Bless the LORD, you his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word.…
I. The lowest occupation of tutelary beings upon the earth consists in THE PRESERVATION OR DELIVERANCE OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD FROM SITUATIONS OF DANGER. To be conscious, that whithersoever we may bend our steps; — in the midst of the throng, or in the solitary path, — these celestial protectors are at all times beside us, — to encompass as with a shield, and to cover as with a canopy, — must doubtless be an animating and soothing reflection. Yet this is no fanciful supposition (Psalm 91:11, 12; Psalm 34:7; Psalm 68:17; Psalm 139:3).
II. Another office, in which guardian spirits are engaged, is that of BEARING CONSOLATION TO THE AFFLICTED. To diffuse a holy calm throughout the troubled mind; — to pour forth into the wounded bosom their pitcher of refreshment, drawn from the rivers of Paradise; — to suggest considerations which recommend submission or fortitude; — are employments not unsuitable to that heavenly host, concerning whom we know, that one of them stirred the pool of Bethesda, in preparation for the cure of the maimed (Acts 1:11).
III. These ethereal spirits are greatly occupied, as MESSENGERS OF GRACE IN TIME OF TEMPTATION; — as servants sent forth by the Holy Ghost into the breast, suggesting good, or banishing unholy thoughts; — as turning away the eye from the seductive spectacle, or sealing the ear to accents of delusion. We speak of sermons, of sicknesses, of afflictions, of a place of graves, as means of grace; —wherefore, then, should not we, in like manner, speak of angels as its dispensers? It is in the highest degree reasonable to believe, that the office of transmitting the suggestions of grace may be imposed on them, on their own account, as intelligences, whom it becomes to praise the Father of the Universe, and to purify and approximate towards perfection their own natures, by active services as well as by hymns of adoration. It is natural to suppose, likewise, that pure and benevolent beings, permitted to witness the affairs of this lower world, should feel deeply interested for the favourable issue of the spiritual conflict sustained by those who may become their future and eternal associates: — and, if by any means possible, that they should exert themselves in promoting that issue.
IV. If to bear from above the emanations of grace be an office in which pure and kind intelligences may be supposed to take high delight, with still greater satisfaction, may it further be presumed, do THEY WING THEIR WAY BACK TO THE COURTS OF HAPPINESS, CARRYING TIDINGS OF THE SUCCESSFUL RESULT OF THEIR EMBASSY (Tobit 12:13; Revelation 8:2, 3).
V. This welcome report of the pure and upright behaviour of faithful sojourners upon earth, being circulated throughout the mansions of bliss, we cannot doubt that THE GLORIFIED HOST OF THE HAPPY WILL LISTEN TO IT WITH COMPLACENCY AND DELIGHT; — that they will congratulate each other on the triumph of good; — on the prospect of an increase to their band; — on a new advancement of the glory of the Most High (1 Peter 1:12; Luke 15:10).
VI. When the awful hour which awaits every child of Adam, the hour of dissolution, approaches; — when the eye is about to close on those objects of fond affection, of whom it cannot take leave with indifference, ANOTHER INTERESTING OFFICE OF GUARDIAN SPIRITS WILL CONSIST IN WHISPERING WORDS OF PEACE TO THE DEPARTING FOLLOWERS OF JESUS; — in removing the film and dimness from the sight of faith; — in rolling back to its view the curtain of the skies, and permitting it to descry those seats of boundless felicity where it will speedily be, and where it will be as the angels.
(J. Grant, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.