Imatges de pÓgina
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one before another, nor do any thing by partiality, or according to his own inclination as before God, and the Lord Jesus Chuist, and the elect angels; intimatiog their prefence, and interest in our church affairs. The angel of the Lord that defendeth the church, doth 'persecute and chase the wicked enemies. Pfal xxxv 5, 6. they convey departed souls to blessedness, which is an ordinary work, Luke xvi 22. they are reapers that at the last shall bun. dle up the tares for burning, and shall fever the wicked from among the just, Mat, xiii. 39, 40. and shall gather the elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven

to the other,' Mat. xxiv. 31. And they are part of the focisty, to which we are brought by Christ, Hub. xii. 22, and to whom we shall be made equal, Luke xx. 30. I shall not mention the extraordinary mioistrations, as their promulgating of the laws, Acts vii. 53. Heb. xxii. 9. Their shewing Joho his revelations, Rev, i, 2. And teaching Da. niel to understand Dan, viii. '16, 17 and ix. 21, 22, 23.

Their ministring to Christ, Mat. iv. 11. And strengthning him Luke xxii. 43. with abundance more such in.. stances; it being my businels only to prove their ministration io our ordinary concernments, which the fore cited texts do evidently prove. And how many points are cur- . rently received among us, that have not a quarter so much scrip'ure evidence as this? Did not greater business call me off, I should stay to improve fome other argument, As,

2. From the contrary employment of the maligaant fpirits.

3 From the suitableness of our supposition to all God's workings, who hath chosen to glorify his wisdom by doa ing things by suitable instruments, and concatenated means; and to glorify his goodness by taking his creatures into the work and honour of doing good, in subordination to him; he could have enlighted and enlivened us without the fun, but he would not. He calleth his ministers co-workers, with Christ, no marvel then if his angels have such ho Qour.

These, and other arguments I must pretermit, and in the conclusion first lay down some excelleat consequents of 1 2 3

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this doctrine; and fecondly defend it against the accusati ons of the contrary.

1. The doctrine of angels ministration acquaioteth us · with much of the frame of those admirable means by which the providence of God doth work in the governing of the world, and the glorifying of his name. If this be unknown, we shall be strange to the wonderful appearances of God's wisdom, and goodness, and power which will be much obscured by hiding so excellent a part of the effects. As in a watch, or any excellent engine, to koow the parts in themselves is nothing, unless we know them in their respects to other parts, and their place, and use, and office in the frame; So is it in this glorious part of the frame of creation and providence; to say the angels are excellent creatures, and made to glorify their creator, is but to express their nature and their common end, and not their special office and work, as they respect the whole society; and the single strings will make no melody, but as they are tuned and touch'd in harmony.

2. This doctrine of angels miniftration acquainteth us with much of the unity of the whole family in heaven and earth: When all the parts are fo harmoniously connexed in their respects and use. And it declareth the excellency of holy love, and humility and obedience, which these noble spirits exercise in their condescension to the meanest Christian at the command of God; and reproveth us that aré fo fcant in love, humility, and obedience, as to be backward to the service and benefit of each other.

3. It ferves to take off the inordinate desire of visible and extraordinary converse with angels; when it is underfiuod that they are appoioted to be ordinarily, and invisib: ly serviceable to us, in a more safe and suitable way.

4. It very much helps our faith in the poiot of the immortality of the foul, and the like to come; when we. understand that there is a world of such nobler fpirits employed about us, and therefore that we are not creatures se contemptible, as to be uncapable of another life: Apd that we Niall be made like angels, and have their communion in glory, when we have such communion with them in the flate of grace.

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ī ģ. It shews the glory of our Redeemer, who ás head of the church doth use the ordinary service of such noble fpi. rits for the welfare of his body.

