« VorigeDoorgaan »
of the lower. The rational mind must bring into exercise its various powers, corresponding to the leaves of the tree, and a chemistry more wonderful than that of outward nature. By reflection, classification, and comparison, facts are examined and analyzed, then rearranged and sublimated, till from them are extracted rational conclusions and sound principles, adapted to the growth of the mind and the discharge of social functions; while the higher facts of spiritual science and of the letter of the Holy Word, by the alchemy of light from within, are transmuted into “fine gold” and the very " elixir of life.”
Another circumstance is noticeable : neither roots nor the senses possess any power of selection over the elements conveyed by the former into the tree, and by the latter into the memory. Roots must admit all matters that are dissolved in the water they imbibe, however unsuited to the nature of the tree; and the senses necessarily receive everything that operates upon their respestive planes. The eye cannot refuse to see, nor the ear to hear; and the exercise of the other senses is equally involuntary. But roots appear to have the means of excreting noxious substances; and the higher affections and perceptions of the mind can reject unseemly knowledge and facts from their inner recesses, and confine them to their seat in the outer chambers of the memory, there to be inactive and uninfluential.
A large and lofty tree requires a strong foundation and abundant nutriment; but when it is laid broad and deep, there is only a glorious possibility, to be made actual as we ourselves may determine. The broad foundation is the external mind with all its powers and possessions—its affections, knowledge, and intelligence. The possibility is an angelic life, rising above all that is selfish and impure, as the cedar above the surface of the ground.
EXTRACTS FROM SWEDENBORG'S SPIRITUAL DIARY.
The First State of Man after Death. When man, after death, enters the spiritual world, which generally takes place the third day after he has breathed his last, he appears to himself in a life similar to that which he had in the world, and in a similar house, room, and bedchamber, in similar kind of clothing, and with similar society in the house. If he was a king or prince, in a similar court; if a husbandman, in a similar cottage; the latter with rustic, the former with splendid surroundings. This takes place with
every one after death, for the reason that death may not appear to be death, but a continuation of life, and that the last of natural life may become the first of spiritual life, and that from this he may go on to his goal, which will be either in heaven or in hell. The reason why such a similitude of all things appears to those who are recently deceased, is because the same mind remains to them which they had in the world ; and because the mind is not only in the head, but also in the whole body, thence he has a similar body, for the body is the instrument of the mind, and is continued from the head; wherefore the mind is the man himself, yet he is then not a material man, but a spiritual man. And because he is the same man after death, there are given, according to the ideas of his mind, things similar to those which he had at home in the world. But this lasts only a few days.
When the new-comers into the spiritual world are in this first state, angels come to them to wish them a happy arrival, and at first they are greatly delighted by conversation with them, for they know that then they think no otherwise than that they are yet living in the former world ; wherefore they ask them what they think of a life after death, to which the new-comers answer in conformity with their former ideas; some that they do not know, some that they are spirits (pneumata) or aërial appearances, some that they are transparent aërial bodies, some that they are volatile ghosts, some in the ether and the air, some in the waters, some in the middle of the earth, and some that they are souls like the angels in the stars. Having heard these things the angels say, Be welcome! we will show you something new, which you have not before known or believed, namely, this, that every man lives a man after death, in a body, altogether as he lived before. To this the novitiate spirits reply, This cannot be : whence has he a body ? does it not lie dead, with everything of it, in the sepulchre ? To these things the angels cheerfully answer, We will demonstrate it to the eye : and they say, Are you not men in the perfect form ? Look at yourselves, and feel of yourselves ; and yet you have passed out of the natural world : the reason why you have not known this until now, is because the first state of life after death is altogether similar to the last state of life before death. Having heard these things, the new guests are astonished, and exclaim from joy of heart, Thanks be to God that we are alive, and that death has not destroyed us. I have often heard newly-arrived spirits instructed in this manner concerning their life after death, and gladdened at their resurrection.- Part vii., Appendix, p. 125.
Meals in the Spiritual World. They eat and drink as in the natural world ; but all food there is from a spiritual origin : wherefore it is not prepared, but is daily given them. When the time of dinner and also supper comes, there appears a table with various dishes, which remains to the end of the meal ; and when they have dined or supped, the table disappears.—N. 6088, vol. iv.
Reviews. GREAT TRUTHS ON GREAT SUBJECTS. By the Rev. Dr. BAYLEY.
Pitman, This is the second edition, neat and wonderfully cheap, of six lectures delivered at Brighton. Besides the lectures, which present the leading doctrines of the Church clearly in the lecturer's popular style, a report is given of the discussion which followed each lecture; so that the volume contains not only an exposition of the subjects, but an explanation of the difficulties that are likely to present themselves to the minds of those who hear them for the first time.
