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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin: Chapter 58

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 58.—We Have No Certain Knowledge of the Organization of the Angelic Society.

Now, what the organization is of that supremely happy society in heaven: what the differences of rank are, which explain the fact that while all are called by the general name angels, as we read in the Epistle to the Hebrews, “but to which of the angels said God at any time, Sit on my right hand?” 1195 (this form of expression being evidently designed to embrace all the angels without exception), we yet find that there are some called archangels; and whether the archangels are the same as those called hosts, so that the expression, “Praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts,” 1196 is the same as if it had been said, “Praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His archangels;” and what are the various significations of those four names under which the apostle seems to embrace the whole heavenly company without exception, “whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:” 1197 —let those who are able answer these questions, if they can also prove their answers to be true; but as for me, I confess my ignorance. I am not even certain upon this point: whether the sun, and the moon, and all the stars, do not form part of this same society, though many consider them merely luminous bodies, without either sensation or intelligence.



Heb. 1.13Heb. i. 13


Ps. 148.2Ps. cxlviii. 2, [“host,” R.V.].


Col. 1.16Col. i. 16

Next: Chapter 59

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