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faithfully accomplished; and the very means that satan used to destroy the religion of Jesus Christ, (or the twelve fishermen,) was the means of bringing the church out of the wilderness. And those governments of the world which had for more than twelve centuries persecuted the children of God, now granted free toleration for all men to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. And from this data we may see the angel flying through the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth.” Here the church began to awake to the subject of missions, and while the world was tempted and tried, the kingdoms of the earth shaken to their centre, (yet not destroyed) while the civil power of the mother of harlots, the inquisition of Spain, and the horrible means of torture, persecution, slavery and cruelty, were all swept away in one revolution, the church, by the power of Him who had promised to “keep them,” passed through the fiery ordeal without the smell of fire on her garments.
11th verse, “Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” In this verse we have notice of his second coming and that it would be quickly, by which I understand that the age of the seventh church which was yet to come would be short, and the second coming of him, who will overcome and subdue all things, would be quickly. He likewise admonishes us to hold fast that which we have, giving us, as I understand, warning that the next age of the church would be an age of invention; of lo heres, of departure from the true faith, of denying the crown of the church, the twelve stars, the apostle's doctrine. And amidst the confusion of the doctrines and revelations of the present day, if any one should enquire of me what sentiment it would be best for them to embrace, I would first point them to the bible, and second, back to the fathers and teachers of the last century, and say hold fast that they held, let no man take thy crown. Let us then, my brethren, be watchful, and remember "Him that overcometh will'I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write. upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new name.” The blessings promised in this text are to be realised when the New Jerusalem comes down from
God out of heaven, then shall the spiritual born child of heaven be a pillar in the temple of God, in that building made without hands, then too will he receive that rich inheritance that is laid up in heaven for those that love God, and there obtain that eternal crown, that immortal life which is now hid with Christ in God, and then and there realise that “ blessed hope at the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” ac And he shall go no more out” of that glorious temple; no tempting devil there, for he will be chained; no persecuting kingdom for they will “all be destroyed and carried away like the chaff of the summer threshing floor.” Then will he receive the new name, " The Lord our righteousness,” for the Lord is: there. Then, too, a citizen of the glorified kingdom, the New Jerusalem, married to the Lamb, and shall live and reign with him forever and forever. He that hath an ear let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches.' This closes the prophecy to the sixth church, and now let us see to it that we do not lose the blessings promised by refusing to hear what the spirit saith to the churches. Hear and your souls shall live; disobey, turn a deaf ear, refuse the offered grace and you will die ; for the soul that sinneth shall die.
It now remains for me to show the age of the seventh or Laodicean church and the characteristic marks of that church or age. And if I am right in considering these churches in a mystical sense, as our text more than implies and our arguments and references strongly prove, in my humble opinion, then this part of our subject becomes doubly interesting to us, who live in the very age of the fulfilment of this prophecy. Yes, my brethren, we live at the very time when the great head of the church says,
14th verse, " And unto the angel of the church in Laodicea write; these things saith the amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” Laodicea signifies the judging of the people, and may have reference to the church in its last stage when God would pour out his justice and judgment upon a guilty world, and upon a haughty, proud and self-exalted church, and spue them out of his mouth. This idea may be warranted from the subject in connection. The address to this church begins by showing that it is the closing up of this dispensation, by saying “ These things saith the amen.” It also teaches us that it commences the judgement, or prepares for a judg
ment, by bringing forward“ the faithful and true witness." It also shows the universality of this judgment by the knowledge of the witness, being “the beginning of the creation of God.”
15th verse, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.” To be neither cold nor hot in religious things implies a profession of religion without a spiritual life, or the middle way between the world and Christ; taking much pains after worldly things, to the neglect of spiritual things, endeavoring to move between the doctrine of Christ and the doctrine of men, taking the middle ground, as I have often heard it expressed.
16th verse, "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." For this cause, that is, because they are engaged more for show, honors or profits of this world than for God, he would spue
them out of his mouth. The word spue is used in three places in scripture, besides the one under consideration; in Levit. xviii. 28: xx. 22: Jere. xxv. 27; and in all these places stands connected with the judgments of God upon Israel, or the nations spoken of, and implies a shaking out or driving from their present standing either among nations or in the kingdom of Christ, as the case may be. And this passage I suppose alludes to the time when God hath promised, saying, “ Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.” Heb. xii. 26. So we may expect a shaking of the church of Christ, if this is the age spoken of, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. This too is the
age when the wise and foolish virgins are sleeping and slumbering together.
17th verse, “ Because thou sayest I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Our heavenly instructor has given us in this verse the reason why they are lukewarm: because thou sayest I am rich."'The church in this Laodicean state, like the rich man, will be laying up goods, or making great calculations for the outward or worldly concerns of the church for many years to come, building places for worship, establishing colleges, high schools, academies, theological institutions, to raise up a popular ministry, that the world may be pleased, the ministry well supported,
and they become the most popular sect of the day, "increased with goods.” This, too, is the church. What shall be called the goods of the church? It is those contributions which are deposited for charitable and pious uses, such as Paul informed his brethren to lay by them in store on the first day of the week. These will be increased to a great and astonishing degree in this age of the church. Theological writings and publications too are the goods of the church : there will be a great increase of these. Come, see what great things we are doing, will be the general language of the church, and the names of donors and the sums they contribute will be published through the world. “And knowest not that thou art wretched?” The corruptions of the church will be kept out of sight, the pride, popularity, self-righteousness, depravity, will be the besetting sins of the members and great body of public professors, and few, very few of the ministers of the churches will be valiant or bold enough to tell them the truth. " And miserable.” Real piety will be very little enjoyed; the hopes of a large body of professors will be but the hope of a hypocrite, “And poor,” without a tried faith, suffering but little or no persecution, the church will lack those riches which are more precious than fine gold, the trial of their faith. “And blind,” without faith, living by things seen more than on the promises of God. naked,” having on their own righteousness, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire.” That is the amen, the faithful and true witness, counsels the Laodicean church to buy the gold tried in the fire, which may mean either that faith which will stand the fiery trial of temptation and persecution, or that truth which is like “ apples of gold in pictures of silver;" “that thou mayest be rich," rich in faith or in the knowledge of the truth; " And white raiment that thou mayest be clothed." That raiment which John saw the saints in heaven clothed with, which is the righteousness of the saints, the imputed righteousness of Christ, “the Lord our righteousness.” It it is not why counsel the church to buy of him? Yes, my brethren, we are counselled to buy a raiment without spot or wrinkle, “and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear. Truly when Christ comes and we find we have been trusting in self, although we have called ourselves by his name, we have wore 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, and if we are in this situation when he comes ? Oh! 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 sayings of Jesus, the faithful and true witness, “ for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Rev. xix. 7-9, “ Let us rejoice and be glad, and give honor to him: for the marriage 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,