Revelation 1:9
I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance that are in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and my testimony about Jesus.
Sermons
A Glorified ChristJ. R. Miller, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
A Ministerial Salutation and a Sublime DoxologyJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 1:4-9
A Threefold Description of ChristT. Horton, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Christ and the SoulDavid Thomas, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Christ as MediatorHomilistRevelation 1:4-9
Christ for EverF. Ferguson, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Christians a Royal PriesthoodW. Nixon.Revelation 1:4-9
Christians are KingsRevelation 1:4-9
Christ's Eternal SacrificeE. Mason, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Christ's Love to Us in Washing Us from Our SinsT. Horton, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Christ's Measureless LoveJohn Adam, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Christ's Present Love, and its Great OutcomeA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
GraceB. Hoffmann.Revelation 1:4-9
How Wonderful that Christ Should Love UsH. W. Beecher.Revelation 1:4-9
Jesus His Own WitnessA. C. Dixon.Revelation 1:4-9
John's First DoxologyC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 1:4-9
John's Song of Praise to ChristJ. J. Brown.Revelation 1:4-9
Kings and PriestsA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Living LoveJohn Robertson.Revelation 1:4-9
Loved and LavedC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 1:4-9
Omnipotence, Omniscience, OmnipresenceJames Young.Revelation 1:4-9
Praise to ChristR. Watson.Revelation 1:4-9
ThanksgivingJ. R. Miller, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The Believer's Acknowledgment of Christ's LoveW. Cunningham, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The DedicationG. Rogers.Revelation 1:4-9
The Filthy Can be Made CleanSilas Jones.Revelation 1:4-9
The Gifts of Christ as Witness, Risen and CrownedA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The Humility and Dignity of the Christian LifeJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 1:4-9
The Love of ChristT. McCrie, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The Love of ChristJames Buchanan.Revelation 1:4-9
The Love of Christ in RedemptionJ. Witherspoon, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The Measureless Love of ChristW. Hannay, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The Proper Object of All Religious Worship is the Living and True GodJames Young.Revelation 1:4-9
The Redeemed Ascribing Glory to ChristG. Campbell.Revelation 1:4-9
The Resources of ChristianityWayland Hoyt, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The Responsibility of ExaltationT. de Witt Talmage.Revelation 1:4-9
The Risen Christ the Only Revealer of ImmortalityE. L. Hull, B. A.Revelation 1:4-9
The Trustworthiness of Jesus ChristW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Revelation 1:4-9
The Work of WorksDavid Thomas, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Views of ChristDavid Thomas, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
A Transcendent Being, and a Remarkable CharacterD. Thomas Revelation 1:8, 9
A Great Voice as of a TrumpetJ. Young.Revelation 1:9-11
Brother and CompanionH. Bonar, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
Christ and LiteratureR. F. Horton, M. A.Revelation 1:9-11
Christian Authorship in its Higher MoodsJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 1:9-11
Companions in the Divine KingdomJames Young.Revelation 1:9-11
Inspiring InfluencesSt. J. A. Frere, M. A.Revelation 1:9-11
John in PatmosJ. Parker, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
Solitude for ChristJames Durham.Revelation 1:9-11
St John in the Spirit in PatmosJ. Young.Revelation 1:9-11
St. John -- a Sublime CharacterHomilistRevelation 1:9-11
St. John's View of the Sabbath RestG. Matheson, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Cedars and the CandlesticksH. Macmillan, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Christian's SabbathR. P. Buddicom, M. A.Revelation 1:9-11
The Christian's SabbathJ. Parsons.Revelation 1:9-11
The Efficiency of the Passive VirtuesH. Bushnell, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Glorified SaviourWilliam R. Campbell.Revelation 1:9-11
The Influence of Solitude and Suffering Upon a Christian LifeJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 1:9-11
The Kinghood of PatienceM. R. Vincent, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Lord's DayCanon Liddon.Revelation 1:9-11
The Seven Epistles ComparedD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Seven Golden CandlesticksJames Young.Revelation 1:9-11
The Seven Golden LampsH. Bonar, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Threefold Common HeritageA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Two BiblesHomilistRevelation 1:9-11
Things Common in All the LettersCaleb Morris.Revelation 1:9-11
Voices and Visions from EternityD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Vision of the LordS. Conway Revelation 1:9-20
The Vision of the Son of ManR. Green Revelation 1:9-20
That St. John should have been favoured with this glorious vision is but in keeping with what was often granted to the prophets of the Lord - to Moses, at the burning bush; to Isaiah, in the temple; to Jeremiah, at his consecration to his prophetic office, and likewise to Ezekiel; and to the three chief apostles, SS. Peter, James, and John, at the Transfiguration; St. John, at Patmos; and St. Paul, at Damascus and when caught up to heaven. All these visions were designed the better to fit and qualify them to speak for Christ to his people, and they teach us that those who are successfully to speak for Christ must have exalted ideas concerning him. In some form or other they must see his glory, or they will have but little to say, and that little they will not say as they should. "I beseech thee show me thy glory" may well be the prayer of all those who are to speak in the Lord's name. Such was -

I. THE PURPOSE OF THIS VISION as regarded St. John himself. But it had a far more general one - to bless the Church of God. They were dark days for the Church, days of fierce persecution, whether by command of Nero, or Domitian, who followed him twenty-five years after, we cannot say. But in those days, whichever they were, Christianity had not become a religio licita, and, therefore, was not as other religions, under the protection of the laws. It was looked upon as a branch of Judaism, which of all religions was the most hateful to the paganism of the day. And Christianity, in the popular estimation, was the most hateful form of Judaism. It would be certain, therefore, that if the chief authorities at Rome set the example of persecuting the Christians, the pagans of the provinces would not be long in copying it. Hence we can well understand what a fiery trial was now afflicting the Church of Christ. They were suffering, and needed consolation; fearful and fainting, and needed courage; in some cases, sad and shameful heresies had sprung up, and they needed to be rooted out; and in others, so-called Christians were leading careless, impure, and ungodly lives, and they needed solemn warning of Christ's displeasure. Now, this vision, the letters that follow, and this entire book, were all designed to meet their great necessities. What need have the people of God ever known but what he has made provision to meet it, and has met it abundantly? And this, let us be well assured, he ever will do.

II. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE VISION. We are told:

1. Of the beholder. John. There may be doubt as to what John, and it does not much matter, for we know that we have here the Word of God, and that it was written by one of the most honoured servants of God. See how humble his tone. He does not "lord it over God's heritage," but speaks of himself as "your brother and companion in tribulation." He was so at that very hour. And "in the kingdom of Jesus Christ." For that he and they were to look forward with eager hope and confident expectation. And "in patience." This was the posture of the believer at such a time, the mind he needed to possess. We can bear tribulation if, as St. John was, we are cheered by the hope of the kingdom of our Lord, and are enabled to be patient unto the coming of the Lord.

2. Where he was. In Patmos; a dismal rock, lonely, barren, almost uninhabited save by the miserable exiles that were doomed to wear out their lives there. But there John had this glorious vision, and it teaches us that dreary places may become as heaven to us if we are given to see the glory of Christ.

3. When he saw this. "On the Lord's day." There can be little doubt but that "the first day of the week," the Christian Sunday, is meant, and what we are told of here as having taken place on this Sunday is but an early instance of what in substance and reality has taken place for many faithful worshippers in all parts of Christ's Church on every Sunday since. What wonder that the Sunday is precious to Christian hearts, and that all attempts to secularize it or in any ways lessen its sanctity are both resented and resisted by those who know what a priceless boon for heart, for home, for health, for heaven, the Lord's day is?

4. He tells us the frame of mind in which he was. "I was in the Spirit." His heart was much uplifted towards God; there had been a rush of holy feeling amounting to religious rapture and ecstasy, and then it was that this glorious vision burst upon him. Neither holy days nor holy places will avail us unless our hearts be in harmony with both day and place. But if they be, then the Lord often "brings all heaven before our eyes." What might not our Sundays be to us if our hearts, instead of being so earthbound, as they too often are, were in the mood for drawing near unto God?

5. Next he tells how his attention was called to the vision. "I heard a great voice as of a trumpet" (ver. 10). The trumpet was an especially sacred instrument. It was associated with the giving of the Law (Exodus 19:6), with the inauguration of festivals (Numbers 10:10), with the ascension of the Lord: "God is gone up with a noise, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet" (Psalm 47:5). And so shall it be at the coming of the Lord and the resurrection of the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:52). The voice he heard was, therefore, not alone loud, clear, startling, like a trumpet, but also admonitory of the sacredness and importance of what he was about to hear and see.

6. What the voice said. "I am Alpha," etc. (ver. 11). Many manuscripts omit this sublime statement, but it seems in keeping with the trumpet voice, and with what comes both before and after. The "great voice," simply commanding the apostle to write in a book what he saw, appears incongruous, but not with the august announcement, "I am Alpha," etc. The Church had believed this of "the Almighty" (ver. 8), but now it was to be thrilled with the assurance that this was true of their Lord. He, too, was Alpha, etc. (cf. for meaning, homily on ver. 11). Then, as Moses (Exodus 3:3), turning to see whence the voice came, he beheld -

III. THE VISION ITSELF. He saw:

1. The whole Church of Christ represented by the seven lamps of gold. Seven, the specially sacred number, the number of completeness. These seven are mentioned because their names were familiar to those to whom he was writing.

