(4) Numerous. That these superior beings are very numerous is evident from the following expressions : Dan. vii :10, 'thousands of thou sands,' and 'ten thousand times ten thousand.' Ps. lxviii :17 ; Matt. xxvi :53, 'more than twelve legions of angels.' (Comp. Gen. xxviii :12 ; xxxii : I, 2; Ps. ciii :20, 21; cxlviii :2). Luke ii :13, 'multi tude of the heavenly host.' Heb. xii :22, 23, 'myr iads of angels.' It is probable, from the nature of the ease, that among so great a multitude there may be different grades and classes, and even na tures—aseending from man towards God, and forming a chain of being to fill up the vast space between the Creator and man—the lowest of his intellectual creatures. This may be inferred from the analogies which pervade the chain of being on the earth whereon we live, which is as much the Divine creation as the world of spirits.
(5) Biblical Allusions. Accordingly the Scripture describes angels as existing in a society composed of members of unequal dignity, power and excellence, and as having chiefs and rulers. It is admitted that this idea is not clearly ex pressed in the books composed before the Baby lonish captivity ; but is developed in the books written during the exile and afterwards, especially in the writings of Daniel and Zechariah. In Zech. i :11 an angel of the highest order, one who stands before God, appears in contrast with angels of an inferior class, whom he employs as his mes sengers and agents (Comp. iii :7). In Dan. x:13, the appellation, "one of the chief princes," and in xii :1, "the great prince," are given to Michael. The Grecian Jews rendered this appellation by the term dpxctryeXos, ark-aneel-os,archangel,which occurs in the New Testament (Jude g; t Thess. iv :t6),where we are taught that Christ will appear to judge the world ip qs/oplij oh-nay' ark with the voice of an archangel. This word denotes, as the very analogy of the language teaches, a chief of the angels, one superior to the other angels, like the term chief priest. The opin ion, therefore, that there were various orders of angels was not peculiar to the Jews, but was held by Christians in the time of the apostles, and is mentioned by the apostles themselves. The dis tinct divisions of the angels, according to their rank in the heavenly hierarchy, which we find in the writings of the later Jews, were either almost or wholly unknown in the apostolical period.
(6) In Human Form. In the Scriptures an gels appear with bodies, and in the human form, and no intimation is anywhere given that these bodies are not real, or that they are only as sumed for the time and then laid aside. It was
manifest indeed to the ancients that the matter of these bodies was not like that of their own, inasmuch as angels could make themselves vis ible and vanish again from their sight. But this ex perience would suggest no doubt of the reality of their bodies ; it would only intimate that they were not composed of gross matter. After his resurrection Jesus often appeared to his disci ples and vanished again before them; yet they never doubted that they saw the same body which had been crucified, although they must have per ceived that it had undergone an important change. The fact that angels always appeared in the hu man form does not, indeed, prove that they really have this form, but that the ancient Jews believed so. That which is not pure spirit must have some form or other, and angels way have the human form, but other forms are possible. We some times find angels, in their terrene manifestations, eating and drinking (Gen. xviii :8; xix:3), but in Judg. xiii :15, 16, the angel who appeared to Manoah declined, in a very pointed manner, to accept his hospitality. The manner in which the Jews obviated the apparent discrepancy, and the sense in which they understood such passages, ap pears from the apocryphal book of Tobit (xit :19), where the angel is made to say, 'It seems to you, indeed, as though I did eat and drink with you, but I use invisible food, which no man can see.' Milton, who was deeply read in the 'angelical' literature, derides these questions: 'So down they sat And to their viands fell ; nor seemingly The angel, nor in mist (the common gloss Of theologians), but with keen dispatch Of real hunger, and concoctive heat To transubstantiate; what redounds Transpires through spirits with ease.' —Par. Lost, v :433-439.
The same angel had previously satisfied the curiosity of Adam on the subject, by stating that 'Whatever was created, needs To be sustained and fed.' If this dictum were capable of proof, except from the analogy of known natures, it would set tle the question. But if angels do not need it, if their spiritual bodies arc inherently incapable of waste or death, it seems not likely that they gra tuitously perform an act designed, in all its known relations, to promote growth, to repair waste and to sustain existence.