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hold with displeasure. There may fai'h, and patience, and charity, erect their throne; and may their dominion so prevail, that our last works, like those of the church of Thalira, may be more than the first. And surely it is most reasonable, as we approach the end of our course, as we experience more of the vanity of lile, and the substaniial and solid pleasures of religion, that they should be so. But, alas! how much more common is the character of the church of Sarilis, and of those who have only a name to live, while they are dead? Censorious and uncharitable as too great a part of the world is, are there not some who are ashamed and humbled in the view of the esteem in which they are held by their brethren, while couscious of so many inward, though unallowed, infirmities; of so much deadiness and coldness in religion, even where they would be most zealous and lively? Alas ! how far are our works from being filled up before God! Let us often lament these our imperfections and declensions ; let us deeply humble ourselves before God on account of them; and let us be as vigi. lant as possible, that we may strengthen those things, which is they do indeed remain seem ready to die. The more general the prevalence of such an indolent temper is, the more let us emulate the distinguished honour of those few names in Surdis which had not defiled their garments ; tliat we may walk with them, and with Christ, in white rai. ment ; that we may arrive at that happy state of everlasting purity, of everlasting festivity, of everlasting iriumph, which our divine Master has encouraged us to expect. We know not how unexpectedly he may come upon us : let us be always ready, always strenuous in maintaining a holy war against the enemies of our salvation; and then we shall conguer, we shall triumph ; our name shall remain in the book of life; it shall be confessed by Christ before his Father and his holy angels ; we shall share with him in his triumph over all the rebellious nations, in that day, when he shall dash them in pieces like a frotter's vessels : we shall for ever wear the lustre of the morning-siar : yea, we shall sline forth as the sun in the kingdom of our Father. Amen.
The efistles to the Philadelphian and Laodicean churches. Ch. iii. 7–22.
7 A ND to the angel or minister of the church in Philadelphia,
A write, These things saith the holy one, and the true one ; he who hath the key of the house of David; he who openeth, and 8 no man shutteth ; and shutteth, and no man openeth : I know thy
works : behold, I have set before thee an open door for spreading my gospel, and no man can shut it; because thou hast a little
strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will give into thy power those who are of the synagogue
of Satan ; they say they are Jews, pretending to be my people, and are not, but lie: behold, I will make them to con.e and worship
before thy feet ; and they shall know that I have loved thee. 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep
thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the 11 world, to try the inhabitants of the earth. Behold, I come quick12 ly ; keep that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. As
for the conqueror, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out no more : and I will inscribe* upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new
Jerusalem, which is to come down froin heaven from my God; 13 and he shall bear my new name. He that hath an ear, let him • bear what the Spirit saith to the churchies. 14 And to the angel or minister of the church in Laodicea, write,
These things saith the AMEN, the faithful and true witness, the 15 beginning of the creation of God. I know thy works, that thou 16 art neither cold nor hot: I wish thou wert cold or hot. There
fore because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold oor hot, I will 17 cast thee out of my mouth. Because tkou sayest, I am wealthy,
and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretch18 ed, and pitiable, and poor, and blind, and naked; I counsel thee
to buy of me gold tried in the are, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that ihou inayest be clothed, and the shame of
thy nakedness may not appear; and anoint thy eyes with eye19 salve, tliat thou mavest see. Thomsoever I love, I reprove and 20 correct: Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at
the door, and knock : If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will enter into his house, and will sup with him, and he shail sup with me. As for the conqueror, I will give him to sit down
with me upon my throne ; as I also have conquered, and am set 22 down with my Father upon his throne. He that hath an ear, let
him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.
