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sé feel in our hearts, we might have read in the feriptures bça fore ever we felt it.
That the blelling of God may go forth with it, and accompany it to thy soul, readers is the heart's defire and prayer
- - T H E'.
. TOUCH STONE OF SINCERITY.
OR; The Sigris of Grace; and Symptoms of HYPOCRISY: Opened in a Treatise upon Revelation iii. 17, 18.
Because thou fayest I am rich, and increased with goods, and
have need of nothing; and knorueft not that thou art wretched, and miferable, and poor, and blind, and naked : I counsel thee to buy of me GOLD TRIED in the FIRE; that thot mayeft be rich, &c.
C# A P. . I.
I. . - ' Wherein the text is opened, and the doctrines are propounded:
Lthough the Revelation be a compendium of intricate A vifions, and obscure prophecies, containing almost as many mysteries as words *, yet that cloud overshadows the prophetical part only; which begins where this chapter (with the doctrinal part) ends : here the waters are found no deeper than in other places of the Scripture ; but if we go a little farther, they become an overflowing flood: Hitherto we touch
* Tot mysteria quot verbäs Hieron,
ground, but a step further delivers us into the deeps, which are above the heads of the tallest Christians: Here the Spirit speaks doétrinally, and perspicuously; but in the following chapters mystically, and in great obfeurity.
Seven epistles are found in this doctrinal part, immediately dictated from heaven, and sent by John to the seven churches of Asia, to instruct, correct, encourage, and confirm them, as their several cases required.
My text falls in the last epiftle, sent to the church of Laodicea; the worst and most degenerate of all the rest. The best had their defects and infirmities, but this laboured under the most dangerous disease of all. The fairest face of the seven had some spots, but a dangerous disease seems to have invaded the very heart of this.
Not that all were equally guilty, but the greatest part (from which the whole is denominated) were lukewarm professors ; who had a name to live, but were dead; who being never thoroughly engaged in religion, easily embraced that principle of the Gnostics, which made it adese popor, a matter of indifferency to own or deny Christ in time of perfecution; the most faving doctrine that some professors are acquainted with. This lukewarm temper Chrift hated; he was fiek of them, and loathed their indifferency'; “ I wish (saith he) ver. 16. thou wert ei. “ ther cold or hot.” An expression of the same amount with that in i Kings xviii. 21. “ How long halt you between two « opinions ?” and is manifestly translated from the qualities of water *, which is either cold or hot; or lukewarm, a middle temper betwixt both, and more nauseous to the stomach than either of the former. “Gold, is the complection and natural temper of those that are wholly alienated and estranged from Christ
and religion: Hot, is the gracious temper of those that know 6 and love Jesus Christ in an excelling degree! lukewarm, or • tepid, is the temper of those who have too much religion to o be esteemed carnal, and too little to be truly spiritual ;' a generation that is too politic, to venture much, and yet so foolish as to lose all; they are loath to forsake truth wholly, and more loath to follow it too closely : the form of religion they affect as an horo!ır, the power of it they judge a burden.
: * Frigidos vocat plane a Chrifto alienos. Fervidos, vera Chrifti cognitione in excellenti gradu præditos, Tepidos, qui cum Christiani dici velint, nec caufam religionis ferio agunt, nec vitam confeffioni confortnem dignanque ducunt, Sol. Glasf. Rhet. Sacra, par. 3, p. 165.
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This is that temper which the Lord hates, and this was the disease of Laodicea, which Christ, the great and only heart-anatomist and foul-physician, discovers in ver. 17. and prescribes a cure for it in ver. 18. So that the words resolve themselves into two parts; viz.
First, A faithful discovery of the disease of Laodicea.'
1. Firš, Their disease is faithfully discovered to them, both in its symptoms, cause and aggravations.
First, Its symptoms, an unconcerned, indifferent, regardless spirit in matters of religion, neither hot, nor cold; the true temper of formal-profeflors, who never engaged themselves thoroughly and heartily in the ways of God, but can take or leave as times govern, and worldly interest come to be concerned.
Secondly, Its cause and root, which is the defect and want of the truth, and power of inward grace, noted in these expressions, “ Thou art wretched, and miserable, poor, blind, 16 and naked;" i. e. thou art destitute of a real principle, a solid work of grace. These five epithets do all point at one and the same thing; namely, the defective and rottenness of their foundation. The two firk, o taholt wpos XCL O EXESVOS, wretched and miserable are more general, concluding them in a sad condition, a very linful and lamentable estate ; the three last, AlwxosTupnos, nas yuperos, viz. poor, blind, and naked, are more particular, pointing at those grand defects and flaws in the foundation, which made their condition fo wretched and mise. rable.
First, Poor, that is, * void of righteousness and true holiness before God: These are the true riches of Christians; and whofoever wants them, is poor and miserable, how rich foever he be in gifts of the mind, or treasures of the earth..
