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ment; which was piously instituted by the Church in Commemoration of those many and eminent Benefits which we receive from the Holy Angels. Among these none of the least is what we now treat of, their assisting us in resisting the Temptations of evil Spirits. For being ministring Spirits, Sent forth to minister for them who shall be Heirs of Salvation, as it is Heb. i. 14. they apply themselves with unwearied Diligence to this charitable Office: Attending the Motions of our Minds, insinuating good Counsels, countermining the Stratagems of the Devil, enlightning the Mind, moving the Affections, promoting the Good of the Soul.
How all this is performed by them, we may easily conceive, after a clear Comprehension of the Method whereby evil Spirits operate in our Souls. For whatsoever natural Power these possess, equally belong to the Holy Angels, who partake of the same Nature, and differ only in the Quality of good and bad. If they have the Power of moving Matter, and so of affecting our Imagination; much more these, who are the Messengers of God. If they can imprint Ideas in our Mind by immediate In, fluence ; much more these, whose pious Designs are blessed and prospered by their Almighty Patron. If they by long Observation have found out the Turnings and Windings of the Heart of Man; thele pofsess by Nature au equal Knowledge, and have obtained a much greater by Divine Communication. If they have discovered the less defensible Places of the Soul of Man, where the Atteinpt may most successfully be made; these have discerned the Arguments of Obedience, which are most persuasive to every single Man, and fail not to apply them fitly. If they profecute their Hatred and wicked Designs against Mankind with unwearied Malice; these continue their good Offices with no less constant Diligence and Charity. If they be rendered vigorous and powerful in all their Adions by their Subtilty, Agility, long Experience and comprehensive Knowledge; these obtain the same Faculties in equal Perfection, and with far greater Probability of Success in the Use of them; in as much as therein these act in Obedience to God, they in Opposition to him; these with a constant Complacency and Prospect of Reward to be obtained by it; those with a perpetual Vexation, as knowing the Increase of their Punishment doth attend it; these assisted and directed by God, those restrained and with-holden by him. In short, if the Devils bring great Detriment to the spiritual Interests of Mankind, the Angels bring no less Advantage to it; that it may be questioned whether it were more eligible for Man to suffer the Temptation of evil, for the Assistance of good Spirits, or to want them
both together. Only the fame Caution which we before observed to be necessary in procuring and continuing the Grace of God, is also required here; that we render our selves worthy of it by a diligent Concurrence; and that as we should not by our Perverseness grieve the Holy Spirit of God, so neither should we by our Negligence and obstinate Perseverance in Sin grieve the Holy Angels.
And this is the only Reward, which for all their Labour and Care bestowed on us, they require of us; that together with them we pay a due Obedience to our common Master; that we defeat not their charitable Designs by our own Wilfulness. Worship and other Signs of Divine Honour they affect not; nay, this they will not receive from us. The End of their Labour is to procure Happiness to Man, and the Reward of it, pext to the Conscience of haying obeyed their grcar Master, is the Satisfaction of their Success in it. Their only Aim is that we would join with them here in paying entire Obedience to our common Creator ; that so we may join with them hereafter in singing Praises to him.
To him therefore be ascribed the Glory and Thanks of all their charitable Operations in Relation to Mankind; to him be Tendred all Praise and Honour, who at first created such excellent Beings, and afterwards sent them forth to minister to our Salvation; who hath placed in us Souls not unlike to these noble Beings; and hath promised, that if we be not wanting to our selves, he will in due Time make us fully like unto them. To him, with his Son and blessed Spirit, be ascribed all Power, Might, Majesty, Dominion and Adoration, henceforth and for evermore.
Preach'd on the 20th of August, 1689.
at Lambeth Chapel.
St. MARK VIII. 36.
gain the whole world, and lose his own
T is the peculiar Character of the Christian Religion, that it is adapted as well
to the Interest as the Reason of Mankind; that it is not only consentaneous to our Natures, but advantageous to our Perfons; that it not only prescribes to us our Duty, but directs us in the way of Happiness. Herein it infinitely surpasseth even all the more refined Systems of the Gentile Divinity and Philosophy. They pretended to no more than to refine our Reason, and enlighten our Understanding, by the Knowledge and Consideration of Truth. But then they could produce nothing wherewith to satiate the unbounded Appetite of