EXPLAINED AND DEFENDED
SERIES OF SERMONS;
TIMOTHY DWIGHT, S. T. D. LL. D.
LATE PRESIDENT OF YALE COLLEGE.
THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.
IN FOUR VOLUMES
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY S. CONVERSE,
STEREOTYPED BY A. CHANDLER.
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DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT, ss.
BE it remembered, that on the fifth day of January, in the forty second year of the Independence of the United States of America, Timothy Dwight, and William T. Dwight, both of said District; Administrators of the Rev. Timothy Dwight, now deceased, and late of the said District, have deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as Administrators as aforesaid, and Proprietors, in the words following, to wit:
Theology; explained and defended, in a Series of Sermons; by Timothy Dwight, T. D., LL. D. late President of Yale college. With a Memoir of the Life the Author,. in five Volumes. Vol 1.’’
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, " An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors arid proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned."
Clerk of the District of Connecticut.
A true copy of Record, examined and sealed by me.
Clerk of the District of Connecticut.
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Reprint and digital file August 17, 2002.
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JUDE 6.—And the Angels, who kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation,
he hath reserved, in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the
IN this passage, we have a concise, but very interesting, account of certain Angels, who once dwelt in Heaven. Created, at first, with all the excellencies of the Angelic nature, placed in circumstances of the highest honour, and enjoying the greatest happiness, they are here represented as having lost their character, and forfeited their honour and happiness. The nature and allotments of these Angels furnish the subject, which next demands our attention in this System of discourses.
Before I enter on the consideration of this subject, it will be proper to take some notice of an opinion, which has, chiefly within the two past centuries, been adopted concerning it, and advanced with confidence by persons of various descriptions: an opinion, which, if true, would preclude the present discourse, as groundless and nugatory. It is this, that there are no such beings as Fallen Angels. Infidels [ Enlightenment thinkers, Willison Ed. ] have made the Scriptural account of these beings, a formal objection against the truth and credibility of the Scriptures. Not a small number of men, professing themselves to be Christians, have partly yielded to the objection, and partly considered the contrary doctrine as necessary to their particular systems of Theology. Thus, here, as in other cases, men apparently opposed to each other in the, belief, and the denial, of the Scriptures, have yet united in overthrowing their authority, and unsettling their character as a revelation.
From the manner, in which the doctrine has been opposed, we should naturally argue unfavourably concerning the opposition. It has been most usually opposed, not with sober argument, but with ridicule and sneers. A cause, which needs this support, is bad of course; and is by its abettors seen to be bad: for no man of common sense, will ever resort to this feeble and ineffectual mode of attack, or defence, when the surer, more rational, and more efficacious, resort of sober argument, is in his power.
If the existence of fallen Angels is incredible; it must be so for one of the following reasons.
1st. That it is not revealed sufficiently to command belief; and that, as we have no direct knowledge of invisible beings, aside from Revelation, so in this case, Revelation does not warrant us to admit their existence: or,
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2dly. There is some evidence in the nature of things, which dis-proves their existence, or at least, renders it highly improbable.
Concerning the first of these Methods of opposing the existence of fallen Angels, I observe, that it has been very little resorted to, by the opposers of this doctrine. Here, as in many other cases, Revelation has been tried before the tribunal of Philosophy. Men have supposed, that their own judgment was a more unerring standard of faith and truth, than the Scriptures. That Infidels should thus act, is certainly to be expected; for this opinion is the basis of their system. However irrational, therefore, and indefensible, their conduct may seem to us; we are certainly to feel no surprise, when they resort to it, or rely upon it, with confidence. But for this opinion, they could not retain their system for a moment.
