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fade entirely away,
you be as completely forgotten as though you had never been. Oh how gloomy must be the thought to the man who has no hope beyond, that when his name is blotted from the book of mortal life, there will be few to confess him; and the world will pass along, and its gaities will be as uninterrupted, and its business will be as varied, and its multitudes will be as unconcerned, as if he were still on the theatre of his former achievements. Not so perishes the name and the memory of the conquering Christian; his name is written on the living records of eternity; a denizen of heaven, a freeman of the skies. As such he will be confessed at that great period, when the formal, and the hypocrite, and the cold, and the languid, and the careless, and the unconcerned, and the impenitent, shall hear, to their everlasting dismay, “I know you not, depart.”
Anticipate the advance, brethren, of that great day of decision; picture to yourselves the grandeur, and the solemnity, and the terror of the scene. Who are these on the right hand of the Judge, with their garments virgin white and pure? Who are these whose names stand lustrous on the page of everlasting life? These are the conquerors to whom appertain the promise.
One more vision. Let the mortal imagination be stretched till one impassioned thought takes in eternity. Let the spiritual eye be strained till one rapid glance takes in the realities of the inmost heaven.
Who are these in splendour bright,
This innumerable band;
Victor palms in every hand ?
Let the ear be strained to take in the enrapturing answer, as it swells in the song of angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim
These the path of faith have trod,
These the grace-supported band;
More than conquerers they stand.
These are they in splendour bright,
This innumerable band,
Victor palms in every hand.
GOD'S FIDELITY TO HIS PEOPLE,
ILLUSTRATED IN THE
HISTORY OF THE CHURCH IN PHILADELPHIA.
REVELATION iii. 7–13.
And to the angel of the Church in Philadelphia write ; These things saith he
that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth ; and shutteth, and no man openeth ; 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. 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. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 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.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.
PHILADELPHIA is the sixth of the Asiatic Churches addressed by the Lord Jesus Christ, through the instrumentality of his servant John. And this epis
tle, my friends, is particularly worthy of our attention ; for besides the interesting local consideration that it bears the same name with the city in which we dwell, it has this remarkable circumstance, that the epistle is one uninterrupted strain of commendation, unlike the epistles to the other Churches, excepting Smyrna. There is here no censure; it pleased the Lord that the members of this Church should meet his entire approbation ; and in the course of my lectures on the affairs and condition of this Church, we shall see one of the most marvellous instances of the connexion established by God between a holy devotedness to his cause, and preservation under circumstances ruinous to others, which stands in the history of the world. I must not, however, anticipate remarks which fall more appropriately in a subsequent part of the investigation.
Philadelphia was a city of Asia Minor, in that ancient division of Asia called Lydia; a division which also embraced the city of Sardis, of which we have already spoken. From this latter city, Philadelphia was distant about twenty-seven miles in a southeast direction, and seventy-two from Smyrna; and situated immediately under a branch of the mountain Tmolus, rising a little on the mountain side, having a pleasant prospect of the plains beneath, which are well furnished with a variety of villages watered by the river Pactolus, which is said to have rolled down sands of gold, and thus accounted for the wealth of the king of Lydia. Unlike the city in which we dwell, whose name is meant to perpetuate one of the greatest of the Christian graces, the city to which this epistle was addressed' takes
its name from its founder, Attalus Philadelphus, brother of Eumenes, the king of Pergamos. It resisted the Turks with more success than the other cities, and instead of being captured and destroyed with the other cities, it made an honourable capitulation with Bajazet in the year 1390, having sustained itself nearly one hundred years longer in its independence than did its sisters of the seven; and to this date it is distinguished by the privileges which it obtained by express articles of capitulation when it submitted to its Mahomedan conquerors. They would have yielded their lives, could they not have retained their Christian privileges. The Turks called Philadelphia Alah-sher, rendered by some the Beautiful City, and by others the Divine City, according to the interpretation of the word Alah, which in the Arabic signifies God. I am at a loss to conjecture why it was called by the Turks the Beautiful City, as it is the remark of D'Anville, the celebrated French geographer, that it was built with little solidity in its edifices, in consequence of its exposure to the niost terrific earthquakes, in one of which, in the seventeenth year of the Christian era, it was nearly destroyed. Its Turkish name may probably be from the beauty of its situation, in a delightful plain, as we have already seen, at the foot of a grand and lofty mountain. It may be noticed, as a more curious coincidence, that both its original name and its Turkish name, become the city in which we now are—Philadelphia, the beautiful city. Philadelphia at present contains about 11,000 inhabitants. It still retains the form of a city, with something of its former trade, for it is situated on one of the best roads to the com