REFLECTIONS. In what age, or in what place, will the church be entirely free from this Laodicean temper, which is so jusly complained of by our Lord, and represented as so loathsome to him; I mean, an indolence in religion, often joined with ignorance and spiritual pride too, as if great attainments were made, where it is almost matter of doubt whether the very essentials be remaining! Let us not indulge in a vain conceit of our own wisdom, and riches, and sufficiency ; but, let us thankfully hearken to that kind invitation, which he here gives us, to come and purchase that of him, without money, and without price, by which we may be truly and substantially enriched ; that by which we may attain to real knowledge and true discernment; and may be clothed with ornaments and glories, which shall render us amiable in the eyes of God. How long has our compassionate Saviour been waiting upon us! How long has he stood knocking at the door! And O, for what guests hath he been exclucied! who have filled our hearts and taken the throne in them, while the entrance has been denied to the Lord of glory and of grace! Let us humbie ourselves in the dust before him, and entreat that he would now enter as into his own habe itation ; that he would do us the honour 10 sup with us ; that he would
# The names and victories of illustrious warriors, and of the cities to which they belonged, were inscribed on pillars in the temples of the gods:
cause us to sup with him; opening to us the stores of his love and bounty, and causing our souls to rejoice in his salvation. “Awaken us, o blessed Jesus, to give thee a most cheerful admittance; and rather show thy love to us by chastisements and rebuke, than suffer us entirely to forfeit it, by continued insensibility and negligence. Holy and true, who hast the key of David, exert thy 'power, irresistible in heaven and on earth, in opening our hearts : and O, set before us an open door of service; and give us to use it to the utmost, for thy glory. Strengthen us to keep the word of thy patience, and make us unshaken in our attachment to thee, in every hour of temptation, which may come upon the earth, that none may take away our crown."—Whatever our trials may be, let us rejoice in this, that they will be only for a short duration ; for our Lord is coming quickly : whatever our combat may be, let us arm ourselves with faith in those glorious promises, which our Lord makes to them that persevere and overcome.
Have we not experienced the pleasure of filling a place in the house of God on earth? But this sacred satisfaction, and the holy season which affords it, is quickly over ; let us long for the blessed time, when we shall be fixed as immoveable pillars in the temple of God above. And O, may we now wear, engraven on our hearts, the name of our God, and of his heavenly city, and the nese name of our triumphant Redeemer, as a token for good, that we shall bear the inscription in bright and everlasting characters above. But even this most expressive promise was not equal to all the purposes of a Saviour's love : that nothing, therefore, might be wanting to enkindle the most generous ambition, he has been pleased to speak of our sitting down with him uron his throne, as he is set dorun on his Father's throne. And who then will ever scruple to suffer with him, when thus assured of reigning with lim, in everlasting glory! O, who would grudge to resign, not merely the accommodations of life, but even an earthly throne, in tlie hope of one so much more radiant, exalted, and permanent ! Fear not, little tock ! it is your Father's and your Saviour's good pleasure to give you tlre kingdom, and he animates you to pursue it with such compassionate earnestness, as if he could hardly enjoy it himself unless it were communicated to you.
God is represented as enthroned in celestial glory, surrounded with the hieroglyphical representation of angels, and the glorified Church. Ch. iv.
I AFTER these things, I saw, and behold a door opened in
A heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as of a trumpet speaking to me; and it said, Come up hither, and I will shew 2 thee what shall be afterwards. And immediately I was in the
Spirit*. And behold, a throne was set in heaven ; and one sitting
* This phrase signifies, to be under a strong and supernatural impulse, caused by the miraculous operation of the Spirit of God acting on the imagination so as to open extraordinary scenes, which had not any exact external archetype. And it is much illustrated by Ezek. viü. 1. We are not to imagine, . 3 upon it. And he who sat on ii was in the lustre of his appearance
like a jasper and sardine stone; and a rainbow* was round about 4 the throne, in appearance like an emerald. And round about the
throne there were twenty-four other thrones ; and on the thrones I
saw twenty-fourelderst sitting, clothed with white raiment; and they 5 had upon their heads golden crowns. And out of the throne there
came lightnings, and thunders, and voices. And seven lamps of
fire were burning continually before the throne, which are the - 6 Seven Spirits of Godt. And before the throne there was a sea or
great laver of glass, like cleur crystal. And in the middle of the
throne and the circle about the throne, there were four living crea7 tures, full of eyes before and behind. And the first animal was
like a lion ; and the second animal was like a calf; and the third
animal had a face like a man ; and the fourth animal was like a fly. 8 ing eagle. And the four living creatures had each of them six
wings round about : and within they were full of eyes : and they
l'est not day nor night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Al9 mighty, who wast, and art, and art to come. And while the live
ing creatures are giving glory, and honour, and thanks to him that 10 sitteth upon the throne, who liveth for ever and ever; the four and
twenty elders fall down before him that sitteth upon the throne, and
Worship him that liveth for ever and ever; and they cast down their 11 crowns before the throne, saying, Worthy art thou, O Lord, to re
ceive glory, and honour, and power ; for thou hast created all things, and for thy will they are and were created.
