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fore called, in its several branches, “ Father, I will that they whom with the utmost propriety, “ the Thou hast given me, be with me living by faith,” * the obedience where I am." Hence they obtain of faith.” This, then, is the only remission of sins, freedom from rule whereby, we may judge with the wrath and curse of the law, safety of our religious exercises, are justified from all things, have whether they spring from nature the privilege of adoption, are sancor grace ; whether they are the tified by his Spirit, approach with genuine effects of the grace of the confidence the Throne of Grace in Spirit, or the mere selfish efforts every time of need, and have a of an unregenerate heart, desti- right and title to the inheritance tute of the faith of Jesus and the of the saints in light. What an love of God. Let us then faith- assemblage of blessings! But to fully “examine ourselves, whether enter by Christ as the door, sewe be in the faith," and whether, cures those blessings to me. To Jesus, our “ HOPE QE GLORY, BE every believing sinner they are ac, IN us.". Our most. specious seré tually given, who comes to and vices, unconnected with him, will relies on Jesus for them, and ap. leave us under guilt, and there- proaches to the Father in him. It fore leave us to perish. But the is the business of faith to hold them grace that flows from him, shal} fast, believing the record of divine lead effectually, to him, and bring truth, and thus glorifying the ful. the believing sinner to the com- ness of the Saviour and the faith, plete enjoyment of all the pur-, fulness of God. The secret purchased blessings of his cross and poses of God are beyond the limits ransom.“ All things are ours, if of our feeble view; the revealed we are Christ's; for Christ is declarations and promises of his God's.” Some of these it will word are the directions for our now bę proper more particularly faith and conduct. These we know to consider.
can never disagree, but must ex. Through this Door I enter into actly correspond with the former, the fold of coVENANT and EVER. The confidence of faith, therefore, LASTING LOVE. The church of upon the promise, is as secure as God consists of his chosen, his re, though I saw my name recorded deemed, and beloved people; and in the Lamb's book of life. Let is therefore his peculiar treasure, the word of the divine testimony For them he hath purchased by stand on my behalf, and the book the ransom of the Mediator, ở of life no doubt records my name. ransom infinitely meritorious, the Let me be found in Christ, by faith, blessings of salvation; to them, and I shall never be found out of through the prevalence of his in- his covenant and eternal love. Betercession, he grants the actual lieve it, thou humble penitent, and possession. “ For the intercession fly to him as thy salvation ; enter of the Redeemer is not, a humble by faith, and “in believing and dejected supplication, which, be- rest thou shalt be saved, in quiet. seems not that glorious state of ness and confidence shall be thy advancement which He is possessed strength." of, who sits at the right hand of. To be continued in our next.) the Majesty on high, but an aụ, thoritative presenting himself be. fore the throne of the Father, ON THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA, sprinkļed with his own blood, for . Rev. ii., 1. the making out to his people all Unto the angel of the church of spiritual things, which are pro. Ephesus, write, These things lared by his oblation,, saving, saith He that holdeth the seven
stars in his right hand, roho 1. The person who was to write walketh in the midst of the seven was St. John the Apostle. He golden candlesticks.
T! was to do it at the command of This book contains the revela- Christ, of whom he had a glorious tión of Jesus Christ, which be sent vision (ch. i.); and who likewise and signified by his angel unto his gave a description of his greatness servant John (ch. i. 1). And John and majesty, as God; and of his was commanded (ver. 19), «Write victory and authority, as Mediathe things which thou hast seen, tor. I am the first and the last : and the things which are, and the I am he that liveth, and was dead, things which shall be hereafter." and am alive for evermore; and The things which are, signify the have the keys of hell and of state of the Christian churches in death.". John was the disciple Asia, as they were at that time. whom Jesus loved, and who had To seven of these churches he was leaned on his bosom; at that time to write epistles in the name of young in years, and peculiarly dear Christ, and by commission from to him, because he followed him him, viz. to commend, to comfort, in his youth. But at this time he and encourage, or to reprove and was far advanced in age, supposed warn, as was suitable to their se- hear 100 years old, and to have veral cases; some of them having survived the rest of the Apostles. sadly declined in zeal, purity, and He was likewise at this time an ġodliness, since they had first ré- exile for the faith of Christ, hav, ceived the Gospel; and others hav: ing been banished to the small ing remained steadfast, and in their island of Patmos, after having suforiginal state of purity. Thus, fered grievous persecutions from people must be addressed by the the Román emperor. (Ch. i. 9.) ministry of the Gospel according "I was in the isle which is called to their case and state, and have Patmos, for the word of God, and. their proper portion given ; or else for the testimony of Jesus Christ." wę labour in vain, and are guilty " I was in the spirit on the Lord's only of solemn trifling. I intend, day.” Employing it in heavenly if the Lord permit, to write on all contemplations, though in solitude, these seven epistles, and on what he was prepared for the visions is most observable in them, as they and revelations which he receiveda are contained in this and the fol. After the death of the other Apolowing chapter. And we are to stles, the Lord Jesus was pleased observe, that what is spoken to to reveal to him the things conthese churches, equally belongs to tained in this book, to be written all others in every age, and like. for the edification of the church, wise to individuals who may be in in all following ages, and therethe like state and circumstances, with to close and finish thế volume and it is written for instruction to of inspiration. the end of the world.'
