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me, He is as the LIGHT OF THE MORNING, even a MORNING without clouds." 2 Sam. xxiii. 3, 4: "I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright and the MORNING STAR, Rev. xxii. 16: "From the womb of the MORNING thou hast the dew of thy youth," Psalm cx. 3: these passages are spoken of the Lord. Inasmuch as the Lord is the Morning, He therefore arose from the grave early in the morning, being about to lay the foundation of a New Church, Mark xvi. 2, 9. That the Lord's coming is to be expected, is evident from His own prediction respecting it in Matt. "As Jesus sat upon the mount of Olives, His disciples came unto Him, saying, Tell us what is the SIGN OF THY COMING, and of the consummation of the age ?" chap. xxiv. 3: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then shall appear the SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN, and they shall see the SON OF MAN COMING IN
THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN WITH POWER AND GREAT
GLORY," verses 29 30, Mark xiii. 26, Luke xxi. 27: "As the days of Noah were, so shall also the COMING OF THE SON OF MAN be; therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the SON OF MAN COMETH," Matt. xxiv. 37, 39, 44, 46: in Luke: "When the SON OF MAN COMETH, shall He find faith on the earth?" chap. xviii. 8: in John: "Jesus said of John, If I will that he tarry TILL I COME," chap. xxi. 22: In the acts of the apostles, "Whilst they were looking at Jesus taken up into heaven, lo! two men stood by them in white apparel, and said, This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven,
SHALL SO COME IN LIKE MANNER AS YE HAVE SEEN
HIM GO INTO HEAVEN," chap. i. 10, 11: In the Revelation, "The Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to shew unto His servants the things that shall shortly be done: BEHOLD, I COME QUICKLY; blessed is he that keepeth the
sayings of the prophecy of this Book; and BEHOLD, I COME QUICKLY, and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be," chap. xxii. 6, 7, 12; and again: "I JESUS have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star: and the spirit and the bride say, CO ME, and he that heareth let him say, COME, and he that is athirst, LET HIM COME; and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely," verses 16, 17; and again : "He which testifieth these things saith, SURELY I COME QUICKLY; Amen, EVEN SO COME LORD JESUS. THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST BE WITH YOU ALL, Amen," verses 20, 21.
766. The Lord is present with every man, and is urgent and instant to be received, and when man receives Him, which he does by acknowledging Him to be his God, his Creator, Redeemer, and Saviour, it is then His first advent, which is called day-dawn: from this period man as to his understanding begins to be enlightened in spiritual subjects, and to advance towards a wisdom more and more interior; and as he receives such wisdom from the Lord, such in proportion is his progression from morning to mid-day, and this mid-day continues with him to old age, even till death, and after death he is elevated into heaven to the Lord Himself, where though he may have died an old man, he is restored to the morning of his life, and continues to eternity to grow in that wisdom which was implanted in the natural world.
767. Every man who is principled in faith to the Lord, and in charity towards his neighbour, is a church in particular, the church in common being composed of such individuals. It is a wonderful circumstance, that every angel beholds the Lord immediately before him, however he may change the direction of his body and face; for the Lord is the sun of the angelic heaven, and it is this which appears before the eyes of the angels, while in spiritual meditation;
the case is similar with man in the natural world as to the sight of his spirit, if the church be implanted in him; but as his spiritual sight is veiled by natural sight, and as this is favoured and fostered by the other senses, which are engaged about bodily and worldly objects, he is ignorant of this state of his spirit. The ground of the above circumstance, that angels and good men look to the Lord, whatever be the direction of their bodies, is this, that all truth, from which wisdom and faith are derived, and all good, by which love and charity are formed, are from the Lord, and are the Lord's, both in angels and men; thence every truth of wisdom is as it were a mirror in which the Lord is seen, and every good of love is the image of the Lord: this then is the ground of the above wonderful circumstance. On the other hand an evil spirit perpetually turns himself away from the Lord, and is constantly looking towards his own love, and this too, however he may change the direction of his body and face; now the reason in this case is the same, though the application is reversed; for every evil is in some shape or other an image of his ruling love, and the false which proceeds from it presents that image as in a mirror. That there is a similar law implanted in nature, may be concluded from the growth of certain plants which shoot out their branches, and so raise themselves aloft above the grass and the weeds that encompass them that they may behold the sun; some of them, also, change their aspect from east to west, that they may be always turned towards the sun, and so advance to their maturity under his auspices; nor can I entertain a doubt but that there is a like tendency and propensity in every single bud and shoot of every tree, although from not possessing elasticity of flexure and conversion, the tendency cannot be determined to outward act: it is besides a fact well known to the curious enquirer, that all whirlpools of water, and those of the ocean, move spontaneously according to the common progress of the sun.
