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These wonderful phenomena of Nature are by some regarded only as a series of antecedents and consequents within the sphere of the natural world ; the only reason for which is, that men are ignorant of the existence of a spiritual world *“ operating from within, and acting upon all and every thing in the world of Nature, and on its earth, just as the human mind operates and acts upon the senses and motions of the body; and that all the parts of Nature are but as coats, sheaths, and clothing which envelope spiritual things, and proximately produce effects corresponding to the end intended by God the Creator."
We see, then, that the series and order of creation are a series and order of envelopments; so that man being placed in this lower world, was placed in the lowest of the series of envelopments, and could ascend to heavenly knowledge only by casting off the envelopments; that is, by a process of development. Now in order to the very existence of free-will, this process must have been voluntary. Here, then, was the law of evolution : according to which the human mind arrived at the celestial state signified by the Garden of Paradise. From this elevation the Adamic Church fell, or began to decline, according to a succession of periods, states, or churches in the history of mankind, which was a succession of envelopments : that is to say, a succession according to which the original Church became more and more external. This succession of states, or process of externalization, is thus referred to in the Arcana Coelestia :
+ "The case of the Churches succeeding each other at particular periods, and of which it was said that one was descended from another, may be compared with that of fruits and their seeds; in the midst or inmost parts of which are contained, as it were, fruits of fruits, and seeds of seeds, from which the other parts that succeed each other in order, receive life; for as each part is further removed from the inmost centre toward the circumference, in the same proportion it partakes less of the essence of the fruit or seed, till at length it becomes a mere skin or covering wherein the fruits or seeds have their termination. Or, as in the case of the brain, in the inmost parts whereof are subtile organical forms called cortical substances, from which and by which the operations of the soul proceed. To those substances others succeed in order; first the purer coverings, then the denser, afterwards the common coats called meninges, which are terminated in coverings still more common, and at last in the most common or general of all, which is the skull."
This process of envelopment of the spiritual within the natural, until the spiritual had gradually disappeared from the consciousness of the human mind, continued down to the end of the Mosaic dispensation, when it reached its utmost limit, so that the Law with the Temple and
* True Christian Religion, art. 695. Article 501.
its services was one continued envelopment; the Gospel being enveloped in the Law, the New Testament in the Old, or the spiritual in the natural. Hence the saying of St. Augustine—*«In the Old Testament the New is enfolded, in the New Testament the Old is unfolded.” The Old Testament therefore is an envelopment of the New, and the New is the development of the Old. This it was that caused Augustine to say that Christianity was contained in the Old Testament from the very beginning; indeed it could not have been developed from out of the Old Testament, if it had not been there.
p"What is now called the Christian religion,” says he, “has existed among the ancients; and was not absent from the beginning of the human race until Christ came in the flesh, from which time the true religion, which existed already, began to be called Christian. From this point of view the words of Christ too, which startled the Jews, assume their true meaning, when He said to the centurion of Capernaum, * Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God.'”.
Upon the same principle it is, that it is observed in the Arcana Cælestia, I that the Adamic Church was the original of the Jewish Church; that the Jewish Church was instituted that it might represent the Adamic; that the Jewish Church was not a new Church, but a resuscitation of the ancient Church which had perished ; that the Christian Church was one with the Church instituted among the Jews, the only difference being that the former was internal, the latter external, as being only representative of what was internal; that the truths and goods of the ancient church relating to internal worship were represented in the externals of the Jewish Church, and hence in both cases were alike ; thus, that the Adamic and Jewish Churches were essentially the same, and as to internals did not differ in the least.
Now, if the internals of the Jewish Church were the same with those of the Adamic, and if they had been aptly expressed by symbols at any period in the interval between the Jewish and Adamic Churches, it will follow that there must have been prototypes of the Mosaic ritual in previous ages. Accordingly, it is observed in the Arcana Cælestia, § as we have seen, that the statutes, judgments, and laws which were given * Commentary by Archdeacon Wordsworth : Book of Kings, &c. Int. p. 24,
+ Chips from a German Workshop, being Essays on the Science of Religion, by Max Müller, Vol. I., Preface, p. 11.
See articles 886, 921, 3727, 1083, 1823, 4835, 4868, 4489, 1083, 4449, 1241, 4489.
to the Israelitish and Jewish nation were mostly not new, but such as had been before in the ancient church. These statutes, judgments, and laws were the remains or remnants of former ages, in virtue of which the continuity of the Catholic Church was preserved. Thus it was that the direct lineage of the Catholic Church proceeded from the Adamic Church to the Noachian, thence to the Hebræan, thence to the Jewish, thence to the Christian, thence it will reach to the Church coming down from God out of heaven. This lineage constituted the stem or trunk; but from this had branched off at different periods innumerable other Churches to the Gentiles, all retaining more or less traces of the primæval dispensation.
Such is the rationale of the doctrine above maintained by St. Augustine; it is the real foundation of all the spiritual interpretations by the Church of the Mosaic Law; and he who denies this principle, denies the doctrine of the continuity of the Church, and as such, the Catholicity of the Church ; nay, he denies, as we have shown above, those very laws of Creation into a knowledge of which the first Church was initiated.
