Page images

important that we should have just ideas, in order to lead to just practice, of that condition of life which God Himself has appointed, it may not be unprofitable to direct our attention to it as it is revealed to us in the sacred Scriptures. In order to obtain some correct, and at the same time comprehensive ideas on this subject, which is of so much interest not only to us individually but socially, and in all our relations, we may consider, first, the origin and nature of the distinction of the sexes ; secondly, the origin and nature of marriage ; and thirdly, the enduring nature of marriage when it is true and spiritual First, regarding

THE ORIGIN AND NATURE OF THE DISTINCTION OF THE SEXES. We learn this, so far as we can learn it, from the very beginning of the Book of Revelation. In the first chapter of Genesis we read that after God had created all the inferior creatures, He formed man in His own image ; and it is said that He “created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him ; male and female created He them.” Now, if we take a just view of this language, we may, I think, come to this conclusion, that the term "man" in the divine language includes both male and female ; and, therefore, that male and female are but parts of that one nature which God has thus embodied in two separate characteristic forms. And there is some thing more to be drawn from this conclusion, and that is, that they are parts so perfectly adapted to each other that they are necessary to each other's spiritual as well as natural welfare, advancement, and happiness. For we are to consider that as man was created in the image of God, there must in reality be some distinction in God Himself answering to that which exists in the sexes and that being which He has created in His image and likeness. Now, in the nature of God there are two great universal principles, which may be called two essential attributes ; and these are infinite love and infinite wisdom. It is declared, indeed, in the Scriptures that God is love—that His very nature and essence is love. Yet there is no love without wisdom; love without wisdom would be like warmth without light. And, therefore, we find this distinction recognised in the Scriptures, where it is said, for instance, in the beginning of the Gospel of St. John“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “In Him was life ; and the life was the light of men.” Here we find, then, those two great attributes of the Divine nature designated as life and light. And the Divine love is the very life of all beings. Love is in God what warmth or fire is in the sun It is the very vital principle which animates all beings and all things. Yet, as there is light, as well as heat in nature, and as the union of these two is necessary to the production of that which lives and moves : so there are in the spiritual nature which God has created those two pervading principles of spiritual life—these are life and light, or love and wisdom. So we find this principle pervading all nature and all rational existences. There are two sexes that animate the entire

universe of being; and without these two it would be impossible for the universe to exist and to progress, to be productive and to be fruitful. This universal prevalence, therefore, of that duality which exists in nature is nothing more nor less than the typical form of a distinction which exists in the nature of God Himself. If then we consider that man was created in the image of God-man in the comprehensive idea of both male and female—we are to consider, undoubtedly, that there is a distinction in regard to them, not merely as to their physical nature, but as to their whole mental nature. ; And it is on this distinction that the unity of the sexes is founded, and it is upon this characteristic distinction that the Divine Being has based that union which is the source of the greatest order, perfection and happiness. Yet, there is another text in Genesis that not only points out the distinction of the sexes, but that relation which exists between them. For, in the second chapter of the Book of Genesis, we read not merely that God created man, or Adam, in His own image, but that, after Adam had been created, the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall on him, and he took out one of his ribs and made that into a woman; and brought the woman unto the man, and said unto him that this was bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh; and that because she was taken out of the man she was called Woman. Now, whether we regard this literally, or as some regard it, as allegorical, it is of no consideration if we only recognise that there was originally in Adam all that ultimately existed both in Adam and in Eve; that is to say, that the woman was taken out of the man, that the feminine nature of woman is a derivation from the masculine nature of the man. And it is on this very principle, that as woman was taken out of man, so she is to be returned to him again, to make him in another and more perfect condition that in which he originally was. It is only necessary for us to consider that this intimate relation is intended by the Divine Being to form the foundation of their perfect union; and we now, therefore, come to consider


