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[438] So it was also with the angels, their judgment was likewise decreed. Probably they thought it would be degradation and misery to be ministers to a creature of an inferior nature, whom God was about to create, and subjects and servants to one in that nature, not knowing particularly how it was to be, God having only in general revealed it to them. They thought it would be best for themselves to resist, and endeavour to be independent of God’s government and ordering; and, having an appetite to their own honour, it overcame holy dispositions, which when once overcome, immediately wholly left them to the full and unrestrained rage of the principles that overcome, and their holy inclination to subjection was greatly damped by their opinion of God, as though he intended to deal unbecomingly by them in subjecting them to one of such a nature, and so it was the more easily overcome.

[320] Devils. It seems to me probable that the temptation of the angels, which occasioned their rebellion, was, That when God was about to create man, or had first created him, God declared his decree to the angels that one of that human nature should be his Son, his best beloved, his greatest favourite, and should be united to his eternal Son, and that he should be their Head and King, that they should be given to him, and should worship him, and be his servants, attendants, and ministers: and God having thus declared his great love to the race of mankind, gave the angels the charge of them as ministering spirits to men. Satan, or Lucifer, or Beelzebub, being the archangel, one of the highest of the angels, could not bear it, thought it below him, and a great debasing of him. So he conceived rebellion against the Almighty, and drew away a vast company of the heavenly hosts with him. But he was cast down from the highest pitch of glory to the lowest hell for it. and himself was made an occasion of bringing that to pass which his spirit so rose against, yea, 608 his spite and malice was made an occasion of it, and that same act of his by which he thought he had entirely overthrown the design, and that same person in human nature which they could not bear should rule over them in glory, and should he their King and Head, to communicate happiness to them, by this means proves their King in spite of them, and becomes their Judge; and though they would not be his willing subjects, they shall be his unwilling captives, he shall be their sovereign to make them miserable and pour out his wrath upon them; and mankind whom they so envied and so scorned, are by occasion of them advanced to higher glory and honour, and greater happiness, and more nearly united to God; and though they disdained to be ministering spirits to them, yet now they shall be judged by them as assessors with Jesus Christ.

[833] Occasion of the fall of the angels. Christ had his delegated dominion over the world committed to him as soon as the creation of the world was finished; for though Christ did not actually begin the work and business of a Mediator till man had fallen, yet the world, even in its very creation, was designed to be for the use of Christ in the great affair of redemption, and his purpose in that work was the end of the creation, and of all God’s providences in it from the beginning. Therefore the government of the world was committed into his hands from the very beginning; for even the very creation was committed into his hands for that reason, as the apostle intimates, Eph. iii. 9, 10..Much more have we reason to think that the disposal of it was committed into his hands when it was made, because it was created for his disposal and use. It was therefore most fit that it should be committed to him, not only in the actual accomplishment of that great work of his, the work of redemption, but also in those antecedent dispensations that were preparatory to it during that short space of time that was taken up in the preparation before the work of redemption actually began. It was most meet that Christ should have the disposal of those things that were to prepare the way for his own work, otherwise the work would not wholly be in his hands; for the accomplishing of the work itself, so as best to suit his own purpose and pleasure, depends in a great measure on the preparation that was made for it, and so there is the same reason that the preparation should be in his hands as the work itself. There is the same reason, that those things that are without the limits of the work itself, as to time, should be in the hands of Christ, because of the relation they have to that work, as that those things that are without the limits of the work itself, as to place, and nature, and order of being, should be in his hands; as the angels in heaven, and indeed all the works of God that were before the fall of man, were parts of the work of preparation for the work of redemption. The creation itself was so; and for this reason the creation of the world was committed into his hands; and there is no reason to suppose that one part of this work of preparation was committed into Christ’s hands, because it was a preparation for his work, and not other parts of the preparation for the same work. All things are for Christ, for his use; and therefore God left it with him to prepare all things for his own use, that in every thing he might have the pre-eminence, and that in him might all fulness dwell, a perfect sufficiency every way for the design that he had to accomplish; and therefore by the will and disposition of the Father, all things were made by him, and all things consist by him, and he was made Head over all things to the church, and for the purposes of the work of redemption that he was to accomplish for the church.Colos. i. 16, 17, 18, 19. “For by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things are created by him and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” Eph. i. 22. “And hath put all things under his feet, and given him to be head over all things to the church. “It is manifest by these things that not only the creation of the world, but the upholding and government of the world, were committed into the hands of Christ, and doubtless it was so from the beginning. As Christ’s delegated dominion over the world will not be at an end till his use of it is finished, and he has completed that work, in which its great use consists, and has fully obtained his end of it, which will be at the end of the world, when he will deliver up THATkingdom to the Father. So doubtless the delegated dominion over the world began when his use of it began, which was at the beginning of the world, or as soon as the world was finished, and then the kingdom was committed to him of the Father.