We have observed that the Jews themselves, although they could see only the externals of the Law, yet preserved among themselves a traditionary school which taught similar tenets, and hence that there was something more in the Law than the mere outside envelopment. “It was supposed,” says a modern writer, * " that the diction of the Bible, that is, the holy language of God, is superhumanly profound and significant, capable of involving all future progress and mental life, pregnant of marvellous and mysterious power ; that it teaches many things at once ; hints by one word at many truths; conceals a lesson in every sign ; is designedly obscure, and frequently renounces current expressions that it may long bafle the efforts of human reflection and penetration, dimmed as these are by sorrow and suffering; but reveals itself at last to pious research ; while the enigmas that remain unsolved will one day be disclosed by the light of the Redeemer,—views which were encouraged by the peculiar and indefinite character of Hebrew phraseology, and by the indistinctness of many legal and ritual ordinances." This view of the Bible was founded, we are told, upon the principle that there is a necessary connection between the words of God and His works in nature ; for by His word were all things created.
In this tradition, then, we see the last faint traces of the ancient doctrine of Correspondence, and the real origin of the Kabbala, especially of the book Sohar, the chief object of one portion of which is to
Commentary on the Old Testament, by Dr. Kalisch, Leviticus, Part I., p. 102.
show * " the profound and allegorical import of the Mosaic commandments and prohibitions." This idea was not borrowed from any form of Platonism; rather it is that from which Platonism itself was borrowed. It is a tradition handed down from primæval times, through successive ages to the time of Moses; and thence from the Jewish to the Christian Church. It was thus that the Jewish Church was the envelopment of the Adamic, and thus that in the Jewish Church was contained the Adamic. This continuity of the Church is owing entirely to the doctrine of Correspondence : the Church which abandons this doctrine abandons its own continuity, and hence also that principle of unity, perpetuity, and catholicity in virtue of which the Church of the First Adam is the same with the Church of the Second; the First Church essentially the same with the Last. Wherefore, says the Lord, in reference to the succession of Churches upon earth, and the essential unity and continuity of all—+“I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the First and the Last, which was, and is, and is to come, the Almighty,” (pantocrator) the holder and the ruler of them all.
We have now brought down the order of transition, more especially to the time of the Jewish Age and Dispensation, and, in the observations which follow, propose to draw the attention of the reader, (1.) to the principles involved in the Transition of the Jewish into the Christian Dispensation ; (2.) the Transition of the Jewish into the Christian method of interpreting Scripture ; (3.) and lastly, the Transition of the present existing Church into the Church of the Future.
First let us direct our attention to the principles involved in the Transition from the Jewish to the Christian Dispensation.
A. C. (To be continued.)
COMING TO THE HELP OF THE LORD. (A Discourse by the Rev. John HYDE. Published by request.) “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.” (Judges v. 23.) All that God does for man, as a rational and spiritual being, He performs by means of man's coöperation. This important truth is too frequently forgotten, and too little appreciated. Instead of asking, “How will the Lord work out His benevolent purposes in regard to us ?” many are contented with saying, “ God can do all things; and
See The Kabbalah, by Dr. Ginsburg, p. 80. + Arcana Cælestia, art. 4901.
whatsoever He hath willed, He will bring to pass.” By thus thinking, many both retard the accomplishment of the Divine purposes, and altogether prevent themselves from being used as His instruments.
It is certainly true that God does much for man wholly irrespective of his coöperation, or of his consent; and much, also, without man's being even conscious that the work is being done. It is His mercy that brought us into existence. It is His loving-kindness that has watched over our early years, and preserved us. It is the over-ruling providence of God which has fashioned for us the courses of our lives, and the spheres in which we labour; which has shaped our ends so roughly hewn by ourselves. He fans our heaving lungs with breath. He maintains the constant current of our blood, both when we are wakeful and asleep. He causes our food to compensate the wear and tear of our activity. He recuperates our exhausted vitality during the silent watches of the night, and recalls us to consciousness when the sunrise reddens the hill-tops, when the dew gems the flower, and the morning song-birds carol forth their joy, as though to make us feel that life is a blessing, and to teach us to have gratitude to the Giver of life. He regulates the spiritual consociations of each soul, so as ever to preserve man in the equilibrium of liberty, and to maintain him, fairly balanced, between the double influx of good and evil. These things are essential to our existence, and to our liberty, and the Lord is the sustainer of all things which He has made. That part of our life which is thus maintained by the mercy of the Lord, apart from our coöperation, is rightly termed our “involuntary life.”
Whatever relates to the moral, mental, and spiritual progress of mankind, the Lord places more immediately under the power of man's will, and compels him to be the arbiter and fabricator of his own destiny. Having made man, and having endowed him with mental tastes, with spiritual affinities, and physical powers, the Lord has consecrated marriage as the most holy of all His institutions, and He perpetuates the human race through the voluntary coöperation of man. The sanctities of love, the solemnities of parentage, the responsibilities of educators have thus been placed within man's reach, and the Lord uses, as the instruments of His will, the rational beings whom He has endowed. The intellectual faculties with which He has blessed us can be developed by individual effort alone. Those who desire to promote the welfare of their kind, the Lord accepts and employs. Into their minds streams an influx of thought, according as their hearts burn with love, both of which enable them to be of service