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napre ske minds of men in past ages, are no longer suited to the necessities of the present, but are become as “ lifeless and bare trunks containing in them neither sap nor nourishment.”* Unsatisrying dogmas, if they led the well-disposed mind to the acknowledgment of his God and Saviour and to the life of religion, might answer the main ends of true religion, so long as the human mind could simply acquiesce in them without inquiry : but when the human mind has come into such a state as to be sau fied with a blind faith no longer ;-when it also is prepared, by the improved culture of its rational powers, for the recepuon of the seeds of the pure and genuine truth ;-it no longer firsds such unsatisfying dogmas congenial to itself ;-it no longer can draw from them its needed stores of spiritual nourishment; and it refuses therefore to admit their seeds into its bosom. That this is, most extensively, the state of the human mind at this day in regard to the views of religion commonly prevailing, is too evident for the most determined advocate of those views to deny.

Then, assuredly, our next question must be answered at once in the affirmative; and it must be admitted, That there is a manifest necessity, if man continues to be an object of regard to his Maker, that a new dispensation of Divine Truth, adapted to the present state and wants of the human mind, should be communicated from its Divine Source :— in other words, that the long expected Second Coming of the Lord should in these times be revealed. This dispensation must be such, as to remove the clouds of error in which the beauty of pure Christianity has been long involved ; to restore the right understanding of the word of God, and conclusively to demonstrate its divine origin; to exhibit, in a rational as well as Scriptural light, the divinity of the Christian Redeemer, without the just acknowledgment of which no Church truly called Christian can exist; and to display in a satisfactory manner the nature of man's immortality and of his life hereafter, at the same time that it re-discovers the true nature of the means by which that immortality may be made an immortality of happiness. In short, it must be a dispensation which shall effect the union of reason with religion, without divesting the latter of its spirituality, as merely rational (as they are called) schemes of religion invariably have done ; but which shall add spirituality to reason, and exalt it with both, Whether the system of religion embraced by those who humbly trust that they belong to the New Church of the Lord, which they believe to be predicted in the Revelation under the figure of a New Jerusalem, an

* Rev. E. Irving in his Farewell Sermon at Glasgow on his first coming to Loudon.

swers to this character, may in some measure appear as we proceed: but, without reference to any specific system, it seems difficult to deny, that the communication of such a dis. pensation of Divine Truth as we have here slightly sketched an idea of, is essentially important to the present state and spiritual necessities of mankind.

For should such a dispensation be too long withheld, must we not answer our last question also in the affirmative, and conclude, That there is reason to apprehend that the rank weeds of Infidelity, which have already, in copious abundance, begun to appear, would overspread the whole field of the human mind, and blast all hopes of any real improvement, in wisdom and happiness, for the human race? The strong hold of Infidelity is, the irrationality of the doctrines commonly affirmed to be those of the Word of God. These are such as reason, when once it ventures to look at them, must reject: and when such doctrines are supposed to be those of the Scriptures, and the true nature of the Scriptures themselves is also totally misunderstood, the inevitable consequence is, that the Scriptures are rejected with them.

Set then the Scriptures in their proper light; especially, prove that they are written by the laws of that invariable correspondence or analogy which exists by creation between natural things and spiritual, whence, while merely natural things are for the most part treated of in their literal sense, they are only used as types of purely spiritual ideas; — thus, prove that the Scriptures have in them a spiritual sense in which the wisdom of God in all its glory shines: then show what their doctrines really are, and evince that the genuine dictates of Scripture invariably harmonize with the genuine dictates of Reason,

that though they contain truths far beyond the reach of unassisted Reason to discover, they always are such as Reason, thus enlightened, accepts, approves, and can by numerous arguments confirm: thus, exhibit the main topics of religion in their proper light, and you immediately deprive Infidelity of its power over the unsophisticated mind, that retains its unbiassed love of truth, and desire of knowing it. But certainly, nothing like this is done in the views of religion commonly prevailing; and we see the awful consequences; we see, not only deism, but atheism, unblushingly avowed by numbers even in this favored land; while on the continent of Europe it is too well known that they are far more universal, both among the Roman Catholic and the Protestant States. The fashionable school of divinity, even, through a great part of Christendom, led by the late Drs. Semler and Eichhorn, allows nothing of the proper nature of inspiration to the New Testament, and denies it to the Old Testament altogether, in

*

somuch that the Consistory of Wurtemberg have gone to the length of forbidding the clergy to take from the Did Testament the subjects of their sermons.

Here are plain symptoms indeed of a growing tendency to infidelity : Is there any thing in the views of the Scriptures, and the doctrines of Christianity, commonly entertained, which is capable of stemming the torrent? Is there not then reason to apprehend the most disastrous consequences to the human race, should the proper antidote be much longer withheld, -should the Second Coming of the Lord, in the sense explained above, be much longer de. layed ?