[936] Fall of the angels. Satan, the prince of the devils. It seems manifest by the Scripture, that there is one of the devils that is vastly superior to all the rest. His vast superiority appears in his being so very often spoken of singly, as the grand enemy of God and mankind, the grand adversary, the accuser of the brethren, and the great destroyer. He is more frequently spoken of singly, in Scripture, than devils are spoken of in the plural number, as though he were more than all the rest. He seems commonly in Scripture to be spoken of instar omnium. It seems to be from his great superiority above all the rest, that he is so often spoken of under so many peculiar names that are never found in the plural number, as Satan, Diabolos, Beelzebub, Lucifer, The Dragon, The Old Serpent, The Wicked One, The God of this world, The Prince of this world,John xii. 31. The Prince of the power of the air, The Accuser of the brethren, The Tempter, The Adversary, Abaddon, Apollyon, The Enemy, and The Avenger. His strength and subtlety are very great indeed; so much superior to the rest, that he maintains a dominion over them, and is able to govern and manage them, that they durst not raise rebellion against him, agreeable to Job xli. 25. “When he raiseth up himself the mighty are afraid.“But he is king in hell, the prince of the devils; as Leviathan is said.Job xli. 34. to be “king over all the children of pride.” See Rev. ix. 11. All the rest of the devils are his servants, his wretched slaves, they are spoken of as his possession, Matt. xxv. 41. “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and HIS angels.” They are his attendants and possession, as the good angels are Christ’s attendants and possession, Rev. xii. 7. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought, and his angels.’’

This angel, before his fall, was the chief of all the angels, of greatest natural capacity, strength, and wisdom, and highest in honour and dignity, the brightest of all those stars of heaven, as is signified by what is said of him, under that type of him, the king of Babylon, Isa. xiv. 12. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” This signifies his outshining all the other stars, as the morning star outshines the rest. It is yet more manifest from what is said of the king of Tyrus, as a type of the devil, in Ezek. xxviii. 12-19. Here I would observe several things. (See note on the place.)

I. It is exceeding manifest that the king of Tyrus is here spoken of as a type of the devil, or the prince of the angels or cherubim that fell.

1. Because he is here expressly called an angel or cherub, once and again, Ezek. xxviii. 14, 16. And is spoken of as a fallen cherub.

2. He is spoken of as having been in heaven under three different names; by which names heaven is often called in Scripture, viz. Eden, The Garden of God, or the Paradise of God; Ezek. xxviii. 13. The Holy Mountain of God, Ezek. xxviii. 14,16.; and The Sanctuary, Ezek. xxviii. 18.

3. He is spoken of as having been in a most happy state in the paradise of God, and holy mountain of God, in great honour, and beauty, and pleasure.

4. He is spoken of as in his first estate, or the state wherein he was created, to be perfectly free from sin, but afterwards falling by sin. Ezek. xxviii. 15. “Thou wast perfect in thy ways, from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”

5. The iniquity by which he fell was pride, or his being lifted up by reason of his superlative beauty and brightness.Ezek. xxviii. 17. “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty. Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.”

609 6. He is represented as being cast out of heaven, and cast down to the earth for his sin. Ezek. xxviii. 16. “Therefore I will cast thee, as profane, out of the mountain of God, and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the flames of fire.” Ezek. xxviii. 17. “I will cast thee to the ground.”

