Rev. Henry Boynton Smith
Translated from the Theological Lectures of Dr. A. D. C. Twesten, Professor of Theology in the Frederic William University at Berlin, by Rev. Henry Boynton Smith of West Amesbury, Mass.
The doctrine respecting angels belongs among those which are not deduced from data given by the mere reason, but received on the testimony of the Holy Scriptures, and then further, elucidated by inference and reflection.1 The bare analysis of our religious consciousness would hardly lead us to this doctrine; but it would not therefore follow, that after it is given us by Scripture, it may not be found to have a high value in connection with our religious experience. We will, therefore, first endeavor to present it as it has been developed, in accordance with the Scriptures, in the doctrinal system of the church; and, then, we will investigate its importance in connection with religious experience, or its relation to the Christian conciousness. Under the former head, will be especially considered whatever has been thought important to be defined, respecting the idea and the nature of angelic beings, their relation to the divine will, or their moral condition; and their relation to us, or in general their offices and occupations.
§1. The Nature of Angels
The doctrinal definitions respecting the nature of the Angels may be comprised in three leading particulars. 1. They are spiritual beings (substantiae spirituales); differing from God, in that they are finite and created (finitae, creatae), and from men, in that they do not need a body to the perfection of their existence (completae), in other words, in that they are purely spiritual. 2. They belong in general to another order of things than ourselves, not to our planetary sphere, not even to the corporeal world or the world of sense, but to heaven, (Matt. 22:30); if we may employ an expression that has lately come into vogue, we would say, they belong to the “intelligible” or as we may say, spiritual world.2 3. Yet they can come into contact with the world of sense, can appear in it, and there exercise their powers and produce effects.
In accordance with these fundamental definitions, manifold attributes may be ascribed to them. 1. As spiritual existences, they possess understanding and free will, (vis intellectiva, vis volendi, liberam arbitrinm); and their understanding must be far superior to that of man. 2. As beings belonging to a higher order, it follows, that they are not subject to the restrictions and conditions of the world of sense; they are not merely independent of the conditions connected with sensuous perceptions and a bodily nature, (in which respects invisibilitas, immaterialitas, indivisibilitas, incorruptibilitas are ascribed to them); but they are also not subject to the restrictions of space, of time, of change or of growth, (expressed by the attributes, illocalitas, immortalitas, immutabilitas). Some uncertainty and indefiniteness are thrown, it must be confessed, over this last group of attributes, from the consideration, that the angels are not to be conceived of as absolutely elevated, like God, above the conditions of our existence, but only relatively so, being still finite in their nature. Thus, they neither occupy space, nor are they confined nor restrained by it, (in virtue of their illocalitas, they are neither repletive nor circumscriptive in aliquo loco); yet they are neither immense nor omnipresent, as is God; their existence and agency are to be so referred to some particular place, somewhere, that we can speak of them as present in such a place and in no other; to them may be definitely attributed some ποῦ; loco corporeo coëxistent.3 Further, their existence is not measured by time; but they are not eternal as is God. An aevum or a duratio aeviterna is attributed to them, which is, however, defined as a time which has beginning, but no end; hence the attribute, immortality4 In both respects, then more is attempted than is attained, when we would represent their mode of existence as wholly different from that of the human spirit; excepting so far as this, that to the latter, the union with a body is essential, but to the angels, (as when they assume a visible body for certain purposes,) it is something accidental and transient.5 But the chief difference maybe found in the circumstance, that the angels are not to be conceived of as subject to the law of change and progress; they are, what they are; unchangeable, neither increasing nor diminishing, complete after their kind. Yet it must be conceded, that they have become, what they are, (as we shall see when we come to consider their states,) and their immutability is not absolute, not like that of God, but only comparative, in relation to other creatures, (as De Wette expresses it, immutabilitas, non omnimoda, sed comparate talis). What seems to us vascillating in these definitions of our Lutheran theologians, would perhaps have been more happily avoided, if they had had a clear conception of what we may have called the spiritual or “intelligible” world, in distinction from the world of sense. This idea was introduced into our philosophy by Kant, and defined as a permanent ground of sensuous phenomena, which is not itself subject to the conditions and limitations of the world of sense.6 But this idea, as we shall see when we come to investigate it more fully, while it solves some difficulties, introduces others. It is, then, most advisable for us, in endeavoring to form a conception of the nature of angels, to adhere to the view, that in comparison with the human spirit, when this is considered apart from the body, it is different from it rather in degree than in kind. 3. In respect of the causality or efficiency which the angels exert, there is ascribed to them not only the faculty of communication, (loquela s. facultas loquendi, and this, too, in relation to one another without the medium of material signs, per species intelligibiles intellectui impressas,) but also a might and activity, far greater and more agile than that of man and other created beings, (summa potentia et agilitas).
All these definitions respecting the nature and qualities of angels are, in part, derived from the declarations of the Holy Scripture, and in part, deduced from a comparison of the conceptions thus attained with our own spiritual nature, in connection with the idea of the “intelligible” or spiritual world, present in the mind, and modifying its views. The scholastics have thrown out and discussed many very subtile, and many too subtile questions which we pass over as being of an uncertain or fruitless character.7 There is, however, one point in respect to which some elucidation is required in order to guard against superstitious representations and unintelligent applications of the doctrine respecting angels. What is the relation in which the efficiency or causality ascribed to the angels in regard to the world of sense, stands on the one hand to the divine efficiency, on the other to those natural and moral powers and causes, to which we must always have especial reference in the judgment and treatment of what pertains to this world?8
Our theologians have, indeed, advanced some positions and statements in reference to this subject, especially in its connection with the divine efficiency;9 but a more close consideration shows them to be unsatisfactory. It has justly been remarked, that the power of the angels, great as it may be, is still ever to be thought of as created, finite, and absolutely subordinate to the divine agency. Then, too, certain acts are excepted from the sphere of their agency; for example, the producing of something out of nothing, the changing the nature given to anything at its creation, the raising of the dead, the performance of real miracles; because, in the Scripture, these are ascribed to God alone, and because they presuppose a creative and therefore an infinite power, like unto the divine. And, finally, although in itself considered this would not surpass the limits of a finite capacity, it has been denied, that the angels can operate directly, at least, upon the material or corporeal world, or in any other way than through the medium of natural causes, and in the mode prescribed by the natural relation of the active to the passive powers.10 If this could be proved, it were indeed a weighty principle; but it has not been generally adopted, nor adequately substantiated, limited or developed, either as to its grounds, its terms, its authority or its application.11 Not in order to rectify this view, but to designate the points that ought to be considered in this connection, we would lay down the following canons for farther discussion and examination:
1. Whatever may be the efficiency attributed to the angels, their relation to us can only be that of one finite to another finite cause; and is never to be imagined as similar to the relation which God, or Christ, or the Holy Ghost sustains to us.
2. The efficiency of the angels is, therefore, always to be represented in accordance with the laws of reciprocal action established between finite beings; hence, it never excludes our counter-action or reaction, and can neither annul the powers of nature nor the freedom of the will.
3. All action of angels upon the world of sense can take place only under the following condition; that they enter into, or become one, of the series of causes there at work; and that they themselves act by means of these causes, or in the same mode with them. For example, if an angel is to communicate anything to us, he must appear (as in Luke 24:4. Acts 1:10) in some such way as in the form of a man talking; if he is to produce a change in nature, it must be in some such way as is alluded to in Psalm 104:4. Heb. 1:7, “God maketh his angels winds, and his ministers flames of fire.” To express this in logical phrase the proposition that an angel has spoken or acted, does not so much refer to the mode as to the ground of the action; and although in the mode, there must be something which induces us to seek the ground beyond the world of sense, yet our justification for doing this must be exhibited in the same way by the same logical process, and through the same media, as when we make an inference to a merely natural cause.12
4. This entrance into the series of causes at work in the world of sense, may be looked upon as an original, a primitive, perhaps, also, as a transient influence; but it can leave behind it effects which will propagate the primitive influence, and which may, therefore, be considered as parts of the angelic efficiency. Thus, for example, the temptation of the first man by Satan continues to operate in the law of sin and death, which was thus introduced into the world.
