Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
I. The shield, as most of you are aware, is A MOVABLE PIECE OF ARMOUR: it may be in one place at one moment, and in another at another: in short, the object of it is to defend the whole man. We will take first of all the head. The man lifts up the shield upon his arm to defend his head. And why should this be necessary for a Christian warrior? What can be those "fiery darts" which can touch the Christian's head? There has been no time in the history of the Christian camp in which, I believe, this part has been more frequently attacked than it is at the present day. At all times the head has been made the subject of attack by Satan's tampering with our reasoning faculties, and inducing men to give up revelation, and to accept only that which reason can suggest; so that, instead of realizing the truth that God's mind is infinite, and our mind is limited, men would like to bring down God, and make Him such an one as themselves. Thus a variety of objections are brought forward, all tending to make man reject His Bible. Then take another part - the heart of man. This is attacked when our consciences are assailed. You are probably all aware of the two-fold nature of the attacks which Satan makes upon us to lead us into sin. First of all, as with Eve, he will lead us to think that sin will not be punished; then having succeeded in having drawn persons into the commission of sin, he follows it up almost invariably with another attack, which is to make men believe that their sin is so bad that it cannot be pardoned. Now this is what I mean by the conscience being attacked. Then take the breast. And here I should explain myself by saying, that I am referring to such circumstances as these - when Satan would suggest to us wicked thoughts; not the actual commission of evil deeds; when within our breast there are thoughts of an unclean character, thoughts of an infidel character, such, for instance, as the idea flitting across the mind, that the Bible is not true. Then we may pass on and take the feet. Here is a great temptation to us, brethren. These things recur to his mind: "If I make a bold profession of Christ, what may I not endure from it?" but the real Christian "walks by faith"; his feet are protected by the shield; "he walks by faith, and not by sight." There is one part more I will refer to - I mean the arms. This will bear upon the condition of the man who is tempted to labour only or chiefly for the meat which perisheth. The poor man especially is very much tried in this way.
II. Now we are to inquire, in the next place, WHAT WILL BE THE RESULT OF THE USE OF THIS PART OF OUR ARMOUR. In one word, it is confidence - greater, increased confidence in the Christian's warfare.
III. Now, having advanced thus far as to the nature of this piece of armour; having shown you what will be the result of its use - increased confidence in our Christian conflict; and having asked the question, whether you have it, or have it not - and I am quite sure there are some amongst us who have not this shield, but I hope we are all desirous of obtaining it - let us ask, in the next place, WHERE WE MAY PROCURE IT AND HOW WE MAY PROCURE IT?
(H. M. Villiers, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.