Sed contra est auctoritas sacrae Scripturae, quae sic eos nominat. Nomen enim Seraphim ponitur Isaiae VI; nomen Cherubim Ezech. I; nomen thronorum, Coloss. I; dominationes autem et virtutes et potestates et principatus ponuntur Ephes. I; nomen autem Archangeli ponitur in canonica Iudae, nomina autem angelorum in pluribus Scripturae locis.
On the contrary is the authority of Holy Scripture wherein they are so named. For the name Seraphim is found in Isa. 6:2; the name Cherubim in Ezech. 1 (Cf. 10:15,20); Thrones in Col. 1:16; Dominations, Virtues, Powers, and Principalities are mentioned in Eph. 1:21; the name Archangels in the canonical epistle of St. Jude (9), and the name Angels is found in many places of Scripture.
Respondeo dicendum quod in nominatione angelicorum ordinum, considerare oportet quod propria nomina singulorum ordinum proprietates eorum designant, ut Dionysius dicit VII cap. Cael. Hier. Ad videndum autem quae sit proprietas cuiuslibet ordinis, considerare oportet quod in rebus ordinatis tripliciter aliquid esse contingit, scilicet per proprietatem, per excessum, et per participationem. Per proprietatem autem dicitur esse aliquid in re aliqua, quod adaequatur et proportionatur naturae ipsius. Per excessum autem, quando illud quod attribuitur alicui, est minus quam res cui attribuitur, sed tamen convenit illi rei per quendam excessum; sicut dictum est de omnibus nominibus quae attribuuntur Deo. Per participationem autem, quando illud quod attribuitur alicui, non plenarie invenitur in eo, sed deficienter; sicut sancti homines participative dicuntur dii. Si ergo aliquid nominari debeat nomine designante proprietatem ipsius, non debet nominari ab eo quod imperfecte participat, neque ab eo quod excedenter habet; sed ab eo quod est sibi quasi coaequatum. Sicut si quis velit proprie nominare hominem, dicet eum substantiam rationalem, non autem substantiam intellectualem, quod est proprium nomen angeli, quia simplex intelligentia convenit angelo per proprietatem, homini vero per participationem; neque substantiam sensibilem, quod est nomen bruti proprium, quia sensus est minus quam id quod est proprium homini, et convenit homini excedenter prae aliis animalibus.
I answer that, As Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. vii), in the names of the angelic orders it is necessary to observe that the proper name of each order expresses its property. Now to see what is the property of each order, we must consider that in coordinated things, something may be found in a threefold manner: by way of property, by way of excess, and by way of participation. A thing is said to be in another by way of property, if it is adequate and proportionate to its nature: by excess when an attribute is less than that to which it is attributed, but is possessed thereby in an eminent manner, as we have stated (Q. 13, A. 2) concerning all the names which are attributed to God: by participation, when an attribute is possessed by something not fully but partially; thus holy men are called gods by participation. Therefore, if anything is to be called by a name designating its property, it ought not to be named from what it participates imperfectly, nor from that which it possesses in excess, but from that which is adequate thereto; as, for instance, when we wish properly to name a man, we should call him a rational substance, but not an intellectual substance, which latter is the proper name of an angel; because simple intelligence belongs to an angel as a property, and to man by participation; nor do we call him a sensible substance, which is the proper name of a brute; because sense is less than the property of a man, and belongs to man in a more excellent way than to other animals.
Sic igitur considerandum est in ordinibus angelorum, quod omnes spirituales perfectiones sunt omnibus angelis communes et quod omnes abundantius existunt in superioribus quam in inferioribus. Sed cum in ipsis etiam perfectionibus sit quidam gradus, superior perfectio attribuitur superiori ordini per proprietatem, inferiori vero per participationem, e converso autem inferior attribuitur inferiori per proprietatem, superiori autem per excessum. Et ita superior ordo a superiori perfectione nominatur.
So we must consider that in the angelic orders all spiritual perfections are common to all the angels, and that they are all more excellently in the superior than in the inferior angels. Further, as in these perfections there are grades, the superior perfection belongs to the superior order as its property, whereas it belongs to the inferior by participation; and conversely the inferior perfection belongs to the inferior order as its property, and to the superior by way of excess; and thus the superior order is denominated from the superior perfection.
Sic igitur Dionysius exponit ordinum nomina secundum convenientiam ad spirituales perfectiones eorum. Gregorius vero, in expositione horum nominum, magis attendere videtur exteriora ministeria. Dicit enim, quod angeli dicuntur qui minima nuntiant; Archangeli, qui summa; virtutes per quas miracula fiunt; potestates quibus adversae potestates repelluntur; principatus, qui ipsis bonis spiritibus praesunt.
