Sidor som bilder

so much like a birth as to be the creation of a new soul in a new body; viz., a new will principle in a new understanding. For the understanding itself, or man's rational powers, are as much vitiated as his love, by the Fall, and have become filled with abominable falsities. Hence it it so hard, frequently, to understand theological and spiritual truths. The popular mind has often an utter aversion to them. It is not because the truths themselves are so hard and unfitted to the mind, but because our own minds are pre-occupied with so much rubbish. Now, therefore, a new spiritual infant is born, --created of God in the substances of the human soul, and as it


and comes to maturity, the whole “old man” is made to die the death, and human nature is permeated by a new spirit, has a

a new will and a new understanding. And the beauty of it all is, these two parts of our nature are thenceforth perfectly and harmoniously united. There is a restoration of lost powers to the human soul, a pure, divine marriage of Goodness and Truth, and God is glorified and man is saved.

new life



The more the interior man is searched and laid open by the Word of God, the clearer are the demonstrations of this divided consciousness; and it seems to the individual that two classes of powers are ranged in opposition, and seeking for the dominion of his nature. This conflict perhaps did not appear except under the light of Christian truth bursting on the soul in clearer splendor, - like the sun arising on a field where hosts are gathered and arranged for battle, but which lay in stillness on their arms until the morning light should appear.”Rev. E. H. Sears.

The work of the regenerating life is everywhere represented as a work of strife and combat. The natural mind is full of evils, and the work of routing and removing them is sometimes very painful. In nothing, perhaps, does man feel his duality of being, that is, his natural and spiritual minds, so powerfully. For, unless he had two minds, as distinct in their desires and cravings almost as two persons, could it be that there would exist this warfare and division in him? The natural or external mind is, in all its characteristics, an image of the natural world, and finds its delight in the things of the natural world; the spiritual or interior mind is an image of the spiritual world, and loves the things of that world, or heaven. The spiritual, indeed, loves also the things of the natural world, but only as a master loves a servant, by whose means he performs uses ; the natural world, by such an one, is held in subordination ; it is not suffered to become uppermost, or chief. And when the natural is so regarded, then the natural mind itself becomes spiritual, or spiritual-natural ; it suffers the spiritual to act through it and by it; it is thus at one and in harmony with the spiritual. But this is the effect of regeneration. Before this, it is not so.

And indeed, all through this life in the world, both with the regenerate and the unregenerate, these two minds are so distinct, that man does not know what is performing with himself in his superior mind; for with that mind he is in the spiritual world with angels, and with the other, in the natural world with men; and even when he becomes a spirit, which is immediately after death, he does not, according to Swedenborg, know what is performing in his inferior mind.

It was these two minds, so distinct and separate, that furnished the ground of the Apostle's warfare, and also the ground of every warfare experienced in the heart of the Christian, And it may be safely concluded, that until a person has begun to experience this warfare, that is, an unrest, a dissatisfaction with himself, and a conflict more or less painful with the predominant desires of the heart, he has not even begun the regenerate life.

This matter is so interesting, - it covers so large a field of human life and of the Divine Providence, that we are moved to look at it still more analytically. And here may be contemplated a certain description of character which is common enough to be met with, and which frequently, perhaps, excites almost our envy, or at least our desire, that we could be of such a disposition. We refer to certain persons of a mild and even temperament, who never appear to be troubled much with any thing. Or at least, if troubles come they are soon over; they are met with a momentary shock and passed by lightly; and there is such a natural buoyancy and equanimity of spirit prevailing with them, and so much easiness, that it seems quite out of the power of this world's fortunes to produce any great or deep disturbance in them. And they frequently have, too, a certain amiability about them, - a quiet, contented, goodnatured disposition, that seems to mark them out as made and fitted for enjoyment. In short, they seem to be what many truly religious people are, all but the religion. For it is not their religion which confers this enjoyment, for they have none.

It is a contentedness which springs not from any resignation to the Divine Will; it is a cheerfulness not at all referable to faith or reconciliation, except a reconcilement with the frivolities of every-day life ; it is what many would call an easy, constitutional happiness. And it frequently manifests itself in all the attracting amiabilities of good companionship and unburdensome life.

Now, there are two ways in which to account for this, before we come to the real and deepest secret of such a phenomenon.

First, it may be partially accounted for by mere shallowness. There is not depth enough for much disturbance. It is not proper, perhaps, to speak thus of that deficiency which is a mere withholding of the gifts of God; but of that shallowness which is the result of indifference, it is proper to speak. And perhaps we may say it is a general truth, that never a truly noble and susceptible mind existed, without a larger proportion of trials than is permitted to inferior and thoughtless persons. We frequently at least see such persons, who pass their time quietly and tranquilly, with scarcely a ripple on their shallow lake; having no thought for the past, and no care for the future, living and enjoying the present, not as religionists do, but as animals do, from mere thoughtlessness. It is the great and deep ocean that is lashed into tremendous waves and surging billows.

It is only a noble and sensitive mind that can be similarly disturbed. When the ocean is calm, and such a mind too, then what a splendid calm it is! And yet there are those who frequently give way to folly, and deem it almost a refreshment to meet with a person of the above description, who is not particularly interested about any thing, there is such a happiness! How little they know of the true elements of a happy life!

But again, the life in question may be partially accounted for from a nobler view of it; namely, from certain hereditary qualities which are really good in themselves, and which confer upon the person a truly equitable and harmonious character.

By nature he may not be disposed to much mental disturbance. He may have the gift of peace ingrafted in him from birth. And if it is real peace, that is, such as comes from an ancestry of virtue, and has been handed down to an offspring of fair and even proportions, and thus freed from a multitude of carking cares that otherwise would have disturbed and embittered the whole life, then indeed it can be said that there is so much hereditary virtue in the person. But it may be only hereditary; the person may not yet have made it his own by spiritually and deeply willing it; and if so, it is the merest natural, and may not abide the spiritual life. It may play within him beautifully, and pass from him felicitously, when in circumstances of ease and convenience, but a strong temptation may sweep it all away. For hereditary good, as well as hereditary evil, is not truly good until acted out from a more interior love of it, — from such a spiritual affection as cleaves to it in the midst of difficulties, and against strong self-interests. And in the spiritual world, where nothing abides but what is real, it may leave the man entirely destitute.

But there is still another and a truer way of accounting for that peculiar life which we have here set forth. And that is, to refer it all, or mainly, to the entire predominance of the natural man. The spiritual in such natures is not frequently

It is asleep under all this covering of nature. The natural man is now enjoying, therefore, an undisturbed possession of its own proper domain. There is nothing to oppose it, nothing to trouble it. Hardly a twinge, perhaps, of genuine conscience, yet fully aroused in it. Being an image of the natural world, it enjoys the natural world. The things of heaven do not at all intrude themselves. The warfare has not yet commenced in such minds. Bating the other causes, this is the secret of all or most of their happiness. It is a happiness, a contentedness, such as the animals enjoy, only human instead of beastly. And it is capable of very much pleasure. There may be many a charm, and many a fascina

waked up

« FöregåendeFortsätt »