"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day."Jude 6.
This scripture, concerning the rebellion, and consequent punishment of apostate spirits, will form a solemn meditation, my soul, for thy evening thoughts to be exercised upon. And perhaps, under grace, it may lead thee to some sweet improvements in the contemplation of the distinguishing grace manifested to our rebellious nature; while judgment the most awful, and everlasting, overtook the higher nature of angels. If we humbly inquire what was the nature of their sin, all we can gather of information concerning it, was, that it was rebellion against God. One part of scripture indeed tells us, that "there was war in heaven: Michael (by which we understand, Michael our Prince, the Lord Jesus Christ, Dan. x. 2l.) and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven," Rev. xil 7, &c. By which it should seem, that the cause of this contest of the devil with Christ, was personal, and on account of the kingdom which Jehovah gave him as God-Mediator over angels and men. And hence, when these apostate spirits left their own habitation, and were cast out, they set up a kingdom in opposition to the Lord's. And from their bitter hatred to Christ and his kingdom, they wreaked all their malice in corrupting and seducing our nature to join in rebellion against God, Hence "that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world," beguiled our first parents, and introduced sin and death into this our world; which hath passed, and must pass upon all their posterity, because "all have sinned, and come short of God's glory." Pause, my soul, over the solemn account. Think, duly think, of the fallen state, into which, by nature and by practics, thou art brought by this apostacy. And when thou hast had thy mind thoroughly impressed with the awfulness of such a situation, turn thy thoughts to the due contemplation also of the love, and grace, and mercy of God, in thy recovery. Sweetly dwell on the love of God thy Father, in the gift of his dear Son, for the purposes of redemption. Mark well the blessed features of the Son in his work of mercy, in this great accomplishment. And do not overlook, but delight evermore to contemplate the love of God the Holy Ghost, in condescending both to bring thee acquainted with the grace of the Father, and of the Son, and to incline thine heart to the thankful belief of it, and love of both! And that the whole subject may have its full influence upon thee, to induce in thee all the suitable and becoming affections of love, thanksgiving, holy obedience, and praise to the Author of such mercy; mark well the distinguishing nature of that grace, which hath left fallen angels in their ruin and misery, reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day, while bestowing pardon, reconciliation, and favour, upon fallen men, amidst all our unworthiness, sin, and rebellion. And, Oh, Lamb of God! give me the continued grace to reedirate for ever on the unequalled love of thine heart, who passedst by "the nature of angels, to take on thee the seed of Abraham; that in all things thou mightest be made like unto thy brethren, in being a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of thy people!"
From the POOR MAN'S MORNING AND EVENING PORTIONS.
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