Christ alone the way to Heaven, or, Jacob's ladder improved containing four sermons lately preach'd on Genesis XXVIII, XII : wherein the doctrine of free-grace is display'd through Jesus Christ : also discovering the nature, office, and ministration of the holy angels : to which is added one sermon on Rom. 8, 1 : with some short reflections on Mr. Samuel Clark's new book intituled Scripture justification
Keach, Benjamin, 1640-1704.

Application.

THis reproves or reprehends those that think it is below them to stoop to obey some of the Commands of Christ. Sirs,* see what glorious Creatures the Angels are; and yet they stoop so low, as to minister to the poorest Saints on Earth. Michael despised David in her heart for dancing before the Ark of God. But did he value that? No,* no; if that he seemed vile, he would be more vile: I will (saith he) speak also of thy Statutes before Kings, and will not be ashamed.*

2. It reproves also such who are ashamed to own a poor Child of God; they can call a Rich man Brother; but O! 'tis hard to own, and to call a Poor man so, a man in a Leather-coat, or in a poor garb, before others. Alas, the Angels are not a∣shamed to take care of and own poor Lazarus, full of Sores, at the Rich Man's gate, tho he begg'd for the Crums that fell from his Table, and the Dogs came and licked his sores.* But let such look to it, lest Christ one day be ashamed of them.

Page  110*Secondly, It may be for instruction to us how to do the Will of God, even as the Angels do it.

1. That we do it in Love to God; Love is the great Principle from whence the Holy Angels do all their Service to God, so ought we to serve and worship God in Love to him, not for Self-profit, or Honour or Applause; If ye love me, keep my Com∣mandments.* Simon Son of Jona, lovest thou me▪ Yea,* Lord: feed my Sheep. I will leave this Charge with none else, (as if he should so say) but such that love me; they that love not Christ, will not love his Saints.

2. To hearken to Christ's Commands: the An∣gels wait to hear what Service God will put them upon; but many Professors make the Word to wait for them, they come not early to the Assem∣bly to wait for the Word.

*3. To do the Will of God with speed and all alacrity;* Angels are swift to do God's Will, they are said to have Wings; so we should get upon the Wings of Faith.

4. To do it chearfully, and with utmost Zeal; the Angels are like a Flame of Fire, all fill'd with burning Zeal and Fervour.

5. Also to do the Will of God universally, to leave no Precept undone; and then we shall with David not be ashamed, even when we have respect to all God's Commandments.*

6. To do God's Will continually, never to faint nor be weary; for thus the Angels do God's Com∣mands,* they obey always; and thus did David, I have inclined mine Heart to perform thy Statutes always to the end.* Again he saith, So shall I keep thy Law continually for ever and ever.

*Thirdly, This may administer Terror to the Wicked; the holy Angels are against you. As they mark the Saints for Preservation, so they have Page  111 Commission oft-times to destroy the Ungodly: Slay utterly Old and Young,* &c. and begin at my Sanctuary.

Fourthly, It may be of use,* by way of Exhorta∣tion,

1. To walk so as Christians and Members of Churches, that the Angels may rejoyce and dis∣charge their Work with Joy, and not with Grief.

Walk reverently in respect of the Angels, even (as one observes) in your Bed-Chambers: the Thoughts of the Presence of the Angels should hinder us from doing that which is a shame or dis∣honour to us, but much more the Thoughts of God's Presence.

2. Bless God for the Ministration of Angels: O! see what Love he hath to his own People, and what Honour he hath conferred upon them.

3. Have a reverend Esteem and Respect for the Angels, and strive to converse with them, and be like to them.

Object.

But say some, What do you leave to Christ and the Holy Spirit to do, if Angels do o much for us?

Answ.

1. What will you leave to the Angels to do, (saith one) if they do not Teach, Guide,* Pro∣tect and Minister unto us?

2. What the Angels do, Christ doth; they are his Servants, he uses them as Instruments in his Hand.

3. We leave to Christ to do all by the Inspira∣tion of the Holy Ghost, yet he makes use of the Angels of the Churches, as well as the Angels of Heaven.

Page  112
Object.

But you may say, Christ needs not the Ministration of Angels.

Answ.

No more doth he need the Ministration of Mn, nor the Use of Ordinances, yet he is pleased to make use of both for the Good of his Church.

*Fifthly, This may administer much Comfort to Believers. Reprobates, tho Princes on Earth, have no such Guards to attend them as you have: Are they not all Ministring Spirits,*sent forth to minster to them that shall be Heirs of Salvation?

O! what a Glorious Retinue have you? Your Way is full of Angels, who go to and fro therein. The Wicked are left to the wide World, but Christ is pleased to give his Saints Tutors, Governours and Guardians to Preserve, Protect and Wait up∣on them; the Holy Angels wel know their Charge who they are to keep and bar up in their Hands, and save from danger.