5. The original entrance of angels into the world of sense, seems not to depend upon their own good pleasure alone; but, if we may judge from its infrequency, to be limited to narrow bounds. In this respect, and in its very nature, it is analogous to miracles, and hence, like these, appears to be specially attached to certain periods of divine revelation or of the development of God’s kingdom in the world.
What is contained in these positions is probably, in its principles, the same that hovered before the minds of those theologians who have attempted to make definitions and statements in reference to this subject; although they might have hesitated to draw the same inferences. If any one thinks that he ought to repel these conclusions, because they appear to him to go beyond what it is permitted us to know on these points; let it be remembered, that our aim is not so much to give explications concerning the sphere and mode of angelic operations, as to bring our faith in the spiritual world into harmony with, what is weighty equally in the theoretical as in the practical point of view, our reliance upon the permanency and intelligibility of the natural and moral order that prevails in the visible creation.
§2. The State (Status) of Angels
Angels, being endowed with freedom of will, may be judged of in respect to their moral character; and this in a twofold point of view, since the Bible teaches us, that there are both good and evil angels. It is, however, clear, that this difference cannot be an original one; for, on the one hand, it belongs to the very idea of a distinction in moral character, that it must be referred back to an act of freedom; and it is also indisputable, that evil as such cannot be created by God. We have then to distinguish the original state, in which all angels were alike created in conformity with the divine goodness and holiness, (the status originalis, which was at the same time a status gratiae,) from that state into which they afterwards came, (status originalem secutus,) and which, again, is of a twofold character. For a part, this is a state of unalloyed evil, and, consequently, of the greatest misery, (status miseriae); for the other part, it is a state of perfect holiness and blessedness, (status gioriae). That intermediate condition in which we men exist, on the one side the state of increasing sinfulness, on the other the state of renewal begun in the faithful, exists not for the angels, since they are beings, who cannot be conceived of as living, in the same manner with ourselves, under the conditions of time and of progressive change.
For the idea of the primitive state of angels we thus obtain three definite statements. First, the general declaration which God made respecting the works of creation (Gen. 1:31), is also valid for the angels, they were created, in the beginning, good and holy, (angeli omnes initio sunt aequaliter justi, boni et sancti a Deo conditi). Yet, in the second place, there must be made a distinction between this primitive perfection, and that perfection which is now and ever to be attributed to the good and elect angels, or the angels of light. And, in the third place, this original holiness cannot have excluded the possibility of the fall, by which the devil and his angels became sinful and wretched. Yet these statements still allow very different representations respecting the primitive stale of the angels, as is particularly to be seen in the parties into which the scholastic theologians were divided. Some of them13 define this primitive perfection in an almost negative way, as the mere absence of sin and evil. So far as the angels were supposed to need upholding grace, (which, however, was not directly and for all of them thought necessary to be assumed), these same theologians hardly allowed them sufficient ability to attain the ends of their creation. In respect to good and evil, they took for granted that the angels were in a state of entire indifference, so that the one as well as the other, considered as proper, positive good or evil, could only be the fruit of their free self-determination. In the other party14 we discern the effort to elevate the original perfection of the angels so high as to be hardly consistent with the possibility of their falling, and with the distinction which must be retained between the status gratiae and the status gloriae. The Evangelical or Lutheran theologians adopt the latter view.
In accordance with this view, to the angels was ascribed the power of directing their actions in perfect accordance with the divine will, (actiones omanes aeternae Dei legi conformiter instituendi et perficiendi); and this original power was said to be not only natural but supernatural, reposing upon the grace communicated to them from the beginning, (gratia, in qua constituti erant).15 There was also ascribed to them a state of the understanding and will conformed to the idea of moral perfectness, (habitus concreatus bonus, habitualis lux, et justitia, sapientia et sanctitas concreata). They were not represented as merely indifferent to good and evil.16 They had, if not an inward necessity (necessitatio), yet a propension to good (propensio ad bonum); their power of sinning, was not proximate but remote, (potentia ad peccandurn non proxima,—i.e. no proper basis, much less an inclination,— sed remota,) which really amounts only to the denial of the impossibility, (the mere negatio impossibilitatis ad peccandum). This possibility remained because their original righteousness was indeed perfect, but not immutable, not a righteousness which could not be lost, (justitia perfecta, sed non immutabilis aut inamissibilis). In short, in order to their highest happiness and blessedness, there was wanting nothing but the beatific vision of God, which constitutes the essence of the status gloriae, and which is held out as a gracious reward of steadfastness in the status gratiae; together with the impossibility of sin belonging to this state.
The basis for this mode of representing the original state of the angels, was first of all found in certain declarations of the Holy Scriptures. For when (John 8:44), it is said that the devil abode not in the truth, it would appear to follow from this that he originally possessed not only the power of knowing the truth, but also the knowledge of it; or, according to the broader sense which the word ἀλήθεια often bears, that he possessed original righteousness. When it is said, that the fallen angels τήν ἑαυτῶν ἀρχὴν οὐκ ἐτήρησαν, ἀπολιπόντες τὸ ἴδιον οἰκητήριον (Jade 6), there was found in this an allusion to a primal elevation and blessedness, which they kept not, but most wickedly forfeited.17 Our theologians also appealed to the ground which seemed to lie in the very nature of the case. It is true in respect to angels, as well as other creatures, that God originally created them good; but the former being free and moral beings, this must be understood of their moral goodness.18 A pure indifference to good and evil seemed to them to be a mere abstraction, inconceivable as an actual state, especially when it is attempted to separate the natural power of angels from the divine grace, imparted to them, and with some of the scholastics, fancy a status puroram naturalium; since it must still be assumed, that God made and endowed the angels with all that was necessary for the perfect realization of the end prescribed to them.19 What, however, had more effect than these and similar reasons, was the analogy with the doctrine of the primitive state of man, which seemed to demand, as a consequence, that the doctrine respecting angels should be framed in the same manner. And on this very account it will not be advisable to draw our conclusions upon this subject, before we have examined and elucidated the other.20 For, apart from this analogy, we should hardly feel the necessity of taking so decided a stand for the one and against the other of the two views, which existed contemporaneously, in the schools, as our older theologians have done; especially since the Holy Scriptures have not spoken with sufficient strictness and clearness in reference to the question to enable us to decide it from their testimony alone.
There is one other consideration which may be adduced in favor of the views of our theologians, to which we will refer before quitting this subject. Though it has not been clearly expressed by them, yet it is everywhere presupposed, as though dimly floating before their minds. We refer to the idea of the existence of the angels in what we have called the “intelligible” or spiritual world, not conditioned by the laws of temporal life.21 With a proper understanding of this conception, it might be clearly deduced, that what the angels could and would be, in conformity with the powers given them at their creation, they must actually become at once, without the intermediation of any state of indecision or of change, between the mere potentiality and the actual realization. Yet, thus considered, the doctrine of the primitive state of angels, would come into a shape, in which the whole of the above disputed question would lose its significancy. For then we should no longer be able to speak of a primitive state. That which is so called, would then be distinguished only as the terminus creationis, as the object to which the creative efficiency of God was directed, (that is, merely in its conception, but not in the order of time,) from that which the angels became, in that they determined themselves to good or to evil.22 As little as our older theologians allow of any lapse of time, or of any valid distinction between the state of the natural powers with which the angels were endued at their creation, and the state of upholding grace, by which they are made capable of attaining their destination; so little could we assume a difference in the order of time, in respect of the good angels, between their receiving this capability and the actual attainment of the end by means of their free self-determination; or, between the grace which gives them the capability (gratia gratos faciens), and the grace which bestows the reward, (gratia in bono confirmans). Thus, too, in regard to the evil spirits, the first moment of their existence with the powers and capacities received from God, must be conceived of as the same with their choice of evil. The Bible seems to allude to this, when it says of the devil, (John 8:44. 1 John. 3:8, ) that he sinned or was a murderer, from the beginning, ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς; and the Augsburg Confession, Art. xix. says, that the will of the devil, so soon as God withdrew his hand, turned from God to malice. By this supposition, too, we are relieved of the difficulty to which the idea of the intelligible or spiritual world is exposed, in the endeavors to explain the possibility of a transition out of one state into an entirely opposite state.
