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must not offend such a person? and as to debarring such an one from the privileges of the communion, nothing could produce a greater state of excitement. And yet it was exactly for such a state of things as this, that God censures the members of the Church of Thyatira. Whatever temporalities may be benefited, sure I am that spiritualities are most awfully trifled with, when we put the ark of God so much as we do in unhallowed hands. Our system
Our system of expediency is absolutely driving out religion, and this the whole history of the Church will show; for in these days, nothing can prosper unless wealth, and talents, and influence, come to the help of the Lord. But, brethren, the Church of Christ is composed of those who are true believers in him, and are truly converted by his grace; and God never intended that his religion should be placed in any guardianship but that of piety of heart and life. The Christian Church, I care not to say it in the face of the world, has an awful amount of censure standing against her on this very account.
account. From the highest assembled body, down to the very internal government of individual Churches, there is too much trusting to every thing more than piety. If any individual who should study the Scriptures should be asked the question—what is the best qualfication for the office of a member of any body connected with the Church? the answer would be by another question—Is his heart right in the sight of God? Is he a pious man? But oh, how different are things arranged; the common answer to the question is-Is he a man of influence? has he such splendid talents that he can bear down opposition? that he can strike piety dumb by the majesty of his eloquence, or put
honesty to flight by the subtlety of his subterfuges? The Lord have mercy on the Church that so trusts to the arm of flesh.
And to direct your attention one moment to another subject, why is it that there is so much worldliness and so much inconsistency in the Christian profession? Why simply because we are afraid of giving offence, by telling a worldly-minded and inconsistent professor of religion that he or she has no part or lot in this matter, and that either of them had better make no profession, than not to give the heart and the life to God. Fear to exercise discipline brought a censure on Thyatira, and it will always bring a censure from God, let the condition of a Church be what it may.
Again : It is a most singularly important inference from this whole history, that the eye of the omniscient God is always upon us.
“I will kill her children with death,” says the eternal Son of God, and "all the Churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and the heart.” Is there any thing hid from God? Is there a heart in this assembly too closely covered to allow the piercing of his eye? Well says the Psalmist
Thou Lord, by strictest search hast known
Thine eye my bed and path surveys,
Oh could I so deceived be,
If up to heaven I take my flight,
If I the morning's wings could gain,
Or should I try to shun thy sight,
The veil of night is no disguise,
Finally: Learn the terrible catastrophe which hangs over the head of sinners, like the sword of Damocles suspended by a hair. “I will kill her children with death, that all the Churches may know that I will give to every one of you according to your works.” Let sinners learn from the history of Jezebel, that sin cannot go unpunished. The Lord will visit, and the outpouring of his vengeance will be as signal as it will be awful. There is one, and but one way of escape. Repent of thy deeds, so that iniquity be not thy ruin; sin unrepented of, sin unatoned, sin unpardoned, makes the portion of the sinner, the blackness of darkness for ever. God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing; and He, on the veracity of his character, hath said, "I will repay fury to mine adversaries; recompense to mine enemies."
Sinners, as you would escape the catastrophe of Jezebel; as you would not perish under the curse and wrath of God, take heed; seek ye the Lord.
FAILURE IN DISCIPLINE,
ILLUSTRATED IN THE
HISTORY OF THE CHURCH AT THYATIRA.
REVELATION ii. 13–29.
We come now to the consideration of the concluding portion of this interesting epistle. We have already seen the commendation, and our attention, during the whole of the last lecture, was directed to the censure. The
IVth division of the subject embraces the encouragement and the exhortation—"But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak, I will put upon you none other burden: but that which ye have already, hold fast till I come.” This encouragement seems to have been personally addressed to the angel or bishop of the Church. Unto you I say—he had been censured for his want of decision in not cutting off from the communion of the faithful this most un
wholesome member of his Church, but he had maintained an undeviating personal purity of faith and character, and therefore is not threatened with any heavy exhibition of God's displeasure—unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, that is, unto you the bishop, and you the members of the Church in Thyatira, who have not been moved from the faith and the purity of the Gospel by the arts and devices of this woman, and who have not been taught by her in those false opinions and practices, which are the very depths of Satan, I will put upon you none other burden. This was in itself a high degree of commendation passed on those members of the Church who had resisted all the enticements of the emissary of the devil, who had wrought so much mischief among others in that Church. I will put upon you none other burden; I will not bring you into any greater tribulation than that which your own minds have endured in consequence of having this woman among you. I will cut her off according to my threat, and you shall have no additional burden to hinder your still greater progress. All that I demand of
under the circumstances in which you are placed is, that what you have already, your sound Gospel faith, you hold it fast; maintain the same elevated stand you have taken ; and do this till I come; that is, till I come to execute the threatenings which I have pronounced on this pernicious woman and all her followers. This appears to be the meaning of the encouragement and the exhortation, and as I see nothing of difficulty in this portion which would require a larger share of our attention, I pass on to consider, in the