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Trial; provided that he still takes Care, that those evil Spirits be not suffered to tempt Men above what the human Nature is able to bear; and that there are sufficient Helps afforded, by which, if duly improved, they may be enabled to refift their Temptations. Now this is the Representation which is given us in the holy Scriptures. It is there plainly fignified, that those evil Spirits, however formidable in themselves, are all under the fovereign Control of the wife and almighty God and Father of Mankind, and cannot tempt or assault farther than for wise Ends he feeth fit to permit. We are there likewise affured, that he is ever ready to communicate his Holy Spirit, with his divine Influences and Aids, to assist and strengthen us; and that there are also Numbers of good Angels that minister to good Men, and who are equal or superior to the evil Angels in Power and Sagacity, and are as full of Love and beneficent Goodness, as the others are of Malice and Envy. And lastly, it is to be considered, that Satan can only tempt, or endeavour to seduce us to fin, but is not suffered to compel or neceffitate us; nor can he destroy us but by our own Confent. We are furnished with fufficient Means and Helps for repelling his Afsaults, if it be not our own
Fault. Hence we are exhorted to res hift the Devil, fedfast in the Faith. 1 Pet.
and are assured, that if we reft him, he will flee from us. James iv. 7.
It appears then, that there is nothing in the Doctrine of the holy Scriptures, on this Head, that is contrary to Reason, and inconsistent with the Conduct of a wife and good Providence. On the contrary, this Part of the divine Administrations answer eth many
valuable Ends, and the Confideration of it may be of no small Use to Mankind. It giveth us an enlarged View of the Divine Providence, as permitting evil Angels, as well as wicked Men, to act according to their Natures; and, at the same Time, over-ruling their Subtilty and Malice in a Subserviency to the wise Designs of his Government. It representeth the Christian Life in a noble Light, as an important Warfare, carried on not merely against Flesh and Blood, but against the Powers of Darkness, and lets us fee what great Need we have of exercising a constant Vigilance and Care over ourselves, and of applying to God for the Aids of his Spirit, which, in that Case, he is always ready to bestow. And, in the Issue, it will contribute very much to the Honour and Advantage of good Men, and will render their Reward more glorious, as well as mightily
heighten their Love and Gratitude to God, through whose gracious Affistances they were enabled to overcome such formidable Adversaries. What a glorious Scene will open, when in the great Day of final Retributions, they shall celebrate a joyful Triumph over the Devil and his Angels, who shall then receive the just Punishment bf their Crimes, and shall never have it in their Power to tempt or disturb God's faithful Servants any more.
These general Hints may suffice, with regard to the Administrations of Divine Providence towards good and evil Angels. So much is revealed to us concerning this
be of Use to our Conduct in this present State ; and this is all that is necessary for us now to know.
I shall conclude with a few Reflections.
And first, How awful and glorious is God the universal Sovereign, as extending his mighty Sway over all the angelic Orders, the most eminent and powerful of created Beings ! It would be too mean and narrow a Notion of the divine Dominion, to regard Men as the only or principal Subjects of his Empire. Thousands of Angels stand before him, and Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand minister unto him; compared with whom, the mightiest earthly Potentates, and all the Force of their
Matter as may
among the Ar
dreaded Armies, are mean and despicable Things. With what deep Veneration and Submission should we prostrate ourselves before his infinite Majesty, who doeth whatsoever he willeth, not only among the Inhabitants of the Earth, but among mies of Heaven, whom the Thrones and Dominions, the Principalities and Powers in heavenly Places, with the profoundest Reverence adore, and before whom the Devils themselves do tremble! How great must he be who giveth Laws to the vast World of Spirits, and governeth them in all their classes and Degrees, and according to their various Circumstances and Capacities ! And what inexcusable Folly and Presumption would it be in such Creatures as we are, that dwell in Houses of Clay, whose Foundation is in the Dust, to oppose ourselves to his rightful Authority, who hath all the Hosts of Angels under his Direction and Command !
Secondly, Since the holy Angels in their several Degrees are under the Dominion and Government of God, let us rejoice in them as our Fellow-servants, Subjects with us of the fame glorious Lord; we must not adore them, but join with them in adoring the great God and Father of all. Transported with a divine Ardor of Spirit, let us with the devout Psalmist call upon the
Angels, the most eminent part of the rational Creation, to bless the Lord, and endeavour to awaken in our Souls the holy Affections of Love, Joy, and Admiration, to the great Sovereign and Benefactor of the Universe. How should we exult to think that we are under his happy Government, to whom numberless Myriads of holy and glorious Spirits pay their glad united Homage. We should not only as far as we
are able join our Praises to theirs, and bear our Part in the glorious Confort, but should endeavour to imitate and resemble them more and more in their perfect Loyalty and Submission, and their chearful active Obedience to the divine Will. They readily apply themselves to whatever Services he puts them upon, and esteem it their Glory to be thus employed, even when sent to minister to us of the human Race, who are Creatures of an inferior Order. And shall we think it beneath us to minister to those of our own Blood, and who are partakers of the fame Nature with ourselves ? Like the blessed Angels, let us engage with Alacrity and Delight in whatsoever Services God requireth of us, endeavouring to do his Will on Earth, as it is done in Heaven. By such a Temper and Conduct we shall cultivate a Harmony with those glorious Spirits, and shall have them