Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

population of this city, which once had a name that lived in the Christian faith, though in St. John's days it was spiritually dead; and its works of Christian obedience were not found perfect before God. What the Spirit said to the bishop of Sardis is said to all “the churches " in general, and to the Church'' of England in particular, “Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain that are ready to die ; for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember, therefore, how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee," The foundations of Sardis, now called Sart, are fallen, her walls are thrown down. She sits silent in darkness, and is no longer called the lady of kingdoms"; and unless the Church of England watch, hold fast ber integrity, and repent, may not she fall again into Popish darkness and idolatry.'.

PHILADELPHIA, which is now called Allah-Sher, or the city of God, is situate about twenty-eight miles E. by S. from Sardis in the plain of the Hermus, about midway betwixt that river and Mount Tmolus.' The city is mean, but of considerable extent; it is still surrounded by a wall fenced with round towers; and covered with stork's nests, and those of the turtle dove ; and the view from these towers is most magnificent ; it is sútrounded by gardens and vineyards, and one of the most extensive and richest plains in Asia lies before it. The glory of the Christian temple has departed from Philadelphia ; but the candlestick has not been wholly removed; -“yet,” says Mr. Arundel, “it emits but a glimmering light, for it has long ceased to be trimmed with the pure oil of the sanctuary." The Liturgy and the offices of the church are read in old Greek, which is almost unintelligible to those who speak the Romaïc or modern Greek.' * A SINGLE pillar of greater antiquity than the present building, which evidently belonged to an ancient church re

cals that reward of victory which God promised to the faithful member of the Church of Philadelphia : “he that overcometh (the world by faith] will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall no more go out; but I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God." Five churches out of twenty-five remained in 1826, and were used as places of Christian worship. Some ancient MSS. of the gospel existed a few years ago ; but a priest told Mr. Arundel that the children had torn them up; but he was informed that a beautiful MS. of the gospel in capital letters is preserved in the neighbourhood of Cesarea, which is held in such high veneration that the Turks always send for it when they put a Greek upon his oath. It is an interesting circumstance to find Christianity more flourishing in Philadelphia than in many other parts of the Turkish empire; the Christian population is still numerous, occupying about 300 houses ; " Divine service is performed every Sunday in five churches, and there are twenty of a smaller description, in which once a year the liturgy is read.” . - THE REMAINS of antiquity at Philadelphia are not numerous nor very interesting ; but the voice of the turtle-dove is cbarming, and induces a melancholy languor; this favourite bird is so tame that it flies about the streets and enters the houses. There are some ancient and beautiful sarcophagi or stone coffins, which are used by the barbarous Turks as watering-troughs. “I cannot,” says Mr. Hartley, “conclude this brief account of Philadelphia without stating from personal observation the remarkable fact that while Ephesus, Laodicea, and Sardis, the three churches which called forth the severer denunciation of displeasure on the part of our Lord, are now nothing more than abandoned ruins ; this church together with Smyrna and Thyatira (and this is also the case with Pergamos) still contain flourishing communities of Christians. . It may be added, the circumstance that Philadelphia is now called Allah-Shehr the city of God,' when viewed in

connection with the promises made to that church, and especially with that of writing the name of God upon its faithful members (vide Rev. iii. 12] is to say the least a singular circunstance."

