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"After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven : and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with tne; which said. Come up hither ^ and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the Spirit : REV. iv. i, 2. The isle of Patmos was, so to speak, the stage on which the great providential dispensations of God were rehearsed. The solemn acts that were to fill up the history of ages, were presented in figure to the Apostle John, as the representative of the Church. In the Apocalypse the history of the world is written in symbolical characters, in chapters dimly revealing to us " things which shall be hereafter." Our especial business, however, is to show that revelations are still made to us, these are present and personal, there are voices still talking with us, they are often trumpet -toned, and the result is, that we find ourselves in the Spirit, as if we had been lifted above the flesh. I. Revelations are made to u$ of great and solemn realities. What a world this would be if there were no
156 Trumpet Voices talking with us. voices from heaven^ no Divine utterances, no spiritual revelations, if no door were opened in heaven, if there were no communication between heaven and earth, if there were no Gospel to meet our needs and our questionings. We should be left in our darkness,
our perplexity, and our sin. That darkness would become deeper, that perplexity more fearful, and from that sin there would be no escape. We are naturally anxious to know if God thinks about us, and if so, what is the character of His thoughts ; are they gracious and loving, have they led Him to interfere and interpose ? We want to know if there are Divine purposes that include our fallen race, and if so, have they to do with our restoration, and will they be to the praise of the glory of God's grace ? We are told that God does think about us. The thoughts that filled His mind in the depths of the everlasting are revealed to us. We read of " His purpose and g^ace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." We are led to the Cross that that wondrous fact may reveal and illustrate His purpose. We have a Gospel not of figures but of facts, — a Gospel symbolised by the priest blowing the trumpet over the sacrifice,— by the blast of the trumpet through the length and breadth of the land, ushering in theyear of Jubilee, — by the great trumpet which was blown, that men in exile and ready to perish, might return to their own land. Our Gospel is like the voice of a trumpet
Trumpet Voices talking with us. 157 talking with us, and sajdng, " This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." We have not only revelations that relate to the present, but revelations that have to do with the future. " Life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel." A door is opened in heaven. We have not only words, but pictures to enable us to understand revelations of unseen realities. We have the Eden of God, with the unsinning man walking
amidst the glorious trees of an unfallen world and holding communion with his Creator. That paradise lost by the fall, but restored by Christ, comes back to us in the closing chapters of this book, with the tree of life and the river of the water of life. We have the promised land, the glory of all lands, with its beauty and fertility, where every breath was fragrance and every sound was music. We have Jerusalem, "the perfection of beauty," "the joy of the whole earth," the temple city, " like some midair abode of Deity, echoing with His praises, and filled with His worshippers." John tells us he saw the new Jerusalem, the holy city, but words must be getns to flash the glory, the radiance, the beauty of that city. Assuming that heaven is a reality, believing that there is " a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God," are the gates open for the dwellers on earth to enter in ? God " has devised means that His banished be not
158 Trumpet Voices talking with as. expelled." There is " a ladder set up on the earth and the top of it reaches to heaven." We know "where Christ has gone and we know the way." He has " opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers." The everlasting gates are lifted up. There is a door opened in heaven. Signals of welcome are hung out. Voices come to us saying, — *' Come up hither." II. The revelations made to us are present and personal. We hear a voice talking with us. **God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son." The voice of Christ is reproduced in every believing and loving
'heart. It comes floating over the interval of the .past. He speaks to us, He invites us to sit at His feet and hear His words. His words do not die, they are still spirit and life. There is a voice still talking with us. Revelation is not a dry piece of antiquity, but a living oracle to which we come, and in answer to our questionings, responses are still given. Revelation is not a dead letter, but a living voice that talks with us. Revelation is not a dead, imprisoned truth, but a living fountain, the streams are as bright and pure as they were yesterday. Such is the everlasting freshness of revelation, that voices from the past are always speaking to us, and the leaves of the volume seem as if they were written for us, and dropt one by one from the heavens.
