John K. Hale and J. Donald Cullington (eds), The Complete Works of John Milton, Vol. 8: De Doctrina Christiana, Vol. 1
pg 346[MS 137 continued] CAPUT 9.num De Gubernatione speciali Angelorum.1
[MS 138] Dictum est de Providentia communi. Specialis est quae spectat praecipuè angelos et homines: ut qui caeteris creaturis longe praecellant.
Sunt autem angeli2 boni vel mali. Luc. 9. 26. et 8. 2. eorum enim quamplurimos ante hominis lapsum sua sponte à Deo defecisse constat: Ioan. 8. 44. in veritate non perstitit; non est enim veritas in eo, de suo loquitur, pater mendacii. 2. Pet. 2. 4. angelis qui peccarunt non pepercit. Iud. 6. angeli qui non conservarunt originem suam. 1. Ioan. 3. 8. à principio diabolus peccat. Psal. 106. 37. sacrificarunt daemonibus.
Angeli boni non planè suis viribus sed potius3 gratia Dei nonnullis videntur nunc stare. 1. Tim. 5. 21. electorum angelorum (i e) non apostatarum. Eph. 1. 10. ut sub unum caput recolligeret omnia in Christo, tum quae in coelis sunt. Coloss. 1. 20. ut reconciliaret per eum omnia sibi, tum quae in coelis sunt. Iob. 4. 18. angelis suis tribuit stultitiam. et 15. 15. idem.
Unde in mysterium humanae salutis libentissime inquirunt. 1. Pet. 1. 12. in quae cupiunt angeli introspicere. Eph. 3. 10. ut nota fiat per ecclesiam imperiis ac potestatibus multiformis4 illa sapientia Dei. Luc. 2. 13. 14. multitudo exercituum laudantium Deum; propter natum scilicet Christum. et 15. 10. gaudium est in conspectu angelorum super uno resipiscente.
Unde etiam Christum adorant5: Heb. 1. 66. adorent eum omnes angeli Dei. Mat.7 4. 11. angeli ministrabant ei. Philip. 2. 10. omne genu se flectat coelestium-. 2 Thess. 1. 7. cum angelis suis. 1. Pet. 3. 22. subiectis sibi angelis. Apoc. 5. 11. 12. dignus est agnus ille mactatus-. 8Verum rationi pg 348 congruentius videtur, stare suis viribus non minus angelos bonos, quam stetit homo adhuc integer; electos non alia ratione quam dilectos vel eximios dici; charitatis non indigentiae suae causa mysterium salutis nostrae cupere contemplari, reconciliatione non comprehendi angelos, sub Christo tanquam sub capite, non Redemptore censeri.
De caetero velut ministri circa thronum Dei stant circumfusi. Deut. 33. 2. cùm adveniret turba è myriadibus sanctorum. 1. Reg. 22. 19. vidi [MS 139] Iehovam insidentem | solio et totum exercitum coeli à dextra et à sinistra eius. Iob. 1. 6 venientibus filiis Dei, ut sisterent se coram Iehova. et 2. 1. idem. Dan. 7. 10. cui millies mille ministrabant. Matt. 18. 10. angelos per omne tempus intueri faciem patris. Luc. 1. 19. ego Gabriel qui adsto in conspectu Dei.9
10Laudantes Deum: Iob. 38. 7. cui vociferati sunt omnes filii Dei. Psal. 148. 2. laudate eum omnes angeli eius. Nehem. 9. 6. exercitus coelorum tibi se incurvant. Isa. 6. 3. clamans alter ad alterum, Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus. Apoc. 4. 8. idem. et 7. 11. 12. procubuerunt in facies suas ante thronum.
Sunt per omnia Deo obsequentissimi. Gen. 28. 12. ecce angelos Dei ascendentes et descendentes per eam11. Psal. 103. 20. efficientes verbum eius. Zach. 1. 10. hi sunt quos misit Iehova ad perambulandam terram.
