Page images

istry of the Laodiceans stand very much in need. They are totally ignorant of the real state of their mind and heart, and what is still worse, full of self-flattery and de. ceit. Unconvinced of their ignorance in the things of the Spirit, of the weakness and unworthiness of their corrupted heart, they never seriously inquired into the health of their soul, with any solicitude for grace and illumination from above, in order to restore them to Divine life, and to reli- . gious sensibility. Thus they administer the holy offices as a profession, without devotion and zeal for the temple of Jesus—without solicitude for the salvation of souls---without a good and Christian example in their conversation and behaviour-and without prayer. Gracious Lord ! Can thy servants so far forget themselves, as to devote their ministry to the service of the enemy of mankind, and lead those very souls to perdition, whom they are appointed to save, and whom thou hast redeemed by thy precious blooni!

Verse 19. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. By this expression, the Lord mitigates the severity of the above censure, and enlivens their hope of recovery. You are not all sunk to the very brink of destruction; there are yet many among you, whom I love with tender compassion, and therefore take them into my school for a better education, en égaw xad Taideów) that they may learn to know sin ind God. This discipline consists in the vital operations of his Spirit on our hearts in affliction. A severe illness, a great loss, a disappointment, the death of a beloved parent, consort, child, or friend, have often reclaimed a prodigal son to submit to the vital inflụence of Divine grace, in order to his restoration. Into this school of discipline I will take you, saith the Lord therefore beware of grieving or quenching my Spirit; but be zealous, and repent, before it be too late.

Versc 20. Behold, I stand at the door and knock Here the Lord seems to speak of revivals of religion, and spe.

cial seasons of grace in the Church of the Laodiceans, which however are not brought about by the instrumentality of her ministry, but by different servants of Jesus Christ, with whom he is particularly present, and blesses their labours. By the zealous labours of these select servants, the Lord himself stands at the door of the Laodiceari Church; and to the outward tender of grace in the gospel, annexes an inward offer of his Divine influence on the mind and heart of the hearers, sufficient for their conversion, if not resisted. Whosoever these special servants of the Lord may be, they seem to have a particular aim at the Laodicean ministry in all their labours, in order to rouse them from their state of lukewarmness and spiritual insensibility; by which no doubt, they will bring many reflections and perhaps persecution on themselves. However, they are the arm of the Lord, and the Gospel of Christ is the hammer, by which these harbingers of good tidings knock against the door of the Laodicean temple, so as to shake and resound' through the whole edifice, in order to communicate the blessing entrusted to them. For the Laodiceans have drunk deeply of the narcotic potion, and are not easy to rouse from their lethargy, except by effective means. They may stigmatize these instruments as intruders, and disturbers of their peace; but if they open the door, and give ear to their message, the servants of the Lord may expect a cordial welcome.

I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Those who try to improve this season of grace, (for it appears to be the last one, immediately before the great conflict of the Church, and the second advent of Christ,) are here promised a blessing of immense value, even to sup with the Lord. These words do not properly refer to the sacrament of the Lord's supper, but to that intimate union and familiarity, which believers enjoy with Christ in those haleyon times, and seasons of grace, when the Holy Ghost shall prepare the lamp of their souls for a day of solemn

rejoicing in the arms of Jesus. The blessed prognostics of such a season, are, as in single persons, so in a congregation, town, city or country, a remarkable attention to the preaching of the word, and to all the means of grace; a peculiar serenity in the minds of the people, to discern spiritual things; a notable fervency and punctuality in the performance of all religious duties; glowing sentiments of Christian piety and general benevolence, in which the mind endeavours to soar high above nature, to the gate of eternal felicity, which the lukewarm would call enthusiasm, and bless themselves for their moderation. Whosoever shall see these signs of the Son of Man, let him understand.

