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and we find the name of Raphael only in Tobit, at the time of the Captivity. The other names of angels are evidently taken from the Chaldeans and the Persians. Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, &c., are Persian or Babylonian. The name of Israel itself is Chaldean; as the learned Jew Philo expressly says, in the account of his deputation to Caligula.
We shall not here repeat what has been elsewhere said of angels.
Whether the Greeks and the Romans admitted the Existence of Angels.
They had gods and demi-gods enow to dispense with all other subaltern beings. Mercury executed the commissions of Jupiter, and Iris those of Juno; nevertheless they admitted genii and demons. The doctrine of guardian angels was versified by Hesiod, who was cotemporary with Homer. In his poem of The Works and Days, he thus explains it—
When Gods alike and mortals rose to birth,
O'er earth's wide space they wing their hovering flight;
The farther we search into antiquity, the more we see how modern nations have by turns explored these now almost abandoned mines. The Greeks, who so long passed for inventors, imitated Egypt, which had copied from the Chaldeans, who owed almost every thing to the Indians. The doctrine of the guardian angels, so well sung by Hesiod, was afterwards sophisticated in the schools: it was all that they were capable of doing. Every man had his good and his evil genius, as each one had his particular star
Est genius natale comes qui temperat astrum.
Socrates, we know, had a good angel; but his bad angel must have governed him. No angel but an evil one could prompt a philosopher to run from house to house, to tell people, by question and answer, that father and mother, preceptor and pupil, were all ignorant and imbecile. A guardian angel in that event will find it very difficult to save his protégé from the hemlock.
We are acquainted only with the evil angel of Marcus Brutus, which appeared to him before the battle of Philippi.
The doctrine of Angels is one of the oldest in the world. It preceded that of the Immortality of the Soul. This is not surprising: philosophy is necessary to the belief that the soul of mortal man is immortal; but imagination and weakness are sufficient for the invention of beings superior to ourselves, protecting or persecuting us. Yet it does not appear that the ancient Egyptians had any notion of these celestial beings, clothed with an ethereal body, and administering to the orders of a God. The ancient Babylonians were the first who admitted this theology. The Hebrew books employ the angels from the first book of Genesis downwards: but the book of Genesis was not written before the Chaldeans had become a powerful nation; nor was it until the captivity of Babylon that the Jews learned the names of Gabriel, Raphael, Michael, Uriel,
&c. which were given to the angels. The Jewish and Christian religions being founded on the fall of Adam, and this fall being founded on the temptation by the evil angel, the Devil, it is very singular that not a word is said in the Pentateuch of the existence of the bad angels, still less of their punishment and their abode in hell.
The reason of this omission is evident: the evil an gels were unknown to the Jews until the Babylonian captivity; then it is that Asmodeus begins to be talked of, whom Raphael went to bind in Upper Egypt; there it is that the Jews first hear of Satan. This word Satan was Chadelan; and the book of Job, an inhabitant of Chaldea, is the first that makes mention of him.
The ancient Persians said that Satan was an angel or genius who had made war upon the Dives and the Peris, that is, the Fairies of the East.
Thus, according to the ordinary rules of probability, those who are guided by reason alone might be permitted to think, that, from this theology, the Jews and Christians at length took the idea that the evil angels had been driven out of heaven, and that their prince had tempted Eve in the form of a serpent.
It has been pretended that Isaiah, in his fourteenth chapter, had this allegory in view when he said: Quomodò occidisti de cœlo, Lucifer, qui manè oriebaris ?— "How hast thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning?"
It was this same Latin verse, translated from Isaiah, which procured for the Devil the name of Lucifer. It was forgotten that Lucifer signifies that which sheds light. The words of Isaiah, too, have received as little attention: he is speaking of the dethroned king of Babylon; and, by a common figure of speech, he says to him: How hast thou fallen from heaven, thou brilliant star?
It does not at all appear that Isaiah sought, by this stroke of rhetoric, to establish the doctrine of the angels precipitated into hell. It was scarcely before the time of the primitive Christian church that the fathers and the rabbis exerted themselves to encourage this doctrine, in order to save the incredibility of the story
of a serpent which seduced the mother of men, and which, condemned for this bad action to crawl on its belly, has ever since been an enemy to man, who is always striving to crush it, while it is always endeavouring to bite him. There seemed to be somewhat more of sublimity in celestial substances precipitated into the abyss, and issuing from it to persecute mankind.
It cannot be proved by any reasoning that these celestial and infernal powers exist; neither can it be proved that they do not exist. There is certainly no contradiction in acknowledging the existence of beneficent and malignant substances which are neither of the nature of God nor of the nature of man: but a thing, to be believed, must be more than possible.
The angels who, according to the Babylonians and the Jews, presided over nations, were precisely what the gods of Homer were-celestial beings subordinate to a supreme being. The imagination which produced the one, probably produced the other. The number of the inferior gods increased with the religion of Homer. Among the Christians, the number of the angels was augmented in the course of time.
The writers known by the names of Dionysius the Areopagite and Gregory I. fixed the number of the angels at nine choirs, forming three hierarchies; the first consisting of the Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones; the second of the Dominations, Virtues, and Powers; and the third of the Principalities, Archangels, and lastly the ngels, who give their denomination to all the rest. It is hardly allowable for any one but a pope, thus to settle the different ranks in heaven.
Angel, in Greek, envoy. The reader will hardly be the wiser for being told that the Persians had their peris, the Hebrews their malakim, and the Greeks their demonoi.
But it is perhaps better worth knowing, that one of the first of man's ideas has always been, to place intermediate beings between the Divinity and himself; such were those demons, those genii, invented in the ages of antiquity. Man always made the Gods after his own
image: princes were seen to communicate their orders by messengers; therefore, the Divinity had also his couriers. Mercury, Iris, were couriers or messengers.
The Jews, the only people under the conduct of the Divinity himself, did not at first give names to the angels whom God vouchsafed to send them; they borrowed the names given them by the Chaldeans when the Jewish nation was captive in Babylonia; Michael and Gabriel are named for the first time by Daniel, a slave among those people. The Jew Tobit, who lived at Nineveh, knew the angel Raphaël, who travelled with his son to assist him in recovering the money due to him from the Jew Gabaël.
In the laws of the Jews, that is, in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, not the least mention is made of the existence of the angels-much less of the worship of them. Neither did the Sadducees believe in the angels.
But in the histories of the Jews, they are much spoken of. The angels were corporeal; they had wings at their backs, as the Gentiles feigned that Mercury had at his heels; sometimes they concealed their wings under their clothing. How could they be without bodies, since they all ate and drank, and the inhabitants of Sodom wanted to commit the sin of pederasty with the angels who went to Lot's house?
The ancient Jewish tradition, according to Ben Maimon, admits ten degrees, ten orders of angels: 1. The chaios ecodesh, pure, holy. 2. The ofamin, swift. 3. The oralim, strong. 4. The chasmalim, flames. 5. The seraphim, sparks. 6. The malakim, angels, messengers, deputies. 7. The elohim, gods or judges. 8. The ben elohim, sons of the gods. 9. The cherubim, images. 10. The ychim, animated.
The story of the Fall of the Angels is not to be found in the books of Moses. The first testimony respecting it is that of Isaiah, who, apostrophising the King of Babylon, exclaims, "Where is now the exactor of tributes? The pines and the cedars rejoice in his fall. How hast thou fallen from heaven, O Hellel, star of the morning?" It has been already observed that the word Hellel has been rendered by the Latin word. Lucifer;