IN issuing this Volume but little need be said on its behalf, save that it is meant to provide a comprehensive and yet elementary presentation of the Doctrines of the New Church.

The want of such a volume-a want ably supplied on a smaller scales by many well-known works-has been too often expressed to cause doubt as to the3 reception which this work is likely to meet with, especially as its contents are from the pens of some of the most highly esteemed writers of the Church on both sides of the Atlantic.

The articles here grouped together will be recognized as each of them having also a separate existence, a form in which for special purposes they will continue to be obtainable. The present work is merely intended to be an extension of their career of usefulness.



I. The Church of the New Jerusalem, a New Dispensation of Divine Truth 1
Rev. Chauncey Giles

II. The Unity of God 32

Rev. Dr. Bayley

III. The Trinity in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ 47

Rev. Samuel Noble       

IV. The Incarnation of Jehovah God 62

Rev. Dr. Tafel       

V. The Atonement, Sacrifice, and Mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ 76

Rev. Samuel Noble       

VI. The Doctrine of "Substitution "impartially examined       91

Rev. John Hyde.

VII. The Second Coming of Christ 105

Rev. Dr. Bayley.

VIII. The World and the Word; or, Teaching by Parables 120

Rev. W. C. Barlow, M.A.

IX. The Freewill of Man and the Origin of Evil       135

Hon. W. C. Howells.

X. The Doctrine of Life personally considered       149

Rev. Chauncey Giles.

XI. Baptism: its Importance and Uses 163       

Rev. Chauncey Giles.

XII. The Holy Supper 176

Rev. Chauncey Giles

XIII. The Resurrection of Man 190

Rev. Chauncey Giles       

XIV. Perpetual Existence 204

Rev. Jabez Fox

XV. Man in Heaven and the Nature of Heavenly Occupation 219

Rev. Joseph Ashby

XVI. Is there a Personal Devil? 233

Rev. John Presland       



The Church of the New Jerusalem

THE Sacred Scriptures are radiant with prophecies of the universal prevalence upon the earth of goodness and truth. The Lord has exhausted type and symbol, and plain declaration to set forth the certainty and glorious perfections of this new age of human intelligence and happiness. It will be a time of universal, external and internal peace. "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb." "The sucking child shall play upon the hole of the asp." "Men will beat their swords into plowshares." The knowledge of divine truth will universally prevail. "The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." There will be harmony of belief. Men "will see eye to eye." It will be a condition of society modelled after the forms and principles of heaven. "The Lord's will will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Man will live in intimate conjunction with the Lord. "The tabernacle of God will be with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, their God." It will be a state of freedom from disease, and pain, and sorrow and death. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain." It will be a state of knowledge, love, joy, and peace, new to the earth. It will be a new earth. "Behold I make all things new."

But notwithstanding the clear, explicit, various, and oft-repeated promises of this new and heavenly society upon the earth, men are slow to believe them, though they are made by the Lord Himself.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 3 Indeed, new truths rarely receive a hospitable welcome from men, especially if they disturb them in their repose and bid them strike their tents of thought and pass on to new achievements. "No man having drunk old wine, straightway desireth new, for he saith the old is better." This is emphatically true on all questions relating to religion. The church has drawn her lines around a little section of infinite truth, and says: No distinct step beyond these lines is possible; new facts may be discovered within them; the opinions already held may be modified, some new truths may be discovered; but that there can be a distinctly new and radical step above as well as beyond the present, seems incredible. I doubt whether a proposition can be made to the Christian world which would appear more preposterous than that such a step is possible, and especially that men are now taking it. But it is the purpose of my discourse to tell you that this step has been taken; in a word, that the system of spiritual truth known as the New Church, or the Church of the New Jerusalem, is that step, and the fulfilment of the declaration, "Behold, I make all things new," and to explain, as far as my time and ability will permit, what that step is.

But before I proceed to a positive treatment of the subject, I must prepare the way by correcting some of the false opinions which widely prevail and prevent a clear and accurate view of it. The first point to which I invite your attention, therefore, is,


It is not Spiritism; with which it is so often confounded. It has less in common with that remarkable phenomenon than it has with any other church or form of religious belief. Our doctrines give us the means of understanding it, and clearly point out the great danger of tampering with it; but they have no accord with it; and as a church we have no sympathy with its principles or practices.



It is not a vague and dreamy mysticism with which some thinkers of note have associated it. It is directly the opposite of the obscure and impracticable. One of its fundamental principles is, that "All religion has relation to life, and that the life of religion is to do good." Its doctrines are as substantial, realistic and practical as the mathematics.

It is not a system of unbelief or disbelief. Nor is it hostile to anything which is good and true in any church or any creed. It does not come "to destroy the law or the prophets" but to fill them full of new and higher meaning; to increase their sanctions by showing that all the commandments have their origin and basis in the immutable laws of the Divine order. The doctrines of the New Church teach men a rational belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, not only the inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures, but their divinity, and the absolute necessity to salvation of belief in the Lord and a life according to the commandments.

It is not a sect of the Christian Church, as that was not a sect of the Jewish Church. It does not differ from it as a whole or in any part, as Catholic differs from Protestant, Presbyterian from Methodist, or Trinitarian from Unitarian. It is not formed by adopting some of the doctrines of the Christian Church, and rejecting others. It is not an eclecticism. If all that is true among all sects could be formed into one system of doctrine, and all that is false could be eliminated from it, it would not form the system of the New Church. Nor could the doctrines of the Old have been developed into the New, by any additions, explanations, or unfoldings of meaning, as no purification or sublimation of unorganized matter will make a plant, organization being the distinct step which characterizes the plant.

Nor, on the other hand, does this or that special truth which belongs to the system of New Church doctrine, when severed from its connection with other truths, constitute it.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 5 As all the parts of a watch when severed from their connections and relations are not the watch; so one truth, or all the truths of a system of doctrine when isolated from each other are not the system. They are to it as piles of bricks, stone, iron, and lumber are to a modern dwelling.

The New Church is not Swedenborgianism. Swedenborg is no more the author of it than Newton is the author of the solar system. We gratefully acknowledge the fact that he was the divinely appointed instrument for communicating this system of spiritual truth to men; and in doing it, we believe he has performed the greatest service that was ever rendered to the world by any man. But the New Church is larger than any one man, or any society of men, as the ocean of light is broader and deeper than any plant or forest can embody, than earth or ocean reflect.

The New Church is not an ecclesiasticism. It is not an organization of men, or a Church polity, or a form of worship. As the twelve apostles did not comprise Christianity, so a few or many men do not comprise the whole of the New Church. We believe that these new principles will organize those who receive them into societies, as all new principles do; and these societies will continue to multiply, and will grow into a powerful organization combining the greatest degree of individual freedom with the most perfect order and subordination, and will possess a ritual of worship adapted to the wants of every worshipper; and that it is proper to call them societies of the New Church, by way of distinction, but not of limitation and exclusion.


Having stated what the New Church is not, we have prepared the way for the consideration of what it is. It is a new dispensation of Divine truth; a new spiritual age, a new era in the spiritual progress of humanity. The progress of the race is by distinct steps.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 6 It is more than development, more than ascent along an inclined plane; it is ascent from lower to higher, and different degrees of knowledge, being, happiness. As the plant is something more than a finer mineral, as the animal is something more than a perfected plant, being a distinct step above it, and differing from it by new forms, new qualities, and new functions of life; so man, into whose nature has been collated all created forms and qualities, and whose being ranges through all ranks of life, from the mineral to the Divine, advances by distinct steps, each one differing from the preceding as the mind differs from the body, possessing forms, qualities, and attainments impossible to the one below it.


There are two kinds of progress: One is improvement on the same plane, the other is a step to a higher plane. The use of steam as a motor was a distinctly new step in locomotion. It was not a development or modification of animal power, or of the power of the wind or falling stream. It was a new step, a new force. That is one kind of progress. But the first engine was imperfect. The improvements by which it has reached its present excellence is progress of another kind. Humanity advances in both ways�by the discovery of new principles, and then by the development of those principles. The distinct step occurs only at long intervals; it marks the eras in the life of humanity. The New Church is such a step in the spiritual life of the race. Let me try to tell you what that step is.


It is a step from nature to spirit, from effects to uses, by which a new spiritual position is gained from which all questions both natural and spiritual e regarded. In the revelation which the Lord has made to us in the Sacred Scriptures, it is a step from the letter to the spirit, in the knowledge of spiritual truth;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 7 it is a step from fact to principle, from the particular to the universal, from appearances which always mislead, to a knowledge of things as they are. The point of view modifies the aspect and our conception of every subject we examine. The universe is a picture of the Divine attributes, and whether it is a blur, or the embodiment of beauty; a chaos of conflicting elements, or a cosmos of eternal harmonies, will depend upon the light in which we see it. The principle assumed enters into every step of our examination, whether we are investigating natural or spiritual laws. If the principle is false, we shall be lost in endless mazes; if it is true, we can follow it through all the intricate labyrinths of life with the certainty of reaching our end.


The history of science furnishes us with a perfect illustration of what we mean by a distinct step in knowledge and a new point of view. Before the time of Copernicus, astronomers formed their opinions and constructed their theories of the size, nature, and motions of the heavenly bodies from their appearances to the senses. The earth, to them, was the largest body in the material universe, and the sun, moon, and stars were no larger than they seemed. Men exhausted their knowledge and taxed their ingenuity to the utmost to reconcile the many apparent irregularities and anomalies in the motions of the heavenly bodies, and the heavens were "With cycle and epicycle scribbled o'er" in the vain attempts. Copernicus took his position in the centre and made that his point of view, and the aspect of the universe was changed. Every theory was reversed. Those bodies which appeared to the senses to be the smallest were shown to be the largest; those which seemed to be the largest proved to be the smallest. Those which looked to be at rest were found to be in motion, and those which seemed to move around the earth were discovered to be relatively at rest.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 8 The testimony of the senses was reversed. Order sprang out of apparent chaos. Copernicus could not only give a rational solution of the nature and motions of the planets, but he could tell why those who had formed their conclusions from the appearances of the senses were mistaken.

The distinction between the New Spiritual Age and the Old is perfectly analogous to that which exists between the New Age of Astronomy and the Old; between the age of science and that of appearances. Swedenborg was the Copernicus of spiritual truth. He took his position in the centre, in the spirit, and from that point of view he looked down upon the world, and man, and human life, and he saw nature and spirit, this life and the life to come, in their true form and relations. He saw man as he is, a spiritual being, and not merely a natural being as he appears. Men had regarded the spirit and all spiritual questions from nature, they had measured them by natural standards, they had formed their conclusions from appearances, and the result was inevitable mistakes, doubts, fears, and inexplicable difficulties. Swedenborg has reversed the whole method of thinking about spiritual things. He weighs all things both natural and spiritual in new balances, and he finds new values, new forms, new relations, and new harmonies. Regarding all things from within and above nature, from their spiritual causes and centres, he brings light out of darkness, harmony out of discord, and order out of confusion. The New Church is this new step from matter to spirit, and it makes all things new as such a step must. It takes its stand in the spirit; makes that the unit of measure, the criterion of its judgments, and the point of view from which it takes its observations, draws its conclusions, and constructs its doctrines. The spirit is the real, the substantial, the organizer, the theatre of causes, the proximate source of all human activities, and, in the final issue, determines all human relations and destinies.




There has been more than one such distinct and grand step in the religious progress of our race. The Christian dispensation was such a step above and beyond the spiritual state of the Jew. The Jewish age was purely natural. All its ideas, knowledge, and principles began and ended in this life. It was not so much a church as a representative of a church. Its worship was ceremonial; its idea of government and law was purely arbitrary; its whole economy was based on physical and purely natural power. The Jew had no idea of charity, of neighbourly affection. All the peoples out of the pale of his nation were dogs,�objects of supreme contempt, fit only for slaves. One of the most difficult lessons the Apostles had to learn, was the universal fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.

The Christian dispensation was spiritual; but spiritual from a natural point of view; and, therefore, encumbered with many difficulties the moment men began to reason about it. It was based on a new commandment, the law of mutual love. The Jewish dispensation was "an eye for an eye," the Christian, the forgiveness of offences "until seventy times seven." A spiritual state of existence was revealed to men, and the paramount importance of having primary regard to the laws of spiritual life in all our motives and actions. This was an immense step, as the subsequent history of the Christian religion shows.

But it was not the final step. If it had been, there never would have been so much questioning, so much uncertainty, so many honest doubts, so much blank denial. The great facts of the existence of a spiritual world, and a life after the death of the body; enlarged conceptions of God, and of man, and of their relations to each other; plain precepts for the conduct of the thoughts and affections were taught and acknowledged. But these were all given as simple facts; as laws to be obeyed, rather than as truths inhering in the nature of man.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 10 Some of them were stated in such a form as to seem contradictory, to be dicta to be accepted, but which religious teachers have not been able to solve to this day. The doctrine of God which is central to all other doctrines is one of them. The rational unfolding of spiritual laws is regarded as impossible. The minds of men in the beginning of the Christian age were not in a state to ask for rational knowledge or to receive it. Science had not been born. It was a great step to accept the facts; and the principal inquiry for many centuries was not into the nature of the facts, but about their verity. As Swedenborg has well said, The point of inquiry upon these great spiritual questions was, "Whether it is so?" It was about the truth of fact, and not the nature of the fact. There were doctrines and theories, but they all ended in mystery. They all demanded faith and acceptance upon authority. The doctrine of the other life is a good example in point. The Christian Church has taught clearly, emphatically, and uniformly, in all its branches, the existence of a life of happiness or misery for all men after the death of the body. But it has never advanced a step beyond the fact. And it teaches, to-day, that we do not and cannot know anything about the form and nature of that life, and the relations of human beings to each other in it. It would be difficult to make a proposition to the Christian world, to-day, which would seem more absurd than that a clear, rational, and true idea of the spiritual world, of the nature of spiritual beings, and of their mode of life, is possible while we remain in this life.


The reason that no advance beyond that knowledge and method of reasoning has been made is, that all spiritual questions are regarded from a natural point of view, and measured by natural standards. Christian teachers seek to bring them within the limitations of natural and physical laws, and to make them subject to them.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 11 This is true both of those who advocate, and of those who oppose the doctrines of the Christian religion. They are precisely in the state with regard to these great spiritual facts that astronomers, before the time of Copernicus, were in relation to the nature and the laws and relations of the heavenly bodies. Theologians have looked at the heavens from the earth; they have formed their conclusions from appearances. They have exercised their ingenuity to reconcile the apparent contradictions in the letter of Revelation and in the Divine character, and the mode of spiritual existence; but they have never succeeded, and never can succeed, from the point of view of nature. The material world is the letter of creation, and presents real and substantial existence in reverse order, enlarges the natural and diminishes the spiritual, puts the first last and the last first, and makes the lowest the measure of the highest. This is true both of those who advocate and those who oppose the Christian religion. All the doctrines of Christianity are constructed and defended, from "the letter which killeth," and they are assaulted from the same position and with weapons of the same origin.

The New Church is a step beyond this. It accepts all the great spiritual truths common to Christianity, but it makes a new use of them. It regards them from the spirit, and in the light of the spirit their real significance is seen. The promise is fulfilled, "In thy light shall we see light."


Having obtained our "place to stand," let us notice some of the results which logically follow. Let us see how man, the spiritual world, the revelation which the Lord has made to us in the Sacred Scriptures, the Lord, and this life, look from it, and learn how they are related to each other.




The spirit is the real man. Man is a spirit and has a material body, which is merely a temporary garment for a momentary use. As a spirit, man is in the human form, has brains and heart, eye and hand, and every organ external and internal which belongs to a human being. The body is cast into the mould of the spirit, receives all its power from it, and in every particular is merely an instrument for the service of the spirit.

As man is a spirit, his real home is in the spiritual world. This world is the ground in which he is planted, where he strikes root, and takes the first short step in an endless existence. He is in the dark; he gropes and pushes blindly around for sustenance, feeling the quickening impulse which he cannot see, and struggling for the freedom, the warmth, and the light of the spiritual world, as the plant struggles to escape from the ground into the light and warmth of the air.

When man knows and heartly believes that he is a spirit, he weighs all values in the balances of the spirit. Everything is good which removes obstacles to his spiritual growth and promotes it; labour, hindrance, failure, poverty, pain. Everything is dust and poison which stimulates and feeds the natural at the expense of the spiritual, though it may be gold, honour, power. One step in spiritual progress outweighs the wealth and honour and glory of the world. From the serene point of the spirit, what contradictions are reconciled; what enigmas which have torn multitudes to pieces are solved! Even death, that great enigma, which has been the terror of humanity in all ages, is seen to be an orderly step in life. That great change which has filled the eyes of Pagan and Christian alike with tears, and all human hearts with sorrow, and which has been regarded by saint and sinner as the direst curse of God, is seen to be an orderly provision of His love, ordained from the beginning.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 13 It is rising out of the dark mould of the material body; it is gaining freedom for every faculty; it is coming into light and warmth and the consciousness of a real existence. It is entering into possession after a hard apprenticeship. It is going to our native land, breathing our native air.�it is going home, home for the free play and harmonious development of all our faculties, home for the head, home for the heart. Thus, the new age reverses common opinion, and will, in time, reverse the general feeling upon this subject.


If we look at the spiritual world, the home of man as a spiritual being, we shall see as great a transformation from common opinion formed from an earthly point of view as we have in relation to man himself. From the earth, and seen darkly, through the glass of nature, the spiritual world has appeared dim, vague, unreal; a realm of silence and darkness, the habitation of formless ghosts, waiting through the long night of the ages to be re-embodied, and to regain substantial existence. I know there is much said and sung of the joys of heaven and the torments of hell. But, after all, it is unreal. The result is confusion of ideas, doubts, disbelief. The real, unconscious, heart-belief of the Christian world has been, and to a very great extent is now, that we know nothing, and can know nothing definitely and certainly, concerning the future world.

But from our point of view, it is the .real world. Spirit is substance. Spirit is the mould of all forms. The material world gets its form and the form of every mineral, plant, and animal from it. This world is the shadow, that is the substance; this is the fleeting, that is the permanent; this the vague, the indistinct, the rude, the simple, that is the definite, the clear, the complex. Its objects are more numerous, more various in form, colour, quality, and more glorious in beauty than any material object can be; the lines which distinguish one object from another are more finely and sharply drawn, and the objects themselves are more distinct to every sense.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 14 The habitations of our fathers and friends who have passed on before us are so beautiful that words cannot describe them, and all the relations of the angelic men and women to each other, and to the outward world, are adapted to the state of each one with perfect exactness. Every one rises or falls to his level, and is drawn to his place with unerring certainty, and finds those conditions which are absolutely the best for his good and the good of the whole community; and what is still better, every one in the heavens recognizes his place, and delights to be in it. Heaven is an orderly society which grows out of human conditions, human attainments, in which the freest play and the largest scope is given for the exercise and development of every human faculty, and the attainment of every human aspiration.

Thus, when a spiritually alive human being is raised up out of the ground of the material body, he passes from darkness into light; from shadow to substance; from the vague to the distinct; from factitious and arbitrary conditions into those which grow out of, and are the result of, his nature and wants; from the environment of artificial laws and material hindrances, into the freedom of the eternal harmonies. He is no longer a grub pushing his way painfully through the hard ground. He is free; he rises into his native air; is face is turned towards the Lord, the source of life; the faculties which existed only in their germ here, blossom into beauty and ripen into fruit. The blind surgings of the immortal man in the womb of the mortal body, the longings, the aspirations, the half-conscious glimpses of a something unattainable here, dim prophecies of future glory, become blessed realities. Man, the stranger, the pilgrim, the prodigal, has found his home.

Beautiful dream, men say. The illusions of an overwrought brain! No, it is based on facts of experience.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 15 It is a logical conclusion from the revelations of Scripture, seen from the point of view of the spirit, and interpreted by spiritual laws. It is necessitated by the wants of man and the nature of God.


But I pass on to notice how the Bible looks from this point of view. If God is its author, and if it contains a revelation of spiritual and Divine truth, it must be a very different book from one of merely human composition. It must be as much superior to any human book as its author is superior to man. An infinitely wise being could not write, or cause to be written, an imperfect book. If it contains infinite wisdom and we can find the key to its mysteries we shall be fortunate indeed. This will be a new step in human progress.

The Lord has made two revelations of Himself to man: one in His works, the other in His word; the former, general; the latter, specific. Both are perfect, and infinitely surpass human power, as every divine work must. Each answers to the other. The divine revelation embodied in the creation was first made, and by itself can only be dimly understood. The revelation by His Word was made by means of His works, and could not have been made without them. Both are spiritual and divine in their origin, and cannot be understood until they are regarded from a spiritual point of view. You cannot understand anything until you see it from its end, its purpose, its use. You cannot understand a watch until you regard it from the heavens. Astronomies are embodied in its wheels and springs. You cannot discover the meaning of an engine until you view it from the subtile forces of nature, and the wants and impatience of man. It throbs and vibrates with human passion. To understand is to know the secret, the use of fact and form. Can you understand the earth and the heavens before you have learned their secret?


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 16 Can you discover the mystery in a "thus saith the Lord" when you regard it from without, when you measure it by grammar and lexicon? Eighteen centuries of study declare that it is impossible. And now, more than ever before, are men giving up the Bible as a revelation of the thought and will of God, and regarding it as the thought of Moses, of David and John, because they cannot understand it. And they cannot understand it because they measure it by the rules of books of human composition, and deny that it contains anything but natural facts. The New Church, on the contrary, regards it as an absolutely Divine book, written in a Divine style, and as much superior to any book of merely human composition as a living man is superior to a marble image of a man.


The word is written according to the relation between natural and spiritual things, a relation which exists in the nature and order of creation. The material world, we understand, is created from the spiritual world. It is the embodied love and wisdom of the Lord in material forms, as the material body is the form of the spirit and the instrument with which it expresses its affection and thought. Light is to the material world as truth to the spiritual world; and to the mind which dwells in it. Heat is to the material world as love to the soul. A lamb is the embodied form of innocence; the bear, of surly and savage passion; the fox, of cunning; the wolf, of ferocity. It is not by figure of speech that these animals are selected to express these human qualities. They are created forms of those affections, and man has an intuition of their meaning, as the infant on the mother's breast has of the mother's smile.

There is such a connection between the mind and the outward world that they answer to each other; and when man was in harmony and delicate sympathy with nature, he had an intuition of the meaning of outward things.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 17 He looked upon the world as upon an open book, and in its beautiful and varied forms he read the thought and will of God. He still retains this faculty to some extent, but only in a fragmentary and imperfect degree. This is the most emphatic and comprehensive language now. Call a man a bear, a wolf, a fox, a serpent, and you express more in one word than you can put into a whole volume of mere description. Instead of an artificial word and an empty sound you have a living picture of your thought. The whole Bible throughout, from Genesis to Revelation, is written according to this relation between God and man, between man and nature. Its histories, true to natural fact in the main, are histories of the spirit of all men in all ages. David, in singing the songs of his own conflicts and victories, his sorrows and, joys, his despair and triumph, sang the sorrows and the joys of every human being.

The Bible is a collection of pictures, some of which are copies of events in this world: others of events in the spiritual world. There are spiritual as well as natural facts; but fact and figure, parable and song, miracle and vision, are all given for the sole purpose of embodying and revealing spiritual truth in natural forms. These natural symbols are so arranged that they express a continuous and systematic unfolding of the principles of the Divine nature, and of man's nature, in an orderly and logical manner, from first principles to ultimate effects. There is no break in the connection; nothing superfluous or lacking in the representation. But their spiritual meaning can never be understood until they are interpreted by the Spirit. If you cannot understand a watch by looking at the case; if you cannot comprehend the meaning of any book of human composition until you regard it from the author's point of view, how can men expect to comprehend the Bible�the Divine Book, unless they view it from the Divine purpose?




The Bible is the most contradictory of books when viewed from the letter, but it is no more contradictory than nature when viewed from the circumference and judged by the senses. Get the true point of view and all the facts and particular forms fall into their places, and are seen to be perfect parts of a harmonious whole. The letter of revelation is like the windows in a grand cathedral. While we regard them from without, we see bits of glass, irregular in form, various in colour, artificially connected, with no necessary order or harmony. We may discover the rude outline of figures, but there is no clear and full expression; we can read some words of wonderful wisdom, and catch glimpses of some features lovely in form, but light and shadow, distinct voice and articulate sound, fact and fiction, are so crowded together that we can see no clear and coherent meaning. The whole representation is dim in colour, feeble in form, and fragmentary in composition.

Now let us pass within and get the true point of view. What a change greets us! The windows are a blaze of glory. The figures stand out in clear and living personality. We see unity of design, orderly sequence, economy and fitness of means, delicate skill in their handling, and complete success in the result. There is no break in their connections, no bungling patchwork, no blank spaces, no contradictory effects. Lights and shadows blend in harmony; beautiful and glorious figures stand out in distinct form and clear radiance as revelations of the skill, power, and genius of the artist.

So it is with the letter of the Word. The books which compose the Bible are windows in the grand temple of the universe; earth is without, heaven within. The letter presents the Word in dim outline under the limitations of time and space. The letter is the cloud through which the rays of spiritual light can struggle only faintly down to earth.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 19 The letter is the earthly side of heavenly truth. It appears to be fragmentary, disconnected, and rude in structure. Bits of history, snatches of song, wild vision, sage maxim, lovely parable, startling miracle, plain precept, weird mystery, gems of wisdom, and phrases void of natural meaning; angels, men, and devils, crowd and jostle each other, appear and disappear; lights and shadows cross and blend until the understanding is bewildered and the heart is weary.

But when we pass within from the earth of the letter, and take our stand in the sun of the spirit, we see the cloud on its illuminated side. Every fact and figure is seen in true perspective. The joints and seams which were so clearly visible from without disappear; the dim figures stand out in glorious distinctness; earthly shadow becomes heavenly light; contradictory voices, complementary truths, and harsh discords are swelling harmonies. The whole representation, running through many generations of human life, in which nations are actors, is seen to spring from one mind, and to be a revelation of the love and wisdom of one Being. There is no break in the representation; there is no discordant note, no unmeaning form, no random word. The Lord Himself is the centre and source from which the whole representation flows, as light from the sun.


Those figures are also seen to embody a connected and living history of every human soul. They are a mirror in which each one can see himself as he is, in his fallen state, and side by side the image of a more glorious self which he may become by using the means here fully provided. From this point of view the Sacred Scriptures are seen in their true light. Their harmony, their purpose, their method, their inner and real meaning are revealed in such a clear and rational light that they carry conviction with them;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 20 they satisfy the demands of the reason and the heart, and they open an endless field for the study of the Divine nature and human character, in which every step is an advance into greater light. You feel assured that you are on the right road, and that you are moving in the right direction, and every step increases your assurance and your joy. You have found the key which unlocks the mysteries of this wonderful book, and as you apply it, and find that it winds through all the secret and complicated wards of material fact and spiritual vision, reconciling apparent contradictions, revealing hidden mysteries, unfolding in beautiful harmony the laws of the divine wisdom, and that every door which opens to your advancing footsteps, introduces you into new and larger and more glorious views of the Divine character, and reveals to you grander possibilities of your own nature, and the sure means of attaining them, all your doubts vanish, all your fears subside, all your perplexities are removed. All your difficulties henceforth consist in breaking up old habits of thought and feeling, in casting off the burden of error and sin, and walking in the shining way which opens before you.

If the New Church has found the means of substantiating the fact that the Bible is the Word of God, that it is a Divine book, written in a Divine style, is a revelation of Divine truth, and every way worthy of its Divine Author; if it has discovered the key to its real meaning, the point of view in which all its apparent contradictions are reconciled, and its doctrines are seen in such a clear, rational light, that they come home to the mind with undoubted conviction: and if through the parting clouds of the latter they disclose a new world, distinct, substantial, glorious, our eternal home�every intelligent man and woman will say, this is a new step in the spiritual progress of humanity: this is what we want.


Look at the results which must necessarily follow such a step, and which the experience of thousands who have received these doctrines testifies, has followed, and is following, in their own lives.



It disperses doubt upon all questions concerning man's relation to the Lord, and his spiritual nature and destiny. It lifts him above the fogs of the senses, in which he was groping his way, mistaking shadow for substance, into clear light, so that he can truly say, "Whereas I was blind, now I see." The Christian world has always lived in the shadow of doubt. "Men see as through a glass darkly." "They walk by faith and not by sight." They are afraid of getting lost unless they keep hold of each other's hands, and remain within the fold of a common polity, and pass on the watchword of a common faith from generation to generation. They are like timid bathers who cling to the rope anchored a little distance from the shore for fear of being swept away by the billows of turbulent passions and lost. Would it not be a great boon to be placed where we can see "truth in the light of truth;" where we can take hold of God's hand without an intervening line of presbyters, bishops, or popes; and, upheld by His almighty arm, walk serenely over the billows of life, and talk with Him as he talks with us through His holy Word? This is the position of the New Church, and therefore, those questions and evidences which occupy so large a space in the thought of the religious world�as the possibility of miracles; the human authenticity of the various books of the Bible; the apostolic succession; the relative value of Episcopacy, or Congregationalism; the freedom of the will; fore-ordination, and a multitude of other questions�excite no more interest in us than the ceremonial worship of the Jews awakens in the Christian.


The old questions which have been discussed for many generations are settled, or are shown to be of minor consequence.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 22 The New Church begins where the old ends. Instead of going through with the endless rounds of proof and discussion to establish the great facts of religious truth, it accepts them and goes on to unfold their meaning. For example; the Christian Church teaches that the Bible is inspired. The New Church shows in what the inspiration consists; how the Bible was given to men; how it differs from books of human composition, and reveals the science required for its interpretation. The Christian Church teaches that there is a spiritual world and stops with the assertion of the bare fact. The New Church shows where that world is; how it is related to this; the laws of its creation; its form, scenery, climate, and fitness to be the eternal home of the vast multitudes who dwell in it. The difference between the two modes of regarding all questions relating to God, and to man as a spiritual being, is like that between seeing the faint outline of the shores of a great continent in the distant horizon where we can hardly distinguish solid land from shifting cloud, and landing upon those shores, ascending its rivers, traversing its plains, exploring its hills and valleys, eating its fruits and associating freely with its inhabitants. In this way we not only get new and indubitable proofs of the truth of fact, but the facts themselves are found to be new worlds embodying the love and wisdom of the Lord, opening new and endless fields for investigation, and offering exhaustless means for the cultivation of every human faculty and the attainment of every pure aspiration. The world of faith becomes a real and substantial world, the lovely home of human beings, who find in it the realization of their largest hopes.


The New Church is a new mental state of receiving spiritual truth; it is a step from faith to knowledge.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 23 The fundamental doctrines of the Christian Church are acknowledged to be great mysteries, which we are to receive by faith. We do not see that they are true, but we are to believe that they are true because some person or some society of men has said they were true. We are children, and we must believe the master. So far as regards the principle, it is the same whoever says it, whether a man or any number of men, or the Lord, or whether it is our own opinion, for our own opinion may be no wiser than the opinion of others. From the new point of view we can see the truth. We do not believe it because some one has said so, but because we see it to be so. The change from the old to the new point of view is like that which takes place in our progress in science. The boy learns his rule, and believes it is true because the book or the teacher says so. But by and by lie works out the problem for himself; he follows the whole chain of reasoning from premises to conclusion, and now he knows that it is true. He does not say, "I think," "I guess," "I feel quite sure," "I believe," the three angles of every triangle are equal to two right angles because great mathematicians affirm it. I know it. It is so in the nature of geometric forms. The doctrines of the New Church are this step in spiritual knowledge. I know how great a claim this is, and how absurd it seems to the great majority of men, but 1 know equally well that such is the experience of every intelligent New Churchman. We do not accept the doctrines of the New Church because Swedenborg declares them to be true, but because we see them to be true. We might never have thought of them if he had not taught them; but having disclosed them, we accept them because we see that they are statements of the principles of the Divine nature, and of the laws of man's nature. We see ourselves in them as in a mirror. We see that they are consistent with themselves, and with all the methods of the Divine wisdom so far as we can discover them in the creation, in our own lives, in the Sacred Scriptures, or in the history of humanity.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 24 The first step is clear, and every step of our progress, in whatever direction we move, grows clearer. There is nothing to awaken doubt and cause distrust.

It is not my purpose to give an exposition of the doctrines of the New Church. That would be impossible in the limits of one discourse. I wish rather to show its position, its spirit, its methods�to tell you where it is. But I will give a sketch in outline of our doctrine of the Lord, as an example of our methods of reasoning and their results.


The New Church is Unitarian in the broadest and fullest and absolute sense of the term, not, however, by denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ, but by the belief that He is the only Divine Being. God is one in essence and person, is the fundamental principle, the germ out of which grows every doctrine and every particular truth. That we adhere to, and never admit anything which tends to obscure or conflict with it. The Divine unity is something more than unity of number. It is unity of principle, unity of attribute, unity of character, unity of purpose, unity of method. The Lord always works like Himself, always acts from infinite love, with infinite wisdom. Under whatever form He appears, or by whatever name He is called, He is still one God in one Person. He created man in His own image, to be a finite form of His Divine attributes, and a conscious recipient of His love and wisdom. When man, like a prodigal, had wandered from his father's house, and had wasted the substance of his life in riotous living, and was on the point of perishing everlastingly, and after the Lord had exhausted all other means of rescuing him from death, He came Himself in the only way He could come. He clothed Himself with a fallen human nature according to His own laws and by His own universal methods. He was not changed into that nature.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 25 The material body or the human soul of the babe in Bethlehem was not God, as man's material body is not the man himself. But God dwelt in it; had such a personal and immediate connection with it that He could control it, and infill it with His own life, and gradually assimilate it to His Divine nature and form, or, in the language of the Scripture, glorify it. This nature was the Son of God, because it was begotten by Him. It grew in wisdom, according to the laws of all mental and physical development. It could do nothing of itself, just as your body can do nothing of itself. The Father within did the works, as your soul, which is the father of the body, does all your works. It could be tempted, as all human natures can. It had a will and an understanding of its own, which could think and act freely from itself, but which always remained subject to the Divine will, and therefore never sinned.

God was in this human nature, this human form, and gradually transfigured it, made it Divine, united it to Himself, so that it became a Divine body, perfectly adapted to a Divine soul on one side, and to man's nature on the other, a conjoining medium between them; the perfect embodiment of omnipotent power, and fully adequate to transmit the Divine Spirit to men in forms adapted to their state.

Now in this whole process of descent and ascent, the divine personal unity is unbroken. We have but one person, and in that one person we have, also, a Divine Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is one person in the same sense that man, who was created in His image and after His likeness, is one person. Man is a trinity of soul, body, and spirit or operating life. The soul is the father, the body is the son, and the vivifying power, by which all his activities are excited, is the spirit. Thus we have in every human being a perfect illustration in finite forms of the infinite trinity in God, and the evidence that this trinity necessitates a personal unity.

Not only unity of person but unity of character is preserved.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 26 Infinite love could do no less than clothe itself with human conditions and descend to the lowest states, if that was necessary, for the salvation of men.

From this point of view we find all the declarations of Scripture verified. What seemed fragmentary and contradictory when viewed from without, like the bits of stained glass in a window, all blend in harmony and unity, when seen from within; and for us, without throwing away Scripture, or losing our faith in its Divine authenticity, this vexed question of trinity and unity is settled in a way to satisfy the reason and to content the heart. As we look upon the material body of a human being, and while we think of his outward form and features, say that is the man, at the same time meaning to include in our thoughts his whole spiritual nature, so we look upon Jesus Christ glorified, as God, believing that in Him dwells the infinite and uncreated Divine; that when we address Him, we address the whole of God, as we address the whole nature of man, when we speak to his eye or ear, and think, only of his bodily form. "No man cometh to the Father but by Me."


The idea of God is central to all our knowledge and all our conceptions of spiritual and divine truths, and enters into all our motives of action and our hopes for the future. Get a clear, consistent idea of God, of God as a personal Being, warm with human affections, allied to us by human sympathies, gentle, patient, loving; not a cold and vague abstraction, a mighty invisible force; but a friend, a father, a saviour, the embodiment and source of all tender and beautiful humanities; but yet omniscient, omnipotent, the fountain of all life,�get such a view which satisfies all the demands of creation, revelation, reason, and human affection, and you have settled all questions, you have solved the enigmas of life.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 27 The seals are broken, and the volume of infinite truth and the way of endless attainment lie open before you. All things become new, because they are seen in a new light; they have new meanings, new uses, new forms, new relations, and lead to new results.


