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spew all careless and lifeless professors out of his mouth, they having no abiding place in the bowels of his mercy. Hence he tells the last church of the seven, that he stands at the door and knocks; and, in his account of the last days, he blesses that servant who, when he cometh and knocketh, Mall open to him immediately. Moreover when he writes to the Laodiceans he stiles himself the Amen, to fhew that he then comes to give the finishing.stroke both to the church and to the word. Hence it appears that these seven churches were typical, which seems to be the reason why these seven churches in Asia are written to, and no others; no, not so much as the church at Jerusalem, which was the metropolitan church, and the mother of all the rest; and which in all things had the pre-eminence, by being the mother of Christ, for he was born there, and of her, according to the flesh; and it was the that first trusted in him, and from whom the word and the law came forth to all nations: and yet even she is not named in these epistles, though no doubt but she is included in one of the types; no, nor any church in Africa, nor any in Europe ; which shews plainly that they were types of churches which fhould afterwards appear in the world. And, as Philadelphia prefigures the next glorious appearing of the church, and the universal spread of the gospel in the world, and that of Laodicea agrees with the Lord's account of his coining to judgment, so the church of Sardis reprefents the church in our day; and every thing that is
faid to this church exactly agrees with it in its prefent state.
In addrelling this church Christ ftiles himself bë that bath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars, By the seven spirits of God is not meant angels ; for it can hardly be thought that angels are joined with God the Father, and with the Lord Jesus Christ, in sending these epistles to the churches, as in chap. i. ver. 4; 5; but the Holy Ghost, with all the fulness of his gifts and graces, is meant; and by the seven stars the seven ministers of the churches, which, like stars, have a little light in them, and which is reflected from Christ; and their being in Christ's hand shews their weakness, and the need of his power to support; protect, and keep them.
I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. The works that Christ requires are the works of faith, the labours of love, and the patience of hope, performed in his strength, by persons interested in him, and who abide in him, who enforce and defend his truth, who embrace it, hold it fast, and abide by it. All works short of these are dead works, performed by persons dead in trespasses and sins, and under the curse of the law, and the sentence of their own conscience; and, what is most dreadful of all, they are damned by the gospel ; it is a favour of death unto death to them, being only hypocrites in Zion.
Thou baft a name that thou livest, and art dead. There is nothing more common in the present day
than to hear a poor canting hypocrite crying out, O! what a lively minifter that young man is! What a lively congregation such an one hath! That and this young man, how lively they are ! they are alive to God indeed! When, at the same time, if you ask ninety-nine out of an hundred, either ministers or people, what the quickening operations of the Holy Spirit are; what the application of the word of life is when sent with power; what it is to pass from death to life by faith ; what it is to be delivered from the sting of death, the fear of death, and from the law, which is the ministration of death; and what a lively hope is, what repentance unto life means, and what the circumcision of the heart to love God with all the heart, that we may live, means; or what it is to have Christ living in us; they will give you just as good an account of these things as an Hottentot, and no better : they have a name to live, buf they are dead. And those who give them this name to live are fuch as only judge according to appearance, and not rightcous judgment. Nor does their appearance of life spring from divine things, but from human inventions, such as the missionary business. This kept many of the flying troops and scouting parties for a long time in life and motion : novelty gives life to many thoufands. Such a precious soul is coming up, and preaches his first sermon at lo bere; such an one takes his leave at lo there, but divine life is neither enforced nor described by one in fifty of them; for, if life was insisted on, they would be
badły attended by those who have only a name to live.
Many ministers are obliged to have recourse to an organ before a little false glee can be raised;. others study the art of moving the passions by einpty oratory, and a great noise; others are kept in life and motion by abusing the civil powers, and crying up the majesty of the jacobins; and not a few thousands are fed and kept in life and motion by those who blacken the gospel, by charging it with the opprobrious names of antinomianism and licentious doctrine, and by ridiculing the power of godliness, and those who preach it, and those who enjoy it. The name to live springs from these things, and not from the Holy Ghost's operations. Be watchful, and
strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die. The first of thefe words contain a reproof for blindness of mind, carnal security, idleness, and inattention. And blind they must be, with a witness; for, when the hour of temptation came on, they expected no less than the destruction of all rule, government, order, and distinction, among men, and that anarchy was to ride in triumph; whereas God sent it as a fan to separate the vile from the precious, and as a trap to discover and take by the heel the impostors and hypocrites in Zion; and they are so desperate at the success that God gives to our forces, that it is a vexation only to understand the report, and will terminate as the prophet foretold it would, namely, that they shall fret
themselves, themselves, and curse both their king and their God's and look upward.
Strengthen the thing wbich remain that are ready to die. These things are the vessels of mercy in the furnace of afiction, half starved for want of the bread and water of life, and nothing to attend but wells without water, clouds without rain, and shepherds that cannot understand; they want their state described, and the kind invitations and encouragements of the gospel spoken experimentally to them; and they go from city to city to find it, but all in vain. And there is scarce a large town in the nation, but what you will find here and there a little company sensible of their loft ftate, labouring in bondage and misery, but none to feed them; hypocrites are fed and nourished up in their presumption, and such as these are quite starved. These are called
The things which remain; which implies that great numbers are fallen off; and this is most certainly true with respect to our day of profession. Mr. Winchester, who laid a foundation for hope in hell, overthrew the faith of many, both of them that stood in the pulpit, as well as those in the pew. Mr. Brothers, the lunatic, who promised a basis for hope in the Saviour's sepulchre, and that we should once more seek the. living among the dead, hath Nain his thousands; but Tom Paine has slain his ten thousands; and there is not one in a hundred of them that remain that Chrift takes any notice of; it is only the few things which are ready to die (not them that have a name to live 3