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dence, for subduing evil : we should therefore at once he buinbled and be comforted; 4. Being humbled and comforted, we shall receive the accusations in gentleness, we shall be well minded towards our accuser, (or adversary, Matt. v. 25;) 5. We shall reflect that we could not otherwise see our evil state, and without seeing it, could neither come out of it, nor wish to come out of it; 6. We shall hereby see how useful these accusations are, that in fact they are perpetual monitors; 7. We shall therefore use them constantly as such, and, with these reflections ever before us, we shall, in humility, perpetually strive to avoid all evil, comfort ourselves with a knowledge that the work is begun and going on, and thus make the mammon of unrighteousness real friends; for when we fail, that is, come into a deep sense of our own inability, we shall learn to rely on the strength of the Lord, they will then receive us into everlasting habitations, we shall come into the life of heaven, even during our pilgrimage on earth; and when this is over, enjoy an unobscured perception of its unmixed beatitudes hereafter.
QUERIES Offered to the Members of the New Jerusalem Church for
solution. Was not the herald of the New Dispensation especially permitted to have his spiritual senses opened to the perception of things in the spiritual, while living in the natural world, that mankind might, through his experience, be made to comprehend the great subject of degrees of divine truth, and in what marner the spiritual degree exists within the natural ?
Was it not the express end in view, in making this discovery, to unfold to man the grand truth, that the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who announced himself to the Jews as the Son of God, and the son of man, was interiorly, that great God and Father, from whom descends all degrees of truth ?
Is it not, then, particularly incumbent on the recipients of the new and glorious dispensation, to direct their united labours to this grand point; and to endeavour to satisfy every sincere in. quirer after truth, in the old church, by presenting to his mind, in the most perspicuous language possible, the manner in which
Principle by sourd Jesus Christ ;.
we understand our blessed Lord to have been the the great God and Father existing in the heavens, while in the humanity he dwelt on earth, and by his holy spirit, operated throughout creation ?
May not the herald of the New Church be considered as an humble type of our glorified Lord in this grand particular? and if men can be made to understand this great truth, as it respects our blessed Saviour, will it not open their minds to the comprehension and affectionate reception of every other part of the New Dispensation ? .
If these questions should be answered in the affirmative, they will render pardonable the feeble attempt of the writer of the present article, to throw some light on this sublime subject of inquiry.
Observing, in page 420, of the 7th number of your Repository, a “ Question on the appearance of the Dove at the Baptism of our Lord,” I was induced to recur to a manuscript written some time since, entitled, “ Reflections on the Principles of Degrees unfolded in the New Dispensation ; with a Desire to explain and illustrate that Principle by some of the most prominent Events in the human Life of our Lord Jesus Christ; viewed in Connexion with several Points of Natural Philosophy.” In this manuscript I found the following observations relative to the subject in question. Should they be deemed worthy a place in your Repository, please to insert them.
Behold, then, in the very first public act of our Lord Jesus, an instance of that Godlike condescension, which is the glorious characteristic of his human life he comes to John to be baptized - Impressed with a powerful conviction of Jesus being the promised Messiah, and of his own unspeakable inferiority, hoy ; touchingly does John recoil at the thought of presuming to baptize his Lord and Master! But Jesus showing hin the expediency of the act, and the propriety of submitting to his supreme judgment, he resisted no further, but performed the interesting ceremony in the presence of all the people. And what is the wonderful effect! Behold! the heavens are opened, and the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove, rests on the blessed Jesus ! Let us now, with unfeigned solemnity inquire, whence the descent of the Holy Spirit? From what part or direction of the material heavens; from ether, or some more distant,
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unexplored region ? Does not our Lord himself inform us, “ Behold the kingdom of heaven is within you;” and from whom was this descent ? Shall we, by searching apparently immeasurable space, find the abode of the pure Divinity! the Sun of Righteousness ! Surely, rationality, as well as natural philosophy, assure us we shall thus find him only in his works; and natural phi. losophy alone, unaided by that Holy Spirit, would doubtless confirm us in the belief, that in his works only, is he to be found. Whence then, again we ask, was the descent of the Holy Spirit ? Was it not evidently a divine emanation from the Interior, the soul, thus the Father of the blessed Jesus ?