But, that men, professing to believe in the Scriptures as a divine Revelation, should adopt this method of establishing, or refuting, their declarations, is, to say the least, wonderful. Still, it has in every age been more or less the conduct of persons, who have professed this belief. It began to exist in the time of the Apostles and was boldly adopted in defiance of their authority and inspiration. The declaration of St. Paul, relative to this subject, are ample proofs of the fact. The two first chapters of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, are, in a great measure, employed on this subject, in them he informs us, that to the Philosophical Greeks, who arrogated to themselves the titles of Wise Men and Philosophers, the doctrine of the cross was foolishness. This, therefore, was then a general decision of Philosophy. Against the adoption of that Philosophy, and the imitation of the men who professed, it, he strongly cautions the Corinthian Christians; who were in no small danger from its imposing and deceitful influence. At the same time, he informs them, that this foolishness, as they termed it, of God, was wiser than Men; that God had not chosen men of this character to call them to salvation, hut men of an opposite character, who disclaimed the very words, as well as the spirit, of this Philosophy; men, who, although despised and accounted as nothing by these vain, arrogant Philosophers, and their followers, were yet beloved of God, and the instruments of their salvation. He farther informs them, that the wisdom of this world, is foolishness with God; and again declares, that the Lord knoweth the Reasonings of the wise, that they are vain. To the Colossians he writes, Beware lest any man spoil you through Philosophy and vain deceit; that is, vain and deceitful Philosophy; which, he declares, accorded with the traditions of men, and the rudiments 0f this world, but not with Christ. Of course, It merited contempt, on the one hand, and was fraught with danger, on the other.
From the age of the Apostles to the present time, almost every existing heresy has been derived from this source. The Scriptures were found by many men, and men, too, who were often distinguished for their ingenuity, not to agree with their Philosophy; and
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of course could not, in their opinion, be true, unless they could be bent to such an agreement. Those, therefore, who chose still to acknowledge the Revelation of the Scriptures, employed them selves in helping out their character, as a system of truth, and removing their supposed inconsistencies, by new constructions, allegorical explanations, and generally, by substituting what they ought to mean for that, which, according to the natural and proper force of language, they must mean. Those, on the contrary, who cared little about them, finding the doctrines, which they contain, to disagree with their own Philosophy, denied their authority at once. Men of this class were, in my view, more rational, more self-consistent, and less injurious to the character of the Scriptures, than those of the other. For nothing can be more irrational, inconsistent, or injurious to the Scriptures, than to profess to receive them as a divine Revelation, and at the same time to make human opinion the standard, by which their declarations are to be tried. This is no other, than to sit in judgment upon God himself, (who, in this case, is acknowledged to be the Author of the declarations) and to determine whether he has spoken truth or falsehood. Must not Angels wonder to see Men thus employed?
The truth is; the doctrine in question is so often, and so clearly, asserted in the Scriptures, that the denial of it cannot be founded on them alone. All men act in this case, as Dr. Priestly has acted in questioning the existence of the holy Angels. In pursuing the doctrines of his peculiar system, he was led to doubt, and ultimately to deny, the immateriality of the human soul; and roundly decided that it was nothing but organized matter. Angels, he saw plainly, stood in the way of his arguments concerning this subject: for no mind possesses sufficient ingenuity to render it even remotely probable, that Angels are material. And, as the human soul may as easily be supposed to be immaterial, as an Angel can be, there was no resort left to Dr. Priestly, but to question the existence of Angels altogether. This, therefore, he chose to do, not withstanding the numerous express declarations of God to the contrary; declarations as express as language will admit; rather than give up a doctrine, which he thought necessary to the support of his system.. In this manner, the Scriptures may be made to declare any thing.
With respect to the second of these reasons, on which the existence of Fallen Angels is denied, viz, that there is some evidence in the nature of things, which disproves the existence of such beings, or at least, renders it highly improbable; I observe,
1st. That the existence of Angels, generally considered, is originally less improbable than that of Men.
To a rational being, unacquainted with the existence of either Angels or Men, pure spirits would seem more likely to be a part of the Creation of God, than spirits united to bodies; beings wholly rational, than beings partly rational and partly animal. God is a
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pure spirit. It is not rationally supposed, that, in creating Intelligent beings, he would unite them to Matter, in such a manner as to form one being of both matter and mind; but it is rationally supposed, that, delighting as he does in his own manner of existence, he would create beings as much like himself, as might be. In creating men, a new difficulty concerning existence, a new mystery of Philosophy, is presented to our contemplation: viz, the union of soul and body, so accomplished, as to constitute one percipient being. Should it be here observed, that Philosophers, in denying the existence of Angels, whether virtuous or fallen, avoid this difficulty, by denying also the existence of an immaterial soul in Man; I acknowledge, that the objection is fairly alleged, as being founded in truth; but I beg leave to subjoin, that in this very manner, they introduce to us a new, more mysterious, and more perplexing doctrine; a doctrine so mysterious, as to be no other than a gross absurdity: viz, the doctrine of cogitative, or thinking matter. As I propose hereafter to discuss this subject at length ; I shall dismiss it for the present without any further remarks.
2dly. That Angels after their creation, fell, involves no more difficulty, than that which is involved in the/all of Man.
