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The Angelic Life
Delivered on Lord's-Day Morning, November 22, 1868, by
C. H. SPURGEON,
at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
"For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in Hea ven."
WE must, all of us, develop one way or the other. Manhood, as we see it here, is but the green blade, or, at the best, the corn in the ear—the full corn in the ear will only be seen in the world to come. We must either descend or ascend— none of us can remain in the position which he occupies today. Some are sliding every hour downward, descending by the force of evil habits. More and more do they become the serfs and slaves of Satan, and by consequence, more and more developed into his image. They can find their doom written in these words, "Depart into everlasting fire in Hell, prepared for the devil and his angels. You followed Satan, you grew more and more like he is, and now receive the heritage appointed for him."
On the other hand, he who by repentance and faith is brought into the fellowship of the Gospel, receives Grace upon Grace—he advances from glory to glory, in a more perfect resemblance to heavenly beings. And, at the last, angels having rejoiced over his repentance—angels to whom he had become as—carry his soul into the bosom of God! Which shall it be with you, Man? Will you ripen for the golden sickle and for the harvest-home of Heaven, or will you blacken for the scythe of iron which shall mow you down to be bound up in the bundle with your fellows and consumed as tares? One or the other it must be.
O may infinite Grace overcome our natural tendencies and may we be among those who go from strength to strength until they ascend into the hill of the Lord and are made like the angels! Without further preface, the subject of this morning's discourse will be in what respects the life of spirits before the Throne is like that of angels. And then, secondly, we may have, perhaps, a few practical thoughts about the commencement of the angelic life while yet here below.
I. First, then, IN WHAT RESPECTS ARE THOSE SAINTS WHO HAVE PASSED THE STREAM OF DEATH LIKE THE ANGELS? The likeness, though it lies in many points, more or less prominently may be seen, I think, distinctly in five particulars.
1. The saints of God are like the angels as to the qualities of their persons. In one matter they always were alike, namely, that both angels and saints are creatures of God and must, by no means, be looked upon in any higher light. A false church has commanded its votaries to pay religious homage to angels, contrary both to the example and the express precept of Holy Writ. The angels are no more to be adored than saintly men, and neither the one nor the other can be worshipped without incurring the sin of idolatry.
Take two parallel cases. When John, seeing an angel, taking him for his Lord, bowed down to worship him, the answer was, "See you do it not, for I am of your fellow servants, the Prophets. Worship God." When the heathens, at Lystra, brought forth bullocks and sheep and were about to do sacrifice unto Paul and Barnabas as unto Mercury and Jupiter, these holy men tore their clothes and declared that they were men of like passions with others. Angels and holy men refuse all kinds of worship—they unanimously sing, "Not unto us, not unto us, but unto the name of Jehovah be all the praise." Oh, the longsuffering of God in tolerating that apostate and accursed church which has dared to set up both saints and angels, men and women, and I know not what besides, as objects of reverence in rivalry of the Lord of Hosts!
That is but incidental, however. The saints of Heaven are like the angels in their persons in the fact that sex is forever obliterated there. "They are neither married nor given in marriage"—from which I do not gather that so much as may be spiritual in the feminine character, or anything that is mental in the masculine character will be destroyed—but that in the bodily frame all that which divided the sexes will be no more.
I imagine that saints before the Throne of God may, some of them, exhibit that exquisite tenderness, that heroism of affection which will indicate them to have been holy women here below, and that other spirits in their special force and vigor, courage and zeal may reveal, even in Glory, the fact that in the Church militant they were among the valiant men of Israel. Why not? Yet all else that is carnal in male and female must be gone and we shall be one in Christ Jesus—in whom there is neither male nor female.
Marriage will be out of the question. This is linked with a further likeness, namely, that the spirits above are like to angels in their immortality. They cannot die. Such a thing as a funeral knell was never heard in Heaven! No angel was ever carried to his grave—though angels have been in the sepulcher—for there sat two, at the head and the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. They were visitors, not dwellers there. There is nothing about angels upon which the death-worm can feed. No sepulcher could encase their free spirits and the bonds of death could not hold them for a moment.
So is it with the freed ones who have passed through the grave and are now with Christ—they cannot die. Ages upon ages may roll on. Eternity's ceaseless cycles may continue, but there shall be no gray hairs of decay upon the heads of the immortals! Celestials shall never decay. For this reason, therefore, the population of yonder realms needs never to be repaired by births. Here it is a perpetual struggle—life contending with death—death marking its universal victory, scarring the face of the earth with tombs. But life triumphant still, ever sending little children to gather flowers above the graves. The flood of life, though apparently drunk up by the Behemoth of death, still rolls on, a broader and deeper torrent than before.
