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Come, My Beloved!
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S DAY, MAY 13, 1984.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, MARCH 4, 1888.
"Make haste, my Beloved, and be like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of spices." Song of Solomon 8:14.
THE Song of Songs describes the love of Jesus Christ to His people and it ends with an intense desire on the part of the Church that the Lord Jesus should come back to her. The last word of the lover to the Beloved One is, "Speed Your return; make haste and come back." Is it not somewhat singular that, as the last verse of the Book of Love has this note in it, so the last verses of the whole Book of God, which I may also call the Book of Love, have that same thought in them? At the 20th verse of the last chapter of the Revelation, we read, "He which testifies these things says, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." The Song of Love and the Book of Love end in almost the same way—with a strong desire for Christ's speedy return.
Are your hearts, dear Friends, in tune with that desire? They ought to be, yet have not some of you almost forgotten that Jesus is to come a second time? Refresh your memories. Others of you, who know that He will come—have you not thought of it as a doctrine that might be laid on the shelf? Have you not been without any desire for His glorious appearing? Is this right? That Song of Solomon is the central Book of the Bible. It is the innermost shrine of Divine Revelation, the Holy of Holies of Scripture. And if you are living in communion with God, you will love that Book, you will catch its spirit and you will be inclined to cry with the spouse, "Make haste, my Beloved." If you have no longings for Christ's appearance, no desires for His speedy return, surely your heart is sick and your love is faint! I fear that you are getting into a lukewarm state. I believe that our relationship to the Second Advent of Christ may be used as a thermometer with which to tell the degree of our spiritual heat. If we have strong desires, longing desires, burning desires for the coming of the Lord, we may hope that it is well with us! But if we have no such desires, I think, at best, we must be somewhat careless, perhaps, to take the worst view of our case—we are sadly declining in Divine Grace.
I. Well now, to come to our text, I want you to notice, first, WHAT THE CHURCH, HERE, CALLS HER LORD—"Make haste, my Beloved."
I will have only a few words upon this point. I am hardly going to preach, tonight, but just to talk familiarly to you, and I want you to let your hearts talk. Observe, the spouse first calls her Lord, "Beloved," and secondly, "my Beloved."
Christ is our "Beloved." This is a word of affection and our Lord Jesus Christ is the object of affection to us. If you read the Bible, especially if you read the New Testament and study the life of Christ and yet you only admire it, and say to yourself, "Jesus Christ was a wonderful Being," you do not yet know Him! You have but a very indistinct idea of Him. If, after reading that life, you sit down and dissect it, and say to yourself, coolly, calmly, deliberately, "So far as is practicable, I will try and imitate Christ," you do not yet know Him—you have not come near to the real Christ as of yet. If any man should say, "I am near the fire," and yet he is not warm, I would question the truth of his words, and though he might say, "I can see the fire. I can tell you the appearance of the coals. I can describe the bright flames that play about the stove," yet if he were not warmed at all, I would still think that he was mistaken, or that there was some medium that interposed between him and the fire at which he said he was looking.
But when you really come to see Jesus and to say, "I love Him! My heart yearns toward Him. My delight is in Him. He has won my love and holds it in His own heart," then you begin to know Him! Brothers and Sisters, true religion has many sides to it. True religion is practical. It is also contemplative, but it is not true religion at all if it is not full of love and affection. Jesus must reign in your heart or else, though you may give Him what place you like in your head, you
have not truly received Him. To Jesus, beyond all others, is applicable this title of the Beloved, for they who know Him love Him. Yes, if ever love had emphasis in it, it is the love which true Believers give to Christ! We do well when we sing—
"I love You because You have first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree.
I love You for wearing the thorns on Your brow—
If ever I loved You, my Jesus, 'tis now.
I will love You in life, I will love You in death
And praise You as long as You lend me breath!