2. He beheld the Lord Jesus Christ. These verses tell:

(1) The form of his appearance. "I saw One like unto the Son of man." He of whom Ezekiel and Daniel had told in those prophecies of theirs, which this so often and so much resembles. But it was a vision of awe and terror to any mortal eye. Like so many Hebrew symbols, it is unrepresentable in art. The form is one which is almost inconceivable, and were any to seek, as some have done, to make a pictorial representation of it, the result would be grotesque, monstrous, and impossible. But the Hebrew mind cared nothing for art, only for spiritual truth; the external form was nothing, the inward truth everything. Art is careful to portray only the external, and it has attained to wondrous perfection in this respect; but the Hebrew desired to represent the inner nature - the mind, the heart, the soul. Hence it fastened upon whatsoever would best serve this purpose, and joined them together, utterly regardless of congruity, symmetry, or any other mere artistic law. Therefore we must look beneath the often strange symbols which we have in this vision would we know what it meant and said to the beholder. The golden-girdled garment told of royal majesty and authority; the hoary hair, of venerable age and profound wisdom; the eyes like fire flame, of searching intelligence and of fierce wrath; the feet like molten brass, of resistless strength, which should trample down and crush all that stood in its way; the voice like the sound of the sonorous sea waves, which are heard over all other tumults and noises whatsoever, subduing and stilling them, tell of that word of "all-commanding might" which once was heard hushing into silence the noise of many waters on the tempest-tossed lake of Galilee, and which, wherever heard, every tumult subsides and all at once obey. The seven stars grasped in the right hand told of power and purpose to defend them or dispose of them as he willed; the two-edged sword proceeding out of his mouth, of that awful soul-penetrating Word by which the secrets of all hearts should be made known, and by which all adversaries of the Lord should be slain; the countenance radiant like the sun, of the Divine majesty, so dazzling, so confounding, so intolerable, to all unhallowed and unpermitted gaze of man.

(2) And this awful form was seen surrounded by the seven lamps of gold, as the dwellings of the vassals of a chieftain are clustered round his castle and stronghold, which rises proudly in their midst as if proclaiming its lordship and its protection over them.

(3) And that this vision was designed to meet the manifold needs of those varied characters and conditions in the several Churches is evident from the fact that allusion to one or other part of it is made at the beginning of each of the letters which St. John was commanded to write and send; and that part is chosen which would most minister to the need of the Church to whom the letter was written. But it was as the invincible Champion of his Church that Christ came forth, and to persuade their fainting hearts of this he appeared in this wondrous form. And the vision is for all time, and every anxious heart should steadily look upon it, and strive to learn the comforting truths which it was designed to teach.

(4) But the effect of the vision was at first overpowering. "I fell at his feet as dead." Well might it have been so.

"O God of mercy, God of might,
How should weak sinners bear the sight,
If, as thy power is surely here,
Thine open glory should appear?" St. Peter cried out, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" though there was nothing in the appearance of Jesus to alarm and terrify. How much more when such a vision as this was seen, and such a voice was heard! "Fear was far more in the ascendant than holy joy. I will not say that John was unhappy, but certainly it was not delight which prostrated him at the Saviour's feet. And I gather from this that if we, in our present embodied state, were favoured with an unveiled vision of Christ, it would not make a heaven for us; we may think it would, but we know not what spirit we are of. Such new wine, if put into these old bottles, would cause them to burst." But

(5) we are told how the Lord restored his prostrate disciple. By his touch of sympathy: he laid his hand upon him. He was wont to do this for the many that he healed when here on earth. And there was the touch of power. It was his right hand. Then came the Lord's "Fear not;" and when we hear him say that to us, our fears, as -

"The cares that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
And silently steal away." And this was not all. He gave him most comforting instruction. He told him who he was - the incarnate Jehovah; the Saviour "who became dead," not who merely died, but, as the word denotes, "voluntarily underwent death." Surely John knew him, and would not be afraid of him. But now he was alive forevermore - he, the same in heart and will, though not in form. And possessed of universal authority. He had the keys, the insignia of authority, over the unseen world. Therefore, should any of them be hurried thither by their persecutors' rage, he would be there, and Lord there, so they need not fear. But he had the keys of death also. Hence none could open its gates unless he pleased; and none could be put to death whom he chose to keep alive. He "openeth, and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth." Entrance there was governed, not by the will of man, but by his will. And finally, he explains part of the vision, and directs it to be written and sent to the seven Churches. The stars, they are, such as St. John himself was, the angels, the chief pastors of the Churches; and see, Christ has hold of them, grasped in his right hand, and who shall be able to pluck them thence, or separate them from his love? What comfort this for the fearful but faithful heart of the minister of Christ! And see again, he is in the midst of the seven lamps which represent the seven Churches. He is there as their sure Defence. Christ is in the midst of his Churches chiefly to protect, but also to rule and to inspect, and if needs be to judge and to punish. Even now he is walking amid his Churches. Let us remember this, and consider "what manner of persons we ought to be in all holy conversation and godliness." The voice of this vision says to us all, "Be of good comfort, but watch and pray." - S.C.







I John, who also am your brother.
Homilist.
I. A character of distinguished excellence DESCRIBED.

1. As a "brother"; his heart glows with a Christly fraternity for the good of all the Churches throughout all the world.

2. As a sufferer; he is in "tribulation." The best men on earth are subject to suffering.

II. A character of distinguished excellence banished by BLOODY PERSECUTORS. "In the isle called Patmos." On this desolate island, amidst the greatest villains of the age, this great character was banished. Strange that the Providence of heaven should have allowed one of the most Christly men on the earth at that time to live for an hour in such a scene. But Patmos to John, and Patmos to the other residents, was a different place. To John it was a theatre of sublimest revelations — the very gate of heaven.

III. A character of distinguished excellence banished by bloody persecutors for the CAUSE OF CHRIST. He bore "testimony of Jesus," and preached the "Word of God."

(Homilist.)

1. Holy men of God, who committed to writing the oracles of heaven, frequently mention their name, their office, and the high authority with which they were invested, as an evidence of the truth of their sacred message, and as a ground of confidence in it.

2. The blessings, the promises, the hopes, the privileges of the kingdom, and the glorious prospects of life and immortality belonged in common to all the holy brethren. They were brethren in affection; they loved one another with a pure love fervently; they were brethren in profession, a holy band of brothers, united together in the faith, hope, and profession of the gospel; they were brethren in action, holy obedience, devoted effort, in deed and in truth, in work and in warfare, in sorrow and suffering, in conflict and conquest, in life and in death.

3. They were also companions. They were companions in friendship, like David and Jonathan; companions in love, like Paul and Timothy; companions in arms, as soldiers of the Cross. They had all the same cause, interest, and object; the same profession, conflict, and triumph; and the same cause, prospects, and glory.

4. The objects in which John was their brother and companion were three: the tribulation, the kingdom, and patience of Jesus.(1) He was their brother in tribulation. This supposes subjection to all the common calamities of life; we are born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards. It includes persecutions for the sake of Christ. Of these the primitive saints had a large share. To be a brother and companion in tribulation includes sympathy with the afflicted. The fellowship of saints consists greatly in sympathetic feelings. If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.(2) He was a brother and companion in the kingdom of Christ. Observe the connection between the tribulation and the kingdom of Jesus. If we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him. The Lord Jesus Christ is the King of this kingdom. He is the King of Zion — the King of martyrs. As a King, he was prefigured by many an ancient type — Melchizedek was king of Salem; Moses was king in Jeshurun; Judah was the lawgiver from whom the Shiloh came. The kingdom was foreshadowed as well as the King. The people of Israel were a royal priesthood, a kingdom of priests.(3) The patience of Jesus Christ. This word includes a patient enduring, a patient waiting, and a patient persevering.

5. The exile of the apostle. His grace shall be sufficient for us; He will perfect His strength in our weakness.

6. It was for the sake of Jesus that John was now an exile; but He for whom he suffered was infinitely worthy; and John was ready to count all things but loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord.

(James Young.)

I. THE REVELATION TO THE IMPRISONED SAINT. Though confined on this prison-isle, the disciple of Christ was not left a prey to regrets or mournful contemplation about the failure of his own or his Master's work. Arabi Pasha from his coffee plantation in Ceylon contemplates without hope the decline of the arms of the crescent under which he fought and the nationality he defended. John Baptist from his dungeon in the Machaerus when Christ was on the earth had sent to make sure that the Messiah had come; but this other John, though a captive, and a disciple of a departed Master, yet beheld the unmistakable marks of victory on that countenance shining as the sun in his strength. The restoration would not come in his day, but the victory was sealed. In the inferences we draw from startling events concerning the coming of the Lord to earth, there are some facts which should be borne in mind. One is the manifold increase of population and human activity with advancing years. There are bound to be with this enlarged area of civilisation a vast series of crises and combinations. Again, the means of communication are such that we read of all the world's calamities summed up in one day's journal. The occasions of trouble are multiplied by our very frequent contact with nations and individuals. We cannot infer, therefore, a disproportionate increase of evils because we hear of them oftener than formerly. Our spirits chafe under the slow advance of reform according to the vernier scale when we wish for the yard measure standard of progress. But we are still with our brother John in the tribulation and patience period of the kingdom, and yet one of hope.

