Imatges de pÓgina

fimilar difpofition? Or, while they, who are fo eminent in wisdom, are giving all ferious regard to the work of redemption, fhall we think it a mark of good fenfe and fuperior understanding to turn from the confideration of it with difdain? Is it beneath us to imitate their example, and "defire to look into" the fame important fubject? We would, therefore, afk our readers, Do you, like the Angels, contemplate the incarnate God and Saviour with aftonishment and fervour of affection, and bow before him with deepest reverence and adoration? Do you adopt their rapturous anthems, and praife God for the birth of his Son? Or how can you be unconcerned about this amazing tranfaction, with which the honour of God and the falvation both of yourfelves and others is immediately connected? Do you feel a generous folicitude for the fouls of your fellow-creatures, and rejoice << over one finner that repenteth?" Rather, have you not, on such an occafion, fhewn a malignant difpleasure, and thrown out virulent reproaches? Have you not exerted your influence to obftruct the progrefs of the Gofpel? While you poffefs fuch tempers, thefe immaculate fpirits cannot look upon you with favourable regard, however you may be efteemed and applauded by your gay and diffolute companions. O be perfuaded to pay a deference to the opinion and example of those, whofe wifdom and goodness ftand unimpeached, and unite with them in the moft vigorous efforts to do the will of God, and promote his glory!

In our attention to the character of Angels, it will be proper to examine

III. What concern they bear in the folemn proceedings of the last day. The grand fcheme of redemption being completed, the Saviour will appear as the fupreme and univerfal Judge, and by his irrevocable fentence declare the everlafting ftate of the whole human race. How important the decifion!


The fcriptures do not reprefent thefe holy beings' as called to account for their conduct before the tribunal of Chrift; but it thould feem, that they will be employed for various purposes at his advent. When he fhall defcend from heaven, they will attend him as his faithful fervants, and grace his triumph. "The Son of man fhall come in his glory, with ten thousand of his faints, and all the holy Angels with him" fo that heaven fhall pour forth its inhabitants to display the majefty of the King and execute his orders. They fhall give the fummons for all mankind to ftand at his bar. "The voice of the Archangel," announcing his approach, fhall be particu→ larly diftinguished on that awful occafion †. "And

he fhall fend his Angels with a great found of a trumpet, and they fhall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other ‡." The tremendous found will penetrate the deep it receffes of the grave; and each individual of Adam's pofterity must obey the call.

The judgment being fet, and the different characters feparated, arraigned, and tried, "every man's work shall be made manifeft," and every fecret thing be brought forth for public infpection. Then fhall thefe illuftrious fpirits, who furround the throne, not only stand as witneffes, but even be appealed to for the equity of the folemn proceedings. This, at leaft, feems to be implied in our Lord's declarations: "Whosoever fhall confefs me before men, him shall the Son of man alfo confefs before the Angels of God but he that denieth me before men, fhall be denied before the Angels of God §." They, likewife, will be commiffioned to carry the decifive fentence into immediate execution. They are "the reapers," to whom the Lord of the harveft will fay,

*Matt. xxv. 31. Jude 14. 1 Theff. iv. 16. Matt. xxiv. 31. 1 Cor. iii. 13. iv. 5. § Lu. xii. 8, 9.

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"Gather ye together firft the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn *." When, therefore, the Judge fhall pronounce, "Come, ye bleffed," and, "Depart from me, ye curfed t," they, acknowledging and approving the juft award, will conduct the righteous with great triumph to their manfions of blifs and glory, and thruft down the impenitent, with fhame and everlafting contempt, into the fire prepared for the Devil and his apoftate company.

