« AnteriorContinuar »
head: He has removed him that has heretofore under Christ, been very much our strength that we have been wont to resort to in difficult cases for instruction and direction, and that used to be amongst us from time to time, in our associations, and that we were wont to behold as the head and ornament of those conventions.* Where else can we now go but to Jesus, the ever living Head of the whole church, and Lord of the whole harvest, the fountain of light, our great Lord and Master that sends all gospel ministers, and on whom they universally depend? Let this awful Providence bring us to look to Christ, to seek more of his presence with us; and that HE would preside as Head in our associations: Let it bring us to a more immediate and entire dependence upon him, for instruction and direction, in all our difficulties.
Let us on this occasion consider what God has done in this county of late years: It was not many years ago that the county was filled with aged ministers, that were our fathers: But our fathers, where are they? What a great alteration is made in a little time, in the churches in this part of the land! How frequent of late have been the warnings of this kind that God has given us to prepare to give up our account! Let us go to Jesus, and seek grace of him that we may be faithful while we live, and that he would assist us in our great work, that when we also are called hence, we may give up our account with joy and not with grief, and that hereafter we may meet those our fathers, that have gone before us in the faithful labours of the gospel, and that we may shine forth with them, as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever.
* Very worthy of our notice was that his farewell message, sent us by one of our beloved brethren (the Rev. Mr. Williams of Springfield) after he returned from such a Meeting, where he also preached. "I do not expect," said he, "to be with you another Association Meeting: But I give you this advice, Love your Master, love your work, and love one another." How very expressive of his own spirit! Like John the beloved disciple.
The Rev. Mr. Stoddard, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Williams of Deerfield, Mr. Brewer, and lately have died, Mr. Bull of Westfield, and Mr. Devotion of Suffield.
I CANNOT See why it should be thought more disagreeable to reason to suppose, that angels may have influence on matter so as to cause those alterations in it, which are beyond the established laws of matter, more than to suppose that our spirits should have such an influence. And I do not see why other spirits should not have influence on matter according to other laws; or why, if we suppose spirits have an influence on matter, that it must necessarily be according to the same established rules as our spirits. We find that from such motions of mind, there follows such an alteration in such and such matter, according to established rules; and those rules are entirely at the pleasure of him that establishes them. And why we should not think that God establishes other rules for other spirits, I cannot imagine. And if we should suggest, that according to established laws, angels do make alterations in the secret springs of bodies, and so of minds, that otherwise would not be, I cannot see why it should be accounted more of a miracle than that our souls can make alterations in the matter of our hands and feet, which otherwise would not be.
 Angels confirmed. The angels that stood are doubtless confirmed in holiness, and their allegiance to God; so that they never will sin, and they are out of every danger of it. But yet I believe God makes use of means to confirm them. They were confirmed by the sight of the terrible destruction that God brought upon the angels that fell. They see what a dreadful thing it is to rebel. They were further confirmed by the manifestation God had made of his displeasure against sin, by the eternal damnation of reprobates amongst men, and by the amazing discovery of his holy jealousy and justice in the sufferings of Christ. They are confirmed by finding by experience, their own happiness in standing and finding the mistake of the angels that fell, with respect to that which was their VOL. VIII
temptation, and by new and greater manifestations of the glory of God, which have been successively made in heaven, and by his dispensations towards the church, and above all, by the work of redemption by Jesus Christ. Eph. iii. 10. 1 Tim. iii. 16. 1 Peter i. 12. Vide No. 515.
Corol. Hence we learn that the angels were not concerned in the work of redemption by Jesus Christ.
So I believe the saints in heaven are made perfectly holy and impeccable, by means, viz: By the beatific vision of God in Christ in glory; by experiencing so much the happiness of holiness, its happy nature and issue; by seeing the wrath of God on wicked men, &c.
 The angels of heaven, though a superior order of being, and of a more exalted nature and faculties by far than men, are yet all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to them that shall be the heirs of salvation; and so in some respect are made inferior to the saints in honour. So likewise the angels of the churches, the ministers of the gospel that are of an higher order and office than other saints, yet they are by Christ's appointment, ministers and servants to others, and are least of all, as Matth. xx. 25, 26, 27. "Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant." Matth. xxiii. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters for one is your master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." And Mark ix. 35. "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all." It is as it is in the body natural, those parts that we account more noble and honourable are, as it were, ministers to the more inferior, to guard them, and serve them, as the apostle observes, 1 Cor. xii. 23, 24, "And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked." God's ways are all analogous, and his dispensations harmonize one with another. As it is between the saints that are of an inferior order of beings, and the angels which are of more exalted natures and degrees, and also between those Christians on earth that are of inferior