And say when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved You, my Jesus, 'tis now." We may also go beyond that point, as the hymn does, and say—
"In mansions of glory and endless delight, I'll ever adore You in Heaven so bright; I'll sing with the glittering crown on my brow; If ever I loved You, my Jesus, 'tis now." Our love to Jesus begins with trust. We experience His goodness and then we love Him in return. "We love Him because He first loved us." They say that love is blind. I should think it is, from what I have seen of it in some people, but love to Christ might have ten thousand eyes and yet be justified in loving Him. The more you see Him, the more you know Him! The more you live with Him, the more reason will you have for loving Him. There will never come a time in which you will have to question whether you were right to surrender your heart to Him, but even throughout the eternal ages you shall, in the happinesses of His blessed company, feel that you were, in fact, more than justified in calling Him your Beloved!
That is the first part of the name the spouse gives to her Lord—no, not the first—the first part of the name is, "my." She calls Him, "my Beloved."
Brothers and Sisters, this signifies appropriation, so that the two words together mean affection and appropriation—"My Beloved." If nobody else loves Him, I do. This is a distinguishing affection and I love Him because He belongs to me! He is mine, He has given Himself to me and I have chosen Him because He first chose me. He is "my Beloved." I am not ashamed to put Him in front of all others and when men say, "What is your Beloved more than another beloved?" I can tell them that "My Beloved" is more than all the earthly beloveds put together! It is a delightful thing to get hold of Christ with both hands, as Thomas did when he said, "My Lord and my God." There he held Him with a double-handed grip and would not let Him go. It is sweet and saving even to come into contact with Him, as the woman did who touched the fringe of His garment, but, oh, to take Him up in your arms! To hold Him with both hands and say, "This Christ is mine. By a daring faith, warranted by the Word of God, I take this Christ to be mine, to have and to hold, for better or worse, and neither life nor death shall ever part me from Him who is 'my Beloved!'"
Now, there is a sweet name for the Lord Jesus Christ. My dear Hearers, can you speak of Jesus in that way, "my Beloved"? One who can, by the Spirit of God, say this, has uttered two words that have more eloquence in them than there is in all the orations of Demosthenes! He who cannot truly say this, though he may speak with the tongues of men and of angels, yet, since he has not this charity, this Divine Love in his heart, it profits him nothing! Oh, that every one of you could say, "My Beloved! My Beloved!"
Do you all really know what saving faith is? It is the appropriation to one's own self of Christ in His true and proper Character as God has revealed Him. Can you make this appropriation? "Oh," says one, "I am afraid I would be stealing salvation if I did!" Listen! So long as you can get Christ anyway, you may have Him. There is never any stealing of that which is freely given! The difficulty is not about any rights that you have, for you have no rights whatever in this matter, but come and take what God gives to you, though you have no claim to it. Soul, take Christ, tonight, and if you take Him, you shall never lose Him! I was going to say, if you do even steal Him, so long as you do but take Him to yourself, He will never withdraw Himself from your grasp. It is written, "Him that comes to Me , I will in no wise cast out." Some come properly and Christ does not cast them out. But there are some who come improperly—they come, as it were, limping on a wooden leg, or perhaps only creeping or crawling. It does not matter how you come to Christ, as long as you
really come to Him—He will never cast you out! Get to Him anyway you can and, if you once come to Him, you may plead that blessed promise of His, "Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out."