So in this way Dionysius (Coel. Hier. vii) explains the names of the orders accordingly as they befit the spiritual perfections they signify. Gregory, on the other hand, in expounding these names (Hom. xxxiv in Evang.) seems to regard more the exterior ministrations; for he says that angels are so called as announcing the least things; and the archangels in the greatest; by the virtues miracles are wrought; by the powers hostile powers are repulsed; and the principalities preside over the good spirits themselves.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod angelus nuntius dicitur. Omnes ergo caelestes spiritus, inquantum sunt manifestatores divinorum, angeli vocantur. Sed superiores angeli habent quandam excellentiam in hac manifestatione, a qua superiores ordines nominantur. Infimus autem angelorum ordo nullam excellentiam supra communem manifestationem addit, et ideo a simplici manifestatione nominatur. Et sic nomen commune remanet infimo ordini quasi proprium, ut dicit Dionysius V cap. Cael. Hier. Vel potest dici quod infimus ordo specialiter dicitur ordo angelorum, quia immediate nobis annuntiant.
Reply Obj. 1: Angel means messenger. So all the heavenly spirits, so far as they make known Divine things, are called angels. But the superior angels enjoy a certain excellence, as regards this manifestation, from which the superior orders are denominated. The lowest order of angels possess no excellence above the common manifestation; and therefore it is denominated from manifestation only; and thus the common name remains as it were proper to the lowest order, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. v). Or we may say that the lowest order can be specially called the order of angels, forasmuch as they announce things to us immediately.
Virtus autem dupliciter accipi potest. Uno modo, communiter, secundum quod est media inter essentiam et operationem, et sic omnes caelestes spiritus nominantur caelestes virtutes, sicut et caelestes essentiae. Alio modo, secundum quod importat quendam excessum fortitudinis, et sic est proprium nomen ordinis. Unde Dionysius dicit, VIII cap. Cael. Hier., quod nomen virtutum significat quandam virilem et inconcussam fortitudinem, primo quidem ad omnes operationes divinas eis convenientes; secundo, ad suscipiendum divina. Et ita significat quod sine aliquo timore aggrediuntur divina quae ad eos pertinent, quod videtur ad fortitudinem animi pertinere.
Virtue can be taken in two ways. First, commonly, considered as the medium between the essence and the operation, and in that sense all the heavenly spirits are called heavenly virtues, as also heavenly essences. Second, as meaning a certain excellence of strength; and thus it is the proper name of an angelic order. Hence Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. viii) that the name ‘virtues’ signifies a certain virile and immovable strength; first, in regard of those Divine operations which befit them; second, in regard to receiving Divine gifts. Thus it signifies that they undertake fearlessly the Divine behests appointed to them; and this seems to imply strength of mind.
Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut dicit Dionysius XII cap. de Div. Nom., dominatio laudatur in Deo singulariter per quendam excessum, sed per participationem, divina eloquia vocant dominos principaliores ornatus, per quos inferiores ex donis eius accipiunt. Unde et Dionysius dicit in VIII cap. Cael. Hier., quod nomen dominationum primo quidem significat quandam libertatem, quae est a servili conditione et pedestri subiectione, sicut plebs subiicitur, et a tyrannica oppressione, quam interdum etiam maiores patiuntur. Secundo significat quandam rigidam et inflexibilem gubernationem, quae ad nullum servilem actum inclinatur, neque ad aliquem actum subiectorum vel oppressorum a tyrannis. Tertio significat appetitum et participationem veri dominii, quod est in Deo. Et similiter nomen cuiuslibet ordinis significat participationem eius quod est in Deo; sicut nomen virtutum significat participationem divinae virtutis; et sic de aliis.
Reply Obj. 2: As Dionysius says (Div. Nom. xii): Dominion is attributed to God in a special manner, by way of excess: but the Divine word gives the more illustrious heavenly princes the name of Lord by participation, through whom the inferior angels receive the Divine gifts. Hence Dionysius also states (Coel. Hier. viii) that the name Domination means first a certain liberty, free from servile condition and common subjection, such as that of plebeians, and from tyrannical oppression, endured sometimes even by the great. Second, it signifies a certain rigid and inflexible supremacy which does not bend to any servile act, or to the act of those who are subject to or oppressed by tyrants. Third, it signifies the desire and participation of the true dominion which belongs to God. Likewise the name of each order signifies the participation of what belongs to God; as the name Virtues signifies the participation of the Divine virtue; and the same principle applies to the rest.
