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known to Israel. At his second appearance the Angel bids Manoah, who knew not that he was an Angel of the Lord,' and offered him common food, to offer sacrifice unto the Lord. The Angel refuses to disclose his Name, which is 'wonderful.’ When Manoah offers a kid with a meat-offering upon a rock unto the Lord, the Angel mounts visibly up to heaven in the flame of the sacrifice. Like Gideon, Manoah fears death after such near contact with so exalted a Being of the other world. 'We shall surely die,' he exclaims to his wife, 'because we have seen God r.
But you ask, Who was this Angel? The Jewish interpreters vary in their explanations. The earliest Fathers answer with general unanimity that he was the Word or Son of God Himself. For example, in the Dialogue with Trypho, St. Justin proves against his Jewish opponent, that God did not appear to Abraham by the oak of Mamre, before the appearance of the 'three men,' but that He was One of the Three t. Trypho admits this, but he objects that it did not prove that there was any God besides Him Who had appeared to the Patriarchs. Justin replies that a Divine Being, personally although not substantially distinct from the supreme God, is clearly implied in the statement that the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah, brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven ".' Trypho yields the point. Here it is plain that St. Justin did not suppose that a created being was called God on account of his mission; St. Justin believes that One Who was of the substance of God appeared to Abraham. Again, the Fathers of the first Synod at Antioch, in the letter which was sent to Paulus of Samosata before his deposition, state that the Angel of the
9, cf. Is. ix. 6.
r Judges xiii. 6-22. Cf. Keil, Comm. in loc. Hengst. ubi supra. Vitringa de Angelo Sacerdote, obs. vi. 14.
Cf. the authorities quoted by Drach, Lettres d'un Rabbin Converti, Lettre ii. p. 169. On the other side, Abenezra, in Exod. iii. 2.
t With St. Justin's belief that the Son and two Angels appeared to Abraham, cf. Tertullian. adv. Marc. ii. 27, iii. 9; St. Hil. de Trin. iv. 27. That three created Angels appeared to Abraham was the opinion of St. Augustine (De Civ. Dei, x. 8, xvi. 29). St. Ambrose sees in the three men' an adumbration of the Blessed Trinity: 'Tres vidit et unum Dominum appellavit.' De Abraham, i. c. 5; Prudent. Apotheosis, 28. This seems to be the sense of the English Church. See First Lesson for Evensong on Trinity Sunday.
u Gen. xix. 24.
Dial. cum Tryph. § 56, sqq. cf. Ibid. § 59-61; cf. too ch. 127.
On the appearance in the burning bush,
Father being Himself Lord and God, μεγάλης βουλῆς ἄγγελος 3, appeared to Abraham, and to Jacob, and to Moses in the burning bush 2. It is unnecessary to multiply quotations in proof of a fact which is beyond dispute a.
The Arian controversy led to a modification of that estimate of the Theophanies which had prevailed in the earlier Church. The earlier Church teachers had clearly distinguished, as Scripture distinguishes, between the Angel of the Lord, Himself, as they believed, Divine, and the Father. But the Arians endeavoured to widen this personal distinctness into a deeper difference, a difference of Natures. Appealing to the often-assigned ground b of the belief respecting the Theophanies which had prevailed in the ante-Nicene Church, the Arians argued that the Son had been seen by the Patriarchs, while the Father had not been seen, and that an Invisible Nature was distinct from and higher than a nature which was cognizable by the senses c. St. Augustine boldly faced this difficulty, and his great work on the Trinity gave the chief impulse to another current of interpretation in the Church. St. Augustine strenuously insists upon the Scriptural truth of the Invisibility of God as God". The Son,
This gloss of the LXX. in Is. ix. 6 was a main ground of the early Patristic application of the title of the Angel to God the Son. Although Malachi foretells our Lord's coming in the Flesh under the titles of "the Lord," "the Angel," or "Messenger of the Covenant," (chap. iii. 1) there is no proof that He is anywhere spoken of absolutely as "the Angel," or that His Divine Nature is so entitled.' Dr. Pusey, Daniel the Prophet, p. 516, note 1. Mansi, Conc. i. p. 1035.
Compare however St. Irenæus adv. Hær. iv. 7. § 4; Clem. Alex. Pæd. i. 7; Theophilus ad Autol. ii. 31; Constit. Apostol. v. 20; Tertullian. adv. Prax. cap. 13, 14, and 15; St. Cyprian. adv. Judæos, ii. c. 5, 6; St. Cyr. Hieros. Catech. io; St. Hil. de Trin. lib. 4 and 5; St. Chrysost. Hom. in Genes. 42, 48; Theodoret, Interr. v. in Exod. (Op. i. p. 121), on Exod. iii. 2. Cf. some additional authorities given by P. Vandenbroeck, De Theophaniis, sub Vet. Testamento, p. 17, sqq; Bull, Def. Fid. Nic. lib. i. c. I.
b e. g. cf. Tertullian, adv. Marc. ii. c. 27.
