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earth, there is a struggle between the spiritual and the natural man for the mastery within him; and that, if the spiritual man conquers and puts the natural man under his feet, then the whole man is regenerated; but if the natural prevails, and gets the spiritual man under, that then “it is all over with him." What an awful catastrophe! O let us all shun it, and by every coercion of ourselves lay hold on eternal life! Philadelphia
ON THE STATE AND PROSPECTS OF SOCIETY.
Any casual observer will see that creation is divided into various orders, and that the constituent parts of these orders have affinities towards each other according to their degrees: this may be illustrated from chemical experiments; it is seen in animals herding together; it becomes very prominent in mankind, and is termed human society.
But what an extensive subject is here presented to our view,-how indefinite are the varieties of which it is composed, and how amazing are the results which arise from human associations! This world is an assemblage of nations, each having its peculiar identity : these are again divided into communities, families, and individuals; but in every division we find there is a strong desire to associate together, and this arises from man being created a social being. If we look at man as a solitary individual, we find him almost helpless; but collect men together in millions, and they become capable of gigantic exertions, their energies then are embodied in laws, and from union strength is derived. The general happiness of the whole will depend upon the laws and regulations, and the due observance of them by each individual ; if those laws are founded on divine truth, prosperity and peace
upon the inhabitants; but if those laws are made for the aggrandizement of the few, the contrary takes place. No nation can long exist without various orders in its government: these orders are necessary, and are so many channels for the transmission of truth and justice, and for the preservation of the nation; each officer or magistrate is a collective force,—these collections of power rise by gradations until the whole is embodied in one, and this is the aggregate force of the nation.
The external form of this power is various; in some nations it is monarchical, in some democratic, and in others absolute; but in none of these, as they exist at present, is found a system of government that unites the head with the feet, or in other words, the first power with the last, which power is the people: the want of this causes disunion, and this is manifested in various forms, called party divisions, all dissatisfied with “the powers that be,” because those powers have been perverted by self-love and the love of the world.
When this is the case, society is in a disorganized state, or it is a prelude to a general destruction of systems which do not embrace mankind as bodies dependant on each other. The laws which should govern nations are as capable of being demonstrated as mechanical laws; and when these national laws are grossly violated, reaction takes place, and does not cease until the equilibrium is restored. This reasoning holds good in atmospheric laws; for when the air becomes overcharged with pestilential vapours, electricity asserts her supremacy, the vivid lightning flashes, the thunder rolls, the torrent descends, and order is again restored ; just so with society,--the pestilential vapours which arise from selfish and worldly dispositions tend to destroy the equilibrium,—the moral atmosphere is polluted by the foul breath of avarice, selfishness, and fashion,—the thunder-storm of national destruction is bursting over the land,—the lightning of Divine Truth is beginning to purify the corrupt masses of society; and by these means the great human family are preserved from the dreadful influences of perverted governments and unjust laws. Selfishness appears to be making great efforts to destroy the rights of nations; but the tide of truth and justice which is now spreading over the earth will gradually overwhelin and subdue it.
When we descend in the scale of our observations, and direct our mental vision to society as it exists in towns, we find the same evils in a minor degree, that exist in nations in a larger. Power that is connected with office appears to excite the attention of all classes, and that class which obtains it, considers that it ought to have the “lion's share;" thus it follows the example of the national powers, and legislates for individuals, and not for the body at large; the evils that arise are the same that affect the national body,-all are dissatisfied, because all want peculiar privileges; thus discord prevails, and instead of men being united by the bonds of social order, they are only united by the sandy ropes of faction. As we descend in the scale and examine the individual, we find he is an epitome of the whole,—his mind, with all its innumerable faculties, is not in a state of order, but under the dominion of selfish and worldly loves; and these act with perverted legislation, and produce the evil effects we have been speaking of.
Society, generally speaking, at the present day, may be considered as an extensive masquerade; for when men assemble together, out comes the mask which hides the real face, and the performance commences; many assume a character which really does not belong to them, and the result that is produced from this medley mass is palmed on the world as genuine gentility, fashionable society, and good breeding; but remove the exciting causes, such as pride, ainbition, and wealth, and this tottering fabric of fashion, with its tinsel decorations, falls to the earth, and only leaves behind the hypocritical dust of worldly fashion. Society is divided into castes; each draws an imaginary line of demarcation and proclaims itself select. It is an amusing task sometimes to examine this line; but, generally speaking, titles and wealth are the component parts of it. Society in the middle classes follows in the train, and the same farce is again re-enacted by another set of performers. It is now time to draw the curtain and shut from our view these perversions of human society, and to look on the other side of the picture.
The universe contains millions of worlds; these are inhabited by human beings, and, taken together, they form an immense society. But there are, in the most general sense, two worlds—the natural and the spiritual; it follows, then, that the assemblage of spiritual beings must form an amazing grand collection of spiritual societies.
