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truths “tending to salvation and true wisdom.” And yet, as an evidence of the absence of that visionary character, for which his intercourse with spirits and angels has obtained for him the popular reputation, in the very midst of his prophetic career he performs his duties as a member of the Swedish House of Nobles, and presents, according to the testimony of one of its leading members, “the most valuable and well-written memorials on finance to the Diet.”
Having given a biographical sketch of the author, the writer proceeds to speak of his teaching, and gives an excellent résumé of the doctrines which he taught. He begins with the Sun of the spiritual world, which creates all things, and inspires and illuminates all that it
“Life is hid with Deity—not man's life alone, but all life. This is the key to the mystery of man and the universe. It is not a figure of speech, it is the plain truth, the foundation of all other truths. Every man perceives how much life seems to be derived from the sun of our system; Swedenborg declares that in the heaven of heavens is the spiritual Sun from which comes all life—after what manner, we shall briefly see.
Is God that sun ? No. But Deity is embosomed in that sun.
It proceeds from Deity; it is Divine love and wisdom; and as love and wisdom in Deity are one, that spiritual Sun is LOVE. ... The light and heat from the spiritual Sun, that is, the Divine, goes through the heavens, thence through all the universe, being life for all things. ... As God is the very and only love and wisdom, so is He the very and only ORDER. Order is thus introduced into the universe and all its parts. Divine order involves the consideration of degrees, a science never before known to philosophy—discrete degrees, which relate to altitude, or things above and below; continuous degrees, which relate to things around, in succession—a science which shows exactly how one stands related to another in the universe. Man is created a form of Divine order, because in the likeness of God. The heart of order is that it worketh by love. The law of God is the law for man; only by living according to order does a man protect himself against the power of evil.”
We cannot follow the writer so minutely as we would wish. In speaking of Swedenborg as the Interpreter, he shows how he explains the Trinity in unity, and how he explains the Word by the science of Correspondences. “In this science Swedenborg has restored to heaven's lyre its noblest string, which will yield endless harmonies. He is the standard-bearer of Divine truth, the most valiant upholder of Scripture; the spiritual resting on the natural and scientific."
“In religion, as presented by Swedenborg, all things are of use, all things exist for it. The universe is created to be a theatre of uses. Love and wisdom only exist ideally until they are wedded to use; they then exist really. The delight of use, originating in love and operating by wisdom, is the life and soul of heavenly joys. Use keeps together the powers of the mind, and saves it from corruption; its service draws man to some purpose or employment; therein he finds tranquillity, and is satisfied, and in that tranquillity and satisfaction is found a passive state for the reception of the Divine.
“Faith is not separated from charity; they are wedded in good works. Charity is above all things. Not too much can it be appreciated. Charity consists in willing what is good, good works consist in doing good, from and under the influence of a good will, executing justly all with which we are engaged, in private relations, business, and attachments to party, persons, or state.
Here Swedenborg appears in his most glorious aspect, for we have come to the life of a religious man."
The writer concludes his interesting article by saying, “ As for ourselves, we declare that much which he has seen we cannot see, but we accept all that we do see, and trust him largely for the rest. Enough for our security, joy, and ground of anticipation to keep before us always this article of his faith : All religion has relation to life, and the life of religion is to do good.”
THE Christian World Pulpit has recently given two sermons by the Rev. John Pulsford. In these we see the light and feel the life of a higher dispensation. They are clear, warm, and practical. The second sermon, in the number for May 12th, is on the text, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things ?” (Rom. viii. 32,) and speaks thus of the Lord's Sonship :Have
any of you any objection that God should have His son? It is a fact, at any rate, that God has an incomputable number of sons and daughters; and you among them. Immensity is full of the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty. Why should there not be 'the First-born'? Why not the very fountain-head of all personality ? Why should not that be the logical order of creation ? First of all, that God should have His own Divine organ, that He should concentrate and bring all His energies, all His powers, the powers of His infinite nature into a focus, the all-organizing organ, and having brought all the sensibilities, virtues, powers, essences of His nature into a Divine centre, His First-born, and that then creation, personal and impersonal, should flow from infinite God through His own Executive, His Son, by whom He made the worlds, the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person.'
