The fifth class, company, or association of saints, sets forth men who are careless, and who are carrying on in the world other transactions than those which they ought -- Christians only in name. And therefore He exhorts them that by any means they should be turned away from negligence, and be saved; and to this effect He says: --
2. |Be watchful, and strengthen the other things which were ready to die; for I have not found thy works perfect before God.|] For it is not enough for a tree to live and to have no fruit, even as it is not enough to be called a Christian and to confess Christ, but not to have Himself in our work, that is, not to do His precepts.
The sixth class is the mode of life of the best election. The habit of saints is set forth; of those, to wit, who are lowly in the world, and unskilled in the Scriptures, and who hold the faith immoveably, and are not at all broken down by any chance, or withdrawn from the faith by any fear. Therefore He says to them: --
8. |I have set before thee an open door, because thou hast kept the word of my patience.|] In such little strength.
10. |And I will keep thee from the hour of temptation.|] That they may know His glory to be of this kind, that they are not indeed permitted to be given over to temptation.
12. |He that overcometh shall be made a pillar in the temple of God.|] For even as a pillar is an ornament of the building, so he who perseveres shall obtain a nobility in the Church.
Moreover, the seventh association of the Church declares that they are rich men placed in positions of dignity, but believing that they are rich, among whom indeed the Scriptures are discussed in their bedchamber, while the faithful are outside; and they are understood by none, although they boast themselves, and say that they know all things, -- endowed with the confidence of learning, but ceasing from its labour. And thus He says: --
15. |That they are neither cold nor hot.|] That is, neither unbelieving nor believing, for they are all things to all men. And because he who is neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, gives nausea, He says: --
16. |I will vomit thee out of My mouth.|] Although nausea is hateful, still it hurts no one; so also is it with men of this kind when they have been cast forth. But because there is time of repentance, He says: --
18. |I persuade thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire.|] That is, that in whatever manner you can, you should suffer for the Lord's name tribulations and passions.
|And anoint thine eyes with eye-salve.|] That what you gladly know by the Scripture, you should strive also to do the work of the same. And because, if in these ways men return out of great destruction to great repentance, they are not only useful to themselves, but they are able also to be of advantage to many, He promised them no small reward, -- to sit, namely, on the throne of judgment.