All, that in the nature of the case, appears necessary to accomplish the fall of any finite being, is a sufficient temptation. Temptation, for aught that appears, may rise to any degree, beneath infinite ; and there is no more reason to suppose, that the strength of an Angel, or his habits of virtue, are sufficient to resist all possible temptation, than to suppose, that the strength of a man is sufficient. I speak, here, of such a man as Adam; who antecedently to the first temptation, was absolutely free from sin. The same temptation, which would overcome the man, might not, and probably would not, overcome the Angel; but a temptation, sufficiently increased to bear an equal proportion to his disposition to resist, might overcome him; and undoubtedly would: nor is there any apparent proof, that God is any more obliged to secure an Angel from falling, than to secure a man.
3dly. That fallen Angels, if permitted, should net in the affairs of mankind, is attended with no more improbability, than that virtuous Angels should, thus act.
Virtuous Angels are declared to be all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation; and are, throughout the Scriptures, exhibited as being really, continually, and extensively, concerned in the affairs of the present world. With the same clearness, are fallen Angels also declared to be thus employed.
Nor is there any presumption against this interference of either. We, it is true, could not know this fact, unless it were declared to us; or unless we were to become acquainted with it by experimental evidence. But, that the rational inhabitants of one world should be interested in the concerns of another, and, if allowed by God thus to act, interfere in them, in a manner suited to their
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respective dispositions, is in a high degree probable. We, certainly, if we were able, and were permitted, to visit the planetary worlds, should take such a part in the important concerns of their inhabitants, as suited our dispositions. If we were governed by benevolent motives; we should save, or relieve, them, so far as was in our power, from dangers and sufferings; if by malevolent ones, we should promote their distress and ruin. We do in reality thus act in this world; not in our own affairs only, but in those of others; in the affairs of strangers, as well as of friends ; and of those in distant nations and countries, as well as our own. But there is nothing more unnatural, or improbable, in our interference, if it were permitted, in the concerns of distant worlds, than in those of distant nations.
4thly. There is no more difficunty in supposing, that the fallen Angels accomplish evil in the divine kingdom, than that fallen men do the same.
It is, indeed, originally improbable, that either men or Angels should accomplish evil in the divine kingdom; or, universally, that evil should exist at all. But, since we know, that it does exist, there is no more perceivable difficulty in attributing it to one class of Intelligent creatures, than to another. Nor is there any explanation of the agency of men in producing evil, which may not be applied in a manner, equally satisfactory, to that of Angels.
5thly. That Angels should communicate thoughts, either good or evil, to mankind, is originally no more improbable, than that we should communicate them to each other. We do this, daily and hourly, in many ways, which are familiar to us by experience, but which were originally unimaginable by ourselves, and probably by any other finite beings. We show our thoughts to each other, by words, tones, gestures, silence, hieroglyphics, pictures, letters, and many other things. All these, antecedent to our experience of them, were hidden in absolute darkness, from our conception. If all mankind had been born dumb, no man would have entertained a single thought concerning the communication of ideas by speech. The conveyance of thought by looks, also, if never experienced by us, would have been necessarily deemed mysterious and impossible. Yet very many thoughts are thus conveyed by every person living; and with very great force ; and frequently with entire precision. Nay, the countenance often discloses the whole character at once.
The Angels communicate their thoughts to each other, we know, because the Scriptures have declared the fact: that they may communicate them to us, we have no solid reason to doubt. Of the mode of communication. in either case, we know nothing; and are unable to conjecture any thing, but what is idle and useless. But, that they may convey thoughts into our minds, as well as understand those, which arise in them, contravenes no analogy, and no evidence.
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Should it be said, that, when we communicate thoughts to each other, we are conscious of the act, by which the thoughts are communicated to us, and of the presence, and agency, of the communicator; but that we are conscious, in no instance, of communication from Angels, and never perceive their presence, or agency whence it is reasonably concluded, that Angels do not convey thoughts to our minds: I admit the declaration as just; but deny the inference, derived from it by the objector. There is no proof from any thing, with which we are acquainted, that thoughts cannot be conveyed to us by a being, of whose presence, and agency, in conveying them, we are not conscious.
In the Scriptures we are informed abundantly, that God, by his Holy Spirit, communicates thoughts to mankind. But it is certain, that we have no consciousness of his presence, and agency, in communicating them. Of the thoughts themselves, we are indeed conscious; but not of the source, whence they are derived. The same doctrine, for ought that appears, is equally applicable to our reception of thoughts from Angels.