But, behold! a voice ! accompanies this gracious visitationvoice from the great I AM-proclaiming Jesus bis beloved Son! Now, whence this voice ? Could it possibly be an effect in nature? then why not believe the ancient superstition that thunder is the voice of God! oh! no, here in this whole transaction the spiritual energy is splendidly manifested by our Lord, with great power and glory; it operates on the surrounding multitude, and opens the eyes and ears of their spirits to the perception of that power, as far as they were capable of receiving the faculty of perception. The sublime truth that HE IS, HIMSELF, the very God, from whom flowed the holy spirit represented to their spiritual vision by the form of a dove; and from whom also flowed the heavenly voice proclaiming his divinity, veiled by the appellation of Son, was too truly divine, to be at that period received by any member of the Jewish Church; for well do we know, that all, even his very disciples, forsook him and fled, at the Jewish tribunal, when they found all their hopes of earthly splendour utterly cut off.
To have attempted, then, to enforce this divine truth, on the mind of the Jewish people, would have been productive of no better effect, than that of exasperating them to such an extent, as to prevent the admission of any degree of truth, into their souls; but by presenting himself to them under the natural, correspondent truth of a son of God, who, in obedience to his Father's commands, and in love to mankind, had come on earth to save sinners by teaching them, “ the way, the truth, and the life.” By presenting himself thus to the Jews, he opened a way to all the remains of good feeling, which nature had implanted in their hearts ; and drew around him, all who had any real desire for spiritual knowledge. It was, in fact, like the literal sense of the Old Testament, an apparent truth; it was brought down to the capacity of the people to whom it was addressed ; yet was calculated to raise their affections out of that state of corporeal selflove, which, being merely sensual, was a state of essential evil and falsehood.
By refraining from revealing himself explicitly, as the one LIVING and true God, Jesus was also enabled to derive important uses from that natural love of mystery, which is commonly found in the uncultivated mind; and which undoubtedly commanded that state of eager attention, that could, perhaps, by no other means have been produced. The divine voice, for the spiritual perception of which, they had been prepared, but which they ignorantly believed to be perceived by their natural sense of hearing; together with the spiritual perception of the dove announcing the blessed Jesus to be the Son of God; exalted their intellectual powers to as great a height as they were capable of bearing; and produced in every willing or good heart that first faith in the Messiah, which is the true seed of genuine repentance ; and thus accomplished the end for which it is intended throughout the church ; which end would have been wholly defeated by a higher and fuller display of the divine Truth, at that early period,
We have only then to realize, that our blessed Lord exercised his divine influence on the spiritual senses of those about him, and permitted them spiritually to see the dove and hear the voice; and for himself, being in every degree of truth, from the natural up to the divine, (though not yet fully glorified by the expulsion of the maternal humanity yet) he could be perceived equally with their spiritual and natural eyes. Our Lord performing all things according to his own laws of divine order, is it to be supposed that he created natural objects, like the dove, wine, &c., without the employment of time, space, and matter? Is it not clear then that these were spiritual creations, which we are continually told in the New Dispensation, are immediate! Had the dove been natural, how could it be visible and invisible ? Supposing these, then, to be spiritual representations, flowing immediately from his divine power, to suit the especial needs of those about him, the unity of our Lord is, we think, completely and beautifully illustrated.
Since closing the above communication, the following thoughts have presented themselves. The writer would respectfully submit them as an additional subject of animadversion.
Is it not known to us of the New Church, that the human mind, since the judgment of the spiritual world in the year 1757, is in the enjoyment of perfect freedom; and is therefore induced to extend its investigations into the intellectual world, in any direction whither it finds itself inclined? What can interest the mind of an intelligent being so powerfully as the inquiry into the mode and manner of existence of its Creator and Preserver ? Shall we be surprised, then, at questions like that respecting the Dove above-mentioned ? a question which we have even heard asked, with great earnestness, by a girl of twelve years old !
As we can recollect no passage, in the voluminous revelations of the herald of the New Church, wherein this subject is particularly explained, may it not be, that, as this is an instance in which immediate communication was made to men, from the Interior Divinity of our blessed Lord, it can only be fully comprehended by ascending to the celestial sense, in comparison with which, even the spiritual, is in a degree of obscurity. The spiritual sense of the sacred Scriptures, in its regular series, is pretty fully given to our highly favoured church ; may not her advanced members be sometimes permitted to rise even above the spiritual sense, and perceive glimpses of the celestial, as the distinguished members of the old church seem to have had glimpses of the spiritual sense, previous to its development ?
The celestial sense, we are informed, treats entirely of the Lord ; when, therefore, a devout soul, driven by the keenest external temptation, to the Fountain of Love, has long and steadily fixed its adoring eye on this glorious object of holy contemplation-may not the Father of our spirits grant some special glances of divine mercy to illuminate the dark abyss, and cheer the weary pilgrim ?
Shall the writer then be accused of vanity or presumption in indulging a hope, that the thoughts thus presented, are from an elevated source—and may not be unproductive of some little use, in aiding the researches of congenial minds ?