I have told you, before, that some years ago I felt a great depression of spirit. I knew whom I had believed, but somehow, I could not get the comfort out of the Truths of God I preached. I even began to wonder whether I was really saved and, having a holiday, and being away from home, I went to a Wesleyan Chapel. A local preacher occupied the pulpit that morning. While he preached a sermon full of the Gospel, the tears flowed from my eyes and I was in such a perfect delirium of joy on hearing the Gospel, which I so seldom have an opportunity of doing, that I said, "Oh, yes, there is spiritual life within me, for the Gospel can touch my heart and stir my soul." When I went to thank the good man for his sermon, he looked at me and he could hardly believe his eyes. He said, "Are you not Mr. Spurgeon? "I replied, "Yes." "Dear, dear," said he, "why, that is your sermon that I preached this morning!" Yes, I knew it was, and that was one reason why I was so comforted by it, because I felt that I could take my own medicine, and I said to myself, "There now, that which I have seen to have a certain effect upon others has had the same effect upon me." I asked the preacher to my inn to dinner and we rejoiced together to think that he should have been led to give the people one of my sermons so that I should be fed out of my own cupboard. I know this, that whatever I may be, there is nothing that moves me like the Gospel of Christ! Do not many of you feel just as I do?
II. Now I will lead you on to the second division of my subject. I have shown you what the Church calls her Lord. Now, in the second place, I will tell you WHENCE SHE CALLS HIM—"Make haste, my Beloved, and be like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of spices." What does that mean? She cries to Him to come from the place where He now is, which she calls, "the mountains of spices."
Readers of Solomon's Song know that there are four mountains spoken of in the Song. The first set of mountains is mentioned in the 17th verse of the second chapter of the Song where we read of the mountains of division—"Until the day breaks, and the shadows flee away, turn, my Beloved, and be like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether," or, the mountains of division, the divided crags, or the mountains that divide. Well now, Beloved, this was Christ's first coming! There were mountains of division—our sins and God's justice—like great mountains, divided us. How could God's love ever come to us, or how could we get to it? There were mountains of division and, as we looked at them, we said, "They are impassable! Nobody can ever climb those lofty crags, or scale those awful precipices, or cross those dread abysses! These mountains effectually separate a guilty soul from a holy God and, my Brothers and Sisters, there was no way over those hills till Jesus came like a roe or a young hart! Roes and harts can stand on crags where men's heads turn giddy and they fall—and our Divine Master was able to stand where we could not. He came leaping over the mountains of our sins and over the hills of Divine Justice, and He came even to us and opened up a way over the mountains of Be-ther, the mountains of division, by which God comes to us and we come to God. And now, instead of division, there is a sacred union!
That was Christ's first coming, over the mountains of division.
But there were other mountains beside those—which you read of a little further on in the Song—these were the mountains of the leopards, the dens of the lions. Turn to the fourth chapter, at the eighth verse—"Come with Me from Lebanon, My spouse, with Me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards." When Christ came the first time, He met with fierce opposition from sin, and death, and Hell. These were the lions—these were the leopards—and our great Champion had to go hunting them and they hunted Him. You know how these grim lions met Him and how they tore Him—they rent His hands and His feet, and His side. Do you not remember how that great lion of the Pit came leaping upon Him—how He received him upon His breast, like a greater Samson—and though He fell in the death-struggle, He tore that lion asunder, as though he had been a kid and cast him down? As for His other enemies, He could truly say, "O Death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory? "Our Well-Beloved came to us over the mountains of the leopards and the dens of the lions, more than conqueror through the greatness of His love! Do you not see Him as He comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, traveling in the greatness of His strength, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save? In spite of all opposition, He finished the work of our redemption!
So Jesus came to us over the mountains of separation, and over the mountains of the leopards.
But there is a third mountain mentioned in this wonderful poetical Book, and that is, the mountain of myrrh. In the sixth chapter at the second verse, it says, "My Beloved is gone down into His garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies." It is called a garden, but in the sixth verse of the fourth chapter it is called a mountain— "Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away, I will get Me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense." You know the story well. After Jesus had come over the mountains of our sins. After He had killed the lions and the leopards that stood in our way, He gave up His soul into His Father's hands and loving friends took His body, and wrapped it in white linen, and Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus brought myrrh and aloes to preserve His blessed body, that matchless case of a perfect Soul and, having wrapped Him, they laid Him in a new tomb, which thus became the garden or mountain of myrrh. A bitter thing was that grave wherein He buried all our sin, that grave out of which He came victorious over death, that grave out of which He rose that He might justify His people!
