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and its members under the Old Testament dispensation, so in like manner they ministered to Christ, personally considered, during His state of humiliation, from the period of His incarnation to that of His ascension; and they are also said to be “ ministring spirits sent forth to “ minister for them who shall be heirs of salva“ tion.” (Heb. i. 14.)
We have no means of ascertaining, nor need we wish to ascertain, how far the ordinary ininistry of angels extends.
Whether they are employed in any respect for the preservation of our corporeal life and comfort, or in opposing the stratagems of our enemy the devil, we shall not inquire. It is sufficient to justify our prayer, that God certainly makes use of their ministry for the benefit of His church. And it is enough to give intire satisfaction to our minds, that, either mediately or immediately,
" the Lord “ careth for us,” and has promised to make
all things work together for our good.”
While much comfort is derivable from the doctrine of angelic ministry, soberly received and contemplated, there is a necessity for caution that we do not carry it so far as to set aside the immediate influence or overruling providence of God. Our church therefore reminds us that all the succour and defence which the angels afford us, are afforded by His “appoint“ ment.” They are only instruments-He is
” the agent. He loves His people too well to entrust them in any finite care, however supe
, rior to themselves. Jehovah is “ the Keeper of “ Israel,” whose “help is laid on One, mighty " to save.”
We must therefore remember that whatever suceour and defence we receive by Divine
appointment through the ministry of angels, the praise of all is due, undiminished, to Him whose servants they are. We are allowed to esteem them as our friends, and to maintain communion with them as the friends of their Lord and ours. But we are to regard them only as the instruments which God employs for our good.
It is our privilege, while we join in this collect of our church, to anticipate the happy moment when our souls, like that of Lazarus, shall he carried by angels to Abraham's bosom. For yet a little while and those benevolent spirits who rejoiced over us on our conversion to God, shall perform an office towards us which will consummate our bliss. While mourning friends on earth shall bewail our separation from them, our friends in heaven will hail our arrival among them, and teach us the notes of praise which are used in the new Jerusalem. In the mean time, “ it is meet, right, and our bounden
duty, at all times and in all places, to give " thanks" unto our Triune God. Let us endeavour therefore, “with angels and archangels, “ and all the company of heaven, to laud and “ magnify His glorious name.” “Surely it will
' mightily exalt our affections, and stir us up to the most vigorous devotion, to consider with whom we bear a part,—with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven. For Jesus by his death hath united heaven and earth, and designed all His redeemed ones to sing Hallelujah with the blessed spirits above for ever and ever. Therefore it is fit that we should begin to unite our voices with them, with whom we hope to praise God to all eternity. Only as we sing with them, let us sing like them, and not spoil
their blessed harmony by mingling flat and discordant notes. O. with what delight and pleasure, sincerity and joy,' do they sing their hymns, while they are ravished with the prospect of the Divine perfections! Could we but see their felicity and hear their music, it would transport us abore ourselves, and make us forget and despise all other pleasures to join with them. It may be that we fear, that we cannot sing in so high a note; yet if we do it with like sincerity, our lower key may grace the harmony and compleat the concord. Behold, those blessed spirits who had no need of any Saviour, and who never did offend, do praise God with incessant voices for His mercy and love to us, and seem to invite us, saying, Oye sons of men, - Praise the Lord with us, and let us magnify “ His name together.” How, then, can we be silent ? especially when our glorified brethren, prophets and apostles, saints and martyrs, do also bear a part in this admirable hymn. How justly do we style the object of these praises a glorious name, since all the world resounds its praise ! To it Cherubin and Serapkin, angels and archangels, continually do cry, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY; and all the saints in heaven and earth do join to set forth the glory thereof.'
* Dr. Comber on the Trisagium.
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It is supposed that he the metropolis of Syria,
a city famous for its extraordinary advantages.
The pleasantness of its situation, the fertility of its soil, the vast extent of its commerce, the acknowledged erudition of its professors, the civility and politeness of its inhabitants, are circumstances which are celebrated by the orators of antiquity. But this city is still more renowned in the Christian history, because there the disciples of Jesus were first called Christians. It was an university, furnished with schools of learning, and professors of arts and sciences: so that our Evangelist, being born in the very lap of the Muses, must probably have enjoyed a liberal education, his natural talents meeting with the means of improvement. We are informed, that he studied not only at Antioch, but also in all the schools both of Greece and Egypt, whereby he became an accomplished scholar in all the branches of human literature. Being thus furnished with knowledge in all the preparatory institutions of philosophy, he more particularly applied himself to the study of physic, for which the Grecian academies were most famous. His supposed skill as a painter seems to be founded in a mistake.
He appears to have been a Jewish proselyte; and it is probable that he was converted by the ministry of St. Paul during his abode at Antioch, after which from a physician of the body he became a “physician of the soul,” even as the fishermen of Galilee were made fishers of men. From the time of St. Paul's journey into Macedonia, St. Luke was his inseparable companion and fellow-labourer in the ministry of the gospel, as appears by his use of the first person plural in recording the history of the Apdstle from that period. (See Acts xvi. 10.) He followed the