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praises unto thee. I will worship toward thy holy temple.
He conceived, that in his solemn worship towards the place of God's especial presence, he worshipped not only before God, but also before the gods. But who are they? The Septuagint tells us, by rendering the Hebrew words ἐναντίον ἀγγέλων, over against (i. e. before) the angels. And to the same purpose is St. Chrysostom's paraphrase on the place," I will "strive to sing with the angels, contending with "them, and joining in choir with the supernatural 66 powers n."
St. Paul, exhorting the Corinthian women to have a modest veil or covering over their heads in their religious assemblies, persuades them to that piece of reverence and decency by this very consideration, that they appeared in the presence of the angels. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head (i. e. a veil or covering over her head, the sign of her husband's power over her) because of the angels. [1 Cor. xi. 10.]
Alas! how little do they think of this, who sit or loll, and neither bow a knee, nor lift up an hand, nor move a lip at the public prayers, as if they bore no part in them; as indeed, till they mend their manners, they shall have no share in the benefit of them; who sleep, or talk with one another, or laugh, or suffer their eyes and thoughts to wander after vanity, when they should seriously attend to the word of God read or preached to them! Methinks these men, though they regard not the angel on earth, the priest; though they have no respect to the congregation of
" Μετ' ἀγγέλων ἄδειν βιάσομαι, καὶ φιλονεικήσω τὴν ἅμιλλαν πρὸς αὐτ τοὺς θέσθαι, καὶ συγχορεῦσαι ταῖς ἄνω δυνάμεσι.
faithful and devout Christians; yet should be awed into more reverence by the presence of the angels of heaven; and so indeed they would, if they believed and seriously considered it.
5. From the main thing in the text, the office of the holy angels, whereby they are sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation, we may understand the great goodness of God to good men, and the most happy and blessed estate of all the faithful.
This is the very use that David makes of the doctrine, Psalm xxxiv. where having laid down this proposition, The angel of the Lord encampeth about them that fear him, and delivereth them, ver. 7. he thus applies it in the verse immediately following, O taste and see that the Lord is gracious: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. As if he had said, What a wonderful expression of the divine goodness is this, that the glorious powers of heaven should thus attend upon us worms on earth! and how safe and happy must the good man needs be, under the conduct and protection of those wise, good, and mighty spirits! What need he fear either wicked men or devils, who is continually secured by so strong a guard! Who would not endeavour to be in the number of the faithful, and to be enrolled into so blessed a society! Indeed this should be our greatest care, to secure our being in a state of sincere piety, and then we are secure to all other purposes whatsoever, and need not take care about any thing else. For who is he that will (or can) harm us, if we be followers of that which is good? 1 Pet. iii. 13.
We may then sit down in peace, and joyfully sing
the song of the divine Psalmist, Psalm xci. 1. &c. Qui habitat in abscondito Altissimi, &c. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress ; my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. But how comes the faithful person to be thus secure? the Psalmist tells us, ver. 11. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
What a mighty support and comfort will this be to us, if our consciences bear witness to our integrity, in all dangers, distresses, and necessities, yea in our last extremity, and in the hour of death? For the good angels of God shall go along with us in the whole course of our lives, never leaving us till they have safely landed us in a happy eternity. When we are in our extreme agony, those blessed spirits shall minister to us, as they did to our Saviour in his; and when we breathe out our last, they shall watch our souls, that the wicked one may not touch them, and shall safely convey them into Abraham's bosom, where we shall be out of all danger for ever. Wherefore,
6. And lastly, Let all truly good men continually bless and praise God for this his unspeakable goodness to them. Let them hear the words of the Psalmist, Psalm xxxii. 10, 11. and xxxiii. 1. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about. Be
glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
Let us conclude all with that excellent doxology of our church in the Office of the Communion.
"It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, "that we should at all times, and in all places, give "thanks unto thee, O Lord, holy Father, almighty "everlasting God.
"Therefore with angels and archangels, and with "all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious name, evermore praising thee, and 'saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven "and earth are full of thy glory: glory be to thee, "O Lord most high." Amen.
PRESCRIBED FORMS OF PRAYER IN THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF GOD, PRACTISED FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF CHRISTIANITY, AND ARE NOT ONLY ANCIENT, BUT USEFUL AND NECESSARY UPON MANY ACCOUNTS.
1 TIM. ii. 1, 2.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men ; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
ST. PAUL the apostle had, in the foregoing chapter, given instructions to bishop (or rather archbishop) Timothy concerning the regulation of preaching and preachers within his province, which was the proconsular Asia, of which Ephesus was the metropolis. For so we read chapter the first of this Epistle, ver. 3. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine. There were it seems some heterodox teachers within that province; and by the sequel it appears they were Judaizing doctors, who taught the observation of the Mosaic law, as necessary to Christians, such as the Cerinthians and others. For so we read, ver. 5, 6, 7.
[This Sermon was composed after the restoration, when the Liturgy was again in use.]