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angels and saints (as far as they are capable of enduring his glory), and will unfold himself still more fully to their view at the end of the world, 1 Cor. xiii. 12. John xiv. 2, 3. in my father's house are many mansions.' Heb. xi. 10, 16. he looked for a city which hath foundations....they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly....for he hath prepared for them a city.'
It is generally supposed that the angels were created at the same time with the visible universe, and that they are to be considered as comprehended under the general name of heavens. That the angels were created at some particular period, we have the testimony of Numb. xvi. 22. and xxvii. 16. God of the spirits,' Heb. i. 7. Col. j. 16. by him were all things created....visible and invisible, whether they be thrones,' &c.* But that they were created on the first, or on any one of the six days, seems to be asserted (like most received opinions) with more confidence than reason, chiefly on the authority of the repetition in Gen. ii. 1. thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them,'-unless we are to suppose that more was meant to be implied in the concluding summary than in the previous parration itself, and that the angels are to be considered as the host who inhabit the visible heavens. For what is said Job xxxviii. 7. that they shouted for joy before God at the creation, proves rather that they were then already in existence, than that they were then first created. Many at least of the Greek, and some of the Latin Fathers, are of opinion that angels, as being spirits, must have existed long before the material world ;* and it seems even probable, that the apostasy which caused the expulsion of so many thousands from heaven, took place before the foundations of this world were laid. Certainly there is no sufficient foundation for the common opinion, that motion and time (which is the measure of motion) could not, according to the ratio of priority and sub
* The opinion that angels were not created, but self-existent, is with great propriety attributed to Satan in Paradise Lost.
That we were form’d then say'st thou ? and the work
Of this our native Heav'n, ethereal sons. V. 833. lo another place Satan proposes the question as doubtful;
Whether such virtue spent of old now fail'd
* Plures e patribus Christianis angelos extitisse ante terram, vel ante mundum Mosaicum, per ignota nobis sæcula, statuerunt; aliqui eliam cælos supremos, vel cælum empyreum. Sed de angelisconstantior est et a pluribus celebrata sententia. Ut mittam Origenem, hoc Sanctus Basilius in Hexaëmero, Chrysostomus προς τους σκανδαλισθέντας, c. 7. πολλά ταύτης της κτίσεως πρεσCúrspos, &c. Gregorius Nazianzenus Orat. 38. et alibi, Johannes Damascenus 1. ii. Orth. Fid. c. 3. Joh. Philoponus De Creatione Mundi, 1. i. c. 10. Olympiodorus in Job xxxviji. aliique e Græcis docuere. E Latinis etiam non pauci cidem sententiæ adhæserunt. Hilarius, l. xii. De Trinitate ; Hieronymus, Ambrosius in Heraëmero, I. i. c. 5. Isidorus Hispalensis, Beda, aliique.' T. Burnet. Archæol. Philos. I. ii. C. 8. It is observable that Milton had indirectly declared himself to have believed in the pre. existence of angels in the Paradise Lost, where he represents Uriel to have been present at the creation of the visible world, and puts into his mouth the beautiful description quoted in a preceding page, I saw vben at his word the formless mass,' &c.