Yet, however this may be or be considered, we must always make a distinction between what the angels were at their creation, that is, in their innate powers and capacities, and what they now are, in their present condition; since, as Scripture testifies, only a part abode in the purity and holiness, to which God created them, while the other part apostatized from their Lord and Creator.
§3. Good and Evil Angels
We have now to distinguish between good and evil angels; and, in respect to good angels, in another and higher sense than that in which all are created good.
Those angels, whom the Scriptures designate as the elect angels (1 Tim. 5:21), or as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:14), are holy and good, not merely in virtue of their natural powers, inclinations and character, but by means of an act of freedom, by their own decision or a self-elected course, which we may define, in general, as steadfastness in the truth, as obedience or love to God, without attempting to explain how, and in what this may have first shown itself.23 Now, as in ourselves, a right state of the will reäcts upon the other powers and states of the mind; as the motives and temptations to evil are more easily overcome, and what is right is more easily chosen and executed, in proportion to our constancy in duty, so that by degrees such a virtuous character is formed as makes, at least, certain kinds of sin a moral impossibility; so the angels, in consequence of the free election of what is good, have their connatural propension to good elevated into something higher than a mere propension. There is this difference, however, in the two cases; what we attain unto only gradually and by approximation, or what floats before us as an end first to be fully realised in a future life, is with them, in conformity to their nature which is not fettered by the law of time, something actually present and perfected. To this act of choice, then, directly succeeds a state in which the previous remote possibility of sin is become an impossibility; now they cannot sin, they are confirmed in holiness (confirmati in bono). But with this is connected a third point. The end for which the angels, as well as all rational beings, were created, is that perfect inward union with God, which is described as the vision and fruition of God (visio et fraitio Dei). If, now, it was necessary to the status gratiae, that they should be endowed with all natural and supernatural powers for the attainment of this end; then, in the status gloriae, the end must be actually attained; they enjoy the beatific vision of God, (fruuntur visione Dei beatifica,) and this is identical with the steadfastness in holiness imparted to them; for, how could a being that had become a participant of such a perfect union with God, do otherwise than love above all things else the being who fills his whole soul?24
But if this be so, would it not seem as though their freedom, and since this is absolutely necessary to moral goodness, also their holiness itself, were annulled? Just as little, as it would be true in respect to ourselves, to use an example already cited, that the abatement of the power to do wrong or the gradually developed impossibility of committing certain sins, includes the abatement of our free agency.25 For we are not alone free in the moment of decision; free is also the state which we have embraced with freedom. And that semblance of the contrary which in respect to ourselves proceeds from the fact, that our determinations with their consequences fall into the sphere of time, (on which account we must not only say that we decide, but also that we have decided,)26 does not hold in respect to beings, that are not conceived of as under the conditions of time. Hence, their holiness, although unchangeable, does not proceed from any kind of constraint, nor even from any inward natural necessity; but it is a free holiness and goodness. Along with this libertas a coactione et necessitate interna,27 the Lutheran theologians attribute to the good angels-freedom of choice in other particulars; although they cannot choose evil, yet among the manifold kinds of good, they can choose or not choose this or that, (libertas exercitii s. contradictionis,) and they are able to execute their determinations in this or that way, (libertas specificationis s. contrarietatis). We will not inquire whether, on other grounds, there are adequate reasons for this statement;28 but it is not necessary in order to prove that angels are free.
This freedom of theirs does not exclude grace; nor does it lay the foundation for any claim on the score of merit. It does not exclude grace; for, apart from the consideration that it is chiefly a gift of God, and that the powers upon which it is exercised are his gift, to freedom itself can only be ascribed that direction or tendency which it gives to itself and to these powers; but it is still entirely owing to God and his grace, that He, as it were, comes to meet them in the direction they have taken, that He imparts himself to those who are longing for him, and his beatific vision; and without this necessary grace the longing itself were as inconceivable as that the plant should turn to the sun if the light of the sun did not shine upon and attract it. Further, it does not lay the foundation for any claim of merit. For, in no proper sense, can we say that we have deserved any good, excepting when the deserving action is absolutely our own, when we are not in duty bound to perform it, when it brings advantage to another, and when this advantage is equal in value to what we receive;29 all of which, of course, is here out of the question. Hence, it is the free goodness of God alone, (gratuita Dei boni-tas et liberalitas,) which is undoubtedly not arbitrary, (absoluto decreto,) but in conformity with a law prescribed by his own holiness and justice, (thus far, to be sure, according to merit, in a broader and less strict sense);30 not in consequence of any claim that could be made upon him, but out of his own grace; it is this free goodness which has made the elect angels worthy of his beatific vision, confirmed them in holiness, and elevated them to glory.
This glory includes, in addition to the holiness and blessedness, which to some extent belong to the very idea of the holy angels, partly an enhancement of the powers of knowledge and action with which they were originally endowed, partly such an arrangement of their relations to one another and to the rest of creation as best befits their powers. This is really only the consequence of that perfect union with God which they enjoy in the light of his visible presence, and of their elevation to that end prescribed to their powers, which they as well as the rest of creation were intended to attain. This does not exclude the idea, that God may also be glorified in and through them by other and special manifestations of his grace, which may be considered as an accessary to these essential points.31
The grounds of these doctrinal statements are found, in part, in the declarations of Scripture. The angels are described as holy (Mark 8:38); as elect (1 Tim. 5:21); as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:14). It is said, that they see the face of God (Matt. 18:10), that they so perfectly fulfil the divine will, that we cannot pray for anything higher, than that it be even thus fulfilled upon the earth (Matt. 6:10); and that they are so elevated above earthly limitations and necessities, that Christ makes the glory of the children of the resurrection to consist in being like them (Luke 20:36). Other reasons are found in the ethical laws and ideas, which we know to be valid and necessary for all rational and free creatures, modified only by the nature of the beings to whom they are applied.
