Графични страници
PDF файл

species being a form of some particular natural love, and receiving light and heat from the spiritual world, mediately through heaven or hell, the gentle kinds through heaven, and the fierce kinds through hell. Man alone receiveth light and heat, that is, wisdom and love, immediately from the Lord; and herein consisteth the difference between them.

474. That the Lord is Life in Himself, thus Life Itself, He Himself teacheth in John: "The Word was with God, and God was the Word; in Him was Life, and the Life was the light of men," chap. i. 1, 4: again: "As the Father hath Life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have Life in Himself," chap. v. 26: and again: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life," chap. xiv. 6: and again: "He that followeth Me shall have the light of life," chap. vii. 12. III. THAT MAN, DURING HIS ABODE IN THIS WORLD, IS HELD IN THE MIDST BETWEEN HEAVEN HELL, AND THUS IN A SPIRITUAL EQUILIBRIUM, IN WHICH FREE-WILL CONSISTS.


475. In order to understand what free-will is, and what its nature and quality, it is necessary first to know its derivation; for the knowledge of its origin will lead immediately, not only to an assurance of its existence, but to a discovery of its quality. Its origin is from the spiritual world, in which world the mind of man is kept by the Lord. The mind of man is his spirit, which liveth after death, and bis spirit is continually in consort with its like in that world, whilst by means of the natural body, with which it is clothed, it is in consort with men in the natural world. The reason why man does not know that his mind is in the midst of spirits, is, because they with whom he is in consort in the spiritual world, think and speak spiritually, whereas the spirit of man, during its residence in the material body, thinks and speaks naturally; and spiritual thought and speech cannot be understood or perceived by the natural

man, nor, on the contrary, can natural thought and speech be understood or perceived by spirits; for the same reason they remain invisible to each other: but when the spirit of a man is in society with spirits in their world, then too it comes into the exercise of spiritual thought and speech with them, because the mind of man as to its interiors is spiritual, but as to its exteriors is natural, hence by its interiors it hath communication with spirits, but by its exteriors with men. It is in consequence of this communication with spirits, that man enjoys the faculty of perception, and the power of thinking analytically on all subjects; and in case this communication were removed, he would be incapable of any more or other kind of thought, than a beast, and, if it were intercepted entirely, he would instantly die. But in order to assist the apprehension in conceiving how man may be held in the midst between heaven and hell, and thus kept in a spiritual equilibrium, which is the true cause of free-will, it may be expedient to acquaint the reader with the following particulars. The spiritual world consists of heaven and hell; heaven is above, or over the head, hell is beneath, or under the feet, not however in the centre of the globe which men inhabit, but under the earth or ground of the spiritual world, which ground is also of a spiritual origin, and consequently not in any actual extense, but in an appearance of extense. Between heaven and hell is a great interstice which appears to those who dwell there like a complete globe or world; into this interstice there ariseth a most copious exhalation of evil out of hell, and on the other hand there descendeth into it continually as copious an influx of good from heaven: it was this interstice of which Abraham spoke to the rich man in hell, when he said, "Between us and you there is a great gulph fixed, so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they pass to us that would come from thence," Luke xvi. 26. Every man, as to his spirit, is in the midst of this interstice,

merely to this in

tent, that he may be in the possession and enjoyment of freewill. This interstice, in consequence of its being so large, and appearing to those who are in it as a great globe or world, is called the WORLD OF SPIRITS; for it is full of spirits, being the first common receptacle of every man after death, where each is prepared for his final abode either in heaven or in hell, and lives in consort with spirits, as he had before done with men in this world; not that there is any such place as purgatory there, which is a mere fiction invented by the Romish Church. But the subject of this world is more particularly enlarged upon in the work on HEAVEN and HELL, published at London, in the year 1758, n. 421 to 603.

