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ST. PAUL’S EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS -
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An angel is a spiritual creature created by God without a body, for the service of Christendom and of the Church. The acknowledgment of angels is needful in the Church. Therefore godly preachers should teach them logically. First, they should show what angels are, namely, spiritual creatures without bodies. Secondly, what manner of spirits they are, namely, good spirits and not evil; and here evil spirits must also be spoken of, not created evil by God, but made so by their rebellion against God, and their consequent fall; this hatred began in Paradise, and will continue and remain against Christ and his Church to the world’s end. Thirdly, they must speak touching their function, which, as the Epistle to the Hebrews ( 1:14) shows, is to present a mirror of humility to godly Christians, in that such pure and perfect creatures as the angels do minister unto us, poor and wretched people, in household and temporal policy, and in religion. They are our true and trusty servants, performing offices and works that one poor miserable mendicant would be ashamed to do for another. In this sort ought we to teach with care, method, and attention, touching the sweet and loving angels. Whoso speaks of them not in the order prescribed by logic, may speak of many irrelevant things, but little or nothing to edification. The angels are near to us, to those creatures whom by God’s command they are to preserve, to the end we receive no hurt of the devil, though, withal, they behold God’s face, and stand before him. Therefore when the devil intends to hurt us, then the loving holy angels resist and drive him away; for the angels have long arms, and although they stand before the face and in the presence of God and his son Christ, yet they are hard by and about us in those affairs, which by God we are commanded to take in hand. The devil is also near and about us, incessantly tracking our steps, in order to deprive us of our lives, our saving health, and salvation. But the holy angels defend us from him, insomuch that he is not able to work us such mischief as willingly he would. It were not good for us to know how earnestly the holy angels strive for us against the devil, or how hard a combat it is. If we could see for how many angels one devil makes work, we should be in despair. Therefore the Holy Scriptures refers to them in few words: ‘He hath given his angels charge over thee’, etc. Also: ‘The angel of the Lord encampeth round about those that fear him’, etc. Now, whosoever thou art, that fearest the Lord, be of good courage, take thou no care, neither be faint-hearted, nor make any doubt of the angels’ watching and protection; for most certainly they are about thee, and carry thee upon their hands. How or in what manner it is done, take thou no heed. God says it, therefore it is most sure and certain. I believe that the angels are all up in arms, are putting on their harness, and girding their swords about them. For the last judgment draws nigh, and the angels prepare themselves for the combat, and to strike down Turk and pope into the bottomless pit.
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