Revelation 3:4
But you do have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments, and because they are worthy, they will walk with Me in white.
Sermons
A Solemn Warning for All ChurchesC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 3:4
An Advance Step in the Royal Programmeby S. D. GordonRevelation 3:4
Christian Life has Power to Resist Adverse InfluencesE. L. Hull, B. A.Revelation 3:4
God's Little Remnant Keeping Their Garments Clean in an Evil DayJohn Erskine, D. D.Revelation 3:4
Pure Amidst DefilementJ. R. Miller, D. D.Revelation 3:4
Purity RewardedChristina G. Rossetti.Revelation 3:4
SardisJ. Hyatt.Revelation 3:4
SardisW. E. Daly, B. A.Revelation 3:4
The Believers At SardisJohn Johnstone.Revelation 3:4
The Duty of Maintaining an Unsullied CharacterJ. Main, D. D.Revelation 3:4
The Few in SardisC. S. Robinson, D. D.Revelation 3:4
The Present Blessedness of the Consecrated Life: a Whit Sunday SermonS. Conway Revelation 3:4
The Two GarmentsT. L. Cuyler, D. D.Revelation 3:4
The Undefiled FewR. Tuck, B. A.Revelation 3:4
Walking in WhiteA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 3:4
A Dead ChurchD. Tasker, D. D.Revelation 3:1-6
A Life Akin to DeathC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 3:1-6
A Living ChurchH. Cooke, D. D.Revelation 3:1-6
A Name to LiveT. Guthrie, D. D.Revelation 3:1-6
A Show of LifeH. Macmillan, D. D.Revelation 3:1-6
Christ's Message to the FormalistJ. J. Ellis.Revelation 3:1-6
Death in the ChurchA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 3:1-6
Formalism and True ChristianityC. Garrett.Revelation 3:1-6
God Knows the Works of MenW. Fenner, B. D.Revelation 3:1-6
Moral DeathWm. Fenner, B. D.Revelation 3:1-6
Nominal ReligionJ. W. Cunningham.Revelation 3:1-6
On Formality and Hypocrisy in ReligionS. Lavington.Revelation 3:1-6
SardisJ. Hyatt.Revelation 3:1-6
Sardis -- the Fickle ChurchA. Mackennal, D. D.Revelation 3:1-6
Semblances of LifeC. Bowes.Revelation 3:1-6
Some Causes of Spiritual DeathC. P. Thwing.Revelation 3:1-6
That a Minister May be in Fault that the People are DeadWm. Fenner, B. D.Revelation 3:1-6
The Address to SardisG. Rogers.Revelation 3:1-6
The Epistle to the Church At SardisS. Conway Revelation 3:1-6
The Epistle to the Church in SardisR. Green Revelation 3:1-6
The Semblance of LifeC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 3:1-6
The Seven Spirits of GodA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 3:1-6
The State of All Men Known to ChristD. Wilcox.Revelation 3:1-6
The Warning Voice Re-Echoed from SardisJohn Gibson, B. D.Revelation 3:1-6
The Words of Christ to the Congregation At SardisD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 3:1-6
The Words of Christ to the Congregation At SardisD. Thomas Revelation 3:1-6
Uselessness of Mere ProfessionJ. Trapp.Revelation 3:1-6
WorksH. H. Gowen.Revelation 3:1-6
They shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. This is Whit Sunday, and its very name carries us back in thought to the literal and impressive manner in which the Christian Church of the early centuries was wont to interpret our text when she celebrated the Feast of Pentecost. For it was at this feast - so the Book of the Acts tells us - that there were reaped for Christ and his Church those famous firstfruits of the harvest of converted men, which in the ages to come Christ's ministers should gather in. On that day there were added to the Church some three thousand souls, who were all straightway baptized according to St. Peter's word, "Repent, and he baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." The Day of Pentecost, therefore, became a chosen day in the early Church for the reception by baptism of converts to the Christian faith. On that day they who had lived heretofore in Judaism or in heathenism were clothed in white robes, and gathered in numerous throngs at the baptisteries of the churches; there, with music and holy psalms, and with many elaborate symbolic ceremonies, they received the initiatory rite of the Christian Church. But the most striking feature of the day was the procession of white-robed candidates, and that so fastened itself on the mind of the Church, that the day which commemorated the Feast of Pentecost came to be called, as it is amongst us still, Whir or White Sunday, Alba Dominica, or the white Lord's day. Those who were on that day baptized had been counted worthy - for they had renounced heathenism or Judaism, and had confessed Christ - to he numbered amongst the Christian fellowship. And hence they were arrayed in white garments; for was it not written, "They shall walk... worthy "? And it is told how not seldom these baptized ones would ever afterwards carefully preserve their white robe as a perpetual reminder of their vow of consecration to Christ, and at the last, when they lay down to die, they would have it put on once more, and in it they would be buried. But whilst it is interesting to note how the mind of the ancient Church expressed by such symbolism its understanding of this word before us, it is more important to us to get beneath the metaphor, and to ascertain its meaning for ourselves today. And that meaning is surely this - that the consecrated Christian life is a blessed life. The white robe of the baptized told them, no doubt, of the character and responsibilities of that life; that its character was to be holy, and that their responsibility and obligation were to strive after holiness, and to he content with nothing less. But in our text it is not so much responsibility and obligation that are meant, but the blessedness of the Christian life. Let us speak, therefore -