St. Aug. Serm. vii. n. 4. The Arian criticism ran thus: 'Filius visus est patribus, Pater non est visus: invisibilis autem et visibilis diversa natura est.' d St. John i. 18, &c.
• 'Ipsa enim natura vel substantia vel essentia, vel quolibet alio nomine appellandum est id ipsum, quod Deus est, quidquid illud est corporaliter videri non potest.' De Trin. ii. c. 18, n. 35. The Scotists, who opposed the general Thomist doctrine to the effect that a created angel was the instrument of the Theophanies, carefully guarded against the ideas that the substance of God could be seen by man in the body, or that the bodily form which they believed to have been assumed was personally united to the Eternal Word, since this was peculiar to the Divine Incarnation. (Scotus in lib. ii. sent. dist. 8.) Scotus explains that the being who
therefore, as being truly God, was by nature as invisible as the Father. If the Son appeared to the Patriarchs, He appeared through the intermediate agency of a created being, who represented Him, and through whom He spoke and acted f. If the Angel who represented Him spoke and acted with a Divine authority, and received Divine honours, we are referred to the force of the general law whereby, in things earthly and heavenly, an ambassador is temporarily put in the place of the Master who accredits him. But Augustine further warns us against attempting to say positively, Which of the Divine Persons manifested Himself, in this or that instance, to Patriarchs or Prophets, except where some remarkable indications determine our conclusion very decisively h The general doctrine of this great teacher, that the Theophanies were not direct appearances of a Person in the Godhead, but Self-manifestations of God through a created being, had been hinted at by some earlier Fathers i,
assumes a bodily form, need only be 'intrinsecus motor corporis; nam tunc assumit, id est ad se sumit, quia ad operationes proprias sibi explendas utitur illo sicut instrumento.' (Ibid. Scholion i.)
''Proinde illa omnia, quæ Patribus visa sunt, cum Deus illis secundum suam dispensationem temporibus congruam præsentaretur, per creaturam facta esse, manifestum est Sed jam satis quantum existimo . . . demonstratum est, . quod antiquis patribus nostris ante Incarnationem Salvatoris, cum Deus apparere dicebatur, voces illæ ac species corporales per angelos factæ sunt, sive ipsis loquentibus vel agentibus aliquid ex personâ Dei, sicut etiam prophetas solere ostendimus, sive assumentibus ex creatura quod ipsi non essent, ubi Deus figuratè demonstraretur hominibus; quod genus significationum nec Prophetas omisisse, multis exemplis docet Scriptura.' Ďe Trin. iii. II, n. 22, 27.
'Sed ait aliquis: cur ergo Scriptum est, Dixit Dominus ad Moysen; et non potiùs, Dixit angelus ad Moysen? Quia cum verba judicis præco pronuntiat, non scribitur in Gestis, ille præco dixit; sed ille judex; sic etiam loquente prophetâ sancto, etsi dicamus Propheta dixit, nihil aliud quam Dominum dixisse intelligi volumus. Et si dicamus, Dominus dixit; prophetam non subtrahimus, sed quis per eum dixerit admonemus.' De Trin. iii. c. II, n. 23.
h Nihil aliud, quantum existimo, divinorum sacramentorum modesta et cauta consideratio persuadet, nisi ut temerè non dicamus, Quænam ex Trinitate Persona cuilibet Patrum et Prophetarum in aliquo corpore vel similitudine corporis apparuerit, nisi cum continentia lectionis aliqua probabilia circumponit indicia. . . . Per subjectam creaturam non solum Filium vel Spiritum Sanctum, sed etiam Patrem corporali specie sive similitudine mortalibus sensibus significationem Sui dare potuisse credendum est.' De Trin. ii. c. 18, n. 35.
1 Compare St. Irenæus adv. Hær. iv. 20, n. 7 and 24: turaliter quidem invisibile, palpabile in hominibus factum.' xvi. in Jerem.) speaking of the vision in Exod. iii. says, beheld in the Angel.'
'Verbum naOrigen (Hom. 'God was here
and was insisted on by contemporary and later writers of the highest authority k. This explanation has since become the predominant although by no means the exclusive judgment of the Church; and if it is not unaccompanied by considerable difficulties when we apply it to the sacred text, it certainly seems to relieve us of greater embarrassments than any which it creates m.
