Sivut kuvina

a gracious and favourable reception : how much more is this to be expected, when men approach to the table of Him, who is “ Lord of lords, and King of kings," Rev. xvii. 14; to which table though all are called and invited, those only who are spiritually worthy, and are clothed in honourable apparel, after rising from table, are admitted into the palaces of heaven, and made partakers of its joys, and honoured as princes, being the children of the Greatest of Kings; and who afterwards sit down daily with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Matt. viii. 11; by whom the Lord is understood, as to His Divine-Celestial, Divine-Spiritual, and Divine-Natural *. It may

be compared also with a marriage on earth, to which none are invited but the relations, kindred, and friends of the bridegroom and bride; if any other person enters, he is admitted indeed, but having no place assigned him at the table, he retires. Similar to this is the case of those, who are invited to the marriage of the Lord, as a bridegroom, with the church, as a bride; those only are accounted kindred, relations, and friends, who derive their birth and lineage from the Lord by regeneration. In the case of worldly connections also, who is ever admitted into friend.

* That by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, according to their spiritual signification, are meant the Divine-Celestial, the Divine-Spiritual, and the Divine-Natural of the Lord, is abundantly proved and confirmed by our author in his book of HEAVENLY MYSTERIES. It may be proper here to remind the reader, that the term celestial is applied to denote whatever hath relation to the divine love; the term spiritual to denote whatever bath relation to the divine wisdom, and the term natural to denote whatever hath relation to act, or operation, which is of the external man. These three, it is to be observed, were one in the Lord, and in Him are all divine. By sitting down then with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God, is meant, according to this sense, to have conjunction with the Lord in the celestial good of love, the spiritual truth of wisdom, and the natural acts of the external man; and this is effected, when the will is under the influence of good from the Lord, the

understanding enlightened by truth, and the actions thence proceeding are done with faithfulness, diligence, and alacrity, in obedience to the inward principles that give them birth.

ship with another, until he gives proof of his sincerity, and how much he is desirous to serve, and do the will of his friend? Such a one only is admitted into cordial familiarity, and entrusted with his possessions. VII. THAT THEY


725. That they who are under the influence of faith in the Lord, and of charity towards their neighbour, approach the holy supper worthily, and that the truths of faith produce the Lord's presence, and the goods of charity, together with faith, conjunction, are positions which have been already proved in several chapters : hence it follows, that they who approach the holy supper worthily are conjoined with the Lord, and they who are conjoined with the Lord are in Him, and He in them. That this is the case with such as approach worthily, the Lord Himself teacheth in these words : “Whoso cateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood dwelleth in Me, and 1 in him," John vi. 56: that this is conjunction with the Lord, He teacheth in these words : Abide in Me and I in you ; he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit,” John xv. 4, 5; and Rev. iii. 20. What else can conjunction with the Lord mean, but to be among those who are in His body? and they constitute his body, who believe in Him, and do His will: His will is the exercise of charity according to the truths of faith.

726. The reason why eternal life and salvation are not attainable without conjunction with the Lord, is, because He is eternal life and salvation : that He is ETERNAL Lipe, appears clearly from many passages in the Word, and particularly from this in John : “Jesus Christ is the True God, and Eternal Life," 1 Epist. v. 21: that He is SalVATION, is equally evident, because salvation and eternal

life are one; His name Jesus also signifieth salvation, and therefore throughout the whole Christian world He is called THE SAVIOUR. It is to be remarked however, that none approach the holy supper worthily, but those who are interiorly conjoined with the Lord, and they only are interiorly conjoined with Him, who are regenerate : who the regenerate are, was shown in the chapter on REFORMATION and RegenerATION. There are many indeed who profess to believe in the Lord, and who do good to their neighbour; but if this be not done from a principle of love towards their neighbour, and of faith in the Lord, they are not regerate, for they do good to their neighbour only from motives which regard the world and themselves, and not their neighbour as their neighbour : the works of such are merely natural, destitute of any inward spiritual principle, because they acknowledge the Lord with their mouths and lips only, whilst their hearts are far from Him. Real love towards our neighbour, and real faith, come from the Lord alone, and are communicated to man, whilst from the freedom of his will he does good to his neighbour with his natural powers, and believes truths with his rational powers, and looks to the Lord, doing these three because they are enjoined in the Word; for then the Lord implants charity and faith in the center of his mind, and makes both spiritual ; and thus He conjoins man to Himself, and man conjoineth himself to the Lord : for there can be no conjunction unless it be reciprocal. But all these subjects are fully discussed in the chapters on Charity, Faith Free-will, and RegeNERATION.

