Friday, September 25, 2009
THE POSSESSION AND DISPOSSESSION OF THE STRONG MAN ARMED
Preached at Zoar Chapel, London, on August 9, 1848, by J. C. Philpot
"When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:
But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils."
God created man in his own image, after his own likeness. And thus when he looked upon the last work of his creating hand, he said of it, it was "very good." But how long did man retain his primitive innocence and purity? Some have said, that before the sun which dawned upon Adam's creation had sunk in the west, the fall of man was completed. But whether so or not (for the Scriptures have not informed us how long Adam stood in his primitive innocency), one thing is certain, "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned." (Rom. 5:12.) God gave to Adam to keep the citadel which he had committed to his hands; but a woman opened the wicket gate, and let in the fell destroyer of the human race. It is to him that the Lord alludes in the text, "When a strong man armed keeps his palace, his goods are in peace." The "palace" is the human heart; the "strong man armed" is Satan who has taken possession of the citadel.
Two features strike my mind as connected with, and flowing out of the text.
I. The possession of the strong man armed, "When a strong man armed keeps his palace, his goods are in peace."
II. The dispossession of the strong man armed by him who is stronger than he, with all its blessed fruits and consequences—"But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he takes from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divides his spoils."
I. The POSSESSION of the strong man armed, "When a strong man armed keeps his palace, his goods are in peace." When I look around I sometimes stand amazed at the power that Satan exercises over the human race. The Scripture calls him "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2); and "the god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4)—implying that he reigns over man with royal authority, and is to the world as its god. On whatever side I cast my eyes I see evidences of the power of Satan. The heathen besotted with their idols; the fanatic Mohammedan, the superstitious Papist; and to come nearer home, the groveling Arminian, the self-righteous pharisee, the notional Calvinist, and the dead antinomian—how plainly do I see in them all the marks and evidences of Satan's power! And when I look closer still, at the church of the living God, I see what power Satan has over it; I see him sowing discord and division among the people of God; I see him laying snares in every direction to entrap their feet; I see him working upon the besetting sins of their hearts, and throwing many down. So that whether I look at the world, or whether I look at the church, I see on every hand the marked traces of this devastating conqueror; his course is tracked by blood and ruin; he is as mighty to destroy, as the Lord of life and glory is mighty to save.
When too I look into my own heart, and see how the citadel is attacked; when I see the snares and temptations that continually beset me; when I look back upon the path I have trodden, see the path I now tread, and look forward to the path before me, I see how Satan can take advantage of all the infirmities and corruptions of my fallen heart, and be indeed a "strong man" in all his ways and movements, and never so strong as when he least discovers his power.
The Lord, then, speaking of Satan holding and keeping possession of the human heart, describes him as the "strong man." And who so strong as he? Man is as a worm before him; none but the almighty God is a match, and more than a match for him.
But it is said of him in the text, that he is "armed." Not only is he strong in himself, but he has also armor of an impenetrable nature; and it is by virtue of this armor that he keeps possession of the heart.
But what are its separate pieces? Let us look at Satan's inventory. Let us take a walk round the devil's armory. I believe we shall see as many pieces of armor in it as ever were stored in the Tower of London.
1. Ignorance is a main piece of this armor. For what are we by nature but altogether ignorant of God, ignorant of ourselves, ignorant of truth, ignorant of salvation, ignorant of everything which it is for our peace to know? This ignorance Satan deepens, as the word of God describes, by blinding the eyes and hardening the heart—"In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Cor. 4:4.) Satan blinds the eyes, and fosters the darkness and deep seated ignorance of the human heart. And by this ignorance of God, of his holy law, of his pure character, of his dread perfections, of his eternal wrath and vengeance, does the prince of darkness, brooding with baleful wings over the heart, keep possession of the citadel.
2. Unbelief is another piece of Satan's armor; and by this he keeps strong possession of the palace. Unbelief is the very essence of our fallen nature; unbelief doubts every part and portion of God's word; unbelief presents an impenetrable barrier against the entrance of truth; unbelief is the shield which, if grace does not prevent it, will quench every arrow of conviction.
