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also, however general and imperfect, may be as positive likewise as many notions that we are obliged to put up with-to those who will take the same candidly, according to its evidence. For deep is our interest in the subject of this existence, and highly encouraging any little information accordingly that we may receive thereon.
-2, With regard to the Distinction between Angels and Spirits as well as of this superior class generally, or what is called in Scripture," the discerning of spirits" (Cor. I. xii. 10); it is a gift that will never be frivolous in itself as long as it is accompanied with the necessary data. Brutes would find it very convenient, to be able to discriminate with more than their usual accuracy among our species, though they be not so deficient in this respect as some may imagine; and have not we as much reason, to desire a better acquaintance with the powers above? which being admitted, what should now hinder us from setting aside all prejudice on the question of such beings either way, and applying the light of reason as well as of Revelation to this heavenly branch of science,-pursuing it by the way of cool experiment, as the material sciences generally, and some spiritual or more spiritual than material sciences as to their subject-matter, have been successfully pursued. For as other objects are liable either to be scanned at a distance, or visited more nearly, and even possessed by angels or spirits of whatever nature, quality or degree, so have these likewise their liabilities on the other hand-their counter-liabilities, but without any subjection, among intellectuals of a grosser constitution, like man, for example. And of this liability their present consideration by some of that grosser sort may be regarded as one instance.
At any rate we may here understand by SPIRITS the same intellectual beings as we understand by ANGELS, only in a different form or relation: except we would rather understand them as angels unformed, that is, divested of their proper form or exterior; we may call it Person, if we will: as the same expression is used to signify men un
formed or unhoused; men stripped of their earthly tabernacle, and sent elsewhere, to pass the interval between the separation of their mode and essence and their final reunion: it being as possible for spirits of that sort to be aerated, unfixed, or made again" without form and void,”as for spirits of this by the Author of both. And not only so: but as He maketh his angels first and then maketh his angels spirits, taking away their definite mode of existence in this respect; so, going still farther, "he maketh his ministers a flaming fire" (Ps. civ. 4). So he maketh himself an angel too, as it may be, first; that angel, a spirit; that spirit, a man-to crown the race with glory and worship, by identifying himself therewith, as he says, "I and my Father are one." The same ethereal person, therefore, may either have his proper form, or have some other, or none-in space; melting into "thin air" or into somewhat thinner, as mere spirit, without any affection of his identity by these alterations and circumstances: just as a human person is considered to be essentially the same before death and after; 66 whether in the body or out of the body " (Cor. II. xii. 2), as St. Paul says; and whether in being or only in reputation, as it might also be said. But only in one case, which we shall notice presently, will it be worth while to observe this distinction, if indeed it be possible between ANGEL and SPIRIT.
3, We may think it would afford some satisfaction, if we could only know which way to look that we might know where to find one of either kind and have a chance of seeing him; as Job thought of their Author, the Author of their existence, "Oh, that I knew where I might find Him! that I might come even to his seat!" (Job xxiii. 3.) But the residence of good angels, as well as of evil, has been already defined to be rather a condition than a local habitation; which may here save us the trouble of that inquiry. If however such an incidental as Place or Habitation could be ascribed to them, one should think none too good for those blessed spirits which are commissioned by the High
est on purpose for our protection and improvement: the highest place that we can ascribe to them is the councilboard in our hearts and affections; and there they should have it, if they had their due. Or however, if such characters as they deserve not such a place, it will be hard to find any of our own species that do. A certain degree of esteem and confidence is due to earthly rulers, watching for our welfare: and how much more to the heavenly. "For, they (also) are God's ministers attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues" (Rom. xiii. 6, 7). We certainly owe a debt of gratitude to our heavenly benefactors; of which
4, The Power and Dominion growing partly out of that confidence may be mentioned for one item; a power and dominion over us as due to our guardian angels in Heaven at least, as to any mortals upon earth; also upon the same consideration, and with the same limitation, namely, in consideration of the advantages we derive from them, being subject also in their turn to the Word of God: which is above all principalities and powers, and to the Holy Ghost by which these samples of spirit are equally sanctified with the crumbs of mortality. So that it is in fact to the Word chiefly as far as its authority can be felt and acknowledged with the Father and the Holy Ghost, that we submit our inward direction in addicting ourselves to any particular spirits in their train or service, of which some will be mentioned* for a specimen, being members themselves of that holy communion, or as we may say, a part of the divine presence in multiplicity.
