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Now if after a view of these causes of disregarding these valuable truths, we apply ourselves with earnestness and candour to attain to the knowledge of them, prejudice and ignorance must immediately give way; but the love of evils can only be removed by reformation of conduct and renewal of spirit, agreeable to what they direct and enforce by the most powerful arguments, drawn from God's Word- and the reasonableness of the things treated of therein.
The Lord in infinite love and condescension to the weakness of mankind, accommodates his mode of instructing them to their particular prejudices, in different ages and among different nations: When the Israelites were called out of Egypt, the eastern world were in general much attached to sacrificial worship; wherefore Moses was ordered to institute a religion chiefly consisting of sacrifices. At the time when the Lord came into the world in person, oral teaching much prevailed in Greece, Italy, and also in Judea; each eloquent leader having many adherents or disciples; hence it was that the Lord adopted this mode of instructing men at that time, and sent his first apostles to teach in the same manner in all nations. But when the time was come for the Lord's second advent, the true meaning of his Word more clearly discovered, and his prophecies accomplished, the art of printing had come into general use in Europe, and therefore this plan was deemed inost proper for the propagation of the
New Jerusalem doctrines. And certainly it behoves ús. to accede to the plan now adopted by the Lord, for the information of mankind in the important truths of the new dispensation of love and wisdom, by procuring them, and with diligence and attention reading them, for our own information and salvation;, and by using our best endeavours to communicate them to all others, both learned and unlearned.
Every person who can read, if he be disposed to be informed in the doctrines, should be provided with the smaller works of E. S. however poor he may be, at the expence of the Society in the place of his residence. And it might be well if every one would read them for the information of his family, if he has one, and also give it in charge to his children and relatives who may probably survive him, to keep the writings of E. S. in the family to future generations, for their use successively,
In regard to public teaching by ministers, so much esteemed by the multitude at this day; it is shewn in the writings of E. S, to be less impressive, and hence. less, useful than free discussion : for to hear an individual only, without enquiry or reply, leaves little or no impression on the mind, but passes away; whereas if a question be proposed, and candidly explained and illustrated, it makes a strong impression; and indeed this was the mode used in the schools of the old philosophers, it also was in the school of Jesus Christ, see Conj. Love n. 183. Not that preaching should be laid aside, no H h 2
such thing is meant, bnt it is here meant, that preaching should not be considered as the only or chief modo of instruction in the New-Church, as it has been in the former Church, which there is reason to apprehend is one cause of that barrenness of genuine religion, in knowledge and practice, so justly complained of at this day; for thereby in general is only produced that natural or persuasive faith, treated of in the small tract of E. S. intituled The Doctrine of Faith for the New Jerusalem.
The sense of seeing corresponds with intelligence; that of hearing with obedience, hence they who receive instruction more immediately by the eye, are called intelligences; they who receive it more by the ear, are called obediences in the other world. Intelligence is in a higher degree spiritual, obedience in a lower degree; or the intelligent obey the truth because they see it, the obedient because they are told or hear it; the latter are comparatively external men, the former comparatively internal : There are both kinds in the Church, and therefore both kinds of instruction are to be attended to with care. But if we go on to read the Word under the divine influence of the Lord, we shall be by him introduced into the temple of wisdom, that is, to see the Lord or his truth, in the genuine sense of his Word, in his works and providence, “ Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God," Matt, v. 8. And by every person reading for himself, with care and
attention, the writings of E. S. for the sake of his salvation, the Lord will become his light and guide into all heavenly order and peace. For it is written, “ The city (New Jerusalem) had no need of the sun or of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof," Rev. xxi. 23.
“ This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws ipțo their minds, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord, for all shall know me from the least to the greatest," Heb. viii. 10, 11.
TO THE EDITORS. GentLEMEN, MANY of the illustrations of Scripture passages, given by P. A. in your Aurora, are no doubt correct and useful: but I observe, that in your last number for January, page 306, a sense has been attached to the word host, which is neither justified by the true meaning thereof in the English language, nor by it's internal signification. The writer has erroneously supposed it to be synonimous with army, and has accordingly given a spiritual interpretation to the passage, which нь 3
(though useful in other respects) does not appear to be properly applied. The word host it is true, does signify army, but not in the passage in question, viz. Luke X. 35; for there it means the master of the inn, one who receives and entertains guests or strangers. The two words in the original are widely different, and bear different significations. In the spiritual sense by the host, who receives guests, is meant the faculty of reception in man; by the two-pence given to him, good and truth in the lowest degree, which if rightly used, by application to the purposes of spiritual life, will be repaid, that is, will be abundantly increased and multiplied. It is a prominent doctrine of the New-Church, that all influx is according to efflux; in other words, that in proportion as we exercise the faculties already given, by communicating to others whatever of good and truth we may have received, in the same proportion our faculties of reception are enlarged, and we our selves enriched with further supplies of spiritual good from the Lord. This appears to be the true internal signification of the words in the text. If, Gentlemen, you are of the same opinion, I trust your insertion of the above observations will be kindly received by P. A. as I assure you they are well meant by
P. S. In the note page 322, it is stated, that the late Mr. Leicester was formerly a member of St. John's College, Cambridge; but this, I believe is a mistake;