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they never need to speak or think of punishment at all; and herein may be seen the difference between the real receivers of the truth as to the future life, and those calvinists who sometimes use such phrases as that sin is punishment and that salvation is salvation from sin. These latter, if they mean any thing, mean that the atonement supplies salvation both from sin and from punishment; that it helps man here to turn from evil ways, and then does the rest of its work in another life, after judgment, in bringing pardon to the sinner. But this is, at best, an approximation to, a faint glimpse of the truth. Man naturally is prone to all evil and averse from all good; in this state he is foolish, and evil seems to him good; as he becomes regenerate, this state is reversed, and he becomes wise and sees the truth,—that is, begins to hate the evil and love the good, and at the same time sees that sin is evil and understands that sinfulness may be its own punishment as he feels his own sins to be torments. As he becomes regenerate, he knows practically how one becomes regenerate ; and he knows that it is only by following Christ in the regeneration of His humanity. Then he understands, for he experiences and feels, the atonement. He knows that Christ combatted all the evil influences which could assail human nature, and subdued them, in order that every man may combat and conquer likewise ; and that every one must receive Christ in himself, and by His strength resist and remove his evils, that the atonement may be wrought anew in him, or there can be no regeneration. As for pardon or punishment, neither are the words upon his lips, nor the thoughts upon his mind. Regeneration includes within itself all there can be of pardon. He feels the perpetual, unchangeable endeavour of Mercy, to assist him to leave in freedom and as of himself his selfishness and sinfulness; but he knows that if he despises this assistance, and suffers his evils to be confirmed and active, and carries this hardened, unrepentant, unregenerate nature into another life, that mercy which maketh one with wisdom, will not by arbitrary power convert hiin from a devil into an angel,--and he knows that no operation of Providence which left self-love and sin in his heart, could be pardon. And so is it as to punishment. As our Father in heaven condemns no one, so he punishes no one; but the sinner who goes into the eternal world, unreforined and obdurate, condemns himself when he seeks his like that he may cherish his sins; and all that the divine mercy can then do, is to leave him in the evils which he loved and sought and clung to, and will not now abandon.
We cannot forbear to make, concerning Dr. Channing's sermon, a remark which, though it seems peculiarly justified by some of the expressions of this sermón, is also suggested by almost every unitarian work we meet with. They all seem to regard human
VOL. I.-NO. XII.
nature as much to blame for not acting up to its proper dignity, and for abusing the good and excellent powers and qualities, which belong to it. Dr. Channing speaks of it as having “capacities of boundless and ever-growing love”, as gifted with a self-directing power,”as“sacrificing its glory," asendued with divine powers: alas, it is only hell, and the seducing falsehoods of bell, which continually tell a man he may be " as gods knowing good and evil.” Dr. Channing indeed says man is “endued," " gifted,' &c.; but it is easy to say these things are given, and to remember only that they are possessed. It seems to us that the whole concurrent language of unitarianism is at war with that spirit which feels with contrite humility, that there is no good but much evil in man, and which instead of claiming that all the good he does shall be allowed to him as his own, knows that it is only the strength of another which can save him at any moment from falling into furious and frantic abominations, believing the scripture, every imagination of the heart is evil continually."
There may bé those who will fear that our doctrine as to future punishment would loosen the restraints imposed by religion upon sin. Let them be comforted. If there be any thing which can give an apprehensible and distinct sense of the horrors and miseries of hell, it is the system of which this doctrine is an integral part. It has never been before disclosed, because until the fulness of time man could not be ready to receive that light which is now about to throw a noon-day brightness upon the mysteries of our being. If this doctrine stood alone, it would be harmful; therefore, it stands not alone; and that it may even now be abused and wrested to man's destruction, is because it cannot be exempted from that condition which is common to all the blessings of divine mercy. This doctrine may be seen indistinctly, and may be talked about by those who scarcely see it at all ; but, most certainly, it cannot be truly discerned, it cannot be fully realized, it cannot be received into the mind and the heart, until opposing errors and falsities have departed, and parent and kindred truths are there ; and then, the living death of hell is seen indeed, and so seen, that it needs not and could not receive from fear, or anguish, or despair, a deeper colouring.
Since the preceding remarks were written, we have met with Dr. Griffin's Convention Sermon; and it supplies us with another instance of the unacknowledged power and influence of the New Church. We refer to the following passages :
“My brethren, you live in a world which has been distinguished from all the other worlds which God has made, by being selected for the theatre of redemption,—for the scene of those amazing exhibitions of grace which are to carry a report to the most distant world and to illumine and astonish the universe. It is certain, (and could be proved, if necessary,) that the Son of God never became incarnate and died in any other world than this. Hence the angels are represented as sent to school to this planet in distinction from all other worlds, that to them may be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God.'
“Open your eyes in a clear evening on the starry heavens : and when you have filled your wondering view with the numberless worlds which float in boundless space, you will stand amazed that this planet, now reduced to a speck, has been selected to hold so conspicuous a place in the universe of God,—to be the point whence shall radiate a light to illumine all worlds in the knowledge of his glory.
“The time will come when the whole intelligent creation will gaze with the most intense interest upon the transactions which are now taking place on this earth. And when the inhabitant of the most distant world on that side of heaven shall hold high consultation with the inhabitant of the most distant world on the other side of heaven, and both shall be lost in amazement at the events which have taken place on this planet, how will it seem to have been permitted to live on this earth and to take a part in bringing forward these supreme wonders of the universe.