Ad tertium dicendum quod nomen dominationis, et potestatis, et principatus, diversimode ad gubernationem pertinet. Nam domini est solummodo praecipere de agendis. Et ideo Gregorius dicit quod quaedam angelorum agmina, pro eo quod eis cetera ad obediendum subiecta sunt, dominationes vocantur. Nomen vero potestatis ordinationem quandam designat; secundum illud apostoli ad Rom. XIII, qui potestati resistit, Dei ordinationi resistit. Et ideo Dionysius dicit quod nomen potestatis significat quandam ordinationem et circa susceptionem divinorum, et circa actiones divinas quas superiores in inferiores agunt, eas sursum ducendo. Ad ordinem ergo potestatum pertinet ordinare quae a subditis sint agenda. Principari vero, ut Gregorius dicit, est inter reliquos priorem existere, quasi primi sint in executione eorum quae imperantur. Et ideo Dionysius dicit, IX cap. Cael. Hier., quod nomen principatuum significat ductivum cum ordine sacro. Illi enim qui alios ducunt, primi inter eos existentes, principes proprie vocantur secundum illud Psalmi LXVII, praevenerunt principes coniuncti psallentibus.
Reply Obj. 3: The names Domination, Power, and Principality belong to government in different ways. The place of a lord is only to prescribe what is to be done. So Gregory says (Hom. xxiv in Evang.), that some companies of the angels, because others are subject to obedience to them, are called dominations. The name Power points out a kind of order, according to what the Apostle says, He that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordination of God (Rom 13:2). And so Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. viii) that the name Power signifies a kind of ordination both as regards the reception of Divine things, and as regards the Divine actions performed by superiors towards inferiors by leading them to things above. Therefore, to the order of Powers it belongs to regulate what is to be done by those who are subject to them. To preside as Gregory says (Hom. xxiv in Ev.) is to be first among others, as being first in carrying out what is ordered to be done. And so Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. ix) that the name of Principalities signifies one who leads in a sacred order. For those who lead others, being first among them, are properly called princes, according to the words, Princes went before joined with singers (Ps 67:26).
Ad quartum dicendum quod Archangeli, secundum Dionysium, medii sunt inter principatus et angelos. Medium autem comparatum uni extremo, videtur alterum, inquantum participat naturam utriusque, sicut tepidum respectu calidi est frigidum, respectu vero frigidi est calidum. Sic et Archangeli dicuntur quasi principes angeli, quia respectu angelorum sunt principes, respectu vero principatuum sunt angeli. Secundum Gregorium autem, dicuntur Archangeli ex eo quod principantur soli ordini angelorum, quasi magna nuntiantes. Principatus autem dicuntur ex eo quod principantur omnibus caelestibus virtutibus divinas iussiones explentibus.
Reply Obj. 4: The Archangels, according to Dionysius (Coel. Hier. ix), are between the Principalities and the Angels. A medium compared to one extreme seems like the other, as participating in the nature of both extremes; thus tepid seems cold compared to hot, and hot compared to cold. So the Archangels are called the angel princes; forasmuch as they are princes as regards the Angels, and angels as regards the Principalities. But according to Gregory (Hom. xxiv in Ev.) they are called Archangels, because they preside over the one order of the Angels; as it were, announcing greater things: and the Principalities are so called as presiding over all the heavenly Virtues who fulfill the Divine commands.
Ad quintum dicendum quod nomen Seraphim non imponitur tantum a caritate, sed a caritatis excessu, quem importat nomen ardoris vel incendii. Unde Dionysius, VII cap. Cael. Hier., exponit nomen Seraphim secundum proprietates ignis, in quo est excessus caliditatis. In igne autem tria possumus considerare. Primo quidem, motum, qui est sursum, et qui est continuus. Per quod significatur quod indeclinabiliter moventur in Deum. Secundo vero, virtutem activam eius, quae est calidum. Quod quidem non simpliciter invenitur in igne, sed cum quadam acuitate, quia maxime est penetrativus in agendo, et pertingit usque ad minima; et iterum cum quodam superexcedenti fervore. Et per hoc significatur actio huiusmodi angelorum, quam in subditos potenter exercent, eos in similem fervorem excitantes, et totaliter eos per incendium purgantes. Tertio consideratur in igne claritas eius. Et hoc significat quod huiusmodi angeli in seipsis habent inextinguibilem lucem, et quod alios perfecte illuminant.