That was the mountain of myrrh to which Jesus went for a very brief season. Scarcely three days was He there, but I think I can hear His Church standing at the tomb and saying, "Make haste, my Beloved! Be like a roe, or a young hart, and come quickly from Your sleep with the dead in the mountains of myrrh." It was but a short time that He was there, even as He said to His disciples, "A little while and you shall not see Me; and again a little while, and you shall see Me." Soon was that slumber over and when He woke, as Samson carried away the gate of Gaza, so Christ arose and took up the gates of Death—posts and bar and all—and carried them away and neither death nor Hell can ever bring them back again! By the Resurrection of Christ, the tomb is opened, never to be closed again!
The "mountain of myrrh" is the third that is mentioned in the Song, but our text refers to "the mountains of spices." I am not stretching this passage, or drawing a lesson where there is none—the mountains of spices are those places where Jesus dwells at this very moment at the right hand of God. It is from there that we now call Him with the spouse when she said, "Make haste, my Beloved, and be like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of spices.
What are these spices? Are they not Christ's infinite merits which perfume Heaven and earth? The foul corruption of our sins is not perceptible because of the mountains of spices! One single sin would be vile enough to pollute a universe— what, then, were all our sins put together? Behold this wondrous sanitary power of Divine Grace! These mountains of spices more than nullify the foulness of our sins! Christ's merit is perpetually before the eyes of His Father so that no longer does He perceive our sins!
What shall I say next of these mountains of spices? Are they not our Lord's perpetual and prevailing prayers? He intercedes for the people before the Throne of God. He is that great Angel from whose swinging censer there goes up, continually, the incense of intercession. The prayers of saints are presented by Him to His Father with all His own merit added to them. These are the mountains of spices—Christ's infinite merits and His ceaseless prayers, His undying supplications to the great Father on behalf of all His people!
In consequence of this, I think I may say that the praises of His glorified people, the sweet music of the harps of the redeemed, the everlasting symphonies of the spirits of just men made perfect and cleansed by His atoning blood—are not these as sweet spices before God? Yes, all Heaven is perfumed with everything that is precious and acceptable, full of a sweet savor unto God and a delightful fragrance to all His people! Now, this is where Jesus is now—not here in this foul, polluted world, but up yonder He rests in the mountains of spices! And the prayer of His Church is continually, "Come, my Beloved! Make haste, my Beloved! Be like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of spices."
III. That brings me to what is really the gist, the main point, the arrowhead of the text. We have noticed what the Church calls her Lord, and whence she calls Him. Now, thirdly, note HOW SHE CALLS HIM. She says, "Make haste, my Beloved, make haste."
Why is it that all the Church of God and each individual Christian in particular, should be found anxious for the speedy coming of our Lord Jesus Christ? I think, surely, that this is the result of true love. Does not love always wish to see the object on which its heart is fixed? When your dearest one parts from you for a while, do you not always wish for a speedy return? The parting is painful—it were bitter, indeed, if you did not expect to meet again. So you say, "Be no longer absent than you are forced to be. Come home as speedily as you can." Where there is great love, there gets to be great longing, and that longing sometimes becomes so vehement as to be well-near impatient. May not the Church that mourns her absent Lord sigh and cry till He returns? Is not this the very language of intense love, "Make haste, my Be-
loved, and return to me"? If we love our Lord, we shall long for His appearing, you can be sure of that—it is the natural result of ardent affection.
