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whatever was the occasion, or the mode by which it was manifested, pride seems to have been the leading sin of the Angels, and it ultimately terminated in rebellion and apostacy. Of these fallen angels there is supposed to have been a great number; and it is apprehended that there was some kind of gradation or subordination among them; one being considered as their prince, and called by several names. This accords with the conception of this revolt given by the great Poet. Speaking of Satan, he says:
he it was, whose guile,
3. It appears, that the revolt was but one, and at one time, in heaven. By the phrase, and the Angels, who kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, it is generally admitted that heaven is intended; the place where the Angels were united around the throne of God. Some divines, however, have supposed that the word translated habitation means some other world, and that they left the station there assigned them, and refused to perform the duty allotted to them by their Creator. Be this as it may, we are informed that they were banished from the presence of God, and the company of the Angels who kept their integrity, and were cast into hell. How great was the number of the Fallen Angels, we know not with certainty. But if we may conjecture from the metaphorical vision of the great red Dragon, in the Apocalypse, whose tail drew the third part of the stars of
heaven, and did cast them to the earth; and this be allowed to have a primary allusion to the rebellion in heaven; then was one third of the whole hierarchy of Angels and Archangels seduced into this sacrilegious revolt.
4. Where the Hell is, into which the Fallen Angels were cast; or what is the peculiar nature of the punishment they endure; various have been the conjectures of the christian Fathers, and of modern Philosophers. But as the one has not been revealed, and the other is revealed in symbolical language, it is not only useless, but perhaps presumptive in us to inquire. Suffice it to say, that there is somewhere in the Universe such a World of Despair; where is
• No light; but rather darkness visible
That comes to all; but torture without end.' That these torments are described by metaphors, which indicate the deepest intensity of suffering, of which the mind can conceive ; and that its duration is tremendously asserted as, where Hope never enters ; and that a great gulf is fixed to separate between Hell and Heaven.
5. What is to be the fulfilment of the destiny allotted to the Fallen Angels is.amply declared in Scripture. It appears, that the punishment and degradation of these evil beings are not yet completed. That, since their fall, they have been acting out their vicious natures in tempting and deceiving this world, for many centuries. That their great Captain, the Arch-Apostate, is to be bound, during the Millennium, for a thousand years. That, after this, he is to be let loose for a little season, during which he will again deceive the nations, and rage with tenfold violence. And that, in the midst of this reign of the Man of Sin, the Judgment will commence. That during the Judgment, these Fallen Angels will be tried, and condemned, 'for all the evils, which they will have wrought, or attempted, during the continuance of this earthly system.' And that, at this Judgment of Angels and men, immediately after which this earth is to be burnt up, sen
tence will be openly passed, and finally executed upon the apostate Angels, who will be remanded to their Prison of Despair :
• There to converse with everlasting groans,
Such is the concise account, in the Holy Scriptures, of the announcement, and final issue, of that most mysterious, and appalling event, the War in Heaven ; and which is calculated to lead the mind to many profitable reflections.
1. Were it not for Revelation, we should have had knowledge of neither good, nor evil Angels. But, abstractedly considered, the existence of Angels is no more improbable, than the existence of Man. Neither is it so much so.
For surely, it seems less wonderful, that a spiritual Creator should create an order of beings of pure spirit, than a race of compound beings, of spirit and matter united. But, beside the relation above given, of the character and defection of a certain part of the Angels ; the existence and mischievous intent of the Arch-Deceiver is felt and traced, from the beginning to the end of Scripture, both the Old and New. He is met under a great variety of names; as, most commonly, the Devil and Satan. Sometimes he is called Lucifer, and Belial, and Bëelzebub. Sometimes he is styled, as in the Apocalypse, 'the Angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue he hath his name Apollyon. At other times he is called the Prince of the power of the air, the old Serpent, the great Dragon, the arch Fiend, the Falher of lies, the calumniator, adversary,
destroyer, and a murderer from the beginning. The Fallen Angels were also called by the Greeks Dæmons.
2. That Angels, originally created holy, should fall, is not more difficult, perhaps, to believe ; than that Man,
who was originally created upright, should fall. In the fall of the former, the temptation was doubtless proportionably stronger, than in that of the latter. Nor was the Creator any more obliged to secure Angels from falling, than to secure Man from falling. In both cases, they were undoubtedly created with power
• Sufficient to have stood, tho’ free to fall.'
Nor is it any more improbable, that the Fallen Angels should know the thoughts of men, and interfere in the affairs of mankind, if permitted thus to do, for wise purposes ; than that the Holy Angels should thus know, and be thus allowed to act. But as to the manner how either of them communicate their ideas, and influences to mankind, we know not. It is sufficient, that we are assured of the fact.
3. That the Fallen Angels do thus interfere in influencing mankind to sin, and to become as one of them, we are fearfully certified throughout the Scriptures. Who was it, that tempted the first happy couple, in the Garden of God? Who was it, that led upright Job to curse the day wherein he was born ? And who was it, that led even Christ up into the wilderness to be tempted ? Do not the good Angels sometimes have to interpose, to protect mankind from the pernicious suggestions of the evil Angels ? Did not the great archangel Michael contend against Satan, when he disputed about the body of Moses; that is, as some suppose, the Jewish church after the captivity ; or, more probably, 'to make the place of his burial known to the Israelites, in order to tempt them to worship him, as the Papists do the bones of martyrs real or supposed ?' These invisible, and malignant Spirits, urged by a principle of enmity to God, and envy and hatred against mankind, do their utmost to seduce men into vice ; 'and for that intent are engaged in studying men's tempers, and making observations on the diversified circumstances and situations of their lives. They use immense influence in devising, and propagating ingenious, but fatal delusions. Being substances entirely spiritual
, they can, at any time, assume bodies, and appear in human or unhuman shapes.
Sometimes, therefore, to insinuate themselves into the affections, and avoid suspicion, these angels of darkness transform themselves into angels of light. And sometimes, they are made use of as the instruments of divine Providence, to inflict calamities on the children of men ; whilst their malicious attempts are overruled by the superior wisdom and goodness of God, to answer the purposes of his government.'
4. If the Fallen Angels are thus forming their devices against mankind, how does it become us to watch and pray, lest we enter into temptation. How should we especially guard our hearts against undue pride, and unlawful ambition ; those two sins, which caused the Angels to fall ; those two sins, which once scattered the builders of Babel over the face of the earth, and afterwards hung Haman upon his own gallows. The rather, let us encourage the christian virtue of humility. Whatever blessings we enjoy, let us be therewith content ; and not repine, if we see another higher than ourselves. Let us imitate the good Angels, and never bring a railing accusation against even bad men, but leave it to the Lord to rebuke them. The good Angels, says Archbishop Tillotson, 'have no disposition, and I believe they have no talent, or faculty, for railing; the cool consideration whereof should make all men, especially those who call themselves divines, and especially in controversies about religion, ashamed and afraid of this manner of disputing.'
5. The Angels were condemned for one revolt; Adam was condemned for one transgression. How then shall we escape, who have so many times revolted, so many ways transgressed? The goodness of God, if it do not lead men to repentance, will no more secure them from condemnation ; than the creating kindness of God induced him to spare such as sinned in heaven itself. We must not only, like the fallen Angels, believe and tremble ;
but we must believe and obey the Gospel. We must resist the Devil, if we would have him flee from us. The roaring lion, while seeking whom he may devour, will then be met and foiled by the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Faith, prayer, a holy life, and patient continuance in well doing, are the weapons with which the Saints have always