6thily. If good Angels may with propriety be supposed to promote our obedience; evil Angels may with the same propriety be supposed to prompt us to disobedience.
If the Agency of these two classes of beings should be exactly balanced; it is plain, that we could suffer no injury. There is no reason to conclude, however, that the influence of good Angels does not, upon the whole, overbalance that of evil ones. But all, that is necessary to vindicate God, in the case supposed, (if even this is necessary) is, that we be not, upon the whole, subjected by their joint agency to any disadvantage. That we are thus subjected, the Scriptures furnish us not a single reason to believe; nor can it be reasonably believed, unless, perhaps, where judicial blindness is inflicted as a punishment on an obstinate sinner. On the contrary, there is sufficient reason to conclude from the mercy of God, as unfolded in the Scriptures, that he always causes the Scale in this case to preponderate in our favour.
Thus have I considered all the material objections, which I think of, against the existence, and agency, of Angels, particularly evil ones, suggested by human Philosophy; and, if I mistake not, have proved them to be unfounded. To proceed, therefore, to a particular consideration of the doctrines, contained in the text.
In this passage of Scripture, we are informed,
I. That after the Angels were created, a part of them kept not their first estate:
II. That they left their own habitation:
III. That they are confined in chains under darkness: and,
IV. That they are reserved in this state unto the judgment of the great day.
These propositions I shall briefly examine in the order specified.
I. After the Angels were created, a part of them kept not their first estate.
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The Angels, who fell, were, in their first estate, of the samc rank and character, engaged in the same employments, and possessed of the same happiness, which were enjoyed by their virtuous companions. Accordingly, they are described by the same names in 1 Cor. xv. 24, and Ephes. vi. 10. This doctrine is also clearly indicated in the text where, in the original, it is said, that they kept not their principality; instead of their first estate; as it is improperly rendered in our Bible. All these blessings, however, they lost by rebelling against God. Of this great and wonderful event; a revolt in the heavenly world, and among the highest order of created beings; we have no regular history in the Scriptures. Still, we are abundantly assured by them, that it actually took place. By various declarations, allusions, and hints, contained in them, we are taught that Satan, an Angel of pre-eminent distinction in heaven, rebelled, under the influence of pride and ambition, against his Maker. In this deplorable enterprize, we further learn, that multitudes of the heavenly host united with him; and with the same disposition, violated the law, and revolted from the government, of God. That pride and ambition were especially the sins, by which Satan and his companions fell, is, I think, sufficiently evident from 1 Tim. iii. 6: where St. Paul, speaking of a Bishop, says, he must not be a novice, a new convert, lest, being puffed up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the Devil. In this passage it is plainly asserted, that the Devil was condemned for his pride, and it is fairly presumable, that the same sin was the source of condemnation to his companions. The revolt appears to have been but one ; to have existed at one time; and to have united those, who shared in it, in the same guilt, as well as in the same undertaking.
II. They left their own habitation.
By this phraseology, heaven is perhaps intended; or that happy world, in which all the angels were originally united together around the throne, and in the peculiar presence, of God. If this sense be admitted, as by most persons it probably will be; then it would seem, that they voluntarily deserted this happy place, and chose to withdraw themselves from its glorious blessings, rather than continue under the government, from which they were derived. If the Greek word which is rendered habitation, denotes, as some divines have supposed, some other residence, or station, assigned them in some other world: then it would seem, that they left this residence, and the principality, or government, that is, the office, or station, which they held; refusing to perform the duty, assigned them by their Creator. In either case, they were shut out of Heaven ; and, as St. Peter informs us, were cast out by a final banishment from God; and were never more permitted to return to their former habitation. They had despised, and disturbed, the happiness of heaven; and therefore were permitted to enjoy it no more. They were discontented with their blessings, therefore they were taken from them. They had revolted from tbeir God; therefore he cast them off.
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III. They are confined in chains under darkness.
Darkness is a state, obviously suitable for beings, to whom the light of heaven was unsatisfactory and odious; and chains are most proper for beings, whose proud and wanton wishes were discontented with the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Both,also, united, form a degradation, eminently fitted for beings, who, at the head of the created universe, were impatiently ambitious of a higher station. Both, at the same time, constitute a proper temporary punishment, for beings, who rebelled against the government of God himself; who kindled discord, even in heaven; and to whom all their exalted blessings stood for nothing, while any higher and richer blessings remained.
