Inward Deterioration
Revelation 2:1-7
To the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things said he that holds the seven stars in his right hand…

Does it not often happen in the Christian life that the soul retains earnestness, patience, truth, endurance, a hatred of evil, long after it has left its first love; that its religious service is continued, apparently unaltered, while the spirit that prompted that service is changed for the worse? But though love is altered, there may yet remain the sense of duty. None without can detect the difference. The soul itself is perhaps hardly conscious of it. Or if conscious of anything, it is that prayer is not so easy and pleasant as it used to be, that the thoughts are more wandering, that temptation is more attractive, and thanksgiving is irksome, unreal, and unblessed. The whole tendency of our being is to deteriorate. Most of us can remember a time at which we think we were more fit to die than we are now. Our self-examination has told us that we are not now what we were; and perhaps self-examination was hardly necessary for the acquirement of this knowledge. It is forced upon us continually throughout the day as we feel and act so coldly towards good, so readily and kindly towards evil. Now if it be really that we have fallen back only one step in faith and love, if we have left our first love, what must we do? We must struggle against the languor which threatens to benumb us. We must struggle with all our might, not giving up any one duty merely because it is irksome. This may not indeed be restoration, but it will at least maintain that communication with the Source of all strength by which restoration may be looked for. When we have realised what we once were, and reflect that by God's grace we might have lived the rest of our lives according to that beginning, and neared the goal in the heavenward race, then we may be able to measure our decline, and, weeping over what we have lost, pray for grace to regain it. "And repent." Yes I this must be, We will not trust in that which remains, in our hatred of the worst sins, in sympathy with Him, not in our works, or our labour, or our patience, our distrust of false teachers, our perseverance under trial. These are nothing without love. We will confess that other lords besides Him have had dominion over us. We will confess that we have left our first love, and implore Him to recover us, and turn our hearts.

(W. Mitchell, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

WEB: "To the angel of the assembly in Ephesus write: "He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, he who walks among the seven golden lampstands says these things:

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