IV. To come to the conclusion of the present subject.

What has been offered, may, I would fain hope, have been sufficient to satisfy all who consider the important subject with due reflection, that our pretentions are not very extravagant when we affirm our belief, that a new dispensation of Divine Truth is in reality in this day communicated, and that we are actually living in the age of the Second Coming of the Lord. But some of you, perhaps, may be afraid to give ear to the arguments presented by the signs we have considered, and to admit the belief, that the light by which they are discovered, and the doctrines with which they are connected, are really those of the New Jerusalem, for fear of incurring the reproach of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the charge with which the world is ever ready to stigmatise all who sincerely believe that God exercises a providence in human affairs, especially in whatever relates to his Church, and who practically admit the acknowledgment, that the predictions of Scripture are not to remain a dead letter forever, but that it really is possible, that what Divine Truth has foretold, may one day come to pass. indeed, none can consistently ridicule others for believing that a prediction of Scripture has come to pass, but they who in their hearts do not believe in the Scriptures at all, nor even in the Omniscience and foreknowledge of the Deity. It is true that there have been wild enthusiasts enow, who have grounded their idle fancies on the prophecies of Scripture. But how have such enthusiasts usually acted ? By expecting some great thing to take place in outward nature, and themselves to be exalted to high honor and worldly dignity ; -- by fancying that Jesus Christ would come in person to reign on the earth, and that they that have faith to believe this would be made his vicegerents in the government of mankind :— with other ex: travagances of a similar kind, originating in a misconception of the true nature of divine prediction, and of the manner in

* See the Intellectual Repository for the New Church, Second Series, Vol. 1. p. 608.

which it is to be fulfilled. Look at the pretensions of the false Christs and false prophets that have arisen in different ages; and you will find notions of this kind to pervade them all. All such flights of enthusiasm find a complete antidote in the doctrine, which we are satisfied is as true now as at the Lord's first coming in the flesh, that his kingdom is not of this world. If we were told to hold out, as enthusiasts have done, peculiar privileges on this side of the grave, we perhaps, might, like some of them, soon find many more disciples; but they would be such as would not be worth having, because such as, like unconverted Peter, savor not the things of God, but the things that be of men.* We have no worldly dignities to offer, no, nor any short path to heaven. The only path to the bliss. ful seats, with which we are acquainted, is the path of repentance and regeneration; and these operations, we believe, cannot be radically performed, but by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, believed in as the way, the Truth, and the Life, received in humility, and combined with hearty obedience on the part of man. The law that regulates admission into the New Church or New Jerusalem, is, that “that there shall in no wise enter therein any thing that is unclean, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie +;" by which we understand, that whosoever would be benefitted by the new dispensation of the everlasting gospel, must regulate his life, from his inmost thoughts to his outmost deeds, by the immutable laws of order contained in the divine commandments; especially laboring to remove from his affections whatsoever is incon. sistent with the love and purity of the heavenly kingdom, and from his thoughts or opinions whatever is disowned by the Divine Truth, which constitutes the law of that kingdom; and this he must do in humble dependence upon, and devout elevation of his mind to, the Lord Jesus Christ, as I3im who ever reigns in that kingdom, the King of kings and Lord of lords. We do not believe then that a new dispensation of the everlasting gospel is offered to man, to contradict, in the slightest degree, former dispensations, but to fulfill them, by introducing into them their proper spirit and life. We are convinced, that they who embrace the new dispensation should walk in newness of the spirit, not in oldness of the letter; that as all former dispensations have required men to love God and keep his commandments, so in this they must do so from a deeper ground in the heart, and with more entire conformity in their practice. Thus we believe that the distinguishing superiority of the new dispensation will consist solely in these things : the superior clcarness with which the person and nature of the * Matt. xvi. 23.

† Rev. xxi. 27.

God who is therein to be worshipped will be seen, with a more plain discovery of the way in which an acceptable service can be offered to him ; combined with the more powerful communication of a divine influence from him, enabling those who acknowledge him to fight successfully against their own corruptions, and so to render to him this acceptable service.

Whilst then we point out to mankind the signs which demonstrate that the Second Coming of the Lord is arrived, we do not mean to fill their heads with idle fancies of no one knows what ; but to enforce upon them the fact, that now are they called, more unequivocally than at any former period, to acknowledge the only true God, and to be assured that the first of all the commandments is, to love the Lord our God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that the second is like unto it — to love our neighbor as ourselves. We only wish to urge upon them the necessity of becoming such servants of God and such friends of mankind, by the assurance that every divine aid is offered that will enable them to do so. If this be enthusiasm, it is an enthusiasm, allow me to say, which every sincerely well disposed mind ought by all means to foster; it is an enthusiasm which every friend of humanity ought to desire should become universal: for it is an enthusiasm which, if once made universal, would speedily banish evil and misery from the earth, and bring on halcyon days of universal contentment and peace.

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PART 1. The True Doctrine Proposed, and Texts cited in Opposition

Considered.

The next subject which seems most naturally to demand our attention, after having considered that of the Second Coming of the Lord, is that of the Last Judgment; for that the execution of the Last Judgment must accompany the arrival of the Second Advent, is universally believed by Christians, and is most plainly announced in the word of God. But here a question of great importance arises ;

Where is to be the scene of the last judgment ? is it to be accomplished in the natural or in the spiritual world? As the common opinion is, not

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