Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

Are you

stands recorded against the members of this Church is, that they were too lax in discipline; they tolerated evils which were hateful in the sight of God; they permitted those to remain in the Church who were antinomian in principle; that is, who sought to graft an unholy and impure life on a faith itself pure and holy. It is one thing, my friends, to hold fast the name of Jesus, and not to deny his faith, and it is another thing to have the faith of Jesus in full and practical exemplification. The worst heresy is a life which is dishonourable to God; and let this be your abhorrence. But let it not be forgotten that false doctrines naturally produce errors in life; and though Christians, like many in Pergamos, may with an undue confidence rest in their orthodoxy, without it they are never safe. Correct principles are the pure element of spiritual health. disposed to maintain soundness of doctrine, then let faith give its exemplification in the purity and holiness of your lives. If God sees that which is hateful in the one, he will never be disposed to tolerate that which appears to be excellent in the other, for they stand or they fall together. Notwithstanding the fidelity of the members of the Church of Pergamos in the one respect, they were too lax as to the other, and the Spirit of God rebukes them for their conduct. The necessity of repentance is placed before them as well as others, and it is only to him that overcometh, that is, who, to a pure and holy faith, adds the celestial testimony of a pure and holy life, that there are promised the exalted blessings of the hidden manna, and the white stone with its new name written, the promise of heaven with all its glory, the friendship and communion of the Lord of life. “Hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches."

The epistle to the Church of Thyatira is also of a mixed description. There was much that the Spirit of God saw fit to commend in the conduct of the members. Their charity or love to God and man was in active and increasing operation; their faith and their patience was highly commendable, and these exhibitions of their piety were of a progressive description. But on the other hand, they tolerated among them a fatal imposture, and apparently in consequence of the distinguished situation held by the erring individual. They had suffered some one, or a party, to remain in their Church, whose object it was to seduce the servants of God into error in religion, and viciousness in life. Here was a palpable dereliction of duty, and it teaches us a most valuable lesson. It is our duty, not only to abstain from all unrighteousness ourselves, but to make up our minds with absolute decision, to give no countenance to it in others. I hesitate not to say, that a real Christian should have no more connexion with the irreligious of the world, than that which is rendered absolutely essential by the necessary business and state of society. To refrain from all intercourse with vicious and worldly men, is on the whole impracticable, for then we must needs go out of the world; but to stand aloof from every thing like evil, is that which is the indispensable obligation of the Christian; and when thrown where the wicked is, his object must be not to tolerate, but to reclaim. There were those in Thyatira who had kept aloof from all sinful compliance, and the exhortation of the Spirit was,“ hold fast till I come.” Are temptations placed in your way to indulge in worldly compliances ? Are seductions abroad to lead you from the simplicity of Gospel conversation ? Hold fast your integrity; overcome these allurements; live above the world, and near to Christ, and, according to the promise or this epistle, you shall have for your reward the morning-star, the bright possession of Christ's peculiar presence; the day-star rising in your hearts; the herald of a greater glory, when the full-orbed Sun of Righteousness shall shine on your souls in the eternal splendour of his living and enduring beams. "Hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches."

In reviewing the awful condition of the Church in Sardis, it is melancholy to remark, that while it is a condition most alarming, it is at the same time one which is most deplorably common. Formality is, if the term may be used, the epidemic paralysis of our religion; and it is a most heartrending conside- , ration, that there are multitudes who have no claim to the name of religion, and no claim to heavenly glory, save that which rests on the sandy foundation of an outward profession. Are there any my friends—alas! that the question is too readily answered-are there

who have a name to live, but are dead, professing the form of godliness, but destitute of the power thereof? Hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches, “I will come as a thief;" your foundation of sand shall be overthrown; your air-built castle shall be demolished. Nothing will answer but that religion which has its seat in the regenerated heart. Your mere profession of religion is abominable in the sight of God. Nothing but the heart—nothing but the heart will answer that God, who abhors the mere service of the lip, and who will pour out his indignation upon those who come before him, with their mouths filled with de

any of you

of you,

ception, and their right hand with lies. Rouse then, ye formal, from the ruinous deception of your formality; overcome this temptation of the devil to shut you up in utter perdition : for it is only on your escape from this state of imminent peril, that there will be room to hope for the promise—“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.”—“Hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.”'

The members of the Church of Philadelphia were universally commended. They were not placed in outward circumstance of influence, but the faith which they had was genuine, and it was well improved. They were kept from the hour of temptation, and they received from him who is faithful, a crown of glory, which fadeth not away. To you, as it was to them, a wide door of opportunity is opened; and I exhort you, as you love your salvation, not to permit that opportunity to pass by without its

To each and every individual of you God has given facilities for improving by the Gospel, for the word of God is not hindered among you, and wo be to the man on whose ear the sound of the Gospel continues to fall, but into whose heart it enters not. To each and every individual of you God hath given facilities to improve the opened door for the promotion of the Gospel; and wo be to the man who refrains to do his duty in relation to the great evangelical operations of the age. If the Bible, and the Missionary, and the Tract Society, fail in the support you ought to give, then will the heathen of other lands, and the heathen of our own, and the destitute of our race, rise up in the judgment and condemn you : for an open door is before you. If the Sunday-school cause fails in the support you should give it, then will children, lost through your neglect, stand out in the nakedness of their ruin, and bring on your heads the weight of the malediction, "Forasmuch as ye did it not unto the least of these, ye did it not unto me."

use.

Improve your opportunities, I beseech you, for hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches, "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, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new

name."

Of Laodicea, as I have so lately and so fully considered it, I make but a passing remark in this brief and closing review. In Laodicea is the last and lowest state of spiritual degradation-lukewarmness in the cause of God, a condition which knows no parallel, a condition so abhorrent in the eyes of God, as to demand for its expression the most disgusting terms of our language. And yet, while I tell it, brethren, I feel on my heart the heavy pressure of the fact, it is the most common condition of our present professors of religion, and connected with the formality of Sardis, gives one, though melancholy history. Lukewarm professors, what can I say ? God abhors you. You are loathsome in his sight; and while you think that you are rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, yet even to

message is delivered, be zealous, repent, rouse from this state. The Saviour, in a mercy

you the

« EdellinenJatka »