It was an ancient custom among the Orientals, to make friendly suppers, in order to enjoy and exhilarate each other, and as a token of particular regard to their friends. The Eastern sages would meet on such occasions from far and near, in order to communicate to each other their knowledge and discoveries in the physical and moral world, and in regard to religion. These were hours of exalted pleasure and enjoyment-favours of a superior kind; and by this emblem the Lord here represents his seasons of special grace and spiritual union with his Church, and the divine visitations to his pastors, in which he discovers himself in all the loveliness of his character, and illuminates the path of their ministry, when they begin to travel in wearintss through the valley of this world.

I will sup with him, and he with me. The accomplishment of the 20th verse comprises a considerable time in the Church, and these words appear to have an immediate reference to that great and glorious marriage-supper of the Lamb, recorded in chapt. xix. 9. by which the Lord is about to gladden and overjoy his faithful followers at his second advent. We are now transported with joy unspeakable, and full of glory, when the Lord discovers himself to our souls, in all his loving kindness--we feel his

presence, the vital influence of his spirit, and rejoice in his praise and the salvation of the world, to the full satisfaction of our heart. But at that glorious feast of the Lamb, our souls will be all pure, all love, all peace, all joy, and reach the source of all excellence, which no language can describe. New fountains of knowledge, of spiritual pleasure and happiness will be opened unto us a never yet experienced intimacy with Christ and his Church, which will render us as blessed as it is possible to become in this world. But these words indicate a double feast: The Lord sups with his friends, and enjoys their faith, love and vital hope ; and the believers enjoy him, as their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. 1 Cor. i. 30. Rom. xiv. 17. Blessed are they which are called to this feast of the Lamb.

Verse 21. To him that overcometh will I grant, to sit with me in my throne. It is remarkable that the Laodicean conquerors are here promised a more glorious reward, than any of the faithful combatants in the former charges, Those at Thyatira are to have power over the nations, and will be employed abroad in the king's service; the Philadelphians are to superintend the priesthood and the government of the Church : those at Sardis are to be employed at court, the temple, and in new offices to be established in church and state ; but the Laodiceans are to be ministers of the interior affairs of state, which still denotes a higher honour, more abilities and obnfidence than any of the fórmer promises. But they are also deServing of a superior reward, for their conflict was greater and more severe.

A throne denotes royal authority and government. This emblem refers to a custom of the ancients, who made their thrones wide and spacious, so that more than one person could sit on then. They shall sit with the King of kings, and Lord of lords, on one and the same throne, and parti. cipate in his government, as his ministers of interior af

fairs in that kingdom, which he is about to establish on earth during the Millennium. Dan. vii. This is the highest honour, and next to being the bride of the Lamb.

The Laodicean conquerors have stood the day which tried men's souls. They entered the field of battlc, where all the powers of darkness, which had fought by separate detachments in former centuries, pitched their generai camp and place of rendezvous—where the remnants of Paganism in church and state, superstition, infidelity, the revolutionary' spirit of anarchy, liberty and egotism, made a united and last attack on the Church of Jesus Christ, which is to decide her fate on earth forever: We may anticipate important effects from the most vigorous efforts of the enemy of mankind, in the execution of a plan, which has cost him centuries, of consideration and artifice, and whereof the beast from the bottomless pit, the true Antichrist, is both the first result, and chief instrument.

Even as I also overcaine, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Here the Lord evidently distinguishes between his throne and the throne of his Father, as two distinct and separate governments. He was exalted to the throne of his Father, in his human nature, in consequence of the conquest he made by his victorious sufferings for the redemption of the world. The throne of his Father denotes the government of the Universe, and his throrte the gover! : vent of Jesus Christ in this sublunary world--the theatre of his redeemed family, which the Father has given him as his own inheritance. As the Father has exalted the Redeemer of the world in his manhood to his throne, in order to accomplish the divine purposes of His eternal councils; so the Lord Jesus promises to exalt the faithful, victorious combatants in Laodicea, to the administration of his government in this lower world. Blessed communion! unspe:kable honour!

He that hath an ear among the Laodiceans, let him hear what the Spirit of Jesus Christ saith in the Churches.

« PreviousContinue »