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in part from the redemption of mankind by ouge Lord Jesus Christ, as we shall presently shew, and we are indebted subordinately to them for many benefits which God confers upon us. There is a unity in the Divine scheme of creation and redemption, which connects all the parts, and will finally make the universe a theatre of adoration.

Leaving this obscure subject, we proceed to consider the petition of our collect; wherein we beseech God to “grant, that, as His holy angels

always do Him service in heaven, so by His

appointment they may succour and defend us on earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

In this petition it is asserted that the angels always do service unto God in heaven. Of what nature that service is, except in one particular, we know nothing. Probably that comprehends the whole of the service which they there perform. They are engaged continually in the noble and delightful work of praising and glorifying His holy name. For this end they were at first created; on this sublime office they entered so soon as they had received their being, when

morning-stars sang together and all the sons of “God shouted for joy.” (Job xxxviii. 7.). In this blessed employ their heaven consists—an employ, in which eternity will be occupied without weariness or satiety. For so vast is the glory and excellence of that adorable Being who is the object of their praise, and so immense their obligations to Him, that their theme can never be exhausted; and as they are perfectly holy and perfectly happy, no lassitude can ever arise, but new pleasures must for ever spring from the beatific vision of the Triune Jehovah, whose name

only is excellent and whose praise is above hea"s ven and earth.” Grateful adoration is the breath

" the

of their life: and as the body when in a sound state, and placed in a pure atmosphere, finds no difficulty in the act of respiration, but derives all its satisfactions therefrom, so in heaven, the at. mosphere of Divine love, the blessed inhabitants

cease not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts.”

The wonders of creation and providence; as exhibited both towards themselves and man, doubtless, forin in part the subject of their songs. Their own creation and preservation, and all the blessings of the life which they live, the exalted endowments they have received, the capacities which they possess, and their conservation “as " elect angels” in fidelity and bliss, when so many of their pristine number have fallen--these benefits, none of which are self-derived, but all of which are streams issuing from one Divine fountain, afford a theme for song which is ever new. We know also that the discoveries of Divine goodness which have been made to the human race, tune their harps. For as we are their fellowcreatures, formed by the same Almighty hand, and originally destined to be “helpers of their

joy,” they are interested in our welfare. As they resemble God, we may be sure that the most exalted charity fills their bosoms: su that, as far as angels are capable of suffering, they “mourn " with them that mourn, and rejoice with them “ that rejoice.” When the Redeemer of lost mankind appeared on earth, “a multitude of the " heavenly host praised God, saying, Glory to “ God in the highest, and on earth peace, good « will towards men." Into the mysteries of redemption they look with ardent desire and holy admiration; and “unto the principalities and

powers in heavenly places is made kuown by

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« the church the manifold wisdom of God."

They hailed the Redeemer with new Hallelujahs on His return to His throne in glory, after the completion of His redeeming work; for on that occasion His train was filled by '“twenty thou« sand chariots of God, even thousands of an

gels,” who saluted Him as “the King of

glory, the Lord of hosts, the Lord mighty in " battle.” We may also suppose that every fresh instance of mercy shewn by God to His church, or to any individual member of it, is known in heaven and excites new praises; for we are informed that “the angels of God re“joice over every sinner that repenteth.”

We are also led to believe that the angels who never sinned derived personal advantage from the work of our redeeming God, and therefore are personally interested in His triumphs. For it seems probable, that they have derived therefrom a confirmation in holiness and happiness. St. Paul says, that “God hath made known “ unto us the mystery of His will according to “ His good pleasure which He purposed in “ Himself; that in the dispensation of the ful“ness of times He might gather together in one “ all things in Christ, both which are in hea,

ven and which are in earth, even in Him." (Eph. i. 9, 10.) And in his epistle to the Colossians he adds, “ It pleased the Father " that in Christ should all fullness dwell; and

having made peace through the blood of His “ cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Him.

self, whether they be things in earth or things “ in heaven." (Ch. i. 18.) There is therefore

” the utmost equity in the requisition that to our Lord Jesus Christ every knee should bow, of

things in heaven, and things in earth, and

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* things under the earth; and that every tongue “ should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord “ to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. ii. 10, 11.)

Bishop Di venant, speaking on the second of these texts,* says, “The angels for Christ's sake are confirmed in grace, and established in the Divine favour, so that it is now plainly impossible that any enmity should intervene between them and God. The establishment of angels therefore in Divine grace through Christ is the same thing as the reconciliation of men through the same Christ. Nor can we doubt that the angels themselves need the grace of Christ the Redeemer—the grace of confirmation and exaltation, though not, properly speaking, the

, grace of reconciliation.

For since they are creatures, it was impossible for them to be in their own nature exempt from the danger of falling. Besides this, the beatific and glorious union with God, which the blessed angels enjoy in eternal life, is a benefit that transcends the merit of any creature; and therefore the angels themselves are not admitted into this ineffable joy of Divine fruition, but on account of their connection with Christ, the head both of angels and men; in consequence of which the Apostle gives the title of elect to the blessed angels. (1 Tim. v. 21.) Now the election either of men or angels out of Christ is a thing unintelligible. — From hence therefore it is manifest that the grace of Christ the mediator is necessary to the happiness even of angels, not for the purpose of justification or absolution from sin, but of confirmation in Divine love, and of exaltation

* Expositio Epistolæ Pauli ad Colossenses, p. 107

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to a glorious and permanent participation of God, which surpasses the ability and dignity of created nature.'

If to the benefits of creation are added those which the angels derive from the mediation of their and our Lord Jesus Christ,---if with us they are participants of the grace that flows from the Incarnate God,—we need not wonder at what St. John saw and heard, as it is described, Rev. v. 11-14. “I beheld and I heard the voice “ of many angels round about the throne, and “ the beasts, and the elders : and the number “ of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, " and thousands of thousands; saying with a “ loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was “ slain to receive power, and riches, and

strength, and honour, and glory, and bles“sing. And every creature which is in heaven, " and on the earth, and such as are in the sea, ~ and all that are in them, heard I, saying, , “ Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, “ be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, 6 and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. And “ the four beasts said, Amen. And the four “ and twenty elders fell down, and worshipped “ Him that liveth for ever and ever."

Thus God's “ holy angels always do Him “ service in heaven." It is their delight to de His will, to execute His commands and to glorify His name. On this circumstance we found

. a prayer, that “ by God's appointment they

may succour and defend us on earth, through « Jesus Christ 'our Lord."

Our petition is fully sanctioned by the declarations and descriptions of the word of God. For as the angels were employed in various instances to “Saccour and defend” the church

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