The passage already referred to in Matt. xxii : 30• teaches by implication that there is mo dis tinction of sex among the angels The Scripture never makes mention of female angels. The Gen tiles had their male and female divinities. who were the parents of other gods. But in the Scrip tures the angels are all males, and they appear to be so represented not to mark any distinction of sex, but because the masculine is the more honorable gender. Angels are never described with marks of age, but sometimes with those of youth (Mark xvi :5). The constant absence of the features of age indicates the continual vigor and freshness of immortality. The angels never die (Luke xx :36). But no being besides God himself has essential immortality (I Tim. vi :16) : every other being therefore is mortal in itself and can be immortal only by the will of God. Angels, consequently, are not eternal• but had a beginning.
(7) Attributes. The preceding considerations apply chiefly to the existence and nature of an gels. Some of their attributes may he collected from other passages of Scripture. That they are of superhuman intelligence is implied in Mark xiii :32: 'liut of that day and hour knoweth no man, not even the angels in heaven.' That their power is great may be gathered from such ex pressions as 'mighty angels' (2 Thesc. i :7) : 'an gels powerful in strength' (Ps. ciii :20) : 'angels who are greater (than man) in power and might.' The moral perfection of angels is shown by such phrases as 'holy angels' (Luke ix:26); 'the elect angels' (2 Tim. v:21). Their felicity is beyond question in itself, but is evinced by the passage (Luke xx :36) in which the blessed in the future world are said to be 'like unto the angels and sons of God.' (8) Ministry. The ministry of angels, or that they are employed by God as the instruments of His will, is very clearly taught in the Scrip tures. The very name, as already explained, shows that God employs their agency in the dis pensations of His Providence. And it is further evident, from certain actions which are ascribed wholly to them (Matt. xiii :4t, 49; xxiv :3t ; Luke xvi :22), and from the Scriptural narratives of other events, in the accomplishment of which they acted a visible part (Luke i t, 26; ii :9, sq.;
Acts v:tg, 20; X:3, tg; xii :7 ; xxvii :23), that their agency is employed principally in the guid ance of the destinies of man. In those cases also in which the agency is concealed from our view, we may admit the probability of its existence, be cause we are told that God sends them forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation' :14 ; also Ps. xxxiv :8, gt ; Matt. xviii :to). But the angels, when employed for our welfare, do not act independently, but as the instruments of God, and by His command (Ps. ciii:2o; civ : 4: Ileb. 14); not unto them, therefore, arc our confidence and adoration due, but only unto Him (Rev. xix :to; xxii:o) whom the angels themselves reverently worship.
(9) Guardianship. It was a favorite opinion of the Christian fathers that every individual is under the care of a particular angel, who is as signed to him as a guardian. The Jews (except ing the Sadducees) entertained this belief, as do the Moslems. The heathen held it in a modified form—the Greeks having their tutelary demon and the Romans their genius. There is, however, nothing to support this notion in the Bible. The passages (Ps. xxxiv :7; Matt. xviii :to) usually referred to in support of it have assuredly no such meaning. The former, divested of its poetical shape, simply denotes that God employs the min istry of angels to deliver his people from afflic tion and danger, and the celebrated passage in Matthew cannot well mean anything more than that the infant children of believers, or, if prefer able, the least among the disciples of Christ, whom the ministers of the church might he disposed to neglect from their apparent insignificance, are in such estimation elsewhere that the angels do not think it below their dignity to minister to them. (See SATAN.) (Literature: Storr & Flatt's Lehr /melt der Ch. Dogrnatik, Sec. xlviii ; Dr. L. Mayer, Scrip.turol Idea of Angels, in Ant. Bib. Repository, xit:356-,3SS; Most!. Stuart's Sketches of ogy in Robinson's Bibliotheca Sacra, No. t ; heim. (list. Angelor, Spec.; Schulthens, Engel welt ; etc.)