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up unto a world lying in darkness the light of the knowledge of the living God, for which the world is responsible, and for the neglect of which the world shall be judged. There hence ariseth a third object upon our view; which is, the world wherein the seven stars, and the seven golden candlesticks, have their abode. Now the plantation of churches within any state or kingdom, is for the purpose of giving light to the rulers of that kingdom, that they may know God's method of government, and God's Head Governor: and knowing them, be guided by the one, and render homage to the other; to teach kings how to rule under Christ, and subjects how to obey from conscience towards God : this is the great end of the church with respect to the kingdom. And when the king and his estates have offered unto Christ their allegiance, which they do by being baptized in his name, thenceforth that kingdom is regarded by God as a Christian kingdom, whereof Christ is the invisible King ; and it beginneth to be entreated by his Providence accord. ingly: they have honoured Christ, and God will honour them. Unto a Christian kingdom it is not necessary

that all the people should be Christians, nor even that they should all have taken upon them the profession of Christ ; but it is necessary that the ruling powers, the whole power corporate, should have done so ; and when they have done so, their's is a Christian kingdom. For the kingdom standeth not in the subjects, but in the king and the subor. dinate powers of government. Power is an essentially distinct thing from subjection, given by God in sacred trust for sacred ends. These ends, no doubt, include the good government and well being of the people ; but the subject people are not looked upon by God as having the power, but as being under the power : and therefore, I have said, that a Christian kingdom consisteth in this, that the king, if he be absolute, and, if not, the king and those with whom he divides the power, should have professed allegiance unto the Lord Jesus Christ, by coming under the sacrament of baptism ; and this done, that kingdom is regarded as a Christian kingdom. Moreover, it is not necessary, to constitute a Christian kingdom, that all the powers taking on Christ's profession should be Christians at heart. However desirable this were, both in church and state, it is not to be expected in either; for in every field of wheat the enemy will sow tares. Pure communion in the church, and pure administration in the state, are continually to be sought after, and much, much to be de. sired : but that they are never found is no reason to con. clude that there is no Christian church, nor yet Christian state. Be it so then, that the end of the church, in respect to the world, is, to bring the kingdoms thereof under Christ's authority, and that a kingdom cometh under his authority when the powers that be have taken upon them the profession of Jesus Christ ; when such a state of things hath come about in any kingdom, a new form of responsibility ariseth, and a new order of things beginneth. Christ straightway taketh such kingdoms under his guardianship, and entreateth them with his special favour, and setteth them upon the work of destroying his enemies; which are idolatry, superstition, will-worship and wickedness of every kind. I say not that he useth the sword of the Christian king first, but rather the preaching of the word. His angels he sendeth forth unto the nations, to make known unto them and their kings the good and gracious purposes of God: which messengers rejecting, stoning, and slaying, then it is that he sendeth fire and sword to devour these wicked people; warning first, and execution last. And when the execution cometh sure, though late, he useth to honour therein those who know his name : as, for example, he hath done Great Britain against Mohammedans, Brahmins, and Boodhists, in the east; and against infidel France, in the west ; and as he did heretofore use Constan. tine and Theodosius, against Paganism. But when a Christian kingdom itself becomes apostate, there is raised up against it a scourge of a more terrible kind; as, for ex. ample, Infidelity against the Papacy, the Saracens and the Turks against the Greek church of old. But without entering, particularly in this place, into the condition and treatment of a Christian state, I am satisfied to have thus brought it forward as a distinct object of God's government of the world; whereby he doth shew by great political examples what blessings political he would confer upon nations, if they would but acknowledge his Son; speaking to them, not by words merely, but by examples; and saying, “Now, therefore, be wise, be instructed; O ye judges of the earth ; serve God with fear; kiss the Son, (kiss, that is, do homage to the Song) lest ye perish from the way.”


Now this state of things, expressed shortly by the name a Christian kingdom, had not yet arisen in the world when John received this vision. It was not among the things which then were, but among those which were to be. The churches existing apart from the kingdom, were then in being; the seven angels and the seven golden candlesticks; but the church, including the kingdom, and pot subordinating it, was not yet in being. The church amongst the subjects, shewing the grand example of subjection, was in being; but the church amongst the potentates, shewing the grand example of power, was not yet in being. The church under persecution was nobly shewing forth the truth of Christ, patiently suffering for the sin of the world; but as yet the church had exhibited nothing of Christ's office, as Head of kingdoms. This was