3. Impenitency is another piece of this Satanic armor. The thorough inability of man to feel any sorrow for sin; the obduracy of his mind, which neither the promises of the gospel can soften, nor threatenings terrify; the hardness of heart whereby he stands firm against everything in God's word which has a tendency to melt and overcome, is indeed one of the strongest and stoutest pieces of this infernal armory. By this obduracy does Satan rule and reign—by this he turns aside every weapon; and this he opposes to every threatening directed against the ungodly.
4. Enmity against God and godliness, that breath of the carnal mind, that essence of man's fallen nature, that noisome savor which steams perpetually from his corrupt heart against divine things—enmity to God and his ways, enmity to Christ and his person, enmity to the truth in all its branches, enmity to that which humbles, breaks down, and lays low—this is another part of Satan's armor whereby he keeps possession of the citadel.
5. Self-esteem and self-complacency, is another piece of this armor. Man has such lofty thoughts of himself, indulges in such vanity and self-exaltation, is so unwilling to see himself as God has described him, that he will stoutly deny God's testimony against his state and condition as a fallen creature.
6. Pride—the very essence of Satan, the very element in which he lives, that which caused his downfall, and has become his ruling passion—by this piece of armor does Satan also keep possession of the citadel of the human heart. It is he who continually instils vain notions of man's importance, who swells and puffs him up with arrogant opinions of his strength, wisdom, and righteousness. By acting upon this pride that dwells in man's bosom, he teaches him to abhor that humbling gospel which the word of God sets forth.
By these and other pieces of armor, does "the strong man armed" keep possession of the citadel. He is armed at every point; he watches every outlet; wherever he sees a breach likely to be made, there he brings up his armor to maintain safe possession. The "strong man armed" keeps his palace in thousands and millions of the human race; and in this state thousands and millions descend into the chambers of death. There he reigns in all his infernal glory; there he rides triumphant over ruined millions; there he gluts his vengeance by feeding upon the blood and bones of countless myriads of victims; and there he appeases his hellish thirst, his enmity against God, by devouring whole nations at one morsel, and trampling down millions upon millions in the gulf of eternal woe.
But there is one feature which the Lord describes as distinctly marking the possession that Satan keeps of his palace—"His goods are in peace." But what peace? False peace, miserable peace, a peace that is a prelude to eternal misery. This is the feature which the Lord has selected as characterizing and distinguishing the possession that Satan retains of the citadel of the human heart—"his goods are in peace." No trouble of mind, no exercise of soul, no distress of conscience, no doubt nor fear, no terror nor alarm, no rolling upon the midnight bed, no conviction of sin, no sensations of guilt, no apprehensions of the wrath to come. But all with them is smooth and easy, a flowery meadow; and on they go, dancing down to the very chambers of death.
The Lord then puts his finger upon this mark, specially pointing out, that "his goods are in peace." But what are his goods? The human heart, man's soul, which he retains so firmly in his grasp, by barring out all convictions, by shutting out all light, by deepening the density of man's native darkness, by stopping the ear against all sound of war, by closing the eye against the lightning flashes of God's vengeance, and by buoying up the heart with empty hopes and vain confidence.
By these arts and arms does Satan maintain his prey; and thus this delusive peace, this deceitful calm, is the surest evidence of his still keeping firm possession.
But is he ever to reign? Is he ever thus to glut his hellish appetite with victims? Not in the Lord's own family, those whom he has redeemed by blood. No; there shall be a few berries upon the top of the uppermost bough; there shall be a few whom the Lord has rescued from the jaws of the destroyer; and these comprehend all his blood-bought family, the sheep of his pasture, the flock of his hand, whom the Father gave to him, and for whom he laid down his precious life.
II. And this leads me to the second branch of our subject, which is to show the DISPOSSESSION of the strong man armed. "But when a stronger than he shall come upon him and overcome him, he takes from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divides his spoils." I need scarcely remark, that the "stronger than he" is the Lord of life and glory, the Prince of Peace, God's co-equal, co-eternal Son. But in what sense is he stronger than Satan? None can doubt that God is stronger than the devil. But in what sense is he stronger than he? And how does he conquer him? Is it by coming upon "the strong man armed" in all the majesty of Godhead, displaying the lightning of his vengeance, and withering him into hell? He did not overcome him so. He conquered him in weakness; he bruised him upon the cross; he destroyed him by dying. And thus the "seed of the woman"—wonderful mystery of grace and love!—bruised the serpent's head, though the serpent was allowed to bruise his heel.
