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the greatest of sufferings, of course, could not be the Infinite and the Eternal. But if the Humanity which suffered was not Jehovah, how, it may very reasonably be asked, can your correspondent make good his assertion, that “God and Jesus Christ are one and the same undivided, Infinite and Eternal Being.” To be one and the same Divine Being every thing finite should have been utterly expelled, every human faculty with the Human recipient form, should have been put off. “And that is precisely the fact;" the reply might be, “that is just my meaning, only that in the chain of my reasoning, that one link was unfortunately omitted ; and though it happened to be that from which the whole Doctrine depended, and without which it had not a shadow of support, was entirely forgotten in the eagerness to show, what, without it, could not be shown at all, that Jehovah and Jesus are the same."
I conceive that a great deal of the obscurity and inconsistency which are inseparable from the usual modes of treating this doctrine, may be traced to two causes; first, our author instead of being thoroughly comprehended, has been but partially understood; and secondly, terms have been introduced, which are no where to be found in his writings, and which are actually in opposition to this particular doctrine. The effect of these may be seen in many a lengthy explanation, which leads to nothing, but which leaves you in the midst of a maze of words, puzzled beyond measure to know what it is all about. Might I presume to offer advice to those who take a lead in the instruction of the Church, they will confine themselves, in future, when explaining this Doctrine, to the very words of our author; they will leave such expressions as Incarnate God, &c. to the mystic writers, from whom I believe they were originally taken ; to them they are well enough fitted, and to tripersonalists generally, who hold that the Son is inferior to the Father as touching his manhood; but they are quite irreconcileable to the Doctrines of the New Jerusalem.
Before I conclude, I must beg the forgiveness of your Correspondent, if, in the warmth of the moment, I have written any thing which may, by possibility, inflict a wound, however slight and transient. I should be self-condemned if I could not say, with the most entire sincerity, that it is a love for truth, and especially for the Divine Truth, which alone impels me to speak. I trust I may stand excused.
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London, Feb. 18th,
ON THE FOLLY OF DELAY. There is nothing more observable in the human mind, than a continual inclination to defer amendment, and to imagine that the future will bestow some unusual power which shall remove every impediment to the exercise of acknowledged duty. This tendency is often strengthened by surveying the circumstances which are considered to be the chief obstructions of virtue, and which seem to require a lapse of time before they can be obviated ; for he whose worldly affairs demanded his utmost exertion; he who is tortured by anxiety or depressed by want, can easily believe that such a state excludes him from those opportunities of becoming good, which, he thinks, are inseparable from affluence or tranquility. He therefore awaits the arrival of a period when his care shall be softened and his labour abated, and hopes then to perform what he is now content to neglect.
Nor does a difference of condition produce a willingness to comply with the requests of duty. He who appears secured from the acute misfortunes of life by competence, who has leisure to reflect, and the benefits of information, confesses that he delays what is most worthy of performance; and yet how can he avoid this? There are so many “innocent amusements,” which present themselves to his acceptance, so many light pleasures which may be indulged in without imputation of guilt, that positive religion shall be deferred till his mind attains a more serious state, when an entire change shall be effected, every latent virtue be summoned into action, and the dictates of wisdom overcome the allurements of folly.
Thus do hundreds soothe the remonstrances of conscience, and stifle
away those probationary years which can never be recalled. But does the event of such conduct prove that there is a season peculiarly allotted for the nourishment of religion, the presence of which is evinced by an ardent desire to subdue every impropriety ? a season which eradicates evil and impels us to goodness by necessity ? Were we certain to be visited in this manner, procrastination would lose its danger and criminality ; but experience declares that levity sinks into indifference, and that evil propensities are confirmed in the heart by time and practice.
How earnest, then, should we be to fortify ourselves against the dangers of delay! How desirous that the influences of our nature should cease to govern! For this purpose let the shortness of life and solemnity of death continually preponderate the light enjoyments of the natural man; let us esteem nothing so valuable as a knowledge of “ our Great God and Saviour," and a conformity of our lives to the precepts of his word; and let us ever believe, that no state, however exalted or humble, pleasant, or unfortunate, can prevent our advancing towards goodness, if we sincerely wish the guidance of Him who will “wake his strength perfect in our weakness.”
ON THE VARIOUS DEGREES OF WHICH THE HUMAN
(continued from page 54.)
We have hitherto treated of the lowest degree of the mind only, and the importance of a clear view of this degree renders it necessary to enter more at large into a description of its principles, three only of which have been named particularly, viz. the corporeal, the natural, and the rational. As in the organization of the body every part displays the wisdom of the Creator, so the mind, for which the body is formed, manifests that beautiful combination of principles, which cannot fail to awaken sentiments of gratitude to the Divine Being, to whom we are daily indebted for existence. There are five particular principles in this lowest degree which follow in this order, the corporeal, the sensual, the scientific, the natural and the rational : the inner part of the corporeal being the sensual and the scientific, or in other words the memory, which in itself is twofold, belongs to the natural principle. In the corporeal principle the sensual is the principal and the corporeal or outermost part is the instrumental. The two-fold character of the memory as described in the Arcana Cælestia, vol. 3, no. 2469. &c. which is of so much importance to be known that we shall here transcribe it, convinced that they who are not in possession of that invaluable work will be at once edified and delighted, and that they who have this great work will be pleased with the opportunity thus afforded of making this important feature in the new doctrines more extensively known.
