CHAPTER V.

THE ANGELS OF LIGHT -THE POWERS OF DARK. NESS-DEATH - THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN-IN THE COVENANT.

I. THE ANGELS OF LIGHT are in the covenant. 

"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation ?" Hebrews 1:14. While our Lord himself was sent down to minister, behold his servants are to be ministered unto; the angels are made their ministers: " He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." Psa, 91:11. They have received a charge, and they have great advantages for keeping the charge of the Lord.
  1. They are mighty. "Bless the Lord, ye his angels that excel in .strength." Psalm 103:20. An angel is more than an army; what slaughters have the angels made in the armies of the aliens! A hundred fourscore and five thousand Assyrians are slain by one angel of the Lord, when encamped against Judah. Isaiah 37:36. It is hard service indeed that is too hard for an angel.
  2. They are numerous. There are great multitudes of them. " Thousands of angels." Psalm 67:17. "A multitude of the heavenly host." Luke 2:13An angel is more than an army; but what then are an army of angels?
  3. They are faithful. They can do much for the saints, but will they do it ? Yes, they are faithful; they do the commandments of God.- Psalm 103:20. God bids them keep, and they are faithful, and will keep, his sheep we ‘are taught to Tray that " the will of God may be done on earth, as it is in heaven;" that men may be faithful as the angels of God.
  4. They are favorites; they behold the face of God, they dwell in his presence, they are admitted to stand before his throne, they can be heard; they have favor in heaven, and therefore have they such power on earth. " Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their - angels do always behold the face of my Father which - is in heaven." Matthew 18:10. Touch not mine anointed, let alone my little ones, take heed how you offend them; their angels are before my Father, and are mighty with him, to engage his power for their aid and deliverance.
O the great security of the -least of saints ! These mighty ones, these multitudes, these faithful ones, these favorites of heaven, the holy angels of God, have all received .a charge from the Lord, to preserve and defend them: " ‘ Lord, open his eyes, that lie may see; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." 2 Kings, 6:17.

Should a mighty prince commit any subject of his to a potent and faithful life-guard, with this charge: "Look to this man, keep him in safety, see that he come to no harm; whoever offends, do you defend him; wherever he goes, go you with him; wherever he lodges, stand you as a guard about the house; while he sleeps, do you watch; see that he want for nothing, let no hurt come to him:" if this were thy case, in what great security wouldst thou count thyself. But 0, what is a life-guard of men to a guard of mighty angels? "Fear not, little flock;" in heaven your angels behold the face of God, and in earth they have pitched their tents round about you.

II. THE POWERS OF DARKNESS are delivered over in the covenant: 

Satan and all his instruments. We are naturally in bondage. to Satan, held "captive by him at his will," 2 Timothy, 2:26; his prisoners, his slaves, his vassals. By the blood of the covenant, the Lord hath brought forth his prisoners and-redeemed his captives, Zechaniah 9:11, and also bath spoiled principalities and powers, and led captivity captive. In this covenant there is deliverance of the prisoners, and a delivery over of them by whom they were held—a jail-delivery, and a delivery of the jailers into their hands; and they are delivered over bound, the god of this world in chains, limited, spoiled, banished, and cast out. " The gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18. The gates of cities were anciently their special strength, and in them were their great councils held for the contriving and managing of all their concerns. By "hell," understand all that belong to that dark region, Satan and all his instruments, the dragon with his armies, the serpent and all his seed. By " the gates of hell," understand the power and policy, the combination and counsels of Satan and his whole party. These gates of hell shall not prevail against it, that is, against the church; neither against the Head nor any member of it: they "shall not prevail;" that involves two things.
  1. They shall fight against it; they are all combined and listed against the church, making a war upon it. "Raze it, raze it, even to the foundation thereof. Down with it, root and branch; let it not have a being, let it not have so much as a name under heaven." Particular quarrels there may be between devil and devil; Herod against Pilate, and Pilate against Herod; yet the tails of these smoking firebrands are united against the Lord and his anointed ones—against their profession, against their religion, against the soul of every saint. Whatever veils or specious pretences they varnish their quarrel with, this it is that lies at the bottom of. all their counsels and machinations; in this all their aims are concentrated—to root out godliness, and the professors of it, from the earth; to deceive and destroy souls for ever.
  2. Though they shall fight against the church, yet they shall not overcome. They shall not prevail against it; that is, not finally: in the end the victory shall be the saints’. Jerusalem shall be "a burdensome stone for all people," Zechaniah 12:3; such a stone that they shall not be able to lift, or move it out of its place; it shall stand as a rock, against which the impetuous waves may dash themselves, but they cannot move it. Neither shall they be able to bear it. It shall crush those who burden themselves with it. Those who shake the church are pulling a house about their ears, a rook upon their loins; it shall break the backs of all those who contend against it; they shall be out in pieces that burden themselves with it, though all the earth,’ yea, and hell too, be gathered together against it. It is a vain design that Satan and his partakers are driving on. " Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?" Psalm 2:1. It is a yain design, and it is a fatal design to themselves: "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel."
In the first dawning of this glorious daylight, it Was promised that the seed.of the woman should break the serpent’s head. "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed. and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Gen..3:15. "Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out." John 12:31. Cast out; whence ? Why, east out of his kingdom, out of his hold, cast down from his throne and dominion. His prison is broken, and now the prey is taken from the strong, the captives of the mighty are taken away.

