Revelation 2:14
But I have a few things against you, because some of you hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to place a stumbling block before the Israelites so they would eat food sacrificed to idols and commit sexual immorality.
A Church with a Serious DefectD. C. Hughes, M. A.Revelation 2:12-17
Adherence to the Truth of the GospelCaleb Morris.Revelation 2:12-17
Antipas; Or, Reliable PrinciplesF. Hastings.Revelation 2:12-17
Christ's Message to the TimidJ. J. Ellis.Revelation 2:12-17
Courageous PietyG. Gyfford.Revelation 2:12-17
God's Estimate of Christian WorksW. M. Taylor, D. D.Revelation 2:12-17
Holding FastJ. Trapp.Revelation 2:12-17
Holding Fast the FaithC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 2:12-17
Loyalty to the LastEllice Hopkins.Revelation 2:12-17
Pergamum -- the Incomplete ChurchA. Mackennal, D. D.Revelation 2:12-17
Testimony for ChristJ. R. Miller, D. D.Revelation 2:12-17
The Address to PergamosG. Rogers.Revelation 2:12-17
The Church Faithful to the Truth But Defective in DisciplineJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 2:12-17
The Epistle to the Church At PergamosS. Conway Revelation 2:12-17
The Epistle to the Church in PergamumR. Green Revelation 2:12-17
The Names of Individual Souls on the Breastplate of ChristBp. Woodford.Revelation 2:12-17
The Words of Christ to the Congregation At PergamosD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 2:12-17
The Words of Christ to the Congregation At PergamosD. Thomas Revelation 2:12-17
Idolatry and Sensuality in the ChurchH. Crosby.Revelation 2:14-15
Minor Departure from TruthC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 2:14-15
Sin Uncomely in the ChurchT. Guthrie.Revelation 2:14-15
The Church as a Whole Injured by Individual EvilW. Milligan, D. D.Revelation 2:14-15
The Convictions of BalaamBp. Moberly.Revelation 2:14-15
The Doctrine of BalaamJ. C. Coghlan, D. D.Revelation 2:14-15

It would be altogether fitting to take the title of this letter from that which our Lord takes as his own, and term it, "The sharp two-edged sword." For this letter is largely illustrative of its work. In Revelation 1. we saw it in St. John's vision; here we see it in the experience of the Church. But whilst the main reference is to that vision, there is farther appropriateness from the allusions to the wilderness life of Israel, with which this letter abounds. Balaam's vile work against them - the sin into which they fell, the sword which Balaam saw in the hands of the angel of the Lord seeking to stay him in his evil way, and the sword with which at last he was slain, seem all to be suggested. Then the mention of the manna belongs also to that same wilderness life. It was well that the ungodly at Pergamos should be reminded of that sword, and the faithful of that manna. But it is from the vision told of in Revelation 1. that the name our Lord here assumes is mainly taken. Note -

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY THIS SWORD. With the Bible in our hands, we cannot long be in doubt on this question; for at once there occurs to the memory the familiar text in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which tells how the Word of God is "quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword." And there is that other which is like unto it in the Epistle to the Ephesians, "The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." And in Isaiah we have a similar expression, "He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword." And even human and evil words are thus symbolized, as in the Psalms: "Their words are swords and arrows, even bitter words;" and again, "Their tongue is a sharp sword." And the comparison is a frequent one. The Word of God, therefore, is evidently what is meant by this sword with two edges.

II. THE MANNER OF ITS OPERATION. In this letter this power of the sword is seen at work. In the vision, St. John had observed that the breath proceeding from the mouth of him who was "like unto the Son of man" took the form and shape of a sharp two-edged sword, such as was in common use in the armies of the day. Hence St. Paul, speaking of this sword, says, "The Lord shall destroy the wicked one with the breath of his mouth" (2 Thessalonians 2:8). And in the brightness of the glory with which the entire vision was surrounded, the sword like form seemed to flash and glitter as if it were a veritable sword proceeding out of the mouth of the Son of man. And in this letter we see that sword which the vision symbolized exercising its mighty power. We see:

1. Its point, piercing even to the dividing asunder of that which had been so blended together as scarce to be distinguished or separated. For the character of the Church at Pergamos was like that of well nigh all other Churches, a mixture of evil and good. There was that which could be urged in its favour, and that also which could be charged against it to its shame. And this sword is here seen dividing them.