When we regard nature or spirit from a central point of view, and see its forms and relations as they are, we gain two things which seem contradictory; we gain universality and a much greater particularity. This is a distinct step in scientific, moral, and religious progress. The discovery of a new principle throws new light upon all the facts which relate to it. It reveals new elements in the old and familiar; discloses finer and hitherto hidden relations of fact to fact, and of the parts to the whole. Half truths mislead and bewilder. Every sect of the Christian Church has based its organization and taken its name from some special view of spiritual truth to which it gave paramount importance. This made it partial, narrow, and incomplete. One doctrine was magnified at the expense of others. The special truth was held so near the eye that it concealed the others, or gave only a partial view of them. And now, men seek to gain universality by a union of the various sects, which is as impossible as it would be to get a perfect house by simply collecting the greatest abundance and the largest variety of materials. It is not more facts, or a new combination of the old, or a new Bible, that is needed to form a universal Church, but a new view of the truths we have.

Nor, on the other hand, can universality be gained by sameness of creed and ritual formed from the letter which is the appearance of truth. If the Catholic Church could extend her dominion over the whole world, and impose her doctrines and ritual upon all men, it would not be a universal Church, except in outward form.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 28 Universality is not gained by collecting all the doctrines and opinions upon a subject, or by organizing the men who held them into one society, but by getting a higher point of view. As we rise we come into the universal and, at the same time, into the particular. He who has the highest truth has universal truth. God is absolutely universal because He is the centre of all.

The New Church has no specialty. It has no particular doctrine or partial view of religious truth which could give it a name or could fully and correctly characterize it. It embraces all that is true in all Churches, and brings the partial views of the various sects together in such a way that a new doctrine is formed without rejecting any special or apparent truth. The new doctrine, however, is not formed by a combination of the various parts of former views. It is not a new garment made out of pieces of the old cloth. It differs from them as the plant differs from the chemical substances of which it is composed. It is a new result, a new creation. It is more comprehensive in its scope than any other Church, while at the same time it is more precise and exact in its definitions; it gives greater freedom to all who come into its fold, and yet it is far more rigid and exacting in its requirements of obedience to divine law. It gives a new meaning to old terms. "It makes all things new." Its universality can be seen by comparison with the various sects of the Christian Church.


The New Church is Unitarian; but it is not the unitarianism of the Jew nor of modern times. It is a new Unitarianism which teaches the absolute personal unity of God in a much clearer and more exact form than it has ever been taught before. This, as we have seen, is its central doctrine. But, at the same time, it shows that the unity is not only compatible with the Divinity of Jesus Christ, but necessitates it. It is a unity also which demands a trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and which is impossible without it.




The New Church is Trinitarian, more clearly and decidedly than any other Church. The lines which distinguish the Father, Son and Holy Spirit from each other are more sharply drawn than in any other doctrine. The distinction between these three constituents of one person is clearly defined, and their special forms and functions and relations are so accurately described that their identity is fully preserved and their relations to each other clearly seen. It is also seen that this trinity necessitates a personal unity; that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make one God in one person, as the soul and body and operative life make one man in one person. The Unitarian and Trinitarian ideas of God which seemed to be diametrically opposite and incompatible with each other are perfectly harmonized in this higher truth. The prophecy is fulfilled which foretold the time when there should be "One Lord and His name one."


No doctrines have ever been taught which were so fully the embodiments of the spirit and the letter of the Gospels as the doctrines of the New Church. They were not formed first according to the notions of one man or any number of men, and then the Evangelists called upon to testify to their truth. They are derived from the words of our Lord as recorded in the Evangelists, as a true science is derived from nature. They do not conceal or wrest any declaration of Scripture from its true meaning. They are not derived from a few passages selected to confirm them. They are the united voice of the whole of Scripture regarded from all points of view, from the letter and the spirit. No man has ever written upon religious subjects who quoted so largely and widely from the Sacred Scriptures as Swedenborg.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 30 No man has ever given so high a conception of their divine origin and character as he has; or has regarded them with so much reverence as the voice of God to man. He was sensitive and scrupulous beyond precedent, to hear what the Lord speaks and to deliver his message as fully and clearly as possible. The New Church believes more fully, more implicitly, more profoundly in the divine truth contained in the Gospels than any other church. It is essentially and pre-eminently Evangelical.


The New Church is broad as the principles of humanity, because its doctrines are a statement of the of principles humanity, and of the means of spiritual growth. It does not get its breadth, however, by diffusion and indefiniteness. Its liberality does not consist in the acknowledgment that one creed is as good as another, or by regarding it of no consequence what men believe. Its truths are applicable to every state of human life. Its doctrines teach charity for every form of human goodness, and confess that there are good men in every church, and out of the church, and that every human being will be judged in the final result by what he is. Every man will be judged according to his deeds. It is not possible to frame a broader or more liberal doctrine of life, or to give a more charitable and, at the same time, rigidly exact criterion of human judgment than is to be found in the New Church.


The doctrines of the New Church are often supposed to be abstract, ideal, visionary. But nothing could be further from the truth. They are not the product of the imagination. They are practical to the last degree. They all relate to life, and teach us how to live to-day, how to do our appointed work, to bear our burdens, to meet our disappointments, and to appreciate the joys of the present time.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 31 They teach man his condition as a son of earth and of time; but they also reveal to him the greatness and glory of his spiritual nature, and teach how to rise above earthly conditions even while working in them. They adhere to the letter; but they reveal the glory of the spirit in the letter. They teach us to value the letter for the spirit, and adhere with scrupulous fidelity to law because it is the sure and only path to freedom and happiness.


The New Church is rationalistic. It believes in and encourages the largest and freest use of the reason; in subjecting Divine and spiritual truth to the most critical scrutiny. It teaches the right use of the reason; discriminates between a true and false rationalism. The office of the reason is not to create the truth, or to make its own power the measure of what is true; but to see the truth and to recognize it as truth when it is presented. The New Church has, therefore, no sympathy with that narrow, purblind rationalism which rejects revelation, subjects all truth to the limits of the natural mind, and rejects all that it cannot comprehend.


The New Church is a universal Church, not by numbers, not by organization, not by the power of casting all men into one mould, but by virtue of being itself constituted of universal principles. Its doctrines present truth from all sides, showing the principle of unity in diversity of view. They discriminate and reconcile. They present every phase of human life distinctly, and, at the same time, reveal its unity. They teach us how to see the greatest in the least, and the least in the greatest; the life to come in this life, and this life in the life to come. The New Church is the measure of a man, of man in the earth of the material body, of man in heaven as an angel, and it is exactly adapted to all his spiritual wants, solving for him the problems of life, and leading him by the shortest path to the attainment of the highest good.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 32 It is the science of the spirit, and it will work out the same results in his spiritual condition that natural science is effecting in his physical and natural condition. It throws new light on his earthly condition; solves his doubts, dispels his fears, lifts his burdens, increases his strength; gives him patience to wait and zeal to work; shows him the true relations between himself and nature and man and the common Father of all; enlarges his freedom, draws aside the veil which hides the endless future, reveals to him a new world more real, more substantial, more glorious than this, and sets him on his endless way to the attainment of endless and ever-increasing blessedness.


These new spiritual truths are the form in which the Lord is making His Second Advent; they are the "power and glory" shining through the cloud of the letter of the Word by which He will subdue His enemies, illuminate the understandings of, men, and fulfil the promises of a New Age which He has so often made by the mouth of His prophets. The signs of His coming are abundant. "There are wars and rumours of wars." There has never been a time when the onslaught of evil and falsity upon goodness and truth was so subtle and so powerful as it is now. Good men of every creed feel the need of new weapons and the stronghold of a new spiritual position, to meet the enemy and to successfully repel his attacks. The Lord has supplied us, in these new truths, with every means necessary to complete and final victory. He has provided the means for fulfilling the glorious promise, "Behold! I make all things new."




"Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me."�ISA. xliii. 10.

THE soul yearns for God, but only for one God, the Infinite, the Supreme, the Omnipotent. This is expressed by the whole history and experience of man everywhere, and very tenderly by the Psalmist: "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?"

If lower deities are sought and worshipped it is as mediators or subordinates of the One whom the highest convictions of reason admit is the great, the everlasting I AM. Among the Greeks and Romans, though a pantheon of inferior deities was revered, Zeus or Jupiter was adored as father of gods and men. Among the Hindoos in like manner one hidden, incomprehensible Supreme Ruler is confessed. This universal tendency arises from the constitution of the soul, and implies its origin from One Sole Creator. Upon this basis the whole Sacred Scripture proceeds, and so markedly that both in principle and expression the thoughtful reader finds it proclaimed to him as it was to Israel, "Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord" (Deut. vi. 4).

The declarations of this kind are both numerous and emphatic. Take the following as an example, by no means uncommon: "Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord He is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else" (Deut. iv. 39). In this early proclamation we are taught that man can know God, and is exhorted to consider Him in opposition to the mistaken theory of those who shrink from attempting to know that which they inwardly dread to find is absurd, and hence assiduously declare is an unfathomable and incomprehensible mystery.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 34 The Scripture says, "Know, and consider in thine heart," that the same Glorious Being is God of heaven above and on the earth beneath: "THERE IS NONE ELSE."

We should ever remember that God is Omnipresent, fills heaven and earth, and can manifest Himself where His wisdom deems it best on earth or in heaven. "Am I a God at hand," He says, "and not a God afar off? Do not I fill heaven and earth?" Whence, then, the difficulty of those who say to themselves, "If Jesus Christ was really God manifest, Immanuel, God with us, what became of heaven when He was on earth?" They forget that the Lord is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath at the same time: THERE IS NONE ELSE. Read again, "I, even I, am He, and there is no God with Me" (Deut. xxxii. 39). Can any language more clearly assert the individual majesty of the Most High? THERE IS NO GOD WITH ME.

Language of this emphatic character occurs so frequently that we cannot but feel that the truth it utters is intended to be represented as of supreme importance. Notice in this respect the striking passage in the Psalms, "That men may know that Thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the Most High over all the earth" (Ps. lxxxiii. 18). Again, in the Prophets, "Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am Jehovah; and BESIDE ME THERE IS NO SAVIOUR" (Isa. xliii. 10, 11). "I am Jehovah, AND THERE IS NONE ELSE, there is no God beside Me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me" (Isa. xlv. 5). Once more, "There is no God else beside Me; a just God, a Saviour: THERE IS NONE BESIDE ME. Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I AM GOD, AND THERE IS NONE ELSE" (Isa. xlv. 21, 22). The New Testament is on this subject equally forcible with the Old, the Apostles with the Prophets.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 35 Our Lord Himself said, "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment" (Mark xii. 29, 30).

It is not only clear that the Lord Jesus teaches in words that there is only one God, but that the duty enjoined can only be performed to one Being. A person can only love one Divine Person with all his heart. If there were more than one he could give his affections in part to one, in part to the other, but not ALL to any individual one.

The same conclusion must be arrived at when we consider the language of the Book of Revelation, where the Lord Himself is the Speaker: "I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the First and the Last, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty" (i. 8, 11). Only one Being can be the First, and that is the Eternal. If there were more than one there might be equals, but no First. But the epithets Alpha and Omega, First and Last, take in all possible perfections, all Divine characteristics, for First and Last include all between. The same logical necessity comes from the description, "Who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." For is not this a declaration that He who IS NOW God over all, is the same as He who was the God of eternity, and will be God of all ages which are to come, and this because HE is THE ALMIGHTY. The conception also of the attribute of Omnipotence brings us to the same conclusion, for all might can only be the possession of one Being. If there were three equals in might each could be a third mighty, but none could be all-mighty. In the same way, to a reflective mind it will be evident not only that the Divine attribute of Almightiness or Omnipotence implies all other Divine attributes, especially those of Omnipresence and Omniscience. For a person could not do anything where he was not present to do it, nor could he do anything if he did not know HOW to do it.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 36 Hence Almightiness implies being everywhere, and knowing everything. And if there is one Being of this kind there can be no more, since a second Being of the same kind would abstract so much from the might, presence, and knowledge of the First, and none therefore would be all-mighty, all-present, or all-knowing. But the one Divine Person Himself declares that He is the First and the Last, the Almighty; therefore there can be no more.

In the grand utterance of the angels we have the same truth plainly declared: "Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou ONLY art Holy" (Rev. xv. 3, 4). The testimony of the Old Testament and the New, of earth and of heaven, is complete, and combines to teach this sublime lesson in its universal form, THERE IS ONE GOD, AND ONLY ONE.

The name Jehovah occurring only in the singular form, and being the special and incommunicable name of the Deity as presented in the Law and the Prophets, teaches the same thing. This name is never given to any other Being, and never occurs in the plural number. "Jehovah our God is one Jehovah." The term ELOHIM, rendered usually God, is in the plural; and those who have previously been taught that there are more Divine Persons in one have supposed that the Elohim are such Divine persons. This is, however, to conceive that the two most usual names of the Divine Being contradict one another, one implying perfect unity, the other a distinction incompatible with unity, for three persons may be unanimous, but cannot make one Being.

Elohim is the plural of El, or Eloah, which means not a Divine person, but POWER. Elohim therefore means the powers or attributes of one person. Hence it is written of Moses, "See, I have made thee an Elohim, a God, to Pharaoh;" that is, thou shalt exercise those powers from me which will compel Pharaoh to submit.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 37 Strictly speaking, the term Jehovah, which means HE WHO IS AND WILL BE, signifies the DIVINE LOVE, that which is the central, originating, causal substance of Godhead, which is One, GOD IS LOVE; while Elohim signifies the powers of Divine Truth exercised in all the manifold works of Creation, Redemption, and Providence, but ever by one Being, who is God our Father, Saviour, Provider, and Regenerator.

If from the Word of God we turn to the works of God the reflective mind will equally discern everywhere indications of the Divine unity. The universe is one whole, interpenetrating and interdependent. It is, as it were, one idea of the Divine mind embodied.

Thus if we go back with geology millions of years we find not only laws and processes prevailing similar to those which are active now, but formations which provided for the wants of the present and the future. The marbles of to-day were deposited in ancient oceans myriads of ages past; the coals of to-day were the forests of remote periods so distant in time that they can hardly be fixed to a few million years more or less; but ever the same laws prevail, the same forces endure, the same purposes are accomplished.

So in the present; the mineral portion of the world subserves the vegetable, the vegetable the animal, each is indispensable to the other, and all the parts minister to man. Order, dependency, subserviency, arrangement, bind the whole in unity of plan and purpose.

The earth and all the earths of the solar system depend upon the sun, and are supported and sustained by his heat and light, from which doubtless they were first derived. Our sun with all his worlds is part of the mighty system of the milky way, and that of the immense universe, which moves round the central sun.

"All are but parts of one stupendous whole,

Whose body nature is and God the soul."

There are belting, connecting bonds on all sides closely compacting creation into one orderly arrangement. Thus chemical laws affect mineral, vegetable, animal, and human existences alike.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 38 Heat, light, and the actinic rays are essential to all the kingdoms of nature and to man, and thus show that all are parts of the one glorious plan, which provides for a salutary rational life of noble beings on a multiform, varied, beneficent, and beautiful world to prepare man for a happier life still, in a more perfect world,�in heaven. Thus we see how the creation from God carries forth its gracious Godlike work until it finishes by returning through man to God again, the First triumphant in the Last. In all this there is no indication of any but the one plan, the plan of one Divine mind.

Near man diversity, contradiction, and opposition are found, but these are the results of human freedom, of the perversities of human liberty, and are permissions for the same great end, to eventuate in the same great purpose of the one Being of beings, to make likenesses of Himself, freely and everlastingly happy, "from seeming evil still educing good."

So then throughout creation, throughout all ages, we see grand laws sublimely carrying forth the same great object through immeasurable fields, through immeasurable ages. "Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names, by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth. Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard, that the Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding" (Isa. xl. 26, 28).

The advance of true philosophy in modern times has constantly indicated more and more the unity of the universe, and therefore its testimony to the unity of its Creator.

The doctrine that energy is never lost however transmuted, that intense energy becomes heat, that heat reappears under other forms and becomes magnetism, electricity, chemical powers, great activity in some objects, inertia in others, points to the conclusion that all forces are varied forms of one Force.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 39 The coals of the present age, the sources of the steam-power, which moves all our manufacturing appliances, so varied, so multiplied, are the compressed vegetation of ages vastly remote; but these most ancient forests received the sun's heat, and embodied it in their wondrous forms, and stored it for the use, comfort, and enrichment of the present day, each plant, flower, tree, being a form of sunbeams crystallized and embodied. Again, the spectrum analysis shows that the sun is composed of similar substances to those which compose the earths of his system, only in him they are at a temperature incomparably high and ardent. The stars also, those other suns, yield similar results. Their marvellous lines in the spectrum show that gases and metals are there in conditions of amazing incandescence. Surely all these phenomena, all these manifestations of similar substances, similar powers, similar correlations of force, indicate that all energies in the universe ultimately flow from one Force, the infinite LOVE, the adorable WILL, of the Eternal God.

Such seems to be the harmonious teaching of Scripture, Reason, and Science; but we would now consider the difficulties that some devout and thoughtful persons have found to interfere with their frank and entire reception of this grand generalization, THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD, AND THAT THIS ONE GOD IS THE DIVINE MAN, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

They have been taught from early youth that there are three Divine Persons in this one God, and this teaching of human creeds is what they imagine is taught in Holy Scripture. They suppose they have read in the New Testament there is one Person of the Father, another Person of the Son, and another Person of the Holy Spirit I On examination, however, they will find that no such terms are to be found there. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit occur often in the Sacred Writings, but only as the constituents of one God, not as distinct Persons in the Deity. The Father is the Divine Love, the Source of all Divine attributes and operations, and therefore called the Father.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 40 "The Father who is in Me," the Lord Jesus said, "He doeth the works" (John xiv. 10). "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name I will do it, THAT THE FATHER MAY BE GLORIFIED IN THE SON" (John xiv. 13). "He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ," said St. John, "he hath both the Father and the Son" (2 John 9).

The Word means the manifestation of God, first as the Divine Light, Wisdom, or Logos, the Word which was with God and was God, and in due time was incarnate and became Man in the Person of the Lord Jesus. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John i. 14). The Word, in essence, is Divine, but thus clothed with human nature was THE SON. "That Holy Thing" (better Holy One) "which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke i. 35). That Divine Wisdom, in which inmostly was the Father, was clothed with what the apostle calls the likeness of our sinful nature, as well as His body from the mother, "that He might be tempted in all points like as we are" (Heb. ii. 18, iv. 15).

Hence, in the Lord's lower mind, He could sleep, be weary, hungry, and troubled (John xii. 27). He could feel sorrow, suffering, and distress, and could pray to the Father within Him for help. During such times there was a two-ness in the experiences of the Saviour, but not a two-ness of two equally Divine Persons, but of two degrees of mind in the same person, one degree of mind suffering and seeking help and consolation from the Divine Life within, the other, the Divine Life, sustaining, comforting, sanctifying, and perfecting the suffering part until it was brought into perfect harmony with the Divine. Then the two became for ever one, a Glorified Divine Humanity, the Father and the Son in unspeakably perfect union, as the Lord said, "I and the Father are One" (John. x. 30). "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father" (John xiv. 8). "He that seeth Me, seeth Him that sent Me" (John xii. 45).



The Lord's suffering, temptations, and sorrows, and especially the horrors of Gethsemane, in which He said, "Not My will, but Thine be done," and the despairing utterance on the Cross, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" are not the experiences of a second Divine Person; for how could such a Person have a will different from the will of God? how could such a Divine Person have no help in Himself, or in His own Omnipotence, and have to pray to some One else?

But, let us think of the terrible suffering of the human nature, the direst pains that could be inflicted by men and the powers of darkness, of there being no help in itself, but only in the Higher, the Divine Life within, and the whole becomes clear to the mind.

When this last series of dreadful trials was over we are then able to appreciate the words of the Saviour when giving His explanation beforehand, "I lay down My life that I might take it again. No man taketh My life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John x. 17, 18).

The Humanity was the life laid down; the Divinity was that which laid it down, that all its infirmities and imperfections might be removed, and took it again perfected, glorified, a Divine Body for the Divine Soul of the one Gracious God our Saviour, King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. xix. 16), in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col. ii. 9).

Another difficulty to the complete conception of God in Christ exists with those who have been taught to regard the Holy Spirit as a separate Divine Person from God Himself. But whether we regard the meaning of Spirit (BREATHING), or whether we consider the teaching of Scripture on the subject, we shall speedily find that our obscurity on that side of the Divine unity will disappear.

Our Lord breathed upon His disciples after His resurrection and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost," or more correctly, Holy Spirit. He certainly did not breathe a person upon them, but His own hallowed consolatory sacred influence, and said, "RECEIVE YE THE HOLY BREATHING."


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 42 It is to be regretted that the translators of our English Bible ever used the ugly word Ghost, which is so inapplicable that frequently in the very same verse in which they have used Ghost they have been compelled to use Spirit for the selfsame word. One instance occurs in the passage which declares the Holy Spirit to be the Divine Influence of the Glorified Jesus: "But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet; because that Jesus was not yet glorified" (John vii. 39).

The word rendered Ghost is in the Greek the very same word which in the same verse is rendered Spirit.

When the Lord said, "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you" (John xiv. 16-18), we not only perceive how unfitting the word Ghost is to express what He meant, for who could think of saying for such Divine Influence the Ghost of truth; but also that this Spirit was Himself spiritually received. "Ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you."

God is a Spirit, and when He speaks the Spirit speaks. Hance in the Old Testament we read of the Spirit of Jehovah (Isa. xi. 2), and it is afterwards explained to be the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." These graces flow from the one God, and are the operations of His Divine Influence in the souls of men.

In the Old Testament times these graces were imparted by the ministry of angels, but after the Incarnation of our Lord the same graces and others innumerable were imparted in a more effectual and powerful manner from the glorified Humanity of God Himself. This new more powerful stream of heavenly blessings is called THE HOLY SPIRIT.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 43 It is, however, the Spirit of Jesus, the Divine Influx of the glorified and risen Saviour. Hence we read, "But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet, because that Jesus was not yet glorified" (John vii. 39); where by the insertion of the word given, which is not in the original, and in the second part of the verse changing Spirit into Ghost, the truth has been obscured. The plain teaching evidently is that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit flowing from the glorified Lord our Saviour, and hence agreeing with the Apostle Paul. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Rom. viii. 9). The Spirit of Christ must be a Holy Spirit, and if it were not the Holy Spirit it would follow that there are TWO HOLY SPIRITS.

That the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit appears very manifestly in the Book of the Revelation of St. John. That book contains in its first chapter a representation of the glorified Saviour as manifested to the spiritual sight of the apostle. His form appeared most glorious and majestic. "His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength" (Rev. i. 14-16).

In the second and third chapters seven messages are sent to the seven churches in Asia. Each of these messages commences with some portion of the above Divine description. "Unto the angel of the Church of Ephesus write; These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks." "And unto the angel of the Church in Smyrna write; These things saith the First and the Last, who was dead, and is alive." "And to the angel of the Church of Pergamos write; These things saith He who hath the sharp sword with two edges," and so on, thus clearly showing that the Speaker in each case is the Lord Jesus, who was presented in the first chapter as the All in All, the Almighty, and said to John, "Fear not, I am the First and the Last."


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 44 But at the close of each of these messages in each case it is said, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the SPIRIT saith unto the churches," making it quite evident that when the Lord Jesus speaks the Spirit speaks, when the Lord Jesus acts the Spirit acts; and according to the plain language of the Apostle Paul, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Cor. iii. 17). The Lord is that Spirit.

The true idea on this subject therefore appears with perfect clearness, that the Holy Spirit is the Lord Himself, addressing Himself spiritually to man as the TRUE LIGHT, illuminating his thoughts, the true LOVE changing, warming, and regenerating his heart, the Divine Energy strengthening him for all good.

When the Spirit knocks at the door of the soul it is the Lord Jesus Himself who is there, as He said, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man will hear My ice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with Me" (Rev. iii. 20).

The circumstance that the Holy Spirit is sometimes personified and spoken of by the use of the pronouns He, His, Him, has sometimes been urged to prove that there is a distinct personality in the Spirit of God, from God Himself. But all difficulty from this cause will disappear from a thoughtful and considerate mind when it is remembered that in some languages, the Hebrew and the French for instance, all things are male or female, and every object is a he or a she, and by such reasoning would be proved to be a distinct person.

In the Scriptures generally this personification of objects is very frequent, and yet no one would conclude from such passages as "Every tree is known by his own fruit," "Put up thy sword in his place," that a tree and a sword are persons. There is manifestly no force in arguments like these, and therefore we are brought back again to the eternal truth in all its fulness and simplicity,


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 45 "Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord," or more exactly rendered, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah, represented in the New Testament by the saying of the Lord Jesus Himself, "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am" (John xiii. 13), and the emphatic declaration of the Apostle Paul, "That no one can say that Jesus is THE LORD but by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. xii. 3).

When the Primitive Church adopted the grand old Te Deum, the triumphant song of Christianity, they were moved by the Spirit of the Lord Himself: "We praise Thee, O God; we acknowledge Thee to be THE LORD. All the earth doth worship Thee, THE FATHER EVERLASTING. Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ." This was the solemn and magnificent equivalent for the apostolic teaching, "In Him (Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, who is the Head of all principality and power" (Col. ii. 9, 10), and would seem to have been an inspired preservative against the coming tendency to worship a divided God, the sure forerunner of a divided and decaying Church.

The discord and antagonism which have rent and ruined the Church as it departed from the undivided love of its one God and Saviour into schemes of salvation founded on the acknowledgment of different Divine Persons were foreseen and foretold. The division and decay of the Church have manifestly been realized; happily its restoration has also been foretold, and its incipient signs are appearing. "In that day living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former (eastern) sea, and half of them toward the hinder (western) sea: in summer and in winter shall it be." That is, there shall be an abundant supply of living truths for all the needs of the human family; and the loving united worship of the one God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, shall be the central Source from which all other blessings spring; and so the prophet proceeds: "And the Lord (Jehovah) shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be ONE LORD, AND HIS NAME ONE" (Zech. xiv. 9).


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 46 To the same effect we read in the Book of the Revelation: "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. xi. 15).

Unspeakably happy is it when a soul realizes the truth that the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is the Father, is its All in all. With that conviction we can love Him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. Our Father, we can say, when we reverently regard our wondrous souls and bodies and the awful and magnificent creation in which we live. Looking up to the glorious firmament on high, and in wonder and admiration observing the amazing number and marvellous order of suns and systems we can say,

"My Father made them all."

The Creator is no stern, vindictive Deity, but the Father who was in the Saviour. He and the Father are one; has shown us plainly of the Father (John xvi. 25); and we know He is Himself the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace (Isa. ix. 6). He is our Redeemer and Saviour, He redeems us from hell (Hosea xiii. 14), and He saves us from sin (Matt. i. 21). Blessed be His holy name, He gives us power to overcome our evils, our passions and lusts, and by becoming holy to become happy. Salvation is spiritual good health; the Saviour is the Health-giver; and every victory we obtain over selfishness, sensuality, and shortcomings of every kind is owing to the same blessed Redeemer and Saviour who is our Father. He has not given His glory to another.

So in the daily ministry of His Spirit He is the Light that enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world. He gives the water of life which supplies the soul's thirst, and He is the Living Bread, the Hidden Manna that comes down from heaven. He is the Good Sheperd, the Sun of Righteousness, the Root and the Offspring f David, the Bright and Morning Star.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 47 Are we in sorrow, it is His sweet voice that says, "Come unto ME, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "In the world ye shall have tribulation, but in Me ye shall have peace."

In the changing scenes of life, the trials and the toils of daily experience, the feeling of having an ever-present and infinitely loving friend, is faith's unfailing support. On this Rock the soul can rest in perfect trust. Jesus, the Divine Conqueror of all the powers of darkness, is with us, and will be with us always. He, the Maker of heaven and earth, God over all, blessed for ever, is with us, and for us, and in Him we are perfectly safe. "It is He who has made us and not we ourselves. We are His servants to do His will by His aid." We are pilgrims travelling through His lower world to prepare for His upper and better one, our everlasting home; and He has said, "Be ye faithful unto death and I will give you crowns of life." We know that we shall find Him in the kingdom to which we go, for "He is KING of kings and LORD of lords." He who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.

He was our Creator, our Divine Father, the Father of Lights, of Providence, the Sustainer of the universe and Source of every blessing; He was our Redeemer and Saviour, the Defender against the powers of darkness and of evil; and He is the Good Shepherd who guides His flock and preserves them from harm until they take their place in that one fold, the orderly and happy home of the good of every name, who enjoy the raptures of an atmosphere filled with love, wisdom, joy, and peace.




ALL Christians acknowledge, at least in words, that God is and can be but one; yet when it is affirmed, as is done by the majority, that this One God exists in Three Persons, each of whom "by Himself," as the Athanasian Creed expresses it, is God and Lord, a perplexity and Confusion are introduced into our conceptions, which Many find to be distressing in the extreme. To escape from the embarrassment numbers have rejected the idea of a Trinity in the Divine Nature altogether; and not seeing how to connect this rejection with an acknowledgment of the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, have refused the honours of Divine worship to the Saviour of the world. In the midst of these contending opinions it is that the New Church, which they who have embraced it believe to be prefigured by the New Jerusalem of the Revelation, addresses itself to the candid and the reflecting. Its members see in Scripture too decisive evidence of the Divinity of Jesus Christ to suffer them, with the Unitarian, to call it in question; on the other hand, they find too strong declaration of the indivisible unity in the Divine Nature to allow them, with the Trinitarian, to portion it out between three separate persons. They take all that is true in the system of each, separated from all that is false. The doctrine of the Tripersonality was first invented because they who framed it saw no other means of preserving some acknowledgement of the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ; and it is most certainly to be admitted that this acknowledgement is indispensable, in order that any true Church may exist. The doctrine of Unitarianism has been introduced because they who framed it saw no other way to preserve inviolate the perfect unity of the Godhead;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 49 and certainly it must be confessed that where this is in any degree departed from, no true Church can exist. Both these dangers are completely avoided in the doctrine of the New Church, as we shall endeavour to show.

Limiting our argument to a consideration of the case as admitted by the vast majority of Christians, namely, the Trinitarians, we will assume, as is indeed admitted by all parties, that the unity of God is a doctrine most perpetually insisted upon by Scripture, and constantly held forth as the fundamental idea on which all true religion is erected: Let us also take for granted that though the word "Trinity" does not occur in Scripture, we repeatedly find the idea properly intended by that term, since we everywhere read in the New Testament of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as equally concerned in the great work of man's salvation. We will further assume that there are a great many passages which ascribe Divinity to the Lord Jesus Christ. On the admission, then, that these three doctrines are explicitly affirmed in Scripture�so affirmed that they naturally result from the sense of the words themselves; how are they to be combined into one coherent sentiment? The fundamental doctrine of the Divine Unity implies that the doctrine of the Divine Trinity must not be so strained as to be set at variance therewith, as is done when the Trinity is understood to be a trinity of separate persons in the usual acceptation of that term. It must then be a trinity of Essential Principles�of Constituent Elements, so to speak, for want of better terms, forming together One Person. And if the Divinity of Jesus Christ is also certain,�thus, if He is God at all, and God is but One, who can He be but that One Person? In Him, as He decidedly declares, the Father dwelleth: "The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works" (John xiv. 10). He must then be the Person of the Father. From Him, or out of Him from the Father within Him, as He also declares, the Holy Ghost proceedeth: "The Comforter, whom I will send unto you from the Father" (John xv. 26; xvi. 7). To represent also His sending of which, "He breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost" (John xx. 22).


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 50 Does it not then appear that, properly, the Father is the Divine Essence; the Son the Manifestation of that Essence in a Personal Form; and the Holy Spirit the Sanctifying Energy and Influence�the Divine Life�thence proceeding to operate the graces of salvation in the human mind? This is a general view of the doctrine of the New Church upon this subject. It is not proposed here to go at large into the direct proof of it; but we shall shape our remarks so As to meet all the objections which, as far as we are mare, can be raised against it.

The objections to the doctrine that the whole Divine Divinity is centred in the Lord Jesus Christ are chiefly drawn from these two sources: First, from the belief that the Being who became incarnate was a Son of God born from eternity; here, therefore, I shall endeavour to show that the phrase Son of God is the proper title of the Humanity born in time, and that the Being who assumed that Humanity was the One Jehovah. Secondly, objections are raised from the fact that Jesus Christ e in the world sometimes spoke as if the Father re a separate Being from Himself: here, therefore, we will endeavour to show that, while in the world, He was engaged in the work of glorifying His Humanity, or making it Divine, as part of His great work of redemption: thus that so long as He was in the world there a part of His nature which was not Divine; but that work of glorifying the whole was completed at His Resurrection and Ascension; that all belonging to Him ,then Divine; and that thus He now ever liveth and reigneth with the Father, an Indivisible One, the only God of heaven and earth.

We are then, first, to meet the objections arising out the belief that the Being who became incarnate was a Son of God born from eternity, by showing that the phrase Son of God is the proper title of the Humanity born in time, and that the Being who assumed the Humanity was the One Jehovah.

The idea of a Son of God born from eternity includes such a contradiction in terms that, if those who entertain it will pardon the remark, we may well wonder how it could ever have found a propounder;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 51 especially when, on searching the Scriptures, we discover that nothing whatever countenancing such a notion is there to be found. Had there been such a being as a Son of God existing from eternity, governing the universe in conjunction with His Father, and the Head and particular Ruler of the Church, is it to be supposed that the Church could have been left for four thousand years in total ignorance of His existence? Yet such is the fact. The Old Testament, which contains the records of all the Churches that ever appeared on this globe from the Creation till the Coming of the Lord, never once speaks of a Son of God as then actually existing; it speaks indeed, prophetically, of a Son of God who, in the fulness of time, was to be born, but never makes the slightest allusion to a Son of God then born already.

The translators of the English Bible have indeed once used the term in such a manner as might lead the uninformed to imagine there was a proper Son of God in the days of Daniel, For when Nebuchadnezzar had caused the three pious Jews to be cast into the furnace, he is represented as saying, "Lo, I see four men, loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God (Dan. iii. 25). But the words of the original ought to be rendered "a son of the gods." This is generally admitted by the learned; and is much more suitable to the character of the speaker, Nebuchadnezzar, a polytheist, and a worshipper of idols. The true character of the visitor is stated in verse 28: "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent His angel, and delivered His servants."

Seeing, then, that Moses and the prophets give us no information about a proper Son of God as existing when that part of the Divine code was composed, we must come to the New Testament for instruction, where the term is often used, and always in reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. And of all the places in which it here occurs, perhaps that in Luke i. 35 is best adapted to convey a full insight into its meaning.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 52 It is there applied by the angel Gabriel to the Lord Jesus Christ at His birth, or rather prior to His birth, in a manner which plainly intimates that there was no Son of God before.

In the other Gospels this epithet is given to Jesus Christ or is assumed by Him; but in this passage of Luke we learn the origin of the title and the reason of it. Had there been a Son of God already existing, and it was this which became incarnate and was born of the virgin, we undoubtedly should have had some intimation of it when the angel announced to her the approaching event. He surely would have made some mention of the Being who was about to assume humanity by her means. He would not merely have told her that that Holy Thing which should be born of her should be called the Son of God; but that the Son of God who had existed from eternity was about, by her instrumentality, to come into the world. No such thing. He says, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Here is express mention of the Holy Ghost, and of the Highest, or Father, as operating in the Divine conception, but nothing is said of a Son from eternity as being in any way concerned; and the omission most plainly implies that all the perceptions of common sense must be outraged before we can doubt that the Son does not assist to produce Himself, nor exist before He is born. The Holy Thing that was to be born, it is said, should be called the Son of God; and so called not because it had already been born from eternity, but because�what else is intended by the word "therefore?"�it was now first conceived of the Holy Ghost and the Father.