But though he conquered Satan by the work of redemption upon the cross, though he there triumphed over principalities and powers, and having completely despoiled them, ascended to heaven leading them captive, chained to his chariot wheels, yet it is not to that part of the Lord's work that the text spiritually alludes. It is to the work of grace upon the heart—the incoming of the Lord of life into the soul; for we read, "when a stronger than he shall come upon him." Is not Satan firmly entrenched in the human heart? Is not that his palace about which he roams, and in looking at which, like Nebuchadnezzar of old, he takes infernal pleasure? Who then shall conquer this "strong man" in his very abode where he dwells, and where he has entrenched himself so firmly—his palace, up and down which he roams with infernal delight?
The "stronger than he" comes upon him at regeneration; when light and life shine into the heart; when the work of grace is begun by an almighty and invincible power; then he comes upon him as in a moment. Light and life suddenly flash into the soul—the harbinger and forerunner of the Son of God, the herald of his appearing. And when light and life come into the soul, it makes Satan quail and tremble. Nothing else can dispossess the "strong man." Your vows and promises; your resolutions and attempts to make yourselves better; your turning over a new leaf; your renouncing this and that sin; these are but stubble and rotten wood against this leviathan. He laughs at all these attempts to dispossess him. He retains a firm hold until "a stronger than he" comes like a flash of lightning upon him, and overcomes him and binds him in a moment. He is bound, when light and life comes into the conscience out of the fullness of the covenant head.
It is thus that Jesus overcomes him; and not only so, but he "takes from him all his armor wherein he trusted." He takes away those several pieces of armor whereby the "strong man armed" kept his palace in such firm security. He takes them away one by one, so that the soul can no longer trust in them. For instance, he removes,
1. Ignorance—that piece of armor which Satan once employed to fortify the citadel against all irruptions. When light shines into the conscience, that ignorance, that dense ignorance, is removed by the light of the Lord's teaching. We see a holy God, in the light of divine manifestation. In the light of the Spirit's teaching, we see the breadth and spirituality of God's holy law. In the light of the Spirit's in-shinings, we see the gulf of misery to which we are passing. We see the depth of the fall; by his quickening operations upon the conscience we feel the corruptions of our heart, and we flee from the wrath to come. And thus by the in-shinings of heavenly teaching—by the light that flows out of his fullness into the dark heart of a sinner, this piece of armor, ignorance, melts away like snow before the summer's sun.
2. He removes unbelief, that other piece of armor which Satan was continually raising against every threatened assault. When he saw a sinner first trembling under conviction; when he was afraid the prey was about to elude his grasp; when he saw some movements which, to his keen and subtle eye, seemed like the first workings of grace upon the soul, how he strengthened this weak portion of the fortress! how immediately he held up the shield of unbelief against the threatened assault! Have we not experimentally found it so? When in times past, you sat under the truth, did the word ever fall with power into the conscience? When you read the experience of good men, did it ever sink into your heart? When we heard threatenings, did they ever alarm? When we heard promises, did they ever melt? No. There might have been some transitory movement; there might have been some excitement of fleshly feeling; there might have been some of Felix's trembling, some of Herod's repentance, some of Ahab's sackcloth and ashes; but no real faith. Satan soon stopped up the crannies; the armor of unbelief was soon brought forth against the threatened assault; and the soul sank down again into all the thoughtlessness and carnality which possessed it before.
But when the work of grace is really begun, the Lord communicates faith to the soul. The word of God then falls with convincing power into the heart; an arrow from God's quiver is shot into the conscience and the soul is brought to tremble at God's word, to dread the Almighty frown, and to believe what God has declared in his unerring word of truth. And thus by the communication of a living principle of faith, the armor of unbelief is taken away. It is broken to pieces by the communication of that faith which springs up under the operations of the blessed Spirit upon the soul.
3. But there was hardness, also—obduracy, impenitency, the "heart of stone" which the Scriptures speak of. This was another part of Satan's armor, whereby he kept his palace. Did he see any convictions beginning to arise? Did he watch any tears steal down the cheek? Did his ear catch any sigh or sob springing up out of the heart? Immediately he began to let up on the obduracy and impenitency of the heart; and very soon every tear was dried, every conviction appeased, every rising sigh quenched; and the world, and the things of time and sense, once more regained full possession of the thoughts.
