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ISAIAH, VI. 3. ---And one cried unto another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts ; the whole earth is full of his glory.
The death of a great and good ruler is cften ominous and forbodes great public calamities. The death of Uzziah, king of Judah, seems to be represented in this light. He had reigned fifty and two years ; and had done much to promote the glory of God and the good of his subjects. But they were unthankful for this rich and extensive blessing ; and God determined 1o punish them for their ingratitude under the smiles of his providence. Just before, or just after the king died, he sent his prophet, Isaiah, to admonish them of the danger, to which they were exposed. And to prepare him to deliver this solemn message to his people, lie favoured him with a clear and lively vision of heay.. en and of its holy inhabitants. This vision he relates, , before he predicts the tokens of the divine displeasure. The representation of what he saw is extremely sol
"In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up ; and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims, each one had six wings ; with twain he covered his face ; and with twain he covered his feet; and with trvaia he did fly.” And one cried to another and said, Hly, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts ; the whole earth is full of his glory. Some have supposed and perhaps justly, that the heavenly host meant, by thrice saying holy, holy, holy, to pay distinct homage to each of the divine Persons in the sacred Trinity, who are
all concerned in the dispensations of providence.--But however this may be, it is certain from the language of these holy beings, that they delightfully contemplate the glory of God; and especially in this world, where it is most clearly displayed. Hence there is reason to conclude,
That the angels of heaven have always discovered more of the glory of God in this world, than in any part of the universe, I shall,
I. Show that the angels of heaven have always been well acquainted with this world ; And,
II. Show that they have always discovered more of the glory of God here, than any where else.
I. Let us consider, that the angels of heaven have always been well acquainted with this world. know about these invisible spirits, we derive from divine Revelation. The Bible assures us, that they are the first, the greatest and the best of created beings. God created them before he created this lower world. He endued them with superior power, wisdom and goodness. He has, from the beginning, preserved them in holiness and happiness and given them great opportunities of surveying and exploring all parts of his vast dominions. And there is reason to conclude, that they have made constant and rapid advances in intellectual and moral excellence ever since their creation. Though these noble and exalted spirits have always been invisible to mankind, except on particular occasions ; yet we have abundant evidence from scripture, that they have always been acquainted with the objects and events of this world. When God laid the foundation of the earth, they sang together and shouted for joy. And from that day to this, they have been more or less concerned in executing the purposes of God respecting mankind. It has always been their proper business to serve the Church of God in this world. We are expressly told that “ they are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister unto them, who shall be heirs of salvation.” we are not to suppose, however, that they are all here at the same time ; but
only that certain numbers come and go according to the divine directions. And this seems to be more than intimated in the vision of Jacob's ladder. He dream
" ed, and behold, a ladder set upon the earth and the top. of it reached to heaven : and behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it.”
This representation naturally leads us to suppose, that many, if not all the angels of heaven, have actually been in this world, at different times and on different occasions; and that there is no time, when they are all absent from this place of their destination. It is natural to conjecture, that many of them continually reside here, while others are alternately employed on great and extraordinary occasions. We find several instances of this mentioned in the scripture. There were innumerable angels present, when God gave the law at Mount Sinai. To this great occasion the psalmist refers, when he says, “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels : the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.” The great and interesting event of the birth of Christ called together a vast collection of the heavenly hosts. The evangelist tells us, that when Christ was born, “ There were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angels of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them : and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord.--And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will to men." We read that an angel destroyed more than one hundred and fourscore thousand men in one night, in the camp of the Assyrians. We read that an angel appeared with a drawn sword over Jerusalem to destroy it. Christ told those, who came to apprehend him, that he could command more than twelve legions of angels to rescue him. God sent an angel to strengthen him in the garden ; and he sent another to roll away the stone from his sepulchre at his resurrection, An angel also was sent to awake Peter in prison and release him from his confinement. But it is needless to multiply instances of this kind.
It clearly appears from scripture, that the angels of heaven have always been conversant in this world ; and of course have al. ways had peculiar opportunities of being thoroughly acquainted with the conduct of God towards mankind and with their conduct towards God and towards one another. They have been acquainted, not only with individuals, but with all the nations and kingdoms of the earth, from the creation of the world to the present day. They have traced the connections between causes and effects and between events and events; & they know a vast many links in the chain of divine proridence. They know ten thousand times more about this world, than any, or all the men, who have lived in it. These messengers of divine love and of divine vengeance have maintained a constant communication between heaven and earth and felt themselves deeply interested, in all the natural and moral good and in all the natural and moral evil, which have fallen to the lot of mankind in all ages. They have rejoiced and mourned, in the view of the great, complicated and solemn scenes, which have taken place in this important part of the intelligent creation. And there. fore,
11. They have discovered more of the glory of God in this world, than in any other part of the universe. It may be presumed, that they have explored the whole circle of creation, which, though widely extended, is certainly limited and capable of being surveyed by finite beings. They have always been friendly to God and taken peculiar pleasure in contemplating the displays of his glory. They have always possessed great intellectual powers and capacities, which have enabled them to receive, retain and digest the most extensive, noble and sublime ideas of their Maker and his works. And be
ing spirits, unincumbered by such gross bodies as we have, they have always been capable of passing from world to world and from one part of the universe to another, with inconceivable ease and rapidity. We know of nothing 10 prevent their taking the circuit of creation and examining all the creatures and works of God, in every part of the universe. And they themselves seem to suggest this idea of their being thoroughly acquaivted with all the works of God, when they devoutly celebrate the displays of his glory in this lower world. They say, “ Holy, holy, holy is the Lord
, of hosts ;” That is, the Lord of the whole vast numbers of created beings, in every part of his extensive dominions. They add, “ the whole earth is full of his glory.” By this, they intimate, that after surveying heaven and hell and the whole empire of God, they discover greater displays of his glory in this world, than in any other. And supposing they have, for ages and ages, traversed the whole universe, with a desire and design to discover the glory of the great Creator, there is good reason to believe, that they have actually seen and learnt more of God in this world, than in any other part of creation. For this has been the great theatre of action to all intelligent beings. Heaven has been a place of rest and never been disturbed but once, or by one revolution, that is by the apostacy of Lucifer and his legions. Hell has been a place of suffering, where no new revolution has ever happened. But this world has always been full of changes and revolutions of the most important and interesting nature, brought about by the agency of God, of angels and of men, who have exhibited their characters, by the various parts they have performed upon the great stage of action. But whatever has been done in this world may be ultimately ascribed to God, who has employed all his intelligent creatures as instruments to carry into effect his own original purposes and designs. And no doubt the angels have viewed themselves and all other nicral agents, who have been acting their parts on earth, as mere instruments of fulfiling the eternal