a state of things that came not into being until the baptism of Constantine, the first Christian emperor. Then, indeed, Christ began to act as a King within the bounds of the Roman empire, which this prophecy chiefly or almost entirely respecteth ; and from that time commenceth, as we shall shew at large hereafter, the division of the book, entitled in our text, " the things that are to be;" while the epistles to the seven churches describe the things which are. God's purpose by the world had obtained such actual accomplishment, as is described in the first three chapters. The ministers and the churches had been revealed, but the Christian kings and kingdoms waited to be revealed, until the time of Constantine the Great: therefore is the one called “the things that are," and the other “the things that are to be hereafter.” Now, though the things that are to be hereafter begin at the fourth chapter, and therefore the things that are be doubtless contained in the second and third chapters, we are not thence to conclude that the one ceased when the other began. On the other hand, the constitution of the angels and the churches remains unaltered and unalterable, until Christ shall come again. He who would set it aside fighteth against God and his Christ, and shall be treated with the most exemplary judgment. It is not superseded when an additional constitution is introduced, while at the same time the introduction of Christ into the kingdoms marks an era in the history of God's dealings with the world; and it also marks an era in the history of the church, which from that time forth laboured against a new form of wickedness. The form of wicked. ness, against which the church laboured for the first three centuries, was a kingdom wholly under the profession and power of Satan. Paganism, and idolatry, and every form of diabolical error held the throne. There was no profession of Christ, but the most inveterate disavowal of him. There was no delusion of the saints, nor attempts to delude them. It was absolute violence, raging power, unmitigated persecution of the name of Christ. Far otherwise when the kingdoms became Christian ;

for then Satan, having changed his method of attack, and adopted new weapons of warfare, the church was con: strained to adopt new methods of defending the truth: and martyrdom now, though the same in principle, and the same in glory, was different in all its outward circum. stances; for now they made martyrs with the name of Christ in their lips, affecting his authority and the glory of his God. Hence it comes to pass that, in various parts of this book we have the martyrs separated into two divisions (Rev. vi. 11, xii. 11, compared with xii. 17, and Rev. xx. 4); the one class being distinguished by the appellation of those beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the word of God,--and the other, by the denomination of them who had “not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands:" yet have both classes the same honour of the first resurrection, to live and reign with Christ a thousand years. This, therefore, is the distinction between the state of things which was in being when the vision was given to John, and the state of things which came into being after wards; the things that are, and the things that are to be hereafter; and having given the ground of this distinction, I now proceed without further introduction to treat of the things which are, as they are laid out to us in the second and third chapters, understanding thereby a constitution of things not temporary, but enduring until the coming of the Lord.


Each of these epistles, as hath been said, consisteth of three parts. First, the superscription or personal designation which Christ taketh to himself; Secondly, Christ's personal charge unto the angel of the church; and Thirdly,


a word of the Spirit unto the churches, and, indeed, not to the churches only, but to every one who hath an ear to hear. Now, upon this method which the wisdom of God hath adopted for ordering the matter, I wish, first of all, to make some observations. With respect to the personal designation with which each letter is inscribed, I have already observed this general principle, that with the slightest addition, all the seven separate designations are found in the vision itself, united into one. The vestments, circumstances, and words presented in the vision are subdivided into seven parts, which are severally used to de. signate the person of the Son of Man; shewing us again, the great principle of diversity in unity. As the Godhead is generally set forth by seven attributes, generally called his essential attributes; which, to name them are, his óbeing, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth,' even so, when the completeness of our great Shepherd and Bishop's character is set forth, he is represented as clothed upon with a sevenfold investment of attributes, which, after they have been exhibited in the unity of his person, are separated from each other, and exhibited in various exercise for the profit of his church; and to the effect that they might in all the churches be well known and understood, and by all the angels of the churches who represent Christ, be well apprehended and borne in mind, seven churches in their circumstances best fitted to exem. plify them, are chosen out from the multitude which then were in the world, and in a letter to their angels, he sheweth himself forth in that peculiar attribute, exercising it for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness. This, I believe, to be the reason of these various personal designations with which Christ inscribeth his epistles. As for the epistle itself, it is addressed to the angel, to the minister of the word and ordinances,--the guardian and the watchman, and the representative of Christ in that church, and not unto the church itself. This, now, is a great point, establishing beyond a doubt the dignity of him who ministers the word and the sacraments ; that, as a king is looked upon,

and spoken to, as the representative and the responsible head of the kingdom, so is the minister looked upon as the representative and the reponsible head of the church. It necessarily follows, that he neither can nor may shrink from

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