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will be as nothing compared with eternity. The grace
Their salvation is here noted by their being made a
gaged to rob you of your eternal life,-your eternal all! Thousands have been thus robbed; and thousands more will be thus robbed! Will you permit yourselves to be found among them? In order to escape, inspiration says, "Be sober: be vigilant: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about, seeking whom he may devour."
Ver. 14. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:
This city was southward of Philadelphia, and on the way to Ephesus. These seven churches lay in a kind of circle. Laodicea is the last; and is far from being the best. The divine Master presents himself to them as the Amen, or immutable Being; one who bears faithful and true testimony concer cerning them, and all men. "The beginning of the creation of God:" or who, in his constituted mediatorial office, is the "firstborn of every creature;" the first created establishment actually brought into existence. The covenant of redemption was first formed between the Father and the Son, in which Christ was constituted mediator. And, as the humanity of Christ (which was then covenanted to be received in due time) should be created; as the connexion between this and the infinite divinity of Christ, should be created; and as the whole official character of Christ is constituted; so he denominates himself, "the beginning of the creation of God." This text belongs to that class of texts, which present Christ as dependent on the Father,-made to be both Lord and Christ, and his having all power, in heaven and on earth, committed to him. This class of texts allude not to any natural dependence of Christ, in his divinity, on the Father! For he is one in him! But they allude to his constituted character, as Mediator. Another great class of texts assure us, that Christ is of underived, eternal divinity; the true God; "without Father, without descent, without beginning," as in Mek chizedeck.
Ver. 15. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
The word lukewarm alludes to that state of water, which is most offensive to the stomach. Christ would have them understand, that their state of heart relative to religion, being neither one thing nor another, was most offensive to him. They had their form of godliness, it seems, without the power. They would not take the position of open enemies; nor would they be zealous friends. They seemed determined to reconcile God and mammon. Christ says, "I would that ye were cold or hot!" Be one thing or another. Either be zealous Christians, or make no further pretence. As he had said to the Jews; "Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt." But continuing as they were, Christ would soon reject them; even as lukewarm water is thrown as sickening and disgusting from the stomach. So base and contemptible does the Saviour view professors who are neither one thing or another! having a little of religion to quiet their consciences; and yet not enough to mortify their lusts, or to disturb the selfish heart.
Ver. 17. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
We have here a most natural trait of the character of hypocrites; in their own imaginations they are rich and happy in spiritual prospects! having no proper idea of their depravity, guilt, and wretchedness;-at ease in Zion; crying Peace! while they are spiritually dead, and sinking in eternal death. God says they are "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked!" This they will find, when it is for ever too late.
What multitudes are in this wretched case? "Five of
them were wise, and five foolish!" If the disciples were struck with a panic, on being informed that one of their twelve was thus wretched: what should be the fear of the present visible kingdom of Christ, when assured that five in ten are thus? This greater danger hardens many, even to a cold insensibility!" and knowest not that thou art wretched." Examine yourselves then, O professors, whether ye be in the faith! prove your own selves. "Search me, O Lord, and prove me! try my reins and my heart."
Ver. 18. I counsel thee to buy 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 anoint thine eyes with eye-salve that thou mayest see.
This church was yet within the reach of mercy. An urgent call was once more addressed to them by him who is Wonderful, Counsellor! "I counsel thee." Happy token for good, if the counsel might at last be heard! The counsel is addressed in the most appropriate figures. "Buy," take as a gift, "gold," a thing men most value; the gold of heaven; the tried, and pure. White raiment too; grace and righteousness. Buy," take them, that the soul may be adorned; and not be found naked. And eyesalve from Christ, the Balm of Gilead, the Light of the world; the Sun of righteousness. Eyes thus anointed shall see clearly.
Ver. 19. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
We have here a sentence most appropriate to the lukewarm, for whom Christ has any design of mercy. Such coldness will but hasten the chastening rod, where there has ever been a spark of grace. The paternal rod must be laid on, to recover. Let the chastised then, fervently repent, and zealously reform. Let penitent zeal pluck out the offending eye, and cut off the offending foot, or hand; lest both soul and body be lost in hell.
Ver. 20. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with
Although Christ was virtually turned out of doors by this ungrateful church: yet as though graciously unwilling to leave them to perish, he stands at the door, and most kindly knocks for admittance. If any then will come to their senses, and open the door of the heart to this wonderful heavenly visiter, he will come in, and receive such to his holy fellowship and salvation.
Jesus Christ does indeed knock at the door of the heart of the gospel sinner, and hypocrite. He knocks by his word; by the whispers of his spirit; by his faithful ministers; by the profession, order, and examples of his followers; and by his works of mercy, and of judg ment. And, into every heart that graciously admits him, he enters with the riches of his grace. "I will sup with him, and he with me." A blessed fellowship commences. "Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with the Son." This will yield substantial peace. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee." "And the peace of God that passeth understanding, shall keep your heart and mind through Jesus Christ." The grace of God, the love of Christ, and the fellowship of the Spirit, are settled on such as their rich inheritance.
Ver. 21. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Jesus Christ most diligently performed and finished the work assigned him as our Redeemer: and he was hence exalted to the throne of God, where he engages that all who with his spirit encounter the difficulties, and perform the duties of the Christian life, shall be exalted to reign with him. "If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." Most pungent warning is, in our text, implied for all those pusillanimous, fainthearted pretenders to religion, who will shape their plans