A Multitude of the Heavenly Host
Luke 2:13
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,…

In that distant age, as by no means since, the ministry of angels was familiar to the human mind — was required to answer, in fact, the necessities of human thought. On occasions infinitely less important than the birth of One whose name should be called Jesus, the Saviour, the angels then came and went in the universe freely, because in mind and for mind the universe was what it was. Since then not one has come. So the impression made then by its being said that this event was made illustrious by the attendance of a multitude of the heavenly host, and that which is made now, cannot be wholly the same. With all our ideas of the universe, it is infinitely more wonderful now than it was then. As it is so much more wonderful, it is so much more difficult to realize in thought. And so it is with reference to all else that is wonderful in the story of that birth to which the thoughts of the best part of the human race go back as to no other event in all human history. The modes of thought and of expression with regard to all that are unchanged by the lapse of ages — in the letter unchanged — but are they actually the same in spirit to us as they were in another age under cruder and almost opposite conditions of human thought? So shadowy has the angelic host become to mortal men now, to whom in their direst need or in their loftiest ecstasies no angels come, that the joy of that angelic host over the birth of the Saviour of mankind, so far from communicating itself to the Christian world of to-day, as it did once, is never felt save at Christmas, and then it would be hard to say by whom. This is not as it should be. To the thought of Christian men and women eighteen centuries ago the angelic host and their joy were real. Why should they not be so to our thought too? That these men and women were even as we are is the key to all history. With all that there is in our modern modes of thought to make the supernatural seem to us in fact, however it may be in name, one and the same thing with the incredible or faintly believed — with all that there is of this in our modern modes of thought, that which is in them, too, of a powerful apprehension of the idea of Christ's life as the most signal manifestation of the Divine, is enough, if it be only well and truly considered, to make the angelic host and their song as real to us as ever they were to any generation of men — much more real, at any rate, than they have been to many in this generation.

(J. Service, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

WEB: Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying,

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