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offspring from the Word those holy truths which are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness; and by so training them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, as that finally they may be made perfect, being thoroughly fur. nished unto all good works.
It would well become the Baptists, who contend for what they call “ believers' baptism,” and who assert that children are not fit subjects for baptism, because they cannot understand, (and therefore cannot believe,) to define clearly, at what age children can and do become “ believers "; and supposing these sectarians hastily to reply,—“when they cease to be children and become adults,” I would advise them seriously to consider the import of the words of their Lord and Saviour, where he says, “ Whoso shall offend one of these LITTLE ONES which BELIEVE IN ME.” Let them consider whether they may not be offending their little ones by counting them not as believers, while their heavenly Father judges of them differently. One thing is certain, that there are
aye, “ little children,” whom their Lord declares can and do believe in Him. What then is believers' baptism, while confined to adults, but a clear infraction of the Divine Will, by setting up a human invention above a divine institution ? It cannot be a belief in the doctrine of the Baptists, grounded in understanding, that constitutes “ believers;" for that doctrine they themselves confess cannot be understood by any one, it being an impenetrable mystery! and, therefore, according to their system, adults and infants are on a par,-neither can understand, and therefore neither can believe!
A very young child can believe in the Lord according to the New Church doctrines, because it can readily understand that God came into the world as a man, and was named Jesus Christ, that he might save his people from their sins; but if it is not fitting that a child should be baptized until it can understand the doctrines called orthodox and evangelical, its baptism should certainly never take place on this side the grave!
THE CORRESPONDENCE OF SPIRITUAL WITH
The truth expressed in the heading of this article is declared by our author in D. L. IV. n. 324.
Much attention being drawn to the important subject of the nature of correspondences, it appears necessary to consider whether the correspondence of spiritual things is with the obvious uses of natural things, which fall under the view even of the simple; or whether it is with the recondite uses, which are obvious only to the philosopher, or with both.
Take an instance from the Word. In the 13th chapter of Luke there is contained a parable of a fruitless fig-tree, which the owner desired the dresser of his vineyard to cut down, when the latter pleaded for it in the following terms; “let it alone this year also till I shall dig about it and dung it.” Now it has been a subject of discussion how dung contributes to the fertility of the earth, and it has been said that it owes its stimulating power to the salts of ammonia, or volatile alkali, which it contains. Supposing, then, that it is necessary to determine this point before the correspondence of dung can be deduced, the spiritual sense of the Word becomes exclusively the property of the philosopher. This I cannot think was intended to be the case.
At present I am inclined to conclude, that the correspondence is with dung, not because it is supposed to contribute certain salts to the earth, but because of its obvious properties ; first, as sending forth a stench, which is an evil use, by which man is admonished of its hurtful nature, in· some respects; and secondly, its obvious use arising from its ascertained capability of fertilizing the earth. Both these properties are obvious to the simple equally with the scientific; and it is readily perceived, that the stench represents influx from hell which induces temptations, and that the fruitfulness of the earth caused by means of dung, denotes spiritual fertility of the mind resulting from such temptations.
Whether there is a still deeper correspondence than this, and which is discoverable by the philosopher, I do not attempt to determine; but I incline to think, that it is the obvious use of any substance which is to be regarded, in order to trace out its spiritual correspondence accurately.
Thus the correspondence of water is not with it as a compound of certain
gases in certain proportions, but with it on account of its external and internal use, in cleansing our bodies and clothes, and affording refreshment as a drink.
For the same reason, admitting that human inventions are such a corresponding manifestation of internal things in external, according to the relation of cause and effect, that we may trace out from them evidences of the spiritual states which are their causes, I should proceed to note their obvious use, not to inquire into the mode of its production. Suppose I direct my thought to the gas lights by which our temporal comfort is so much improved, I should say, perhaps, that this increased means of natural light appears to correspond to the increased means of spiritual light afforded to the world by means of the doctrines of the New Church. I am disposed to consider that if I were, in addition to this, to proceed to seek the correspondence of the coal, and the gas extracted from it, I might, perhaps, be disposed to take it in a bad
and deduce from it the strong glare of self-intelligence which we perceive around us, derived from a natural-rational principle formed only from inferior things; while another interpreter of correspondences, might think he saw clearly the correspondence of the inferior things of the natural mind purified and made useful, and contributive to the greater effulgence of divine truth by their illustrations and confirmations.