Reply Obj. 5: The name Seraphim does not come from charity only, but from the excess of charity, expressed by the word ardor or fire. Hence Dionysius (Coel. Hier. vii) expounds the name Seraphim according to the properties of fire, containing an excess of heat. Now in fire we may consider three things. First, the movement which is upwards and continuous. This signifies that they are borne inflexibly towards God. Second, the active force which is heat, which is not found in fire simply, but exists with a certain sharpness, as being of most penetrating action, and reaching even to the smallest things, and as it were, with superabundant fervor; whereby is signified the action of these angels, exercised powerfully upon those who are subject to them, rousing them to a like fervor, and cleansing them wholly by their heat. Third we consider in fire the quality of clarity, or brightness; which signifies that these angels have in themselves an inextinguishable light, and that they also perfectly enlighten others.
Similiter etiam nomen Cherubim imponitur a quodam excessu scientiae, unde interpretatur plenitudo scientiae. Quod Dionysius exponit quantum ad quatuor, primo quidem, quantum ad perfectam Dei visionem; secundo, quantum ad plenam susceptionem divini luminis; tertio, quantum ad hoc, quod in ipso Deo contemplantur pulchritudinem ordinis rerum a Deo derivatam; quarto, quantum ad hoc, quod ipsi pleni existentes huiusmodi cognitione, eam copiose in alios effundunt.
In the same way the name Cherubim comes from a certain excess of knowledge; hence it is interpreted fullness of knowledge, which Dionysius (Coel. Hier. vii) expounds in regard to four things: the perfect vision of God; the full reception of the Divine Light; their contemplation in God of the beauty of the Divine order; and in regard to the fact that possessing this knowledge fully, they pour it forth copiously upon others.
Ad sextum dicendum quod ordo thronorum habet excellentiam prae inferioribus ordinibus in hoc, quod immediate in Deo rationes divinorum operum cognoscere possunt. Sed Cherubim habent excellentiam scientiae; Seraphim vero excellentiam ardoris. Et licet in his duabus excellentiis includatur tertia, non tamen in illa quae est thronorum, includuntur aliae duae. Et ideo ordo thronorum distinguitur ab ordine Cherubim et Seraphim. Hoc enim est commune in omnibus, quod excellentia inferioris continetur in excellentia superioris, et non e converso. Exponit autem Dionysius nomen thronorum, per convenientiam ad materiales sedes. In quibus est quatuor considerare. Primo quidem, situm, quia sedes supra terram elevantur. Et sic ipsi angeli qui throni dicuntur, elevantur usque ad hoc, quod in Deo immediate rationes rerum cognoscant. Secundo in materialibus sedibus consideratur firmitas, quia in ipsis aliquis firmiter sedet. Hic autem est e converso, nam ipsi angeli firmantur per Deum. Tertio, quia sedes suscipit sedentem, et in ea deferri potest. Sic et isti angeli suscipiunt Deum in seipsis, et eum quodammodo ad inferiores ferunt. Quarto, ex figura, quia sedes ex una parte est aperta ad suscipiendum sedentem. Ita et isti angeli sunt per promptitudinem aperti ad suscipiendum Deum, et famulandum ipsi.
Reply Obj. 6: The order of the Thrones excels the inferior orders as having an immediate knowledge of the types of the Divine works; whereas the Cherubim have the excellence of knowledge and the Seraphim the excellence of ardor. And although these two excellent attributes include the third, yet the gift belonging to the Thrones does not include the other two; and so the order of the Thrones is distinguished from the orders of the Cherubim and the Seraphim. For it is a common rule in all things that the excellence of the inferior is contained in the superior, but not conversely. But Dionysius (Coel. Hier. vii) explains the name Thrones by its relation to material seats, in which we may consider four things. First, the site; because seats are raised above the earth, and to the angels who are called Thrones are raised up to the immediate knowledge of the types of things in God. Second, because in material seats is displayed strength, forasmuch as a person sits firmly on them. But here the reverse is the case; for the angels themselves are made firm by God. Third, because the seat receives him who sits thereon, and he can be carried thereupon; and so the angels receive God in themselves, and in a certain way bear Him to the inferior creatures. Fourth, because in its shape, a seat is open on one side to receive the sitter; and thus are the angels promptly open to receive God and to serve Him.
Utrum convenienter gradus ordinum assignentur
Whether the grades of the orders are properly assigned?
Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod inconvenienter gradus ordinum assignentur. Ordo enim praelatorum videtur esse supremus. Sed dominationes, principatus et potestates ex ipsis nominibus praelationem quandam habent. Ergo isti ordines debent esse inter omnes supremi.
Objection 1: It would seem that the grades of the orders are not properly assigned. For the order of prelates is the highest. But the names of Dominations, Principalities, and Powers of themselves imply prelacy. Therefore these orders ought not to be supreme.
