« הקודםהמשך »
I will not suffer my inestimable blessings to be slighted: I will come, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place.” Here is our danger. The danger of a Church is not from cruel tyrants, or a burning fiery furnace: the danger of a Church is, when Jesus Christ looks on, and says, I have somewhat against thee; and when he adds, I will come, and remove thy candlestick out of its place. This is the danger of a Church: and, therefore, above all things, let us fear decay, and watch against it, lest we lose our light and our privileges
IV. Let me now speak a word on the REMEDY which Christ suggests.
“ Is it so, that I have somewhat against thee?" it is as though he had said: “ then I will give thee counsel. Thou art not dead. I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear error. I am a witness for thee. Still, because as many as I love I rebuke and chasten, I tell thee that thy first love is gone. I counsel
I thee to remember-remember that it is gone!”
This is one part of our remedy-RECOLLECTION.
• To know ourselves diseas'd is half our cure."
There is quackery in diseases of the soul, as well as in those of the body: and the great encouragement to listen to it is, that it promises great things; an easier and a shorter mode of cure; so beguiling the simple. And we see at this day, that, when a decay cannot be denied in a person or in
a Church, there comes in the spiritual quackery of some new-fangled doctrine some new mode of worship-some new form of church government
-some new interpretation of Scripture and this is to heal a sin-sick soul !--the wounds, which Christ alone can heal by his Word and Spirit, are to be healed by such pretended nostrums! and yet simple souls are so caught by the marvellous, that they think every point must be carried because the man promises such great things !
“ But I only,” says the Great Physician," only can counsel thee to purpose. I only can cure thee. I tell thee, therefore, to remember from whence thon art fallen. Remember the kindness of thy youth-the love of thine espousals ; when thou wentest after. me into the wildernessRemember from whence thou art fallen. Remember thy backslidings from me: lament over them: confess them before me; and look to God to enable thee to take thy steps with more firmness, and to offer up thy prayers with more spirituality, and to do the first works more cordially. Make thou the kingdom of God and his righteousness thy first object. I tell thee to remember that this is so necessary, that, if there be not remembrance and repentance, the decay will go on till you get into such a state, that I will come, and remove thy candlestick out of its place.”
Take the counsel, which Christ gives to another Church in decay: Anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see: buý of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear : and, as ye first received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye
in him. Recollect how you began. It was better with thee then, than now. Remember the simplicity of thy first steps. Remember the unity of thy heart at that time: though thou didst not know so' much then as now, yet thy first love was the best love.
CHRIST, therefore, is our remedy, Brethren, for spiritual decay. Conceal not, I pray you, your case from him; for he wholly comprehends the disease, and can completely instruct us in the cure. The Great High Priest means our cure: therefore he does not trifle with the case. May God grant that we may not trifle with it! He counsels us to come to him for recovery; and there is no cure that he cannot effect, if thou returnest to him. He is Almighty and will fulfil all that he hath promised ; and, in returning to him, thou shalt be healed.
I shall conclude with a word of ADMONITION.
And the Admonition is that, which Christ himself makes use of in the seventh verse:He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.
Is there an inquiring heart before me? A man honest to his convictions—who would save his soul-who would not have his soul and body made the sport and prey of fiends-sunk into that pit whence there is no redemption ?-Does he come to hear the counsel of God? Hath he an ear to hear?—then let him hear what the Spirit saith unto, the Churches : let him hear what Christ saith; for it is Christ that speaks by me. I am a worthless earthen vessel; but I speak the words of Christ: therefore refuse not his word: refuse not him that says, I have somewhat against thee, because thou
, hast left thy first love.
Let us every one ask, “ What does conscience say to this charge? Have we left our first love?” Then has Christ somewhat against us! He is of one mind, and who can turn him? What does he say in the second chapter of Jeremiah? Hear ye the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus saith the Lord: What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? Is there any charge against me, O perverse generation? Have I been a wilderness to Israel?
This is the appeal of God to Israel. Who then among us will be satisfied with saying, “No man can bring a charge against me.” Who would be satisfied with this? for, how many things are there in the decay of the soul, which the most pene
trating human eye can never discover! What! man!-a blind creature, mistaking in every step! - am I to be satisfied because he can bring no charge against me? What would it avail, if the, whole world were to join to acquit me, while Jesus says, “ I have somewhat against thee? I, who search the heart and try the reins, see there is a decay: and I tell thee, because I love thee; and would stop the decay by calling thee to recollection and to repentance."
Is not this exactly your conduct toward your children, when you see them taking a wrong course? Do not you talk to them again and again? And why do
And why do you this? You do not take so much pains with other children. You give them advice: but you repeat it again and again to your own children, because you love them better than you do the children of others.
Remember, then, the message of Christ, which you have now heard : and recollect, that he sits as a refiner, and will thoroughly purify his children. I entreat you, therefore, Brethren, to seek him, that he may not have to charge you with this also:.“ 1 warned. thee of thy decay, and thou peglectedst my warning.”
But hear Christ's Encouragements, as well as his warnings:-To him, that overcometh, will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. " What!” as if he had said, “ it is a small thing, that I give unto my