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upon ashes. Without perseverence to the end, it would have been essentially as well for you
you had not hazarded the combat. Oh let nothing make you lukewarm; let nothing cause you to halt. It is only at the very goal itself, that the victor's crown will be awarded; and if we fail of reaching that, we are lost in the wilderness, while the green fields of Canaan are within our reach; and awfully, awfully aggravated will be the bitterness of that man's cup, who just comes short of the rest which remaineth for the people of God. Seek
which is in Christ Jesus; pour out your souls before him. He will give you strength to run and not be weary; to walk and not faint, till your feet tread the very courts of the city which hath foundations, whose builder and whose maker is God.
And lastly : Hear what the Spirit says in relation to the promise—“To him that overcometh will I give power over the nations; and I will give unto him the morning-star.” Never can a higher, a holier, a more sanctified ambition dwell within the bosom of a mortal, than that of reigning with Christ and enjoying the full fruition of his celestial presence. Towards the judgment-seat of Christ let your eyes be directed, for there will be the scene of the Christian's final triumph. Oh, who among us shall share the honours of the Saviour? To whom shall be imparted the felicity which is his alone to give? Tremble, sinners, at the awful close which awaits you in that hour of most tremendous visitation. Your bold rebellions will then no longer be tolerated. Then shall the Judge rise up in all the terrors of his majesty, and break his foes as the vessels of a potter are broken in pieces. But in that day of darkness
and of doom let the righteous lift up their heads, for the day of their complete redemption hastens on. Many days of comparative darkness have they passed on earth, but theirs will then be the brightness of the morning-star; and in the mansions of their Father and their God, there is no night, and not one intervening cloud. The Lord himself is the light thereof, and the glory of the Lamb doth shine upon it.
Oh, brethren, how low and grovelling must our conceptions be, when visions of glory such as these can make no permanent impression on our souls. Our thoughts, instead of being directed to those bright realms, are fixed upon the gloom and the darkness which are underneath.
See how we grovel here below,
Fond of these earthly toys;
To reach eternal joys.
And yet whose shall be the clear shining of the morning star ? Not the slothful, not the careless, not the lukewarm, not the sinner. It is to the conquerer that the promise is confined, and he alone shall inherit glory. At the throne of judgment then, will be the public recognition of the conquering Christian's claims, and before the assembled universe of men and of angels shall he be declared a partaker of the triumphs which his Saviour's grace hath achieved. Then, when the wicked are severed from the just, and they enter upon the darkness of that night on whose bosom no morning-star will ever shine, then shall the righteous, in the train of the King of kings, go to Zion, with songs of everlasting joy; and as they come to the gates of the city, the shout of triumph will arise—“Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory will come in."
Loose, loose your bars of massy light,
And wide unfold the chrystal scene ;
Receive the King of Glory in.
He claims these mansions, not for himself alone. It was not for himself alone that the King of Glory, the Lord of Hosts, strong and mighty, fought the battle and won the victory. It was to impart it to his friends and through himself to make them conquerers over all his foes. Ay, that they might have dominion in the morning, and dwell for ever beneath the brightness of his shining. Would to God that I could stimulate you to the struggle against all the enemies and the hindrances of your salvation. Would to God that for one brief moment, I could picture to you the happiness belonging to those who keep to the end the word of Christ. Would to God that for one brief moment I could draw the curtain from the bosom of nature's night, and show you the splendour of His presence who calls himself the morning-star. But no; such wishes were presumptuous, and such wishes vain; for as “if ye believe not Moses and the prophets, neither would ye be persuaded though one rose from the dead;" so if ye heed not the voice of God as he says—“hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches,” neither would ye be persuaded even if the azure canopy were rent, and unborn ages were to crowd their vision on your souls. Nature's night-nature's night must first be dispelled from your hearts, and ere that will come, you
must be convinced of your need of spiritual illumination, and your yet sightless eyes must be turned to heaven, and the warm prayer be uttered—“Lord, that I may receive my sight.
Oh, of light thou great Creator,
In our deepest darkness rise ;
Pouring eye-sight on our eyes.
Tis darkness with your souls till he,
Yes, and when that morning-star hath lighted up the darkness which now rests on our hearts, he will light the path of your pilgrimage, the valley of the shadow of death, and the realms of immortality.
FORMALITY IN RELIGION,
ILLUSTRATED IN THE
HISTORY OF THE CHURCH AT SARDIS.
REVELATIon iii. 1-6.
And unto the angel of the Church in Sardis write; These things saith he
that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die : for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 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. 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 hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.
SARDIS was an ancient city of Lydia. It was situated at the foot of the mountain Tmolus, now called by the Turks Bouzdag, or the cold mountain. Sardis is only remarkable in history as the residence of Cræsus, the king of Lydia, who was so famous for his riches. It was conquered by