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this prophetical book, where it is reasonable to expect that such words will be used in this their acknowledged metaphorical sense, as in this expression of our Lord to the Church of Sardis, which serves as a clue to the rest. For the whole is his prophecy or revelation, given to him, and delivered by him *. We find also that the early writers of the church, who succeeded the apostles, applied these words in the same figurative meaning. In this acceptation Ignatius uses the word death t. In the persecution of the Christians under M. Aurelius, some had denied tlie faith; these are styled venge, dead; but being afterwards enabled to profess their belief in Jesus, even in the face of torture and of death, they are then said to be restored to life. The passage is expressive, and may be seen at length in Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. v. c. i. Tertullian has frequently used the words death and die in this figurative sense : Mortuus es qui non es Christianus I. Apostoli de mortuis vivos faciebant, hæretici de vivis mortuos faciunt 5.
Ver. 2. Be watchful.] We are exhorted to the same watchfulness, connected with the metaphor explained in the last verse, in many other passages of Scripture. " Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the deadl,” &c.
Ver. 3. Remember.] The fault of Sardis was not heresy, or corruption of doctrine: it was' negligence and supineness: she knew the will of her Lord, but
* Ch. i. 1.
ť Epist. ad Trall. sect. 6. I De Carne Christi, sect. 2.
De Præsc. Hæret, sect. 30. See also Cyprian's Epistles 10 & 27, where the same metaphor is used. # Eph, v. 14. 'Matt. xxv. 13,
did it not. She is therefore called upon to remember the doctrines she had received, and to bring them into practice. “And what I say unto you, I say “ unto all,” says our Lord, “watch.”
Ib. A thief.] The coming of Christ, to take vengeance on his enemies, is represented to be like the approach of a thief in the night, when men, lulled in security, awake suddenly to see their own ruin *. This consideration more especially affects the careless and negligent, such as the Sardians are represented to be. The words of Saint Paul may be applied as the best possible comment on this text: “ But “ of the times and seasons, Brethren, ye have no need " that I write to you, for you yourselves know per
fectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a
thief in the night; for when they shall say peace " and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon
them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape: but ye, Brethren, are not in
darkness, that that day should overtake you as a “ thief; ye are all the children of the light, and the “ children of the day; we are not of the night, nor “ of darkness: therefore let us not sleep as do others, " but let us watch and be sober t.”
Ver. 4. Names.] We observe the same expression used in the same sense to signify Christian persons, Acts i. 15. and again, Rev. xi. 13. They are those who have their names enrolled in the book of their Lord, who claim a citizenship in his new Jerusalem [. We learn here, as from other passages of Scripture, that pure members of an impure church
* Joel ii. 9. Natt. xxiv. 43. Luke xii. 39, 40.
are kept separate in the eye of their Lord, and by him shall be considered as his own.
Ib. Garments—white.] By an easy and obvious metaphor *, what raiment is on the body, its cover and ornament, such is the habit of practice to the soul. “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me,” says Job; “ my judgment was a robe and a diadem." Conformably to which method of speaking, the Christian is required “ to put off the old man, to put “on the new, to put on Christ t;" which expressions are explained by their context to signify, that he should " be renewed in the spirit of his mind, and put "on the righteousness which is by faith.” In this allegorical form of speech, our Lord describes his servants as invited to the wedding of their great Master; when one of them, appearing without a wedding garment, is sentenced to be cast into outer darkness. This garment is white, pure, free from stain of sin, made clean, as it is expressed not only in the Apocalypse but in other passages of Scripture, by the blood of the Lamb I. Sin defiles the soul, as earthly impurities do the bodily raiment; and there is no other means of cleansing, but propitiating blood; not the blood of bulls and goats, for these were only typical, but the blood of the Redeemer, of the holy victim, slain, in the counsel of God, from the foundation of the world. If we would be clothed in this raiment, in which alone we can appear pure and ac
* For the gradual formation of which, sec i Sam. xviii. 4. 2 Sam. i. 24. Is, xxii. 21. lxi. 10, Dan. v. 7. Luke xv, 22. xvi. 19. Also, Herodotus, Thalia, lxxxiv. Xenoph. Auab. lib. i.
+ Eph. iv. 22. 27. Gal. iii. 27.