Ministerium eorum praecipuum circa fideles est. Heb. 1. 14. omnes sunt spiritus ministrantes qui emittuntur ministerii causa propter haeredes salutis. Psal. 34. 812. castrametantur angeli Iehovae circa timentes eum. et 91. 11.13 angelis suis praecipiet de te. Isa. 63. 9. angelus faciei eius servavit14 eos. Matt. 18. 10. angeli illorum. et 13. 41. mittet angelos suos, qui colligant15 ex regno euis omnia offendicula. et 24. 31. congregabunt electos eius a quatuor ventis. Act. 12. 15. angelus eius est. 1. Cor. 11. 10. propter angelos. Tutelares nempe in coetibus fidelium, ut nonnulli putant. Exempla item suppetunt innumera.
Et septem praecipuè orbem terrae perlustrant Zach. 4. 10. septem isti, oculi Iehovae sunt, peragrantes terram, cum Apoc. 5. 6. qui sunt septem illi spiritus Dei emissi in omnem terram. de quibus etiam cap. 1. 4. et 4. 5.
pg 350Praesidere etiam populis, regnis, et certis locis angelos credibile est. Dan. 4. 13. 17. ex decreto vigilum verbum hoc. et 12. 1. princeps ille qui stat pro popularibus tuis. et 10. 13. ego relictus ibi apud reges Persiae. 2. Pet. 2. 11. cùm angeli non ferant adversus dignitates apud Dominum maledictionis iudicium. Gen.16 3. 24. ad custodiendam viam arboris vitae.
Sunt et nonnunquam divinae ultionis ministri ad peccata mortalium punienda coelitus missi. Urbes et populos exscindunt. Gen. 19. 1317. 2 Sam. 24. 16. 1 Chron. 21. 16. vidit David angelum Iehovae stricto gladio Hierosolymae imminentem. Exercitus totos inopina clade sternunt: 2. Reg. 19. 35. et his similia.
Ergo militari specie saepius apparuerunt: Gen. 32. 1. 2. acies Dei. Ios. 6. 218. princeps militiae Iehovae. 2 Reg. 6. 1719. cum equis et curribus igneis. Psal. 68. 1820. curruum Dei duae sunt myriades. Luc. 2. 13. multitudo exercituum coelestium.
Describuntur etiam Isa. 6. Hos. 1. 7. Matt. 28. 2. 3. Apoc. 10. 1. | [MS 140] Bonorum angelorum princeps aliquis videtur esse, isque Michael saepe nominatur. Ios. 6. 2.21 ego princeps militiae Iehovae. Dan. 10. 13. Michael primus è principibus primariis est. et 12. 1. princeps ille maximus. Apoc. 12. 7. 8. Michael cum angelis suis.
Plerique Michaelem volunt esse Christum. Sed Christus victor solus et conculcator diaboli; Michael angelorum ductor principi daemoniorum veluti Άντίπαλοϛ introducitur; quorum utriusque copiae in aciem eductae aequo penè certamine discedunt. Apoc. 12. 7. 8. De quo Iudas, contendens, inquit22 de corpore Mosis23 non ausus est-: quod dici de Christo minus conveniret, praesertim Deo. et 1. Thess. 4. 16. ipse Dominus cum voce Archangeli descendet. postremò, alienum esset evangelii apostolum tam obscurè de Christo atque alio sub nomine nova quaedam et inaudita prius narrare.
Angeli boni non intuentur in Deo omnia, ut fingunt Papistae, sed tantum per revelationem ea quae visum est Deo, alia per eminentem quandam ratiocinationem; multa tamen ignorant: sciscitabundusi enim angelus quaerit; Dan. 8. 13. quousque ista visio? et 12. 6. quousque terminus pg 352 erit? Mat. 24. 36. de die illo nemo scit; ne angeli quidem. Eph. 3. 10. ut nota fiat per ecclesiam imperiis. Apoc. 5. 324. nemo poterat neque in coelo aperire librum.
