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the Universal Judge and all mankind, between the WORD of God and the ear of man. 1


not of how much importance this is, or how awfully it is now forgotten, despised, and set at naught as rank Papistry. But, oh men, it is the truth, and ye cannot by your unbelief and gainsaying set it aside. “Let him that hath an ear, hear it."Fourthly, By this alteration, it is moreover signified, that what place Christ appoints to his members, what words he speaks to them, are not for them as individual persons, but for the churches ; " for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Yea, and that the church itself with all its ministry, and its ordinances is for the unconverted world a sign whereby they may know that Jesus is the sent of God, and that as God hath loved his Son, so hath he loved us, and will to the share of his glory advance us. And this I may observe also, is the reason why not the churches only, but the unconverted world is taken in. But this is a matter of so much importance, that I must make of it a distinct topic. Let these suffice for the good reasons wherefore the Spirit doth make the change of locating these common words : “ He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

At the risk of being thought prolix in this introductory matter, which be it observed we shall not have again to go over in any of the other epistles (and methinks a text seven times repeated, is worthy of some minute study and attention): I add another observation upon the verse, to explain why every ear should

be summoned to the thing which is spoken to the churches. This is twofold; first, to give it the form of the most concerning truth which God can utter. For this form, “He that hath an ear to hear," always is used of radical, and as it were generative truths, great principles, most precious promises, most deep fetches from the secrets of God, being as it were eyes of truth, seeds and kernels of knowledge.- Let me refer to a few instances, first in the Gospels, and then in the Revelation. When the Lord would teach the people that they were even at that time to expect no Elias, but the Baptist, which was the rock they were driving on; “ How then say the scribes that Elias must first come?" when he was striking at the great stumbling-block of the nation, he used this ex


pression, Matt. xi 14, 15,—" And if ye will receive it, this is Elias which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” When he was laying out, by the parable of the sower, the most concerning truth, that the word of the preacher in his or any one's mouth, would not, nor could not of itself, work salvation without the soil of an honest heart, wrought within us by God's good Spirit, and that for want of believing and looking for this; that generation of his hearers were in peril of being ruined for ever, yea, and all generations to whom that parable should come, he closes with the same words, Matt. xiii. 9 :-“ Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” And in the continuance of that same discourse, when he comes to speak of the things of reward and judgment attendant upon his second advent, he seals it with the same vehement invocation of all ears, ver. 43: “ Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” And to quote one other instance from those most venerable lips, which spake as never man spake, when he would, with one word, overtlırow the whole fabric of outward ceremonies, as a ground of justification or a proof of sanctification, and set the question of our sinfulness upon its true basis of the wicked heart, the rebellious will, the depraved and the seduced affections, the devil oppressed soul, behold with what art of a teacher's care 'he beginneth it, with what words of a teacher's authority he closeth it, Mark vii. 14–17: “ And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me, every one of you, and understand. There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him, can defile him : but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear." Let these quotations from the Gospels suffice to prove, of what authority and weight in the vocabulary of the Spirit these words are, “ Who hath ears to hear." And now I will take one from the book of the Revelation, which as it is the key-book of the whole Scriptures, is especially the key-book of its own structure. It occurs in the bosom of that fearful vision of the Papal supremacy for the long, long period of time, times, and half a time, or twelve hundred and sixty prophetical days, or common years. To support the hearts of the saints during that long and dreary waste of time, and to carry their attention forward to the sure perdition of the beast and the false prophet their oppressors; and of the king, who at his command did slay them with the sword (for the magistrate doth wear the sword), which twofold doom of captivity and slaughter to the antichristian beast, false prophet or mouth, and to the kings or horns, is realized in chap. xix. 20, 21 ; the Lord doth hold out for the support of his saints during that fearful day of Papal darkness and oppression, this promise prefaced with the seal of authority, Rev. xiii. 9, 10: “ If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” And let these suffice for proof of the importance of every promise or utterance to which these solemn words stand prefixed. But this is only with respect to the form. And now, secondly, with respect to the substance of the expression here used, and in answer to the question why it should be addressed to the churches, and at the same time all ears be invoked to it, we observe,