I. OF THE WORTHINESS WHICH WINS THE WHITE ROBE. The few in Sardis who are to be counted worthy are they who, unlike the rest, "have not defiled their garments;" that is, the character, which is the vestment of the soul, and which they had received, they had kept undefiled. For a new character is given to him who truly comes to Christ; he is a new creature, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth him from all sin. This is no mere doctrine of theology, but a fact in Christian experience. For the mind in which we come to Christ is in nature, though not in degree, Christ's own mind - that mind of which his atoning death was the expression; the mind that condemns sin, that trusts in the forgiving love of God, and desires above all else the love of God. Such was the mind in which Christ died, and which was the real atonement. For the mangled flesh of the Lord and the bleeding body had no atoning power save as they declared the mind which was in him. And it was a mind that could not but be infinitely acceptable to the Father, could not but have been a full, true, sufficient atonement, ablation, and satisfaction to his heart, the Father-heart of God. And because, whenever we come really to God in Christ, the movements of our minds are in this same direction, and we come clothed in this mind, though it may be but imperfectly, yet because our mind is like in nature, though not in degree, to the perfect mind of Christ when he died for us, therefore are we accepted in him, and for his sake pardoned, and made possessors of a new character - his mind - which is the garment we are to keep undefiled, and which those who are counted worthy do keep undefiled.

II. OF THE WHITE ROSE ITSELF. It tells:

1. Of purity. "Blessed are the pure in heart." Oh, the joy of this! It is good, when temptation comes, to be able to grip and grapple with it, and to gain victory over it, though after a hard struggle. Oh, how far better this than to miserably yield, and to be "led captive by Satan at his will"! But even this falls far below the blessedness which the white robe signifies. For it tells of an inward purity, like to his who said, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." There was nothing in him on which the tempter's power could fasten, and to rise up to this heart-purity is the glory and joy promised by the white robe.

2. Of victory. White was the symbol of this also, as well as of purity. He who went forth "conquering and to conquer" rode upon a white horse - so the vision declared. They who had come out of the great tribulation were clothed in "white robes," and elsewhere we are told they had "overcome by the blood of the Lamb." And this blessedness of victory the consecrated soul enjoys. "Sin shall not have dominion over" him. "In all things" he is "more than conqueror." One of the very chiefest blessings of the Christian faith is that it makes the weak strong, and to them that have no might the faith of Christ increaseth strength. Facts of everyday Christian experience prove that it is so.

3. Of joy. White garments are the symbol of this also. And the truly consecrated heart shall know "the joy of the Lord." The saints of God in all ages have found that "he giveth songs in the night." Who should have joy if not the true-hearted Christian man?

III. HOW WE MAY WIN AND WEAR THESE WHITE ROBES. Through entire surrender to Christ. There is no other way. If we retain our own will and keep urging its claims, these white robes are not for us. The consecrated life is clothed thus, and that life alone. - S.C.