The Evil Spirits are in all respects opposite to the good angels. As the latter, by their free obedience to the divine will attain to a state of steadfastness in holiness, and are elevated to the highest glory and blessedness; the former by their free apostasy from God are transferred to a state in which they are obdurate and hardened in evil, have forever forfeited divine grace, and are sunk into the deepest shame and misery.32
The position, that the devil and his angels were not created evil, but became so in consequence of a fall, the possibility of which was given in their free will, is to be held fast, especially in opposition to the dualistic doctrine of a principle in itself evil. But although the Bible refers with sufficient distinctness, (John 8:44. Jude 6. 2 Peter 2:4, ) to the fact of such a fall (lapsus), yet it does not expressly teach us in what it consisted. In man we know two chief sources of sin, his sensual nature and self-love. In purely spiritual beings, sin could hardly proceed from the former. We might perhaps say, that, under certain conditions, it is not inconceivable, there should spring up, even in beings of a higher nature, a longing after pleasures which belong to a lower sphere of life, especially if, as is the case in respect to sexual love, some higher end were intended in that constitution which makes the basis for the pleasures. It was this notion, which procured for the Jewish interpretation of the passage, Gen. 6:2, that angels took to themselves wives of the daughters of men, some currency with many of the fathers of the church;33 but later theologians have not adopted it, because the fall of the evil spirits must have preceded the fall of our own first parents whom they tempted.34 We must derive their apostasy then from selflove. This might manifest itself in the perversion of the understanding or judgment, (as in an over-estimate of one’s self or one’s powers); or in the corruption of the inclinations and will. If the latter, the corruption may either have respect to fellow-beings, (as in the feeling of envy, which shows itself in discontent with any preference manifested for others, or in ambition which tries to bring others under its sway); or it may exist in respect to God, in that the creature, instead of finding his glory and his joy in serving and praising Him, makes himself to be the centre of his efforts, rebels against God and his will, and strives, so far as in him lies, to destroy the order He has established. Now in the one, and now in the other of these forms of self-love, has it been attempted to find the first occasion of the fall; but mostly and justly in the last, in the pride (superbia), in consequence of which the devil himself would be as God; since this is the highest potence of self-love, in which sin as such actualizes itself, and which has all other forms of evil in its train.35 The Bible seems to imply this in its representations of the inducements to disobedience by which our first parents were seduced (Gen. 3:5), and by which Christ was tempted (Matt. 4:3, 6, 9).36 By this, we do indeed designate rather the general nature or form of the act in which the evil spirits fell, than the act itself, in which the fall consisted, definitely defined as to its aim and object. But the former is of more importance. The latter, in consequence of our ignorance of the duties and conditions of the sphere of angelic action, must ever remain obscure. Even if from the declaration in the epistle of Jude, v. 6, we should make the inference, that, by their own power, they wished to alter the position allotted them by God in the series of created things, to change their relation to other creatures, and the duties and honors therewith connected;37 we should still know not much more than that they had rebelled against God and the order he had established.
In man, evil as well as good, passes through a process of growth. Although we are compelled to consider his will, so far as the fundamental tendency of his nature is concerned, as decided for evil38 yet this only communicates itself by degrees to the whole of his faculties and modes of acting. It has almost become a proverb, a villain is not made in a day. There are still what we may call the remains of primitive innocence, echoes of earlier good impressions, which cannot be suppressed or erased without a struggle. The state of total obduracy and hardening, in which man is fully lost to all that is good, rarely if ever occurs in this world. Otherwise is this with the angels. In them, as beings belonging to the spiritual or “intelligible” world, with the tendency to evil, the dominion of evil is entirely established. With them, after they have departed from God, falsehood instead of truth, hatred instead of love, have not merely become the general tendency, but fundamental character of their thinking and willing, their being and acting. They willingly reject all that is good, denying and hindering it in word and deed. They oppose whatever in the world is designed to serve as a basis or instrument of holiness. They fight against the kingdom of God, and all which makes the creature capable of attaining to it, or makes him happy in it. Hence the devil is called the liar, the murderer (ἀνθρωποκτ́νος) from the beginning (John 8:44); the calumniator, the accuser, ( ὁ διάβολος, ὁ κατηγώρ, Rev. 12:10); the enemy the adversary, (הַשָּׂטָן, ὁ ἐχθρός, Matt. 13:39; ὁ αντδικος, 1 Peter 5:8); the ruler of darkness, and of death (Eph. 6:12. Heb. 2:14). And this selfishness, which is in opposition to God and to all that is true and good, has so pervaded all their powers and modes of action, their thoughts and efforts, that nothing good and laudable, so far as concerns themselves, (for in respect to God, against their own will, they are but the instruments of manifesting his glory,) can proceed from them. They sin always, they sin necessarily; but this necessity is the work of their own freedom, as is the holiness of the good angels.
From the very nature of the case it results, that the loss of divine grace is connected with the apostasy of the evil spirits. This is not because God could ever cease to communicate himself, since he lets his light always shine forth to attract the creature to himself; but it is because the evil spirits, in their selfishness have shut themselves out from all divine influences, have turned themselves away from the light, and are repelled even by the divine love. This loss, too, is irrevocable. Such a position seems to require some explanation.39 The Scripture never lets fall an intimation that God has ever had compassion upon the fallen angels, as he has upon man, or that he has provided for them a scheme of grace. Christ laid not hold upon angels, but upon the posterity of Abraham (Heb. 2:16); God spared them not, but delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment (2 Peter 2:4); for them is everlasting fire prepared (Matt. 25:41. Rev. 20:10). Whence this sternness of the divine justice? It is usually replied, on account of the enormity of their guilt; man sinned being tempted by the devil; but the devil, of his own wickedness; and this as much surpasses human guilt, as the evil spirits in the original perfection of their nature are superior to man.40 But can any guilt be so great, that the divine grace may not be greater? (Rom. 5:20). The limitation of the divine grace, cannot be the reason why it is denied to evil spirits. The only possible reason is, that they are not susceptible to it, that they do not desire, and will not accept the grace of God. This again is connected with that peculiarity of their nature, whereby sin in them is not a process of growth, but is entire, unalloyed. They are hardened in sin, and therefore inaccessible to repentance.41 An Abbadonna, as Klopstock describes him, who could say to God—“What have I done, that thou makest atonement only for him, for the human sinner only, and not for the angel? Hell indeed hates thee! Yet one forlorn being remains, one not all ignoble, who hates thee not, Jehovah! one, who before thee, O God, alas! too long in vain, too long! pours out his bloody tears and wailings unregarded!”42 —an Abbadonna who could thus speak, who is full of repentance for the past, full of anguish for what he has lost, full of longing for redemption, is not a devil, is not one for whom the determination to be without God, and himself to be God, is ever present and hence never repented of.
By this perversion of the relation which should exist between God and the creature, is first of all, in the evil spirits, the immediate organ of freedom, the will, brought into a state of entire corruption, (in voluntate summa depravatio).43) One result of this is that the understanding is blinded, (in intellectu ingens offuscatio). In themselves considered, the intellectual powers with which they were endowed, are not diminished; in certain respects,—in reference to self-interest and to sin,—we might even say that they were made more acute. But they know not, they have not the truth; for this can be the fruit only of the true knowledge of God and of moral love. He that judges erroneously respecting the origin of the world, and the end for which it was made, cannot rightly know what the world is. The devils know, indeed, that there is a God, but they tremble (James 3:19); that is, they do not know him, as a God of grace and of love; for them he is only a consuming fire (Heb, 12:29); since, he that is God’s enemy cannot look upon God as his friend. Not merely in respect to the love, but also in respect to the power of God, must they be deceived; otherwise they would not so rashly oppose themselves to it. They may, for example, imagine, that God cannot and will not act otherwise than through the ordinary powers given to nature and to finite spirits, against which a being of great might and presumption might readily imagine, that he could maintain his own will. Hence we see the devil entangled in the greatest error respecting the work of redemption. He believed that he might tempt even to apostasy the very Son of God, if he should promise him the kingdoms of the world (Matt. 3:9); and, when unsuccessful in this, he put it into the mind of Judas to betray him (John. 13:2); and cooperated in effecting his death (John. 14:30); although this very death was intended to deliver men from his dominion. But naturally! For this surpassing grace of God, that he should actually let his only begotten Son become flesh, so that sinners and the enemies of God might be reconciled by his blood (Romans. 5:8–10); this strength of virtue in a man, that in pure submission and obedience to God he could withstand all seductions of sensuality, of vanity, and even of that ambition, before which angels fell; this it was which the devil could not believe. He that is without love and virtue, believes not in love and virtue; the more acute his intellect, the less is his faith. Hence the devil is also the διάβολης, the accuser and calumniator, because in all human piety and righteousness he sees only what may be explained by love of the world and love of self; he sees only what is impure, while he has no eye for that which springs from a higher source. But an understanding which misunderstands that which in and under all things, is most worthy of being understood; which has not the key without which nothing can be disclosed in its true relations—its relations to God and the revelation of the divine power and love; such an understanding is darkened, deep as it may, in other respects, penetrate, wide as it may reach; and thus are the evil spirits blinded.