sequence, have existed before this world was made ; since Aristotle, who teaches that no ideas of motion and time can be formed except in reference to this world, nevertheless pronounces the world itself to be eternal. *
Angels are spirits, Matt. viii. 16. and xii. 45. inasmuch as the legion of devils is represented as having taken possession of one man, Luke viii. 30. Heb. i. 14. ministering spirits.' They are of ethereal nature,f 1 Kings xxii. 21. Psal. civ. 4. compared with Matt. viii. 31. Heb. i. 7. as lightning,' Luke x. 18. whence also they are called Seraphim. Immortal, Luke xx. 36. neither can they die any more.' Excellent in wisdom ; 2 Sam. xiv. 20. Most powerful in strength; Psal. ciii. 20. 2 Pet. ii. 11. 2 Kings xix. 35. 2 Thess. i. 7. Endued with the greatest swiftness, which is figuratively denoted by the attribute of wings ;Ezek. i. 6. In number almost infinite ; Deut. xxxiii. 2. Job xxv. 3. Dan. vii. 10. Matt. xxvi. 53. Heb. xii. 22. Rev. v. 11, 12. Created in perfect holiness and righteousness; Luke ix. 26. John viii. 44. 2 Cor. xi. 14, 15. angels of light....ministers of righteousness.' Matt. vi. 10. “thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.' xxv. 31. "holy angels. Hence they are also called sons of God,* Job i. 6. and xxxviji. 7. Dan. iii. 25. compared with v. 28. and even Gods, Psal. viii. 5. xcvii. 7. But they are not to be compared with God; Job iv. 18. • his angels he charged with folly.' xv. 15. the heavens are not clean in his sight.' xxv. 5. '
* See Aristot. Natural. Auscult. lib. viii. cap. 1. In reference to this Milton says elsewhere:
.... Time, though in eternity, applied To motion, measures all things durable
By present, past, and future. Paradise Lost, V. 580. f Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit,
Improv'd by tract of time, and wing’d ascend
Ethereal as we. Paradise Lost, V. 499.
.... th' ethereal substance clos'd,
yea, the stars are not pure in his sight.' Isai. vi. 2. " with two wings he covered his face.'t They are distinguished one from another by offices and degrees ; I Matt. xxv. 41. Rom. viii. 38. Col. i. 16. Eph. i. 21. and ïï. 10. 1 Pet. iii. 22. Rev. xii. 7. Cherubim, Gen. iii. 24. Seraphim, Isai. vi. 2. and by proper names; Dan. viii. 16. ix. 21. x. 13. Luke i. 19. Michael, Jude 9. Rev. xii. 7. 1 Thess. iv. 16.
with the voice of the Archangel.' Josh. v. 14. See more on this subject in the ninth chapter. To push our speculations further on this subject, is to incur the apostle's reprehension, Col. ii. 18. intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.'
* I came among the sons of God, when he
Paradise Regained, I. 368.
Yet dazzle heav'n, that brightest Seraphim
Paradise Lost, III. 380. 1 Yea the angels themselves, in whom no disorder is feared, as the apostle that saw them in his rapture describes, are distinguished and quaternioned into their celestial princedoms and satrapies, according as God himself has writ his imperial decrees through the great provinces of heaven.' Reason of Church Government, &c. Prose Works, I. 81.
The visible creation comprises the material universe, and all that is contained therein ; and more especially the human race.
The creation of the world in general, and of its individual parts, is related Gen. i. It is also described Job xxvi. 7, &c. and xxxviii. and in various passages of the Psalms and Prophets. Psal. xxxiii. 6—9. civ. cxlviii. 5. Prov. viii. 26, &c. Amos iv. 13. 2 Pet. iii. 5. Previously, however, to the creation of man, as if to intimate the superior importance of the work, the Deity speaks like a man deliberating :* Gen. i. 26. • God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness.' So that it was not the body alone that was then made, but the soul of man also in which our likeness to God principally consists); which precludes us from attributing preexistence to the soul which was then formed, -a groundless notion sometimes entertained, but refuted by Gen. ii. 7. God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; thus man became a living soul.' Job xxxii. 8. • there is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.' Nor did God merely breathe that spirit into man,t but moulded it in each individual, and infused it throughout, enduing and enubellishing it with its proper
faculties. Zech. xii. 1. he formeth the spirit of man within him.'
We may understand from other passages of Scripture, that when God infused the breath of life into
** Il is not good. God here presents himself like to a man deliberating; both to show us that the matter is of high consequence,' &c. Tetrachordon. Prose Works, II. 127.
† Lest that pure breath of life, the spirit of man
Which God inspird, Paradise Lost, X. 784. VOL. 1.