Page images

I. 12.

Because they love their Welfare ; and they are the Lovers of Truth and Piety, and seek the Promotion of the Faith of Jesus Christ in Sincerity. This is one great Commendation which St. Peter gives of the Gospel Revelation, that the Angels desire to look into these things, 1 Pet.

And St. Paul faith, it hath pleased God to gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven, and which are on Earth, Ephes. 1. 10. To inake us all, that is, but one Society, under one fupream Governour the Lord's Christ. They being therefore so much concerned in our Affairs, as to be great Admirers of the Christian Wisdom, and the wonderful Contrivance of God and our Saviour, for the restoring of Mankind to their Happiness ; you may be sure will take delight to give all the Afstance they can for the Maintenance, and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Christian Religion, and of all those who are the hearty Professors of it. Nay, more than this, since such is the wonderful OEconony or Dispensation of Christianity, that God hath united all things in our Saviour, and made Heaven and Earth so meet together in him, that Angels and Christians are of the fame Corporation, and these Heavenly Creatures are the Subjects of Jesus as well as we; there can be no doubt, but that they will take Care of those, who are, in some fort, their Fellow-Members of the fame Body, knit together under one and the fame Head, our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus.

TO To declare this a little more particularly, we may safely conclude, I think, in the first place,

I. That the holy Angels do all they can to preserve well-disposed Minds from the Illusions of Evil Spirits; to keep them, I mean, from being abused with false Inspirations of vain and haughty Enthusiasts; to preserve in them a sober Understanding of Things, and deliver them from the Impostures of an hot Imagination : And, more than this, I make no question it is their Endeavour to seek Occasions, how to put good Thoughts into our Minds, to further all pious Inclivations, to instigate us to that which is truly good, and to promote a sober Life and holy Conversation in the Christian World.

How they do this, we are not bound to give an account ; and indeed we know no more of it, than we do how the Devil suggests bad things to Mens. Minds, and troubles their Understandings, and how he stirs up their Passions and Affections to that which is hurtful to them. But if we grant him to have a Power to do that, which is the common Sense of Mankind, there is no Reafon but we should allow these better Spirits to do the other, since they cannot have less Ability to promote that which is good, than the Devil hath to advance that which is bad. And thus I am sure the Ancients understood it, and were wont from hence to aggravate the Sins of Men, that they do wickedly not only against their own Reason, but against the Suggestions and Impresfions of good Spirits, who join with them to stop their Proceedings in evil Courses. They forbid and check them in their Motions, and hold thein in WOTED TIO! ganivois

, as with certain Bits and Bridles, faith Arethas, whereby they seek to restrain their forward Pro In Apocalypt. pensions to fin and to with-hold

them 8.776. Sito wes Deouw mogewr; from Actions that are

hateful to God; all which they must break in Pieces before they be able to undo theinselves.

Nor is the Holy Scripture a Stranger to this Notion, as I think it's manifest from one place, ..which I' shall' oppose to the greatest

' Obje&tiohs that can be made against this Discourse. It is commonly faid, that the Holy Ghost doth all those things for ús which I have now mentioned, For why hath our Saviour bid us ask the Spirit

of God, which he hath promised to send, if it -be not to infpire our Minds; and touch our -Hearts with pious Inclinations to that which is Good? To which I reply, that there is no good Christian who doubts of this ; but it doth not in the least contradict that which I am now about

to prove, as is apparent enough, if Men did not 5study to obscure the plain Words of the Holy

Scripture by their unskilful Gloffes upon it. For I that the Holy Ghost gives us many of its Asistances and Succours, by the Ministry and Service of the holy Angels, read but the fourth and fifth Verses of the first Chapter of the Revelation to St. John, and I think it will leave no Doubt in

your Minds of it. There that beloved Apostle wishes Grace and Peace to the seven Churches of Afia, from bim which is, and which was, and



[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

wbich is to come, and from the Seven Spirits that are before the Throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful Witness, and the First-begotten from the Dead. In which Words the Name of the Holy Ghost is not mention'd; but instead of that, the Seven Spirits that are before the Throne of the Divine Majesty, are joined together with God the Father, (who is describ'd in those Words, which is, which was, and is to come, as the eternal Lord of all and with God the Son, our bleffed Saviour (who died to assure us of God's Love, and rose again that he may be able to bless - us with eternal Life) in the Communication of Grace and Peace to Christian People. Of which the clearest and most satisfactory Account that can be given, it seems to me, is this, That those Seven Spirits before the Throne, (i. e. the high Angels of Heaven) are employed by the Divine Appointment to be the Ministers and Conveyers of Spiritual Blessings to us from the Holy Ghost the Comforter : He teaches us, I say, how that Divine Spirit, which, now that our · Lord is in Heaven, governs his Church, bestows

its Favours upon us, and particularly instructed hiin to know things to come, viz. by the Service of Angels, and of the highest Angels, as I told you in the Morning.

The very fame Account I find Athanasius gives Us of those Words of St. Paul, 1 Tim. 5. 21. where in his Charge to Timothy he puts the Elect Angels after God and our Saviour Chrift. Timothy knew well enough, faith that Author, how all is communicated and derived to us from


[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

God and our Lord Jesus, through the Holy
Ghoft; but he would have him remember also,
that the Angels are Instruments by whom he
gives us his Blessings. He would have him
know, as his Words are, that they minister to us,
and take Care of what belongs to our
Affairs, émioties ra's endéçuy megé- Epift. ad Se-

rap. p. 189.
Ehs, overseeing every Man's Actions,
and rendring an Account of them to their Lord
and Master. Agreeable to which it is, that
St. John is faid to be in the Spirit on the Lord's
Day, ver. 10. The Meaning of which, if you
would know, look through the whole Book of
the Revelation, and you will soon find, that our
Saviour by his Divine Spirit making known to
him things to come, they were all represented in
Visions by the Ministry of Angels. And further
you may observe, that our Saviour appearing to
him (Chap. 5. Ver. 6.) as the Lamb of God that
had been flain, he saw him have seven Horns
and seven Eyes, which are expressly said to be
the seven Spirits of God, fent forth into all the
Earth: That is, our Lord Christ presented him-
self as having all the Angels, even the highest of
them, at his Command; which Angels being of
great Power, (expressed by Horns) and of great
Knowledge, Wisdom and Care, (expressed by
Eyes) he sends forth to look after the Security
and Welfare of all his faithful Disciples.

It seems then by this Place, that we are to conceive, some part at least, of the Help and Comfort of the Holy Ghost, to be given us by the Angels of God, who are employed for that

Ii 2


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »