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Michael, the leader of the angels, is introduced in the capacity of a hostile commander waging war with the prince of the devils, the armics on both sides being drawn out in battle array, and separating after a doubtful conflict. Rev. xii. 7, 8. Jude also says of the same angel, “ when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him a railing accusation,”—which would be an improper expression to use with reference to Christ, especially if he be God. I Thess. iv. 16. the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with the voice of the archangel.”. Besides, it seems strange that an apostle of Christ, in revealing things till then so new and unheard-of concerning his master, should express himself thus obscurely, and should even shadow the person of Christ under a difference of name.
The good angels do not look into all the secret things of God, as the Papists pretend; some things indeed they know by revelation, and others by means of the excellent intelligence with which they are gifted ; there is much, however, of which they are ignorant. An angel is introduced inquiring Dan. viii. 13. “how long shall be the vision ?” xii. 6. “ how long shall it be to the end of these wonders ?” Matt. xxiv. 36. “ of that day knoweth no man, no not even the angels in heaven.” Eph. iii. 10.“ to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” Rev. v. 3. man in heaven was able to open the book.”
The evil angels are reserved for punishment. Matt. viii. 29. art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” 2 Pet. ii. 4. “ God cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” Jude 6. “ he hath reserved them in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.' 1 Cor. vi. 3. “know ye not thắt we shall judge angels ?” Matt. xxv. 41. “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Rev. xx. 10. “they shall be tormented for ever and ever.
9 So in the description of the first fight in Paradise Lost, which is borrowed from the prophecy in the Apocalypse quoted above, . long time in even scale the battle hung,' till at last Michael, 'the prince of angels,' engages in single combat with the Adversary.
from each hand with speed retir’d,
They are sometimes, however, permitted to wander throughout the whole earth, the air, and heaven itself, to execute the judgments of God. Job i. 7. “ from going to and fro in the earth.” 1 Sam. xvi. 15. “ the Spirit of Jehovah departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Jehovah troubled him.” 1 Pet. v. 8. “the devil as a roaring lion, walketh about.” John xii. 31. “the prince of this world.” 2 Cor. iv. 4. “the god of this world.” Matt. xii. 43. "he walketh through dry places.” Eph. ii. 2. “according to the prince of the power of the air." vi. 12. “ against spiritual wickedness in high places.” They are even admitted into the presence of God. Job i. 6. ii. 1. 1 Kings xxii. 21. “there came forth a spirit, and stood before Jehovah.” Zech. iii. 1. “he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.” Luke x. 18. “ I beheld Šatan as lightning fall from heaven." Rev. xii. 12. “woe to the inhabitants of the earth, for the devil is come down unto you.” Their proper place, however, is the bottomless pit, from which they cannot escape without permission.2 Luke viii. 31. “ they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.” Matt. xii. 43. “ he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none." Mark v. "he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.” Rev. xx. 3.“ and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up.” Nor can they do anything without the command of God. Job i. 12. “ Jehovah said unto Satan,
. . do him mightier service as his thralls
the spirits perverse
II. 1031. 2 So stretched out huge in length the Arch-Fiend lay,
Chain'd on the burning lake, nor ever thence
1. 209. Milton may have borrowed in both instances from Du Bartas, who lays stress on this particular.
God holds them chain'd in fetters of his power ;
Behold, all that he hath is in thy power.” Matt. viii. 31. “suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.” Rev. xx. 2.“he laid hold on the dragon.... and bound him a thousand years.”
Their knowledge is great, but such as tends rather to aggravate than diminish their misery; so that they utterly despair of their salvation.3 Matt. viii. 29.“ what have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time ?” See also Luke iv. 34. James ï. 19. “the devils believe and tremble,” knowing that they are reserved for punishment, as has been shewn.
The devils also have their prince. Matt. xii. 24.“ Beelzebub, the prince of the devils.” See also Luke xi. 15. Matt. xxv. 41. “the devil and his angels.” Rev. xii
. 9. “the great dragon was cast out. ... and his angels.” They retain likewise their respective ranks. Col. ii. 15. “having spoiled principalities and powers. Eph. vi. 12. "against principalities, against powers."
