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THE FIRST ESTATE of the angels who fell was the angelic estate or condition. The design of the Creator was not that they should be men, but angels. Any power granted them for materializing would be for some proper work amongst men which would be facilitated by materialization. Therefore, they were privileged to appear as men and, having accomplished the purpose for which they materialized, to disappear. But these angels, becoming enamored of the conditions in the world at that time, preferred to live as men and not as angels. In this, however, they did not abrogate their powers as spirit beings, but maintained these; but materializing and living as men, they ignored their former condition. On account of thus violating their nature they were punished, and not on account of merely using the Divinely granted power of materialization. They abused the power which it was proper enough for them to use.
We know that Satan's first misdemeanor was the deception of our first parents; but we do not know that he was the cause of the disobedience of the other angels. Probably he was; and, therefore, he was restrained in darkness. If it were not so, he might have been able to materialize all down through the six thousand years. Some people claim that they have seen materialized spirits. Martin Luther claimed that he had seen Satan. In the old Luther homestead they show visitors the mark of the ink on the door, where Luther threw the ink bottle at Satan's head. We do not know, however, whether there was a materialization, or whether Satan merely appeared to him as a man. And so, not being well informed on the subject, it is best not to take too positive a position, but simply to say that we do not know. The Scriptures state that these fallen angels were restrained in chains of darkness until the great Day. This would seem to imply that Satan will have no part in the Judgment of the Great Day, but would not, of necessity, prove it. Practically, we are left without any definite information.
When Satan beheld Adam and Eve placed under Divine favor in the Garden of Eden, and saw that they were the parents of an unborn race, the temptation came to him that, if he could get them on his side, then he would become a mighty one, a ruler. Why did this temptation come to him? He knew well that the thought was disloyal to his Creator. Why did he entertain it? Did it come to his mind in so powerful a manner as to make it irresistible? No. The Scriptures tell us that all of God's work is perfect. He made both man and angels perfect. Satan's deflection was through his own mind. While he knew that the thoughts in which he was indulging were unjust and unrighteous, he probably did not intend to do evil. No one intends to do wrong, but merely to see how the thing will "work out." So Satan thought how possible it would be and how pleasurable. Thus he allowed his mind to run on. And the things that he subsequently did he would not have allowed himself to do at the beginning.
So far as we know, this is the process of every mind. The fact that sin develops does not prove that there was a germ of sin. But an active mind always plans. God's mind is perfect and active; and so are the minds of the angels. As New Creatures it would be possible for us to cultivate or to allow to germinate in our minds certain thoughts, certain ambitions, certain imaginations, which would eventually lead us astray. It is the duty of every New Creature to repudiate every thought that is disloyal to God or to His Laws. The loyalty of the mind should be so great that anything contrary to God's will would be considered treason. This is the only safe position for the New Creature. Everything known to be disloyal should be discountenanced, fought against. For, as surely as evil things come in, progress is made toward destruction of the loyalty of the mind.
We see an illustration of this principle in a very marked degree in Christian Science. Very few people would say that sickness is health and that black is white. When first being instructed, the patient thinks that it is funny to have some one tell him not to think that he is sick. At first this seems absurd; but when people have practiced this deception awhile, they become imbued with [R5019 : page 147] a kind of self-hypnotism. They seem to be carried away with that wrong process of reasoning. With Christian Science, nearly everything is unnoticed and unreasonable—everything except money and the good things of this life. Everything is distorted. They make two and two equal nine—according to some things that come from Christian Science quarters. To our mind, two and two would never make nine.
Some people are given to exaggeration; for instance, to say of sickness, "That is awful!" We should learn neither to appreciate things too highly nor to underestimate them. With a great many people nearly everything they say contains a great measure of exaggeration. This should not be the case with the Church of Christ. They should by all means strive to speak the truth. "Let your yea be yea." If something is six inches long, let it be just six inches for six inches. Let your yea be yea, and your nay be nay.
There is no means of knowing whether or not any of the angels who, before the flood, had indulged in sin ever repented and reformed, coming back to the Lord. It would be unwise, therefore, to speculate. Even though God is plenteous in mercy, it seems to be a principle of His Government that when anyone sins, Justice will have some reckoning with the individual. This is not because of Divine desire to see the creature suffer, but because this is a healthful principle for the Divine Government—that whosoever sins shall suffer. Even though the obliquity of the sin be forgiven, the sin must receive punishment. This principle, we think, holds with the angels. Even though they should be restored to Divine favor, it would not be until there was some kind of correction to show that sin is wrong and unprofitable.
Neither are we informed as to whether or not any of these angels have repented since their sentence and delivery "into chains of darkness." But we should not be surprised if it were true that some of them have repented. Our thought is that this repentance would not change their sentence, but that they would remain in Divine disfavor until their allotted period of punishment had ended; and then they would be tested and tried. Supposing this to be so, we think that none of these well-disposed angels would be inclined to violate the Divine command on the subject of materialization. Our understanding is that there are some good angels and some evil angels; that any who would communicate with mankind are not good angels—that those who are in harmony with God would not allow themselves to communicate with mankind; and that during these thousands of years since their condemnation the fallen angels have divided into two classes, one being sympathetic with Satan, and the other having reformed; that probably the latter have suffered from the others; that they would have the opprobrium and opposition of the evil ones; and that they would rather suffer for righteousness than indulge in retort and give evil for evil. From this standpoint we might suppose that they have been suffering all these thousands of years since they took their stand for the right. This, however, is merely speculation, and should not be held to dogmatically.