THE TRUE NATURE AND ORIGIN OF MARRIAGE as the union of those whom God has created for each other. There can be no true union, or at least there can be no intimate union between two things or two beings of precisely the same character. It is true that there are harmonies as well as trasts, even in our social relations ; but there is a union-and that union is marriage—which transcends all other unions or all other connections, because it is founded on that intimate relation to each other which exists nowhere else, and in no other condition or relation, than between the masculine and feminine nature of man. And this is the ground of their union, that the masculine mind is essentially intellectual, and the feminine mind is essentially affectional. That is to say, if you personify the prevailing excellence which exists in each, man, so to speak, is a form of wisdom, a form of intelligence, a form of understanding; while woman, on the contrary, is a form of affection, of love, of tenderness, of feeling. And it is between love and wisdom, it is between affection and thought, it is between understanding and will, that that union alone can exist which constitutes true marriage. I don't mean by this that the man is all understanding, and the woman is all affection ; but I mean that the predominant character of the man is intellect, and the predominant character of the woman is affection. Thought and feeling, intellect and will—these are the two great elements of human nature; and these are embodied and represented in the two great sexes which animate the world. And whatever we regard, therefore, as rightful in the plains of Eden, we must all at the same time consider that there must ever be that relation between them which admits of the most perfect and harmonious union. For between love and wisdom, between affection and thought, there is no rivalry, no conflict, no disagreement; but wherever the one is most perfect, there is the most perfect form of union. And it is, in fact, just so far as the masculine nature is truly masculine, in the proper sense of the word, and so far as woman is truly feminine, can a union between them be perfect and enduring. But when there is harmony between these two parts of the human nature—those em. bodiments of the Divine Will and Wisdom—there is the ground and very foundation, and the means of the most intimate union. So far, therefore, as we cultivate those characteristics which the Creator has bestowed upon us, and by which He distinguishes us as man and woman, so far we fulfil His purpose in the institution of marriage. But, as all union must be founded upon certain conditions, and regarded by those conditions, we must ever remember that there are

DUTIES WHICH ARE PROPER TO THE HUSBAND AND TO THE WIFE, and that these mutual duties meet, like themselves, in order, in purity, in happiness. There are certain duties, no doubt, that belong to the husband and the wife. For, has not the character of man developed itself more of a forensic character, while the woman is more domestic in all her desires, and habits, and relations ; and between these, therefore

, there is a combined use and excellence, and they are designed by our Creator to meet together and to promote each other's perfection and happiness, by making them minister to each other's welfare, and to promote the great use which is designed by the Creator in all His institutions to exalt the character and to promote the happiness of those He has created. And this combined use is founded in its highest of all uses in the

EDUCATION OF CHILDRENthat labour of love which God has given us by which the young are reared for a useful life in this world and for a happy immortality in that which is to come. And in no sphere, and in no activity, is the combined influence of the masculine and the feminine mind, therefore, of the husband and the wife more necessary than in instilling into the hearts and minds of their children those exalted precepts of Christian truth, and exhibiting before them by their own example those pre


cepts—those duties of the Christian life upon which Christianity itself depends. For, however we may cultivate certain abstract principles of religion, they all rest upon the duties of the Christian life. All religion has relation to life, and the life of religion is to be and to do good.

A TRUE AND INDISSOLUBLE UNION. A union thus founded upon just and holy principles—and there can be no true union that is not religious and spiritual—must endure. Wherever the union of man and woman is founded upon anything else than true spiritual principles, there is the want of the highest and purest elements which can enter into union and happiness in their case. For, as God has created us for immortality, He has no doubt designed this world, with all its duties, with all its relations, with all its delights, and with all its sorrows, as a very school for heaven, as a seminary that is to lead us to a higher state of existence, and which is to secure for us that blessing of all blessings which He has reserved for us in the world that is to come. And where that union is truly formed in this life,


in the world to come. For there, no doubt, exist all those endearing relations in their spiritual and pure form that exist in this world; and we may well look forward to an immortality which is to supply us, and preserve to us, all that we enjoy in this life, but in a far higher and purer state. For, if it were not so, this world would be to some extent an imperfect place of preparation. We must suppose that God has designed this world in every respect, in its orderly enjoyment, as a preparation for that which is to come. If, therefore, we are to cultivate the duties of life to each other let us cultivate

THOSE HIGHEST OF ALL DUTIES, Those which exist between husband and wife. For this is, indeed, the school of the largest experience. It is here that the development of our character is most perfect; it is here that the greatest and highest motives for self-denial, for the cultivation of mutual feelings of love, and tenderness, and sympathy; and it is in this relation, therefore, I believe, that the

FOUNDATIONS OF THE PUREST DELIGHTS OF HEAVEN may be formed and in some measure perfected.

