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have gone in with him to the marriage: the foolish virgias will knock in vain without for admission.
12. “ And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every one according as his work shall be.”
This certainly respects the living world of men. It is spoken in regard of the manner in which the day of the Lord overtakes them. If, according to the preceding verse, they are found at that day working “ the work of God," among those who are justified by faith in Christ, are sanctified through his Spirit, the love of God poured abroad in their hearts, they will receive the happy welcome, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” But if they are found at that day among the unjust and filthy, unbelieving, and therefore yet in their sins, and strangers to the love of Christ, they must hear the awful sentence, “ Depart, ye cursed,” &c.
. Such is the import of the passage before us. From other passages we might add, that besides this general separation of the goats and sheep- of the tares and wheat — of the good and bad fish, there will also at this day be a reward, as the work of each shall be, with respect to Christ's ministers and public servants. But this is not immediately in the view of the passage, and it is certain it has no relation to a judgment of works after death, at the general resurrection.
By their fruits, we know them, now, whom Christ would own or disown if he were to come. By these fruits, they are justified in the sight of men; and by these, we judge, where they go, when, as individuals, they are removed from the professing world below.
Every tree that beareth not good fruit is hewn down and
cast into the fire.” But those who, to use the frequent language of this prophecy, are written in the Lamb's book of life from the foundation of the world - with respect to them it is written, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should stand." Neither, then, will the death of the individual nor the coming of Christ find them unmeet or unprepared. They have from the heart obeyed the form of doctrine delivered to them, and they are taught of God to love one another, and “ faith, which worketh by love,” is the grand criterion of character:
14. “ Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to" - or perhaps “ authority over" — “ the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city; for without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth, and maketh a lie."
This contrasts the inhabitants of the holy city, not with the nations over whom it reigns in the world to come, but is spoken in relation to the professing church, in the day that the holy city descends out of heaven from God. They that sleep in Christ are there already: and they that are Christ's at his coming will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. It is then they enter through the gates into the beloved city; and those of his professed church that are left out, are the unhappy persons here described. The angels gather out of his kingdom all that offend and that do iniquity, and bind them in bundles to burn them.
The keeping the commandments of God in this connexion must have reference to the situation of a fallen simner, with respect to the Gospel of his salvation. By
CHRIST'S KINGDOM UPON EARTH.
the deeds of the law shall no flesh living be justified in the sight of God. If any man, therefore, be judged according to his works, he cannot have a right to the tree of life. Nay, if his works are his dependence, if he is seeking for salvation on these grounds, he is utterly lost, -" As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse."* Nay, more, if having embraced the Gospel scheme, he engraft thereon, like the Galatians, the law of works and of ordinance pertaining to the flesh, 80 that his final salvation, or his perfection, is made to hinge on works of righteousness that he shall do — this, too, if persisted in, is a damnable doctrine: “ Christ is become of no effect to you, whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace. For we, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” Nor can we be at a loss, from the Scriptures of God, to ascertain what does give a right to everlasting life, –
They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; therefore are they before the throne of God, the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of water.”
An interest in the Saviour gives this right; but if the question be, Who, among living men, in prospect of the Redeemer's coming, have this right or authority to take of the tree of life? certainly the answer must be, they that do his commandments. “In this the children of God are manifested, and the children of the wicked one." But in the application of the text before us, especial regard must be had to our Lord's answer to one who asked him, What must I do that I may work the works of
* Gal. iji. 10.
God, “ The work of God is to believe on him whom he hath sent." This, in the business of a sinner's salvation, must be first considered. But if the faith, that is professed, does not work by love, and becomes not “ the victory that overcometh the world,” it is not true faith; it cannot save.
For the term “ dogs," compare Phil. iii. 2, and also Matt. vii. 6, and xv. 27. The dog was an animal ceremonially unclean; as such, it is a symbol of those who, according to the mystic rites of the spiritual temple, are profane and reprobate. In the first passage referred to,“ dogs" stand opposed to “ the circumcision who worship God in spirit.” And I have no doubt, that “ sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters,” have all an immediate reference to the corrupters of the faith, who, in their apostasy, became the persecutors of the faithful, in order to introduce their abominable idolatries. “Whoremongers and adulterers,” in the moral import of these terms, “ God will judge;" but the terms in this prophecy have generally a spiritual signification. The last phrase also, “ every one that maketh and loveth a lie,” will receive strong elucidation from 2 Thess. ii., where the apostle is speaking of those delusions which are to try the sincerity of professors in the latter days. These are the lies of which the admonition treats.
16. “ 1, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root," – or,“ shoot,” “ and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning stár. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come; and let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
The general invitation to sinners -- that is, to those
who," recovering from the snare of the devil, receive repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth,” is clearly expressed in this place.“ The Spirit,” who spake by the prophets, invites by the Scriptures, which he has inspired. “ The bride,” or church, speaks by her ministers and public institutions. Every one that knows the joyful sound is to unite his voice, to invite sinners around him, to come to Christ that they may be saved. “ Yea, let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” The question is not, here, Who maketh willing ? but, as a matter of fact, every one that is made willing, and is athirst, is invited : " Come, and welcome.” It may
be true - it must be true, for Christ has said it-that none can come unto him, unless the Father, that has sent him, draw him.' But it is true likewise, that “every one that doth come unto him, he will in nowise cast out." Christ's commission to his ministers is to go and preach the Gospel to every creature; and while this is doing, if, in point of fact, a man be not straitened in his own heart, he will find no impediment to his reception by the Saviour.
18. “ For I testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book : and if any man take away from the words of this book, God will take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He that testifieth these things, saith, Surely I come quickly: Amen, even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with
What an awful close do these words form to the word of God! For we may, in some measure, regard it, not