2. See how dear and precious you are to God; yea, how honourable in his Sight every Elect Per∣son is: He hath his Guard. Multitudes of Angels to attend him at all times; for your sakes they have rceived their Charge, their Commission; He hath given his Angels charge over thee. You are weak, but they are strong; you sleep sometimes, but they are always awake and sleep not: Sirs, God sends his own Guards to watch over you, to protect and keep you; he knows what a Multitude of Devils would gladly destroy you, and therefore (as you have heard) he has sent a Multitude of Angels to defend and save you; you have not only Ministers on Earth, the Angels of the Churches, but the An∣gels of Heaven to be your Servants.

And the End why God sends them and imploys them is expressed; not that we should worship Page  113 them, (no, no, they disclaim this utterly:*See thou do it not (saith the Angel) I am thy Fellow-Servant, and of thy Brethren the Prophets, that have the Te∣stimony of Jesus, Worship God;) it is to keep us in all his Ways, and they exactly and diligently ob∣serve their Charge:*They shall bear thee up in their Hands, lest at any time thou dash thy Foot against a Stone. These, O Child of God, accompany thee, minister unto thee, incamp round about thee, go before thee, and wait upon thee; but take heed you go not out of God's Ways, it is in all his Ways they are to keep thee, do not venture on the Devil's Ground; the Angels are always upon this Ladder that reacheth to Heaven, which goes through Satan's Territories, the Air, where there are Mul∣titudes of Devils, who strive to push thee down as thou climbest up; but these do boldly resist them, and defend thee continually against those Evil Spirits.

Admiration. Do Angels minister to us?* then ye Saints wonder! Behold the Angels of God ascend∣ing and descending: O what hath Christ done to procure such Guardians, such Helps, such Guides for us poor feeble Travellers? Never fear, tho the Ladder be high, Angels have Wings, they can soon be with us; they descend to bring them up that are given to Christ, and they ascend with such that are going up. You must fly by Faith and Prayer up with them from Step to Step, from Fath to Faith, from Strength to Strength, from Glory to Glory, until you come to the end of your Journey.

O ye Darlings of Heaven! Tho others regard you not, but reproach you, slight you, despise you, yet matter it not; the mighty Angels have you by the Hand; they love you, they know you are the Spouse of their Sovereign, his blessed Bride whom they serve, and therefore they honour you: O what a degree of Glory, ye Princely Ones, are you raised to!

Page  114Moreover, What Love is this? what Grandure is here conferr'd upon vile sinful Creatures as we are?* Have we such a Guard? Doth Christ's chief Courtiers above, wait upon us below? Must we ride in the King's own Chariot to Heaven? Do Angels wait on the Heirs of Salvation, Heirs of Glory?

Come then, ye Holy and High-born Nobles, and take state upon you, and say, We are not for dunghil Earth, not base slaves of Sin, nor of this World, nor of the Devil: We are Princes nobly descend∣ed, born from above, and have the Guard of the King of Kings to attend upon us: O! we must live as such who are so born, so honoured, and also as so guarded.

And now, O ye Earthly Muckworms, ye Dung∣hil-Rakers! what signifie your Silks and Sattins, your Golden Chains, your Bags of Money and great Possessions! What, alas! are Crowns and Scepters, or the Guards of haughty Monarchs! What's their Majesties, their Highnesses, their Ex∣cellencies! The meanest Saint is higher and greater than you all, and hath a more glorious Attendance. But to return to Believers;

* Prize your Privileges, ye Saints, ye the most ex∣cellent ones in all the Earth;* that are more honoura∣ble than your Brethren,*more excellent than your Neighbours. Angels administer to you at Christ's Command. Are you ignorant of your Honour and blessed Safety? or will you still hang down your heads and go drooping, because you are poor, af∣flicted and despised? O this grieves Christ, grieves the Spirit, and grieves the Holy Angels! Consider, you are not at home, you are a going into your own Country, to be crowned; you are not yet come to Age; but, as Heirs of Glory, God cares for you, succours you, defends and keeps you; you have a Host, a mighty Host to fight for you, Page  115 mighty and skilful Guides to lead you, a most no∣ble Guard to watch over you, and minister to you, and Chariots beyond those of beaten Gold to car∣ry you; the mighty God is your defence, and his Angels are a Wall of Fire round about you; no Devils can hurt you; no utter ruine can come up∣on you; get the World therefore under your Feet. Your Souls are justified; all your Sins pardoned, and you are sanctified, and shall for ever be saved▪ God is your Father, Christ is your Bridegroom, the Spirit is your Sanctifier, the Saints are your Companions, the Angels your Guard, and Heaven is your Inheritance. O be humble, and lie at Christ's feet: What hath he done for such unworthy Crea∣tures? Let us love God, honour Him, worship Him in and by Christ, and through the Holy Spi∣rit. To whom be Praise, and Honour, and Glory, for ever and ever. Amen.