IV. They are reserved unto the judgment of the great day.
The punishment and degradation of these evil beings, ate not completed. They will hereafter be tried, and condemned, for all the evils, which they will have wrought, or attempted, during the continuance of this earthly system. These evils, however gratifying to them in the perpetration, will, after the judgment, return upon their own heads: and, instead of the triumph for which they hoped, and laboured, will cover them with eternal shame, and overwhelm them in endless ruin. The chains, which they now wear, are literally everlasting; and will confine them unto the judgment, so that they cannot escape; and will confine them for ever in the sufferance of that misery, to which they have destined themselves by a voluntary devotion.
Such, generally, is the Scriptural account of the character and allotments of evil Angels. It will be proper to add a few more particulars, derived from the same source. The Leader or Prince, of these evil beings, was the tempter of our first parents; the author of all the miseries, and an instrumental cause of all the sins, which have followed that dreadful event. The same disposition, which manifested itself in his rebellion in the heavenly world, was here directed in the same manner against the government of his Maker: a disposition compounded of malice, baseness, and treachery. Hence he is styled in the Scriptures, the adversary; the calumniator; the father of lies; the destroyer; a murderer, and a liar, from the beginning. All his followers sustain the same dreadful and detestable character. So far as has been in their power, they have deceived, betrayed, and destroyed the race of men; have been uniformly the enemies of God and mankind; have tempted them unceasingly to sin: and have especially persecuted and distressed the children of God. They powerfully excited the persecution, and crucifixion, of the Redeemer; and the sufferings of This Apostles and their followers. From that time to the present, they have unceasingly pursued the same malignant course; and will hereafter, so far as they are permitted, delude, distress, and destroy, unto the end of the world.
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I. In this passage, we find a short, but affecting account of one of the most stupendous events, which have taken place in the Universe.
A vast multitude of Intelligent beings, of the first order in the divine kingdom, excelling all other orders in knowledge, power, and splendour, and unrivalled in the favour of God, rose up in rebellion against their Creator, Benefactor, and Sovereign; lost their pristine honour and happiness, their primeval virtue and dignity; sunk down to the depths of sin, shame, and misery ; and incurred the endless hatred and contempt of all good beings.
Prom this singular and amazing event, many interesting truths may be learned by us.
1st. No created faculties, no finite holiness or happiness, furnish sufficient inducements to prevent creatures from apostacy.
Angels fell. All others, therefore, may fall; and, if left to themselves, will fall. The true reason, why the spirits of just men made perfect, and the innumerable company of holy Angels, persevere in their obedience, is evidently, I think, not their own inherent perfection, but the promise of God and his almighty power, especially exerted to secure them from sin. Without this safeguard, they would, at least in my view, be utterly unsafe, and plainly, exposed to destruction. We cannot but see, therefore, with what forcible propriety our Saviour has taught us to pray after this manner. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil! If Angels needed a continual exertion of divine power to preserve them from falling; how much more do we, frail and feeble as we are, prone by nature to sin, and easily overcome by temptation, need the same exertions for our daily and hourly safety! How constantly, and earnestly, ought we to offer up these petitions! How unceasingly ought we to beseech God to keep our feet from falling, our eyes from tears, and our souls from death; and to implore the influence of his Holy and Good Spirit to make the meditations of our hearts, and the words of our mouths, acceptable in his sight. He only can preserve the bruised reed from falling asunder, and the dimly burning flaw from being extinguished in everlasting darkness.
2dly. We are here taught, that pride could disturb the peace and happiness of heaven, and prove the cause of endless ruin to a multitude of inhabitants.
How great an evil then, is pride! It overcast, in a moment, all the beautiful and eternal prospects; it eclipsed, in a moment, all the splendour, virtue, and dignity, of Angels. What a vast, what an immeasurable ruin did it here accomplish! What a change did it make in the Universe! What an amazing change did it produce in those, by whom it was exercised! How ought we, then, to tremble at the indulgence of pride; the sin, to which we are probably more prone than to any other! More, or less, it occupies every heart; manifests
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itself in all the conduct of the children of men; and intrudes itself into their piety, their benevolence, their prayers, their songs, their alms, their humility, and their repentance. If Angels were so odious in the sight of God, on account of their pride; how odious must we be! If they were ruined by it for ever; what will become of us?
3dly. We are further taught, that no creatures are so necessary or important, to God, as to be secure from his anger when they sin against him.