7. He is represented as being destroyed by fire here, in this earthly world. Ezek. xxviii. 18. “I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee: it shall devour thee; and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the midst of all that behold thee.”

8. His great wisdom is spoken of as being corrupted by sin, i.e. turned into a wicked craftiness. Ezek. xxviii. 17. “Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom because of thy brightness.” If the king of Tyrus were not here expressly called ”a cherub,” ”in the paradise of God,” and ”in God’s holy mountain;” by which it is most evident that he is spoken of as a type of a cherub in the paradise of God; yet I say if it had not been so, the matter would have been very plain, for the things here spoken of cannot be applied to the king of Tyrus with any beauty, nor without the utmost shining, any other way than as a type of the devil that was once a glorious angel in paradise. For how could it be said of the king of Tyrus, in any other sense, but as a type of the anointed angel, that he had been in God’s holy mountain, and in Eden, the garden of God, and in God’s sanctuary, and there been first perfect in his ways? (For the original word is a kind of expression that is ever used in Scripture to signify holiness, or moral perfection.) And how in any other sense was he afterwards cast, as profane, out of the mountain of God?

II. It is evident that this cherub or angel is spoken of as the highest of all the angels. This is evident by several things.

1. He is called the anointed cherub. This expression alone shows him to have sat higher than any other cherub; for his being anointed, must signify his being distinguished from all others. Anointing of old was used as a note of distinction, to show that that person was marked out and distinguished from all the rest for a higher dignity. The Lord’s anointed, in Israel, was he that God of his mere good pleasure had appointed to the chief dignity in Israel; so the Lord’s anointed among the cherubim, is the cherub that God had appointed to the highest dignity of all. It is said, Ezek. xxviii. 14. “Thou art the anointed cherub that cover-eth; and I have set thee so;” i.e. plainly, “It has been my pleasure to set thee, by my anointing, in the highest dignity of all.”

2. He is called, Ezek. xxviii 14. “The cherub that covereth, on God’s holy mountain,” and, Ezek. xxviii. 16. “The covering cherub, in the midst of the flames of fire,” In which there seems to be a reference to the cherubim in the temple in the holy of holies, next to the throne of God that covered the throne with their wings. Exod. xxv. 19, 20;xxvii. 9. From this it appears, that by the covering cherub is meant the cherub next to the throne of God himself, having a place in the very holy of holies. There were represented two cherubim that covered the mercy-seat in the temple, that are called by the apostle, “cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat,” Heb. ix. 5. which represent the great dignity and honour of the cherubim that are next to God’s throne, and are covering cherubim. But before the fall of this cherub he is spoken of as being alone entitled to this great honour and nearness to God’s throne in heaven, that he was anointed to be above his fellows. (See note on Matt. xviii. 10.)

3. This covering cherub is here spoken of as the top of all the creation, or the summit and height of all creature perfection in wisdom and beauty. Ver. 12. “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom and perfect beauty.” He is spoken of not only as being in the midst of many things that are very bright and beautiful, ver. 13, 14. and as walking up and down among them, but as having the sum of all their beauty completed, perfected, and sealed up in himself. [It seems implied, that no being is stronger than Beelzebub, and able to bind him, but God himself.Matt. xii. 29. with the context.]

Corol. I. Hence learn that Satan before his fall was the Messiah or Christ, as he was the anointed. The word anointed is radically the same in Hebrew as the word Messiah: so that in this respect our Jesus is exalted into his place in heaven.

Corol. II. These things show another thing, wherein Jesus is exalted into the place of Lucifer; that whereas he had the honour to dwell in the holy of holies continually, so Jesus is there entered, not as the high priests of old, but to be there continually, but in this respect is exalted higher than Lucifer ever was; that whereas Lucifer was only near the throne, or kneeling on the mercy-seat in humble posture, covering it with his wings, Jesus is admitted to sit down for ever with God on the throne.

