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when such work is to be done, seems to them so hatefully unthankful, as to draw forth the most emphatic anathema against such offenders. To render a recompense to those who afflict Christ in his members, is indeed a part of angelic office, as David shows; when speaking of those who sought to destroy his soul, he says,
6 Let them be as chaff before the wind : and let the angels of the Lord chase them. Let their way
be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the Lord persecute them." Psalm xxxv. 5,6. In virtue of this office, they will fulfil their terrible commission in the last days of the present dispensation. “The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matt. xiii. 42. They will come fully prepared for the terrible work of that great day: “It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble
you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thess. i. 6, 7, 8. He “who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire,” (Psalm civ. 4,) has pre-ordained them to act a most conspicuous part in the transactions of the last days, when they will execute judgment with unerring obedience, and rid the earth of those whose presence upon it is a blemish and a curse. more particular description of the part taken by angels
in the ministry of wrath, we must turn to the book of Revelation, where a scene of awful magnificence is opened to us, in language of unparalleled grandeur.
The apostle saw, amid the mysterious splendours of the heaven which he was permitted to view, seven angels standing before God, having each a trumpet in his hand, the sounding of which was to let loose upon the earth a succession of woes very terrible to experience. In regular order, according to the command that had been given, each angel blew the trumpet; and when it came to the turn of the sixth, he was directed to loose four angels that were bound in the great river Euphrates, and who, of course, were evil spirits, having power given them for an appointed season to destroy men by means of a people over whom they obtained control. Interpreters expound this of the Saracens ; but our business is with those who seduce their minds and govern their movements; and these are Satanic spirits, loosed for the purpose by one of the angels of God. Rev. ix. 13-19. After this, the apostle witnessed the great battle, in which Michael and his angels vanquished the dragon and his host, and drove them from heaven. Of the combat no description is given, for however the mind of John might be ex. panded and strengthened to sustain the tremendous vision, ours are not so fitted ; and we should sink under any attempt to realize it. If the sight of one mighty angel of God preparing to execute judgment on a city was so terrible to David as we have seen it was, what must have been the rushing to war of myri. ads in their most tremendous array; the personal encounter of two such hosts, one battling for the continued possessions of “high places, where they retained unspeakable advantages, the other nerved to expel those infernal rebels and intruders from the presence of God.
We were told by our Lord, (Matt. xiii.,) that the reapers are angels; one is represented to us here as having a sharp sickle, to whom another angel who had power over fire, cries with a loud voice, “ Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
And the wine-press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the wine-press, even unto the horses' bridles, by the
space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs." Rev. xiv. 18-20.
But greater judgments remained ; and the seven last plagues with which a guilty world should be visited, were committed to seven angels, who are represented as fulfilling their mission with more than passive obedience, if we may judge by the stern interest with which the result of their proceedings was watched by their heavenly companions. When the third vial was poured out upon the rivers and fountains of waters and they became blood, John continues, “I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shall be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for
they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments." Rev. xvi. 4—7.
But in no part of the inspired word do we find such a display of an. gelic indignation and high displeasure as in the chapjers which follow immediately upon this. The occanion of this strong exhibition is the rise of that very system which has exalted the angels into objects of worship, and we must refer to the powerful principles of perfect obedience implanted in their spotless bosoms the extreme wrath with which they regard this blaspheming apostasy.
“ There came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither, I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many --waters; with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabiters of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication,” Rev. xvii. 1, 2. Having taken him into the wilder. ness to show him the typical representations of Papal Rome, the angel proceeds to explain to him the mys. tery, ending with an assurance of her coming dissolution. “ And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power and the earth was lighted with his glory: and he cried mightily with a strong voice saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” Rev. xyiii. 1, 2. Another voice from heaven summons God's people out of her, and adds, “ For her sins have reached unto heaven, and
God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and render unto her double, according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her.” Verse 5–7. These are terrible denunciations from the lips of a holy, loving angel: they show how abhorrent to all godliness is that great mystery of iniquity which assumes to be the only true religion of Christ. How stern is the following apostrophe uttered by the same angelic voice, in the view of her terrible desolation by flaming fire! “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets, for God hath avenged you on her!" Verse 20. Yet another exulting spirit comes forward to swell the triumph. “A mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it in the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall the great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all." Verse 21. In the following burst of solemn rejoicing, the angels are no doubt included : “ And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Allelulia; salvation, and glory, and honour, and power unto the Lord our God : for true and righteous are his judgment; for he hath judged the great whore which did corrupt the earth with her for. nications, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Allelulia.” xix. 1-3. " And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Allelulia : for