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whatever of your ever receiving the blessings which Christ has so freely offered you. It was not the proud self-applauding Pharisee, but the poor self-condemning Publican, that obtained mercy of the Lord: and it is written for the admonition of all future ages, that, in like manner, "he who exalteth himself shall be abased; and he only who humbleth himself shall be exalted."

2. Comply, in all things, with the counsel given


[Go to Christ to obtain them. Think not to find them in any other: but say, "Lord, to whom should we go? Thou alone hast the words of eternal life." And be willing to receive them upon his terms. Dream not of bringing to him any thing as a compensation for them, or as a warrant for your application to him. All your warrant is poverty; and your price is your sins, which you are to cast on him, to be forgiven; and to cast from you, to be mortified and subdued. And remember whose counsel this is: it is the counsel of "the Faithful and True Witness," who knows all your necessities, and who alone can relieve them. It is the counsel of him who is called, "The Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God"." "Listen not then to flesh and blood," nor suffer any one to make you hesitate one moment: but go to him with all your wants, and receive at his hands all the blessings of grace and glory.]

3. Enlarge your expectations to the full extent of God's promises

[Say not in your hearts, that this is too great, or that is too small to expect at his hands. There is no greater sin than "limiting the Holy One of Israel." He bids you "open your mouth wide, that he may fill it:" and the more enlarged your expectations are, the more abundant will be his gifts. The fact is, that as there is not a want in you, for which there is not a suitable supply in him, so neither is there any thing in him which shall not be made over to you, if only ye will believe in him. Only come to receive out of his fulness, and he will give to you his grace, his peace, his righteousness, his glory. All shall be yours, the very instant that ye are Christ's." Only come to him empty, and ye shall be filled: and the more empty ye come, the more shall ye be filled, and the more will he be glorified.]

r Isai. ix. 6.



Rev. iii. 19. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

IN the epistles to the seven Churches of Asia, there is an exceedingly rich variety of instruction, that is quite as applicable to us at this day as ever it was to the Church to whom it was first delivered. It is probable that some in Laodicea would regard the menace which was sent them in this epistle as a prelude to their utter destruction. They could not conceive that the Lord Jesus, who had threatened to " spue them out of his mouth" with the utmost indignation and abhorrence, could entertain, in reference to them, any other sentiment than that of irreversible displeasure: and thus they were tempted to sit down in utter despair. But our blessed Lord assured them, that these very menaces were expressions of his love and pledges of his favourable acceptance, if only they would comply with the directions. which he here gave them. But the words I have read contain, not only a particular instruction to them but a truth of universal and unalterable importance to the Church in all ages. We here see,

I. How the Lord Jesus Christ acts towards the objects of his love

God not unfrequently gives to his enemies all that their hearts can desire. Are they anxious for wealth, and honour, and power, or for an increase of their families? and do they further desire a freedom from trouble, both in life and death? All this is bestowed upon them with so bountiful a hand, that they bless themselves as the happiest and most favoured of mankind. Yea, to such a degree does this often obtain, that the most eminent saints are stumbled at it. But towards those whom he loves, he, for the

a Ps. lxxiii. 3-5, 7, 12. b Job xxi. 7-13. Jer. xii. 1, 2.

most part, acts very differently: them "he rebukes and chastens."

1. By the declarations of his word—

["The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword":" "yea, it is as a fire, and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces:" and when it comes with power to the soul, not the proudest sinner in the universe can withstand it. When but four words were written upon the wall of the room where Belshazzar was feasting, "the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another!" And how it wrought upon the murderers of our Lord on the day of Pentecost, you well know for three thousand of them cried out with one voice, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Doubtless, the terror inspired by this is often exceedingly appalling: but yet it is sent in love, "to convince men of their sin," and to bring them to repentance and the deeper the wound that is inflicted by it, the greater evidence there is that God has sent it in love to the soul -]

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2. By the dispensations of his providence

