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He, that overcometh the spiritual enemies wherewith he must conflict, shall be sure to escape that second and worst death of the soul, which is the utter and final separation of the soul from God.
II. 12. The sharp sword with two edges. See chap. i. verse 16.
II. 13. I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is : and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days, wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
I know that thou dwellest in a place, where heresy, superstition, idolatry, and all kind of wickedness is, without all controlment, practised and maintained ; and yet thou dost constantly profess my truth, and hast not been drawn to deny my Gospel and true religion ; even in those days, when, in the heat of persecution, Antipas, my faithful martyr, thy zealous assistant, was slain in that city of yours, where Satan bears sway and prevaileth.
II. 14. Because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, fc.
As Balaam taught Balac to cast an offence before the people of Israel, in drawing them to communicate with the Midianites in their idol feasts, by alluring them to fornication and uncleanness.
II. 15. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
So hast thou them that proceed in the same steps; teaching and maintaining the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, to the very same purpose; tending both to bodily and spiritual uncleanness: which wicked heresy I do justly hate.
II. 16. Repent ; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Repent; or else I will come to take punishment of thee shortly; and, as I sent my angel with a sword in his hand to resist Balaam, so will I fight against these followers of Balaam by my two-edged sword, the powerful word of my Truth, in the mouths of my ministers, and will confound them.
II. 17. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saring he that receirelh it.
To him, that overcometh, will I impart the true Manna, that came down from heaven, which shall feed him to everlasting life; and will give unto him a free and full acquittal and absolution from all his sins; and therewithal a comfortable assurance of his adoption to be the son of God: which blessed condition, as it is new and strange in respect of the state of nature, so it is secret in respect of the certain knowledge of
others, and cannot be surely discerned by any but him that hath it.
II. 18. Who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass. See chapter i. verses 14, 15.
II. 20. Because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my serrants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
Because thou sufferest that wicked woman, which is no better than another Jezebel in the church, who falsely stiles herself a prophetess, to take upon her to teach publicly, contrary to the modesty of her sex; and, by her teaching to seduce my servants into those two abominable errors of the Nicolaitanes, the allowance and practice of fornication, and eating things sacrificed to idols.
II. 22. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation.
Behold, I will cast her upon the bed of sickness, and inflict a grievous disease upon her; and will plague those, that conmit adultery with her, and that abet her in her wicked errors, with many sore judgments.
II. 23. And I will kill her children with death.
And I will sweep away her followers, the children of her fornication, with violent death.
II. 24. As many as have not this doctrine, and which hare not known the depihs of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
As many of you as have not given way to this wicked doctrine, and have not approved these depths and subtleties, as they call them, of their profound speculations; which are no other, nor no better, than the devices of Satan himself; I will lay no other charge upon you than this.
II. 25. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. That true and apostolical doctrine and sincere religion, which ye have received, hold fast to the end.
II. 26. To him will I give power over the nations.
To him will I give power, by virtue of that union which he shall have with me, to have victory over all the professed enemies of my truth ; and to sit with me, as the assistant and approver of that judgment, which shall be passed upon them.
II. 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.
And he shall in me, as a limb of that body whereof I am the Head, overrule and subdue his enemies, and the enemies of my Church; as a brittle vessel of earth is broken into shivers, by an iron sceptre: even as I received of my Father, so do I impart this power, according to the capacity of my Church, to the members thereof.
II. 28. And I will give him the morning star.
And, howsoever he was obscured and basely accounted of in the world, I will put upon him exceeding glory and majesty, and will communicate myself unto him, who am the true light that enlighteneth the world.
III. 1. That thou hast a name that thou lirest and art dead.
Thou hast the reputation of a zealous professor and faithful teacher of my truth; yet, indeed, thou art no better than a hypocrite, and hast not that measure of true life of
in thee which thou pretendest.
III. 2. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die : for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
Stir up thyself to care and vigilancy; and labour to strengthen and confirm those few good things that yet remain in thee, which are ready, by thy slackness and neglect, to be utterly extinguished: for I have found thy obedience, however seemingly perfect, yet very hollow and defective in the sight of God.
