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us,--shall we be able to feel the fulness of its use, and cheerfully to greet the dawn in its earliest coming.
Now, from the very nature of the case, it is just as impossible for us to attain to perfection in this, as in any other point. Our natural man must always regard the Lord as an hard Master, reaping where he has not sown, and gathering where he has not strawed. Such feelings of attributing severity and oppression to the Lord, can have no communion with him. It is impossible that they should return his own with usury, for they refuse to receive it. But as they pretend to exist of themselves, and to hold happiness of themselves, natural justice requires of them that they should not retain the possessions of others. They therefore hide the talent in the earth, the grand foundation of all their confidence, that it may safely await the claims of Him who committed it to their keeping. But while, that which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the spirit is spirit. And therefore, though that which is born of the flesh cease not to oppose,
that which is born of God shall not cease to acknowledge and glorify its Father in heaven. And though as the one increases, the other must decrease, yet the opposition shall never entirely cease, nor the work of victory be finished. But we must go on conquering and to conquer ; for we are commanded to be perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect.
For the New Jerusalem Magazine.
Remarks on the expression, in common use, that “We are passing
from time into eternity.” To pass from time into eternity, is to pass from the loves of self and of the world, to the love of the Lord and the neighbour; to have our thoughts and affections directed to spiritual subjects, of which alone eternity may be predicated ; and to become united with Him “ who was, who is, and who is to come, the Almighty." When an individual has attained to this state, the proposition is then reversed. It is no longer proper to say that he is passing from time into eternity, but rather that he passes from eternity into time. Not hoping for, but actually having eternal life ;-he feels that the fountain of his thoughts and actions is with the Most High; and that the appearance of time is occasioned by their falling on natural objects—that time is not an attribute of the mind, but of the subjects on which it operates; as the various tints of light do not appear in the sun itself, but only as its rays fall on the infinite variety of objects which this world presents.
It is the effort of the Holy Spirit to leave, on all men, the image of the divine eternity; but the effect is various, according to the state of the recipients. The angels, in the perception that their life is from the Lord, perceive also that it is indestructible and eternal. But the operation of the same spirit, as it descends to lower states of mind, produces only a hope of immortality, more or less an object of doubt, and a subject of argument, according to the state of the individual. The mind which is united to the Lord, perceives that the life, the affections which it now possesses, can never die. Self may die, and dies perpetually. The individual may even fall from the state of good in which he is; but that good would still continue to exist, the spirit would return to God who gave it. But those affections which originate in self-love are dead in themselves ;-consequently, not being susceptible of any image of eternity, this doctrine, as it descends from the letter of the word, can take no other form than that of a continuity of existence. The language of the Lord to the former is, “because I live, ye shall live also;" to the latter, it contains no assurance of life, because their life appears to originate in themselves, but merely a promise that God will not destroy them. Their faith in this promise is in proportion to the sincerity of their intention to reform and follow the commandments. For this intention, being of spiritual origin, is as a window of heaven to the natural mind. The same spirit, as it descends to still lower states, produces the desire of perpetuating their name here on earth. To their perverted imaginations, the objects of this world loom up in the distance, and rest on the skies. Their whole heart and soul is here, and therefore it is here that they hope to be remembered. To them death does not open their view to scenes eternal, but concentrates their vision to those which are temporal. That vision possesses nothing of reality. That part of their reputation which commands their attention, is mortal like their bodies; calculated to awaken the admiration of the natural, sensual part of human nature, as these are to become the food of insects. It is only when their labours on earth are refined from the dross of human ambition into the actual existences of those things which were always concealed under the shadow of a holy Providence, that their immortality begins ; like “ the tree yielding fruit, whose seed is in itself,” springing up from their ashes, the work of the Eternal, and therefore the emblem of eternity. The prospect of lying in state, may gratify the vanity of the sensual prince; and the fear of being buried where four ways meet, with a stake driven through the body, may have a tendency to deter the suicide from his crime. Their hopes and fears are only the reflected images of their own characters. The relation between memory and hope, between the recollec
tion of the past, and the anticipation of the future, is much more intimate than is usually supposed. The roots which lie buried in the earth are gathering the sap which is to put forth the tender blossom. But in the existing state of society, futurity to an individual is, for the most part, like an object held above the mark, in order that he may strike the mark. He who knows the downward tendency of earth-born affections, hath so ordained it. The prospect before a person, is the united effect of his own peculiar character, and of the divine providence in regard to that character. It is his own shadow projected before him—a perpetual admonition of his immortal destiny. But this shadow is no longer visible when his face is turned towards the sun; for he then perceives that nothing is but the present, and the stream of time is not seen to flow when he looks at its fountain. Thus it is with those who, “by seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” become united with the Eternal. They have far higher and purer affections for the inhabitants and the objects of this earth; so high and so pure, that the fear of their extinction is inconsistent with their existence. Those affections, originating above the earth, though they terminate in it, are by death only deprived of their external covering; and those who possess them are insensible of the loss, because they have no longer the power of fully conceiving of its existence. Like the vine which is deprived of its superabundant foliage, their life is by this event, as by all the dispensations of Providence, more fully determined to the peculiar objects of their usefulness.