REFLECTIONS. And should not we likewise fall down with the angels and glorified spirits, and pay some homage to the Sovereign Majesty of heaven, though it be impossible for us to equal theirs ? For ever adored be the divine grace, that a door is opened in heaven ; in consequence of which, even before we enter, we are allowed to look in, and thus to confirin our faith, and to animate our devotion ; which, alas! after all, is too ready to decline and languish. That it may be greatly invigorated let us look up to the throne, and to him that sitteth thereupon; and rejoice to see that peaceful emblem with which the seat of his glory is surrounded, the rainbow of vivid and pleasant green ; signifying, that the majestic Being who fills it, is the covenant-God of all his believing and obedient people, and that mercy and love reign triumphant, in the whole constitution of that perpetual covenant.
that the person sitting on the throne, or the four animals, or the 24 elders, &c. were real beings, though represented in a figurative manner, as things that did really exist. I think it most probable, that all that passed was purely in the imagination of John. This will keep us clear of a thousand difficulties and absurdities, which would follow from a contrary supposition.
* Expressive of God's kindness and covenant.
Š Or four animate beings. A. It was a most unhappy mistake in our translators to render (wa beasts. These seem to have been intended as hieroglyphical representations of the angelic nature,
Let us contemplate with veneration the blessed angels, the ministers of God, who do his pleasure, represented here under hieroglyphical characters, as possessed of amazing strength and courage, resolution and patience, of the sublimest reason, and the most deep and penetrating sagacity, active and pure as fiames of fire ; and with these lofty ideas in our minds, let us ardently pray that the will of God may be so done on earth as it is done in heaven. Let us also remember the elders here mentioned, the representatives of the church of the redeemed, seated on glorious Thrones, clothed in that white raiment, which is the righi. cousness of the saints, and adorned with crowns of glory. And let us especially consider, how the angels and the saints are employed : they rest not day nor night from breathing out the most ardent devotions ; they feel nothing of that weariness and languor with which we are too frequently invaded in this state of mortality, even in our best moments, and divinest frames; but they cry continually, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who ari, and wast, and art to come ; they give glory and honour, and thanksgiving to him that sitteth on the throne. And infinitely worthy is he to receive it: He who is the Almighty creator, He who is the ever-present, and ever-gracious supporter of all! Thou art worthy, O Lord, thou alone art worthy ; and though thou with-holdest from us the face of thy throne', while we dwell in these tabernacles of clay, yet as we are thy creatures, thy rational creatures, we partake of thy protection and bounty ; and, feeble as our faculties are, and dark as the world is in which we dwell, we are able to discover thee as our almighty creator, our constant preserver, our never-failing benefactor. And, as such, may we daily worship and adore thee, with our feeble voices in this state of mortality ; that when we are duly prepared, we May begin a nobler song, and join in the sublimer anthens and hallelujahs above. Amen.
The vision of the scaled Book, and the Lamb that was slain, who was found
worthy to open it. Ch. v.
I A ND I saw in the right-hand of him who sat on the throne, a
A book written within and without, sealed with seven seals*. 2 And I saw a mighty Angel proclaiming with a great voice, Who is
worthy to open the book, and to loose its seals ? and disclose it& con3 tents? And no one in heaven, or upon-earth, or under the earth, was 4 able to open the book, or to look into it. And I, desiring to know
its contents, wept abundantly, because no one was found worthy to 5 open and read the book; nor to look into it. And one of the el
ders said to me, Weep not; behold, the Lion who is of the tribe • of Judah, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and 6 to loose its seven seals. And I beheld, and lo! in the middle
space between the throne and the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, there stood a Lamb, which had been
slain, wearing the marks of slaughter, having seven horns, and. * Each seal is to be considered as belonging to a distinct leaf (or division] of the book.