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ciples laid down by the Apostle in the chapter from which our text is taken, illustrated by various intimations concerning that state in different parts of the Scriptures:
1st, The Divine principle of the Lord makes heaven. This is the universal axiom on which Swedenborg's whole philosophy of the heavenly world is founded. This is only another name for the "hidden wisdom" which in the chapter referred to "God is said to have ordained before the world unto our glory," and of which he immediately adds "eye hath not seen nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." Wisdom, or the Divine principle, then, constitutes the joys of heaven, which is as it were the sphere of its activities as the visible heavens are the sphere of the activities of the solar emanations.
2d. Heaven is not a distant region of the universe, but near at hand," and in the closest connection with man and the earth, being separated from us not by space but by state. This will be undeniable when we refer to our great axiom on which we set out, that the Divine principle of the Lord, or his Wisdom, which is one with his Word, makes heaven. This is evident, in the first place, from those passages of Scripture which speak of the kingdom as "at hand" and " come nigh unto us" (Luke x. 9, 14); which refer not only to its principle, the Divine Truth or Wisdom, but also to its subjects and influences, namely, the heavenly inhabitants and their ineffable delights. And accordingly, we find this proximity clearly intimated in many parts of the sacred writings, to a few of which I shall briefly advert. In Jacob's dream, taken in the literal sense, we have a beautiful vista, as it were, into the heavenly land; we perceive the intimate proximity of the heavenly host occupying the whole space of the mystic scale connecting earth with heaven, at whose base is man and at whose summit is Jehovah. In the 32d chapter of Genesis we read that Jacob went on his way and the angels of God met him. So near are they that they meet him on his journey like fellow-travellers. He calls them God's host, and the place where he met them “Mahanaim,” signifying "two camps," in reference to the two great divisions of the angelic host into the celestial and spiritual kingdom, and in admirable accordance with this the Psalmist describes this host as encamping around them that fear the Lord," and his designation of them in the singular number 66 as the angel of the Lord" agrees with what Swedenborg says that many angels often appear as one.
Many delightful views are given of the angelic world in the
prophets, but the most remarkable and definite are in Zechariah. In the first chapter he sees by night a man standing "among the myrtle trees," and with him angelic beings represented by variously coloured horses, who are described "as sent by the Lord to walk to and fro the earth," and they answer the angel that stood among the myrtle trees, we have walked to and fro the earth, and behold all the earth sitteth still and is at rest." This illustrates another New Church view deducible from the writings of Swedenborg, namely, the influence of angelic ministrations in producing the quietude of nature through the silent hours of the night. The angel in the succeeding chapters meets other angels who deliver joyous predictions, and he tells Joshua the high priest, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, if thou wilt walk in my ways and keep my charges, then shalt thou judge my house and keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk in among those that stand by" (Zech. iii. 7), that is among the angels who walk to and fro the earth, who appear to be present or "stand by" through all the preceding incidents of this prophecy—all confirmatory of the teaching of Swedenborg that those who are principled in Divine good and truth have already a place among the angels, whither they come after death, and are in close proximity to the earth, and that the enjoyment of heavenly bliss is participated by the angels, coinstantaneous with their intimate proximity to and ministration on earth, is evident from the well-known declaration of our Lord that they are in heaven and beholding the face of his Father while acting as "angels" to his "little ones" on earth. You are also familiar with that remarkable passage in the twelfth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, where the writer .represents Christians on earth as already come to Mount Zion, and to an innumerable company of angels, and to the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven, and to the spirits of just men made perfect (verse 22), strong confirmation of what Swedenborg says as to Christians being already in heaven. No less true therefore than beautiful are the words in which the poet represents a departed child as addressing a sorrowing mother,—
"Look before thee, round thee, o'er thee,
Heaven invites thee-I am there."
3d. The angelic inhabitants of heaven were once men on this or some other earth. This is evident from there being no mention of any other rational creation but of men (Gen. i.) But there is a very striking proof of this, as appears to me, and which,
so far as I am aware, has
not been hitherto noticed. In the account of the last judgment, as recorded in the 25th chapter of Matthew's Gospel, we read "that the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him." Now in the description of the same event by Paul in the 1st Epistle to the Thessalonians (iv.), he says, "Them that sleep in Jesus shall God bring with him,” plainly identifying them with the angels; and this further appears from what the Lord says to those on his right hand, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me." There are, you will observe, only three classes present at the solemn transaction, viz., 1. the angels; 2. those on the right hand and those on the left. The angels, therefore, must be the Lord's brethren, "poor and afflicted" when on earth but "rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom," to whose necessities those on the right hand ministered when in this world, and this throws some light on that remarkable passage in Hebrews, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares," for among the enumeration of good deeds performed towards the Lord's brethren is that of their being "strangers and taken in."
