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Such, then, we may imagine to be the soliloquy and reflections of the spirit of a holy man when first emancipated; and that the objects which would first strike upon her vision would be a company of angels waiting to receive her, is an idea not only pleasing to the imagination and somewhat natural to conceive of, but is in full and direct accordance with the testimony of Scripture. Hence, when Lazarus, who had been sitting at the rich man's gate, neglected and despised, had died, our Saviour informs us, that he was "carried by angels into Abraham's bosom." And "such honour" (may we not confidently conclude it?) "have all the saints." For, assuredly, we have not the slightest ground for supposing that it was the exclusive privilege of Lazarus to be thus attended on his departure from the earth, and that at that crisis of their being the spirits of the righteous are left neglected, cheerlessly to wander, in the invisible regions, they know not where, or to become the prey of some evil and malignant foe. For if, for a while, ethereal beings have been successfully opposed, and that by some of the hostile spirits who inhabit and infest the aerial regions, and
if the angel who was sent to Daniel when by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel, was thus "withstood" for " one and twenty days,"* and could not proceed until assisted by Michael, one of the chief princes, why, then, it is altogether natural to conceive that a disembodied spirit might be hindered in her ascent to glory, but for the all-powerful protection of an angelic guard. while it is admitted that the invisible care and direction of God would be amply sufficient to secure for the spirit of a righteous man a safe, direct, and speedy passage to his blissful habitation, yet, as he is continually working through the subordinate agency and instrumentality of created beings, and since he has continually about him an "innumerable company" of those exalted creatures that do his will," and whom the Scripures represent as "sent forth to minister unto them who shall be heirs of salvation," then it is altogether reasonable to conclude that they are sent forth to minister unto them at a period in which, above every other, they seem to require angelic mi
Daniel x. 13.
nistrations, namely, when their spirits are disembodied and first enter upon the invisible world.
The analogy of the Supreme procedure towards man when he enters upon his earthly existence will also justify such an expectation. No one who believes in the power of God could for a moment doubt, that without the instrumentality of inferior beings he could rear the tenderest infant, and advance it to an enlightened, healthy, and vigorous maturity. But although no one who believes in the power of God could doubt his ability to accomplish a thing like this, we nevertheless know that this is not the way in which he works; but that when man enters upon his present existence in the form of a helpless infant, he is immediately surrounded with beings like himself in the character of parents, friends, and protectors, and who in this respect are the agents of the Deity to advance him to maturity. And if this be the fact with reference to his earthly existence, is it reasonable to suppose that when he enters upon the invisible state, strange and perplexing as it must all appear to him, there
are no inferior beings to counsel, comfort, and assist him; but that at that mysterious and awful moment he is thrown upon the naked power of God? In the indulging of such a supposition neither Scripture, reason, nor analogy will at all justify us; but from each of them we may infer, and that with confidence, that agents will be at hand to receive his spirit; which subordinate agents, as we learn from Scripture, will consist of the angels of God: "And he was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom." [Note g.]
The unprisoned spirit having resigned herself to the care and direction of the ethereal guard, who have been sent from their bright and blissful seats to bear her to the glorious presence of their God, commences along with them her passage to the skies. In their ascent towards it, the dense and cloudy atmosphere of earth is first of all and very rapidly traced by them. But ever and anon, as the redeemed and disembodied spirit is passing through it, she sees at a distance the dark and scowling aspect of some of the fallen fiends with which it is infested [Note h], malignantly eyeing her ascent
to glory. They, however, venture not to oppose her in the least. The bright and dazzling guard around her, like the flaming cherubim who guarded the tree of life,-but, above all, a deep and awful conviction within them that God would instantaneously interfere in her behalf, and if she asked it would send a legion of angels to her assistance, keeps them at a fearful distance from the track she is pursuing. Neither does the spirit herself feel any perturbation or alarm at the hasty glance which, in ascending upward, she thus catches of these fallen fiends. A strong conviction of her own security as encompassed by the angels of God, together with a confident persuasion that in a little while she will have got far beyond the dominions of the prince of darkness as connected with this fallen world, keeps her in a state of perfect peace-aye, and even fills her with joy and exultation.
Having reached the confines of the globe. -the dominions of the prince of darkness,having emerged from the gross material atmosphere in which they are enveloped, the joyful spirit springs upward to reach the throne