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It will now be an easy matter, by the help of such strong features and distinguishing characteristics, which the Lord has placed before us, to decide that grand question, who these Laodiceans are. Let us take a retrospective view of this Church and place all the principal features, which the Lord has described as distinguishing characteristics, at once before our eyes. They are represented, I. By their very name as a people which hold tie su

preme power of their rights, jurisdiction, and judgment, in their own hands; which may refer both to

their mode of civil and church government. II. By being called the Church of the Laodiceans in the

plural number, as consisting of many distinct parties · who yet have a common tie by which they stand

united as a Church. III. As a Church of Jesus Christ, and one of the seven

candlesticks, by which her orthodoxy, at least as to essentials is acknowledged, though she has added many things of her own, for which reason she is also

denominated the Church of the Laodiceans. . IV. The gospel ministry of this Church is lukewarm in

all its administration. They neglect the peculiar doctrines of the gospel, which are the life, fire and savour of Christianity, and preach ingenious, flowery discourses on morality, supported by philosophical arguments and motives, which only appear to advantage in such writings as those of Seneca, Cicero,

or the Stoics. ' V. This ministry is unsound in certain points of doc

trine concerning the depraved and fallen condition of man, and the absolute necessity of God's grace in his restoration and recovery unto divine favour and

gospel obedience. VI. There are revivals of religion among them, of a

new and distinguished kind, by which the Lord in a special and powerful manner knocks at the door of 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 Lordis 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 in- . different 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.” .

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