The good constitute the Grand Man of heaven, and are united with the Church in the world, or the good and wise who dwell therein : the producing cause of life to both is the divine breathing; every inspiration and expiration, so to speak, that the Lord takes, produce life and uses to the whole; thus this power, as it descends according to degrees, is the power which gives life and animation to all in the universe ; for is it not written, “ and he breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul ?” The uses that arise from these two grand societies contain within them all heavenly happiness, and associate men into a society which is the image of the Lord's kingdom.
The spheres which arise from these grand societies may be considered as uniting causes; these spheres are various, and produce pleasing varieties in societies principled in good. The infernal spheres which arise from evil societies produce horrible deformities. The most delightful spheres are those which arise from conjugial love; in heaven they form the celestial of every class; in the world, the concentration of all happiness, because productive of the sublimest uses; and that which produces the noblest uses is the nearest in association with the divine being, and of course contains the fulness of delight. We may from a knowledge of the doctrine of spheres see the dangers that arise from evil associations; infernal spheres are the chains which hold the wicked in bondage, and the old adage of “evil communications corrupt good manners,” points out the dangerous nature of those spheres which arise from evil company, and at the same time the protection that is afforded from the good spheres which arise from good company.
It may be asked, How is society in the present day to become regenerated ? The answer is, By New Church principles and societies founded thereon, for these contain within them the true powers of association; and though at present they are weak conductors of heavenly influx, yet it is to be hoped that they will become a medium of bringing about a real change in society, and that they will ultimately produce an association of human beings whose very life will consist in making others happy.
There are many affinities or spheres in New Church Society, but how ineffective they are at the present day through the want of genuine goodness! Let the societies of the New Church respect goodness in individuals more than they respect the displays of knowledge or wealth, and we shall soon see them daily becoming more united and influential; then will they present to the world the lovely aspect, which should distinguish society, of brethren dwelling together in unity, concord,
THE END OF THE WORLD, OR THE CONSUMMATION
OF THE AGE.
To the Editor of the Intellectual Repository. DEAR SIR,
We often see rays of light breaking in upon the darkness, in which nearly every thing in relation to theology is still enveloped. In your periodical for August, (p. 283,) an extract is inserted from a work on " Hebrew Characters derived from Hieroglyphics," by John Lamb, D.D., Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in which the common doctrine concerning the fall of angels is rejected. And in the number for November (p. 413) you have introduced an extract from the late Dr. Burton's Bampton Lectures, preached before the University of Oxford, in which it is shewn that it is not the material body, but another, or the spiritual body, which rises again. The following extract is taken from a work in 2 Vols., entitled, “The First Epistle to the Christian Church, on the Eve of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, or a Complete Key to the Old and New Testament; with the fulfilment in succession of the Prophecies of our blessed Saviour," by T. Wowell, 1830. In these volumes the subjects of the Resurrection, Judgment, and the End of the World, or rather the Consummation of the Age, are placed in a similar light to that in which the doctrines of the New Church
present them to our notice, and it is certain, I think, that the writer must have studied those doctrines. The readers of the Repository will no doubt be gratified to see so many striking indications of a new and correct order of thought in reference to several essential points of Christian doctrine.
I am, yours, &c.,
“In our last head we briefly adverted to the doctrine of the resurrection as laid down by St. Paul and substantiated by his Master. We then stated that the body which rises is not material but spiritual, and that this resurrection takes place immediately on the death of the material body. We now proceed to the doctrines of the judgment and the end of the world, upon each of which we shall make a few observations.
“First, then, it is commonly understood, that as the resurrection will not take place until this world is about to be destroyed, so at that period the bodies of the dead being raised, will be reunited to their spirits, and being then brought forward to judgment, will be for ever happy or miserable, according to their conduct while on earth. The common doctrine of the judgment depends therefore upon the resurrection as its key-stone, and if this be removed the edifice falls at once; but we have shewn that there is no ground to expect any thing like a general resurrection of the material bodies of the dead; that St. Paul overthrows such expectations by teaching, that the body which rises is not the body which is interred, and that no sooner is the earthly tabernacle ’ laid down than we have another building of God eternal and spiritual ; consequently, that the resurrection is an immediate event. Since, therefore, there is not any ground for expecting a day of general resurrection, the doctrine of a general judgment has lost its principal support. This will appear more clearly if we consider the subject a little further.
“It is generally understood that the last judgment will take place upon this earth, and immediately before the general conflagration. Upon this earth, or at least in the region of visible nature, the innumerable tribes of men are to be assembled; in the same region is the great white throne to be seen; and into it the Almighty Judge is to descend, accompanied by his angels. But it must be remembered, that whether the judgment will occur at some distant period or not, the bodies which are raised will be spiritual bodies. Now spirit has no relation either to time or space. It exists not in space, nor can it so exist. That which exists in a universe of matter must be subject to the laws of matter; it must be bounded by space, and possess the several qualities of length, breadth, and thickness. It must therefore occupy a certain portion of that space; it must have a relative position with other visible objects, and be at a determinate distance from them. But spirit is subject to none of these laws; it is not bounded by any thing material; it occupies no portion of the visible world; it is neither visible nor tangible by any material organ; it cannot therefore exist in a material