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their office, even forcing deliverance upon those who were loth to quit a spot containing their worldly substance, their kindred, and neighbours ; alienated from God as the latter were by their wicked works. The fate of Lot's wife is remarkable, and as being peculiarly instructive, our Lord has commanded us to remember it when the time comes of which this deliverance was symbolical. She clung, it is true, to the hand of an angels, but she disobeyed God; and her celestial guardian could not avert the penal consequences of her offence. This may prove a lesson to three classes of people: angel-worshipers, worldlyminded professors, and unbelievers in what the Lord has revealed of his coming judgments. He makes his angel the means of our escape from danger, but leaves it not in their power to preserve a hair of our heads from his righteous visitations: he saves us from among the ungodly, in answer to the prayer of faith, but is not pledged to continue to us the good things of the world on which our hearts are set: and if, through unbelief, we stagger either at his promises or his threats, we break our covenant with him, and leave our souls to be gathered with the ungodly.
The next instance of angelic interposition, is the memorable one of Abraham's intended sacrifice of his son; and here we have the ambassador speaking in. deed in the first person, but with the explanatory clause, “Saith the Lord.” “And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto
him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. . . . And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven a second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son ; that in blessing I will bless, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars in heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea-shore ; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies." Gen. xxii. 11-17.
When Abraham instructed his faithful steward Eliezer to seek a wife for Isaac from among his kindred, he confidently assured him that the Lord would send an angel before him to prosper his way; and this the servant repeated to Rebekah's family, when relating the extraordinary manner in which he had been guided. Gen. xxiv. 7-40.' It is a beautiful instance of prayerful faith on man's part, and an answering providence on that of God. Eliezer was directed, and his way was prospered in a most marvelous manner. And why marvelous ? because of our unbelief, which rarely can attain to such child-like reliance on the promises of God, or we should continually experience the same proofs, that what he hath promised he will also perform.
Jacob's vision has already been noticed : he saw a ladder set upon the earth, the top of which reached to
heaven ; and the angels of God ascended and descended - upon the ladder. The interprétation of this is seen in the declaration of the Lord, who stood above the ladder, and who repeated the glorious promise-"In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Gen. xxviii. 14. The incarnation and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, is the procuring cause of what we are now considering—the ministry of those angels who could never have worn towards man any other aspect than that of stern, irreconcilable hostility, had man remained under the dominion of Satán, to do forever the work of his conquering master. It was through the dying and rising again of the Son of God, to be accomplished in the fulness of time, that angels could find a medium of friendly communication with earth; and Jacob knew this, assuredly; for his was the saving faith described by Paul, “the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” Heb. xi. 1.
The cloudy pillar had an angelic attendant. “The angel of God which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them, and it came between the camp of Israel and the camp of the Egyptians." Exod. xiv. 19, 20. We can hardly read this without remembering what Gabriel said to Daniel, of Michael the archangel, calling him “ the great prince that standeth for the children of thy people.” No doubt there were myriads of those celestial warriors seen afterward on the mountain of Dothan; but they had a leader appointed of God: and of him it is said afterwards—"I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perrizite, the Hivite, “ An angel
and the Jebusite.” Exod. xxxiii. 2. And to prove that this was to be really a created angel, the Lord also says—“For I will not go up in the midst of thee, for thou art a stiff-necked people; lest I consume thee in the way.” Exod. xxxiii. 3. We meet no
more with angels, until Balaam's alarming encounter, which does not come under this head; and then we lose sight of them again, until the people being securely settled in the promised land, and proceeding, as usual, to provoke the Lord by their disobedience, they are strongly reproved, yet with much mild dignity, by a commissioned minister. of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I swear unto your fathers : and I said, I will never break
my covenant with
And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice : why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you : but they shall be as thorns in your sides; and their gods shall be a snare unto you.
And it came to pass, when the angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice and wept." Judges ii. 1–4. Although the purport of this message was menacing, the tone was very gentle, and the remonstrance, “ Why have ye done this?” following close on the remembrance of God's faithfulness to his great promises, was well cal. culated to melt the people as it did ; so that for a time they returned to their duty, and served the Lord; but revolts, ensued, and deliverances were granted on their temporary repentance, until on another provocation, the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years.
The children of Israel, greatly oppress.. ed and impoverished, cried unto the Lord; and then followed this interposition: “ There came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abe-ezrite : and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the wine-press, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour, And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his mira. cles which our fathers told us of saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites," It does not appear that Gideon suspected the celestial character of the person he conversed with : indeed, it is certain he did not; and the respectful style in which he addressed the stranger must have resulted from perceiving in him so much of dignity, as demanded it; while an equal degree of benevolence in this aspect, doubtless led to so frank a tone, in answering one who might be a spy of the enemy. The narrative proceeds :" And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the have not I sent thee? And he said unto Midianites : Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel ? Behold my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my