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we do so prank up and pamper our flesh, as that we regard not therein any others' dangers ? which when soever we are drawn to. do, we may be sure we have so wary and vigilant spirits to watch us, as that no advantage can be let fall against our souls. As, therefore, wise and careful commanders do not only cast how to impugn, oppress, and annoy an enemy; but also how to remove those helps, which might be advantageous to him in his siege, even to the demolishing of suburbs, and stopping up of fountains, and the like; so must we do in this spiritual warfare of ours : we must not only stir up our courage and endeavours to resist and vanquish temptations; but we must bend our utmost care upon the prevention and removal of whatsoever, in our apparel, carriage, diet, recreations, may be likely to give furtherance to their assault or prevalency; and, in the whole practice of our lives, so demean ourselves, as that we may, according to the charge of the Apostle, undeusay a poque'v didóvel, not so much as give an occasion to an alversary ; 1 Tim. v. 14. whether of calumny, or of triumph. Oh, that we could be fearful of doing any unfit thing, because of the Evil Angels! we shall be sure to hear of it again, to our cost. Even the most careless boys will be afraid to offend in the face of the monitor: such are the Evil Angels to us. Be sure, every unbeseeming and unlawful act, that passeth from us, is upon their file; and shall once be urged against us, to our shame and conviction. My Brethren, we would be loth to come under the power of their tor. ment. As we would avoid this fearful issue, let us be jealous of their suggestions, and our carriage; and not dare to do ought, that may be scandalous, Because of the Angels.
(2.) Good use may be made, you see, even of this sense: but I take it our Apostle intended here, to intimate the presence of, · and respect to the Good Angels.'
It is a no less comfortable, than' well-grounded point of divinity, That none of God's children upon earth want the assistance and ministration of those blessed spirits. We have it from him that cannot fail us; Matt. xviii. 10. And the Sweet Singer of Israel had warbled out this heavenly note before him; The Angels of the Lord encamp about those that fear him ; Psalm xxxiv. 7. And he, that was rapt up into the third heaven, and saw those wonderful Orders of Angels, can tell us, they are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation ; Heb. i. 14.
Now these, as they guard and attend every of God's elect ones, when they are singled and sequestered in the greatest solitariness; so, we cannot think they leave their whether coinmon or several charges, when they assemble together for the exercises of piety and devotion : so as the public meetings of God's Saints cau be no other than filled with whole troops of angels.
This, as it is a truth, so it was the received opinion of the Jews; as Capellus pregnantly cites it out of the Sedar Tephilloth of the Portugal Jews; in his learned Spicelegium; Coronam dant tibi, Domine Deus noster, Angeli ; turba illa superna cuin populo trio Israel hic infernè congregato ;. “ O Lord our God, the Angels give glory to thee; even those heavenly troops, that are assembled with thy Israel here below."
Out of the reverend and awful respect therefore, that is due to these glorious, though invisible, beholders, there may no unseemly thing be done or admitted in the Church of God: and, there. fore, The women ought to have power on their heads, because of the Angels. .
And, surely, my Beloved, were we fully persuaded, that now, at this present, there is within these walls a greater congregation of Angels than of men and women, I suppose it could not but strike such an awe into us, as to make us at once holily, mannerly, and fervently devout. · It is a great fault in us, Christians, that we think of nothing, but what we see: whereas that spiritual and intelligible world, which is past the apprehension of these earthly senses, is far greater, far more noble and excellent, than all visible and material substances.
Certainly, there is not one angel in heaven, that hath not more glory, than all this sensible world can be capable of. What should I tell you of the excellency of their nature, the height of their offices, the majesty of their persons, their power able to confound a world, their nearness both of place and of essence to that Infi. nite Deity, their tender love and care of mankind; any of which were able and worthy to take up a whole life's meditation ?
And, if there be so much perfection in one, how unconceivable is the concurrent lustre and glory of many ! Had we eyes to see these invisible supervisors of our behaviour, we could not, we durst not let fall any so much as indecent gesture, before such a presence.
Quicken then, I beseech you, and sharpen your eyes, Dear and Beloved Christians, to see yourselves seen, even of them, whom ye cannot see; and let your whole carriage be thereafter. He is not worthy to claim more privilege than of a beast, that can see nothing but sensible objects. Brute creatures can see us: if we see nothing but ourselves and them, wherefore serves our understanding? wherefore our faith? And, if we see invisible beholders, why are we not affected accordingly? Certainly, it were better for us not to see then; than, seeing, to neglect their pre sence.
What is then the honour, what the respect, that we must give to the Angels of God, who are present in our holy assemblies?
I must have leave to complain of two extremities this way. There are some, that give them too much veneration : there are others, that give them no regard at all.
In the First, are those within the Roman Clientele; who are so over-courteous, as that they give them no less than the honour of adoration, of invocation : reviving, herein, the erroneous opinion and practice of them, which Theodoret held confuted by St. Paul; in his Epistle to the Colossians. It is the praise, that Franciscus de Sales Bishop of Genoa gives to Petrus Faber, one of the first associates of Ignatius Loyola, That his manner was, whensoever he
came to any place, he still made suit to the Tutelar Angels, that presided there, for their aid of converting the people from heresy ; and found great success in it. This imploration and worship is ordinary: wherein they do that to the angels, which the angels themselves have forbidden to be done. And yet, I must needs say, if any creature could be capable of a religious worship, it is they : and, if any creature were fit to be prayed unto, it is they ; rather than the highest saints of heaven. For, whereas it is the just ground of our refusing to pray to the saints, that we cannot be sure of their presence and notice, (sure rather of the contrary,) and therefore cannot pray in faith; that ground is here justly removed: we are sure, that the Angels of God are present with us : we are sure, that they hear us pray. But this is an honour reserved as peculiar to the God of Angels; and to that one Mediator betwixt God and man, Jesus Christ. Those spirits hate to be made rivals to their Maker: neither have we learned that unreasonable modesty, to sue to waiters; when we are called up to supplicate the ". King.