(1) it separates the good, and there were such.

(a) They had been faithful to Christ's Name. They had loyally stood by it even when to do so had involved awful peril - peril in which one Antipas, who had been eminent for his fidelity, had been slain by the infuriated foe. Yet in those fearful days - days like those of the persecution which arose about Stephen in Jerusalem - the faithful at Pergamos had not flinched.

(b) And the Church had been fruitful. It was no small honour to have nurtured in her midst such a soul as that of Antipas. It is a sign of the marked grace of God when a Church becomes the home, chosen and beloved, of holy souls; when they find in it an atmosphere helpful and stimulating to all that is good within them.

(c) And all this under great disadvantages. "I know," the Lord says, "thy works, and where thou dwellest, where Satan's seat is; 'and this is told of again lower down in the same verse; thus implying the Lord's recognition of the fact that to serve him there was indeed difficult, and so all the more honourable and meritorious, Now, why Pergamos came to be regarded as the devil's headquarters, his seat and throne, it is not easy to say. The place was one of great beauty, adorned with magnificent temples, possessed of a superb library containing hundreds of thousands of volumes. Our word "parchment" is derived from the dressed skins which were so largely used at Pergamos, and on which the books were written. Hence these skins came to be called by the name of Pergamos, or parchment. The place was not, as Ephesus or Smyrna, famous for trade, but for its culture and refinement. It was a sort of union of a pagan cathedral city and university; and a royal residence, gorgeous in its magnificence, further adorned it. Jupiter was said to have been born there, and temples to him and to innumerable gods were on every hand. The whole tone of the place must, therefore, have been utterly opposed to the faith of Christ. It had no liking for the purity, the self denial, and the unworldliness of the Church, but revelled in the very reverse of all these things. All that could sap and undermine the faith and the faithful was there in full force. It was Satan's throne indeed. Now, for that even there they held fast Christ's name, they deserved, and here receive, high commendation from the Lord. But the sword

(2) separates the evil; for there were amongst them

(a) men who held the truth in unrighteousness. This was what Balaam did. No man ever knew, no man ever professed, a purer faith, a holier doctrine, than did he; and yet, blinded by his greed of gain, he held it so imprisoned in unrighteousness that it had no power over him, and left him unchecked to all the wickedness of his heart. Now, there were such men at Pergamos; and where have they not been and are they not still? And

(b) there were those who perverted the gospel to licentiousness. There were the Nicolaitans. And they, too, have had, and have still, their successors: God keep us from being of their number! But then the good and the evil were so blended together that to separate them was beyond mere human power. In the brightness of the good some might not perceive the evil; in the darkness of the evil others might not perceive the good. But the sword of the Spirit severs them. For Churches, for individuals, Christ by his Word does this still. Pray him to do so for ourselves.

2. Its double edge. For it had this as well as its piercing point. And this, probably, that as with the literal sword the soldier in the thick of the fight might strike on the right hand and the left, with the back as well as the front, so with this sword of the Spirit foes on either hand might be smitten down. Thus is it in this letter.

(1) It smites presumption and all high-handed sin. Read the awful threatenings here. How they hew down those who set themselves against the Lord!

(2) Despondency and despair. This is a peril on the other side, a foe to faith as formidable as the other; and by this sword the Lord smites this adversary also. Read the sweet, soothing, soul-assuring promises (ver. 17).

(a) "The hidden manna." It means that support and sustentation of the soul as it presses on through the!wilderness of life, heavenward, which the Lord will give, and does give, to his faithful ones, as the manna sustained Israel on their march Canaanwards. "I am the true Bread from heaven," said Christ (cf. John 6.). It is real, substantial, effectually supporting the soul, as ten thousand facts testify. But hidden, because unseen and unknown by the world. "Your life is hid with Christ in God." What, then, though weary leagues of barren, burning sand lie between God's Israel and their home? here is promise of all need supplied, every want met.