“It is scarce known to any one at this day, that every man hath two memories, one exterior, the other interior: and that the exterior is proper to his body, but the interior proper to his spirit.
“Man during his life in the body, can scarce know that he hath an interior memory, because then the interior memory is almost one in its agency with the exterior memory; for the ideas of thought, which are of the interior memory, flow into the things which are of the exterior memory, as into their recipient vessels, and are there joined together : the case in this respect is the same as when angels and spirits speak with man, on such occasions their ideas, by which they discourse with each other, flow into the expressions of man's language, and join themselves with those expressions in such a manner, that they know no other than that they discourse in man's mother tongue, when yet the ideas alone are their's, and the expressions into which they flow, are man's.
“These two memories are altogether distinct from each other; to the exterior memory, which is proper to man during his life in the world, appertain all expressions of languages, also all objects of the external things of the senses, and likewise the scientifics which relate to the world : To the interior memory appertain the ideas of the speech of spirits, which are of the interior sight, and all rational things, from the ideas whereof thought itself exists. That these things are distinct from each other, is unknown to man, as well because he doth not reflect thereupon, as because he is in things corporeal, and cannot so easily withdraw his mind from them.
“Hence it is that men, during their life in the body, cannot discourse with each other, but by languages distinguished into articulate sounds, or expressions, and cannot understand each other, unless they are acquainted with those languages; the reason is, because this is done from the exterior memory; Whereas spirits converse with each other by an universal language distinguished into ideas, such as are the ideas of thought, and thus can converse with every spirit, of whatsoever language or nation he may have been; the reason is, because this is done from the interior memory; Every man immediately after death, cometh into this universal language, because he cometh into this interior memory, which as was observed, is proper to his spirit.
“The interior memory vastly excels the exterior, and in comparison thereof is as many thousands to one, or as what is bright and lucid to what is obscure and dark; for ten thousands of ideas of the interior memory flow into one of the exterior memory, and there form a sort of general obscure principle; hence all the faculties of spirits, and especially of angels, are in a more perfect state than those of men, as well their sensations, as their thoughts and perceptions. The superior excellence of the interior memory to the exterior, may appear from the following example; suppose one man to call another man to his remembrance, with whose qualities he is well acquainted, having long had knowledge of him, (it matters not whether he be a friend or an enemy) in such case, whatever he thinks at that time concerning him, is presented as one general obscure principle, and this because he thinks from his exterior memory; but when the same man becomes a spirit, and recollects another as above, in this case whatsoever he thinks concerning him is presented as to all the particular ideas which he ever conceived respecting him, and this because he then thinks from the interior memory: The case is similar in regard to every particular thing; when it is recollected by man, although he had much knowledge of it, yet it is presented in the exterior memory as one general obscure principle ; but in the interior memory, when man becomes a spirit, it is presented as to all the particulars, the idea whereof hath ever been suggested to him by that thing, and this in a wonderful form.
“Whatsoever things a man hears and sees, and is affected with, these are insinuated, as to ideas and ends, into his interior memory, without his being aware of it, and there they remain, so that not a single impression is lost, although the same things are obliterated in the exterior memory: The interior memory, therefore is such, that there are inscribed in it all the particular things, yea the most particular, which man hath at any time thought, spoken, and done, yea which have appeared to him as a shadow, with the most minute circumstances, from his earliest infancy to extreme old age : Man hath with him the memory of all these things when he comes into another life, and is successively brought into all recollection of them ; this is the BOOK OF HIS LIFE, which is opened in another life, and according to which he is judged ; man can scarce believe this, but still it is most true; all the ends of his life, which were to him hidden in an obscure principle, all that he had thought, and likewise all that he had spoken and done, as derived from those ends, are recorded, to the most minute circumstances, in that Book, that is, in the interior memory, and are made manifest before the angels, in a light as clear as day, whensoever the Lord sees good to permit it: This hath at times been shown me, and evidenced by so much and various experience, that there does not remain the smallest doubt concerning it.
“It is known to none at this day, what the state of souls after death is in respect to the memory; but it hath been given me to know, by much and daily experience now during several years, that man after death doth not lose the smallest portion of any thing which hath ever been either in the exterior or interior memory, so that no circumstance can be conceived so small and trifling, which is not reserved with him; he leaves nothing therefore behind him at death, but only bones and flesh, which, during his life in the world, were not animated of themselves, but received animation from the life of his spirit, this being annexed for that end to the corporeal parts.