727. It is well known that intimacies and connections are formed in the world by invitations to partake of the repasts of the table, and by feasts; for on such occasions the person who invites intends by it to promote some end or purpose which may lead to agreement or friendship; but much more are such friendships promoted by invitations which

have spiritual purposes for their end. Feasts in the ancient churches were feasts of charity; so they were in the primitive Christian church ; and on these occasions the guests strengthened one another, that so from a sincere heart they might continue stedfast in the worship of the Lord. When the children of Israel ate together of the sacrifices at the tabernacle, it was intended to represent their unanimity in the worship of Jehovah; wherefore the flesh which they ate was called holy, because it was a part of the sacrifice, Jerem. xi. 15, Hagg. ii. 12, and in several other places : how much rather then should this be the case with the bread and wine, and the paschal flesh, at the supper of the Lord, who offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world! Moreover, conjunction with the Lord by the holy supper may be illustrated by the conjunction of families that are descended from one common father; those of the same blood are the first in descent, and afterwards succeed relations and kinsfolk of divers orders and degrees, who all derive something from the primitive stock; not that they derive their conjunction from flesh and blood, but being of the same flesh and blood, they possess a like soul, and thence an inclination to the like things, by which they are conjoined: the reality of such conjunction is apparent from the general resemblance of their countenances, and also of their manners, on which account they are called one flesh, Gen. xxix. 14, chap. xxxvii. 27; 2 Samuel. v. i, chap. xix. 12, 13; and in other places. The case is similar in respect to conjunction with the Lord, who is the Father of all the faithful and the blessed : conjunction with Him is effected by love and faith, by the reception of which they are called one flesh; hence the Lord says, Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.How plain is it to see that bread and wine cannot effect this conjunction, but that it is effected by the good of love, which is signified by bread, and by the truth of faith, which is signified by wine, both which, as they are the Lord's own, proceed, and are communicated, from Him alone! All conjunction, moreover, is effected by love, and love without confidence is not love. But they who believe that the bread is flesh, and the wine blood, and cannot raise their thought to sonjething spiritual, must eren remain in such belief, but then it should be accompanied with the conviction, that there is something in the rite most boly, and effective of conjunction with the Lord, which is communicated and appropriated to man as his own, though it always continues to be the Lord's, VIII. THAT THE HOLY SUPPER 18, TO THE WORTHY


728. The true ground and reason why the holy supper, to the worthy receivers, is a signature and seal that they are the sons of God, is, because, as was said above, the Lord is then present, and introduceth into heaven those who are born of Him, that is, who are regenerate. That the holy supper effects this, is a consequence of the Lord's being then present, even as to His Humanity; for it was shewn above, that the Lord, with the whole of His redemption, is entirely present in the holy supper; therefore He saith of the bread, “This is My body,” and of the wine, “This is My blood;" He consequently admits at such times the worthy receivers into His body, which consists of, and is formed by heaven and the church. While man is regenerating, the Lord is indeed present with him, and preparing Him, by His divine operation, for heaven; but that he may be actually admitted, he must actually present himself to the Lord ;* and as the Lord does actually present Himself

* Man's actually presenting bimself to the Lord seems to imply, that he should by lively and repeated acts of faith and obedience place himself in the Lord's presence as an object of mercy; not that it is to be supposed man can ever be out of the Lord's presence, or the Lord be ever absent from him, but by such spiritual acts a more close and intimate conjunction is effected, and he

« EdellinenJatka »