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Let the ear be strained to take in the enrapturing answer, as it swells in the song of angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim
And to the angel of the Church in Philadelphia write ; These things saith he
that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth ; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 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 world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.
PHILADELPHIA is the sixth of the Asiatic Churches addressed by the Lord Jesus Christ, through the instrumentality of his servant John. And this epis
tle, my friends, is particularly worthy of our attention; for besides the interesting local consideration that it bears the same name with the city in which we dwell, it has this remarkable circumstance, that the epistle is one uninterrupted strain of commendation, unlike the epistles to the other Churches, excepting Smyrna. There is here no censure; it pleased the Lord that the members of this Church should meet his entire approbation ; and in the course of my lectures on the affairs and condition of this Church, we shall see one of the most marvellous instances of the connexion established by God between a holy devotedness to his cause, and preservation under circumstances ruinous to others, which stands in the history of the world. I must not, however, anticipate remarks which fall more appropriately in a subsequent part of the investigation.
Philadelphia was a city of Asia Minor, in that ancient division of Asia called Lydia; a division which also embraced the city of Sardis, of which we have already spoken. From this latter city, Philadelphia was distant about twenty-seven miles in a southeast direction, and seventy-two from Smyrna; and situated immediately under a branch of the mountain Tmolus, rising a little on the mountain side, having a pleasant prospect of the plains beneath, which are well furnished with a variety of villages watered by the river Pactolus, which is said to have rolled down sands of gold, and thus accounted for the wealth of the king of Lydia. Unlike the city in which we dwell, whose name is meant to perpetuate one of the greatest of the Christian graces, the city to which this epistle was addressed takes its name from its founder, Attalus Philadelphus, brother of Eumenes, the king of Pergamos. It resisted the Turks with more success than the other cities, and instead of being captured and destroyed with the other cities, it made an honourable capitulation with Bajazet in the year 1390, having sustained itself nearly one hundred years longer in its independence than did its sisters of the seven; and to this date it is distinguished by the privileges which it obtained by express articles of capitulation when it submitted to its Mahomedan conquerors. They would have yielded their lives, could they not have retained their Christian privileges. The Turks called Philadelphia Alah-sher, rendered by some the Beautiful City, and by others the Divine City, according to the interpretation of the word Alah, which in the Arabic signifies God. I am at a loss to conjecture why it was called by the Turks the Beautiful City, as it is the remark of D'Anville, the celebrated French geographer, that it was built with little solidity in its edifices, in consequence of its exposure to the most terrific earthquakes, in one of which, in the seventeenth
of the Christian era, it was nearly destroyed. Its Turkish name may probably be from the beauty of its situation, in a delightful plain, as we have already seen, at the foot of a grand and lofty mountain. It may be noticed, as a more curious coincidence, that both its original name and its Turkish name, become the city in which we now are-Philadelphia, the beautiful city. Philadelphia at present contains about 11,000 inhabitants. It still retains the form of a city, with something of its former trade, for it is situated on one of the best roads to the commercial city of Smyrna; is much frequented by the Armenian merchants; and the regular caravans to Persia pass through or near its walls. Of the present population, according to the accounts of the most recent travellers, about 1,000 are Christians, chiefly Greeks, but who speak the Turkish language. They have twenty-five places of Worship, five of which are large and regular Churches, the two largest and best of which are called St. Mary's and St. George's. They have also a resident bishop and twenty inferior clergy, so that whatever may be lost of the spirit of Christianity, there is still the outward form of a Christian Church; and in this very fact, you can trace the connexion between zeal and devotedness to God, and a larger measure of his providential care.
A very recent traveller, the Rev. John Hartley, who visited six of the apocalyptic Churches, met with the following interesting incident:-"In the course of our journey to-day (April 4th, 1825,) we came gradually in sight of a majestic chain of mountains, covered with snow, which opened upon us to the right. This is Mount Cadmus. We reached Sarakeny about three o'clock in the afternoon, having spent seven hours in travelling from Guigach. Sarakeny is a wretched village, formed of mudhouses. There is a considerable number of Greeks and one Church. We were greatly surprised to find here Panaretos, the present bishop of Philadelphia. He was engaged in making a tour of his diocese, and had already spent a few days in Sarakeny. When we first called on him he was engaged in performing evening prayers with a few of his attendants. It was to us a subject of surprise and sorrow