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those angels to receive from them, could not be unlawful in St. Jobn to give, or in the angel to receive from him : neither can we suppose that St. John would a second time offer an unlawful worship to the angel, after having beev already admonisbed of it,
It is manifest then, that the worsbip which St. John offered to the angel (if it was not divine) was not unlawful. Why then did the angel refuse it? To this the answer is plain, from the very words of the angel, that he refused it out of humility, and out of bis singular respect to St. John, who he knew to be a prophet, an apostle, an evangelist, the beloved disciple of Jesus Christ, and a priest of the Most High God. He knew he had been admitted to lie upon the breast of Jesus Christ at the last supper; and, therefore, would not permit him to lie now prostrate at his feet; but humbly said,
see thou do it not; for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, who bave the testimony of Jesus.” And this is the only reason why he should refuse this outward testimony of respect from St. Johd, when other angels received the same from other holy men, but wbo were far inserior to St. John in dignity. Besides, from these last words of the angel, there are very strong grounds to believe, that he was not one of the ans gelical spirits, but some of the prophets, or other saints ; or, as some have, with great reason, supposed, St. Jobn the Baptist, whom our Saviour calls a prophet,
“ and more than a prophet; for this is he," says Christ, “ of whom it is written, Behold, I send my angel before thy face,” Matth. xi. 10. Here, then, we see that the Baptist is a prophet and an angel, and he, in a particular man, ner, had the testimony of Jesus, being sent to prepare the way before him, and to point him out to the people; and, as the angel who appeared to
St. John in the Revelations, said that he was “ his fellow-servant, and of his brethren the prophets, who have the testimony of Jesus," it is highly probable that he was St. John the Baptist; and if so, no wonder he should, out of humility, refuse the worship offered him by the apostle, though otherwise in itself most lawful.
Q. 16. But is it not idolatry to worship saints and angels, seeing they are mere creatures ?
A. Was it idolatry in David's nobles “to worship the king ?” 1 Chron. xxix, 28.; or, in Abraham, and Lot, and Josue, to worship the angels ?" or in Abdias to worship Elias the prophet? or in the sons of the prophets to worship Eliseus? See above, Q. 14. Or is it idolatry to acknowledge the dignity and excellencies of those above us, and to pay them that outward respect and veneration to which they are justly entitled on that account? To accuse of idolatry, the respect and veneration which the Church of Christ pays to the saints and angels of God, can only arise from the most nnpardonable ignorance, or the blackest malice and misrepresentation. The respect and veneration due to the saints and angels, far from being an injury to God, is an honour done to him ; because it is only for his sake it is given them, as a just tribute to the graces with which he has adorned them, and a fulfilling the intentions of God himself, when he said, “Whosoever shall glorify me, him will I glorify," 1 Kings ii. 30.; and of our Saviour who declares, “If any man minister to me, him will my Father honour," John xii. 26.
OF THE INVOCATION OF SAINTS AND ANGELS,
Q. 17. WHAT is meant by the invocation of saints and angels?
A. It is the entreating them to present our prayers to the throne of grace, and join their more powa erful prayers for us, to obtain the good things we stand in need of, whether for soul or body.
Q. 18. Do the saints and angels know what is doing upon earth, or take any concern in the aflairs. of men ?
A. They cortainly do, as appears from many tostimonies of holy Scripture. Thus, (1.) Wo are told, that “ Joram, the son of Achab, reigned over Israel in Samaria, in the eighteenth year of Josaphat king of Judah," 4 Kings iii. 1. ; that every year the king of Moam rebelled against Joram, ver. 5. ; and Joram and Josaphat made an expedition against Moab, as is related in this chapter. Now, from the account there given, it is evident that Eliseus was then the prophet among the people; and Elias is spoken of as no more among men: from this it is plain, that Elias had been taken away in or before the eighteenth year of Josaphat, king of Juda. “Josaphat reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem," 2 Paral. xx. 31.; so that, at least, seven years of his reign passed after the translation of Elias, and “Joram bis son reigoed in his stead," 2 Par. xxi, 1, in Jerusalem; this Joram was a very bad king, for," he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Achab had done, for his wife was a daughter of Achab, and he did evil in the sight
of the Lord," 2 Paral. xxi. 6. After some time,
a letter was brought from Elias the prophet to him, in which it was said, Thus saith the Lord God of David thy father, because thou hast not walked in the ways of Josaphat thy father....behold the Lord will strike with great plague," &c. 2 Paral, xxi. 12. Here, then, we see, that Elias the prophet, more that seven years after he has taken out of this world, knew what was doing among his people, and shewed the concern he took in their wel, fare, by writing this threatening letter to their wicked king. (2.) Our Saviour himself assures us, that “there shall be joy before the angels of God upon one sinner's doing penance,” Luke xv. 10. Now true penance is an interior act that passes in the heart itself, for the outward signs of it are of no value without the change of the heart, and may be performed even by hypocrites; tặe repentance, therefore, of a sinner is known to the angels of God, and the joy it gives them, shews the great concern they take for the good of souls. (3.) When the rich glutton, in hell, “besought Abraham to send Lazarus to his father's house, to testify to his five brethren, lest they should come to the same place of torments; Abraham said to him, They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them,.... and if they will not hear them, neither will they be-, lieve, if one rise again from the dead,” Luke xvi. 27. Whence it is evident, that Abraham knew of Moses and the prophets, though they had been upon the earth several hundred years after his death; he knew also that their books were then extant, and that they were fully sufficient to convert the rich man's five brethren, as much as if Lazarus had risen from the dead, and gone to warn them. Our Saviour says to St. John, “He that shall overcome and keep my works unto the end, I will give him
power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, and as the vessel of a potter they shall be broken, as I also have received of my Father," Rev. ii. 26. And the saints about the throne,” amidst the praises of their Redeemer, say, “ Tbou hast made us a kingdom to our God, and priests, and we shall reign upon the earth," Rev. v. 10. The Holy Ghost also, by the wise Man, says, “ The just shall shine......they shall judge nations, and rule over people, and their Lord shall reign for ever,” Wisd. iii. 8. Consequently the saints must certainly know wbat passes upon earth among the nations, and must have a particular concern about them, otherwise how could they be said to reign over them, and rule them? And, indeed, (5.) if“ the devil goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour," 1 Pet. v. 8, and “ accuseth us before God day and night,” Rev. xii. 10, and consequently knows well what is doing upon the earth; how much more must the saints and angels know it, who enjoy the glory of the great God ? shall we deny a knowledge in them which the devils possess ?
Q. 18. But how is it possible that the saints in heaven should know what is doing here upon earth, at such a distance from them?
A. All the above testimonies of Scripture shew in fact that they do know it, which is the most certain proof that it is possible; but, since God has not been pleased to reveal to man the manner in which they kpow our affairs, it would be presumption in us to search into it. How did the holy servants of God know the secrets of the hearts of others ? how did the prophets know what was doing at a distance from them ? how did they know what was to be done in after ages? That they did know those things is evident from Scripture; but in wbat manner they