Who among us can read or hear of these things with indifference? Let us not forget, how much we are interested in the transactions of that day. We must all obey the fummons of the Archangel's trumpet, and ftand before the great tribunal. But how fhall we bear the ftrict examination, when our actions and principles fhall be fifted, and exhibited to public view, before the inhabitants of heaven, as well as thofe of earth? Are there none, who will wish to hide their heads, or fly from the prefence of the Judge? But an escape or concealment will be impoffible. The most ftout-hearted finner must await his doom; nor can he refift or retard the infliction of his punishment. When the tremendous fentence fhall be pronounced, "Caft ye the unprofitable fervant into outer darkness ‡," the word will be with power, and the execution take place without delay. No accufation, however, fhall prevail against thofe, who are justified by the faith of Jefus. They fhall go into life eternal, attended by all the hoft of heaven, before whom they fhall receive the high diftinctions of the crown of righteousness and the palm of victory: they fhall be clothed with white raiment, and even feated with the Saviour in his throne. Such honour will the faints of God obtain, in the prefence, and in fome measure by the miniftration, of Angels.

Matt. xiii. 30, 39.

+ xxv. 34, 41.

Matt. xxv. 30.

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In relation to these bright spirits, it remains only that we obferve,

IV. What will be their fituation in the kingdom of glory for ever. We have already remarked, that they are admitted to view the full and unveiled fplendour of the Deity, and, while they wait in readiness to perform his pleasure, are continually offering up their afcriptions of praife. We prefume not to explain the nature of their worship: but fome general account is given us. The prophet Ifaiah tells us, that he "faw the Lord fitting upon a throne, high and lifted up;" that "above it ftood the Seraphims, and one cried unto another, and faid, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hofts; the whole earth is full of his glory." Such, we conclude, will be their state and employment through eternity: for, as they are called "the elect Angels +," they will never be difpoffeffed of their prefent happiness and exaltation.

We know not, that any particular change will be made in their condition at the laft judgment; but it is probable, that they will experience an increase of felicity. They will be confirmed in their purity and obedience, and, being united as one family with all redeemed faints, they will join with one heart and voice in praifing and adoring God and the Lamb. The Lord Jefus Chrift is the centre of this union; for in Him they meet, and are incorporated into the famme fociety. Accordingly St. Paul declares, it was the grand purpose of God, "That in the difpenfation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Himt." The obe ject of their worthip is the fame, and a perfect agreement in fentiment and affection will fubfift between them. Yet a diftinction must be made. The An-gels, who never finned, cannot be confidered as the

*Ifa. vi. I-3•. † 1 Tim. v..21.
U 5.

Eph. i. 10.


purchase of the Saviour, and are not indebted to his facrifice and interceffion for the honourable fituation, in which they are placed. They are ftruck with the view of his grace and glory, and conftrained to fing, with a rapturous admiration, "Worthy is the Lamb that was flain." But thofe of our fallen race, whom He hath ranfomed from fin and hell, will feel their fuperior obligations, and endeavour to express their gratitude and affection, in ftrains peculiar to themfelves; for they will add, "He hath redeemed us to God by his blood*." This, indeed, is a fong, "which no man can learn," but thofe," who follow the Lamb, whitherfoever he goeth †.

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The faithful difciples of Chrift may look forwards with unspeakable delight to that time, when they fhall join the bleffed fociety above. Perhaps, you are now furrounded by thofe, who defpife and blafpheme the God of heaven; but foon fhall you be united to them, who love and ferve him without weariness or imperfection. You carry about with you, for the prefent, an infirm, vile, corruptible body, and, what is more painful, a depraved mind; but after a few days you fhall be refcued from this state of degradation and bondage, when you fhall refemble the Angels themfelves in purity, happiness, and glory. Even here, indeed, you worship and obey the fame Lord, and the thought may afford you fome confolation, when you are ready to conclude that you are left alone, and that there are none to take your part. Thousands of these spotless beings ftand round about you, approve your conduct, and are commiffioned to minister to your relief. Could you draw afide the veil which conceals the invifible world, what a scene would be difplayed! Enough to render you fuperior to all the infults and cruelties of an oppofing world. Like Elifha, when compaffed with threatening eneMatt. xxii. 30.

#Rev. v. 8-13. + xiv. 3, 4.

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