Praeterea, quanto aliquis ordo est Deo propinquior, tanto est superior. Sed ordo thronorum videtur esse Deo propinquissimus, nihil enim coniungitur propinquius sedenti, quam sua sedes. Ergo ordo thronorum est altissimus.
Obj. 2: Further, the nearer an order is to God, the higher it is. But the order of Thrones is the nearest to God; for nothing is nearer to the sitter than the seat. Therefore the order of the Thrones is the highest.
Praeterea, scientia est prior quam amor; et intellectus videtur esse altior quam voluntas. Ergo et ordo Cherubim videtur esse altior quam ordo Seraphim.
Obj. 3: Further, knowledge comes before love, and intellect is higher than will. Therefore the order of Cherubim seems to be higher than the Seraphim.
Praeterea, Gregorius ponit principatus supra potestates. Non ergo collocantur immediate supra Archangelos, ut Dionysius dicit.
Obj. 4: Further, Gregory (Hom. xxiv in Evang.) places the Principalities above the Powers. These therefore are not placed immediately above the Archangels, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. ix).
Sed contra est quod Dionysius ponit, in prima quidem hierarchia. Seraphim ut primos, Cherubim ut medios, thronos ut ultimos; in media vero, dominationes ut primos, virtutes ut medios, potestates ut ultimos; in ultima, principatus ut primos, Archangelos ut medios, Angelos ut ultimos.
On the contrary, Dionysius (Coel. Hier. vii), places in the highest hierarchy the Seraphim as the first, the Cherubim as the middle, the Thrones as the last; in the middle hierarchy he places the Dominations, as the first, the Virtues in the middle, the Powers last; in the lowest hierarchy the Principalities first, then the Archangels, and lastly the Angels.
Respondeo dicendum quod gradus angelicorum ordinum assignant et Gregorius et Dionysius, quantum ad alia quidem convenienter, sed quantum ad principatus et virtutes differenter. Nam Dionysius collocat virtutes sub dominationibus et supra potestates, principatus autem sub potestatibus et supra Archangelos, Gregorius autem ponit principatus in medio dominationum et potestatum, virtutes vero in medio potestatum et Archangelorum. Et utraque assignatio fulcimentum habere potest ex auctoritate apostoli. Qui, medios ordines ascendendo enumerans, dicit, Ephes. I, quod Deus constituit illum, scilicet Christum, ad dexteram suam in caelestibus, supra omnem principatum et potestatem et virtutem et dominationem, ubi virtutem ponit inter potestatem et dominationem, secundum assignationem Dionysii. Sed ad Coloss. I, enumerans eosdem ordines descendendo, dicit, sive throni, sive dominationes, sive principatus, sive potestates, omnia per ipsum et in ipso creata sunt, ubi principatus ponit medios inter dominationes et potestates, secundum assignationem Gregorii.
I answer that, The grades of the angelic orders are assigned by Gregory (Hom. xxiv in Ev.) and Dionysius (Coel. Hier. vii), who agree as regards all except the Principalities and Virtues. For Dionysius places the Virtues beneath the Dominations, and above the Powers; the Principalities beneath the Powers and above the Archangels. Gregory, however, places the Principalities between the Dominations and the Powers; and the Virtues between the Powers and the Archangels. Each of these placings may claim authority from the words of the Apostle, who (Eph 1:20,21) enumerates the middle orders, beginning from the lowest saying that God set Him, i.e., Christ, on His right hand in the heavenly places above all Principality and Power, and Virtue, and Dominion. Here he places Virtues between Powers and Dominations, according to the placing of Dionysius. Writing however to the Colossians (1:16), numbering the same orders from the highest, he says: Whether Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, or Powers, all things were created by Him and in Him. Here he places the Principalities between Dominations and Powers, as does also Gregory.
Primo igitur videamus rationem assignationis Dionysii. In qua considerandum est quod, sicut supra dictum est, prima hierarchia accipit rationes rerum in ipso Deo; secunda vero in causis universalibus; tertia vero secundum determinationem ad speciales effectus. Et quia Deus est finis non solum angelicorum ministeriorum, sed etiam totius creaturae, ad primam hierarchiam pertinet consideratio finis; ad mediam vero dispositio universalis de agendis; ad ultimam autem applicatio dispositionis ad effectum, quae est operis executio; haec enim tria manifestum est in qualibet operatione inveniri. Et ideo Dionysius, ex nominibus ordinum proprietates illorum considerans, illos ordines in prima hierarchia posuit, quorum nomina imponuntur per respectum ad Deum, scilicet Seraphim et Cherubim et thronos. Illos vero ordines posuit in media hierarchia, quorum nomina designant communem quandam gubernationem sive dispositionem, scilicet dominationes, virtutes et potestates. Illos vero ordines posuit in tertia hierarchia, quorum nomina designant operis executionem, scilicet principatus, Angelos et Archangelos.