“The inhabitants of this world are probably as a drop in the ocean to the entire mass of God's creatures ; and yet you are selected from the unnumbered millions passed by, to dwell on a planet where the Son of God was to be born and die,” &c. &c.
Now it so happens, that this fact, that the Son of God never became incarnate and died in any other world than this,” is distinctly asserted by the New Church. We cannot now explain in what
We have not roorn to say why we believe this, nor what we understand or infer from it ; for this we could not do without some explication of our doctrines concerning the end and the operation of the coming of Jesus Christ, with respect to the universe of creation. It is enough to say at present, that no one can become acquainted with the system of faith and doctrine held by the New Church, without seeing that this is so, and must be
We have never seen it asserted, nor, as far as we recollect, alluded to, in any but a professed New Church book until now; and Dr. Griffin's phrase, and could be proved if necessary, looks as if he doubted whether the assertion would pass without proof. We think it might be useful, and it would certainly be interesting to us at least, if Dr. Griffin would be so good as to say how he learned this fact, on what authority he asserts it, and whence he could draw the offered proof, if it should be demanded.
pp. 20. 21.
For the New Jerusalem Magazine.
RELIGIOUS CONTROVERSY. There are those, who regard a spirit of controversy concerning the doctrines of religion, as necessary to the preservation of a sound and healthy state of the public mind upon the subject. It appears to clear up difficulties, settle doubts, and prevent a general state of indifference and incredulity. But we must not judge according to the appearance. There is doubtless a state of the church when controversy must rage, and points of doctrine be settled by the contentious disputings of private zeal and self-interest. But this is not true order, nor are such true doctrines. It is not therefore a state to delight in, but one to lament. It may be necessary that a man should pass through it, in order to arrive at that state of peace which is heaven ; but he who rests in it, satisfied with his attainments, must necessarily come short of the truth, and the objects of truth. Our Lord indeed said that he came not to send peace on earth, but a sword. It was to be necessary for the christian church to go through a state of severe conflict and opposition among its own members. But the end of all the doctrines and precepts which were given to it, was not war,
And He who speaks of sending a sword upon earth, is called the Prince of Peace. There were offences which must come, before the true christian church could be established upon the earth; but this fact did not take away the denunciation of wo to him by whom the offence cometh.
In the present age of the world, we are peculiarly liable to make an undue estimate of the value of controversy, and the doctrines to be established by it. It is well known to be a doctrine of the New Jerusalem Church, that the present christian church has come to its end, by means of having falsified and perverted all true doctrine, and of having made a separation between doctrine and life. That the thing is actually so, seems to be virtually admitted and proceeded upon, by all denominations. They deny indeed the general doctrine, that the church has come to its end; but they deny still more boldly, its qualification and ability to teach the doctrines of religion, and thus virtually contradict their first assertion. It would seem to be sufficiently obvious, that if a church exist upon earth, it is in possession of the doctrines and precepts of eternal life; and from its superior understanding of spiritual truth, is qualified to teach and lead those who are without it. If the Lord's church does not signify as much as this, in distinction from the world, or those who are without, and who are instructed by parables that seeing they may see and not perceive, it is difficult to see what it does signify.
And if it does signify this, surely none, not even the members of the New Jerusalem, are more ready to deny that this qualification exists in the present christian church, than the various denominations to deny it of each other, and the christian world of the whole. To all practical purposes then, the christian church has come to its end in the estimation of all. And those who deny the fact, must do it by reason of confounding in their own minds the distinction between the christian church and the christian world. This amalgamation of things so completely distinct, is naturaily the attendant upon religious controversy. It is difficult to see which is the cause, and which the effect; for they mutually act and react upon each other.
It has already been observed or implied, that a church is a church by virtue of its reception of good and truth from the Lord into the will and life, as well as into the understanding. A society may therefore be in possession of the Scriptures, and read them, and in a certain sense understand ther, and even be learned in their explanations of them, and not be a church. Such a society may be zealous too in attempting to propagate their own peculiar views, and their zeal may produce much controversy. But they are able to give no instruction in the way of life. In this they are blind ; and both they who lead and they who follow are in danger of falling into the ditch. But the true church, if such there be
upon the earth, is of a different character. The niembers have been trained, not in the school of controversy, but of humility and childlike simplicity. And having thus learned themselves, they know the utter worthlessness of controversy, and all its apparent victories. They know that every one has the power of rejecting the truth, as well as of receiving it; and that if he receive it, it must be in that state of real humility which is consequent upon a victory over bimself, and not in that state wbich is produced by a controversy with his brother. It makes little difference, whether we gain or lose in the argument, if the subject be handled in a controversial manner. Such violence about the forms of true doctrines, is sure to banish the spirit of truth from both parties; and when this is wanting, no form of words or external faith will avail us.
It is by no means to be inferred from these remarks that the doctrines of the True Christian Religion are considered as unimportant. They are, in the estimation of the true Church, absolutely indispensable in order to a christian life and final salvation. It is in vain to talk of a good life and good works, as attainable by bin who rejects the essential character of God as revealed in his Word. The very supposition goes upon the ground of substituting some other standard of goodness besides Him who alone is Good, and some other way of salvation besides following Him