But, notwithstanding this, Beloved, we sometimes need certain incentives to stir up our souls to cry for our Lord's return. One reason that ought to make the Believer long for Christ's coming is that it will end this conflict. Our lot is cast in a wretched time, when many things are said and done that grieve and vex God's Holy Spirit and all who are in sympathy with Him. Sometimes it is false doctrine that is proclaimed—and if you preach the Truth of God, they smite you on the mouth and then you say to yourself, "Would God the Lord would come!" At other times, it is sheer blasphemy that is uttered, when men say, "The Lord delays His coming," or when they talk as if He were not Lord, as if His Gospel were no Gospel and His salvation were worn out. Then we say, "Make no tarrying, O our God! Come, Lord, and tarry not!" We grow almost impatient, then, for His coming.
And, dear Friend, when you see the oppression of the poor, when you hear the cry of the needy, when you know that many of them are ground down to bitter poverty and yet are struggling hard to earn a bare pittance, you say, "Lord, will this state of things always exist? Shall not these wrongs be righted? Oh, that He would come who will judge the people righteously, and vindicate the cause of the poor and the oppressed!"
Then we look on the professing Church and we see how lukewarm it is, how honeycombed it is with heresy and worldliness, and how often the Church that ought to honor Christ insults Him and He is wounded in the house of His friends. We say, "Will not this evil soon be at an end? Will not the conflict speedily be over?" Oh, how have I stood in the midst of the battle, when the deadly shafts have flown about me on the right hand and on the left and, wounded full sore, I have cried, "Will not the King, Himself, soon come, and shall I not, before long, hear the sound of those blessed feet whose every step means victory, and whose Presence is eternal life?" "Come, Lord! Make haste, my Beloved! Come to the rescue of Your weak and feeble servants! Come, come, come, we beseech You!" Put yourself into this great fight for the faith and if you have to bear the brunt of the battle, you will soon be as eager as I am that Jesus should make haste and come to your relief. You, also, will cry, "Make haste, my Beloved," when you think what wonders He will work at His coming!
What will Christ do at His coming? He will raise the dead. My eyes shall see Him in that day. "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, and though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." When Christ shall come the second time and that blast, of which we sang just now, "the loudest and the last," shall ring through earth and Heaven, then shall the dead men arise! There are newly made graves. The mourners' tears are not yet wiped away. There are the graves of many who have gone Home long ago and we remember them, and we say, "Would God that Christ would come and spoil death of those precious relics! Oh, that He would reanimate those bodies and call together the dry bones and bid them live!" Come, Lord! Come, Lord! Make no tarrying, we beseech You!
And when He comes, Beloved, remember that then shall be the time of the glory of His people—"Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father." Slander will be rolled away in the day when Christ comes. The wicked shall awake to everlasting contempt, but the righteous to an everlasting justification. They shall be clear of every accusation in that day and then shall they sit on the Throne of God with their Lord. They were with Him in His humiliation—they shall be with Him in His Glory! They, too, were despised and rejected of men as He was, but in that day, none shall dare to despise them, for every saint shall be seen to be a king and a son of the King! Oh, the glory that awaits His people in the day of His coming! "It does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like He; for we shall see Him as He is." Well may the child of God say, "Make haste, my Beloved!" Oh, for the sheathing of the sword and the waving of the palm! Oh, for the drying of the tear and the handling of the harp of gold! Oh, for the ending of the doubt and the trouble and the beginning of the everlasting enjoyment and the eternal serenity at the right hand of the Ever-Blessed One!
Still, there is another reason why we say, "Make haste, my Beloved." It is this. We desire to share in Christ's Glory, but our chief desire is that our Lord may be glorified. I believe I shall have the support of every Christian heart when I say that we would a thousand times rather that Christ were glorified than that we should be honored. Many years ago, after the Surrey Music Hall accident, I well-near lost my reason through distress of heart. I was broken down in spirit and thought that, perhaps, I might never preach again. I was but a young man and it was a great burden that crushed me into
the dust through that terrible accident. But one passage of Scripture brought me recovery in a moment. I was alone and as I was thinking, this text came to my mind, "Him has God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior," and I said to myself, "Is that so? Is Jesus Christ exalted? Then I do not care if I die in a ditch! If Christ is exalted to be a Prince and a Savior, that is enough for me."