Let us then first examine the reason for the ordering of Dionysius, in which we see, that, as said above (A. 1), the highest hierarchy contemplates the ideas of things in God Himself; the second in the universal causes; and third in their application to particular effects. And because God is the end not only of the angelic ministrations, but also of the whole creation, it belongs to the first hierarchy to consider the end; to the middle one belongs the universal disposition of what is to be done; and to the last belongs the application of this disposition to the effect, which is the carrying out of the work; for it is clear that these three things exist in every kind of operation. So Dionysius, considering the properties of the orders as derived from their names, places in the first hierarchy those orders the names of which are taken from their relation to God, the Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones; and he places in the middle hierarchy those orders whose names denote a certain kind of common government or disposition—the Dominations, Virtues, and Powers; and he places in the third hierarchy the orders whose names denote the execution of the work, the Principalities, Angels, and Archangels.
In respectu autem ad finem, tria considerari possunt, nam primo, aliquis considerat finem; secundo vero, perfectam finis cognitionem accipit; tertio vero, intentionem suam in ipso defigit; quorum secundum ex additione se habet ad primum, et tertium ad utrumque. Et quia Deus est finis creaturarum sicut dux est finis exercitus, ut dicitur in XII Metaphys., potest aliquid simile huius ordinis considerari in rebus humanis, nam quidam sunt qui hoc habent dignitatis, ut per seipsos familiariter accedere possunt ad regem vel ducem; quidam vero super hoc habent, ut etiam secreta eius cognoscant; alii vero insuper circa ipsum semper inhaerent, quasi ei coniuncti. Et secundum hanc similitudinem accipere possumus dispositionem ordinum primae hierarchiae. Nam throni elevantur ad hoc, quod Deum familiariter in seipsis recipiant, secundum quod rationes rerum in ipso immediate cognoscere possunt, quod est proprium totius primae hierarchiae. Cherubim vero supereminenter divina secreta cognoscunt. Seraphim vero excellunt in hoc quod est omnium supremum, scilicet Deo ipsi uniri. Ut sic ab eo quod est commune toti hierarchiae, denominetur ordo thronorum; sicut ab eo quod est commune omnibus caelestibus spiritibus, denominatur ordo Angelorum.
As regards the end, three things may be considered. For first we consider the end; then we acquire perfect knowledge of the end; third, we fix our intention on the end; of which the second is an addition to the first, and the third an addition to both. And because God is the end of creatures, as the leader is the end of an army, as the Philosopher says (Metaph. xii, Did. xi, 10); so a somewhat similar order may be seen in human affairs. For there are some who enjoy the dignity of being able with familiarity to approach the king or leader; others in addition are privileged to know his secrets; and others above these ever abide with him, in a close union. According to this similitude, we can understand the disposition in the orders of the first hierarchy; for the Thrones are raised up so as to be the familiar recipients of God in themselves, in the sense of knowing immediately the types of things in Himself; and this is proper to the whole of the first hierarchy. The Cherubim know the Divine secrets supereminently; and the Seraphim excel in what is the supreme excellence of all, in being united to God Himself; and all this in such a manner that the whole of this hierarchy can be called the Thrones; as, from what is common to all the heavenly spirits together, they are all called Angels.
Ad gubernationis autem rationem tria pertinent. Quorum primum est definitio eorum quae agenda sunt, quod est proprium dominationum. Secundum autem est praebere facultatem ad implendum, quod pertinet ad virtutes. Tertium autem est ordinare qualiter ea quae praecepta vel definita sunt, impleri possint, ut aliqui exequantur, et hoc pertinet ad potestates.
As regards government, three things are comprised therein, the first of which is to appoint those things which are to be done, and this belongs to the Dominations; the second is to give the power of carrying out what is to be done, which belongs to the Virtues; the third is to order how what has been commanded or decided to be done can be carried out by others, which belongs to the Powers.
Executio autem angelicorum ministeriorum consistit in annuntiando divina. In executione autem cuiuslibet actus, sunt quidam quasi incipientes actionem et alios ducentes, sicut in cantu praecentores, et in bello illi qui alios ducunt et dirigunt, et hoc pertinet ad principatus. Alii vero sunt qui simpliciter exequuntur, et hoc pertinet ad Angelos. Alii vero medio modo se habent, quod ad Archangelos pertinet, ut supra dictum est.
