And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces…
I. THE EXISTENCE OF ANGELS. To what purpose discourse to us concerning the inhabitants of a world future, remote, and of which our ideas are very confused? Let us rather attend to the world in which we live, and to them that dwell therein. It would be perfectly right so to do if the world in which we live were the only one with which we were connected, and death the final period of our existence. But if there be another world which is to receive us for ever, the existence of its inhabitants becomes a speculation both pleasing and important. This state of our being, you say, is future. It is so to-day, but before to-morrow it may be present to some. You say it is remote. That by no means appears. It may not be "far from every one of us." The spiritual and eternal world, into which we are, at a destined hour, to be born, may be, like its Divine Maker and King, near us, and round about us, in a manner of which we are not aware, nor shall be, till we enter it. But our ideas of this future world are confused and indeterminate. We have the Divine assurance of God's Word that such a world exists. But the truth is, that whatever ideas of a future and invisible world may be, at certain times, impressed upon our minds, they are presently effaced by a tide of business or pleasure, and stand, therefore, in need of being continually renewed. Now, what can do this so effectually as frequent meditations on the blessed inhabitants of that world, the holy angels? We love to recollect a place, by the circumstance of those friends we have in it. By thinking of them, we are led to think of the place where they are, and learn to love and desire it the more. An intercourse is by this means opened, a correspondence established, between heaven and earth.
II. THEIR NATURE AND CONDITION. Angels are spirits. Not formed of the same gross materials, they are free from the inconveniences we feel, the temptations and sufferings to which we are subject. Their appearance is glorious as the light of heaven; and their motion, like that, rapid, and, as it were, instantaneous. The contemplation of so many excellent and happy beings opens our understandings, and enlarges our conceptions of the Creator's power and goodness. But if we ourselves are miserable, what benefit, it will be asked, can result to us from contemplating the happiness of others? Will not our misery be rather aggravated than alleviated by it? We do not cease to be wretched upon earth because the angels are otherwise in heaven. Redeemed by the Son of God, leave off, O man, to complain! Wait but for a little while in faith and patience, and their happiness shall be yours.
III. THE PERFECT SERVICE, READY AND UNLIMITED OBEDIENCE BY THEM, PAID TO THEIR ALMIGHTY CREATOR. Their felicity does not consist in freedom and independence. Like the lightnings, which say, "Here we are," they are represented as waiting before the throne, ready, at the Divine command, to fly to the extremities of the world. Nor are the angels more exact in loyalty to their King than in preserving due subordination in their several ranks and under their respective leaders, without which peace could not be in heaven any more than on earth.
IV. THE BENEVOLENCE AND CHARITY OF THE HOLY ANGELS; the love they have always shown for man, and the services by them rendered to him. And here a scene opens worthy of all admiration, gratitude, and praise, for never do those blessed spirits obey with greater delight the commands of their Maker than when mankind is the subject of those commands; so deeply, from the beginning, have they interested themselves in our welfare.
Parallel VersesKJV: And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
WEB: All the angels were standing around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before his throne, and worshiped God,