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to his word. As it is written, He came unto his own, and his own received him not; but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name: John i. 11, 12.
“ And how," you may ask, “shall I be able to do this?” I answer, pray in Christ's name for the Holy Spirit, as your promised guide and comforter; and again remember who hath said, If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him: Luke xi. 13.
Now, having shewn you your worst Enemies, and your best Friends, the path of Victory lies before you: of which let me speak a few words.
The TRUE AND REAL VICTORY is that, which does not mock a man.
Wicked men are permitted to have success for a time, but their shortlived victory only adds to their shame and punishment.
Suppose the French could land upon our shores, and take a few villages or a town on the coast, they would probably dance, and vaunt, and sing of victory till you came up; but when they fell a sacrifice to their rashness, their late victory would only bring bitter reflection. Yet this is but a faint picture of many profane boasters, who will awake at death to everlasting remorse, after being mocked here with short-lived victories !
But a real Christian knows of a Victory of a more high and lasting nature; and, in sight of death, can say, with the Apostle, Thanks be to God which giveth us the Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ: 1 Cor. xv. 57. This is a Victory, which never mocks the Christian Soldier: for, after conquering other enemies, he conquers Death itself. He may say, without fear of disappointment, I have fought the good fight: I have finished my course : I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness: 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8.
The Bible is the Book of Victory. But the time would fail me if I were to tell you of those Soldiers of God recorded in it, who, through faith, subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight, as I hope you will do now, the armies of the aliens : Heb. xi. 33, 34.
But I pray you recollect, that, when the Apostle tells of the great things which they did, he also tells us again and again how they did these great things; namely, by faith, that is, by confidence in their FRIEND.
But,” perhaps you will say, “ these are things of old time.”
Indeed and in truth, my good friend, they are VOL. III.
the things of every time; for God hath never left himself without witness. Have I not just told you of a Soldier now living, who is a man of the very same stamp with those of old time? I know others, and have heard of many more, who have gotten the True Victory.
After I had written you this letter, I received an account of one of these who is lately dead. I will give you a short extract from it.
James Ruddy was born in Ireland. He had served in the East Indies, and was afterwards appointed to the garrison at Hull. His health having declined apace through intemperance, it pleased God to impress his heart with a sense of his dangerous condition as a sinner.
Do you ask what is meant by this? I say such thoughts as these came into his mind:“ What if I have been true to my King and Country, have I not lived a rebel against the King of Kings? Have I not broken his lawjoined his enemies--and despised his mercy? How shall I meet him in judgment? Where will my poor soul be, while they bury my body with military honours ?-shut up in darkness, pain, and disgrace!"
In this way he passed many a heavy hour; till he sent for the worthy Chaplain of the garrison, who has published the account.
By his faithful Minister, he was led to the knowledge of his Almighty Friend, and taught all that I have been endeavouring to teach you.
Burdened as he had been by guilt, he now began to lay hold on the promises of the Gospel. He became resigned to his afflictions, yea thanked God for them. He spoke of his former sins with abhorrence; and earnestly exhorted his former companions in sin to repent and turn to God.
He would listen to none, whose conversation tended to puzzle and unsettle him; but was very thankful to those, who helped and edified him.
He shewed an affectionate concern for his wife ; commending her to God, and praying for her Salvation.
He was neither impatient of suffering, nor afraid of dying; but was comforted and supported with those views which carried him beyond the grave, and, in triumphant confidence, he often repeated, that, as soon as his breath should leave the body, his spirit would be present with the Lord.
When his disorder increased so much that he could converse no more with men, he conversed with his Saviour in fervent prayer; by whom he was supported, till a period was put to his sufferings on the last day of the year 1797.
And now, Soldier, let me ask thee, Is there any Victory like this? Others only hope to con
quer one Enemy; but this man conquered all. Others only hope to conquer while they live; but this man conquered most gloriously when he died. Death to him was but passing from a conflict to a crown. The Victory of others gains but a mite, and lasts but for a moment; but this man won a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory: 2 Cor. iv. 17.
Before I conclude this letter, and as I never may have an opportunity of speaking to you again, I beseech you seriously to reflect that God has now brought that truth to your mind, by which you must one day stand or fall before his bar: I mean that important truth which I wish you
to be convinced of before it is too late ; namely, that you are a perishing sinner on the brink of Eternity—that your help is not in yourself, but in Christ, to whom I have been directing you for pardon, peace, and complete Salvation. He alone can give you a new heart and a right spirit, that you may henceforth live like a Christian, and no more return to folly. Whoever carries the truth to a man, it is God that sent it. And the truth that does not save a man, will be a witness against him.
“ But,” say you, “ can such a man as I hope to obtain the same victory?"
Why not?--The same friend by which the men I have been telling you of gained their victory is