorder, and slavish obedience - thus deadening our spiritual sensibility, debasing our spiritual affections, and degrading our moral nature. Our relation to the future state is assailed by the world - blinding us by its fashions and its follies, its pomps and its pageantry, to the glories of the heavenly and the grand realities of the life to come. Its tendency is to lead us to forget the future in the present, to forget the eternal in the temporal and the transient, to forget the spiritual in the carnal and the material. Thus, I say, we are beset, thus our true interests are endangered, and our safety demands a conflict. It is true that Satan is our chief foe, and that he' uses the world and the flesh in his assaults upon our manhood; but it is well to look at them separately that we may see our danger, and gird ourselves to fight. Yet, alas! how many are on the devil's side - on the side of the world and of the flesh - carried away by the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. They do not see where their true interests lie, and they do not fight. Anxious, it may he, to overcome hindrances to material success and temporal prosperity, yet they mistake the true "battle of life."

III. THE CHRISTIAN ALONE REALIZES THE TRUE INTERESTS OF MANHOOD AND HENCE HE ONLY FIGHTS. This, in fact, my brethren, is the great distinction between him and the unbeliever, or the mere man of the world. He cannot be a Christian who does not fight. He cannot be safe who does not fight. He cannot yet have realized or apprehended the highest interests of his being who does not see his danger and fight. He cannot be on the Lord's side who does not resist the devil and fight against sin.

IV. THIS CONFLICT IS SPIRITUAL AND MUST BE FOUGHT IN THE SOUL. It is manifestly spiritual, for it arises from the nature and necessities of our spiritual and moral being. It is not a struggle with mere outward difficulties and physical circumstances, but with that which has introduced all suffering and wretchedness into the world, which makes man's life a pilgrimage of sorrow to the grave. The conflict is with sin, whether it comes in the shape of satanic temptation, worldly influence, or fleshly lust. Hence the soul is the arena, and the battle must be fought within.

V. THE ISSUE OF THIS CONFLICT IS CERTAIN AND WILL BE GLORIOUS. Of its issue there is no doubt; victory is sure to all who persevere.

1. There is a glorious Commander and Captain. Christ is not only wise and skilful, able to cope with the cunning, and to meet the might of our fees; but He has Himself conquered, and in conquering them has destroyed their power. "The prince of this world is cast out." "Be of good cheer," says the Saviour, "I have overcome the world."

2. There are sufficient spiritual weapons; armour which God has provided, adapted to the various aspects of the conflict, and the various stratagems of our foes.

3. And there is promised victory - "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under our feet" (Romans 16:20). The flesh may be "crucified," and the world may be "overcome." Christ has conquered for all the soldiers of the Cross serving under Him, and thus through Him that loved us we shall be more than conquerors.

(James Spence, M. A.)

1. Amongst these you will doubtless recognize times of spiritual despondency. All believers are subject to more or less of fluctuation in their religious experience. Constitutional differences give tone to religious character.

2. A time of spiritual declension and worldliness in the Church may also be regarded as an "evil day." The spirit of piety in the Church is always far below the proper standard, but there are times when it sinks even much lower than the ordinary level. How often did the God of Israel chide and chasten His ancient people for their rebellion, disobedience, idolatry, and ingratitude; and the Church now, unhappily, too much resembles that of the former and the darker dispensation. There is a winter season in Zion as well as in the natural world, and these winters are sometimes long and dreary. Few flowers and fruits are seen, few days of sunshine; a universal torpor prevails, and under the chilling blasts even the soldiers of the Cross are found sleeping at their posts; the army of salvation seems almost frozen in its onward march.

3. More evil still than this, however, is the day when the believer actually backslides, and falls into open sin,

4. A time of absence from your home, or of changing your place of abode, may also prove an "evil day." We are much more the creatures of circumstances, even in our religion, than most of us are wont to believe.

5. Turn next to the survey of the "evil day" when false doctrine prevails.

6. We must not omit to turn our attention also to the evil day of rebuke and persecution.

7. Last of all, may we not regard the day of death as in some aspects an evil day?

(J. Leyburn, D. D.)

(J. Leyburn, D. D.)

I. First, then, let us take the class of CASES WHICH THE ADMONITION SUITS.

1. I think, then, in the first p]ace, you may look at the text in connection with religious profession, that is, the public acknowledgment which a soul makes of Christ, its openly-expressed resolution to wear His name, to carry His Cross, and to support His cause. But everything is not won, though this be won, and "having done all," in this matter, see that ye "stand."

2. So again, we might apply the text to the case of religious attainment. It would be pleasant to believe that the Christian life is always a life of progress, ever unfolding, as the years go on, from good to what is better, and from what is better to what is best, till the Master says to each at the close of it, "Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful unto death." But there is no such necessary or infallible development as this. The mystery lies here, that even where sanctification has actually taken place, there are instances permitted in which the power and achievements of grace seem rather to diminish than increase with time. The life seems to taper off and deteriorate as it nears the close. Laden with the traditions of a good fight that has been foughten well, and won right valiantly, rich in the memories of service that has been bravely rendered and signally owned, such a life has after all been permitted to end in insignificance, selfishness, peevishness, or worse.

