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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 1. 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.
SECTION III. 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 book's 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; that afterwards, in an allegorical sense, the name of Lucifer was given to the prince of the angels, who made war in heaven; and that, at last, this word, signifying Phosphorus and Aurora, has become the name of the devil.
The Christian religion is founded on the Fall of the Angels. Those who revolted were precipitated from the spheres which they inhabited into hell, in the centre of the earth, and became devils. A devil, in the form of a serpent, tempted Eve, and damned mankind. Jesus came to redeem mankind, and to triumph over the devil, who tempts us still. Yet this fundamental tradition is to be found nowhere but in the apocryphal book of Enoch; and there it is in a form quite different from that of the received tradition.
St. Augustin, in his 109th letter, does not hesitate to give slender and agile bodies to the good and bad angels. Pope Gregory I. has reduced to nine choirs to nine hierarchies or orders, the ten choirs of angels acknowledged by the Jews.
The Jews had in their temple two cherubs, each with two heads—the one that of an ox, the other that of an eagle, and six wings. We paint them now in the form of a flying head, with two small wings below the
We paint the angels and archangels in the form of young men, with two wings at the back. As for the thrones and dominations, no one has yet thought of painting them.
St. Thomas, at question cviii. article 2, says, that the Thrones are as near to God as the Cherubim and Seraphim, because it is upon them that God sits. Scot has counted a thousand millions of angels. The ancient mythology of the good and bad genii, having passed from the East to Greece and Rome, we consecrated this opinion, by admitting for each individual a good and an evil angel, of whom one assists him and the other torments him, from his birth to his death; but it is not yet known whether these good and bad angels are continually passing from one post to another, or are relieved by others. On this point, consult St. Thomas's Dream.
It is not known precisely where the angels dwellwhether in the air, in the void, or in the planets. It has not been God's pleasure that we should be informed of their abode.
ANNALS. How many nations have long existed, and still exist, without annals. There were none in all America, that is, in one half of our globe, excepting those of Mexico and Peru, which are not very ancient. Besides, knotted cords are a sort of books which cannot enter into very, minute details. Three-fourths of Africa never had annals; and, at the present day, in the most learned na tions—in those even which have used and abused the art of writing the most, ninety-nine out of a hundred individuals may be regarded as not knowing anything that happened there farther back than four generations, and as almost ignorant of the names of their great-grandfathers. Such is the case with nearly all the inhabitants of towns and villages, very few families holding titles of their possessions. When a litigation arises respecting the limits of a field or a meadow, the judges decide according to the testimony of the old men; and possession constitutes the title. Some great events are transmitted from father to son, and are entirely altered in passing from mouth to month. They have no other annals.
Look at all the villages of our Europe, so polished, so enlightened, so full of immense libraries, and which now seems to groan under the enormous mass of books. In each village, two men at most, on an average, can read and write. Society loses nothing in consequence. All works are performed-building, planting, sowing, reaping, as they were in the remotest times. The labourer has not even leisure to regret that he has not been taught to consume some hours of the day in reading. This proves that mankind had no need of histo
* Happily this will not much longer be the case in Great Britain; nor, it is to be boped, in France, notwithstanding the miserable exertions of restored bigotry to retain the ignorance on which it preys.-T.
rical monuments, to cultivate the arts really necessary to life.
It is astonishing, not that so many tribes of people are without annals, but that three or four nations have preserved them for five thousand years or thereabouts, through so many violent revolutions which the earth has undergone. Not a line remains of the ancient Egyptian, Chaldean, or Persian annals, nor of those of the Latins and Etruscans. The only annals that can boast of a little antiquity, are the Indian, the Chinese, and the Hebrew.*
We cannot give the name of annals to vague and rude fragments of history, without date, order, or connection. They are riddles proposed by antiquity to posterity, who understand nothing at all of them.
We venture to affirm that Sanchoniathon, who is said to have lived before the time of Moses, t composed annals. He probably limited his researches to cosmogony, as Hesiod afterwards did in Greece. We advance this latter opinion only as a doubt; for we write only to be informed, and not to teach.
But what deserves the greatest attention is, that Sanchoniathon quotes the books of the Egyptian Thoth, who, he tells us, lived eight hundred years before him. Now. Sanchoniathon probably wrote in the age in: which we place Joseph's adventure in Egypt.
We commonly place the epoch of the promotion
* See HISTORY.
t It has been said, that if Sanchoniathon had lived in the time of Moses, or after him, Eusebius, bishop of Cæsarea, who quotes several of his fragments, would undoubtedly have quoted those in which mention had been made of Moses, and of the terrible prodigies w bich had interrupted the order of nature. Sanchoniathon would not have failed to speak of them. Eusebius would bave availed himself of his testimony; he would have proved the existence of Moses by the authentic acknowledgment of a learned contemporary—of a man who wrote in a country where the Jews were every day signalising themselves by miracles. Eusebius never quotes Sanchoniathon concerning the actions of Moses. Sauchoniathon, then, wrote earlier. This is presumed; but with the diffidence which every man should feel in his own opinion, except when he ventures to assert that two and two are four.