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But the most important part of this subject remains yet to be noticed—the spiritual sense, which will come home to every bosom, is that which more intimately concerns us in the great work which we have to perform. The act of idolatry, simply and literally considered, is but a small offence, when compared to the magnitude of evil which is contained in that spiritual idolatry, of which the verses treat in their more interior ground. Many persons, who suppose themselves to stand high in the Christian Church, and who would blush at the folly of paying idolatrous worship to the sun, the moon, stars, or any living or dead thing, are nevertheless too often found in the practice of violating the sacred law of the decalogue, by making, in a spiritual point of view, graven images and likenesses of things in the heavens and in the earth, and falling down to worship and to adore them. Natural idolatry is certainly bad; but spiritual idolatry is much worse. It is this latter idolatry of which we ought to beware; for it is this which cuts us asunder from the heavenly state, and incapacitates for the pure enjoyments of the bright realms of eternity.
Viewing the subject in its spiritual or internal ground, we shall find that all the words which are combined together, and form the fulness of the sentence expressed in these two verses, are descriptive of certain principles, affections, and states, which dwell in the church and in the mind of man, and these when in a corrupt state of disorder, are devoted to other objects, and turned away from the true God and Eternal Life, and are prostituted to all the corruptions of spiritual idolatry and folly. But not to enlarge unnecessarily, permit me briefly to notice the spiritual signification of the “queen of heaven !” This the
of heaven, we have seen was given, according to the custom of the Egyptians, to the moon--the worship of which was constantly celebrated by the idolatrous Egyptians. Now the only key by which the true sense of this passage can be unlocked, is the spiritual sense of the Divine Word, by this it will be seen what is meant by the moon, when mentioned in Scripture; for the appellation queen of heaven was given to the moon, as expressive of the dignity-great esteem and high veneration, in which that great luminary was held by the Egyptians. In the holy Scriptures we frequently read of the sun, moon, and stars, and if we were to examine all the parts where these terms occur, we should be constrained, yea forced by necessity to admit, that they must be mentioned in reference to spiritual and divine subjects. Thus the prophet Isaiah, when speaking of a glorious and happy state of the church, says “thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; but the Lord God shall be thine everlasting light."-And the Lord when he foretold the state of the church at its end or consummation, describes it by saying “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.” . In these passages, and a variety of others, the sun, moon, and stars, are mentioned in reference to love, faith, and knowledge. In the glorious and happy state of the church, and of the soul of man, this divine love is perpetual in its operation upon the heart and the affections, replenishing them with blessedness and true peace; this perpetual operation is described by~"Thy sun shall no more go down :" In this state too, faith or truth is always in lively exercise ; and every knowledge of a divine nature contributes its portion of light, to increase the wisdom and add to the true felicity of man : this is described by these words “neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; but the Lord God shall be thine everlasting light.” Now in the very reverse state to this, when love, faith, and knowledge, cease to operate in the church, and in the human soul, the sun, moon, and stars, are described as withdrawing their light-thus in the tribulation of which our Lord speaks, it is said, “ the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven.” The moon, then, in the sublime language of correspondency, denotes a pure and genuine faith in the Lord—the light of which points us to the realms of eternal day. But this faith or truth, however pure, and genuine it may be, is not the object of worship and supreme adoration : for a careful distinction must always be made between the Lord of heaven, and any principle of love, faith, or knowledge, that is derived from him! The Lord God of heaven from whom all these things spring, is the only Divine Object of Worship and veneration. It is true, as Christians, we may not worship or pay divine honours to the moon in the firmament, and name her as did the Egyptians and idolatrous Jews, the queen of heaven; but if we venerate, and place a full reliance upon the strength of our faith, or upon the brightness of our truth, considered abstractedly from the Divine Being, we are then spiritual idolators; and with the idolatrous Egyptians and Jews, we are making offerings and sacrifices to the queen of heaven. In fact nothing of an abstract nature, can be an object of worship! and the man who places any reliance, confidence, or security, upon the strength of his faith, the purity of his love and affections, or the correctness of his knowledge, and venerates and worships these, or any one of them, is a spiritual idolator-he is violating the divine law which teaches him not to make a likeness of any thing in heaven or in earth for the purpose of worship. The Lord Jehovah who is our Redeemer and Saviour! is the primary sub
stance and form, the only real Being, who, as the Father of us all, is entitled to the deepest veneration and worship of all his creatures. Of all things it is necessary to be guarded against spiritual idolatry; for this leads us into the folly and wickedness of repos. ing upon some fancied virtue, and making it, as it were, the God of our worship, and when this is the case, according to the words of the prophet—"the children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to other gods." By considering this subject as applicable to every man, we shall find it to be descriptive of all the powers and energies of the whole man, being engaged in the production of idolatrous worship; these affections, powers and energies are meant by the children, the fathers, and the woman, who were engaged in the making of cakes to the queen of heaven. By the father or the male is meant the understanding, by the woman or female, the will and its love; and by the children, all the subordinate affections, principles and pow. ers, which proceed from the will and understanding, and are the offspring or spiritual family of man. These in the corrupt state of the mind, are engaged in celebrating idolatrous worship, and ascribing strength, power, and safety, to some supposed quality and virtue, instead of ascribing it to the Great and Eternal God. Perhaps there is nothing more dangerous than spiritual idolatry, and nothing into which we may more easily fall. Let us then be constantly upon our watch-tower; and knowing that all the good, the truth, or the faith, which we possess, is derived from the Lord of heaven, let us ascribe to Him the sincere worship of the heart, that so we may go on prosperously from state to state, until, in the fulness of time, we shall be raised to the realms of bliss, and be perfectly happy there for ever.