2. He was first to write to the We shall confine our attention church of Ephesus. The word at present to ver. 1, and consider, Church originally signifies an asWho was to write ? viz. John Tó sembly of men gathered together, whom? the church of Ephesus- of whatever character, or for whatMore particularly, to the angel of ever purpose. But it is for the the church-What are the seven most part used to signify a comstars; and the seven golden candle- pany of men gathered out of the sticks? the office and employment world, who have been baptized, of Christ: he holds the stars in his and profess Christianity, or relaright hand, and walks in the midst tion to Christ. It sometimes sigof the golden candlesticks. nifies such persons in general; the
.. universal visible church; consists degenerated from their original ing of all who account themselves state of purity, for which they are the followers of Christ, and profess reproved and admonished. an attachment to him; these make 3. More particularly he was to up the one Christian church, address himself to the angel of though miserably divided into sects this, and each of the other churches, and parties, to the disgrace of viz. to the overseer or ecclesiasChristianity; and though the tical ruler, the bishop or chief greater part, alas! are Christians minister, who had authority over but in name. In the Scriptures it the other ministers and the whole also often means the whole multi. church; and to whom, in that age tude of 'true believers in Christ of comparative unity and purity, throughout the world; the catho- they were willingly subject, and lic or universal invisible church, of had not learnt, as in modern times, which we profess in the Creed to that there was no sin in making believe the existence in every age separations and divisions. Epheof the world. (Eph. v.) Christ sus was a very large and populous loved the church, and gave him- city, and, doubtless, at that time self for it, that he might present contained various congregations of it to himself a glorious church, &c. Christians; nay, it is plain, from A church likewise signifies the Acts, xx. that, during the life of professing Christians in any parti. St. Paul, there were several mi. cular city or province, as at Jeru- nisters there: “ He sent to Ephe. salem, Antioch, Ephesus, Smyrna, sus, and called for the elders, or &c.; and also the professing Chris. ministers, of the church.” From tians who assemble together for the the text there appears to have been celebration of divine worship and one chief over the rest, called the ordinances in one particular place, angel of the church. He, as the viz. a congregation. Thus, the chief ecclesiastical governor, was church in such an one's h use; a to be addressed, and was to comprivate dwelling-house being their municate the contents of the Episplace of assembling together, be- tle to the whole church, both mi. fore buildings were alvowed to be nisters and people. : erected and set apart for that pur. The term angel signifies an ampose.
bassador, or one sent with a mesThe church of Ephesus was the sage or commission to others. The whole number of professing Chris. heavenly angels are ministering tians in that city and its vicinity. spirits, employed of God in the It had been gathered chiefly by the government of the universe, and preaching of St. Paul. (Acts, xix.) the affairs of Providence, and esThere the word of God mightily pecially to minister for them that grew and prevailed ; and they for. are the heirs of salvation : “ They sook their sins, though at the ex. do his commands, hearkening to pense of their worldly wealth. To the voice of his word.” And all this church the incomparable Epis- the Ministers of the Gospel, whetle to the Ephesians was afterwards ther of higher or lower order, are written, to build them up, and to sent and appointed of God, to act encourage and establish them in in his name, and to declare his the faith of Jesus. It had now message to the sons of men, which subsisted a great number of years, it is at their highest peril if it is as had also those of Smyrna, &c. not regarded and obeyed. “ He when St. John was ordered to write hath committed to us the word of to them. And it appears that some reconciliation. We, then, are of them had in that course of time ambassadors for Christ, as though
God did beseech you by us; we but now ye are light in the Lord. pray you in Christ's stead, be ye A candlestick only holds the light reconciled to God.”