“Of course I am quite willing to confess to you that any one word can never express either God, the infinite, or the Divine Personality, which we call the Son of God. But God must have in Himself His own form, the gathering together of His energy, for expression and for operation, by which He does things, the first groove of forms, and for distinction's sake we call this personality of God His Son; or as Paul phrases it, 'the brightness of His glory,' the image of the Invisible God, the First-born of every creature.
“When we use the term Father and Son to express distinctions in God, of course we must be very careful to remember that there are no more two persons in God than your soul and body are two persons.
We must not commit the Trinitarian blunder, and we must not fall into the Unitarian fallacy. We must have an absolute unity, an absolute oneness of personality in God, and we must have the threefold philosophical distinction of essence, of form, and of influence. Whatever you do you must not divide the absolute unity of God; you must not distract yourself as to the object of worship; but in His unity you must see His infinite Spirit, and then His infinite Spirit proceeding through His own organ for universal operation. All that God is centres in its organic form, and all that God does He does by His own organ, or Son. Moreover, the image of God,' the form of God, we all know to be the phraseology of Scripture.
“ And clearly no man in this universe can, with any ground or show of reason, object to embodiment. There is nothing in existence that does not seek to embody itself. If you recognise the First-born, God in His own organic form, you will then have a rational conception of how an organic creation could arise, and through His personal centre, or Son, you will see how all His children have arisen, the children being a generation from the Divine personality, and all carrying a derivative virtue and spirit from the infinite God.”
THE Church Quarterly has an article, in the form of a review of two works by clergymen of the English Church, whose chief interest to us is its distinct recognition of the middle state. The reviewer heartily goes along with the conclusion at which Dr. Luckock arrives—that the soul is capable of change after its separation from the body by death ; a view which is quite distinct from the doctrine of purgatory as taught by the Romish Church. In support of this distinction Canon Luckock quotes a passage from the writings of the historian Bishop Martinson. “Since no soul leaves this state of being in a fully constructed and finished condition, the middle state must be considered as a realm of continued development, wherein souls may be prepared, and ripen for the last judgment. Although the Catholic doctrine of purgatory is rejected because it is mixed up with so much that is harsh and false, it contains, nevertheless, the truth that the intermediate state, in a purely spiritual sense, must be a purgatory determined for the purifying of the soul.” We need not expect to find the true nature and use of the world of spirits in these writings—that it is the temporary abode of the departed evil as well as good; that no essential change of state or character is there effected, but that every one is brought into conformity with his ruling love, whether it be good or evil, and thence passes to his final abode, either heaven or hell, whenever his real character is “developed,” not at the end of the world, but at the consummation of his state.
Our periodicals continue to discuss the subject of Evolution and its frequent, if not natural, accompaniment, Atheism or Agnosticism. The Nineteenth Century contains an article entitled "Agnosticism and Women," by Miss Clapperton, in answer to an article in the previous number by Mrs. Lothbury. To the question, "What has Aguosticism to offer in compensation for the loss of Christianity?” Miss Clapperton replies, " Agnosticism offers truth for delusion, it offers a standpoint from which clearness of thought and stability of feeling increase, and the women who adopt it grow in intellectual courage.' Such is a woman's testimony to the excellence of atheism. The same number contains an article by Mr. Mallock, the author of "Is Life worth living ?” entitled “Atheism and the Rights of Man,” in which he combats atheism, especially as set forth by the late Professor Clifford, whose lectures and essays have been collected and recently published by two of his friends. This article is well worth reading. It is fair, calm, and argumentative. But a still more searching and powerful review of Clifford's views, as set forth in his lectures and essays, appeared in the Edinburgh Review for April. Clifford, who died at an early age, had passed from Protestantism to Romanism, and thence to Atheism. Like most new converts, he was zealous in the cause of his new faith, or want of it, and if not one of the greatest, was one of the most daring of its advocates. This is one of his statements : " The dim and shadowy outlines of the superhuman deity fade slowly away from before us; and as the mist of his presence floats aside we perceive with greater and greater clearness the shape of a yet grander and nobler figure—of Him who made all gods and shall unmake them. From the dim dawn of history, and from the inmost depth of every soul, the face of our father Man looks out upon us with the fire of eternal youth in his eyes, and says, ' Before JEHOVAH was, I AM.'
