« EdellinenJatka »
nostrils of the dragon, and driven by a violent wind, and being of a spiritual nature, they invade and do violence to minds. The spheres of spiritual truths in that world are as yet but few, prevailing only in the new heaven, and with those under heaven who are separated from the spirits of the dragon; and this is the reason why these truths are at this day as invisible to men in the world, as ships in the eastern ocean are to pilots and seamen in the western.
620. That regeneration is not attainable without truths, by which faith is formed, may be illustrated by the following comparisons. It is like the case of the human mind, which cannot exist without the understanding; for the understanding is formed by truths, and so teaches what is to be believed, and what is to be done, and what regeneration is, and how it is effected. Regeneration without truths is no more attainable, than the quickening of animals, and the vegetation of trees without light from the sun; for unless the sun sent forth light at the same time that it sends forth heat, it would be as the sun is described in the Revelation, like sackcloth of hair, chap. vi. 12 ; and darkened, Joel ii. 10; and thus mere darkness would be on the earth, Joel iii. 15: so would it be with man in case he were without truths, which emit light from them : for the sun from whence the lights of truth flow, is the Lord in the spiritual world, and unless spiritual light descended thence by influx into human minds, the church would be in mere darkness, or in the shade of a perpetual eclipse. Regeneration, which is effected by faith and charity, without truths to teach and lead, would be like sailing on a great ocean without a rudder, or without a mariner's compass and maps ; it would also be like riding in a thick forest at midnight. The internal sight of the mind, with such as are not in truths, but in falses, which they believe to be truths, may be compared with the bodily sight of those whose optic nerves are obstructed, whilst the eye still appears sound and perfect, although it can see nothing, which disorder is called by physicians amaurosis and gutta serena: for with such the rational or intellectual faculty is obstructed above, and only open beneath; in consequence of which, rational light becometh like the light of the eye in the above disease, and thus all the judgments they form are imaginary, and composed of mere fallacies : and when men are reduced to such a state, they are like astrologers standing in the streets, with long telescopes in their hands, publishing their idle prophecies. This would be the state of all who apply themselves to theology, unless genuine truths from the Word were opened by the Lord.
621. To the above I shall subjoin the following memoRABLE RELATIONS.
First. I once observed a company of spirits, all of them on their knees, praying to God that He would send angels to them, with whom they might converse face to face, and to whom they might open the thoughts of their hearts. And when they rose up, there appeared three angels in fine linen standing before them, who said, “ The Lord Jesus Christ bath heard your prayers, and hath therefore sent us to you; open to us the thoughts of your hearts.” And they replied,
, “ Our priests have told us, that in theological subjects the understanding is of no avail, but only faith, and that in such matters intellectual faith is altogether unprofitable, because it partakes of man and his wisdom, and not of God. We are natives of England, and we have heard many things from our sacred ministers, and believed them; but in conversing with others who also called themselves Reformed, and with others who called themselves Roman Catholics, and likewise with sectaries, they had all the appearance of learning in what they said, and yet in many points they differed totally from each other, and still all exclaimed, · Believe vs,' and some, "We ARE THE MINISTERS OF GoD, AND WE POSSESS THE REQUISITE KNOWLEDGE.' But being assured that divine truths, which are called truths
" Then ye
of faith, and are essential to the church, do not become the
We can assure you of a certainty, that every man, whose soul desires it, is able to see the truths of the Word in clear light. There is no animal but what knows the food proper for its life as soon as it sees it; now man is a rational and spiritual animal, and he too sees the food proper for his life, not indeed that of his body, but that of his soul, which is the truth of faith, in case he hunger after it, and ask it of the Lord. Whatsoever also is not received by the understanding has not any abiding place in the memory, as to the thing itself, but only as to the words; and this is the reason that when we have at times looked down out of heaven into the world, we have seen nothing, but have only heard sounds, and those for the most part unharmonious. Several things might be mentioned which the learned amongst the clergy have withdrawn from the controul of the understanding, not being aware that there are two ways to the understanding, one from the
world, and the other from heaven, and that the Lord withdraws the understanding from the world when he enlightens it; but in case it be closed from a principle of religion, then the way to it from heaven is closed, and man sees into the Word no more then if he were blind : we have frequently observed such persons fall into pits, from which they have never risen again. But let us now take some examples for the sake of illustration : can ye not understand what charity and faith are? that charity consisteth in dealing aright with our neighbour, and faith in thinking aright of God, and of the essentials of the church; and conseqnently that whosoever acts well, and thinks aright, in other words, whosoever lives well and believes aright, will be saved ?" To this they replied, that they understood it clearly. “Further," said the angels, “ in the case of repentance: can ye not understand that actual repentance from sins is necessary that man may be saved, and that unless he does the work of repentance he rests in the sins wherein he was born ? and that to do the work of repentance consists in not willing what is evil, because all evil is contrary to God, and in examining himself once or twice in a year, in seeing his evils, confessing thenı before the Lord, imploring assistance, desisting from them, and beginnig a new life ; and that so far as a man does this, and helieves in the Lord, bis sins are remitted?” Then some of the company said, “ We understand all this, and thus too what is meant by the remission of sins.” And they intreated the angels to give them some further instruction, and to inform them next concerning God, the immortality of the soul, regeneration and baptism. To this request the angels replied, “We will tell you nothing but what ye can understand, or else our discourse would fall like rain upon sand, and on seeds sown in it, which, though they be watered by the showers from above, wither away and perish.” And they began with the following information concerning God: “All who come into heaven have their allotted place, and consequently their portion of eternal joy, according to their idea of God, because this idea reigns universally in all the constituents of divine worship: an idea of God as of a spirit, when spirit is supposed to be like æther, or wind, is an empty and false idea ; but an idea of God as a Man, is a just and right idea : for God is the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom, with all their qualities, and the subject* of these is man, and not æther, or wind: in heaven the idea of God is that of the Lord the Saviour; He is the God of heaven and earth, as He Flimself taught ; let your idea of God then be like ours and we shall enter into consociation.” As they uttered these words their faces shone with a bright lustre. On the IMMORTALITY OF THE Soul they spake to the following purport : "Man, because he is capable of being conjoined with God by love and faith, liveth to eternity: every one has this capacity; and that it is this which causes the soul's
* The word subject is here used, according to the sense of the school-men, to denote what supporteth or containeth any particular quality or property, and in which such quality and property have their particular form and determination. Agreeably to this sense, it is asserted, in other parts of this work, by the author, that Man is the subject of the Divine Love and Wisdom, or in other words, that what supports the Divine Love and Wisdom, and in which they have their particular determination, and manifestation, is Man or Human. Let not the author's doctrine be misconstrued, as tending to establish any thing like materiality in the Godhead; he would only insist, that the Divine Essence and Existence must necessarily have some particular subject, as their form and determination, wherein they may be contained, supported, and as it were personified, under some particular manifestation ; but this subject, form, or determination of the Godhead, let it be well observed, though Human, is still supposed to be Divine, Infinite, and Eternal, as the Essence and Existence from which it is derived. The doctrine of our author, tbus explained, will be found, we trust, strictly agreeable both to Scripture and reason, tending to deliver the soul from many false and dangerous notions concerning the Godhead, and leading it to the true knowledge, adoration and love of Him; whilst it approacheth Him, not as an indeterminate existence, unpersonified, and without form, (in which case it must of necessity confourd Him with nature,) but as an existence whose subject of determination is Human, whom it can therefore approach and apprehend as Man, that is as God-Man, and thus worship Him entirely separate aud distinct from nature, and yet as the All in All in nature.