I distinctly recollect remembering what is recorded of some of Napoleon's soldiers who were well-near cut to pieces—lying dying, bleeding, suffering, agonizing on the battlefield—but when the Emperor rode by, every man lifted himself up as best he could, some resting on the only arm that was left, just to look at him once more and shout, "Vive l'Empereur!" The Emperor had come along. He was all right and that was enough for his faithful followers! I think that I felt just like that—whatever happened to me, it was true of Christ, "Him has God exalted." Never mind what becomes of the man—the King lives and reigns! Jesus Christ is glorified and so long as that is the case, what matters it what becomes of us? I think I can say for you, as well as for myself, that if there is anything in this world that will glorify Christ, you will make no hesitation about the bargain. If it will glorify Christ, you say, let it come. Though your name should be cast out as evil and your body should be left unburied, to be gnawed of dogs, what matters it, so long as He who loved us and gave Himself for us, should ride on conquering and to conquer in the midst of the sons of men?
To every loyal soldier of King Jesus, this is the best thought in connection with His Second Advent, that when He comes, it will be to be admired in His saints and to be glorified in all them that believe! Then shall there be universal acclamations to Him and His enemies shall hide their heads in shame and dismay. Oh, what will they do, then? What will they do in that day of His appearing? They, also, will live again and what will they do in that day? Judas, where are you? Come here, man! Sell your Lord, again, for 30 pieces of silver! What does he say? Why, he flees and wishes that he could again go out and destroy himself, but that is impossible. Now Pilate, vacillating Pilate, wash your hands in water and say, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person." There is no water for him to wash his hands, and he dares not, again, perform that wicked farce! And now, you who cried, "Crucify Him, crucify Him," lift up your voices, again, if you dare!
Not a dog moves his tongue, but listen, they have found their tongues and what do they say? They are imploring the hills to fall upon them! They are calling on the rocks to hide them! The King has not put His hand upon His sword, He has not sent forth His lightning to scatter you—why do you flee, you cowards? Hear their bitter wail! "Oh, rocks and hills, hide us from the face, from the face, from the face of Him that sits upon the Throne!" It is the face of Jesus which they were bid to look upon, that they might live, but now, in another state, they dare not look upon that face of placid love which, in that day, shall be more stern than the frowning brow of vengeance, itself! Yes, they flee, they flee!
But you who have trusted Christ, you whom He has saved—you will draw near to Him, you will shout His praises, you will delight in Him! It shall be your Heaven to bless Him forever and ever! Oh, yes, great Master, "Make haste, my Beloved, and be like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of spices" and all His saints, with one voice and heart, will say, "Amen."
Oh, that you who have never trusted Him, would trust Him, now! And if you trust Him, you shall live with Him forever and ever. God grant it! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: REVELATION 22.
Verse 1. And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the Throne of God and of the Lamb. There is no other "water of life" except that which springs from a Sovereign God and a substitutionary Sacrifice—"a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the Throne of God and of the Lamb." This sets forth the blessings of salvation that come to us through the Sovereign Grace of God by the precious blood of Jesus.
2. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruit, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. When Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, he was cast out of Eden, lest he should also eat of the tree of life, but our new "tree of life" yields us both medicine and food. Blessed are they that eat of it—they shall find a Divine variety of mercies—"twelve manner of
fruits." They shall find a constant succession of blessings—"and yielded her fruit every month." And there shall be an ever-present power of healing—"the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
3. And there shall be no more curse: but the Throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him. Happy servants, to be permitted so to do! Here, dear Friends, we are hindered in our service, but I think that it will be Heaven enough for some of us to be permitted to serve the Lord forever in Glory—"His servants shall serve Him."
4. And they shall see His face. Oh, to keep up communion with the Lord while you are at work for Him! To serve Him and to see His face! This is a double joy! This is to be like Martha and Mary in one person—"His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face."