II. THE FULNESS OF THE REVELATION TO A SINGLE SAINT. "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day." That was a magnificent service which was performed for that troubled soul on his seagirt isle that Sabbath day. The presence of one worshipper is sufficient to start the angelic choir, to secure the entrance of the high priest in his robes of ascended majesty. One troubled spirit requires the whole of the Divine ministry. The disciple of Christ who puts himself in the line with Divine commands, whatever his estate or humiliation, often finds the whole splendid ritual produced for him. It was the Lord's day when this mighty revelation came to the prisoner. He was in the spirit, though depressed and anxious. Many persons will stay away from church because of evils which have come or misfortunes in the family. But they thus fail of the very relief God has vouchsafed to those who seek to serve Him. The choicest blessings are for those who are in the line of appointed duty. The individual is not overlooked. We are taught here how in all the mighty movements of nations and the universe itself Christ has time to spare and disposition to care for His humble, persecuted disciples.

III. THE CONTINUED STORY FOR THE WORLD. "Write therefore the things that thou sawest." After the personal revelation comes the permanent message for the ministry, the Church, and the world. There was to be a book and a commentary by the living One. Attention was here called to the value of permanent records of the Lord's will for the Church in all ages. The Bible was not only largely written by captives, but has been ever the prisoners' book.

(William R. Campbell.)

I. BROTHER AND COMPANION. He does not write as a lord over them, but as one of themselves. He is one of the many "brethren" in Asia; one of the "household of faith." He is no stranger, no master or ruler, but truly a part of themselves, who needed their sympathy and love even more than they needed his. Not a brother only, but a "companion": a co-partner with them in all things; a sharer with them in the same faith and hope, the same sorrow and joy.

II. BROTHER AND COMPANION IN TRIBULATION. There was tribulation in the Churches then, as now; in some cases it was "much tribulation" (Acts 14:22), or "great tribulation" (Revelation 2:22; Revelation 7:14). "Weeping endured for a night" (Psalm 30:5); for this is the night, and it is the time of tears. What John suffered, these Churches suffered; what they suffered, he suffered: for the sympathy between all the members of the body was quick and instantaneous in these days of love. Sympathy between the members of Christ's body is little known in these last days; so many non-conducting materials have prevented the communication. The world has come in; false brethren have come in; the members do not realise the vitality of their connection with the Head. The links are broken; the fine nerves that carried the spiritual feeling through every part have frozen or become insensible, if not dead. Who of us appreciates this deep, true spiritual union, with which no external unity can intermeddle, either to hinder or to help?

III. BROTHER AND COMPANION IN THE KINGDOM. The kingdom belongs alike to all the members of the one body from the beginning. One in sorrow, one in joy; one in shame, one in glory; one in tribulation, one in triumph!

IV. BROTHER AND COMPANION IN THE PATIENCE OF JESUS CHRIST. Until that kingdom come, there is need of patience; patience such as all the saints have shown in the days of their pilgrimage; the patience exhibited by the Master Himself; the patience of faith and hope; the patient waiting for the kingdom. Be patient unto the coming of the Lord. Be patient under wrong, and suffering, and weariness, and hope deferred.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

Companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ
I. THE COMMON ROYALTY. John does not say, "I am going in be a partaker," but says, here and now, in this little rocky island of Patmos, "I yet, like all the rest of you, who have the same bitter cup to drink, I even now am a partaker of the kingdom that is in Christ." What is that kingdom? It is the sphere or society, the state or realm, in which His will is obeyed; and, as we may say, His writs run. But then, besides that, there is a wider sense of the expression, in which Christ's kingdom stretches all through the universe, and wherever the authority of God is, there is the kingdom of the exalted Christ, who is the right hand and active power of God. So then the "kingdom that is in Christ "is yours if you are "in Christ." Or, to put it into other words, whoever is ruled by Christ has a share in rule with Christ. His vassals are altogether princes. We rule over ourselves, which is the best kingdom to govern, on condition of saying, "Lord, I cannot rule myself; do Thou rule me." So we do not need to wait for heaven to be possessors of the kingdom that God hath prepared for them that love Him. But while the kingdom is present, its perfect form is future. They used to say that in the days of the first Napoleon every French soldier carried a field marshal's baton in his knapsack. That is to say, every one of them had the chance of winning it, and many of them did win it. But every Christian soldier carries a crown in his, and that not because he perhaps may, but because he certainly will, wear it, when the war is over, if he stands by his flag, and because he has it already in actual possession, though for the present the helmet becomes his brow rather than the diadem.

II. THE COMMON ROAD TO THAT COMMON ROYALTY. There are no short cuts nor bye-paths for the Christian pilgrim. There is "tribulation in Christ," as surely as in Him there are peace and victory, and if we are in Christ we shall be sure to get our share of it. The Christian course brings new difficulties and trials of its own, and throws those who truly out-and-out adopt it into relations with the world which will surely lead to oppositions and pains. It has not ceased to be a hard thing to be a real and thorough Christian. The law is unrepealed — "If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him." But this participation in the tribulation that is in Christ has another and gentler aspect. The expression points to the blessed softening of our hardest trials when they are borne in union with the Man of Sorrows.

III. THE COMMON TEMPER IN WHICH THE COMMON ROAD TO THE COMMON ROYALTY IS TO BE TRODDEN. Patience is the link, so to speak, between the kingdom and the tribulation. Sorrow does not of itself lead to the possession of the kingdom. All depends on the disposition which the sorrow evokes, and the way in which it is borne. We may take our sorrows in such a fashion as to be driven by them out of our submission to Christ, and so they may lead us away from and not towards the kingdom. The worst affliction is an affliction wasted, and every affliction is wasted unless it is met with patience, and that in Christ Jesus. A vivid metaphor underlies the word — that of the fixed attitude of one bearing up a heavy weight or pressure without yielding or being crushed. Such immovable constancy is more than passive. The true Christian patience implies continuance in well-doing, besides meek acceptance of tribulation. The first element in it is, no doubt, unmurmuring acquiescence in whatsoever affliction from God or man beats against us on our path. But the second is, continual effort after Christian progress, notwithstanding the tribulation. The storm must not blow us out of our course. We must still "bear up and steer right onward," in spite of all its force on our faces, or, as "birds of tempest-loving kind" do, so spread our pinions as to be helped by it towards our goal.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Kingdom and patience I a very singular conjunction of terms, to say the least, as if in Jesus Christ were made compatible authority and suffering, the impassive throne of a monarch and the meek subjection of a cross, the reigning power of a prince and the mild endurance of a lamb. What more striking paradox! And yet in this you have exactly that which is the prime distinction of Christianity. It is a kingdom erected by patience. It reigns in virtue of submission. Its victory and dominion are the fruits of a most peculiar and singular endurance. We too commonly take up the impression that power is measured by exertion; that we are effective simply because of what we do, or the noise we make; consequently, that when we are not in exertion of some kind, we are not accomplishing anything; and that if we are too humble, or poor, or infirm, to be engaged in great works and projects, there is really nothing for us to do, and we are living to no purpose. This very gross and wholly mistaken impression I wish to remove, by showing that a right passivity is sometimes the greatest and most effective Christian power, and that if we are brothers and companions in the kingdom and patience of Jesus, we are likely to fulfil the highest conception of the Christian life. Observe, then, first of all, that the passive and submissive virtues are most of all remote from the exercise or attainment of those who are out of the Christian spirit and the life of faith. It is commonly not difficult for men to be active or even bravely so; but when you come to the passive or receiving side of life, here they fail. To bear evil and wrong, to forgive, to suffer no resentment under injury, to be gentle when nature burns with a fierce heat and pride clamours for redress, to restrain envy, to bear defeat with a firm and peaceful mind, not to be vexed or fretted by cares, losses, or petty injuries, to abide in contentment and serenity of spirit when trouble and disappointment come — these are conquests, alas how difficult to most of us! Accordingly it will be seen that a true Christian man is distinguished from other men not so much by his beneficent works as by his patience. Consider also more distinctly the immense power of principle that is necessary to establish the soul in these virtues of endurance and patience. Here is no place for ambition, no stimulus of passion, such as makes even cowards brave in the field. Here are no exploits to be carried, no applauses of the multitude to be won. The disciple, knowing that God forgives and waits, wants to belike Him; knowing that he has nothing himself to boast of but the shame of a sinner, wants to be nothing, and prefers to suffer and crucify his resentments, and, since God would not contend with him, will not contend with those who do him injury. He gets the power of his patience wholly from above. We can act out of the human, but to suffer well requires participation of what is Divine. Hence the impression of greatness and sublimity which all men feel in the contemplation of that energy which is itself energised by a self-sacrificing and suffering patience. And accordingly there is no power over the human soul and character so effective and so nearly irresistible as this. Notice again, yet more distinctly, what will add a yet more conclusive evidence, how it is chiefly by this endurance of evil that Christ, as a Redeemer, prevails against the sin of the human heart and subdues its enmity. Just upon the eve of what we call His Passion, He says, in way of visible triumph, to His disciples, "The prince of this world is judged"; as if the kingdom of evil were now to be crushed, and His own new kingdom established by some terrible bolt of judgment falling on His adversaries. It was even so; and that bolt of judgment was the Passion of the Cross. When law was broken, and all the supports of authority set up by God's majesty were quite torn away, God brought forth a power greater than law, greater than majesty, even the power of His patience, and by this He broke for ever the spirit of evil in the world. The new-creating grace of Christianity is scarcely more, in fact, than a Divine application of the principle, that when nothing else can subdue an enemy patience sometimes will. Again, it is important to notice that men, as being under sin, are set against all active efforts to turn them, or persuade them; but never against that which implies no effort — viz., the gentle virtues of patience. They provoke no opposition, because they are not put forth for us, but for their own sake. They fix our admiration, therefore, win our homage, and melt into our feeling. They move us the more, because they do not attempt to move us. They are silent, empty of all power but that which lies in their goodness, and for just that reason they are among the greatest powers that Christianity wields. Once more, it is important for every man, when he will cast the balance between the powers of action and of passion, or when he will discover the real effectiveness of passive good, to refer to his own consciousness. See how little impression is often made upon you by the most strenuous efforts to exert influence over you, and then how often you are swayed by feelings of respect, reverence, admiration, tenderness, from the simple observation of one who suffers well; receiving injury without resentment, gilding the lot of poverty and privation with a spirit of contentment and of filial trust in God; forgiving, gentle, unresisting, peaceful, and strong, under great storms of affliction. Let every Christian carefully observe his own consciousness here, and he will be in the least possible danger of disesteeming patience as a barren or sterile virtue, or of looking upon effort and action as the only operative and fruitful Christian powers. Let us notice some of the instructive and practical uses of the truth illustrated.

