Page images

their temple. Many are roused to a sense of their danger, and turn victorious combatants in the great conflict, then pending between the Lord Jesus and the powers of darkness, concerning the very exis

tence and duration of the Church of Christ. VII. Since the whole series of these seven Churches

arises in succession, the following from the preceding one immediately before it, we shall therefore have to look for these Laodiceans among the Protestant communities, who are the precedent Church of Philadelphia. It cannot be the Romish church, for that is a hierarchy; it cannot be the Greek church, because Philadelphia did not proceed from her; it cannot be the whole Protestant church, for that exists prior to it, and is promised to remain till the Lord comes. Neither does it denote those infidel societies in Europe, who during this time of falling away, have made public confession of Deism and infidelity; for they are far beneath the character of a Church of Christ at all, and have forfeited their eternal inheritance. My tremulous mind feels itself unequal to the decision. The Protestant communities in England and America will determine the question, who these Laodiceans are—and who are their ministry; whether they refer to the Russian

church, or to themselves. These seven charges constitute the first part of the Revelation of Jesus Christ to his servants, in which they receive instruction, censure, and comfortable promises, con cerning those times and circumstances in which these churches exist, and how they should conduct the administration of their offices, as becoming a Christian ministry. I cannot close these charges of Jesus Christ,the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, to his gospel ministry, by any thing more suitable and impressive, than the following words from Massillon's charges to his clergy: “But the

Church is not, God be praised! disgraced by many of so profligate a character: yet it cannot be dissembled that there are some, who, by their lukewarmness in religion, or their attachment to the world, weaken the efficacy of their ministry. For not keeping alive in their breasts the spirit and the grace of their calling, by prayer, by meditation, by a life of sanctity and holiness, they have neither power nor inclination to speak of the things of God. They perform the duties of their sacred function without zeal, and without interest, and by consequence, without a blessing: they pronounce the most awful and affecting truths with an indifference and insensibility which deprive them of all their force; the coldness of their heart freezes the words on their tongue; and it is not possible that they can inspire their hearers with the ardor of religion, the divine fire of the love of God, when they do not feel a single spark of it in their own breasts. For we must apply our leisure to meditation, and engage our heart in piety, if we would expatiate on the holiness of the gospel, with glory to God, and edification to our hearers; if we would inspire those who violate its precepts with a dread of God's displeasure, if we would persuade them to avert his wrath, and secure his favour. Hence it is, that where holiness to the Lord" is not eminently conspicuous in the life and conversation of the ministers of the gospel, many people depart from the service of the Church, unconcerned for their sins, and indifferent about their salvation : hence the preaching of the gospel without success, the prayers of the Church without avail, all the ordinances of religion, and all the means of salvation unedifying and unserviceable to Christians.”





[ocr errors][ocr errors]


The Apocalypse may be divided into two parts, each of which contains a Series of Prophecies comprising many centuries. The first part commences with a general préface to this Book, and a special Introduction to that gloria ous appearance of Jesus Christ contained in the first chapter. After which the Lord reveals the lineage of his Church on earth, and the succession of his gospel ministry, down to his second Advent at the beginning of the Millenivium. This and the following chapter, contain a' more im mediate Introduction to a new order of Prophecies, upon å more general scale, which in part, runs on parallel to the former series, and constitutes the main body of the Revelation.

With the explanation of this chapter, expositors begin their digression from each other, according to their different favourite systems. Some treat this vision theosophically, and view these images as objects of the invisible world. Others remain in the field of history, and explain it symbolically, as concerning the Christian dispensation. The pious prelate Bengelius and professor Yung, consider it as the theatre, from whence the invisible powers interfere in the scenes on earth, and direct the great and eventful occurrences in church and state. It no doubt deserves the attentive inquiry of the scholar, and the most acute investigation of able divines, since it is a synopsis of so many partial discoveries, made to the prophets and men


« PreviousContinue »