6. It is some relief to our weak and distant lapsed na. tures, that as we have a Mediator between us and the Fa: ther, so there are (though not mediators, yet) a glorified world of blessed spirits, possessors already of the happiness we feek, and helpers to our salvation; so that in our meditations of the world to come, we may have some more low familiàr thoughts that are necessary to our weakness, and are not amazed and deterred by looking only at the iafinitely diftant majesty of God; and who knoweth not how great an encouragement familiarity is ? and how much fa. miliarity is assisted by proximity.

Object. 1. But it will draw down the mind from God.

Anw. Chrift's human nature also, and ministers and all creatures may be fo abuted; but of themselves they are helps to lead us to God.

Object. 2. This doctrine will introduce the worshipping of angels, and praying to them

Antw. We mult not forbear declaring the excellency of angels, nor their confeffed extraordinary ministry for fear of such-abuse; therefore neither their ordinary miniftrati. op: nor mult we deny the ordioary use of the iun, left men idolize it, nor of ministers of the gospel that further our falvation, left men should worship them with thar which is not their due. The Holy Ghost hath exprelly warped us,

that no man beguile us of our reward in a vo• luntary humility, and worthipping of angels, intruding * into those things which he hath not ken, vaịnly puft up

by his fleshly mind, and not holding the head,' &c. Col. ii. 18. 19. and so hath cautioned us against this abole. And we must not deoy a great truth ip Christianity, for fear of giving occafion to popish misuse of it. Object. 3. It will fill the world again with a multitude of curious, vain enquiries about angels, which the schools abound in,

Answ. We must not shut our eyes against plain truths, left wanton wits should trouble the world with starting other questions about vorevealed things: Vain quellious,

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are no where so perilous as concerning God himself. And yet no knowlege is fo necessary as the knowlege of him.

Pardon, dear brother, that in balte I can give you but this short undigested script, instead of what you desire of me. I reft,

Your unworthy
Fellow Servant,

RICHARD BAXTER.

London. Nov.

29, 1661.

Reverend, Sir,
Have perused your confiderations of the ministry of an.

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them. I remember Theopbilact speaking of this point calls it, Poile peri emas tou theou kedemoria, The exceeding goodness and care of God; and chargeth us, Me amelein tes toiautes diakonias, Not to be forgettul of such a glorious service, which we have for our good from these blessed angels In the acknowlegement of this truth (their blessed ministration for the good of God's elect) I find the cone currence of all; in the exemplification of it fully and par ticularly few or none; in the depravation and prostituting, of it to idolatrous purposes more than many. Blessed be God, who hath given, as to this point, his spirit; and that light, and uoderstanding, and an excellent wisdom is found in you, as was laid of Daniel; in as much that in this tract we find these blessed spirits, their service, with out diminution of their glory; their role and power, with fubordination to the Father of spirits; their ministry to man, without reluctancy and disdain; their respect and use from faints without superstitious adoration; and in. deed the whole confideration of them, so far as falls within the knowlege of men, pithily, plainly, powerfully, pathetically, practically, set before us. When the apostle Paul was wrapp'd up into the third heaven, he heard and faw glorious thiogs, but they were arreta remata a auk exon anthropo lalefai, they were unspeakable; but he thac giveth wisdom to the wise, and koowlege to them that know understanding, hath not only revealed these deep and secret things, but gives you utterance and power to express them. Sir, it was ever esteemed a sacred thing

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amongst the Jews, as is noted by Paulus Fagius, to preserve the memory of any of their Rabbies, who had donc fome remarkable service for their law, with this resolution, Let their name be blessed If the church in which we live, do not the like for this, and the rest of your divine difcourses, yet you have a God in whom you trust, that will one day acknowlege it, and these very angels themselves Thall testify your ample service done to them as instruments under the great Jehovah, and Lord of hosts. Let me oply with you, that you smother not this light, por veil fos an advantage in confining it to the darkness of private use; for if any person do disgul, yet understanding persons will fay of this, and your other labours, as Alphonsus king of Arragon said of some learned perfons, Hi mihi dapes, hi Convive.

The Lord fanctify this, and all other helps to our edification and building up in Christ, till we come to the heavenly Jerusalem, and the innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly, and the church of the firft born.

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