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sarily excite in every sober and contemplative mind the highest possible admiration, an admiration which will continue and increase for ever.
How delightful an object of contemplation is this glorious order of beings.
All things pertaining to this illustrious subject are cheering, luminous, animating, and sublime. The ery nics aned to angels by their Creator, convey to us ia peminely pleasing, fitted to captivate the heart and exalt the imagailiacas only cheerful, refined, and noble; ideas which dispel gloom, banish despondency, enliven hope, and awaken sincere and unmingled joy. They are Living Ones; beings in whom life is inherent and instinctive; who sprang up under the quickening influence of the Sun of righte ousness, beneath the morning of everlasting day; who rose, expanded, and blossomed, in the uncreated beam, on the banks of the river of life, and were nourished by the waters of immortality. They are Spirits, winged with activity, and formed with power, which no labour wearies, and no duration impairs; their faculties always fresh and young, their exertions unceasing and wonderful, and their destination noble and delightful, without example, and without end. They are Burning Ones, glowing with a pure and serene, with an intense and immortal, flame of divine love; returning, without ceasing, the light and warmth which they have received from the great central Sun of the universe; reflecting with supreme beauty the image of that divine
luminary; and universally glorious, although differing from each other in glory.
The place in which they dwell is perfectly suited to their illustrious character. It is no other than the heaven of heavens, the first and best world that will ever be created, the place where God himself delights peculiarly to dwell; the house where virtue, peace, and joy, dwelt in the beginning, and will dwell for ever; the throne of boundless dominion, the parent city of the great empire of Jehovah, the happy region where all things are verdant with life, and blossom with immortality.
The station which they hold, is of the same cheerful and elevated nature. It is the first station allotted to created existence. These sublime intelligences are the immediate attendants of Jehovah, the nobles and princes of the universe. All their employments, all their allotments, are honourable and happy; all their destiny, dignified and divine.
Angels then present us with an object of contemplation, replenished with inherent light, beauty, and greatness, with nothing to tarnish, nothing to impair its lustre; nothing to alloy the pleasure of the beholder; a vivid landscape, formed of all the fine varieties of novelty and greatness, without one misshapen, decayed, or lifeless object, to lessen its perfection: a morning of the spring, without a cloud to overcast it; a sun, without a spot, shining only with the various colours of unmingled light.
FALLEN Angels were once possessed of all these illustrious attributes, and held the exalted station which is now exclusively enjoyed by their fellows. Fallen Angels are still possessed in an eminent degree of power, life, activity, and knowledge; but they yielded up their holiness, when they revolted from their Maker; and changed for ever their character, and their destiny, by sinning against God. Sin converted them into fiends, and made hell their habitation. From sin, that dark and dreadful world derives all its gloom, sorrow, and despair. Sin ushered it into being, raised its prison walls, barred its iron gates, shrouded its desolate regions in the blackness of darkness; kindled the fires, by which it is gloomily enlightened, and awakened all the cries, and groans, and curses, and blasphemies, which echo through its regions of sorrow. Sin changed angels, once surrounding the throne, and harmonizing in the praise of God, into liars, accusers, calumniators, adversaries, and destroyers. How amazing and dreadful the change! How loathsome, how detestable the spirit, by which it was accomplished!
CREATION OF MAN.
THE creation of the world was now completed. "The heavens were finished, and all the host of them." The sun was constituted a perpetual fountain of light, and set in the firmament to rule over the day, and to distribute warmth and life, activity and enjoyment, to
all the sentient inhabitants of this world. In his absence, "the moon walked in brightness, to rule the night; " and shed on the earth a softer but no less beautiful splendour, than that of the day. The stars also, spreading their glory throughout the sky, delightfully illustrated the wisdom of the Creator, and rejoiced over the inferior works of his hands.
The whole process also of forming the earth, of clothing it with verdure, of replenishing it with animals, of providing the means of their subsistence and comfort, and of arraying it with beauty and magnificence, was brought to an end. Fresh from the perfect hand of its Creator, it was a work of such excellence, that the eye of infinite wisdom, surveying all its parts, saw that it was 66 very good." It was a habitation which angels beheld with delight; a palace fitted for the residence of an immortal, virtuous, happy being; of him who was to be made in the image of God, of him who was to have dominion over the earth, and every thing which it contained.
This mighty preparation conveys to us high ideas concerning the object for which so much was done. God does nothing but with the strictest propriety. The bounty which here flowed in such copious streams, was directed by infinite wisdom, as well as poured out by infinite goodness. While, on the one hand, it was glorious to its Author; it was, on the other, perfectly suited to the character of the recipient. The recipient therefore was of such a character, as to be the proper object of these illustrious communications.
THE ORIGINAL HAPPINESS OF MAN.
How illustrious a being was man, as he came from the hands of his Maker.
With what dignified attributes was he endued! For what high pursuits was he qualified! To what sublime enjoyments was he destined! In him was found, in an important sense, the end of this earthly system. Without man, the world, its furniture, and its inhabitants, would have existed in vain. Whatever
skill, power, and goodness were displayed by the Creating Hand; there was, before the formation of man, none to understand, admire, love, enjoy, or praise the Creator. The earth was clothed with beauty, the landscape unfolded its delightful scenes, the sky spread its magnificent curtains, the sun "travelled in the greatness of his strength," the moon and stars solemnly diplayed the glorious wisdom of their Author, without an eye to gaze, or an heart to contemplate. A magnificent habitation was indeed built and furnished, but no tenant was found. Brutes were the only beings which could enjoy at all, and their enjoyment was limited to animal gratification.
But man was separated from all earthly creatures, by being formed an intelligent being. His mind could trace the skill and glory of the Creator in the works of his hands; and from the nature of the work, could understand, admire and adore the Workman. His thoughts could rise to God, and wander through eternity. The universe was to him a mirror, by which he saw reflected every moment, in every place, and in every form, the beauty, greatness, and excellence of Jehovah. To Him, his affections and his praises rose, more sweet than the incense of the morning; and made no unhappy harmony with the loftier music of heaven.