Angeli mali ad poenam reservati sunt25. Matt. 8. 29. venisti huc vexatum nos ante constitutum tempus? 2. Pet. 2. 4. in tartarum detrusos catenis caliginis tradidit damnationi servatos. Iud. 6. iudicio26 magni illius diei vinculis aeternis sub caligine reservasse. 1 Cor. 6. 3. an ignoratis fore ut angelos iudicemus? Matt. 25. 41. in ignem aeternum qui paratus diabolo et angelis eius. Apoc. 20. 10. torquebuntur in saecula saeculorum.
Ita tamen ut nonnunquam ad exequenda Dei iudicia totâ terrâ, aere ac coelo etiam vagari possint: Iob. 1: 7. à peragrando terram. 1. Sam. 16. 15. spiritus Iehovae recesserat à Saulo; perturbabatque eum spiritus malus à Iehova. 1. Pet. 5. 8. ut leo rugiens obambulat. Ioan. 12. 31. princeps huius mundi. 2 Cor. 4. 4. deus huius Saeculi27. Mat. 12. 43. ambulat per arida loca. Eph. 2. 2. principem cui potestas aeris. Et 6. 12. spirituales improbitates quae sunt in sublimi. Etiam in conspectum Dei veniunt. Iob. 1. 6. et 2. 1. 1 Reg. 22. 21. prodiit quidam spiritus. Zach. 3. 1. ostendit mihi Iehosuam stantem coram angelo Iehovae, et satanam stantem ad dexteram eius, ut adversaretur ei. Luc. 10. 18. spectabam Satanam ut fulgur è coelo cadentem. Apoc. 12. 12. vae incolis terrae; nam diabolus descendit ad vos.
Proprius tamen eorum locus est Abyssus, unde nisi permissu exire non licet: Luc. 8. 31. rogabant ne imperaret ut abirent in Abyssum. Mat. 12. 43. [MS 141] per arida loca quaerens | requiem. Marc. 5. 10. precabatur ne eos mitteret extra eam regionem. Apoc. 20. 3. coniecit eum in Abyssum quam conclusit. Nec iniussu Dei tantillum possunt: Iob. 1. 12. ecce in manu tua sunto. Mat. 8. 31. permitte nobis abire in gregem porcorum istorum. Apoc. 20. 2. apprehendit draconem et vinxit28.29
Habent scientiam quidem magnam, sed quae eos torqueat potius quam consoletur; ita ut de salute sua plane desperent: Matt. 8. 29. quid nobis tecum Iesu? venisti huc vexatum nos ante constitutum tempus? Luc. 4. 34. idem. Iacob. 2. 19. daemonia credunt et horrescunt: reservantur enim ad poenam; ut supra.
pg 354Daemones etiam habent suum principem. Mat. 12. 24. Beelzebus princeps daemoniorum. Luc. 11. 15. idem. Matt. 2530. 41. diabolo et angelis eius. Apoc. 12. 9. draco ille magnus et angeli eius.
Suos etiam ordines retinent. Coloss. 2. 15. expoliata imperia ac potestates. Eph. 6. 12. adversus imperia, potestates-.
Quorum qui summus, hic omnis author maleficii et impeditor boni: Iob. 1. et 2. Zach. 3. 1. Satan. Ioan. 8. 44. pater mendacii. 1. Thess. 2. 18. impedivit nos Satanas. Act. 5. 3. implevit Satanas cor tuum. Apoc. 20. 3. 8. ut seduceret gentes.31 Eph. 2. 2. spiritus qui nunc agit32 in contumacibus.
