Графични страници
PDF файл

this new information, that all those who do good from a principle of religion, reject after death the doctrine of the present church concerning three, divine persons existing from eternity, and likewise the faith of that church as applied to those three persons separately, and turn themselves to the Lord God the Saviour, and imbibe with pleasure the doctrines of the New Church. But others, who have not lived in the practice of charity from a principle of religion, have hearts of adamant, thus hardened against divine impressions: these first approach three gods, afterwards the Father alone, and lastly no God; they regard the Lord God the Saviour merely as the Son of Mary by her marriage with Joseph, and not as the Son of God: and then they shake off all the goods and truths of the New Church, and presently join themselves with the spirits of the dragon, and are driven along with them into desarts or into caverns, which lie in the furthest limits of what is called the Christian orb; and after a time, being separated from the new heaven, they rush into the commission of heinous crimes, and are therefore cast down into hell. Such is the lot that awaits those who do not practise works of charity from a principle of religion, under a persuasion that no one can do good of himself but what is meritorious, and so omit doing good, associating themselves with the goats, who are condemned and cast into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, because they never practised what the sheep did, Matt. xxv. 41, &c. It is not there said that they did what is evil, but they did not do what is good, and they who do not do good from a principle of religion, do evil; "since no man can serve two masters, but either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other," Matt, vi. 24: And Jehovah saith by Isaiah, "Wash ye, make ye clean, put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes, cease to do evil, learn to do well; and then, though your sins be as scar

let, they shall be made white as snow, though they be red like purple, they shall be as wool," chap. i. 16, 17, 18 and by Jeremiah, "Stand in the gate of the house of Jehovah and proclaim there this Word: thus saith Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel: amend your ways and your doings; trust ye not in lying words, saying, the temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah is here (, that is, the church); will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsly, and come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, we are delivered, whilst ye do all those abominations? Is this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers ? Behold, even I have seen it, saith Jehovah," chap. vii. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11.

537. It is to be remarked, that such as do good from the impulse of mere natural goodness, and not at the same time from a principle of religion, are not accepted after death, because there is nothing but natural good, unaccompanied by spiritual, in their charity, and it is spiritual good alone which conjoineth the Lord to man, and not natural without it. Natural goodness is of the flesh alone, received by birth from a man's parents; but spiritual goodness is of the spirit, being received by a new birth from the Lord. They who do good works of charity from a principle of religion, and consequently do not commit evil, before that they have received the doctrine of the New Church concerning the Lord, may be likened to trees that bear good fruits, although but few, and likewise to trees that bear excellent fruits, though of small size, which trees nevertheless are preserved with care in our gardens. They may also be likened to olive trees and fig trees growing in forests, and likewise to fragrant herbs and balsamic plants growing on hills: they are besides like small chapels or houses of God, where pious worship is performed: for they are the sheep on the right hand, and the rams which the goats assault, according to Daniel, chap. viii. 2 to 14. In

heaven they are clothed in garments of a red colour, and after they are initiated into the goods of the New Church, they are clothed in garments of a purple colour, which, in proportion as they receive truths also, contract a tinge of beautiful yellow.




538. The reason why the Lord God the Saviour ought to be approached, is, because He is God of heaven and earth, the Redeemer and Saviour, to whom belong omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, mercy itself, and at the same time righteousness; also because man is His creature, and the church His sheepfold, and He hath over and over in the new covenant enjoined, that men should approach, worship and adore Him. That He alone ought to be approached, is insisted on in these words in John: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber; but he that entereth in by the door, is the shepherd of the sheep. I am the door; by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall find pasture. The thief cometh not but to steal, to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd," Chap. x. 1, 2, 9, 10, 11: Man is forbid to climb up some other way, to prevent his immediate approach to God the Father, who is invisible, and consequently inaccessible, and incapable of conjunction, on which account He Himself came into the world and made Himself visible, accessible, and capable of conjunction, solely for this end, that man might be saved; for unless God be approached in thought as Man, all idea of God is lost, and becomes like bodily vision when directed towards the wide universe; so that it either fixes itself on

an empty nothing, or on nature, or on something within nature. That God Himself, who from eternity is One, came into the world, is abundantly evident from the birth of the Lord the Saviour, in that He was conceived of the power of the Most High by the Holy Spirit, and that His Humanity was born of the Virgin Mary in consequence of such conception; whence it follows, since God is indivisible, that His soul was the Divinity Itself, which is called the Father, and that the Humanity thence born is the Humanity of God the Father, which is called the Son of God, Luke i. 32, 34, 35. Hence it further follows, that whilst the Lord God the Saviour is approached, God the Father is also approached at the same time; wherefore the Lord gave this answer to Philip, who desired He would shew him the Father: "He that seeth Me seeth the Father; how sayest thou then, shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me," John xiv. 6 to 11. But more may be seen on this subject in the chapters concerning God, the the Lord, the Holy Spirit, and the Divine Trinity.

539. There are two duties incumbent on man after examination, which are supplication and confession. SUPPLICA TION should consist in prayers for the Lord's mercy, that He would give power to resist the evils repented of, and would supply inclination and affection to do good, "since man without Him can do nothing," John xv. 5. CONFESSION should be to this effect,-that the penitent sees, knows, and acknowledges his evils, and discovers himself to be a miserable sinner. There is not any need of a particular enumeration of sins before the Lord, nor of supplication for their remission or forgiveness; for as to the enumeration of sins, it must be supposed that the penitent has already searched them out, and seen them in himself,-consequently they are present before the Lord, because they are present with himself; the Lord also was his guide in the work of

examination, and discovered his sins to him, inspired him with sorrow for them, and at the same time with the endeavour to desist from them, and to begin a new life. There are two reasons why supplication for the remission or forgiveness of sins need not be made before the Lord; the first is, because sins are not annulled, but removed, and they are removed in proportion as a man afterwards desists from them, and enters on a new life; for there are innumerable lusts folded up, as it were, in every evil, which cannot be removed in a moment, but by degrees, in proportion as a man suffers himself to be reformed and regenerated. The second reason is, because the Lord, as He is Mercy Itself, remitteth every one's sins, nor imputeth a single one to any man, for He saith, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do," and on Peter's asking how often he should forgive his brother his trespasses, the Lord replied, "I say not unto thee till seven times, but until seventy times seven," Matt. xviii. 21, 28: where then can be the limits of the Lord's forgiveness? It is however to be observed, that sins are not taken away merely because they are remitted and forgiven. But still it cannot be considered as a burtful practice, for a person whose conscience is burthened to enumerate his sins before a minister of the church for the sake of absolution, and to obtain ease of mind; because by this means he is introduced into a habit of examining himself, and of reflecting on his daily evils; this confession however is of a natural kind, whereas that described above is spiritual.

560. To adore any one as God's vicar on earth, or to make invocation to any saint, is of no more avail in heaven, than praying to the sun, the moon, and the stars, and asking an answer of a diviner, and believing his word, which is altogether vain: it is also like worshipping a temple, and not God who dwelleth there; and it is like entreating the servant of a king, who carries in his hand the king's

« ПредишнаНапред »