[It often happens, that men withstand the word of God, till they are visited with some afflictive providence and not unfrequently repeated strokes of the rod are necessary, before they will hear and receive instruction from it. And these dispensations are thought by many to be tokens of God's wrath. But, indeed, they are rather indications of his love: they are paternal chastisements, sent for our profit, that we may be humbled by them, and quickened, and "made partakers of his holiness." It was for this end that many of the Corinthian Church were visited with pains and sickness: "they were chastened of the Lord, that they might not be condemned with the world h." And how beneficially these afflictions operate, may be seen in Ephraim of old: "Surely I have heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus: Thou hast chastised me; and I was chastised as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. Turn thou me, and I shall be turned: for thou art the Lord my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth." God then adds, "Is not Ephraim my dear son?" Had God felt no regard for Ephraim, he would have said, "Why should ye be stricken

e Heb. iv. 12. f Mic. vi. 9.

i Jer. xxxi. 18, 19.

d Jer. xxiii. 29.
Heb. xii. 5--11.

e Dan. v. 5, 6.
h 1 Cor. xi. 30-32.
k Jer. xxxi. 20.

any more? Ye will revolt more and more1:" but, feeling towards him the affections of a Father, he says rather, "I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished m."]

This truth established, we may see,

II. How they in return should demean themselves towards him

Two things in particular were blamed in the Laodicean Church, namely, lukewarmness and selfsufficiency and against these especially he directs them to strive, by the daily exercise of zeal and penitence. The same direction is proper for all whom he has chosen in Christ Jesus to be the objects of his love:

1. Be zealous

[It is not sufficient to perform a mere round of duties, and to abstain from gross sins. Religion is every thing, or it is nothing: it requires all the powers of the soul: and, if any of our faculties be alienated from God, or exercised only in a lukewarm way, the service, whatever it may be, will not be accepted. "In every good thing we should be zealously affected";" and "be fervent in spirit, when we serve the Lord"." It was thus that Phinehas, and Elijah, and Paul', and all the saints, served God in the days of old. As for our blessed Lord "the zeal of God's house even consumed him"." And we also ought to be "a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Nor must it be in one thing only that we are to display our zeal. It is possible enough that in one particular line we may exert ourselves with the greatest ardour; and yet be far from having our hearts right with God. We must "have respect to all God's commandments," and serve him. "without partiality, and without hypocrisy." In public and in private we must be alike earnest in all our duties and under "the constraining influence of the love of Christ, we must live altogether unto Him who died for us, and rose again "."]

2. Repent

[This is necessary for every child of man.

There is no

one so pure, but that he may increase in purity; nor so holy,

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but that he may grow in holiness; nor so heavenly, but that he may be more entirely devoted to his God. Of lukewarmness especially, and of the entire habit of mind connected with it, it becomes us to repent. Indeed, whatever be the sin that more easily besets us, that we should search out with peculiar care, and for that should we in an especial manner humble ourselves before God. Every day of our lives we should "be sowing in tears, if we would reap in joy." It is not the person who occasionally feels some remorse, but "he who goes on his way weeping, bearing a precious seed-basket, and scattering this seed from it every step he takes; he it is that shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."]

This subject clearly teaches us,

1. What to do under the prevailing influence of corruption

Pray to God that he would chastise you with scourges or scorpions, rather than suffer you to continue under the power of sin and if God see fit to put you into the furnace, be more anxious to obtain the sanctifying benefits of the affliction, than to have it removed

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2. What to do under the Divine rebukes

[Receive them as the chastisements of a father, "neither despising them, nor fainting under them":" and take occasion from them to "humble yourselves under His mighty hand." Whatever be your sufferings, remember that they are far "less than your iniquities deserve." By these God designs to "purge away your iniquities":" and, if they are attended with this effect, you will have reason to adore him for them, more than for any exemption from trouble that could possibly be vouchsafed unto you: for so, at least, speaks an inspired Apostle : "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for, when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him."]

* Ps. cxxvi. 5, 6. See the margin.
z Isai. xxvii. 9.

y Prov. iii. 11, 12.

a Jam. i. 12.



Rev. iii. 20. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

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