1. It is here that Christianity makes issue with the whole world on the question of human greatness. It works out the recovery of transgressors by the transforming power of sacrifice. And so it establishes a kingdom, which is itself the reign of the patience of Jesus. The whole plan centres in this one principle, that the suffering side of character has a power of its own, superior in some respects to the most active endeavours. And in this it proves its originality by standing quite alone.

2. The office of the Christian martyrs is hero explained. We look back upon the long ages of woe, the martyr ages of the Church, and we behold a vast array of active genius and power, that could not be permitted to spend itself in works of benefaction to the race, but was consecrated of God to the more sacred and more fruitful grace of suffering. The design was, it would seem, to prepare a Christly past, to show whole ages of faith populated with men who were able, coming after their Master and bearing His cross, to suffer with Him, and add their human testimony to His.

3. We see in this subject how it is that many persons are so abundantly active in religion with so little effect; while others who are not conspicuous in action accomplish so much. The reason is that one class trust mainly to the virtues of action, while the others unite also the virtues of patience. One class is brother and companion in the kingdom and works of Jesus, the other in the kingdom and patience of Jesus.

4. The reason why we have so many crosses, trials, wrongs, and pains, is here made evident. We have not one too many for the successful culture of our faith. The great thing, and that which it is most of all difficult to produce in us, is a participation of Christ's forgiving, gentleness, and patience. This, if we can learn it, is the most difficult and the most distinctively Christian of all attainments. Therefore we need a continual discipline of occasions, poverty, sickness, bereavements, losses, treacheries, misrepresentations, oppressions, persecutions; we can hardly have too many for our own good, if only we receive them as our Saviour did His cross.

(H. Bushnell, D. D.)

That is a very remarkable phrase — "the kingdom and patience." It might almost seem to be an arbitrary and fanciful phrase. And more than this, the two ideas would appear, to some minds at least, to be contradictory. Patience does not appeal to such minds as a kingly virtue, but rather as a commonplace quality befitting people of humbler rank. Impatience is somehow conceived as a king's privilege. The Bible puts this whole matter directly the other way. Kinghood, instead of being dissevered from patience, is bound up with it: the kingly virtues are all intertwined with patience and dependent upon it. This truth, when we come to examine it, is not confined to the region of Scripture or of religion. It is, in part at least, an every-day, business truth. It is a familiar enough fact that the great successes of the world have been won by hard and patient work, and not by inspired flashes; and we are beginning to have greater respect for the power of holding on than for the power of brilliant striking out. And, as in so many cases, Christ shows us how, in these familiar views, we have gotten hold of one end of a truth which runs up through the whole spiritual economy; a truth which takes the form of a principle: patience is kinghood. But if that principle is to commend itself practically to mankind it must be incarnated. Men will not believe it on the strength of mere assertion. In Jesus there are these two elements, dominion and patience. Now, I ask you to consider the peculiar trial of patience applied to a cultured mind and a pure character m contact with dense Ignorance, wicked cruelty, intense bigotry, enormous conceit, and personal degradation in every conceivable form. Look at the matter, for instance, on its lowest side. Did you ever do a full day's work in a hospital, surrounded from morning until evening with the sick and wounded and dying? If you have, you know how weary in body you were when the night came. And yet your worst experience of that kind was but a faint shadow of many days in Christ's life, especially those in which He was pressed all day long by that fearful oriental crowd, thrusting their various ailments upon His attention. Wise and good men who devote their lives to the ignorant have nevertheless some compensation. They step out of their own congenial circle, where their character and thoughts are appreciated, and down into the lower circle; but they can step back again at intervals, and refresh themselves with the contact and sympathy of congenial minds. But this compensation was denied Christ. There was, indeed, small band that loved Him, listened to Him, and believed in Him, but even these could sympathise with Him only to a very small extent. Nothing is more beautiful than the patience of Christ as related to His uncompromising fidelity to His standard of duty and of truth: His holding by His principles while He holds on at the same time to those slow, backward pupils in the school of faith and of self-sacrifice. Many a man, by his severe devotion to his moral ideals, cuts himself loose from other men. They admire his courage and consistency, but refuse to follow him; and a reason for this is often found in his impatience with their slowness. It was the patience of Christ which enabled Him to bate not one jot of His high claims and at the same time to lose none of those whom the Father had given Him. He could mourn over slow faith and uneducated conscience and low ideals of duty, yet He could go on teaching, and continue to wait long and patiently while they toiled slowly and painfully up toward His higher level. Once more let me briefly refer you to Christ's patience as shown in His method of securing friends and helpers. Most reformers, in their zeal to secure partisans, are willing to receive them under the influence of momentary enthusiasm. They are willing to have a man commit himself while his reason is unconvinced and only his fancy captivated. You cannot hut observe how Christ guarded against this mistake, though His caution doubtless cost Him many followers. He had patience to wait for followers who should embrace His cause deliberately, from conviction; and in this light the plainness of His statements concerning the terms and consequences of His service are worth noting. Nothing is concealed. And now I should like to dwell upon the patience of Christ as shown in His waiting. Christ's mission, in its very nature, involved long, patient waiting. It was the mission of a sower, sowing seed of slow growth. The harvest of Christ's ideas was not going to be reaped in three years nor in a hundred. He knew perfectly that He should return from earth leaving behind Him almost nothing in the way of visible results. He was content to await the slow growth of the gospel seed; to wait for the consummation of a sovereignty based on the spiritual transformation wrought by the gospel. His course in this stands out as the sublimest illustration of patience in all time, and stamps Him as the true King of the ages. Christ, therefore, by His own example, no less than by His word, commends to us this kingly virtue of patience. So, then, if you and I are expecting to win moral and spiritual dominion, this element must come to the front in our lives. Suppose we want to be good, truthful, pure in heart, single in purpose, Christlike in temper. Are these things wrought in us on the instant? No, you and I know it is not so. We know that each morning we wake to a twofold fight, with the world outside and with the self within. God help us if patience fail. God help us if there be not something within which keeps firm hold of the exceeding great and precious promises; which will not suffer faith to fail, that He that hath begun a good work will perfect it; which is not disheartened at slow progress, and which, spite of the tears and the dust, keeps our faces turned toward the place where we know the crown and the glory are, though we cannot see them. So, too, like Christ, we have a work to do among men. We shall not do it without patience. We must try and get a firmer hold of the great principle of Christ's life: "not to be ministered unto, but to minister"; and when we shall have gotten it clearly into our minds that our main purpose in life is not to be blessed by the world, but to bless the world, then we shall find ourselves on the road where every day and every hour will beget a prayer for the patience of Jesus Christ. Bearing, waiting, enduring — these do not seem to be means to kinghood; but if we aim at spiritual kinghood, dominion over our hearts, dominion over self, dominion over character — the kingdom of Jesus Christ — that and that only is the way to it.

(M. R. Vincent, D. D.)

In the isle that is called Patmos
Whenever a man is sent anywhere for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, he is not in prison, he is not in Patmos only. Jesus Christ said "the Son of Man who is in heaven" at the very moment when He was sitting upon the earth and was visible to spectators; and so John might have said — I was in Patmos yet I was in heaven; in the body I was confined to a bruited island, but in the spirit I was with my Lord in the sanctuary of the skies, lost in contemplation and adoration, and preparing to return to the earth with fuller equipment as a gospel preacher.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I. TO MAKE IT TRULY SYMPATHETIC. "I John, who also am your brother."

II. TO MAKE IT INTENSELY SAD. "And companion in tribulation." Not even aged apostles are exempt from sorrow. But while in this solitude, St. John was not wholly occupied with his own suffering; he remembered that of his fellow Christians. The companionship of pain will merge into the companionship of praise.

III. TO MAKE IT SUPREMELY GODLY. "And in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ."

IV. TO MAKE IT DEEPLY CONSCIOUS OF ITS INNOCENCE. "For the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." A consciousness of rectitude is always a soul-sustaining influence in periods of trial.

V. TO MAKE IT SUBSERVE THE DIVINE PURPOSE. "What thou seest write in a book." God can make the wrath of persecutors, the tribulations of saints, to praise Him. Lessons:

1. That wicked men have a strange power of rendering sad the lives of the good.

2. That loneliness may augment the efficiency of ministerial work.

3. That the common sufferings of the Christian life should have a uniting tendency.

4. That God gives bright visions to tried saints.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. See here how far graceless and profane persecutors may prevail against the servants of Jesus Christ.