The Other extreme is of careless Christians, that do no more think of angels, than if there were none: suffering their bodily eyes to be taken up with the sight of their assembled neighbours; but never raising their spiritual eyes to behold those spiritual essences, which are no less present. And, certainly I fear, we are all much to blame this way; and may justly tax ourselves of an unthankful, dull, irreligious neglect of these glorious spirits. I find that the Mahometan priests, in their morning and evening prayer, still end their devotion with Macree Kichoon ; " Be angels present:" and the people shout out their Amen : and shall our piety, this way, be less than theirs ? Surely, the Angels of God are in separably with us ; yea, whole cohurts, yea whole legions of those heavenly saldiery are now viewing and guarding us, in these holy meetings; and we acknowledge them not : we yield not to them such reverent and awful respects, as even flesh and blood, like our own, will expect from us.
Did we think the Angels of God were with us here, durst those of us, which dare not be covered at home, as if the freedom of this holy place gave them privilege of a loose and wild licentiousness affect all saucy postures, and strive to be more unmannerly than their masters?
Did we consider, that the Angels of God are witnesses of our demeanour in God's house, durst we stumble in here, with no other reverence, than we would do into our barn or stable; and sit down, with no other care, than we would in an ale-house or theatre?
Did we find ourselves in an assembly of Angels, durst we give our eyes leave, to rove abroad in wanton glances ? our tongues, to walk in idle and unseasonable chat ? our ears, to be taken up with frivolous discourse? Durst we set ourselves to take those naps here, whereof we failed on our pillow at home? Certainly, iny Beloved, all these do manifestly convince us, of a palpable unre.
spect to the blessed Angels of God, our invisible consorts in these holy services.
However then it hath been with us hitherto, let us now begin to take up other resolutions; and settle in our hearts a holy awe of that presence, wherein we are. Even at thy home, address thyself for the Church : prepare to come before a dreadful Majesty of God and his powerful Angels. Thou seest them not: no more did Elisha's servant, till his eyes were opened. It is thine ignorant and gross infidelity, that hath filmięd up thine eyes; that thou canst discern no spiritual object: were they but anointed with the eye-salve of faith, thou shouldsii see God's house full of heavenly glory; and shouldst check thyself, with holy Jacob, when he awaked from his divine vision, Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not : how dread; ul is this place! This is no other but the house of God; and this is the gate of heaven; Gen. xxviii. 16, 17. Oh ther, when thou settest thy foot over the threshold of God's Temple, tremble to think who is there : lift up thine awful eyes; and bow thine humble knees; and raise up thy devout and faithful soul, to a religious reverence and fear of those Mighty and Majestical Spirits, that are there, and of that Great God of Spirits, whose both they and thou art : and study, in all thy carriage, to be approved of so glorious witnesses and overseers : that so, at the last; those Blessed Spirits, with whom we have had an invisible .conversation here, may carry up our departing souls into the heaven of heavens; into the presence of that Infinite and Incomprehensibly-Glorious God, both theirs and ours; there to live and reign with them, in the participation of their unconceivable bliss and glory : To the fruition whereof, he, that hath ordained us, graciously bring us, by the mediation and for the sake of his Blessed Son Jesus: To whom, with thee, O Father of Heaven, and thy Co-eternal Spirit, Three Persons in One God, be given all praise, honour; immortality, now and for ever.
THE DUTY AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF DRAWING
NIGH TO GOD:
A SERMON PREACHED AT THE TOWER, MARCH 20, 1642*.
BY JOS. NORVIC.
JAMES iv. 8. Draw nigh unto God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your
hands, ye sinners ; and purge your hearts, ye double-minded.
I have pitched upon this Text, as fit for both the time and the season: both of them sad and penitential; and such, as call us to devotion and humiliation: both which are the subjects of this scripture.
There is no estate so happy, if it could be obtained, as that of perfect obedience. But, since that cannot be had, partly through the weakness and partly through the wickedness of our nature; for there is a tò e dúvatov, an impossibility upon it; Rom. viii. 3: the next to it is that of true repentance; which is no other, than a hearty turning from our evil ways, and an endeavour of better obedience.
And this estate is here recommended to us under a double Allegory: the ,one, of our drawing nigh to God; the other, of our cleansing and purging. In the former whereof, the sinner is represented to us in a remote distance from God: in the other, as foul and nasty, both in his heart and his hands. And the remedy is prescribed for both : of his remoteness, drawing nigh to God; of his foulness, cleansing and purging. • The former is enough to take up our thoughts at this time: wherein ye have A DUTY ENJOINED, and AN INDUCEMENT URGED: the
* Printed in the Quarto, 1641: but as it is said to have been preached by the author as Bishop of Norwich, and he was not appointed to that See till Nov. 15, 1641, it is manifestly dated according to that mode of computation, now disused, which made March 25 the beginning of the year, I have therefore altered it te 1642, in order to remove ambiguity. EDITOR. VOL. V.