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THE EMPIRE OF THE WICKED ONE.

It may be thought useful to consider, among other subjects, the government and policy of our great spiritual adversary; for it is said that “ knowledge is strength," and if so, to be acquainted with the wily arts of an enemy may prove to be advantageous.

His scripture titles are very various and very expressive. He is called twice by our Saviour, “THE PRINCE of this world.“ And the devil, taking him up into a high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them ; for that is delivered unto me, AND TO WHOMSOEVER I WILL, I GIVE IT.” It would appear that the riches and honours of the world are not desirable, especially when we read in the word of God the saying of Jesus Christ : “ How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!"

He is called “ THE GOD of this world,because he rules in the hearts of wicked men. Other titles given to him are, “ prince of darkness," “ deceiver,” “destroyer,” “tempter,” &c., implying that his constant employment is to lure, to beguile, to destroy the eternal happiness of the immortal mind of man.

Of his government, the leading feature is DECEPTION. He is a wily adversary of the human race, a rancorous and implacable foe; and so subtle as to be able to deceive the most wary, when destitute of the grace of God. Indeed, his powers are every way superior to those of men.

In every age of the world, idol worship has had a pre-eminence; it has a pre-eminence now; and in proof thereof, we need only direct our attention to China and India. And this worship is an invention of the wicked one; the policy of which appears to be, that mankind requires some form of worship to satisfy the conscience, and if the great enemy of souls can institute a form for a reality, he succeeds in deceiving. It is to be feared that the form of religion only is maintained in many of the British churches ; which is all that is necessary, and quite sufficient to satisfy the deluded worshippers, for thousands of them evidence a hatred of real holiness by the general tenor of their lives. Think how much it must gladden the heart of the wicked one, when a card-playing, hunting, tippling, or dancing clergyman gets possession of a living; because he well knows that then he shall beguile the churchgoers of that parish, for “like priest, like people.” They persevere in an evil way, either thoughtlessly, or they attend church because it is creditable, as this is an age of profession ; but they do not keep holy the sabbath day, for if they did they would fear being called saints or methodists ; therefore, after going to church, they walk and talk of every vanity, they visit and feast, play cards and sacred music, but only for the sake of the harmony, or to get rid of the tedious hours; in short, all orders of society make the sabbath of the Lord a holiday! thus adopting a form of worship to satisfy the conscience. “ Ye said, also, Behold what a weariness is it! and

ye

have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts.”

If we will take the pains to examine into the round of dissipation and the vain pleasures in which the people of the world engage, we cannot fail to discern that there is an enemy in the back ground prompting and urging them onward. Midnight parties, balls, &c., which put all things out of their natural order, are pre-eminent instances.

The object of the “ god of this world" is to beguile his subjects in such a way as to prevent their thinking, but especially to prevent their thinking of the end of life ; accordingly, he contrives that one engagement or party of pleasure shall so quickly follow another as to keep them constantly employed about trifles ; for he well knows that if he can but lead them on till they are considerably advanced in years, there will not only be no fear of losing them as his subjects, but they will also train their children to run the same downward course to eternal perdition.

This, then, is his policy; and it is the wish of the writer to expose it, that mankind may not go hoodwinked to hell, for

“Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die.”

WHO ARE HIS SUBJECTS ? Not those who live in the commission of gross sins, but those also “WHO ARE LOVERS OF PLEASURE MORE THAN LOVERS OF GOD.” This is a marked distinction, and it is at the same time a caution to “the lovers of God" to separate themselves from those who would endanger their souls, as is elsewhere in Scripture recommended : “ Come out from among them; be ye separate."

Hence, also, it appears that “worldly pleasures,” which are gambling, (including cards, raffles, &c.,) horse-racing, dancing, balls, theatrical amusements, &c., sabbath excursions for pleasure, whether taken on

railroads, steam-packets, or the various modes of conveyance &c., are all of them ensnaring to the soul, and instituted by the “God of this world” to that end. It is naturally conclusive that all who follow

up

these dissipating, soul-destroying practices, are the subjects of the God of this world.

As only two families divide the world, it is easy to reduce all mankind to their own father; and we judge of men and women by their habits, their practices, and their associates : « In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.”

It must be remarked, that his children, or subjects, are his voluntarily; in whatever sins or pleasures they engage, they follow them without compulsion ; if they form part of what is called “the fashionable world,” they consent to the customs of that circle ;“ Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness." Reflect

upon

the doom of the “ God of this world;" “ And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."

What will be the doom of his subjects ? Many of them, it is admitted, are very amiable, and full of kindness and benevolence; but these pleasing traits of character will not save them; there is but one way of salvation, and it is accessible to all who, seeking spiritual instruction, will read the New Testament with prayer. Reading it without prayer would not be the most likely way to gain the desired knowledge; nor indeed can it be understood by any man, however acute and penetrating he may be, while he reads it only with his natural eyes. Thousands that have tried it are now bewailing their carnal attempts. It is, as Mr. Newton says, like a man endeavouring to light a candle which has on an extinguisher; for “the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” A great point is gained when an individual is willing to believe that he cannot read to profit without the Spirit's enlightening influences; then, and not earlier, will he seek spiritual teaching; then he will begin to pray over the word ; and then, the word being understood, it will be drank in with avidity, for it will be sweeter than honey to the taste.

The word of God is like a looking-glass, it reflects the likeness of the soul ; it shews its deformities while in a state of sin ; and when the soul has regained the image of Christ, by the operation of the Holy Spirit changing the heart, and renewing the divine likeness, the word of God and the Spirit's testimony convince the conscience of the happy change; then it is that every page is calculated to wet the eye with tears of joy.

But those of Satan's subjects who determine to continue a life of sin, pleasure, or frivolity, must hear that “God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap; he who soweth to his flesh, shall of his flesh reap corruption ; but he who soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

THINK OF THE TREMENDOUS LOSS OF AN IMMORTAL SOUL WHEN ABANDONED BY GOD!

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