2. Solitariness for Christ is not the worst condition. Christ can make up that another way, and if there be a necessity of withdrawing men from their duty: neither doth John lose anything by his banishment; for he finds more intimate communion with Christ, and gets more of His mind: nor doth the Church lose anything by it; for she gets this revelation of God's mind. If we believed this we would never go out of God's way to make up His work: for if He please to lay us by He knows how to make up that both to ourselves and God's people. The Christian Church is as much beholden to Paul's imprisonment in epistles, as to his liberty in preaching.

3. Honest suffering for Christ hath often with it the clearest manifestations of Christ. Folks that will continue faithful and bide by their duty through sufferings, they shall not only not be losers but gainers (1 Peter 4:14).

(James Durham.)

I was in the Spirit
1. To be in the Spirit is to possess the Spirit.

2. The second thing referred to is the time of the vision: "The Lord's Day." It is His Day because it is the day of His Divine appointment. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will be glad and rejoice in it. And it is His day because He is the subject of it. His personal glory; His victory and triumph over death and the grave; His holding the keys of hell and of death; from the subjects of holy meditation on this blessed day.

(J. Young.)

I. THE LORD'S DAY. All days are His, but this belongs to Him by special right.

1. It is the memorial of His resurrection.

2. It eternises the sabbatic ideal. A day of fulfilment, completion, and rest.

3. It is the earnest of the ultimate enfranchisement of the race. A day of enlarged liberty and not of more stringent bondage.

II. THE SPIRIT'S DAY.

1. It "takes of the things of Christ" and shows them unto us.

2. The entire being is uplifted and transformed. Inspiration is no fruitless ecstacy, no mere festival of the emotions; it is full of practical impulse, intellectual enlightenment, and moral purification.

3. Only "in the Spirit" can the Lord's Day, especially the great Easter Day, be fully and profitably observed.

(St. J. A. Frere, M. A.)

On the Lord's Day
What is the meaning of this expression, "the Lord's Day"? Does it mean the day of judgment? Such a meaning would not serve St. John's purpose here. He is plainly giving the date of his great vision, not the scene to which it introduced him. Does it, then, mean the annual feast of our Lord's resurrection from the dead, our Easter Day? That day, as we know from the Epistle to the Corinthians, was observed in apostolic times. But it could hardly have served for a date; because in those days, as for some time afterwards, there were different opinions in the Church as to the day on which properly it ought to be kept. Does the phrase, then, mean the Sabbath Day of the Mosaic Law? God calls the Sabbath by the mouth of the prophet "My holy day." And the language of the fourth commandment, "the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God," might well seem to justify the expression. But there is no known instance in the New Testament of the Sabbath being alluded to except by its own name, "the Sabbath." If St. John had meant the Sabbath, or seventh day of the week, he would certainly have used the word "Sabbath." He would not have used another word which the Christian Church, from the days of the apostles downwards, has applied not to the seventh day of the week, but to the first. There is indeed no real reason for doubting that by "the Lord's Day" St. John meant the first day of the week, or, as we should say, Sunday. Our Lord Jesus Christ has made that day, in a special sense, His own, by rising on it from the dead, and by connecting it with His first six appearances after His resurrection.

I. THE FIRST PRINCIPLE EMBODIED IN THE OBSERVANCE OF THE LORD'S DAY IS THE DUTY OF CONSECRATING .A CERTAIN PORTION OF TIME, AT LEAST ONE SEVENTH, TO THE SERVICE OF GOD. This principle is common to the Jewish Sabbath and to the Christian Lord's Day. "Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath Day." "Keep the day holy" — consecrate it — so the precept runs. Such a consecration implies two things. It implies a separation of the thing consecrated from all others, and a communication to it of a quality of holiness or purity which it had not before. The day is to be unlike other days, and it is also to be marked by some positive characteristics which should proclaim its dedication to God. Now, to this idea of a special consecration of a section of time, it is sometimes objected that in a true Christian life all time is already consecrated. Does not this consecration of a section of time ignore the obligation to a service which knows no limits? The answer is, that the larger obligation of love is not ignored because the smaller obligation of duty is insisted on. All a Christian's time is, properly, consecrated time. But, practically, in many cases, none at all would be consecrated, unless an effort were made to mark a certain portion of it off by a special consecration. And apart from its importance in the life of a servant of God, the public setting apart of a certain measure of time to God's service, is a witness to God's claims borne before the world, calculated to strike the imaginations of men. Such an observance makes room for the thought of God amidst the pressing importunities of business and enjoyment.

II. A SECOND PRINCIPLE REPRESENTED IN THE LORD'S DAY IS THE PERIODICAL SUSPENSION OF HUMAN TOIL. This principle is closely connected with that of the consecration of time. In order to make the day, by this particular prohibition, unlike other days; in order to make room for the acknowledgment of God on it, ordinary occupations are suspended. Here we have a second principle which is common to the Jewish Sabbath and to the Christian Lord's Day. In the Old Testament a variety of particular occupations are expressly forbidden on the Sabbath — sowing and reaping, gathering wood, kindling a fire for cooking, holding markets, all kinds of trade, pressing grapes, carrying burdens of all kinds; and in a later age the Pharisees and the lawyers added very largely to these prohibitions. It was against the Pharisaic perversions of the Sabbath that our Lord protested both by act and word, reminding His countrymen that the Sabbath was made for the moral good of man, and not man for the later legal theory of the Sabbath. But the broad principle of abstinence from labour, however it was caricatured in the later Jewish practice, was itself a sacred principle, and it passed on as such into the Christian observance of the Lord's Day. Thus the Sabbath and the Lord's Day agree in affirming two principles, the hallowing of a seventh part of time, and the obligation of abstinence from servile work on one day in seven. But are they identical? May we rightly, scripturally, call the Lord's Day the Sabbath? These questions must be answered in the negative. The Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Lord's Day, while agreeing in affirming two principles, differ in two noteworthy respects. First, they differ, as has already been implied, in being kept on distinct days. The change was made because there was an imperative reason for making it. For the Lord's Day and the Sabbath differ, secondly, in the reason or motive for observing them. The Sabbath is the weekly commemoration of the rest of God after creation. It brought before the mind of the Jew the ineffable majesty of the great Creator, between whom and the noblest work of His hands there yawns an impassable abyss. Now, the Christian motive of observing the Lord's Day is the resurrection of Christ from the dead. That truth is to the Christian creed what the creation of the world out of nothing is to the Jewish creed. It is the fundamental truth on which all else that is distinctively Christian rests; and it is just as much put forward by the Christian apostles as is the creation of all things out of nothing by the Jewish prophets. The Jewish Sabbath stands in the same relation to the Lord's Day as does circumcision to Christian baptism; as does the Paschal Lamb to the Holy Communion; as does the law in general to the gospel. It is a shadow of a good thing to come. It is only perpetuated by being transfigured, or rather it is so transfigured as to have parted with its identity. The spiritual consecration of a seventh part of time, the abstinence from labour, these remain; but the spirit, the governing motive of the day, is fundamentally changed.

III. But here a third, and a last principle, comes forward, which is embodied by the day. And this third principle is, THE NECESSITY OF THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF GOD. The cessation of ordinary work is not enjoined upon Christians, only that they may while away the time, or spend it in self-pleasing or in something worse. The Lord's Day is the day of days, on which Jesus our Lord has a first claim. On this great day every instructed and believing Christian thinks of Him as completing the work of our redemption, as vindicating His character as a teacher of absolute truth, as triumphing publicly over His enemies, as conquering death in that nature which had always hitherto been subject to the empire of death, as deigning, now that He has overcome the sharpness of death, to "open the kingdom of heaven to all believers." And when the religious obligations of the day have been complied with, there are duties of human kindliness which may well find a place in kind deeds and words to friends, in visits to the sick, in acts of consideration for the poor; all of these are in keeping with the spirit of the day. Above all, the day should be made — mark it well, parents and guardians — a bright, as well as a solemn day, for children — first solemn, but then and always bright; so that in after life they may look back on the Sundays of childhood as on the happiest days of youth. Among the thoughts which Sunday, more than other days, brings to us is the memory of those whom we have known and loved, and who have passed away — the memory of the dead. We do well to make the most of these thoughts. They are sent to us from above to enable us to prepare, after our measure, and by God's grace, to follow. But, as I have said, the mental atmosphere of a true Christian, on Sunday especially, is above all things an atmosphere of worship. He may think it right and reverent to say little; but the day says to him from its early dawn, "Lift up thy heart," and his answer is, "I lift it up unto the Lord." He is, in his way, like St. John, "in the Spirit." He sees the higher and the everlasting realities; he measures earth against heaven, and time against eternity, and poor, weak man against the almighty and everlasting Creator. Sundays such as these are to the human life like shafts in a long tunnel — they admit at regular intervals light and air; and, though we pass them all too soon, their helpful influence does not vanish with the day. It furnishes us with strength and light for the duties which await us, and makes it easier to follow loyally the road which God's loving providence may have traced for each one of us, on towards our eternal home.

(Canon Liddon.)

I. A DELIGHTFUL ENCOURAGEMENT TO THOSE WHO ARE THE LORD'S example of the beloved John hath, in the next place, a manifest application to those who are permitted to enjoy the privileges of public worship.

