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he hath promised: and, in returning to him, thou shalt be healed.
I shall conclude with a word of ADMONITION. And the Admonition is that, which Christ himself makes use of in the seventh verse:- He, that hath. an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.'
Is there an inquiring heart before me? A man honest to his convictions-who would save his soulwho would not have his soul and body made the sport and prey of fiends-sunk into that pit whence there is no redemption?-Does he come to hear the counsel of God? Hath he an ear to hear?-then let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches:' let him hear what Christ saith; for it is Christ that speaks by me. I am a worthless earthen vessel; but I speak the words of Christ: therefore refuse not his word: refuse not him that says, 'I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.'
Let us every one ask, "What does conscience say to this charge? Have we left our first love?" has Christ somewhat against us! He is of one mind, and who can turn him?" What does he say in the second chapter of Jeremiah? Hear ye the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus saith the Lord: What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain ?" Is there any charge against me, O perverse generation? Have I been a wilderness to Israel?"
This is the appeal of God to Israel. Who then among us will be satisfied with saying, "No man can bring a charge against me?" Who would be satisfied with this? for, how many things are there in the decay of the soul, which the most penetrating human eye can never discover! What!-man!-a blind creature, mistaking in every step!-am I to be satisfied because
he can bring no charge against me? What would it avail, if the whole world were to join to acquit me, while Jesus says, "I have somewhat against thee?' I, who search the heart and try the reins, see there is a decay and I tell thee, because I love thee; and would stop the decay by calling thee to recollection and to repentance."
Is not this exactly your conduct toward your children, when you see them taking a wrong course? Do not you talk to them again and again? And why do you this? You do not take so much pains with other children. You give them advice: but you repeat it again and again to your own children, because you love them better than you do the children of others.
Remember, then, the message of Christ, which you have now heard: and recollect, that he sits as a refiner, and will thoroughly purify his children. I entreat you, therefore, Brethren, to seek him, that he may not have to charge you with this also: "I warned thee of thy decay, and thou neglectedst my warning."
But hear Christ's Encouragements, as well as his warnings:- To him, that overcometh, will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.' What!" as if he had said, "is it a small thing, that I give unto my people not as the world giveth, that I mock them not as the world doth, nor offer them a momentary gratification like that of the world! I will give to him, that overcometh, to eat of the Tree of Life:' he shall derive from me ⚫ wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: he shall sit with me at my table in my kingdom."" What hath the sensualist or the hypocrite to hope for, compared with this? Oh, reflect for a moment, 'ye that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.'
My Dear Hearers, the moment we set out as Christians, we profess to be armed men-taking unto us
the whole armour of God. Let us run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus: and, when we meet difficult and rugged road, let us remember the promise- To him, that overcometh, will I give to eat of the Tree of Life.' By the help of God, then," let each of us say, "I will endeavour to look up, like Jacob, and see a ladder reaching from heaven to earth, that I may climb from earth to heaven I will endeavour to climb this ladder, taking step by step; and, if I can take but one step this month or this year, I will remember that it is a step toward glory, honour and immortality."
May God, of his infinite mercy, enable every one of us to rise from earth, and to reach that blessed world!
SPECIAL SUPPORT IN SUFFERING.
REVELATION, I, 17.
And when I saw Him, I fell at his feet as dead.
And he laid his
right-hand upon me, saying unto me, fear not: I am the first and the last. I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for ever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
BEFORE Christ left the world, he warned his disciples, that, in that world, they should have tribulation; but, be of good cheer,' he said, 'for I have overcome the world,' and 'I will not leave you comfortless' in it. But he did more than encourage them by words: for he appeared unto Stephen, while his enemies were stoning him he arrested Paul, when he was persecuting and he visited John, when he was suffering in exile, and probably in slavery. 'I, John,' says the Apostle, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day; and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and what thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the Seven Churches which are in Asia.'
From these words I shall discourse ON THE SPECIAL SUPPORT, WHICH A CHRISTIAN MAY EXPECT, IN HIS SUFFERINGS FOR CHRIST'S SAKE.
But who is the Christian? I have often endeavoured in this pulpit to answer the question: but it cannot be
too often considered: for, "If I am not a Christian," should every man say, "I am dead in trespasses and sins-I am in darkness even until now-I am an enemy to God-I am a child of the devil: and, as God liveth, and as my soul liveth, there is bul a step between me and death eternal." What an important question then is it, "Am I a Christian ?"
A Christian is a man convinced by the word and Spirit of God, that he has been in the lost state just described; and that, till God awaken him to see and to feel and to confess his condition, and to take hold of the mercy revealed in Christ, he was perishing even as others-in ignorance-in enmity-in presumption-and, perhaps, even with the form of Godliness, denying the power thereof.'
Such a man is not now to be told that Christianity is only a change of opinion. He knows that he was blind, and now sees: he knows that he was dead in sin, and now lives by the faith of the Son of God: he knows that he was without hope, and without God in the world: and he now knows, too, that he has a hope full of immortality, built upon nothing less firm than the truth and character of God. Old views, old idols are passed away: 'behold all things are become new ; for if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.' Consider the Christian as a sufferer. To this man, indeed, are given many great and precious promises; but not one that he shall not suffer tribulation here. He is rather admonished, that, in the world, he shall have tribulation: though, in Christ, he shall have peace. He may, at times, be so overwhelmed with views of himself or with views of his God and the path in which he leads him, as to be ready, like the Apostle, to fall down dead at his feet. This is a matter of experience. The violent assaults of temptation-the black suggestions of the Evil One-the frightful insinuations of unbelief-the sometimes total deadness and depravity of the heart-force a bitter