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It ought never to be forgotten that the Christian is called to be a soldier, no less than a servant; to fight manfully under the banner of Christ crucified, as well as to fulfil the course assigned him by his Lord. He cannot do the one, unless he does the other : for to work without warring is impossible, and to war without working would be to beat the air. Christ's church is "militant here on earth." The gates of hell ever assail, though they shall never prevail against her. We are, spiritually, in the position in which the remnant of Israel, who built the wall of Jerusalem in troublous times, were literally" every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon."
But if we are soldiers of the cross, we must be harnessed for the battle. An unarmed warrior is the sport of his foes. Where then are the weapons of our
warfare? The Captain of our salvation has furnished them for his followers : weapons of heavenly temper ; Armour of perfect proof. How exquisite its texture ! How complete its parts! There are accoutrements for the whole inward man. No member lacks its piece. We must therefore take to us the whole Armour of God,” that we may “be able to stand in the evil day.” But to do so, we must be acquainted with our arms, know their use, and learn how to wear and wield them. Our Panoply must not be to us, as were the arms of Saul to the son of Jesse. He had not proved them. It follows that whatever may help in teaching our “hands to war, and our fingers to fight :" whatever may conduce to our knowledge and skill in handling the weapons of our warfare, ought to have a special interest for us.
There are not wanting several treatises on the Christian Armour. Some of these have obtained large acceptance, and been of signal service in the church. Among them Gurnall’s comprehensive and elaborate work stands pre-eminent. It is deeply experimental, and rich in unction. . At the the same time, it is needlessly diffuse, and too cumbersome, not to say, too costly, for common readers. There is, still, therefore, room and need for a manual on the subject, combining brevity with fulness; condensing the excellences of former works into one, and bringing the whole within the reach of poorer disciples. Such, it is believed, the volume which these remarks introduce, will prove. It is the fruit of the leisure hours of a Christian layman, who is wishful to use the leisure God has given him, for the benefit of the church. Though a compilation, the materials out of which it has been formed were collected from such various fields, and the plan on which the work has been constructed, is so new, that it may be regarded, as, in some sort, an original production. It will be found to contain the pith of Gurnall's voluminous work, together with copious extracts from the writings of Ainsworth, Gurney, Scott, Simeon, and other standard Divines. Besides which, each section is embellished with a graphic, and well-executed illustration of the piece of Armour to which the section relates. Altogether, therefore, it is trusted, that the públication will be found to be as valuable, as it is seasonable. At any time seasonable, is it not specially so, at the present juncture ? For are there not thickening signs that “the evil day” is nigh—that we are verging fast on scenes of conflict, and of trial ? Yes, are they not begun? “Who then is on the Lord's side?" Let him gird his Armour round him.
Let him stand fast in the faith.
Let him “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Let him not be afraid. “ If God be for us, who can be against us?”