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But these men are brutish and grossly ignorant in their understanding, not knowing how to value the worth of any thing that is good; and yet have their mouths open, to disgrace and rail on that which they know not; and those things which they cannot but naturally know, as brute beasts, which are led and carried by their senses, those they abuse in a sinful and sensual immoderation, and make them occasions of their sin and destruction.
11. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
Certainly, the curse of God hangs over the heads of these men; for they have, in respect of envy and murder, followed the courses of Cain; and, in respect of corrupting the truth for filthy lucre's sake, they have greedily run on in the wicked steps of Balaam; and, in respect of opposing themselves to authority, they have imitated the rebellion and mutiny of Corah, and shall perish in that damnable presumption.
12. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds ; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.
These are blemishes to your holy profession; and, when ye meet together at your love-feasts, bring shame and dishonour upon your assemblies; in a gluttonous fashion, pampering and cramming themselves at your public banquets : such as would willingly pass for Christians, and yet have no soundness and truth of religion in their hearts: they would seem clouds therefore, but have no rain in them: they would seem trees, but they are sear and withered; twice dead; once, while they stand, dry and sapless; and once, yet more, while they lie, as plucked up and rotting.
14, 15. And Enoch also, the serenth from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them &c.
Of these, amongst other wicked men, is that ancient prophecy of Enoch, who was the seventh in descent from Adam, fulfilled; wherein he foretels, that the Lord shall come to judgment, attended with many thousands of his holy and glorious angels, To execute his final vengeance upon all the ungodly, &c.
16. Having men's persons in admiration because of adrantage.
In a flattering manner, making shew of admiring the persons and parts of some great men, for their own advantage.
19. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the spirit.
These be they, who make sides and divisions in the Church of God; severing themselves from the communion of other Christians, both in opinion and conversation: men, secretly given up to their own sensuality; having, howsover they pretend, no share at all in the Spirit of God.
I. 22. And of some have compassion, making a difference.
And of some, who are through simplicity seduced, have compassion; making a difference, betwixt those spirits which are stubborn and turbulent, and those which are meek and gentle.
I. 23. And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
And others, that are stiff and perverse, save, if ye may, with vehement urging unto them the terrors of judgment; as it were violently pulling them out of the fire of God's wrath, wherein they lie; hating and avoiding all occasions of pollution fro these wicked men, and abhorring every thing that may carry a savour or suspicion of uncleanness.
THE REVELATION OF ST. JOHN. I. 1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.
This, which followeth, is the Revelation, which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, made unto John; which Revelation God the Father gave to his Son Jesus, as the Mediator of his Church, that he might, according to that holy office of his, shew unto his servants those things which must, in the ensuing times, come to pass: and the same Jesus sent his angels, and, by their ministry, signified these future things to his servant John.
I. 3. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear gc. See chapter xxii. verse 7.
I. Ibid. For the time is at hand,
For the time is near at hand, wherein divers of these following predictions shall be accomplished; and wherein an entrance shall be made to those, which shall afterwards succeed.
I. 4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia : Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come, and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne ;
John, to those Seven famous Churches, which are in the Lesser Asia ; and, under their name, to all other over the whole world: Grace be unto you, and peace from that Almighty and Glorious God, who only hath an absolute and infinite being in and of himself; who was from all eternity, and shall
be the same without all change everlastingly; who is the author of all blessings to his Church : and from those seven principal ministering spirits, which stand ready before his throne, to receive his commands for the behoof of his Church, and to convey his blessings unto it; according to the number of those chief and eminent Churches, whereto I write:
I. 5. And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
And, as from these merely-spiritual natures, so also from Him that is God and Man, Jesus Christ the Righteous; who is the only faithful and true witness, that hath declared the will of his Father to his Church; who both raised himself from the dead, and diffuseth the power and virtue of his resurrection to all his; by whom all kings reign, as having received all power and dominion from God his Father over all the world: Unto that blessed and gracious Saviour of ours, that hath loved us from all eternity, and hath cleansed and purged us from the guilt of our sins, by his own most precious blood ;
1. 6. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory &c.
And hath made us, who were before the sons of wrath and his enemies, to become Kings and Priests unto God even the Father; Kings, in ruling over ourselves, and subduing of our corruptions; and Priests, in offering up our bodies and souls unto him, together with the sacrifices of our praises and thanksgiving: to him be glory &c.