See 1 John i. 7. Ps. li. 7. Dan. xi. 35. 1 Pet. i. 19. Heb. xi. 13. Rev. vii, 14.
ceptable before God, we must put on faith, working in us, by love, the best moral conduct; agreeably to which explanation, this acceptable white garment is (in chap. xix. 8,) affirmed to be “the righteousness “ of the Saints *."
Ver. 5. White raiment.] See the preceding note, to which we may add this observation; that the expres
. sion xv deuxoiç is peculiar to Saint John; see chap. xx. 12. where it is applied to the shining appearance of angels; also Mark xvi. 5. Otoan deuny, which in Saint Luke is expressed by εν εσθήσεσιν αστραπτεσαις, whence we may collect that neunos applied to garments means a white of a dazzling brightness and splendour, such as arrays angelic beings.
Ib. Book of life.] As in states and cities, those who obtained freedom and fellowship, were enrolled in the public register, which enrolment was their title to the privileges of citizens; so the King of heaven, of the new Jerusalem, engages to preserve in his register and enrolment, in the book of life, the names of those, who like the good Sardians, in a corrupted and supine society, shall preserve allegiance and a faithful discharge of their Christian duties. He will own them as his fellow-citizens, before men and angels t.
The result of these observations will enable us perhaps to explain a passage in the 20 Epistle to the Corinthians, (ch. v. 3.) which seems to have perplexed the commentators : “ If so, that being “ clothed, we shall not be found naked : that is, if at the day of Judgment, when we must necessarily appear without our corporeal integuments, we shall have obtained that clothing, which alone can make us fit to appear in the Divine presence; that white, pure wedding garment, the righteousness of the Saints, without which no one can be admitted to the presence of God.
+ Matt. ix. 32. Luke xii. 8. See also Psalm lxix. 28. Ezek. xii. 9. Exod. xxxii. 33. Dan. xii. 1. Mal. iii. 16. Luke x. 20.
The Address to the Church in Philadelphia.
CHAP. iii. VER. 7-13.
7 Και το αγέλω της
έν Φιλαδελφεία εκκλησίας γράψον" Τάδε λέγει ο άγιο, , ó kargoyos, ó i xwe την κλειδα το ΔαGidó avoiyw, y έδεις κλεie» και
κλείει, και έδεις ανοί8 γει: Οιδά σε τα
iezu ide, Síðaxsi ενώπιόν σε θύραν ανεωμένην, ήν έδεις δύναται κλείσαι αυτην ότι μικράν έχεις δύναμιν, και ετήρησάς με τον λόγον, ,
και έκ ηρνήσω το όνο9 μά με. Ιδε, δίδωμι
έκ της συναγωγής το σατανά την λεgóvla fautes 'Ioδαίες είναι, και εκ είσιν, αλλά ψεύδονίαι: ιδε, σοιήσω αυτές, iva in zwei ny ogooo κυνήσωσιν ενώπιον των ποδών σε, και
γνώσιν, ότι εγώ ή10 γάπησά σε: "Ότι
ετήρησας τον λόγον της υπομονής με, , καγώ σε τηρήσω εκ
7 And unto the Angel 7 And to the Angel of
of the Church in Phi the Church in Philaladelphia, write: Thus delphia, write, These saith He that is holy;
things saith He that is He that is true; He holy; He that is true; who hath the key of
He that hath the key David; Ile who open
cf David; He that eth and no one shul. openeth, and no man
teth, and shutteth and shutteth; and shutteth, 8 no
one openeth : 1 and no man openeth: know thy works; be 8 I know thy works : hold, I have set before behold, I have set be. thee an opened door, fore thee an open door, which no one can sbut: and no man can shut because thou hast little it: for thou hast a strength, and hast kept little strength, and hast my word, and hast kept my word, and not denied iny name,
hast not denied my 9 Behold, I give unto 9 name. Behold, I will thee those of the syna
make them of the gogue of Satan, (who
synagogue of Satan say
of themselves that (which say they are they are Jews, and are Jews, and are not, but not, but speak falsely, do lie); behold, I will behold, I will make make them to come them) to come and
and worship before thy worship before thy feet, and to know that feet, and to know that I have loved thee,
I have loved thee. 10 Because thou hast 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my
kept the word of my patience, I also will patience, I also will keep thee from the keep thee from the hour of temptation,