Corol. III. From what is said in this passage of Scripture, we may learn that the angels were created in time. Though we have no particular account of their creation in the story of Moses, we read here, once and again, of the day wherein this anointed cherub was created, ver. 13, 15. This is also implied in Gen. ii. 1. “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the hosts of them. “The angels are often in Scripture spoken of as the host of heaven, and the angels are expressly spoken of as created by Christ, in Col. i. 16. “For by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him.” So Psal. civ. 4. “Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire;” which is meant of proper angels, as appears by Heb. i. 7..It appears also further, because they are called the sons of God, in Job xxxviii. which cannot be meant by eternal generation, for so Christ is God’s only-begotten Son. See Psal. cxlviii. 2, 3, 4, 5.

Corol. IV. In another respect also Jesus succeeds Lucifer, viz. in being the covering cherub. The word translated cover, often and commonly signifies to protect. It was committed to this archangel especially, to have the care of protecting the beloved race, elect man, that was God’s jewel, his first-fruits, his precious treasure, laid up in God’s ark, or cabinet, hid in the secret of his presence. That was the great business the angels were made for, and therefore was especially committed to the head of the angels. But he fell from his innocency and dignity, and Jesus in his stead becomes the Cherub that covereth, the great Protector and Saviour of elect man, that gathereth them as a hen her chickens under his wings.

Corol. V. Lucifer, while a holy angel, in having the excellency of all those glorious things that were about him, all summed up in him, was a type of Christ, in whom all the glory and excellency of all elect creatures is more properly summed, as the head and foundation of all, just as the brightness of all, that reflects the light of the sun, is summed up in the sun.

And as the devil was the highest of all the angels, so he was the very highest of all God’s creatures; he was the top and crown of the whole creation; he was the brightest part of the heaven of heavens, that brightest part of all the creation; he was the head of the angels, that most noble rank of all created beings; and, therefore, when spoken of under that type of him, the Behemoth, he is said to be “the chief of the ways of God,” Job xl. 19. And since it is revealed that there is a certain order and government among the angels, the superior angels having some kind of authority over others that are of lower rank; and since Lucifer was the chief of them all, we may suppose that he was the head of the whole society, the captain of the whole host. He was the archangel, the prince of the angels, and all did obeisance unto him. And as the angels, as the ministers of God’s providence, have a certain superintendency and rule over the world, or at least over some parts of it that God has committed to their care, hence they are called thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers. Therefore, seeing Lucifer was the head, and captain, and prince of all, and the highest creature in the whole universe, we may suppose that he had, as God’s chief servant, and the grand minister of his providence, and the top of the creation, in some respect committed to him power, dominion, and principality over the whole creation, and all the kingdom of providence; and as all the angels are called the sons of God, Lucifer was his first-born, and was the firstborn of every creature. But when it was revealed to him, high and glorious as he was, that he must be a ministering 610 spirit to the race of mankind which he had seen newly created, which appeared so feeble, mean, and despicable, so vastly inferior, not only to him, the prince of the angels, and head of the created universe, but also to the inferior angels, and that he must be subject to one of that race that should hereafter be born, he could not bear it. This occasioned his fall; and now he, with the other angels whom he drew away with him, are fallen, and elect men are translated to supply their places, and are exalted vastly higher in heaven than they. And the Man Jesus Christ, the Chief, and Prince, and Captain of all elect men, is translated and set in the throne that Lucifer, the chief and prince of the angels, left, to be the head of the angels in his stead, the head of principality and power, that all the angels might do obeisance to him; for God said, 525525    Heb. i. 6. “Let all the angels of God worship him;” and God made him his first-born instead of Lucifer, higher than all those thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, and made him, yea, made him in his stead the first-born of every creature, or of the whole creation, and made him also in his stead the bright and morning star, and head and prince of the universe; yea, gave this honour, dignity, and power unto him, in an unspeakably higher and more glorious manner than ever he had done to Lucifer, and appointed him to conquer, subdue, and execute vengeance upon that great rebel. Lucifer aspired to be “like the Most High,” but God exalted one of mankind, the race that he envied, and from envy to whom he rebelled against God, to be indeed like the Most High, to a personal union with the eternal Son of God, and exalted him in this union to proper divine honour and dignity, set him at his own right hand on his own throne, and committed to him proper divine power and authority, constituting him as God man, the supreme, absolute, and universal Lord of the universe, and Judge of every creature, the darling of the whole creation, the brightness of God’s glory, and express image of his person; as, in his divine nature, he is the NATURAL IMAGE of God. God, in his providence, was pleased thus to show the emptiness and vanity of the creature, by suffering the insufficiency of the highest and most glorious of all creatures, the head and crown of the whole creation, to appear, by his sudden fall from his glorious height into the lowest depth of hatefulness, deformity, and misery. God’s design was first to show the creature’s emptiness in itself, and then to fill it with himself in eternal, unalterable fulness and glory. To show the emptiness of the creature, the old creation, or the old heavens and earth, were to go to ruin and perish, in some sense, or at least all was to be emptied. Great part of the old creation was actually to sink into total and eternal perdition, as fallen angels and some of fallen men; all mankind was in a sense to be totally: though some of them were to be restored, after they had sensibly been emptied of themselves. And though the highest heaven never was to be destroyed, yet, before it should have its consummate and immutable glory, the highest and most glorious part of it was to perish, and a considerable part of the glorious heavenly inhabitants; and the rest were hereby to be brought to see their own emptiness and utter insufficiency, and so as it were to perish or die as to self-dependence and all self-fulness, and to be brought to an entire dependence on the sovereign grace and all-sufficiency of God, to be communicated to them by his Son as their head. And thus the whole old creation, both heaven and earth, as to all its natural glory and creature-fulness, was to be pulled down; and thus, way was to be made for the creation of the new heavens and new earth, or the setting forth of the whole elect universe in its consummate, everlasting, immutable glory in the fulness of God, in a great, most conspicuous, immediate, and universal dependence on his power and sovereign grace, and also on the glorious and infinitely excellent nature and essence of God, as the infinite fountain of glory and love; the beholding and enjoying of which, and union with which, being the elect creature’s all in all, all its strength, all its beauty, all its life, its fruit, its honour, its blessedness.

