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thing, but what was presumed to be of God's own appointment, if it had any existence, and therefore to be as agreeable to his will, as consistent with his perfections, and no disparagement to his rights. The question is, after all, a question of scripture testimony, or what the word of God itself has revealed upon this subject. We know far too little of the nature and constitution of the invisible world, to undertake to pronounce of ourselves, beyond what is written, whether there is, or there is not, any foundation for the doctrine of guardian angels, intrusted with the charge of particular portions of the works of God. We may rest assured, indeed, that there is an invisible world, which has its proper inhabitants; and that those inhabitants have their proper employments; and that myriads of intelligent agents, much superior to mankind, are night and day employed on the service of the God of Sabaoth, and doing his will, in a variety of ways, of which we can form no conception at present; and each, we may presume, in some appropriate manner of his own, without interfering with the same duty on the part of another. We may rest assured, that if the administration of the Divine government, and the purposes of the Divine providence, are carried on and promoted by means of instruments, and subordinate agents, in the visible world, it cannot be contrary to the Divine nature and attributes, that something like the same rule should prevail in the invisible. We may rest assured, at least, that if God is a God of order in his church, and a God of order in nature, and a God of order in the moral and civil world, he cannot be a God of disorder in the spiritual world; and that if an harmonious distribution of parts and offices, a due subordination and dependance of one thing upon another, and a general concurrence of individual functions and
individual agencies, to the good of the whole, prevail to a wonderful degree among his works upon earth; they prevail, in all probability, much more perfectly and much more wonderfully among his creatures in heaven.
If any weight is to be allowed to the concurrent belief of Christians, especially when it can be traced back to the primitive and apostolical times of Christianity itself; it would be easy to shew, by a production of passages from the writings of ecclesiastical men, that the persuasion of the existence not only of presiding national or tutelary, but even of individual guardian angels, prevailed in the church from a period of so remote an antiquity, that the first origin of the persuasion can with no show of reason be attributed either to Gentile or to Jewish superstition, as the bishop supposes, (neither of which, at that time, can be justly considered to have been capable of influencing the church,) nor to any thing but a kind of apostolical sanction for it, the memory of which had been preserved by tradition. It is not true, as the bishop contends, that this notion was borrowed first by the rabbis from the Gentiles; and then by the Christians from the rabbis. We find it recognised by Christian writers, who were incapable of Gentile prejudices, and abominated in particular the whole system of pagan superstition and polytheism; and knew nothing of rabbinical or cabbalistic traditions, which at that time had probably no existence. It is very certain, too, that whether right or wrong in itself, the Fathers who inculcate this doctrine, believed they had scriptural authority for it, in the Septuagint version of Deuteronomy xxxii. 8, to which text they most frequently appeal in confirmation of it: ὅτε διεμέριζεν ὁ ὕψιστος ἔθνη, ὡς διέσπειρεν υἱοὺς ̓Αδὰμ, ἔστησεν ὅρια ἐθνῶν κατὰ ἀριθμὸν ΑΓΓΕΛΩΝ Ocoû. The Hebrew indeed has a very different reading,
which is faithfully expressed in our English Bibles. But admit the Septuagint reading-and the doctrine of presiding or tutelar angels would seem to flow out of it without much straining to the obvious meaning of the
It must be confessed, indeed, that whatever opinion we may form of the particular nature or particular employment of these two beings, who are described in the present instance, the one as the Prince of the kingdom of Persia, the other as the Prince of Javan or Greece; the manner in which they are spoken of, and the peculiar designation which is given them, as Archons or Princes, is scriptural at least, and has the sanction not only of the Old Testament in this instance, and in the instance considered from Ezekiel, but also of the New. For both St. Paul and St. Peter have taught us, that the regular phraseology of scripture in speaking of the angels, collectively, is with such denominations as these-under styles and titles denoting power and mastery, empire and supremacy, of some kind or another-thrones, (epóvot,) principalities, (κυριότητες,) rules, (ἀρχαὶ,) authorities, (ἐξουσίαι,) powers, (duvάues,) or the like: see Romans viii. 38: Ephesians i. 21: iii. 10: Colossians i. 15, 16: 1 Peter iii. 22. They have taught us, also, that though the angels are distinguished into good and bad, this peculiar phraseology in speaking of them is not confined to the good; the same high-sounding styles and titles are equally applied to the bad: see Ephesians vi. 12: 1 Cor. viii. 5: xv. 24: Coloss. ii. 15: from which we might justly infer, they were the common right of both, or so inherent in the angelic nature, that they could not be separated from it, even by the effects of the fall. The angels were essentially ruling and governing, or ar
chon, Principles; so essentially, that they could not cease to be so, even after the fall.
But the truth is, as it appears to me, the doctrine of tutelary angels, properly so called, and understood in that sense in which the bishop endeavours to confute it-which is the doctrine of created spirits, of a kind superior to human, but good, delegated and deputed by the Supreme Being to have the charge of particular countries, or particular portions of mankind-is not concerned in the solution of this present question. For, as far as I can see my way by the light of scripture, through what is confessedly a mysterious and doubtful subject, I think there is reason to come to the conclusion, that the notion of archon, or ruling spirits, as far as regards our own world more especiallyhaving power, dominion, or jurisdiction over particular nations or countries, with the exception of the Jews under the old dispensation, and of Christians under the new, is not to be indiscriminately applied to the angels, but to be confined to the evil angels in particular. Bishop Horsley (p. 377) adverts to the possibility that the Prince of Persia and the Prince of Grecia might be angels of this description; but then, he contends, they could not in that case be tutelar angels of Greece or Persia, or of any other country. And while I allow him his conclusion, that no evil angel could be a tutelar angel, (which would be a contradiction in terms,) still, if there is any foundation for the opinion which I have just expressed, it will not follow that an evil angel, though no tutelar angel, might not be an archon or ruling angel.
To enter at large upon the reasons which have induced me to form this opinion, would take up too much time, and would require the review of too many texts
of scripture, to be at present attempted. I can only refer to them in a general manner; which, perhaps, will not be considered to do them justice: but this I will venture to say, that if the reader of scripture, and of the New Testament in particular, will take this persuasion along with him, he will find it throw a wonderful light upon many obscure passages of Holy Writ, as well as greatly illustrate the scheme of human redemption in general.
Now, I think, this mystery or secret of the angelic world, if I may so call it, is intimated in the allusion to the fallen angels at Jude 6: which the Bible translation has rendered, "The Angels that kept not their first estate;" but which would more properly have been rendered, "The Angels, that kept not their own dominion" for the words of the Greek are, 'Ayyéλous τοὺς μὴ τηρήσαντας τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἀρχήν—where though apx" may denote beginning, it may also denote dominion; and though τηρῆσαι τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἀρχὴν may well be rendered, to keep their own dominion, it cannot properly be rendered, to keep their own beginning— which would be just as unnatural a mode of speaking in Greek as in English. Our translators appear to have been sensible of this, when, while they rendered Tηpñσaι by keeping, its natural sense, they softened and qualified the proper sense of apx", by what they considered equivalent to beginning; viz. first estate: which however was not to render, but to paraphrase, the Greek. To keep their first estate might be an allowable phrase in our language; but to keep their beginning was scarcely so.
We find the Tempter, in the presence of our Lord himself, and at the time of the third temptation, when he could not but know the truth of his character and relation as the Son of the Most High God; claiming to him