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Behold then, in this example of the contrariety upon this subject between the doctrines of the New Church and those of her adversaries, the old controversy revived of Caleb and Joshua with the other ten spies, respecting the ability of the people to take possession of the promised land. The New Church encourages the people, and says with faithful Caleb, "Let us go up at once to possess it: for we are well able to overcome it."* But her adversaries exclaim, with the unfaithful ten, “ We be not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we."t "And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched, unto the children of Israel, saying, The land through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants and we were in our own sight as grass-hoppers, and so we were in their sight."‡

Since, then, it is perfectly evident that the Scriptures never represent the life that leads to heaven as a thing of great difficulty; and since, when our doctrines affirm that it is not so difficult to live the life that leads to heaven as some suppose, they by no means affirm that it is attended with no difficulty whatever; and since it thus is certain that the Scriptures and our doctrines are here in perfect harmony; all that is necessary to clear the subject of all remaining obscurity, is, briefly to state in what manner the illustrious Author of the treatise on Heaven and Hell explains his proposition, and proves that the difficulty of living for heaven is not so great as is too often imagined.

He begins with stating what the unnecessary difficulties are with which the imaginations of men have clogged the way to heaven which he does thus: "Some people believe, that to live a life which leads to heaven is difficult, because they have been told that man must renounce the world, and reject the concupiscences of the body and the flesh, and must live a spiritual life; which they understand as implying, that they must reject worldly things, which consist chiefly in riches and honors, that they must be engaged continually in pious meditation about God, salvation, and eternal life, and must spend their lives in prayer, and in reading the Word and other pious books: and this they call renouncing the world, and living in the spirit and not in the flesh. But the fact is, that they who renounce the world and live in the spirit after this manner, procure to themselves a melancholy habit of life which is not receptible of heavenly joy. But in order to man's receiving the life of heaven, it is necessary to live in the world, engaged in some business or employment; in order that, by fulfilling the duties of moral and civil 1 Ver. 31. Ver. 32, 33

*Numb. xiii. 30.



life, he may receive spiritual life. For spiritual life cannot otherwise be formed with man, or his spirit prepared for heaven : for to live an internal life and not an external life at the same time, is like dwelling in a house which has no foundation, which either sinks into the ground, or cracks to pieces, and at last falls down."* Here, then, some of the difficulties with which, in the opinion of some, the life that leads to heaven is attended, are at once cleared away; -all the mummery of superstition and popish mortification, - all that mistaken renunciation of the world which withdraws a man entirely from its business and its duties. The author then proceeds to show, that truly spiritual life is nothing but civil and moral life lived from spiritual mo. tives; and thence, again, he infers, that it is not so difficult to live the life which leads to heaven as is generally supposed. For, says he, "Who cannot live a civil and moral life when every one is initiated into it from his infancy, and comes into the knowledge of it by his life in the world? Every one also brings the principles of civil and moral life into act, he who is inwardly bad, as well as he who is inwardly good: for who does not wish to be esteemed a sincere and just man? Almost all exercise sincerity and injustice externally, so as to appear as if they were sincere and just in heart. Let, then, the spiritual man do the same, which he surely is able to do as easily as the natural man; only, as the spiritual man believes in God, he must practise sincerity and justice, not only because civil and moral laws require it, but also, because the divine laws require it. Thus, as the spiritual man, when he acts, has the divine laws in his thoughts, he is in communion with the angels, and, so far as this is the case, he comes into conjunction with them, and so his internal man is opened, which is the real spiritual man. When such is a man's character and equality, he is adopted and led by the Lord, although he is not aware of it; and thus the acts of sincerity and justice belonging to the moral and civil life are performed by him from a spiritual origin; and this is to perform them from the essential principles of justice and sincerity, or to do them from the heart." This is illustrated at length, and is applied to the case of the ten commandments. It is shown that many mere men of the world keep the ten commandments in outward form, as mere civil and moral laws, for the sake of maintaining a fair character in society; and the intended inference is, What is to hinder the man who wishes to become spiritual from keeping them as divine laws likewise, avoiding the breach of them as sins against God; when the Lord and the angels are ever present with the mind of every one who thus regards them, continually leading him, † N, 530,

* H. and H. n. 528.


and communicating the necessary ability? I will add a few sentences which deliver the practical purport of the whole: "That it is not so difficult to live the life of heaven as is supposed, is evident now from this consideration: That nothing more is necessary, than for a man to think, when any thing presents itself to him which he knows to be insincere and wrong, and to which he feels inclined, that it ought not to be done, because it is contrary to God's commandments. If he accustoms himself so to think, and thus acquires a habit of it, he by degrees is conjoined to heaven; and as the higher principles of his mind are opened in consequence, he distinctly sees what is insincere and unjust; and as he sees them, they may be loosened and expelled from his mind; for it is impossible that any evil can be expelled until it is seen. But when he has made a beginning, the Lord operates all sorts of good in him, and gives him the faculty, not only of seeing evils, but also of not willing them, and finally of holding them in aversion; this is meant by the Lord's words, 'My yoke is easy, and my burden is light."" - But here follows a most momentous remark, which shows that the writer never intended to represent the work as unattended with any difficulty whatever: he adds: "It is however to be noted, that the difficulty of so thinking, and likewise of resisting evils increases, in proportion as man proceeds to the actual commis. sion of evils from the will; for by so doing he accustoms himself to evils, till at length he does not see them: and next he is led to love them, and from the delight of love to excuse them, and by all kinds of fallacies to confirm them, saying that they are allowable and good. This is the case with those, who, on coming to adult age, plunge into evils without restraint, and at the same time reject all regard for divine things from their heart.”*