Corol. I. From the last paragraph. This may show us the necessity of a work of humiliation in men as the necessity of man’s being emptied of himself in order to a partaking of the benefits of the new creation, and the redemption of Jesus Christ.

Corol. II. This shows that even the elect angels have their eternal life in a way of humiliation, and also dependence on sovereign grace, as well as elect men, though not the same sort of humiliation and dependence in all respects.

To show the emptiness of all creatures in themselves, the ruin of the creation began in heaven, in the very best and highest part of the creation, and in the highest creature in it, the crown and glory of the whole creation; because it was the will of God that a mere creature should not be the head of the creation, but a divine person, and that he should be the crown and glory of the creation. Heaven was the first of the creation that was subject to ruin, and it shall be the last part that shall be renewed or amended by a new creation. There are two parts of the creation connected with the work of redemption; one is the world of man, and that is this visible world; and the other is the world of angels, and that is heaven. The whole is to be changed: the former shall be destroyed, because all men fell, and only an elect number are saved out of it; the other shall not be destroyed, because all the angels did not fall, those that stood supported it, a blessing was left in it, and therefore God said, Destroy it not, and therefore the change that is to be made in that is to be of a contrary nature to destruction; it is to be made infinitely more glorious by a new creation. And therefore God’s dealings with respect to the world of angels, are contrary to his dealings with the world of men. The world of men is to be destroyed, and therefore, elect men are taken out of it, and carried into the world of angels, and reprobate men left in it to perish and sink with it. The world of angels is not to be destroyed, but renewed and glorified; and therefore, reprobate angels are taken out of it, and cast into the world of men, and elect angels are kept in it, to be renewed and glorified with it.

Because God’s design was to show the emptiness of the creature, and its exceeding insufficiency, therefore God suffered both angels and men quickly to fall, and the old creation quickly to go to ruin.

Some may be ready to think it to be incredible, and what the wisdom of the Creator would not suffer, that the most glorious of all his creatures should fall and be eternally ruined, or that it should be so that the elect angels, those that are beloved of God, should none of them be of equal strength and largeness of capacity with the devil. To this I would say,

1. That the man Christ Jesus that is exalted into the place of Lucifer in heaven, though he be of a rank of creatures of a nature far inferior in capacity to that of the angels, and especially far below the highest of all the angels, yet God can and hath exalted that little worm of littleness and weakness to an immensely greater capacity, dignity, and glory, than Lucifer ever had.