Thou hast a few names even in Sardis.
I. GENERAL DEFILEMENT.

1. A vast deal of open profession, and but little of sincere religion. You can scarcely meet with a man who does not call himself a Christian, and yet it is equally hard to meet with one who is in the very marrow of his bones thoroughly sanctified to the good work of the kingdom of heaven. We meet with professors by hundreds; but we must expect still to meet with possessors by units.

2. A want of zeal. Ah! we have abundance of cold, calculating Christians, but where are the zealous ones? Where are those who have an impassioned love for souls?

3. The third charge against Sardis was that they did not "look to the things that remained and were ready to die." This may relate to the poor feeble saints. And what does the Church do now? Do the shepherds go after those that are wounded and sick, and those that are weary? Yes, but how do they speak? They tell them to perform impossible duties — instead of "strengthening the things that remain and are ready to die."

4. Another charge which God has brought against the Church is, that they were careless about the things which they heard. He says, "Remember, therefore, how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast; and repent." If I am wrong upon other points, I am positive that the sin of this age is impurity of doctrine, and laxity of faith.

II. SPECIAL PRESERVATION. "Thou hast a few names." Only a few; not so few as some think, but not as many as others imagine! There is not a church on earth that is so corrupt but has "a few." Since there are but a few, there ought to be great searchings of heart. Let us look to our garments and see whether they be defiled. The fewer the workmen to do the work the greater reason is there that you should be active. Be instant in season and out of season, because there are so few.

III. A PECULIAR REWARD. "They shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy." That is to say, communion with Christ on earth shall be the special reward of those who have not defiled their garments. Go into what company you please, do you meet with many men who hold communion with Christ? Oh, Christian! if thou wouldst have communion with Christ, the special way to win it is by not defiling thy garments, as the Church has done. "They shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy."

1. This refers to justification. "They shall walk in white"; that is, they shall enjoy a constant sense of their own justification by faith; they shall understand that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them, that they have been washed and made whiter than snow, and purified and made more cleanly than wool.

2. Again, it refers to joy and gladness: for white robes were holiday dresses among the Jews. Let thy garments be always white, for God hath accepted thy works."

3. And lastly, it refers to walking in white before the throne of God.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THOSE PERSONS WHO ARE HERE SPOKEN OF WERE TRULY HOLY. Those men were the glory of their Church; and we might have expected that the heavenly purity of their principles and their conduct would have shed around them a highly beneficial influence, and would have induced many others to have pursued along with them a course so splendid in itself, and so happy and brilliant in its termination.

II. The passage represents these truly holy persons as only FEW IN NUMBER. The truly holy, in every age of the world have borne but a very small proportion to the great mass of mankind.

III. These holy persons were found IN A PLACE WHERE GREAT DEGENERACY PREVAILED. Religion is like the snowdrop that flowers amid the colds and frosts of winter, or like the violet that blooms in all the beauties of its varied and vivid tints, and breathes all the richness of its fragrance unhurt by the foul and noxious weeds that flourish in its immediate vicinity.

IV. The few holy persons in the church at Sardis had THE PROMISE OF GREAT HONOUR BEING CONFERRED UPON THEM. White, in the inspired volume, is frequently used to denote the holiness of the Christian character, and, at the same time, to represent the success, the prosperity, and the honour which all enjoy who possess it.

(John Johnstone.)

I. THE COMMENDATION AND THE HONOUR WHICH OUR LORD BESTOWED UPON THE FEW EXEMPLARY CHARACTERS IN THE CHURCH AT SARDIS.

1. Garment is put for a holy life answerable to a profession of discipleship to Jesus Christ. There were a few disciples in the church at Sardis who were clothed with the garment of humility: "as the elect of God, holy and beloved," they had "put on bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness," and "long-suffering," and had been enabled "to adorn the doctrine of God," their "Saviour," by a holy and uniform consistency of conduct.

2. When we consider the power, the subtlety, the enmity, and the vigilance of Satan; and the innumerable sources of seduction by which the people of God are constantly surrounded; and the many sinful propensities that lodge within their own hearts, we are surprised that any of them pass through life without defiling their garments. Nothing could be more unaccountable, did we not know the cause of their preservation. They "are kept by the power of God," or it would be impossible they could stand secure from falling, even for a moment!