So again, I might venture while contemplating the vast speed afforded by the locomotive steam engine in carrying us from place to place, to conclude, that it effigies the increased means afforded by New Church truths of advancing their sincere recipients from state to state in the spiritual life; but if I ventured further than this, I might be taking the steam process in a good sense as to its particulars, (like Viator, in p. 476,) while another (like Mr. Clowes, in p. 356,) might choose to take it in a bad sense; and where is the authority to be found in such case who is competent to judge betwixt us ?
I have no objection whatever to the ascertainment of the applicability of the science of correspondences to human affairs; but I hope those who exercise themselves in this direction will prefer the guidance of sober judgment, to that of an ingenious fancy.
In conclusion I beg to observe, that some readers appear to think that all visible objects in this world are manifestations of the states of its inhabitants, and that they exist from such states as effects from their spiritual causes. I do not deduce any such conclusion from the statement of E. S. that natural things are effects existing from causes in the spiritual world. I understand that all visible objects in the spiritual world are produced from, and according to the states of its inhabitants, and thus are effects from a spiritual cause to which they correspond ; but visible objects here exist by an influx from the spiritual into the natural world; and no further than this, so far as I can perceive, are natural effects produced from spiritual causes. A horse seen in the spiritual world is an effect immediately produced by a certain cause, that is, a state of the understanding of truth with some
one there, of which that animal is a representative or correspondence. But if horses in this world were effects produced from the states of its inhabitants, in respect to their understanding of the Word, as their cause of existence, of this I am sure, that the breed of horses would have become very much smaller, weaker, and uglier than we find it ! It is only in the spiritual world that sensible objects are effects immediately produced from a spiritual cause, to which they correspond; and hence it is that natural objects here bear a similar correspondence to things spiritual, as do similar objects when seen in the spiritual world.
HOW FAR ARE THE OBJECTS OF NATURE
AFTER I had despatched my former paper, I read the article of
VIATOR,” in No. 24; the following observations may therefore be considered as a sort of postscript to the former article.
The question placed at the head of this paper I do not purpose to answer fully; my chief object is to suggest it for the consideration of the readers of the Magazine. I appeal to their experience and their knowledge of plain facts.
E. S. says (A. C. n. 2763), “ Hence it is evident whence came the representatives and significatives contained in the Word, namely, from the representatives which exist in another life: it was from another life that such representatives came to the men of the most ancient church, who had communication with spirits and angels.” It was not, it appears, from a knowledge of the order of the natural objects in this world that the science of correspondences originated, but from a knowledge of the relation of exterior to interior things in another life ; and why? The reason is obvious to those who remember, that all external things change in another life according to the changes of state with those who are surrounded by them; and thus those things are related to those changes like cause and effect, and according to a fixed rule,—the law (from the knowledge of which comes the science) of correspondence. But this rule is not applicable to the natural world, because there objects are not produced instantaneously; they are not variable like spiritual external objects; but are so fixed, that changes under common circumstances, take place in them only very slowly,
and imperceptibly. Objects in the spiritual world correspond to the states
Such were some of the thoughts that arose in my mind on reading the following astounding declarations of VIATOR (p. 528). “In the natural world also, [as well as in the spiritual world, that is] every form of life,-every object, whether animate or inanimate, has the same relative connexion with the mental states of its inhabitants; and changes in these as surely (and of course as quickly!) produce corresponding vicissitudes in nature.” Again; “Every country in its climate and productions corresponds to, and is spiritually representative of, the character of its inhabitants.” Such are the declarations, the well considered conclusions, presented to us under the attractive title, “ Correspondence, a practical science.” I call upon its author therefore, as a professedly practical man, to prove his position; and if he can do it, my amazement will then exceed that which now overwhelms me.
But let him endeavour to prove it by a simple appeal to known facts, and lay aside well worded, but misty trains of reasoning, by which uneducated minds are captivated, and simple minds are confounded. To my perceptions, the position advanced is utterly untrue, and impossible to be true. Besides, what is meant by the 66 character of its inhabitants ?” Is it the spiritual character which is meant? Is it the spiritual character of the majority, which is wicked, or of the small minority, which is good? Which of these states or characters is thus actually exhibited representatively in the regions of nature? It cannot be the civil character which is meant,