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They esteemed Him at first as a prophet sent with a message, a gracious message, but a message brought by one immensely inferior to God Himself. They say, “Is not this Joseph's son ?” (Luke iv. 22.) “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned ?" But they follow Him, and they see that He is mighty in work, as well as in word. The storm is hushed at His word. What manner of man is this ! Even the winds and the seas obey Him. The multitudes are fed with newly created food. The demons, those awful infesters of human life, before whom ordinary human effort was entirely impotent, quailed before Him, and confessed the presence of One before whom they were powerless, and from whom they were glad to slink away. The messengers He sent out found that the devils were subject unto them, THROUGH HIS NAME. They felt sure He was more than prophet, more than man. But, what then? There is only one God, our Father, who is in the heavens. Yet, here is one who is doing all those things on earth which belong to our Heavenly Father. He teaches with authority: He forgives sins, He heals, He gives life to the dead : He exhorts us to believe in Him, as we believe in God. He is a Father on earth, that does all those works which belong to the Father in heaven. There cannot be two Heavenly Fathers. He is going away to prepare a place for them in the heavens. He draws their attention from every other direction towards which they might be looking for their Heavenly Father, and invites them to look to Himself alone. “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me: I am the way, the truth and the life.” “ If
had known Me, ye should have known My Father also.”
They thought they had known Him. They had been with Him a long time now. They had been with Him early and late, alone and in crowds. They thought they had known Him. Yet, no one knew the Son, but the Father (Matt. xi. 27). All things were delivered unto the Son, by the Father. Were then all things given away from God, and given to another Being? Are we, who have ever been adorers of One God only, now to worship two? Has the eternal God ceased to be God, and given all power into another's hand? Can this be?
Such must have been the questionings which agitated the minds of the disciples. And, when the Lord added, "From henceforth ye know Him (the Father), and have seen Him,” their anxiety must have reached its complete culmination, and Philip only expressed the burning desire of all when he said, “ Lord shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us." Jesus then revealed Himself in His full divine character,
and unfolded the wondrous truth : “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, shew us the Father ?” Then indeed was the Father's name manifested unto them. The embodied Father stood before them.
These, and such as these, were the men the Divine Love had attracted out of the world. They had heard His words of benevolence and truth, and they had accepted them, loved them, and obeyed them. Now, they saw that His acts, His power, His mercy, His wisdom, His patience, His gentleness, His truth, His long-suffering, His life, His form, were all from the Father within Him. All things that the Father hath are His (John xvi. 15). All things that He hath are the Father's.
Just as the ruling love in a man is in every thought of the mind; in every member of the body, in every gesture, in every tone, in every look, and every movement and embodiment of life are traceable interiorly to the ruling love, so the Son was the very outcome of the Father, the Divine Love, and the Father was in all things, in Him.
These truths were now manifested to the disciples. They had been led by the instructions of His wisdom, from step to step. They had had fresh wonders and fresh wisdom opened to them from time to time, and they had received deeper and holier impressions of their Master's character. Each step of progress they made enabled them to understand more fully that He was the revelation of the Father. “They have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me."
These revelations of the Father, however, until the full glorification of the Lord was completed, were only intermittent. Fresh humiliations had to be endured, fresh sufferings to be passed through, and, during such periods of temptation, the manifestations of divinity would be dimmer and more distant. The glow of Godhead retired, yet was it equally divine from Love to bear and suffer, as from Love to rise and triumph. Love ever stoops to conquer. And when Divine Love condescended to robe itself with our mental infirmities, that it might suffer and overcome, to lead the way for us, there was a divinity in the condescension and the sorrow, equally adorable to the grateful heart, with the grandest splendours of the divine magnificence.
“ All hail, O king, the scoffing crowd
With bended knee exclaim;
And bless His holy name.”
SWEDENBORG IN THE NEW DAWN.
“ Wisdom and Spirit of the universe !
DURING his recent visit to Sweden, Dr. R. L. Tafel met with a letter addressed to a certain councillor of Chancery, and dated September 16, 1745, in which Swedenborg promises to lend him a work written by himself on the intellectual mind and the soul. The description answers to the treatise "De Anima,” forming part, vii. of the “Regnum Animale." No dates are given in the book itself, but it contains views which could not have been written at a later period than that of his first intromission into the spiritual world; while, on the other hand, there are certain
pages of the same work which seem as clearly to have been written under the first light of this new dawn. The book probably reached its present state during Swedenborg's voyage from England, and soon after would be put aside as "outgrown."