III. 3. I will come on thee as a thief.
I will come suddenly upon thee, and seize on thee by unexpected judgments.
III. 4. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white : for they are worthy.
Thou hast, under thy charge, some few worthy Christians, even in Sardis, which have not suffered themselves to be so much as outwardly tainted with the pollution of the common wickedness and idolatry of the rest; and they shall partake with me of my heavenly glory: for my mercy accepteth them as justly capable of such happiness.
III. 5. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
He, that overcometh, shall be clothed with glory and majesty in heaven; and, as I have from eternity ordained him to life and blessedness, so I will undoubtedly continue unto him the right and title thereunto; and will acknowledge him for mine, before my Father, and before the angels of heaven.
III. 7. He that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth ; and shutteth, and no man openeth.
He, that hath all power, regiment, and sovereignty given to him over his Church, whereof the kingdom of David was a type and resemblance; so as he admitteth and excludeth, forbiddeth and commandeth, saveth and destroyeth, whom he pleaseth.
III. 8. I know thy works : behold, I have set before thee an
open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a litile strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
Behold, I have vouchsafed to thee very fair and meet opportunities to preach the Gospel, which no man can be able to bereave thee of: for, although thou hast not those eminent gifts that some others have, yet thou hast well improved those which thou hast, and hast maintained my truth, and hast not denied my name. See chapter ii. verse 9.
III. 9. Them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet.
I will so work upon them, that they shall come in and submit themselves unto thee ; and shall humbly worship God, before thee and the congregation, as true converts and penitents.
III. 10. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Because thou hast kept that word and Gospel of mine, which both enjoineth and worketh patience in all my faithful, I will also keep thee from the hurt and danger of that grievous persecution, which shall come upon all the Asian Churches.
III. 11. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
It shall not be long, that thou shalt need to endure; hold fast therefore the profession of my Gospel, which thou hast received, that thou mayest not be defeated of that glory which awaits for thee.
III. 12. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God.
As the manner of men is, to erect pillars for monuments, to continue their memory; so will I do to him that overcometh : I will set him up, as a firm and during pillar; and will establish and settle him, as one of those living stones whereof my spiritual temple consisteth; so as he shall be utterly unremoveable from thence: and I will, as the custom is in such pillars, write upon him the inscriptions of the names of those to whom he appertaineth ; viz. the name of my God, and of those habitations above whereto he is designed ; making it manifest, that he is an undoubted son of God, and a citizen of heaven.
III. 14. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
These things saith that God of Truth, the faithful and infal
lible Witness of his Father's will, the powerful Creator of all things by whom the Father made all that was made ;
III. 15. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot : I would thou wert cold or hot.
I know thy works, and thy disposition; that thou art of a lukewarm temper, neither opposite to religion nor yet a zealous friend to it: I would thou wert resolved, one way or other : I would rather thou wert any thing than what thou art: open hostility to the Gospel should not so much displease me, as this hollowness and uncertainty.
III. 16. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
So then, because thou art thus spiritually lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold; I will deal with thee as a man doth by lukewarm water, wherewith the stomach is made apt to egestion, cast thee up out of my mouth, and discharge myself of any further entertainment of that profession thou makest of
III. 17. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Because thou art carried away with a spiritual pride, and fondly conceivest thyself to be stored with all holy graces and virtues, and that thou hast no defect in any of them; and art far from knowing aright the truth of thine estate, how sinful thou art, how ignorant, how wretched every way:
III. 18. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes, fc.
I counsel thee to have recourse unto me, thy God and Saviour; and, by my means, to furnish thyself with all those heavenly graces, whereby thy wants may be supplied ; which may be to thee instead of gold to remedy thy poverty, and glorious raiment to remedy thy nakedness, and eye-salve to redress thy blindness.
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.
Behold, I have used all means for thy conversion: I have patiently expected it, and earnestly importuned it, and still I continue so doing; and if any man hear the voice of my word, and open the door of his heart to me, yielding to those my vehement solicitations, I will impart myself to the soul of that man, and will have mutual fellowship with him, and he with me.
III. 21. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in
my throne, even as I also overcame, fc.