But not so when the Lord set his hand to the work; not so when the Spirit of God began to carry on his almighty work with power in the soul. Then the promise was fulfilled, "I will take away the heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh." Obduracy, impenitence, and hardness—those icebergs that freeze up the human heart, as the icy mountains surround the pole—are dissolved under the beams of the Sun of Righteousness. Impenitence gives way when repentance is given by him who is exalted to bestow this gift. Stubbornness yields before the touch of the Redeemer's hand; and that dreadful obduracy and hardness which once resisted every appeal from the lips of man, gave way immediately under an appeal from the Lord, when he spoke with his own lips, and dropped his own word into the conscience.
4. Enmity—that formidable piece of Satan's armor; hatred to God and his Christ, to his Person, his blood, and his truth, hatred to his people—the breath of a sinner's nature—the very element and essence of Satan's being, is also taken away. It is removed by the implantation of the principle of love. Thus the heart is brought to love God by the love of God being shed abroad in the heart; to love Jesus, by some sweet manifestations of his mercy and grace; to love the people of God, because they belong to Christ, and bear his image; and to love the truth, because it makes them free.
5. He removes also pride, that stout piece of armor, that coat of mail, that breastplate, which once surrounded the heart with so firm a guard. This is taken away when the Lord shows a sinner what he is, when he reveals to him his base original; when he opens up to him the corruptions of his heart; when he takes him down into the depths of the fall. But, above all, when he gives him a discovery of himself in his atoning blood, in the depth of his humiliation, in his agonizing sufferings, in his dying love, and the depths to which he sank to raise him up—pride is then effectually taken away by that deep humility and self-loathing which the Lord thus graciously communicates.
6. Self-confidence—that piece of chain-armor which, girding his heart and loins, Satan once employed to lead him blinded and deluded on, fast hurrying him down the road to hell, is also removed, by the Lord showing him what a poor, tempted, tried creature he is; how unable to stand against Satan's snares; how unable to deliver his own soul; how weak, how unable to stand, except upheld by almighty power, except supported by an omnipotent hand.
Thus the Lord, by his gracious operations upon the sinner's heart, takes away that armor to which the strong man trusted; and, by his blessed teachings and testimonies, makes his people willing in the day of his power. He removes those obstacles which opposed themselves to his entrance, comes and takes possession of the heart, and thus forms himself in the soul, the hope of eternal glory. O what a blessed conquest is this!—not like the conquest of Satan, by violence, but by love! Christ reigns, not by darkness, but by light; he rules, not by enmity, but by love; he sways, not by unbelief, but by faith; he governs every faculty of the soul, as the Prince of Peace, the Lord of life and glory. He thus takes possession of the heart; and comes and enthrones himself in the citadel which Satan once kept possession of, guiding and governing every faculty of the soul to render cheerful obedience to him, as King of kings and Lord of lords.
But we also read, that "he divides his spoils." There is something, to my mind, very singular and expressive in this. It would seem from these words, that Christ left Satan some, and took the other to himself. It is so. While we are in this valley of tears, while struggling with a body of sin and death, we shall still be subject to Satan's interference, we shall still lie exposed to his snares and treachery. But the Lord divides the spoil. What then does he take as his portion? He has a right to all, but some he rejects; it is not worth his having; he will not soil his holy fingers by touching it; and therefore leaves to Satan what he will not take himself as the fruits of his own blood-stained victory.
1. He takes the understanding, which before was involved in darkness; and which Satan from time to time effectually blinded. The Lord, in taking his share of the spoils, claims the enlightened understanding; according to those words, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened." (Eph. 1:16.) He casts a holy light into the mind whereby truth is known to be truth, and error known to be error. He enlightens the understanding to see that he is God as well as man; and not only so, but the glorious God-Man. He enlightens the mind to see each blessed truth as it stands in God's word. He enlightens the understanding to see which are the people of God, and which are not. He enlightens the understanding to see Satan's delusions, temptations, and deceits. And thus a part of the spoils which he takes to himself is the enlightened understanding of a quickened soul.
