Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

which is the foundation of all heavenly life in the soul. From truths, as living principles in the mind, arise all beauty and loveliness, which characterize the angels of heaven; in short, by virtue of truth, heaven and the church exist, and man is only a man in proportion as his mind and life are guided by Truth and actuated by Love.

Let those, therefore, who think it scarcely matters, whether they are acquainted with true doctrine or not, provided their life be morally correct, carefully beware, lest, except they become receptive of truth from a deep interest felt in its immense importance, they do, as the prophet says, cause the “ Lord's soul to depart from them, and thus become desolate, like a land not inhabited,"

Minus,

REMARKS ON THE PAPER OF O. P. IN THE LAST

NUMBER,

To the Editors of the Intellectual Repository. GENTLEMEN, Your intelligent correspondent 0. P. says “ the continent of all forms is material.” If this were true, it appears to me that in heaven there would be no form, and that God who existed before all matter, would be truly described in the Old Church article as “ without body or parts.” If in heaven there be forms where matter is not, matter cannot be the continent of all forms.

I can perfectly understand your correspondent, when he says a little further

on, “ The Divine Being fixes for a basis of correspondence the things which proceed from himself; which things are finited and always act according to the laws of order : thus the natural world is the basis of the spiritual, because it corresponds to it.” This appears clear enough; he here speaks of things and of the natural world, That things of the natural world correspond to things of the spiritual world, is a New Church truth; but it appears to me that the argument would be clearer if matter 6 or material” were left out of the question, The epithet natural, in New Church language, does not imply material, but the forms, qualities, and uses of things created; which forms, qualities, and uses are incorporated, temporarily, with matter in this world, for the use of man while existing with a material body; and the material body of a man implies only a certain quantum of inert matter necessary for the soul's use.

Thinking thus, I cannot agree with O. P. when he further says, “ also the human soul is based upon the material body, because it is a N. 8. NO. 32.-VOL. 3.

BR

corresponding form.” The natural body is a corresponding form, but not the material body. Natural and material mean one and the same thing, or they do not; if they do not, as matter evidently implies lifeless elements, natural things or bodies must certainly imply something superior to matter. Natural is a spiritual word, material is not. We read in St. Paul of “first that which is natural and then that which is spiritual,” implying a natural basis but not a material. To say “ first that which is material and then that which is spiritual,” would, I think, be somewhat absurd. A natural man is a spiritual being, so also is a spiritual man and a celestial. The natural man is a spiritual being of a lower order, and a celestial man of the highest ; and Swedenborg speaks of those who descend below the natural degree, so as to be only corporeal, not meaning even here that man is material, but implying, by the word corporeal, the most degraded state of a spiritual being-using the word spiritual in two senses, to imply specifically the second degree of the heavens, and generally the whole spiritual world, including the heavens and the hells, and all men in all worlds.

That natural things, or natural thoughts or ideas and feelings are the bases of things spiritual we have in the New Church no doubt. I therefore thus far object only to terms, and the omission of the epithet material would be, in my opinion, an improvement. But if we read the clause last quoted with this alteration, it seems still objectionable. “ Also the human soul is based upon the natural body because it is a corresponding form.” According to my understanding of the New Church doctrine, the natural body is the effect and the spiritual body the cause. If this be true the soul cannot be based upon the natural body because it is a corresponding form; but the soul is the cause of the natural body, and therefore the body corresponds to the soul, as the effect to its cause. The soul is based then on the natural body, and the natural body therefore corresponds. Literally speaking, a man lays a foundation and then builds the superstructure; but spiritually speaking, the house is built first, or else it could not be known what foundation would be required; so that the house is the cause of the foundation, and not the foundation of the house, as the angelic heavens are the cause of all natural creations, and not vice versa ; therefore heaven is not based on the natural world because the latter corresponds; but the latter corresponds as a necessary consequence of the producing cause, which cause makes it to correspond, and thus answer the end designed, which is the antecedent of all things.

