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SERMON XV.

THE MINISTRY OF ANGELS PRACTICALLY

CONSIDERED.

[MICHAELMAS DAY.]

HEBREWS i. 14.

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

FOR this day, my brethren, our Church has appointed a festival, commemorative of the service rendered to God, and the benefits communicated to mankind, by the ministry of the holy angels.-Does any one feel inclined to question the fitness, or propriety of such appointment? -Let him consider that it is intended to call to mind a truth which without some

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such remembrance we should be in danger of forgetting altogether.-Even as it is with an especial day set apart in our calendar, and a particular service prepared in the book of prayer which we all receive and use-is it not a fact that very many professing Christians, are practically ignorant of the existence of these spiritual beings, and positively incredulous as to their agency?

We are all of us too much the creatures of sense, my brethren-are all too apt to disregard or disbelieve that of which the senses do not continually remind us.-And many a subject of noble and exalting contemplation do we pass over-many an opportunity of soaring for awhile beyond the confines of our present being do we cast from us, by the resolution we form of minding earthly things—and earthly things alone.-The living soul which was breathed into us, that we might be partakers of the divine image, we labour to paralyse, enslaving it more and more to the body, which was meant to be its minister, and carefully checking every up

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ward effort-every aspiration after those spiritual things which are congenial to its nature, and essential to its active existence. Every gratification which does not affect the carnal appetites, we dise relish every truth which cannot be demonstrated to the carnal senses, we distrust.-And such a truth is the active ministry under God of the holy angels a truth appreciable perhaps, we argue, by the contemplative and visionary devotee --but not intelligible to the man whose views are limited by the realities of every day life.

But if we come to examine the matter

are there in truth any grounds to question the existence, or the agency of these exalted beings? What is the conclusion to which reason would conduct us?—Investigate the details of the visible creation, my brethren-commence with the lowest order of created things, and proceed through the intermediate stages up to man-the highest--and you will perceive that the entire universe has been planned upon a system of the most

harmonious subordination.-There is no sudden transition from the small to the great from decided inferiority, to decided superiority-but throughout there is gradually progressive, though slowly developed improvement, from the simplest uncompounded substance (if such a thing exist) up to the loftiest combinations of mind with matter.-Even the great change from death to life is brought about without any sudden transition, for the prin ciple of vitality steals upon us almost unawares in the inferior vegetables, and thence continues to unfold new powers and capacities through each successive order.

Observe too, how the intervals between these several orders are filled up so as to preserve the chain unbroken.By way of connecting links, we find what may perhaps be termed sensitive matter -the animated vegetable-the reasoning brute-till at length we come to selfconscious man.-And can we suppose that at this point, the Almighty has made an abrupt change in his method of

proceeding?-that having hitherto created all things on a system of such strict subordination as to allow of no interval or interruption, he now stops at once, and leaves unoccupied the immense space, between imperfect man, and the infinite attributes of his own perfect nature?— Surely it is difficult to imagine this!

And we shall find it still more difficult, when we take another point into consideration." Wherever God has created any faculty or power, we always suppose that there is some suitable object created with it. The power would otherwise be given in vain. By the same kind of reasoning we infer that where an object is created, there must be some suitable powers which it was intended to gratify.-Now it is confessed on all hands, that there are countless objects of knowledge in God's creation-and those of the noblest and loftiest kind, which far exceed the powers of the human understanding.-It cannot be supposed that these have been created in vain. We must conclude, therefore, that there is a higher order of intelli

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