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world, expressive of his office or employment. Hence they speak of many names in heaven and the inferior regions, as so many offices held by the inhabitants there; where all engaged in the same object, are of the same name. The word xaivor', new, denotes excellence, and expresses the eminence of their station. And of great distinction it will be indeed: for the Lord even saith, that no man knoweth that state of glory, saving he that receiveth it. The meaning of these words may be, that their state of glory, and office in the future world is inconceivable now; or the sense may be, that it is of such a nature and distinction, as not to be known to others even in the regions of bliss.
In this charge the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls seems to have his eye fixed on that change of the Christian doctrine and mode of worship, brought about by the preposterous endeavours of a lifeless clergy, since the beginning of the fourth century. It began by pious frauds under the auspicious protection of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, when numbers of impostors began to practise the impositions of the Heathen priest, upon the ignorant and credulous multitude, by spreading rumours of prodigies, selling fictitious relics, and deceiving the eyes of the populace with ludicrous combats with evil spirits or genii, in order to allure the Pagans. Yea they soon went so far,'as to adopt Pagan rites and ceremonies into the Christian worship, to facilitate the conversion of the Heathen, and gain the esteem of the great, rich, and powerful, who still held their offices, and followed the worship of Idols, in every part of the empire. Tis ostentatious worship laid the foundation to the following reign of superstition and spiritual tyranny in Christendont, which is still kept up and defended, both in the Roman Catholic and Greek churches to this day. By this deplorable change, the Christian religion was wounded in its very essence, and the worship of God eclipsed in all its lustre. All this, those desirous of convincing themselves may easily see, by comparing the present mode of worship in those churches,
with the one instituted in the New Testament. See Mos. heim's Eccl. Hist. C. W. F. Walch. Gibbon.
The Lord also soon began to fight against these churches, by the invasions of the German and other nations into the western part of the Roman empire : the Vandals in Africa, and the Mahometan and Turkish wars against the Greek and Latin churches for many centuries. And by these calamities the candlestick of the Greek church, was soon almost totally removed out of its place; and the final doom of the Roman Jezebel is yet to come.
A PASTORAL CHARGE
TO THE ANGEL AT THYATIRA.
18. And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira
write; these things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet
are like fine brass ;, 19. I know thy works, and charity, and service, and
faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the
last to be more than the first. 20. Notwithstanding I have a few things against
thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and
to eat things sacrificed unto Idols. 21. And I gave her space to repent for her fornica
tion; and she repented not. 22. Behold I will cast her into a bed, and them that
commit adultery with her into great tribulation,
except they repent of their deeds. 23. And I will kill her children with death; and all
the Churches shall know that I am he, which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give
unto every one of you according to your works. 24. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira,
[as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths o Satan, as they
speak,] I will put upon you none other burden; 25. But that which ye have already hold fast till I
26. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works
unto the end, to him will I give power over the
nations: 27. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the
vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers;
even as I received of my father. 28. And I will give him the morning star. 29. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit
saith unto the Churches. Verse 18. These things saith the Son of God, Born of the father from all eternity ; and according to his human nature, a creation in the womb of the virgin, merely by the almighty energy of the Holy Ghost-whom you know and whose authority you acknowledge. His eyes full of wrath, sparkle with a divine lustre like two flames of fire, because of the abominations which he sees arising in his Church. His feet like the most pure and refined metal, as burning in a furnace, will mark nations and empires with glowing coals as he passes forth. Habak. iii. 5.
Verse 19. I know thy works. I have inspected all your different offices, the persons who fill them, and their manner of administration, and will now tell you the sentiments of my heart. See chap. ii. 9.
Charity. The original áganu, signifies both love and charity, as the one is the tree, and the other the fruit. The Lord means to say: I approve of the love to God and men, which fills thy heart and is the chief motive of thy actions. Such a disposition will always disclose itself by charitable actions, in which the first Christians particularly abounded. Every congregation had its deacons, and many also their deaconesses, whose offices were to administer the gifts and oblations to the poor and needy; and these appointments have been well supplied for many centuries. But not only the deacons believed it incumbent on themselves to search for the poor and sick, that might be in want; also the ministry considered it their duty, under
whose directions the deacons officiated. They here receive the Lord's approbation.
Service. Staxoviav, office of the gospel ministry. Thus I translate this word here, though it may signify all the different offices in the Church. The word charity seems to comprise those servants of the Church, whose offices consisted in administering to the bodily wants of the poor, the sick, the orphans, the widows, &c. and service, the ministry of the word, whose business it was variously to instruct the people, and supply the spiritual wants of their souls. In this sense, even the apostles are called' deacons, 2 Cor. vi. 4. Eph. iii. 7. Coloss. i. 23; and their office a deaconship.
Thy faith, and thy patience. The word istis, faith, ought to have been translated here, faithfulness, integrity, in the performance of the duties appertaining to the different offices; and unrouous, patience, denotes the continuod resolution to oppose the attacks of the enemies of souls, and to stay their progress even under many sufferings.
And thy works; and the last to be more than the first. As these words stand, the expression, "and thy works," would be only a needless repetition of the first sentence in this verse. But the wliole translation is faulty, and the semicolon placed amiss. See the note on the word beyov, verse 2. και τα έργα του, και τα έσχατα πλείονα των #utw, and your last offices, which are more, than the first. At the time, to which this charge, alludes, the government of the Church had already undergone a great change, since the time of Christ and his apostles. Constantine the great, had modelled its ancient form in many respects according to the constitution of the Roman empire, which necessarily introduced, among the different orders of the ministry, many new degrees of rank and eminence. Some also were introduced from pride, and others from necessity, as the Church extended her banners, and the congregations grew more numerous and opulent. They now had