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by his name, we have worn our own clothing, and eat our own bread, and instead of being clothed upon, we shall find ourselves naked. Shall we not be ashamed before him at his coming, if we are in this situation when he comes? O, what an awful thought! Therefore let us now receive the further admonition, “ And anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.” To anoint the eyes, in a figurative sense, is to examine the truth and evidences of Scripture, that we may see clearly our state and standing as it respects our character towards God and our hope in his future aid, promises, and blessings. It is to see our sins, and feel the need of help, to know our weakness, and trust in his strength
- in one word, it is to repent and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. For he says, “ As many as I love I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent." Here, then, is one comfortable promise to this lukewarm church. If there is any tried, chastened, penitent soul in this church, this Laodicean state or age of the church, they have the promise of his love, his everlasting love, his unchangeable love; his loving kindness he will not take from him, although he should “visit their transgressions with a rod, and their iniquity with stripes." Be zealous, therefore, brethren, and repent.
20th verse, “ Behold, I stand at the door and knock." He that is the “ Amen” is now at the door. In this Laodicean age of the church he comes; he knocks by his judgments, by the fulfilment of the signs, by his word, by all the means of grace that God has ever used to alarm the sleepy, slumbering virgins of his approach. He gives the cautionary word, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” In this passage of prophecy we are brought down to the marriage supper of the Lamb - another and a strong testimony that the churches are to be considered in a mystical sense, and the language or subject prophetical. For this is certainly the saying of Jesus, the faithful and true witness ; " for the testiinony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Rev. xix. 7-9, “ Let us rejoice and be glad, and give honor to him ; for the mar.
riage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” We see, my friends, by the similarity of the sentiments given in the marriage supper, and those admonitions and prophecies to the Laodicean church, that they must mean one and the same event. To hear the voice of the bridegroom, and to open the door, and go out to meet him, is the way which the bride makes herself ready; and his supping with them and they with him, shows that it is when Christ shall come, and live, and reign with them.
“ 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.” Here is another expression which proves we are brought down to the end of time, “ to him that overcometh." What can the faithful and true witness mean by this expression? He explains himself, “ even as I also overcame." How did Christ overcome when he sat down with his Father? I answer, By bursting the bands of death, by conquering the grave, he arose a glorious conqueror, and was seated at the right hand of God. Then this is the true meaning of the text, to him, that hath part in the first resurrection, will I grant to sit with me in my throne. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power; but they shall be kings and priests of God, and of Christ, and shall reign with him." What light may we not receive from the word of God, when taken together, when explained by its own language, when kept unbroken!
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." This closes what I call, and what Christ, I think, calls, a prophecy. “ Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand.”
This Laodicean church began about A. D. 1798, and will last the forty-five years. When this dispensation
will close, the udgment will set, and the books will be opened ; the hypocrites will be spued out of the church, and the sanctuary cleansed.
Will the situation of the church, the character of Christians, the doctrines taught, and the signs of the times warrant us to believe that we live in the Laodicean age of the church ? Let us for a moment examine the evidence and see.
Ist. The situation of the church, enjoying peace in and among the kingdoms of the earth, enjoying all the privileges of citizens without persecution, making great and many improvements in her worldly concerns, rich in this world's goods, having at her command many millions of funds, and almost swaying the destinies of the world; great, learned and rich men enlisting under her banners, controlling the fashions, customs, and laws of the day, swaying a mighty influence over the education of our youth, and giving a general tone to the literature of the world, increasing her demands for power, establishing bishoprics, presbyteries, national and state conventions, conferences, councils, associations, consociations, societies innumerable; and all these controlled almost exclusively by her clergy. May we not say truly, “ She is rich and increased in goods ? " But is this all ? No. Look at her colleges, theological schools, academies, depositories, public edifices, presses, theological writings and publications, in almost every nation, kingdom, state, and territory, and in this country in almost every county and town; and all this by contributions. Well may it be said, she has need of nothing. These things, too, among all sects and denominations, one cannot outdo another apparently, yet each is striving for the mastery,
2d. The characters of Christians generally. In speaking of the character of our brethren, it becomes the speaker to be very careful and unassuming, for God has not made him a judge over his brethren. Therefore, to judge this one is right, and that one wrong, we shall leave for the judgment seat of Christ. But on a general scale surely we may be allowed to examine and compare ourselves with the prophecies. In all ages back, Christians, when living godly, have been a poor, despised, persecu
ted people, pilgrims and strangers in the world, plainly showing that this is not their continuing city, but that they are seeking one to come. But is it so now ? Have not professors generally, for more than thirty years, been seeking for the riches of this life, for the honors of the world, and following the fashions of the times as greedily as men of the world? Yes. And can we distinguish a professor of religion in our public assemblies from a man of the world, except we are informed ? No. Where, then, do Christians plainly show they seek a better country? Nowhere. May we not live in the same neighborhood with professors for years, and not hear them recommend the religion they profess? Yes. But do we not hear the same persons talk freely, flippantly, and zealously about the world, the politics and the fashions of the day? Yes. Is it not a general complaint with all of our churches, of coldness, of a want of spiritual life, and a great failure in active spiritual duties? Yes. Has not a spirit of sloth and supineness seized upon professors generally? Do not many think, if they have a hired servant to talk religion, and visit the widow and fatherless, and keep themselves unspotted from the world, for them it is enough? Yes. And does not all this, and much more which might with truth be said on this point, declare loudly that the professors of Christianity, generally, are in a lukewarm state? Yes. We must respond, Yes.
The doctrine taught. Here again your speaker feels a diffidence in speaking on this subject, knowing that many great, learned, and good men differ on this point; but we must all stand or fall to our own Master, and I must answer how I speak or shun to declare the whole counsel of God. Your speaker believes that the depravity of the human heart, our dependence on God, and indebtedness to grace, are abundantly taught in the Scriptures. See Eph. ii. 4—13. But how stands this doctrine with our public proclaimers at the present day? Some few may preach it, but there is more than ten to one who do not preach it, or, if they do, they so cover it up by their plausible and specious reasoning, that the force of the doctrine and the object of the inspired
writers are wholly lost. We are now taught that man can make himself a Christian as easily as he can turn about in the highway; that obedience or baptism is regeneration; that works are the medium of acceptance with God, and that the righteousness of Christ is not imputed. How can such doctrine be more clearly pointed out than it is by the “ faithful and true witness" to the Laodicean church? 6 And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” That is, they know not their depravity. “I counsel thee to buy of me (see here their dependence on God) gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.” Grace, grace, from the foundation to the top stone. Surely, my dear friends, no candid observer of the doctrine taught at the present day, but what must in his heart acknowledge that the doctrine taught by many, among the different sects, is the same described by our divine Master in the prophecy to the Laodicean church.
The signs of the times. In the close of Christ's instructions to the church under consideration, he says, “ Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice," &c. Daniel says, “ At that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince that standeth up for the children of thy people.” And Christ says, “ For many shåll come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many." These were particular signs given by Christ and the prophets. And how have these
come to pass? Witness the great and many reformations which for thirty years have progressed in our land, in Europe, and the islands of the seas. See also the word of God published, in whole or in part, among all nations. See the missionaries of the gospel running to and fro through the whole earth. Do not these indicate that Christ stands at the door, and that his voice has gone out even unto the ends of the world, and that Michael has stood up for the children of thy people ? Yes.' Again: how many new sects have arisen, how many false Christs have come in this blaze of gospel light, and are drawing away