II. THE DISTINGUISHED HONOUR WHICH OUR LORD PROMISED TO CONFER UPON THOSE CHRISTIANS IN SARDIS WHO HAD NOT DEFILED THEIR GARMENTS.

3. Our Lord gives encouragement to His faithful disciples, by assuring them of His final testimony of approbation. "I will confess His name before my father, and before His angels."

(J. Hyatt.)

There is nothing on earth that has such power to destroy Christian life as a society of men who bear the name of Christ without manifesting His spirit and life. A dead Church is a mightier obstacle to Christian vitality than the influences of the world or the sneers of the keenest infidelity; it freezes the influence of truth, it paralyses the power of prayer, it lays its cold hand on the pulses of the Christian's faith, chilling them into a death-like sleep. But yet, with that fact before us, we shall try to show that every Christian may overcome those influences which hinder his life. We shall try to show that we have no right to be weak Christians, moulded by social circumstances, but are bound to be Christians whose deep life makes circumstances its servants.

I. TRUE CHRISTIANITY CAN CONQUER ADVERSE SOCIAL INFLUENCES. Now here it must be granted as an obvious fact that some men are more liable to be swayed by social influences than others. Those whose character is weak, and whose feelings are strong and undisciplined, are doubtless more easily carried away by mere impulse than men of naturally strong character and power of self-control. But yet it is possible for us to gain an elevation above such influences, for in Christianity we can discern the elements of a power which will confer it. We shall perceive this by glancing briefly at the manner in which circumstances and social influences attain their greatest sway over men; and then by showing how, in a true Christian life, the sources of that power are overcome.

1. The absence of a ruling emotion is one great element in the power of circumstances. Now true Christianity is essentially the enthronement of one feeling in the heart — the love of God through Christ, and because that feeling ascends to the eternal and unchanging, it must pre-eminently give a firmness to the character that defies the force of circumstances.

2. The absence of purpose in life is the other element in the power of circumstances, for it is too obvious to need illustration, that a purposeless life must be the creature of circumstances, and at the mercy of every influence. Now a true Christian life-purpose is a life-surrender to God; it is to live constantly as in the eye of the Eternal King, to exist that we may be self-consecrated to Christ and attain a resemblance to Him; a purpose not visionary but sublime — a purpose not attained in the middle of life nor at life's close, but going onward into the life of boundless ages. But it will be more obvious that such an aim in life must shut out the force of circumstances, from the fact that it can only be lived through an independent and individual conviction of Christian truth. We want men who are not echoes, but voices; men who draw their inspiration from prayer rather than from preaching, from individual self-consecration, and not from collected sympathy. Then should we feel less that external things can effect the grandeur and earnestness of our Christian life. And one other fact will bring all this to a personal and direct application. We must be thus conquerors over circumstances and opposing forces, for our Christianity will ever be weak. We must be men, not spiritual infants, or we shall lose our Christian mission in life.

II. THIS CONQUEST CONTAINS IN ITSELF THE ELEMENTS OF EVERLASTING BLESSEDNESS. Who does not feel it better to be alone with Christ in struggling with opposing influences than to be up-borne by the current of popularity and stimulated by the flattery or friendship of men? And when thus we gain, through our own battle, a deeper insight into the mystery of that life of Jesus, and have the consciousness of a growing fellowship with Him, we are already being clothed in the white garments of eternity, and walking with the Son of God.

(E. L. Hull, B. A.)

I. THE UNDEFILED FEW.

II. THE PRESENT POWER OF CHRIST'S UNDEFILED FEW. It would appear to be one of the Divine arrangements that the many should be blessed in the power and influence of the few. No single phase of human life but has been lifted up into dignity for ever through the example of some noble moral hero. There are ever the few in political life who see clearly, grasp principles vigorously, and lead aright the unthinking many. There are many students in the walks of science and literature who never reach beyond the common level, and in each age there are a few men of genius like Bacon, and Butler, and Newton, and Herschell, who rise high up above their fellows, the giants of the intellectual world. The principle may even be seen working within the Church.

