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Fearful indeed is the thought, and we little mistrust, in our moments of indifference, how the spots of corruption that exist within us, as to every kind and character of evil, send out their threads of quickest communication-stretch abroad their spiritual wires — and lay the roads of most facile intercourse, from land to land, and station to station, in the great spiritual country! What a reflection it is, that by every species of wickedness in which we may engage, and by every remaining spot of evil, we really have connection and communication, now with a society of knaves and deceivers, now with liars, now with adulterers, now with haters of God and the church, and now with profaners; not to mention unnumbered other evils which organize themselves into societies in the spiritual world, and which lay their plots so deeply and cunningly, to entrap the unwary travellers of earth! What a motive it is to search the heart and know the thoughts, and see if there is any wicked way in us, and be led in the way everlasting! For these ways are really there, spreading as a net-work through many avenues, over the whole tract of eternity.

It is in the deliverance from these wicked societies in the spiritual world, that the whole of the Divine Providence with us is concerned. But differently with the evil and with the good. "If the affection of a man be evil, he is, [while yet remaining in the world,] carried about through infernal societies, and if he does not look to the Lord, he is brought into those societies more entirely and deeply, yet still the Lord leads him as by the hand by permitting, and withdrawing so far as the man is willing to follow from freedom; but if he looks to the Lord, he is brought forth from those societies successively, according to the order and connection in which they are; which order and connection are known to no one but to the Lord alone; and thus he is conveyed by continual steps out of hell upwards towards heaven and into heaven. This is affected by the Lord whilst man is ignorant of it, since if man knew it, he

would disturb the continuation of that process by leading himself. A. E. 1174.

From this it may be understood how the Lord follows the wicked, and how with the determinedly wicked there is a continual permission of evil to the end that there may be a continual withdrawment. Nothing can be more merciful, or beautiful to contemplate, except the more orderly leading of the good, and of the angels themselves. So perfect indeed is the divine government as thus represented, that there is no place in the universe where the divine laws can be violated with impunity, or where the chastisements consequent upon such violation do not tend more and more to obedience and peace. And so complicated, and yet so systematic are these movements, that the withdrawment from evil is done in a thousand ways, even the most secret, with man, comparatively as the food which is received into the stomach, which first undergoes a separating or digesting process, by juices prepared for that purpose, and is then converted into chyme, and next into chyle, from which the blood is made, and for this purpose is passed through various organs of the body, by innumerable little ducts, and vessels therewith connected, the intestines, the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, in each of which a separation is made, and a purification from the grosser and more unsuitable substances, till what remains is thoroughly prepared to enter into the composition of a healthy human body. It will sound strangely, without doubt, to a merely material science, to say that all this is the effect of the secret operations of the soul. But when men learn more familiarly what the soul is, and come to view it as an organized human form, having in itself all the organic apparatus which the body possesses, only of a spiritual nature, then they will be prepared to admit a philosophy into their theology which is now little dreamed of. It is a familiar expression enough, that the soul lives upon Divine Goodness and Truth, that this is its spiritual food, as bread is the natural food of the physical

organism. But when all this is seen in reference to the very substance of the Divine Spirit, and to the human soul as the interior organic body, of which the material frame is the outer symbol and expression, what have hitherto been used as mere figures of speech will assume a reality surpassing our utmost imagination. It will then be understood how the soul lives upon the divine Good and Truth, and how it spiritually appropriates, by its own receptive and digestive apparatus, the divine and living substances which enter into it.

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It is thus true - true in its utmost extent, that these involuntary operations of the bodily organism in regard to its food and sustenance, are effected by the operations of the soul. They are correspondences. One is the cause, the other is the effect. Hence it is that a healthy, cheerful, pure, and vigorous state of the mind, is so conducive to good digestion, and to unobstructed physical health. But of these secret spiritual operations, the man himself knows nothing. He does not attend to them, and he cannot, any more than he can to the involuntary movements of the heart in sleep. Who does attend to them? The Lord only, in his Divine Providence. And so it is with regard to all man's evils and sins, both hereditary and acquired. The whole spiritual world is at His command, and every variety of angelic and spiritual ministration. And by innumerable hidden methods, he accompanies man into evils, and leads him out of them; works upon his affections, and controls his motives; arranges all his circumstances; opens and closes each day for him in the best possible manner; and as far as can be done, consistently with his freedom, is continually operating to withdraw him from evils, to separate them from things not agreeing and discharge them by unknown ways, and to lead him from one society to another in that eternal world which closes in upon all sides around him! "Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward; they cannot be reckoned up in order unto

thee; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." (Psalm, 40: 5.)

One chief method of governing the wicked is by external restraint and fears. They cannot, for the time being, be led to good from the love of good, but they can frequently from the love of happiness. That is, to external good, but not internal. But God will not forsake them even upon that plane of the mind; and though they may never thus attain to the enjoyments of the angels, yet they may be made receptive of many uses and delights of such a life, which, to them, are all the heaven they can imagine or enjoy. We will not pretend to say how high such a life may ultimately ascend, or how low and devoid of life it may frequently find them, or precisely what deliverances, as to mode and operation, in the long ages of eternity, may in God's great mercy await them: we have no desire, nor is it at all profitable, to speculate much upon such a subject; enough that the Great Father loves all his children with an undying, inexhaustible affection, which many waters cannot quench, nor floods drown, and which sin itself has no power to diminish. Enough that all his providences tend invariably to some kind and degree of good, forever and ever. Our soul is made glad within us, and shouts with an interior joy, for what unknown mercies must eternally be measured out, and what more than puny human thoughts are in the GREAT EVERLASTING LOVE. We can trust it for any thing. It is no less alive and active in the lowest hell, than in the highest heaven. It must prove efficient just so far as the creature will consent, and whenever it will consent.

It is thus that the very selfishness of man is made an instrument and a means for his security, to prevent him from sinking into deeper and deeper wretchedness. What a powerful principle is the love of honor, of gain, of reputation, and the fear of the law! How much may it do for God's eternal universe! And beyond all this, what other principles of the everlasting

Jehovah may operate, to glorify all human souls!

complete the reign of moral evil, and Thus, with the poet Gambold :

:

"I'm apt to think the man

That could surmount the sum of things, and spy
The heart of God, and secrets of his empire,

Would speak but love. With him, the bright result
Would change the hue of intermediate scenes,
And make one thing of all theology."

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