Here also is another circumstance which it is impossible for the tripersonalist to reconcile with his creed. e Holy Ghost, as well as the Highest or Father, is presented as standing in the relation of a parent to the n of God. It is commonly believed that the Holy Ghost is a distinct personal being, separate from both e Father and the Son: if so, then, according to the gel Gabriel, the Son had two distinct fathers.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 53 The Athanasian Creed says that "the Son is of the Father alone, neither made nor created, but begotten;" but the angel Gabriel positively declares that the Son is of the Holy Ghost AND the Highest, begotten alike of both. How evident then it is that before we can have clear and consistent notions of the Divine Incarnation we must not only dismiss from our minds the belief of a Son of God born from eternity, but also that equally unscriptural notion, the separate personality of the Holy Ghost.

How inconsistent and perplexing are such conceptions! How embarrassing and distressing would they be to those who entertain them would they venture steadily to look at them; but this they dare not, for they feel that disbelief, which they dread, as connected with perdition, must supervene were they suffered to be made the subject of reflection. Inquiry, therefore, is silenced with the incessant cry, "It is a mystery altogether beyond human comprehension;" and pains are taken to prove that ignorance in regard to the object of their worship is the special privilege of Christians. Dr. Johnson defines the word "Trinity" to mean "the incomprehensible union of the three Divine Persons of the Godhead;" and Bishop Tomline, though he clearly proves the existence of a Trinity, and conclusively establishes the Divinity of Jesus Christ, yet, because he assumes the Trinity to consist of three separate Persons, repeatedly avows their Unity to be incomprehensible. Thus it is not the Trinity which the advocates of this creed affirm to be incomprehensible; they evidently have quite distinct notions of three distinct beings; for admit a plurality of Gods to be possible, and there is no difficulty in conceiving the precise number to be three; but how to conceive that nevertheless these three are but one, here is the difficulty insuperable. They justly apply, therefore, the epithet incomprehensible, not to the Trinity, which they acknowledge in fact, but to the Unity, which they only profess in words. Hence they tell us that we must not think about it, because it is a mystery. But may we not ask whether, when they who ought to be in the light of the Gospel excuse their confused notions by the cry of "mystery!" they do not in reality acknowledge that they are not the true disciples of Jesus Christ?


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 54 For to His disciples the Lord says, "Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand" (Mark iv. 11, 12; Matt. xiii. 11). And in reference to this very subject the Lord says elsewhere, "The time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father" (John xvi. 25). But the advocates of the common notions affirm not only that this promise never has been, but that it never will be fulfilled; that any plain knowledge of the Father as one of the characters of the Trinity is utterly unattainable; that the whole is an incomprehensible mystery, which we are not so much as, with the angels, to "desire to look into" (1 Pet. i. 12).

The whole subject, however, loses its imputed character of incomprehensibility, and becomes, agreeably to the Divine promise, plain; and the words of the angel Gabriel in particular become easy to understand when we know that the Trinity in the Divine Nature does not consist of three Persons, but of three Principles or Elements in one Person. "The Highest," which is the term used by the angel instead of "the Father," most clearly denotes the inmost principle of Deity, or the Essence of the Divine Nature. Unquestionably God is called the Highest, or Most High, not in reference to any station which He occupies in space, for God is independent of space, and no more stationed in one place than in another. He who is Omnipresent cannot literally be either high or low. The reason then of this title of Most High is, because He is the Inmost, being everywhere present as the inmost source of the life and existence of all things. And, with respect to the three Essentials of His own Nature, it must be His Inmost Divinity which is called the Highest. So when, elsewhere, this Inmost Principle is called the Father, it is because the essence of Deity is Love, and Love is the feat Parent of all.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 55 The Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit, in like manner, is not a separate Person, but is the Divine Emanation of influences and energies proceeding from the Divine Being, by which all things are kept in existence, and especially by which the graces of heavenly life are imparted to human minds. Much the same is meant by the power of the Highest as by the Holy Spirit; for as the Highest denotes the Divine Essence, so the Power of the Highest denotes the influence and operation thence proceeding; only there is this difference in the import of the two phrases, that the Holy Spirit means the Divine Emanation of life and influence more with respect to the Divine Truth and Wisdom, and the Power of the Highest is the same Divine Emanation more with reference to the Divine Goodness and Love. What then can "that Holy Thing," "the Son of God," conceived by the energy of these two Principles within the sphere of Humanity, be but themselves, and consequently the Highest with them, brought into open manifestation, concentrated in a Divine Human Form, and thus adapted to be an object both of the love and of the perceptions of finite and infirm human minds?

We are not, however, to conclude from the fact that there was no Son of God born from eternity, that therefore there was no Trinity from eternity. Though there was not such a Trinity as since the Incarnation, there must always have been a Divine Essence, a Divine Form, and a Divine Influencing Power.

Secondly, We have to meet the objections based upon the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ, while in the world, sometimes spoke as if the Father were a Being separate from Himself. To this end we shall show that, while in the world, He was engaged in the work of glorifying His Humanity, or making it Divine, which was part of His great work of redemption; thus, that so long as He was in the world there was a part of His nature which was not Divine; but that the work of glorifying the whole was completed at His Resurrection and Ascension; that all belonging to Him was then Divine; and that now He ever liveth and reigneth with the Father, an Indivisible One, the only God of heaven and earth.



It is necessary to be observed that there was this difference between the Lord Jesus Christ while in a body of flesh on earth and all ordinary men, that whereas they take their soul or spiritual part from a human father, as well as their body or material part from a human mother, and thus are finite human beings as to both, Jesus Christ, having no father but the Divine Father, had His soul or internal part from the Divine Essence; and as the Divine Essence is obviously incapable of division, the Divine Essence itself, or the Father, was in fact His soul or internal part, while His body or external part, including the affections, etc., of the natural man, was all that He took from the mother. So long as He had attached to Him this body from the mother, He was necessarily an inhabitant of this material world; nor could He return, as He expresses it in John, to the Father, and "be glorified with the glory which He had with Him"�as the Divine Truth or Word in union with the Divine Good or Love�"before the world was" (xvii. 5), until His external part, even to the very body, by the assumption of which "the Word was made flesh," was glorified or made Divine; nor till then was the whole the appropriate Divine Form of the Divine Essence that was resident within, and which was continually endeavouring to bring it into a state of perfect agreement with itself, that it might impart itself to it, and thus dwell in fulness in it, as the soul in its body. Thus our Lord's state by birth bore an exact analogy to man's state by birth. Man has, we know, an internal man and an external man, which are by birth in opposition to each other, the internal man inclining to heavenly things, and the external only to earthly things; wherefore man, before e can be elevated to heaven, must be regenerated, that his external man must be formed anew, so as to become e image of the internal, and to incline, like it, to heavenly things, and only to earthly in subordination to heavenly. But that which in our Lord may be called His internal man was Jehovah, or the Essential Divinity itself; but His external man, being taken from a human parent, was merely human and finite, and partook of human, finite, and earthly things;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 57 wherefore, before the Lord could return to complete oneness with the Father, His external man had to be formed anew, so as to become the exact image of His internal, thus, like it, Divine and infinite. Now this renewal of His external part was going on during the whole course of His life in the world.

That the Lord was not born Divine as to His external part, but only as to His internal part, is generally known; but that He was continually engaged in rendering His external part Divine also, which at last was completely effected, is as generally overlooked. That, as to His external man, He advanced in intelligence as well as in bodily growth is evident from the declaration of Luke, that "the Child Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man;" where by His growing in favour with God and man is meant His approximation to union with His Divinity, and His reception of Divine principles from His Divine Essence in His Humanity. The same truth is evident from the circumstance that He is stated to have been about thirty years old before He entered on His public ministry, which cannot otherwise be accounted for. Can it be supposed that these thirty years, only two or three particulars of which are recorded, were spent by Him in doing nothing? Would a Divine being have remained so long in a body taken from the elements of this world were there not a gradual process going on essential to the accomplishment of the work for which He came into this world, and previous to the arrival at a certain stage of which He was not in a capacity for working those miracles and for speaking those words of eternal truth by which His public career was distinguished? When He had so far advanced to oneness with the Father that His external man, by which He spoke and acted in the world, was open even to Him, that is, was in immediate communication with His Divine essence (of which the descent of the dove at His baptism, as a symbol of the Holy Spirit or Divine Life flowing into Him immediately from His Divine Essence, was the token), He went about the world performing the wonderful works which are recorded of Him;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 58 and when His external man was perfectly united with the Father, thus was rendered Divine by the full reception of the Divine Essence in all its faculties, He appeared on earth no longer, but ascended up into heaven, "and sat on the right hand of God" (Mark xvi. 19). By this phrase is not meant that He literally sat down by the side of another Divine Person; but as the hand is the part of the body by which all its powers are exerted, it is always used in the Word to signify power, as is also the practice in many Eastern nations at the present day; hence by the right hand of God is signified Divine Omnipotence, to the possession of which the Lord, as to His Human Nature, was now exalted; as He says Himself, in reference to the same subject in Matthew, "All power"�all authority or dominion�"is given unto Me in heaven and in earth" (xxviii. 18). "All power" is Omnipotence; and by "Me" He means the Human Nature, now One with the Divine.

We have now before us all that is requisite to solve all the objections to the doctrine of the sole Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, which are drawn from the fact that while in the world He sometimes spoke as if the Father were a Being separate from Himself. So long as He was in the world we have seen there was a part of His nature which was not Divine; and so far as the sphere of His thoughts descended into it, He would have a sense of separate existence. Thus there are various occasions on which Jesus is recorded to have prayed to the Father, sometimes with the greatest distress and anxiety; the reason of which was because He was then in His state of humiliation, or the sphere of His consciousness was chiefly in the infirm Humanity taken from the mother; and being engaged in combats with the infernal hosts, these at such times prevailed so far as to shut out the perception of communication with His Divine Essence, and to occasion doubt to His glorified human nature whether its union therewith could ever be effected, and, of consequence, whether the salvation of the human race, which, depended upon that union, could be accomplished.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 59 Man in his Christian progress undergoes states in some degree similar; for he cannot always be kept in a state of elevation�in the perception of those heavenly principles which he has received by the internal man from the Lord; but he sometimes sinks into the external man merely, and finds himself there so beset with impressions opposite to heavenly ones as to be brought to doubt whether he has ever really received anything of a heavenly nature or not. Such also was the case with our Lord, except that His internal part was not only, as with others, formed by principles of goodness and truth received from the Divine Being, but Divine Goodness and Truth themselves; and that in His external part He had to combat with the whole infernal host, under forms of horror and overwhelming terror that would infallibly have destroyed any merely finite being�any man whose soul was any other than Divinity itself. No wonder then if when in such states, He sometimes appeared at a distance from the Father, and prayed to Him in a manner that might lead us to regard Him as a Being different from Himself! At other times He gives thanks to the Father, which, though not implying so great an idea of distance as in the former cases, still conveys to the uninformed mind an idea of separation. To give thanks to the Lord in the language of Scripture implies an acknowledgment that all that we receive, which is the subject of our thanks, is from Him. And when Jesus gives thanks to the Father the meaning is the same; He acknowledges by the action that it is from His Divine Essence that Divine Love, Wisdom, and Life are imparted to His Humanity. Our Lord, accordingly, constantly declares that He does nothing of Himself, but that "the Father that dwelleth in Him, He doeth the works" (John xiv. 10); by which He instructs us that His Humanity alone were it separate from His Divinity would be powerless, but that by union with the Divinity it has Omnipotence. This may be clearly illustrated by the case of the soul and body of man: the body separate from the soul would be a mass of dead matter, but in union with the soul it has all the power of the soul in it; nay, further, the soul without the body would have no power whatever in this world of nature to which the body belongs;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 60 and just so, when man had sunk into a merely natural state, the Divine influences were rendered incapable of affecting him in a saving manner, till they had invested themselves with the requisite instrument, by clothing themselves with a Humanity capable of making them felt in that sphere of life in which man then stood. It would, however, be absurd because the body has nothing but what it receives from the soul to regard the body as a distinct person from the soul; nor is it less so, because all the power of the Lord's Humanity is a consequence of the Divinity's dwelling within it, to consider it as a distinct person from the Father. Accordingly, it was only while the work of glorification was in progress that Jesus either prayed to the Father or gave Him thanks. After it was accomplished He never did either the one or the other; but although, for the sake of conveying the notion of Divinity and Humanity in the Lord, distinct mention continues to be made of the Son and of the Father in the Gospels after the Resurrection and in the Apocalypse throughout, there is no hint whatever of any address from the one to the other. Only let this fact be fairly looked at, and it must be seen to be decisive. All trace of the Son's inferiority disappears; the angelic hosts, with equal reverence, sing, "Blessing, honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever" (Rev. v. 13). The reason is because, the union between them being fully accomplished, all the Divine Essence belongs equally to the Humanity, and the Humanity is the perfect form and adequate instrument of action of the Divine Essence. While this work was in progress only our Lord prayed and gave thanks to the Father�ascribed all to Him; but after its accomplishment He does so no longer, because there is no longer anything in Him which is not absolutely one with the Father. On the contrary, He now assumes the Father's attributes; as when He says, "I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the First and the Last, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev. i. 8).



The one God has, from the beginning of Creation, manifested Himself to His people under various characters, expressed by various names, suited to their various states of necessity. Thus we find God saying to Moses, "I am Jehovah: and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by My name Jehovah was I not known to them" (Exod. vi. 2, 3). Whether this name was altogether unknown before commentators are not agreed; but it evidently was either first assumed, or was assumed anew, at the calling of Moses: was it not, then, to be expected that when God founded the Christian Church, the character of which, compared with all that preceded it, was so entirely new, He would again manifest Himself by an entirely new name? Now it is certain that He never called Himself by a new name, but in reference to some new manifestation of His character. Is it not, then, to be expected that when He should appear in the character of Redeemer it would be with some new development of the infinite perfections which are comprised in His Essence, yet that it could not be as a separate Divine Person; just as, when He manifested Himself as Jehovah to Moses, it was under a new character, but without any difference as to person from that in which He was known as God Almighty? Accordingly, both prophets and evangelists unite in proclaiming that such is the fact. Isaiah declares over and over again that the Being who redeems the Church and the human race is Jehovah; and not only so, but that Jehovah the Redeemer is He that formed the human race, that maketh all things, that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, that spreadeth abroad the earth by Himself It is impossible for words to be framed to express more strongly the sole Divinity of the Speaker, or to declare more explicitly that the Redeemer of the Church is the only God. "Thus saith Jehovah thy Redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, I am Jehovah that maketh all things, that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, that spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself" (Isa. xliv. 24).


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 62 What can be more clear? especially when coupled with the declarations of the chapter preceding, where we read, "I, even I, am Jehovah, and beside Me there is no Saviour" (xliii. 1). But Jesus is constantly called the Saviour in the New Testament; nay, the very name Jesus means the Saviour; but Jehovah declares that beside Himself there is no Saviour; the very name Jesus, the Saviour, involves then a blasphemy unless the being who owns it is Jehovah. How clearly, too, is this established by the declarations of Jesus Himself! When Philip blindly thought of the Father as a separate Person, and said, "Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us," Jesus answered, "Have I been so long with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?" (John xiv. 9.) It is impossible for language to be more explicit; and there never has been any attempt to explain it in any but the New Church sense, which did not wear the character of most miserable subterfuge�most palpable violence. Thus, while the Old Testament openly declares that there is no Saviour beside Jehovah, and no Creator but Jehovah the Redeemer, the Redeemer of the New Testament corroborates tile testimony with His solemn assurance that there is no Father, that is, no Jehovah, out of Him. If he that hath seen Him hath seen the Father, it can only be because HE IS HIMSELF THE PERSON OF THE FATHER, who dwells in Him as the soul dwells in the body. Hence He is the proper object of worship. As when we address a man's body we address his soul at the same time; and, in fact, if he is a sincere man, we see his soul in his body, because it shines through it, and causes it to express all its sentiments; so when we address the Lord Jesus Christ we at the same time address the Father, and, in fact, we see the Father in Him; because His Person is "the brightness of the Father's glory, and," when correctly translated, "the roped impression of His substance" (Heb. i 3).




ASSUMING the necessary point of belief�a belief in a personal God�let us devote ourselves to a brief consideration of the question, In what manner did the infinite God of the universe descend into the natural world and assume a human body in it? and what are the reasons which made it necessary?

To these questions there are abundant answers in the Sacred Scripture; and when the light of true doctrine is thrown upon it we are able to obtain satisfactory solutions of all questions connected with this grand subject.

In the first place then: Granted that there is an infinite and eternal Creator of the universe, is it possible for Him to descend into the natural world and to dwell here pent up in a human body?' In other words, can the Infinite be confined in a finite human body?

As well ask, Can a man's spirit be confined in his body? It is impossible for love and wisdom to be confined by matter; and so in like manner a man's spirit cannot be confined in his body. A man's spirit may be connected with every part of his body; and it may rest upon, and express itself by, every function of the body, but the spirit is not on that account confined in the body.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 64 May not a man's spirit by his thoughts go wherever it list? May not we in our thoughts go to America, to the Continent, or to India, and commune in spirit with our friends? Does it not sometimes happen that we address a friend in the body in this world while his spirit is far away? Or again, as to our bodies do we not sometimes walk along the streets utterly unconscious of where we are? While the spirit is straying away, the body mechanically pursues its course. For the body is not simply dead material particles; it is a creation of the spirit in the world of nature, which is the world of effects, while the spirit itself dwells in the world of causes.

Spirit, then, holds the same relation to the body as the cause holds to its effect. Just as little, therefore, as a cause is absorbed by its effect, just so little is the spirit absorbed by the body.

The cause dwells in the effect and imparts life to it; in the same way that the spirit dwells in the body and imparts life to it, but never is the cause swallowed up by its effect.

Space and time exist for effects in nature, and are caused by effects of spirit in nature being infilled with material particles, for space and time are attributes of matter. But from the fact that space and time exist for natural effects, it does not follow that these attributes of matter exist also for the cause producing these effects, and hence for spirit.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 65 In fact, a man's affections and thoughts ignore the trammels of space and time whenever they raise themselves into those higher ethereal regions of the mind, where the man's soul communes with his Maker and with the angels of heaven. And yet the spirit is attached to the body, even as the cause is attached to its effect; and the effect reacts upon the cause and holds it fast, as a man's body reacts upon his spirit and holds it fast. The relation of the spirit to the body is, therefore, that of a most subtle and refined spiritual form, which is most intimately wedded to, and conjoined with, the grosser material form of the body. So the will or the love of a man's soul is wedded to, or most intimately conjoined with, the heart of his body; and the action of the man's love or of his will upon the heart causes it to beat and impart motion to every part of the body; and yet a man's love or his will does not dwell in the heart, but in the brain, the homestead of a man's spirit.

The spirit reigns in the body through the fibres which proceed from every part of the brain, and the spirit organizes and forms therefrom on the plane of nature the body as its natural effect; but while it is present in the body, and rules and governs every part of it, the spirit also is outside the body, and enjoys a spiritual existence independently of it.

In connection with this subject it is important to remember that the soul of a human being, as we are taught in the doctrines of the New Jerusalem, is derived from his father, while his body is derived from his mother.



We now inquire, Could the infinite God of the universe as a spirit or a soul become attached to a finite human body? In other words, can an infinite and eternal soul be wedded to, and conjoined with, a finite human body? It knight as well be asked, Can the solar fire in this world be wedded to, and thus be intimately conjoined with, and thereby brought into immediate contact with, any of the earths composing this natural universe? The question must be at once answered in the negative. The infinite CANNOT be brought into immediate contact with a finite vessel without destroying it at once.

The Incarnation, then, would seem to be an impossibility. Yes, under such conditions; but we do not read that God was made flesh, and dwelt among us, but that "the WORD was made flesh and dwelt among us:" and for the same reason we do not read in Luke i.;5 that the Highest Himself overshadowed Mary; but we read that the Holy Spirit would come over Mary, and that the Power of the Highest would overshadow her.

The question, then, which it concerns us next to ask is, What is meant by the Logos, or Word, which was made flesh? and by the Holy Spirit which came over Mary, and the Power of the Highest which overshadowed her?


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 67 The answer is plain: By the Logos, or Word, as well as by the Holy Spirit and the Power of the Highest, is meant a mediating principle between the infinite God on the one hand and finite man on the other, by which the intensity of life as it wells forth from the source of life, from the Infinite Father of the universe, is so tempered and accommodated that it can be attached to, and conjoined with, a finite human body.

What, then, is the nature and quality of the mediating principle between the infinite God of the universe, and finite man? In this connection we must not think of man as that small insignificant being whom we in this world call a person or an individual. But we must think of man as of the whole of humanity, not only in this, but also in the millions of other globes which throughout the immensity of space revolve around their suns.

The Logos, or Word, is the mediating principle between the whole of that humanity considered as a finite natural effect, and the infinite God of the universe considered as the end or the First Cause of this humanity.

The Logos, the Word, is therefore the grand intermediate cause between the infinite God of the universe as an end, and the whole of humanity in this universe as its ultimate effect.

The Logos, or Word, then, is the grand cause of the whole of mankind, the source of its life; that is, of all its love and its wisdom, all its affections and thoughts, in short, of everything good and everything true.



In the Logos, or Word, the infinite love and wisdom of God are accommodated to the finite recipient forms of man; in the Word, or Logos, the infinity of God the Father is humanized. On this account it stands as a grand human soul or spirit, of which the whole of humanity scattered over the innumerable natural orbs serves as the body.

The Logos, then, is in the human form, and imparts the human form to the whole of humanity throughout the natural universe.

Humanity, however, not only as a whole, but also in every least part, thus every individual human being, both as to his spirit and as to his body, is an effect of that grand heavenly Humanity called in the Sacred Scripture the Word, and also the Holy Spirit.

For could a man, as to his body, walk about in this world as unconcernedly as he does, and with such perfect ease, unless there was a constant influx into every part of his body from that Grand Humanity which constitutes heaven, and which in the beginning was with God, and was God? The body of every individual man in this world is an epitome, a representative natural effect, of that grand heavenly Humanity called the Logos, or the Word. And that grand Humanity, the Logos or Word, can at its own good pleasure flow into and sustain a human body in this world either mediately through a finite human spirit derived from a human father;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 69 or again, without the medium of a human father, and hence of a finite human spirit, it can attach itself immediately to the beginnings of a human body reposing in a human mother; and there it can breathe life into these beginnings, and gradually develop these beginnings first into the body of a babe, afterwards into that of a youth, and finally into that of a man.

The Holy Spirit, or the Logos, in this case would be in the place of a spirit or a mind to that body; while God Himself, from whom the Holy Spirit or the Logos breathes out, would be as an infinite soul to that Divine Spirit or Mind.

In this manner, then, the Word, or Logos, can become attached to a finite human body in this world, and become reciprocally united with it, without destroying it by the intensity of its life; and in this manner we are taught in the doctrines of the New Jerusalem the Word, or Logos, became flesh, and the Divine Spirit of Christ became wedded to, and conjoined with, an infirm human body; with a body, the organical spiritual principle of which was hereditarily tainted with all those fearful evils which had accumulated through many generations in the Jewish people, and which by the descendants of David had been ingrafted upon the parents of Mary, and by her were communicated to the infant Jesus.



If now we take an interior spiritual view of the conception and birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, it becomes very plain that the Word, or Logos, the grand Humanity constituting the heavens, by attaching itself immediately to a finite human body, and thus by becoming wedded to, and reciprocally conjoined with it, did thereby not become absorbed by it, but continued to exist in its pristine grandeur throughout the whole of the spiritual universe. The grand Humanity of heaven, therefore, continued, as heretofore, to create and animate that vast natural humanity which is scattered through the immense natural universe.

And yet in the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Power of the Highest, the Word, did descend one whole story lower in the scale of human existence than it had ever done before.

From the beginning the Word had been with God, nay, it was God in the heavens, and it constituted that Divine Humanity in which the infinite Father could approach the spirits of men; nay, by means of which He could create the spirits of men and animate them. The Word, or Logos, from the very beginning filled the whole of the spiritual universe or the world of cause; it had thus been the light and life of the spirits of men, but never before had it dwelt in the world of nature, or in the world of effects, and become there an object of the bodily senses of men.

The Word, or Logos, therefore, had exercised all power in heaven or in the spiritual universe, but not yet immediately on earth or in the natural universe.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 71 In the world it had hitherto been present only mediately through the spirits of men, and mediately through their spirits it had acted upon their bodies.

But this mediate influx through the world of spirits had proved insufficient any longer to stem the reactive influence exerted by men, through their bodily loves, upon their spirits, and hence upon the spiritual world in general.

The whole of humanity, in fact, on the natural plane of existence in this world at the time of the Incarnation was in open rebellion against the grand spiritual humanity, the Logos in the spiritual world. And not only the men living in the natural world were thus in deadly insurrection against the Word, or Logos, which was with God, and which was God; but the men in this world were also in league with those spirits of departed men out of whom in the spiritual world had been formed a spiritual organism in direct opposition to the Logos or Word, or to that Divine Humanity by which the infinite Jehovah had created and formed the natural world, and through which He preserved it in a state of order. That hostile organism composed of perverted human souls, which in Scripture is called hell, had even interposed itself completely between the Logos or Word, the Divine Humanity, the home of the blessed in heaven, and the natural humanity composed of the men in this world.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 72 Mankind in this world, therefore, instead of being wedded to, and intimately conjoined with, the Lord's Divine Humanity, or with the Word, which in the beginning was with God, had conjoined itself in the spiritual world with that perverted spiritual cause, that complex of depraved human souls called hell and the devil, which is the opposite of heaven, and which had been brought into existence by an abuse on man's part of his freedom and rationality.

As hell, therefore, had interposed itself between humanity in this world and the source of its life and light in the other world, the Word or Logos; as the light of the Word in consequence shone in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not, the necessity arose for the Word to become incarnate. It thereby passed through the interposing cloud of hell; and by attaching itself to, and becoming reciprocally conjoined with a natural body, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ the Word made flesh became in time the Light of the world, and "men beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and of truth."

As the Word, the Divine Humanity in the heavens, by which all things were made, and without which there was not anything made that was made, in the beginning created a natural humanity in complete harmony with the Word, the Lord's Divine Humanity in the heavens; as mankind therefore in the beginning were created into the image and likeness of God, so also when the Word became incarnate it might have become so independently of a human mother.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 73 The Lord, consequently, might have descended into this world in a glorified human body; in a body similar to that in which He appeared to His disciples after His resurrection.

But if He had assumed such a perfect natural body, He could not have become the Saviour and Redeemer of mankind from the power alien. For if He had approached hell in that perfect humanity, hell would indeed have retreated from Him, but it would not have retreated from humanity; for humanity then was in love with hell, and hated the Lord and heaven, even as the Jews hated the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, and put Him to death.

In order that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, might conquer hell, and for ever keep it in subjection, its hold on humanity had to be shaken and loosened. Hell represents man's sensual and corporeal nature perverted; and in order to prevent it for ever from swamping and inundating man's sensual and corporeal nature, in and by which he lives in this natural world, the power of the Word or of the Logos had to be established in this natural world, even as it had been established from the beginning in the spiritual world or in heaven.

A power, therefore, had to be established in this natural world capable of equipoising and balancing the power of evil and falsity exerted upon mankind by hell.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 74 For the Lord, the Word of God incarnate, could not abrogate and destroy hell without at the same time abrogating and destroying human freedom, by which evil and falsity, and hence hell, first came into being. The Lord, however, could reduce hell within its proper limits, and keep it in a state of subjection by putting on such a human body as was hereditarily tainted with a propensity towards all the evils of which hell is composed, and by bringing to bear the power of the Divine Word on each hellish crew as it sought to invade His natural body, and inflame there that infirmity corresponding to its own particular shade of evil and falsity. This encounter, in order to remain effective, had to be fought out on the very plane of the body; that is, on the plane of the body, the Word, or Logos, had to organize a Divine sensual and corporeal power, capable of meeting hell and keeping it in subjection. The Word of God, therefore, or the Logos, had to descend into the very body of Christ, and there it had to organize a Divine sensual and corporeal principle, called in Scripture the Son of God, and omnipotent Divine power had to be acquired by this principle. Besides, it was necessary that the natural basis (the written Word, as we shall presently see) of this Divine sensual and corporeal principle should also be able to be communicated to the bodies, and thence to the natural minds of men, in order that by an influx from the Lord's Divine sensual and corporeal principles the perverting and destructive influence of hell might there be equipoised and counter-balanced.



And this Divine sensual and corporeal power in the natural world the Lord Jesus Christ established during His life in this world; and this power He wields and exercises in this world ever since through the written Word of God when this is received by the bodily senses of men and established in their natural minds; that is, in that part of their spirits which is nearest to their bodies in this world, and which receives all the impressions that enter into man by the gates of the senses.

The written Word of God, or the Divine Law, the Lord first imprinted upon His own body, or upon the natural humanity which He had received from His human mother in this world, and this written Word of God, after it had thus been imprinted on His natural body, and hence on His natural consciousness, He fulfilled as to every jot and tittle during His life in this world; and thereby He connected it most intimately with the Word, or Logos, which constituted His spiritual humanity. In His own person, therefore, the Word, or the Spirit of God, became intimately conjoined with every part of the written Word of God on earth, and thereby He "magnified the law in this world and made it honourable."

By the power which He thus acquired to the written Word of God during His life on earth the Lord Jesus Christ met and conquered the hells. And this written Word of God, after it had become most intimately conjoined with the Word, or Logos, and thus imbued with its spirit, the Lord glorified in His body by conjoining it there most intimately with the Divinity of the Father, who is the infinite and unapproachable God from eternity.



It is thus that the Lord during His life on earth acquired omnipotent power for the written Word of God; and when men now read the Word, the Sacred Scripture, in a holy and believing state of mind, the Lord with His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, flowing forth from His glorified body, is present with men in this world, and is able to save them out of the power of the evil spirits of hell. It is therefore by filling the truths from the Divine Word in our minds with His omnipotent power that the Lord is able to fight the battles of our regeneration, and establish in us the power of the Word, or Logos, and thereby introduce us into that Grand Humanity in the heavens of which He in His glorified Humanity is the Divine soul.

Such are the blessings consequent upon the Incarnation of the Word, and upon its subsequent glorification with that glory which the Word, the Logos, had with the Father before the world was.




THE word Atonement occurs only once in the New Testament. That is in Romans, where the apostle says, "And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (v. 11). It is not a little extraordinary that this word, from which more especially Christians profess to derive their creed, should have come to occupy so great a space in the language of the theology of the day. And it is more extraordinary still that it should have come to be supposed that the Lord made an atonement to the Father, thus that the atonement was received by the Father, when yet it is said in the only text of the New Testament where the word occurs that it is we who have received the atonement. The reason is because the proper meaning of the word has been little attended to, which is simply reconciliation. This was the only meaning which the word bore when the Scriptures were translated, although, like the words, person, ghost, and others, it has since assumed a different signification, and men have been too much influenced in their religious sentiments by the changes which have gradually taken place in the meaning of words. In every other place the same word, and its corresponding verb, are translated reconciliation and to reconcile. Thus in the verses preceding that just quoted our translators say, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life;" then follows, "And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 78 Here then atonement is used as the answering substantive to the verb to reconcile. Atonement is literally at-one-ment�the state of being at one or in agreement (see Acts vii. 26). Though the word atonement occurs but once in the New Testament it is often used in the Old, but always in the sense of reconciliation. Without doubt, then, the atonement of Christian doctrine is reconciliation with God, including the means by which reconciliation is effected.

The Apostolic writings frequently speak of Christ as being made a sacrifice for sin, which must be admitted to be a most important and unquestionable doctrine. The view of the Atonement indicated above shows how He truly was such, at the same time that it rectifies the mistakes which many entertain in regard to what a scriptural sacrifice is. The sacrifices of the Mosaic law are generally allowed to have been of a typical nature; and the doctrines of the New Church bring the anti-types of these types to view in the most clear and satisfactory manner.

First, then, it shall be shown that the sacrifices of the Mosaic law were not meant to represent the punishment of sin; but the hallowing of every affection and principle of the mind, and thus of the whole man, to the Lord. Secondly, that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ did not consist in His suffering the punishment due to sin, but in His hallowing every principle of His Human Nature to the Godhead, till at length His Human Nature became a living sacrifice, or thing fully consecrated, sanctified, and hallowed, by perfect union with His Divinity. Thirdly, that the Lord is called a Mediator in respect to His Humanity, because in this He has opened to us a new and living way of access, or medium of approach, to His Divinity.

First, then, we proceed to show that the sacrifices of the Mosaic law were not meant to represent the punishment due to sin; but the hallowing of every affection and principle of the mind, and thus of the whole man, to the Lord.



The prevailing opinion in regard to the Levitical sacrifices is that the slaying of an animal, and the burning of it, or of part of it, on the altar, represented the punishment due to the offerer, and that in sacrificing the animal the offerer was considered as entreating that the suffering inflicted upon it might be accepted in lieu of the punishment deserved by himself. This is the notion which the Jewish Rabbins have of the subject; who say also that a confession of sins was made over the victim when the offerer laid his hand upon its head, and thus that the sins were considered as transferred to the animal, and punished in it instead of the offerer. It is, however, certain that this is merely one of the traditions of the Jews, by which, as in so many other instances, they have perverted the Divine law; for although the offerer was commanded to lay his hand upon the head of the victim, not one word is said in the Scriptures of any confession of sins to be then made. The only instance in which a confession of sins accompanied the laying-on of the hand is that of the scapegoat, respecting which Moses commanded that "Aaron should lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat" (Lev. xvi. 21). But this goat, being thus representatively loaded with sins, was considered as unclean, and instead of being sacrificed was sent away into the wilderness: even the man that was employed to send it away was considered as contaminated by the operation and rendered unclean also, so that he was required to wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in water before he was allowed to return into the camp. Seeing, then, when it was intended that a confession of sins should be made over a victim, the command for it is so expressly given, can it be supposed that a similar confession was intended to be made over all the victims when it is never commanded at all? And when the representative effect of this confession of sins over an animal was to render it unclean, so that to have offered it up in sacrifice would have been an abomination, and the only orderly way of disposing of it was to send it away into the wilderness, to denote the rejection of man's sins, separated from himself, to hell, from whence they came, can it be supposed that the animals actually sacrificed were in like manner rendered unclean by a similar confession of sins being made over them, and thus a similar representative transfer of sins to them?


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 80 The idea is monstrous in the extreme; it is such as could only have been invented by the Jews, who wrote upon the ceremonies of the ancient law long after these ceremonies had ceased to be performed. The books of Jewish writers are full of similar groundless fancies, which either originated with themselves, or, if they are traditions handed down from others, belong to the class of those traditions which are condemned by the Lord Jesus Christ as making the law of God of none effect. Accordingly, the learned, who long mistakenly looked to the Jews as the natural expositors of the law of Moses, are now generally convinced that to follow them is to follow blind guides indeed, and that the only way of learning how the laws of Moses were originally obeyed is by studying the laws themselves as they are still extant in the books of Moses, and to take nothing upon the mere authority of the Jewish scribes which is not there clearly implied. But, alas! the learned had not made the discovery that Jewish Rabbins are very unsafe guides before they had transferred a great portion of their doctrines into their system of Christianity. The Rabbinical notion that the animal slain in sacrifice was put to death in lieu of the offerer as a substituted victim, the sins of the offerer being considered as transferred to it, has entered very deeply into most systems of modern theology, and forms in them so fundamental a part that you cannot take it away without throwing down the whole. Christian teachers, indeed, do not, with the Jews, consider that the slaying of an animal in sacrifice had any virtue in itself; but they transfer to the sufferings and death of Jesus on the cross all that the Jews have feigned respecting their animal sacrifices. They consider that He died to appease by His sufferings the wrath of the Father; that the sins of all mankind, that is, of all who have faith, were transferred to Him by imputation, and that He suffered the punishment of them in their stead.



The reason why, in all sacrifices, he that offered the sacrifice was directed to put his hand upon the head of the victim was, not by that act representatively to transfer his sins�for to do this the sins were also to be confessed over it, and that by positive command, as in the case of the scapegoat�but to express communication between the offerer and his sacrifice, which was necessary to give the animal its representative efficacy. The animals offered in sacrifice represented the good affections of various kinds from which the Lord is to be worshipped; but without this symbol of communication between the offerer and the animal the latter would not represent any good affection presented by him: to imply that the offerer himself wished to worship the Lord by and from the good affection which the animal represented it was necessary that he should perform the representative rite of putting his hand upon its head; after which the animal represented a good affection cherished by him and presented by him to the Lord, from a sincere acknowledgment that everything good is from the Lord alone.

