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rat;”- signifying the holy light from the elevated divine good in the soul.
There are many who will read this for the first time, and doubt the particularity of any such sense in the Divine Word. But we can only say to all such, we know whereof we affirm; we know that the Word is thus particular, and that, from beginning to end, it contains beneath its letter a systematic reference to the regeneration of man. Would that we could more fully expatiate upon it. But let the present suffice, if for nothing more, as a kindly hint, a providential introduction, which may be the means of further inquiry at the proper sources. And be assured, in the language of John Robinson to the pilgrim fathers, “the Lord has more truth yet to break out from his Holy Word.”
By such unmistakable teachings of the inspired Records, we are enabled to see in a more conspicuous light, and by the aid of a divine science, the sublime capacities of the human soul. We can hence appreciate that genuine repose which has been the dream of artists and the theme of genius in all ages of the world, but which the Spirit of God can only effect in the regeneration. How greatly has the world mistaken it! And in its discontents, its despondencies, its ten thousand troubles and annoyances, how has it wandered from the true sources, to external bewilderments and internal misery! How little has it exerted itself in the true direction, to rise above the fogs and damps, the darkness and terror, of its own evil and false nature, to the heavenly mountains of sunshine and joy! It is not mere poetry that is here used. There is a sunshine of the soul. The sublime orb that hangs in glory and effulgence in the spiritual heavens, sending its light and heat through all the regions, may shine into our hearts, and impart to us of its warming beams. It may elevate the whole man to the holy moun
* See, for a good exposition of the interior sense of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, Rendell's “Antediluvian History :” or, the first volume of Swedenborg's Arcana.
tains of Ararat. There a man may stand above his circumstances. There, upon that holy height, may he feel the refreshing breezes of heaven playing through his restored and healthy mind, and with all the world beneath his feet, may realize his victory over it and his superiority to it. In silent thankfulness may he raise his eyes to the blue deep above, in calm and humble emotion for its divine beauty, reflected only from his sun-bright soul. It is the Repose of heaven. It is Peace and Rest such as “the world cannot give, neither can it take away.” It will fit us for all earth's trials that remain, which will now be only of the body and of worldly necessities, which shall meet with welcome, and adopt as friendly to the consummating Perfection.
The fruits of such a life are more than can be enumerated. Then a thousand delights, of which the previous states know nothing, take
their abode in the mind; the internal and external parts of it being now harmonized, conduce to that true action in which the very essence of happiness consisteth ; instead of tiresomeness and discontent, a serene and joyful sense of life flowing continually from the Lord, and a constant recognition of his providence in all things; instead of melancholy, cheerfulness of spirit; instead of the restless aims of ambition, gratitude and thanks for the smallest favors, which are all that can be most safely bestowed ; and the lapse of time continually filling us with new delights, as it bears us perceptibly onward to an immortal existence.
RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT.
“When Providence intends to accomplish any thing, it does not do it by halves, but entirely.”— Stilling.
It is of the utmost importance, in travelling to a new country, not only to have a general acquaintance with the way, but to be furnished, if possible, with such guides and directions as shall lead somewhat into the particulars of the journey. We not only want to know the end and object of it, but the chief points of use and attraction, and the things most necessary to be provided with. It is so in the great spiritual journey. If I know not what the Great Leader aims to do with me, and the chief means which He will seek to use in my furtherance to everlasting possessions, in vain do I try to obtain a correct idea of the course and experience of the work. To appreciate what Divine Providence is, we must know something of the extent and nature of its aims. Before we can submit ourselves most readily to the discipline, we must understand what is to be done. It is for this purpose that we have gone over the ground of the few preceding chapters. If the great object is a heaven from the human race; if the ground of it is in so substantial a nature as the eternal forms and memories of the soul; if the necessity of regeneration is so urgent, and its nature and operation so radical and thorough; if the warfare is so formidable, and the temptations so great, and the fluctuations so mighty, and the way so winding and labyrinthic, and the view from some of its highest points so untrustful and deceptive; and after all, the final rest so glorious ; — if this is the
work and leading of Providence, what a theme it is for angels and for men! We need not wonder at the prompting curiosity of higher and holier beings, when the mystery of the incarnation was presented to them, and it became a subject which they “ desired to look into.” And now, inasmuch as our fallen humanity may still partake of the nature of angels, in that proportion may we hope to be attracted more earnestly to the remainder of our chosen theme. We know of nothing so comprehensive, nothing so interesting and glorious. We pray for the unction of a holier spirit, for deliverance from all doubt and trifling in spiritual things, and for truth and freedom even to the end. The region to be explored is alike fruitful of all high trust, and of the weightiest responsibility.
“No more we slumber on the brink of fate;
DIVINE PROVIDENCE IN THE MODERATION OF THE HUMAN
“O all-preparing Providence Divine !
In thy large book what secrets are unrolled,
- Michael Drayton.
The rational freedom of the human will is the one thing, in all our experience, that the Lord guards as the apple of the eye. It is man's pre-eminent gift. And we can have no distinct views of the divine government, without a clear conception of the causes which are made to influence our freest determinations, and which operate to perfection in the spiritual world.
“That it may be known [says Swedenborg] what freeagency is, and of what quality, it is necessary that it should be known whence it is ; its origin is from the spiritual world, where the mind of man is held by the Lord. The spiritual world consists of heaven and hell, and between heaven and hell there is a great interstice which appears to those who are there like an entire orb. Into this interstice evil from hell is exhaled in all abundance; and on the other hand, good from heaven flows in thither also in all abundance. It is this interstice, of which Abraham said to the rich man in hell, · Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who would pass over from hence to you cannot; neither can those who are there pass over to us.' (Luke, 16: 26.) Every man, as to his spirit, is in the middle of this interstice, solely in order that he may be in free-agency.” T. C. R. 475.
“There is a sphere exhaling from the hells, which may be called a sphere of endeavors, which is a sphere of doing evil;