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for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Now, if all things were created by Christ, he could not have been himself created, because, in this case, we should have the evident absurdity of a self-created creature: for if he himself created all things in heaven and in earth, and things under the earth, and he himself a created being, then there can be no evasion of the force of the conclusion that he was his own creator. If in answer to this, it is said that God created Christ, it gives the direct denial to Scripture, which says, that by Christ all things were created, both in heaven and earth, and under the earth, whether visible or invisible; and also in John, 1st chapter, ad verse—“The same was in the beginning with God; all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." But there is no difficulty in arriving at a perfectly correct and harmonious meaning of the term “thus saith the Amen and the beginning of the creation of God:” not the first creature which God made, for Christ himself made all things, as always declared; but the first cause of the creation of God, the first parent, produce and efficient cause of every creature; the Author of the old creation, who made all things out of nothing, at the beginning of time. Christ is also the beginning of the creation of God, because he is the Author, the Almighty producer of the new creation, the everlasting Father of every one that is made a new creature, the Prince and Governor of all creatures. This is the meaning of the passage, and equally with all his other titles, “the Amen, the faithful and true Witness," vindicates his claims to a true and proper divinity
I touch no other portion of this epistle at present, my brethren, because the next topic in order which presents itself to our consideration is one of such deep practical importance, that it must occupy the whole time of at least one full discourse. I mean the words which are included in the 15th and 16th verses—“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
In the present discourse I have placed before you the description of our Saviour, given by himself; and attached to each one of these particulars of description there are appropriate remarks of a practical character, useful and impressive; and
1. When our Saviour calls himself the “Amen,” it conveys, or should convey to our minds, the positive conviction, that whatever he, as the God of truth, has said, must, by a necessity of his existence, most assuredly come to pass. In the nervous language of the prophet Balaam, it is declared—“God is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent; hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ?" And no less of the Lord Jesus Christ is it declared, that “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” In the character of Christ as the Amen, there is the most abundant consolation for the believer, and for the unbeliever the annunciation of a most terrific truth; for as all the promises of God are to the believer, yea in Christ, and amen in Christ, to the glory of God, so there is no threat placed on the record of his will of indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, which stands not on the same eternal sanction of the God of truth and holiness. Why is it that there are any careless and unconcerned? Why is it that there are so many who, with all the warnings of the Gospel in their ears, live year after year without a Gospel union with the Lord Jesus Christ? The grand secret why there are so few actual fears excited, and why there is really so little of religious impression made, is from that deceitfulness of the human heart, which leads men to believe that God is a being essentially destitute of truth. I do not say, my brethren, that there any who, as the deliberate persuasion of their minds, doubt the veracity of God; but this is the real and practical interpretation of their conduct; and in the fear, and in the presence of God, I charge it upon every careless and unconcerned and impenitent individual now in the house of God, whether male or female, old or young, that one most prominent reason of your present irreligious condition is, that you have your secret wishes, misgivings, ay, and inward persuasions, that as it relates to yourself, at least, God will not perform what he has said. You accord, I grant you, as far as theory and speculation goes—you accord to the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, the attribute of abstract truth; but with you, so far as your hearts are concerned, this is nothing but an abstraction, and God's moral attribute of truth does not receive the acknowledgment of your hearts. Brethren, I call upon you who are yet in your sins; you who are careless and unconcerned and impenitent, living without a good hope and without a living God in the world, I call upon you to examine your hearts as to this particular, and see if the elements of this infidelity are not there. And while I call on you to make this examination, I must in faithfulness to your souls declare, that the truth of God is not a mere abstraction; it is an existing moral attribute, as real as the existence of the eternity of God, and that it is an attribute which if so slighted and disbelieved, will rise most awfully against you in the day of coming retribution. Asks the Apostle Paul, “Whatif some men did not believe; shall their unbelief make the truth of God without effect? God forbid. Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar.” Suppose that in his heart the careless and the sinner shall doubt whether God will execute against him the fierceness of his anger; will this rob God of his truth and holiness ? all that his practical infidelity accomplishes, is the ruin of his own soul. Let the words of God sink into your souls, and whenever he says “repent or ye shall perish, he that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned,” remember that it is the language of Him, who in his threat to the sinful members of the Church of Laodicea said “Thus saith the Amen, the Verily, the God of truth—truth unimpeachable-eternal, imperishable truth.”
Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, are you ever perplexed with doubts? Do clouds sometimes intercept the brightness of his shining ? Throw away your unworthy fears; ask yourselves who it is that promises—“the Amen”-and let it banish doubts and despondencies and fears.
Again : When our Lord Jesus Christ calls himself “the faithful and true Witness,” it bears to our minds this practical instruction: that he is both the witness of all our conduct, and he will testify against us in the great and solemn day of decision. Nothing which concerns us on earth escapes the searchings of his omniscient vision; and whether it be the outward manifestation of transgression, or whether it be the uttered word of sin, or whether it be the yet unuttered thought of the heart, Christ is witness to it all.
Brethren, what an eye of observation is always looking into the very inner chambers of our heart; and how many sins, yet in embryo, are there discovered by him. Sinner-careless, unconcerned, impenitent sinner-is it nothing to you that the Lord Jesus Christ, who is one day to be your judge, is privy to all that you think, or say, or do? But this is not all: when Christ describes himself as the true and faithful Witness,” he alludes more particularly to the testimony which as a witness he will give when we and all the world must be judged according to our deeds. Yes, my brethren, I would that it might sink so deep into our souls that it could never be forgotten. When we shall have to plead our cause before the throne of eternal judgment, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is now the advocate and intercessor, will then be the one grand acquitting or condemning witness.
Is it not a solemn thought, that the Judge on his throne will be the witness for or against us? When God thus riseth up, what will you say? and when he thus visiteth, what will you answer? There will be no subterfuge, and there will be no possibility of escape ; there will be no flaw in the testimony, and there will be no deficiency of proof. Christ calls himself" the true and faithful Witness." Whatever he will then say, will be beyond the reach of dispute;