I know not how these sentiments may affect our acccusers; but by all the Candid and Reflecting they surely will be thought to carry their own recommendation with them, and to evince, by their intrinsic excellence, that they are the very truth of heaven. They are equally calculated to repress presumption, and to foster hope: they prove that man may, with less diffi culty than has been supposed, live the life that leads to heaven, and yet that all the good of such a life is not of man but of the Lord alone and that man himself greatly aggravates the difficulty by neglecting his opportunities. Never before, I believe, was this difficult subject treated, in any human writings, with such clearness and consistency. Surely it must require the front of the arch-accuser of the brethren himself, seriously, to look at such sentiments, and impute to them any other character than that of holiness and truth.


* N. 533.


But, says the accuser in the present case, "a Swedenborgian, according to an indulgence warranted by his great leader, may go to a play,' may 'sing a song,' besides some other little indulgencies which it is needless here to mention." How pitiful are such charges! What mere Pharisaism do they breathe! How plainly do we see in them the same spirit which exclaimed on one occasion, "Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?"* on another, because "the Son of man came eating and drinking," "Behold a man gluttonous and a wine bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!" They breathe a revival of the spirit which was eager to "bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and to lay them on men's shoulders;" which "tithes mint and anise and cummin, but omits the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith;" which "strains at a gnat, but swallows a camel." They are, in short, the dictates of the same spirit as said of the Saviour in person "We know that this man is a sinner." What was the pretence for this blasphemous accusation? Because the Divine Object of it refused to acknowledge the additions which the Scribes and Pharisees had presumed to make to his own law and because the doctrines of the New Church are equally regardless of such additions by modern Scribes and Pharisees, they are pursued with similar reproaches. The proper answer is that which, on one occasion was made to the Pharisees by the Lord himself: "If ye had known what that meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless."||

*Matt. ix. 11.
§ John ix. 24.

I will now only add on this subject, that, although, according to the Doctrines of the New Church, all the faculties belonging to human nature in a state of order, from highest to lowest, may be allowed the recreations proper for keeping them in a healthful state, capable of discharging their proper functions in the great whole, whence even the recreations proper to the body and the senses are not condemned as criminal in themselves; yet to insinuate from this reasonable and Scriptural truth that our doctrines encourage any disorderly gratification of the lower faculties, - any thing that tends to lift them out of their proper subordination to the mental and truly spiritual part, is a gross, unfounded calumny. Nothing is more insisted upon in the doctrines of our church, than the debasing tendency of pursuing carnal and sensual gratifications, of the pursuit of them, in any degree whatever, as ruling ends and objects. Of persons who had been devoted to the pursuit of what is called pleasure, our doctrines teach a very great proportion of the inhabitants of † Ch. xi. 19.

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Ch. xxiii. 4, 23, 24.
Matt. xii. 7.

hell consists. Because, then, we affirm that the life which leads to heaven does not consist in monkish mortifications; because, to use the apostle's language, we do not adopt the precepts of "touch not, taste not, handle not, after the commandments and doctrines of man; which things," as he also affirms, "have [merely] a show of wisdom, in will-worship and [affected] humility, and neglecting of the body;"* it is the extreme of injustice in the devotees of will-worship to tax us with encourag ing the love of pleasure and dissipation. We are satisfied that, in its spiritual as well as in its literal sense, the precept, "Render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, and unto God, the things which are God's," is a mandate of Divinity; and in its spiritual sense we understand it to teach, that though the world, and the things belonging to the world, including that part of man's constitution which is connected with the world, may, in their proper station, and in the order intended by their Creator, have their necessary share of attention, they must not be allowed to encroach upon our duty to God, engross any share of our supreme affections, or form any part of our ruling,motives, which must all be sacred to God alone.

Nothing more needs be said to evince, that there is not anything in our doctrines which is calculated to attract to their banners the careless and the dissolute, who are indisposed to submit to the discipline of sincere repentance and reformation: these will rather fly to the flattering remedies of our opponents, who will undertake to set all right in a moment, though that may be the last moment of life. We reject not the sinner: but we tell him he must repent, not in words only, but in deed; or, in the language of the gospel, that he must bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. We, however, dishearten no one by telling him that he cannot keep the law of God: we tell him that he can; yea, and that it is not so difficult as he perhaps imagines. We learn of our Divine Master not to break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax: yet we adopt also his teaching from the heart, and say to the disciples whom we call to him," Except your righteousness exceed the righteous. ness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

* Col. ii. 21, 22, 23.

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