That this is the true idea of sacrificial worship is evident from many parts of Scripture: we will instance one which is completely conclusive. That putting the animal to death and burning it upon the altar does not represent the punishment due to the offerer is clear from this circumstance, that the altar on which the sacrifices were offered is called in various places "the table of the Lord." Thus the Lord says to the priests, "Ye have profaned [the name of the Lord], in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even His meat"�the meat, observe, of the Lord�"is contemptible." Again: "Ye offer polluted bread upon Mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted Thee?" The answer is, "In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible" (Mal. i. 12, 7). Nothing can be more clear from these and numerous other instances than that the things offered in sacrifice, and burnt upon the altar, were considered as constituting a feast�were presented as upon a table for the Lord to eat, which He was considered to do when they were consumed by fire.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 82 This is why it is so often said that they were to be burnt "for a sweet-smelling savour to the Lord." They are expressly called the Lord's bread and His meat. Can that, then, which He is considered to accept as food be the punishment and torments of sinners? Could it be the punishment and torments of His own Son? To suppose that this is what is meant by slaying the animals and burning them on the altar is indeed to pollute and profane the Lord's table; it is to suppose the altar to be a type of the regions of eternal misery, and to regard Him who accepts the offerings upon the altar as the being who presides over, and enjoys with delight, the torments of the lost. But when we consider the sacrifices in the light of food spread upon the Lord's table for His acceptance, as we find they are represented in the Word, we must see that no idea of punishment and torment is represented in them. The death of the victim has no idea of punishment attached to it, nor is its dying ever spoken of in the appointment of the ceremonial; but the slaying of it is merely considered as a necessary part of the preparation of it for food, and no more conveys the idea of the punishment due to the person who offers it than that idea is conveyed by the reaping of the corn which was to be presented in the offering of the firstfruits, and which as well as the animal sacrifices was consumed upon the altar. Preparation for food is in both cases what is implied. And when either the sacrifices or the meat-offerings are placed upon the altar or table of the Lord, they are considered simply in the light of viands of which the Lord is invited to partake.

What then are the viands of which the Lord can partake in reality? When any allusion is made in Scripture to His hunger, it means His intense desire that His goodness and love should be received by mankind. On the occasion of His temptation in the wilderness it is said that "when He had fasted forty days He was afterwards an hungered;"


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 83 where His fasting refers to the depraved state of mankind and of the Church in its entire desolation, and His hungering to His intense desire for man's salvation. The hunger of the Lord then is satisfied when His love and goodness are received by mankind; and this is done when man receives affections of goodness and truth from Him and returns them to Him in sincere adoration, with the heartfelt acknowledgment that they are from Him alone.

Here then we have a clear idea of the purport of the sacrifices�an idea which explains the whole system and banishes obscurity from every part; whereas on the supposition that they represent the punishment due to sinners, transferred from them to the Lord Jesus Christ, we find ourselves stumbling amid difficulties and inconsistencies at every step.

But it may perhaps be thought that this view of the subject excludes all reference of the sacrifices to the Lord Jesus Christ. The contrary, however, is the fact. All the Mosaic law of sacrifices was fulfilled in, and by, the Lord Jesus Christ in a pre-eminent manner, and thus in its highest sense it has reference to Him; it is only in a subordinate sense, and as we are followers of Him, that it has a spiritual fulfilment in us. We, as walking after Him, are to be sacrifices too; but He is the great sacrifice.

When man continually receives from the Lord the graces of which He is the Author, and ascribes all to Him in the manner represented by the sacrificial worship of the Mosaic law; when every affection and perception of his heart and mind, of which the various kinds of sacrifices were representative, is continually hallowed to the Lord, it follows that his entire sanctification will at length be completed, and the whole man devoutly consecrated to his God. This is the state which the apostle exhorts us to attain when he says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren . . . . that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. xii. 1). The apostle calls this our reasonable service in allusion to the carnal service of the Levitical law, meaning that he who thus presents himself a living sacrifice truly performs that of which the animal sacrifices were types.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 84 Such a living sacrifice is a man wholly devoted to the Lord, who is wholly renewed by the reception of new principles of love, thought, and action from Him, whose selfish life is extinct, whilst he lives by a new life, which is life indeed. This the same apostle speaks of as being his own state when he says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Gal. ii. 20); where by the flesh, and in the preceding quotation by the body, the apostle, as in other parts of his writings, does not merely mean the material body, but all that is called the natural or external man. Here then he clearly describes a state of renovation of the whole man, in which he is made a living sacrifice unto God.

We now shall be enabled to see the truth of our second proposition: That the sacrifice of Jesus Christ did not consist in His suffering the punishment due to sin,�for if, as we have seen, nothing relating to punishment is included in the Scripture idea of sacrifices, nothing of this could be included in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ,�but that His sacrifice consisted in the hallowing of every principle or element of His Human Nature to the Godhead, till at length His whole Human Nature became a living sacrifice, or thing fully consecrated, sanctified, and hallowed, by perfect union with His Divinity.

Although the human form which the Lord assumed by birth of the virgin necessarily partook at first of her infirmities, its soul, from conception, was no other than the indivisible Jehovah. So long, then, as the human form thus assumed partook at all of what it derived from the mother, it could only receive the communications of the Divine Essence with more or less of limitation: in order to its receiving the whole, and becoming properly the Divine Form, of the Divine Essence, it was necessary that it should be entirely renewed by the successive extirpation of the disorderly and finite human forms, and the bringing down, from the Divinity within, of Divine forms into the human and natural degree to supply their place.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 85 To this operation the Lord Jesus alludes on various occasions. Sometimes He refers to the painful part of it, which was the extirpation of what He had from the mother, as when He says, "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" (Luke xii. 50.) At other times He speaks of the glorious part, as when He says, "Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" (John xvii. 5). And that this was necessary for man's salvation He declares when He says, "For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth" (verse 19); where by sanctifying Himself the Lord means His purifying His Humanity from the infirmities inherited from the mother, and thus rendering it Divine. The same thing is frequently spoken of by the apostles, as by Paul when he speaks of Jesus as being "made perfect through sufferings:" the sufferings were the temptations and conflicts by which He put off the imperfections inherited from the mother; and the making perfect was His rendering His Humanity the perfect image, the appropriate Form and proper Person, of His Divine Soul. The last suffering by which He wholly put off all that He had received from the mother was the passion of the cross. By this all the merely natural life of the finite and material nature was extinguished: and when this was done the Divine Life flowing down from within (everything uncongenial with it being extinct) descended into the very lowest forms of human nature, extirpated all that was yet left from the mother, even to the abolishing of the material particles; clothed itself with Divine forms, still belonging to the human and natural degree, put on in place of what was put off; and so raised the body from the tomb, no longer finite, no longer liable to any of the accidents of the mere creature, but wholly Divine, the adequate form for the reception and indwelling of the whole Divine Essence. This is His "glorious body," as it is called by the apostle, after the image of which our spiritual bodies are to be fashioned.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 86 Some idea of it may also be conceived from the glorious view granted to the three disciples at the Transfiguration; what was seen by them was the Divine Person in the sphere immediately within and above that of the material frame. In this Divine Form and Person, therefore, as the apostle declares, "all the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth bodily" (Col. ii. 9): in any form and person not altogether Divine it is obviously impossible that ALL the fulness of the Godhead�the whole infinitude of the Divine Nature�can dwell. It all is centred in the Person of Jesus, demonstrating that His Person since His resurrection is altogether Divine: how vain, then, must it be to look for the Godhead anywhere else than in that Divine Form in which the whole of it dwells!

Now admitting this view of the completeness of the sanctification, glorification, or deification of the Lord's Human Nature to be correct, and admitting at the same time the view above developed of the nature and effect of real spiritual sacrifices as offered by man, and we clearly see how truly the Lord as to His Humanity is called a sacrifice. The series of the Mosaic sacrifices in their complete order represent the entire sanctification of man, insomuch that the man who spiritually offers them becomes himself a sacrifice�a thing or being wholly devoted to God, and wholly assimilated in his finite degree to the Divine image. So in a higher sense they represent the complete sanctification or glorification of the Lord's Humanity, whereby this was really devoted to the Divine Essence itself, and entirely assimilated to the Divine Nature, so as to be the actual Form for its bodily indwelling. And this is correctly said to be done for us: for us this sacrifice was offered, to effect atonement or reconciliation between man and God; as Jesus says, "For their sakes I sanctify Myself" (John xvii. 19), and as Paul declares, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us" (1 Cor. v. 7): not because the Father's anger required appeasing, or could be appeased by the sight of the Son's sufferings; but because when the Humanity was thus sacrificed, that is, sanctified and united to the Essential Divinity, the Divine influences were accommodated to man's state so as to be operative to the renewal of his heart and mind�to his sanctification also.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 87 Thus it is most true, as the Apostle observes, that "He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." It is to put away sin from the mind which receives Him that the Holy Spirit is given: and of this it is said, while Jesus was engaged in His ministry on earth, "The Holy Ghost was not yet, because that Jesus was not yet glorified" (John vii. 39); not that no Divine influences had ever before been afforded, but that such as were adapted to reach and affect man in the state to which he had then fallen could not be imparted till the Humanity of Jesus�the only Divine Principle from which such influences can be given�was glorified, that is, sacrificed, that is, deified.

The above may also sufficiently explain how it is that man is saved through the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus Christ; or through His blood, which in the Apostolic writings is constantly used, according to the phraseology of the Jews, as a figurative expression for His sufferings and death. His sufferings were not inflicted on Him as the proper punishment of our sins; yet were they most truly undergone by Him for us, and were indispensable to our salvation. They, and especially His last suffering of death, were the means by which His Humanity was glorified. They thus were the means by which we are delivered from hell and raised to heaven, through our reception of the saving graces communicated by the life-giving energies of His Holy Spirit, which could only be imparted to us from the Eternal Jehovah in His Glorified Humanity. Thus it is most strictly true, according to our apprehension of the subject, that "by His stripes we are healed."

We may now, then, discern how truly atonement or reconciliation was made between God and man by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The enmity, or contrariety, between man and God was first abolished in His own Person, and in Him man, or human nature in general, was reconciled to God; and then, by His agency and influence, it is abolished in us also, and we are reconciled, and restored to agreement with God, in and by Him.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 88 In the expressive language of the apostle: "If, when we were enemies,"�when human nature in general was in a state of contrariety,�"we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son,"�that is, the separation was abolished by the glorification of the Human Nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Son of God, and of which glorification His death was the immediate cause,�"much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life "�much more, now that the utter separation no longer exists, shall we be endowed with saving graces through the life-giving influences proceeding from Him, who ever liveth to make intercession for us.�What reason then have we to "joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, BY WHOM WE HAVE NOW RECEIVED THE ATONEMENT?" (Rom. v. 10, 11.) Blessed be GOD, who "HATH ATONED US TO HIMSELF BY JESUS CHRIST!" Adored be the mercy by which "Gob WAS IN CHRIST ATONING THE WORLD UNTO HIMSELF!"

Thirdly; that the Lord is called a Mediator in respect to His Humanity, because in this He has opened a new and living way of access to His Divinity. This must now, we think, be so evident that it is needless to employ many words in its proof.

We have just alluded to the text in which the apostle says of Jesus that "He ever liveth to make intercession for us" (Heb. vii. 25). But by interceding he does not here mean soliciting or entreating, as a suppliant to a sovereign�nor is there anything in the context to sanction such a gross, external idea�but acting as a medium, or as that which goes between, which is the strict literal meaning of the word to intercede. Such intercession is the proper office of the Divine Humanity: for this receives into Itself the unmitigated fulness of the Divine Essence, and dispenses it to man in a form adapted to his capacities of receiving it; just as a man's body receives into itself the whole of the powers of his soul, and dispenses its energies, in the manner adapted to make them efficient, on persons and things around it.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 89 How exactly does the Lord Himself describe His action in this interceding or mediatorial character when He says respecting the Comforter or Holy Spirit, "Whom I will send unto you from the Father" (John xv. 26), teaching that the Divine Essence is the origin of the Divine Influencing Power, but that the Divine Humanity in which it abides in all its infinite fulness is the Medium of dispensing its agency on mankind.

How accurately the true doctrine on this subject is expressed by the Apostle Paul. "There is one God," says he, "and one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. ii. 5). He expressly affirms that it is the Alan Christ Jesus who is the Mediator. But Jesus is generally allowed to be God as well as man: yet the apostle takes care to guard us from supposing that His Divinity mediates between us and some other Divinity by thus expressly restricting the office of mediation to His Humanity; hence, also, he never uses the title "the Man Christ Jesus" on any other occasion whatsoever. How plainly does this instruct us that the Human Nature of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Medium by which we can have access to His Divine Essence; and that His Divine Essence is not distinct from that of the Father, but is the Father Himself! His essential Divine Nature is what the apostle calls God, and which he declares to be One; His glorified Human Nature is what he calls the Alan Christ Jesus, and which he also declares to be one, to intimate that the Human Nature in Him is essentially different from what it is in all other beings, and is as His Divine, being the adequate organ of conveying to man the Divine communications.

It is commonly imagined, from the Lord's being called a Mediator, as well as from His being said to intercede, that He uses entreaty and prayer with the Father in behalf of man. How vain is it for those who believe this to deny that in heart they believe in at least two Gods, and those also of opposite natures! for how can the God who supplicates and entreats be the same God as He who is supplicated and entreated? How can the nature of the God who, without any feast on another's sufferings to appease His offended justice, entreats and supplicates another God to lay aside His wrath be the same as that of Him who only lays aside His wrath in compliance with such entreaty and supplication, and because He is thus continually reminded of the sufferings to which the supplicant has submitted to appease Him?


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 90 Nay, how can the God who cannot raise man to heaven of His own free motion, but must first obtain His forgiveness of another God by prayer and supplication, be any God at all? Does not the supposition fully imply that the Father and Son are as completely two Gods as any two human beings are two men, and that they differ as much from each other as a subject from an absolute sovereign? All this fiction also respecting the Lord's mediating and interceding for man by praying to the Father has been invented in direct contradiction to His own assurance: "I say NOT unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me; and have believed that I came out from God" (John xvi. 26, 27). Thus instead of engaging to make prayer and supplication to the Father in behalf of those who believe in Him, He expressly assures them that He will not do so. Rightly to believe in Him also is, He declares, to believe that He came out from God, which means to believe that His Humanity is an immediate evolution from His Divine Essence�an actual manifestation of what was always potentially included in the Divinity, ready to be put forth for the salvation of man when the fulness of state and time should have arrived. When this is acknowledged the Father Himself is said to love us, because the love which constitutes His essence is then capable of being communicated to us and received by us. Hence again we see that the Lord's Humanity is the Medium by which we gain access to His Divinity, and are brought into communication with it, just as by the medium of a man's body we gain access to and have communication with his soul. The Lord teaches the same truth in the most direct form when He says, "I am the door: by Me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture" (John x. 9). What is the door but the medium of access?


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 91 And that, to obtain such access, we are not to address the naked Divinity immediately, but the Lord Jesus Christ as the Divine Person of the Father, He again teaches when He says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber" (verse 1).

Altogether it seems abundantly evident that the Mediatorship of Jesus Christ does not consist in His introducing us, by entreaty or any other means, to the favour of a God out of and separate from Himself, but in His having assumed and glorified a Humanity to afford a Medium of access to the Divinity which dwells in fulness in it. Let us then, instead of thinking to climb up some other way, enter in "by a new and living way which He hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh" (Hell x. 20)�that Humanity which He has deified and united to Deity to be for men the Medium of approach to God!

In conclusion: May not these views of the New Church on the Atonement, Sacrifice, and Mediation of Jesus Christ be confidently recommended to the consideration of the candid and reflecting? Do they not unfold the true doctrine of the Scriptures on these momentous subjects in a manner which is calculated to recommend the Scriptures themselves to the more cordial acceptance of mankind? Do they not satisfactorily clear the Christian religion from the imputation of sanctioning doctrines at which reason and common sense revolt, by showing that the sentiments on those subjects which bear that character are not those of the true Christian religion, but are the fallacious conclusions of gross minds, that have looked at the Scriptures in a merely superficial manner? Do they not show that the genuine doctrines of Scripture are coincident with the views of sound reason and true philosophy? Ought they not, then, to be joyfully accepted by every individual who wishes to find the way of salvation and to walk therein?




IN the "plan of salvation," as usually taught by Christian churches, great prominence is given to the doctrine of "Substitution." It is put forward as the only means whereby God "might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus Christ" (Rom. iii. 26.) As the cherished conviction of so many of our fellow-men, and on a subject of infinite solemnity, this doctrine demands most serious consideration. If it be true, not only must there be overwhelming evidence in its support, but there must also be an abundant and satisfactory reply to every objection which can possibly be urged against it.

The doctrine may be briefly stated as follows:�"Man's first parents, having transgressed the Divine command, became subject to the death of the body, and were further doomed by Almighty justice to be eternally banished from the Divine presence. All their descendants were involved in the iniquity of their sin, and were 'included under wrath.' Hence all mankind, both because of original sin, and also because of their individual sins, are 'children of wrath,' doomed by divine justice to sorrow and trouble in this life, and also to eternal perdition. But the second person in the Divine Trinity consented to become a SUBSTITUTE for mankind, agreed to have imputed to Him all the iniquity of mankind, to bear all the punishment due to man's sins in man's stead, thus to satisfy the immutable justice of God, and by a life of perfect obedience, as well as by His sufferings, to make atonement for mankind, so that thenceafter, Christ's perfect righteousness might be imputed to all who should believe in the atonement which He had made, and that thus all such believers might be received back into favour with God, and be saved.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 93 This substitute was accepted, this imputation of man's iniquity to the Divine Son was made, the punishment was inflicted, His righteousness is imputed to believers, and by His stripes are men healed."

While some differences of opinion exist as to the exact phraseology which ought to be used in describing the various details of the doctrine, we believe that the above description is as fairly accurate as so brief and general a statement can be made. The great question which we have now to consider is, Can this doctrine possibly be true?

I. We must remark, in the first place, that the doctrine is unreasonable.

(1.) There is no condition of society in which the punishment of the innocent instead of the guilty would not meet with execration. No legislature could venture to enact such a law: no judge could be found to administer it. No father ever did, or ever could, adopt such a method in the government of his family. Even those who believe in the doctrine of "Substitution," in relation to the Atonement, would not tolerate the practice of substitution in our criminal jurisprudence. A father has many refractory and disobedient children; he has also one son who has never transgressed his will; he refuses to receive his many children back to his favour unless his obedient son consents to bear all the punishment which was due to every one of the rebellious children. All the stripes, all the wrath, all the anguish, has to be borne by this obedient child, before the father will pardon the transgressors. The uttermost farthing must be paid: wrath must have its due. What should we say of such a father? That he is vindictive, remorseless, inhuman. Yet in such guise the doctrine of "Substitution" compels those who receive it to regard God! The doctrine of "Substitution" means the punishment of the innocent instead of the guilty, and when charged on the all-just God, it is abhorrent to reason.



(2.) It is easy to talk of the justice of God being inexorable, the majesty of the law requiring to be vindicated; but how could the inexorable justice of God be consistent with punishing one who merited no punishment? How is the majesty of law vindicated by conduct justified by no law,�the regarding as unjust one who was altogether just,�the punishment of one as a sinner who never sinned,�the pouring out on the head of the guiltless the full vials of the infinite wrath of God? This would be to perpetrate a crime which the law would condemn in order to vindicate the law. It would be the infliction of a hitherto unheard-of injustice in order to satisfy justice. It paints God as acting altogether unlike God, in order that He might be enabled to act like God. It is impossible to bring words together that shall express a stronger violation of all justice:�Infinite justice demands infinite satisfaction, and inflicts an infinite penalty on a being who is infinitely holy�that is, perpetrates an infinite injustice on infinite purity in order to satisfy infinite justice! The doctrine contradicts itself. The idea of justice shuts out the possibility of committing an injustice of this sort; and to say that the infinitely just God could perpetrate such a flagrant injustice is to deny the idea of there being any justice in God.

(3.) The doctrine of "Substitution" involves a double subterfuge. It first makes infinite justice regard Christ as a sinner, which He was not; and then, secondly, makes infinite mercy regard the believer in Christ as just, which he is not. Two untruths are thus necessary to the scheme of salvation of which the doctrine of "Substitution" stands at the head. The "plan" which seeks to make God connive at such a double untruth contradicts what we know of His Divine character as the Infinite Truth. The doctrine requires that God should hold the innocent as guilty, which was, firstly, an untruth; and, secondly, an injustice: then, that God should inflict upon this substitute all His infinite wrath, which, if it could have taken place, would have been a crime;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 95 then, that God would impute the merits of Christ's righteous obedience to disobedient and unrighteous men,�another untruth, and consequently another injustice; as unjust in His mercy, that is, as the other operation paints God as being unjust in His wrath.

(4.) The doctrine of "Substitution" involves a further subterfuge. How can God be said to forgive sins when He has already exacted a more than sufficient penalty in inflicting the punishment due to man's sin on Christ in man's stead? Either the punishment borne by Christ was sufficient, or not sufficient. If it was sufficient, God is paid, and then forgiveness is only an act of justice, and not an act of mercy. If it was not sufficient, Christ did not bear the punishment in man's stead. In describing Himself as "the Merciful," if the doctrine of Substitution be true, God has deceived mankind. Mercy pardons freely; but Substitutionists assert that God would not let man off till the whole penalty was paid down.

(5.) The doctrine of "Substitution" renders it impossible to love God. We may love Christ, for His mercy is beyond question. The portrait of the Father's character drawn by Substitutionists only inspires dread, awe, aversion. We shrink before the inexorable demander of the full, the all-sufficient penalty. All the love which we an feel for God centres itself in Christ. Christ was satisfied without some other paying him His "ransom of blood." The mercy of Christ is lovely, love-worthy, love-inspiring. But the "Substitution" view of the Father compels us to wish that there was no Father; makes us wonder why He could not have been more Christ-like. Taking Christ for their pattern, men would become altogether love-worthy; taking the Father for their model, men would become altogether terrible. The moral tendency of the doctrine of "Substitution" shows that it is not Christ-like; therefore that it is UNCHRISTIAN.



(6.) The doctrine of "Substitution" is incomplete. Its most vehement advocates dare not carry it to its legitimate and inevitable consequences. What was the penalty to be suffered by man? All that was involved in the terrible sentence pronounced by God on man's sin! If Christ bore the punishment due to man's sin in man's stead, then ALL the tremendous penalty was borne by Him. But if ALL the penalty was not borne by Christ, He did not bear the punishment due to man's sin in man's stead. What was the penalty? Pain? He bore that. Anguish of soul? He bore that. Poverty? He bore that. Hunger? He bore that. Dire temptations? He bore those. The sense of absence from God, of being left alone, of utter desolation? He bore that. Of disease in its manifold and myriad forms? We do not read that He bore any of these! Of death? He bore that. But we have not reached the fearful, the real penalty on man's sin. That penalty was eternal banish. scent from the presence of God; eternal immolation in hell. This is the dread penalty on sin; the fearful punishment due to transgressors. Did Christ bear this punishment due to man's sin in man's stead? If so, then Christ is now, and will for ever be, in hell! Are you shocked by this thought? Yet this is the penalty; this is the punishment which will be inflicted on man in consequence of his transgressions. If Christ bore the punishment in man's stead, no other conclusion is possible. Are you still shocked at it? You are shocked at the logical consequence of the dogma of "Substitution." We are so shocked at the conclusion, that we deny the truth of the doctrine which inevitably leads to it, and declare the dogma of "Substitution" to be false.

(7.) It may be urged that Christ was an infinite victim, and that therefore His suffering for a short period was a proper equivalent for the eternal punishment of men. This is another subterfuge; and if it is said that God connived at it, then God connived at four untruths instead of three. The argument just cited attempts to balance the fact of Christ being infinite against the fact of man's punishment being eternal.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 97 But what was it that suffered in Christ? Was it His Divine nature? Do you say, Yes? What? The infinite God was hungry! The infinite God craved finite food! The infinite God was poor! The infinite God suffered pain! The infinite God was tempted of evil! The infinite God was handled by Roman soldiers, beaten with Roman rods, nailed to a cross with material nails, pierced by an iron spear! The infinite God died! The infinite God buried in a sepulchre! Can the force of superstition further go than this? Christ's human nature suffered, hungered, was tempted, was scourged, and died. But Christ's human nature was not infinite, and therefore the argument is without force, and the objection remains unanswered. The punishment due to man's sin was eternal damnation: Christ has not borne this punishment in man's stead; therefore the doctrine of "Substitution," which says He did bear the punishment due to man's sin in man's stead, is a false doctrine.

(S.) The doctrine of "Substitution" makes God altogether changeable. All the change wrought by the Atonement is, by this doctrine, said to have been made in God. Man was guilty, and God, who before was Infinite Mercy, immediately became Infinite Wrath. Christ substitutes Himself as the victim. God inflicts all His Wrath on Christ, and immediately changes back to Infinite Mercy again. From mercy to wrath, and from wrath to mercy, what a change is here! But both the mercy and the wrath are infinite. This infinite change is wrought in God's nature, and that twice over. How shall we believe this, in view of the immutability of God? How shall we believe that man's sin, which was, after all, a finite transgression, wrought this infinite change in the Unchangeable? It will not do to say that because man transgressed against an infinite Lawgiver, therefore man's sin was an infinite transgression. Such a subtlety might have served to amuse schoolmen in the middle ages; it will not do now to teach such a shallow, seeming profundity to thinking men.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 98 Here, then, is the action of a finite being working two infinite changes in the unchangeable God. Who can believe this?

(9.) The doctrine of "Substitution" makes God the author of all evil. All the sufferings of man are caused by. God's having turned His face away from us. If He would only turn His face to us, all suffering and misery would cease. Man is unhappy here, and doomed to perdition hereafter, merely because God is angry with His creatures. God, by turning His face from us, is the author of woe, both temporal and eternal. God pronounced the curse; and God inflicts it upon every child of man. Both indirectly and directly, God is author of evil here, as He will be the author of eternal damnation hereafter. He is angry, and His anger shall burn to the bottom of the lowest hell. Could we say more of the most horrible and savage infernal spirit? This doctrine, then, paints God in the character, and invests Him with the attributes, of the fiend. It says that God's infinite anger inflicts vengeance, and demanded an infinite victim in order to appease it. What is this but saying that God is the author of evil, the maker of hell, and the Being who plunges man therein? Could a fiend be described as doing worse?

(10.) The doctrine of" Substitution" is inconsistent with itself. It says that an infinite victim bore the punishment due to man's sin in man's stead. A portion of that punishment was physical pain, the anguish of childbearing, the subjection of woman to man. Did Christ bear all these? No! Did He bear any of them in man's stead? We must answer, No! Else how is it that pain is still suffered, that the anguish of child-bearing has still to be endured, and is even increased by civilization, and every one must still die? Infinite wrath, we are told, inflicted these penalties before Christ came. Christ has come, and, we are told, bore the punishment due to man's sins in man's stead; and et mankind still have to bear these punishments.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 99 Christ has not taken them away! Then, notwithstanding the substitute, infinite wrath is still unappeased! Infinite justice requires to be paid twice over; firstly by the immolation of Christ; and, secondly, by still continuing to inflict the penalties on man! How inconsistent is all this! Christ came to do something that He did not do! The Father consented to an arrangement that He did not keep Infinite justice perpetrated one crime, by punishing the innocent for the guilty; and now perpetrates a second crime by still continuing to punish the guilty, despite the substituted victim! Not even an "infinite victim" could appease God's infinite wrath! Are we told that Christ only bore the penalties in the lieu of those who should believe? But believers suffer pain. Believers suffer anguish in child-bearing. Believing women are subject unto their husbands. All believers have had, and still have, to die. Are we told that Christ did not bear these penalties in the stead of anybody, be they believers or unbelievers? Then, what punishment did He bear in man's stead? Not damnation; for that He did not bear. Not even pain and death in man's stead; for these all men, whether believers or unbelievers, have still to suffer. What then? His sufferings were not in man's stead in any sense, if man has still to suffer.

But we may be told that Christ's sufferings are accepted by God instead of the damnation which believers would otherwise have had to endure. This means one of two things, either that the few years of Christ's suffering are accepted by God as equivalent to the eternal sufferings of all who will believe, or that they absolutely were equivalent. To this we reply: Firstly�If they were not absolutely equivalent, then God connives at a further subterfuge in pretending that they were equivalent when they were not. Secondly�If it is said they were absolutely equivalent, this statement has to be proved. What? A few years of pain of body, of poverty of circumstances, of mental misery and anguish of soul, and of His death agony�which, after all, was of briefer duration than that suffered by the thieves, for they had their legs broken and He was "dead already,"�


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 100 these few years of agony equivalent to the eternal torturing of myriads in that awful state and place where their worm should never die, and the fire should never be quenched! Who can believe this? Yet this is what the teachers of the doctrine of "Substitution" would have us believe:�that Christ's sufferings were an absolute equivalent for all the eternal sufferings which those who believe in Him would have had to endure, if Christ had not become their substitute!

We have before shown the absurdity of the refuge, that Christ, being infinite, suffered infinitely; for it was Christ's human nature which suffered, which was "made perfect by sufferings," which was tempted, which died. There is no escape from this, unless we assert that GOD DIED; which none will be so hardy as to affirm. Christ's body died and was buried and arose again, but unless we say that Christ's body was an infinite body, and infinitely died, we cannot make Christ into an infinite victim who infinitely suffered. Hence we are driven back to the assertion that Christ's sufferings during a few years were absolutely equivalent,�that is, that Christ suffered as much mental, moral, and physical agony in those years as is equal to all the mental, moral, and physical agony which would have been suffered through all eternity by all the myriads of those who have believed, or will believe, in Christ! Who can believe this?

(11.) This doctrine of "Substitution," further, is subversive of the Divine Unity. We are told that the Father was Infinite Wrath, and needed that His justice should be satisfied. Had the Son no justice to satisfy? Had the Holy Spirit no justice to satisfy? How comes it that the Son's justice should need no substitute; neither the justice of the Holy Spirit? The Father all wrath; the Son all mercy; the Holy Spirit neither wrathful nor merciful, but waiting the arrangement of the Father and the Son! Yet these three persons in the Deity are described as being ONE in nature, purpose, thought and will!


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 101 How, and in what sense, are the three One, if the doctrine of substitution be true? Not one in person certainly, for the Father is in heaven, and the Son is upon the earth; the Son is willing to die, and the Father accepts His death! This doctrine would compel us to believe in at least two Gods, and those altogether different in character. They are not one in will and nature. The Father all anger and no mercy: the Son all mercy and no anger! The Father demanding a victim, the Son offering Himself as a victim. The Father punishing, and the Son bearing the punishment. One Divine person dying to appease the wrath of another Divine person! One Divine person offering Himself a victim to satisfy the justice of another Divine person! Where then is the Divine unity? Is not the doctrine irrational, which, when plainly stated, involves such startling results as these.

(12.) The doctrine of "Substitution" is heathenism slightly disguised. The heathens were believers in more Gods than one. "Substitutionists" must believe, however they may try to think that they do not, in at least two Gods, and two very different Gods in their moral character. This we have shown. Heathens describe their fancied deities as cherishing unworthy and immoral feelings. Is not wrath, implacableness, immoral? Do preachers inculcate implacableness as a proper moral virtue for man to aspire to? Can they truly urge men to be imitators of what they conceive to be the character of God the Father? Heathens describe their fancied deities as punishing one another. Do not "Substitutionists"? God the Father permitted God the Son to be killed! He could have prevented it, but would not; therefore the Father virtually and actually killed the Son! One person in the Trinity permitted another person in the Trinity to be murdered, and this to appease His own wrath, which yet is not appeased�to satisfy His justice, which yet is not satisfied, but still inflicts a part of the punishment on all mankind, just as though the penalty had never been paid, and the victim had never been slain!


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 102 The honest, earnest, thoughtful mind rightly turns away from such a tissue of inconsistencies, and declares�" It is altogether contrary to reason: I cannot believe it!"

To sum up this portion of the argument. The doctrine of "Substitution" is subversive of the unity of God; that which subverts or darkens the Divine Unity is contrary to reason; therefore the doctrine of substitution is irrational. "Substitution" asserts that Christ bore the punishment due to man's sins in man's stead; that punishment was pain, anguish in child-bearing, all which mankind still bears and has to bear; therefore the dogma is untrue. The doctrine of "Substitution" makes God the author of all evil; but thus to charge the all-good God is manifestly unreasonable; therefore the doctrine of "Substitution" is unreasonable. The doctrine of "Substitution" makes God changeable; right reason sees that immutability is necessarily an attribute of Deity; therefore the doctrine contradicts what is necessarily true, and is, consequently, false. The doctrine of "Substitution" requires that Christ must be an infinite victim; but it was Christ's human nature alone which suffered: therefore the doctrine requires something which does not exist, and is, consequently, not true. The doctrine of "Substitution" asserts that Christ bore the punishment due to man's sin in man's stead; this punishment was eternal condemnation and banishment into hell; this punishment Christ did not bear; therefore the doctrine asserts what is not true. The doctrine of "Substitution" involves several subterfuges, and thereby contradicts the Divine attribute of Infinite Truth; and what contradicts Divine Truth is not, and cannot be, true. The doctrine of "Substitution" asserts that God, who is infinitely just, perpetrated an infinite injustice, in punishing One infinitely holy as though He were infinitely wicked, and therefore is an aspersion of God, and not true. The doctrine of "Substitution" vitiates the statement that God forgives; God declares Himself merciful, therefore the doctrine is a contradiction of God.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 103 The moral tendencies of the doctrine of "Substitution" are altogether pernicious; they render the command to love God impossible to be obeyed: therefore they are unchristian, and the doctrine which possesses these tendencies is unchristian too. For these reasons, which our space here compels us to notice but briefly, and as well for many others, we are compelled to reject the dogma of "Substitution," as being contradictory of God's Truth, His Justice, His Immutability, His Unity; as being inconsistent in itself, and the parent of a whole progeny of inconsistencies; and, therefore, as irrational and unworthy the belief of a reasonable man.

II. This dogma is also unscriptural.

(1.) From what did Christ redeem us? The doctrine of "Substitution" answers, "From the wrath of God." The Scriptures tell us that Christ came in order "that we should be saved from our enemies." (Luke i. 71.) Man's enemy is the devil: if we are told that it is God's wrath from which we are to be saved, this makes God stand in the place of the devil! Christ died, "that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Heb. ii. 14.) Not that He might "destroy" the wrath of God, or satisfy the justice of God, or appease God's anger, as "Substitution" requires us to believe; but that He might "destroy the power of the devil!" Christ came to give "Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Tit. ii. 14.) Not that He might redeem us from the "wrath of God," as "Substitution" requires; but from "all iniquity." He came to deliver us out "of the hand of the wicked," to redeem us out "of the hand of the terrible." (Jer. xv. 21.) Is this "terrible" one, God? Then God is "the wicked"! "I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues." (Hosea xiii. 14.) Does this mean redeeming us from the "wrath of God"? If so, it should read:�"I will redeem them from the wrath of God; O wrath of God, I will be thy plagues!" But this would be blasphemy. Yet this blasphemy is involved in the doctrine of "Substitution."


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 104 Christ hath redeemed us "to God" by His blood. (Rev. v. 9.) Not from God's wrath; unto God, and not from God. But the doctrine of "Substitution" requires that one person of the Godhead redeemed us from the wrath of another person in the Godhead: one God redeemed us from the anger of another God. This is certainly nowhere taught in the Scriptures. Christ, the only True God incarnated in the flesh, fought with and overcame the power of hell, redeemed man from the devil, from spiritual death, "from the hand of them that hate us," from "all iniquity;"�this the Scriptures do sublimely teach, but not the doctrine of "Substitution."

