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amongst the great they are also given on account of their dignity; and in the palaces of kings, for the display of splendor and magnificence. But dinners and suppers of charity are to be met with only amongst those, who are influenced by mutual love grounded in a similarity of faith. Amongst Christians in the primitive church, dinners and suppers had this end alone in view, and were called Feasts (convivia), being instituted that they might meet together in cordial joy and friendly union. Their suppers signified consociations and conjunctions in the first state of the church's establishment, for evening, which was the time of celebrating those feasts, was significative of that state; but their DINNERS signified the same things in the second state of the church's establishment, the morning and day being significative of that state. At table the guests conversed together on various subjects, both domestic and civil, but particularly on such as concerned the church; and as their feasts were feasts of charity, their discourse on every subject was influenced by charity, with all its joys and delights. The spiritual sphere * which prevailed on those occasions, was a sphere of love to the Lord and of love towards the neighbour, which exhilarated every mind, softened the tone of every expression, and communicated to all the senses a festivity from the heart : for from every man there emanates a spiritual sphere, derived from the affection of his love and corresponding thought, which inwardly affecteth those in his company, particularly at the time of convivial recreations: this sphere emanates both by the face and the respiration. It is because dinners and suppers, or feasts, were significative of such consociation of mind, that they are so often mentioned in the Word, and in their spiritual sense, when there used, have no other meaning : this was eminently, and in a supreme sense, signified by the paschal supper amongst the children of Israel, and likewise by their banquets on their other festivals, also by their eating together of the sacrifices near the tabernacle; conjunction itself was at that time represented by breaking bread and distributing it, and by drinking out of the same cup, and handing it one to another.
powerful tendency to beget natural friendship, and to increase natural affection, amongst those who compose them; and why then may we not suppose them to have a like tendency to beget and nourish true spiritual friendship and affection, on Christian principles, amongst brethren in Christ, if they were made truly the diversoria, or entertainments of charity?
* See Note n. 331, concerning spiritual spheres.
434. With respect to sociAL INTERCOurse (consortia), this was kept up in the primitive church, amongst such as called themselves brethren in Christ; hence it was the social intercourse of charity, because they were a spiritual brotherhood. This social intercourse consisted also in administering consolation to each other under the distresses of the church, and in expressions of mutual joy for its increase, and also in recreation of mind from study and labour, mixed with discourse on various subjects; and because all these flowed from spiritual love, as from their proper fountain, they were rational and moral by virtue of their spiritual origin. There prevails, at this day such a social intercourse of friendship, as hath no other end in view but the pleasures of conversation, the exhilaration of the mind (mens) by discourse, and thence the expansion of the mind (animus), the liberation of the imprisoned thoughts, and the consequent refreshment of the bodily senses, and their restoration to their wonted vigour. But the social intercourse of charity is not yet revived, for the Lord saith, “ In the consummation of the age,” that is, in the end of the church, “ Iniquity shall abound and the charity of many shall grow cold,” Matt. xxiv. 12; the reason is, because the church hath not as yet acknowledged the Lord God the Saviour to be the God of heaven and earth, nor hath immediately approached and addressed Him, from whom alone genuine charity proceeds, and is communicated by influx. But the social intercourse which
does not conjoin minds in a friendship which hath something
IN PUTTING AWAY EviLS, AND
435. This tenet, that it is the first part of charity to do no evil to our neighbour, and the second to do bim good, occupies the first place in the doctrine of charity, for it is as a door to it. It is an acknowledged truth, that evil resides in the will of every man from his birth; and whereas all evil regardeth man both near itself and at a distance from itself, and also the society to which a man belongeth and bis country, it follows, that hereditary evil is evil against our neighbour in every degree. The light of reason itself may discern, that so far as the evil inherent in the will is not removed, the good which a man doeth is impregnated with that evil; for in such case, evil is within the good, like a nut in its husk, and like the marrow in a bone; of consequence, although the good done by such a person hath the appearance of good, yet inwardly it is not so, being like a sound husk within which is a kernel eaten by worms, or like a fair almond that is rotten within, the corrupt veins of which spread even to the surface. To will evil and to do good, are in their nature opposite to each other, for evil is grounded in hatred towards our neighbour, and good in love towards him; or in other words, evil is our neighbour's
enemy, and good his friend, which two cannot possibly exist together in one and the same mind, that is, evil in the internal man, and good in the external; for in such case, good in the external man would be like a wound superficially healed, but inwardly full of putrid matter. Man, in such circumstances, is like a tree whose root is decayed through age, but which yet produceth fruit, that appeareth outwardly like fruit of a good flavour and fit for use, but inwardly is unsavoury and useless ; or he is like the scoriæ separated from metals, which when polished and of beautiful colour, are sold for precious stones; in short, they may be compared to the eggs of an owl, which men are induced to believe are the eggs of a dove. Let it be observed, that the good which a man doeth in the body, proceedeth from his spirit, or from the internal man, for this is his spirit that liveth after death, and of consequence, when man casteth off his body, which constituted his external man, he is then wholly and entirely immersed in the evils of his life, and takes delight in them, while good is held in aversion, as being offensive to his life. That man cannot do good, which is truly so, before evil is put away, the Lord teacheth in many places : “ Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles ? A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit,” Matt. vii. 16, 17, 18; “ Wo unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye make clean the outside of the cup and the plalter, but within they are full of extortion and excess; thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also,” Matt. xxiii. 25, 26; and in Isaiah, " Wash ye, put away the evil of your doings, cease to do evil, learn to do well, seek judgment; and then if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow, if they be red like purple, they shall be as wool," chap. i. 16, 17, 18.
436. This may be further illustrated by the following comparisons: no one can approach another who keepeth a
leopard or a panther in his chamber, and who liveth secure from their attacks in consequence of giving them food, unless he first remove those fierce creatures. What person, invited to the table of a king and queen, doth not first wash bis hands and his face, before he approaches the royal presence? Who doth not purify metallic ores in the fire, and separate the scoriæ, before he can procure pore gold and sil
What husbandman doth not separate his wheat from tares, before he storeth it up in his barn? Who doth not boil his meat, to remove its impurities and rawness, before he thinketh it meet to be brought to his table and be eaten? What gardener doth not shake the trees of his garden, and clear them from grubs and insects, to save the leaves from being devoured, and the fruit in consequence spoiled? Who can be in love with a virgin, and make her offers of marriage, whom he knows to be infected with a bad distemper, and full of pimples and sores, howsoever she may paint her face, set off her dress, or endeavour to attract admiration by the blandishments of speech and behaviour? Man ought to purify himself from evils, and not wait for the Lord to purify him by an immediate act of His power; for in this case he would be like a servant, with his face and clothes all bedaubed with soot or durg, who should go to his master, and say, “ Master, wash me:” would not his master, in such a case, naturally say to him, “ Thou foolish servant, what is it thou sayest ? Lo! there is water, soap, and a towel; and hast not thou hands of thy own, and strength to use them? Go, and wash thyself.” Thus too will the Lord God say unto His servant, “ The means of purification are provided by Me, and from Me also thou hast thy will, and thy power; use then these My gifts and talents as thy own, and thou shalt be purified.” | 437. It is imagined at the present day, that charity consisteth only in doing good, and that whilst a man is doing good he doeth no evil, consequently, that the first part of