which is put into it, and has none 4. What are the stars here spo- in itself, and no supply from itself. ken of?-It is expressly declared, And the church and every memchap. i. 20, the seven stars are the ber of it need continual supplies angels of the seven churches. The from the spirit of Christ. And as ministers of Christ are called stars, a candlestick is a moveable utenas well as angels and ambassadors. sil, so no place or people have any As stars shine and give light, so assurance that the church of Christ, are they to do in their several or or light of his Gospel, shall ever bits to the church of Christ, both remain with them. When the light by their doctrine, according to the of the Gospel is entirely gone, word of God, and by their holy there is no more a church. So it life and conduct. They are fixed was threatened with respect to of God in their several situations, some of these seven churches, unto show to men the way of salva- less they repented ; and the threattion and the path of duty. And ening has been long ago fulfilled. this is done by all that fulfil their Long-favoured Britain should learn office aright, in any degree. And to beware. As gold is the most to their words, saith the Apostle, precious and valuable of metals, so ye do well that ye také heed, as to is the church above the rest of the a light shining in a dark place, till world, and its privileges are more the day dawn, and the day-star excellent and valuable. So are the arise in your hearts. But as pla- true members of the church above nets, they shine only with a bor- the ungodly, in their characters rowed lustre, received from the and lives, and in the estimation of Lord Jesus Christ, the great sun God. They shall be mine in the of righteousness, who is the light day that I make up my jewels. of the world. Whatever light" f The Lord expects those that prodivine truth they exhibit, it is not "fess the Gospel to exceed others, from themselves, but from the as gold the mire in the streets: word and revelation of Christ. It The righteous is more excellent than is his truth and message we have his neighbour. to declare to our fellow-men; and .6. The office and employment whatever light of knowledge or of Christ. He holds the stars (all grace is in any, in public or pri- true and faithful Ministers) in his vate station, it is received from right hand; signifying his gracious Christ, and out of his fulness and tender regard toward them,
5. What are the golden candle- and his guarding and protecting sticks? (Chap. i. 20.) “ The seven them by his power. These were candlesticks which thou sawest, exposed to much persecution, and are the seven churches.” To these the rage of men, as well as of Sa. the churches of Christ are com- tan. But he held them in his right pared. Every true church is as a hand; they were safe under his candlestick, containing the light care and protection, and, as all of divine and saving truth, and of other faithful Ministers are, imfaith and love, and all holiness; mortal till their work was finished. and manifesting this to all around. In all ages they are hated and reMen do not light a candle to be put viled by the ungodly, and meet under a bushel, or under a bed. with opposition often, þoth from Let your light so shine before men, professors and profane. But the that they may see your good works, Lord Jesus will support and own and glorify your Father which is in them, if they are faithful, and heaven. Onge ye were darkness, seek to please him, and not man...
CHRIST. GUARD. VOL. VI.
Lo, I am with you always, &c. He himself a Christian, and to wait on that despiseth you, despiseth me, &c. the Lord for his blessing. The And all those that have been hin- Lord Jesus walks amidst the goldderers and slanderers of their mes- en candlesticks. And there is a şage, he will call to a dreadful ac- church where there are only two count.
or three serious worshippers, and He walketh in the midst of the however low may be the state of golden candlesticks. The meaning religion with the generality in any hereof is shown and illustrated particular place. through all these Epistles. He is present with his church, and with
IMPROVEMENT. every true member of it; to bless : his word and ordinances, and to 1. God hath ever had a church add to the church such as shall be in this fallen and degenerate world, saved. God is in the midst of her; in one part or other, though it is she shall not be moved, &c. Pre- not entailed to any particular spot. sent to observe the state of his At Ephesus, though once so fachurch, and of religion, every mous and flourishing, there have where, whether flourishing or been, for many ages, little or no otherwise; to guide, encourage, remains of it; but it hath been reand support every faithful Chris- moved into Britain and other fatian ; to notice and disapprove the voured nations. Our Lord hath decays, backslidings, falls, or evil promised, that the gates of hell shall conduct of individuals; to re- not prevail against it. But we mark, and finally to condemn, all have no assurance of its continuthose that remain ungodly, and ance among ourselves ; he may reChristians but in name. The Lord move the light for our vile and knoweth them that are his. All ungrateful neglect and abuse of it; things are naked and open to the it behoves us to take warning.-2. eyes of Him with whom we have to We may be members of any visible don He will bring every work into church, and yet have no part in judgment, &c. It may especially Christ, but be banished from him signify his peculiar and gracious for ever. See that ye receive him presence in the worshipping as- by a lively faith, are united to his semblies of his church. Where mystical body, and follow him in two or three are gathered together the regeneration; or baptism and in my name, there am I in the midst Christian profession, so far from of theinin every Christian con- availing any thing, will render gregation; and supposing there your condemnation heavier than were but one or two sincere wor- that of Sodom and Gomorrah, shippers therein, he fulfils this The children of the kingdom shall promise, to hear and grant their ' be cast into outer darkness, &c. petitions, to instruct them by his Yet,m3. It is an unspeakable priword, to bless their waiting souls, vilege, if duly improved, to have and to grant them supplies of grace our lot in the visible church, and from time to time. They that wait amidst the means of conversion on the Lord shall renew their and salvation; to be (as Mr. J. * strength, &c. Public worship, es- * Mason expresses it) born to be pecially on the Lord's day, is every baptized, and bred on holy ground : Christian's duty and privilege, and happy beyond expression, if we which a truly godly person can know the things that belong to our never allow himself to neglect. peace!~4. Ere long the church of And if he cannot attend where he ihefirst-born, however scattered, will would, he will see it to be his duty be collected into one general as. to attend somewhere; both to own sembly in heaven. Its militant will