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But these blessed spirits, far above the influence of those ungenerous prejudices by which our little minds are too often actuated, no sooner see which way the Son of God is going, in order to make us the objects of his bounty, than they hasten to publish the glad tidings, “ Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” They rejoice not less when Christ enters our hearts, than when he came into our world; for there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.
Does it not greatly endear those glorious beings to us, to hear that they are "all ministering spirits, sent forthto minister forthem who shall be heirs of salvation;" and to find that, amidst all the troubles and dangers of this wilderness, “ the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him?” Is it not a distinguishing privilege, that, while evil spirits are doing their utmost to distress and destroy us, they are ever ready to confirm, and warn, and defend, and comfort us? Will it not give us an inexpressible pleasure in our dying moments, to have, and perhaps to see, a guard of angels around our beds, to take the charge of our departing souls, and convey them safe to Abraham's bosom? Do we not already long for their acquaintance? Should we not think ourselves infinitely obliged to him that would introduce us to them; as next to the enjoyment of God himself, being one of the highest honours of which we are capable? This then, Christians, has our Saviour done: thus highly are we advanced by the gospel. For they who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, can die no more; for they are equal to the angels, and are the children of God.
We are come to an innumerable company of angels. We enjoy a communication and participation with them in their privileges, pleasures, and advantages. We are subjects of the same kingdom, free of the same city, dear to the same God and father. We shall behold the same glory, feel the delightful fer. vours of the same love, receive the communications of the same life, and bear our part in the same hallelujahs.
We are also come to the angels by our conformity to their tempers and designs. They are called seraphs, from their fervent zeal and activity. And O! how does the grace of the gospel assimilate our views and tempers to theirs ! As the light of the knowledge of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, has enlightened us, só his love shed abroad in our hearts, through the Holy Ghost, has made us fervent, and constrained us to obedience. Like those blessed spirits, we feel, that to please God is our delight; that His glory in the success of the gospel is our prevailing desire; that car services are spiritual; and that we echo back a cheerful amen to the ascriptions of blessing, honour, glory, and power, which are made by the heavenly host, to him who sitteth upon
the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever. This conformity, which is begun on earth, will ere long be completed in heaven; that world of everlasting harmony and blessedness. Once more, we are come to the angels, as we have a particular interest in their esteem and affections. They love us, because we love God and the Saviour. Our likeness to God, imperfect as it
is, conciliates and confirms their regard. They long for our perfection; and will most cheerfully congratulate our entrance into heaven. Who can describe the exultations of that day, when the whole family, both in heaven and earth, shall sit down together! What ecstacies of joy, what transports of affection, what expressions of mutual delight, will that general meeting produce !
Thus has God raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Christians, who would envy the Jewish nation their law? Mount Sinai exhibited nothing in comparison with this. There was, indeed, a company of angels, to be their guard and protection : but clouds and tempests were the only indication of their presence. They never spoke, but in thunder ; and kept the trembling Israelites at a distance; who would have wondered, and perhaps have shuddered at the pros. pect of an association with them. Yet to this we are
While they stood before them astonished, we are brought into one family and fellowship with them. We, who were afar off, strangers and foreigners, who had nothing to expect, but indignation and wrath, even we are thus pardoned, restored, and advanced. Well may it be denominated the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [Yes, Christians, the Lord is among his angels, as at Sinai of old. God comes not down alone among us; they surround this table, and are delightfully astonished at its important transactions, and own and love us as fellow heirs of their happiness; while they see more clearly than ourselves, how nearly it resembles the marriage-supper of the
Lamb. If manna, which in the wilderness dropped from the clouds, was called angels' food, by what name shall we distinguish that bread, which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world? This is meat indeed. Here God, manifest in the flesh, is seen of angels. Here the mystery of his love and grace to sinners, is discovered to their surprise, as well as to ours. How must it astonish them to see God and man united in one person ; purchasing captives with his own precious blood, and bringing and placing them near to himself! What great distances, and seeming inconsistencies, are here reconciled! The law magnified, and rendered honourable, and yet not executed on the offender; and the sinner standing with confidence and joy in the presence of a holy and righteous God. Great, indeed, is the mystery of godliness; and can we trifle while we behold it? Shall Seraphim and Cherubim admire and pry into those wonders of grace, and shall we look at them with a distant indifference? Is it a delightful subject of contemplation to them, and not so to us?] What would fallen angels give for such a blessing ? But Jesus took not on him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham. And why, blessed Saviour, didst thou manifest this discriminating goodness to our guilty race?
Would their salvation have cost thee more dearly than ours ? Could devils have treated thee worse than man? Would they have received thee with greater contempt, persecuted thee with more bitterness, and tormented thee with more cruelty in hell, than thou hast experienced from men ? Ah! if thou hadstsaved them, would not theirgratitude
have been warmer, their love purer, and their zeal more glowing and active than ours? But even so, Father; for so it has seemed good in thy sight.
Come, Christians, awake psaltery and harp. Call upon your souls, and all that is within you, to assist you while you are worshipping with angels. Let us tune our harps to the highest strains of gratitude and praise, while we join the songs of that harmonious assembly. They love to see us active, and warm, and cheerful. Those ministers of his, that do his pleasure, that hearken to the voice of his word, shame our slothful and reluctant services. While they cease not, day or night, from crying with a loud voice, Holy, holy, holy Lord God, we may blush at our low intermitting praises, which can scarcely be distinguished from sighs and complaints. Be all life and joy then, ye favoured servants of God: You have reason for it; for all is yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's. You are admitted to an innumerable
company of angels, endeared to their God, entitled to their happiness, engaged in their services, and bound by covenant to be conformable to them in their temper and practice.
Butamidst all these exultationsat thy advancement, hast thou seriously considered, O my soul, how it was effected ? It is a crucified Redeemer who has recovered thee from ruin, and secured thy salvation. (Look upon this table, and see the price of thy mercies.] Reflect upon the several periods of his life, from the manger to the grave, which was one continual series of services and sufferings; and consider what it cost him to make thee a companion for angels.
[Come hither, then, ye humble souls who stand