2. God can reward the elect angels that originally are inferior to Lucifer, and can increase their capacity and strength; and there is no reason to think but that he has rewarded, or will reward, elect angels, as well as elect men, with a great exaltation of their nature. And probably Christ did, at his ascension, exalt the natures of some of them at least, so as to exceed all that ever Lucifer had. It seems probable, by Rev. xx. at the beginning; and probably at the day of judgment, the natures of all the angels will be so exalted as to be above the devil in capacity.

Seeing that this was the case with the devil, that before his fall he was the head of the creation, the captain and prince of the angels, and had some kind of superintendency over the whole universe, and seeing his sin was his pride, and affecting to be like the Most High, no wonder that he seeks to reign as god of this world, and affects to be worshipped as God.

That the devil so restlessly endeavours to set p himself in this world, and maintain his dominion here, and to oppose God, and fight against him to the procuring his own continual disappointment and vexation, and to work out his own misery, and at last to bring on his own head his own greatest torment, his everlasting and consummate misery, is the fruit of a curse that God has laid him under for his first ambition, and envy, and opposition to God in 611heaven. He is therefore made a perfect slave to those lusts that reign over him, and torment him, and will pull down on him eternal destruction.

[930] Occasion of the fall of the angels. We cannot but suppose that it was made known to the angels, at their first creation, that they were to be ministering spirits to men, and to serve the Son of God in that way, by ministering to them as those that were peculiarly beloved of him, because this was their proper business for which they were made; this was the end of their creation. It is not to be supposed that seeing they were intelligent creatures, that were to answer the end of their beings as voluntary agents, or as willingly falling in with the design of their Creator, that God would make them, and not make known to them what they were made for, when he entered into covenant with them, and established the conditions of their eternal happiness, and especially when they were admiring spectators of the creation of this beloved creature for whose good they were made, and this visible world that God made for his habitation. Seeing God made the angels for a special service, it is reasonable to suppose that the faithfulness of the angels in that special service must be the condition of their reward or wages; and if this was the great condition of their reward, then we may infer that it was their violating this law, and refusing and failing of this condition, which was that by which they fell. Hence we may infer, that the occasion of their fall was God’s revealing this their end and special service to them, and their not complying with it. That must be the occasion of their fall.

COROL. Confirmation of the angels at Christ’s ascension.

Hence it is rendered exceedingly probable that the angels were not confirmed till Christ’s ascension. For, by what has been now said, it appears that the proper condition of their reward or wages must be their faithfulness in that special service for which God made them, or which was the end of their being; but that was to be ministering spirits to Christ in the great work of his exalting and glorifying beloved mankind. But the angels had not any great opportunity to do this business till this work of Christ’s glorifying mankind had been carried on considerably in the world; nor had they the proper and chief trial whether they would submit to that service of being subservient to Christ in the work of redemption of fallen men, till that work of redemption was wrought, and Christ had gone through his humiliation, and it was seen whether they would submit to serve, obey, and adore their appointed Head and King in his abject meanness, and when set at nought and abased to hell for beloved, though sinful, vile men.

[1057]Occasion of the fall of the angels. How it is agreeable to the opinions of many divines, that their refusing to be ministering spirits to beings of inferior rank, and to be subject to Jesus Christ in our nature, when the design of his incarnation was first revealed in heaven, and how that as man he was to be the head of the angels; see Mr. Charles Owen’s Wonders of Redeeming Love, p. 74, &c. in our young people’s library. See also Mr. Glass’s Notes on Scripture Texts, Num. 3. p. 1-7.

