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systems of theology. It is unique, because it is of God. Learn from this that the security of the believer is the word of the Most High God and the exercise of his absolute sovereignty. But, then, learn that every prospect of security runs parallel with the exhortation—"hold fast that which thou hast." Let there be no declension in religion; let there be no backsliding. The nearer an individual may come to the kingdom of Christ, the more terrific will be his fall if he fails to attain it, just as the stone which is projected into the upper regions of the air, will sink more deeply below the surface according to the impulse given it by its elevation. The nearer you may be to the attainment of the crown of righteousness and glory, the more bitter will be your ceaseless regrets if you have failed to reach it. Press towards the mark, forget the things which are behind, and reach to those which are before; hold fast that which you have; grow in grace; enemies on every side are seeking to snatch the crown from
your grasp; hold to the name of Christ and walk in the patience of his cross. Lay aside every weight which doth so easily beset you. There are some of you who, in the view of Gospel charity, are near the kingdom; but keep on; live by faith ; examine yourselves, to see if you are building
are building on Jesus, if
on Jesus, if you have experienced a change of heart. Rest satisfied only with experimental religion. “Behold I come quickly,” says the Lord. The day of the Lord is coming, and your day of probation is ending.
“ Whatever your hand findeth to do, do with all your might.” “Work while it is called to-day.” Let not the Lord come and find you unprepared, lest your everlasting portion be in the lake which burneth. Let your
loins be girded about, and your lights burning, and be ye
like unto those who wait for the Lord when he will return to the wedding. Then, when ye come to stand on the separating line between time and eternity, you can take up the language of St. Paul“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” And then, when mortal puts on immortality, ye shall be found in the number of those who are made kings and priests unto God, and who shall dwell with Christ and reign for ever with Christ in his heavenly kingdom. “Hold fast,” now, in the time of your probation, “ hold fast, that no one take thy crown.”
GOD'S FIDELITY TO HIS PEOPLE,
ILLUSTRATED IN THE
HISTORY OF THE CHURCH AT PHILADELPHIA.
REVELATION iii. 7–13.
We have thus far, my brethren, been engaged in considering the deeply interesting particulars connected with the epistle to the Church in Philadelphia. We have seen the import of that emphatic description which is given of the Lord Jesus Christ as—“He that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the keys of David, he that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth.” We have noticed the peculiar blessings bestowed upon this Church, and declared in the terms—“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 name.'
We have seen the nature of the commendation here bestowed, and we have noticed
the overthrow of those internal enemies, by whom the peace and tranquillity of this Church were disturbed—“Behold I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews and are not, but do lie; behold I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” And we have seen the prediction of speedy temporal calamities, yet graciously followed by the promise of security in the hour of temptation and of danger—"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation that shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Under all these varying heads, I have also in each discourse called your attention to those practical remarks which seemed to rise spontaneously from the subject; we now come to the glorious promise with which this epistle concludes—“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; and I will write upon him my new name.” It is remarkable that in the splendid imagery of this promise, there is no mixture of figures as in the promise attached to several of the other epistles. The subject is one, though, to be viewed under different aspects. In this one promise there are
1. The conquering Christian shall be made a pillar in the temple of the living God.
2. From that temple he shall never go out.
3. On him, as a pillar of glory, shall be inscribed the name of God.
4. To this shall be added the name of the city of God; and to complete the climax,
5. To all shall be added, says the speaker, Jesus Christ, my new name.
1. The conquering Christian has the promise of being made a pillar in the temple of God. There is a difference of opinion among the commentators as to the allusion which is here particularly designed. It is by some supposed that it is to the circumstance recorded in the first book of Kings in relation to the building of the temple of Jerusalem. It appears that Hiram of Tyre, a widow's son of the tribe of Napthali, made two pillars for the court of the temple, and that they were made not so much for utility as for ornament. They were of brass most curiously and beautifully adorned, and when set up were named by Solomon, Jachin and Boaz, signifying stability and strength. This allusion, striking as it may be considered, does not, however, sufficiently well apply to all the parts of the promise to justify this appropriation, for on these pillars there was no inscription; for their names were merely given, not written on the pillars. The text evidently directs our attention to some custom which will serve as a more definite illustration; and a custom perfectly well adapted to explain all the circumstances of this promise will readily be found by those who are at all acquainted with the antiquities of Greece and Rome.
It was a custom among the Romans when they had achieved some brilliant victory over their ene