I. 7. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Eren so, Amen.
Behold, he shall come to judgment with glory and majesty, in the clouds of heaven: and all men shall be witnesses of that divine state and magnificence of his; even those his enemies, which used him contemptuously upon earth, and pierced his hands, and feet, and side, in an insolent cruelty: and all the wicked throughout the world shall tremble and be confounded with fear and anguish, because of his coming to take full vengeance of them : even so, Amen.
I. 8. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
I am the only True and Eternal God, who so was before all things, as that I gave being unto all things; and, whatsoever should become of all things which have their being from me, am everlasting; and have my being of myself, infinite and independent; and therefore am he, from whom all things receive their beginning, and in whom they end; saith the Lord, which
is not capable of any variation of time, who is, and was, and shall ever be, even the Almighty.
1. 10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day.
I was, by the correption of the Spirit, in a holy ecstasy, on the first day of the week; which, upon the occasion of Christ's Resurrection, was called the Lord's Day.
I. 12. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks ;
And I turned to see him, whose voice spake unto me; and, having turned, I saw Seven golden Candlesticks, representing those Seven famous Churches, whereto I was commanded to write; as those, wherein were placed those seven worthy and renowned Pastors, which gave light to their several Churches;
I. 13. And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
And, in the midst of those representations of the Seven Churches, I saw Christ, the Son of God, in the resemblance of a man; clothed, as for the gravity and state of a King or Priest, in a garment down to the foot; and, in signification of his ready addressedness to the gracious works of his Mediatorship, girt with a golden girdle about the middle.
I. 14. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow : and his eyes were as a flame of fire :
To imply the eternity of him, who is the true Ancient of Days, his head and his hair were white, as the purest snow-like wool; and, to signify his searching knowledge, and piercing insight into all things, his eyes were as a flame of fire.
I. 15. And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace ; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
To import the purity of his proceedings, and the solidness and invincibleness of that power of his whereby he treads down all his spiritual enemies, his feet were like unto the purest and finest brass; and, in signification of the loud diffusion and great power of his word, his voice was as the sound of
many waters. I. 16. And he had in his right hand seven stars : and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword : and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
And he had in his right hand seven stars ; in resemblance of that sure protection that he takes, and that wise and just and beneficial disposition which he makes, of his faithful ministers in his Church : and out of his mouth proceeded the sharp twoedged sword of his powerful doctrine; and his countenance was majestical and glorious, as the sun shining in his full strength.
I. 18. And have the keys of hell and of death.
I have the absolute power over hell and death; so as I can either command them for the just torment and punishment of
wicked men, or discharge the penitent from the fear and danger of them.
II. 1. Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; &c.
Unto the chief Pastor or Bishop of the Church of Ephesus, write; &c. See chapter i. verse 16 &c.
II. 4. Nerertheless I hare somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Yet, notwithstanding all this worth which I do acknowledge in thee, I have some just exceptions against thee; and this especially, that thou art not so zealous and fervent, as thou wert in thy first conversion, but hast cooled and abated of that thy first love.
II. 5. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except ihou repent.
Repent thee, therefore, of this decay of grace ; and bethink thyself of recovering that measure of zeal, which thou once hadst; and bring forth such good works, for the fruits thereof, as were formerly wrought by thee: or else, I will shortly come against thee, and enter into a course of judgment with thee and remove away my church from amongst you.
II. 6. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
But, in the mean time, this commendable point I confess to be in thee, that thou abhorrest the beastly opinions and practices of the Nicolaitanes, the wicked followers of that revolted deacon and proselyte of Antioch, who gave way to the indifferent use of fornication and idolatry ; which things I also hate.
II. 7. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
To him, that holds out against all assaults, and prevails against all his spiritual enemies, will I give a blessed participation of Christ, in the kingdom of heaven; even of Him, who was at first figured by the Tree of Life in the earthly Paradise.
II. 9. And I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
And I know the opprobrious and reviling speeches, which are cast out against the Christians of Smyrna, by those which call themselves Jews; and so perhaps they are by blood, but, in respect of their unbelief and malicious persecution of the truth, are no better than the Synagogue of Satan.
II. 10. And ye shall hare tribulation ten days.
And ye shall have persecution in that Church of yours, for the space of ten years.
II. 11. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches: He that orercometh shall not be huit of the second death.