The volume, although extending to 258 printed octavo pages of Latin, is far from complete; of some sections only the headings are given, other passages are marked as doubtful or insufficient, while a small portion is missing altogether. A rapid outline of the book will strengthen the reader's conviction that Swedenborg's mind was in the most vigorous health at this critical point in his history; it will also shew that still another noble work of Swedenborg's awaits translation.
Starting out with a declaration of the importance of understanding his newly discovered doctrinals of forms, order, degrees, correspondences, representations and modifications, Swedenborg takes up the celestial nature of the simple fibre, 1 its consequent indestructibleness,
1 For the meaning of “simple” in Swedenborg's philosophy, see his “Principia,” i. pp. 93-97.
its introduction into the sphere of nature, and its relation to the latter. This leads to the subject of sensations, then to the nexus of intellection and action; and finally, to the purely animal science of the senses. Several of the leading truths of phrenology are outlined in this division of the book. We are shewn the difference between cerebrum and cerebellum, the total dissimilarity of each part of the brain from every other, the harmony of this variety and the ministry of groups of faculties to the dominant
organ of the moment's need. A similar harmonious conspiration is shewn to exist with the external instruments of sense, and with each act of the intellect; affection, sensation, intellection and judgment being all merged into a one, and ultimated as a thought.
Proceeding next to treat of the ascent of forms through uses, he discourses of that more secret, sublime and universal concurrence of the soul with all sensation, perception and understanding. Luminous pages follow on the soul's feeling ; ideas and their relation to perception, imagination and memory; pure intellect and the intercourse between soul and body. Harmonies, and the affections and lusts thence originating, are then explained, the various passions of the human soul being analyzed in order: the mens (inmost mind) is finally shewn to be the life of the thoughts, the animus (lower mind) the life of the sensations. Pages follow upon the formation of the affections of the rational mind, that "centre of influxes” and medium or firmament dividing between the pure mind or soul, and the impure mind of the body. Possessing no proper affection in itself, it is shewn to be the plane whereon the man according to his love (which latter has a more interior origin) perceives what he wishes to choose. Although the very me itself to which all other things stand related as mine, yet love [query, the “ego ?”] is shewn to be deeper than thought; the knowledge of truth absolutely worthless if divorced from good itself. "It would be a state of integrity did only spiritual loves reign; then there would be no rational mind, but a spiritual mind only, for there would no longer be a conflux of loves ;—but we are corporeal ! infants alone are wholly spiritual" (p. 150).
Discourses on conscience, freewill, volition, intellect and temperaments follow. It is shewn that to change the external mind is to change one's very nature,—a most difficult thing to do when we would quit evil for good. To do this we must, “ in freedom, search out and put on a new nature by dint of earnest application, long-suffering combat, and manifold deeds and exercises of virtue : an opposite state is in this way induced :" “the hardest thing in life to accomplish, if we have no Divine favour and aidance through prayers to the thrice-best God.” “Nature,” Swedenborg (continues, “ thus rejects and changes nature,—not indeed by any influx into the intellectuals, but by correspondence and reflexion : for the intellectual knows truths and discriminates between the true and the false, only when it expels the hatred of the true; then it comes into the love of the latter." “There is need of strength for gaining entrance into goodness, and that is obtained but by warmest prayer (ardentissima prece) and a persistent study of the truly spiritual and divine—the only principles through which we become spiritually perfected" (pp. 219, 220).
The work concludes with chapters on immortality, the soul's state after death, heaven, hell, Divine Providence, and a science of universals, -subjects all these worthy even of angelic contemplation, and such as a philosopher would feel most pleasure in examining in the gloaming of a heavenly morn. From the fourth to this seventh part of the
Regnum Animale” the pulse-throbs of aspiration are oftentimes wellnigh audible; and where human reason is seen to be winging its boldest flight, and in its highest soarings panting in a strange, attenuated ether, the aura of heaven seems to come floating down to carry those wings of hope nearer and nearer the Unsetting Sun: and we stand wistfully gazing when there steals in upon our memory, with quite a new significance, those words a poet gives to the skylark as it looks down from the heights of heaven :
"6" The meadows and forests are streaks of green,
The rivers are silver, the hills are gold;
Fairer by far than poet e'er told.
Marvellous colouring, tint and dye !
Upward and onward I soar, I fly.
Wonderful melodies reach my ear,-
Sweeter the strains as I fly more near !
Bright, bright the glories that flash on my eye:
Into the realm of the angels I fly!'
Or nest in the bosom of Infinite Love?
And sing us the glories thou sawest above."