Summary: This Sermon is #26 and #27 from Rev. Andrew Lee’s SERMONS published in 1803 by Isaiah Thomas, Jr. at Lisbon, Connecticut.
The entire book of Andrew’s Lee’s Sermons is available free at Project Gutenberg as e-Text #15031.
Departed Saints Fellowservants with those yet on Earth.
Revelation xxii. 9.
"I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets."
THE revelation made to St. John in the isle of Patmos, was a comfort to the suffering apostle, and a blessing to the church. "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the word, of this prophecy." The beginning indeed was dark; the prophetic sketch, was for sometime, gloomy: It unfolded a strange scene of declensions and abominations, which were to disgrace the church of Christ and mar its beauty; and dismal series of woes on woes, for many ages. The church then so pure, was to be corrupted, to become "the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, and to make herself drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus!" When the apostle "saw, he wondered with great admiration." Had the vision closed with similar discoveries, no joy would have been occasioned by them; but grief ineffable. The apostle might have sunk under them. But they finally appeared diverse, and adapted to comfort him, and fill his heart with joy. He saw the cause of Christ triumphant--true religion to have become universal, and heavenly glory the reward of the faithful!
WHEN the veil which had been spread over these things was drawn aside, and they broke out to the view of this man of God, he seems to have been enraptured and lost in ecstacy. He prostrated himself in adoration of the celestial messenger: But was forbidden by the angel --"See, thou do it not; I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus.--Worship God." This happened at the beginning of the joyful part of the vision, when the triumphs of Christianity were first disclosed. *
* Revelation xix. 10
WE are under no temptation to give undue honors to bearers of evil tidings; But even "the feet of those who bring good tidings are beautiful."
THE angel having thus restrained the apostle from paying him divine homage, proceeded to finish the sketch which he had begun of the glory which remains for the people of God. When it was nearly completed, the still imbodied saint, again forgot himself, and overcome by a sight too strong and glorious for frail humanity fell down in humble adoration of the heavenly minister!
MAD with joy he appears to have been bewildered, and in a momentary delirium; but was again prevented by the angel; and the same reason assigned as before--_I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets_.
THIS declaration is remarkable. How are we to understand it?
IT should seem that this messenger from above was originally one of our race. _I am thy fellowservant_.----
WE are inclined to believe that he had once inhabited a human body, and had his residence on earth--that this was one of the old prophets, who having been released from the work to which he had been first called, was now serving God under another form, in a more dignified station and with greater powers than he had possessed while yet on probation.
WE may mistake the Scripture but have been induced to believe that when the saints drop these bodies, and are joined "to the spirits of the just made perfect," they become angels, and are afterwards employed in the service of God, as his messengers and agents, whom he "sends forth to minister to the heirs of salvation," and to transact business for which he hath fitted them, and in which he is pleased to employ them.
SOME reasons for this belief are adduced in the following discourse.
When a child of God is released from the body, he is freed from the remains of depravity, and form this native bias to evil, and according to his nature, made perfect in holiness. His reason is retained; yea, his rational capacity is enlarged; and those who are associated with the blessed inhabitants of the upper world, doubtless enjoy better means of information than are to be found on earth.
SOME indeed, have fancied, that soul and body sleep together from the epoch of death till the resurrection. That during that term, the soul is chained down in a state of insensibility! That the happiness of the saints, during the intermediate term, is no other than a sleep without dreams----a temporary nonexistence! Strange!
THE thoughts of death would make the good man tremble, did he conceive such to be its nature. Here he is compassed with infirmity, and groans, being burdened. But such an existence, which capacitates him to do somewhat to honor God, and benefit man, is preferable to a suspension of existence.