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We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in heavenly places."

1. IT has been frequently observed, that there are no gaps or chasms in the Creation of GoD, but that all the parts of it are admirably connected together, to make up one universal whole. Accordingly there is one chain of Beings, from the lowest to the highest point, from an unorganized particle of earth or water, to Michael the Archangel. And the scale of creatures does not advance per saltum, by leaps, but by smooth and gentle degrees; although it is true these are frequently imperceptible to our imperfect faculties. We cannot, accurately, trace many of the intermediate links of this amazing chain, which are abundantly too fine to be discerned either by our senses or understanding.

2. We can only observe, in a gross and general manner, rising one above another; first, in organical earth, then minerals and vegetables in their several orders; afterwards,

insects, reptiles, fishes, beasts, men, and angels. Of angels, indeed, we know nothing with any certainty but by Reve lation. The accounts which are left by the wisest of the ancients, or given by the modern heathens, being no better than silly, self-inconsistent fables, too gross to be imposed even upon children. But by divine Revelation we are informed, that they were all created holy and happy; yet they did not all continue as they were created: some kept, but some left their first estate. The former of these are now good angels, the latter, evil angels. Of the former, I have spoken in the preceding discourse; I purpose now to speak of the latter. And highly necessary it is, that we should well understand what God has revealed concerning them, that they may gain no advantage over us by our own ignorance, that we may know how to wrestle against them effectually. For "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in heavenly places."

3. This single passage seems to contain the whole scriptural doctrine concerning evil angels. I apprehend the plain meaning of it, literally translated, is this, Our wrestling-The wrestling of real Christians, is not-only, or chiefly against flesh and blood-weak men, or fleshly appe 'tites and passions, but against principalities, against powers, -the mighty princes of all the infernal regions, with their combined forces: and great is their power, as is also the power of the legions they command-against the rulers of the world; (this is the literal meaning of the word.) Perhaps these principalities and powers remain chiefly in the citadel of their kingdom. But there are other evil spirits that range abroad, to whom the provinces of the world are committed;-Of the darkness-chiefly the spiritual darkness-of this age-which prevails during the present state of things, against wicked spirits-eminently such, who mortally hate, and continually oppose holiness, and labour to infuse unbelief, pride, evil desire, malice, anger, hatred,

envy, or revenge;-in heavenly places, which were once their abode, and which they still aspire after.

In prosecuting this important subject, I will endeavour to explain,

I. The Nature and Properties of Evil Angels: And, II. Their Employment.

I. 1. With regard to the first, we cannot doubt, but all the angels of God were originally of the same nature. Unquestionably they were the highest order of created beings. They were spirits, pure, ethereal creatures, simple and incorruptible; if not wholly immaterial, yet certainly, not incumbered with gross, earthly flesh and blood. As spirits, they were endued with understanding, with affections, and with liberty, or a power of self-determination: so that it lay in themselves, either to continue in their allegiance to God, or to rebel against him.

2. And their original properties were, doubtless, the same with those of the holy angels. There is no absurdity in supposing Satan, their chief, otherwise stiled, "Lucifer, Son of the Morning," to have been, at least, " one of the first, if not the first Archangel." Like the other sons of the morning, they had a height and depth of understanding quite incomprehensible to us. In consequence of this, they had such knowledge and wisdom, that the wisest of the children of men, (had men then existed,) would have been mere ideots in comparison of them. Their strength was equal to their knowledge, such as it cannot enter into our heart to conceive; neither can we conceive to how wide a sphere of action, either their strength or their knowledge extended. Their number God alone can tell: doubtless it was only less than infinite. And a third part of these stars of heaven the arch-rebel drew after him.

3. We do not exactly know, (because it is not revealed in the Oracles of God,) either what was the occasion of their apostasy, or what effect it immediately produced upon them. Some have, not improbably, supposed, that when

God published the decree, (mentioned Psalm ii. 6, 7,) còncerning the kingdom of his only begotten Son, to be over all creatures: these first-born of creatures gave place to pride, comparing themselves to him; (possibly intimated by the very name of Satan, Lucifer, or Michael, which means, Who is like God!) It may be, Satan then first giving way to temptation, said in his heart, "I too will have my throne. ! I will sit upon the sides of the North! I will be like the Most High.'" But how did the mighty then fall! What an amazing loss did they sustain! If we allow of them all, what our Poet supposes concerning their chief in parti, cular,

"His form had not yet lost

All its original brightness, nor appear'd

Less than Archangel ruin'd, and the excess
Of glory obscur'd:"

If we suppose their outward form was not entirely changed, (though it must have been in a great degree: because the evil disposition of the mind must dim the lustre of the visage,) yet what an astonishing change was wrought within, when angels became devils! when the holiest of all the creatures of God became the most unholy!

4. From the time that they shook off their allegiance to God, they shook off all goodness, and contracted all those tempers which are most hateful to him, and most opposite to his nature. And ever since they are full of pride, arrogance, haughtiness, exalting themselves above measure: and although so deeply depraved through their inmost frame, yet admiring their own perfections. They are full of envy, if not against God himself; (and even that is not impossible, seeing they formerly aspired after his throne ;) yet against all their fellow-creatures: against the angels of God, who now enjoy the heaven from which they fell: and much more against those worms of the earth, who are now called to "inherit the kingdom." They are full of cruelty, of rage against all the children of men, whom they long to inspire with the same wickedness with themselves, and to involve in the same misery.

5. In the prosecution of this infernal design, they are diligent in the highest degree. To find out the most effectual means of putting it into execution, they apply, to this end, the whole force of their angelical understanding. And they second it with their whole strength, so far as God is pleased to permit. But it is well for mankind, that God hath set them their bounds which they cannot pass. He hath said to the fiercest and strongest of the apostate spirits, “Hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther." Otherwise how easily and how quickly might one of them overturn the whole frame of nature! How soon would they involve all in one common ruin, or, at least, destroy man from the face of the earth! And they are indefatigable in their bad work they never are faint or weary. Indeed it seems, no spirits are capable of weariness but those that inhabit flesh and blood.


6. One circumstance more we may learn from the Scripture concerning the evil angels. They do not wander at large, but are all united under one common head. It is he that is stiled by our blessed Lord, "The prince of this world:" yea, the Apostle does not scruple to call him, "The god of this world." He is frequently stiled Satan, the adversary; being the great adversary both of God and He is termed," The devil ;"-by way of eminence, "Apollyon," or the destroyer;-" The Old Serpent," from his beguiling Eve under that form; and-"The angel of the bottomless pit." We have reason to believe that the other evil angels are under his command; that they are ranged by him according to their several orders, that they are appointed to their several stations, and have, from time to time, their several works and offices assigned them. And, undoubtedly, they are connected, (though we know not how; certainly not by love,) both to him and to each other.

II. But what is the employment of evil angels? This is the second point to be considered.

1. They are (remember! so far as God permits) xoμnpaτopes, "Governors of the world!" So that there may be


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