2. But this will appear still more clearly from the passages which will be quotes in answer to the second and most popular objection, namely, that even though the saints and angels may pray generally for all Christian people, for the whole estate of Christ’s Church upon earth, yet they know nothing of the wants of any one Christian in particular; they cannot, therefore, intercede for one person more than another; they are ignorant of what is going on amongst us, and cannot therefore hear the prayers which individuals may address to them. Now, first, as to the general fact that “the spirits of just men made perfect,” the saints in glory, have knowledge of some at least of this earth’s doings, we may appeal to the language of St. Paul, who speaks of them as forming a cloud of witnesses over our heads [Hebrews 12:1]; and if they are witnesses, and if we are to take courage from the thought that they are looking on at us, it must be because they really know and take an interest in what we are doing. “I charge thee,” says St. Paul, writing to his beloved son Timothy (i. 21), “before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things.” St. Paul calls the elect angels to witness the injunction he lays upon Timothy, just as he calls upon God and our blessed Saviour to witness it. What is the meaning of this, if they could know nothing either of the injunction or of the manner in which it was obeyed? Again, our Lord declares that there is joy in heaven, and in the presence of the angels of God, over a sinner doing penance; it is impossible therefore but that it must be known in heaven by the angels of God when a sinner is doing penance. Then, besides these general statements bearing upon the point before us, holy Scripture contains also particular instances of this knowledge. When Moses and Elias appeared at the transfiguration, they knew and spoke of the decease which our Lord should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke ix. 31). When Samuel appeared to Saul, he knew what was passing at that time among the people of Israel, and what would take place the next day (1 Sam. xxviii. 16-19). Of, if these instances are objected to as being extraordinary and miraculous occurrences, from which we may not fairly draw any general conclusion as to the powers and privileges of departed souls, let us turn to the Book of Revelation, where surely, if any where in the Bible is given us an insight into heaven, and we are told both what it is like, and who are its inhabitants, and what is their occupation. First, then, we read in that book of mysteries (vi. 9-11) that “the souls of those that had been slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held, cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that swell on the earth?” These blessed martyrs then, though no longer upon the earth, yet knew what was happening there, and knew that their blood had not yet been avenged. By and bye we read about the four and twenty elders who have been already mentioned, that they know that “the nations are angry, and the wrath of God is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged” (xi. 16-18). They know also that the devil is accusing their brethren before God, and a loud voice declares to them when he is cast down; and that “the brethren have overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony;” and that they have been constant, even to martyrdom (xii. 10,11). So also it is known when Babylon is destroyed, and the saints, “the holy Apostles and Prophets,” are called upon “to rejoice over her, because God had avenged them on her” (xviii. 20). And so on, throughout the whole of that book, the saints and angels–the whole court of heaven–are always represented as looking on upon the affairs of this world, having knowledge of all their variations, taking a lively interest in them, so as to be filled at one time with indignation, at another with joy, according to the character of the several events which they witness.
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