(2.) Whom did Christ reconcile? "Substitution" answers�"Christ reconciled God to man." In so answering, the doctrine is consistent with itself. As the doctrine presupposes that God was angry with man, then the reconciliation must take place in the breast of the party which was estranged, angry, and incensed. But in so answering, the dogma altogether contradicts the Scriptures. St. Paul constantly and emphatically teaches that it was man who was reconciled unto God, and not that it was God who was reconciled unto man. (Rom. v. 10.) "When we were enemies, we were reconciled unto God." "We have now received the Atonement" (v.; not God who received it, but MAN. "God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ. . . . God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. . . . We pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." (2 Cor. v. 18-20.) Christ reconciled "both" the Jew and the Gentile "unto God, in one body, having slain the enmity thereby." (Eph. ii. 16.) "You that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in His sight." (Col. i. 21, 22.) Here is the truth plainly spoken; Christ, the reconciler, came to reconcile man unto God. This was necessary, because it was man who was angry with God, an enemy to God, alienated and estranged from God.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 105 The reconciliation must be effected in the bosom of the party who was estranged. God was not alienated from man. God was not angry with man. Otherwise the sending of His Son would be a proof of His wrath, and not of His love. God was only Love itself and Mercy itself; "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "His mercy endureth for ever."

But it is asked,�What about the Divine and Infinite Justice? Is it not strange that St. Paul does not say a word about this offended justice, this wrath demanding a victim, this justice requiring a substitute? Wherever our modern theologians obtained this great staple of their "scheme," they did not obtain it from St. Paul! Neither have the Scriptures said a word about Christ being a substitute. Such a phrase as Christ being a substitute does not once occur in the New Testament! They are words the Apostles never used; but as they are the best words to express the idea intended by those who employ the words, the Apostles had not the idea, or they would have used the words. When men preach the doctrine of "Substitution," they teach what the New Testament does nowhere teach; they use words which the Apostles do nowhere use; they utter ideas which the Apostles do nowhere utter. The whole "scheme" is as contrary to Scripture as it is opposed to reason; and, therefore, as being both unscriptural and irrational, we hold it to be FALSE.

It may well be asked, What then do we hold as the true doctrine of Redemption and the Atonement? For the answer to this important question, we beg to refer the reader to other tracts of this series, procurable from the same publisher. Our present concern has been to show, that because it is both irrational and contradictory to Scripture, the doctrine of "Substitution" cannot possibly be true. May thy. Holy Spirit lead us all into truth! Amen.




"He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him."�JOHN xiv. 21.

CHRIST is coming soon. The world is old, worn out, and may quickly now be expected to end. The world is disjointed, corrupted, profligate, fraudulent, turbulent, immoral, and miserable; it is time it were judged and burnt up. The end of all things is at hand. It has been mistakenly placed in 1867 and at many other past periods. But it cannot be far off now. There were to be troubles, wars, and rumours of wars, and surely we live in very troublous and changing times. We do not know where we are going, or what it all means. Such are the remarks one occasionally hears or reads, and they are of a sufficiently startling character. Sometimes this sentiment takes a very curious form. There are religious persons who will not use the Lord's Prayer, or let their children use it, because it contains the petition "Thy kingdom come," because they think it means that this glorious fabric of the universe will be destroyed, and leave not a wrack behind, when the kingdom of God shall come.

On the contrary, there are numbers who maintain that the world is growing younger. Bad as it is, they believe the world is throwing off ignorance, superstition, selfish laws and selfish habits, enmities of people against people, and nation against nation. Vice and crime and poverty are being struggled with as they have never been encountered before, and these feel assured that the day is coming, however distant, when-

"All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail,

Returning justice lift aloft her scale;

Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,

And white-robed innocence from heaven descend;

No sigh, no murmur the wide world shall hear,

From every face He'll wipe off every tear."



Those of this hopeful faith sing with Tennyson, and with all the poets, those prophets of the future-

"Ring out a slowly dying cause,

       And ancient forms of party strife;

       Ring in the nobler kinds of life,

With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,

       The faithless coldness of the times;

       Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,

But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,

       The civic slander and the spite;

       Ring in the love of truth and right,

Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,

       Ring out the narrowing lust of gold,

       Ring out the thousand wars of old,

Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man, and free;

       The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

       Ring out the darkness of the land,

Ring in the Christ that is to be."

Such are the hopes throbbing in the bosoms of multitudes of thoughtful men now respecting the "good time coming." And certainly they are all warranted clearly by numerous places in Holy Writ, as I trust we shall see before this discourse is ended.

Those who thus think have noticed that in Scripture the breaking up of the world means the change of a bad old system for a better. The end of the world means the end of a dispensation," the end of one great system of thought and action (see I Cor. x. 11; Heb. ix. 26).

In the early days of David, owing to the recklessness of Saul and the depravity of the people, there was a lamentable breakdown of the Jewish religion, and David says, "The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it" (Ps. lxxv. 3). Again, "Deliver the poor and needy, rid them out of the hand of the wicked. They know not, neither will they understand: they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course" (Ps. lxxxii. 4, 5).

Certainly no one can suppose that the earth was literally dissolved in David's time; that the inhabitants also were dissolved. Because the people would not understand the truth, but would walk on in darkness, does any one think the foundations of the earth, the rocks or other strata, were altered and were all in confusion?


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 108 These things affect the Church, but they do not affect the soil. The Prophet Isaiah also says, "The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly" (xxiv. 19). Surely it is hardly necessary to say that it can only be of the spiritual earth, the Church, that these words can be understood. The outward universe is a sublime representation in the book of heaven, of the Church, that spiritual universe on which God desires us to fix our attention; for when the Church is sound, her principles true, and her practice good, all other things go well.

A Church with genuine God-given doctrines, having a priesthood devotedly pious, with pure hearts and enlightened minds, diligent in studying God's Word, and faithful in teaching it, will make a happy world. But when the Church, instead of leading men to struggle faithfully against their sins, excuses them, palliates them, invents methods by which people may imagine they can sin and take no harm, then it is bad for the world. Multitudes take advantage of a lax and dangerous doctrine, and suffer their passions or their lusts to go unchecked during a long life, soothing themselves with the delusion that a few pious thoughts and prayers when nature is worn out will make all right for heaven. So selfish frauds arise and spread and multiply until trade is altogether corrupted; and instead of the pleasures of honest dealing between upright men there exists on every side suspicion, trickery, and deceitful schemes of every kind, making life painful and difficult to multitudes who pray only to do their duty sincerely and have a modest and temperate provision for their daily wants.

Thus, too, those checks upon temper are impeded, which when applied by religion and introduced in early life perseveringly will arrest the risings of passion, and prevent those harsh violences that otherwise will issue in distressing animosities, malice, revenge, and remorse. The holy work of virtuous youth is deferred to old age, when life has hardened evil principles into evil habits, and courses of iniquity have so contorted the nature as to make repentance difficult, and the soul and body of the sinner but a mass of ruins.

The Church is, as it were, the heart of the world. When it is healthy, pure, and strong, holding up among men those grand principles of love, faith, justice, and judgment by which the Almighty enthrones Himself in the hearts of angels and of men, the pulsations of virtue flow freely and carry health into all the ramifications of the social body, even to the very extremes.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 109 A nation having such a Church becomes a wise and understanding people (Deut. iv. 6). But where a Church is feeble, or, still worse, false, neglecting its high duties of holding up before men the laws of heaven as the guides of earth, suffering the young to grow up in ignorance, and permitting superstition to hold the place of enlightenment and good sense, weakly pandering to the pride of the powerful, and passing by unnoticed the debasement of the poor; winking like some great owl in a bewilderment at every ray of new light, but securing a full share of the general plunder, the body of a nation will swarm with social evils. The whole state in such a condition of society is tainted by restlessness, uncertainty, private and public immorality tempered only by low motives, chronic convulsion, and general decay, until some stormy disaster comes like the destruction of Jerusalem and the French Revolution. The once popular forms of religion have received severe blows during the last hundred years, and will continue to receive them until the former heavens and the former earth have passed away, with all their corruptions, hypocrisies, and mummeries; and a religion true to God and true to man, a full development of the Word of God, a new heaven and a new earth, are established in their stead.

Heaven and earth in Scripture mean a Church and a state of the world growing out of it. The Church is the Lord's heaven upon earth. How plainly this will appear to the observant reader respecting the formation of the Church when he regards the following language of the prophet! "And I have put My words into thy mouth and I have covered thee in the shadow of Mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art My people" (Isa. li. 16). No one could surely suppose that in consequence of the Lord putting His words into a man's mouth the starry heavens were planted, or the rocky foundations of the land were laid. The destruction of the Church is equally represented as the reduction to chaos of HEAVEN AND EARTH by Jeremiah: "For My people is foolish, they have not known Me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form and void; and the heavens, and they had no light" (iv. 22, 23).


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 110 Here the vices and follies of the people are declared to have had the result of making the earth without form and void and the heavens so that they had no light. But every intelligent reader will see that the language is only to be understood in a moral and spiritual sense. I t refers to the Church, its confusion, and the absence of spiritual light in it owing to human traditions and human vices making the commandments of God of none effect.

The change of such a worn-out system for a better is represented in Isaiah by the following language: "For, behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy" (lxv. 17, 18).

It is obvious that the subject of the words just quoted is a change of religion; the abolition of one Church to give place to another; the removal of corrupt Judaism for pure Christianity. It could not be a change of the material universe, for it is declared to be a rejoicing for Jerusalem, and for her people a joy.

The destruction of the universe is only a symbol in Scripture of the demolition of a perverted and corrupt Church, and the formation of new heavens and a new earth are figurative terms which represent the formation of religion anew, so that the Church, the spiritual heavens, and the earth, the society growing out of the Church, are the embodiments afresh of love to God and love to man. The expectation of those who have so long been alarmed by the apprehended annihilation of the universe is that it will take place by fire, drawing this conclusion chiefly from the words of Peter: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up. . .. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat" (2 Pet. iii. 10-12). But in considering this striking language we must not forget that it was spoken by Peter, who himself interpreted the equally impressive words of the Prophet Joel as being figurative of the convulsions attendant upon the destruction of Judaism and the introduction of Christianity. Joel prophesied and said, "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 111 And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, BLOOD and FIRE, and pillars of smoke. THE SUN SHALL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS, and the MOON INTO BLOOD, before the great and the terrible clay of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call" (Joel ii. 28-32).

Now here there are commotions prophesied quite as striking as those described by Peter in his Second Epistle. The sun should be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood. FIRE is also mentioned as one of the terrible elements to be employed.

Let us turn now to the language of Peter in his great sermon on the Day of Pentecost as given in the Acts of the Apostles. The agitation and excitement of the multitude of new disciples who hailed the glad tidings of the new religion were attributed by their enemies to inebriation; but Peter stood up and said, "Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But THIS IS THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN BY THE PROPHET JOEL," and then he recited the prophecy as we have given it above.

The sun of God's love had been turned into darkness, the moon of faith had been turned into bloody violence, and the fire of hate had been burning fiercely enough in the souls of fanatical persecutors, but nature went on as peacefully as before.

Peter knew those words imported only spiritual changes. When he used similar words would he not use them to mean the same things?

Would not the fire that would dissolve all things be the fire of fierce passion, of violent hate, of vengeful feelings, in which a worn-out dispensation at length expires? Shams will not endure for ever. Abuses provoke hot remedies at last. The day of fiery vengeance comes and furiously destroys the refuges of lies, the covenants with death, and agreements with hell by which the world has been duped and the upright oppressed (Isa. xxviii. 15). Hence Peter adds, "We look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness."


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 112 "WICKEDNESS BURNETH AS A FIRE," said the Prophet Isaiah (ix. 18). "The tongue" [of a bad man] "is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell" (James iii. 6).

It is important to notice that the end of the Jewish Church is described as taking place BY FIRE both in the Psalms and the Book of Isaiah. In the eightieth Psalm the Jewish Church is described as a vine which God had brought up out of Egypt and made into a goodly vineyard; then its decay from sensuality and wild passion is described; and lastly, it is said, "IT IS BURNED WITH FIRE; it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke, of Thy countenance" (lxxx. 15).

Now as the Church was not a material vine, surely no one can imagine that it was destroyed in the Psalmist's time by MATERIAL FIRE. But there was a fire which was destroying all that was good in the Church and preparing the way for utter ruin. "It set him on FIRE round about, yet he knew it not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart" (Isa. xlii. 25).

Surely when such language is read of the state of things between two and three thousand years ago every sensible mind must see that the Church is the earth meant, and its departure from God and His laws, its loss of the truth, are described�the vile passions, like a smouldering fire, every now and then rising to blazing heat and producing utter decay and ruin.

Our Lord's words also are plainly indicative of a similar interpretation: "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 coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matt. xxiv. 29, 30). These words appear to speak of the destruction of the universe, though their fulfilment in that sense is utterly out of the question, since astronomy has shown that any such falling of stars to the earth as people used to think of is impossible�a single star is many times larger than the earth. Let any one read ver. 34, and he must see that our Lord never intended it to be so understood: "Verily I say unto you, THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS till all these things be fulfilled."



When the Jewish world utterly broke down, and its glory, its altars, its temple, and its city were first ruined by corruption and then were dissolved and dispersed, that heaven and earth passed away, and a new heaven and a new earth, a Christian heaven and earth, began. If any man be in Christ, the Apostle said, he is a new CREATION. Old things have passed away, behold, ALL THINGS HAVE BECOME NEW (2 Cor. v. 11).

When our Lord's words on this subject are recorded in another place they are equally emphatic and instructive to show that it was spiritual change He meant. It is astonishing this should have been overlooked so much. "For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father, with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, THERE BE SOME STANDING HERE WHICH SHALL NOT TASTE OF DEATH till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom" (Matt. xvi. 27, 28).

This coming was effected when, after the Day of Pentecost, His spiritual kingdom was begun, and men were received into it, or rejected, according to their previous lives; they who had done good coming forth to the resurrection of life; they who had done evil to the resurrection of condemnation [or judgment]" (John v. 29).

When language of the same kind is used by the Apostles, and in the Book of Revelation, as to what would again take place, it can only justly be interpreted in a similar manner. In Christianity it is prophesied a corruption of religion would take place. Again the commandments of God would be made of none effect by men's tradition. Again the sun would be darkened, the moon not give her light, the stars would fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens would be shaken; but again He who is Son of Man and God of heaven, in His own glory, and the glory of the Father�for He is both Father and Son�the King of kings, and Lord of lords, would restore all things by first restoring the knowledge and love of Himself as "God over all, blessed for ever" (Rom. ix. 5).

It may suggest itself to the mind that at the Second Coming of Christ there was to be a Grand Judgment; but we should ever bear in mind that judgment takes place AFTER DEATH, in the spiritual world, not in this. "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment" (Heb. ix. 27).

When the Lord Jesus was in the world He was also effecting a judgment in the inner, the spiritual world, while He was redeeming this.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 114 Hence He said, "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out" (John xii. 31). Again, "For judgment I am come into this world: that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind" (John ix. 39).

Ordinarily people are judged immediately after death according to their works; the good and true ascending to heaven, and the wicked sinking to their like. But when the Church becomes itself corrupt and teaches falsities in the name of God, and the obedient people, led by false teaching, do wrong while thinking they are doing God service; they cannot so quickly ascend to heaven, for their minds are full of falsities, yet they will not be condemned to hell, for they were sincere, and their hearts were loving and good. They wait, therefore, to the "end of the age" or dispensation, when the Lord as Judge in great majesty descends into the world of spirits or world of judgment and opens all minds, which is called the opening of the books, and clears that world. The effect in the natural world is more light and more progress.

Let us now look at another class of passages�passages full of hope and consolation, but owing to the darkness which had been induced in the mind by the erroneous view respecting the end of the world very much overlooked. These all speak of the latter days, as being a time of restoration, of universal light, love, purity, and peace, all flowing from a true knowledge of God in Christ, the Father in the Son. But how could such passages ever be fulfilled if the universe were to be burnt and pass away, leaving not a wrack behind?

In Isaiah we read, and it is repeated in Micah iv.: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord" (ii. 2-5).



The Divine Humanity of Christ is the house of Jehovah, "in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. ii. 9). He spake of the TEMPLE OF His BODY (John ii. 21). The mountain of the Lord's house is the love, the adoring emotion that rises to Him above all other sentiments and things, and when we look at the prophecy with this conception how glorious it becomes! It teaches that, beginning with the love of the Lord Jesus supremely, there would be a full opening of His Word, diffusing universal brotherhood, universal justice, universal light, universal obedience, and universal peace. We are far from realizing this glorious state of things yet, but the dawn has begun, the light has broken in, and the dismal shadows of a long night are slowly rolling away. The King is at hand.

Hence our Sunday schools, our cheap and multiplied day schools, the vast spread of literature and science, our yearning after education for all; more light, more light. To the same effect we read: "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious" (Isa. xi. 9, 10). Here we have the same general features in the prophecy. Knowledge of the Lord shall be universal. Love and wisdom, innocence and peace, shall be everywhere diffused. Men shall seek Him who is the Root and the Offspring of Jesse (Rev. xxii. 16), and His rest shall be glorious.

Equally direct and clear is the language of the Prophet Daniel: "I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, one like unto the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given to Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (vii. 13, 14). Here the vision of bringing the Son of Man to the Ancient of Days means the union in the minds of the people of the Divine Humanity with Jehovah, so that they would regard them as altogether one, and then His kingdom shall never be destroyed.

The Son of Man is said to come in the clouds of heaven, and every eye shall see Him (Rev. i. 7).


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 116 The clouds of heaven are not the CLOUDS OF EARTH. Where could an earthly cloud be placed so that people in Great Britain and people in New Zealand could see it at the same time with eight thousand miles of earth between them? We may ask also how the stars are to fall from heaven to earth when a single one is larger in many cases than the whole earth to which millions would have to fall?

The earthly meaning of the Bible is full of clouds to the unlearned in Divine Truth. When, however, the eyes of the understanding are opened, these clouds, like those in Raphael's grand picture of San Sisto, are full of angel-faces, or rather they are streams of Divine light from the Lord. We see Jesus reflected everywhere. He is our Adam, our Moses, our Joshua, our David, our Solomon, our All in all. He comes to us in the clouds of heaven, and every eye can see Him. The Word is full of God. The Word in its highest wisdom is God (John i. 1).

In the Prophet Zechariah we read: "And the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name One" (xiv. 9). Is this really true? Can we doubt the Divine declaration? Does not every good man's heart acknowledge hopes and intuitions which spring up at such prophecies and make him feel that he does not pray for a vain thing in the Lord's Prayer, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven." The New Testament is equally explicit: "The time cometh when I shall no more speak to you in parables, but I shall show you plainly of the Father" (John xvi. 25). That time has now come. We now see with perfect plainness that though He has been with us a loving Saviour we have not properly known Him, we have only seen His glory dimly, but now we see He is the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. He has said to every one of us, as He said to Philip, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" (John xiv. 9.) The seventh angel has sounded, and there are great voices in heaven saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He," Lord and Christ in one Divine Person, "shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. xi. 15). This is His SECOND COMING.

"Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 117 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed"�or are passing�"away."

Jesus will take death from you and all sorrow and crying. To be carnally-minded is death. Become spiritually-minded and you will find life and peace. You will then never die. You will be removed from earth, but you will live more: in a more perfect body and a more perfect world: a glorious home in everlasting blessedness. In Christianity, as it HAS BEEN for hundreds of years, Jesus has been worshipped as still the Babe of Bethlehem, or as CHRIST UPON THE CROSS, although these were only temporary accommodations of His love when He stooped to save. "He who was from eternity rich for our sakes became poor" (2 Cor. viii. 9), but He did not remain poor. He glorified His Humanity, and rose from the grave, and ascended above all the heavens, CONQUEROR OF DEATH AND HELL, KING OF GLORY, having all power in heaven and earth�from the Sun of heaven filling all things with His Spirit (Eph. iv. 9, 10).

Have you received Him thus as the Father in the Son (John xiv. 15), God in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself? (2 Cor. v. 19). Or have you only been thinking of Him as a suffering Saviour, separate from God, who paid to another God a debt of penalties owing by you? Let Him enter your heart by faith and love as the only wise God our Saviour (Jude 25), who forgives you for HIS OWN SAKE (Isa. xliii. 25), who loves you infinitely and freely, and who will change the vile body of the carnal part of your soul into the likeness of His Glorious Body, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself (Phil. iii. 21). Thus let the Lord Jesus come into your heart as the Everlasting Father as well as the Prince of Peace, as Lord of all, the All in all, the whole Trinity of the Godhead in One, and it will be His SECOND COMING to you.

In the next place, religion in the grander dispensation of the Second Coming is to become absolutely a LAW OF LIFE. While God has been thought of as an angry Being out of Christ, difficult to appease, religion has been regarded as a thing of gloom, often of afflictive ceremonies; denials of reasonable and proper duties and enjoyments have been resorted to under the persuasion that these self-inflicted sorrows would be agreeable to the stern Deity human imaginations have invented.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 118 When, however, we have come to Jesus, the God of love, we see that all He requires is a life of love, by suffusing every act with true wisdom and holy motives grounded in love to God and love to man.

"We can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth us" (Phil. iv. 13). "The yoke of the Saviour is easy, and His burden is light" (Matt. xi. 30). His burden is easy, for it is only "doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with# Him our God" (Mic. vi. 8).

Above all, the Lord is coming to sanctify the central work of domestic life and imbue with His Spirit of Love and Wisdom the sacred ties of marriage. True religion and marriage go hand in hand together. Where marriage is lightly esteemed religion is weak or worthless. When marriage is regarded as the focus of heaven's choicest blessings, and its best representative on earth, the nursery for angels, the centre, the safeguard, and jewel of human society, to be prepared for with sacred purity and guarded with holiest reverence, then will the world be purified in its sources of influence, and happiness, rich, deep, and pure, will irradiate every home.

In the corruptions of the dark ages every condition and every occupation of life has been defiled and disfigured by selfishness,

"The trail of the serpent is over them all."

Government has been the trade of capricious and despicable tyrants instead of the ennobling ministry of true kings of men. Commerce, which is the friendly intercourse of mutual blessings, has been too long the self-seeking game of men anxious only for sordid, and often fraudulent, gain. Christ does not yet reign at the dockyards, but He is coming, and, oh! what a clearing out of trickeries and treacheries must follow.

Work has been despised and degraded. Labour, which is the use of man's God-given faculties, and which diffuses over the earth myriads of beauties and blessings to sustain, enrich, and decorate the world, has been deemed a curse. The rich and noble have been taught to glory in the dignity of having nothing to do. In the "good time coming" it will nor be so. Each man will be trained to rejoice in performing the use which God has fitted him to accomplish, and to do it in the best manner, as his best way of serving Him who is the Infinite Worker, and all whose works are done in truth. Our Blessed Redeemer condescended to work as a carpenter, amongst other reasons to consecrate all labour by His example, and to teach that all happiness is to be sought not in selfish sloth, but in loving usefulness.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 119 Oh! let the laws and the spirit of our Blessed Redeemer come into our workshops; let every youth who comes there come with a well-taught mind, trained by a previous sound education to delight in work, and to earn enough for comfort, enough for health, and enough for progress; but not to be debased by crushing toil, or withering, unhealthy conditions; and the Christian workman shall be Christ's man indeed. The hearts of the multitudes which have been driven away from the religion of talk, of profession, and of so-called FAITH ONLY will come back to the Christ of loving-kindness. The Lord Jesus is coming again; and when He has come into the workshops as the spirit of justice and love there will be no oppression and no strikes, but mutual ministry among the employers, and the employed will manifest that the Lord in very deed is Emmanuel, GOD WITH US.

Again, the Word of God was to be revealed in greater power and grandeur in the latter days (Rev. xix. 13), and this is now being accomplished. The Bible is being spread through all parts of the earth in a manner totally unexampled in any previous age. By millions the Bible Societies are furnishing to all lands the Divine Book by which conies the knowledge of the Lord. And not only so, but men are exploring it and discovering inner and spiritual meanings in the sacred pages undreamt of in the ages of darkness and superstition. The Divine Word, disclosing the thoughts of God, diffusing spirit and life, is indeed being magnified.

Lastly, the Lord Jesus, as the Resurrection and the Life, in His spiritual coming to the soul takes away the FEAR OF DEATH. Indeed, when sin is abolished death is abolished, and all sorrow, pain, and crying; the former things are passed away (Rev. xxi. 4).

There is no death to him who has conquered sin. His removal from earth is a departure to a higher life and a more perfect home. He who keepeth My saying, said the Redeemer, shall never see death (John viii. 51). "Whosoever liveth, and believeth in Me, SHALL NEVER DIE" (John xi. 26). The future life is a higher form of this, as the blossom is higher than the leaf, the butterfly than the caterpillar. He who is trained for heaven has already heaven in himself, already is in company with angels, and already is prepared for the golden sceptre of the messenger of heaven.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 120 He goes to heaven because heaven has come to him.

Away, then, with those carnal dreams of a great parade in the outward sky. No outward trumpeters are wanted to make a clamour in the clouds. What we need is the still small voice of the Saviour God within; that comes like a dew from heaven to refresh and fertilize the wilderness of unregenerate souls and make them blossom like the rose. "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation," or with outward show. Oh when shall we learn the depth of that wonderful declaration, "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke xvii. 20, 21). Gaze not among the outward clouds expecting a coming of the Lord Jesus there. When you love Him, as our text says, He will manifest Himself to you. He is in all the wise arrangements of creation, but you will never see or feel Him there until you open your heart to receive Him as Christ in you, the Hope of Glory (Col. i. 27).

Let the Spirit of the Lord Jesus enter into all you do and say; let Him go forth with you into your farm, your counting-house, your warehouse, your manufactory, your workshop, your council-chamber, and your home, filling you with His Divine Love and Wisdom, and you will soon find the earth brighter about you.

God's world is a glorious world; it only needs you to enter into God's idea of it. Be like-minded with angels, and you will soon find this world like heaven. You wish to enter heaven. Enter, then. Heaven is here also when you let it enter you. There is nothing, my beloved brother and sister, wanting to the Lord's Second Coming, with all its splendour and happiness, but your heartfelt embrace of His Divine Will in all things. Come into His kingdom. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. Even so come, Lord Jesus."




IT is the belief of the New Church that we have certain books inspired of God, and that these are the vehicles to man of a full Divine revelation, a self-revelation of the Highest, and at the same time an unveiling of all the inner and essential facts of human nature and of human history in the past, and in the never-ending future.

These books we regard not merely as inspired, but as so indited by Jehovah that they are not merely human works containing Divine wisdom, but are actually the words of God, whence their collective name the "Word of God." They are holy and Divine in every sentence and every syllable.

Taking as an illustration one of these books, say that of Joshua, it is believed that its sanctity implies that besides and within the literal sense there is a more marvellous spiritual meaning, so that the text as we read it is a continuous parable in which every thing, person, and event corresponds with and signifies some spiritual fact or reality. Thus the Word of God is a vast Divine teaching by parables. This view we proceed to illustrate.

In the study of physical science the first object of the student is to learn what are the facts of nature, and this in as many ways as possible.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 122 When the facts are known, the next question is, How can these facts be brought under a general statement, under a general law or explanation?

For example, from the top of a shot-tower, or of a lofty cliff of known height, a ball of lead falls to the ground in a certain measured time. A ball of cork of the same weight takes a very slightly longer time to fall. The earth travels round the sun in something more than 365 days. The moon's journey is completed in a known time. All these are facts of falling, or rather of the moving of heavy bodies under the influence of their weight.

When Sir Isaac Newton had got a sufficient number of facts of this sort, and had carefully examined them by his wonderful mathematical genius, he found that they all might be brought under one general statement or law, a law of nature, namely, the law of gravitation. Every particle of matter in the universe attracts every other particle with a force directly proportioned to its mass, and inversely proportioned to the square of their distance.

Now our knowledge becomes vastly more complete and useful as soon as stated in a law. Facts are valuable, but all facts contain laws, and the laws once discovered prevail universally through all cases of the same kind; the laws, moreover, are from the moment of their verification the embodiment and treasure-house of further needed knowledge.

So that we may say that facts are stepping-stones to science, and science is the general knowledge brought out of facts.

Thus the world is full of teaching by facts or teaching by instances.

Observe, however, that the instances in this case are taken from material or physical nature; and the principles learned, the laws discovered, are principles and laws of material, or rather physical nature.



In teaching, in science, by facts we arrive at laws, but we remain in the same realm of nature.

The facts are instances of the law.

But suppose that I am telling a story to two or three little children, and as I talk we watch and listen. What do we see and hear? We see round open eyes; we see beautiful play of the muscles (smiles, we call them); we see the eyes grow full of moisture, then tears run down the cheek�suddenly the face shortens, the shoulders and sides shake, and the breathing is quick and noisy. We say in describing the children, They watched us wide-eyed, they smiled, they began to weep, and wept a little while, then they laughed loud and long.

Did the story please them?

Yes, surely, for they gazed with wonder, then smiled with pleasure, then wept with sympathy, then laughed with amused delight.

The facts observed were only facts about muscles, and secretion of tears, and management of breath; but involved in these facts was another higher series of facts with laws or principles of their own.

Facts and laws of thought and emotion are involved in facts and laws of the features, the secretions, the actions of the human body.

The wonder is not in the open eyes, the amusement is not in the laughter, nor is the sympathy or the sorrow in the tears.

I learn all these mental facts about the children not as laws discovered in instances, but as mental facts embodied in corresponding material facts.

Thus we arrive at a law by which we can pass from knowledge of material facts to the knowledge of spiritual facts.



Let me try to state the law so far as we already know

Certain physical facts about the face, the eyes, the muscles, the lungs of children correspond to and therefore indicate certain spiritual facts, so that to mention one implies the other.

The law thus stated is called the law of correspondence between expression and emotion.

What a beautiful law it is! Of course it is pleasant for me to believe that I am helping you to think by these words of mine, but the task would be pleasanter were I but directly helped by seeing in your attitude and faces that you are interested and attentive. Few things can be imagined sadder in some aspects than the experience of a great orator blind to the smiles and tears of his audience.

And then the value of the correspondence between expression and emotion is so universally felt! Home life has much of its charm from the gleam of smiles, the flash of bright eyes, from gentle sighs, kindly tears, and merry laughter. What will you say about the delight which this kind of correspondence gives to courtship and love? And when anger begins to burn, the inflamed cheek and knitted brow, the convulsive clenching of the fist are all precious things; they are warnings to you either to withstand the rising anger or to turn away wrath by the soft answer that disarms.

We have, however, used a word which needs explanation. A smile seen outwardly generally corresponds with pleasure experienced within. So "corresponds" seems a good word, good enough at least. Yet it is not a precise word, as we shall see by another illustration.

There is somewhere a tribe of savages who seem not to have the power of counting as we do. Their word for one is le, for two le le, for three le le le, and so on for a little way, for soon such numbers become puzzling.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 125 We could not well tell the number of our years by such a means of counting.

Ask such a savage how many braves are present in the hunting party, and out of a bag he will take a handful of stones. He will look at one man and drop a stone into his free hand, another for the second, another for the third, and thus till the number is complete. This he will give you for his answer, a true answer if each pebble correspond to one man.

But the correspondence is quite different now from the correspondence of smile with pleasure.

The pebble is chosen to represent a man, let us call it a representative. It is arbitrarily chosen. There seems to be no reason why a pebble is used rather than an acorn. Such a correspondence we will call a representative or a representation. It has no real correspondence that we know of, and is only chosen to represent.

But we do not choose a smile to represent pleasure or a groan to represent pain, and there is a very good reason for our not so choosing. The pleasure causes the smile, the pain causes the groan. So that the one corresponds with the other as cause corresponds with effect.

Correspondence is the better word when the spiritual is the cause of the material thing or event; representation when the material has been chosen to indicate or signify the spiritual.

Our words, as words, represent thoughts. There is no natural correspondence that we know of between sound and meaning. One spoken sound represents for us oysters, etc., for the Germans a haddock; another for us represents a foot-covering, for the French a cabbage.

Our expressive features correspond with the mind and heart within, as the mind or heart causes the motions which are signified by the smiles and tears which we see.



Now let us stop for a while to look at these correspondences and representatives, are they very useful to us?

The correspondences are. All internal emotion tends to express itself, all internal thought is glad when it can utter itself in act or gesture.

The representatives of thought are useful too. Who can tell the value of words? Were we cut off from all power of indicating thought and emotion by gesture and words, all thinking would be personal, and all growth in knowledge by education would be impossible. In fact we should be more isolated from one another than oxen, less intelligent than asses.

So that we come to this fact, that correspondences and representatives are essentially necessary to all intelligent beings who are to live in society and to have intercourse with one another.

Such a phenomenon as we have in all literature, thought in the writer and then thinkers everywhere coming into contact with him through the printed page, would be impossible were it not for these two grand principles of correspondence and representation.

Spiritual causes produce effects which we can see or hear, these are correspondences.

Spiritual beings select or choose things which may or do represent their ideas, these are representatives. And without such correspondences and representations there can be no communication of ideas and sentiments.

We must now go further. There are other correspondences besides those of feature with emotion, those of physiognomy with character, and those of words with thoughts.

There are, for instance, correspondences between a man's work and the man himself. A ship is being fitted up with pumps. In one of these the bucket is attached to the rod by a screw, and inasmuch as the bucket suffers more from wear and tear than do the other parts of the pump it is usual to send out with the pumps a number of spare buckets.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 127 Now it is clear that each bucket must be made so as to screw on to any one of the rods; the size and form and pitch of the thread must be exactly the same, and any failure in this respect will make the bucket useless. But there need be no failure, care and honesty in the maker working at his lathe will secure an easy and yet a perfect fit in each case. Hence the work done tells something about the workman: an easy and perfect fit tells of his honesty and care, a tight fit or a slack fit reveals carelessness, and no fit at all shows that the workman is bad and reckless; he has not acted on the knowledge that his neglect may cost the safety of the ship, and may hurry a whole crew out of this life.

The work shows the workman. The work done is the effect of the character of the artisan; that character is the cause of its perfection or imperfection. Work and character correspond as effect corresponds with cause. Thus we have a kind of teaching by parables. You say this man made a bucket that would not screw on, that man made a key that would not open the lock, another man made a window-sash that would not slide, and so on; you speak of physical defects in the work, and yet you are describing in simplest parables the character of the various workmen.

Now let me suppose a case of a different kind, let me suppose that a man devotes a great part of his life to two objects; he seeks to learn all he can about electricity, how it is called into activity, how it works, how its destructive effects in lightning may be averted, how its powers may be made serviceable to man; he discovers the laws of electricity, and teaches how to convey messages by it, how to propel carriages by it, how to light houses by it. and how to defend them from burglars, how to hinder explosions in mines by its use, and at the same time he shows how electricity is concerned in the operations of nature and in the facts of human life.



Next let us suppose that in treatises for the scientific, and in pamphlets and tracts simple enough for all to understand, he publishes all that he knows, sells these things cheaply to willing purchasers, and gives them to those unwilling to buy, and implores all to accept what ever he can teach.

The work shows the workman, the man we speak of is an intense lover of scientific truth, at the same time he is not selfish, he takes out no patent, freely he receives or with labour and cost he acquires knowledge, and yet freely he gives to all who will take.

He is a lover of truth and a lover of mankind.

Tell what he does, and by a parable you tell what kind of a man he is.

Now look around you, can you see anything? Yes, faces and figures of men, size and arrangement of the room in which you sit, with its adornment; all this is possible, because there is light and you have eyes. Go out of doors and you will be guided and guarded by light, while in your home you find that your enjoyment of food and ease are added to by light. Nay, how much of your spiritual happiness arises from evidences of wifely, filial, brotherly, sisterly love given by light!

Think what the stars are to the mariner, and remember that their light reveals to the astronomer their distances, movements, and constitution. Visit some museum of art or science, and remember that all its beauty is light, the one creator of its treasures is light. The beautiful hills and dales of our land are results of light; the growth of grass and grain, the health of your bodies, the instruction of your minds, the development of your morals, the salvation of your souls are all in great part the gift of light.



Observe another thing. The bucket was made for the rod and the rod for the bucket, and both of them for the pump-barrel; the pump-barrel was made for them both.

Their mutual agreement shows their intended use each with the others. There has been one design wisely carried out with a regard to use.

So what were light to us without eyes? What would light be if we were in a universe through which it passed without reflection and without all other action?

You will see, then, that the eyes were made for light and light for them; the world, the planets, comets, and stars were made with reference to the light and to ourselves.

Thus there is a threefold correspondence between light the revealer, the universe which is revealed by it, and man who by light receives that revelation.

Thus the universe is one of truth, it is pervaded by the truth that reveals. Everything in it has reference and relation to the truth, and presents some diverse aspect of the truth, and man is a living receiver of truth.