Secondly, Blind; + i. e. without spiritual illumination, and so neither knowing their disease, nor their remedy; the i evil of sin, or necessity of Christ.
Thirdly, Naked, I without Christ, and his righteousness. Sin is the soul's shame and nakedness; Christ's pure and perfect righteousness is its covering or garment; this they wanted,
* wlwgos deftitutus juftitia, et fanctitate vera, coram Deo. Grotius.
† Tupaos Nec morbam fciens, nec remedium-----Durham in loc.
yuyóg Carens juftitia quæ veftitus efi Cbriftianoruin. Pareus, how richly foever their bodies were adorned. These were Laadiceans ; i. e. a juft, or tighteous people (according to the nofation of that word) whose garments with which they covered themselves, were made of the home-spunt thread of their own righteousness. . Thirdly, The disease of Laodicea is here opened to them in its' aggravațion : “ Thou faidst I am rich, and increafed “ with goods, and have need of nothing; but knowest not,” desco
To be really graceless and Christiefs, is a miserable condition *; but to be fo, and yet confidently perfuaded of the contrary, is most miserable: to have the very fymptoms of death upon us, and yet tell those that pity us we are as well as they, is lamentable indeed!
Óthe efficacy of a spiritual delufion! this was theit disease, gracelesness; and the aggravation of it, was their fenfelejte ness.
Secondly, We have a proper remedy prescribed, ver. 18. « I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou “ mayeft be rich,” &c. In which we have to confider, First, what is prescribed for the cure. Secondly, Where it is to be had. Thirdly, How to be obtained.
First, What are the remedies prescribed ; and they are three; . Gold, white raiment, and eye-falve. First, gold, the cure of
poverty, yea, Gold tried in the fire ; i. e. grace that hath been variously proved already; and the inore it is proved, the more its truth will be conspicuous. The next is white taiment, the temedy against nakedness. And, lastly, eye-falve, the effecțual cure of blindness.“ Under all these choice metaphors, more choice and excellent things are shadowed, even spiritual gracés, real holiness, more precious than gold. Christ's impated righteousness, the richest garment in all the wardrobe of heaven ; and spiritual illumination, the moft excellent collya tium or eye-falve that ever was, or can be applied to the mental eye or understanding of man in this world."
Secondly, Where these precious remedies may be had; and you find Christ hath the #monopoly of them all; Buy of me, faith Christ in the text; he is the repository of all graces. An. gels, ministers, ordinances cannot furnish you with them with qut Christ.
. * Nil miserius milero non miferante feipfum, 2.e. None is more to be pitied than a piryable fioner wbo does not
pity himself. : | Hoc pueron Aför oft Chrifti, extrà quod nulla eft fatas. .
Thirdly, How they may be obtained from him ; Buy of me. On this place Eftius, and others, build their doctrine of merit; which is to build a superstructure of hay and stubble upon a foundation of gold. The exigence of the very text itself de. ftroys fuch conceits : for what have they that are poor, wretched, misérable, and want all things, to give as a price, or by way of merit for those inestimable treasures of grace? Buying therefore in this place can signiíg or intend no more than the acquisition, compassing, or obtaining these things from Jesus Christ, in the use of such means and methods as he hath ap. pointed : and in the use of them we merit grace no more than the patient merits of his physician by coming to him, and carefully following his prescriptions in the use of such medicaments as he freely gives him : And that place, Ifa. lv.- 1. (from which this phrase seems to be borrowed) fully clears it;
He that hath no money, let him come and buy wine and
milk without money, and without price." : From all which, these three observations fairly offer themselves to us. . Doct. 1. That many professors of religion are under very
great and dangerous mistakes in their profesion... Doct. 2. That true grace is exceeding precious, and greatly
enriches the foul that polleseth it. Doct. 3. That only is to be accounted true grace, which is
able to endure all those trials appointed, or permitted for
the discovery of it. · The first doctrine naturally rises out of the scope of the text, which is to awaken and convince unfound professors.
The second, from the use the Holy Ghost makes of the best and choiceft things in nature, to shadow forth the inestimable worth and preciousness of grace. · And the third, from that particular, and most significant metaphor of gold tried in the fire; by which I here understand a real and solid work of grace, evidencing itself to be so in all the proofs and trials that are made of it ; for whatsoever is probational of grace, and puts its foundness and sincerity to the teft, is that to it which fire is to gold: In this sense it is used in scripture, Pfal. Ixvi. 10. “Thou haft tried us as Gilver is “ tried;” And Zech. xiii. 9. “I will bring the third part « through the fire, and will refine them as dlver is refined, « and try them as gold is tried.” So that whatsoever it is which examines and tries grace whether it be found and fincere, that is the fire Chrift here speaks of; and such grace as abides these trials, is the gold bere intended.
ind choiceft il from the use thee unfound profefe of the text,