How much more then would this spiritual tendency influence man, created as he is to be an image of God, did he not use the gift of free-will to turn this propensity implanted in him by his Creator into another direction! This tendency may be likened to the state of a bride, who has something of the image of the bridegroom constantly present to her mind's eye; she beholds him in his favours and gifts, as in so many mirrors; she longs for his coming, and when he comes receiveth him with joy, and by her joy expresseth the love that is swelling in her bosom.
V. THAT THE COMING OF THE LORD IS NOT A COMING TO DESTROY THE VISIBLE HEAVEN AND THE HABITABLE EARTH, AND TO CREATE A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH, ACCORDING TO THE OPINIONS WHICH MANY, FROM NOT UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL SENSE OF THE WORD, HAVE HI
768. It is the prevailing opinion at this day in every church, that the Lord, when He comes to the last judgment, will appear in the clouds of heaven, with angels, and the sound of trumpets; that He will gather together all who are then dwelling on the earth, as well as all who are deceased, and will separate the evil from the good, as a shepherd separates the goats from the sheep; that then He will cast the evil, or the goats, into hell, and raise up the good, or the sheep, into heaven; and further, that He will at the same time create a new visible heaven, and a new habitable earth, and on the latter He will cause a city to descend, which is to be called the New Jerusalem, and is to be built, according to the description given in the Revelation, chap. xxi. of jasper and gold, and the foundation of its walls of every precious stone, and its height, breadth, and length, equal, each twelve thousand furlongs; and that all the elect are to be gathered together into this city, both those that are then alive, and those that have died since the beginning of the world;
and that the latter will then return into their bodies, and enjoy everlasting bliss in that magnificent city, as in their heaven. This is the prevailing opinion of the present day, in all Christian Churches, on the coming of the Lord and the last judgment.
769. In regard to the state of souls after death, both universally and particularly, it is the common belief at this day, that human souls after death are mere aerial beings, of which it is impossible to form any idea but as of a vapour or exhalation, and that such being their state and nature, they are reserved to the day of the last judgment, either in the middle of the earth, where their Pu is placed, or in the limbus * of the ancient Fathers: but on these points there are various opinions; some suppose them to be ethereal or aerial forms, and thus that they are like ghosts and spectres, certain of them dwelling in the air, others in woods, and others in waters; some again suppose that the souls of the deceased are translated to the planets or to the stars, and there have their abodes allotted them; and some again, that after thousands of years they return back into material bodies; but the general supposition is, that they are reserved till the time when the whole firmament, together with the terraqueous globe, will be destroyed, and that this is to be effected by fire either bursting from the centre of the earth, or cast down from heaven in a universal blaze of lightning; that then the graves will be opened, and the souls that were reserved will be clothed again with their bodies, and be translated into that holy city, Jerusalem, there to dwell together on another earth in purified bodies, some in a lower region, some in a higher, for the height of the city will be twelve thousand furlongs, the same as its length and its breadth, Rev. xxi. 16.
* Du Cange says, The fathers called this place Limbus, eo quod sit Limbus Infernorum, i. c. as being the margin or frontier of the hells. Respecting Pu, see the note above, n. 693.