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only to a few. The word which is written for all, shall hereafter judge all.-0 Scotland ! where now are thy Durhams and thy Flemings, who had delight, and gave delight, in opening the Song, and the Apocalypse, and all the Prophets! Were they poor divines, because they delighted in the prophetical writings ? were they injudicious men, unworthy churchmen, or indifferent ministers and pastors? And when shall England find me an interpreter of Scripture like Joseph Mede the Millennarian ? upon whom it afflicts me greatly that the heedlessness of a minister of my own church should have cast derision, as he hath also

upon the most venerable Fathers of the primitive times. In the company of such men as Joseph Mede, Irenæus, and Justin Martyr, to be derided is a high honour. But it were far better that he, who thus exposeth his folly and his malice, would learn from them lessons of knowledge, and wisdom, and piety, and how to reverence the awful word of God.-I make no secret of my desire that these unfaithful dealers with the word of God should be exposed, as you would expose a class of men who have combined to adulterate the food of the people. The time is come when either the treacherous dealers with the word of God must be exposed, or the church be taken in the lap of carnal security. It is not for one who believes, as I believe, that a worse deluge than the food of Noah is near for to come, from which only faithfulness will save my own house and my own charge ;---for one who thus believeth, I say, it is cruel, it is infamous, to hold his peace against those who say that all is well, and working well to the glory of God and the good of the church. I cannot be silent, I cannot hold my peace. If others I cannot save, as Luther said, I must save my own soul ; if others I cannot deliver, I must, as saith the Holy Ghost by Ezekiel, deliver my own soul.

Concerning Smyrna, the city in which the angel and church honoured with the next Epistle had their abode, we have the following information given to us in Cave's Lives of the Fathers, under the life of Polycarp, who was angel of that church, and is believed to have been the very person addressed in the verses which form the subject of our present lecture:-"A place it was of great honour and renown, and has not only very magnificent titles beaped upon it by the writers of those times, but in several ancient inscriptions set up by the public order of the senate, not long after the time of Adrian, it is styled the chief city of Asia, both for beauty and greatness the most splendid, the metropolis of Asia, and the ornament of Ionia. But it had a far greater and a more honourable privilege to glory in, if it was (as we suppose) the place of Polycarp's nativity, however of his education, the seat of his episcopal care and charge, and the scene of bis tragedy and martyrdom.” It had been, before the time of his suffering, the honoured scene of other martyrs and confessors for the truth, as we find it reported in the Evcyclical Letter which the Church of Smyrna wrote to the churches of Pontus, upon the occasion of his death. This letter is partly transcribed, and partly given in summary, by Eusebius, in the 15th chapter of the fourth book of his Ecclesiastical History. It begins thus :-"The church of God, which is at Smyrna, unto the church at Philomilium, and unto all the congregations of the holy catholic church throughout Pontus, mercy, peace, and the love of God the Father, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, be multiplied. We have written unto you, brethren, of such as suffered martyr. dom, and of blessed Polycarpus, who signed and sealed the persecution with his own blood.” And before they make relation of Polycarpus, they rehearse the constancy and patience of other inartyrs, saying, “The beholders were amazed, seeing the flesh of the martyrs rent with scourges, even unto the inner veins and sinews, so that the most secret entrails of their bodies, their bowels, and inward privities, were piteously to be seen; beholding again the sharp shells of sea fish, and pebble stones strawed under the martyr's backs and bruised bodies, with every kind of torment that could be devised. Last of all, they were thrown to be torn 10 pieces, and devoured of wild beasts. Specially they wrote of Germanicus, that he valiantly endured and overcame, through the grace of God, that corporal fear of death, graffed in the frail nature of man. For when the proconsul exhorted him to relent, admonished him of his tender years, prayed him to pity his own case, being now in the flower of his youth, he without intermission enticed the beasts to devour him,

