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This illumination of the literal sense of the word, from its spiritual sense, is what is signified by the Lord's coming in the clouds: by clouds, the literal sense; and by his coming, the light of divine truth illuminating the literal sense from within, i. e. from the Lord.
And every eye shall see Him. By every eye, is signified all who are prepared, by their lives and by an affection for the truth, to receive such light; all who have put away those things from themselves which are opposed to it; all who have ceased to do those things, which hate the light, neither come unto it, lest they should be made manifest;--all such will see him by seeing the light in which he is. They have been doing the truth, and therefore they come unto the light, that it may be manifest that their deeds are wrought in God.
And they who pierced Him.-By those who pierced him, are signified those who are opposed to him ; who deny him and reject him. When the glory of the Lord is made manifest in the literal sense of the word, all men, even those who deny him, are, way or another, made to see him. And those who continue to reject him, manifest their opposition in a new way. They will cease to make false professions; they will cease to assume the name of his followers, when they are fighting against the spirit and life of his doctrines and precepts : for the thoughts of hearts are then revealed.
And all the tribes of the earth shall wail over Him.—The coming of the Lord always causes the humiliation of man. By his approach, both good and evil are humbled; but the humiliation of one is very different from the humiliation of the other. The natural desires of both are disappointed. The natural man in both is overcome, and the Lord alone is exalted in that day. But it is given, unto those who are in good, to cooperate with the Lord in subduing their natural man; to rejoice in the conquests gained over it, and in the extension of the Lord's dominion.
The necessary humiliation, although painful as self-denial, in its process, is joyful in its effects and ends. But those who are in evil, are as much dissatisfied with the result as with the means of arriving at it. They have been chastened; but they are never sensible that it was by the hand of One who loved them, and that it was done for their good. They mourned, but it was not with that kind of mourning which is in the order of regenerative providence, followed by comfort. In one or the other of these ways do all the tribes of the earth wail at the coming of the Lord.
Even so, amen.-By amen is signified the influx of divine confirmation; the light of truth descending from the source of light to those who love and believe in the light, showing them that the ways of the Lord are just and merciful; that the judgment which is executed by his presence, is altogether merciful, and that it is beneficial to all. It causes the righteous to inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world; it delivers them out of the hand of their enemies, and enables them to serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him forever. And by it the wicked learn the futility of waging war with omnipotence, and the necessity of seeking for happiness within the laws of divine order. Therefore, mercy, and the influence of mercy, and the recipient of mercy, saith even so, amen.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.-Alpha is the first and Omega the last letter of the Greek alphabet. But when the Lord is called the Alpha and Omega, the meaning is not merely that he is the first and the last as to time; but it signifies the same as divine human; that in him the human and the divine are united; that the human is glorified, or made divine. The Lord was Alpha from eternity, but not Omega. He was the Alpha from his essential divinity; and as Alpha, his influence descended through the heavens to men, and governed them as long as they were in a state susceptible of this influence; until the state of the spiritual world was such as to pervert this influence. From eternity he had the will, the wisdom, and the power of becoming the Omega when the salvation of man should require it; and therefore it may be said that he was so potentially from eternity ; but he was not so actually until man had fallen, and the world of spirits was in such a condition as to pervert and obstruct the divine influence, so that man could not be regenerated without the descent of Jehovah. In other words, the Lord had the power of being a redeemer from eternity, but he was not actually a redeemer until man had fallen, and needed to be redeemed. But when the world of spirits was so disorderly that the influence of the Lord could not descend through them without being perverted, then the Lord descended, the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, that we might behold his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
One great difficulty in the way of understanding the work of redemption, and the necessity of our Lord's assuming human nature, in order to perform this work, arises from our thinking of omnipotence separate from divine love and divine wisdom; which mode of thinking leads us to suppose that, if there are any disorders in the creation beneath him, the Lord can, by an act of omnipotence, rectify them; and consequently that there is no need of his descending, and assuming and glorifying human nature, to do what he might in a moment do without these means. But the work of redemption was a work of divine love; and for the sake of redeeming, it was necessary that divine love should operate as divine love, and not as natural omnipotence. The work of redemption is the work of saving his people from their sins; of enlightening them; enabling them to distinguish between good and evil; of withdrawing their affections from evil and inclining them to good; of destroying the fallaciousness of the false and the seductiveness of evil;—and these works do not require natural power, but they require divine grace and truth. The people to be redeemed were free agents ; created to be free; and they must be saved from their sins, if saved at all, without violating their free will. To raise them up into heaven, by an act of omnipotence, would not make them willing to be there ; violently to withdraw them from the society of evil spirits, would not make them willing to be withdrawn; the banishment or annihilation of their idols, would not be equivalent to a voluntary renunciation of them.
And as to the evil spirits who were with man, and drawing him into evils, they too must be removed and reduced to order, and confined to their abodes in a manner consistent with their freedom. They must learn that it were better for them that a millstone were hanged about their necks, and that they were cast into the depths of the sea, than that they should injure one of the little ones who look unto the Lord. They must learn that whatever they do unto the disciples of the Lord, they do unto the Lord himself. And having learned this, they will voluntarily, that is, with all the freedom which their state and condition permit, they will cease to molest those whom they can no longer hope to injure, and will voluntarily confine themselves to those occupations which they can safely pursue.
