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from themselves the light of the Word of God; still maintaining and encouraging a spirit of bigotry and intolerance: some of them resuming with redoubled and with ten-fold guilt their iniquitous traffic in human flesh; and others pursuing with unabated zeal their selfish objects of interest or ambition; while, in the mean time, they discern not the subterranean fire, which is secretly at work, making preparation at the appointed moment for the explosion of that "great earthquake, such as has not been since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great;"-one early effect of which will be, that "Great Babylon will come in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath."
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
CHRIST, in the passage under consideration, having roused the attention of his people to the near and sudden approach of the time of unprecedented trouble, adverts, in the next place, to the subject of their immediate duty, under the full anticipation of this predicted event.
The world at large will not receive his admonitions, so as to be benefited by them. "Hearing, it will not hear; seeing, it will not perceive." It "sets at nought all his counsel, and will have none of his reproof." But surely it will not be so with his faithful servants. They will gladly avail themselves of the warning vouchsafed to them; and will seek to improve aright the important Crisis. And what, then, under existing circumstances, is their present, immediate duty? Let them "watch and keep their garments, lest they walk naked, and they see their shame.”
Watchfulness is, at all times, a prime duty of the Christian. In every situation, and at all
times, he is called to exercise circumspection.
Hence we find such frequent admonitions in Scripture to this effect: "Be sober, be vigilant." "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." "Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise." And, perhaps, in the present Crisis, watchfulness may be more particularly enjoined with an especial view to those "Signs of the Times," to which the Christian is so peculiarly concerned to attend. "For as
those that Watch ye,
a snare shall that day come on all dwell on the face of the whole earth. therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all those things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."* But it is chiefly in its connection with the subsequent part of the precept that vigilance appears to be here enjoined. Let the Christian "keep his garments," for the reason immediately annexed; and to this end let him "watch." It is in this order that we will consider this part of the admonition.
First, then, let the Christian "keep his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." Frequent and continual reference is made in almost every part of the Scriptures, and especially in the book of Revelation, to the
* Luke, xxi. 35, 36..
garments of the Christian. The expression is, evidently, figurative; but its meaning is easily ascertained. Garments, in general, are used for the purposes both of clothing and ornament; their office is to cover and to adorn. And analogous to these purposes are the Christian's garments. They are provided for him in order to cover and conceal whatever is defective and unseemly in himself, and to invest him with a beauty and a glory which do not naturally belong to him. They are described as "fine linen, clean and white;" and if we wish to know by what process they have been made white, we are told that it is in consequence of their having been "washed in the blood of the Lamb." In other words then, in plain language, divested of figure, "the white linen is the righteousness of the saints;" that righteousness, which is imputed to them by faith, through the sacrifice and obedience unto death of the Son of God, and in which they stand complete, accepted, and justified: aud that righteousness, which is wrought in them by the Spirit of His grace; and which, manifesting itself in all those fruits of holiness that a renewed and sanctified nature, though still imperfect, in some measure produces, constitutes, at once, the evidence of their present justified state, and their meetness and maturity for future glory. These are the
Christian's garments: to put on these is to "put on Christ;" and clothed in these, he is ready for the marriage-supper of the Lamb.
These garments, then, he is here admonished to "keep" a phrase, which signifies not only the retaining possession of them, but also the preserving them pure and undefiled. Let not the Christian lose his garments; let him not suffer himself to be deprived of them; and let him keep them clean and white, unspotted by the world or by the flesh. Here let us again divest the language of figure, and see the plain and literal meaning of the admonition. It bids the Christian to beware of being corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. To this end, let him hold fast the Head, and not be moved away from the hope of the Gospel, even the hope of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ. Let him not depart from that one foundation, which God hath laid in Zion: let him add nothing to it: let him take nothing from it: let him see that he is built exclusively upon it. Let him live by faith, daily coming to the blood of sprinkling for pardon and peace; that so his conscience being purged from dead works, he may serve the true God, without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of his life. Let him, also, be careful to maintain good works. Let him be dead to sin, and crucified to the world.