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are ready to despond, as the Israelites were, while passing through the dangers of the wilderness to their promised inheritance. They were afraid of the giants; but the mighty angels, who are the guardians and protectors of the saints, are far superior to any human giants, or invisible malignant spirits that may attempt to molest them. Those that are for them are more and mightier than those that be against them.
8. Since angels are such great and amiable beings as they have been represented, saints have a bright prospect, not only through life, but through death and through a boundless eternity. Their holy guardians will not forsake them through life, nor in the hour of death, but be with them after they leave the body, and conduct them to the world of light. And when they arrive there, they shall be like their holy conductors, the angels of God in heaven, in spirit and in body. Their bodies will be celestial or spiritual, like those of the angels, and their spirits will be perfectly pure and holy, like the pure spirits who have never had the least stain of sin. But this is not all. They shall be with them as well as like them for ever. As soon as they arrive at the new Jerusalem, they shall be united "to an innumerable company of angels." What warm and sincere gratitude must they always feel and express to those pure and exalted spirits, who condescended to watch over them, guide and guard them, when they were weak, ignorant, ungrateful, disobedient creatures. This cordial union between saints and angels will lay a foundation for their everlasting communion in all the holiness and happiness of heaven. To what an amazing height must their increasing holiness and happiness rise, through the interminable ages of eternity! "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them. that love him." Now are they the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what they shall be, but we know that they shall be as holy and happy as their immortal spirits can be made.
9. This subject shows the sinful and miserable state of all incorrigible sinners, both in time and eternity. They have no holy angels to guide and guard them in this world; but they are under the power and influence of the god of this world, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. They possess his spirit, and are enemies to God and all righteousness. They are constantly growing in sin and guilt, by all the light they have, and by all the mercies they enjoy, and by all the evils they suffer. They are treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath. The same evil spirits that attend them in life, will attend them at death, and drag their unwilling souls down to the chambers of eternal death. There they will be
for ever separated from God, from Christ, from the Holy Spirit, from holy angels, and holy men, and fall under their everlasting odium and displeasure. The Lord Jesus Christ, who died for them and offered salvation to them, will be their final Judge. And he has plainly told them how he will treat them at the last great, tremendous day of decision. "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal."
THE SCRIPTURAL ACCOUNT OF THE DEVIL OUGHT TO BE BELIEVED.
BE sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. -1 PETER, V. 8.
It is generally unwise to despise our enemies, because it prevents that vigilance which is necessary to defeat their evil designs. We often suffer more from those whom we contemn, than from those whom we fear. And perhaps mankind in general receive much greater injuries from their common enemy, whose power and malice they vainly deride, than from all their other enemies put together. Some are ready to doubt the existence of their adversary the devil, and consider him merely as a creature of the imagination; while others who believe his existence, commonly speak of him in the most familiar terms of reproach and contempt. But if he does really exist, and possess all that malevolence which is ascribed to him in the text, then he is certainly much more to be feared than despised. And since all men are more or less exposed to his destructive influence, it concerns them to form just apprehensions of his power and disposition to deceive and destroy them. It is proposed, therefore, in the following discourse, to give the scriptural account of the devil, and make it appear that we ought to believe that account.
I. Let us consider the scriptural account of the devil. This common enemy of mankind is more frequently mentioned in the Bible than any other particular person or agent, except the man Christ Jesus. He is called by a great variety of appellations. More than fifty times he is called the devil. More than
forty times he is called Satan. And he is very often designated by several other names, such as the accuser of the brethren, Apollyon, angel of the bottomless pit, prince of darkness, prince of devils, and the god of this world. Nor do the sacred writers merely mention his names, but fully describe his origin, his character and his conduct.
1. They represent him as an apostate angel. The scripture clearly reveals the apostacy of angels. The apostle Peter says, "God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." And the apostle Jude gives a similar representation. "The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." Satan, the head and leader of these apostates, originally belonged to a high and holy order of beings. But what his first offence was, we are not expressly told in his history. Some, however, have conjectured that his first sin consisted in refusing to obey Christ as mediator, and to minister to those who were to be heirs of salvation. And this idea seems to be suggested by several texts of scripture. Christ speaking of the devil in the eighth chapter of John says, " He abode not in the truth;" that is, he was not steadfast in obedience to him who was the way, the truth, and the life. And this disobedient temper he might manifest, when the Father said concerning the Son, "Let all the angels of God worship him." If, on that occasion, Satan did refuse to bow to the Mediator, it seems that his first sin must have been pride, which appears to be intimated in the apostle's words to Timothy. "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil." It is certain, however, that Satan once belonged to the highest order of created beings, and was, perhaps, the highest of that order. But by pride or some other offence, he apostatized from God, and led others to apostatize from him; for which he was doomed, with his followers, to a state of everlasting darkness and despair. But notwithstanding his loss of holiness and happiness, he still retains that superior power and intelligence with which he was originally created.
2. The scripture represents the devil as an invisible agent in this world. He is said to be a spirit, which denotes his invisibility. He is likewise represented as taking possession of the minds of men, and invisibly governing their thoughts and actions. But though he is naturally invisible to human eyes, yet he is capable, as well as the angels of light, of assuming a material vehicle, and of becoming visible to mankind. It seems he appeared to Adam and Eve in a visible form. But
we are not to suppose that God ever permits him to assume a bodily shape, unless it be on some peculiar occasion, to answer some special purpose of providence. It is true, he is represented in the text as a roaring lion; but this is to be understood figuratively. As an angel he is a spirit, and as a spirit he is naturally invisible, and, in his common intercourse with mankind, acts in an invisible manner; though he may occasionally put on a human or some other visible appearance.
3. The scripture represents the devil as the head of all the apostate angels. We are not informed how many of the heavenly hosts apostatized from God; but there is reason to believe that the number was great. When our Lord asked an unclean spirit his name, he replied, "My name is legion, for we are many." This account agrees with what the apostle says concerning the various ranks of fallen angels. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Among these various orders of apostate spirits, he who is emphatically called the devil, holds the highest. This is frequently intimated in scripture. When our Saviour cast a devil out of a dumb man, the Pharisees said, "He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils." And they said on another occasion, "This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils." A similar remark was made by those who saw Christ cast out a devil that was dumb. They said, "He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils." But he knowing their thoughts said unto them, " Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation." "If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand?" Here Christ seems to confirm the common opinion among the Jews, that the devil is a chief or a prince, who reigns supreme in his own kingdom.
4. The scripture represents the devil as being conversant in this world, and exerting his power and influence here. The author of the book of Job says, "When the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan came also among them." And when the Lord asked him whence he came, he answered, "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." The apostle gives the same representation of him in the text. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour." When Christ saw him coming to tempt him, he said, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." He also predicted the descent of the Holy Ghost, who should restrain and condemn Satan. "When