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tains to cover them: behold them coming to embrace you, to pour their thanks into your bosom, and to bend with you, adoring, at the throne of God! What are now the emotions of your souls? Would the glitter of wealth, or the glory of empires have filled you with joy like this? In the light of the final judgment, the importance of all other employments is lost in comparison with the gospel ministry, as time is swallowed up in eternity.
Consider further, that this blessed work will furnish you with the best means of your own sanctification and spiritual enjoyment. Engaged, ardently and affectionately, in this, every day will bring you the delights of a holy sabbath; and, in the room of other toils, the labour of your life will be in those studies which open the wonders of God to the mind, and in those pleasing exercises which other christians are thankful for being permitted to enjoy one day in seven. Such a manner of life cannot fail to advance your present peace, and to give a brighter lustre to your immortal crown; a crown in which every soul, redeemed from death by your means, shall constitute a new and splendid jewel. A hundred ages hence, you will bless God for having increased the glory of your eternity, by putting you into the ministry of his Son. Grand and delightful is that promise, They that turn many to righteousne88 shall shine as the stars for ever and ever.
Urged by all these motives, come, we affectionately invite you to come, and take part with us in the ministry of the grace of God. The example of Christ invites you to come; the tears of bereaved churches, who can find none to break unto them the bread of life, plead with you to come; the miseries of wandering souls, who find none to lead them to heaven, press you to come. Come then, and take part with us in the labours and rewards of the ministry of reconciliation ! We conclude, with a short address
TO PIOUS PARENTS. Who among you have any sons to devote to Christ for the service of his sanctuary? Who among you have any young Samuels, the children of prayer, whom you have lent unto the Lord with ardent desires, that as long as they live they may be the Lord's? Can you better dispose of them than by training them up for the gospel ministry, to bear the vessels of Him to whose service you have solemnly consecrated them in baptism? Would it not fill you with sublime joy to know that you had brought children into the world to be the instruments of large accessions to the assembly of the redeemed, to the everlasting kingdom of Messiah? When a numerous company of celestial spirits should hail you as
the blessed parents of the beloved instruments of their salvation, would you not feel greater joy than you would have done in beholding your sons seated on earthly thrones, encircled with the wreaths of fame? If you love your pious sons, give them to the church, and increase their everlasting happiness. If you love your Saviour, whose bowels yearned and bled for you, from your own bowels give him ministers; give to his service those whom he died to redeem, to sooth and comfort your parental hearts. If each of you can give a pious minister to the church, the whole church will have reason to thank God for your existence, and you yourselves may bless him for ever that you have not lived in vain.
Brethren, farewell. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirits! Amen. Signed by order of the Presbytery,
MATTHEW La Rue PERRINE, Moderator.
John M.Dowell, Clerk. Orange-Date, Oct. 2, 1805.
The committee who superintend the magazine cannot permit this article to go to the public, without expressing their earnest hope that it will attract the most serious attention of the religious public; and even felicitating themselves that, through the medium of the magazine, they are able to send it to every part of the presbyterian church. Most of the presbyteries under the care of the general assembly have a stated meeting in the spring. It is respectfully suggested, that opportunity will then be given to adopt measures, similar to those which, it appears, are going into operation in the presbytery of New York. And if, at the next meeting of the assembly, it shall be found that the presbyteries generally have felt the same spirit, and taken the like steps with those exhibited in the foregoing address, there is little risk in affirming, that it will be an event which will promise more real benefit to the presbyterian interest, and we trust also to the church of Christ, than any which has taken place in our country for many years.
OF ANGELS. No. I. This world is not detached, but stands connected with the world of spirits, where, according to scripture, we have both friends and enemies, who are ever on the watch to do us a kindMess or a mischief. Holy angels are our friends: fallen angels or devils are our enemies. Permit me, christians, in this number, to introduce your friends to your acquaintance, and to satisfy inqui
ries which naturally arise, concerning their origin and characteris. tic; their rank in creation, and the distinctions which subsist among themselves; their numbers, and their services.
1. What is the origin of angels? They are the creatures of God, to whom, for their existence, and all their endowments, they are immediately and entirely indebted. On this account, God claims them as his own. In the book of Job they are called “ the sons of God," and in the epistle to the Hebrews, “ his angels,” and “ his ministers.” The period of their creation is nowhere expressly fixed. They attended at the creation of our world, and of consequence were then in existence. Whether the name “ morningstars” given to angels in scripture, throws any light on the subject, I shall not positively determine; to me, this appellation indicates their being called into existence before the creation of our world, and introductory thereto. The morning-star announces the approach of day, as the creation of angels did the production of that system, in which, as a part, we find the human race. Investigations of this kind cannot be carried far. It is enough to know that angels as well as men are the creatures of God, which justifies what the scripture says of God, when it speaks of him as “ the father of spirits.”