II. IT IS THEIR DUTY TO BE IN THE SPIRIT ON THE LORD'S DAY, AND IN HIS HOUSE OF PRAYER.

III. THE DANGER OF THOSE WHO NEGLECT THE PRIVILEGE OF SABBATH ORDINANCES, AND FORSAKE THE ASSEMBLING OF THEMSELVES TOGETHER IN THE HOUSE OF PRAYER. Did it ever occur to you why the Creator made man in His own image and likeness, on the evening before the Sabbath? Let me say that surely it was thus done in order that His gifted creature might forthwith enter upon the observance of the Sabbath; that he might begin his life with that worship of the Most High which was the chief end of his being. It is related concerning one of the richest mines of Peru, that thousands passed over it without noticing the wealth beneath their feet, until at length a poor Indian, just falling down a precipice, snatched at a bush to save his life, and exposed a mass of ore, of which it appeared that the whole surface of the mountain was composed. If ye had attended in the house of prayer, and caught at the ordinances of the gospel, the treasures of the love of Christ would have been discovered, and they would have made you rich indeed.

(R. P. Buddicom, M. A.)

This in truth is not his thought at all. His primary question is, not what he shall see, but whether he shall be fit for the sight. The arduous part of the work to him is not the opening of heaven nor the revelation of heaven; it is the preparation for heaven. He feels that what he needs before all things is the spirit of the sabbath. The question now is, What in the view of St. John is the spirit of the Lord's day — that spirit which the seer regards as essential and preliminary to any rending of the veil between earth and heaven. Every anniversary day requires its appropriate spirit. Without that spirit, nothing which happens outside will reveal anything to the spectator. The day of a Queen's jubilee requires the spirit of loyalty; without this, no streaming of flags will convey it to the eye, no blast of trumpets will communicate it to the ear. The day which commemorates a victory needs the spirit of patriotism; without this the roll of artillery is all in vain. The day which keeps the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth demands the spirit of poetry; without this the banquet has no significance. The sabbath is in John's view also an anniversary. It is the anniversary of creation and resurrection. It, too, can only be understood by its appropriate spirit. What is the appropriate spirit of this day as it appears to the seer of Patmos? Do we find in this passage any trace of the thought which lay beneath the words, and which led him to connect the visions of his book with the breath of the seventh morning? I think we do. I believe that, if we join the second clause of the verse to the first, we shall reach a luminous understanding of the idea which dominated the mind of the apostle, "I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet." I take the explanatory clause to be the hearing of the trumpet behind him. The idea is clearly that of retrospect, looking back. Now, John's ideal of the sabbath rest is that of a satisfied past. It is the ability to look back and say "It was all very good." Now, this view of the sabbath rest is borne out both by the Old Testament and by the New. In the book of Genesis it is described as God's rest from creation; but it is a retrospective rest. It is not the joy of prospect but the joy of memory. It is the looking back upon the work that has been done, and finding that it has been done well, "God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good." In the New Testament the day has the significance of a triumph. It is the rest of the soldier who has fought the battle and ascended up on high leading captivity captive. Yet here again it is a retrospective rest. It is the triumph of a work done. The spirit of the Lord's day is the spirit of retrospective rest. We come next to ask, What is it that renders this the fitting spirit for the Apocalypse? We often think that our chief desire in seeking the rending of the veil is to get a glimpse of the future. In that we deceive ourselves. No man would be satisfied with such a revelation if he got it to-morrow. We want, not mainly a sight of the future, but a sight of the past. The desire of man in this world is not simply to feel that in another world it will be all right with him. He wants to feel that it is all right now. His hope is that in a future life the clouds of this will be, not simply rolled away, but explained. This was John's vision. He put himself in the spirit of the Lord's day. He conceived himself to be standing in the seventh morning of creation, and looking back. He heard a trumpet behind him — the voice of the vindicating past proclaiming that it was all very good; and it was the sabbath of his soul. Now, I believe that psychologically St. John is right. I think that to our age, even more than to his, the greatest religious rest in the world is that which comes from the retrospect of history.

(G. Matheson, D. D.)

I. AS A DAY OF DIVINE SANCTION.

1. The sanctification of the day of our Lord's resurrection by the new-covenant Church was prophetically notified by David when he wrote Psalm 118:22-24.

2. The example of the apostles and early Christians carries with it the weight of conclusive authority.

3. The usefulness with which the observance of the Christian Sabbath has been attended is a full ratification of all it has claimed.

II. AS A DAY OF HOLY EMPLOYMENT.

1. The Sabbath should be hallowed by the cessation of secular business and toil. In this respect it should strictly answer to the signification of its name, and be a day of rest.

2. The Sabbath should be hallowed by the careful avoidance of all frivolities, and all pleasures which do not advance the spiritual welfare.

3. The Sabbath should be hallowed by devotional attendance on the public worship of God. Nor must you imagine that an occasional attendance on the engagements of public worship is an adequate discharge of obligation. To be regular, to be punctual, to be devout — these must characterise your habits in the service of your God.

4. The Sabbath should be hallowed by performance of the relative and private duties of religion.

III. AS A DAY OF CHRISTIAN GLADNESS AND ANTICIPATION.

1. Gladness, on this blessed season, must inspire every Christian mind. A source of joy exists in the events it commemorates.

2. Anticipation necessarily arises out of the nature of the institution. The Sabbath is emphatically, as it always has been, type. We anticipate, from the rest of the Sabbath, that age so earnestly desired, when religion shall have completed her triumphs. "The Lord's Day" is a distinct memorial of the period, when the latter glory shall dawn; and when the incense of pure worship shall be offered to the living God from every kindred and tongue and people.

(J. Parsons.)

Heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet
1. What John heard. It was "a voice." It was not a mere sound, but it was a voice. Words are the expression of thoughts, the language of mind, the utterance of the heart, and the wishes of the soul; they are the medium of mental and moral communication of man with man, of mind with mind. The voice of God is the utterance of His will, the revelation of His mercy, and the medium of Divine communication with man.

2. Whose voice was this he heard? It was the voice of the Son of Man, a brother and a friend. It was a voice infinitely gracious, unutterably tender, full of compassion.

3. What was the voice which the prophet heard? It was "a great voice."(1) It was great in its author, the great God and our Saviour.(2) It was great in its nature, its power and excellence, magnitude and mystery.(3) It was great in its subject, the plans and arrangements of providence and grace.(4) It was great in its design, to arouse the regards of a slumbering world.

4. What the voice resembled. It was "as of a trumpet." It was not a mere sound, but an articulate voice. It was as the voice of a trumpet, sonorous, powerful, solemn, and majestic; gracious, awful, clear, and commanding; giving forth a distinct and certain sound. It was as the trumpet of the God of Israel, the symbol of His presence.

5. Whence the voice came: "I heard a voice behind me." It came from behind as the voice of a Watchman, whose eye never slumbers, whose eye never sleeps. It came from behind as the voice of a Teacher: "Thine eyes shall see thy teachers; and thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, or when ye turn to the left."

(J. Young.)

I. A WONDERFUL VOICE FROM ETERNITY COMES TO MAN.

1. The voice was marked by clearness.

2. By fulness. Is there any voice in nature equal to the voice of the old ocean — majestic, full, continuous, drowning all other sounds?

II. A WONDERFUL PERSONAGE FROM ETERNITY APPEARS TO MAN.

1. The scene of the appearance.

2. Its characteristics.

(1)Royalty.

(2)Purity.

(3)Penetration.

(4)Firmness.

(5)Dominion.

(6)Victory.

(7)Brightness.

III. A WONDERFUL IMPRESSION FROM ETERNITY IS MADE UPON MAN. What were John's emotions? Was there amazement at seeing One whom he loved above all others, and with whom he had parted, some thirty years before? Was it dread? Was he terror-struck at the marvellous apparition? Was it remorse? Did the effulgence of its purity quicken within him such a sense of guilt as filled him with self-loathing and horror? Perhaps all these emotions blended in a tidal rush that physically paralysed him for a while.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

What thou seest, write in a book
Homilist.
(with Hebrews 10:16): — Here are two Bibles, two Divine books. The first passage refers to God's writing through man upon parchment; this constitutes the book which we commonly call the Bible. The second passage refers to God's writing through the Bible by His Spirit on the human soul. Christianity in human life is better than Christianity in cold ink. Why?

I. Because it contains the Divine THINGS, the other only contains the SYMBOLS. Divine virtues are not in the letter press, they are only represented there. But in the Christly life they themselves are breathing, operative, soul-fashioning forces.

II. Because it is THE END OF CULTURE, THE OTHER ONLY THE MEANS. When men get into them the true spiritual graces, the moral principles and temper of Christ, they have realised the end of Divine training. The paper Bible is the means of this.

III. Because it is SELF-OBVIOUS, THE OTHER REQUIRES EXPLANATION. A Christly life is a Bible that a child can read, that men of all tribes and languages can interpret. Not so with the paper Bible, it contains many things "hard to be understood."

IV. Because it is IMPERISHABLE, THE OTHER IS TEMPORARY. The principles of truth, love, and goodness that are written on the human soul are not only indestructible in themselves, but the substance on which they are written is indestructible, it is eternal life. Conclusion: Prize the paper Bible by all means, but don't superstitiously worship it. Prize the Christly life, it is greater than all literature.

(Homilist.)