3. Or, again, take the case of religious privileges. And there is no better illustration at this point than the illustration afforded by Communion seasons; for the right use and enjoyment of these imply that temptations have been withstood, surrenders accomplished, and victories won. Thus, in preparing for the service contemplated, you settled down to examine yourselves and your life; and in so doing you won a victory over self. In taking part in the service itself, you found your perplexities removed, your faith confirmed, and your love elicited, till you felt you could clasp the truth, and lean on a truth-keeping Christ, and in so doing you won a victory over doubt. Life's business was hushed, life's cares were shut out, life's temptation were withdrawn, as you cast your care on Him who careth for you; and, in the very experience, you won the victory over the world. I take such a season as this at its purest and highest, and suppose that the heart has fetched from it the very best its enjoyments and lessons can yield, in elevation of feeling, in sanctification of life. And here we may say, as before, the soul in a sense has "done all." "Be it so," is the message of the text to you, "now take heed to yourself, that having done all, you may stand.''

II. And now let us pass from the cases which the admonition suits, to the REASONS ON WHICH THE ADMONITION IS BASED. And let us ask for a little why it is specially necessary that those who have thus done all, in the way of religious profession, religious attainment, and religious privilege, should be warned, "Take heed that ye stand." Brethren, the hour of triumph has its dangers by the operation of a very natural law. There is the peril of reaction in grace, as there is the peril of reaction in most other spheres.

1. For one thing, it is so easy to presume on the extent of our victory, and hence the tendency to security.

2. It is also easy to presume on the permanency of what has been done, and hence the tendency to sloth.

III. And now, let us mark some of the PRACTICAL COUNSELS with which the admonition may be accompanied.

1. Watch; that is one safeguard - "Happy is he who feareth always!" Fear, lest in the thrill of success the head begins to reel and the feet begin to slip, and it prove true of a spiritual victory, as it continually holds true of temporal successes, that the prosperity of the unwary shall slay them. And fear, not only in the day when a past conflict has elated you, but in the day when, as is sometimes the case, a past conflict has depressed you.

2. And work, as well as watch. Because you have engaged in one kind of Christian activity, and completed it with success, earning the thanks of your fellows in the Church, the approval of your conscience, the "well done" of your God - do not consider yourself absolved, but straightway set your face to another - whatsoever is nearest you in Providence; and if nothing is near, then go in diligent search for it.

3. And, lastly, pray. Let no task be done, let no temptation be vanquished, let no grace be attained, without their result in an increase of prayer.

(W. A. Gray.)

I. First, WE ARE TO CONSIDER THE CHRISTIAN RESISTING - "That ye may be able to withstand in the evil day." "In the evil day." This expression may be understood of the whole course of our life militant here upon earth; as if the entire term of our continuance here might be described as one long and cloudy day. Such an estimate of life we find the patriarch Jacob formed, when he says - "Few and evil have the days of my life been." In the present passage, however, it is better, perhaps, to take the apostle's meaning in a more restricted sense. He lived in troublous times. This very letter was dated from a prison; and in the fifth chapter we find him exhorting his Ephesian converts to walk circumspectly, assigning as a reason, that they must redeem the time, "because the days are evil."

1. But let us note more particularly some of those passages of our life which, unless we be well fortified with our Christian armour, will prove an evil day to us. Thus there is the day of sickness. In one sense this is always an evil day. It may not be so ultimately, but it must be so in our first experience of it.

2. Again, the day of adversity is an evil day. This, too, is a day which will try the temper of every part of our spiritual armour.

3. So also the day of temptation is an evil day. Temptation is a sore evil in itself; but it is more so from the evil which it developes and brings to light. There are evils in the hearts of all of us which we know not of until temptation discovers them to us.

4. Once more: among the evil days against which we should provide this spiritual armour, we may well suppose the apostle to mean the day of our death.

II. But we come to the second part of our text, which sets before us THE CHRISTIAN CONQUERING - "Having done all, to stand." This shows us, first, that religion is not a thing of speculation, not a mere matter of creeds and doctrines, but a system of principles to be acted upon, a set work to be done. "To stand." This expression may be interpreted in two or three ways. First, it may be taken, that by this armour we shall be enabled to stand fast in our Christian profession to the end of our days; that as soldiers of the Cross we shall stand by our colours to the last, resisting Christians, conquering Christians, even on the last field of temptation, and on the bed of death itself. In this attitude we find Paul representing himself to Timothy, when seeing the hour of his departure was at hand. Again, by the expression, "stand," the apostle no doubt means that the conquering Christian shall be accounted worthy to stand before the Son of Man. In this sense he writes to the Colossians: "That ye stand perfect and complete in the will of God." Now, without having endured the hardness, and done the work, and put on the armour of the Christian soldier, it is certain that in the great judgment we never can stand. Once more: the apostle's expression may be interpreted of our standing as glorified spirits in the presence of God. He who stands fast in the conflict, and stands acquitted in the judgment, shall have, as the recompense of his toils, and as the reward of victory, to stand eternally in glory. "Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days."

(D. Moore, M. A.)

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