(b) The white stone with the new name; i.e. Christ's faithful shall have given them personal assurance of their membership in the family of God (cf. "The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God"). Now, the white stone is that on which a communication is written (cf. Luke 1:63). Hence it tells of a communication, real, in writing as it were, to the soul of the believer. And this communication consists of "a name." When a child is born into a family, a name is given it. So in God's family. To the children of the world it will be said, "I never knew you;" but for his own children there is a name given. And a new name, indicating admission to higher privilege and favour, as did the names of Abraham, Sarah, Israel, Hephzibah, Beulah, Peter. They were all new names, and all told of new grace and favour from God. And a name unknown to all but the receiver. The proofs of the believer's sonship are known only to himself and God. The Spirit's witness: who can put that into words, and tell it out to others? Many a one cannot tell you why he knows he is God's child, but he does know it. The white stone has been given to him, and blessed is he. And is not this a stay against all despair, despondency, and everything of the kind? As the well-known verse sings -

"When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies,
I bid farewell to every fear,
And wipe my weeping eyes."

CONCLUSION. All this supposes that you are of the overcoming ones. This word is "to him that overcometh." Not to them that are overcome. But you may overcome. By fervent prayer, by unreserved consecration, by constant "looking unto Jesus" by use of all means of grace, so abide in Christ, and he shall make you "more than conqueror." - S.C.