Truth being thus embodied in the universe, thus pervading the universe, and thus presented by it to man, we are compelled to recognise that God Himself is infinitely the truth, and at the same time that every visible thing has correspondence with God and with man as to truth. The correspondence being thus stated,�The Lord's infinite wisdom is a cause (His goodness is the primal cause) of all things, while all things are presenting that truth to man, who himself is fitted to receive constantly the knowledge of the truth.

So, too, is it with whatever else is found in God, in whom is eternal love, limitless power, immeasurable beauty, inexhaustible beneficence.



The things of earth are therefore correspondences of that which is in God, and as all are related to man, everything being a means of instruction and blessing to him, we come to the conclusion that the universe is a vast system of teaching by parables.

Things physical correspond with things spiritual.

And it is only through the physical that we, as inhabitants of the earth, are led into the knowledge of the eternal truth and goodness and the omnipotence of our God.

Were man's mind in an unfallen state, if our hearts, our wills (which after all control and govern our mental insight),�were these in full sympathy with the heart and will, the love and goodness of our God, we should be able at once and clearly to recognise these correspondences, and to read in the parables of nature the lessons of eternal truth.

We have not this sympathy with God, and need to be taught. How shall such teaching be given to us? Man by his own wisdom knew not God, and thus it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. But all preaching must reach man from without, whether Jehovah speaks to Abraham by his tent, or Jesus on the Galilean mount; or whether Ezra the priest, with Joshua and Banu and the rest, read in the book of the law, and give the sense, and cause the people to understand the reading; in every case faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

In other words, spiritual teaching is conveyed by words of human speech; and these words of human speech are derived from the Word of God, and compose that Word in its external form.

But all such words of human speech are the expression of human thinkings, and these are used as the embodiment of Divine truths.



All words, therefore, used in spiritual instruction are originally instances of teaching by parables. Knowledge of this world and of our experience, internal and external, in this world is used as the parable form of Divine truth. This may be illustrated by many examples.

This love is probably the same word as life. Love is hind, it is a feeling of kindred or kinship; it is sympathetic, it implies that I can and do feel as you feel; it is obliging, it binds one to another; it is accommodating, it fits me to you and you to me, so that there is mutual support without mutual friction; it is warm, ardent, glowing, zealous, it is full of the fire of the soul. So with a multitude of words and expressions.

Again with truth. Man is intelligent, he takes in what is offered; he is illuminated, filled with light; a subject is illustrated, the light of truth is thrown upon the subject.

So still more when we think of God, the good Being; He is the infinite and eternal, known by His relations to space and time; He is the Most High or the Supreme, He has glory, majesty, sovereignty. In His self-revealing He is Prophet, Priest, King, anointed as with oil; a Saviour, or one who enlarges or sets free the bound. Then, too, He is called David, or the Son of David, the Lamb, the Passover, the Shepherd, the Way, the True Light, the True Vine, the True Bread, the Sun of Righteousness; He inspires, He redeems, He mediates, He intercedes.

All these words are obviously parables, and all other words used on all spiritual subjects are remotely but none the less really parables.

So it is universally true of that Only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, and who alone in all ages has manifested God, that not only in His incarnation, but throughout human history, "without a parable spake He not" unto us.



The world, then, is a series of parables.

In fads science finds laws.

In experience philosophy looks for principles of universal knowledge.

In all things and events of nature there are embodied spiritual truths.

And all revelation is given in human language and in the form of parables.

The Word, then, is a series of parables.

See what this involves.

Read Genesis xxi., you have part of the history of Sarah and Hagar; the record is a true one and valuable, as all history is valuable: it is an embodiment and display of the Providence of God; but besides this, the external and literal meaning, the apostle bids us recognise the history as a parable in which the persons Sarah and Hagar represent two distinct dispensations or states of the Church.

The histories of the Word are parables, and their best value is in the internal sense, in which they treat primarily of spiritual things concerning the Lord and His Church.

Read again the 22nd Psalm, beginning with the words, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" You read herein an exalted and most poetical statement of the external and internal experiences of David, but at the same time you are reading of the temptations and sufferings of the Lord our Saviour.

The Psalms are parables, for the persons and experiences of the Psalmists are types and parables of Jesus.

Read in the Prophets the burden of Egypt, the burden of Dumah, the predictions of Cyrus, the visions of dry bones, of the waters of the sanctuary, and so on; all these are parables, for the testimony of Jesus is still and always the spirit of prophecy, whatever person, nation, or events may be the subject of the literal sense.



Some parables are of possible events, as some of our Lord's�the parables of feasting, of pounds and talents, and of the prodigal.

Some are direct statements of spiritual facts, as that of the rich man and Lazarus.

Some are of natural science, as those of mustard seed, of leaven, and of the fig-tree.

Some parables are literally untrue, as that of Jotham. Some are histories, like the Exodus.

Some are myths, like those of Creation and Deluge.

Now observe the marvel which is involved in this.

We have old-world myths, as of the Serpent, the Deluge, and Babel; these are parables of Divine truth, and to such an extent is the Divine truth present in them that every sentence, every phrase is a revelation; can this have been accomplished by merely human intelligence?

We have a pointed fable like that of Jotham, directed by him to certain people�to the men of Shechem-intended by the speaker to rebuke a specific act of folly, their making Abimelech king and wronging the family of (Gibeon) Jerubbaal; and this parable, so local, so temporary, so personal in its visible origin, contains within it universal teachings of world-wide and eternal application.

Again the prophets did not understand their prophecies; they were, Peter says, searching what [time] or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, did point unto when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow them; yet these same prophets in their ignorance have left page on page, chapter on chapter, book on book, every sentence, phrase, and word of which is a revelation of the highest, widest, most important spiritual facts and principles.



Is the Word of God, the vast system of teaching by parables, is it inspired?

The question is as unnecessary as the question whether man is made by man or by God.

Man works, and his work is a parable; into the material which he employs he puts, so much wisdom and beneficence, so much motive and contrivance and beauty as he can, and sometimes succeeds in making a marvel of beauty and of use, an engine, an adaptation of electricity or other force of nature, a work of art, a treatise of science; but when you have sounded to its depths any human work, you will find that it contains nothing beyond the limit and range of man's own conscious intelligence and emotion, and all this is only feebly and superficially expressed. But look upon a work of God, on a growing plant of wheat, what do we find in it?

The slender shaft, hollow and as strong as its material can possibly be made, is channelled into the beauty of a fluted pillar by its very growth. Its hue, its refreshing green is the very colour which most promptly seizes on the virtue of actinic, i.e. of chemical or vital energy in the sunbeam; its cellular and fibrous structure is not merely a means of strength and elasticity whereby it can bow before the storm and rise in calmer airs, it is the pathway for sap that bears the wealth of the soil to the laboratories of its life, and storehouses where new-made treasures are garnered up for use to beast and man; its channelled leaves spread wide, in corrugated strength and width of surface, the living web which is woven from the viewless gases of the air.

Its ear is built of a hundred five-walled chambers, within which are celebrated in beautiful parable the mysteries of holy love; and then there grows there a mass, small but precious, of the bread of life, in which there is a life that is its own, the promise that while sun and moon and earth endure, seedtime shall not cease nor harvests fail for ever.



The work of God is manifold; it is full of beauty and of use, and within these obvious beauties of His work there are still the hiding-places of His power, His wisdom, and His love.

Such and so beautiful and so manifold is His Word. He speaks not but by parables, and His Word, His parables are spirit and truth. They have their meaning by their correspondence with the world we see and with the world which we see not, and thus they cannot be understood except through a knowledge of correspondence and its laws. The mystics of all ages have believed in this. Paul declares it true, the prophets and the inspired have embodied this fact and law in their utterances and records; and wherever we find that the writings before us are not merely literal but spiritual also, we know that we are reading the inspired, reading the wisdom of God for those who are led by duty, warmed by charity, quickened into a perfect life by love, and so led on towards a Divine life of a goodness as well as of a wisdom that is truly infinite.

And among the grandest and most precious workings of Providence in recent times we must count this as prominent, that the existence of these correspondences and their interpretation has been so presented by the Lord Himself in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, that we may join in the thanksgiving which heaven addresses to the Lamb, who has opened for us, for ever, the seals of the Word of God.




THE question which we propose to consider is one which has been frequently discussed, and one which must urge itself on the attention of the thoughtful and the earnest. It is this, "Can God be infinitely good and all-powerful, and yet allow Evil to come forward and cause the Ruin of Mankind?"

Few questions, indeed, have excited more argument than the question, How did evil originate? How, it has been often triumphantly asked by sceptical philosophers, can God be infinitely good and all-powerful, and yet permit the existence of evil and its ruinous consequences? Surely, it is said, He has the power to restrain evil at any stage in its progress. This is true; but is it consistent with the ends of creation that He should do so? Let us see if there is not a purpose in creation consistent with the existence of evil and the eternal goodness and omnipotence of the Creator. At the outset we must concede as the premises one of two theories�either that man is the subject of a predetermined destiny arranged by the Divine Will and ordered by decrees, or man is endowed with freedom of will, and thence morally responsible for all his acts. I chose the latter, and consider the origin and growth of evil from this standpoint.



Therefore we conclude that in the creation of man the first great purpose of God was to call into being and establish an order of intelligences capable of an individual existence, morally and spiritually�with the power to think rationally and love wisely, as if of themselves�in order that there might be�out of and separate from Himself�beings on whom He could bestow His love and whom He could enlighten from His wisdom, with the full power on the part of the recipient, in his degree, to reciprocate that love and apply that wisdom to the direction of his conduct. Man was therefore made in the image and likeness of his Creator, and endowed with the powers necessary to this reciprocal relation. The chief of these endowments was freedom of the will; for without this freedom in its perfect form, love is impossible, since it ceases to be love whenever it is compelled. By virtue of this man was given the power to love whomsoever he willed to love, whether God and his neighbour or himself and the world. This freedom was of necessity so given to man as to be absolutely his own. It came from the Creator, but having been given to man, it was man's; for if the Creator designed that man should reciprocate His love, it was necessary that he should be endowed with ability to withhold that reciprocation of the Creator's love, and turn to love himself or some other than the Creator, without affecting his immortality or freedom, or his individuality. The least reflection upon the nature of love and its outgoings will satisfy us that God must have created man an independent being in all this relation�capable of even hating his Creator, on whom he depends for existence�if He would have man capable of loving Him or responsible for disobedience or wrong. Freedom of choice was therefore guaranteed to man, as the foundation of his individuality. His selfhood or proprium rests upon this guarantee, and by it he is made responsible for all his acts.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 138 And here, too, is the grandest exhibition of the Divine Love and Wisdom �in the creation of a being wholly dependent for his existence, and yet secured in a freedom by which he can repel and reject the very love that called him into being, and from which he daily draws his supply of life. This condition was in itself perilous to the creature; but it was the only one in which the high purposes of creation could be wrought out. It poised man upon the most delicately-balanced verge, where the power to turn either way was so easily exerted as to require unceasing vigilance to exercise it for good, and where equilibrium when lost was extremely hard to recover.

Here man is held as the planets in their orbits�the Divine Love, acting upon him, like the centripetal force of the sun upon the planet, tends to absorb his individuality; while his selfhood centrifugally draws him away towards the outer limits, and far from God. Attracted by the Divine Love, and hastening to reciprocate that sentiment, man would be liable to lose himself, and be absorbed in the Divine; and this state has been looked upon by some philosophers as the sublime goal of man's career. This is the Nirvana or Nihilism of the Buddhists. But it is not the Divine purpose that man should be so absorbed, but rather that he should stand out strong in his individuality, and learn to maintain the position assigned him in a virtue that will respect selfhood, resist self-worship, and reciprocate the love of God. However strongly the Divine Love may draw him, man's independence is guarded by the Wisdom that called him into being, while the danger besets him on the side that is given into his own keeping; for the undue action of his individuality will tend to destroy the equilibrium on one side, and the proper relation to the Creator would be broken up.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 139 The least turning in upon himself of the power to love would turn the balance against man; and then his selfhood, in the delight of his freedom, would be tempted into excesses, and evil would spring from such excess in its rankest growth. To love oneself for the sake of self is to hate all others who do not minister to that love�not only by loving us, but by serving us. Man thus sets himself up as a god; and demanding others to serve and worship him, defies God Himself�as his enemy.

With this view of creation we can most readily conceive of the origin of evil and its continuance. With the slightest examination of ourselves, we can see that evil comes of the abuse of our freedom, and the prostitution of the powers given us to do that which will make us happy. And this is equally true of what affects our physical enjoyments. The abuse of what is good brings evil and leads to further evil. Whenever we lose the balance by which we are held in freedom to do good or evil, we fall upon the side of self-love, and sin and suffering follow as effect follows cause. Nor is there any occasion for us to go back to the first ages to find the origin of evil; for though it came to the first man in this way, it grows to-day in our hearts in like manner. The danger of falling into evil is continually present with us, and is inseparably attendant upon the very qualities by which we are human, and which give to us the likeness of God. The individuality, the selfhood, or more properly, the manhood, in which our freedom is founded�by which we love our heavenly Father and are perfected in righteousness�has only to over-estimate itself in the slightest manner to fall by successive degrees into every abomination and wickedness.



The Divine Love is ever drawing us within its influence with all the force that our freedom can endure; and the degree of force by which we can be held in the nearest relation to the Divine centre, consistent with the preservation of our individual freedom, is the measure of force that His wisdom prescribes. The only condition in which we can enjoy true happiness is that where we use the power that He has given us to love Him .and our fellow-creatures as if we loved them of ourselves, and yet retain a sense of doing so from Him. This is the condition of salvation�when man so devotes his powers, in the free exercise of his will, that he does what he sees to be good from choice, and can always turn towards the good and away from the evil with delight.

Since heaven is not so much a place as a state of happiness into which we enter during this life as well as that to come, no man can be forced into it. To compel him in this respect would so destroy man's freedom and individuality that he would be utterly annihilated; and the selfhood by which he exists would give place to a totally different selfhood�would be another existence without the thoughts and affections which make up his entity. I am forced to conclude, therefore, that the unregenerate will, or the will that has fixed its affectionate choice upon evil, cannot enter heaven; nor can it be compelled to enter without working its moral destruction�without rendering it an entire nullity.

But it may be asked, Does not the end of creation fail if God cannot save man even against his will? Can we admit that the will of man is capable of resisting the will of God? Is not the Divine purpose thus frustrated? In answer we must consider what that purpose is.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 141 Had it been to make a planetary system or the vegetable or animal kingdoms of nature, where all is so much machinery, working by fixed laws, or to make a moral world to work by the same rules, most certainly man's will would have yielded obedience at all times, and evil could not have entered. But the Divine purpose was evidently a higher one than that. It was to produce a moral creation that would approach as nearly to a likeness of the Creator as it was possible for a creature to be. Moral responsibility is dependent upon the freedom of the will for its existence; and freedom of the will cannot exist in finite creatures without a perpetual guarantee of the power to accept or reject, approach or repel, to love or to hate. The end of the creation of man is therefore accomplished when the greatest possible number of the race is saved from evil, and the greatest amount of happiness possible is imparted to those who have fallen into different degrees of evil, consistent with the freedom with which they were created and their remaining capacity to enjoy what is good.

To the logic of this argument we add our own experience and every day's observation of the fact that evil does exist�that we see it and feel it. We have seen how evil could originate with the first man and with every succeeding individual; and we can readily imagine how it may grow and cover the earth�through this world of nature and the world of spirits�till it may overwhelm man's power to resist it in the ordinary exercise of his will. We can understand how evil is cumulative in its character; for as soon as we give way to one temptation, we lose, in a degree, the POWER to resist another; and instead of a balanced condition of choice, we find ourselves on the side of evil and within ITS power. This is one of the suppositions that every man is perfect as at the beginning.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 142 But when we remember that evil becomes hereditary with us, like disease, and that the whole moral atmosphere of the world in which we live is corrupted with it, we may well conclude that of ourselves we can do nothing.

IT IS NO NEW DOCTRINE to the thinking man who has considered his mental structure, that we live in contact with a world of mind�of SPIRITS, if you please�whose influence is constantly affecting us for good or evil, the wicked tempting us to wrong, while angels, as ministers of grace, defend us against evil. Then "the whole world lieth in wickedness," and man cannot save himself from such a state. He must be restored, redeemed, regenerated, by help from WITHOUT himself. This help comes to us daily, and has come to man in all ages, in the care of the Divine Providence and the ceaseless outflowing of His love and life, whose rays, like those of the sun, shine upon all. This love that is very commonly spoken of as the Divine grace goes forth to every man. He who is nearest to it, or opens himself to it, or who has not hidden himself from it, is most happily affected by it. It is saving grace to him who comes within its influence. There it warms us into life, and nourishes us into a growth of POWER OVER EVIL.

It is evidently a part of the Divine economy to work by means, and especially to treat mankind as personal intelligences in the use of such means. Therefore He gives us commands and exacts obedience to them as tests of our virtue and exercise of our powers. He has also surrounded us with relations to things out of ourselves to and by which we can perform acts for the benefit of others. He commands us to love Him, but to express that love He tells us to do good to those around us. We may contemplate the infinity of His character and adore Him in His greatness;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 143 but when He comes to judge us, He tells us that inasmuch as we have not done acts of charity and usefulness to His little ones, we have or have not loved or honoured Him. He has placed Himself before us in the character of those to whom our love and kindness can impart happiness, and toward whom our love can grow by its exercise. Indeed, He has so constituted us that we cannot rest from labours of love and use to those around us unless our love for Him perishes. We love God whom we have not seen by loving our brother whom we have seen. He has made this world the theatre where we are to act our part in relation to His creatures either for good or evil. The duties of life are the parts assigned us; and in them we are tried and developed. Religions have been instituted as the means of referring the relations of life to God; and the faithfulness with which these duties are discharged is made the measure of our obedience to the mandates of heaven.

From the condition of our creation, and the nature of our relation to the Creator, we are the objects of His continual care; and a Divine Providence is exercised over all our lives, guarding and guiding us at every step, to protect that power of our freedom necessary to the requirements of righteous law. It matters little whether we call it grace or love, it is the Providence of a parent whose ways are higher than our ways. This Providence extends to all�making angels the guardians and ministers of grace to men, and causing men in all their social ramifications to minister to each other in the services of this Providence�He, above all, protecting by His wisdom and attracting by His love. The happiness or enjoyment of religion is to see that wisdom and to feel that love, and in all things know that a Father holds us in His hand; and feel that the truth that however sinful we may be, or however widely we may wander, He does not forget us.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 144 We are errant and wandering children; and whatever this Providence may do for us, we are prone to forget its presence and its power. Like lost sheep, we for ever go astray; and, like a good shepherd, He is ever searching after us and calling us to Him. Man does indeed seem unworthy of such a Providence; and when we think of the space between the Infinite and the finite, we are tempted to reject a faith in Providence as something requiring Him to stoop too low. But we must not forget that whatever there is of purpose in our creation, contemplates our perfect development as individuals, and the infinity of the Universal Father embraces the least of us by that infinity. It is not unphilosophical, or unreasonable, to believe that we are individually in the care of our Creator. I know that, after the manner of the world, it is hard to conceive of; but it is not MORE so than everything that surrounds and lies before us when we attempt the solution of the MYSTERIES OF LIFE.

In this belief the world has ever held that the Divine would become incarnate and live among men; and the Christian accepting Jesus of Nazareth as that incarnation, at every anniversary of Christmas, observed so joyously over all the world, celebrates the advent of the Infinite upon earth, coming down to man, because man could not rise to Him,�God in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. The idea that God as the principle of life, as the Spirit of universal love, is present everywhere, is quite reconcilable to our philosophies; but the doctrine that He took upon Himself a human body of matter, and dwelt with men upon the earth, is chiefly received by the simply faithful and those schooled in the HIGHER learning that teaches of eternal things.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 145 Those philosophizing on these subjects are prone to run into pantheism, and look upon the material universe as a living being, with Divinity for its soul. All this is true enough in one sense; but it leaves us without that most essential feature of faith, that man is an individual, bearing a recognisable relation to his Creator as an individual also, each knowing of and regarding the other; God taking cognizance of me and requiring that I shall not forget Him. To enable us to conceive of this, He tells us that He made man in His own likeness; which is in effect telling us that He is a man, a Divine man of course, while we are finite; and in that relation He regards us individually, and extends a Providence over us, reaching into all time and embracing every member of the race, as an individual worthy of his creation, of his preservation and salvation, to the extent of its acceptance by the creature. I take it that this is the only relation in which the moral responsibility of man can be maintained. It is only when holding us near to Him in the relation of parent and child that we exercise the freedom necessary to our accountability. Indeed, our civil, social, and political responsibility in life are predicated upon the fact that we are so created.

How the Divine Providence is exercised over man is a speculation that we can only attempt. It may be much of it performed through ministering spirits who wait upon us as guardian angels after they have passed from their labours in this world, and a thousand agencies of His appointment unknown to us; while the laws and relations of states, societies, and families are daily acting as a part of that Divine economy that orders everything aright, and is ever present in the influence of His love. I said He requires us to express our love for Him by loving our neighbours in all good acts that we can perform toward them by word or deed.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 146 Properly we call any good service we can render our fellow-men love to them, because these things spring from love. As God is so far above us that we cannot do any service for Him, He has placed Himself before us in those to whom we can minister. All our love to Him must pass through our fellow-creatures; for all our piety or adoration of Him will pass for nothing unless fed by the flames of charity to our neighbour. He, then, who comes into such earnest love for man that he will seek all occasions to do them good, comes also into that love of God that brings him where all things will work together for his good, making his redemption certain. But the good to us may be UNSEEN in the present time and present life, as the retribution of evil may not be seen. To judge of the Divine Providence we must think of the present and future world together, and remember that to be saved from death or affliction is not always a blessing; nor is it always an evil to die or to suffer.       

But to the subject of incarnation. Nothing seems more properly to grow from the fitness of things than that God, being Divine Human, should exhibit His Humanity to man in such a tangible manner that we can at all times think of Him as human and refer to Him as occupying a position in time and space. As a spirit God could only manifest Himself to spirits as such, or to men on earth, by opening their spiritual eyes as the eyes of the servant of Elijah were opened. But to mankind at large He must come in a material body to be appreciated in the sensual condition to which men have fallen; so that by fully coming down on their plane He could gather them to Him and elevate them to a perception of the spiritual and the heavenly.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 147 By thus taking upon       Himself a natural body and becoming one of us, He manifested Himself to those grosser minds and those lower intellects that can grasp nothing but the material; while on that plane He meets the simplest infancy of our nature, where thought receives its first culture, so that a conception of the heavenly Father could take a place in THE FIRST LESSONS WE LEARN.

Waiving a discussion of the doctrine of human redemption, or the manner in which it was wrought, its first step was the ADVENT OF THE DIVINE. That Jesus of Nazareth was God, "conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary," is not only consistent with Omniscience and Omnipotence, but it is natural and logical, from all the premises of the case�ay, far more so than any other means we could suggest. It was unusual, and we call it miraculous; but it was no miracle when we regard the means and the end, for God was there. All about it is fitness and propriety. The Most High passes by all that is esteemed great of men, and calls a virgin from the lowly walks of life to bear the Divine Humanity down into the natural world, and present Him where none of the surroundings of man's wealth or grandeur could minister to the occasion. They for whom "there was no room at the inn," the harmless beasts of burden and an innumerable throng of angels were the witnesses of that incarnation which had been the theme of prophets and the song of poets in every land and age�now sung in the refrain by angel voices and echoed through the long arches of the coming future�that hymn of hymns, "Glory to God in the highest! Peace on earth, and goodwill among men!" As "one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," so the glory of this hour shone back through the vision of the prophets upon the past, while the whole future was radiant with the story of GOD WITH us and man redeemed.



Entering upon the plane of humanity at its humblest level, He rose through all the trials and temptations that beset poor fallen mortals; conquering evil for man, and vanquishing the powers of infernalism that men had ceased to withstand; fighting our battles with the wrong that we might rise to the power of doing the right; bearing our burdens and sharing our griefs as man; bidding the water into wine to enliven the marriage feast; and weeping at the grave of Lazarus�a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, yet in all things worthy of the Divine. Whatever doubts may have beset the sceptic, or whatever objections the unbelieving may have raised, the Divinity is present in all we see of Him�everywhere the Creator, who made man that he might love Him, and who maintains him by His Providence, is seen in the character of Jesus. He teaches such things as men had never taught, and teaches them as one having authority. Never was the simplicity so combined with the grandeur. His wonderful works did not seem to astonish His followers; nor do they surprise us when we read them to-day. Their very manner impresses us with the idea that they are worthy of Divinity and consistent with the Son of God walking among men to lead them to heaven. Prophets and teachers of Israel had entreated and admonished that people with all the fervour of their mission; but it was only Jesus that could look upon the city and say, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how oft would I have gathered you under My wings, but ye would not!" This, which neither man nor angels could say, bears so plainly the love of the Father and the power of the Creator that we dare not doubt.



Wherever He went, and in all He did among men, whether in preaching the Word of life to the multitude, feeding them from the few loaves and fishes, stilling the fury of the storm, opening the grave in sympathy for weeping friends, standing grandly silent before Pilate, bearing His own cross, or praying, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do," the Divinity is seen in all. Standing among men as one of them, and yet the Lord and Master of all, compelling earth, waves, disease, sin, and death to obedience; while taking a little child as an example, He gently, sweetly leads the erring, the wilful, and the suffering�all who will follow�to the fold of His care, saving to each his manly freedom that we may "love Him because He first loved us."

Here are themes that may fill volumes. The whole subject is fruitful of thought, and calculated to remind us of all that concerns us as mortals. It tells again the joyful truth that beyond the narrow limits of this life lies another life, upon which we are to enter when the fitful dream of this world has passed�to reap as we have sown, and harvest from our planting of good or ill. It tells us also that God is the Father of us all, who has called His children to Him in every age and every land; and though they have forgotten His name and many times set up the work of their own hands to worship in His place, He calls them still, and loves them with a Father's love. It tells us too that He has come, and that the long-expected God of every nation does indeed descend and dwell with men as Father and Saviour, and still is with them to protect and guide and save.




"Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be."�REV. xxii. 12.

THE Lord created man to be the object of His love and the recipient of His life. He has endowed him with capacities indefinitely varied in form and countless in number, that he might receive His infinite life in ever-increasing variety and fulness. And for every orderly action the Lord has provided a reward, and that reward is some form and degree of delight. The Lord created man capable of receiving delight from all relations and all contacts, both from without and from within. Man is His child, and the Father's love has made every possible provision for his happiness. He has adapted all things in all worlds to his nature, and given them to him as the messenger of His love, and the instruments of communicating delight. He made him to be an embodied joy. Man, being finite, could not receive the infinite fulness of the Divine Love; and the Lord has so constituted him that his capacity to receive shall constantly increase with the increase of his powers, so that there can be no limit to his blessedness beyond which he cannot pass.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 151 No imagination can conceive, and no tongue, not even of the highest angel, can express, the fulness and exquisite blessedness that the human soul is capable of enjoying. Yes, full of pain, of struggle, and restraint, as the life of almost all men is, yet every human soul was made to be the embodiment of the Divine Life, and to be warmed, quickened, and filled with the exhaustless and ineffable blessedness of the Divine Love.

Such being the possibilities of man's nature, and the end for which he was created, the question naturally arises, How can he attain it? How can he get into the right path and move steadily on towards this shining goal? The Lord answers the question when He says, "My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be." We are to attain this blessedness by our works. What, then, are we to understand by works?

Man is able to perform an almost infinite variety of works. He can work with a part of his nature or the whole. He can work with his hands and feet, with just mind enough to direct them. He can work with his understanding in opposition to his natural will, and he can work with his will in opposition to his understanding. We will or desire to do things which we do not know how to do, and we know how to do things which we do not will or desire to do. All these separate and partial acts are works, but they are not complete works; they do not express the whole man; they often come into painful collision with each other.



Man is also capable of various orders and degrees of activity. He can work as a natural man, the whole circle of his thoughts and affections being bounded by this world; or he can work as a spiritual being, performing all his works with reference to his spiritual and eternal interests. The higher the faculties called into action, the nobler the work, and the greater the reward. It is evident that the outward deed is not always an evidence of the actual work. It may be only a cloak to hide it. The faculty actually called into exercise is the work done, and the reward is according to the work, because it comes to us by means of the activities called into play in doing it, and it could come in no other. If it is a work of the will, manifested in some form of the love of self, of the world, of the neighbour, or the Lord, the reward is the delight of loving in each of these forms and degrees; if it is an exercise of the understanding, man has the reward appropriate to that; if it is a merely physical work, he obtains natural rewards. The highest reward can only be obtained when all the faculties of the soul, from the highest to the lowest, are called into harmonious and orderly activity. When man sustains orderly relations to the Lord, from whom he receives his being and the power to perceive delight; and to men, and all created things through which he receives it, the Lord comes to him in every plane and form of his mind, flowing into his will, and through that into his understanding, and through that down into ultimate speech and deed, filling every form with the fulness of delight, according to its quality and degree.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 153 In this case the natural act or work is the embodiment and expression of all the faculties that lie above it. They all speak through and in it, and thus it becomes the criterion of judgment and reward.

Such being the nature of works, and of the reward that accompanies them, there is no question so vital to human happiness as this, How can we do the highest works, and thus obtain the largest possible reward? To accomplish this end two things mainly must be done. There are obstacles that must be removed and actual works accomplished.

If man is so delicately and perfectly organized that he is capable of being moved to all heavenly harmonies and delights by the inflowing life of the Lord, it follows that all his relations to the Lord must be adjusted according to a most perfect order, and that the laws of this order he must obey. Any deviation from them must prove a defect in his work, and accordingly in his reward. The fundamental principle of this order is love to the Lord and to man. This is the order into which man was originally created; it is the likeness and image of God in man; and it is consequently the only way in which the Lord can come to him with His rewards. All our delights flow from love. This is the Lord's way of giving us happiness�the way infinite wisdom has devised.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 154 Can there be a better? Can there be any other way? Certainly not. And yet we must all be conscious of endeavouring to find happiness in another way�in the indulgence of selfish and worldly loves. All these works must therefore be hindrances to the Lord's coming with the rewards of His love; consequently they must be put away. This is our first and greatest work. This really constitutes all the labour of life. In the language of our doctrines, "we must shun evils as sins against God." This is a work which we must do with the whole man; with our hearts, our heads, and our hands. If we shun evils in outward act merely, or from fear of the loss of reputation, or for the purposes of any worldly or selfish success, or from fear of their consequences alone, we do not shun the evil; we are only trying to evade its consequences. To shun an evil as a sin, then, is to hate and abhor it because it is "infernal and diabolical," and "consequently against the Lord and against Divine laws." To shun the evil of theft from fear of detection and imprisonment is not to shun theft, but the penitentiary. To shun dishonesty in trade from the fear of losing business, or confidence, is not to shun dishonesty, but the loss of wealth or a good name. To shun murder for fear of the gallows is to shun the loss of life, and not murder. And to shun any evil from any other motive than because it is foul, infernal, and hateful, and in its very nature opposite to all that is good and true, is not to shun the evil as a sin, but only its appearance, or consequences.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 155 We must acknowledge that evils are as hateful in ourselves as they are in others; and we must shun them with the same abhorrence that we would shun any loathsome and fatal disease.

But we have not by nature an intuitive perception of what evil is. We often call evil good, and good evil. Every man who has begun to lead a spiritual life can see that many things in him are evil which he once called good, and he abhors to do many things which he once not only allowed, but took delight in. To discover what are evils, and consequently hindrances to the attainment of our highest good, we need light. We must learn genuine truths. And these we can find in the Word. The Decalogue tells us what we must not do. "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." "Thou shalt not kill," commit adultery, steal, bear false witness, covet. And, as we have seen, it is not sufficient to shun them in overt act. We must not do them in the heart, nor in the thought, any more than in the act. We must search our hearts in the light of Divine Truth as with a candle; search them as we would search our houses if we suspected thieves and robbers, or poisonous reptiles, were concealed in them; search them as we would search our own bodies if we had been exposed to some incurable disease and suspected its deadly virus was working within us. We must search for our evils as we would for any difficulty that opposed the attainment of our greatest earthly good. We must try to discover what is evil in the Lord's sight, and not merely in our opinion or in man's opinion.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 156 The Lord has created us according to an infinitely wise order. Everything that opposes or disturbs that order is an evil. It stands between us and the Lord; it is a cloud that obscures His light; it is a discord that mars the harmony of life; it is an obstacle that hinders and prevents His coming; it is a thief that robs us of our reward. We ought, then, to use all means and all diligence to detect these obstructions to our blessedness. We need light to do this, the true light that cometh down from above. It is as impossible for us to create that light as it is to create the sun. The Word is that light, and we must go to it in the same spirit that we would go to a work on agriculture or mathematics, or any science, to discover the difficulties that prevented the accomplishment of any desirable end. The Word was given to man for this very purpose. Take the commandments and measure your life by them. Cast out what they forbid; try to make all your actions square with them. It is a plain, practical, common-sense work. There is no mystery about it. There is no difficulty in learning how to do it. Nor is there half the difficulty in doing it that many suppose if any one will set resolutely and practically to work about it.              

If you go to the Word in this spirit, it will not take you long to get light sufficient to show you work enough; and the more fully and clearly the Lord can come to you with a true light, the more evils you will discover.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 157               

When you find what your evils are, or what one evil you are guilty of or prone to, you must shun it; you must watch against it; you must arm yourselves against it as you would against thieves, if you knew they were lurking about your store or house, with the intention of killing you and stealing your goods. For example: suppose, upon examination of yourself, you find that you are so absorbed in the love of the world that you forget your neighbour's rights, forget that you are a spiritual being, think more of dollars and stocks, or of reputation and honour, than you do of your spiritual interests or those of your neighbour. You must combat that love. You must compel yourself to be honest, to be liberal; you must use every occasion to exalt a spiritual love over it.       

Suppose you find hatred in your heart towards others and a desire to be revenged upon them for some real or fancied wrong. That is spiritual murder, and you should shun it as you would shun natural murder. You should abhor it, as you would abhor to make your hands red with the blood of your friend. In the same manner you may go through the whole catalogue of evils as fast as you discover them.       

And you must do this work "as of yourself;" that is, you must do it in the same spirit that you do anything that depends upon you to be done. You ought to know and acknowledge that all the power to do this comes from the Lord; but you must act as though it all originated in and depended upon yourself.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 158 You ought to supplicate the Lord for help; but you must not wait for Him to do the work. He cannot do it for you while you passively wait for its accomplishment. He can only do it through your voluntary co-operation. The Lord helps us in and through our own efforts. Go to work, and the Lord will help you; remain idle, and He cannot help you. The principle is exactly the same in spiritual things that it is in natural. Suppose you should refuse to eat, could the Lord give you physical strength? Certainly not. Why? Because you put yourself out of the circle of the means which His infinite wisdom has provided to secure this end. Suppose you had obstinately refused to learn letters or science, to think or reason, could the Lord have made you an intelligent man or woman? Certainly not, because one of the links in the chain of causes to secure this end is wanting. In the same manner you will never get rid of an evil that you do not see and actively and voluntarily shun. It is as impossible for the Lord to remove your evils without your active, voluntary co-operation as it is for Him to remove natural obstacles to the attainment of any earthly good while you passively fold your hands and wait to be moved.

Here, then, is a plain, practical, inevitable work to be done. It is our sins that separate us from the Lord. They rise up like an impenetrable wall between us and the Divine Life. We must do our work, and in and through that He will do His, to break down this wall and come to us.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 159 He comes to the door and knocks, but we must open the door. He knocks by every truth that we learn from the Word, for the truth reveals the obstructions that oppose His coming, and we open the door when we remove them, when we shun them as sins against Him. This is the first work for man to do; and until he does this, all else that he may do contributes nothing towards his spiritual life. If he gives alms to the poor, relieves the needy, endows churches and hospitals, does good to the Church, to his country, and to his fellow-citizens; preaches the Gospel and converts souls; discharges his duty as a judge with justice, as a trader with sincerity, and as a citizen with uprightness; and yet makes light of evils as sins, as the evils of fraud, of adultery, of hatred, of blasphemy, and such like. In such case it is not possible be can do any good but such as is inwardly evil; for they cannot be works of the will, of the heart. They do not come from the Lord, but from himself. In the same manner a man has no religion, or spiritual goodness, and no genuine wisdom, until he shuns evils as sins. He may perform all acts that are externally devout, but there is no goodness in them until a man begins to abhor evil as infernal and diabolical. The external acts only cover over the internal evils and conceal them from men, and possibly sometimes from ourselves. But they do not remove them.

