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sources fail, the Lord's people find a greater fulness and sweetness in Creator supplies. And when our cisterns are all broken, or dried up, then is known and enjoyed more blessedly, "the streams of that river which maketh glad the city of God."
John tells us, that he was in this place; and it was on the Lord's-day, when he was favoured with this glorious vision of our most glorious Christ. I cannot pass away from this memorandum of the apostle, as to the time of John's mercy herein, without first observing, that as John was by birth a Jew, the original sabbath had been with him, before his call to the Lord by grace, on the seventh day. But, as after the resurrection, the church of Christ observed the first day of the week, in honour of our Lord's triumph over the grave, instead of the seventh; and hence called this the sabbath and the Lord's day; it is plain that the apostle, even in Patmos, so regarded it. And this by the way, is a farther confirmation (if it were necessary) that the Lord himself approved the change. I admire the expression the apostle useth when he saith: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day." I pray the reader to pause and admire it also. The Lord's day, without the Lord's Spirit with his people, makes no preparation in the heart for the enjoyment of the Lord, in his ordinances. John being in the Spirit, though in this uninhabited spot, and where there were no ordinances, enjoyed more of Christ, than thousands do, in the peopled city, amidst all ordinances. The church of Christ is a spiritual church. And the worship of Christ must be spiritual. (John iv. 24.-Philip. iii. 3.) But what an encouragement doth this situation of the apostle afford to comfort the Lord's chosen ones, amidst barren places, barren frames, and when barren of ordinances! The Lord, that was coming to his servant to manifest himself" otherwise than he doeth to the
world," prepared his spirit for the spiritual apprehension of himself, at his coming. And John, who honoured the Lord's day, with setting it apart for the Lord's honour, found even in Patmos such a manifestation from the Lord, as all temples made with hands cannot give. Oh! what unanswerable arguments do such views afford, of honouring the Lord; day, in waiting for the Lord's presence! Surely, every redeemed and regenerated child of God may expect blessed and gracious visits from the Lord's ; especially when it be considered, (as hath been before observed) that this very manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ to John, was not intended for the personal comfort only of the apostle, but by such an open display to him of the Lord's love, to carry with it to the latest ages of the church upon earth, a full demonstration that his private visits should bé as truly their's, as this public one had been to John.
John proceeds to shew that being thus under spiritual impressions, and without the medium of ordinances, ❝he heard behind him a great voice, as of a trumpet." Here seems to have been a very blessedconfirmation of that sweet promise of the Lord, by the prophet: "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." (Isa. xxx. 21.) And when the voice behind, and the sovereign power of the Spirit within, is felt in the heart, the soul of every redeemed and regenerated child of God is prepared, like the apostle, to hear what the Lord God will speak, concerning his people.
It was a very gracious act of our most glorious Lord, to his servant, to speak from behind to the apostle; and to proclaim his adorable name; and the Almighty perfections of his nature and essence, be
fore that he manifested himself to the apostle before him in person. The voice, though great, like a trumpet, yet sweetly sounded also, when He said who He was, and declared himself the "Alpha and Omega; the first and the last." For such being the well known charchters distinguishing Jehovah from all his creatures; the apostle, as the prophets before had been blessed with revelations from the Lord, became the better prepared to receive the message which followed. We find a similarity of expression used by Jehovah, to the prophet Isaiah: "Who hath wrought and done it; calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord; the first and with the last; I am he!" (Isa. xli. 4.) So again, (Isa. xliv. 6.) "Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the Lord of Hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me, there is no God." And if those Scriptures be read with an eye to what the same beloved apostle John saith; (1 John v. 20.) what a beautiful light is thrown thereby on each other! Surely such characters of GODHEAD need no comment. They carry with them the fullest confirmation to the eternity and unchangeableness of him, who includes in himself both first and last, without beginning and without end; "upholding (as it is elsewhere said) all things; and by whom all things consist." (Col. i. 17.)
I detain the reader to remark yet farther, the infinite grace of our most glorious Christ, in that, before he inclined his servant John to turn to see who it was that was thus speaking to him, the Lord delivered also the message with which he was going to employ him: "What thou seest, (said the Lord) write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia, unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, andunto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia and unto Laodicea." Thus softening the
mind of the apostle, in so condescending a method of assuring him of his love, before that he turned to behold the glory of Christ's person, which of itself, would overwhelm him, so as to cast him to the earth. I pray the reader, to keep this in view. So doth the Lord by all his redeemed ones. Though not like Paul or John, such overwhelming revelations are not now made, because they are no longer necessary; yet all the manifestations of the Lord Jesus to his people are to same effect. The Lord first prepares the mind for what he is about to do for them; and then most graciously reveals himself in the several lovetokens of his favour.
The reader will observe, that I have not noticed the names of the seven churches, for I shall not be able to find space within the necessary limits of this little work to dwell upon their history. Not, for that it would not be profitable so to do, for it would be highly profitable and instructive. But because I have more to call the reader's attention to, in relation to our glorious Lord's manifestation to John, than I shall be able to fill in within those pages. I would therefore only offer one remark respecting those churches, and the Lord's message to them; namely, that what the Lord sent to them was not of a private nature; but had respect to the church of Christ, in all the succeeding ages, from John's time to the present hour; and to our nation, as a professing nation, in this awful day; and ought to be regarded with trembling apprehension. Those churches are no more. The places where they stood are occupied by professed infidels. The Lord's sentence upon them hath been long since executed. And it will be our wisdom to keep in remembrance the Lord's words: "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast
received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore, thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." (Rev. iii. 2, 3.)
"And I turned to see the voice that spake with me; and being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
"And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
"His head and his hairs were like wool, as white as snow and his eyes were as a flame of fire.
"And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
"And he had in his right hand seven stars; and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." (Rev. i. 12-16.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
WE here enter upon that most sublime subject, of the Lord Jesus manifesting himself to his beloved disciple John; and which interests the church in the fullest sense of interest: because though vouchsafed to John, it evidently carries with it the most perfect assurance, that every redeemed and regenerated child of God is as much included in this gracious act of mercy.
It was very blessed that John's attention should first be attracted to the contemplation of the candlesticks, in order to prepare the apostle's mind, by a gradual discovery; first of the church of our most glorious Christ; and then of Christ himself. And as at the close of this interview, the Lord explained to John what he saw, in declaring that the candlesticks were