Hinc multa sortitus est nomina factis suis haud indigna: passim Satan. Iob. 1. 6. 1 Chron. 21. 1. i e,33 hostis et adversarius appellatus; et draco ille magnus, serpens ille antiquus, diabolus, i e, calumniator. Apoc. 12. 934. κατήγοροϛ τῶν ἀδϵλϕῶν. v. 10. 35spiritus immundus. Matt. 12. 43. et tentator. Mat. 4. 3. et Abaddon36, Apollyon, i e, perdens. Apoc. 9. 11. Draco magnus, rufus c: 1237. 3.38
pg 347Chapter NineOn the special Governance of Angels
[MS 138] We have spoken about general Providence. The special kind is that concerned particularly with angels and humankind, as being far superior to the other creatures.
But angels are good or evil, Luke 9: 26 and 8: 2, for it is agreed that very many of them revolted from God of their own accord before the fall of man: John 8: 44: he [i.e. the devil] has not persisted in the truth, for truth does not exist in him […] he speaks from his own nature […] the father of falsehood; 2 Pet. 2: 4: [God] did not spare the angels who sinned; Jude 6: the angels who did not maintain their original state; 1 John 3: 8: the devil sins from the beginning; Ps. 106: 37: they sacrificed to demons.
The good angels seem to some people to stand firm now not wholly by their own strength but rather by the grace of God: 1 Tim. 5: 21: of the chosen angels, that is, of those who did not defect; Eph. 1: 10: that he might gather together all things under a single head in Christ, both those which are in the heavens […]; Col. 1: 20: that […] he might reconcile all things to himself through him […] and those which are in the heavens; Job 4: 18: he [God] imputes folly to his angels;i and 15: 15, the same.
Henceii they most gladly enquire into the mystery of human salvation: 1 Pet. 1: 12: things into which the angels desire to gaze; Eph. 3: 10: that through the church that manifold wisdom of God may become known to the [heavenly] authorities and powers; Luke 2: 13–14: a multitude of [heavenly] hosts praising God, because of Christ's birth, of course; and 15: 10: there is joy in the sight of [God's] angels over one [sinner] who repents.
Hence, too, they worship Christ: Heb. 1: 6: let all God's angels worship him; Matt. 4: 11: angels were ministering to him; Phil. 2: 10: [so that] every knee of heavenly beings should bow …; 2 Thess. 1: 7: [in the revelation of the Lord Jesus …] with his [powerful] angels; 1 Pet. 3: 22: when angels had been made subject to him; Rev. 5: 11–12: worthy is that slain lamb … But it pg 349 seems more agreeable to reason [to suppose] that the good angels stand firm by their own strength, no less than as yet unfallen man did, [and] that they are called 'chosen' only in the sense that they are beloved or excellent; that they desire to contemplate the mystery of our salvation by reason of their charity, not their deficiency;iii [and] that the angels are not included in reconciliation, [and] are reckoned as 'under Christ' as he is their head, not their Redeemer.iv
For the rest, they stand surrounding God's throne as ministers: Deut. 33: 2: when […] he came with a throng composed of myriads of saints; [MS 139] 1 Kgs 22: 19: I saw Jehovah sitting on his throne and the whole host of heaven […] on his right hand and his left; Job 1: 6: when the sons of God come to take their stand in Jehovah's presence; and 2: 1, the same; Dan. 7: 10: to whom a thousand times a thousand were ministering; Matt. 18: 10: that [their] angels for ever behold the face of [my] father; Luke 1: 19: I am Gabriel, who stand in God's sight.
Praising God: Job 38: 7: to whom all the sons of God shouted aloud; Ps. 148: 2: praise him, all you his angels; Neh. 9: 6: the hosts of the heavens bow to you [i.e. God]; Isa. 6: 3: shouting one to another, Holy, Holy, Holy; Rev. 4: 8, the same; and 7: 11–12: they prostrated themselves on their faces before the throne.
They are most obedient to God in all respects: Gen. 28: 12: behold the angels of God ascending and descending by means of it [i.e. Jacob's ladder]; Ps. 103: 20: accomplishing his word; Zech. 1: 10: these are they whom Jehovah has sent to traverse the earth.
