Sidor som bilder

that Humanity was the medium through which the world could receive new light and life from Him, in such measure as otherwise it could not have done. And thus the day on which He thus a second time said, in His Divine Human Omnipotence, “Let there be light,” might well become the day of light, and of receiving it from Him, to His Church. " Then opened He their understandings, that they might understand the Scriptures.” — Luke xxiv. 45.

D. H. H.

(To be continued.)


All things of our daily life pass into our memories, away from our consciousness. There they are as if forgotten; but they are there most faithfully, minutely, and indelibly recorded. From thence they can, at any time, be recalled, with all the most minute details.

Such is the teaching of Swedenborg, and we, who have come to accept him as the divinely-appointed messenger, to unfold certain things concerning the soul, and the home of the soul, the spiritual world, accept it as true because he teaches it. But had we no such teaching, we might be sure, from our own experience and that of others, that some such faculty exists, call it by what name we may. All men know from experience, that long-forgotten events come back to their minds — often obscurely, it is true — but sometimes with all their original vividness. Now these remembrances come from somewhere. They are not things of the mind, and therefore unreal; but they are things of the mind, and therefore real and substantial. The events recorded in the memory had a real existence, the remembrance of them is real, and the memory in which these things are recorded is real. Some people have gone through all of death that it is possible for any one to pass through on this side the curtain, as in cases of apparent death by drowning, and they tell us that in those few brief moments in which they expected to enter immediately the other life, all their past life stood vividly before them, with all the most minute details.

Thus we enter the other life, carrying with us a complete record of all that we have done, and thought, and felt, in this life. Thus we carry with us our Book of life. We need no fiction of a recording angel to impress upon us the certainty of our true character being known in the other life ; and we can have no hope that he will " drop a tear of pity on the page," and obliterate the record of any of our sins. Indeed, neither pity or anger will have any weight in deciding our fate at the judgment which all must meet soon after death. We simply stand forth in the presence of the Lord and His angels, just as we are, with all our worldly life recorded upon our memory.

And whether we stand before Him to be told " Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,or

Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,or whether we are conscious of being examined by the angels as to the most secret things of our character, or whether we quietly seek our place in the other world, without any consciousness of a formal judgment, we may be sure that no power in the universe - not even the power of the Omnipotent God — can carry us to any other place than that for which we have fitted ourselves by our life in this world.

In seeking a practical lesson in our study of the human memory, we might well pause here: for it seems certain, that, if we could be impressed with the truths which we have now mentioned, they would have a power over our daily lives which would save every one of us from sin. But, alas! our perceptions of truth are so obscured by our inheritance of evil, that we cannot retain the perception of these truths in their full force, and we shall go about our daily lives, forgetting that we even now stand in the presence of that Lord, and that we shall not long have the power to conceal ourselves, within a body of flesh, from even our associates.

We may confirm ourselves in the belief that we do carry to the other world all our memory, by thinking for a moment of the opposite belief. Suppose that we did not carry with us anything of our memory, - it is plain that we should have no consciousness of any previous state of existence. We should only be conscious of the present. Having no recollection of the past, we could have no knowledge that there was a future. Our state would be just that of an infant when he first enters this world.

But can it be that we carry with us everything of our memory? Can it be that they who enter heaven carry with them there the remembrance of the many unheavenly things of this life? — The slanders and backbitings — the obscene, and profane, and blasphemous things which their ears have been compelled to listen to the commonplace and prosaic — sometimes filthy and disgusting - details of every-day life, which they have been compelled to witness, and sometimes to participate in. And on the other hand, can it be that they who enter hell will carry with them there the remembrance of the heavenly things of this life? The acts of justice and benevolence of charity, and neighborly kindness? The beautiful things of art and nature? Can the remembrance of these things be carried to that world wherein all is unlovely? Let us look a little more deeply into our subject, that we may find answers to these queries.

There are two faculties to the human memory. These faculties are so distinct that they are called by Swedenborg, and are, in fact, the memories : the interior memory, and the exterior memory. All the experiences of our daily life are recorded in both memories; and men enter the other life with all of both memories. But when they have reached their final place and lot, their common conscious life is in the interior memory. In general they have not the power to return into the exterior memory, because the exterior memory belongs to this world, and should be left behind at death. Some familiar illustrations may help to an understanding of what things are recorded in each of the memories.

There are people who are so wicked as to take delight in inflicting upon others physical torture. It would seem that they are fewer in number now than in former ages of the world, and we will take this fact as evidence that the world is growing better, and that the hells have not as much power over men's minds as they once had. Now look upon one of these men inflicting upon some fellow-man torture, by cutting off his fingers joint by joint, as has been done. Then look upon the humane surgeon, performing the same act upon a diseased member, in order to relieve suffering and save life. The act in externals is similar. The details of the transaction are much alike; and upon the exterior memory of both alike, the wicked torturer and the humane surgeon, are recorded these details ; but in the interior memory of each, in which are recorded all things as to motives, how different the record. Upon the interior memory of the wicked man is recorded the transaction as to the hellish love of inflicting pain ; and it is in this part of the mind that his conscious life will be in the other world. This is the record that he will carry with him to the other life, open to the inspection of all. How certain it is that such an one cannot be tolerated in the society of angels. Upon the interior memory of the surgeon the sufferings of the patient are not recorded, except as to pity, and desire to relieve. The love which prompts him is the love of use, which is heavenly, and leads to heaven.

Another illustration : How do we perform the common duties of every-day life? All have such duties to perform. No one succeeds in entirely evading them. Upon the exterior memory of all alike, these things are recorded as to their details; but upon the interior memory the record may vary so much, that it shall describe some of us as fit to be the companions of angels — others as fit only to be with devils. The performance of use, with brain or muscle,

with head or hands, cannot be entirely evaded in this life. Still less can it be evaded in the other. It only remains for us to decide whether the record of our labors, which we shall carry to the other life in our interior memory, be a heavenly record — a record of labors cheerfully performed from the love of use - or a hellish record of mere drudgery, unwillingly performed, for the sake of the reward.

Another illustration: What is the record, upon our interior memory, of the beautiful scenery that we have witnessed? Upon the exterior memory of all, the record is alike — so much land, so much water, so many rocks, and trees, and cattle, and sheep, and horses; but upon the interior memory the record may vary entirely ; for we may look upon a beautiful view with feelings of covetousness — with murmurings against the Providence which has bestowed the broad fields, and flocks, and herds, upon others, instead of upon ourselves; or we may look upon the scene with feelings of thankfulness to God that He has created such a beautiful world for us, and created in us the capacity to enjoy it.

So of all the possessions of our neighbors : the articles of necessity, comfort, convenience, and luxury. We all see these things alike. The record upon our exterior memory is the same; but upon the interior memory the record may be very different: for we may look upon these things with feelings of sincere rejoicing at the prosperity of our neighbor, or we may look upon them with feelings of envy and covetousness, which can find no place in heaven; forgetting that there are none of us so poor but that we have much to be thankful for. The heavenly things of this world may be to us a pledge of heaven in the other world, or, by perversion, they may become to us a means of reaching that hell which is nothing but one vast perversion of things good and true from the Lord.

The exterior memory is proper to the external man. The interior memory is proper to the internal man. Ву proper to, is meant belongs to — is the property of. As the internal man is that man which consciously lives after

« FöregåendeFortsätt »