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Aids in the Conflict-heavenly Host

Aids in the Conflict-heavenly Host

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PSALM xci. 12.

" He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all
thy ways."


PSALM xci. 12.

" He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all
thy ways."

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 10, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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PSALM xci. 12." He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in allthy ways."TT would be an inadequate description of the HolyScriptures, to say that they are a revelation con-cerning God and man. They are as truly a revelationconcerning the Angels. And this not merely indirectly,as the Angels are connected with us, but directly as tothemselves, irrespectively of us. The original contestbetween the good and evil angels, — the difference as tothe present condition of the one portion of the heavenlyhost, who "kept their first estate," and of the otherswho fell, — the consequent future destiny of Satan andhis angels who were cast out, and are reserved for ever-lasting punishment in the Judgment of the Great Day ;and on the other hand, of the faithful, who now gloriousin bliss, will hereafter be raised together with redeemedman to a yet higher state, through the glory of theIncarnate Son, because it is the purpose of God, "inHim to reconcile all things to Himself, whether theybe things on earth, or things in heaven a ;" — these mainfacts of their history are clearly revealed to us.It has been attempted to resolve angelic appearancesinto mere subjective visions of the mind itself, illusoryforms projected by the heated and devout imagination,• Coloss. i. 20.106 Aids in the Conflict : — [serm.through its own creative agency ; or to account forthem objectively, by the supposition of the Divine powergiving mere temporary visible shapes to a Divine mes-
sage, forming a kind of phantasmagoria of an innerworld, produced for the occasion, in order to impressthe outward sense more vividly than by mere words.That we are indeed entirely unable to explain howthe Angels' spiritual bodies (for bodies of some refinedsubtlety they have ever been supposed to possess) canbe adapted to human organs of sight ; that we can formno real idea even of such a possibility, — is evident. Butit would be unreasonable to doubt the possibility of God causing them, as He will, to appear to whom Hewill ; or to give power to human eyes to discern theirmore subtle forms ; imparting temporary visibility towhat ordinarily would be invisible. And surely the at-tempt to explain these mysterious appearances on thetheory of subjective ideas, or temporary phantom shapes,is wholly forced, is simply to take Holy Scripture ina nonnatural sense, and is unphilosophical, as beingmanifestly inadequate to account for the undeniablephenomena of the case.For it is not merely the appearance of Angels toprophets and seers in ecstasy ; not merely the occur-rence of their presence in the poetical books of Scrip-ture ; not merely communications from God to the mindof lonely watchers and meditative hermits, such as theforms arrayed in gorgeous light and awful grandeur,which appeared to Daniel when he prostrated himself,and fell as one dead, on the banks of " the river Ulai,"for which we have to account. The visits of Angelsare described equally in prosaic historical books. o-thing can be more naturally interwoven with the ordi-nary narrative of common events, than a great pro-VIII.] God's heavenly Host. 107portion of the angelic appearances recorded in the OldScriptures, such as the angel that appeared to Hagar
in the wilderness, or the two who went down to Sodomto rescue Lot, and destroy those doomed cities, or theangel that met Balaam by the way.or were these appearances visible merely at parti-cular crises, as e.g. times of religious excitement, whenmen are specially open to dream dreams, and indulgein exaggerations of idea, and visionary conceptions ; orperiods of darker intelligence, when men are more spe-cially subject to hallucinations and superstitious belief as to invisible presences. The appearances of angelsextend throughout the Scriptures. They people thescenes of the sacred history, indeed, more fully at oneperiod of man's history than another ; but only withsuch differences as are readily accounted for by themore or less urgent call for Divine interpositions, orthe greater or less prominence with which the designsof God required to be impressed on the minds of Hispeople. With such exceptions there is little differenceto be discerned. Angels are not more clearly seenaround the gates of Paradise, at the beginning of man'shistory, than they are represented as about to be pre-sent at its close, on the day of the final resurrection anduniversal judgment. They are as fully concerned withthe events of the Revelations of St. John, as they arewith the events of the Book of Genesis. The Scripturehistory of mankind opens with the Angels already onthe stage of this lower world, actively engaged. It isrevealed that they will be as actively at work, when ithas run out its predestined course. The Angels indeedgroup themselves in greater apparent numbers, andseem more intensely employed at certain great crisesof our history, as e.g. on Mount Sinai, during the dc-108 Aids in the Conflict: — [SERM.livery of the Law, or during the earthly life of the Incar-nate God. But the simplest view of Scripture assures

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