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May ministers and professors, who are called to dwell where Satan peculiarly has a seat, hear and joyfully obey this address of Christ! Such places where Satan's seat is, are many; and the professed people of Christ there are in danger of becoming themselves of a temporizing character; or of being led astray by those who are of such a character. Dreadful indeed is the charge, when it applies, “Thou savorest not the things that be of God; but the things that be of men.” Ministers and churches then, have great need to maintain vigilance and prayer, and to be bold, zealous, valiant, and persevering. They must not consult flesh and blood; but the word of God.
Ver. 18. And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a fame of fire, and his feet are like fine
We have here characters of Christ full of meaning. This city south-eastward of Pergamos, had its true church of Christ; but such were the imperfections found in this church, that Christ was about to administer solemn warning and reproof. He hence assures them that the address was from Him, before whose flaming eyes their conduct lay open! that their wickedness was before Him, whose feet are like burning brass; or, his ways most pure and holy. But he kindly commences by rehearsing
eir good deeds.
Ver. 19. 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.
The character of this church it seems had been established by exhibitions of a good degree of charity, or holy love. And they had performed services of faith, of holy patience, and of good works a second time expressed. Happy, if so inuch good could be said of all the professed churches of Christ. But Christ adds;
Ver. 20. Notwithstanding I bave 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.
In some great sin, various of their members were living. And the Saviour saw fit not to call the delinquents, nor their crimes by name; but to denote both by some figure well known. So delicate and wise is the word of Divine reproof! It chooses acceptable words. It presents a kind glass in which people may thus discover themselves, and reform, without being too fatally exposed. Of some, it thus, has compassion, making a difference. May public instructers improve this hint of Christ relative to the best modes of public reproofs! May they avoid the Scylla of harshness, needlessly offensive and cruelly personal; on the one hand;—and the Charybdis of hiding their reproofs, and rendering them ineffectual by false delicacy, on the other.
We know not the particular things here condemned, but that church, no doubt, well understood the reproof. Some wicked character or sect, was there indulged in the church, in a degree similar to the idolatrous Jezebel, the queen of Ahab, who persecuted the prophets of the Lord, and unrighteously put her royal consort into possession of Naboth's vineyard. And made herself both impertinent and hateful by her idolatries. Some wickedness was winked at in this church, which tended to real idolatry, which is spiritual impurity. They pleaded divine authority for their peculiarities; but their pleas were false. Evils, like this, have infested the church of Christ in all ages,-plausible by the blandishments of innovators, and assuming shades of difference in different times and places.
Ver. 21. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
22. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her, into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
23. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts : and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
This sect, spiritually licentious, Christ had called upon to repent; but they had refused. And he now denounced that he would soon turn their bed of selfish religion, and of mystical impurity, into a bed of torment; perhaps alluding to the threatening in the prophet, of the same wrath for a similar sin,—"Behold, all ye that kindle a fire; that com
pass yourselves with sparks! Walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled; lo, this shall ye have at my hands; ye shall lie down in sorrows." As a bed of licentiousness shall end in a bed of eternal torments; so the framers of licentious sentiments,-forming their sentiments from their own imaginations, and not from the word of God, shall, at the end, lie down in eternal sorrows! And their children-probably neglected under some sanctimonious pretence, or trained up for annoyance to the faithful saints—Christ would “kill with death!” probably indicating, that the error of this sect was of: a nature to prove fatal to their families. Thus their own wickedness should correct them; and they, with their neglected children, should perish in their sins. And all the churches, beholding such examples of justice, shall know the judgments of God, and that Jesus Christ is the Jehovah, who knows all hearts, and will render to all according to their real characters!
Ver. 24. But unto you I say, and unto the rest ip Thya
I tira, As many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
25. But that which ye have already, hold fast till I come. Some, by the grace of God, had escaped the pollutions which have been noted. They should walk with Christ in the purity of his salvation, with no additional burdens. These had not known certain depths, in which, it seems, the censured sect had gloried. To these depths they probably gave some specious name of wisdom; but Christ calls them “depths of Satan." The boasted intimacy of this sect, then, was not with God, as they vainly fancied; but with the wicked one. Too many, alas, have made the same mistake, fancying they were led by the divine Spirit; when their leader, in fact, was a fallen angel! So that their boasted depths of wisdom were in reality but “depths of Satan " who transforms himself into an angel of light. Such will turn into crooked ways, and be led forth with the workers of iniquity. But the true disciples of Christ will hold fast till he come.
Ver. 26. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.
27. (And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers); even as I received of my Father.
28. And I will give him the morning star.
29. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
It is predicted of Christ, in Psalm ii., relative to the heathen and the antichristian world, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, and shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.' This has a special allusion to "the battle of that great day of God Almighty,” which shall sink the antichristian world. And this event Christ sees fit to ascribe to the persevering triumphant saints. They are noted as doing this work of judgment in the same sense in which they are to "judge the world.” They will have perfect fellowship with Christ in those mighty operations; and he will do these things in answer to their prayers for the salvation of Zion. Christ thus puts upon his children the honor of his operations of judgment, even as the two witnesses are said to “have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy; and power to smite the earth with all plagues as oft as they will.” The Psalmist gives the same view of this honor put upon the triumphant people of God; that "the high praises of God are in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hands, to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishment upon the people; to execute upon them the judgments written; this honor have all the saints.' “Eren as I have received of my Father.” This honor the Father has officially given to the Son, as Mediator, and as Head over all things to the church, as a part of the reward of his sufferings and humiliation, when he obeyed and died to magnify the law. And Christ gives a participation of the honor of it to his children, in consequence of their obedience to the gospel; as he says in another passage, “He that overcometh shall sit down with me in my throne; even as I have overcome, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Christ had before said to his disciples, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” As the saints are justified, and will be glorified in Christ; so he puts a measure of his honor in governing and judging the world upon them. His saints will have full fellowship with him in these events, and in his destroying the antichristian world, to
way for the Millennium: and he will do it in answer to their prayers for Zion, and to complete her salvation.
Christ's giving to all that overcome, the morning star, means his giving himself to them. “I am the bright and morning star.” This is indeed the gift of all gifts. “He that overcometh, I will be his God, and he shall be my son. Well does such a promise close with the gracious demand so often repeated, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.' Seven times over, in this book, is this divine command given in the same words! We have here, then, a perfect testimony given to the personality and divinity of the Holy Ghost! And most perfect is the testimony, in this book, borne to the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity of God. It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God the Father gave unto him. And it is, at the same time, what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Let the communications thus made sink deep into our hearts. Let them be to us quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword. Let them pierce to the dividing asunder, as it were, the soul and spirit, the joints and
Let them be the discerner of our thoughts and intents of the heart. May our sins be purged off. May all the members of the church of Christ see to it that no followers of Jezebel, no seducing characters or practices, are allowed in their hearts, or in their communities; lest they at last find themselves shut out from the holy temple above, and must lie down in eternal sorrows.
Ver. 1. And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars ; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Sardis, southward of Thy atira, was once the renowned