« PoprzedniaDalej »
of God, and the Only Begotten of the Father, which expressions seem to imply, as do many others, a distinction of persons, although this term is not to be found in any of the books of the Word. “Nevertheless, when He was as it were born again, or made divine, it was from Jehovah, who was in Him as to the very esse of life.” No. 2798. Reason cannot well comprehend how this was accomplished : but some resemblance of the process may be traced in regeneration. Men, agreeably to the apostolic saying, are thereby made new creatures in Jesus Christ, and consequently by Him. They are convinced that they cannot truly love Him without keeping his commandments. They become thus sensible of the truth, that of themselves they are nothing but evil, and thus liable to be seduced by their hereditary corruptions, and prompted by the Evil One to indulge in them. Hence struggles and combats arise in their minds between these and the good principles implanted in them by reading the Word, and learning the doctrines thence derived. Those trials, as far as they rely upon divine aid and assistance, serve to confirm their faith in their Heavenly Father, and thus they are at length enabled to have His divine face, as their God and Saviour, with his holy fear, continually before their eyes. Although they do not know whence the spirit cometh, and whither it goeth, they become gradually affected by the divine operation ; their understandings are enlightened, and their affections purified. In short, by shunning all evils as sins, they labour to acquire the state of little children, or of that innocence which, with the heavenly inhabitants, is conjoined with wisdom :—then, and not before, is their regeneration complete ; whilst their love and wisdom continue upon the increase forever, by virtue of new supplies from their Infinite Fountain, according to their several capacities of meetness for reception.
Baptizing, among the Jews, was a sign of the purification and regeneration of man by the Lord. But as to the Lord Himself, it signified the glorification of His human principle ; therefore, when the Lord permitted John to baptize Him, He said, Thus it becometh to fulfil all justice, Matt. iii. 15. To fulfil all the justice of God, denotes to subdue the hells, and to reduce them and the heavens into order, from his own proper power, and at the same time to glorify His human, which things were effected by temptations into Himself, thus by continual coinbats with the
im. See Tegenerate mahe hells, and"
hells, even to the last on the cross. By the glorification of His human, He let himself into the power, that from the divine human He might to eternity subjugate the hells, and keep the heavens in order, and thereby regenerate man, that is, deliver him from hell, and save him. See No. 10239. Thus the prophecy, according to the spiritual sense, is fulfilled : “ He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows : he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed." Isaiah iv. 4, 5.
The following elucidation of the Lord's baptism is contained in the Universal Theology of the New Church.
It is recorded that the Lord, full of the Holy Spirit, by which is signified the divine operation proceeding from God, returned from Jordan, and that the Spirit led Him into the wilderness, where He was tempted forty days by the devil. Hence it would seem that the baptism of His humanity was a measure preparatory to the grievous temptations with which He permitted it to be assailed. These He upon that occasion repelled, and finally triumphed over all the principalities and powers, leading captivity captive, or liberating the spirits in prison from that thraldom in which they had been held by the Satanic crew. In this point of view, it may be said, He descended into hell itself.
I would refer the friend and well-wisher of the New Jerusalem Church, and all others who may entertain doubts upon the subject of the Divine Trinity or Unity, to the small treatise concerning the Lord. The time has now arrived for the human understanding to be enlightened with the true knowledge of the divinity, the foundation of all other knowledges, and the medium for effecting a reformation, not merely from the superstition and the more gross errors of Popery, but from the fatal tenets of predestination and faith alone. Such a reformation will produce a change of the heart and of the life, and thus will the prediction of ancient prophecy be fulfilled, “ In that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” “In that day living waters shall go out from Jerusalem, and the Lord shall be King over all the Carth.”
Gentlemen, The following maxims are collected from conversations I had with the venerable and reverend J. Clowes; and as they bear a characteristic mark of his piety and intelligence, and all tend to the perfection of good and of happiness, I beg leave to offer them for insertion in your valuable Repository. Your obliged and humble servant,
J. F. E.
The best time is now; and the best place is here.
To serve from love is not only to be free, but to be happy; He who serves every one in the universe is the Lord himself.
All uses, even the lowest, are from the LORD, and He is present at their performance.
The Lord provides most wonderfully for all our comforts. Can man make a single grain to grow ? or a blade of grass ?
Jesus was recognized by his disciples in the breaking of bread; so spiritual good can only be received by breaking it, or by viewing it distinct in the understanding.
