Gradual (Seraphim), fragment: Italian miniaturist, 1390s (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
....................Theses Quaedam Theologicae
1. Whether God loves a lying Angel better than a true Man?
2. Whether the Archangel Uriel could affirm an untruth? & if he could whether he would?
3. Whether Honesty be an angelic virtue? or not rather to be reckoned among those qualities which the Schoolmen term Virtutes minus splendidae, et terrae et hominis participes?
4. Whether the higher order of Seraphim Illuminati ever sneer?
5. Whether pure Intelligences can love?
6. Whether the Seraphim Ardentes do not manifest their virtues by the way of vision & theory? and whether practice be not a sub-celestial & merely human virtue?
7. Whether the Vision Beatific be anything more or less than a perpetual representment to each individual Angel of his own present attainments & future capabilities, somehow in the manner of mortal looking-glasses, reflecting a perpetual complacency & self-satisfaction?
8 & last. Whether an immortal and amenable soul may not come to be damned at last, & the man never suspect it beforehand?
Learned Sir, my Friend,
Presuming on our long habits of friendship, & emboldened further by your late liberal permission to avail myself of your correspondence, in case I want any knowledge, (which I intend to do when I have no Encyclopaedia or Lady's Magazine at hand to refer to in any matter of science,) I now submit to your enquiries the above Theological Propositions, to be by you defended, or oppugned, or both, in the Schools of Germany, whither I am told you are departing, to the utter dissatisfaction of your native Devonshire, & regret of universal England; but to my own individual consolation if thro' the channel of your wished return, Learned Sir, my Friend, may be transmitted to this our Island, from those famous Theological Wits of Leipsic & Gottingen, any rays of illumination, in vain to be derived from the home growth of our English Halls and Colleges. Finally, wishing, Learned Sir, that you may see Schiller, & and swing in a wood (vide Poems), & sit upon a Tun, & eat fat hams of Westphalia,
Your friend and docile Pupil to instruct
Seraph, Hagia Sofia, Istanbul: photo by Stanislav Kozlovskiy, 12 February 2011
Charles Lamb to Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Theses Quaedam Theologicae (Certain Theological Propositions), in a letter, c. 23 May-6 June 1798