Their leader is the author of all wickedness, and the opponent of all good. Job i. and ii. Zech. iii. 1. “ Satan.” John viii. 11. “the father of lies.” 1 Thess. ü. 18. “ Satan hindered us. Acts v. 3. “ Satan hath filled thine heart.” Rev. xx. 3. 8. “that he should deceive the nations no more.” Eph. ii. 2. “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” Hence he has obtained many names corresponding to his actions. He is frequently called “Satan,” that is, an enemy or adversary, Job i. 6. i Chron. xxi. 1. “the great dragon, that old serpent, the devil,”
Paradise Lost. I. 52. hope never comes, That comes to all.
1. 66. We are decreed, Reserv'd, and destin'd to eternal woe; Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, What can we suffer worse?
II. 159 Me miserable! which way shall I fly Infinite wrath, and infinite despair ?
IV. 73. 4 The Stygian council thus dissolv’d, and forth
In order came the grand infernal peers ;
that is, the false accuser, Rev. xi. 9. “the accuser of the brethren, v. 10. “ the unclean spirit,” Matt xii. 43. “ the tempter," iv. 3. “Abaddon, Apollyon,” that is, the destroyer, Rev. ix. 11. “a great red dragon,” xii. 3.
CHAP. X.-OF THE SPECIAL GOVERNMENT OF MAN BEFORE
THE FALL, INCLUDING THE INSTITUTIONS OF THE SABBATH
AND OF MARRIAGE. THE Providence of God as regards mankind, relates to man either in his state of rectitude, or since his fall,
With regard to that which relates to man in his state of rectitude, God, having placed him in the garden of Eden, and furnished him with whatever was calculated to make life happy, commanded him, as a test of his obedience, to refrain from eating of the single tree of knowledge of good and evil, under penalty of death if he should disregard the injunction.s Gen. i. 28. “subdue the earth, and have dominion—"ii. 15–17.“he put him into the garden of Eden .... of every tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat; but in the day that thou eatest of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt surely die.” This is sometimes called the covenant of works, though
the Adversary of God and man,
Paradise Lost, II, 629,
VII. 44. 9 So Bishop Taylor. • I find in Scripture no mention made of any sucn covenant as is dreamt of about the matter of original sin ; only the
it does not appear from any passage of Scripture to have been either a covenant, or of works. No works whatever were required of Adam ; a particular act only was forbidden. It was necessary that something should be forbidden or commanded as a test of fidelity, and that an act in its own nature indifferent, in order that man's obedience might be thereby manifested. For since it was the disposition of man to do what was right, as a being naturally good and holy, it was not necessary that he should be bound by the obligation of a covenant to perform that to which he was of himself inclined ;) nor would he have given any proof of obedience by the performance of works to which he was led by a natural impulse, independently of the divine command. Not to mention, that no command, whether proceeding from God or from a magistrate, can properly be called a covenant, even where rewards and punishments are attached to it; but rather an exercise of jurisdiction.
The tree of knowledge of good and evil was not a sacrament, as it is generally called ; 2 for a sacrament is a thing to be used, not abstained from : but a pledge, as it were, and memorial of obedience.
It was called the tree of knowledge of good and evil from the event; for since Adam tasted it, we not only know evil, but we know good only by means of evil. For it is by evil
covenant of works God did make with all men till Christ came; but he did never exact it after Adam.' Works, IX. 399. And in his treatise on The Doctrine and Practice of Repentance, Gen. ii. 17. is quoted as the first of the texts to prove the old covenant, or the covenant of works.' VIII. 303.
1. Were it merely natural, why was it here ordained more than the rest of moral law to man in his original rectitude, in whose breast all that was natural or moral was engraven without external constitutions and edicts ?' Tetrachordon. Prose Works, III. 336.
? • That some of the objects in Eden were of a sacramental nature we can hardly doubt, when we read of the tree of knowledge, and of the tree of life.' Bp. Horne's Sermon on the Garden of Eden. See also his two Sermons on the Tree of Knowledge and of Life. See also Du Bartas.
All serv'd the mouth, save two sustain'd the mind,
All serv'd for food, save two for seals assign'd. And a few lines further, of the tree of knowledge,
'Twas a sure pledge, a sacred sign and seal. P. 83. 3 • Pernaps this is that doom which Adam fell into of knowing good and eril, that is to say, of knowing good by evil.' Speech for the Liberty of L'nlicensed Printing. Prose Works, II. 68.