The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Feast of The Holy Angel - Guardians

William Hone, The Every Day Book, 2 Vols. London: William Tegg, 1825, 1827.

Volume 1

October 2.

Feast of the Holy Angel-Guardians.


The festival of “the Holy Angel-Guardians” as they are called by Butler, is this day kept by his church. He says that, “according to St. Thomas,” when the angels were created, the lowest among them were enlightened by those that were supreme in the orders. It is not to be gathered from him how many orders there were; but Holme says, that “after the fall of Lucifer the bright star and his company, there remained still in heaven more angels then ever there was, is, and shall be, men born in the earth.” He adds, that they are “ ranked into nine orders or chorus, called the nine quoires of holy angels;” and he ranks them thus :—

1. The order of seraphims.

2. The order of cherubims.

3. The order of archangels.

4. The order of angels.

5. The order of thrones.

6. The order of principalities

7. The order of powers.

8. The order of dominions.

9. The order of virtues.

Some authors put them in this sequence: 1. seraphims; 2. cherubims; 3. thrones; 4. dominions; 5. virtues; 6. powers; 7. principalities; 8. archangels; 9. angels. Holme adds, that “God never erected any order, rule, or government, but the devil did and will imitate him; for where God hath his church, the devil will have his synagogue.” The latter part of this affirmation is versified by honest Daniel De Foe, lie begins his “True-born Englishman” with it

Wherever God erects a house of prayer
The devil’s sure to have a chapel there.


Angel, in its primitive sense, denotes a messenger, and frequently signifies men, when, from the common notion of the term, it is conceived to denote ministering spirits. Angels, as celestial intelligences, have been the objects of over curious inquiry, and of worship. Paul prohibits this “Let no man,” he says, beguile you of your reward, in a voluntary humility, and the worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen.”1 An erudite and sincere writer remarks, that “The worship, which so many christians pay to angeis and saints, and images and relics, is really a false worship, hardly distinguishable from idolatry. When it is said, in excuse, that ‘they worship these only as mediators,’ that alters the case very little; since to apply to a false mediator is as much a departure from Jesus Christ, our only advocate, as to worship a fictitious deity is withdrawing our faith and allegiance from the true God.”2


Amid the multiplicity of representations by Roman catholic writers concerning angels, are these by Father Lewis Henriques, “That the streets of Paradise are adorned with tapestry, and all the histories of the world are engraven on the walls by excellent sculptors; that the angels have no particular houses, but go from one quarter to another for diversity; that they put on women’s habits, and appear to the saints in the dress of ladies, with cones and locks, with waistcoats and fardingales, and the richest linens.”

This occupation of the angels agrees with the occupations that Henriqucs assigns to the saints; who, according to him, are to enjoy, with other pleasures, the recreation of bathing: “There shall be pleasant bathes for that purpose; they shall swim like fishes, and sing as melodious as nightingales; the men and women shall delight themselves with muscarades, feasts and ballads; women shall sing more pleasantly than men, that the delight may be greater; and women shall rise again with very long hair, and shall appear with ribands and laces as they do upon earth. Father Henriques was a Jesuit, and communicates this information in a book entitled, “The Business of the Saints in Heaven,” published by the written authority of Father Prado, the Provincial of the order of Jesuits at Castille, dated at Salamanca, April 28th, 163l.3

Notes from Hone:

1. Colossians ii.17. Return

2. Jortin. Return

3. Moral Practice of the Jesuits. Loud. 12mo. 1670 [?]. Return

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