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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 3


5. "I Know Thy Works."




After the Spirit's introduction of himself by stating certain of his characteristics having some special adaptation to the Star-Angel Presbytery addressed, he forthwith declares to each of the seven, "I have known thy works" -- !greek!; and then proceeds to point them out, and to approve or reprobate them, as the case may be. None of them seem to have been in so disgusting a state as this of the Laodiceans. The Ephesian was remarkable for labor, patience, and intolerance of evil doers; though they had some "liars" among them, who said they were apostles, but were not. The Smyrnean was tribulated, poor in this world, but rich in faith; but not without blasphemers of the synagogue of the Satan. The Pergamian held fast the name, and had not denied the faith; yet had in it the holders of Balsam's teaching and that of the Nikolaitanes. The Thyatiran was noted for love, service, faith, patience, and works more abundant than in their beginning: yet they tolerated teachers of the Jezebel type. The Sardian was dead, and the things pertaining to it ready to die; because their works were not perfect before the Deity. The Philadelphian had a little strength, had kept the word, and had not denied the name. All these had something to work upon by which the evils among them might be corrected; for even Sardis is exhorted to "strengthen the things that remain." But in regard to the Laodicean Star-Angel Presbytery it appears to have been in such a perfectly self-satisfied condition-in so thoroughly lukewarm a condition-that there was no possibility apparent of restoring it to health. There is no redeeming excellence cited in its favour. It was lukewarm. In an anti-amen state; unfaithful and untrue; and without zeal for the manifestation of the new creation, and therefore "removed from the hope of the gospel."

Being destitute of these qualities of the true believer, they delighted in the things that perish. Like professors of the nineteenth century, they said that they had need of nothing. They were rich in the wealth of the world, and high in favour with the powers that be. Being rich, they were influential in the state; and being lukewarm, they were not troublesome in bearing witness for the truth against the superstitions of the world. Hence, the world ceased to persecute them, because the world loves its own, and they had become the world's, in ceasing to testify against it.

But, though they regarded themselves so complacently, the Lord the Spirit, who seeth not as man seeth, contemplated them with great nausea and disgust. He told them that they were ignorant of their true condition; as ignorant of it as our contemporaries are of theirs. "Thou knowest not," says he, "that thou art the wretched, and pitiable and poor, and blind, and naked one." They were "wretched," being under condemnation; they were "pitiable," being really wretched while they deemed themselves in bliss; they were "poor," and "blind," being weak in faith and alienated from the life of the Deity through the ignorance that was in them; and they were "naked," being in their sins.




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