Extract from Rev. Mr. Noble's Appeal in behalf of the New
Church. Concerning the Trinity.
[Continued from page 80.]
“ II. I am next to meet the objections which are raised from the fact, that the Lord Jesus Christ, while in the world, sometimes spoke as if the Father were a Being separate from himself. To this end I am to shew, that, while in the world, he was engaged in the work of glorifying his Humanity, or making it Divine, which was part of his great work of redemption ; thus, that so long as he was in the world there was a part of his nature which was not divine ; but that the work of glorifying the whole was completed at his resurrection and ascension ; that all belonging to him was then divine; and that now he ever liveth and reigneth, with the Father and Indivisible One, the Only God of heaven and earth. So long
" It is necessary to be observed, that there was this difference between the Lord Jesus Christ, while in a body of flesh on earth, and all ordinary men : that whereas they take their soul or spiritual part from a human father, as well as their body or material part from a human mother, and thus are finite human beings as to both, Jesus Christ, having no father but the Divine Father, had his soul or internal part from the Divine Essence; and as the Divine Essence is obviously incapable of division, the Divine Essence Itself, or the Father, was in fact his soul or internal part; while his body or external part, including the affections, &c. of the natural man, was all that he took from the mother. as he had attached to him this body from the mother, he was necessarily an inhabitant of this material world ; nor could he return, as he expresses it in John, to the Father, and “ be glorified with the glory which he had with him,”—as the Divine Truth or Word in union with the Divine Good or Love," before the world was,” until his external part, even to the very body, by the assumption of which “ the Word was made flesh," was glorified or made divine : nor, till then, was the whole the appropriate Divine Form of the Divine Essence that was resident within, and which was continually endeavouring to bring it into a state of perfect agreement with itself, that it might impart itself to it, and thus dwell in fulness in it, as the soul in its body. Thus our Lord's state by birth bore an exact analogy to man's state by birth. Man has, we know, an internal man and an external man, which are by birth in opposition to each other, the internal man inclining to heavenly things and the external only to earthly things; wherefore man, before he can be elevated to heaven, must be regenerated, that is, his external man must be formed anew, so as to become the image of the internal, and to incline, like it, to heavenly things, and only to earthly in subordination to heavenly. But that which, in our Lord, may be called his internal man, was Jehovah, or the Essential Divinity itself; but his external man, being taken from a human parent, was merely human and finite, and partook of human, finite, and earthly things; wherefore, before the Lord could return to complete oneness with the Father, his external man was to be formed anew, so as to become the exact image of his internal, thus, like it, divine and infinite. Now this renewal of his external part was going on during the whole course of his life in the world. “ That the Lord was not born divine as to his external part,
but only as to his internal part, is generally known : but that he was continually engaged in rendering his external part divine also, which at last was completely effected, is as generally overlooked. That, as to his external man, he advanced in intelligence as well as in bodily growth, is evident from the declaration of Luke, that
“ the child Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man;" where by his growing in favour with God and man, is meant his approximation to union with his divinity, and his reception of divine principles from his Divine Essence in his Humanity. The same truth is further evident from the circumstance, that he is stated to have been about thirty years old before he entered on his public ministry. This is a fact which cannot possibly be accounted for on any principles but our's. Can it be supposed that these thirty years, of the history of which only two or three particulars are recorded, were spent by him in doing nothing ? Would a Divine Being have remained so long in a body taken from the elements of this world, were there not a gradual process going on essential to the accomplishment of the work for which he came into this world, and previous to the arrival at a certain stage of which he was not in a capacity of working those miracles, and of speaking those words of eternal Truth, by which his public career was distinguished ? When he had so far advanced to oneness with the Father that his external man, by which he spoke and acted in the world, was open even to him, that is, was in immediate communication with his Divine Essence, (of which the descent of the dove at his baptism, as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, or Divine Life flowing into him immediately from his Divine Essence, was the token,) he went about the world performing the wonderful works which are recorded of him ; and when his external man was perfectly united with the Father, thus was rendered divine by the full reception of the Divine Essence in all its faculties, he appeared on earth no longer, but ascended up into heaven “ and sat on the right hand of God.” By this phrase is not meant that he literally sat down by the side of another Divine Person ; but, as the hand is the part of the body by which all its powers are exerted, it is always used in the Word to signify power; as is also the practice in many eastern nations at the present day : hence by the right hand of God is signified Divine Omnipotence, to the possession of which the Lord, as to his Human Nature, was now exalted : as he says himself, in reference to the same subject in Matthew, “ All power”—all authority or dominion—" is given unto me in heaven and in earth." " All power" is Omnipotence, and by “me,” he means the Human Nature, now One with the Divine.
“We are now in possession of all that is requisite to the solution of all the objections to the doctrine of the sole Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, which are drawn from the fact, that, while in the world, he sometimes spoke as if the Father were a Being separate from himself. So long as he was in the world, we have seen there was a part of his nature which was not divine; and
far sphere of his thoughts descended into it, he would have a sense