That as the candlestick hath existence not for itself alone, but for the house in which it is placed, and for the people who are therein; so the church in its collective unity hath not its being for itself alone, but for the world replete with God's creatures, for every one of whom it is appointed as a light to lighten every man that cometh into the world. God so loved the world, that he sent his only beloved Son toʻgive his life for the remission of its sin ; and on what errand the Father sent Christ, on that same errand Christ sendeth all who believe in him. His church is but the continuation with advantages, the extension and diffusion of that work, for which the Father sanctified him and sent him into the world. And this is not the office of the church in this present evil world only, but for ever and ever shall we stand to Christ and to all creation in this same middle place, of communicating between them; He the light, we the lamp which holds it up, and away from which it is not seen : he the Head, and we ihe body; through the members of which, the intelligent Head carries its wishes into effect: he the King and Husband, we the queen and wife, who taketh charge of the house and the children,

teaching them all to call him Father, the second Adam, and to obey him as the Head over all principalities, and powers, and dominions, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come. These being the true views of the church, as a body of men trained in the school of his humility, and brought unto the fellowship of his glory, to be unto God the monument of his grace; and unto Christ the evidence of his unspeakable love ; and unto the Spirit for the body of his witnesses to all the other orders of creation, which are, or which are to be; it becomes at once manifest why the word, which is spoken to them, should also be spoken to every one that hath an ear to hear. It is spoken to the church for their sake; that she, by declaring the sanje, may testify God's goodness to the sons of men, who may thereby be left without rebuke, if they put not their trust under the shadow of his wings: and by such a method of speech, the church is at once reminded of her special propriety in the gifts of God, and of the ends of universal communication for which she hath them in trust; while the world, that is, every living creature, is reminded of the good purpose which God hath towards them in all that he doth, and of the church as the appointed channel through which that good is to be received. This form of expression, “ He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches,” is exactly parallel with these two verses of our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, “ Ye are the light of the world......let your light so shine before men, that they seeing your good works, may glorify your Father which is in heaven Oh that the church thus used the grace of election which she hath exclusively received, as Christ did the same dignity of being the chosen one, in giving his life for the world, though a Son, and the only Son ; learning the obedience of a servant by the things which she suffereth ; how blessed a doctrine then would election be! And how profitable not only to the dignity and enlargement of our souls, but to the knowledge and profit of the wicked world, saying ever, Here are we the chosen ones of God; behold in us what God doth for wretched sinners, and what wretched sinners can through grace be made to do for God. See this, O ye sons of men, what for the sons of men he doeth, and what he enableth the sons of men to do for their brethren. But when we remember our election, and forget our calling to die for the world, election fostereth up the spirit of pride and schism; and towards others, the spirit of contempt and contumely; and is punished as the Jew hath been punished; who is the standing monument of the abuse of this great principal of the church, to the ends of selfsufficiency and arrogancy towards others. The doctrine of election is the formative life of the church, which being thereby conformed unto life, is bound at all times to lay down that life for the wicked world ; to prove how much God doth ever love, doth ever long over them. Election is the fallen creature's acknowledgment that he owes his rise again, his life again wholly to the grace of God, free and unpurchased, sovereign and unclaimed. Christ acted this principle continually, living by faith on the Father's unconditionate faithfulness, and through his perfect faith therein, and unconditional compliance to his will, and continual surrender of his own will, did attain to the reward which is of faith to the end it

may be of work also. Therefore Christ is the chosen one, the great Election-head: and whoso would walk in his footsteps, must walk in the blessed light of election, every

every hour ; saying evermore, « Not my will, but thine be done." There is a depth and a simplicity in these great truths which far surpass my utterance; but my soul keeps them company so far as my wing can stretch, and ever I see blessed light, and hear sweet harmony. It is the light of God's countenance which I see in the face of Jesus Christ; and it is the song of God's mercy and love which I ever hear in every word which his lips do utter ; and the good Spirit hath attuned my heart to delight in the knowledge of the Father and the Son. For which, glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Having thus once for all enlarged upon those words which are common to the third constituent part of these seven epistles, “ He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches ;" we now come to treat particularly of that which is proper to the church in Ephesus, couched in these terms: “ To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God." This naturally divides itself into two parts: the first, the promise; and the

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