2. He takes also the heart. His own language is, "My son, give me your heart." (Prov. 23:26.) Here Satan formerly dwelt; this was the citadel, where he lived, and ruled, and reigned; this is his headquarters, where he obtained and maintained full and complete possession. But when he who is stronger than Satan overcame him and deprived him of his armor, he took to himself, as part of his own portion of the spoil, that heart which belongs to him, which is given up to him, in which he works, in which he rules and mysteriously dwells, "the hope of glory."
3. But he takes also the conscience—that it may be an ever living witness for himself; that it may be tender in his fear; that it may feel the guilt of committed sin; that it may be sprinkled with atoning blood; that it may speak with his own voice, and bear its testimony against the insidious arts and arms of Satan. He not only takes but keeps possession of the conscience; for though it may be defiled with sin, it never relapses into the hands of Satan; never becomes dead as before; is never seared as with a hot iron; is never bribed or silenced; it tells no lies; but is an honest witness for the Lord against error, against evil, against the workings of sin, against Satan's delusions, snares, and temptations.
4. He takes possession too of the affections. They were once under Satan's power; they once flowed out unto the world; they once bowed down before the ash-heap gods; they once hewed out to themselves "cisterns, broken cisterns, that held no water." But when the Lord manifests himself with power; when he discovers his grace; when he sheds abroad his love in the heart, he wins the affections, and takes them as his own; and when he has taken, he keeps firm possession of them.
5. But, above all, he takes the soul. It was for that he bled; it was for that he died; it is that which he redeemed, and which he will take to eternal glory.
So that, all the valuable part of man—man's understanding, man's heart, man's conscience, man's affections, and man's soul; all that is precious; all that is valuable, being redeemed by blood, Jesus has as his division of the spoil, which he grasps with a fine hand, and claims as eternally his own.
But what does he leave to Satan? He shall have his share, such as it is. But I must premise it is with certain limits. There is a limit both as to time and power. It was but for a time that Job was so severely plagued; it was but for a season that Peter was so roughly sifted. Satan's power was limited when the Lord said to him concerning Job, "Save his life;" and when Jesus said to Peter, "I have prayed for you that your faith fail not."
1. Jesus takes to himself the soul; but often allows Satan to work upon the body. Was it not so in Job's case? Satan "smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head." For eighteen years Satan bowed together the body of the woman who had a spirit of infirmity. (Luke 13:11-16.) Does not Satan also often act upon our nerves? Does he not often tempt by means of our senses? Does he not often work through the medium of the eye, the ear, the tongue, and the other members of our body? But be it ever borne in mind, that Satan can only do this as far as, and only when permitted. He is cast out, and cannot come in again. "Thus far shall you come and no further, and here shall your proud waves be stayed."
2. He leaves him, to a certain extent, the imagination and fancy. How Satan can work upon our imagination! What trouble and alarm he can sometimes bring through that disordered faculty of the soul! What imaginary frights! what wicked scenes! what reveling enjoyments! what speculative sins can this infernal adversary of our soul bring before us by the medium of our imagination! Who, to his shame be it spoken, has not reveled in fancy in those sins which he has loathed at other times with thorough hatred? Who, though kept by the power of God from falling into actual evil, has not let his fancy run riot into imagery? It is because Satan is allowed to act upon our imagination.
3. He leaves him our lusts and corruptions—the old man of sin and death which we carry within us; our daily shame, if not our hourly mourning. Satan is allowed to work upon these, sometimes stirring up our lusts, sometimes working upon our temper, sometimes inflating our pride, sometimes exciting our rebellion, sometimes acting upon our peevishness, and sometimes presenting the golden idol for our covetousness to prostrate itself before. It is his very food and drink to work in this way upon the lusts and corruptions of our fallen and depraved nature.
But "dust shall be the serpent's food." Let him have it all; let him fill his infernal stomach with it; let him feed upon the sins of God people; let him stir up their lusts—the Lord has allowed him. But it is a mercy that although in dividing the spoil, the Lord allows this greedy dog a share, he keeps a strict watch over him; he is chained to his kennel; he must keep within tether. He may roar, he may rage; he may deceive, he may ensnare. But there is his limit. He cannot destroy. In the division of the spoils, he may, if allowed, glut himself with all this dust—it is the dog's bone; but he will have one day to pay for it; he will have one day to howl in hell forever in misery and torment; and the aggravation of his misery will be, to see rescued from his grasp the soul and bodies of the redeemed. For the very body that Satan has worked upon, though laid in the dust, shall pass through that change whereby mortality will be swallowed up of life, and corruption put on incorruption, and be raised up a glorious body.
