as these starry heavens' we do behold so manifestly abound with unnumbered habitations, it leaves no room for doubt but that far distant districts are replete with accommodations, well calculated for the reception of intelligent beings.

Let us next contemplate the peculiar turn of countenance and character which distinguish and mark the different nations of our world, and the wonderful variety of faces which we daily behold or retrace upon canvass; though all of these either are, or have been, composed of the same materials, and are divided into features to answer the same purposes, yet each depicts some trait appropriate to itself, and exhibits an endless difference in appearance, as well as moral and intellectual endowments. And as the great Creator displays such infinite variety on the little spot of the universe which falls under our inspection, we may reasonably infer that he exemplifies a similar, if not more surprising diversity, among the inhabitants of other worlds, and of remoter regions; that they contain innumerable orders of rational beings, far the largest number of whom may be endued with senses, powers, and faculties, as much exceeding ours, as ours does the lowest of the animal creation; and that the countless mansions with which infinite space does, without doubt, abound, are devoted to the accommodation of that link of beings forming the vast progressive chain of moral excellence that terminates in Deity.

These deductions Scripture fully supports, by announcing the existence of many different ranks of intelligences, therein denominated angels, strong

angels, mighty angels, archangels, cherubims, seraphims, ministering spirits; principalities, authorities, and powers in heavenly places.* And we find the philosophic psalmist remarkably expressing his ideas of this gradation in his beautifully poetic address to angels-—“ Bless the Lord, ye angels that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his words. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts, ye ministers of his that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominions. Bless the Lord, O my soul.” The ingenious author just quoted observes on this passage, “ That it may probably be part of the delightful employment of good men, when they leave this earth, to travel from world to world, to learn more of God's works and creatures, that they may for ever love and adore him.”+ Another eminent writer remarks, “ That though we are very little acquainted, whilst we are upon earth, with any of the planetary worlds besides that which we inhabit, yet who knows how our acquaintance may be extended hereafter amongst the inhabitants of the various and distant globes, and what frequent and swift journeys we may take thither, when we are disencumbered of this load of flesh and blood ?"I And it is still more highly probable, that those angels of the Lord, who excel in strength, capacities, and powers, are allowed by him, “who rides himself the heavens of heavens,”(Psa. Ixviii. 33,) to extend their researches throughout a vast expanse of his unbounded empire. These highest orders of angelic beings, who are most eminent for goodness and wisdom, who are best adapted for executing the benevolent commissions of their great Creator, may be invested with the power of visiting many worlds, and enabled to inspect the transactions that are passing in them; may have been appointed

* Heb. i. 7; Rev. v. 2; Rev. x. 1 ; Jude 9; Isa. xxxvii. 16; Isa. vi. 6; Heb. i. 7; Ephesians iii. 10.

+ Orton's Exposition of the Old Testament. | Dr. Watts.

“ rulers over many things,” (Mat. xxv. 23,) and endued with faculties so penetrating and comprehensive, as to discern the springs, views, and ends, which actuate the movements of various ranks of beings. Others of inferior classes and virtue may have their contemplations and employments confined within a more limited sphere ; some may be only permitted to view our planetary system; and though we find ourselves unable to pry but very little farther than the globe which we inhabit, the transactions that are daily passing on it may lie open to the inspection of many other orders of intelligents, who are probably the invisible spectators of our actions. The truth of these conclusions, New Testament information abundantly confirms;

by hieroglyphically describing the activity and incomparable velocity with which celestial spirits fly from world to world, to execute the commands of their heavenly Sovereign ;'* by asserting that we are made a spectacle to angels ; (1 Cor. iv. 9,) and by invariably representing the angelic inhabitants of the * Doddridge's Exposition of the New Testament, vol. vi. p. 469.

heavenly hierarchies as beholding and interesting themselves in the affairs of this our world.

How greatly dishonoured then must the Creator be in their sight, by having formed a nature so very frail as the human nature has demonstrated itself to be? by having created a race of intelligent creatures, to whom He had imparted a knowledge of his will, commanding them to act agreeably to that knowledge, and moreover endued with a faculty called conscience-a faculty which was so contrived as to prove a faithful monitor to each possessor, rendering every individual heart“ a law unto itself;” (Rom. ii. 14, 15;) and yet, not to have one found among this whole race, uniformly obeying the commands of their mighty Creator, or acting in conformity with the suggestions of their faithful monitor; but, on the contrary, that their wise and good Creator should behold them continually and publicly transgress against the one, and frequently, though secretly, endeavour to stifle the other, and persist in conduct diametrically opposite to its dictates. How derogatory to the honour of the great Parent and source of all perfection must it appear, to have been the author of any nature exemplifying itself so feebly, as never to have produced one instance of steady obedience to its Maker's laws, or acting in perfect conformity with the impulses of its own convictions? How incompatible is it with the perfections of the Deity, to suppose him assigning, as a reason for receiving to his favour a set of creatures with whom he was justly displeased, that He knew He had created them so very frail, as to

make it impossible that they could please him. Now, to a rational inquirer, it does not seem very consistent with the ideas that are entertained of the greatness and goodness of God, to imagine that any imperfect being should have been the immediate production of his creative power; (and that He did make man originally perfect, the Scripture positively asserts, Eccles. vii. 29;) or, that He should have been the Former of any nature that was utterly incapable of fulfilling his commands, of successfully combating with its own infirmities, and of surmounting those difficulties which virtue enjoined it to overcome. But supposing it to have been endued by its great Creator with sufficient energy for the accomplishment of these purposes, would it not become indispensably necessary for the honour of God that it should do so? And that his honour and glory should be completely vindicated in the sight of every order of intellectual beings, whose faculties include the observation of our world, by having it clearly proved, by the most express and public demonstration, that the human nature which He had created and formed, though liable to frailty, was still invested with such powers as would infallibly arm it for every contest, render it superior over all difficulties, and enable it to exemplify a perfect pattern of virtue. A complete coincidence is discoverable between these inferences and the declarations contained in the gospel, * for that likewise "alleges” the same existing necessity

* Our subsequent pages will, we venture to promise, prove the truth of this assertion.

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