&&& Thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam.
The forty years' wandering of the children of Israel in the wilderness was now done. The king of Moab, Balak, alarmed at the destruction which had fallen upon the powerful northern neighbours, and no doubt unaware of the command which had left him unharmed, did not venture upon open violence against the "desert-wearied" tribes. He bethought him of a more skilful mode of attack. He sent the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian, laden with presents, the reward of divination, to the "diviner," or "soothsayer" — to Balaam. Balaam, the diviner, waits upon God for direction. Balaam obeys the word of God. He refuses to go, and the messengers return. Balak, however, is importunate. Why did Balaam hesitate? Why did he bid the princes tarry yet that night? He asked in madness, and he received the permission he coveted from God in anger. It was madness in the servant of God to wish to go against God's will. The incident of the miraculous voice of the ass brought him to a sense of his sin. However, he is bidden to proceed on his mission. Thus far we read in Balaam's history the struggle between the love of the world and the overwhelming consciousness of truth in the same mind. It is an instructive lesson. How often do we feel ourselves placed, more or less, in the same position; our liking, our ambition, our heart, all set one way, — our reason, our consciousness of truth, our intellectual faith distinctly calling us the other! To Balaam, indeed, the case was thus far different from ours, that he could not, in so broad and obvious an instance as the one of which we have been speaking, go directly against God. The voice of God in his ears compelled him; miracles dragged him; his inspiration overbore him. He was, as it were, forced into speaking the truth. To us, alas! the danger is, in such sort, greater, that our consciousness of truth, our intellectual faith, are in themselves less imperative, and are sure to sink and die away if they be smothered by want of love. Yet we also know only too well what it is to speak out faithfully, to stick to the truth in outward words, to be, it may be, its staunch defenders and admirers, while our hearts neither love it nor obey it; holding on, as it were, by our knowledge, or our logic, or our consistency, while our heart and love would fain rebel against it. A dangerous antagonism! yet one out of which there is a safe and holy escape, if those who are at all conscious of it in themselves will throw themselves, heart and soul, into confession, and win by prayer that great and precious gift, never denied to those who pray in earnest, the heart to love, — the simple, godly heart to do the thing that they know to be right, and nought beside. Let us see how it fared with Balaam. He had gone home "to his place" by the Euphrates in disgrace. The Lord had kept him back from honour. How he returned again to the court of Moab, whether summoned again by Balak or of his own irrepressible ambition, we are not told. But he came. He found the children of Israel still holding their encampment on the acacia plain of the Jordan. Wearied as they were with the desert life, surrounded by heathen rites that were full of luxury and temptation, might they not be easily led to bring upon themselves the curse, which in his unwilling lips had been turned into a blessing? Were it not a fine stroke of policy to make them curse, so to speak, themselves? No word, probably, would need to be spoken, no formal scheme proposed. A look, a gesture might suffice. Balak would be able to understand a slight hint. There were the women of Midian, they took part in the dances and plays of the sacrifices. Would it be Balaam's fault if those hardy desert warriors, so young, so impetuous, so dangerous in their fidelity to the true God, were led by skilful and unseen management to partake in the feasts of the idol-sacrifices, and by degrees, losing their allegiance to the true Jehovah, and breaking the first of His laws, to break the seventh also, and unite themselves to the wanton women who had used every artifice to lure them to rebellion and ruin? The scheme answered only too well. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, not to be slaked till the zeal of Phineas, the son of Eleazar the high priest, after twenty-four thousand had died, stayed the plague from the children of Israel. But what of the crafty politician? Is he to triumph in secret? to compass his ends, and keep his character too? to cheat God? How his advice and double-dealing became known to the Israelites we are not told. In some way, no doubt, God, whom his cunning had outraged, revealed it to them. "Balaam also, the son of Boor, the soothsayer, did the children of Israel slay with the sword, among them that were slain by them." And from that day forth, Balaam the son of Boor is known throughout the Holy Scriptures, in the writings of prophets and apostles, as the type of those who for the sake of the wages of unrighteousness, of health, reward, honour, in defiance of better knowledge, wilfully sin by casting a stumbling-block before the children of God. And what a strange course was his! strange, I mean, regarded theoretically, and without reference to the weakness and wilfulness of men. But alas for the deadly gift of cleverness! alas for the danger of that sharpness of wit which leads us to endeavour to compass our ends by indirect and circuitous means! The politician, who could not forego true words, tried his craft. He succeeded, and he failed. He succeeded against man; he failed against God. The evil that he planned, by means of other men's sins he brought about. The personal advancement that he sought was overthrown by a miserable death, and a name blasted to all generations in the inspired oracles of God. Oh, let us turn our eyes upon ourselves! How apt we are to totter thus and stagger upon the edge of truth and duty! Not indeed visibly, intentionally, distinctly giving it up and forsaking it; but trying to hold it together with as much of worldly indulgence and prosperity as we can; trying to serve God and mammon. But if a man does thus allow himself to palter with that which ought to be the foundation and basis of all else, if he divides his aim between two objects in his life, do you suppose that that conflict will continue long? No, by no means: that which the intellect holds will yield and give way; that which the heart loves will gain strength and have victory. One way or the other, the worldly heart will have its way. It smothers the intellectual faith. It necessarily kills it. The world cannot be taken in to share the empire of the heart without becoming, ere long, the sole ruler and tyrant in it. It is, I think, not to be denied that the particular sin of Balaam, the sin, I mean, which consists in yielding to worldly temptation in defiance of better knowledge, as it was the characteristic sin of the Church of Pergamos, so it is a very particular danger in the Church of England. There is among a very large proportion of our countrymen a general knowledge of religion, however much it may be overlaid in general and forgotten in the midst of the tumult and interests of our common life. In outer life — luxury, fashion, idleness, company, business, politics — think what multitudes of men and women, who know what truth is, and have a sort of wish to be good and true in the end, these things do keep from anything like a real conversion to God, a real yielding of themselves up, in body, soul, and conscience, to the direction of the Holy Spirit! Then blessed be sickness! blessed pain! blessed adversity! blessed sorrow! for what would become of this poor world if these things did not come upon us, now and then, to waken us up from this worldly incrustation, this growing of stone round about our hearts, and force us to lay our consciences bare and sore and naked before the merciful eye of our Heavenly Father! Oh, think of Balaam's sin! Look forth upon these young men, whose tents are pitched around you, by these "willow-shaded streams." The sacrifices to idols, the pleasant games and plays which are not of God, are soliciting them dally. The women of Midian are around them to lure them into sin. What if any of the old prophets, who know the truth, should be so fond of his ease, or so careful of his popularity, or so busy with his comfort, or his preferment, or I know not what else, as to shut his eyes, to wink at Israel's sin, and let God's children bring down upon themselves a curse, which he would not utter with his lips for all the world? What if his neglect to act upon his own convictions should give encouragement to them to forget the truth that is in them, and practically and finally to desert God? Let us obey the holy calling. Remember the exceeding danger of those who know the truth, and yet follow their own evil likings. Beware of the gradual and imperceptible on-coming of that fatal worldliness, — like the sleep of the weary traveller among the Alpine snows, — in which faith inevitably dies. Statedly, regularly, and really search your own consciences before God.

