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tence will be openly passed, and finally executed upon the apostate Angels, who will be remanded to their Prison of Despair :
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Such is the concise account, in the Holy Scriptures, of the announcement, and final issue, of that most mysterious, and appalling event, the War in Heaven; and which is calculated to lead the mind to many profitable reflections.
1. Were it not for Revelation, we should have had knowledge of neither good, nor evil Angels. But, abstractedly considered, the existence of Angels is no more improbable, than the existence of Man. Neither is it so much so. For surely, it seems less wonderful, that a spiritual Creator should create an order of beings of pure spirit, than a race of compound beings, of spirit and matter united. But, beside the relation above given, of the character and defection of a certain part of the Angels; the existence and mischievous intent of the Arch-Deceiver is felt and traced, from the beginning to the end of Scripture, both the Old and New. He is met under a great variety of names; as, most commonly, the Devil and Satan. Sometimes he is called Lucifer, and Belial, and Beelzebub. Sometimes he is styled, as in the Apocalypse, 'the Angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue he hath his name Apollyon.' At other times he is called the Prince of the power of the air, the old Serpent, the great Dragon, the arch Fiend, the Father of lies, the calumniator, adversary, destroyer, and a murderer from the beginning. The Fallen Angels were also called by the Greeks Dæmons.
2. That Angels, originally created holy, should fall, is not more difficult, perhaps, to believe; than that Man,
who was originally created upright, should fall. In the fall of the former, the temptation was doubtless proportionably stronger, than in that of the latter. Nor was the Creator any more obliged to secure Angels from falling, than to secure Man from falling. In both cases, they were undoubtedly created with power
Sufficient to have stood, tho' free to fall.'
Nor is it any more improbable, that the Fallen Angels should know the thoughts of men, and interfere in the affairs of mankind, if permitted thus to do, for wise purposes; than that the Holy Angels should thus know, and be thus allowed to act. But as to the manner how either of them communicate their ideas, and influences to mankind, we know not. It is sufficient, that we are assured of the fact.
3. That the Fallen Angels do thus interfere in influencing mankind to sin, and to become as one of them, we are fearfully certified throughout the Scriptures. Who was it, that tempted the first happy couple, in the Garden of God? Who was it, that led upright Job to curse the day wherein he was born? And who was it, that led even Christ up into the wilderness to be tempted? Do not the good Angels sometimes have to interpose, to protect mankind from the pernicious suggestions of the evil Angels? Did not the great archangel Michael contend against Satan, when he disputed about the body of Moses; that is, as some suppose, the Jewish church after the captivity; or, more probably, 'to make the place of his burial known to the Israelites, in order to tempt them to worship him, as the Papists do the bones of martyrs real or supposed?" These invisible, and malignant Spirits, urged by a principle of enmity to God, and envy and hatred against mankind, do their utmost to seduce men into vice; and for that intent are engaged in studying men's tempers, and making observations on the diversified circumstances and situations of their lives. They use immense influence in devising, and propagating ingenious, but fatal delusions. Being substances entirely spiritual, they can, at any time, assume bodies, and appear in human or unhuman shapes.
Sometimes, therefore, to insinuate themselves into the affections, and avoid suspicion, these angels of darkness transform themselves into angels of light. And sometimes, they are made use of as the instruments of divine Providence, to inflict calamities on the children of men ; whilst their malicious attempts are overruled by the superior wisdom and goodness of God, to answer the purposes of his government.'
4. If the Fallen Angels are thus forming their devices against mankind, how does it become us to watch and pray, lest we enter into temptation. How should we especially guard our hearts against undue pride, and unlawful ambition; those two sins, which caused the Angels to fall; those two sins, which once scattered the builders of Babel over the face of the earth, and afterwards hung Haman upon his own gallows. The rather, let us encourage the christian virtue of humility. Whatever blessings we enjoy, let us be therewith content; and not repine, if we see another higher than ourselves. Let us imitate the good Angels, and never bring a railing accusation against even bad men, but leave it to the Lord to rebuke them. The good Angels, says Archbishop Tillotson, 'have no disposition, and I believe they have no talent, or faculty, for railing; the cool consideration whereof should make all men, especially those who call themselves divines, and especially in controversies about religion, ashamed and afraid of this manner of disputing.'
5. The Angels were condemned for one revolt; Adam was condemned for one transgression. How then shall we escape, who have so many times revolted, so many ways transgressed? The goodness of God, if it do not lead men to repentance, will no more secure them from condemnation; 'than the creating kindness of God induced him to spare such as sinned in heaven itself.' We must not only, like the fallen Angels, believe and tremble; but we must believe and obey the Gospel. We must resist the Devil, if we would have him flee from us. The roaring lion, while seeking whom he may devour, will then be met and foiled by the Lion of the tribe of Judah. 'Faith, prayer, a holy life, and patient continuance in well doing, are the weapons with which the Saints have always
conquered; and if we go forth in the same armour, and fight in the same manner, we also shall triumph.' Then, let Satan and his legions devise mischief against the church, Christ and his mighty host will oppose and prevail againt him. Let Michael and his angels fight against the Dragon and his angels, and neither the church, nor the trembling, penitent soul, need to fear. While the Adversary is lying in ambush, and hurling his fiery darts at the virtuous soul, some good Spirit will hover over, and cover it with his protecting wings.
Finally. If in this life of probation, we imitate the Angels, who made war even in heaven, we must expect to go hereafter to live with them, in a world, which is all War, and Want, and Wo. But if in this life we imitate the Angels, who have ever held fast their integrity, we may cherish the sublime hope of being admitted, at death, through the merits of the mighty Angel of the Covenant, to the participation of the profound knowledge of the Cherub, the glowing zeal of the Seraph, and the pre-eminent dignity of the Archangel, in a world, which is all Life, and Liberty, and Love.
STORY OF JONAH.
SERMONS XLI AND XLII.
Jonah i, 1-2. NOW THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME UNTO JONAH, THE SON OF AMITTAI, SAYING, ARISE, GO TO NINEVAH, THAT GREAT CITY, AND CRY AGAINST IT; FOR THEIR WICKEDNESS IS COME UP BEFORE ME.
IN THE midst of the obscure Prophecies, we find this remarkable and marvellous, but plain and instructive Story of Jonah. Though placed after Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, and even four of the minor prophets, Jonah is the most ancient of the whole of them. He lived in the reign, and predicted the successes of Jeroboam, above eight hundred years before Christ. The book is rather a Narrative, than a Prophecy; for it contains but one prophecy, and that of but one line. Jonah was a native of Gath-hepher, in Galilee; a town in the tribe of Zebulon, in a remote corner of the Holy Land. Jonah and Jonas are the same name. Jonah signifies a Dove; but Jonah had not a very dove-like disposition. Nineveh, that great city, was built by Nimrod, soon after the Flood. It was on, or near the Tigris, and was the proud and idolatrous metropolis of the Assyrian empire. The events of the story are so extraordinary, that some explain it as an allegory; and others have profanely ridiculed it. But our Lord himself hath repeatedly attested its truth, and referred to its most incredible event, as a type of his own burial and resurrection. Jonah's impartiality in recording his own sins is peculiar to the sacred writers. Jonah himself probably wrote this Narrative. It is as follows.