But whether the ante-Nicene (so to term it) or the Augustinian line of interpretation be adopted with respect to the Theophanies, no sincere believer in the historical trustworthiness of Holy Scripture can mistake the importance of their relation to the doctrine of our Lord's Divinity. If the Theophanies were not, as has been pretended, mythical legends, the natural product of the Jewish mind at a particular stage of its development, but actual matter-of-fact occurrences in the history of ancient Israel, must we not see in them a deep Providential meaning? Whether in them the Word or Son actually appeared, or whether God made a created angel the absolutely perfect exponent of His Thought and Will, do they not point in either case to a purpose in the Divine Mind which would only be realized when man had been admitted to a nearer and more palpable contact with God than was possible under the Patriarchal or Jewish dispensations? Do they not suggest, as their natural climax and explanation, some Personal Self-unveiling of God before the eyes of His creatures? Would not God appear to have been training His people, by this long and mysterious series of communications, at length to recognise and to worship Him when hidden under, and indissolubly one with a created nature? Apart from the specific circumstances which may seem to have explained each Theophany at the time of its taking place, and considering them as a series of phenomena, is there any other account of them so much in
St. Jerome (ed. Vall.) in Galat. iii. 19: 'Quod in omni Veteri Testamento ubi angelus primum visus refertur et postea quasi Deus loquens inducitur, angelus quidem verè ex ministris pluribus quicunque est visus, sed in illo Mediator loquatur, Qui dicit; Ego sum Deus Abraham, etc. Nec inirum si Deus loquatur in angelis, cum etiam per angelos, qui in hominibus sunt, loquatur Deus in prophetis, dicente Zacchariâ: et ait angelus, qui loquebatur in me, ac deinceps inferente; hæc dicit Deus Omnipotens.' Cf. St. Greg. Magn. Mag. Moral. xxviii. 2; St. Athan. Or. iii. c. Arian. § 14.
The earlier interpretation has been more generally advocated by English divines. P. Vandenbroeck's treatise already referred to shews that it still has adherents in other parts of the Western Church.
m See especially Dr. Pusey, Daniel the Prophet, p. 515, note 20; p. 516,
harmony with the general scope of Holy Scripture, as that they were successive lessons addressed to the eye and to the ear of ancient piety, in anticipation of a coming Incarnation of God?
(7) This preparatory service, if we may venture so to term it, which had been rendered to the doctrine of our Lord's Divinity by the Theophanies in the world of sense, was seconded by the upgrowth and development of a belief respecting the Divine Kochmah or Wisdom in the region of inspired ideas.
1. The 'Wisdom' of the Jewish Scriptures is certainly more than a human endowment o, and even, as it would seem, more than an Attribute of God. It may naturally remind us of the Archetypal Ideas of Plato, but the resemblance is scarcely more than superficial. The 'Wisdom' is hinted at in the Book of Job. In a well-known passage of majestic beauty, Job replies to his own question, Where shall the Wisdom • be found? He represents Wisdom as it exists in God, and as it is communicated in the highest form to man. In God 'the Wisdom' is that Eternal Thought, in which the Divine Architect ever beheld His future creation P. In man, Wisdom is seen in moral growth; it is 'the fear of the Lord,' and 'to depart from evilq.' The Wisdom is here only revealed as underlying, on the one side, the laws of the physical universe, on the other, those of man's moral nature. Certainly as yet, 'Wisdom' is not in any way represented as personal; but we make a great step in passing to the Book of Proverbs. In the Book of Proverbs the Wisdom is co-eternal with Jehovah; Wisdom assists Him in the work of Creation; Wisdom reigns, as one specially honoured, in the palace of the King of Heaven; Wisdom is the adequate object of the eternal joy of God; God possesses Wisdom, Wisdom delights in God.
n The word on is, of course, used in this lower sense. It is applied to an inspired skill in making priestly vestments (Exod. xxviii. 3), or sacred furniture generally (Ibid. xxxi. 6 and xxxvi. 1, 2); to fidelity to known truth (Deut. iv. 6; cf. xxxii. 6); to great intellectual accomplishments (Dan. i. 17). Solomon was typically : his 'Wisdom' was exhibited in moral penetration and judgment (1 Kings iii. 28, x. 4, sqq.); in the knowledge of many subjects, specially of the works of God in the natural world (Ibid. iv. 33, 34); in the knowledge of various poems and maxims, which he had either composed or which he remembered (Ibid. iv. 32; Prov. i. 1). Wisdom, as communicated to men, included sometimes supernatural powers (Dan. v. II), but specially moral virtue (Ps. xxxvii. 30, li. 6; Prov. x. 31); and piety to God (Ps. cxi. 10). In God is higher than any of these; He alone originally possesses It (Job xii. 12, 13, xxviii. 12, sqq.). P Ibid. vers. 23-27.
.החכמה .12 .o Job xxviii
a Ibid. ver. 28.