Trumpet Voices talking with us. 159 '* Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." The things that happened unto the Israelites, " happened unto them for ensamples and are written for our admonition." Historians wrote their histories for us. Seers recorded their predictions for us. Poets sang their songs for us. Evangelists compiled their gospels for us. Apostles indited their epistles for us. Lawgivers and prophets speak to us, " their voices are heard every Sabbath day." Isaiah comes to us with the touch of the seraph still fresh on his lips. Jeremiah's words still tremble with deep feeling. Ezekiel speaks to us out of the cloud. David sings to us those words of the heart he had set to music. John tells us of the things the Apostles had heard, and seen, that we also might have fellowship with them. Peter stirs up our minds by way of remembrance. . We sit at Paul's feet to read his letters, " whereby when we read, we may understand
his knowledge in the mystery of Christ." The Gospel is for us — if the world has been constructed to be a whispering gallery round which its voices may circulate and run, we have been placed by Providence in a position where we catch every sound. The promises are for us — those that fell on the ear and the heart of men in past times still speak to us in their blessed voices; they often talk with us. When we come to the Book, voices are heard by us,
i6o Trumpet Voices talking with us. and sometimes through the opening heavens we see visions of God. When we come to the sanctuary we come " to hear what God the Lord has to say unto us." We keep silence and " we hear the voice of One that speaks." We are in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and we hear a great voice as of a trumpet. If we turn to " see the voice " that speaks to us we shall see "one like unto the Son of Man." II L The revelations to which we listen are often trumpet^toned. " A voice as of a trumpet " talks with us. Those words have been trumpet-toned that have uttered great truths in this world ; truths that yet live in it, speak in it, rule in it. Truths that walk through ;the world in royalty, demanding to be heard and obeyed. Those voices have been trumpet-toned that have uttered the watch-words of liberty, that have raised the war-cry round which men have rallied, and which have stirred their souls like the blast of a trumpet. The great events that are transpiring are the utterances of public opinion ; voices that will be heard. The voices that come to us in "revelation" are trumpet-toned, such is their earnestness, such their
importance. In this world of conflict, sorrow, and death we need to hear trumpet voices to rouse us from our lethargy, to fill us with new courage, to lead us to fight " the good fight of faith and to lay hold on eternal life."
Trumpet Voices talking with i4s. i6i In our personal history there have been dispensations of Providence, that have been as the voice of a trumpet talking with us. How clear and distinct the voice that came to us in the season of sickness, when we were shut out from the activities of life ; we were all alone, and we were so still and silent, that we could hear a voice talking to us. How solemn the voices we listened to when death entered our homes, when we pressed the last kiss on the cold lips of our best beloved, when we heard the earth falling on the Qoffin we had placed in the grave. Voices as of a trumpet have talked with us in the hour of temptation, bidding us ''take to ourselves the whole armour of God that we might stand in the evil day." Voices as of a trumpet have talked with us in our times of sadness and deep sorrow, and told us ''that our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." You have all heard voices, but you have lost their impressions in the bustle and business of life. There is a sense in which we find it true, that the first voice we hear, is as of a trumpet talking with us. We hear " the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words." We hear the awful words of the Divine law in the depths of our souls, and are convinced .of our sinfulness and become conscious of our unrighteousness. It is not till we have seen the sacrifice for sin, that we obtain the blessedness of pardon. The words that come to us in the Gospel
i6z Trumpet Voices talking with us. are like drops of Divine balsam that heal our wounded spirits and make us whole. IV. These revelations conduce to our spirituality. ** Immediately I was in the Spirit." A man must be in the Spirit to see the glory that streams through the opened door in heaven, to see the throne and Him that sits on it, to see the sign of the covenant of peace, " the rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald." We must have spiritual discernment to see spiritual things. If the windows of our hearts are opened towards Jerusalem, we shall sometimes see the light ^and glory of that golden city. '* We have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God ; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." We see all that the Spirit qualifies us to see. " The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." He that is spiritual has his eyes opened, and he can see spiritual things. Of what use is it for a door to be opened in heaven, unless we are in the Spirit ? The design of the sanctuary, of the Sabbath, of ordinances and sacraments, is our spirituality. The Word gives us Divine thoughts and feelings, it speaks to us as a voice from heaven ; it says to us, ''Come up hither;" it lifts us into a higher and spiritual region. "The Spirit also helpeth our
Trumpet Voices talking with us. 163 infirmities." The Spirit helps us by lifting us up ; we are borne up, as on the wings of some mighty bird, into the light and blessedness of the spiritual world. The Lord's-day is, of all days, one on which spiritual men mind spiritual things, and are fitted for spiritual manifestations. Our lives are thus elevated, that they may become more intensely spiritual. We mind the things of the Spirit. We respond to all spiritual visions and voices, " immediately we are in the Spirit." Our Sabbaths have their own voices: they say to us — "Come up hither"into our calmness, andquietness, and repose; come up and rest from your labours, that you may have an earnest of the promised rest. Our hours of communion have their own voices: they say to us — " Come up hither," that you may commune with light, and life, and love; that your fellowship may be with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. There will come a day when a voice will say to us, — "Come up hither, and I will show thee things which shall be hereafter;" and then, putting oflf the garments of the flesh, immediately we shall be in the Spirit, and pass through the open door into heaven itself. What voices you have heard in the sanctuary, " as though God did beseech you by us." Therefore you ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which you have heard. We have prayed you in Christ's stead to be reconciled to God, " See that Ma
164 Trumpet Voices talking with us* ye refuse not him that speaketh« For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earthy much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven." Come to the Christ whose voice is heard saying — "Whosoever Cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast him out ; " and as you sit at His feet, you will wonder evermore at the precious words that proceed from His lips.
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