תמונות בעמוד

those who may be considered believers, do not enjoy the delightful communion with the Saviour to the extent which he has here promised is, that they do not live as near to God as they should; they are not as separate from the world as they should be; not such men of prayer, not such men of ardent and devoted piety; if they were but faithful to Christ, Christ would be faithful to them. By the Saviour's promise, then, of a sweet and new communication, represented in the terms of “coming in to you,” and “supping with you,” I exhort you to open your hearts to his knocking. I rejoice, my friends, that in pressing upon you the importance of this promise, I am not speaking of a blessing which is beyond your attainment. It is an inestimable privilege, and one which, though comparatively little enjoyed, is yet free to all to enjoy, for “the Spirit and the bride say come, and let him that heareth say come, and take the water of life freely.” Draw near to him who hath pledged himself to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask it. He will give you the goodness, and righteousness, and truth, which are the unchangeable elements of the Christian character, and you shall be permitted to realise those inestimable communications of his grace which are promised in the declaration of the text; and though I cannot convey to the mind, unenlightened by Gospel truth, an adequate conception of what is promised, yet, on the express declaration of the word of God, on the testimony of the believer's experience, I beseech you to open the door of your hearts, and to labour after that spiritual conformity to God which shall prepare you for the enjoyment of that inward peace which passeth all understanding, and in which the


stranger intermeddleth not; that joy in the Holy Ghost, that peace in believing, which give to the devoted servant of the Lord a very antepast of heaven. I now turn to the concluding branch of the subject. Like all the epistles, this closes with a promise, and though it is not couched in such highly figurative terms as many of the others, it is nevertheless, intrinsically one of the most splendid; and among other surprising circumstances, it is worthy of observation, that this Church of Laodicea, in a spiritual condition worse than all the rest, is favoured with the encouragement of a promise which exceeds them all in its bright anticipations of glory—“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my father in his throne.”

As connected with this epistle, the term, "to him that overcometh,” means, to him who shall burst his shackles and rouse himself from his cold and lukewarm state; and the splendid character of the attainment appears to be proportioned to the difficulty of the conflict, for hard of necessity must be the nature of that struggle in which the sinner is rescued from so deep and desperate a condition as that of lukewarmness. The promise of Christ that the conqueror shall sit with him on his throne, is one of the strongest possible forms of expression to intimate the exalted dignity and happiness of the triumphant Christian who has fought his way through the mazes of a lukewarm condition-an honour and a felicity which can never be explained except when the promise is realised, and mortal exchanged for immortality; and we must wait till death has severed the tie which binds us to mortality before the


spiritual eye can see the King in his beauty. I know of no material emblems which can bring down this lofty subject to the level of mortal comprehension. We might depict in all the richness and luxuriance of the most powerful imagination, every thing which should combine to form the perfection of an earthly paradise; and should we bring into one vast assemblage the richest and the rarest charms of nature; should the fairest of her beams and the most blooming of her treasures be displayed before your enraptured vision, how would her beauty die away,

and how would her brightness be covered with a very midnight pall, in the comparison with that beauty and those charms which belong to the celestial pre

We might bring into one vast assemblage, we might crowd into one brief space, every image of delight and of glory which could be furnished us from all the sources of intellectual enjoyment, from social and domestic scenes, and still we should but darken counsel with words without knowledge. No images of nature, in all her loveliness, no efforts of imagination, however sublime, can reach to the description of those joys which are reserved for the believer in the presence of his Saviour. Worms of the dust as we are, low and grovelling as is the ordinary range of our conceptions, we can form no adequate idea between heaven and earth; there can be no comparison ; for not more distant is the throne of God from this little spot in the universe of his creation on which we live, than must be the distance between all that we can conceive of pleasure contrasted with what there shall be enjoyed. Sweetly, and eloquently, and truly hath a poet sung:

In those bright regions of celestial day,
Far other scenes, far other pleasures dwell;
All beauty here below to them compared,
Would, like a rose before the mid-day sun,
Shrink up its blossom; like a bubble breath
The passing, poor, magnificence of kings;
For there the King of nature, in full blaze,
Calls every splendour forth ; and there his court,
Amidst etherial powers and virtues, holds.

But who, who shall be partakers of this blessedness? I want no better answer than that which is furnished by the text—“He that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”—“If any man will hear my voice and open the door.” Here is the summary description of the character of him who is to inherit this glory. It is he who opens his heart to the knocking of the Saviour, and is victorious over the world, the great enemy of his salvation and of himself. He who bursts the shackles of his lukewarmness, and rises in the life and liberty of active Christianity. Is not this within your reach? Is any one compelled to close his heart to Christ? Is any one compelled to continue in sin, or to be sunk into the deep damnation of his lukewarmness? No. I pretend not to define the limits of divine grace and human

and human agency. Between these two great subjects, there is a certain, though mysterious consistency; and I am fully persuaded, that God never would call the sinner to do that which is beyond the provision of God's mercy. The reception of the benefits which are promised in the text, are dependent on the circumstance of hearing his voice, and opening your hearts and overcoming in the battle; and I take it for granted, that there

is no physical or moral force exerted to restrain you from so doing. I speak not as if you could exert an agency independent of the grace of God. I know that no man comes to Christ, who is not drawn by the influences of the Spirit; but whenever Christ knocks, there is a provided assistance adequate to meet the exigency of the case; and it cannot be, that the grace to enable us to accept the call is withheld, where the acceptance is demanded. Wherever he demands the victory, he stands ready to give the aid ; for the arm of Omnipotence is engaged, and the eternal God is the munition of rocks and faith is the shield. Upon his own wilful and obstinate rejection, upon his own evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God, it is that the Scriptures lay the charge of everlasting condemnation to the finally impenitent. When I read the exhortation of Joshua, “Choose you this day whom you will serve”—and when I read the exhortation, “Behold I set before you life and death, therefore choose life”—and when I read the solemn interrogatory, “Why will ye die”-and when I hear the Saviour say, “Ye will not come unto me that ye may have life”—and when I read the exhortation, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his own good pleasure”—and when I hear the solemn annunciation, “O, Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself”—and when I read, “ Whosoever will, let him come”—and when I hear, “If any man hear my voice and open the door,” I feel authorized in pressing, earnestly pressing upon you the necessity of closing in with the offers of salvation which are made. Shut not your hearts against the visitation of God's mercy; hear the voice

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