Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

death, and as the interior memory is the property of that man, it follows that in our interior memory our conscious life will be passed to eternity. If we leave this world with an interior memory which is heavenly in its character, we go to heaven. If not of a heavenly character, we go to hell. And whichever way we may go, there we must remain to eternity, because the memory cannot be changed. We may add to the memory in the other life; but the things added will be of the same character as the things already there. To the heavenly memory will be added heavenly things, which shall fit us more and more for heaven; while to the hellish memory will be added hellish things, which will fit us more and more for hell. Only that in the latter case, the process does not continue to eternity with any individual, because, by the mercy of the Lord, the evil are restrained. With the good, the process can never be arrested, because their growth in goodness is from an infinite source. They will ever approach more and more nearly to that God who will still be to eternity at an infinite distance above them.

But why must the things added to the memory in the other life be of the same character as the things already therein? Why may not a devil in hell, seeing that evil invariably brings punishment — seeing that, although he derives a kind of satisfaction from the indulgence of his evil loves, yet that if he continue this indulgence punishments always follow — why may he not, after learning this lesson so many times that there can be no possible doubt, turn around, and begin to act from love to the Lord and the neighbor, instead of from his own evil loves? Because he is now in internals, and all reformation is effected in externals. But why should all reformation be effected in externals? It can perhaps only be said — or at least it need only be said — that such is the divinely-appointed order, and that it cannot be otherwise. It is no more reasonable for us to expect a chance to win heaven after leaving this life fitted for hell, than it would be to believe that fishes may come to have wings, or that an oak should come to bear wheat, or a tree go back to seed; or, a better illustration, a tree, after having borne worthless fruit, should take it all back to blossoms, and try again, with better results.

G. C.

ASKING A SIGN TO ESTABLISH BELIEF IN THE

EXISTENCE OF GOD.

We have noticed in the newspapers, that some months ago a movement was started, we believe among a class of religionists in Newark, N. J., the object of which was to induce the Almighty, by prayer and supplication to Him, to give, through the external sense of vision, a sign or token to men of His Divine existence and Providence. And accordingly a paragraph appeared in a religious newspaper, asking “all newspapers desiring the spread of truth and the destruction of error, to publish this request and prayer to Almighty Power: that on the first three Sunday nights in October, 1871, there shall appear in the heavens a distinct light in the shape of a cross,” to the end that men on the earth may be fully convinced of the Divine existence and Providence.

It is perhaps not surprising that, even in this day, there are found those who should thus be desiring and seeking to have presented to men a specific sensual sign as evidence of God's existence and providence, and who, at the same time, sincerely believe that such a sign would be really convincing, and spiritually useful to men.

But are not such persons greatly deceived and mistaken in regard to the ways of God to men? Are they not asking what, in the very nature of the case, can never be convincing to the whole mind? Every human being has two minds an external and an internal mind. And to secure a full and complete conviction of the whole man, the internal mind, as well as the external, must be convinced. And what is evidence to the one, is no evidence at all to the other. The external mind can be convinced by external,

1

sensous evidence alone; but the internal mind cannot be convinced by this evidence, however complete and overwhelming it may be ; because it is such in its nature as to be incapable of reaching or affecting the internal mind. To convince this mind, the evidence must be of the same nature of the mind itself. In order, therefore, that the internal mind may be convinced, there must be presented to it internal evidence, and it must become cognizant of it before it can be convinced of the Divine existence and providence. And there are never wanting signs and tokens, to give assurance and conviction to this mind, to those who have eyes to see them, and ears to hear them. But the eye of the internal mind can no more see the signs which the external eye sees, and vice versa, than our material eyes can see the things of heaven. While, therefore, external signs may be convincing to the external mind, they never can be to the internal mind. In order that the internal mind may become cognizant of the proofs which everywhere abound in the inner world, of the Divine existence and providence, a man must know the will of God and do it. In no other way is it possible for him to see, or to become convinced of the existence of an ever-present and living God, and of His universal and particular providence in all the affairs of men.

We are, in the Scriptures, fully and abundantly taught that a true knowledge of God - a true knowledge of His existence and providence- comes to man, and can come to him only as he has the Divine Commandments, and keeps them. This, and this alone, can enlighten the internal mind of man, and enable him to see, and to be convinced of, the Divine existence and providence. How inadequate and futile, therefore, must be all merely sensous signs, in really convincing men of the existence of God? And Revelation, as well as human experience and observation, affirms the truth of this. Were the children of Israel really, internally convinced by the signs and miracles, though numerous and of the most wonderful kind, which they saw, and which were being wrought before them? Let the fact that they worshipped for their God a golden calf, so soon afterwards, answer the question.

Again, the Scriptures clearly teach us that God is infinitely wise, powerful, and good, that He loves all, and does good to all. Can any one who remembers this, and really believes it, doubt that the Lord is now, and always has been, and always will be, giving to men all the signs and tokens of His existence and providence that can possibly be useful to them, and do them good? Is not the Lord always doing everything which it is possible for Him to do and all things are possible to Him — that is calculated to be useful to men? Most certainly He is. And has He not assured us of this in His own Word, by asking, "What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it?"

How, then, can any one who has the Scriptures, and reads and understands them, ask of the Lord an additional sign, in order that men may be convinced of His existence and providence ?

When the Lord assumed human nature in the world, He gave, both internally and externally, many signs to convince men that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God; yet the Jews, in the face of all this, said unto Him, " What sign shewest thou unto us?” They did not see any signs which were convincing to them; and the reason why they did not, was simply because they did not have and keep the Divine Commandments. If they had done this, they could not have failed to see signs in abundance which would have convinced them that Jesus Christ was the Son of the living God.

If those persons who have instituted the movement alluded to above, had, instead of asking a sensous sign to convince men of the Lord's existence and providence, called all men to the observance of the Divine Commandments, and had done something which was calculated to aid them in keeping them, they would themselves become convinced that there is even now no lack of signs, in both the inward and the outward world, to convince men of God's existence and providence.

C. A. D.

“ BUT WHERE ARE THE NINE?

THESE words were spoken to a Samaritan who was made, or was then being made, whole. If we are ever regenerated, or made whole, it will be by the power and free gift of the Lord; and it is of the utmost importance to us to know what we must do in order that the Lord can make us whole.

Our Lord was going up to Judea for the last time.

Swedenborg teaches that the inhabitants of this world nations, peoples, and societies — are all in the human form, or made up of principles which correspond to the parts and atoms of a man. And this is particularly true of the Holy Land, as that was a type of heaven, which is the Greatest-man, and the place where our Lord lived as a man. Man has a skin, flesh, and bood, and a soul, or living principle. He has an external and an interior, of which he may know and understand much. He has also an inmost, of which he knows nothing. Galilee corresponds to the external, or skin. Within or above this external covering, was Samaria, which corresponds to flesh and blood; and within or above this, was Judea, or the breath of life. So Galilee corresponds to the natural, Samaria to the spiritual, and Judea to the celestial, or heavenly.

The natural degree of the mind covers and contains — is the continent of the spiritual and celestial degrees. Every living thing in the universe, and every particle in every living thing, has its skin. The higher the form of life, the more discrete the degrees, or the more distinct the skin is from what it contains or covers. The Lord, who is life itself, is the first, inmost, or highest, in all living creatures. In this world, that which forms around this invisible, living principle, is the external, or covering; and in the world of

« FöregåendeFortsätt »