Hence they are necessarily miserable. Torn loose from the universal centre of life, without being even able to find it in themselves; by the feeling of inward void ever driven to the outward world, and yet in irreconcilable hostility to it and to themselves; eternally avoiding and never escaping the presence of God; always endeavoring to destroy, and always compelled to promote his purposes; instead of joy in the beatific vision of the divine glory, having a never satisfied longing for an end they never reach; instead of hope, the unending oscillation betwixt doubt and despair; instead of love, an impotent hatred of God, their fellows and themselves;—can the fearful condemnation of the last judgment (Rev. 20:10), the miserabilis in barathrum aeternae damnationis detrusio, add anything to the anguish of such a condition, excepting, that they shall there see the kingdom of God forever delivered from their assaults, their vain presumption that they can destroy or impede it, scattered to the winds, leaving to them only the ever gnawing despair of an inward rage, which cannot spend itself upon anything without, and is therefore forever undeceived as to its own impotence?44
1) Existencia angelorum nititur non tam argumentis prebabilibus ex philisophia petitis,—sive a gradibus entium et complemento universi, sive a testimonies humanis, sive ab experimentis variis,—quam apodictico argumento, clara nimirum et crebra Scripturae assertione.— Qucnslcdt, P. I. cp. XL de angelis, Sect. 1. thes. 3. Conf. Baier, P. I. cap. III. § 3. Hollaz, P. 1. cap. IV. qu. 9; (who does indeed also adduce arguments from reason, but with the remark, that, for them, the existence of angels may be inferred only topice et probabil-iter, non apodicte et irrel’ragibiliter; while on the other hand the same certo ia-notesctt e scriptura sacra et creditur fide divina).—Baumgarten, Th. 1. S. 657.
2) This expression is new only in connection with the new import and development lately given to the idea of the “intelligible world;” for even the fathers of the church describe the angels as οὐσίαι νοηταί (in contrast with the αἰσθητόν or αἰσθήει ὑπόπιπτον), and as ὑπερχόσμιοι; conf. Petav. theol. dogm. P. III. L. I. cp. 3. § 4—7.
3) Quenstedt, de angelis, Sect. I. thes. 10. fin. Properly speaking, it is only what is corporeal or material, that can be said to be in any given space; but so far as spirit stands in any relation, e. g. that of efficiency, to a body found in space, or to space that may be, or is filled by anything- corporeal, which relation it does not have to any other body or space, there may be attributed to it κατὰ σχέσιν or κατ᾿ ἐνέργειαν, a ποῢ. without which, indeed, it could not be said that a spirit could go from 01 come to any place, (as in Luke 1:26, 28. 8:33. Yet, according to Gerhard (L. VI. sect. 7. § 50 seq.), this relation is not to be conceived of merely as a praesentia virtualis, but also as a praesentia substantialis; for the sheer applicatio virtutis, which is as far as Aquinas goes, would be only the manifestation of a power or efficiency, but not an actual presence. Moreover, we are not able to make to ourselves a distinct image, different from this, of the relation which our own spirits have to space, or to a body in space, although we may actually think of it as being different.
4) In strictness of language, the aevum or aeviternitas is meant to be something intermediate, between the eternity which is attributed to God, and time which is ascribed to the world of sense. (Aevum angelis tribuitur, quod medium est inter aeternitatem et tempus.— Quenstedt.) But if the difference be made to consist merely in this, that eternity has neither beginning nor end; that aevum has a beginning but no end; and that time has both beginning and end; then we have, after all, in aevum only the notion of time, and have attributed to the angels nothing more than what belongs to the human spirit. Scaliger made a distinction between aevum and aetas, (repudiated by Gerhard in his Loc. de creatione, § 51, ) which would seem to be more philosophical; aetas, ascribed to man, is measured by time, aevum, ascribed to the angels, is measured by eternity, and this eternity is the essence of God himself.
5) It is the uniform representation of the old Lutheran theologians, that the angels are, in their own nature, ἄυλοι καὶ ἀσώματοι, and that only κατ᾿ οἰκονομίαν do they sometimes come into an accidental union with matter; conf. Gerhard, loc. de ang. §41, 42; Quenstedt, de angelis, Seet. II. qu. 2; Baier, de ang. § 5, not. c. For other views, see Petavius, theol. dogm. P. III. Lib. I. cp. 2—4. Many later theologians in our church have wished to ascribe to the angels a kind of etlierial body.
6) Kant’s Kritik der reinen Vernunft. S. 565; Fries, Neue Kritik, II. S. 139; Scheliing, Ciber d. Wesen der Freiheit. S. 465. [That, in an object of sense, which is not the mnnifestation, I call its intelligible part. Accordingly, if that which in the world of sense must be regarded as a manifestation, has also in itself a power, which power is not an object of sensuous perception, by which it may become the cause of visible manifestations; then the causality of this) object may be considered under two points of view; it may be considered as intelligible in its efficiency when viewed by itself alone, and as sensible in its actual effects, when manifested in the world of sense. . . . Thus in an object of the world of sense, we have, first, an empirical character, by which its visible manifestations are connected with other visible manifestations, and with the uniform laws of nature. Secondly, we must also concede an intelligible character to it, in virtue of which it is indeed the cause of phenomena, but which does not itself stand under the condition of the world of sense. The former expresses the character of a thing in its manifestations, the latter the character of a tiling, per se (Ding an sieh). In its intelligible character it is not subject to any conditions of time, for time is only the, condition of visible manifestations, not of the thing per se, of an object in itself considered. It is not subject to the laws of change. Its causality, so far as it is intellectual or intelligible, does not come into the series of empirical conditions. This intelligible character can, indeed, never be an object of direct knowledge to us, since we perceive nothing, excepting so far as it manifests itself; but still it must be conceived of in congruity with the empirical character of the object; as we must always in our thoughts assign some transcendental basis to all visible phenomena, although we may know nothing about this basis, when considered in itself, apart from its manifestations.—Kant, Kritik dor reinen Vernunft. S. 566—8. 2te. Aufl. 1787.]
7) For example, When were the angels created? Before or after this world? If the latter, as most of the Lutheran theologians assume, on which of the six days? What is the nature of their knowledge? Can two angels be in one place at the same time? Our theologians, upon the whole, have been disinclined to enter into such discussions. Gerhard blames those, who de his omnibus ita disserunt, ut merito quis quaerat, quam nuper sint de coelo delapsi? and calls to mind the oft forgotten words,
Nescire velle, quae Magister maximus Docere non vult, erudita inscitia est.
8) Schleiermacher lays down the canon that, whether there be angels or not, is a question which cannot have any influence upon our actions; and that we cannot expect to have any further revelations about their existence, (§ 43, second edition of the Glaubenslehre). But the question still remains, how this canon can be justified on the biblical ground, upon which the doctrine of the church is based?
9) Conf. Quenstedt de angelis, Sect. I. thes. 9; Sect. II. qu. 4; Hollaz, de ang. qu. 8. c.; Baier, de ang. § 15, c.
10) Baler, 1. c. Vis operandi, quae angelis competit, nee extendit se ad ea, quae excedunt finitam potentiam, nee ad omnia, quae sub finitam potentiam cadunt, immediate per suam potentiam efficienda;— , quamvis qualitatem spiritualern seu speciem intelligibilem extra se in alio angelo aut homine producere possint, corporeas tamen substantias immediate et per se producere aut immutare non possunt, sed mediantibus causis naturalibus et applicando activa passivis. Conf. Quenst. I.e. Sect. II. qu. 4. ἔκθ 3. et solut. 6.
