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spring of its power.
Having been endued unnumbered ages since with a certain something, poised on its own centre, it is conceived to sustain itself, and roll on in unbroken, independent majesty, the fountain of its own creations, till a miracle, an act of power without order, from its original Creator shall arrest its
Thus is God removed from his creation, and seen not so much in his works, as out of and aside from them. Only that which interrupts their settled course and is unintelligible, is immediately referred to Him. Hence, almighty power is conceived to be arbitrary power, which can act at cross purposes with the laws of nature, and do any thing in any manner.
To the mind which has thus fortified itself with a belief in the exclusive reality of the teachings of the bodily senses, a revelation of light from a higher sphere can make but little impression. It will not be hailed as a messenger bringing information from a country of which information is desired. If constrained to admit its existence by miracles, or overpowering extrinsic evidence, which convince or put to silence the understanding without reforming the heart, and thus leave unaccomplished that for which revelation is given, man will come to the examination of it with a disposition to make out how little is given and not to know how much. All which would prove the necessity of any thing being given and would thus in the same degree humble the self-sufficiency of man, will be looked upon with a jealous eye. Or, as a salvo to human pride, and in the perverseness of its influence, all which is given will be restricted to something which it is supposed the God of nature had himself in a measure put beyond the reach of man.
Thus revelation will come in only as a kind of accessary aid to the very competent powers of natural reason, and man still remains master in his own province.
Under the influence of sensuality, revelation itself is made sensual. Its language, which savours of a higher world, and would tell of other things than the bodily senses and natural reason have taught, will to these faculties be unintelligible till translated into their dialect, and thus made to harmonize with what the eye and ear have been accustomed to. Heaven will be made a blank, or become the field of a lawless imagination; spirit will be changed to matter or airy nothing, and inspiration to poetry. Thus revelation, which was to raise man and restore him to the image and likeness of his Creator, will itself here be degraded to the image of man, of fallen man, and caused to speak a language which sooths his apprehensions, cherishes his ambition, and flatters his pride.
Such things cannot be where the light of heaven has taught man of its own existence and quality. The reality of a spiritual world cannot then be a matter of doubt, of cold and wavering
assent, or adopted as the last and only alternative for explaining the mysteries of this; but will be a subject of most free, rational and influencing belief. Such things cannot be where God is not supposed to be known by the mere exercise of intellect, as man investigates a mathematical truth, but is known in the understanding, because the qualities of the heart have prepared man to see him there. Such things cannot then be because the light of heaven in communicating its nature, shows man the relation he stands in to it, and thus convinces him of his own nature; that it is of himself that he is blind, but of God that he sees; of himself that he is evil, but of God that he is good. He then learns, rationally learns, that truth comes only from an eterpal Source, which must be acknowledged in the love of that Source, before truth can be seen in its own light and lead to it. He then knows, and knowing rejoices that there is a world above this which fills and governs it; that there is a God above, creating all and sustaining all, and with whom to create and to sustain are one, as He
The presence of the Lord with man and in his Word and works, is realized only as the thoughts of the heart are in accordance with his thoughts. His sustaining influence and power to bless is believed and felt, only as man's love acknowledges His love. It is this preparation of the heart which renders the knowledge of God and heaven accessible to man by interiorly opening the door of heaven in the mind. This alone renders man capable of partaking the qualities of heaven, of receiving the kingdom of heaven as a little child, because it is only as he is thus prepared that the influence of heaven is received without perversion. Hence it is through this only that reason ever efficiently teaches of the being of God, and gives it unity and identity, presence and reality. Because it is only thus that reason can look to its Source and receive from its Fountain, that it may see what is related to that Source in its true light.
When God and heaven have in this manner a being in the mind, there is no place for the forestallings of conjecture, which give value to the weight of proof only by diminishing its quantity. There is no desire for the unripe excursions of reasoning to enhance the maturity of faith. Man's reason is then his faith, which shines with a light that requires no accessions from reasoning, simply as such, which in its very nature supposes doubt and obscurity.
The mind, in this way convinced of spiritual things, no longer reposes in physical causes and effects, as all which is seen and all which can be known. It sees not in them at once the beginning and termination of life and power; for that which controls them, and to which they owe their birth and being, has taken a prior seat in the thoughts and affections, and raised the mind to a higher ground, from which it in some measure sees the relation of the world without to a world within. A power above mere physical energy, has impressed itself upon the consciousness, and evinced its authority. That in man's nature, which shuts the door of heaven, and runs errant from its guidance, becomes- obvious to his perception ; for a light purer than that of nature shows nature its own bearings. This had ruled, this had triumphed, but a voice now whispers in the secret chambers of the mind, that the powers which have been, must be new modelled and regenerated by those which now are. The better feelings of man now cordially respond to the prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.” To him, in this state, it is not metaphor or hyperbole. He sees that his natural mind, selfpoised on his own ability to know and perform what is good and true, is totally unlike and distinct from that which now prompts him to look to the Lord for purer affections and better thoughts. He sees that the kingdom of his natural thoughts and imaginations is not the kingdom of heaven, and that the light and peace of heaven are not found there. He sees that the will and love of the one, are not the will and love of the other; this, the kingdom of his natural thoughts and imaginations, has self for a master, but that, the Lord. Therefore he prays, “thy kingdom come,” “ my will, but thine be done.”