[1261] Occasion of the fall of the angels. It is supposed by some, and very rationally and probably by Zanchius, whom I account the best of protestant writers in his judgment, and likewise by Suarez, the best of the school-men, that upon the very setting up, or at least upon the first notice that the angels had of the setting up, of a kingdom for the man Christ Jesus predestinated for to come, (and this, whether it was without the fall predestinated as some suppose, or upon supposition of the fall, as others, yet so much might be revealed to them,) and of the divine purpose that the human nature was to be assumed by, and united to, the second person of the Trinity, and that he was to be the head of all principality and power, and that angels and men should have their grace from him; it is supposed, I say, that on this being declared to be the will of God, that the rejection of this kingdom on the part of many of the angels, and their refusing to be subject unto Christ, as man thus assumed, was their first sin. And now in opposition hereunto they did set up another kingdom against him. Thus those writers whom I have mentioned do think; and they allege that place in the epistle of Jude. ver. 6. where, the sin of the angels being described, it is said they kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, (which, say they, is not there brought in as their punishment,) they left the station God had set them in, and they left their dwelling in heaven, to set up a kingdom here below in opposition to Christ, and so to have an independent kingdom of themselves; for which God hath condemned them into eternal torments, and to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment, 2 Peter ii. 4. And to set up this great kingdom is their business, and therefore they do now associate themselves together, not out of love, but as becometh rational creatures that would drive on a project and design. These writers not only go upon this place in Jude, but on that in John viii. 44. where Christ lays open both the devil’s sin and the sin of the Jews. The sin of the Jews was this, they would not receive that truth which Christ bad delivered to them, as he tells them, ver. 45. “Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not;” and not receiving it, they sought to kill him. Now, if you ask what that truth was which Christ had so much inculcated upon them, you shall see, ver. 25. what it is. They asked him there, Who he was; “Even the same,” saith he, “that I have told you from the beginning, THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF GOD. If the Son make you free, you shall be free indeed,” ver. 36. This was the great truth that these Jews would not receive. Now he tells them, likewise, ver. 44. that Satan, their father, the devil, abode not in the truth. He was the first, saith he, that opposed and contradicted this great truth, and would not be subject to God who revealed this, nor would he accept, or embrace, or continue, or stand; he would quit heaven first; and so from hence come to be a murderer, a hater of this man Christ Jesus, and of this kingdom, and of mankind. For he that hateth God, or he that hateth Christ, he is, in what in him lieth, a murderer of him, and he showed it in falling upon man. And they backed it with this reason, why it should be so meant, because otherwise the devil’s sin which he compares them to, had not been so great as theirs. There had not been a likeness between the sin of the one and that of the other; his sin would have been only telling a lie, a lie merely in speech, and theirs had been a refusing that great truth, JESUS CHRIST IS THE MESSIAH AND HEAD; and so the devil’s sin would have been less than theirs. Whereas he is made the great father of this great lie, of this great stubbornness to receive Christ, and to contradict this truth; and this, saith he, he hath opposed from the beginning with all his might, and he setteth your hearts at work to kill me. But I say I will not stand upon this, because I only deliver it as that which is the opinion of some, and hath some probability. However, this is certain, whatsoever his sin was, he hath now, being fallen, set up his kingdom in a special manner against Christ; and so Christ hath been the great stumbling-stone, and angels fall upon it, and men fall upon it. So that indeed the first quarrel was laid in this; God himself proclaimed it at the very beginning. “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head;” which, though spoken to the serpent, comes in by way of curse, as striking at the very spirit of the devil’s sin. “He shall break thy head,” saith he. “Thou wouldest have lifted up thyself. He shall crush thee.” God, I say, proclaimed the war, and the quarrel hath continued from the beginning of the world to this day, and will do, till Satan be put out of the air, for so long he is to have his kingdom, though Christ beateth him out of it every day in the world, and so will continue to do till he hath won the world from him, and then he will chain him up in the bottomless pit. This from Dr. Goodwin, vol. 1. of his Works, part ii. p. 32, 33.

[1266] Fall of the angels. The same Dr. Goodwin, in the 2d vol. of his Works, in his Discourse on the Knowledge of God the Father, and of his Son Jesus Christ, speaking of the pride of some, has these words: “A lower degree of accursed pride fell into the heart of the devil himself, whose sin in his first apostatizing from God, is conceived to be a stomaching that man should be one day advanced unto the hypostatical union, and be one person with the Son of God, whose proud angelical nature (then in actual existence, the highest of creatures) could not brook.”

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