I. THAT IT WRITES UPON A HEAVENLY SUGGESTION. "What thou seest write in a book."

1. It does not write merely upon the suggestion of some interesting topic.

2. It does not write for the desire of popular authorship.

3. It does not write in the hope of financial remuneration.

4. It writes upon the prompting of a Divine impulse.

II. THAT IT RECORDS CELESTIAL VISIONS.

1. It does not record the fancies of fiction.

2. It does not record the vagaries of philosophy.

3. It records the higher moral experiences of the soul.

III. THAT IT WRITES FOR THE MORAL INSTRUCTION OF THE CHURCH. "And send it unto the seven Churches which are in Asia."

1. The Church needs the instruction of Christian authorship.

2. Christ requires that Christian authorship should seek the moral good of the Church.Lessons: —

1. God commands good men to write books for the welfare of the Church.

2. Let men seek the higher moods of authorship.

3. Let us cultivate an experience of soul worthy of record.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

The first century of our era was by no means an unlettered age. Yet there is no point in which the contrast between the first century and the nineteenth is more striking than the place that literature takes. Now reading is not confined to a cultivated circle: it is a universal acquisition. This diffused power of literature is of very modern growth: its origin was in the invention of printing four hundred years ago, and its stalwart youth to-day is due simply to the cheapening of paper and the improvements in the processes of production. Its future is altogether incalculable. Now this vast change in the habits and the conditions of the world necessarily creates a number of problems which could not be alluded to in the New Testament, such problems as these: How should we read? What should we read? How are we to regard printed matter? What principles should regulate us in the use of it? Now it is to be observed that though the Bible can give no direct answer to these questions, the Bible by its very existence is in a certain sense the suggestion of an answer: for this ancient book is a proof that from the very beginning God laid claim to the human faculty of reading and writing for His own purposes. We find Jesus Christ in the text claiming the pen of a certain man in order that He may communicate with men through ages to come. From the recognition of this fact I want to pass to a very broad and general statement. Looking at the whole mass of printed and written matter with which the world at the present day teems, I propose that we should divide it into two parts, and of the one part we should say: "This is such that Christ said, or might have said, 'Write it,' such as He could approve and use, and that is such that you could not possibly conceive Him saying, either 'Write or read it,' such that it could have no imprimatur of His, and stands condemned in the light of His countenance." That stern edict of the Caliph Omar, commanding the library at Alexandria to be burnt, because, as he said, "If it contains what is in the Word of God, the Word of God is sufficient, and if it contains what is against it, it ought to be destroyed," has frequently been censured. But I would suggest that we actually take his recommendation, with a little modification, as the principle of modern reading; we may say, with regard to every book or paper or pamphlet that we wish to read, "Is this a thing about which my Lord might have said, 'Write,' or even 'Read'? Then I propose to read it and understand it to the best of my ability. Is it, on the other hand, a writing of a kind concerning which He would have said neither 'Write' nor 'Read'? for me it shall be an unwritten book, a blank, illegible paper; by no means shall my eyes peruse it." First, consider the penetrating and insidious power of a printed page. Suppose it is bad, suppose it is corrupting; it comes before us with a quiet, demure, and decent aspect; nothing could be less aggressive, less dangerous than this; it may even be bound in the costliest binding and printed upon the best paper. Now, if a living companion approached us with the same corrupt influences in him as are contained in this innocent page, every decent mind would keep him at a distance, and would insist upon some satisfactory introduction. He would give more or less an indication of what he is, and as we got to see what he is we should decline his acquaintance. But this companion, this written page leaps into the breast at a bound; it is there at once unquestioned and uncensured; it is like that wooden horse which was introduced into Troy with the approbation of all the people, containing within its belly the armed men that were to be the ruin of the city, but not disgorging itself until it was well within the walls. But, on the other hand, suppose that the writing be good, consider what a winged and miraculous power this written thing possesses. It can fly where no human voice can reach it, can arrest and hold a man whom no human hand can touch, and when it has laid its spell upon him it will be like a two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing of the bone and of the marrow. The Press is a great pulpit to-day, the greatest of pulpits. Those who have learnt to write at the bidding of Jesus reach a wider audience than could ever be assembled in St. Paul's or the Metropolitian Tabernacle. But another reason for a principle of selection arises from the simple fact that the printed literature of the world is so vast. None of us can read everything; and is it not, therefore, best to make up our mind that we will read all that is good? and if we go upon that principle, we shall not have time to read anything that is bad. But the principle of which I have been speaking is a little more specific, that we read only what Christ has said "Write," and refuse all the rest. Now, is it possible that some of you are afraid that in adopting this principle you would restrict your reading within very narrow limits, and is it possible, too, that some of you say, "How are we to know which things are in accordance with the literary censorship of Jesus Christ"? Let me point out that you need mot be troubled by the narrowness of the literature that is thus suggested, and, secondly, that there is a very easy way of knowing which literature Christ approves. A good critic knows the mark of any well-known writer before he has gone half-way down the first page, and a good Christian seldom has to read more than two or three sentences before discovering whether that is a piece of Christ's literature or not. But in this matter of determining, I frankly admit that if you adopt my principle you will not always be in the fashion. It is no part of the Christian's duty to read a book because it happens to be in vogue. Again, if you adopt this principle, you will not find it necessary to read through your daily paper: you will read, perhaps, a good deal less of the daily paper than most people do read. But I said that the literature to be read on this principle is not limited as some people suppose. Let me tell you what it is. There is the Bible to begin with. There is another branch of literature that has to be read by Christians, the reports of the progress of the Master's kingdom, the news which comes from the front of the Lord's battle in the world. Then, leaving the Bible and the reports of the Master's kingdom, there is the noble pile of books on science; and I wonder if it has occurred to every one here that if, as the Bible teaches us, Jesus Christ is the Creator of this universe, every true fact about this universe is a record of Jesus Christ's handiwork? and, considering the incalculable mass of scientific detail to-day, no one can say that the literature is limited. Then there are all the accredited records of human history — an almost unlimited sphere of reading. Then, again, there are the poets — not all the poets, nor all of any poet, but you may mark this, that no poet of the first rank ever wrote but, when he gets into the higher region of his thought and utterance, he has become a mouthpiece of God. Then there are all the wise, true masters of thought in this age and ages that have gone by, so numerous, so great, and some of them even so voluminous that we are never likely to finish them; and then there are all the stories — I dare not call them novels, for the name has been defiled — but all the stories that have come from the pure and purifying imagination of great writers and thinkers, the mass of which very few of us have read.

(R. F. Horton, M. A.)

Send it unto the seven Churches which are in Asia
I. CHRIST SUSTAINS A COMMON RELATIONSHIP TO THEM ALL.

1. The relationship of authority. The only Lord in the kingdom of souls.

2. The relationship of oversight. Christ knows all Churches, reads their inner heart, sounds the depths of their impulses.

3. The relationship of moral discipline. In all the letters there is commendation, rebuke, promise, threatening. His spiritual providence and power run through all.

II. CHRIST SPEAKS THROUGH THEIR "ANGELS," OR MESSENGERS TO ALL.

III. CHRIST PROMISES GREAT BLESSINGS TO THE VICTORIOUS IN ALL.

1. The resistance of evil is the characteristic of all Christians. Other men may speak against evil — condemn evil in words; but the Christian resists it.

2. The resistance of evil must in all cases be personal. To be supposed that there can be any social or ecclesiastical resistance of sin as sin is a delusion. It is to Him "that over-cometh," not it.

3. The resistance of evil is a matter of difficulty. Every warfare implies difficulty, peril, enterprise, perseverance, and so forth.

4. The resistance of evil, though difficult, may be achieved. "To Him that overcometh," etc. Thank God, in the case of every man evil may be overcome, and the triumph is one of the most blessed in the history of intelligent beings.

IV. CHRIST DEMANDS ATTENTION TO THE VOICE OF THE SPIRIT IN ALL. The "Spirit." What Spirit? God. God in Christ's ministry.

(Caleb Morris.)

I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THESE LETTERS COMMON TO ALL.

1. In all Christ assumes different aspects.

2. In all Christ addresses Himself through a special officer.

3. In all Christ declares His thorough knowledge of their moral history.

4. In all Christ promises great blessings to the morally victorious.

5. In all Christ commands attention to the voice of the Spirit.

6. In all Christ's grand aim is spiritual culture.

7. In all Christ observes a threefold division.(1) A reference to some of the attributes of Him who addresses the Church.(2) A disclosure of the characteristics of the Church, with appropriate admonition, encouragement, or reproof.(3) Promises of reward to all who preserve in their Christian course and overcome the spiritual enemies who assault them.

II. CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH SOME OF THEM DIFFER.

1. We find two (Smyrna and Philadelphia) who receive commendation.

2. Two (Sardis and Laodicea) are censured.

3. Three (Ephesus, Pergamos, and Thyatira) contain mingled censure and commendation. In these cases the approbation precedes the blame, showing that it was more grateful to commend than to reprove.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I saw seven golden candlesticks
1. The nature of the symbol. The Church is called a candlestick, in allusion to the candlestick in the ancient sanctuary-in allusion also to the exposition of the symbol given by the prophet (Zechariah 4:2-6); and on account of her own celestial light — she receives, resembles, embodies, and dispenses the light, glory, and gladness of heaven (Isaiah 60:1).

2. The precious material of which they are formed. They are golden candlesticks. The formation of the Church is the doing of the Lord, and marvellous in our eyes. The plan, the contrivance, the direction, and formation of the golden candlesticks were all Divine and heavenly; bearing the impress of the hand that formed them. They are called golden candlesticks, to express their intrinsic excellence, their purity and value, their glory and beauty, their splendour and their preciousness. They are called golden candlesticks, to express the estimation in which they are held by the family of heaven.