The last point we shall notice is that the inhabitants of heaven present the same appearance as men on earth, only more perfect and beautiful. This necessarily follows from the last head, for if all the inhabitants of heaven were once men on earth, they must evidently retain that specific appearance in order to preserve their identity, and hence in all appearances of angels they are invariably represented as men, and their visibility is the effect not of any change in them but in the inhabitants of earth, expressed by having their "eyes opened." The case of Stephen is here particularly in point, the council “looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel" (v. 15). This implies a change in the face of the protomartyr, but not so as to destroy its identity, for it is still called "his face," and it is compared to the face of an angel, which shews that these blessed beings have faces admitting of comparison with those of men on earth, though far more beautiful and glorious. And if the inhabitants of the heavenly world present a similar appearance to men on earth only far more perfect, so must that world itself present an appearance smaller to that of the natural world, only far more perfect and beautiful. Matter derives all its form and beauty from the presence of a higher and spiritual principle. This is very apparent in the material part of man; let the spirit be withdrawn and all the beauty soon vanishes. As, therefore, the form and beauty of the body is that of the spirit
veiled in matter, so is all the form and beauty of the natural world that of the spiritual world similarly veiled. The removal of the vails only shews both more perfect. The great truth adduced at first, that the Divine principle or Wisdom of God makes heaven serve us wonderfully here, for we are told that the manifold wisdom of God, which is made known by the Church unto principalities and powers in heavenly places, i.e., which constitutes the blessedness of earth and heaven-the wisdom of men and angels-is that also by which the world was created: "O Lord, how manifold are thy works, in wisdom thou hast made them all." If, therefore, the lower and outward effects of wisdom contain the impress of its varied beauty, may we not confidently expect to find the same impress, in a still more perfect degree, on its higher and inner workmanship.
This wisdom, which is the reality of heaven and earth, is also the reality of all goodness and truth in the soul and life. It is the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world-it is the light of life, for it is truth united with good. Let us then cultivate this heavenly wisdom in our thoughts, our affections, and lives, till we be filled with its spirit, which is the spirit of innocence and love, "wise concerning good and simple concerning evil." This is the life of heaven on earth, causing our days to glide on angels' wings, and making our departure only a gentle ascent from the lower to the upper chambers of our Father's house. In these lower rooms our prospect is dim and confined; in the higher it shall be distinct and enlarged; here it was obscured by the mists of the valley, there it shall be irradiated by light from the everlasting hills. Our prospect here commands comparatively few objects and its range is limited; there its field shall take in objects innumerable and open into interminable perspectives. There the sun shall never go down nor the moon withdraw her shining the heavens shall not depart nor the stars and constellations be darkened. For the Lord shall be our everlasting light -"our God, our glory!"
THE LIFE-GIVING CONFESSION.
"EVERY spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is born of God," says the beloved disciple (1 John iv. 2); and he considers the denial of this primary truth as the great work of Antichrist. Indeed
it might be very clearly shown how "the great apostacy" had its small beginning in the denial of this glorious doctrine of the true humanity of Christ; but our present object, however, is not its theological, but rather its practical aspect, which will nevertheless, when its inestimable value is displayed, serve to demonstrate the important place which this confession must ever hold in "the true Christian divinity."
How is it, then, that every spirit is of God, and consequently regenerate, who confesses that Jesus Christ was come in the flesh. word in the original is eλπλv@ora, which denotes what is completely accomplished. At the Incarnation the coming of Christ in the flesh commenced; it was the inception, if we may use the term, of the union between Deity and humanity; and the whole of His intermediate work between the Incarnation and the Ascension might be with propriety expressed as "a coming in the flesh"-a progression of the Word of life through the flesh of humanity, which He had assumed, and in 'which, from the moment of His being "made flesh," He was ever latent until He dispersed all those evils and infirmities inherent in that flesh, whereby, without sin in Himself, He was brought in contact with all the sins of humanity at large, and with all the powers of hell, and by His simple progress, or "coming in the flesh," all these enemies fell under Him, and the whole humanity which He assumed became filled and pervaded, literally "gone through" with the Divinity, so that now that Divinity, always latent, is become "manifest in the flesh;" and the Divine life, at first hidden in the natural life of His humanity, becomes manifest that in humanity being pervaded by the Word of life (1 Tim. iii. 16; 1 John i. 1, 2). Thus the phrase, “come in the flesh," is of wonderful comprehension, "reaching from one end to the other," i. e. from the Incarnation to the Ascension, "and sweetly ordering all things" in the regeneration of men. And this brings us to the consideration of the efficacy of this Word in relation to regeneration. Now in consequence of this "coming of Christ in the flesh," there is an inceptive coming of Christ in the flesh of every man—an inception of Divine and eternal life and light from the Living Word, comparatively, as was in the humanity of Christ at the Incarnation. "In Him was life, and the life was the light of man, the true light which enlightens every man that cometh into the world” (John i. 4-9). In the form of light or truth, ever proceeding from the glorified humanity of our Lord, every one has therefore a Divine and heavenly life hidden within his natural, like sunshine latent in a cloudy