Therefore are they like the angels in Heaven, since there is no death, and consequently no necessity of birth to repair the waste of population. We have reason to believe, also, that since these spirits before the Throne are like the angels even when the resurrection trumpet shall be sounded, and the spirits, disembodied for a time, shall be again clothed upon, they shall be like the angels in the fact of the maturity of their being. In Heaven babes will be no longer babes. He who was a babe here shall be fully developed there. Neither shall there be in Heaven the weary old man tottering on his staff—he shall not carry, there, his failing eye and trembling knee. He shall be in the glory of his purified manhood, and feel no decay.
The child shall be as though he were a 100 years old, and the aged man shall wear more than the honors of his youth. I read not of angels either as youthful or waxing old—they stand ever in a blessed perfection—and so shall the saints of God ever be both physically and spiritually. "You have the dew of Your youth," O Jesus, and that same dew falls upon all the plants of Your right-hand planting. We suppose, too, that all the spirits before the Throne are like angels in the matter of their beauty. The disembodied saints are fair in the eyes of Jesus, even as they are. And when their spiritual bodies shall rise all radiant with "the glory of the celestial," then shall their comeliness be seen of all. "It is sown in dishonor," says the Apostle, "it is raised in glory."
Whatever of dishonor there might have been in the uncomely features of the poor creature whom we committed to the earth, there shall be no deformity to mar the countenance of the nobler thing which shall rise from the sepulcher at the bidding of God. "It does not yet appear what we shall be," but that we shall be lovely beyond expression is most certain, "for we shall be like He when we shall see Him as He is." There will be a glory about risen saints which will even transcend the glory of angels, for unto them He has never said that they should be made like unto the Only-Begotten. But this is the portion of all the blood-bought and blood-washed—that they be fashioned in the likeness of Christ when they shall see Him face to face!
As we shall resemble the angels in beauty, so, no doubt, we shall also equal them in strength. "Bless the Lord, you His angels that excel in strength." Thus says the Apostle, "It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power." What kind of power that will be, we may guess. There will be an enlarged mental capacity, a far more extensive spiritual range. So far as the new body is concerned there will be an amount of power in it of which we have no conception. What we shall be, Beloved, in the matter of strength, we cannot tell. But this we know, that we shall not need so constantly to stretch our weary frames upon the bed of rest and to lie half our time in unconsciousness—for we shall serve Him day and night in His Temple! And this indicates a degree of unweariedness and physical endurance to which we are total strangers now. We shall in this, also, be as the angels of God.
Just then, for a minute, let your thoughts foresee that blessed personality which shall be yours when this present age is past. You suffer today. You are, today, despised and rejected. But as from yonder creeping caterpillar, or from this dried up chrysalis, there will arise a lovely creature with wings colored like the rainbow. So from your poor groaning humanity there shall come forth a fair and lovely being! And your spirit, also, shall cast off the slough of its natural depravity. It shall be rid of all the foulness and damage of its sojourn here below, and your whole man shall be restored a goodly fabric—a temple glorious to look upon in which God shall dwell with you—and in which you shall dwell with God!
2. Now, secondly, there will be a likeness between the angels and glorified saints in the matter of character. "Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven," teaches us that angels do the will of God perfectly, cheerfully, instantly, unweariedly and with the highest possible eagerness. So do those blessed spirits to whom it is given to see Jehovah's face—it is their delight to do the will of their Father who is in Heaven. Whatever the Lord may charge them to do, it is their Heaven to perform—for in Heaven the will of the Lord is the will of His people.
Here below, my Brothers and Sisters, to will is present with us, but how to perform that which we would, we find not. We would be holy, but we find another law in our members warring against the law of our minds. We sigh and cry by reason of the sin that dwells in us, till we say, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" But angels know not what it is to be fallen! They have never fought with any temptations from within, though once assailed by the great temptation from without by which Satan and his followers fell from happiness.