(Bp. Moberly.)

We can gather from the context that the introduction into the Church of the world's idolatrous and sensual habits is denoted as the great evil against which the Church was listless and supine. In the apostolic day the fashion of the world had what would be to us a grosser form in its idolatry and sensuality; but in its principles and essential practice it differed in no respect then from what it is to-day. Every walk in life is full of idol fanes, before which the youth entering upon his career is tempted to worship as part of the necessary progress to preferment. In business life, in Government employ, in social circles, he is required to connive at or co-operate in falsehood and fraud, and to adopt a standard of morals such as destroyed the empire of Rome. The only alternative is a bold, heroic refusal, which thrusts him back into isolation and want. No! not isolation, not want, for no young man can take that noble position in the fear of God without being fully supplied and sustained by the Lord God of Daniel. The idolatry and sensuality of the world go together. They are parts of one whole. Men depart from the holy God and seek unto idols on purpose that they may indulge their fleshly lusts. Now when this poison enters the Church, when idols are set up in the house of God, when the rites of Molech and Ashtoreth are combined with the worship of Jehovah, a deadly disease threatens the life of the Church. The world's fashions, introduced into the Church and allowed to go unrebuked, soon captivate weak saints, suggest further compromises to stronger ones, and lower the standard of Christian life and experience for all.

(H. Crosby.)

We are very much in the habit of supposing that when a character has been explained and denounced in Scripture, we may thenceforth regard it both as very rare and very easily detected. We are thus naturally led into a sort of security about our own resemblance to the very persons against whose sins we need to be most on our guard.

1. There is no character in Scripture concerning which it is more necessary to be careful against making these mistakes than that of Balaam, because he was not only very bad, but really very much better than many who consider themselves to be in no danger of resembling him. The fact is that Balaam had about him many good points. There was just one thing which he lacked. What that one thing was we shall see as we proceed. I should say, indeed, that Balaam, if he were among us, would be considered the pattern of a religious character; because he really proposed to himself a very high standard, and followed it rigidly, and to his own cost. How many persons are as scrupulous as Balaam was? How many persons similarly circumstanced would have hesitated about going with the messengers the first time? He was far beyond the mere sayer of religious words. He was in a certain way — and that no very common way — conscientious: he was conscientious to his cost: and, more than this, his view of God's requirements in man was perfectly unexceptionable, and such as to show no ordinary Divine illumination. For these reasons Balaam himself might be described, up to a certain point, as "holding fast by God's name," and not denying his faith. Therefore it is not so strange that he should be the sort of character against which strictly conscientious persons should be warned, and his the "doctrine" which they might be inclined to embrace.

2. Now what is that view of religion that may be considered the "doctrine of Balaam"? As illustrated by his character, it would seem to be this, that what we have to do is to serve God without loving Him; to seek our own will and our own ends, and yet to contrive to keep out of punishment at His hands; not to desire our will to be moulded to God's will, and to be subservient to it readily and in all things; but to desire our will to be done, as far as ever it can be, within the strict letter of God's commandments. This is the main feature in the "doctrine of Balaam." Strict duty, without any love; resolute observance of a disagreeable rule, not earnest obedience to a loved parent: determination to escape punishment — no desire to please God. Now this is very much the sort of "religion" into which many honourable, upright men have a tendency to sink. To those who have no sense of religious obligation — no dread of the future — no regard for God's law — Balaam furnishes no lesson at all. They and he have no points in common. You cannot warn them against being like him, because he is so much below what he ought to be. Now, the particular act of Balaam alluded to in the text is quite in harmony with such a character as I have described. He "taught Balak," says St. John, "to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication." Balaam would not curse, because he was told in so many words not to curse; but he brought about a like end, by worse means — all in order that his own selfish desires might be gratified: as it would seem they were,

(J. C. Coghlan, D. D.)

