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Seven.

Seven.

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. JOHN MASON NEALE, D.D.


" And unto the angel of the Church in Sardis write : These
things saith He that hath the seven spirits of God, and
the seven stars ; I know thy works-, that thou hast a
name, that thou li<vest, and art dead" REV. iii. i.
BY REV. JOHN MASON NEALE, D.D.


" And unto the angel of the Church in Sardis write : These
things saith He that hath the seven spirits of God, and
the seven stars ; I know thy works-, that thou hast a
name, that thou li<vest, and art dead" REV. iii. i.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 21, 2014
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SEVE. BY REV. JOH MASO EALE, D.D." And unto the angel of the Church in Sardis write : These things saith He that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars ; I know thy works-, that thou hast a name, that thou li&lt;vest, and art dead" REV. iii. i. I THIK of all fearful passages in Holy Scrip ture, the epistles to the Churches of Sardis and Laodicea are the most fearful. And that, more especially if taken in connection with a Religious House. And of the two, notwithstanding the few names in Sardis which had not defiled their garments, it seems to me that that Epistle is the more dreadful. For of Laodicea, though we know how wretchedly she deceived her self, thinking herself rich when she was most poor, having need of nothing when she was most miserable, yet we have no reason to believe that she deceived other Churches. Sardis did, it is plain, from this very verse ; SEVE. 29 she was looked on as a model Church ; no doubt prided herself, and was envied by others, for her spiritual endowments, gift of tongues, and the like. Imagine, then, how like a thunder bolt it must have fallen upon them, when they came together on the Sunday that followed the receipt of this epi-stle, and the Bishop read the words of Him that cannot be deceived and cannot err, for liis own most terrible condemna tion and theirs : " Thou hast a name that Thou livest, and art dead."
 
But, before I go on to speak of that : first, of the LORD S title. You must all have noticed how the number seven recurs and recurs in the Apocalypse. The seven candlesticks, the seven lamps of fire, the seven seals ; seven horns and eyes of the Lamb; seven angels and seven trumpets ; seven seals ; seven thunders ; seven heads of the dragon : seven crowns on those heads ; seven heads of the Wild Beast ; seven mountains ; seven kings ; sevenfold ascription of praise : seven invitations to Come ; and the division of the whole book into seven visions. ow, then, what is the reason of the especial holiness of the number seven ? And if it takes me longer to speak about than I at first in tended, that cannot be a matter of small import- 30 SEVE. [SsB. ance to us which runs, like a golden thread, through the whole texture of Scripture. What especially does seven mean ? It means, and it is, the sign of GOD S covenant relation to man, and especially to His Church, Jewish or Gentile. From the beginning it was so. The seventh day hallowed ; circumcision, its initiating sacrament ; after seven days, the dove let loose. Seven is the number of sacrifice ; that of the offering, in consequence of the covenant ; Hezekiah, in reconciling the temple, brings seven bullocks, seven rams, seven lambs, seven he-goats ; Job s friends are commanded to offer
 
seven bullocks and seven rams ; Balaam bids Balak build seven altars, and offer on each a bullock and a ram. It is the number of purifi cation and consecration : in the sin-offering for ignorance, the Priest is to sprinkle the blood of the bullock seven times before the rail ; in the consecration of Aaron the altar was sprinkled seven times with oil ; the cleansed leper was sprinkled seven times with blood and water, and on the seventh day thereafter shaved his head and was clean ; on the great day of atonement, the mercy-seat was sprinkled seven times. It is the number of forgiveness ; " I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until rv.] SEVE. 31 seventy times seven : If he trespass against thee seven times ia a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him." Seven is the number of every grace and blessing flowing to Israel out of the covenant ; and by this very number, therefore, shown to be in consequence of it. The Priests compass Jericho seven days, and on the seventh day seven times : " The LORD shall cause thine enemies to be smitten : They shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways :" " So that the barren hath borne seven :" " A just man falleth seven times a day, and riseth again." So it is the number of punishment to those that rebel against the covenant. " If ye walk contrary unto Me, and will not hearken unto Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins :" " Shall seven years of famine come into thy land ? " It is the number of punishment of such as injure the people in it. " Whosoever slayeth Cain,

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