But let us all consider that marriage is an ordination of Godthat it is in itself pure and holy—that if there are any impure ideas connected with it, they are derived from our corruption of nature, and not from anything that is in its nature founded in marriage ; that whatever God has instituted is like Himself, good, and pure, and blessed. Whatever we use as God intended it should be used is designed at once to His glory, to the advancement of our own individual improvement, and to the securing of that highest of all bli ss' gs, peace on earth and blessedness in heaven.



CHRISTIAN PSYCHOLOGY : the Soul and the Body in their Correlation and

Contrast. Being a New Translation of Swedenborg's Tractate De Com-
mercio Animæ et Corporis, etc. Londini, 1769. With Preface and
Illustrative Notes. By T. M. GORMAN, M.A., Hereford College,
Oxford ; sometime Curate of St. Mary Abbots, Kensington. London :

LONGMANS & Co. 1875. The long-expected annotated edition of the Intercourse has at length appeared. There may be some reason for its delayed publication, since a tractate of about fifty pages has been swelled into a volume of 550. Whether the result be a sufficient retum for the labour bestowed upon it is another question. Admitting that there are some important points discussed with considerable ability in the notes, we doubt the propriety of burdening a work of this kind with such a load of comment, not always needed, even if always relevant. The performance has the appearance too of making the author a Teufelsdrück for displaying the annotator's clothes, and a stalkinghorse from behind which he may shoot his arrows. If the comments were only intended for the reader's instruction, and not also for displaying the writer's attainments, why should Plato and Aristotle always talk to his English reader in Greek, Cicero and Augustine in Latin, and Descartes and Malebranche in French? And to be consistent, why do not Kant and Helmholtz address them in German? Perhaps, however, the book is only intended for scholars. In that case, the work did not require to be translated, for those who can read Augustine's Latin could read Swedenborg's, and with more intelligence than in any translation.

But the translator undertakes to vindicate his author as well as to illustrate this one of his works. Cardinal Manning, Dr. Maudsley, the Vicar of Frome, are met, if not always with powerful argument, at least with strong language. But Mr. Gorman is particularly anxious to save the Author from his friends, whom he evidently regards as his worst enemies The “small sect” of which Mr. Gorman himself was once a member, or at least a preacher, comes in for a fair share of his vituperation. But perverts are proverbially the most bitter and uncompromising opponents. Among the sins which have helped to bring the Author's writings into disrepute, “untrained and unauthorized 'Swedenborgian’expositors" have laid them open to the successful attacks of opponents, by teaching that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are allegorical, whereas Swedenborg has " nowhere so much as hinted a doubt respecting the true historical basis underlying these Divinely inspired and accurately preserved records of the primæval Church." What historical basis is there for the creation of heaven and earth in six days, and for the existence of light and the regular succession of day and night before the creation of the sun ? What historical basis is there for the flood and Noah's ark, with its numberless tenants ? Does not Swedenborg himself say that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are not true history, but only constructed history ? This crochet of Mr. Gornran's, that the whole of the Word is in fact literally true, as well as spiritually instructive, was, we believe, one of the principal grounds on which he separated from the New Church, and was sent to Oxford, to become, it would appear, a more acconplished accuser of his brethren. One of his railing accusations against the * sect” is, that “by ignorantly or dishonestly distorting the meaning of his words to a sense he manifestly never intended,” they have made Swedenborg teach or sanction separation from “the external communion of the Church.” When the Writings speak of a New Church, “they expressly refer


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »