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who, as St. Peter faith, is gone into the Heavens, and is on the right Hand of God, Angels, and Authorities and Powers being made fubject to bim. This Account, I find the first Proteftants gave of it (who were far from looking upon this Festival as a Popish Inftitution) I mean, thofe who followed the Reformation of Luther. For Sebaftian Frofchelius hapning to write his Epistle Dedicatory before Melanthon's Commentaries on the Gospel of St. Matthew, upon this Day, concludes it in this manner; Dated at Wittenberg the 29th of September, on which the Church gives thanks to God the Creator of all, quod creavit caftos Angelos, &c. that he hath made the chafte and holy Angels, and would have them to be Miniftring Spirits, and take the Cuftody of the Church and all Peoples Minds, and to be depulfores obfcoenorum, &c, the drivers away of all obfcene, cruel and lying Spirits, who feek our Hurt and Damage.
And that is the Thing to which I would now ftir you up in a Belief of thefe Things, that there are Spirits good and bad, and that Almigh ty God is pleafed to appoint the one to do as much good, as the other feek to do us harm, humbly and gratefully to acknowledge his Goodnefs, and to render, not only now, but continually, the Sacrifice of Praife, giving thanks to his Name.
Let us praife him, that we are not perpetually haunted with evil Spirits; that our reft Night and Day is not difturbed by these invifible and vigilant Enemies, who envy our Quiet and ReHh 2
pofe; that he doth not fuffer them to trouble our Peace, and embitter all our Comforts and Contents to us; that our Houses are not peftered with these unruly Creatures; that our Sleep is not terrify'd with Dreams, and our Fancies molefted with the Apparitions of the Night; that he keeps our Eyes from Tears, and our Feet from falling; that we are not made like Job, and one Meffenger after another doth not come to bring us Tidings of the Mischiefs that these Maligners of our Happiness, fhould God permit them, would continually procure us.
Let us praife him, that he hath preserved us from fo many Dangers, that he hath carried us from our Infancy through an innumerable Company of Hazards to which we are exposed; that our Bones are not broken, that our Eyes are not put out; that our Habitations are not oftner on Fire, that our Children are not destroyed or bruifed, or fome way hurt or maimed by a numberless number of Things, which might in a trice make both them and us very miferable.
Yea, let us praife him for the Ministry of his Angels in all Ages of the World; that by their Miniftration he hath made fo many Declarations of his good Will to good Men of old; that he
hath fent them to give notice of the appearing L of our Saviour, and to fecure him in his Infancy from the fubtilty and flattering Malice of Herod; that he employed them to give notice of his Refurrection, and to affure his Difciples of his Afcenfion to Heaven, and that they so many ways preferved the holy Apoftles in their Work
of preaching the Gofpel, and carrying it all: over the World, notwithstanding the Oppofiti-t on of Men and Devils, out of whofe Hands they were refcued and faved, till they had finifhed their Course with Joy. Saint Paul faith, I was delivered out of the Mouth of the Lion, and the Lord fhall deliver me from every evil Work, (which Men, that is, contrive against me) and will preferve me to his heavenly Kingdom, 2 Tim. 4. 17.
And this feems to be the meaning of that remarkable Place, Rev. 14. 6. where St. John faith he faw another Angel fly in the midst of Heaven, having the everlasting Gofpel to preach unto them that dwell on the Earth, and to every Nation, and Kindred, and Tongue, and People, &c. He beheld, that is, the Divine Provi-. dence, taking care that every Corner of the World fhould be filled with the Sound of thofe glad Tidings which were at first published by our Saviour as the everlasting Will of God, and that by the Ministry of Angels, who were a Guard and Defence to the Apostles, (the prime Minifters of Chrift here on Earth,) and fuffered not their Enemies to kill them, till they had fulfilled their Miniftry; but delivered them out of Prisons, cut off their Enemies, caft out the old Serpent called the Devil and Satan, which deceived the Nations, making all the Church cry out when they faw his Downfal, and all his Angels caft out with him, Rev. 12. 10. Now is come Salvation and Strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the Power of his Chrift; for Hh 3
the accufer of our Brethren is caft down, &c. that is, the Apoftles by the help of Chrift and his Angels, rooted the Devil and all Idolatrous Worship; they brought the Kingdoms of the Earth in Obedience to our Lord, and confuted by their admirable Patience all the falfe Suggeftions and Accufations of the Devil and his Agents, as if they were the troublers of the World, and the difturbers of the Peace of Kings and Princes.
For when they could do our Lord no more Service by their Lives, then they fought for him by their meek and lamb-like Death, and overcame as much that way, as any other. So it follows ver. 11. And they overcame bim (i. e. the Devil) by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the Word of their Teftimony, and they loved not their Lives unto the Death; that is, as Chrift their Saviour fpoiled Principalities and Powers upon his Crofs, and never broke the Strength of the Devil more than when he dyed; even fo did his Servants afterward, who like the mighty_Samfon, deftroyed their Enemies by their Death, as much as they had done in the time of their Life.
And I must tell you for a Conclufion, that we Christians have the greater reason to thank God for this Ministry of holy Angels, because they are the chief and principal of those glorious Creatures, which he hath affigned to take Care of our Security. So much is here intimated in my Text, the whole Import of which I have not yet fully told you,
The Hebrews unanimoufly confent in this, that there are feveral Orders of Angels, fome much Superior to the other, (as I have already intimated), and the Scripture very much countenances that Notion, as well as common Reafon. They are called, you know, the Hoft of God, and we continually praife and, acknowledge him (in the Te Deum), as the most holy Lord God of Sabaoth, i. e. of Hofts: Two Sorts of which Hofts, and no more, are mentioned in the facred Books, the Sun, Moon, and Stars; and these more bright and glorious Creatures, the Angelical Minifters. Thefe are the Hofts of Heaven, and whereas both the Sun, and Moon, and Stars, and likewife these Celestial Spirits have been Worshipped as if they were Gods; we acknowledge that our God is the Lord of both thefe Sabaoth (fo the Hebrew Word is which we ftill retain) or Hofts, to whom alone we pay divine Worship and Ho
Now, as there are in the visible Hoft of Hea ven, a greater Light to rule the Day, and another (brighter than the Stars, though less than the Sun) to rule the Night, whence the Moon is called the Queen of Heaven, Jer. 44. 17. and the Sun is called by the Heathens Baal, the Lord or King of Heaven: So in these other invifible Hofts or Armies of God, there are some that are called Princes of the Hoft, and Captains of the Lords Hoft, as you heard before, Dan. 10. Josh. 5. They are all his Minifters, but fome of them are called the Angels of his Prefence, or as the Hebrews fpeak, of his Face. Now where the Hh 4 Hebrews