Every one, though by means of regeneration be has a heaven within, carries also his hell along with him; and the LORD provides that from this evil even a good is derived ; for the evil, when it does not mix nor join with the good, brings it more forward, aids its growth, and fixes it more steadfastly ;-the evil will be looked upon with due aversion and detestation.
The love of wisdom which we have is selfish, but the love of growing wise is heavenly; what we possess is always infinitely little, compared with what we have to obtain.
Patience is endurance of evil without falling into violence : or more properly speaking, patience is protection from the Lord, by ministration of his angels of tranquillity and peace, proceeding from Him when we look up to Him. When evil spirits approach us and we fret, this is their delight, and becomes their abode; but by looking up for assistance to the Lord, we open the door for heavenly light to enter, and this removes the evil spirits, for they cannot endure it. In the spiritual state, evil and false are subdued by truth, and in the celestial state by good.
To make an estimate of our possessions or our fortune, we may ask, how much we would take to part with one of our fingers ? or, if we rightly value the Sacred Scriptures, how much would content us to lose one of the hundred and fifty psalms ?-and so of the rest.
In speaking of property, what man is in the habit of duly estimating his spiritual property, or the extent thereof, when he can say, The Lord is my portion? And with the LORD we further possess all His kingdoms in the heavens.
Even the common actions of use may convey a spiritual lesson to a reflecting mind; as, when we wash our hands with water and soap in the morning, we find a representation that natural truth, to which water corresponds, must be joined with the principle of good, to which the oil or fat in the soap corresponds; but we further find that oil and water will not conjoin themselves, without the medium of salt in the soap, which corresponds to the desire of conjunction of good with truth; (A. C. 10300) but when in this manner natural truth is conjoined with spiritual good, it cleanseth the interior body, as water and soap will the exterior.
Adversity or crosses in life are of use to preserve the equilibrium or balance, when we have become possessed of spiritual treasure, particularly to those who press forward in a sanguine temper, and are liable to exultation.
To stand still under any present attainment, whether of goodness or wisdom, is to change its character from progressive to stagnant.
Rivers represent living waters from their fountain or from the LORD; stagnant waters, those that are separated and become putrid.
Pray daily to the Lord to be placed or preserved into the sphere of innocence, of conjugial love, and of the love of performing uses.
HOPE. What is hope ? All agree that it remains with us to the last moment of earthly existence. It bears us up, in the midst of the greatest and most complicated troubles. It sees a brighter prospect in the future, when Reason is enveloped in total darkness. What is it then? Is it a human principle ? No: it is in fact
The Divine LIFE IN THE Soul. It is immortal, and not to be extinguished by the storms or clouds of this inferior atmosphere. Let all strive then to entertain it, as the most exalted and most blessed of visiters.
“ Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness.”
Luke xvi. 9. Mammon, in a natural sense, is the riches of this world, as is well known to all. In a spiritual sense, it is the riches of the eternal world, and these are the knowledges of the truths of the Lord's kingdom, of the divine laws which teach us to regulăte our spiritual life, and prepare us for the heavens. But how are we to make friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, and what are these? They are the knowledges, with the evil, of the truths which relate to the spiritual life; for the evil, even the evil spirits of hell, have these knowledges, or rather appear to have them. It is by these they accuse and bring the spirit of man into straitness, distress, and condemnation : for the evil spi. rits never accuse us of doing good. When the Lord, by his divine presence and illumination, labours to form in us a conscience, with the life of truth and good, they are present, and perpetually aggravate, by showing our deficiencies and perpetual short-comings of the divine law, that we may be brought into condemnation and despair, and be discouraged from travelling the road to Ca. naan, suggesting that the Anakim are there, and that it is a land which eateth up the inhabitants thereof. They are said to be the mammon of unrighteousness, because the evil have them for the purpose of doing mischief to others, and employ them to injare and destroy. But how shall we make them friends ? These words relate especially to the states of accusation by evil spirits, when the Lord is about to form the spiritual life within us. We are to make them friends, 1. By reflecting that they can exist only by divine permission, which is from the infinite mercy of the Lord, and that he would permit it only for good ; 2. That we could not be accused, unless a conscience was beginning to be formed; for, before this, we are indifferent whether our actions are spiri. tually good or evil, or we should not have given occasion for such accusations ; 3. That we are in reality evil, and that the accus. ing spirits are but instruments, in the hands of the Divine Provi.