4. And His name shall be on their foreheads. They will acknowledge Him and He will acknowledge them. They are glad to wear His name on their foreheads, but who wrote it there? He, Himself, engraved it, as the seal and token that they were His! Happy, happy people, thus to be acknowledged of God as His peculiar people while they acknowledge Him as their only Lord!
5. And there shall be no night there. Here, there are nights of ignorance, of sorrow, of sin and of fear, but, "there shall be no night there."
6. And they need no candles, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light. He puts aside the use of means. While we are here, we need candles and suns. It seems curious, does it not, to put candles and suns in the same sentence? "They need no candle, neither light of the sun." But, after all, compared with God, candles and suns are very much the same thing! Great lights and little lights are all limited, all less than nothing in comparison with the boundless, infinite God, who is Light, and the Source of all light that exists in Heaven above, or on the earth beneath.
6. And they shall reign forever and ever. It must be a wonderful city in which every inhabitant is a king—and not a dethroned king, either, for, "they shall reign." Every redeemed one in Heaven has also an everlasting kingdom—"They shall reign forever and ever." I hope our friends who are always cutting down the meaning of the word, "everlasting," will be good enough, at least, to let us have an everlasting Heaven! Whether they do so, or not, we believe that the saints shall reign "forever and ever."
6, 7. And He said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy Prophets sent His angel to show unto His servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly. Or, "I am coming quickly."
7, Blessed is he that keeps the sayings of the prophecy of this Book. Our Lord is on the road! He may arrive, tonight, while we are sitting here. Happy would be our communion service if, for the last time, we should be doing as He commanded us in expectation of His coming—and that He should come even while we were commemorating His death!
8, 9. And I, John, saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. Then said he unto me, See you do it not: for I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the Prophet, and of them which keep the sayings of this Book: worship God. John made a mistake—he mistook the messenger for the Master and I am not surprised that he did so, for the heavenly beings are like their Lord when they see Him as He is! John was quickly set right and his error was soon corrected. He was bidden to pay no kind of homage to one who, however bright and holy, was only his fellow servant. No worship of angels, no worship of angelic men must be tolerated among us. "Worship God," is the command to us as it was to John.
10. And he said unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this Book: for the time is at hand. There was no need to seal the prophecy, as though it only related to those who would live in distant ages—"The time is at hand."
11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. This is what will be said when Christ comes to judgment, when we get into that future state. Today the voice of Jesus says, "Repent, Repent, Repent," but once cross the narrow stream of death and pass out of the dispensation of mercy—and then character is fixed—and fixed forever.
12. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according to his work shall be. What reward will some of you get? Christ will "give every man according as his work shall be."
13-15. I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For outside are dogs. Men of a quarrelsome and filthy spirit.
15. And sorcerers. Such as pretend to have dealings with spirits and who intermeddle with the mysterious things of the unknown world.
15. And whoremongers. All such as indulge their evil passions.
15. And murderers, and idolaters, and whoever loves and makes a lie. Whether it is a lie about things on earth or things in Heaven, a falsehood spoken or a false doctrine taught.
16-18. I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the Rock and the Offering of David, and the bright and morning afar. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears, say, come. And let him that is thirsty, come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that hears 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. The Book is finished. Not another line of Inspiration may any man dare to put to it on peril that God shall add to him every plague of which the Book speaks!
19. And if any man shall take away from the Words of the Book of this prophecy, God shall 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. The Book is perfect. You cannot take a line from it without spoiling it if you were to cut from it a solitary text. It would be misused and the Book should be marred. You would do this at your peril, for God threatens to take away, out of the Book of Life, the name of anyone who takes anything from "the words of the Book of this prophecy."
20. He which testifies these thing says, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Thus we sang just now—
"Come, You, the soul of all our joys You, the desire of nations, come!"
21. The Grace of our lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. The whole Inspired Volume thus closes with a benediction—"The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
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