Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/541

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481

ANGELA 481 ANGELA of God met him: And when ho saw them he said: These are the camps of God, and lie called the name of that place Mahanaim, that is, 'Camps.'" Recent explorations in the Arab district about Petra have revealed certain precincts marked off with stones as the abiding-places of angels, and the nomad trilxjs frequent them for prayer and sacrifice. Tlicse places bear a li;inie which corresponds exactly with the " Mahanaim" of the above passage in Genesis fcf. La- grange, Religions S(5miti(|ues, 184, and Kobert.son Smith, Religion of the Semites, 44.')). Jacob's vision at Bethel (Gen., xxviii, 12) may perhaps come under the same category. Suffice it to say tliat not every- thing in the llible is revelation, and that the object of the inspired writings is not merely to tell us new tniths but also to make cle;irer certain truths taught us by nature. The modern view, which tends to regard everything B:il)ylotiian jis alxsolutely primitive and which .sccnis to think that because critics adix a late date to the Biblical writings the religion therein contained must also be late, may be seen in Haag, "Th^ologie Biblique" (.339). This writer sees in the Biblical angels only primitive deities debased into demi-gods oy the triumphant progress of Mono- theism. Angels in the Zen-d-Avest.. — Attempts have also been made to trace a connection between the angels of the Bible and the "great archangels" or " Amesha-Spentas" of the Zend-Avesta. That the Persian domination and the Babylonian captivity exerted a large influence upon the Hebrew concep- tion of the angels is acknowledged in the Talmud of Jerusalem, Rosch Haschanna, .56, where it is said that the names of the angels were introduced from Babylon. It is. however, by no means clear that the angelic beings who figure so largely in the pages of the Avesta are to be referred to the older Persian religion of the time of Cyrus and not rather to the Neo-Zoroastrianism of the Siussanides. If this be the case, as Darmesteter holds, we should rather reverse the position and attribute the Zoroastrian angels to the influence of the Bible and of Philo. Stress has been laid upon the similarity between the Biblical "seven w-ho stand before God" and the seven Amesha-Spentas of the Zend-Avesta. But it must be noted that these latter are really six, the number seven is only obtained by counting "their father, Ahura-Mazda," among them as their chief. Moreover, these Zoroastrian archangels are more abstract than concrete; they are not individuals charged with weighty missions as in the Bible. A good examination of the whole question is to be found in "Rev. Biblique" (January and April, 1904); and for the similar view entertained by de Harlez see "Rev. Bibl.," (1.89G), 169. Anc.els in the New Te.stament. — Hitherto we have dwelt almost exclusively on the angels of the Old Testament, whoso visits and messages have been by no means rare; but when we come to the New Testament their name appears on every page and the number of references to them ecjuals those in the GId Dispensation. It is their privilege to an- nounce to Zachary and Mary the dawn of Redemp- tion, and to the shepherds its actual accomplisn- ment. Gur Lord in His discourses talks of them as one who actually .saw them, and who, whilst "con- versing amongst men", was yet receiving the silent unseen adoration of the hosts of heaven. lie de- scribes their life in heaven (Matt., xxii, 30; Luke, XX, 3()); He tells us how they form a bodv- guard round Ilim and at a word from Him would avenge Him on His enemies (.Matt., xxvi. .53); it is the privilege of one of them to assi.st Him in His .Agony and sweat of Blood. More than once He speaks of them as auxiliaries and witnes.ses at the final judgment (Matt., xvi, 27), which indeed they will prepare (ibid., xiii, 39-^9); and lastly, they are the joyous witnesses of His triumphant Resur- rection (ibid., xxviii, 2). It b easy for sceptical minds to see in these angelic hosts the mere play of Hebrew fancy and the rank growth of superstition, but do not the records of the angels who figure in the Bible supply a most natural and harmonious progression? In the oixjning page of the sacred story the Jewish nation is cho.sen out from amongst others as the depositary of God's promise; as tlie peojjle from who.so stock He would one day raise up a Redeemer. The angels appear in the course of this chosen people's history, now as God's messengers, now as that jxsople's guides; at one time they are the bestowers of God's law, at another they actually prefigure the Redeemer Whose divine purpose they are helping to mature. They converse with His prophets, with David and Elias, with Daniel and /acnarias; they slay the hosts camped against Israel, they serve as guides to God's servants, and the last prophet, .Malachi, bears a name of peculiar signifi- cance: "the Angel of Jehovah." He seems to sum up in his very name the previous "ministry by the hands of angels ", as though God would thus recall the old-time glories of the Exodus and Sinai. The Septuagint, indeed, seems not to know his name as that of an individual prophet and its rendering of the opening verse of his prophecy is peculiarly solemn: " riie burden of the Word of the Lord of Israel by the hand of His angel; lay it up in your hearts." All this loving ministry on the part of the angels is solely for the sake of the Saviour, on Whose face they desire to look. Hence when the fullness of time was arrived it is they who bring the glad message, and sing "Gloria in oxcelsis Deo." They guide the new- born King of Angels in His hurried (light into ICgypt, and minister to Him in the dct:ert. His .second com- ing and the dire events that must precede lliat, are revealed to His chosen servant in the island of I'atmos. It is a question of revelation .again, and conscc|uently its ministers and messengers of old appear once more in the sacretl story and tlie record of God's revealing love ends fittingly almost as it had begun: "I, Jesus, have sent Mv angel to testify to you these things in the churclics" (Apoc, xxii, 16). It is ea.sy for the student to trace the influence of surrounding nations and of other religions in the Biblical ac- count of the angels. Indeed it is needful and in- structive to do so, but it would be wrong to shut our eyes to the higher line of development which we have shown and which brings out so strikingly the marvellous unity and harmony of the whole divine storv of the Bible. (See Gu.hdia.v Angel). In addition to worka montione<l aliove. see St. Tiiosiar. Summii Thevl., I. QQ. 50-04, an<l IW-IU; Scarez. De Anqelis, lib. i-iv; Dirt. Valhol., s. v. "Angcs" (Paris, 1904-0); BAnEll.l.K, Le ctJle dee antjra ft t'^poqtt^ deg p&rs de iegtiw; Rev. ThomUle (March, 1000): David.son in Hasti.o.s, Dct. of the Bible: Vacant in Vir... Diet, de la Bihle; Oswald, Anotlolo- gie (I'adorborn. 1889); Hoswei.i., The Erolutwn of the AnoeU ami Drmunn in Chritticn Theology: Open Court Rnirw, 1900; Angelt and MinUtera of Gnier: Am. Calh. (JuaTlerly. 1888; Bibliotheea Sancta (Andover, 1844, 708; 1845. 108). Dkach, Apocalypse de S. Jean (Paris. 1873); Holziiauser. L'ftietoire dee eept <lnee de I'fotiee catholique, tr. De Wuilleret.. 3 cd. (Paris, 1872). Hugh Pope. Angela Merici, S.vimt, foundress of the Trsulines, b. 21 .larili, 1 171, at Desenzano, a small town on the southwestern shore of Lake Garda in Lonibardy; d. 27 January, 1.540, at Brescia. She was left an orphan at the age of ten and together with her elder sister came to the home of her uncle at the neigh- bouring town of ."^alo where they led an angelic life. When her sister met with a sudden death, without being able to receive the last sacraments, young Angela was much distressed. She became a tertiary of St. Francis and greatly increased her prayers and mortifications for the repose of her sister's soul. In her anguish and pious simplicity she prayc<l God to reveal to her the condition of her deceased sisten