They carry about with them no inbred sin. They find no heavy clay to clog their celestial ardors. They have not to lament lascivious desires, or covetous cravings. They have no proud thoughts which must be cast down, no depressions of spirit, no taunts of unbelief, no motions of self-will. They serve God without a slur in their obedience. No thought of sin ever taints their soul. No syllable of evil ever falls from their holy lips. No thought of transgression defiles their service. So is it with the saints who dwell in Glory with them. They, too, are without fault before the Throne of God. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, and the Spirit of God, like a refining fire, has purged out of their nature everything that is evil! They are this day as pure as God Himself in the righteousness of Christ, and in the inwrought purity which is the work of the Holy Spirit.
Do you not long to be with them, if it were only for the sake of this purity? Deliverance from sin will be an escape from all sorrow, and the obtaining of perfect holiness will be the climax of delight. Oh, if we could but perfectly serve God we would make no conditions about place! Perfection in a dungeon were infinitely better than the least sin in a palace! If one could be quite delivered from all evil and it were possible that such a spirit could suffer physical pain, yet the joy of being rid of sin would make amends for all the torment that could possibly be heaped upon the body.
Brothers and Sisters, this portion is yours and mine! Fighting today with sin against deadly odds, and often tempted to fear that we shall be defeated, we may rest assured that we shall conquer through the blood of the Lamb! Yonder is the crown—let your faith grasp it! Persevere courageously, for all things are possible to him that believes. The most inveterate habit may be broken! The lust that overcame us yesterday shall overcome us no more if we rest in the power of the indwelling God, and in the might of the reigning Savior! Only be of good cheer, for through Jesus you shall overcome, and the crown shall be yours world without end!
3. Thirdly, the souls of the blessed are like angels as to their occupation. Angels, we read, stand around the Throne of God in sacred worship. They cast their crowns before the Throne upon the glassy sea and worship the Lamb forever and ever. There is never a moment, whether earth is swathed in light or clothed in darkness, in which the Son of God is not adored by 10,000s times 10,000s of these celestial spirits! Cherubim and seraphim veil their faces before the ever-living Son of God. Worship is their perpetual avocation.
Even so is it with all those whom Christ has redeemed with blood. They, too, are forever worshipping. Unto Jesus they pay their perpetual love. The elders are represented as standing before the Throne with their vials full of sweet odors, and their golden harps, representing the perpetual and acceptable praises of the glorified Church. Oh, how sweet worship often is on earth, but what must it be in Heaven! We love our Sundays and the place of our assembling becomes very dear to us because it is no other than the House of God to our souls! But oh, to worship perfectly, without distracting thoughts and wandering minds—how blessed will it be!
Angels are described in Scripture as being occupied in holy song. John heard the voice of an innumerable company of angels. They join in the strain which goes up before the Throne, ascribing honor, and glory and majesty to the Lamb once slain. In this same chorus the glorified spirits eagerly unite—and even sweeter is their note—for angels cannot praise the Lord Jesus for having washed them in His blood, and this is the loudest of all the notes. The blood-washed contribute peculiar richness to the strain, as their joyous hearts lift up the chorus, "Worthy is the Lamb! For He was slain, and has redeemed us unto God by His blood! The Lord shall reign forever and ever."
Oh, that heavenly song! Would that some stray notes would visit my ears even now, that I might learn how to speak thereof! Hear what John says of it: "And I heard a voice from Heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung, as it were, a new song before the Throne and before the four beasts." Glory be unto Christ today! Though we cannot join in the seraphic song as we would desire, we send up our contribution of heartfelt praise to Him that lives and was slain.
In addition to adoration and praise, we have much reason to believe that angels spend their existence in a wondering study of the ways of God, especially of God's gracious acts. "These things," said the Apostle, "the angels desired to look into." That they are not perfect in knowledge is quite certain, for "of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in Heaven." They are continually increasing in knowledge, and it appears from the book of Daniel that they ask questions and long to be instructed.
That vision which Jacob saw, in which the angels of God were ascending and descending upon the ladder, pictures to us the contemplations of Divine spirits who are ascending and descending in meditation upon Jesus—studying the glories of the Incarnate God—His descending into the tomb—and His triumphant ascent to His Father's Throne. Their contemplations are constantly hovering about the Cross and the doings of the Incarnate God. Such, surely, will be the occupation of the blessed. The difficulties today which stagger us will be explained to us in Heaven. "What you know not now, you shall know hereafter."