3. The form and number of the golden candlesticks. They were seven. There was but one candlestick in the ancient sanctuary, which represented the one Church of Israel — complete within itself.(1) The number implies the purity of the light; it proceeds from the pure celestial oil.(2) The fulness of the light; a plenitude of glory is poured from the Churches, to enlighten and cheer a dark world.(3) The power of the light; it has a power of holy influence and everlasting consolation; the power of sweet attraction.(4) The variety of the light; the beauty and variety of the colours of the rainbow meet and mingle here.(5) The unity of the light; there is a blessed unity without uniformity; although there are seven, they are all one; they have all one support, they are formed of one material, nourished by the same means.

4. The use and design of the seven golden candlesticks. The use of a candlestick is to receive, exhibit, and dispense the light. Now, the Church of Christ does this by her purity; her purity of doctrine, purity of communion; purity, simplicity, and spirituality of worship; and by her spiritual power to command heavenly purity. She does it by her testimony to the character of God, in the embodied form of Divine truth, in the pure essential doctrines of grace, and she does it by her efforts to publish the gospel; as a witnessing Church, in maintaining the truth; and a missionary Church, in dispensing the truth throughout the whole world.

(James Young.)

(with Genesis 3:8): — The Book of Revelation is a mosaic, in which the previous parts of the Bible are brought together and formed into a new picture, illustrative of the fortunes of the Church and the world. As Genesis is the book of beginnings, so Revelation is the book of completions.

1. Between the two revelations of God to man which meets us respectively at the commencement and at the close of the sacred Scriptures, we find the closest connection. He who appeared to our first parents walking among the trees of the garden, appeared in vision to the beloved disciple in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks in the Isle of Patmos. The two Divine manifestations were essentially the same, although they differed in outward form and circumstances. Between them there were connecting links. The experience of the exile on Horeb, for instance, was repeated in the case of the exile in Patmos. The same vision of the burning bush which appeared to Moses appeared to John in the vision of the seven golden candlesticks. The Son of Man associated Himself with the one symbol in the same way that He had associated Himself with the other. The occasion in both oases was similar. The burning bush was never to be extinguished, it was to become a candlestick; and the fire of God's dealings with His people for their purification was to become a conspicuous light held aloft to lighten the whole world. The same truth is still further illustrated by the fact that the vision of John in Patmos was based upon the Jewish tabernacle and temple. Separated outwardly from the solemnities of the ancient worship — from the priesthood, the altars, the sacrifices, the festivals, the Hebrew Christians could still enjoy all that was most precious and enduring in the possession of their race. And the modification in the old form which the apostle beheld was itself full of significance. The single candlestick of pure gold, whose light illumined the holy place which was the pattern of the Church upon earth, appeared before John in the darkness and loneliness of his exile, multiplied into seven distinct candlesticks, as if each branch of the prototype had become a separate candlestick; in token that the original Jewish Church, which was one — the Church of a single people — had differentiated into a Christian Church, which while one as to its unity of faith and love, is also many as regards its organisation and individual life, the Church of all nations and people and tribes and tongues. And as the vision of Patmos was thus connected with the tabernacle and temple, and with the vision of Horeb, so we can trace them all back to the Adamic revelation, whose symbol was the tree of life in the midst of the garden. The difference between the living tree and the dead fuel on the hearth or in the lamp, is that the fire in the one, owing to the conserving power of the vital principle, is burning without being consumed; whereas in the other is the burning and consuming — reducing to dust and ashes, because of the absence of the vital conserving principle. The bowls which contained the oil were shaped like an almond-nut, the knops looked like the flower buds, and the carved flowers resembled the fully-expanded blossoms of the almond tree. This tree was selected as the pattern of the golden candlestick, and as that which yielded Aaron's miraculous rod, because it is the first to awaken from sleep of winter, as its Hebrew name signifies. It was a symbol of the life of nature, rising in perpetual youth and beauty out of the decaying ruins of man's works. And so the Hebrew candlestick might be regarded as emblematical of the life of the Church, being the first to awaken out of the wreck of human sin, exhibiting its beauties of holiness and fruits of righteousness, while all around the world is wrapt in the winter sleep of spiritual torpor.

2. But between the revelation of Eden and the revelation of Patmos there are some striking points of contrast. The revelation of Eden was given in circumstances of peace and happiness. Nature was a faithful outward reflection of man's moral state. Its beauty and fruitfulness coincided with man's moral beauty and fruitfulness. But the revelation of Patmos was amid widely different circumstances. The symbol of it was not the tree that grew spontaneously by the laws of natural growth, but the candlestick wrought by human hands, with the sweat of the face. The gold of which it was composed was dug with toil and trouble from the mine, melted in the furnace, purified from its ore, and not cast into a mould, but beaten out of a solid piece with the hammer into the form in which it appeared. The oil for the light was also beaten from the olive berries grown, gathered, and expressed by human toil and skill; and the wick in like manner was a human manufacture made of the fine twined linen which formed part of the curtains of the tabernacle. The whole idea of the candlestick implied toil and trouble. And this is the great characteristic of the revelation of which it is the symbol. Everything connected with it indicates salvation from sin through toil and suffering. Every image, every symbol and type in sacred Scripture, speaks of the curse of the ground and the sorrow of the soul which sin had brought into the world. This great factor is taken into account in all remedial schemes. The first promise to our race announces redemption through pain and toil and sorrow. The bruising of the serpent's head is to be accomplished only through the wounding of the victor's heel. The Levitical institutions disclose the painfulness of the covenant of grace in g most remarkable manner. Their limitations, their restrictions, their heavy burdens, their awful sanctions, their sacrifices of blood and death, all speak in the most impressive manner of the evil of sin and the costliness of the deliverance from it. And the life and death of our Saviour disclose this in a way still more solemn and emphatic. The trees of Eden in His case were converted into the Cross of Calvary; and the glorious fiat of the first creation, "Let there be light, and there was light," into the awful cry of darkness and death — the birth-pang of the new creation, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" In the midst of the seven golden candlesticks the beloved disciple heard Him saying, "I am He that liveth and was dead." In the midst of the throne, John, through his tears, saw "a Lamb as it had been slain."

3. Another point of contrast between the revelation or Patmos and the revelation of Eden is the clearness and fulness of the one, in comparison with the dimness and obscurity of the other. God talked with Adam not only among but through the medium of the trees of the garden, conveyed to him spiritual instruction by the objects and processes of nature around him. Religion meant to Him simply the knowledge, worship, and service of God as He was revealed by the objects and processes of nature; and on these points nature could give him all the light that he needed. But we have sinned and fallen, and religion to us includes, besides these elements, repentance of sin and dependence upon an atonement. Nature therefore cannot solve the awful doubts which arise in the human heart regarding the justice of God. "How shall man be just with God?" We need that He who at first commanded the light to shine out of darkness, should give us the light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jet-as Christ. God has given to us this special revelation, suited to our altered sinful state, in the economy of redemption.

4. And now we come to the last point of contrast between the revelation of Eden and the revelation of Patmos, namely, the transitory nature of the one and the permanence of the other. God appeared to our first parents walking among the trees of the garden. These trees were in their very nature evanescent. But, on the other hand, God in Christ appeared to the beloved disciple in Patmos in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; and these candlesticks were the symbols of the Word of the Lord which endureth for ever. The form and substance of these candlesticks indicated the imperishable nature of the revelation which they symbolised. They were all beaten out of solid gold — the most enduring of all earthly materials — the very pavement of heaven itself. They were carved with the figures of flowers and fruits, preserving the exquisite loveliness of the fading flowers and fruit of earth in an imperishable form. Thus they are appropriate emblems of the beauty and glory of the new creation of God, a creation, though new, yet founded as it were on the ruins of the old, fashioned of lasting and unfading materials, and yet combining all the beauty and glory of that which shall pass away.

(H. Macmillan, D. D.)

I. THE CANDLESTICKS. It is not so much to the light as to the utensil or stand for holding it that his attention is turned, for the light of these lamps is not from an earthly source, but from Him who is "the Light of the world." Israel, for ages, was the world's only light — a light confined within narrow boundaries; not diffused over earth, nor set upon a hill. Of this the one seven-branched candlestick in the tabernacle and temple was the symbol. The lamp-stand was doubly shut in — first, by the outer curtain, or wall of the house; and, secondly, by the inner curtain, or wall of the holy place. But now that lamp stands in uncurtained, unhidden splendour, shining out over all the world.

II. THE MATERIALS OF WHICH THE CANDLESTICKS ARE MADE. They are of gold. Generally in Scripture gold symbolises the holy, the perfect, the Divine. The Churches are "in God the Father, and in Christ Jesus, our Lord." They are not from beneath, but from above; they are not of the world, even as Christ is not of the world. They are composed of men born from above. With Divine glory they shine; with Divine beauty they stand forth before the world, representing the surpassing and all-precious excellence of Him in whose beauty they s re beautiful, and in whose perfection they are perfect. Golden Churches! Golden men t Golden witnesses for Christ and His truth! How far the Church of God in the past centuries, since John wrote, has fulfilled the description, ecclesiastical history can tell. The age of gold was not a long one; and then followed the silver, the brass, and the iron. How much of gold is to be seen in the Churches of our day?

III. THE NUMBER OF THE CANDLESTICKS. Seven —

1. Perfection. As the one sunbeam is composed of seven parts, and thus perfected into whiteness, so seven is the Divine number of perfection, or completeness.

2. Variety. The manifold gifts of the one Spirit, sent from the one Christ.

3. Unity. Seven is oneness; oneness with diversity: one firmament, many stars.

4. Covenant-certainty. Seven is the covenant-number (Genesis 21:31). The Churches are the Churches of the everlasting covenant — the covenant between the Father and the Son — "ordered in all things, and sure."

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

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