And then, rescued from Satan's power, washed from all lust and corruption, all inward depravity, and the weakness and wickedness of our fallen nature, all left in the grave, in which our bones will turn to dust, they will be forever safe from Satan's power and grasp. Thus when the Lord raises up the bodies of his saints, in the day of his appearing, there will be in them neither spot, nor blemish, nor any such thing; they will shine before the throne of the Lord God in beauty, majesty, and glory. And then the stronger than the strong man will fully assert his right, chain Satan down to hell with those chains he never can break, and be eternally glorified in those who believe.
Now in this congregation, however diversified their states may be in providence, however one may differ from another in outward circumstances, yet there are really but two classes—those in whom the strong man keeps his palace, and those in whom the strong man has been dispossessed. 'But how are we to know them?' it may be asked. Here is the mark that the Lord himself has given—"his goods are in peace." Is it all peace with you? all ease? all quiet? no convictions? no doubts? no fears? no anxieties? no perplexities? no griefs? no sorrows? no cries? no lamentations? no bewailings? This is a fatal mark; for the Lord, by his own unerring lips, has declared, "When the strong man armed keeps his palace, his good are in peace."
But perhaps this may be the language of some here—'All your words pass me by. I am not going to be burdened by anything you may say.' What is this but a clear indication that the strong man armed is keeping your heart? These arguments that pass through your mind, these thoughts that are revolving in your bosom, are the very pieces of armor that the strong man is now bringing forth to arm your conscience against the attack. And therefore, your very thoughts, which I can read, and the very arguments which I see you are making use of (I well know what they are) are a proof most clear, that "the strong man armed keeps his palace," for "his goods are in peace."
But there are those also, who have had a mighty revolution take place in them. The "stronger than he" has come upon Satan. And what has been the consequence? He has overcome him. He has dispossessed him, which they never could have effected themselves; and he has taken away the armor wherein he trusted. Your ignorance, your unbelief, your impenitence, your enmity, your pride, your carnality, your worldly-mindedness, your obduracy—all these pieces of armor have been taken away one by one. The Lord has humbled you, laid you low at his feet, put a sigh and a cry into your heart, and from time to time melted and dissolved your heart by the sweet beams of his dying love.
And yet what abounding evil you find in your heart! so much sin working in you, so much pride, so much infidelity, so much self-seeking, so much sensuality! But remember, the Lord divides the spoil, and it is because the Lord divides the spoil, that we feel this evil heart at times working, this unbelief at times rising, this infidelity at times mounting upwards, and all the lusts of our depraved nature manifesting themselves. Upon these Satan works; others he leaves in peace. Not so with those of you who are God's children—he harasses you, he distresses you, he tempts you, he is continually seeking to ensnare you! But the Lord will never let that infernal adversary of your soul's peace ever regain possession of you! Jesus therefore still keeps the understanding; that is still firm in God's truth. He still keeps your heart; there are times and seasons when you really give it to him. He still keeps the conscience; he will not let it be silenced or seared; it still testifies in your bosom for the Lord, and against Satan. He still keeps your affections; though to your shame and sorrow, they are often stolen away, yet Jesus renews the tender breathings of your heart. And he keeps the soul; he holds it in his hand.
Then let Satan have the body; let him work upon that; let him act upon your nerves, inflame your lusts, stir up your corruptions, excite all the passions of your fallen nature. Even here he has his limit. Even here he is under restraint, and cannot go beyond his chain. When your body drops into the grave, you will be raised out of it a glorified body, without one spot, speck, or blemish in it—a fit habitation for the ransomed and glorified soul.
Now what evidence have you on which side of the line you stand? Are you under Satan's power, or under the Lord's power; a subject of the god of this world, or a subject of the only true God; one that belongs to Satan, or one that belongs to Jesus? I have shown you, as far as the Lord has enabled me, from Scripture and from experience, the different distinguishing marks of each. I must leave the application of it to God the Spirit, who works in his people "to will and to do of his own good pleasure."