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Arthur. The girdle of truth, papa. “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth.”
Mamma. Yes, the simple truth as it is in Jesus, and made known to us in. His word: what would Christ's soldier do without this?
Papa. And I think it includes also truthfulness, sincerity of heart. The girdle covered the joinings of the armour, as well as bound up the flowing robe; and many a believer, for lack of this girdle of sincerity, has been like Ahab, “wounded between the joints of the harness.” (1 Kings xxii. 34.) May my dear children drink in the truth of Jesus, and may the truth make them transparent as the light. But what is the next piece, Mary ?
Mary. “ And having on the breastplate of righteousness.”
Papa. This is it of which St. Paul spoke, when he prayed that he might be found in Christ, not having his own righteousness, but the righteousness which is of God by faith. (Phil. iii. 9.) I will try to explain this truth more clearly when we have for our subject “ Believers as servants, and Christ the Master;" but now what is the third piece of armour, Lily?
Lily. “And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.” Mamma, we could not understand this so well.
Mamma. What made you run so very quickly yesterday, Lily, over the ploughed field to tell me you had found a goldfinch's nest?
Lily. Oh, it was such good news, mamma, and we hope to watch it for weeks, and feed the young ones,-it made me forget the rough ground.
Mamma. And so, my child, the soul that knows the good news of the story of peace, runs quickly heavenward, has a ready preparedness for every good work, passes lightly over rough rocks and thorny paths, and as an old writer, Gurnall, says, “ goes singing " over ground where else he would limp and sigh. But what is the next mentioned ?
Arthur. “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked;” does that refer to the arrows wrapped round with tow, and then dipped in pitch, and then lighted, and shot flaming off, of which I read with you in my Greek lesson, papa ?
Papa. Yes, my boy, and the shields were covered, you remember, with hides soaked in water, to resist and quench them. Now this is just what faith does. Faith takes God at His word ; and let Satan say what he pleases, and hurl forth temptations and suspicions like
fiery darts : faith receives all, saying “God has spoken, and that is enough for me.”
Lily. And the next piece, mamma, is "the helmet of salvation.” What does this mean?
Mamma. The blessed assurance that we are saved, Lily. I think in a brief account of the armour (1 Thess. v. 8), Paul says, “Putting on the breastplate of faith and love ; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation ; ” but here he slightly varies it, and says absolutely, “the helmet of salvation,” and Oh that my dear children may never, never rest content till they have put this beautiful helmet on, and can each one say, I know in whom I have believed. The unhelmeted soldier would hang his head in the day of battle, and the soul that is not sure it is safe in Christ, will have a weary warfare. But now we come to the last weapon
Mary. “ The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;" there is no spear, no dagger, or battle-axe, mentioned.
Papa. No, Mary, the Christian has many pieces of armour for defence, but only one for attack ; but that one is a weapon of proof and of Divine power when wielded by faith, and urged home by prayer (for we must not forget to mention in passing, Bunyan's seventh weapon-all-prayer). But read, Lily, a description of this sword. (Heb. iv. 12.) [Lily reads.] Yes, many and glorious are the victories won by this naked sword. Your dear mother and I will tell you afterwards what God is doing by it now in Ireland, and in heathen lands. It concludes the panoply or whole armour of the Christian. All the pieces go to make it up. Not one could be spared ; without the girdle of truth, the shield of faith would be dashed from our grasp ; and without the breastplate of righteousness, the sword of the Spirit might be wrested from our hands; and without the iron-clad feet we should not bear the plumed helmet into the ranks of the foe. But we must go on to speak of these foes, for we have hitherto said but very little about them.
Arthur. The twelfth verse of that same chapter says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Mamma. What is the margin, there, Arthur ?
Arthur. Wicked spirits, mamma.
Mamma. This seems, then, from first to last, to set before us our spiritual foes, of whom Satan is the head, What a fearful army it is. And yet there are more for us than against us. How is this, Mary?
Mary. The blessed host of angels, you mean, mamma, which the young man saw for whom Elisha prayed that his eyes might be opened ; « and he saw and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire.” (2 Kings vi. 17.)
Papa. Yes, my children, and we must daily ourselves resist this fearful adversary, stedfast in the faith or even the ministering spirits of heaven will not avail. But while you pray to Jesus, and trust in Jesus, even little Lily need not fear him and all his evil legions. There is, however, a treacherous heart within, and this inward enemy makes the outward foe so much more terrible. The gates of many a fortress, you know, have stood firm against the battering-rams of the besiegers, but have opened to the key of the traitor.
Arthur. St. James (chapter iv. 1) speaks of “ your lusts which war in your members ; ” and St. Peter (1 Pet. ii. 11) “ beseeches them as strangers and pilgrims to abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” Are not these the traitors of whom you speak, papa ?
Papa. They are, my boy, and these two great enemies, Satan without and sin within, each with thousand forces at their beck, and always leagued together, sometimes press the Christian so hard that he is forced to cry out, “Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very