The carpenter's gimlet makes but a small hole, but it enables him to drive a great nail. May we not here see a representation of those minor departures from the truth which prepare the minds of men for grievous errors, and of those thoughts of sin which open a way for the worst crimes? Beware, then, of Satan's gimlet.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

As a wen looks worse on a face of beauty, and a skull on a bank of snow, so a sinner in a holy church, most uncomely and loathsome.

(T. Guthrie.)

The Church in Pergamos failed, not because she encouraged the sin blamed, but because she did not take more vigorous steps for its extinction. She did not sufficiently realise the fact that she was a part of the body of Christ, and that, if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it. Believers in her community were too easily satisfied with working out their own salvation, and thought too little of presenting the whole Church "as a pure virgin to Christ." Therefore it was that, even amidst much faithfulness, they need to repent to feel more deeply than they did that "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump," and that in the Church of the Lord Jesus we are to a large extent responsible not only for our own but for our neighbours' sins. By keeping up the Christian tone of the whole Church the tone of each member of the Church is heightened.

(W. Milligan, D. D.)

Antipas, Balaam, Balac, Balak, Israelites, Jezebel, John
Ephesus, Pergamum, Smyrna, Thyatira
FALSE, Balaam, Balac, Balak, Block, Cast, Cling, Commit, Committing, Descendants, Desires, Doctrine, Eat, Eating, Entice, Flesh, Fornication, Gods, Hast, Hold, Holding, Idol, Idols, Idol-sacrifices, Immorality, Israelites, Kept, Lewdness, Offered, Practice, Sacrificed, Sacrifices, Sexual, Sin, Snare, Sons, Stumbling, Stumblingblock, Stumbling-block, Suggestion, Taking, Taught, Teach, Teaching, Throw, Whoredom, Yet
1. What is commanded to be written to the angels, that is, the ministers of the churches of Ephesus,
8. Smyrna,
12. Pergamos,
18. Thyatira, and what is commended and lacking in them.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Revelation 2:14

     4404   food
     5775   abuse
     5942   security
     6189   immorality, examples
     6662   freedom, abuse
     8204   chastity
     8353   tolerance
     8449   imitating
     8739   evil, examples of
     8787   opposition, to God

Revelation 2:14-15

     8749   false teachers
     8750   false teachings

Revelation 2:14-16

     6237   sexual sin, nature of
     6241   seduction
     6243   adultery, spiritual
     6735   repentance, examples
     7760   preachers, responsibilities
     8237   doctrine, false

May 17. "To Him that Overcometh, Will I Give" (Rev. Ii. 17).
"To him that overcometh, will I give" (Rev. ii. 17). A precious secret of Christian life is to have Jesus dwelling within the heart and conquering things that we never could overcome. It is the only secret of power in your life and mine, beloved. Men cannot understand it, nor will the world believe it; but it is true, that God will come to dwell within us, and be the power, and the purity, and the victory, and the joy of our life. It is no longer now, "What is the best that I can do?" but the question
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

January 11. "Hold Fast Till I Come" (Rev. Ii. 25).
"Hold fast till I come" (Rev. ii. 25). The other day we asked a Hebrew friend how it was that his countrymen were so successful in acquiring wealth. "Ah," said he, "we do not make more money than other people, but we keep more." Beloved, let us look out this day for spiritual pickpockets and spiritual leakage. Let us "lose nothing of what we have wrought, but receive a full reward"; and, as each day comes and goes, let us put away in the savings bank of eternity its treasures of grace and victory,
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Love's Complaining
Hence our Lord's fitness to deal with the churches, which are these golden lamp-stands, for no one knows so much about the lamps as the person whose constant work it is to watch them and trim them. No one knows the churches as Jesus does, for the care of all the churches daily comes upon him, he continually walks among them, and holds their ministers as stars in his right hand. His eyes are perpetually upon the churches, so that he knows their works, their sufferings, and their sins; and those eyes
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 32: 1886

Declension from First Love
But further, Christ says, "I know thy patience." Now there be some that labour, and they do it well. But what does hinder them? They only labour for a little season, and then they cease to work and begin to faint. But this church had laboured on for many years; it had thrown out all its energies--not in some spasmodic effort, but in a continual strain and unabated zeal for the glory of God. "I know thy patience." I say again, beloved, I tremble to think how few out of this congregation could win
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