Their chief ministry has to do with believers: Heb. 1: 14: are [not] all [angels] ministering spirits who are sent out to minister for the sake of the [future] heirs of salvation; Ps. 34: 7: the angels of Jehovah pitch camp round those who fear him; and 91: 11: he will give his angels orders about you; Isa. 63: 9: the angel of his presence saved them; Matt. 18: 10: their [the children's] angels;v and 13: 41: he will send his angels to collect out of his kingdom all [who are] hindrances; and 24: 31: they [i.e. the angels] will gather his chosen ones from the four winds; Acts 12: 15: it is his angel; 1 Cor. 11: 10: on account of the angels, namely, as some think,vi the angels who stand guard at meetings of the faithful. Countless further examples are available.
And seven of these in particular patrol the world: Zech. 4: 10: these seven are the eyes of Jehovah, which roam over the earth; with Rev. 5: 6: who are those seven spirits of God sent out into the whole earth; concerning which see also [Rev.] 1: 4 and 4: 5.
pg 351It is also believable that angels are in charge of peoples, kingdoms, and defined areas: Dan. 4: 13, 17: this word [is] from the decree of the watchers; and 12: 1: that [mighty] prince who stands guard over your countrymen; and 10: 13: I [the angel whom Daniel saw] [was] left there among the kings of Persia; 2 Pet. 2: 11: whereasvii angels […] do not bring a judgement of evil-speakingviii against dignitaries before the Lord; Gen. 3: 24: to guard the way to the tree of life.
Sometimes, too, they are ministers of divine vengeance, sent from heaven to punish the sins of mortals. They annihilate cities and peoples: Gen. 19: 13; 2 Sam. 24: 16; 1 Chron. 21: 16: David saw the angel of Jehovah […] hanging over Jerusalem with a drawn sword. They lay low whole armies with unexpected disaster: 2 Kgs 19: 35, and passages similar to these.
Therefore they have quite often appeared in soldierly guise: Gen. 32: 1–2: God's battle array; Josh. 5: 14: the commander of Jehovah's soldiery; 2 Kgs 6: 17: with horses and chariots of fire; Ps. 68: 17: there are twice ten thousand of God's chariots; Luke 2: 13: a multitude of heavenly hosts.
They are also described in Isa. 6, Hos. 1: 7, Matt. 28: 2–3, and Rev. 10: 1.
[MS 140] Someone seems to be the commander of the good angels, and he is often named Michael: Josh. 5: 14: I [am] the commander of Jehovah's soldiery; Dan. 10: 13: Michael is the first of the chief princes; and 12: 1: that mighty prince; Rev. 12: 7–8: Michael with his angels.
Numerous people maintain that Michael is Christ. But Christ is brought into the arenaix as sole vanquisher and crusher of the devil; Michael, leader of the angels, as being the antagonist of the prince of the demons—the forces of each of them are drawn up in battle array, and separate after an almost even fight: Rev. 12: 7–8.x And Jude [v. 9] says of Michael: when disputing [with the devil] about Moses' body, he did not dare …,xi which would be less suitable to say of Christ, especially qua God.xii And 1 Thess. 4: 16: the Lord himself … will come down … with the Archangel's voice. Finally, it would be strange for an apostle of the gospel to relate so obscurely, and under another name, certain new and previously unheard-of things concerning Christ.
The good angels do not see into all things in respect of God, as the Papists imagine, but [see] only, through revelation, those things which God has decided to [reveal], and other things through a certain outstanding process of reasoning; but many things they do not know, for an inquisitive angel asks, Dan. 8: 13: for how long will this vision last?; and 12: 6: how far pg 353 off will the end be?; Matt. 24: 36: no one knows about that day […] not even the angels; Eph. 3: 10: that through the church it may become known to the authorities; Rev. 5: 3: no one—neither in heaven [nor on earth …]—could open the book.
