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ven, as hitherto thou hast done, to prepare for an everlasting hell.
Consider what you are called to set about, and by whom, and upon what encouragment, namely, to work out your salvation, as God is ready to work in you to will and to do of his good pleasure. Shake off all indifference, cherish the motions of his spirit, and work out your salvation with fear and trembling; lest time be gone, and your day over before your work be done. After all that you have done to hasten your destruction, how reasonable is your utmost diligence to fly from the wrath to come, and get into the way of life? And what reason have you to adore the patience and goodness of God, that has spared you so long, and continued you in a state of hope. Be ashamed of the eagerness of sinners to destroy their fouls j and henceforward, be as earnest and diligent for the salvation of yours. For DireStion,
1. Set out under a persuasion of the necessity of salvation, and also of your utmost endeavours to make it sure. Salvation is necessary to all that have immortal fouls; and this is not to be had without looking after it.
2. Get as clear apprehensions as possible of the salvation you are to work out, as comprehending a deliverance from all evil, and the possession of all that is defireable; as a salvation which is to be crowned with eternal glory: and under such a view, what labour can be thought too great to make it sure.
3. In working out your salvation, depend upon a higher power than your own, and by earnest cries to heaven, shew you expect all your help from thence. We deceive ourselves if we think
'. . we
we have strength sufficient for our own recovery. .But though we have not, our case is nevertheless hopeful, it being God that worketh in us to will and to do: and his help, in the way of our duty, we are encouraged to expect. No father upon earth is more ready to give bread bread to his craving child, than the God of all grace to give his holy spirit to them that ask him. Let your longing eyes be turned towards him, faying- when shall the happy season come, when God will breathe upon my soul, and by light and infhience from heaven, bring me into the way to it? And under convictions impressed, pray they may be kept alive, and carried on to a thorough change.
And having your salvation begun in grace, continue your desires and pursuits after the perfection of all in glory. To excite to this,
Consider the nature of your work that it is progressive. If you do not go forward working out your salvation, you are in danger of declining and going back.
Frequently call yourselves to account, to fee what progress you make. And when your advances are not proportionable to your time and helps, expostulate the matter with yourselves thus, can I do no more for God and my foul? Can I move no faster, when the wrath to come is that from which I am endeavouring an escape, and heaven is before me, as what I am running for?
And tho* the work is difficult, remember the time of working and labouring is short, but your rest sure, near and everlasting.
Be faithful to the death : and when dying, trust in Christ your master under God the Father, to fulfil his promise, 1 "will give thee a crown of life, a crown tbatfaq'etb not away. S E R
Revel. III. i.
■ I know thy works, that thou haft a
name that thou liveft, and art dead.
IT is the church of Sardis, which is here directly spoken to; but what is said to her, may belong to other churches, and to many particular members that are forward professors in them, Thou has a name that thou lives, and art dead.
In the words are considerable,
i. The Speaker.
2. What is said by him.
i. The Speaker, who is described in the former part of the verse, These things faith he that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars. These words set forth Jesus Christ, the Lord and head of the church, and speak his fitness and furniture for his office and work. He hath the seven spirits of God, which is commonly understood of the Holy Ghost, who though but one, hath plenty and various gifts and graces, which are here described by the number seven. And suitable to this description of the spirit, St. John tells us, Ch.iv. 5. he saw an emblem of it. There were seven lamps of fre burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. And, as he was to write to the Jtven Asian churches, in each of which the spirit
was. was to correct what was found amiss, and communicate the grace wanted, Christ had that spirit in a sufficiency for every one of them; that they might look to no other, nor despair when looking to him.
It pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell: to denote which, he is here said to have the seven spirits of God, and John iii. 34.That God giveth not the spirit by measure unto him. Whatever gifts or graces of the Holy Ghost are necessary to the sanctification, comfort and perfection of his people, all these Christ hath to bestow: he hath the seven spirits of God..
Besides this, it is added, he hath the seven stars. By stars are meant the ministers of the churches; and the seven stars here, have reference to the ministers of the seven churches, to which St. John is now ordered to write. And Christ is represented in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, Chap. i. 13. and as having /even fars in his right hand, ver. 16; which he explains himself, ver. 20. The sevensiars are the angels (or ministers) of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou Jawejl, are the seven churches.
Some will have the seven churches and what is said of them, to be understood of the several states of the christian church to the end of the world. However this is to be understood, Christ's concern for the ministers of his churches is plainly denoted: such as answer their character, belong to him, and he is ready to own it: he hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven Jiars. How amiable a description is this of Christ, and with what satisfaction may our thoughts dwell upon it!
Has he the Holy Ghost in his various gifts and
Vol. II. E e graces, graces, and this to bestow as a communicate head"? We may be hence assured, that justice is satisfied by what Christ hath done and suffered. Nothing can be a greater evidence of this, than his having the spirit to bestow: that spirit which we had forfeited by sin, and grieved away j that spirit that we were unworthy of, and for our own fakes could no more expect. How precious is that blood Christ shed for us, as the fruit of which, he has the Holy Ghost in all his gifts and graces to give out to us!
Again, such as are lost and would be healed and saved, are hence directed to look only to Christ, as there is salvation in no other. There is no salvation without the grace of the Spirit: and the fulness of this dwells in Christ, who is head over all things to the church.
Again, as Christ has the Spirit in all his graces and gifts, what relief may this yield his members under their fad complaints by reason of remaining corruption, weakness and imperfection! It is not yet with them throughout as they could wish: they are groaning under a body of death, and longing for deliverance : they want greater enlargedness in prayer, strength to duty, victory over temptations, patience under suffering: they would fain be more conformed to Christ now, and so, better prepared to be with him above. And amidst all this, with what comfort may they look unto Jesus, as having the Spirit of God in the fullest manner to bestow, to rectify what is amiss, supply what is wanting, perfect what he has begun, and safely guide them to all the blessedness he has promised, and is preparing for them! Under this 2 character,