III. THE FUTURE GLORY OF CHRIST'S UNDEFILED FEW.

1. They who struggle after goodness now shall find themselves then settled in goodness for ever. He who tries to reach Christlike purity daily finds his dangers growing less, his temptations becoming fewer, his struggles ever more surely ending in the victory of the good.

2. Above all, these undefiled few shall have a communion with Christ of an extraordinary intimacy and preciousness. "With Me."

(R. Tuck, B. A.)

The words "garment," "robe" and "raiment" are used in the Scriptures to typify character. When a man repents of sin and joins himself by faith to Jesus Christ, he is clothed with a new nature. He "puts on Christ," so that there is not only an inward faith in Christ, but some good degree of outward resemblance in daily conduct. This may be called the garment of grace. It means Christian character. Now character is not determined by a single act, but by habitual conduct. It is a fabric made up of thousands of threads, and put together by uncounted stitches. However thorough may be the cleansing process wrought upon the heart at the time of conversion, yet no one becomes absolutely spotless. We live also in a defiling world. If we walk through certain streets in this city we must be on the lookout, or our clothes will become besmirched. A good man goes to his place of business and finds himself in the atmosphere of Mammon. It is every citizen's duty to take a citizen's part in politics; but when he becomes a zealous partisan there is plenty of "pitch" around in the caucus and the convention, and unless he is a conscientious man he is apt to be defiled. In social life he encounters the prevailing trend for show and self indulgence and expensive living. On a white surface the slightest spot shows painfully; and it is no easy thing to keep the spiritual raiment clean. Yet by the indwelling power of Christ's grace there are those "even in Sardis" who keep their spiritual garments comparatively clean. If a true follower of Christ becomes soiled with impurity, he grieves over it, repents of it, and hastens to that Saviour who pardons and restores. By such processes can only the garment of grace be kept from utter disfigurement and defilement. By and by this garment of grace shall be laid aside for the garment of glory. The one is for time; the other is for eternity. The first garment is a Christian character formed by the regenerating Spirit of God in this world. The other is a Christian character completed, consummated, and glorified in that world wherein entereth nothing whatsoever that defileth. They "walk with Jesus in white, for they are worthy." Determine that whatever others may do you will be a thorough and consecrated servant of your Master, "even in Sardis." Determine that you will keep the garment of character undefiled. If all Sardis is infected with the lust of gold, let not the canker eat into your soul. However many in Sardis rush off into frivolities and into these scenes of folly that make deathbeds terrible, do you choose rather the joys of holy converse with the Master in the "upper chamber."

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

I. The RARITY of those who are the true saints on the earth. Sadly the truth presses on every mind that it is the many who are sluggish and fruitless, it is only the few who are faithful. A little band of executive Church labourers produce what each year gathers.

II. Their PURITY. They "have not defiled their garments." Holiness of life is more than vividness of experience.

III. The PROSPECT of the saints.

1. The word here rendered "walk" means to accompany around. Thence it is applied to sharing the continuous lot of one with whom we dwell.

2. "They shall walk with Me." The companionship is that of Christ Himself, for it is He that is here speaking.

3. It is the symbol of glory hereinafter to be revealed to believers. Here are two thoughts distinctly suggested, each of which has great value. The one is that the glory of that future state is not so much in its triumphs and trophies as in its graces. The glory is its sinlessness, its perfect freedom from all pollution. So it is of much more importance what we shall be than what we shall have. Then the other thought is that holiness here is its own reward, here and yonder too.

IV. The PREROGATIVE of the saints. "They are worthy." The significance of this statement takes its force from the connection in which it stands. One prerogative is asserted in their behalf; they are proper companions for God's Son.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

I. CONSIDER THE GREAT DIFFICULTY OF PRESERVING INNOCENCE AMIDST SURROUNDING CORRUPTION.

1. The natural abhorrence which rises in the breast at the first appearance of its detestable form is insensibly weakened and effaced by repeated views of it. There is, besides, in the view of a multitude running to do evil, a temptation of peculiar force.

