The Angel Of Jehovah -- By: Henry A. Sawtelle

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 016:64 (Oct 1859)
Article: The Angel Of Jehovah
Author: Henry A. Sawtelle

The Angel Of Jehovah

Henry A. Sawtelle

In the early time, when the revelation of a spiritual sphere was dawning upon the race, and God was impressing his rightful claims, by striking visitations, upon a stupid world, the new forms that appear are often mysterious above later manifestations. The twilight confuses shapes which would otherwise be distinct. The fleeting agents of the strange unfolding speak not of themselves. They, for the time, carry their beholders to what is upward and onward; and would not, as instruments, be thought of, any more than is the word which is the sign of a thought. Certain it is that an activity is going on, the mode and incitement of which are above the ordinary process of nature. Clear and unmistakable is the immediate and practical object of each new supernatural appearance. And yet the sensible agency producing the effects, the messengers of the revelation, are not so certainly recognized in every case. In what order of existence do these agents belong? Or, if there be but one, is he divine, or is he less than divine? Such questions arise to the inquiring mind, as it first begins to reflect upon the revealer as well as thing revealed. As natural as it is for the

human mind to speculate, so natural is it to inquire how, by whom, by what, God has acted in bringing the supernatural sensibly to our capacity.

Nor is the inquiry altogether vain. Those dusky forms of the past grow distinct as we gaze at them; and as we have clearer light, we possess greater joy. The search confirms the abstruser doctrines; and these, going more deeply into conviction, add fundamental strength to moral life. That which at first seems dark and confused in the shadows of God’s movements, in his early discipline of mankind, is so only relatively, and yields clearer lines of order and definition to the patient investigator; just as the distant spheres have gradually taken their orderly positions before the astronomer’s piercing look. If it be essential rightly to interpret some remote and difficult item in the ordinary development of human events, it must be regarded as of use to study well all that which even mysteriously appears in the course of God’s miraculous dealings with his chosen people. Let us then turn our eyes towards the activity that is manifested in the horizon of sacred antiquity, encouraged if we may gain so much as an earnest of a better understanding in the world of light.

Among the objects which stand half-disclosed down the vista of revelation, is one of uncommon interest, which the sacred writers have styled the angel of Jehovah. This character claims our present investigation. At one time manifesting traits not unfamiliar to commo...

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