XXVII. The Angels, their Mission and Sphere.

MATT, xviii. 10. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these
little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do
always behold the face of My Father.”

AN angel is a created being, and yet an angel is something
much more than man. More in point of intelligence; more
in point of heart, capacity, and affection; more in majestic
strain of will. That there should be such a district of
creation offers to our minds a kind of difficulty—but it is
one more of the imagination than of the reason. It can
be no source of surprise to any reasonable being who has
at all grasped what it is to live in this marvellous universe
of life, that there should open out before the eye a new
district of life previously unknown.
Revelation is full of angels from first to last. It begins
with the cherubims placed as guards at the gates of heaven,
and ends with the angel of the apocalypse. They are
the ministers of God in His active, governing providence
in this lower world, and they are ranged round His throne
in perpetual, devoted worship. As angels were the Christ’s
attendants when on earth, so by His will and appointment
they are ours. It is said to us, as it was to Jesus, “He
shall give His angels charge over Thee to keep Thee in all
Thy ways.”
Looking at our text, the possessive pronoun “their
angels” must mean that there is some sort of connection
between the children and the angels; that the angels stand
in relation to the children in certain positions, and that
the children have certain rights over the angels. The
natural meaning of the words of Jesus is that every single
child has a guardian angel who perpetually beholds the
face of the eternal Father. Our Lord’s object here is not
to insist upon the dignity or office of the angels, but upon
the dignity of children. He directs our attention to this
most solemn truth, the dignity of human life, even in its
most insignificant forms. Childhood is ductile and passive,
and may be moved by the slightest influence. Its habits
will probably be formed easily for good or evil, and once
formed are not easily broken from.
Henry Parry Liddon, D.C.L.

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