TO J. W. S. AND * * *
In your number for February is contained a letter which appeared in the Chester Chronicle of Dec. 9, 1825, to which are subjoined some remarks of your much esteemed correspondent J. W. S. and your number for March contains a very well written and interesting paper of *** in answer to J. W. S. in which the doctrine of “God and Jesus Christ being one and the same infinite and eternal Being” as maintained by the latter Gentleman, is complained of by the former. I trust gentlemen, you will have the kindness to allow me a page of your valuable work to submit a few thoughts to the consideration of both your worthy correspondents; for I am much deceived indeed if it will not turn out by explanation, that they both hold the same doctrine, and that the seeming difference between them arises from the obscurity with which J. W. S. has clothed some of his ideas.
I do not with'*** “regret much that you should have given a currency in the pages of your Magazine for February” either to the letter in question, or to the remarks of J. W. S. On the contrary, I rejoice much; for had you not given currency to them, we should not have been favoured with the interesting paper of ***, and thus both papers would have been lost, and your readers deprived of their valuable contents : But to the point at issue
J. W. S. in his remarks states, that “God and Jesus Christ are one and the same undivided, infinite, and eternal Being." To this I give my most cordial consent; but in doing this, I must confess with *** that unless it be explained satisfactorily, no mere assertion will be strong enough to convince an enquiring mind, that Jesus and Jehovah are one and the same Divine Being. Let us first enquire, Who and What is Jesus Christ? Is the mere finite form derived from the virgir Mary, Jesus Christ ? I apprehend not: for this was not the Holy Thing, and if not the Holy Thing, it could not redeem and save the human race! The doctrines of the New Jerusalem teach, that all names are expressive of qualities, and this is precisely the case with the name JESUS CHRIST; for the illustrious Swedenborg informs us, that the name Jesus signifies the Divine Good, and the name Christ, the Divine Truth, and by both the divine marriage, A. C. 3004, 3009. Here then it is plainly stated that the name Jesus Christ is not at all applicable to the mere finite form derived from the virgin ; for this was neither Divine Good nor Divine Truth, and no human subject could ever produce that, which in ITSELF, is essentially Divine. The finite form or body derived from the mother, was the instrument or medium in which, and by which, Jesus Christ, the Divine Good and Truth conquered every temptation, and accomplished human redemption. Again, Swedenborg says, that Jesus Christ is Jehovah Lord, the Creator from eternity, the Saviour in time, and the Reformer to eternity, who is therefore at once the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. A. R. 961. Every one must see at a glance that the name Jesus hrist cannot be confined to the mere material body of our Lord as derived fom the virgin; for this was not the Creator from eternity, it was not the Saviour in time, it is not the Reformer to eternity, neither is it either the Father, Son, or
Holy Spirit. If, gentlemen, a careful distinction be made between Jesus Christ, and the infirm finite form derived from the mother, which was not Jesus Christ, I am persuaded that J. W. S. and *** notwithstanding their apparent differences, will be found equally zealous in propagating the same glorious doctrine of truth, that "Jesus and Jehovah are one and the same undivided, infinite and Eternal Being.” Divine Good and Truth are the essential properties of Deity, and these Swedenborg tells us are signified by the names Jesus and Christ, consequently it follows, that Jesus Christ is the only True God and Eternal Life, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. To Him gave all the prophets witness, and happy is that man whose God is the Lord.
If I understand your Correspondent ***, he does not deny the doctrine advanced by J. W. S. but only complains of a want of clearness in the explanation. The necessity of being clear and distinct upon so great a subject as the one treated of in both the papers alluded to, is surely important, and if those who take a lead in the Church would exclude as much as possible all terms, which have been more or less derived from mystic and enthusiastic writers, the simple truth would become less obscured, and the doctrines of the New Jerusalem would be seen in their true light. In the hope that your Correspondents J. W. S. and *** will pardon the liberty I have taken with them, I remain,
PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS. FEELING unwilling to contine the following new and beautiful illustration of Scripture to the circle of my literary acquaintance, I have obtained the permission of the pious and learned author, to transmit it to you, with the hope of its being favoured with an early insertion in your magazine. The writer was, some years ago, one of the chaplains of the East India Company, and the friend and coadjutor of Dr. Buchanan, at St. John's church, now the cathedral, in Calcutta.
“I send you an illustration of some passages in ancient authors, which
residence in India threw in my way, and which lately recurred to my recollection,
“The passage which it most particularly elucidates, is the awful parable of the wise and foolish virgins, Matt. xxv. l-13. You