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EPHESIANS - Chapter 6 - Verse 17
Verse 17. And take the helmet. The helmet was a cap made of thick leather, or brass, fitted to the head, and was usually crowned with a plume, or crest, as an ornament, Its use was to guard the head from a blow by a sword, or war-club, or battle-axe. The cuts on the opposite page will show its usual form. It may be seen, also, in the figure of the "Grecian warrior," on p. 159.
Of salvation. That is, of the hope of salvation; for so it is expressed in the parallel place in 1 Th 5:8. The idea is, that a well-founded hope of salvation will preserve us in the day of spiritual conflict, and will guard us from the blows which an enemy would strike. The helmet defended the head, a vital part; and so the hope of salvation will defend the soul, and keep it from the blows of the enemy. A soldier would not fight well without a hope of victory. A Christian could not contend with his foes, without the hope of final salvation; but, sustained by this, what has he to dread?
And the sword. The sword was an essential part of the armour of an ancient soldier. His other weapons were the bow, the spear, or the battle-axe. But, without a sword, no soldier would have regarded himself as well armed. The ancient sword was short, and usually two-edged, and resembled very much a dagger, as may be seen in the engraving on page 166, representing Roman swords.
Of the Spirit. Which the Holy Spirit furnishes; the truth which he has revealed.
It was with this weapon that the Saviour met the tempter in the wilderness, Mt 4. It is only by this that Satan can now be met. Error and falsehood will not put back temptation; nor can we hope for victory, unless we are armed with truth. Learn hence,
(1.) that we should study the Bible, that we may understand what the truth is.
(2.) We should have texts of Scripture at command, as the Saviour did, to meet the various forms of temptation.
(3.) We should not depend on our own reason, or rely on our own wisdom. A single text of Scripture is better to meet a temptation than all the philosophy which the world contains. The tempter can reason, and reason plausibly too. But he cannot resist a direct and positive command of the Almighty. Had Eve adhered simply to the word of God, and urged his command, without attempting to reason about it, she she would have been safe. The Saviour Mt 4:4,7,10
met the tempter with the word of God, and he was foiled. So we shall be safe if we adhere to the simple declarations of the bible, and oppose a temptation by a positive command of God. But the moment we leave we leave that, and begin to parley with sin, that moment we are gone. It is as if a man should throw away his sword, and use his naked hands only in meeting an adversary. Hence
(4.) we may see the importance of training up the young in the accurate study of the Bible. There is nothing which will furnish a better security to them in future life, when temptation comes upon them, than to have a pertinent text of Scripture at command. Temptation often assails us so suddenly that it checks at reasoning; but a text of Scripture will suffice to drive the tempter from us.
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