On the subject of language, does not (). P. run counter to his previous argument? In the opinion that languages are not permanent, and have no value in themselves but in proportion as they are subser. vient to embody forth our ideas, I quite agree. I believe that Hebrew and Greek are only necessary for the conservation of the doctrines of the Word; and that, when they are efficiently translated into any other language, that language will do as well as Hebrew or Greek: indeed, I have no doubt but that the English language is far superior to either. For language being the product of thought and science, and consisting of signs and sounds, whereby thoughts and ideas may be registered and communicated from one to another, the English language must necessarily be better, because the English have far exceeded the Hebrews or Greeks, both in philosophy and science. In all this I agree with O. P.; but when he says, therefore, “ ideas are the proper basis of language,” I differ from him, and conclude, agreeably to his previous argument, that language is the basis and continent of ideas. If the natural body, which is the effect of a living soul, be the continent and basis of the soul ; and if all things in nature, the effects of divine love and wisdom, correspond thereto; if they are the continent and basis of that love and wisdom, then, in like manner, does it appear to me that language is the continent and basis of thoughts, ideas, &c. As the Creator brings his love and wisdom into ultimates, so also does man his desires and thoughts; and his words and actions are the continent and basis of his desires and thoughts. I consider it would be quite contrary to New Church doctrine to say that, of a good action, charity was its basis or continent. If a man have charity he is in the continual endeavour to communicate good to his fellowcreatures. His actions, which are the ultimates, are more changeable than language,—they are dependent on circumstances : to one neighbour he may find it necessary to give some clothing, to another pecuniary aid; for another he may build a house. Whenever we see these things done, we see the effects or ultimates of the desires and thoughts of him by whom they are done, and can rationally conclude to this extent-"if the doer of these things be actuated by selfish motives, and do them to receive his reward of the world, in elevation to offices of emolument, or the reputation of the world ; or deep deceptions to be practised under a false external guise; if such be the case, then his conduct, with the ulterior things it is intended to promote, are the continent and basis of his evil, selfish, and worldly desires; but if actuated by pure undefiled love towards the neighbour, then are these things the basis and continent of true charity, which is the internal essence they shadow forth.

I am sure your correspondent will take these observations in good part, and will adopt the suggestions if, on consideration, his judgment should pronounce them true; and if otherwise, I shall be happy to be corrected by further explanations.

I am, yours, &c.

OBSERVER.

REVIEWS.

An Exposition of the whole Book of the Prophet Daniel, according to

the Correspondence existing between Natural and Spiritual things, as given by the Lord, through the instrumentality of the Scribe of the New Church, the Hon. Emanuel Swedenborg: being Nineteen Discourses. By the late Rev. Manoah SIBLY, Pp. 229. London:

Simpkin and Marshall. This work is preceded by an excellent sermon preached on occasion of the removal into the spiritual world of the venerable author, by the Rev. T. C. Shaw, which forms, we think, an appropriate introduction, containing an account of the author, and of the manner in which be became acquainted with the writings of the New Dispensation. During the long period of fifty-two years this excellent man was assiduously employed from Sabbath to Sabbath in making known from the pulpit the genuine doctrines of Christianity and the pure truths of the Word, as developed in the writings of the enlightened Swedenborg. By a mind so much exercised in the study of truth, from the highest and purest motives, perceptions of a very interior character, were, no doubt, enjoyed; by which those, who could appreciate his ministerial labours were greatly edified. The volume before us consists of a series of discourses preached on the prophet Daniel, and as the late venerable author, doubtless, consulted the expositions of these important prophecies, as far as they are spiritually explained by the enlightened Swedenborg, we welcome the volume as an important addition to our theological library, as a valuable means of attaining a knowledge of the spiritual sense and application of these prophetic declarations.

The prophet Daniel is distinguished from the other prophets in a very marked and peculiar manner. His prophecies have a direct relation to the consummation of the Christian church. This is evident from the reference which the Lord himself makes to this prophet, (see

Matt. 24; 15, Mark 13; 14,) when divinely predicting the “time of the end.” It is, therefore, of great consequence, that the church should be in possession of the genuine spiritual interpretation of this prophet; and every person who desires this, will be glad to avail himself of the enlightened perceptions of the late Mr. Sibly, as a means to this desirable end.

These discourses are not mere abstract expositions; they are eminently practical; since the spiritual sense discovers to man, that he is either the Lord's church in its least form, or the opposite. All the destructive principles represented by Babylon, in its perverted sense, exist and are more or less active in every unregenerate mind. It is thus that the Word of God is ever living, and, like its divine author, the “same yesterday, to-day, and for ever," although in its literal sense it treats of persons and events that have long since been only matters of history. Hence the unspeakable value of the knowledge which opens to our discernment and reflection the spiritual sense of the Word. Mr. Sibly has applied this knowledge to the searching out of the real qualities of the heart and life, and has traced the love of dominion grounded in the love of self, which is the most diabolical love that can actuate the human breast, in many of its most insidious and malignant forms and modes of operation. The author has, also, in many cases, traced the proximate spiritual sense, and shewn how in the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches these prophecies have been fulfilled, until the consummation and the end were accomplished, until the “abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet stood in the holy place."

We are glad to observe that this volume is more exempt from singularities of style, than any compositions we remember to have seen by the same author. We sincerely recommend it our readers.

[ocr errors]

The Parent's Friend; or, Essays on Domestic Education. By the

Rev. WILLIAM Mason, one of the Ministers of the New Christian Church. London; J. S. Hodson; Glasgow, J. and G. Goyder.

and Manchester, E. Heywood. Pp. 132. The subject which this interesting little work professes to discuss, is decidedly one of the most important that we can possibly contemplate. The groundwork of every thing good, wise, useful, and happy, must be laid in childhood and youth. This is a proposition which is admitted by nea all thinkers and writers on education: and domestic education is certainly the principal, if not the only means, by which

« ZurückWeiter »