476. Every man, from his infancy even to old age, changes his place or situation in the world of spirits : when an INFANT he is kept in the eastern quarter, verging towards the north; when a CHILD, as he learneth the rudiments of religion, he recedeth by degrees from the north towards the south; when a YOUTH, as he begins to think for himself, he is carried on further toward the south; afterwards, as he cometh to maturer years, and is left to his own judgment and direction, according to his advancement in such principles and practices as interiorly have respect to God and to love towards his neighbour, he moveth on from the south towards the east, but in case he incline to evil, and imbibe it with greediness, he then advances towards the west: for all have their abodes in the spiritual world distinguished according to the quarters; in the EAST are they who are in good from the Lord, the sun being in that quarter, in the center of which is the Lord; in the NORTH are such spirits as are in ignorance; in the SOUTH such as are in intelligence; and in the WEST such as are in evil. Man is kept in this interstice, or middle region between heaven and hell, not as to his body, but as to his spirit, and as this changes its state, by its approaches towards good or evil, it is in proportion translated to places, or situations, in this or that quarter, and enters into consort

with the spirits that dwell there. It is to be observed, however, that the Lord doth not translate man either this way or the other, but man translates himself, which different men do in different ways; if he choose good, then he together with the Lord, or rather the Lord together with him, translates his spirit towards the east; but in case he choose evil, then he together with the devil, or rather the devil together with him, translates his spirit towards the west. It is to be noted, that when heaven is here mentioned, the Lord also is meant, because the Lord is the all in all in heaven; and when hell is mentioned, the devil is meant, because all the inhabitants of hell are devils.

477. The sole cause why man is kept in this great interstice, and is continually in the midst of it, is, that he may be in the continual possession and enjoyment of free-will, as to things spiritual; for this equilibrium is a spiritual equilibrium, being between heaven and hell, and consequently between good and evil. All who are in this great interstice are, as to their interiors, in conjunction either with angels of heaven, or with devils of hell, and at this day, either with the angels of Michael, or with the angels of the dragon*. Every man after death betakes himself to his own, that is, to those with whom he had before been joined, in that interstice, and associates himself with such as are influenced by the same love with himself; for love conjoineth every one in that world

It is constantly insisted on by our author, that Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, when mentioned in Holy Scripture, do not signify only single augels or archangels; but in a general sense whole societies or ministrations of angels. Thus by Michael is meant that particular ministration or society, which is confirmed in a belief, that the Lord is God of heaven and earth, that He and the Father are one, as the soul and body are one, and that man ought to live according to the Commandments of the Decalogue, and so acquire charity and faith. So again, by the dragon is not meant any single infernal spirit, but all those who divide God into three, and the Lord into two, and who separate charity from faith, holding the latter, and not the former, to be efficacious to salvation.

with his like, and enables him to respire freely, restoring him to the state of his former life: by successive degrees however the spirit is divested of its externals, so far as they do not make a one with its internals; and when this is done, if he be a good spirit, he is taken up into heaven, and if he be an evil spirit, he casteth himself down into hell; every one entering into society with such as he is united with as to his ruling love.

478. This spiritual equilibrium in which free-will consists, will admit of illustration from cases of natural equili brium. It is like the equilibrium of a man supposed to be bound about the waist, or by the arms, and placed between two men of equal strength, one of whom strives to draw him to the right hand, and the other to the left; in which case he has power freely to turn himself which way soever he pleases, as if there was no force acting upon him; and if he betaketh himself to the right hand, he then pulleth the man on the left hand violently towards him, till he brings him to the ground. The effect would be the same, supposing any person, let him be ever so weak, to be bound between three men on the right hand, and as many of equal strength on the left, or between the same number of camels or horses. Spiritual equilibrium, in which free-will consisteth, may be also compared with a balance, containing in each of its scales an equal weight; in which case, supposing a very small addition to be made to the scale on one side, the axis of the beam immediately begins to vibrate: the case would be the same with a bar or great beam balanced on a lever. A similar equilibrium prevaileth in all and every part of the human body, as in the heart, the lungs, the stomach, the liver, the pancreas, the spleen, the intestines, and the rest of the organs; so that each part is enabled to perform its functions in a state of the most perfect rest and freedom. The case is similar too with all the muscles of the body, without whose equilibrium there could be no action and reaction, and consequently man could no longer continue to act as man. And

« ПредишнаНапред »