Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dionysius on Free Will, Angelic Guidance

If someone should ask why the Hebrews alone were guided to the divine Illuminations, we should answer that the turning away of the nations to false gods ought not to be attributed to the direct guidance of Angels, but to their own refusal of the true path which leads to God, and the falling away through self-love and perversity, and similarly, the worship of things which they regarded as divine.

Even the Hebrews are said to have acted thus, for he says, 'Thou hast cast away the knowledge of God and hast gone after thine own heart'. For our life is not ruled by necessity, nor are the divine irradiations of Providential Light obscured because of the freewill of those under Its care; but it is the dissimilarity of the mental eyes which causes the Light streaming forth resplendently from the Goodness of the Father to be either totally unshared and unaccepted through their resistance to It, or causes an unequal participation, small or great, dark or bright, of that Fontal Ray which nevertheless is one and unmixed, eternally changeless, and for ever abundantly shed forth.

For even if certain Gods not alien to them presided over the [32] other nations (from which we ourselves have come forth into that illimitable and abundant sea of Divine Light which is outspread freely for all to share), yet there is one Ruler of all, and to Him the Angels who minister to each nation lead their followers.

Let us consider Melchisedeck, the hierarch most beloved of God — not of vain gods, but a priest of the truly highest of Gods — for those wise in the things of God did not simply call Melchisedeck the friend of God, but also priest, in order to show clearly to the wise that not only was he himself turned to Him who is truly God, but also, as hierarch, was the leader of others in the ascent to the true and only Godhead.

Of the Principalities, Archangels, and Angels, and of their last Hierarchy.