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we know they are appointed by God? No; not that neither. For he presently adds, that " we must not "dare to pray unto any but God alone, because he " alone is all-sufficient for us, through our Saviour "his Son; and because our piety towards God, and "our faith in his Son, is of itself sufficient to make "the holy angels propitious to us, and to do all good "offices for us," without our praying to them.

These places of Origen are so very express against all manner of veneration to the holy angels, that exceeds the thinking and speaking honourably of them, and revering their presence in our behaviour and conversation, that I cannot but wonder what should move the learned annotator f on him, to go about to shew, that Origen notwithstanding prayed to his guardian angel. For proof whereof, he cites a place out of the first Homily of Origen, upon Ezekiel, where are these words, Veni angele, suscipe sermone conversum ab errore pristino, &c. i. e. “Come angel, take the convert into thy custody," &c. But that this is a gross mistake, will appear to any man that shall carefully consult the place: for Origen there (if it be Origen and not his translator) directs his discourse to a convert to Christianity, coming to baptism, or newly baptized: "Thou wert "yesterday under the power of a devil, to-day thou "art in the custody of an angel." And having cited some texts of Scripture to prove the ministry of angels over the faithful, by a rhetorical figure he introduceth the angels thus speaking among themselves, Eia, omnes angeli descendamus e cœlo, &c.

f Vid. Spenceri Notas ad lib. V. cont. Celsum, p. 233. lin. 33. g Tu heri sub dæmonio eras, hodie sub angelo. [§. 7. vol. III. p. 358.]

"Come, let us angels all descend from heaven," to visit the sons of men, as the Son of God himself hath done. Then presently, continuing his rhetorical scheme, he adds, Veni angele, "Come angel, take "the convert into thy custody." So that it is very manifest, Origen doth not there pray to his own guardian angel, but only in a strain of rhetoric invites the angel of the new convert to Christianity, to receive him into his care and protection.

A like mistake Grotius is guilty of h, who would persuade us that Origen, notwithstanding those plain declarations of his mind, was not against all religious worship and invocation of angels, because he in another place tells Celsus, that it is perhaps lawful bepaπeúen to worship the good angels, provided the word worshipping be understood in a purged and sound sense. But what is that refined sense of the word, wherein he allows the angels to be worshipped? He partly tells us afterward, in the same book, in the place already cited, viz. as the word may signify εὐφημεῖν καὶ μακαρίζειν, "to think and "speak honourably of them, and to proclaim them "blessed." Add hereunto, (what Origen also in many other places observes,) that "we are in all our "actions, especially our religious actions, to revere "the presence of those holy inspectors over us, and "to take care we do nothing that may offend and displease them," as hereafter shall be more fully shewn.


But as to the invocation of angels, to pray for us

h Grot. in Explicat. Decalogi ad Præcept. primum.
Orig. cont. Cels. VIII. p. 386. [§. 13. p. 751.]
* P. 416. [p. 785.]

or help us, he every where universally rejects it, as neither pleasing to God nor the good angels themselves, nor agreeable to the practice of the church in his time.

One would think indeed, that there were no more hurt in praying to the angels to pray for us, they being ordinarily present with us here on earth, than for one Christian in this state of mortality, to desire the prayers of another in the same state, which is our common practice warranted by Scripture; but in truth, if we duly consider things, we shall find a vast disparity in these cases, as in many other respects, so especially in this.

When Christians conversing together on earth mutually desire the assistance of each other's prayers, they being by sense and experience thoroughly acquainted with their common humanity, and the frailty attending it, there is no danger of idolatry in the case; or that one should ascribe that to the other, which belongs to God alone. But if we mortal men were allowed to make such applications to the holy angels of God, the brightness of the acknowledged glory and excellence of their nature and office would be apt to dazzle the eyes of our minds, and consequently to fix our devotion on them, and withdraw it from God the fountain of blessings; especially when we see them not, and so must be forced to address ourselves to them with the same faith and abstraction of mind as we do to the invisible God. So likewise if we were permitted to have recourse to the mediation of angels in our necessities and distresses, we should upon the same account too easily place our trust and confidence in them, and be taken off from our due dependence on

the one only meritorious Mediator between God and man, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Sad experience and observation of things, where angel-worship is practised, assures us, that this is no vain imagination. Upon this account, among others, we are not allowed either by Scripture, or the custom of the church in the purest ages of it, to ask the prayers of angels, as we desire the prayers of one another. There is great danger in doing so, but no necessity at all of doing it. For we need not stir up the remembrance, or excite the charity of those blessed spirits that watch over us; who are of themselves always readily inclined to do us all the good offices they can; and the more ready, as they see us more intent on the service and worship of God in Christ, the promoting whereof is their great design and business here on earth. This is the plain sense of Origen, and of the Christians of his age.

A good while after Origen, Lactantius flourished, who discourses much to the same purpose, observing that the devils and evil spirits only seek for honour and worship from men; but that the good angels are averse from it, and will by no means admit of any religious honour or worship to be done unto them. "The angels," saith he, "though they are immor"tal, will not suffer themselves to be called Gods; "whose only office it is to be at God's beck, and to "do nothing at all but what he commands them. "Therefore they will have NO HONOUR given unto


themselves, whose honour is in God. But the apostate spirits, being enemies to truth and sin"ners against God, endeavour to get unto them"selves both the name and worship of Gods 1."

1 Lact. II. 17.

In short, there is not one text in the Scriptures of the New Testament to warrant angel-worship; but on the contrary, we have a very plain prohibition of it, not only in the particular case of St. John, but generally delivered by St. Paul, Col. ii. 18. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, &c. Where the worshipping of angels condemned, being joined with voluntary humility, plainly enough signifies such worship of angels, as is performed under . colour of humility, that is with this pretence, that it is a kind of presumption in us vile sinners to make our addresses immediately to the supreme God by his eternal Son; and that therefore we ought in modesty to apply ourselves to the angels, the heavenly ministers, and by their merits and intercession to convey our petitions to the great King of heaven. And who sees not, that this is the very same angelworship which the papists at this day practise and defend, and that under the same colour and pretence?

And if we look to the ancient church for at least three hundred years after Christ, it is evident from the testimonies of Origen and Lactantius but now cited, (the former writing about the middle of the third, the other in the beginning of the fourth century,) that there was no such thing as angel-worship in those days among the catholics. And for our farther confirmation it is to be observed, that in the Clementine Liturgy ", (so called,) which is by the learned on all hands confessed to be very ancient,

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