2. Amidst the universal infection of vice some men there are whose particular constitution, or want of experience in the ways of the world, expose them greatly to its deadly influence. The man of good nature, and of an easy, pliable temper, who suspects not the treachery of others, becomes an easy prey to the temptations of the wicked.

II. THE DIGNITY AND EXCELLENCE OF THAT MAN WHO, NOTWITHSTANDING EVERY ASSAULT, MAINTAINS AN UNSULLIED CHARACTER.

III. ENFORCE THE IMITATION OF CHRIST'S EXAMPLE BY THE GREAT MOTIVE MENTIONED HERE.

IV. THE REASON FOR CONFERRING SUCH HONOURS ON THE GOOD AND VIRTUOUS. "They are worthy."

(J. Main, D. D.)

I. OFFER A FEW PROPOSITIONS CONCERNING THIS REMNANT.

1. God's remnant are a holy people. They are a set of men that study to keep clean garments.

2. God has a special eye of favour and kindness on this remnant in a sinful and declining time.

II. SHOW THAT CHRIST HAS A HIGH VALUE FOR THIS REMNANT.

1. Consider what an account He makes of them when compared with the rest of the world (Isaiah 43:4; Psalm 119:119; Lamentations 4:2).

2. That this little remnant are worthy on Christ's account will appear if we consider the names and compellations that He gives them (Malachi 3:17).

3. Consider the endeared relations they stand under unto Him. There is a legal, a moral, and a mystical union between Him and them.

4. That they are worthy in His esteem appears from what He does for them (Revelation 1:5; Hebrews 8:12; Hebrews 4:16).

III. INQUIRE INTO WHAT IS IMPORTED IN THE REMNANT KEEPING THEIR GARMENTS CLEAN.

1. That even God's remnant are not without danger of defiling themselves with the sins and defections of their day.

2. That foul garments are very unbecoming and unsuitable unto God's remnant. A careful study of universal obedience unto all known and commanded duties. A holy caution and tenderness in guarding against all sin, especially the prevailing sins of the day.

IV. INQUIRE INTO THE IMPORT OF THE CONSOLATORY PROMISE MADE UNTO THE REMNANT THAT KEEP THEIR GARMENTS CLEAN.

1. "What is imported in walking with Him?

(1)It necessarily supposes the soul's subsistence in a separate state, or after its separation from the body, otherwise it could not be said to walk with Him.

(2)Its activity.

(3)Perfect peace and agreement between Christ and men.

(4)Intimacy.

(5)Full pleasure, satisfaction, and complacency.

2. What is imported in walking with Him in white?

(1)That then all their black and beggarly garments shall be laid aside.

(2)That perfect holiness shall then be their adornment.

(3)Victory over all their enemies, whether outward or inward.

(4)High honour.

(5)Priestly service.

(6)A blessed conformity between Christ and them.

(7)The beauty of the Lord their God will then be upon them.

V. INQUIRE INTO THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE DUTY AND THE PRIVILEGE, BETWEEN KEEPING THE GARMENTS CLEAN AND WALKING WITH CHRIST IN WHITE.

1. Negatively there is no connection of merit, as if our keeping of clean garments did deserve that we should walk with Christ in white.

2. Positively there is —

(1)A connection of decree or purpose in this matter.

(2)A connection of promise.

(3)A connection of meetness or congruity.

(4)A connection of evidence.Application:

1. Holiness is to be studied and pursued, however it may be ridiculed and mocked at by a profane world.

2. They labour under a mistake who think or say that it is a vain or "unprofitable thing to serve the Lord" and to keep His way.

3. Gospel purity and holiness is not such a common thing as the world apprehends.

4. See hence what it is that sweetens the pale countenance of the king of terrors to believers: it is this, they see that upon the back of death they will be admitted to walk with Christ in white.

(John Erskine, D. D.)

In the case of the Church at Sardis, we observe —

I. THE SAD SPECTACLE OF SPIRITUAL DECLENSION. The Church is represented as having only a name to live. The world sometimes sees the worst side, and God the best, but in Sardis it was the opposite. The word "dead," however, is not used absolutely, but comparatively, for there were certain rare plants in this desert of decaying vegetation that required to be watched and strengthened. Yet the faith and virtue of these were in danger.