Mysteries too deep for our present plumb-line will yield up their treasure to us in another state for here we know in part, but there shall we know even as we are known. Truths but dimly guessed at and perceived in shadow, shall be seen in clearer light—"for now we see but as in a glass darkly, but then face to face." Scholars in Christ, how you will grow in knowledge there! You loving students of the inspired page, how you will revel in Divine teachings there! The best of commentaries shall be the Author's own explanation. He who wrote the Scriptures shall be with you! And you shall ask Him, "What did You mean by this dark saying?"
Or, perhaps, we shall get altogether beyond the letter, and need no more the words and sentences, but shall feed on the opened Spirit, the celestial meaning of the heart of God! Certainly we shall be like the angels, since our studies will be all absorbed in devout and Divine things. The angels of Heaven gaze upon the face of God! This is a Scriptural expression, not mine, for our Lord says that, "in Heaven there angels do always behold the face of your Father, who is in Heaven." And what must that be? Brethren, you are not to give a carnal meaning to these words, as though God could be seen with eyes either angelic or human—for He is not to be seen with these dull optics—God is a Spirit, and spirits, only, discern God by thought and mental apprehension.
But what an apprehension of God that must be which is intended by the expression, "They do always behold the face of God!" Moses, the master spirit of the old dispensation, asked to see God, but he was only indulged with a sight of what our version calls His back parts, but which should more fittingly be described as the flowing train, the skirts of the Almighty's splendor. This was all he could see, though his eyes were more strengthened than that of any man under the legal dispensation. But, Brothers and Sisters, we in Heaven, like the angels, shall see His face, and His name shall be on our foreheads—
"Father of Jesus, love's reward,
What raptures will it be,
Prostrate before Your Throne to lie,
And ever gaze on You!"
Still, we have not exhausted the occupations of the angels. These which I have already mentioned are rather contemplative—worship, song, study, and Beatific Vision. But the flaming ones above have occupations which are connected with earth. For instance, they feel sympathetic joy. We should not have known this if Jesus had not said, "There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents." I believe this, that the souls of men redeemed will have the same kind of joy. And I can imagine the soul of the Believer rejoicing over the child that was left unconverted, saved after its parent's ascent into Heaven—saved through the prayers which a mother left behind her, bequeathing them upon her dying bed as her best and most sacred legacy.
Many fathers have seen their posthumous spiritual children born to them through prayers they offered on earth, but not fulfilled until after the prayer had been exchanged for praise. I sometimes think—it may be fancy—that if in Glory I ever shall withdraw my eyes from the sight of my Lord, if ever I may pause the song to my Well-Beloved for a moment, it shall be to gaze over the battlements of Heaven, to see how the Church on earth among which I labored may be prospering!
Surely those venerated men, who before ministered to this flock, must feel a peculiar joy in our prosperity—and as the news is telegraphed from earth to Heaven that hundreds have been born to God, and that the Word among us has been quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword—if the angels rejoice, I cannot believe but what the glorified spirits, far more akin to repenting sinners than angels are—must have a yet deeper sympathy, and feel a yet more exultant mirth!
Still, I must pass on. Angels are engaged in Heaven, we are told, in untiring service. Gabriel flies, at his Lord's word, whether it is to Mary, or to the shepherds, or to the King. It matters nothing to the angel whether he descends to smite the hosts of Sennacherib, or to be the guardian of a little child. It has been well said that if two angels were dispatched to earth, and the one were to rule an empire amidst all terrestrial splendor, and the other were to perform the drudgery of a kitchen servant, the angels would have no choice so long as they knew their Lord's mind. Whichever God wills, they will. For those bright spirits consider not themselves, but only the good pleasure of their God!
We little know what they do for us. There is a wondrous guardianship exercised secretly by them over all the royal seed of Heaven. They are always engaged. They are never idle. They are never to be found where Satan offers mischief, still, for idle spirits to perform—but day without night they serve their God. Lastly on this point, they are constant attendants at the courts of Heaven. Wherever Jesus is, we have the angels round about Him. "When He shall come, in the glory of His Father, with all His holy angels with Him." When the prince moves, the courtiers go with the king. Wherever the king may be, there are the gentlemen-at-arms. There are his bodyguards. So, wherever King Jesus is, there are His angels. "The chariots of God are 20,000, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them."
The great King immortal and eternal, who girds His sword upon His thigh and rides out to battle, goes not forth alone—legions of angels follow at His feet! When He makes war against the devil and his angels, all these, His watchers and holy ones—the flaming cherubim and fiery seraphim—are at His right hand, like veteran bands. Such shall be the engagements of each glorified soul. We know not what may be our sacred tasks in yonder skies—it were vain for us to surmise—but we shall not be idle, for it is written, "They serve Him day and night in His Temple."