This redemption the Lord accomplished by dwelling among us and permitting us to behold his glory, which was full of
grace and truth; by acting from divine love and divine truth, in relation to those who were in opposition to divine love and truth; by rejecting all the worldly allurements which self-love and the suggestions of evil spirits could offer; by permitting them to do unto him whatsoever they would ;-and, after they had done all, by giving them to see that they had taken from him nothing which he wished to retain; but, on the contrary, that their wrath was made to praise him; that they had been instrumental in accomplishing his glorification.
Thus the Lord became the Omega as well as the Alpha, by revealing his truth, by coming down and operating in his truth, or fulfilling the word, and by causing his presence and power to be felt in his truth: so that the righteous, in all places of his dominion, might perceive, while they were shunning evils, that they were acting under the influence of the Lord; and while doing any thing for the good of the neighbour, that they were acting from the Lord and to the Lord; and so that the wicked might perceive that in fighting against the truth and against those who are in the
truth, they are fighting against the Lord himself and against their own present and eternal welfare.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.— The Lord is at this day again coming; he is coming in the clouds; in the power and glory of his word, by revealing its spiritual meaning. He is coming by enabling men to do the works which he did; by enabling them to shun evils in his name, that is, in perceiving that the power to do it is of him alone; and by enabling them to perform works of charity in his name, that is, perceiving that the power to do so is of him, without whom they can do nothing. By giving unto men the power to do these things, he is preparing an abode in which he may dwell upon earth ; by giving unto men the power to do these things, his will is done
earth as it is in heaven, and he more actually and fully than ever, becomes the Omega as well as the Alpha. When after his resurrection, he said “all power is given unto me in heaven and earth,” the declaration was really and actually true with respect to himself and the heavens; but potentially and prophetically true with respect to the earth, which prophecy is now to be fulfilled ; for now, or in the church which the Lord is now establishing ; in the New Jerusalem, which is now descending from God out of heaven, the
power of the Lord is, for the first time, to be felt and acknowledged. Now, more actually and fully than ever, will he dwell among men, and men will behold his glory, full of
grace and truth. Now will they perceive him to be, now will they find that he is unto themselves, the Alpha, the Omega, the beginning, the end ; Him who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
For the New Jerusalem Magazine.
« THY WILL BE DONE.”
PROBABLY there are no persons who do not sometimes say “thy will be done;" for there are probably none so wholly reprobate, that their states of evil are permanent and unvarying. All affliction has for its end the subjection of our natural feelings to divine influence; and as there are none who pass through life without sorrow coming upon them for their good, so there are none with whom and for whom sorrow never does its work. first and fundamental operation of suffering permitted to effect its purpose, is, to produce an acknowledgment of divine power and a subīnission to divine control. Thus "thy will be done,” may be
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said to belong to the infancy of regeneration; to be the first whisper of unfledged hopes and and aspirations. But this is also all that he can say who has passed through many evenings of tribulation and mornings of joy, and reached that sabbath of the soul which is hallowed by Him who creates it; it is all the highest archangel can say or hope or feel when most blessed. These words, then, belong to every religious state; and this must be, for there is no other difference between the natural and the regenerate state of man, than that in the first, the natural human will is sovereign, and in the other His will is done. The different senses we give to these words; the different desires and motives with which and from which we use them, mark the difference of religious character.
The lowest state in which we can use the words “thy will be done,” is when we feel that conflict is unavailing, and resign ourselves to the will of God as to something that is inevitable, and because it is inevitable. We are brought into this state as the avenue to a better; we are made to feel, forcibly and distinctly, that the course of events will not follow the direction our wills would point out, that God will govern, in order that we may make an effort to yield up both our actions and our hearts to his control, and be content that he should govern. It is thus that the clouds and darkness around his throne, or the arbitrariness that seems to belong to his power, are serviceable to man. They help to convince him the more deeply of divine omnipotence; they make him believe that it is altogether, and not less in its ends and rules and means, than in its limits, beyond his reach; and thus they assist in producing unconditional submission and those efforts to yield heartily and cheerfully, which, if persevered in, finally bring the soul into that state which it is the single object of divine mercy to produce: namely, that in which we see that the will of omnipotence is love, and the order of its operation, wisdom.
It is a very low state, in which we say " thy will be done,” only as an expression of our determination to resist no longer ; but from this state we may advance into a higher, and say to our Father in heaven, “thy will be done," as uttering to him the prayer that we may, and the promise that, with his help, we will endeavour to conform ourselves to and actively to promote his will. In this state, in which we have begun to walk in the way of life, and our faces are turned towards his temple, we are liable to be diverted and deceived by many errors. We forget that our will is not as his will; and we think we are pious when we are simply self-satisfied. This enemy meets us when and where we least expect one; it wears a smiling countenance and easily betrays. For instance, things go on with us very placidly and comfortably;