11) This view is propounded in just this form only in Baler and his predecessor Musacus. But it might be asked, why the relation of angels to the soul of man is different from that to tile body, so that they could be said to be able to produce a qualitas spiritualis in man, but no change in his body? Heidegger (corpus doctrinae christ. loc. VIIl. § 17, 18), treats of this point more at length than others. While allowing a wide sphere to their operations, he denies, that they can directly influence the intellect or will of man. He seems to say, that whatever an angel may be able to effect in the midst of the mechanism of natural causes, it can effect only because the possibility of such an influence was previously established in the mechanism itself. Indefinite as this may seem, yet it is better than if it were thought that no canon at all were needed. Most of our theologians are contented with ascribing to the angels a certain great influence upon both body and soul, (against the objections of some Cartesians, c. g. Balthasar Becker) without inquiry into the How or How far. Conf. Carpovii, theol, revel. I. § 1149—58; Mosheim, elementa, theol. dogin. p. 399—4U2.
12) We cannot then concede, in general, an immediate influence of angels upon our souls, either in giving a direction to the understanding or will, or in calling up particular notions or determinations; nor can we assume that they exercise an indirect influence at their own pleasure or without cogent reasons. We must, however, distinguish between the operation of angels upon the world of sense, and the case of an individual belonging to this world being raised up into the sphere of angelic agencies; as Swedenborg maintained that to his eye the spiritual world was disclosed; and as we may represent to ourselves the state of ecstasy and of ecstatic visions. (2 Cor. 12:2—4. Rev. 4:2. .17:8.)
13) Among these we will here only adduce the Magister Sententiarum [Petrus Lombardus]. According to him (Lib. II. dist. 3. F. and dist. 4. in fin.), the angels were originally boni, i.e. sine vitiis, non mali, justique, i.e. innocentes, sed non virtutum exercitum habentes, further, perfenti quodam modo, alio vera modo imperfecti; tales erant qui stare poterant, i.e. non cadere per bona creationis, et cadere per liberum arbitrium; poterant enim peccare et non peccare, sed non poterant proficere ad meritum vitae nisi gratia superadderetur, quae addita est quibusdum in confirmatione.
14) e. g. Thomas Aquinas, Summ. I. qu. 62.
15) That the angels needed supernatural, sustaining grace, was the doctrine even of those Scholastics, who held the highest idea of their primitive perfection. Aquinas, for example, (I. qu. 62. art. 2, ) grounds this upon the distinction between the happiness proceeding from the perfect character of natural powers, and the blessedness which results only from the full vision of the divine perfections; this last is communicated by God only in a supernatural manner. The Lutheran theologians rested in this view, since it was admirably fitted to what they always had so much at heart, the denial of the creature’s own merits; without, however, making as careful a distinction as they did in the doctrine of the original perfection of men, between what can be effected by the natural powers alone, and what by grace alone; only they would have it, that the two should not be separated; that no state be assumed in which the angels had only the former. According to Augustine, God created them, Simul in eis et condens naturam et largiens gratiam. It is of course understood, (as Baumgarten, Th. 1. S. 683 remarks,) that we do not here speak of grace, in the restricted sense, in which, “after the fall, it became absolutely necessary to man; but only of the grace which man was capable of receiving in his state of innocence.” To man in this state belonged, among the adjuncts of the divine image, (according to Quenstedt, P. II. cp. I. Sect. I. thes. 23, ) donorum supernaturalium accessio, cujusmodi sunt supernaturalis Dei favor, gratiosa s. Trinitatis inhabitatio et resultans inde suavitas et delectatio.
16) Thus, when Quenstedt says, conditi sunt ad bonum et malum indifferentes, this must be interpreted by what follows in the passage, which is, for the most part, verbally the same, as what we have above cited from him and the other theologians; that is, it is not a state of indecision, or a precisely similar relation of their powers, tendencies and inclinations to both good and evil; but it is only that indifference which belongs to the essence of freedom, considered as the power of choice, and in contrast with that decided state introduced by and with the fall.
17) According to the formerly received interpretation of this passage. Compare Quenstedt, de ang. Sect. I. thes. 13, not.: Per τὴν ἀρχήν intelligimus originalem et vere principalem angelorum conditionem, s. angelicae dignitatis excellentiam et praestantiam, a malis angelis neglectam et reprobatam; per τὸ ἰδοιν οἰκητήριον coelestem habitationem s. felicem mansionem; ut sensus sit, angelos hosce sponte, imo malitiose perfectionem, stationem et mansionem felicem, ac suo modo beatam deseruisse, et spreta Dei bonitate a primaeva sua integritate, justitia et sanctitate defecisse; inde manifestum est angelos lapsos in ἀρχῆ καὶ οἰκητηρία sanctioris cum Deo coimnunionis, i.e. sanctos justosque cum reliquis creatos esse.
18) Hollaz, P. I. cp. IV. qu. 10. prob. a. : Omnia, quae Deus fecit, fuerunt initio valde bona. Intelligitur bonitas cuique naturae rerum creatarum attemperata; at agentibus liberis, e quorum censu sunt angeli, attemperata et conveniens est bonitas moralis; liac enim deficiente sunt mali.
19) Quenstedt, de ang. Sect. II. qu. 5. βεβ. 5:Status purorum naturalium, in quo angelos et homines primum conditos esse nonnulli Pontificii dicunt, purum putum figmentum est; de eo enim altum in Scriptura est silentium; condit, sunt omnes angeli ad aeternam beatitudiuem, adeoque omnes in statu gratiae constituti fuerunt et gratia necessaria instructi, qua finem, ad quem conditi sunt, consequi potuerint.
20) [This part of Dr. Twesten’s work has not yet been published.]
21) Upon this idea rests, what we remarked at the beginning of the section, that the status gloriae or miseriae proceeds immediately from the status gratiae without any intermediate status peccati and instaurationis. More clearly than with our theologians, is this expressed in Aquinas, tie concludes, (Summa I. qu. 62, art. 1, ) that, an angel must possess at once all that he can obtain by virtue of his own nature, quia perfectionem hujusmodi non acquirit per aliquem motum discursiorum, sicul homo, sed statim ei adest propter suae naturae dignitatem; that, on this account, post primum actum churitatis, quo beatitudinem meruit, actu beatitudinem consecufus est, (ibid. art. 5); that this must also be imparted to him at once in the highest degree without his being able to grow therein or add thereto, (ibid. art. 9); that, as the good angels per unum actum meritorium ad beatitudinem perveniunt, so likewise the evil spirits, by one sin committed immediately after their creation (ibid. art. 10), were plunged into absolute obduracy, (ibid. qu. 64, art. 2). All of this points to the difference between angels and the human soul, which, he (qu. 58, art. 3.) defines by the alleged distinction between the coelestia et terrena corpora; quod corpora terre-na per mutationem et motum adipiseuniur sunn ultimam perfectionem, corpora vero coelestia statim ex ipsa sua natura suam ultimam perfectionem habent. But since, as before remarked, this idea had not come to distinct consciousness, we meet with much, especially in the later theologians, which is incongruous with it; as when the status originalis of the angels is designated, alter the analogy of men, as a. status viatorum, or as a state of probation; or, when Baumgarten (Th. I. S 600)P) anatomizes the original perfection into facilitates sibi invicem et fini suo conformes, habitus leo-itimo facultatum illarum usa aquisitos, and adds, periculo labendi obnexium esse.