I have thought that as angels are but the servants, they are sent out of doors to do the Master's field-work in the far-off portions of the universe. But we, who are His children, shall serve Him day and night in His Temple at home—for is it not written, "They shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever"? Ours shall be housework, home service in His immediate Presence. We shall be like that angel who stood in the sun—we shall dwell forever in the full blaze of the Presence of the infinite God! We shall be equal to the angels, and made like they, then, in the respect of occupation, as well as in that of character and person.
4. Lest I weary you, I will add but a few words on the fourth point, though I think it a very important one. We shall be like the angels in heavenliness. Here we come to the vital meaning of the text. They are not married or given in marriage. They have other things to think of, and they have other cares and other enjoyments. They mind not earthly things, but are of a heavenly spirit. So is it with the blessed spirits before the Throne of God. To eat and drink, to be clothed—these are things which fret their minds no more. To keep the house, to maintain the children, to thrust the wolf from the door—such anxieties never trouble celestial spirits.
Brothers and Sisters, this is one of the things which makes the great change so desirable to us—that after death our thoughts, our cares, our position, our desires, our joys will all be in God! Here we want externals, here we seek after carnal things, for we must eat and drink, and be clothed and housed. Here we must be somewhat hampered by the grosser elements of this poor materialism. But up yonder they have no needs like our own. They consequently have no desires of an earthly kind—their desires are all concerning their God. No creature drags them downward. They are free to bow before the Creator, and to think alone of Him, to—
"Plunge into the Godhead's deepest sea,
And bathe in His immensity."
Oh, what a deliverance that must be! Because if now for a minute or two we soar to more sublime things, and climb as upon the top of Pisgah to look down upon the world, we are called to descend again into the valley and the noise and dust of the battle. But there, forever and ever we shall abide in the loftiness of heavenly things, absorbed with the Glory which shall then be revealed!
5. Lastly, we shall be like the angels, when in Heaven, as to our happiness. The bliss of angels and the glorified is complete. They possess always the Divine approval—this is a fountain of joy. They know they have complete security— this is another well-spring of peace. And they have suitable engagements with which to occupy their existence—and this is a wellhead of happiness. They have unbroken rest—yes, their service is rest—and rest is bliss. They have great capacities for knowing, and understanding, and enjoying. And an enlarged capacity, well filled with so grand a Subject, guarantees perpetual felicity!
We shall be such. My words would utterly fail, and therefore I shall not attempt to describe the bliss of Heaven. Whatever it may be, it will be ours if we are Believers. Least of all the family, yet believing in the precious blood, it is yours! It is not of some, but of all it is said, "They are as the angels of God in Heaven." Now, unhappily for me, my time is nearly gone, and I wanted to enlarge upon the second head. The subject is too large for a single sermon. I must, therefore, give you an outline of what might have been said of the second part.
II. I would speak of THE ANGELIC LIFE ON EARTH. If we are to be like the angels of God in Heaven, it will be well to have an outline of it here—to give ourselves to the commencement of angelic life even here. We ought to do so. Our Lord is called an angel. He is the Angel of the Covenant—we ought to be like He now—therefore, we ought to have a present resemblance to angels.
Ministers are especially called to this, for this is one of their names. John writes to the angels of the seven Churches. Ministers are the messengers of God to the sons of men. They should be like that angel who flew in the midst of Heaven having the everlasting Gospel to preach to every creature. And, as the angel sounded that trumpet, so, as often as the time comes, and the assembly is gathered together, the Christian minister should have his trumpet ready, and that trumpet should give no uncertain sound. That we may be like angels here below is a certain fact, for we read of Stephen that his face shone, and even they who stoned him saw him as an angel of God.
Why should we not be like angels, for did not men in the wilderness eat angels' food, and may we not spiritually live on angels' meat today? May we not sing—
"Never did angels taste above,
Redeeming Grace and dying love"?
Yet these are the daily meat and the daily drink of all the saved souls! We can be like angels in our occupations. First, it is ours, as it was theirs, to declare the Word of God. We read of the Word published by angels. We read of the angels flying through the midst of Heaven with the everlasting Gospel. My Brothers, according to your ability, be like the angels of God in this and publish abroad the plan of salvation! Each of you, according to his ability, tell others of the salvation of Jesus Christ. You will never be more angelic than when God makes you the messengers of His Holy Spirit to the hearts of men.
