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soul with an energy to which you have never been accustomed. Stir yourselves in every spiritual effort. Be importunate in prayer; be earnest as men who know that salvation is at issue. Give your untiring energy to the work of the Lord. Seize on the fleeting, and perhaps the last opportunity, with the determination of desperate men. Take the example of Jacob for yours—"I will not let thee go, except thou bless me”-of Job, “though he slay me, yet will I trust in him”—of Paul, “ this one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark' for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
But, to your awakened zeal, add the deep humiliation of repentance. Be zealous, and repent. Repentance, necessary to all, is of remarkable and peculiar necessity to you: for your case has been aggravated by the circumstances of your sins; by your ingratitude to Christ; by the contempt poured upon his cross; by your wish to bring him to a level with the world of sin. If Peter, when he denied his Master, had need to go and pour out the bitterness of his sorrows in the tears of repentance, you have need to weep in bitterness as them that mourn. But let not your repentance begin and end with tears; let it lead you to a renewed trust in him who has been denied; and let there be a firm and decided resolution in the strength of the Lord and in the power of his might, to take one more stand on the side of the Lord, one more determination to follow the Lord with full purpose of heart. In every thing which relates to Christ, evidence the reality of repentance. Is there not encouragement? In the very verse which
succeeds the exhortation, our Saviour says—"Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” These are topics of future consideration, and, God willing, will be taken up in our next discourse. But I offer them as encouragement to the lukewarm for an awakened zeal, and for a deep and heart-felt penitence. Continue in this lukewarm state, and every soul so doing is lost without a remedy : for, from the habitation of his holiness, Christ says~"I will spue thee out of my mouth.” But be zealous, and repent, and all may be well. Open the door of your hearts and Christ will come in; polluted as has been your bosom, and long as he has been a stranger, he nevertheless will occupy again, and fill you with all the delights of his peculiar presence. Persist in lukewarmness, and indifference, and carelessness, and sin, and there will be nothing but indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil. But estimate yourselves aright, be zealous, and repent, and the song of angels, with the swell of their golden harps, will then once more, though by mortal ear unheard, still sound in heaven with praise for the prodigal returned, the backslider reclaimed, the almost lost caught from the verge of the burning pit, and saved with an everlasting salvation.
LUKE WARMNESS IN RELIGION,
ILLUSTRATED IN THE
HISTORY OF THE CHURCH IN LAODICEA.
REVELATION iii. 14–22.
Having, my friends, in the previous discourses on this epistle, considered all the topics so far as the sixth general division of my subject inclusive, I now come to call your particular attention to the
VIIth division, the continued loving kindness of Christ, which is founded on the declaration contained in the 20th verse—“Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” These words stand just before the concluding promise of the Spirit to the Church of Laodicea, the spiritual condition of which Church, as we have already seen in the preceding discourses, was, indeed, most deplorable. The crying sin of the Laodiceans was lukewarmness, a disposition of heart and mind truly abominable in the sight of God; for we have the authority of this epistle to believe, that a state even of open opposition to God is not more offensive than that state of indifference which makes men stop short both of avowed enmity and avowed friendship of the cause of Christ—"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold or hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Strange as it may appear, pride and a self-justifying spirit stand at the foundation of the lukewarm feeling, and God continues—“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have veed of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.” He then exhorts them to repentance, and concludes with the declaration of the text, which now comes under our more particular attention—"Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with
I need hardly say, my brethren, that these words beautifully express the tender love and gracious condescension of Christ towards these lukewarm, and poor, and perishing sinners. They are full of heavenly eloquence, and the object of the divine speaker is to win to himself the hearts of those to whom they are addressed. I beseech you, then, give your seri
ous attention to a few plain and practical considerations. In the 19th verse, it will be remembered that Christ had stated to the members of the Church of Laodicea, that in the exercise of his love towards them, he had given them the rebuke contained in the previous verses; and that as a general principle, whoever he loved, he rebuked and chastened. He states that the great end of all these rebukes and chastisements are to lead to repentance; and then to excite the more particular attention of these lukewarm professors, and to encourage them to repentance, he calls their attention in a very especial manner—“Behold, I stand at the door." Observe the condescension, the patience, the grace which I extend, notwithstanding your most unwarrantable and deplorable condition. While you have continued, and while you are still wanting in love to me, I have stood without, waiting to be admitted, both to your hearts and to your Church, from which, by your conduct, you have absolutely expelled me.
These words, while they apply to the case of Laodicea, tell the grace of Christ under the most aggravated circumstances. But, as they pass from the circumstances of the Laodiceans to our own, they present considerations, than which few more decidedly important, in a practical view, can be found in
of the epistles. I shall therefore seek to lay their instructions before you in the following order :
1. The words imply that the heart is naturally shut against Christ.
2. The fact that Christ stands at the door of the heart and knocks.
3. The danger of rejecting him.
4. The blessed consequence of hearing his voice and opening the door.