IT IS HARDLY to have been expected that the infidel historian Gibbon, should have borne testimony to the truth of prophecy. " I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which sball come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth;" yet we have it in these following eloquent words :“ Philadelphia alone has been saved by prophecy or by courage. At a distance from the sea, forgotten by the emperors, encompassed on all sides by the Turks, her valiant citizens defended their religion, and freedom above fourscore years; and at length capitulated with the proudest of the Ottomans, Among the Greek Colonies and Churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect, a column in a scene of ruins; a pleasant example that the paths of honour and safety may sometimes be the same." I know not, says Mr. Galloway in his very excellent work, the Gate of Prophecy, “whether the infidel historian while making the reluctant confession that the prophecy had not been falsified, has borrowed that beautiful simile of the column from the language of the promise in this place,'him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God;' but at least he bears witness that the terms of the promise have an external and special appropriateness which has not failed. And it may yet have a yet more manifest fullfilment as to its intrinsic meaning in some church of the present day, which corresponds with Philadelphia in faith and patience and in overcoming the world. Would God, it might have a fulfilment in the church of my country ! O Britain! cultivate the spirit of Philadelphia ; her patient enduring and waiting for Christ, and that, which her name signifies, the spirit of brotherly love for the correspondencies of names were not overlooked by the inspired writers. These things seek to attain and to walk in, that thou mayest be saved

in the hour of trial which is even now comicg upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth! God give thee this singular mercy O my country! Behold I come quickly saith the Lord, hold fast that thou hast, that no man take thy crown. He that hath an ear, let him hear, what the spirit saith unto the Churches,'” of the whole world.

THE RUINOUS remains of Laodicea the last of the seven churches are pleasantly situate on six or seven hills, in the valley of the Meander; and the Turks now call it Eski-hissar, or the Old Castle, At about the distance of a mile and a half to the north and north-east runs the river Lycus, which unites at a short distance with the Meander. It is, says Dr. Smith, “now utterly desolated and without any inhabitants, except wolves and jackalls and foxes ; but the ruins show sufficiently what it has been formerly; three theatres and a circụs adding much to the stateliness of it, and arguing its greatness." ;

ALL THE most recent travellers confirm this picture of desolation; and it is melancholy to trace among the ruins the finest sculptured fragments and the most beautiful remains of that city. The hills of Laodicea says Dr. Chandler, “ consist of dry impalpable soil, porus with many cavities resembling the bore of a pipe as may be seen on the sides that are bare. It resounded beneath our horses feet. The stones are inostly masses of pebbles, or of gravel consolidated and as light as pummice stone, we had occasion to dig and found the earth as hard as any cement." It is an old observation that the country about the Meander was undermined by fire and water; because the soil is light, friable and full of salt, which generates inflammable matter ; hence it abounds in hot springs which bubble up in the plain and in the river mud. In consequence the neighbourhood is subject to frequent earthquakes ; for the nitrous vapours compressed in the cavities and sublimed by heat burst its prison with loud explosions; agitates the atmosphere and shakes the earth and waters with an extensive and destructive violence. The pestilential grottos derive their noi

some effluvia froin these vapours; and serving as smaller furnaces, are regarded by the superstitious Turks as apertures of hell. To a country such as this says Mr. Arundel, “how awfully appropriate is the message of the Apocalypse: I know thy works that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art luke warm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.'”

We agree with the late eccentric Mr. Irving that universality and completeness is doubtless the mystery of the number seven, whether applied to churches or to spirits or to seals or to trumpets or to vials ; and when it is applied to the church it is beyond a doubt the universal church that is intended. There is much, says Mr. Galloway, “ in the address to the bishop and Church of Laodicea which admits of a direct application to the very philosophical, calm, common sense, Christianity of the present day. . . . Not cold, but cool, rational, and philosophical; not hot but of a temperate middle warmth, zealous occasionally for party, but rarely for Christ alone. If there is none of the Laodicean spirit in the church of the present day, I know not how we shall find it in the church of the primitive age. But if it does exist in the present day, the judgement of Christ upon it, is worthy to be noticed. ... There is no mistaking the strong nausea with which Christ regards this neither-cold-nor-hot state of the religious feelings ; and there is no mistake of the fact that He has executed His threat against Laodicea, which though then not declining, but still rising in eminenee and wealth as the Metropolis of the greater Phrygia, is now utterly desolate and uninhabited."

LIFE IN LONDON.

HUCKSTERS. If we wish to take a comprehensive survey of the class of hucksters—that is, to view the class in the mass rather than individuallywe should visit the different street-markets of

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »