Abbildungen der Seite

No better idea of the wonderful process of regeneration can be gained than by tracing the progress of Israel from Egypt through the wilderness into Canaan. Outwardly, regeneration appears as something very simple; yet inwardly it is one of the most astounding operations of Providence, continuing from the first breath to the last, and thence eternity! All these wonderful operations can be carried on by the Lord if man will only shun evils because they are sins,—this gives the man a coöperative power with the Lord, and regeneration is the result. There are three great divisions in regeneration, and each of these bas an indefinite variety of subordinates.

Let us now take another circumstance in the life of Abraham, and read the typical meaning. How severely some writers have commented upon his seemingly cruel conduct in casting from his house Hagar and Ishmael; but when the mental state corresponding to this historical fact is seen, we shall find it could not have been otherwise, -if the representation was to be fixed in history, no other circumstance but this could have been of avail. We must bear in mind that there was a constraining Providence assisting to produce this panorama of patriarchal life, to be unfolded when the inward church was ready to read the mystery.

Take, for instance, a man advancing in the path of regeneration, or, what amounts to the same, becoming a real man in the sight of God. The internal principle of such a man is filled with good, and that good requires a rational faculty to be in agreement with it. We can easily imagine, as belonging to the same individual, a reasoning faculty that is always disputing for the sake of obtaining victory. Such a state of mind is not in agreement with those holy principles which belong to the inward man, which cannot tolerate such vain disputations. Ishmael's hand was against every man; so with this natural rational,—it never has good for its end, it is selfish in all its operations; and if there is to be peace in the house of the soul, it must be cast out, for it cannot inherit the graces of the mind typified by Abraham-the process of regeneration rejects it, together with its mother the Egyptian bondmaid. Ishmael is not from a genuine marriage; and no principles can reside in the mind that is born again but those that arise from a true marriage. In thinking about marriage, we are too prone to dwell upon bodily conjunction, forgetting that there is mental marriage as well as mental concubinage. When the Scripture speaks of individuals being allied to any but the real wife, it points out a connection, though not a conjunction, between some desires that are genuine with thoughts that are spurious, because not in agreement with Divine Truth. It was permitted

The Intellectual Repository, June 2, 1862.

in a representative of a church such as the Jewish to do these things, because no real injury could be done by that process to such externallyminded men; but with the Christian, it is fatal. It is a most remarkable circumstance that Sarai, Abraham's wife, could not bear children until she gave Hagar to her husband. This historical relation is replete with wonderful arcana, and may be comprehended if the mind is capable of perceiving the representative character of Sarai. She denotes intellectual truth. Examine the development of mind, and you will find that it is requisite for children to be instructed in the common things of life, which are sciences. Parents are often embarrassed with the questions they ask; they cannot appeal to the rational, because it is not yet active, or born, much less the purely intellectual ; and

very often the answers to some of their questions involve an appeal to these great principles. The only way to act in such cases, is to answer according to appearances. The good of the internal man is united as in a marriage to pure intellectual truth, which is signified by Sarai; how easy, then, it is to see that Sarai cannot bear children until the handmaid, or the affection of science, has produced in the mind a certain degree of rationality, or reasoning from things seen. Such is the child that was born of Hagar; and this from the internal man represented by Abraham. We may also now perceive the hidden meaning of the circumstance that Hagar, after conception, despised her mistress Sarai. The first development of science is generally in opposition to truly religious truth, or truth belonging to the Lord and the life after death; as, for instance, when such a principle is told, that neither angels nor men think from themselves, but from others, and primarily from the Lord. We often, from experience, have a confirmation of this in the case of scientific professors, who frequently despise the pure truths of faith, as Hagar, when she was with child, despised her mistress Sarai. Oh, that all who are in this state would take the advice of the angel-"Return unto thy mistress, and submit thyself to her;" or, let all scientific attainments be in subordination to real religion. Children in the Word are representative of truths or falses, according to the subject: thus, when an individual is full of truths, divine, moral, and rational, the Psalmist says—“Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them." The quiver is put for the understanding, for this contains truths as the quiver holds arrows. When the church has been deprived by evils and falses of genuine truths, “ Rachel weeps for her children, and will not be comforted, because they are not;” but when the church or individual is filled with fallacies and evils from the lust of dominion, the language of Scripture is—"Happy is he that taketh thy little ones, and dasheth them against the stones,"—or, destroys such things by the truths of the Word, because these truths are derived from Divine Truth, or the Lord, who is the chief Corner Stone.

Scripture biographies are replete with instruction, and tend in a remarkable way to expand the mind with spiritual and celestial things. Every leading transaction serves as a beacon to guide the thoughts to some prominent landmark in the regenerate life. The fact of Abraham taking Lot with him to the land promised, their separation, and the rescue of Lot afterwards by Abraham, form an epitome of the progress of the inward and outward man towards that union so often spoken of in the Word. Man could not be a man without this outward self; it is the base of all the operations of the inward, and according to its reception of the Goodness and Truth which proceed by influx from the inward will be its quality. Our first sensitive life is by the external; it is a sensorium in connexion with the world; by it are introduced, through the five senses, pleasures and truths of a sensual nature. When these pleasures are from orderly delights, and the sensual truths are in agreement therewith, then they are in union with the celestial and spiritual delights of the inward man; Abraham and Lot can dwell together. As Abraham said to him-“ Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, for we be brethren." The Psalmist points to this when he says—“How good and pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” The external should be subservient to the internal, as the celestial to the Lord, the spiritual to the celestial, the rational to the spiritual, the scientific to the rational. Thus, in regeneration, all serve the Lord, for He is over all, God blessed for ever. But we are aware that before regeneration, the natural wars against the spiritual, and the spiritual against the natural. Each principle has its separate possessions; thus Abraham, or the internal, is said to be exceeding rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold, and Lot had flocks, herds, and tents. Now, when the possessions of the external are merely of the world and its delights, which in this state are lusts; then there cannot be agreement between them, for all evils and falses in the outward man pervert the influx from the inward, because all the delights of the inward have respect to the Lord and the neighbour. That a state of disagreement is pointed out, is evident from Abraham saying to Lot-"Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me; if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left;" and it is confirmed by its being stated, that the “ Canaanite and Perizzite dwelt the land,” denoting that evils and falses were cherished in the mind, as is also pointed out by Lot separating, and dwelling in the cities of the

plain. “He pitched his tent toward Sodom, but the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners exceedingly.” Map may remain a long time in this state of divorce, but if he be willing, he may withdraw from these concupiscences, and there is generally some good left, by which he may be delivered, though Providence permits many afflictions to overtake him, through his connexion with merely sensual gratifications, signified by the kings (mentioned Gen. xiv.) making war and taking all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as Lot and his substance. In

every man's life this may be experienced, and from this state he desires deliverance when he repents. This may be seen from the circumstance that a certain one escaped and told Abraham; then it is that the inward powers come to the rescue, and by instruction and angelic persuasion gradually bring the outward man back to his real relationship, and thus preserve him, as Abraham did Lot: he collected his armed men, pursued these robber kings, overcame them, saved his brother Lot and all his substance, and the women also and the people; in other words, every faculty of the outward man was restored by regeneration; and that this was done from the Lord by the inward man, is represented by Melchizedec blessing Abraham.

Every careful reader of the Word will be aware that the names of many remarkable individuals have been changed. This was the case with Abram. The arcanum of this is,—Abraham represents in the highest sense the Lord glorified, or the Human made Divine ; and it was on this account that the name was changed by adding the “H," which represents what is infinite. The Word is so constructed that it not only represents the Lord's glorification, but man's regeneration ; and as this is the more easily comprehensible, we confine ourselves to it.

Names signify qualities. • He that overcometh, I will confess his name before my Father.” (Rev. iii. 5.) How easy it is to see that a man may profess religion and never practise it; he may

have a to live, but be dead.” The Lord looks at the quality of a man. Before regeneration, our names are not written in the book of life, because our actions are not of Heaven; but after repentance we become changed ; new qualities belong to us; for the Lord has written upon us His new name. (Rev. iii. 12.) The Lord's name involves all the qualities of the Divine Humanity, therefore he who has a living faith in the Lord is invested with astonishing powers. The Lord says—"In my name shall they cast out devils, take up serpents, lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;" expressions indicating the various states of regenerate life, or spiritual miracles performed in the soul.

0. O.




Chemistry. HITHERTO we have given our attention almost exclusively to the objects and phenomena of living nature; we will now look for a little while at the marvellous discoveries of chemistry, that magnificent science which unfolds the laws and composition of the inorganic and inanimate portion of the world. Chemistry, in its wonderful disclosures, and the experiments by which we are made familiarly acquainted with its principles, approaches so nearly to "magic,” that had some of the more curious knowledge of to-day been possessed by the philosophers of the middle ages, they would assuredly have been dealt with as sorcerers. In an enlightened age, men, if they cannot follow the quick steps of those who lead, still admire their powers and achievements; in a dark age, the speed and insight are attributed to some supernatural and perhaps unholy aid, and the true and beautiful become objects of hatred and persecution ; just as in all ages, in regard to theology and all highest truths connected with man's eternal welfare, that which a man sunk in sensualities cannot of necessity see the fulness and radiance of, seems to him, contrariwise, only black and unprofitable error. It is possible to freeze water in a red-bot crucible, letting the lump of ice fall out upon the table while the vessel in which it was formed still glows with the action of the fire ; it is possible to produce light upon a parlour-table that shall seem brilliant as a fragment of sunbeam ; it is possible, yea, and very easy, to prepare a powder that on being shaken out of the glass tube in which it is preserved, takes fire, atom by atom, simply by coming in contact with the air ! One of the simplest and prettiest experiments for winterevening amusement by the fireside is the setting lumps of a certain metal in a blaze by merely touching them with a drop of cold water ! Had these things, we repeat, been exhibited when men who had science and thought enough to discover the wonders of nature were impeached of communication with the powers of darkness, what would have been their fate! Many have suffered imprisonment and stripes for the promulgation of truths and discoveries not so wonderful. Let us be thankful that the Divine wisdom withholds the knowledge of such things till mankind is able to receive it reverently, neither suspecting the origin, nor buffeting the instrument, and is able moreover to apply it to high practical uses, at once inviting the imagination to (Enl. Series.-No. 102, vol. ix.]


« ZurückWeiter »