yea, constrained and compelled that with speed he might be dispatched of this cruel and wicked life; which patience and constancy of the blessed martyr, and of the whole Christian nation, the multitude of infidels beholding, suddenly cried out, Remove the wicked, seek out Polycarpus." I shall add one other extract, as casting light upon Smyrna, the seat of this church, and upon Polycarp, its bishop, before proceeding with my subject; likewise taken from the life of Polycarp, in Cave's Lives of the Fathers :-"It cannot be deemed but that Smyrna was next to Ephesus, as St. Clemens says that city also was, and that St. John seems to have had a more than ordinary regard to that church, it being, next Ephesus, the first of those seven famous Asian churches to whom he directed his epistles, and St. Polycarp at this time bishop of it; for that he was that angel of the church at Sinyrna to whom the apocalyptical epistle was sent, is not only highly probable, but, by a learned man, put past all question. i must confess that the character and circumstances ascribed by St. John to the angel of that church, seem very exactly to agree with Polycarp, and with no other bishop of that church (about those times especially), that we read of in the history of the church ; and whoever compares the account of St. Polycarp's martyrdom, with the notices and intimations which the Apocalypse there gives of that person's sufferings and death, will find the prophecy and the event suit together. That which may seem to make most against it, is the long time of his presidency over that see; seeing, by this account, he must sit at least seventynine years bishop of that church, from the latter end of Domitian's reign (when the Apocalypse was written) to the persecution under M. Aurelius, when he suffered : to which no other solution needs to be given, than that his great, nay, extreme age at the time of his death, renders it not at all improbable ; especially when we find, several ages after, that Remigius, bishop of Rbeims, sat seventynine years bishop of that place.” From that time, until our own day, which witnessed the massacre of the Greek inhabitants, Smyrna has been the seat of continual persecution, and, notwithstanding, retains the most flourishing church at present subsisting in Asia; fulfilling to the letter the promise of this epistle, as we shall shew in its proper place, after we have opened in order the three several parts of the epistle: I. Christ's designation therein ; 11. His charge to the angel of that church; III. The Spirit's exhortation to all the members thereof.

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I. “ These things saith the First and the Last, which was dead and is alive.” This designation, like all the seven, is in substance contained in the vision emblematical of the universal Bishop with which the epistles are introduced, being part of the words which his glorified yet gracious Master spake unto the astonished seer. Chap. i. ver. 17, 18, “ And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not, I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore." When we explained these words, in the course of our exposition upon the first chapter, we had space merely to open the doctrine which they contain, and referred the details and application thereof until we should meet the words again in the superscription of the letter to the church in Smyrna (see p. 285). Now, therefore, we are called upon, both by our pledge and by our inclination, to enter fully into the import and the dignity of these words, "the first and the last, who became dead and lived;" and to shew wherefore Christ should deem them worthy of being used to designate one of the seven attributes of his glorious high priesthood. The style consisteth of two parts; the former expressed in these words, “ the first and the last;" the latter in these words, “which became dead and lived." Into the mystery of each of these truths, I would now reverently inquire.

First. -" These things saith the first and the last." This is now the third time since the commencement of these labours that we have been called upon to meditate the profound truth of Christ, embodied to reason in these words. I say, a truth of Christ embodied to reason, rather than a truth of God; because Godhead, being essentially incomprehensible, unsearchable, and inexpressible, cannot be embodied by any words to reason or to any other intelligence, otherwise than through Christ, who is the Godhead bronght or rather bringing hinself within the bounds and limits of what a creature can know, express, and apprehend. All that language can do, in speaking of God, is to deny that he hath the attributes of a creature : by negatives, and by those only, can we speak of the infinite God. For example, that very word “ infinite " signifies not bounded, not ended. If any one should object to this cardinal truth, that we can, for example,assert positively, That God isomnipresent, omuiscient, and omnipotent; I answer that these words do not express attributes of the incomprehensible, but of the comprehensible God; not of God the Father, but of God the Christ. For to know all things, to do all things, and to fill and possess all things with bis presence, carries us not a jot beyond the bounds of creation, beyond the region of things; and therefore they are not expressions of the unbounded Godhead, but of Godhead within the bounds of creation. So, in like manner, those expres. sions of God derived from the conscience,-such as that he is holy and faithful, and true, and loving and merciful,

are within the bounds of pure reason, are in fact properties of perfect reason, and therefore can in no wise contain the fulness of Godhead unembodied, but only the fulness of Godhead embodied in Jesus Christ. And in a word, if any man were to say that he could comprehend God, by word or by idea, he would make himself coequal with, yea, and of larger capacity than God; forasmuch as that which comprehends is larger than that which is comprehended therein. We lay it down, therefore, as an indubitable truth, as a truth of the first order, that no one by searching can find out God; that words cannot tell out his essential being, nor thought possess his invisible ways; for as the heaven is high above the earth, so are his thoughts above our thoughts, and his ways above our ways.

The question therefore necessarily ariseth, And what then is it that words do express; and what then is it that reason doth apprehend, if so be they express and apprehend not the eternal and unchangeableGodhead? I answer, words express and reason apprehendeth the Christ of God. And is not the Christ of God the

God? Yea, verily: yet is he that very God bringing himself within the limits, first of the intelligible and then of the visible. And when the eternal Godhead hath thus come within the bounds of intelligence in the Christ, he can be spoken


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