We cannot will evil, or allow it, and do what is outwardly good, and set off the outwardly good deed against       the evil intention.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 160 The accounts of life are not settled in that way. The ruling love is what will ultimately give character to the thought and to the ultimate deed. There is no other way of being good or wise, of attaining to the blessedness of heaven, than learning what our evils are and shunning them. This is a point that must be fully met. It cannot be evaded. There can be no substitute for it. It is not a work that can be done by proxy, any more than you can learn by proxy, or be cured of a deadly disease by taking medicine by proxy, or breathe by proxy.       

But this is not a negative work; for so far as any one shuns evils as sins, he spiritually performs the good works that are the opposite of the evils he shuns; he loves truth, has faith, and is spiritual. For example: "So far as any one shuns murders of every kind as sins, so far he has love towards his neighbour;" "So far as he shuns thefts of every kind, he loves sincerity; so far as he shuns false witness, he loves the truth." For how is he able to see what is evil? Evidently by the light of genuine truth that has shone upon him. How comes it that he hates the evil principles he once loved? Evidently from the birth of a new love within him. The very fact that he opposes his evil principles shows that there is a new power within him, enabling him to oppose them; that a new principle of action is beginning to operate; as when disease begins to abate, and health and strength to return, we know that the normal state       of the body is becoming established.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 161 When a man can really see an evil in himself�see it to be an evil, as he can see that a fever or an ulcer is an evil�it shows clearly that he has some true light. His eyes are beginning to be opened. And when he begins to abhor the evils he sees in himself, it shows that he has that within him which is opposite to those evils; that he has a genuine spiritual love for goodness and truth; and this is from the Lord, and is a conclusive evidence of His coming and presence.

This spiritual love and thought, however, are not sufficient. It is an evidence that the great work of our redemption and regeneration is begun, but it is not its completion. The spiritual man is regenerated first, and through that the natural. The natural man is hard and bony, heavy and dead. He is made of iron and rock. He is clad in complete armour of steel. It is difficult to make any impression upon him; and yet his hardness must be so softened that it will yield to the gentle forces of the spirit, and become moulded by them into the beauty of heaven. A work is not complete until it is embodied in act. The good intention is not sufficient; the true light is not sufficient. They must both become embodied in the good deed. Then the work becomes full. We are too often content with wishing well to others, to the Church, and to the Lord. But that is not enough; we must try to do them good. Suppose the Lord should be content with wishing us well, and should not give us the sun and the rain; should not make the grass and corn and fruit to grow.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 162 Should we not all perish? But He never rests with good intentions. He constantly strives to carry them into effect. And so must we. We must do well to our neighbour; we must do well to the Church; must exert ourselves for it, and express our love in our deeds. Then the affection becomes fixed upon an immovable basis; the spiritual becomes intrenched in the natural, and is impregnable to all assaults.       

To will, to know, and to do are the three golden links that complete the circle of life that binds each to all and all to the Lord. To will what is good, to know how to do what we will, and to actually do it, is human perfection; to do it infinitely is Divine perfection; and according to the degree that any one does it, he will become perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. And just in the degree that we do it will be our reward.       

This is the way to attain the highest possible good; and I hesitate not to say that there is no other way. This is the way to obtain eternal life, and there is no other way. You may delay it, and hope that it will do itself, or that somebody will do it for you; but you will wait in vain. You may search every avenue that leads to heaven and heavenly happiness, but at every gate you will find your own evils confronting you and barring your entrance. You may rend the very heavens with your cries to the Lord for help to save you from the consequences of your sins; but He cannot save you until you put away your evils, for they stand between you and Him.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 163 He cannot come to you until you remove them. No good intentions, no knowledge, no philosophy, no outward deeds will avail you. On this single point the eternal destiny of every human soul is poised. Hate and abhor evil, because it is abhorrent and hateful, and hostile to all that is good and true; and will good, learn truth, and do it, because it is heavenly, Divine; and according to the fidelity and fulness with which you do this work, will be your eternal reward.




"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? And Jesus answering, said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered Him. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."�MATT. iii. 13-15, 17.

REGARDING the baptism of our Lord as a mere historical fact, or merely as an event in His natural life, we shall yet find in it much to instruct and interest us. It was not an erring man who asked for the administration of this ordinance, but Infinite Wisdom. It was for the sake of no appearance; it was not for the sake of mere conformity to a custom, but to "fulfil all righteousness." It was a true and orderly step in the glorification of the humanity, which proceeded according to the same laws as our regeneration, and is the perfect prototype of it. Suppose that this was all we knew, or could know, of the use of baptism, would it not be enough to convince us of its inestimable importance?

I do not think that we properly appreciate this merely natural example of our Lord. We do not sufficiently consider its great significance as the act of Infinite Wisdom, of One who saw the reason and the necessity for every step He took and every command He gave. We often excuse ourselves for neglecting many things by saying we do not see any reason for doing them.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 165 But here we have the example of One who could not err. Can we over-estimate its value as a guide to our own conduct? We give it as a conclusive reason for doing many things, that good and wise men do them. How often do we hear people say�how often do we say it ourselves�Such a person pursues such a course, and he knows; he always succeeds! When you desire to go to a certain place, and are ignorant of the way, you inquire of those who know, and you follow their direction implicitly, whether it seems to you to be the right way or not. Suppose you wished to raise a particular kind of fruit, and found a person who knew exactly what you must do at every step, how eagerly you would seek his advice, and how readily you would follow his example! You would not omit the least thing because you did not see the use of it. You would say he knows, for he has never failed of success, and therefore I ought to do as he does; and you would act wisely. How much more ought this to be the case in everything for which we have the authority of our Lord Himself!

Many persons hesitate about their duty in this respect, and put off obedience to this command from year to year, waiting for more light, or the impulse of some more powerful motive. But if no other reason could be given than the simple example of our Lord, how can any one who desires to follow Him in the path of regeneration, and become conjoined to Him by similarity of character, neglect what the Lord considered of so much importance as to give it the sanction of His example, and afterwards to make it the subject of a direct command?


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 166 Our Lord declares that it was necessary for Him. Can it be any less important for us?       

But we are not left entirely to this obedience to a Divine and perfect example. Our doctrines throw much important light upon the subject, which it is well for us to carefully consider.       

As a general principle they teach us that there is an intimate connection between this world and the spiritual world. The connection is really as intimate as that which exists between the soul and the body. The spiritual world is the world of causes, and the material world is the theatre of effects. Every motion and change, every creation and growth, is the effect of a spiritual cause. Whenever you see any change in material things you may know that spiritual forces are at work, as when you see the human body speaking or acting you know there is a man or woman or child acting through it from within. As we look over the face of the earth we see the grass and the beautiful blossoms springing from her cold bosom, we see the apparently dead trees clothing themselves with the green banner of new foliage and the glory of innumerable flowers. And these miracles are all the effects of spiritual causes. Natural causes have indeed co-operated; the clouds have baptized the earth with showers, and the sun with light and fire. But they would not of themselves have caused a single seed to germinate, or opened a single blossom from the bud. They only co-operated with the inflowing forces of the spiritual world, by which this great miracle of the earth's renewal and animal regeneration is mainly effected. So the development of our affections and increase in knowledge, and the changes wrought in our characters, are all due mainly to spiritual causes acting in co-operation with natural causes.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 167 To accomplish the full effect both must act together. Such is the fact. If any one desires a reason for it, to know why and how it is, I know of no other that can be given than that the Lord in His infinite wisdom has so connected the two worlds that they must act and be acted upon in this manner. So much for the general law.

Baptism operates according to the same principle. It is an orderly mode of connection between this world and the spiritual world. It does for the soul in one respect what rain does for the earth. It is one link in the chain of causes and effects by which man becomes regenerated. I do not say it is a link in the only chain of causes and effects by which man is saved, for that is not true. "Baptism confers neither faith nor salvation." Neither does truth alone. A man may be baptized and not saved, or he may be saved and not baptized. Neither the rain nor the heat and light of the sun, nor the inflowing life of the sun, can cover the fields with corn and fruit unless there are seeds in the ground to receive their influences. And yet they are a very essential part of the causes which produce such desirable effects. The Lord has innumerable ways of reaching His ends, but some are more direct and full in their effects than others, and He always points out to us the best way. It may be impossible for us to see how baptism affects us and accomplishes the ends attributed to it in our doctrines. But we have the best authority and evidence that it does assist us in the work of regeneration. And the more we know of the connection between this world and the spiritual world, the more clearly we shall see its use.



Our great difficulty in reasoning upon such questions lies in the fact that while in this world we see only one side of the work that is continually going on in our growth and regeneration. If all that we could see of the process of raising wheat was sowing the seed, how could we understand the full use and significance of the planting? No description of the effects would fully satisfy the reason. And it is so with everything else. Who could believe that the vibration of the atmosphere would cause the sensation of sound, however philosophically it might be explained to him, if he did not know it? We are compelled to accept the most that we receive as true upon the testimony of others, and in many cases that testimony is better than the evidence of our own senses.              

But in relation to baptism we have not only the example, and the testimony, and the command of the Lord as to its importance and efficacy, and the general analogies of the relation between the spiritual and the material worlds, but we are told in the doctrines of our Church of some things which it actually effects.              

"When infants are baptized angels are appointed over them by the Lord to take care of them, by whom they are kept in a state of receiving faith in the Lord." From the correspondence of water, and by its application in such a formal manner, and under such circumstances, it becomes a sign which the angels recognise, and they perceive that they have a special duty towards such infants; they perceive that the infants are committed to their care. It is the delight of all angels to care for infants, whether they are baptized or not; but baptism gives them a special and personal commission. Suppose that this is actually so, can you imagine anything more important for the spiritual and eternal good of the child?


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 169 Think of it a moment in some detail. "Angels are appointed over them." Those who love them with a pure unselfish love, those who will perform their duties with the most perfect fidelity, who know how to touch every secret spring in their natures, who can perceive every approach of evil, who will watch over them day and night with sleepless vigilance, and who will never fail to do everything in their power for the best good of the child. But they are "appointed by the Lord," by Him who knows every want of the child, every danger to which it will ever be exposed. He knows also who of all the angels are best fitted for the special charge. If you had to make the selection you would be liable to the gravest mistakes. You would be biased by appearances, by prejudices and many fallacies. But the Lord makes the appointment, and there can be no such mistakes. The angels that are best fitted for the duty will be sure to receive the appointment.

Again, their duty is "to take care of them." Not of their bodies specially, but of the infants themselves�to take care of them as spiritual beings, and "to keep them in a state of receiving faith," that is, of the truth of the essential principles of life. They take care of them that they also may become angels. They touch the secret springs in their natures; they mould their spiritual forms into the image and likeness of the Lord; they breathe into them the sweet and holy influences of heaven. Can you estimate the value of such care too highly? Is there any earthly gift so rich and essential to their spiritual and eternal good?



Suppose you could find some one in this world to exercise this care over them in this life, some one who would love them with angelic affection; who would watch over them and protect them from danger with angelic fidelity; who would minister to all their wants with angelic tenderness and wisdom; who would communicate to them as far as possible the sweetness and purity of their own natures, and with a patience that knew no weariness, and with a skill adapted to every exigency,�would you, who love your children with a spiritual affection, and desire to have them grow up to be angels in heaven, consider any compensation within your power too great to secure such services? Would you count any ceremony idle or useless that was necessary to the attainment of such a result. But here the same thing, in a much higher form, is offered to you without money and without price. You are only asked to supply one link in the chain of instrumentalities by which you are to receive it. If there is any possibility that this is true, is it not the part of wisdom to do what the Lord commands us?       

I do not suppose that many persons have any adequate conception of the importance of this. And one reason is, that they do not see much difference between the characters of baptized and unbaptized children. And there probably is not much discernible difference. The work which the angels do for the child is an internal work, and its most important effects are never fully visible in this world. Besides, we never know what is prevented. There is so great a difference in the natural dispositions of children, and the external is generally so different from the internal, that we can never base any correct conclusions concerning the future spiritual character of a child upon its natural character.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 171 The angels plant germs which may be a long time in showing any signs of life, much more in coming to any degree of maturity. Such judgments are, therefore, always based upon ignorance and the most fallacious appearances.       

"But not only infants, but all are inserted by baptism among Christians in the spiritual world." The same effect in principle is produced upon an adult as upon an infant. Baptism is a formal introduction into the Church, and a presentation of the person baptized to spirits and angels for admission into societies in the spiritual world; and the Lord regulates that as He does the angelic guardianship of infants. When an adult knows enough of the doctrines of a Church to give a general assent to them, and to desire to know more, and to live according to them, he is a proper subject for baptism; and by presenting himself to receive the ordinance he says to the Church on earth, and to the spirits and angels in the spiritual world, "I desire to know more of these truths, and to be admitted into your society and communion;" and he says it in a language which the Church on earth and the spirits and angels in heaven can understand, and by the act he is formally acknowledged and recognised as holding such relations. It is not a proclamation of his goodness so much as of his desire to become good. It is not a declaration that he knows everything the Church teaches and that the angels know, but that he knows something and desires to know more, and for this purpose seeks to put himself into a more orderly and intimate connection with those who can assist him.

But this is not all. There is, as we have before remarked, an intimate and absolute connection between those who dwell in this world and those who dwell in the spiritual world, and by baptism this connection is regulated and made more intimate.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 172 It is changed from a general to a particular and personal relation; and this relation is recognised by the angels. We are inserted by baptism into some society. The expression is a very strong one, and denotes a very intimate relation. It is like the grafting of a tree, which consists in inserting a branch bearing one kind of fruit upon a stock bearing another kind. It denotes an organic union, by which the life of the one flows in fulness into the other.              

Our doctrines teach us that "in the spiritual world all things are most distinctly arranged in the whole and in every part, or in general and in every particular. All of the same religion are arranged into societies in heaven, according to the affections of love to God and love towards the neighbour. And on this distinct arrangement there the preservation of the whole universe depends; and this distinction cannot be effected unless every one after he is born is known by some sign indicating to what religious assembly he belongs;" and the Christian sign is baptism. When we recollect that all our thoughts and affections are the effect of causes which come from the spiritual world, we may be able to appreciate to some extent the influence of our spiritual associates, and the importance of every means that tends to bring us into closer union with heavenly societies. There are not many who have any idea of the spiritual world as a distinct and real existence, and still less who think of the inhabitants as arranged into societies and organized in a far more distinct and perfect manner than any societies can be in this world.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 173 Here we are gathered into societies according to an external creed or custom, fashion and habit; but there according to spiritual character, according to belief as it is wrought into the heart and becomes life. In the world of spirits are assembled all those of all religions who first leave this world, and they have all the creeds, and all the disbeliefs, and scepticisms, and infidelities that exist in this world; for entrance into the spiritual world does not effect any immediate change in belief. All the sects that exist in this world can be found in the first state after this life. I know that it is not generally believed to be so. But it follows as a necessary consequence from the law that it is the man himself who goes into the spiritual world with all his knowledge, beliefs, and character. There are, therefore, Catholics and Protestants, etc., and each one is as confident of the truth of his belief as he was before he left this world. Those who have been baptized are recognised, both before and after they lay aside the material body, as belonging to the sect into which they have been inserted by baptism. And those who have not been baptized have no outward sign that they belong to any Church. In relation to societies and external associations, when we first pass into the spiritual world, and while we remain in this world, I suppose baptism operates upon the same principle, and does for each one the same things relatively that the signs of the masons and other secret orders do for persons in this world.

We know that baptism into any particular Church is a formal introduction of the child or person into that Church. Those who are present in this world so regard it. If any one of you should be baptized into the Methodist Church, every one who witnessed the transaction, and every one who heard of it, would think that his relations to you were different from what they would have been if you had been inserted into the Catholic or New Church.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 174 Now angels and spirits are present, and they know what is done. But their understanding of it is as much affected by all the circumstances connected with it as those in this world. "The angels who are present do not understand baptism, but regeneration." While spirits may understand it in a lower sense, as introduction into their society and the adoption of their peculiar views as it is generally understood in this world, baptism into any particular society or sect tends to confirm a person in the particular tenets of that Church; and this effect is much more powerful upon the person's spiritual associates than it is upon their natural associates. It is a fact to which the experience of many persons testifies, that those who have been infested with doubts, and have been able to make but little progress in the reception of truth, have found those doubts suddenly removed, and have come into a state of much clearer understanding of the truth after having been baptized.

I have thus attempted to make a plain statement of what may be called the more general and external uses of baptism and the reasons for its observance. Let us place them distinctly before us that we may see them clearly.

1. We have the example of our Lord Himself, and His express declaration that it was necessary for Him.

2. We have His commandment afterwards to His disciples, to administer this ordinance to all nations.

3. We see a reason for the command in the correspondence of water and the relation of the two worlds as connected by correspondences.



4. We have the teachings of our doctrines, which are in perfect accordance with the general principles which regulate the communion between persons in this and the spiritual world. These doctrines teach us�

First, That baptism is a "sign" to those who dwell in the spiritual world as well as in this that the person baptized belongs to the Church.

Secondly, That when infants are baptized angels are appointed over them by the Lord to take care of them and to keep them in a state of receiving faith.

Thirdly, That all are inserted by baptism among Christians in the spiritual world, and thus are brought into an orderly connection with those whose delight it ever is to remove every obstacle in their path and to do all in their power to help them on the way to heaven.

These considerations will have no weight, of course, upon those who do not believe them. But those who do must regard them as of the greatest importance, and must desire to secure for themselves and for their children the advantages this ordinance cannot fail to confer.

In conclusion, let us notice another particular of great significance that is mentioned concerning our Lord: "And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him." So in a finite way, and in a sense adapted to our states, will the Spirit of God descend upon us when we are baptized, and spiritually come up out of the merely natural rite in our affections and thoughts.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 176 Obedience to the Lord's commandments from love to Him opens our hearts towards Him. It elevates our affections; it lifts us above the natural rite and the mere letter, and His Spirit can descend upon us. The answer our Lord made to John's objections was, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." This is the way in which we should meet every objection of the natural man. The natural man says, What is the use? The formal act is nothing. The rite itself needs to be baptized with a higher life. The answer is, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." It is by the instrumentality of these very natural duties that the heavenly baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire is to be effected. It is the specific duty of John the Baptist to prepare the way of the Lord and make His paths straight. These rites are the outward form, the steps for our feet by which we rise above them to meet the descending Spirit of God. And when that comes to us, and in the degree and fulness in which it comes, we shall hear a voice from the heaven of our inmost souls acknowledging us as the sons of God and giving us welcome and approval. We shall know by the peace and harmony and happiness that reign within, and more and more fully and profoundly pervade our souls, that we are becoming more and more closely and intimately inserted into some society of heaven, and becoming more and more at one with the Lord.




THE end of the Lord in the creation of man was the formation of a heaven of intelligent human beings, who might be the recipients of His love, and be blessed by its reception in ever-increasing fulness. All the operations of Infinite Wisdom tend to accomplish this purpose. There is not a single material thing that has not some relation to it.

All Christians acknowledge in some sense that the Lord came into this world to save man, and thus to prevent the Divine purposes from being thwarted; that He lived and laboured, suffered and was crucified for the same end. Indeed, if we admit that He is a Being of infinite wisdom, we must suppose that He did nothing at random; that every step He took, every word He spoke, and every act He performed, must have had a specific reference to this end. His baptism, and the institution of the Holy Supper, certainly cannot be among the least important means for its accomplishment.

But our acknowledgment may be more of the lips than of the head or the heart. We know so little of the relations even of natural things to each other; we are so easily deceived by appearances; especially are we so ignorant of the relations of this world to the spiritual world, that we often practically deny what we verbally affirm. It is a characteristic of ignorance to limit everything by its own knowledge and to deny what it cannot see to be true. This is especially the case in relation to all things concerning the Church and the spiritual world.



It must be that but a very few, even in the New Church, correctly understand what the sacrament of the Holy Supper implies and effects; for if they did, I am sure so many would not habitually neglect it. Many, doubtless, because they can discern no reason or meaning in it, never attend it. Others, I fear, reject it altogether, saying within themselves, What is it but a mere form, a ceremony which has acquired a sanctity from the authority of the clergy? For what is there to be received but common bread and wine? What good can it do me? Can I not be just as good a man or woman without it? It may be useful for some simple minds, but of what spiritual use can it be to me, who know something of the nature of the soul? And thus because we do not know what it implies and effects, or what use it really performs in working out the great end of the Lord in the creation of man, we lightly esteem or entirely pass by it.

If it is important, its value can hardly be over-estimated; if it is an idle ceremony, without use, it ought to be abolished altogether. Let us then endeavour to learn what its significance and use are.

Our doctrines declare that this cannot be done unless we know something of the relations between this world and the spiritual world; unless we know something of the nature of the Sacred Scriptures, and of the manner in which they really effect conjunction between man and the Lord.

All conjunction between intelligent beings is, as we well know, effected by love, manifested or communicated by some suitable means. This, we know is a law of life for us. Love does not conjoin until it is expressed or made known. The Lord's love for us does not conjoin us to Him until it is received and reciprocated by us. And it cannot be received until it is known; and it cannot be known until we understand the language in which He seeks to express it. He does really seek to express His love for us in everything He has made. He has especially expressed it in His Word. And it is through that that we have conjunction with Him;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 179 for it is so written that while we understand it naturally the angels who are in association with us understand it spiritually, and the thoughts and affections excited in their minds flow into our minds, and tend to conjoin us to them, and through them to the Lord. This is the general law. But it is so in a fuller degree and in a more specific manner in the Holy Supper. The bread represents the Divine Love, and the wine Divine Wisdom, and eating, appropriation; or they represent the same as the flesh and blood of the Lord. They do therefore contain representatively all the elements of the Divine Nature, consequently all the fundamental principles of heaven. There are three things, says Swedenborg, involved in the Holy Supper�"the Lord, His Divine Good, and His Divine Truth." "Since, then, the Holy Supper includes and contains in it these three things, it follows that it also includes and contains the universals of heaven and the Church; and whereas all singulars depend on universals, as the contents depend on the things which contain them, it follows that the Holy Supper includes and contains all the singulars of heaven and the Church. Hence now it first appears that as the Divine Good and the Divine Truth, each from the Lord and the Lord, are meant by His flesh and blood, and in like manner by the bread and the wine, therefore the Holy Supper contains both universally and singularly all things of heaven and the Church." We see then why the Lord selected bread and wine for the Sacrament. It was because they represent His flesh and blood, which also correspond to and represent His Divine Love and Wisdom. And when we say they represent these things, we must not undervalue them because they merely represent and are not the things themselves. For we cannot gain possession of the things themselves except by means of the things which represent them. How can you learn the thoughts or affections of another but by what they say or do? You write a letter to a friend, full of affection for him, in which you pour out your       whole heart to him.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 180 Would your friend say, That is nothing but paper and ink; it is good for nothing; I want the affection itself. Or you send him a gift as a token of your love, but he casts it aside, saying, That is nothing but a flower, or a precious stone, or mere paint and canvas; I want the love itself. Would you not think him unreasonable�that he asked an impossibility? Would it not be as unreasonable as it would be for one to ask for water, and when you offered it to him in a cup to reject it, saying, I did not ask for cups, give me the water without the cup? And is it not just as unreasonable to reject the vessels in which the Lord seeks to convey His Love and Wisdom to us? The Word generally and the Holy Supper specifically and fully are such vessels, containing, as I have said, all of heaven and the Church; and thus they are the instrumental means of conveying it to us, and thus of conjoining us to the Lord.

The writings of the Church contain a very full description of the manner in which this conjunction is effected. They teach us that "such things as are in the literal sense of the Word are to the angels only objects of thinking concerning things heavenly and Divine; for such things are the vessels that are in the ultimate principle of order. Thus when man thinks, when under holy influence, concerning bread, as concerning the bread in the sacred supper, or concerning the daily bread in the Lord's prayer, then the thought which man has concerning them serves the attendant angels as an object of thinking concerning the good of love which is from the Lord; for the angels do not at all comprehend man's thought concerning bread, but instead thereof have thought concerning good, for such is the correspondence. Hence it may appear what is the quality of the conjunction of heaven and earth by the Word, namely, that a man who reads the Word under holy influence, by such correspondences is closely conjoined with heaven, and by heaven with the Lord, although man thinks only of those things in the Word which are in its literal sense.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 181 The essential Holy which is then with man is from an influx of celestial and spiritual thoughts and affections, such as exist with the angels. That there might be such an influx, and thence conjunction of man with the Lord, the Holy Supper was instituted by the Lord, where it is said expressly that the bread and wine is the Lord, for the body of the Lord signifies His Divine Love and reciprocal love with man, such as exists with the celestial angels. And the blood in like manner signifies His Divine Love and reciprocal love with man, but such as exists with the spiritual angels."

The same conjunction is effected by doctrines derived from the Word. "With doctrines which are from the literal sense of the Word the case is this: that when man is in them, and at the same time in a life according to them, he has in himself correspondence; for the angels who are with him are in interior truths while he is in exterior, and thus he has communication by doctrines with heaven, but according to the good of his life. As for example, when in the Holy Supper he thinks simply of the Lord from the words then used, 'This is My body and this is My blood,' then the angels with him are in the idea of love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbour, for love to the Lord corresponds to the Lord's body and bread, and charity to the neighbour corresponds to blood and wine; and whereas there is such correspondence, there flows an affection out of heaven, through the angels, into that holy in which man then is, which affection he receives according to the good of his life, for the angels dwell with every one according to his life's affections."

From these extracts from the Writings of the Church we may learn that the Holy Supper is appointed by the Lord, as a universal and special means of conjunction with Him; and while the members of the Church are partaking of it, and thinking worthily of it, celestial and spiritual angels are present, and their heavenly thoughts and affections are excited by it, and the life of their love, and through them of the Lord's love, flows into the life of men's love so far as he can receive it, and conjoins him with angels and the Lord.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 182 "The Holy Supper was instituted by the Lord to be a means whereby the Church may have conjunction with heaven, and thus with the Lord." Its end and effect then is to bring angels and the Lord down to man, that they may raise man up to heaven and the Lord. It must therefore be an instrumental means, and a most efficient one, of accomplishing the end of the Divine Love in the creation of man.

I am well aware that we can form only a very imperfect conception of what it is to have angels present with us; to have a way opened by which we can receive a fuller and more powerful influx from the Divine Love. I know how all Divine influences are smothered and obscured in their descent to us, so that we are hardly conscious of their presence; and I know that natural and sensual men will only judge by appearances. But it ought not to be so with those who have some knowledge of spiritual things. It ought not to be so with any one who professes to believe in the doctrines of the New Church, and who of course has some knowledge of the spiritual world, and of the relations of man to the angels and the Lord. I say, my friends, it ought not to be so. We ought to act according to what our doctrines and the Lord in the Word teaches us, and not according to how we feel, or what we think, or whether we regard it as important or not. Is it for us to sit in judgment on what the Lord has done? Is it for us to say, either by word or deed, that we do not think anything which He has appointed is essential to our highest good; that we do not see any use in it, and therefore we will not obey His Divine command? He does not ask us to see any use in it. He says, "Do this in remembrance of Me." The use will be found in doing it, and can be found in no other way.



I know the excuses that are made, and I think I can appreciate them. One that is often and sincerely made, I doubt not, by many who are really trying to overcome their evils and live a heavenly life, is, that "they are not good enough; they are not worthy." But does the Lord make any such conditions? Does He say, Do this in remembrance of Me when you become good and feel worthy? Suppose you did feel worthy; suppose when you come to the table of the Lord you should think within yourself, Now I feel good enough to come to the Lord's table; I feel that I am worthy to associate and be brought into conjunction with celestial angels and the Lord. Would not such thoughts show, clear as the noonday, that you had totally misconceived your own spiritual state? Would it not be very much like the prayer of the Pharisee, "God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men?" Did you ever think who sat at the table with the Lord when the holy ordinance was instituted? Judas, who betrayed Him; Peter, who solemnly swore that he never knew Him; and ten others, who every one fled in His hour of trial and temptation.

No, my friends, it is not your goodness that must determine this question. If you wait until you are good enough you will never become united with the angels and the Lord either in this or the spiritual world. Do you desire to become good, or in other words, do you desire to become conjoined with angels and the Lord? That is the question that should bring you to the Lord's table. The Holy Supper was not instituted to proclaim man's goodness, but to be a means to make him good.

It must not be inferred, however, that it is well to come to the Holy Supper without any preparation. There are both natural and spiritual things to be done before it is proper for us to come to the Lord's table.

1. We ought not to come until we have attained a suitable age; when we can have some rational idea of what we are doing.



2. We ought not to come until we have been baptized into the Church. Our doctrines teach us that Baptism is an introduction into the Church, and the Holy Supper is an introduction into heaven. These two sacraments are like two gates leading to eternal life. Baptism is the first gate by which every Christian is introduced into the doctrines by which the Church teaches from the Word respecting a future life, all which are so many means to prepare him and conduct him to heaven. While he dwells in this world man is a spiritual and a material being; and to do anything in fulness it must be done with both parts of his nature. Baptism and the Holy Supper are the natural acts which correspond to and represent the spiritual ones. And Baptism ought to precede the Communion, because what it represents precedes what the Holy Supper represents. We ought, therefore, to do, both naturally and spiritually, what these sacraments represent, and in the order they have been established by the Divine Wisdom.

3. Our doctrines teach us who are in a proper state to come, for they declare that those approach the Holy Supper worthily who are under the influence of faith towards the Lord and charity towards the neighbour, thus who are regenerate. By this last clause is not meant those who are entirely regenerated, for then no one would be worthy, but those who are under the influence of faith towards the Lord.

God, charity, and faith are the three essentials of the Church, because they are the universal means of salvation. The things then necessary to constitute one a worthy receiver of the Holy Supper are-

1. The acknowledgment of God.

2. Charity towards the neighbour.

3. Faith in the Lord.

For by these three, the Lord, charity, and faith united in one, man is regenerated. By the regenerate, then, who approach the holy table worthily are meant those who are internally in these three essentials of heaven and the Church.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 185 Are you under the influence of these principles? If you are, then are you worthy? And to such this sacrament is a signature and seal that they are the sons of God, because the Lord is then present, and introduces into heaven those who are born of Him, that is, those who are regenerate.

There can be no doubt, I think, that the spiritual value of this sacrament is not properly estimated by the Church; for if it was, I am sure it would be more generally and punctually observed. For I cannot believe that any one who desired to live a heavenly life would neglect so efficacious and powerful an instrumentality as our doctrines disclose it to be, specially provided by the Divine Wisdom to that end.

Does it bring us into the presence of angels, and through them into conjunction with the Lord? Let us try to bring this home to ourselves as a reality. Here is a feast appointed by the Lord Himself, to which all are invited to come and meet with each other; and with whom besides? the rich, the learned, the great, and powerful of earth? No. If we were, we should all be too ready to come. Whom then? Angels? Yes, angels; beings apparelled in splendour which outshines the most costly garments of earth as far as those outshine the coarse and filthy rags of the beggar; beings in whose presence the knowledge and wisdom and power of the wisest and the greatest of earth are no more than the lisping ignorance of childhood compared with the highest attainments of this life; beings so beautiful, glorious, and pure that we could not bear their visible presence. But the Lord has provided a way in which they can meet with us and communicate to us something of their own purity, love, and blessedness. It is true we cannot see them with the material eye, and for this reason we are prone to regard their presence as merely ideal and inoperative. But it is not so. Many things which we cannot see or hear affect us more powerfully than those which are clear to the outward senses. The angels are brought near to us by a spiritual law of universal operation.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 186 The bread and wine set apart and consecrated to this holy use awaken in our minds thoughts concerning the Divine Love and Wisdom of the Lord. These thoughts, and the affections awakened by them, bring into our presence the angels who are in corresponding states, for thought is spiritual presence. They do not think of bread and wine but of the Divine Love and Wisdom which they represent; and their hearts are kindled into an intenser glow of love, and their understandings are filled with a clearer light of truth; and the sphere of their pure and more exalted life flows into our hearts and minds. It is as though an invisible fire was penetrating our frigid bodies. The will and the understanding are affected as the interior forms of seeds are moved by the brooding forces of vernal heat. That nameless influence which we all feel when we come into the immediate presence of persons of powerful affections; an influence from them, and therefore partaking of their natures, flows into our minds. We can feel their presence. An unwonted awe subdues the soul. The will is softened; the perceptions of truth are quickened; and there sometimes steals over us and quickens us as with new life�an atmosphere so sweet, so thrilling, that we know that it must have come from some heavenly source; some angel must have breathed forth the life of his heavenly love into the shrine of the heart and made our inmost being for a moment to vibrate in unison with it.

Under such influences the inmost degrees of the mind become softened and moulded into heavenly forms and tempered with heavenly states; and those states, though we are unconscious of them here, will come out into open and blessed activity in the spiritual world, and unfold in endless succession of beautiful forms, and bear the rich fruits of spiritual joys through eternity.

Being so interior, they affect the secret springs and vital forces of our affections and thoughts, and they will work down into the lower forms of life and exert a controlling influence upon our actions though we know it not.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 187 Like a subtle perfume, these heavenly spheres will tend to penetrate every spiritual organ and fill the whole house of our being with their heavenly odours.

Is it, then, a matter of no consequence whether you meet these heavenly guests or not? Could you obtain all natural delights they would not compare in value with this one; they would not be so rich and fruitful in joys.

But the influence of the angels who are brought into communion with us by this holy ordinance is not all, nor is it the most important use we derive from it. Do you think the master of the feast will be absent? No; He instituted it as a means by which He might be present with His Church on earth, and become conjoined with its members.

I know you cannot adequately conceive it. I know we are all too much like Thomas; we want some sensuous demonstration of His presence, or we are prone to deny it or to think that it is not real. But it may be, and has been to thousands, a more real presence, and attended with more important influences than it was to the twelve in that upper chamber when the supper was first instituted. The Lord invites us. Will He meet with us? He says He will; for remembrance in the spiritual world is always presence. It is the same in its general meaning as though He had said, "While you are doing this I am present with you." Reflect upon it; try to consider its importance. You need not fear of overestimating it.

But suppose it is no more than many regard it, a simple memorial of His labour and sufferings and love for man. He came down from heaven that He might save us from death and raise us up to eternal life. He endured the most grievous temptations, suffered all that you and I and every one has suffered, or ever will suffer, for He passed through all states that humanity can pass through. "He tasted death for every man."


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 188 And He overcame, or we could never overcome. He conquered death and hell for you and for me, and rendered it possible for us to be saved. And now, having finished His work, and being about to depart out of this world to prepare a place for you in heaven, "going away that He may come again and receive you unto Himself," He institutes this simple memorial. "Do this," He says, "in remembrance of Me." And what do you say to this request of the Divine Redeemer? You who never could have tasted of one heavenly joy, you who could never have caught a glimpse of heaven, if He had not suffered until He sweat, as it were, great drops of blood in Gethsemane, and had been crucified on Calvary, what does your grateful heart say to this simple request? I am not good enough; I do not see any use in it; I do not feel like it; I can be good enough without it; I have some other things to attend to when the appointed time comes? Would you treat an earthly friend so? No, you would be ashamed to do that. But He to whom you owe every good you have ever possessed, and the power of enjoying it, how do you treat His invitation?

If some old acquaintance or intimate friend should invite you to meet mutual friends, and to be introduced to others of the purest and noblest character, you would lay all merely personal duties and pleasures aside; you would make preparations. The poet would come with his song, and the orator with his speech, and each one with his best. "I must dedicate this day to friendship," you would say. What do you say when the best friend you have, or can have, invites you to the "supper of the great God"?

My brother, will you not reconsider the grounds on which you have hitherto justified yourself for neglecting to comply with this invitation and command of the blessed Redeemer?

