Page images

I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there, them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches: to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, save he that receiveth it." Rev. ii. 12-17.

The site of Pergamos is from sixty to seventy miles distant from Smyrna, and, like that city, it is now under Turkish dominion. Some few who profess the name of Christ continue still to reside there; but they are in a state of almost abject servitude, much more deplorable than that of their neighbours at Smyrna. It is said, that from this latter place, priests were accustomed for a long period of time to visit them, to perform the outward services of religion; but whether the practice continues to the present day, is uncertain. The two preceding types have shewn the Church of Christ, first, under the open ministration of the Holy Spirit, and, secondly, under Pagan persecution: its third condition is in Pergamos,

and the name signifies height-elevation. This state the church attained, when the chiefs of the Roman empire embraced Christianity. It was then lifted up on high, and exalted upon the face of the earth, and for a short season the true followers of the Lamb dwelt in the centre of corruption, even where Satan's seat was; for that by Satan's seat the government of the Roman empire is signified, appears very evident, on comparing Rev. xii. 3, with Rev. xiii. 2. Here then was the Church of Christ exposed to a trial of her faith, far more severe and dangerous than any she had before endured, at the time when she remained under persecution. For there arose false teachers among them, bringing in privily damnable heresies, and the spirituality of the outward Church was soon dissipated, and lost, in the contention for worldly advantages. The doctrines which carnal preachers introduced, were made stumbling-blocks to many; and many also were seduced from the purity of the truth, and from the simplicity which is in Jesus, mixing law and gospel together, and changing the truth into a lie. Men vainly imagined that a vital profession of faith, was not inconsistent with the enjoyment of all worldly pleasures and advantages; and the line of distinction between the world and the church was nearly, if not altogether, obliterated, in a vain, unhallowed effort to unite spiritual, and carnal things together. In this

condition of the Church, multitudes daily fell away, returning like the dog to his vomit, or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire: but still, under these circumstances, there were yet found faithful witnesses, who did not deny the faith, even in the days of Antipas the martyr. Who or what may be signified by this name, or by the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which is described as being hateful to the Lord, cannot now be collected, otherwise than as matter of conjecture, and therefore it must be passed over; but the promise made to those who were faithful under this dispensation, contains a plain indication, that the true followers of the Lamb were now about to be withdrawn from the eye of carnal observation, and to remain as the Lord's hidden ones, known only to him, to themselves, and to one another for the promise is, that they shall feed upon the hidden manna of his word, and shall receive the white stone which hath in it a new name written, which no man knoweth, save only he that receiveth it. The condition of the spiritual children, who sojourn within the precincts of the antitypical Pergamos, is aptly shadowed forth by the present state of the Christians who dwell within that city. Pergamos (i. e. height, elevation) -How art thou fallen? The name of Jesus is now scarcely heard in the city, and were it not for

'the occasional visits of preachers who come from Smyrna, exposed to persecution and tribulation, no savour of the Redeemer's name from the lips of a disciple, would be found within the walls of Pergamos.


Prophecy of the Seven Churches concluded:-Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea considered.Rev. xi. 18-28, and cxi. 1-21.

The Church in Thyatira is the subject of the next address, which is contained in these words:

"These things, saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet like fine brass: 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. 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. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented. not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her, into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death: and all the churches shall know that I am he, which searches the reins and hearts and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 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 of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you no other burthen, but that which ye have already; hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the



« PreviousContinue »