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igently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."
The Lord's Supper, " the holiest solemnity of worship,” though it has always been regarded with awe and reverence, yet, until the internal sense of the Scriptures was opened, its significance was not understood. It has superseded all the offerings and sacrifices enjoined upon the Jewish Church, as it includes and contains within itself all which these represented. The Bread represents the Divine Goodness, the Wine the Divine Truth; and when we worthily receive them, we are endowed with corresponding Goodness and Truth from the Lord, and are amongst the redeemed.
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. All supposed variations of feeling in our Heavenly Father
mere appearances, caused by mutations in ourselves. He is "the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” He loves us all with a love which nothing can withdraw or lessen. When we transgress, we turn away from Him, and it seems to us that He turns away from us. Our sins arise like dark clouds to veil the Sun of righteousness from us, and we imagine that it shines no more. When we repent and turn to the Lord, we experience a change and state, and we think that He has changed and forgiven us. The truth is, that His love and compassion towards us are always infinite, and therefore totally incapable of increase; but we cannot be saved from the bondage of our sins by an arbitrary edict of His mercy. We must repent of, and forsake them, of our own accord ; and when they roll away like a black cloud, and we see the Divine face shining upon us, it appears to us that this change is effected by the Lord's forgiveness of our sins. This expression (like many others in the Scriptures) is according to appearances. Had not the Bible been written in this way, it could never have been adapted to every age and condition of the race.
We must freely forgive all who trespass against us, because so long as any bitter, resentful, or revengeful feelings abide within us, the Lord, who is constantly knocking at the doors of our hearts, cannot enter there and make His abode.
Lead us not into temptation.
This, again, is spoken according to the appearance. A clear exposition of the origin of temptation is found in the epistle of James: "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man; but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.” We must pray for Divine strength and guidance to enable us to resist the temptations flowing in from our evils. These evils within us attract wicked spirits around us, whose combats with our attendant good spirits produce the spiritual warfare of temptation. The Lord defends and fights for man during these temptation combats, and if man will only coöperate with the Divine Mercy, his deliverance will be sure.
But deliver us from evil.
" Evil,” says Swedenborg, "is the delight of thinking and acting contrary to Divine order. It flows in from Hell, and hath in it enmity, hatred, revenge, and cruelty. Evil and the Devil are one.” When we turn from it with aversion and repentance, praying the Lord to deliver us from it, and humbly acknowledging that all Goodness and Truth come from Him alone, He will deliver us from its fatal and direful dominion.
For thine is the Kingdom.
“ By the kingdom of God, in its universal sense, is meant the universal Heaven ; in a sense less universal, the true Church of the Lord; and in a particular sense, every particular person of a true faith, or who is regenerated by the life of faith. . . . The Lord is everything in His kingdom. The Divine things which are from the Lord in His kingdom constitute His kingdom ; therefore according to the degree of good or truth which any angel, spirit, or man receives from the Lord, and believes to be from the Lord, in the same degree he is in His kingdom. Thus the Divine things which
are from the Lord constitute His kingdom, or heaven, and this is what is meant by the Lord being everything in His kingdom.” - A. C. 29, 2904. And the power. All
power in the Spiritual World is from good, by truth ; without good, truth is of no avail, for truth is as a body, and good is as the soul of that body; and the soul can effect nothing except by a body; hence, it is evident that truth without good hath no power at all.” -- A. C. 6344.
“ All power in the Heavens belong to Truth from Good, or is the power of Good by Truth, and whereas all Good and all Truth are from the Lord, and nothing from Man, therefore all power belongs to the Lord.” – A. R. 768.
These passages serve to illustrate the nature of the Holy Spirit, the third essential principle of the Trinity, proceeding from the Father, and the Son, - in other words, the Divine Power, derived from the Divine Goodness and Truth.
And the glory.
“ Glory is predicated of Divine Truth. By it is also meant the Divine Majesty and Divine Wisdom.”
“So far as the angels of Heaven are in the Divine Truth, so far they are in the splendor of glory.”
“ To give the Lord glory and honor is to attribute to Him all truth and all good.”— A. R. 22, 629, 249.
Let us also pause to investigate the truths contained in the literal sense of this passage, "For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory.” As the Lord Jesus Christ is the King of kings, and has an everlasting kingdom, as He has all power in Heaven and on Earth, and is the Lord of glory, all these clauses refer to Him and corroborate the great truth that He is our Father in Heaven, that truth which He Himself proclaimed to His disciples, when asked to show them the Father. " Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father, and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” Heaven speed the day when mankind shall open their eyes to the light, and fall down,
like Thomas, before the Lord Jesus Christ, acknowledging Him to be their Lord and their God.
Forever and ever, Amen.
That forever and ever signifies to Eternity appears without explication. * Amen signifies Divine Confirmation of Truth.”
MODERN MODES OF THOUGHT.
" As the speech is, so the life is.”-Greek Proverb.
In an article which has recently appeared " On the Characteristic Difference Between Ancient and Modern Civilization,” the writer shows this difference to consist, on the part of the modern nations, in their power and habit of separating ideas and relations from persons and things, in their abstractions, and thus proceeds to contrast the two: " The ancients thought things, spoke pictures; the moderns think ideas, speak symbols; the ancients were natural, the moderns ideal; the ancients spontaneous, the moderns reflecting; the ancients real, the moderns spiritual.”
Without controverting the position of the author in regard to these statements, we proceed to a more practical question suggested by them; that is, whether abstract ideas can really have any existence or being ; and if not, whether that mode of thought which may be characterized as abstract, is not rather a retrogression than an advance? What is Love when separated in thought both from the person who feels it, and the object, whether it be person or thing, for which it is felt? or Truth, abstracted from the subject, or end of it? It is like Light shining in an empty space, without an eye to receive its rays, or surrounding forms to reflect it back. It is like the Orthodox definition of Deity: " Without body, form, parts or passions” ; the mind falls into an abyss of nothingness and vacuity, reaching out in vain after a phantasmal, intangible, invisible, inaudible Idea, which ever eludes its grasp.
Who can, in fact, conceive truly a relation between two things totally apart from the things related ? Even could such a conception be gained, it must necessarily be shifting, vaporous, indistinct, defective in all clearness and marked outlines, as cold and bare in comparison with reality as a skeleton beside a warm and living human body; you have not gained in turning from the living to the dead ; you have lost infinitely.
"In Heaven,” says Swedenborg, in one of his most beautiful apothegms, " Truth is committed, not to the memory, but to the life” ; and it is easy to see that Dogmas, Doctrines, Theories, our Psychologies and Pneumatologies, are rather the outbirth of an age that has fallen from its first love of Truth — when it has become the cold and bare object of mere intellectual effort, than of the higher state, when it was lived in gracious and tender acts and words of brotherly kindness; when it blossomed and bore fruit in virtue, purity and faith.
Swedenborg also says, that every idea is in a human form, a truth easily grasped by those who look to the Divine Humanity as the Fountain of all wisdom, and knowledge, and understanding. So then, as far as our ideas are merely abstractions, so far are they inanimate, or embryotic. Only when it becomes personal, human, is it a living Thought, with power to act, and bring forth new thoughts of truth.
“ For Truth in closest words may fail,
“ Even so the Word had breath, and wrought
With human hands the creed of creeds
More strong than all poetic thought.” It might, in fact, be questioned whether one of the very lowest languages, a language perhaps of a savage race, which, discarding abstract ideas, dealt solely with material objects, but presented them in a most living and descrip