1. There were some things ready to die. What things? Faith, love, zeal, hope.

2. Things requiring to be strengthened. Weak and incipient virtue, languishing graces, and faint desires. Things that are decaying need cherishing. Learn a lesson of the gardener, and nurse the exotics of the soul. Give thy soul room and stimulus and appropriate exercise.

3. Things that needed remembrance. Appeal to experience, to the memory of former days and old associations. We may forget our past history and so live a sort of fragmentary life.

4. Things that needed to be repented of. Dereliction of duty, loss of faith, decay of love.

II. THE CHEERING SPECTACLE OF RELIGIOUS FIDELITY. "Thou hast a few names," etc.

1. Redeeming features in the most sombre landscapes. There is always a green spot in the desert.

2. The saints in Sardis were in striking contrast to the society around them. They were pure amidst impurity, holy among the vile. They closed their eyes to the brilliant illusions, their ears to the flattering enticements, or corrupt pagan society.

III. THE GLORIOUS SPECTACLE OF THE CORONATION AND TRIUMPH OF FAITH. "They shall," etc. Weigh the reward thus symbolically described.

1. Heaven's purity for the pure on earth.

2. Enrolment in the register of heaven for those who have held fast the faith of the saints.

3. Recognition before God and the angels for those who, though scorned of men, are eternally honoured by God.

(W. E. Daly, B. A.)

True, all our lives long we shall be bound to refrain our soul and keep it low; but what then? For the books we now forbear to read, we shall one day be endued with wisdom and knowledge. For the music we will not listen to, we shall join in the song of the redeemed. For the Figures from which we turn, we shall gaze unabashed on the beatific vision. For the companionship we shun, we shall be welcomed into angelic society and the communion of triumphant saints. For the pleasures we miss, we shall abide, and evermore abide, in the rapture of heaven.

(Christina G. Rossetti.)

A writer tells of going with a party down into a coal mine. On the other side of the gangway grew a plant which was perfectly white. The visitors were astonished that there, where the coal-dust was continually flying, this little plant should be so pure and white. A miner who was with them took a handful of the black dust and threw it upon the plant; but not a particle adhered. Every atom of the dust rolled off. The visitors repeated the experiment, but the coal-dust would not cling. There was a wonderful enamel on the folds of the white plant to which no finest specks could adhere. Living there amid clouds of black dust, nothing could stain the snowy whiteness.

(J. R. Miller, D. D.)

They shall walk with Me in white
I. THE PROMISE OF CONTINUOUS AND PROGRESSIVE ACTIVITY. "They shall walk." "There remaineth a rest for the people of energies of a constant activity for God." "They shall walk" in all the more intense than it was at its highest here, and yet never, by one hair's breadth, trenching upon the serenity of that perpetual repose. And then there is the other thought too involved in that pregnant word, of continuous advancement, growing every moment nearer and nearer to the true centre of our souls, and up into the loftiness of perfection.

II. THE PROMISE OF COMPANIONSHIP WITH CHRIST. If there be this promised union, it can only be because of the completeness of sympathy and the likeness of character between Christ and His companions. The unity between Christ and His followers in the heavens is but the carrying into perfectness of the imperfect union that makes all the real blessedness of life here upon earth.

III. THE PROMISE OF THE PERFECTION OF PURITY. Perhaps we are to think of a glorified body as being the white garment. Perhaps it may be rather that the image expresses simply the conception of entire moral purity, but in either case it means the loftiest manifestation of the most perfect Christlike beauty as granted to all His followers.

IV. THE CONDITION OF ALL THESE PROMISES. There is a congruity and proportion between the earthly life and the future life. Heaven is but the life of earth prolonged and perfected by the dropping away of all the evil, the strengthening and lifting to completeness of all the good. And the only thing that fits a man for the white robe of glory is purity of character down here on earth. There is nothing said here directly about the means by which that purity can be attained or maintained. That is sufficiently taught us in other places, but what in this saying Christ insists upon is that, however it is got, it must be got, and that there is no life of blessedness, of holiness and glory, beyond the grave, except for those for whom there is the life of aspiration after, and in some real measure possession of, moral purity and righteousness and goodness here upon earth.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

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