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of God, and of his being then made head of all principality, and power, that then all things were put under his feet, that then God the Father said "Let all the angels of God worship him." It was very congruous that Christ should have this honour immediately after such great humiliation and sufferings. Fourthly. It was fit that the angels should be confirmed after they had seen Christ in the flesh, for this was the greatest trial of the angels' obedience that ever was. If the other angels rebelled only at its being foretold that such an one in man's nature should rule over them, if that was so great a trial that so many mighty angels fell in it; how great a trial was it when they actually saw a poor, obscure, despised, afflicted man, one whom they had just seen so mocked, and spit upon, and crucified, and put to death like a vile malefactor! This was a great trial to those thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, those mighty, glorious, and exalted, spirits, whether or no they would submit to such an one for their sovereign Lord and King.
It was also very fit that God should honour the day of the ascension, and glorious exaltation of his Son, which was a day of such joy to Christ, with joining with it such an occasion of joy to the angels as the reception of their reward of eternal life: that when Christ rejoiced, who had lately endured so much sorrow, the heavenly hosts might rejoice with him.
Object. I. It may be objected, That it was a long time for the Angels to be kept in a state of trial from the beginning of the world till the ascension of Christ, but there might very fitly be a longer time of trial for those mighty spirits than for others.
Object. II. That the angels could not enjoy quiet and undisturbed happiness for all that while, if they were all the time unconfirmed, and did not certainly know that they should not fall.
I answer there was no occasion for any distressing fears, for they never could be guilty of rebellion without knowing, when they were going to commit it, that it was rebellion, and that thereby they should forfeit eternal life, and expose themselves to wrath by the terror of God's covenant; and they could not fall, but it must be their voluntary act; and they had perfect freedom of mind from any lust; and they had been sufficiently warned, and greatly confirmed when the angels fell, so that there was a great probability that they should not fall, though God had not yet declared and promised absolutely that they should not: they were not absolutely certain of it; this was an occasion of joy reserved for the joyful and glorious day of Christ's ascension.
Fifthly. The angels are now confirmed, and have been since Christ's ascension.
1. For Christ, since he appeared in the flesh, gathered together, and united into one society, one family, one body, all the angels and spirits in heaven, and the church on earth. Now it is not to be supposed that part of this body are in a confirmed state, and part still in a state of probation. But,
II. The second argument that the angels are confirmed by Christ, is, that we learn by scripture that Christ is the head of the angels, and that the angels are united to him as part of his body, which holds forth that he is not only their head of = government, but their head of communication too.
Christ is therefore the head, from whence the angels receive communication of good: but how well doth this agree with their receiving their reward of obedience from him? God in making Christ head of angels and men, hath made him his dispenser of his benefits to all universally. It is therefore most probable that he, who now dispenses the blessings of the angels' reward to them, is he from whom they first received that reward; that God bestowed it upon them at first through his hands. And this also confirms that the time of the angels' confirmation was at Christ's ascension; for then was he made the Head of the angels, then were all things put under his feet.
III. It is most congruous that that person who is to judge the angels, who shall publicly declare the unalterable condemnation of those that fell, and also shall publicly declare the unalterable confirmation of those that stood, should be the same person who acted the part of a Judge before, when they were first confirmed. He that is the Judge of the angels at the last day, publicly before heaven, earth, and hell, to confirm them, is probably the same person who was their judge when they were first confirmed in heaven. The Father hath committed all judgment to the Son, and this he did to Christ God man; for the committing all judgment to him was done at Christ's first exaltation, and the first fruits of it was probably his confirming the angels, as their Judge.
IV. Christ's being called "the tree of life, that groweth in the midst of the paradise of God," Rev. ii. 7. If we consider the use of the tree of life that grew in the midst of the earthly paradise, it was to confirm man in life in case of obedience. If he had stood, he was to have received the reward in that way, by eating the fruit of that tree. Christ, being the tree of life in the heavenly paradise, is so to all the inhabitants of that paradise,
 Confirmation of angels. We learn by the first chap. of Coloss. 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th verses, that it was the
design of the Father, that his Son should have the pre-eminence in all things, not only with respect to men, but with respect to angels-thrones, dominions, principalities and powers; and there are some things there mentioned, wherein he has the preeminence, viz. that they were created by him and for him, and that they consist by him, and that every creature has all fullness in him. Why then hath not Christ the pre-eminence with respect to the angels, as he is the dispenser of God's benefits to them, so that they should have all fullness in him; and particularly that the gift of eternal life should be from his hands? One thing mentioned, wherein God's will that his Son in all things should have the pre-eminence, and that all fullness should dwell in him, is, that by him, he reconciles all things to him, whether they be things in heaven or things on earth. If this be understood only to extend to men; yet, if it be one thing wherein God wills that his Son should in all things have the pre-eminence, and that all fullness should dwell in him, that it is by him that men are brought to an union with God; why would it not be another, that by him the angels also are brought to their confirmed union with him, when it is plainly implied in what the apostle says, that it is the Father's design that Christ should in all things have the pre-eminence with respect to the angels as well as with respect to men, and that both angels and men should have all their fullness in him? If they have their fullness in him, I do not see how it can be otherwise than that they should have their reward and eternal life and blessedness in him.