Angels sinned, and were destroyed. Who, then, if found of the same character, will escape?
Men often satisfy themselves, that they are safe in the falsely intended reflection, that God never made men to damn them. I have used the words, which I have frequently heard used to express this miserable refuge of lies. It is undoubtedly true, in the strictest sense, that God never created either men, or any other beings, for this end; but it is equally true, that he has created men, and Angels also, who, after they were created, sinned ; and who, for their sin, were condemned to final perdition. The phraseology, apparently true, is substantially false; and is used only for the purpose of deceiving ourselves and others. The Angels might certainly have used this language with more seeming force, and justice, than we can; hut it could not save them, and, therefore, certainly cannot save us.
The number of wicked men, often relied on in no small degree as a foundation of hope and safety, is merely a foundation of sand. The number of the wicked Angels did not avail them at all. Every one of the rebels was destroyed as absolutely, as if no other had been concerned in the rebellion. Their number, also, was immensely great; and one of them was of more worth and importance, than many men united.
5thly. The punishment of the evil Angels is not disciplinary.
They have been already punished at least six thousand years; yet, instead of being reformed, they have grown worse continually; and will grow worse, not only till the day of judgement, but probably for ever. The Scriptures inform us, that the punishment of evil Angels is the same with that of evil men. The punishment of evil men, therefore, is not disciplinary, but punishment properly so called; punishment designed to reward the sins, not to amend the characters, of either Angels or men. Both are hopeless of amendment; yet both may be useful, although dreadful, examples to the rest of the universe. There is not a reason to believe, that sin was ever renounced, or a sinner reformed, except by the almighty power of the Spirit of Grace.
II. We learn from these observations, that opposition to God, is supremely odious and deformed.
This is the fundamental characteristic of Apostacy in both Angels and Men. Of this, the diabolical character is made up. How
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odious and deformed is it most justly accounted! How false; how malicious; how cruel; how base; how detestable! Let it be remembered, that all opposition to God, is, in nature and substance, the same; and that it differs not in kind, but merely in degree.
III. In how many respects do wicked men resemble wicked Angels!
Like them, do wicked men exalt themselves against God, hate his government, oppose his designs, and revile his character; inflate themselves with pride; murmur at their own allotments; covet the enjoyments of others; corrupt their fellow-creatures; tempt them to iniquity; and defraud them of endless life. Like them, do they hate, envy, injure, calumniate, and destroy. How much of the history of this great world has resembled a history of fiends! How much of it has been a history of falsehood, fraud, treachery, pollution, slanders, contentions, murders, oppression, slaughter, irreligion, impiety, profaneness, and blasphemy! How readily have evil men, like evil angels, undertaken to rival God, and demanded the homage, worship, and obedience, due to him alone!
How laboriously do Infidel writers, even now, oppose their Maker, and their Redeemer; and strive to shut both their fellow-men and themselves out of heaven! Particularly, with what frequency, and constancy, do they repeat the very falsehood, which was first told to the parents of mankind: Although ye disobey God, ye shall not surely die. How continually do wicked men, by argument, ridicule, eloquence, and example, tempt each other to sin against God! How great a part of their life and labours do multitudes spend in this employment! Where can we find a moral distinction between this conduct, and that of fallen Angels?
IV. The same punishment, which is reserved for evil Angels, is accordingly reserved for evil men.
This punishment was prepared, at first, for the Devil and his Angels. But Christ, the final Judge of the quick and the dead, has informed us, that impenitent men shall, at the great day, stand with them on the left hand; be included in the same sentence; and depart to the same place of torment. Both will have been embarked in one cause; will have sustained one character; and will, therefore, share in one allotment of wo. Perhaps there is not a more affecting, more overwhelming consideration to a serious mind, than this: that evil men will hereafter be confined in the same habitation with these hateful beings; who are possessed of a disposition to do every thing, which is injurious to God, and their fellow-creatures, and to perpetrate all the crimes dictated by malice, cruelty, deceit and revenge. To be imprisoned in this world with a collection of abandoned villains; to be hated and despised, deceived and betrayed, oppressed and insulted, wounded to the soul with unceasing cruelty and treachery, and broken down by scorn and
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insolence, even for our present momentary life; would, I think, he a lot sufficiently dreadful to lacerate the soul with agony. What then must be the nature and misery of a confinement with these powerful, active, sagacious beings; whose minds are all malice, fraud, and cruelty; and whose endless being is only a succession of rage, revenge, and despair!