Our readers may be shocked by this profanity; but it is sometimes well to feel the shock of the activity of such forces. Our moral nature, when called upon, may give a more decisive judgment than even our intellectual faculty. Yet intellectual arguments against such a doctrine are not wanting, and these are ably stated in the article in the Edinburgh as well as in Mr. Mallock's
paper. After passing in review the various theories and arguments in Clifford's work, which he shows in every instance to be confused, feeble, and untenable, the reviewer concludes in these words : “If what has been said applied to Clifford only, it would hardly perhaps have been worth saying, but it applies not to Clifford only, but to the whole modern school. If, as many think, that school is a really formidable foe to religion, it will be at any rate some comfort to know that it will certainly not destroy religion by replacing it. Its prestige, further, will be rendered less formidable if we reflect on how one of its best instructed and most gifted spokesmen has exhibited himself in these two volumes as hopelessly untrained in philosophy, hopelessly ill-read in history, and without the smallest grasp of that refractory human nature of which he boasts that in the future his school will have the sole guidance.”
An article on this, one of the questions of the day, appears also in the New Quarterly. Speaking of the Evolution theory, the writer maintains that man is not a different species but a distinct race. If some one of our New Church writers, who has talent and time, would supply an article to some influential journal on the doctrine of discrete and continuous degrees, he would do good service to the cause of truth in science, by supplying the means of making distinctions where, at present, no real distinctions are known to exist, among them the distinction between animals and man. The writer in the New Quarterly points out three characteristics by which man is separated by race from animals. Man is distinguished from animals by the faculty of intelligent, articulate speech. The consequences of the absence of this faculty, for which there is apparently no physical cause except the different combination of common elements, are sufficient themselves to constitute the human race a race apart. They entail a more lasting memory, a memory too of a more intellectual character. They suggest finer distinctions of ideas and emotions. They create a literature. They make history, and they formulate a law of universal progress.
Human language produces an Iliad, a Hamlet, and a Faust, it produces a Koran and a Bible. The nosed-ape, from which man is said to be evolved, could not be taught to pronounce, much less to understand, a sentence of the “Evolution of Man." We need not proceed with this contrast. It is ridiculous. But if language creates a Bible, what creates language? Why are animals unable to speak? Because they have nothing to say. They are unable to speak because they are unable to think. They have something analogous to thought; but, as Swedenborg says, they cannot think analytically. They cannot think about their thoughts. They cannot exercise introspection. They cannot look inwards, but only outwards, and to the two objects of their existence—their preservation and propagation. It is the custom now with naturalists to discard the old distinction between instinct and reason, and to speak of the reasoning powers of animals, and of these as differing only in degree from the reasoning powers of man. We have heard Dr. Carpenter lecture on this subject. Among the evidences and illustrations of his position, he cited the case of the cuckoo, how she puts her egg in another bird's nest, and how the young cuckoo, when hatched, turns the rightful occupants of the nest out one by one until he is left alone, the sole occupant of the nest, and the sole object of the parents' care. This conduct of the old and of the young cuckoo he considered to be the result of a process of reasoning. But if the cuckoo is endowed with so excellent a faculty of reason, how utterly destitute of the faculty must the bird be in whose nest the egg is placed and by whom the young cuckoo is reared !
It seems that the parent birds, both the cock and the hen, see no difference between the surreptitiously introduced egg and their own, and between the young cuckoo and their own brood ; and they see their own nestlings murdered one by one, and yet continue to lavish their love and care on the murderer. Do not the facts of the case show that it is instinct and not reason by which animals are guided ? As expressed by Swedenborg, every animal is gifted with the science or knowledge that belongs to its own love, that is, to its own life, and thus to the means of providing for its subsistence and the continuation