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are also represented as doing lais Command, ments, hearkening to the Voice of his Word, to signify that they are ever obe dient to the Will of God, whom they serve with a persevering Constancy, and with an unwearied Alacrity and Diligence. They are of great Splendor and Glory, and are represented as the immediate Attendants of the divine Majesty, employed by him in frequent Services and Ministrations, and are therefore called the Hosts of God, his Ministers that do his Pleasure. They are probably of different Orders and Des grees : This seems to be intimated by the different Names and Tițles by which they are described, viz. Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, Powers, &c. As to the Nature of that celestial Polity, the Methods of God's Government towards the several Orders of blessed Angels, and the Laws and Constitutions they are under, we must be content to be in a great Measure ignorant of them, till we arrive to the heavenly World. But it is reasonable to believe, thát these glorious Beings are frequently employed as the Instruments of Divine Providence in several Parts of this vast Universe. For God, who can do all Things immediately by himself, as being always intimately present to every Part of the Creation, yeț chooseth ordinarily to



work by intermediate second Causes and InAruments, of which the Angels are the noblest. How far it pleaseth him to make use of them in ordering and governing the Motions of the inanimate material System, we cannot tell; but that they are employed for çarrying on the Designs of his Providence towards Mankind, is evident from many express Testimonies of holy Writ. Angels were made use of in that amazing Manifestation of the divine Glory, when the Law was delivered at Mount Sinai. This is signified by the Psalmist, when he faith, The Chariots of God are Twenty Thousand, even Thousands of Angels, the Lord is


them in Sinai, in the holy Mount. Psal. lxviii. 17. The Law is called the Word Spoken by Angels. Heb. ii. 2. And St. Stephen faith, it was given by the Disposition of Angels, among Troops or Ranks of Angels, as some render the Words. Akts vii. 53. There are Instances recorded, both in the Old Testament and the New, of Angels appearing here on Earth in a visible conspicuous Form and Splendor. But there are not many Instances of this Kind through so long a Succession of Ages. It is wisely ordered that their Ministrations towards us should ordinarily be in a way of invisible Agency. They are capable, in this Way, of doing us all the Services, and good Offices that

we stand in need of from them, without those Inconveniences which their visible Appearance would bring along with it, which we could not well bear in this present State of Frailty. The Angels are said to be ministering Spirits fent forth to be Ministers for them who Mall be Heirs of Salvation. Heb. i. 14. They are helpful to us in a thousand Ways which we do not now distinctly know. We have Reason to believe that they are often made use of in preventing Dangers which we do not foresee, or in defending and carrying us safe through them, and disappointing the Rage and Malice of Devils and wicked Men. Many a Deliverance, which we perhaps attribute to a lucky Chance or Accident, is owing, under God, to the vigilant Care of those holy and powerful Guardians which invisibly watch around

The Angel of the Lord, saith the Pfalmist, encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. Pfal. xxxiv. 7. The same Thing is signified in those remarkable Words, Psal. xci. 1o, II, 12. There Mall no Evil befal thee, neither shall any Plague come nigh thy Dwelling. For he shall give his Angels Charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy Ways. They Mall bear thee up in their Hands, left thou dash thy Foot against a Stone. The Angels may also be supposed to be instrumental on several Oc



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casions, in suggesting good Thoughts and falutary Counsels; for spiritual Beings may have a near Access to our Souls, and many Ways of operating upon them, which we are not able distinctly to explain. And finally, they minister to good Men immediately at, and after their Death, in conveying their departed Spirits to the heavenly Mansions. Thus our Saviour represents the Soul of Lazarus, after his Death, as carried by the Angels into Abrahan's BoSom. Luke xvi. 22. And he assures us that, at the End of the World the Angels shall come forth, and shall fever the wicked from among the juft. Matt. xiii. 49, 50. God's thus making use of Angels in his Administrations towards Mankind, is suited to the admirable Oeconomy of his Providence, whereby he ordinarily maketh use of the Creatures as Instruments in executing his Designs towards one another. And it is wisely so ordered, that the better Foundation may be laid for cultivating a sacred Amity between Angels and Men, which shall be compleated in the heavenly World, where they shall be for eyer united in holy Love and Concord. And what a noble Idea doth this give us of the Extent and Order of the divine Government! This is one Instance among many, whereby it appears how much the Gospel enlargeth our


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Views. It teacheth us to regard ourselves as nearly allied to the blessed Angels, and as all belonging to the fame glorious universal Family of God. It lets us see that there is a Correspondence and Intercourse continually carried on and maintained between the invisible World and this Earth of ours; and that it is the Will of God that there should be a happy Harmony

between the several Parts of his intellectual System. With what Pleasure should we raise our Views to that noblest Part of the rational Creation! How should our Hearts flow towards them in Love, when we consider them as united to us in the sacred Bonds of a pure and disinterested Friendship, and join with them in blessing and adoring the universal Sovereign!

But secondly, Let us consider the Government of God as extending to the evil Angels. These, as the Scripture informs us, kept not their first Estate, but left their own Habitation; though, what were the particular Occasions and Circumstan, ces of their Fall, is not distinctly revealed to us. They are represented as of great Power and Sagacity, full of Malice and Envy, Falíhood and Deceit. Some Notion of such malevolent Beings superior to Man, has generally obtained in the World; and there have been, from Time to Time,


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