The execution of the angelic ministrations consists in announcing Divine things. Now in the execution of any action there are beginners and leaders; as in singing, the precentors; and in war, generals and officers; this belongs to the Principalities. There are others who simply execute what is to be done; and these are the Angels. Others hold a middle place; and these are the Archangels, as above explained.
Invenitur autem congrua haec ordinum assignatio. Nam semper summum inferioris ordinis affinitatem habet cum ultimo superioris; sicut infima animalia parum distant a plantis. Primus autem ordo est divinarum personarum, qui terminatur ad spiritum sanctum, qui est amor procedens, cum quo affinitatem habet supremus ordo primae hierarchiae, ab incendio amoris denominatus. Infimus autem ordo primae hierarchiae est thronorum, qui ex suo nomine habent quandam affinitatem cum dominationibus, nam throni dicuntur, secundum Gregorium, per quos Deus sua iudicia exercet; accipiunt enim divinas illuminationes per convenientiam ad immediate illuminandum secundam hierarchiam, ad quam pertinet dispositio divinorum ministeriorum. Ordo vero potestatum affinitatem habet cum ordine principatuum, nam cum potestatum sit ordinationem subiectis imponere, haec ordinatio statim in nomine principatuum designatur, qui sunt primi in executione divinorum ministeriorum, utpote praesidentes gubernationi gentium et regnorum, quod est primum et praecipuum in divinis ministeriis; nam bonum gentis est divinius quam bonum unius hominis. Unde dicitur Dan. X, princeps regni Persarum restitit mihi.
This explanation of the orders is quite a reasonable one. For the highest in an inferior order always has affinity to the lowest in the higher order; as the lowest animals are near to the plants. Now the first order is that of the Divine Persons, which terminates in the Holy Spirit, Who is Love proceeding, with Whom the highest order of the first hierarchy has affinity, denominated as it is from the fire of love. The lowest order of the first hierarchy is that of the Thrones, who in their own order are akin to the Dominations; for the Thrones, according to Gregory (Hom. xxiv in Ev.), are so called because through them God accomplishes His judgments, since they are enlightened by Him in a manner adapted to the immediate enlightening of the second hierarchy, to which belongs the disposition of the Divine ministrations. The order of the Powers is akin to the order of the Principalities; for as it belongs to the Powers to impose order on those subject to them, this ordering is plainly shown at once in the name of Principalities, who, as presiding over the government of peoples and kingdoms (which occupies the first and principal place in the Divine ministrations), are the first in the execution thereof; for the good of a nation is more divine than the good of one man (Ethic. i, 2); and hence it is written, The prince of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me (Dan 10:13).
Dispositio etiam ordinum quam Gregorius ponit, congruitatem habet. Nam cum dominationes sint definientes et praecipientes ea quae ad divina ministeria pertinent, ordines eis subiecti disponuntur secundum dispositionem eorum in quos divina ministeria exercentur ut autem Augustinus dicit in III de Trin., corpora quodam ordine reguntur, inferiora per superiora, et omnia per spiritualem creaturam; et spiritus malus per spiritum bonum. Primus ergo ordo post dominationes dicitur principatuum, qui etiam bonis spiritibus principantur. Deinde potestates, per quas arcentur mali spiritus, sicut per potestates terrenas arcentur malefactores, ut habetur Rom. XIII. Post quas sunt virtutes, quae habent potestatem super corporalem naturam in operatione miraculorum. Post quas sunt Archangeli et Angeli, qui nuntiant hominibus vel magna, quae sunt supra rationem; vel parva, ad quae ratio se extendere potest.
The disposition of the orders which is mentioned by Gregory is also reasonable. For since the Dominations appoint and order what belongs to the Divine ministrations, the orders subject to them are arranged according to the disposition of those things in which the Divine ministrations are effected. Still, as Augustine says (De Trin. iii), bodies are ruled in a certain order; the inferior by the superior; and all of them by the spiritual creature, and the bad spirit by the good spirit. So the first order after the Dominations is called that of Principalities, who rule even over good spirits; then the Powers, who coerce the evil spirits; even as evil-doers are coerced by earthly powers, as it is written (Rom 13:3,4). After these come the Virtues, which have power over corporeal nature in the working of miracles; after these are the Angels and the Archangels, who announce to men either great things above reason, or small things within the purview of reason.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in angelis potius est quod subiiciuntur Deo, quam quod inferioribus praesident, et hoc derivatur ex illo. Et ideo ordines nominati a praelatione non sunt supremi, sed magis ordines nominati a conversione ad Deum.
Reply Obj. 1: The angels’ subjection to God is greater than their presiding over inferior things; and the latter is derived from the former. Thus the orders which derive their name from presiding are not the first and highest; but rather the orders deriving their name from their nearness and relation to God.