The New Name.
To him that overcometh, I will give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.-- REV. ii. 17. Whether the Book of the Revelation be written by the same man who wrote the Gospel according to St John or not, there is, at least, one element common to the two--the mysticism. I use the word mysticism as representing a certain mode of embodying truth, common, in various degrees, to almost all, if not all, the writers of the New Testament. The
George MacDonald—Unspoken Sermons

That There is no Security against Temptation in this Life
"My Son, thou art never secure in this life, but thy spiritual armour will always be needful for thee as long as thou livest. Thou dwellest among foes, and art attacked on the right hand and on the left. If therefore thou use not on all sides the shield of patience, thou wilt not remain long unwounded. Above all, if thou keep not thy heart fixed upon Me with steadfast purpose to bear all things for My sake, thou shalt not be able to bear the fierceness of the attack, nor to attain to the victory
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

The Seven Assemblies as a Whole (I. 11).
We must here, at the outset, remove the greatest source of all the misunderstandings which have arisen with regard to these seven "churches." The fact of their being called "churches" has naturally led commentators and students of this book to infer that it is the Church of God, or at any rate the historic Christian Church, which is meant. The difficulty is thus arbitrarily created. The Bible student is at once confronted with an overwhelming difficulty. He has read the Epistles which are addressed
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

The Fourth
refers to the books of Numbers and Samuel. The promise is, "to him will give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers; even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star" (Rev. ii. 26-28). Here again the literary order in the Apocalypse goes forward with the historical order: for it is in the book of Numbers that we have the basis of this promise given to the same People, who were the subjects
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

C. P. C. Rev. ii. 28 O Name, the psalm and the music That fills the heavenly place-- O Name by which there I enter And see Thee face to face-- O Name, Thou art here the music, And here the sweetness and song, Though the sea and the waves are roaring, And though the night is long. The night--but a night of glory, For there in the heavens I see The Morning Star in its brightness, Thy gift of love to me. I have the pledge of the dawning, The glow of the golden Day, For Thou, O my Lord, hast arisen,
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others

Conclusion of the Subject. Pain of the Awakening. Light against Delusions.
1. To bring this matter to an end, I say that it is not necessary for the soul to give its consent here; it is already given: the soul knows that it has given up its will into His hands, [1] and that it cannot deceive Him, because He knoweth all things. It is not here as it is in the world, where all life is full of deceit and double-dealing. When you think you have gained one man's good will, because of the outward show he makes, you afterwards learn that all was a lie. No one can live in the
Teresa of Avila—The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus

The Dialogue against the Luciferians.
Introduction. This Dialogue was written about 379, seven years after the death of Lucifer, and very soon after Jerome's return from his hermit life in the desert of Chalcis. Though he received ordination from Paulinus, who had been consecrated by Lucifer, he had no sympathy with Lucifer's narrower views, as he shows plainly in this Dialogue. Lucifer, who was bishop of Cagliari in Sardinia, first came into prominent notice about a.d. 354, when great efforts were being made to procure a condemnation
St. Jerome—The Principal Works of St. Jerome

The Laodicean State of Christendom.
In Revelation two and three we have seven Epistles addressed to the seven churches in Asia. These Epistles--in keeping with the nature of the book in which they are found--are prophetic in their scope. They record the sentences of the Divine Judge who appears in the midst of these churches (see 1:13-20) inspecting and passing decisions. They contain a panorama of the Church's history. They give us a complete outline of the entire course of the Christian profession, of going from bad to worse, until
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

As Many as were Called by Grace, and Displayed the First Zeal...
As many as were called by grace, and displayed the first zeal, having cast aside their military girdles, but afterwards returned, like dogs, to their own vomit, (so that some spent money and by means of gifts regained their military stations); let these, after they have passed the space of three years as hearers, be for ten years prostrators. But in all these cases it is necessary to examine well into their purpose and what their repentance appears to be like. For as many as give evidence of their
Philip Schaff—The Seven Ecumenical Councils

