« PoprzedniaDalej »
The dove corresponds to the Holy Spirit—the spirit of truth and love. This little church then, sent forth that gentle Spirit to the world of mind around, to see if the darkness of error had subsided, and they would accept the truth. But all was still false-dark as night. The dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, for the waters were on the whole face of the earth. No. mind could receive the truth. What Christian heart that has a new and heavenly truth, has not experienced the same thing in his efforts to present that truth to other minds? How often has the gentle dove returned unto him into the ark of his own bosom for a place to rest her foot!
Noah first sent forth a raven-a bird denoting very external truth. This flew to and fro in their external understandings till their falses had so subsided as to receive it. But they could receive nothing higher. It was necessary that they should first have the external truth. “First that which is natural, afterward that which is spiritual.”
But Noah, after the return of the dove, waited seven days, or till they had come into new states of mind from the exercise of natural truth; and he sent forth the dove again, or offered them the spirit of truth once
But their perceptions were still too dark to receive her, and she returned ; and “Lo, in her mouth was an olive-leaf plucked off.” The olive-tree, from its oil, denotes celestial love; the leaf denotes the truth of faith from that love. The return of the dove with the olive-leaf plucked off, denotes that they could receive some little of spiritual truth, or some faith, but could not yet receive the love The leaf was plucked off, or separated from the tree.
Noah waited yet other seven days, or for new states of mind, and sent forth the dove again, and then they received the spirit of truth. Thus the church began to spread among other minds. Now, I am aware that there are many things in this narrative which I have not mentioned ; and about which you are ready to ask questions. But remember that there is matter here for many sermons. I could glance only at the leading features. And I can only add that all may be rationally understood through the science of correspondences : that it is a beautiful, clear and comprehensive description of the fall and regeneration of man. “Forever, 0 Lord, thy Word is settled in heaven. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding and I shall live.”
CAIN, ABEL AND SETH ; CAIN'S WIFE AND THE CITY OF
" And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch."-(Gen. iv. 17.)
PERHAPS there is no passage in the Holy Word, which has caused more surprise, or been more fruitful of skepticism and cavil, than that of the text. Commentators have puzzled their brains over it for naught. Volumes have been written upon it to no purpose. The question still remains to be asked, by millions, Where did Cain get his wife ? or who was she ? And well may the candid searcher after truth ask these questions, if he looks only to this literal history for an answer. For the letter alone clearly and definitely teaches, that the human family, at that time, consisted of Adam and Eve, and their son Cain. There is no account of any more births than Cain and Abel. Who, then, could Cain have married ? and who built the city of Enoch? And yet, it appears that Cain was afraid, lest every one that should find him would slay him. Dr. Adam Clarke thinks that Adam and Eve, at this time, could have had over a thousand descendants. But it is very strange, if Adam and Eve had been populating the world, that the history should mention the names of no daughters, and of only two sons : and should mention them in such a way as to incline the reader to believe that these two children were all they had then had. For, with all the suggestions of Dr. Clarke and others, Eve still declares that her son Seth, who was not born until after Cain had built his city, was the successor of Abel and, to all appearance, the third child. For she said, at his birth, “God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew."
But why should we talk of these strange things of the letter, when the science of correspondences removes the mystery and opens, to the Biblical scholar, a new field of thought; and either closes the mouth of the skeptic, by rational and irrefutable argument, or opens it afresh with songs of praise and thanksgiving to God, for the glorious truths of His Holy Word. For the letter of the history was given solely for the sake of the spiritual sense : and when it was written it was understood ; and men read therein only a history of mental things. But, it may be asked, how so deep and obscure a science as that of correspondences could have been understood, at so early an age of the world ? We answer: when this science was first known by man, it did not require labor and study to learn and understand it, as it now does. When the human mind was in the image and likeness of God, it saw things in the light of the divine mind. Its thoughts were in the divine current. The divine goods and truths flowed into it; and it looked down synthetically from causes to effects ; and it consequently understood analogy. Man saw and acted almost instinctively, as a bird builds its nest, or a bee, its cells. He therefore understood the relation between mind and matter ; but not in his own wisdom. Yet, from his having a selfhood, and being free and rational, it appeared to him as though he saw and acted from his own wisdom and power.
Still he was capable of understanding that God was all in all, and he was not obliged to fall. But as he fell into sin, and became natural in his thoughts and feelings, he gradually lost his high position and his spirituality, until he finally became entirely natural and selfish. In this downward process, the law of analogy became a mere matter of the memory, and the correspondences were no longer understood. And then, as the people had lost the true light of that science, and as their memory, without that light, was unstable, the correspondences, as a matter of course, became corrupted, and were gradually lost sight of ; and the science became involved in darkness.
But, for a long time, the wise and learned retained that science. And it was their custom and delight to compose fables and imaginary histories of natural things and events, in consecutive order, for the purpose of describing, by analogy, certain mental progressions and developments, or changes and movements of the thoughts and feelings. In this way, the development of a human mind, in all its various and minute changes, from infancy to old age, could be accurately recorded by composing, from day to day, a history of the production, growth and changes of natural things, carefully adapt