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MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS.

MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS.

ANGELS.

I CANNOT see why it should be thought more disagreeable to reason to suppose, that angels may have influence on matter so as to cause those alterations in it, which are beyond the established laws of matter, more than to suppose

that our spirits should have such an influence. And I do not see why other spirits should not have influence on matter according to other laws; or why, if we suppose spirits have an influence on matter, that it must necessarily be according to the same established rules as our spirits. We find that from such motions of mind,

, there follows such an alteration in such and such matter, according to established rules; and those rules are entirely at the pleasure of him that establishes them. And why we should not think that God establishes other rules for other spirits, I cannot imagine. And if we should suggest, that according to established laws, angels do make alterations in the secret springs of bodies, and so of minds, that otherwise would not be, I cannot see why it should be accounted more of a miracle than that our souls can make alterations in the matter of our hands and feet, which otherwise would not be.

[142] Angels confirmed. The angels that stood are doubtless confirmed in holiness, and their allegiance to God; so that they never will sin, and they are out of every danger of it. But yet I believe God makes use of means to confirm them. They were confirmed by the sight of the terrible destruction that God brought upon the angels that fell. They see what a dreadful thing it is to rebel. They were further confirmed by the manifestation God had made of his displeasure against sin, by the eternal damnation of reprobates amongst men, and by the amazing discovery of his holy jealousy and justice in the sufferings of Christ. They are confirmed by finding by experience, their own happiness in standing and finding the mistake of the angels that fell, with respect to that which was their VOL. VIII

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temptation, and by new and greater manifestations of the glory of God, which have been successively made in heaven, and by his dispensations towards the church, and above all, by the work of redemption by Jesus Christ. Eph. iii. 10. 1 Tim. iii. 16. 1 Peter i. 12. Vide No. 515.

Corol. Hence we learn that the angels were not concerned in the work of redemption by Jesus Christ.

So I believe the saints in heaven are made perfectly holy and impeccable, by means, viz: By the beatific vision of God in Christ in glory; by experiencing so much the happiness of holiness, its happy nature and issue; by seeing the wrath of God on wicked men,

&c. [681] The angels of heaven, though a superior order of being, and of a more exalted nature and faculties by far than men, are yet all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to them that shall be the heirs of salvation ; and so in some respect are made inferior to the saints in honour. So likewise the angels of the churches, the ministers of the gospel that are of an higher order and office than other saints, yet they are by Christ's appointment, ministers and servants to others, and are least of all, as Matth. xx. 25, 26, 27. “ Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise anthority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your ininister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” Matth. xxiii. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father

upon

the earth : for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters : for one is your master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exall himself shall be abased ; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” And Mark ix. 35. “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” It is as it is in the body natural, those parts that we account more noble and honourable are, as it were, ministers to the more inferior, to guard thein, and serve them, as the apostle observes, 1 Cor. xii. 23, 24. “And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.” God's ways are all analogous, and his dispensations harmonize one with another. As it is between the saints that are of an inferior order of beings, and the angels which are of more exalted natures and degrees, and also between those Christians on earth that are of inferior

order, and those who are of superior, being ministers of Christ ; so without doubt it also is in some respects in heaven, between those that are of lower, and those that are of higher degrees of glory. There, those that are most exalted in honour and happiness, though they are above the least, yet in some respects they are the least; being ministers to others, and employed by God to minister to their good and happiness. These sayings of Christ, in Matth. xx. 25, &c., and Mark ix. 35, were spoken on occasion of the disciples manifesting an ambition to be greatest in his kingdom, by which they meant bis state of exaltation and glory; and so it is in some sort, even with respect to the man Christ Jesus himself, who is the very highest and most exalted of all creatures, and the head of all. He, to prepare himself for it, descended lowest of all, was most abased of any, and in some respects became least of all. Therefore, when Christ in these places directs that those that would be greatest among his disciples, should be the servants of the rest, and so in some respects, least; he enforces it with his own example. Matth. xx. 26, 27, 28. “ Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister, and whosever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. Even so the Son of man came pot to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." And Luke xxii. 26, 27. “He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he that is chief as he that doth serve, for whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? But I am among you as he that serveth.” None in the kingdom of heaven ever descended so low as Christ did, who descended as it were into the depths of hell. He suffered shame and wrath, and was made a curse. He went lower in these things than ever any other did, and this he did as a servant not only to God, but to men, in that he undertook to serve us, and minister to us in such dreadful drudgery, while we sit at meat in quietness and rest, and partake of those dainties which he provides for us.

Cbrist took upon him to minister to us in the lowest service, which he represented and typified by that action of washing the disciples' feet, which he did chiefly for that end. Thus Christ is he that seems to be intended in Matth. xi. 11, by him “that is least in the kingdom of heaven;" who is there said to be greater than John the Baptist.

The design of God in thus ordering things, is to teach and show that he is all, and the creature nothing, and that all exaltation and dignity belong to him; and therefore those creatures that are most exalted shall in other respects be least and lowest. Thus, though the angels excel in wisdom and strength, and are advanced to glorious dignity, and are principalities and

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