The evil angels have been reserved for punishment: Matt. 8: 29: did you come here to torment us [i.e. the Gadarene devils] before the appointed time?; 2 Pet. 2: 4: he thrust them down into hell and delivered them to chains of darkness, reserving them for damnation; Jude 6: [I wish to remind you …] that he has reserved them in eternal chains under darkness for the judgement of that great day; 1 Cor. 6: 3: or are you unaware that we shall judge angels?; Matt. 25: 41: [accursed ones, go away from me] into [that] eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; Rev. 20: 10: they will be tortured […] until the ages of ages.xiii
Not but that sometimes they are able to wander over the whole earth, the air, and even heaven to carry out God's judgements: Job. 1: 7: from roaming over the earth; 1 Sam. 16: 15: the spirit of Jehovah had withdrawn from Saul and an evil spirit from Jehovah was troubling him; 1 Pet. 5: 8: he [i.e. the unclean spirit] walks about like a roaring lion; John 12: 31: the prince of this world; 2 Cor. 4: 4: the god of this Age; Matt. 12: 43: he walks through dry places; Eph. 2: 2: the prince who has power over the air; and 6: 12: spiritual wickednesses which are on high. They even come into God's sight: Job 1: 6 and 2: 1; 1 Kgs 22: 21: a certain spirit came forth; Zech. 3: 1: he showed we Jehoshua standing in the presence of Jehovah's angel, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him; Luke 10: 18: I was watching Satan falling like lightning out of heaven; Rev. 12: 12: alas for the inhabitants of the earth […] for the devil has come down to you.
Yet their proper placexiv is the Abyss, whence one may not leave without permission: Luke 8: 31: they were asking him not to command them to depart [MS 141] into the Abyss; Matt. 12: 43: [he walks] through dry places seeking rest; Mark 5: 10: he was beseeching [him] not to send them outside that region; Rev. 20: 3: he [an angel] hurled him [Satan] into the Abyss and closed it up. Nor can they do the least thing without God's command: Job 1: 12: behold […] let them be in your [Satan's] hand; Matt. 8: 31: allow us [i.e. the demons] to go away into the herd of those pigs; Rev. 20: 2: he [the angel] seized the dragon … and bound him.
Their knowledge is indeed great, but such as tortures rather than consoles them, so that they utterly despair of their salvation: Matt. 8: 29: what have we to do with you, Jesus? Did you come here to torment us before the appointed time?; Luke 4: 34, the same; Jas. 2: 19: the demons believe and are terrified, for they are being reserved for punishment, as above.
pg 355The demons too have their prince: Matt. 12: 24: Beelzebub prince of the demons; Luke 11: 15, the same; Matt. 25: 41: [that eternal fire, the one prepared] for the devil and his angels; Rev. 12: 9: that great dragon … and his angels.
They too keep their ranks: Col. 2: 15: having plundered the authorities and the powers; Eph. 6: 12: against the authorities [and] the powers-.
Their supreme leader is the author of all evil-doing and hinderer of [all] good: Job 1 and 2; Zech. 3: 1: 'Satan'; John 8: 44: the father of falsehood; 1 Thess. 2: 18: Satan thwarted us; Acts 5: 3: [why] did Satan fill your heart[?]; Rev. 20: 3, 8: so that he [i.e. Satan] might [not] lead the nations astray; Eph. 2: 2: the spirit which is now working in the stubborn.
Hence he has obtained many names which well suit his actions: frequently called 'Satan', Job 1: 6 and 1 Chron. 21: 1, that is, enemy and adversary; and that great dragon, that old serpent, the devil, that is, calumniator, Rev. 12: 9; and katēgoros tōn adelphōn [accuser of the brothers], v. 10; the unclean spirit, Matt. 12: 43; and the tempter, Matt. 4: 3; and Abaddōn, Apollyōn, that is, destroyer,xv Rev. 9: 11; a great red Dragon, ch. 12: 3.