But you say, "Was this indeed done at the death )f Christ, to which these words refer? Does not Satan still reign? Is ho not still the god of this world, and the prince of the power of the air ?. Yea, what a hold has he yet of the saints that are in the earth What a tyrant is he to them; how does he entangle and ensnare them; what havoc does he make in their consciences; lording it over them, leading them captives by lusts and temptations; what a strong party has he still within them, bearing arms against their Lord, figbhthigb against their souls. What sad inroads does he make upon their grace, upon their peace; they cannot rest for him day nor night, abroad nor at home, alone • nor in company; he is ever following them; whithersoever they go, the devil is at their backs; they cannot pray, nor read, nor spend a thought, nor cast a look, nor dispatch a sigh-towards the Lord, but Satan ‘stands by to resist and hinder them. What a yoke has he still upon their neck; what clogs and • weights has he still upon their loins; how do they mourn in their souls while he vexes them from day to day; how do they groan, and travail in pain, sighing in themselves and waiting for their yedemption. How. is it then said, Now. is he east out ?" Because now he bath received his judgment: "The prince.of this world is judged." John 16:11. Now .is the fatal blow given., now is the serpent’s .head broken, though he still may bruise and hang on the saints. The blow he levelled at our Lord has rebounded on his own head: Though he be as Gad, a serpent in the way, yet you may now tread upon this serpent and it shall not hurt you. The strong man is now bound; if he be a god still, he is a god in chains, a prince in fetters; lie must ask leave of your Father, ere he can touch one hair of your heads. He cannot tempt you, nor cast a bank against you, nor shoot an arrow at you, without a commission from heaven. The devils are subject to you. He is east out, and in your Lord’s name you may cast him out; you may be instruments to bring many a soul to repentance, that they may recover themselves out of the snares of the devil, who are held captive by him at his will. Every sinner that is converted by you, you have cast out a devil from that soul.








Though he be an adversary still, yet is he such an adversary as may be resisted: "Whom resist, steadfast in the faith." 1Peter 5:9. And if you will resist, he shall flee from you. James 4:7. Stand, and your enemy runs.

Nay, more, he is not only a conquered enemy, but is made your servant. This viper shall yield you medicine against his own poison. His smitings shall be an excellent oil; the messengers he sends to buffet you, the thorns he sticks in your flesh, shall be a prevention of greater evils. The very destruction he intends to bring upon you shall promote your salvation. His winds shall blow off your chaff, his floods shall wash away your filth, his earthquakes shall open your prison-doors, his tempests shall drive you to harbor. Some men need a tempest to save them from a wreck.