For the New Jerusalem Magazine.
REMARKS ON THE FIRST CHAPTER OF A LATE WORK, ENTITLED
“ PRIMITIVE TRINITARIANISM.”
The author advances the position, " that in God there exist more subsistences, or persons, than one." His first argument is, that the word Elohim, which we translate God, is in the plural number. Now if this proves any thing to his purpose, it evinces that there is a plurality of Gods. Grant that Elohim is in the plural, and that this is the Hebrew word for God in the English. It should then be Gods, according to his argument; and polytheism is the true doctrine. If such evidence applies to the position that there are more persons than one, it must, we should suppose, apply indirectly, first by proving that there is a plurality of Gods, and of consequence that there is a plurality of persons.
Suppose we should use the same argument in application to the word face. Some writer, knowing how to anglicise the Hebrew, presents the public with a book to show, as he believes, that every man has a plurality of faces. He tells us that the word penay, (") derived from the Hebrew root 73ə from which we trans
late the word face, is in the plural, and not in the singular number. He also tells us how many times it is thus used in the 1st and 2d. chapters of Genesis; and thence concludes, that every man has a plurality of faces. Or he uses the same argument to make us believe that every body has two necks, because the Hebrew word which we translate "neck" is in the plural. How much force should we be made to perceive from such a mode of reasoning ?
His next argument is from the authority of Adam Clark, who says, “ An eminent Jewish Rabbin, Simeon Ben Joachi, in his comment on the sixth section of Leviticus, has these remarkable words: come and see the mystery of the word Elohim; there are three degrees, and each degree by itself alone, and yet notwithstanding they are all one, and joined together in one, and are not divided from each other.” These are indeed remarkable words. The author of Primitive Trinitarianism quotes them as affording evidence, that the Jews had the same view of the word Elohim, above cited. I discover no evidence in them, that the eminent Jewish Rabbin had the idea of a plurality of per
His assertion is, that there are three degrees, and each degree by itself alone, and yet they are all one. That in the Elohim there are three degrees, is probably as great and sublime a truth as can be expressed. There are the degrees of divine love, divine wisdom, and divine operation. But these form a trinity of principles, and not of persons. Each is by itself alone, considered as a principle; and yet they are all one, as constituting the individual and adorable Person of the only Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. That Simeon Ben Joachi had no view to a distinction of persons by the three degrees he mentions, appears highly probable, from his use of the word itself, instead of himself. He mentions, each degree by itself alone.” We are not to suppose he would say itself, when he had reference to a person. And it is much less likely that an eminent Rabbin would make a mistake of this kind, because the very contexture of the Hebrew language obliges the writer of it to observe continually a multitude of grammatical sexual distinctions, which in other languages are unknown. The more a man is in the habit of making and of adhering, with grammatical accuracy, to those distinctions, and the greater the necessity of his doing it in every sentence he writes or speaks, in order to make sense and be understood, the less probable is it, that he would pen and print and publish the word itself, when his meaning was himself. We may therefore conclude, that this passage from Simeon Ben Joachi, is of no use for the writer of the work in question, or Adam Clark, in support of a plurality of persons. If it proves any thing, it is the reverse of the object for which they have pressed it into their service.
VOL. 1.–NO, X.
In the next place, the writer undertakes to furnish his readers with evidence that the word Elohim is in the plural number. He says, “We have further proof of the word Elohim being in the plural, if we look at the 22d verse of the 3d chapter; when man had unhappily eaten of the forbidden fruit, and consequently apostatized from God: “The Lord God said, behold the man has become one of us ;' and also in the first chapter and 26th verse: “and God said,' that is Elohim said, “let us make man in our image, in our image after our likeness, and let them have dominion,' &c." Should we admit that the word Elohim is in the plural, what then? Does it prove that in God there are more persons than one? It has been shewn that the word penay, which is rendered face, is in the plural. Does it prove that man has more than one face? It has also been observed, that the word which is translated neck, is in the plural, but does it prove that every man, beast or bird, has two necks?
If, instead of undertaking to present proof that the word Elohim is in the plural, it was the writer's object to support the idea of a plurality of persons from the use in the above passages of the words us and our, ought he not to have mentioned it? He emphasises the words us and our, but names no intention in doing it, except to afford proof, that the word Elohim is in the plural. Now let us help him a little by supposing he mistook his object, and that he really meant to evince, by the use of those words, that in God there are more persons
than To the conclusiveness of the argument in this case I must be permitted to enter my serious demur. The passages under consideration can be consistently understood only in their spiritual sense. In this sense, the words, “let us make man into our image, after our likeness,' have respect to regeneration, or the new birth. Hence those who are regenerated are said to be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord,' and 'to have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of Him who created him.' Now the Lord regenerates man through the medium of angels; which shews the propriety, in this case, of using the words, us and our. The angels themselves are in the image and likeness of Jehovah God. That they are instruments in the work of regeneration, is evident from the consideration, that men have guardian angels, and from the Apostle's question, 'Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them, who shall be heirs of salvation?' Swedenborg says, “Man is altogether ignorant that he is governed by the Lord by angels and spirits, and that with every particular person, there are at least two spirits and two angels. By spirits man has communication with the world of spirits, and by angels he has communication with heaven; without communication by