Be it ours to imitate the angels in fighting a good fight while we are here. We read that Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels, and the dragon was cast down. The fight is going on every day. Michael is the Lord Jesus, the only Archangel. We, like He, and under Him, must stand as champions for the Truth of God, never to surrender, but being prepared to suffer, even unto blood, striving against sin. With undaunted courage, and a conscience that cannot be violated, let us stand fast for the one Lord, the one faith, and the one Baptism until He shall come who shall call us to the reckoning, and shall say, "Well done, good and faithful servants." Like angels, then, let us teach, and like angels, fight for the cause and for the crown of Christ!
Ours, too, let it be, like angels, to oppose the way of rebels. When Balaam was on his road to attempt to curse Israel, an angel stood with a fiery sword and made him pause. How often may a good man do that with the ungodly! Wicked men have frequently felt, in the presence of gracious spirits, that they could not speak profanely, nor sin desperately. A good man's presence has cast an awe over the whole company. You ought, by your example, to say to the world, "Rebel not against God." Even if you speak not with your tongue, the eloquence of your life should be a constant check upon the pathways of sin.
Not content with this, let it be ours to be the means of setting free those who are the prisoners of hope—God's prisoners. The angel came to Peter, smote him on the side, knocked off his chains, opened the gate, and led him out into the street. May you and I do this to some of those who, under conviction of sin, are smarting and suffering but have no liberty. Go today, if you have opportunity, and try to strike some sleeper on the side and speak an earnest word. Say to him, "Why do you sleep, with death and judgment so near?" And when you see him aroused, bid him follow you, as you shall open door after door of gracious promises to him and bring him into the wide street of liberty in Christ by simple faith. You can all be angels of this kind. It needs not that you be preachers. If you find out the disconsolate, you may bring them to Jesus in the house as well as in the great assembly.
And, then, Beloved, let us also imitate the angels in our ministering comfort to those who are saved. When Elijah was faint under the juniper tree, an angel appeared to him and pointed to a cake that was baked upon the coals. An angel said to Paul when he was on shipboard, "Fear not." Often have angels visited godly men with this message, "Fear not." O you that love the Lord, and are happy in Him, yourselves, be angels in this—comfort others with the same comfort with which God has comforted you this day. This very day there may be sitting near you some weeping Hannah who needs a message from God which can only come to her poor broken heart through your lips. Tell others of the goodness of God, as shown in your experience. Bear your witness to the goodness and loving kindness of the Shepherd who fails not His flock, and in this way you shall be angels of mercy to tens of thousands if the Lord spares you and gives you opportunity.
We may imitate angels in another respect—namely that we may always be watching over souls. You Sunday school teachers ought always to be angels. Do we not read of the little ones whom Christ took into His arms and said, "See that you despise not one of these little ones, for in Heaven their angels do always behold the face of God"? Sunday school teachers, this is your mission—see that you act it out! Angels bear us up in their hands, lest at any time we dash our foot against a stone. "For the angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear Him." Believers, learn to camp round about your fellow Christians! Help to save them from temptation and sorrow. Bear up, in your hands of sympathy, such as you can assist. Take away the stumbling block from the way of any who are apt to fall. Bear them up in your hands lest they dash their feet against a stone. You can thus be angels of God here below.
In addition to all this, is it not written, "Bless the Lord, you His angels"? "Let all the angels of God worship Him"? Well, then, you can be like the angels, now, by being always in a state of praise. Let no murmur escape your lips! Let no complaining dwell on your heart! Praise God though the sun shines not! Praise Him though the mists and fog are thickening! Praise Him though the winds should howl and the rain descend! You are not to be ruled by circumstances! Angels praise Him in the night as well as in the day! Let us do the same!—
"Praise Him while He lends you breath,
And when your voice is lost in death
Let praise employ your nobler powers."
Thus have I set before you the attainments to which we shall come and the opportunities we have, even now, by the Holy Spirit's effectual power of forestalling those attainments. May you be desirous of beginning the angelic life. And remember, the door to it is at Christ's Cross. Go where angels gaze with wonder, and you gaze with repentance! Go with your eyes full of tears for sin, and trust in Him who died for sinners, and the Lord of angels shall be your Lord, and the palace of angels shall be your home forever and ever. Amen.
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