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Now to him that bath loved me, and dearly bought me by his Sons most pretious Blood, and given me the Comfort of the Holy Ghost, and the Promise of Immortality, and disposed my Mind to these holy Thoughts, and filled me with these pious Desires, and given me a Will to submit unto him, and made me feel how happy it is, to love him, and to be led by him, and given me joyful Hope of abiding for ever in his Love; be everlasting Praise and Thanksgiving rendred, from a most grateful Heart, by me and by every Creature in Heaven and Earth. Ainen.
MATTH. XVIII. 10. ---For 1 say unto you, that in Heaven their
Angels do always behold the Face of my Fa. ther whiih is in Heaven..
SANE HAT there are Angels, I mean a
kind of Spiritual Beings, much superiour to us, tho' invisible by us, is here supposed in my Text. But
it is a Truth that hath been acknow. ledged by all Nations and all Ages of the World, and afferted likewise by very substantial Arguments against the Epicureans, and such like gross and drowsy People.
The common Sort of Philosophers proved it by such Evidences as these.
First, Frorn Speɛtres and Apparitions, of which all Histories, in all Time, are very full. Secondly, From their Oracles, and the Anfwers of their Gods (as they called them) which could not be performed by any Art or Device of Men. Thirdly, From Magick, and all the Wonders that were performed by certain Persons, whom they could not but conclude to be familiar with fome Spirits or Dæmons; because it lay not within the Compass of Man's Wit to produce such Effects, as their Eyes plainly beheld. And Lastly, From Prodigies and portentous Appearances, sometimes in the Air, sometimes in the Earth and the Sea, which were wont, they say, to precede great Wars, and the overthrow of Empires, and other such notable Mutations in the World.
Now that which the Vulgar concluded thus from Observations of Sense, the more refined and speculativeWits concluded from Principles of Reason, the chief of which was this, That otherwise there would be a great Gap, a vast wide Breach, in the Universe, if there were no Beings at all between us mortal Men, and the most high God, the blessed Creator of all; they observed, that from the lowest Degree of being here upon this Earth, (which is but a little Mite of the great World) there is a gradual Ascent unto us Men; from inanimate Creatures (or Things without Life) unto Plants; and from Plants unto Animals (or sensitive Beings; and from them unto us who
are rational: And that in all these Kinds of Creatures, there are also several Degrees, or Steps, whereby Nature rises to the Top of that kind, which hath fome Resemblance of the next fort of Beings above them. For some Brutes are more sensible and apprehensive than others, and some Plants more beautiful, and approaching also nearer to Sense; and of things without Life, fome are far more splendid and amazing than their Neighbours. It was incredible therefore they thought, that above Man there should be no Degrees of Being, of several Sorts also, till we come to God himself: They conceived the Air, and the Sky, all those vast Tracts of Space, which we behold and imagine, not to be empty Wildernesses and barren Desarts, but as fully replenished and peopled with Spirits and invisible Creatures, as this Earth is with Men and other Bodies. And that it was as absurd to think there should be no Creatures between God and us, as that there should be none between us and Stones. This Argument, together with those from Sense, they took to be no less than a Demonstration.
To which if you add the more full Confirmation, which the Revelation of God unto the Jews, and unto us Christians, hath given us of this Point, there being several Appearances of Angels to the Fathers, and unto Moses, and still more illustrious, to our Saviour Christ and his Apostles, who have verified it abundantly to us, I do not see how we can doubt of this Truth, unless we will disbelieve all History, nay, our Reason, and the very Senses of Mankind.
This being then agreed upon by all People, whês ther mere Heathens, or Jews, or Christians, or Mahometans; you must know that there is also as general a Consent, that these Angels or spiritual Creatures, are the Ministers of the most high God; they are represented to us, even in the holy Scriptures, as part of the celestial Court, that are employed by God, the Sovereign of the World, as he pleases. And so much the Word Ayleneig Angels, imports Messengers fent by him upon fuch Errands to this world, as he thinks good to grant Commission to them, and order thein to
I find also, that there is as universal a Belief, that there are several Ranks and Orders of them, (as there are of other kinds of Beings) and that they are not all of one Quality and Dignity, but some much superior to others, who are, as it were, the Commanders of the rest of that hezvenly Hoft. This fome think is expressed in the Language of holy Writ, by Thrones, and Dominions, and Principalities, and Powers. Howfoever, I shall have occasion to illustrate the Truth of the Thing, before I have done, for the full Explication of iny
Text. And, Lastly, that I may no longer hold you in this Preface, I find it the constant Opinion of the World, that these Angels are assigned to several Offices, and preside even over all Creatures here below. There being some who are not only poees mops gvôv, as Mofes speaks, the Guardians of the several Nations, of the World, but it roo perwv 50:ztwvg Conservators and Keepers of