Ad secundum dicendum quod illa propinquitas ad Deum quae designatur nomine thronorum, convenit etiam Cherubim et Seraphim, et excellentius, ut dictum est.
Reply Obj. 2: The nearness to God designated by the name of the Thrones, belongs also to the Cherubim and Seraphim, and in a more excellent way, as above explained.
Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, cognitio est secundum quod cognita sunt in cognoscente; amor autem secundum quod amans unitur rei amatae. Superiora autem nobiliori modo sunt in seipsis quam in inferioribus, inferiora vero nobiliori modo in superioribus quam in seipsis. Et ideo inferiorum quidem cognitio praeeminet dilectioni, superiorum autem dilectio, et praecipue Dei, praeeminet cognitioni.
Reply Obj. 3: As above explained (Q. 27, A. 3), knowledge takes place accordingly as the thing known is in the knower; but love as the lover is united to the object loved. Now higher things are in a nobler way in themselves than in lower things; whereas lower things are in higher things in a nobler way than they are in themselves. Therefore to know lower things is better than to love them; and to love the higher things, God above all, is better than to know them.
Ad quartum dicendum quod, si quis diligenter consideret dispositiones ordinum secundum Dionysium et Gregorium, parum vel nihil differunt, si ad rem referantur. Exponit enim Gregorius principatuum nomen ex hoc, quod bonis spiritibus praesunt, et hoc convenit virtutibus, secundum quod in nomine virtutum intelligitur quaedam fortitudo dans efficaciam inferioribus spiritibus ad exequenda divina ministeria. Rursus virtutes, secundum Gregorium, videntur esse idem quod principatus secundum Dionysium. Nam hoc est primum in divinis ministeriis, miracula facere, per hoc enim paratur via Annuntiationi Archangelorum et Angelorum.
Reply Obj. 4: A careful comparison will show that little or no difference exists in reality between the dispositions of the orders according to Dionysius and Gregory. For Gregory expounds the name Principalities from their presiding over good spirits, which also agrees with the Virtues accordingly as this name expressed a certain strength, giving efficacy to the inferior spirits in the execution of the Divine ministrations. Again, according to Gregory, the Virtues seem to be the same as Principalities of Dionysius. For to work miracles holds the first place in the Divine ministrations; since thereby the way is prepared for the announcements of the Archangels and the Angels.
Utrum ordines remanebunt post diem iudicii
Whether the orders will outlast the day of judgment?
Ad septimum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ordines non remanebunt post diem iudicii. Dicit enim apostolus, I ad Cor. XV, quod Christus evacuabit omnem principatum et potestatem, cum tradiderit regnum Deo et patri, quod erit in ultima consummatione. Pari ergo ratione, in illo statu omnes alii ordines evacuabuntur.
Objection 1: It would seem that the orders of angels will not outlast the Day of Judgment. For the Apostle says (1 Cor 15:24), that Christ will bring to naught all principality and power, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God and the Father, and this will be in the final consummation. Therefore for the same reason all others will be abolished in that state.
Praeterea, ad officium angelicorum ordinum pertinet purgare, illuminare et perficere. Sed post diem iudicii unus angelus non purgabit aut illuminabit aut perficiet alium, quia non proficient amplius in scientia. Ergo frustra ordines angelici remanerent.
Obj. 2: Further, to the office of the angelic orders it belongs to cleanse, enlighten, and perfect. But after the Day of Judgment one angel will not cleanse, enlighten, or perfect another, because they will not advance any more in knowledge. Therefore the angelic orders would remain for no purpose.
Praeterea, apostolus dicit, ad Heb. I, de angelis, quod omnes sunt administratorii spiritus, in ministerium missi propter eos qui haereditatem capiunt salutis, ex quo patet quod officia angelorum ordinantur ad hoc, quod homines ad salutem adducantur. Sed omnes electi usque ad diem iudicii salutem consequuntur. Non ergo post diem iudicii remanebunt officia et ordines angelorum.
Obj. 3: Further, the Apostle says of the angels (Heb 1:14), that they are all ministering spirits, sent to minister to them who shall receive the inheritance of salvation; whence it appears that the angelic offices are ordered for the purpose of leading men to salvation. But all the elect are in pursuit of salvation until the Day of Judgment. Therefore the angelic offices and orders will not outlast the Day of Judgment.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Iudic. V, stellae manentes in ordine et cursu suo, quod exponitur de angelis. Ergo angeli semper in suis ordinibus remanebunt.
On the contrary, It is written (Judg 5:20): Stars remaining in their order and courses, which is applied to the angels. Therefore the angels will ever remain in their orders.