« AnteriorContinuar »
wise, that all this power and glory, might and majesty is wholly and altogether for the good of his church. Wherein we may . clearly fee and know to our great comfort that the same arm of God which cafteth down the wicked, raiseth up the godly; the same power which woundeth them, healeih us; the fame hand which destroyeth them, saveth us; the same might and majesty 'which hurteth them, helpeth us. For whatfoever is in God, is wholly for his, and wholly against those that are none of his. And thus much concerning the first chap. ter ihall fuffice.
CHA P. II. & III.
Have thought good to handle these two . chapters together, and in a general and compendious manner to set down the niost fpecial matters contained in them both; not meaning to infist upon every particular, both because these two chapters are plain and easy to understand, and also because they have been sufficiently treated of by many. These two chapters do generally contain seven epistles, written to the feveri churches of Asia; wherein the present ftare of the churches of Asia is very lively de
fcribed, and in them the state of all other churches then' militant upon the face of the carth. Every one of these feven epistles containeth four things, viz. .
First, An exordium or entrance into the matters. ..
Secondly, A general proposition.
The exordium or entrance of every epiftle containeth two things, namely, the person to whom the epistle is written, and the person from whom the epistle is written.
The proposition is one and the fame in all these epistles, contained in these words, 6. I know thy works.'
The narration containeth the matter of each epistle, and consistęth of commendations, and discommendations; of admonis
The conclusion of every epistle is one and the same, in these words, “Let him
that hath an ear, hear what the Spirit faith to unto the churches.'
First, Concerning the person to whom these epistles are sent, he is named in the beginning of every epistle, to be the an
gel of such and such a church.' By this word angel, he means not the invisible spiTits which we call the angels of heaven, for
the things attributed to these angels, can in no wise agree to the invisible spirits, as to the angels of the several churches, to be neither hot nor cold, to leave their first love, to repent and amend, and sundry such like attributes thro' all these epistles. But by the word angel, he meaneth the minister or pastor of every church, which therefore is called an angel, because he is the minister of God, as the word signifieth, Also because every faithful minister ought to be received and regarded as an angel of God, as the apostle witnesseth of the Galatians, that they received him as an angel sof God, yea as Christ Jesus.' And he giveth many admonitions in his epistles to this effect; for he would have all faithful and painful miniiters to be greatly reverenced and held in double honour; to be acknowledged and had in fingular love for their works fake; to be cared for, to be made much of, and to want nothing; or indeed, a good minister is a jewel of price!
we say is better then a penny in purse. A good minister is like a candle, which spend
minister is like a cock, which by the clap ping of his wings awaketh himself, and 18 his crowing awaketh others. For a gooi minister, by his private studies, prayers an
meditations, awaketh himself, and by his public preaching awaketh others. The fcriptures affirmeth a good minister to be the very glory of Christ. And aşain, that a good minister is a singular bleffing of God, 2 Cor. viii. 23. For the Lord himself faith; "I will take you one of a city, and *two of a tribe, and will bring you to • Zion; and I will give you a paftor, ac
cording to my heart, which shall feed you « with kuowledge and understanding,' Jer. iji. 14. Now then if a good minister be fo great a blefling of God, and fo valuable a: pearl, how great is the fin of those which contemn them, and tread their ministry under foot, as. vile and nothing worth? Our Lord Jefus, faith of all such, he that
despiseth you despiseth me,' Luke x. 16. Let those scoffers and scorners therefore take heed how they despise Christ, for aí. furedly he will not lorig put it up at their bands.
If any man demand a reason, why all these epistles are specially sent and directed to the angels, or pastors of the churches, teeing John before, Rev. i. 11. is com- . imanded to write them to the churches of Afia: 1 answer, that he writing to the pas. tor, excludeth-not the churches, but in them, or under them, he writeth to the whole churches, as plainly it appeareth in
the conclusion of every epistle, when he faith: "Let him that hath an ear, hear what
the Spirit faith to the churches.' Then that which is spoken to the angel of the church, is spoken to the church. The reason why the speech is specially directed to the pastor of every church, is because the good or bad state of the church, for the most part dependeth upon, the ministers. For commonly we see it cometh to pass, such a pastor, such a people; such a fhep. herd, such iheep; such a husbandınan, such husbandry. And as the prophet faith, * Like priest, like people,' Hoi. iv, 9. For we may observe in all these epistles, that where the minister is commended, the people are commended; and where the minifter is difcommended, the people are dif-, commended also: so that they stand and fall, sink and fwiin together. As concern. ing the person from whom these epistles are fent, it is Jesus Christ, who is very glorioufly described of his divers qualities in the entrance of every one of these epistles: First, in the episiles to the church of Ephesus, it is said, these things faith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, and which walketh in the midst of the sea ven candlesticks.' Secondly, In the epistle to the church of Smyrna, these things "faith he, that is first and last, which was.