22) Compare the mode in which Aquinas (1. c. qu. 63, art. 5.) answers the question, utrum diabolus fuerit mains in primo instanti suae creationis per culpam propriae voluntatis? He finds the position untenable, on which some deny this, quia, cum duae operationes se consequuntur, impossibile videtur, quod in eodem. Nunc utraque operatio terminetur. There would be ground for this, he thinks, in motibus temporalibus, qui successive aguntur; sed si sunt muta-tiones instantaneae, simul et eodem instanti potest esse terminus primae et secundae mutationis, sicut in eodem instanti, in quo illuminatur luna a sole, illuminatur aër a luna; manifestum est autem quod creatio est instantanea, et similiter motus liberi arbitrii in angelis; non enim indigent collatione et discursu rationis; unde nihil prohibet simul et in eodem instanti esse terminum creationis et terminum liberi arbitrii. He indeed believes, according to the views of most of his predecessors, and, according to the interpretation they gave to the passages lsa. 14:12 and Ezek. 28:13, that he must decide in the negative; but still finds it probable (qu. 63, art. 6), diabolum statim post primum instans suae creationis peccasse, or, inter creationem et lapsum nullam, raorara fuisse, since, si diabolus in gratia creatus in primo instanti meruit, statim post primum instans beatitudinem accepisset, nisi statim impedimentum praestitisset peccando.
23) Quenstedt, de ang., Sect. I. thes. 18: Boni angeli dicuntur non tantum ob bonitatem entitivam 3. metaphysicam, nee tantum propter habitual concreaturri bonum, sed etiam ob actum bonum s. obedientiam Deo praestitam et in bono perseverantiam.—Baier, de ang. § 28. not.: Ac sunt qui angelis his peculiarem operationem assigment positam in pugna contra malos angelos et resistentia insultibus eorum opposita; de quo tamen Scriptura silet—This distinction between the status gratiae and the status gloriae, that they are to one another as actus and habitus, or more precisely, as habitus actum consequens and antecedens), is usually and unjustly neglected.
24) Qui Deum, summum bonum, clare intuetur, non potest nonperpetuo ipsius amore flagrare, cum nihil nisi bonum et amabile in eo cernatur; qui autem per-petuo Deum amat, non potest peccare.—Hollaz, de ang., qu. 12. In like manner Baier, de ang. § 29 and 30: Secutus est hane visionem Dei amor intensissimus, quo voluntas angelorum. Deo inhaerere coepit, ut ab eo averti non posset; et sic facta est confirmatio eorum in bono sive determinate voluntatis ad bonum, ut, quicquid agunt, id agant in ordine ad Deum, tanquam bonum infinite perfectum perfecte cognitum, sine labe ulla, ullo defectu.
25) Our theologians usually add, that the freedom is higher, and perfect freedom, when we cannot choose evil, (perfectissima libertas est non posse peccare, qua perfectione in summo gradu eminet Deus in agendo liberrimus, Hollaz, 1. c.); although this is true, yet it rests upon another idea of freedom, which should not be confounded with the one with which we have here to do. As we now mean, sin is as free as holiness, and holiness as free as sin; since the one is as freely elected as is the other.
26) For example, we are living in a certain way, under certain circumstances, which were originally anything but forced or imposed upon us; but in which we must now continue to live. What originally, before our choice, need not have occurred, now that we have chosen it, cannot be changed, and binds us with a power from which we cannot, or believe we cannot escape. After we have decided, we do not feel ourselves free in respect to the matter; and yet we cannot say that that is not free, which proceeded from our free decision.
27) llollaz (de ang., qu. 14) justly adds this second term, although the first is all usually cited; but he cannot explain it otherwise than by the libertas contradictionis et contrarietatis. The true point of view is this; if freedom be anything more than spontaneity, (and we can speak of the spontaneous growth even of a plant,) it must be conceived of as independent, at least relatively so, not only of external influences, but also of any nature of the free being himself which can be described as perfectly and completely constituted previous to all self-determination. Accordingly, the relation of the nature of a free being to the act of that being is to be understood, that not merely is the act determined by the nature, but also the nature by the act, or, in certain respects, his own nature is to be understood as dependent on his own acts. The good angels are, then, inwardly free; not merely because they are good by nature, do they will what is holy, but because they will it, their natures are holy; that is, in their holiness they are free, because they determine themselves, (not merely se ipsi, but also se ipsos,) to holiness.
28) Here, for example, might be found aid in deciding the question, whether the particular aims and means which the will should have in view, in the performance of duty, in a system of ethics, can be prescribed as definitely and necessarily as the duty itself; or whether the former are to be left discretionary, at least in part, with the free love and pious inclinations which cannot be brought into any definite system of duties? This is a question weighty in the highest degree for a system of morals; although De Wette has lately discussed it anew, (making a distinction between strict duty, and the necessity of striving after perfection, Christl. Sittenlehre, Th. III § 433; comp. Fries, Ethik § 61 and 62); yet it has not been handled as thoroughly or in as many points of view as it deserves. It were, however, a misunderstanding of the true grounds and intention of the above definitions, if this sense were put into them.
29) Quenstedt, de ang., Sect. 11. qu. 7. βεβ. 2: Nullitas meriti proprii probatur partim ex scripturae silentio, partim ex meriti conditionibus, quae sunt, (1) ut opus illud, quo meremur, sit nostrum, h. e. a nobis et ex nostris viribus praestitum, (2) ut sit opus indebitum, (3) ut sit utile atque commodum illi, cui praestatur, (4) ut sit pretio et dignitate proportionatum ac aequale illi, quod pro opere redditur. Quae omnia de angelorum operibus negantur. Neque enim sunt propriis viribus gratiae praestita; sunt debita jure creationis, conservationis, dominii; Deo nullam utilitatem afferunt; nee ulla est proportio inter actus angelorum et gratiain divinam, quae est donum infinitum.
30) Quenstedt, 1. c. ἔκθ 1—4: disting. inter meritum proprie dictum, cui ex adverso respondet merces, et meritum improprie dictum, cui respondet gratuitum benefactorurn aut ex promisso debitum praemium; inter meritum, cui ex justitia distributiva et ex merito debetur praemium, et inter actionem, ad quem sequitur aliquid tanquam nudum consequens; inter proportionem pretii, dignitatis et aequivilentiae, et proportionem ordinis, consequentiae et similitudinis..
31) Hollaz, de ang., qu. 14:Nacti sunt angeli beneficio confirmationis scientiam excellentiorem, sanctitatem perfectiorem, libertatem praestantiorum, potentiam majorem concordiam arctiorem.— Quenstedt,1. c. qu. 6. ἔκθ. 3. Disting. inter beatitudinem angelorum essentialem, quae in clara Dei visione, surnmo ejus amore etc., consistit, quae nee augeri nee minui potest, et beatitudinem accidentalem, quae consistit in revelatione novorum mysteriorum, in amore et gaudio extra Deum etc. et in hac angeli proficere possunt. To this might have been added principatum ampliorem et domiciliurn magis splendidum (Jude 6), which we designed to express by the phrase, the most fitting arrangement of their relations to the rest of creation. Quenstedt, in comparison with his representation of the blessedness of man, seems to give too limited a view of the constituents of the angelic blessedness, when he restricts it to the beatific vision and the love of God without adding what is a necessary result of this. He wished to make a distinction on the question, whether the blessedness of the angels were susceptible of an increase or not; and for this purpose, held fast to the difference between the absolute good, (which objective is God himself, and for muliter, the vision and the love of God,) and those merely relative goods which consist in things out of God, and our relation to these things. Thus the conception of increasing blessedness and glory would seem to be congruous with the idea of the purely spiritual or intelligible nature of the angels; but later theologians have so little remarked or referred to this, that they have even dropped the distinction between the beautitudo essentialis and accidentalis: (e. g. Baumgarten I. S. 694 and 695).