A SERMON FOR THE TIMES. By the same Author. This is especially well timed. The subject is the Lord Jesus founding His Church on the rock, and delivering the keys to Peter. The lecturer exposes the assumption of Papal supremacy, founded on a grossly false interpretation of the Lord's words.
“The terrible thirst for dominion which developed itself in the professing Church when Constantine established it, and gave it the dignities of the empire, grew and increased until it was full blown in the time of Gregory VII. who claimed to set up or to put down all the kings of the earth, and went on, checked only by there being two popes or three popes at a time, all claiming the same mad authority, until it attained in the course of 300 years its most aggravated condition in the person of Boniface VIII., who insanely dashed out his own brains at the indignity of having been imprisoned by Phillip the Fair of France." The true and practical sense of the text forms a striking contrast indeed to this too just view of its falsification and perversion. We understand that a second edition of 5000 has been called for.
THINGS NEW AND OLD. A Series of Lectures delivered in the New
Church, Lowestoft. By JAMES SPILLING. HERE is another cheap volume of discourses on the leading doctrines
of Christianity. Their titles are :—Jesus Christ the True and Only God—the Object for which Christ came into the world—the Jewish Sacrifices and their relation to Christ's death—the True and Saving Faith—the Resurrection-the Bible. All these important subjects are treated in a masterly manner and in a tone of genuine Christian feeling. They have been addressed to the congregation, which has been raised up in a singularly short time, chiefly through Mr. Spilling's labours, and in the Church which the congregation has erected for its worship These lectures can be had singly as well as bound together, and deserve to be extensively read and widely circulated.
ECHOES OF PLANT AND FLOWER LIFE. By LEO. H, GRINDON. Pitman. A CHARMING little book, in which the author discourses sweetly on the aspects and physiognomy, the leaves, the flowers, the bracts and the calyx, the stamens and the pistil, the colours and odours of plants.
“The following papers," he says in his preface, “do not profess to consist of anything more than memoranda and observations, from a poet's point of view, respecting a certain class of botanical facts. These facts, which, unable to think of a better name, I call echoes, science may some day think it worth while to detach ; then, marshalling them with others of similar nature, elaborate from the whole a botanical treatise.” This little work will be found to be, like all this author's productions, as instructive as pleasing.
RELIGION AND LIFE. By JAMES REED. New York : General Con
vention Publishing House, 20 Cooper Union. AMERICAN works follow so fast upon each other that we have hardly time to notice them all, and certainly not space to do them all justice. This little work is designed to teach us how to think of God and of the Scriptures and to find the way of life, and to instruct us respecting the life hereafter. Ou these momentous subjects its teaching is clear and practical ; and they are treated in such a manner that a novitiate may understand, and so intelligently that an adept may be instructed.
Deus Homo: God Man. By THEOPHILUS PARSONS. Third Edition.
Chicago : Chandler. Manchester : J. B. Ledsham. THOSE who have read Parson's essays know that anything from the Professor's pen must contain a rich fund of spiritual intelligence, or rather wisdom, for his writings seem to spring from, and appeal to, both the heart and the head alike. The present volume, the largest of the kind he has produced, will not disappoint the just expectations of any of the author's numerous admirers. The subject of it has no doubt been suggested by the several works that have recently appeared on the life and character of Jesus C in which their authors have sought to embody their ideas of who and what the Saviour was. His book, he tells us, is not written as a criticism on these books, as an answer to them, or with any controversial purpose whatever ; but believing that in Jesus Christ the divine is human and the human is divine, that He is God and He is man, both perfectly, he has given his book a title which may indicate this belief.
The book is not a life of Jesus, in the manner of “ Ecce Homo" and other similar works. It treats of His birth, His life, and His death, but it treats of them not merely as events of His human experience, but as manifestations of His divine-human power, having a constant relation to the great work of redemption, and involving in them wonders of wisdom and benevolence, that it never entered into the hearts of the modern biographers to examine, and which it was not their object to discover. In treating of the Lord's life, His miracles and parables occupy a large share of the writer's attention, and many of them are consisely but clearly explained. But almost every subject of the New
. Testament is introduced, and on every one some soft light is thrown, by which it is presented to the reader in an aspect as soothing as it is enlightening.
We cannot conclude without complimenting the publisher, Mr. Chandler, on the beautiful style in which the volume is got up. It is, so far as we know, either in printing or binding, unrivalled in any New Church book issued in this country, although some of recent date are highly creditable, one or two for instance of Mr. Alvey's, and the Manchester Society's abridgment of the “True Christian Religion.” But we must produce something better than the best of these, if we do not wish to be left behind in so useful a branch of art as mechanical bookmaking