Again, it is said, 1 Cor. viii. 6, that all things are of God the Father, and all things by Jesus Christ. God gave the angels their being by Jesus Christ; and I do not see why this would not be another instance of all things being by him that he gives them their eternal life by Jesus Christ. This very thing giving eternal life, is one instance of men's being by him, and is intended in those words that follow, "and we by him."
 Confirmation of the angels. It is an argument that it was Christ that confirmed the angels, and adjudged to them their reward; that this was an act of judgment; was the proper act of a judge, whereby judgment was passed, whether they had fullfilled the law or no, and were worthy of the reward of it by the tenor of it. But Christ is constituted Universal Judge of all, both angels and men. John v. 22. "For the Father judgeth none, but hath committed all judgment to the Son;" and Christ is not only constituted the judge of men, but of angels. 1 Cor. vi. 3. "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" If this be meant only of the evil angels, yet that shows that Christ's power of judging is extended beyond man
kind to the angelic nature; and if he be constituted the Judge of the evil angels, that will confirm me that he is of the good too, as he is the Judge of both good and bad of mankind, and Christ tells us that all power is given him in heaven and in earth, Matth. xxviii. 18. And we are often particularly told as to the good angels that he is made their Lord and Sovereign, and that they are put under him. The apostle, in Romans xiv. verses 10, 11, and 12, speaking of Christ's being universal Judge, before whose judgment-seat all must stand, and to whom all must give an account, speaks of it as meant by those words in the Old Testament, "As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God;" which place of the Old Testament the apostle refers to in Philip. ii. 9, 10, 11, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name, -That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." And these things are spoken of Christ, as God man; for in this last mentioned place, it is mentioned as the reward of his being found in fashion as a man, and humbling himself, and in that other place, and in the place in Romans, his being universal Judge, and every knee bowing to him, and every tongue confessing to him, is spoken of him as God man; for it is said that he died, rose, and revived," that he might have this honour and authority. So in John v. at the 27th ver. it is said that the Father hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of God: So that if he has acted the part of a Judge, towards the elect angels, it must be since hist incarnation: And we know that he is to judge angels at the last day as God man.
Corol. I. Hence Christ is the tree of life in the heavenly paradise, to all the inhabitants of it. If our first parents had stood in their obedience, and were found meet for their reward of eternal life; then they were to be brought to the tree of life, and were to receive it from that tree, by eating the fruit of it, as the eternal life was the fruit of that tree.
Thus it is in the
And there was
earthly paradise, the dwelling place of men. also a Tree of life in the heavenly paradise, the dwelling place of angels. When they had stood in their obedience, and were looked upon of God meet for the reward of eternal life, they were brought to Jesus, to receive the reward at his hands, which they in God's account especially become worthy of by their being willing to be subject to him as God man, and being willing to depend on him as their absolute Lord and supreme Judge.
Corol. II. Here we may observe the wonderful analogy there is in God's dispensations towards angels and men.
Corol. III. Here we may take notice of the manifold wisdom of God; what glorious and wonderful ends are accomplished by the same events in heaven, earth, and hell, as particularly by those dispensations of Providence in Christ's incarnation, death, and exaltation. How manifold are the wise designs that are carried on in different worlds by the turning of one wheel!
Corol. IV. Here we may observe how the affairs of the Church on earth, and of the blessed Assembly of heaven are linked together. When the joyful times of the gospel began on earth, which began with Christ's exaltation, then joyful times began also in heaven among the angels there, and by the same means. we have such a glorious occasion given us to rejoice, they have an occasion given them. So long as the church continued under a legal dispensation, so long the angels continued under law; for since their confirmation, the angels are not under law, as is evident by what I have said in my Notes on Gal. v. 18. So doubtless at the same time there was a great addition to the happiness of the separate spirits of the saints, of which the resurrection of many of them at Christ's resurrection is an argument. And in the general, when God gradually carries on the designs of grace in this world, by accomplishing glorious things in the church below, there is a new occasion of joy and glory to the church in heaven; thus the matter is represented in John's Revelations, and it is fit that it should be thus, seeing they are one family.
 Confirmation of the angels by Jesus Christ. That Christ in his ascension into heaven, gave to the angels the reward of eternal life, or of confirmed immutable happiness, may be argued from Eph. iv. 10. "He that descended, is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things, i. e. all things not only on the face of earth, but all things in the world where he dwelt before he descended into the lower parts of the earth, as in the foregoing verse: all things in the lower parts of the earth whither he descended, and all things in heaven. By "all things," agreeably to the apostle's way of using such an expression, is meant all persons or intelligent beings, as in Philip. ii. 9, 10, "Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;" as there, so here, the apostle is speaking of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, as appears by comparing this with the foregoing verse; and the apostle there in Philippians mentions these three, as therein enumerating all things whatsoever; for certainly, what