Vanity of Human Glory.
"The world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not."--1 John iii. 1 Of St. Simon and St. Jude, the Saints whom we this day commemorate, little is known[1]. St. Jude, indeed, still lives in the Church in his Catholic epistle; but of his history we only know that he was brother to St. James the Less, and nearly related to our Lord and that, like St. Peter, he had been a married man. Besides his name of Jude or Judas, he is also called Thaddaeus and Lebbaeus in the Gospels. Of St. Simon we only
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VIII

Job's Regret and Our Own
I. Let us begin by saying, that regrets such as those expressed in the text are and ought to be very BITTER. If it be the loss of spiritual things that we regret, then may we say from the bottom of our hearts, "Oh that I were as in months past." It is a great thing for a man to be near to God; it is a very choice privilege to be admitted into the inner circle of communion, and to become God's familiar friend. Great as the privilege is, so great is the loss of it. No darkness is so dark as that which
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

Of the Imitation of Christ, and of Contempt of the World and all Its Vanities
He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,(1) saith the Lord. These are the words of Christ; and they teach us how far we must imitate His life and character, if we seek true illumination, and deliverance from all blindness of heart. Let it be our most earnest study, therefore, to dwell upon the life of Jesus Christ. 2. His teaching surpasseth all teaching of holy men, and such as have His Spirit find therein the hidden manna.(2) But there are many who, though they frequently hear the Gospel,
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

The Calling of the Regenerate:
"Whom He did predestinate, them He also called."--Rom. viii. 30. In order to hear, the sinner, deaf by nature, must receive hearing ears. "He that hath ears let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." (Rev. ii. 7, 11, 17, 29; iii. 6, 13, 22). But by nature the sinner does not belong to these favored ones. This is a daily experience. Of two clerks in the same office, one obeys the call and the other rejects it; not because he despises it, but because he does not hear God's call in it. Hence
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Knowledge of God
'The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.' I Sam 2:2. Glorious things are spoken of God; he transcends our thoughts, and the praises of angels. God's glory lies chiefly in his attributes, which are the several beams by which the divine nature shines forth. Among other of his orient excellencies, this is not the least, The Lord is a God of knowledge; or as the Hebrew word is, A God of knowledges.' Through the bright mirror of his own essence, he has a full idea and cognisance
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Theology of Grace.
The theology which Augustin opposed, in his anti-Pelagian writings, to the errors of Pelagianism, is, shortly, the theology of grace. Its roots were planted deeply in his own experience, and in the teachings of Scripture, especially of that apostle whom he delights to call "the great preacher of grace," and to follow whom, in his measure, was his greatest desire. The grace of God in Jesus Christ, conveyed to us by the Holy Spirit and evidenced by the love that He sheds abroad in our hearts, is the
St. Augustine—Anti-Pelagian Writings

The First
refers to Genesis ii., the promise being, "I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev. ii. 7). God begins from Himself. The Apocalypse related not only to Israel, but to the earth; and the first promise goes back to Eden and to the "tree of life." The way to that tree was lost: but was "kept" (or preserved) by the cherubim (Gen. iii. 24). These cherubim next appear in connection with the way to the Living One, in the Tabernacle, and are thus linked
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

The Poor in Spirit are Enriched with a Kingdom
Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 Here is high preferment for the saints. They shall be advanced to a kingdom. There are some who, aspiring after earthly greatness, talk of a temporal reign here, but then God's church on earth would not be militant but triumphant. But sure it is the saints shall reign in a glorious manner: Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.' A kingdom is held the acme and top of all worldly felicity, and this honour have all the saints'; so says our Saviour, Theirs is the
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

Letter cxxvi. To Marcellinus and Anapsychia.
Marcellinus, a Roman official of high rank, and Anapsychia his wife had written to Jerome from Africa to ask him his opinion on the vexed question of the origin of the soul. Jerome in his reply briefly enumerates the several views that have been held on the subject. For fuller information he refers his questioners to his treatise against Rufinus and also to their bishop Augustin who will, he says, explain the matter to them by word of mouth. Although it hardly appears in this letter Jerome is a decided
St. Jerome—The Principal Works of St. Jerome

Parting Counsels
'And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23. Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 25. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

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