1. Materialism, denying the existence of spirit and admitting no other life than that of the physical organism, has naturally relegated the idea of angels into the category of fiction and allegories. But all religions of the world have proclaimed, under various names, the existence of angels, that is to say, of beings superior to the human race, intermediate between God and humankind. The belief in those beings forms an essential part of the creed of the Christian Church, whose doctrine, in regard to their nature, is summed up in the following statement: *
* The statement quoted in the text is taken from the Lenten Pastoral of the Cardinal-Archbishop of Rheims, Cardinal Gousset, for 1864; but, as the doctrine of the various Christian sects is identical in regard to the nature both of angels and of devils, it may be regarded – like the statement in regard to the latter, drawn from the same source and quoted in our next chapter – as being a summary of the belief of all the Christian sects in reference to the subject we are considering.