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wicked men, or discharge the penitent from the fear and danger of them.
II. 1. Unto te angel of the church of Ephesus write; &c. Unto the chief Pastor or Bishop of the Church of Ephesus, write; &c. See chapter i. verse 16 &c.
II. 4. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Yet, notwithstanding all this worth which I do acknowledge in thee, I have some just exceptions against thee; and this especially, that thou art not so zealous and fervent, as thou wert in thy first conversion, but hast cooled and abated of that thy first love.
II. 5. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Repent thee, therefore, of this decay of grace; and bethink thyself of recovering that measure of zeal, which thou once hadst; and bring forth such good works, for the fruits thereof, as were formerly wrought by thee: or else, I will shortly come against thee, and enter into a course of judgment with thee and remove away my church from amongst you.
II. 6. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
But, in the mean time, this commendable point I confess to be in thee, that thou abhorrest the beastly opinions and practices of the Nicolaitanes, the wicked followers of that revolted deacon and proselyte of Antioch, who gave way to the indifferent use of fornication and idolatry; which things I also hate.
II. 7. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
To him, that holds out against all assaults, and prevails against all his spiritual enemies, will I give a blessed participation of Christ, in the kingdom of heaven; even of Him, who was at first figured by the Tree of Life in the earthly Paradise.
II. 9. And I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
And I know the opprobrious and reviling speeches, which are cast out against the Christians of Smyrna, by those which call themselves Jews; and so perhaps they are by blood, but, in respect of their unbelief and malicious persecution of the truth, are no better than the Synagogue of Satan.
II. 10. And ye shall have tribulation ten days.
And ye shall have persecution in that Church of yours, for the space of ten years.
II. 11. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches: He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
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, &c.
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 saving he that receiveth 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 servants 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 commit 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 have not known the depths 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 livest 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 grace 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 little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my
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