2. What is the characteristic of angels? They are spirits, a flame of fire.
It is extremely difficult to form a distinct idea of a being purely spiritual; though there is no difficulty in believing on suitable evidence, such as the scriptures afford, that such beings exist, and that they possess the most astonishing powers. Matter itself admits of great degrees of refinement. What enters into the composition of the human body, at present, is vile and perishable; but the glorified body shall be purified from what is vile and perishable, and become so refined and spiritual, as to constitute a proper vehicle for happy immortals. With some such bodies angels have been supposed to be constantly invested; but this is a mistake, their substance is incorporal, although capable at any time of assuming a body, and appearing in any shape, human or animal, aerial or terrestrial.
In knowledge and power, in activity and holiness, they are superior to men. “ Your eyes shall be opened,” said the tempter assailing our innocent progenitor, “ and ye shall become as Gods," that is, says the Chaldee paraphrase, “ as angels,” like one of us, knowing good and evil.” What is now intricate, shall become plain, what exceeds your present reach shall then be familiar. ** Bless the Lord,” exclaims the psalmist,“ ye his angels who excel
in strength.” The apostle Peter speaks of angels as greater than we are in power and might. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews plainly intimates, chap. i. that angels are the highest of all creatures, though inferior to the Son of God. A flame of fire characterizes their activity. The flaming sword, turning every way, placed at the east of the garden of Eden, to guard the tree of life, expresses the motion, and general appearance of the angel there on duty, so rapid, and so luminous, that fire seemed to stream from every side. Their purity is exemplary, holy is the epithet by which they are distinguished, and men are required to do God's will on earth, as it is done by angels who are in heaven.
3. Whal rank do angels hold in creation? From analogy we find an answer to this inquiry. On earth we observe a beautiful gradation. Bare existence belongs to air, earth, fire, water: vege. tables beside existence possess life: Sense and perception distinguish animals from vegetables: By reason, man rises above them all. Take the most perfect of the inferior order, and the most imperfect of the succeeding, the line of distinction can scarcely be drawn. In nature there is a gradual advance from simple existence to vegetation; from vegetation to animal life; from animal life to rational. Let it not be supposed, that the gradation stops at man; our nature indeed is the most perfect on earth, but the advance still proceeds. As the animal part of our constitution exists in creatures beneath us, so, the intellectual exists in creatures above us, in a degree, which probably renders them as superior to us, as we are to the brute creation.
Men hold a middle rank; they are placed over those inferior to themselves; they turn the elements to their advantage, they improve vegetation; they are served by the brute creation, and are of great benefit to them. In the same manner, in the ascending scale of existence, there are beings who have a superiority over us, and promote, in various ways, our advantage. How far this scale may be carried forward we know not. But we know that wherever it stops, it must still leave an infinite distance between the most exalted creature and the Creator; for all creatures must be finite, but God is absolutely infinite. Between his nature and their’s, therefore, there can be no comparison. Angel, cherub, and seraph are in his presence « less than nothing and Fanity."
Some imperfect knowledge of the existence and services of angels seems to have been diffused over all the world, probably by an early tradition. From this tradition it is likely that the genii or lares of the Romans, and the demons of the Greeks, derived their origin. All the pagan nations have had their house hold and tutelar deities ; some of whom have, no doubt, been the ancient heroes and benefactors of those nations; but probably the practice of considering them as tutelar deities had its origin in a corruption of the tradition relative to angels. Angels are regarded with real and just veneration by all truly pious minds. .. 4. What distinctions are found among angels themselves? Angels in scripture bear the name of God. The cominand in one passage " worship him all ye gods,” is explained in another, « Let all the anşels of God worship him.” The name expresses dignity and power. It is not confined to angels, but extends also to men. Moses was “a god” to Pharaoh. “ Ye are gods," said the psalmist, speaking by inspiration of those who held civil or ecclesiastical authority among the Jews. The name applied either to angels or to men, conveys an idea of great eminence. Applied to men, it designates certain characters, the character for instance of those to whom God spake, such as prophets, or of those whom he invested with authority, such as magistrates: applied to angels, whilst it expresses their superiority over us, it may also intimate, that there is a distinction of rank among themselves; that with them there exist different degrees of excellency and dignity, one order rising above another, and approaching by a gradual progress nearer and nearer the model of infinite perfection. This, at any rate, is expressly revealed in scripture, where mention is made of cherubim and seraphim; of angels and archangels; of thrones and dominions; of principalities and powers; names expressive of various distinctions in the spiritual and invisible world. From these hints, speculative men have formed different theories, which may amuse, but can afford but little edification. The fact is sufficient, that angels rank according to their respective abilities, and to the offices which they fill under the divine government.
5. Are angels numerous? Their numbers exceed all calcu. lation. A passage in one of the gospels throws some light on this subject. In the garden of Gethsemane, when his enemies offered violence to the person of Jesus, one of his disciples stood on his defence. The well meant, but useless attempt, was restrained. “ Put up again thy sword into his place; thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels.” Were twelve legions, about seventy-two thousand, ready for a particular service? What immense multitudes, then, must exist, for the various services in which they are always employed through the whole extent of God's vast dominions? “ Thousand thousands stand before him, ten thousand times ten thousand minister unto him.”