by T. De Witt Talmage

T. DeWitt Talmage
Rev. 4:1

John had been the pastor of a church in Ephesus. He
had been driven from his position in that city by an
indignant populace. The preaching of a pure and
earnest Gospel had made an excitement dangerous to
every form of iniquity. This will often be the result
of pointed preaching. Men will flinch under the sword
strokes of truth. You ought not to be surprised that
the blind man makes an outcry of pain when the surgeon
removes the cataract from his eye. It is a good sign
when you see men uneasy in the church pew and
exhibiting impatience at some plain utterance of truth
which smites a pet sin that they are hugging to their
hearts. After the patient has been so low that for
weeks he said nothing and noticed nothing, it is
thought to be a good sign when he begins to be a
little cross. And so I notice that spiritual invalids
are in a fair way for recovery, when they become
somewhat irascible and choleric under the treatment of
the truth. But John had so mightily inculpated public
iniquity that he had been banished from his church and
sent to Patmos, a desolate island, only a mile in
breadth, against whose rocky coasts the sea rose and
mingled its voice with the prayers and hymnings of the
heroic exile. You cannot but contrast the condition of
this banished apostle with that of another famous
exile. Look at the apostle on Patmos and the great
Frenchman on St. Helena. Both were suffering among
desolation and barrenness because of offenses
committed. Both had passed through lives eventful and
thrilling. Both had been honored and despised. Both
were imperial natures. Both had been turned off to
die. Yet mark the infinite difference: one had fought
for the perishable crown of worldly authority, the
other for one eternally lustrous. The one had marked
his path with the bleached skulls of his followers,
the other had introduced peace and goodwill among men.

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