Now there are two ways of self-addiction; in word and in deed: but it is in the latter part chiefly, known by the name of Cooperation, that the angelic power and dominion of which we are thinking consists. And this is a part so natural and necessary that it seems to be recognized even in the language of the vulgar; no expressions being more common for example, than to say that such a thing was * In Kingdom Sermons, or Sermons on the Accidents of the Kingdom.
written, said or done WITH SPIRIT; meaning with the spirit most proper to such a work, whether written, said, or done. Which also amounts to the scriptural expression of things happening in, by, through or with the Spirit; meaning, if they should be worthy of him, that Supreme, fontanous Spirit above mentioned, "of whom, and through whom, and to whom are all things" (Rom. xi. 36). And very often in relation to a man's conduct on some particular occasion, he is said also to have acted throughout with a particular spirit; as with an heroic, becoming, magnanimous, for example; or with a dastardly, mean, pusillanimous, as it may happen.
It makes nothing against the evidence of such expressions, if they are now most frequently employed by persons who never dream of cooperating with pure ethereals, nor perchance of any such beings. For if the aforesaid expressions have no meaning with these persons, they must have had some formerly with those by whom they were introduced into the vernacular idiom, and may therefore be regarded as evidence of a prevailing belief at some period in the cooperation which there really is between intellectual spirits of different natures or spheres,-as of the pure and the mixed, or the ethereal and the material, for example.
The addicting of ourselves and our abilities; or, as it might otherwise be said, the bestowing of our private confidence on the divine Principle that we choose from conviction, or the adopting of that Principle as God with us, or as our immediate God, our head, our primum mobile, and the director of our lives; making ourselves his, and him ours; namely ourselves as it were his body, and him as it were our soul,—was once our highest privilege, and may be still, if we choose to exercise our natural franchise, which has been so generously and beneficially recovered for us by that same principle in the Triune Authority just mentioned. For when the human republic was originally founded in Adam, its Almighty Founder and Creator did
not, as many human founders would do, compel the subject to bear allegiance to himself; but gave him a royal franchise, or right to choose his sovereign, and a sound discretion to direct him in the exercise of such franchise or choice: he might either addict himself to his Creator and Benefactor and adopt his authority, or he might adopt and addict himself to an opposite spirit; being able to judge, and free to choose between them, the effect of this judgment or choice being also more important to its subject than to its object, to the payer than to the receiver, if we may so call it, as intimated by St. John above, and also by St. Paul in his epistle to the Romans. "Know ye not, (says he) that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Rom. vi. 16). For whatever master or spirit a man addicts himself to in deed, of that spirit or master he is that is his proprietor, and he is his slave as long as he addicts himself thereto : and if a man dies virtually addicted to the good spirit or to an evil one, he is that spirit's for ever as it may happen, and will follow the fate of that spirit for ever. Hence the propriety of cultivating a good spirit: hence the Psalmist's petition, "Make me a clean heart, O God; and renew A RIGHT SPIRIT within me" (Ps. li. 10): hence the petition, "Thy Kingdom come" (Matt. vi. 10); being itself a plain acknowledgment of our voluntary subjection to the Supreme Being, that will include a corresponding authority in his angels and other ministers directly serving him. Consequently we need not look any further for instances or precedents of this valued incidental power and dominion, especially over ourselves, as a part of the endowment of the said angels and spirits.
5, If the last mentioned property is generally esteemed a good incidental, and may be such to those who make a good use of it, what we are now to consider, would also, if rightly ascribed, be no injury either to its subject or object, namely, either to the payer or the receiver, being that sort