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lion, seeking whom he may devour. It may be difficult in many cases to distinguish between the temptations of satan, and the suggestions of our own depraved nature. Nor is it essentially necessary, that we be able thus to discriminate, as the general precept of inspiration is alike applicable to sinful solicitations from whatever source they arise. “ Resist the tempter and he will flee from you.” The following observations however will in many cases enable us to distinguish the source of our temptations. a) When a person hopefully converted to God, is tempted to those actions which formerly constituted his besetting sins, the temptation is probably to be attributed to the relic of sinful propensity yet adhering to him. Every such reviving energy of native depravity, impairs his evidence of true piety; and unless he betake immediately to some holy employment of the mind, to prayer, reading or contemplating divine truth, he is in awful danger of becoming again the slave of sin, and gradually losing all sense of divine things from his soul. b) Temptations may be attributed to the same source, if the objects naturally calculated to excite them, be present, and we have incautiously been dallying with them. c) But these suggestions may be attributed to the influence of Satan, if we are tempted to perform acts which are contrary to our prevailing state of mind, nor coincident with former besetting sins, and to which we have given no occasion by sinful dalliance; as when a truly pious man, who never had been profane, is tempted to curse God: or when a true believer, who had never been inclined to infidelity, is, in the midst of prayer, tempted to doubt the existence of the Being to whom his supplications are addressed, as was on one occasion, that eminent man of God, Franke. d) They are probably attributable to the same source, when they contemplate actions contrary to our constitutional temperament or disposition; as when Peter, naturally of precipi
11 Pet. 5: 8. Be sober, be vigilant ; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
tate and intrepid character, was tempted through fear to deny his Lord.
Instances have occurred, in which persons of acknowledged piety, have been tempted to self-destruction. If they occur in a state of health and serenity of mind, they may result from satanic influence. But if, as is usually the case, the individual is of a inelanchioly temperament, they are the offspring of bodily and mental disease, and can be permanently remedied only by such medical prescriptions, as will restore their subjects to health. In all cases, where persons thus situated actually perform the mysterious deed, they must be regarded as having lost all selfcontrol, and with it all responsibility for their actions.
In every instance it is the duty of man to withdraw his mind from any object of temptation, to shun the occasions where they occur, and by prayer and the other appointed means of grace to live near to God. Thus doing we have the pleasing assurance that our heavenly Father will not suffer us to be tempted above what we can bear, and that with the temptation he will always grant us grace equal to our day, and make a way to escape.
The employment of angels by the providence of God, to minister to the heirs of salvation on earth, is a subject of pleasing reflection, and affords just scope for speculations of the most thrilling character as to the particular sainted relations or friends who may be hovering around us as messengers of heaven. Yet we should ever remember, that they act not independently; but as the implicit servants of God, and in strict accordance with divine command. Not unto them therefore ought either our confidence, or prayers, or adoration to be directed; but unto the one God, through Jesus Christ, whose servants angels are, and to whom alone we are indebted for every blessing, whether it be conveyed to us through angelic agency, or any other channel.
11 Cor. 10: 13.
That the invocation or the worship of angels is useless and sinful, appears evident. a) We have not the least assurance that the saints and angels ever know any thing about even the millionth part of the
of the prayers idly addressed to them in different parts of the world. Like ourselves they are finite creatures, and for ought we know, can attend to no more than one individual at a time. Yet, what short of divine omniscience could make them acquainted with simultaneous prayers of more than a hundred millions of Roman Catholics at stated seasons ? Either all these prayers exceptone or at most a few, must be thrown away, or the Romanists must regard the saints as omniscient, that is, must in effect deify them. And what better would this be than the polytheism of the ancient pagans ?
b) He alone who died for us, can make intercession according to the sacred volumne; for the atonement and intercession are there conjoined.
c) He alone can be qualified to present our petitions successfully to God, who possesses power to cleanse them of their pollutions, to which neither angel nor archangel is competent.
d) The sacred volume puts this question to rest by the explicit declaration that there is but one mediator betwixt God and men,
the man Christ Jesus.2 e) That the worship of angels in any sense, is highly criminal, we cannot doubt; for Paul expressly condemns it, and exhorts the Colossians not to suffer any one to beguile them into the worshipping of angels. 3
1 Rom. 8: 34. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
2 1 Tim. 2: 5. 6. For there is one God, and Mediator between God and men,
, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified (published) in due time.
3 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility (some outward mode of expressing humility not enjoined by God,
f) The angel in the Revelation, expressly forbade John to worship him on the ground that angels are also fellow-servants of God, and that God alone is to be worshipped.
g) Finally, it is one of the unchangeable precepts of the decalogue, binding on all men, and all nations and all ages of the world, that we should worship the Lord our God and serve him alone.
It has been said that Abraham, Jacob, and Joshua worshipped angels, but without any ground: for they worshipped the Son of God, who had appeared to them. Abraham calls him Jehovah (Lord), the judge of all the earth, and prays him for the safety of Sodom. That the angel with whom Jacob wrestled was the same uncreated being we learn from Hosea, where he is said to have exhibited strength in conflict with God. And Joshua worshipped the same uncreated angel, for he terms him Captain of the Lord's hosts. These passages therefore neither contradict the plain precepts above cited, nor afford any countenance to the species of idolatry, termed worship of angels.
The Origin and Primitive State of Man.
To man, a being possessed of such exalted faculties, capable of acquiring knowledge, and naturally thirsting for its acquisition, few questions can possess greater interest than that concern
but prescribed by the will of man), and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.
1 Rev. 22: 8. 9. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel, which showed me these things. Then saith be unto me, See thou do it not; for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book : WORSHIP God. See ch. 19: 20.
2 Matt 4: 10. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve, Deut 6: 13. 10: 20. 1 Samuel 7: 3. Exod 20: 3. 3 Gen. 18.
5 Josh. 5: 14. 15.
4 12: 3.
ing his own origin. If he applies to reason for instruction, he receives nothing but vague unsatisfactory conjecture in reply. We can trace our lineage back for several generations by the aid of tradition, and if we consult written records of profane historians we can trace back the human family to a great deluge, the time of which they very indefinitely fix. The great body of profane histories, long before they reach so great an antiquity, have degenerated to mere mythological fiction. In the word of God alone do we find an authentic account of this matter ; and although there are some things remarkable and to us inexplicable contained in it, no other less objectionable can possibly be conceived or has ever been suggested by the imagination of
The Scriptures inform us, that on the sixth day of the creative week, about 4000 years before the birth of the Saviour, after God had created the earth and all the other things on it, he made man out of the dust of the earth, a being possessed of soul and body,placed him in the garden of Eden, 3 and gave him dominion over all the other living things on earth. 4
Our first parents, when they proceeded from the hand of their Creator, were endowed with superior physical, intellectual and moral excellencies; and are therefore said to have been created in the image of their Maker. Being free from the
1 Gen. 1: 26. 31.
3 Gen. 2: 7. And the Lord formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life : and man became a living soul.
3 Gen. 2: 15. And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it, and to keep it.
4 Gen. 1: 28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
5 Gen. 1: 27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him ; male and female created he them.