Nay, once more, he is not low enough yet; he shall, be brought yet lower. You have assurance of his total and final overthrow. "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." Romans 16:20. "The devil shall be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone." Revelation 20:10. It is but a little while, and when he has done his work he shall be sent to his place, where he shall be shut up, and a seal set upon him; whence he shall come out no more for ever. He shall tempt no more, vex no more, deceive no more, destroy no more, torment you no more; he shall be thrust out, he shall he chained up; the tormentor shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Stand, Christians, stand your ground a little while; follow your work, hold up your holy profession, hold on your holy course; keep your hearts, keep your garments, keep on your armor, keep corruption under, resist temptation, bear your affliction; hold out faith and patience, fight against your adversaries, watch with your Lord this one hour, and behold, he that shall come, will come; he cometh quickly, and he that is in the world shall be consumed with the breath of his mouth, and destroyed with the brightness of his appearing. He shall be cast out, he shall be cast down, and rise no more for ever.

III. God has put DEATH into the covenant. 

" Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, all are yours." 1Corinthians 3:21. Death ! there is a great purchase, you will say; what advantage is that? Yes, death is an advantage. To die is gain. For,
  1. The commission of death is char4ed. It was once, Take him, jailer; away with him, carry him to prison, there to be reserved to the judgment of the great day. It is now, Take him, janitor; take him, porter; take him in, give him an entrance into his Master’s joy. Death does but take the bride when she is ready, and lodges her in the chamber of the bridegroom; this made death the apostle’s desire: "I desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better." Philippians 1:23.
  2. Death is conquered. What does this mean ? Your enemy is yours; your enemy is subjected to you; a conquered enemy is made a tributary; death is disarmed, it has lost its sting. When a serpent has lost its sting, you may take it into your bosom. He that can say, "Death, where is thy sting?" may go on and add, "Thanks be to God, which hath given me the victory." A signet sent from heaven with a death’s head, is a precious token. Come, Christians, be of good courage; set your feet on the neck of this king of terrors.
  3. Death is at once the destruction of all their enemies. When once death has done its office upon them, then farewell Edom, and Ammon, and Amalek, and Egypt—farewell the pricking brier and the grieving thorn; then farewell sin and sorrow for ever: the Egyptians they have seen and feared and felt to-day, they shall never see again for ever. It destroys itself, the saints’ last enemy, by destroying them; it has its welcome and farewell the same moment; it is but "Welcome death !" and "Farewell death for ever!" Death dies with the saints; once dead, they die no more for ever; mortality is swallowed up of life; death is east into the lake of fire; that is its region; there, there souls die, and die, and die again, over and over, for ever and ever: but for the saints, it does but set them on the banks of that good land., whither it cannot follow them. Our Lord by death, by ours as well as his own, has delivered those who " through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
Christians, you may now not only with patience, but with desire, expect the assault of this king of terrors. " What, shall tribulation, and persecution, and famine, and nakedness, and peril, and sword; shall sorrows and fears and mortality die with me ? Yea, shall sin die with me ? then welcome death. Lord, strengthen me this once, let me die with the Philistines." Would it be good for thee to be with thy Father; in the bosom of thy Bridegroom; the presence-chamber of thy Lord and Love ? Would it be a mercy to thee to weep no more, fear no more, suffer no more, be tempted no more, sin no more; to be unclothed of corruption, and be clothed upon with immortality and incorruption ? Then bid death welcome.

Blessed souls, when you come ashore, and see the light, the love, the joy, the rest, the glory, that is on the other side, you will then more fully understand what this meaneth, " Death is yours." He knew something, who said, "I cannot tell you what sweet pain and delightsome torments are in Christ’s love; I often challenge time, that holdeth us asunder; I have for the present a sick life, much pain, and much lovesickness for Christ; O what would I give to have a bed made for my wearied soul in his bosom ! O when shall ‘we meet? O how long is it to the dawning of the marriage-day? O sweet Lord Jesus, take wide steps; come over the mountains at one stride. O my Beloved, flee as a roe, or a young hart upon the mountains of separation. O if he would fold the heavens together like an old cloak, and shovel time and days out of the way, and come quickly."

IV. God hath put THE KINGDOM into this covenant: 

"Theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3. "It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32. Glorious things are spoken ,of thee, O thou city of God. I might here enlarge in describing the glory of this kingdom; but when I have said all, I must at last leave it within the veil; and therefore shall only tell you from the apostle, " Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him," etc. 1Corinthians 2:9. When by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, the eyes of your understandings are opened, ye shall know " what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." Ephesians 1:18.
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