32) Quenst, de ang., thes. 29:Mali dicuntur quidam angeli non ratione essen tiae, sed (1) ab actu malo s. apostasia a Deo; (2) a malitia habituali actum ilium secuta; (3) ob persistentiam in malo incorrigibilem. The third, as a mere definition of the malitia habitualis, had better be subsumed under the second; in which position, it would constitute the notion of induratio in malo corresponding with that of the confirmatio in bono of the good angels. On the other hand, as with the good angels, the communication of divine grace is made a special proposition, so should here the withdrawal of it be especially signalized. The status ignominiae et damnationis, which is here brought into the same division with the obduracy, is treated of by Quenstedt under the title poena lapsum inse-cuta, which does not seem to be the most fitting point of view; and, as Quenstedt divides it, (into poena privativa et positiva,) leads to unnecessary reflexions and repetitions. The above designated four points, are the ones we shall proceed to investigate, as being the most conspicuous.
33) Conf. Petav. theol. dogm. T. III., de ang., Li. III. cp. 2.—That this idea is not so romantic, as might at first blush seem, could not be more brilliantly evinced than in Thos. Moore’s beautiful poem, The Love of the Angels.
34) Some have, indeed, maintained, that the temptation of our first parents was the act by which the evil spirits fell.
35) Conf. Petav. 1. c—Buddei, instit. L. II. cp. II. § 34:Ut omne peccatum ab amore sui inordinato originem ducit, eodem modo in angelis lapsis rem se habuisse ut credamus par est, amore hocce perverso per ambitionem rnaxime se prodente, quae in apertam tandem rebellionem et a Deo defectionem erupit.— Teller to Hollaz, de ang. qu. 25:Superbia s. arrogantia est vitiuin animi, quo quis sua sorte non contentus insolenter se effert, ac sibi plus tribuit quarn par est ac volunlati divinae consentaneurn. Arrogantiae peccatum tribus modis committitur; (1) officium superiori debitum deserendo, (2) dignitatem felicitatemque majorem ac decet appetendo, (3) alios despiciendo et invidendo. Ita definitum accotnmodemus ad hanc causam. Legis universae summa est amor, ex quo uno virtutes et bonae actiones omnes exoriuntur; ergo vitia et peccata omnia originem suam ducunt ab amoris defectu. Amor est triplex; amor erga Deum, cui opponitur rebellio atque officii negatio; amor in seniet, cui opponitur neglectio felicitatis dignitatisque sibi convenientis atque injusta appetitio aut falsae et speciosae felicitatis, aut maxirnae dignitatis, quam temere affectans sibi plus obest quam prodest; amor erga alios, cui contraria est contemtio atque invidia. Atqui ex tribus illis partibus tota constat arrogantia; ergo hoc peccatum fuit principium. omnium.
36) In that the tempter sought to raise Christ’s consciousness of his own worth as the Son of God into the proud and selfish feeling, that he might arbitrarily and boldly overstep the order of nature, and to entice him by the promise of a power and dominion whose attractions he had not been able to withstand.—A more direct proof might be found in the passage 1 Tim. 3:6, if it were certain that it means, that Paul feared lest the novice, raised to the office of bishop, should be so puffed up with pride as to fall into the guilt or punishment of the devil.
37) Conf. Baumgarten, Glaubensl. I. S. 728. He thinks it probable (S. 731), that Satan had determined to get possession of the supreme government over our world and its inhabitants, and that on account of this he fell
38) We do not here assert that this is true universally, of every man—this question must be kept open for our furtlier investigation. It is sufficient for our present purpose to conceive of an individual, to whom there is good reason for ascribing a decidedly sinful will.
39) Gratia Dei ita exciderunt, lit nulla spes redeundi cum Deo in gratiara supersit.—Querist.
40) Vide Gerhard, Loc. d. creat. § 60. Comp. Hollaz de angelis, qu. 25:Atrocitas peccati angelici aestimatur; (1) ex objecto laeso, quod est Deus; (2) ex praesidiis, quibus malum declinare poterant; angelorum quippe intellectus eximia sapientiae luce resplendescebat; voluntas sanctitate perfecta eminebat; (3) ex modo peccandi; peccarunt enim angeli non ex intirmitate aut inadvertentia, sed ex pleno intellectu, deliberate) consilio et voluntario liberi arbitrii abusu, nemine instigante.
41) Hence Aquinas justly teaches, (Summa 1. qu. 64. art. 2):Causam hujus obstinationis (daemonum in malo) debes accipere non ex gravitate culpae sed ex conditione naturae seu status; hoc enim est hominibus mors quod angelis casus, ut Damascenus dicit; manifestum est autem, quod omnia mortalia peccata hominum ante mortem sunt remissibilia, post mortem vero irremissibilia et perpetuo manentia. Ad inquirendam ergo causam hujusmodi obstinationis considerandum est, quod vis appetiva in omnibus proportionatur apprehensione, a qua movetur, sicut mobile a inotore. Differt autein apprehensio angeli ab apprehensione hominis in hoc, quod angelus apprehendit immobilitcr per intellectum, homo vero per rationem mobiliter apprehendit discurrendo de uno ad aliud, habens viam procedendi ad utrumque oppositorum; unde et voluntas hominis adhaeret alicui mobiliter, voluntas autem angeli adhaeret fixe et immobiliter; et ideo consuevit dici, quod liberum arbitrium hominis flexibile est ad oppositum et ante electionem et post: liberum antem arbitrium angeli est flexibile ad utrumque oppositum ante electionem, sed non post. To the case, major est misericordia Dei, quae est infinita, quam daemonis malitia, quae est finita, (which the Lutheran theologians, e. g. Hollaz, qu. 39, 1. and II. were wont to answer by the statement, that God’s justice is also infinite, and that the sin of evil spirits must be considered in reference to its object, that is, God,) he replies: quod misericordia Dei liberat a peccatopoenitentes; illi vero, qui poenitenliae capaces non sunt, immobiliter malo adhaerentes, per divinarn misericordiam non liberantur.
42) Klopstock’s Messias, V. v. 695—700. Comp. II. 627—660; 780—817; V. 662—669; IX. 516—535.
43) After what has been already stated respecting the freedom of the good an-gels, we need not discuss the points, in what sense this excludes the freedom to do what is right, or the freedom which is defined as an indifference to good and evil; or, how far we may still ascribe to them freedom, among different kinds of sin, or modes of dinning, to choose one rather than another.
44) The Lutheran theologians interpret what is said in 2 Pet. 2:4 and in Jude G, respecting the chains of darkness and the casting into hell (Tartarus), where they are reserved unto judgment, as referring to this state of blindness and wretchedness, connected with such a restriction of their power, that they cannot thwart the divine purposes nor avoid the utter exclusion from all contact with the kingdom of light and grace, that yet awaits them. For that the meaning cannot be, that they are already so incarcerated and chained, that they cannot act in the world, is plain enough from what the Scripture elsewhere teaches about the dangers that threaten us from them, and the conflicts to be gone through with them, (e. g. 1 Peter. 5:8. Eph. 6:12). Comp. Quenstedt de ang. S. I. thes. 36. Tria designantur (a Petro et Judall. cc), 1. vincula, quibus constricti tenentur, quae catenae caliginis et vincula, aeterna sub caligine dicuntur; at quae nunc vincula sunt ad custodiam, ne pro libertate grassari possint, in magno illo judicii die erunt ad poenam; et quae nunc laxiora sunt, tunc erunt arctissima et gravissima. 2. Tartarus, in quo detinentur tanquam in carcere, et caligo, sub qua reservantur; quocunque enim abeunt, et ubicunque degunt daemones, suum infernum circumferunt ut ait Beda in cap. III. Jacobi. Distinguendum itaque inter statum infernalem et ποῦ inferni; oberrant quidem nunc per mundum; catenati tamen sunt et vinculis obstricti tenebrisqae obvoluti, et carcerern suum semper secum trahunt. 3. Judicium et supplicium, ad quod reservantur; ubi distinguendum **** suppliciurn ipsum et supplicii incrementum et complementum , **** jam turn subjecti sunt diaboli, hoc vero in die judicii extremi accedet.