The time will come when this most holy solemnity of Divine worship will be regarded in a very different light from what it now is in the Church, when husbands and wives will be found sitting together at the Lord's table;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 189 and as fast as their children attain a suitable age they will come one after another and take their places by their side. Preparation will be made before, so that nothing but absolute necessity may prevent their presence. Those who dwell too far off, or are too feeble to attend the ordinary worship of the Church, will make their arrangement to be present at this feast. The young will look forward with eagerness to the day when they can rationally and intelligently unite with their parents and friends in obeying this Divine commandment. It will be a greater landmark in the journey of life than entering upon business or being united in marriage. It will not be estimated by its appearance, but by its vitality. It will not be thought that anything which the Lord ordains can be unimportant. Parents and children and friends, the sojourner and the stranger, will come, with hearts full of charity for each other and love to the Lord, and angels will leave their pure and blessed homes in heaven and come down to meet their brethren and fellow-servants who are yet tarrying here in the flesh, and they will come with their hearts and hands full of heavenly gifts.

Love will glow in all faces and warm all hearts. It will be a re-union of the Church on earth and a conjunction with the Church in heaven, and through heaven with the Lord. Oh, what a sphere of celestial life will fill the temple as with incense, and thrill like an electric fire through all hearts! How the soul will be borne upon wings of love! What clear perceptions of truth will flash upon the understanding! What strength to combat evils and to do good to others will knit every faculty of the spirit! What tenderness for a brother's weakness! What union of hearts! What conjunction with angels and the Lord!

That state of the Church will surely come. I shall not see it. Many, perhaps none, of you will see it unless we are permitted to view it from the other side.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 190 You may hesitate and doubt and disobey; your children may follow your example. But the time will surely come when it will be the delight and joy of all those who have this new name written upon their foreheads to "do this in remembrance of Me."




MAN commences his life upon the earth, passes through a certain order and degree of development, attains his maximum of physical size and power, grows old and vanishes away. Thousands of generations have appeared, acted their part upon the brief stage of life, and disappeared. It is the almost universal belief of humanity, that man's existence does not end with his disappearance from the earth; that in some sense he lives, and will continue to live for ever. You and I hope it and believe it for ourselves. Our part in the drama of this life, however great or small it may be, will soon be finished, and we shall pass off the stage and give place to others, but our part in the great drama of humanity will only have begun. This life is the first scene; other scenes and acts will follow in endless succession to eternity.

What is this vanishing from the earth? We call it by various names. We call it death; we call it resurrection. Whither do we go? Into the grave? Into some other material world? Into a distinctly spiritual world? What do we become? Shall we turn to dust in the sepulchre? Shall we rest there in unconscious sleep through unknown ages? Are the past generations of men in the grave? Will our natures be divided, and some part of us lie in the silence and darkness of the tomb, and another part wander as a conscious but formless essence we know not how or whither? Or shall we preserve our identity, and live right on as conscious human beings, a life as real and substantial as this? These are momentous questions; they are practical questions; they are questions which touch the highest personal interest of each one of us.



Suppose that when the clock strikes the hour of twelve to-night, that it was to mark the close of our life upon earth, and our transit�whither?�and that we had assembled here to await the knell, and learn what we could of the nature of that change which was so soon to close our earthly life, and usher us into what lies beyond! I will do my best to speak to you as though you were in a few hours to test the truth of what I say. Listen to me as you would listen if you were so soon to take this step, and wished to gain some idea of its nature, and catch a glimpse of the life beyond.

I propose to speak of the resurrection of man under four aspects. First. What is raised up? Second. What is the act of resurrection? Third. When does the resurrection take place? Fourth. How is it effected?

First. What is raised up? The answer of the New Church is, "The man himself and the whole of man." This we believe to be the answer of the Lord in His created and written Words; the answer of reason and of the whole nature of man. The man himself is raised�that which constitutes his identity; his essential humanity. He is raised as a man�in the human form; with a human organization; with all the qualities, faculties, and parts of a human being. The whole of the real man is raised. No quality or part of the man is left behind.

We are men, in distinction from plants and animals, by virtue of our spiritual nature and human form, and not by reason of our material bodies. The will with its affections, and the understanding, which embraces the whole intellectual nature, constitute our humanity. These human qualities all exist in the human form, which belongs to the spirit, and not to the body alone. The body does not love, nor think, nor act, of itself.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 193 There is no power in the material eye to see, or in the ear to hear, or in the foot to move. The material body has no power to maintain its organization even. The moment man leaves it, it begins to turn to dust. The material body has not one human quality, except the human shape, and that it gets from the form of the spirit into whose mould it is cast.

The Lord regards the spirit as the real man. It was as a spiritual being that man was made in the likeness and image of God. It was the death of the spirit which came by sin. It was the spirit which the Lord came to save. The Bible everywhere regards the spirit as the man. Its whole scope is directed to man as a spiritual being. If it is anything more than any other book, it is a revelation to man of his spiritual nature, of a spiritual world, and of his substantial existence in a spiritual world totally distinct from the material world and the material body. The Lord addresses men as dead when their bodies are alive; and declares that those who believe in Him shall never die, when the material bodies of the good as well as the evil return to the ground whence they were taken.

We are conscious that our material bodies are not our real selves; that we have an existence distinct from them even while we dwell in them. We have material bodies; we own them, we feed them, and clothe them, and take care of them. They are our servants, the tools with which we do our work in this world. We handle them, and work with them. We carry them about and direct them. I can say, "That is my hand, and it must do my bidding." But the hand cannot say, "The affection and thought of the spirit are my servants and do my bidding." The foot does not direct the mind, and carry it about wherever it chooses. The mind directs the foot; lifts it up, and puts it down, and determines its pace. The material body is the house in which we dwell in this world. It is the connecting-link between us and the world without us.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 194 We look through the window of the eye upon the light and beauty of the outward world. The ear is our organ upon which nature and the voices of our friends play, and we hear the harmonies from within.

There is a clear, sharp, and radical distinction between man and his material body. Though they are so intimately related, there is an impassable gulf between them. Neither can ever pass over it and become the other. Nor can either become any part of the other. The body can no more become a part of the man, than the hammer and spade can become a part of the hand which wields them. Man is a spiritual being in form, in organization, in all the qualities and powers and functions of his nature. Man and the soul or spirit are the same. It is therefore the man who is raised up. This is the answer we give to the first question.

Second. Having identified man, let us keep our eye fixed upon him while we examine our second point, which is, What is his resurrection? What is the act itself? We reply: It is the separation between man himself and his material body. If we regard the body as a garment, it is casting it aside. If we regard it as a complicated machine which man used to accomplish an important use in this world, it is throwing it away when he no longer needs it services. If we regard it as a house in which he has dwelt, it is leaving it and permitting it to crumble to dust. It is the separation of his connection with it. That is the whole of the act. The body has no more to do with it, than the pen has with determining its connection with your hand, and the thoughts you have used it to express. When you have finished your writing you throw it down. The body was taken from the earth; it is earth; it remains in the earth. It cannot get out of this world. Man is spiritual in his origin, in his form and in his nature, and he remains a spirit. There is no essential change in him by his resurrection; that is, there is no change in his nature, or form, or organization, or identity.



We have constant examples of resurrection in the process of creation. It seems as though the Lord tried in every possible way to quiet our fears about this change, by dispelling the illusions of the senses and showing us what our resurrection is.

He compares it to a grain of wheat which must die before the plant can grow. The seed dies, and the plant lives. The whole vegetable world is a continual revelation of the nature and method of resurrection. The germ is to the seed what man as a spirit is to the body. The germ, which is the real plant, is raised out of the body of the seed. So the spirit, which is the true man, is raised out of the material body. This method of creating is still more striking as we ascend to the animal kingdom. Every insect and fowl of the air has had a resurrection. The butterfly exists in the worm and chrysalis. All its organs are formed there. The worm is not the real insect. The worm dies, but the insect lives; casts off the worm form�rises out of it.

The butterfly has always been regarded as the most suitable emblem of the soul which nature gives. The Greek name for soul and butterfly is the same, and we have many words which are derived from it. In Germany they call the moths which fly around the candles at night, souls. In the creation of this beautiful insect, observe that the worm is not changed into the chrysalis, nor the chrysalis into the butterfly, but the butterfly is formed in them. Its wings and whole organization complete are created before its resurrection. Its resurrection is not a change of one body into another; it is the rising up and continued existence of the insect itself. In this example the Lord places before our eyes a living and perfect illustration of our resurrection. There is the chrysalis, the insect is in it. The chrysalis is its body.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 196 The beautiful moth comes out of it, leaves it, rises into its heaven, and enters into its joys. The hatching of birds is another example of the same step. The bird is formed in the egg. Its whole organization is completed there. When it breaks through the shell and comes out into this world it attains its resurrection. It is the bird that is raised up, not the shell. The essential thing in the egg was the germ of the animal. The egg, as an egg, disappears. The bird appears, gains existence, and rises into its home, and attains the full end of its nature.

So man gains his spiritual organization, his form, his faculties in the material body. At his creation the germs of a spiritual nature are invested with a body, as the germs of a plant are formed in a seed which contains substance for the nourishment of the germ in the first stages of its existence, and when the proper time comes, when the man has gained form and existence, he rises out of the body; he is hatched. As his material body is born into this world, so his spiritual body is born into the spiritual world. The material body is the womb in which the spiritual body is formed. Man's resurrection is his birth into the spiritual world. Sin does not cause the death of the material body. But it hastens it, and causes it to be attended with violence and pain, and often makes it premature. If man had never sinned, his resurrection would have taken place in as regular and orderly a way as the resurrection of any plant or animal.

Now if we examine the Sacred Scriptures we shall find very little said about the resurrection of man from his material body. There is much said about resurrection, resurrection of the dead, resurrection from the sepulchre. But generally in all such passages the resurrection of man from spiritual death to spiritual life is described and revealed. The death of which so much is said in the Scriptures is the death of the soul, of the man himself, and not of his material body.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 197 And man's resurrection is his new birth, and takes place before he leaves the body. The life which the Lord came into this world to give was spiritual life. "I am the resurrection and the life." "Whosoever believeth in Me, though he were dead yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die." He could not refer to the material body here. And this is the key-note of all that is said in the Bible about death and resurrection. The passage which has the most direct bearing upon it of any I know is the conversation of the Lord with the Sadducees. The point in the argument is this, He lays it down as an axiom, that "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." But God recognised the personal existence of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, long after their bodies had turned to dust. They must therefore have been raised up, they must be living in the spiritual world.

When correctly understood, the Sacred Scriptures will be found to teach this great truth: That man rises from his body and lives right on without any interruption in his being, or consciousness, or personality, or form. The answer to the second question, then, What is the specific act of resurrection? is, It is the separation and withdrawal of man from his material body, and conscious introduction into the spiritual world.

Third. When does man's resurrection take place? If I have succeeded in making the first two points clear, you will say at once, "Man's resurrection takes place at the time of the death of the material body." The death of the body is caused by it. It is one side of the same step. But for the purpose of fixing the whole chain of proof in the mind, it may be well to look at the subject from this point of view, in the light of some illustrations. The seed dies when the plant begins to grow. The chrysalis perishes when the moth rises from it. The egg disappears as the bird attains its resurrection.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 198 Death and resurrection in these cases are simultaneous acts. And, so far as we know, there are no exceptions to the law. Man, who gave life to the body, leaves it, and the body has no life in itself; it cannot see, or feel, or act. It cannot retain its organization even. It returns to the ground, whence it was taken.

Here the senses come in to delude us, as they always do when we trust them. Man has always worn the mask of the body. We have always seen him in this disguise. We have formed our idea of him from his body. We have identified him with it, and when the same form lies before us, cold and motionless, our senses tell us that the man is dead. They can give us only one side of the step which man has taken, and they accept the half of the truth for the whole of it. In the examples of resurrection which we find in nature, we can see both sides, and therefore we can see the whole of the truths. If we could see only the decayed seed and the dead chrysalis we should say the plant and the insect are dead. But seeing both sides, we know better. If our spiritual sight and our natural sight could be used at the same time we should see the man rising at death out of his material body a real, complete, living man.

Many of you have seen persons die. You have stood beside those who were as dear to you as your own life�a darling child, perhaps a husband or wife�in whose very nature your own was bound, and you have felt the hands grow cold, and you have seen the light fade from the eye, the strength wane, the pulse grow feeble and flutter, and the breath come at longer intervals, and then cease. The beloved one is gone.

Now if you could see the other side of this step, you would see your child, your loved one, rising out of the material body. You would see the same form, the same features, the exact image of the body�the double of it�breathing, living, conscious.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 199 You would see the child, the wife, the husband, in a real world, welcomed by friends ready to minister to all wants, and give any service. You would not think of death. You could not. If any one, who could see only the earthly side of the process, should say to you, "Your child is dead," you would reply, "Oh, no! not in the least! He has passed into the spiritual world. He has been raised up out of the body, which kept him in this world, into the spiritual world." It would be as impossible for you to think of him as dead, as it would be to think of the sparrow as dead which had burst its shell, and flown from its nest, and was now singing its morning song. In that case you would see the whole act, and you would see that resurrection is the separation of man from his material body, and takes place when the body dies.

But some one may say, "That is your theory, and however beautiful it may be, still I want more evidence of its truth than Swedenborg's assertion or your reasoning." Well, that is a reasonable demand, and it shall be satisfied. You shall have the testimony of the Lord Himself. I have already given you one case in point�that of His conversation with the Sadducees. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were well known as the progenitors of the Jews, and they were living though their bodies had turned to dust. Their resurrection must have taken place at the time of the death of their bodies.

So Moses and Elias appeared to the Lord, and to Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration, and talked with them. They were still living therefore. They had attained their resurrection, and it must have taken place at the time of their separation from their material bodies. I know it is sometimes thought that Elijah or Elias was taken up bodily into heaven. But if he was, it would not be a resurrection, but simply the passing from one material world to another without any change in the body.



Again, our Lord said to the thief on the cross, "This day shalt thou be with Me in paradise." This is directly to the point. He was to be raised up that day�the same day he died. Here, again, the Lord distinctly recognises the spirit as the man. "Thou shalt be with Me.' Not some part of you; not some formless but vital essence, which gave you, or the body; life, but you, that which constitutes you a human, conscious and accountable being, shall be raised up and be with Me, to-day, in the spiritual world."

But the most notable instance in point is the account of what John saw, as recorded in the Revelation. He says he saw an innumerable company out of every nation, kindred, and tongue. They were in the human form; they were clothed with raiment; they had branches of palm and golden harps in their hands they sung songs of praise; they had feet and could stand upon them; they had heads and wore crowns upon them; they could talk and sing, and necessarily possessed all the organs and qualities of men. They were not exceptional cases. They came from all nations. They had attained their resurrection. It must have occurred when their bodies died. I might cite the case of the rich man and Lazarus. But I will not weary you with an accumulation of proof. The Lord always regards man as a spiritual being, and his life as a continual existence. Death is sometimes spoken of as a sleep, but that is not the death of the body, but of the soul. Therefore the Apostle says, "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee life." "Awake to righteousness and sin not." Sin does not disintegrate the soul and disperse its elements, as death does the body. It inverts and deranges the lower order of its faculties, and holds the higher in suspended animation. The spiritually dead can hear if they will.

But there are some passages in Scripture which seem, upon a superficial view, to teach that there will be a general resurrection of dead bodies at some future time�at the end of the world and the day of judgment.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 201 The most direct and explicit statement of this kind that I know is contained in the fifth chapter of John, twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth verses: "The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." This seems quite clear. But the context shows that the Lord was not speaking of a resurrection of the material body. In the twenty-fourth verse He says, "He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live." Now you will observe that the whole statement refers to those who hear the Lord's words and do them. By doing this they come forth from the grave of spiritual death�they have passed from death to life. The hour is coming and now is. It is always present. It is a universal law of the divine order, that those who hear the Lord's words and believe on Him�which is only one way of saying, those who keep His commandments�will be raised up to spiritual life, because the commandments are laws of life. There is no reference to the material bodies of men; there is no allusion to any particular period of time. The grave is not a hole in the ground or an excavation in a rock. It is the state of sin. It is a state of spiritual corruption caused by sin.

There are two kinds of death: the death of man, and the death of his body. There are two resurrections also: the resurrection of man from spiritual death, and the resurrection of man from his material body. The first resurrection takes place when man hears the word of the Lord�which is the same as to obey it.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 202 The second resurrection takes place when man leaves the material body; and he leaves it when the body dies. He gives the body life while he dwells in it, and the body dies because he leaves it. Man comes forth out of the dust and sepulchre of the body, when the body dies. Death and resurrection are two sides of the same step in the life of man.

There remains the fourth point for our consideration. How is the resurrection of man from his material body effected? How does he take this step? What aid has he to assist him? This so far as I know is a new question in man's history. The spirit has generally been regarded as a formless essence, a vital force, a mere breath, which escaped from the body at death, somewhat as breath escapes from the lungs. It is called breathing our last, giving up the ghost.

If the spirit is nothing but a formless essence, or a mere vital force, such a statement might do. But we regard the spirit as the man himself; as a spiritual body, having every organ and form which pertains to the human body from head to foot, from inmost to outmost. The spiritual body dwells in every part of the material body. The material body is cast upon it. You cannot touch the material body with the point of the finest needle without finding the spirit. The separation of the spiritual body from the material body is a more delicate and difficult work than the mere escaping of a breath from the lungs. It is the withdrawal of the spiritual limbs from the material limbs. It is the Disentangling of the spiritual fibres from the material fibres. It is the withdrawal of the spiritual brain from the material one. It is severing the ties between the spiritual heart and lungs and the material organs of the same name. It is a far more delicate and difficult operation than the breaking forth of the moth from the chrysalis or the bird from the shell. Man has no power in himself to do it.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 203 He must have help from other sources. We who are still in the material body cannot assist him. The man is entirely beyond our reach.

As this is an orderly step in man's life, the Lord has provided for it with infinite wisdom, as He has provided for the accomplishment of the purposes of His love in every other respect. The Lord raises man up by the ministry of angels.

When the material body has been rendered unfit for man's residence and use, either by disease, or violence, or old age, he falls into a state of total unconsciousness. Then the angels come to him, and withdraw him from the material body by a spiritual attraction. They use no violence. The process is not an instantaneous one. It is gradual, gentle, orderly. It is exerted upon him as it were from within. It is more like the opening of a blossom from the bud, or the gradual separation of the husk from the corn. This process continues until the spiritual body is entirely separated from the material body. Then man is quietly waked as from a profound sleep. He is now in the spiritual world. The only change which has taken place in him is the casting off his material body. He is in the same form. He preserves his identity. He has the same character. He finds himself in a real world. He is welcomed by real human beings, by friends and loved ones who have gone before, who offer him every attention and service which he needs.

Every one rises in the same form in the spiritual world, as the form of the material body in which he dwelt in this world. An infant rises as an infant, a youth as a youth, an adult as an adult, and an old man with all the marks of age upon him. A man rises as a man, and a woman as a woman. But freed from the encumbrances and limitations of the material body, and subject to the more direct influence of spiritual forces, the young soon grow up to the flower of age, and never pass beyond it.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 204 The aged return to the bloom and freshness of adult life, and continually advance in vigour, in beauty, and in the excellence of every spiritual form and faculty toward eternal youth. By resurrection man enters the spiritual world, where he finds delightful employment for every faculty, and a home for every affection.

Man's resurrection is not a division and separation of himself, one part going into the ground to turn to dust and to await some indefinite period to be reorganized and raised up again, while the other part of him is flitting around in some vacuum, or in the regions of space, deprived of real existence, and waiting with vague longings for reunion with the complement of its being. His resurrection is an orderly step in life; it is a provision of the Lord from the beginning to make man the crowning work of His hands.

To recapitulate: The man himself, and the whole man, is raised up. The act of resurrection is the separation of man as a spiritual being from his material body. Man rises out of the body, which returns to the dust whence it was taken. His resurrection takes place at the time of the death of the body. Death and resurrection are the opposite sides of the same event. This extrication is effected by the ministry of angels, who, standing in the spiritual world and approaching man on the spiritual side of his being, withdraw him from the material body by a most powerful but gentle attraction, and raise him up into conscious life in the spiritual world, ministering to all his wants with the most loving devotion in this critical step in his life, welcoming him with gentle hands and warm hearts to the new world, and doing all in their power to help him on his endless way.




"He shall never see death."�JOHN viii. 51.

THESE are the words of the Lord: a most gracious promise to them that keep His commandments; for they are coupled with this condition: "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." Do not, my friends, listen to this declaration of the Lord with indifference. It is of immense importance to you,�to all men. It is a character of endless life to man: and it is important that we folly understand it. We should mark well these words, and weigh their significance, and measure their force: for they are the words of the great God; the words of Immanuel; of God with us; of Him whose name is Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father. They are a message to all men: "If any man keep my saying, he shall never see death."

Were ever words spoken which concern us more deeply? They push aside the curtain which separates two worlds, and show how slight the partition is, though it seems to the natural man an impassable barrier, foreclosing absolutely the path of his life. They bridge the chasm which men call death. They step across the grave. They remove all obstacles to the indefinite extension of existence:�"Shall never see death."

This declaration of our Lord is not a meaningless rhapsody. It is most sober truth. He means to declare precisely all that the words legitimately import: nothing less. For He who was the incarnation of the Divine Wisdom itself needed not to use any extravagance of expression. He never employs an unmeaning emphasis.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 206 His language is never stronger than the ideas which are to be conveyed. "Shall never see death," is just the length, and breadth, and force of this Divine promise; for these are the words of Incarnated Divine Truth.

Mark well, then, the meaning of these words. The promise is not of a resurrection from the dead,�it is not resuscitation, for which we may hope; nor is it a promise of a partial immunity, escape, or relief from death. It is absolute immunity,�a covenant of absolute, uninterrupted, perpetual life. O gracious words! Most glorious promise! Lighting up with the very sunshine of heaven this dark valley of Time! In these words of Jehovah-Jesus life and immortality are brought to light. They are indeed Gospel,�glad tidings,�giving "light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death."

But our text is not an isolated passage. Promises substantially like this are repeated many times. It is the uniform tenor of the teaching of our Lord. Again in the same chapter we have these words: "If a man keep my saying he shall never taste death." (John viii. 51.) Again in the sixth chapter of John, the Lord says: "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life" (verse 47), and by everlasting life surely is meant life continuous, without interruption, forever. And again, in the eleventh chapter of the same Gospel the Lord says: "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (verse 26.). The same is said seven times in the sixth chapter of John. "Every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life" (verse 4). "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life" (verse 47). "If any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever" (verse 51). "Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, HATH eternal life" (verse 54). "He that eateth of this bread shall live for ever" (verse 58). Such passages abound in the Holy Word. And the immortality which they promise is definite. Whoever accepts the conditions of the promise "hath eternal life." Not, will have, at some future period,�in a future state of existence. It is not a promise of a life to be enjoyed in heaven only.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 207 It is,�"he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life,"�now, immediately, continuously. He "shall live for ever," is one form of the promise: not, he shall live for a time, and die, and then be raised to life again, and thenceforth live for ever. Our text declares that he "shall never see death." And in the twenty-ninth verse of the sixth chapter of John it is promised: "Whosoever . . . believeth in me shall never die." Shall never die. No language could be stronger, or more direct and definite.

But is this literally true? Certainly. It is the Lord who says it. He who is truly a Christian cannot die. He was once dead in trespasses and sins; but he has been raised to newness of life in Christ,�and now he is passed from death unto life; on him death hath no more power; he is "alive evermore." Such, the, Lord says, "shall never die."

"But will such escape the death of the body?" There is no such thing as the death of the body. There is such an appearance. But the material body cannot die; for it was never alive. It is the spirit or soul of a man which lives; but the body, which is composed of the substances of this world, has no life in itself. The living spirit within acts through it, and by it, and thus gives it the appearance of life: but it is only an appearance. These appearances cease instantaneously when the spirit withdraws. And then we say the material body is dead. We said it has died. And it seems so; and it is very proper to say so: not because it is so; but because this is the appearance to the senses. We should, however, at the same time, understand that we are speaking of things as they seem, and not as they really are. We speak of the rising of the sun, and of the going down of the same; and such language is often used in the Bible. But every one understands well that this is but an appearance; that in reality it is not at all so; that at the very moment the sun seems to us to be going down he seems to others to be rising; and both appearances result from the revolution of the earth, and not from any motion of the sun.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 208 Nor does any one believe now, that the Bible gives any support to the idea that the sun rises and sets, though it seems to be taught in many places in the letter of the Holy Word. And there was a time when all Christendom insisted that the earth is still, the sun, moon, and stars moving around it daily, and cited these expressions in the Bible as conclusive proof of the truth of their ignorant and erroneous hypothesis; denouncing and punishing as heretics and infidels all who doubted. And so men may still believe, in the face of the science and the enlightened Christianity of the nineteenth century, that the material body is alive; that it will die; that after the complete dispersion of its particles it will be re-constructed, created anew,�re-animated, and made immortal, and that it is to the material body that immortality is promised in the Gospel.

But the Bible no more teaches the immortality of the natural body, or promises it a resurrection, than it teaches that the sun and the stars revolve around the earth.

The material body is but a tabernacle in which the man lives for a time, for probationary purposes. It is a covering with which the living spirit is invested at the beginning of its existence, and which it soon puts off, as a butterfly his chrysalid coverings. The apostle Peter so understood his material body, for in the first chapter of his second Epistle he speaks of duties which he must not neglect, "as long as I am in this tabernacle. . . . Knowing that shortly I must put of this my tabernacle." This is the way in which the apostle speaks of natural death "put off this my tabernacle." He evidently thought no more of the outer man (as Paul calls the body), or of ever resuming it, than a butterfly of his chrysalis shell. It was to him but as the striking of a tent in the wilderness, leaving the occupant with no covering between him and heaven. And Peter had good ground for saying this, for the Lord had instructed him:�"Even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me." (2 Peter i. 14.)



The soul is the man. The natural body is but a temporal accessory. When the soul has left it, the body is not a man; and if it is not a man after the soul has left it, then it was not before. It was but a tabernacle, in which a man dwelt.

The soul is the man, and it is in the human form. It is a spiritual body; not a vapour,�a puff of air,�a thing without form or substance. It is a living, substantial, human being,�something real; that can be seen and handled,�not by material eyes and hands, but by spirits and angels. The soul is a spiritual body, that is, a body formed of spiritual substances, a spiritual man. The Bible always speaks of it as such, and most directly and emphatically. And common sense, experience, our own consciousness, abundantly confirm the Divine teaching.

Are not Dives, and Lazarus, and Abraham, and the angels who bore Lazarus to Abraham's bosom, all spoken of by the Lord as MEN; as in the human form? Spiritual beings, no doubt, they were; but none the less men because they had laid aside their earthly tabernacles. But do you say the story of Dives and Lazarus is an allegory? Well, it may be, or may not be, a literal narrative of facts. But if it is a composed history, is the instruction which it imparts, concerning the state of men,�good men and bad men,�after they leave this world, any less reliable on that account? Certainly not.

St. Paul's testimony to the Corinthian Church (1 Cor. xv. 44), is direct and definite. He says: "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." And he speaks of his spiritual body as himself; while the natural body is but an outside which he wears temporarily. This is in his second Epistle to the same church, at the end of the fourth chapter, where he says: "Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. . . . The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house made not with hands, eternal in the heavens." Can any thing be plainer?


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 210 Paul saw that his physical body was wearing out, with toil, suffering, and years. But he says that is "a light affliction;" for his inward man�his spiritual body�grew stronger day by day. The outer body was temporal. It was very well that it should wear out and be cast aside. There was a spiritual body within it, invisible to natural eyes, which was eternal. The dissolution of the outer�the natural body�(which he regarded as only a tent or tabernacle in which he was temporarily stopping), would release the inward man,�the spiritual body, which was not a tent, like the other, but something more permanent; and so he calls it a house,�a building of God, which would continue eternally in the heavens.

St. John "saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God" (Rev. vi. 9), and heard their voices, and saw white robes given unto them. And again in the twentieth chapter, he speaks of seeing "the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus" (verse 4). He saw also a multitude of the redeemed praising the Lord for their salvation; all of whom were evidently human beings, in the human form, with human affections and thoughts. He saw one so glorious that he mistook him for the Lord, and knelt to worship him; but the angel forbade him, saying: "I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus." He was a man who had been a co-labourer with John in the spread of the Gospel. It might have been St. Stephen or any other of the martyrs who had borne testimony to the end.

Peter, James, and John saw Moses and Elias on the Mount, talking with Jesus, not as shapeless phantoms, but as men.

I need not accumulate testimony. The Bible is full of affirmations of the reality, substantiality, and human form of the soul; and that the material body is but a covering, a house of clay, in which the man dwells; a tabernacle formed of the dust of the earth, to be resolved to dust again when the spirit has no further use for it.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 211 This body is of dead matter, in no essential respect unlike other matter. And is not inertia,�the absence of life�one of the universally admitted properties of matter? Spirit is living; matter is dead. The material body is no more alive than were the substances of which it is composed, when they lay in the stalls of the market-house.

What then is the resurrection? It is simply the release of the spiritual body, or soul, from its material covering. When the material body falls away, the man stands forth in the spiritual world a spirit among spirits. This change is not effected instantaneously. It occupies a longer time with some than with others, but is accomplished within three days after the heart has ceased to beat. The man rises into the spirit world as truly a man as before. He enters into the society of congenial spirits; and brings forth in act his own proper life, as fully as when he was in this world,�nay, even more fully. If he is truly a good man, he ascends into the heavens, an angel among angels. If a wicked man, he makes his bed in hell.

In either case he no longer needs or wishes for a material body; for he has no further use for it. He is in a spiritual world, among spiritual beings. And he can see the persons and things of that world with the eyes of his spirit,�that spiritual body of which Paul speaks,�the inward man,�the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. He does not need his "earthly house of tabernacle," because the things which now surround him are seen, felt, heard, and enjoyed, without the intervention of the outer man.

While he was in this world, the organs of the body were his only channels of communication with the outer world; and they were necessary to him. Here the spirit is shut in by walls of clay; and through these walls only can it hold communication with others. It must act upon them from within, and force them to transmit its purposes to the world without: and through these walls of clay it must receive 411 impressions from others, and from the world of matter. The organs of sensation are line's of telegraph reaching through the inclosing walls, by which messages are sent and received, and an active communication between the spirit and the outer World kept up.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 212 It is, comparatively, a tedious, indirect, and imperfect way. But, for wise purposes, our Father has ordained that, in the beginning of our existence, we should, for a brief period, be thus separated from others. But when He permits these barrier walls to be broken down, and thus brings us, as freed spirits, into immediate association with fellow-spirits, we no longer can have any use for our natural bodies. We no longer need the circuitous and cumbersome telegraphic machinery. And if the envelope could be again imposed upon us, we should thereby be shut out from the spirit land,�from association with angels,�and forced back into our former relation to the material world. I do not say into the material world; for the spirit is never in the material world. It is brought into communication with it, by means of the outer body; but the spirit belongs to the spiritual world, and can never be made a part of the physical world.

Nor can the material body ever be taken into the spiritual world. It is constituted of substances essentially dissimilar from the substances of that world. And you can no more introduce it into heaven than you can introduce a piece of wood or of stone into your mind, or enlarge your understanding by incorporating with it any physical substance. There is a world of matter and a world of mind. Natural bodies belong to one; and the Bible teaches that heaven belongs to the other. The Lord said, "The kingdom of heaven is within you."

The resurrection, then, is a rising of the spiritual body out of the material, and a conscious entrance into the spiritual world. It is a withdrawing of the soul from its natural covering. We call the process by which this separation of soul and body is effected, Death; and very naturally, because our senses see nothing but a dead body as the result of it. But the angels, who see the other side of the event, call it resurrection, because they see only the rising of a man out of the material body into the spiritual world.



This doctrine of Resurrection, that man, when he leaves the material body and world, enters into the spiritual world, a man in full possession of all his powers, and lives there in a spiritual body, is the doctrine taught in the Bible.

We have already seen this, from many passages which have been cited, but I desire to add a few more. The repeated promises of the Lord to His disciples, that they should "never die,"�that they should "never see death,"�that they should "live for ever," are true only on the ground that what we call death is in reality a resurrection. He said to those who mourned over the ruler's daughter: "She is not dead, but sleepeth,"�not because she had not suffered that which we call death; but because He desired to give a truer idea of what death really is. So He said to His disciples, "Lazarus sleepeth, and I go that I may awake him out of sleep." But when His disciples misunderstood, He said (in accommodation to their natural state), "Lazarus is dead." But when Martha said,�according to the doctrine of the Pharisees,�the doctrine of the resurrection of the dust of the graveyard, in some far distant future,�a doctrine which was held among the unbelieving Jews before "life and immortality were brought to light in the Gospel,"�when Martha, in the spirit of this Jewish superstition, said: "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection, at the last day;" "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: . . . whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

The Lord said to the malefactor on the cross: "This day shalt thou be with me in paradise." This certainly was a promise of a life beyond time,�of a resurrection from that death which he was then undergoing; but it was not a promise of the raising of the body; nor was it a promise which yet waits for its fulfilment, and is to wait till the end of time. It was to be fulfilled that day.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 214 Is that man still waiting, somewhere in limbo, for the resurrection and reconstruction of his material body, before he can enjoy the paradise promised to him eighteen hundred years ago? No one believes it.

You do not believe that your pious friend who died last week, or last month, or last year, is waiting,�shut out from heaven and heavenly joys,�till the body which is decaying in the grave can be raised up, and made immortal, and your friend re-inserted into it, before he can be judged, and enter into his reward. And if you believe he is in heaven, in his heavenly body, enjoying heavenly delights, you surely do not believe that that old cast-off earthy body will be again imposed upon him, and be brought before the bar of judgment, that it may be determined whether he shall or shall not enter heaven. What the Lord said to the thief on the cross, that the Lord has done for your Christian friend. And that is what you really believe, whatever your creed may say.

So in the parable of Dives and Lazarus. The rich man is represented as entering immediately upon his torments. He is represented as saying he had five brethren still living in his father's house. To deny that a man may enter hell, while he has yet brethren living in this world, is to charge that this parable makes false representations of the state after death.

The argument with which the Lord replied to the Sadducees, when they denied the resurrection, depends entirely upon the fact, that all who had ever died were already raised; or rather that natural death is but a resurrection into another form of life. He says: "Now that the dead are raised;" mark the words,�ARE raised,�not, will be: it is a current event,�something that then was,�that habitually is transpiring; not something exclusively future; "Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed when he called the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him." The whole force of this argument consists in the fact that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were then already risen.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 215 For if they had not already experienced the resurrection, when Moses uttered these words quoted by our Lord, then surely these words of Moses would not show that the dead are raised. Bear in mind, that it is not the immortality of the soul which Jesus is proving by these words of Moses, but it is, "Now that the dead are raised, Moses showed at the bush." And how? By the use of words which could not be true, if these patriarchs were not risen.

Many passages corroborative of this doctrine occur in the Revelation, but time will not allow their quotation. That already alluded to, in which St. John saw a most glorious angel, who said to him: "I am thy fellow-servant and of them that have the testimony of Jesus," cannot be reconciled with the idea of a deferred resurrection (unless, indeed, we suppose this glorious being, before whom the apostle fell down to worship, was a spirit in limbo, waiting the arrival of his body from this world).

But I must hasten forward to a brief presentation of the testimony of St. Paul, in 1 Cor. xv. He says: "Some man will say: How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?" This is the very question we have before us. And he answers: "Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain; it may chance of wheat or of some other grain."

That which is sown contains a power of germination. The body or kernel which is sown never rises again. It decays in the ground. And by its death and dissolution the spirit or essential principle of the wheat is released, and shoots up a germ above the ground. To this the apostle likens the process of death and the resurrection. Observe: the new comes forth concurrently with the decay of the old: not centuries afterwards. Observe, too, that he expressly calls attention to the fact that the body which is sown is not the body which is raised. Thus distinctly denying the doctrine of the Pharisees (in which he had been brought up), that the natural body will be raised again. "Thou sowest not that body which shall be."


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 216 "But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him."

But in the case of the wheat, God giveth it a new body which is just like the old. It is not so in the resurrection; and the apostle immediately proceeds to correct the false impression which his readers might derive from this imperfection of his figure. He enumerates many kinds of flesh of which bodies may be composed,�as flesh of men, beasts, fishes, and birds. These differ, but still each is adapted to constitute a particular kind of body or form for an indwelling life. And there are still other substances of which bodies may be composed, differing still more widely. Bodies may be composed of earthy substances, and also of substances which are not of the earth. There are, he says, "celestial" or heavenly "bodies, and there are terrestrial bodies," that is, bodies composed of earthy substances,�material. And he says, "so, also, is the resurrection of the dead." "It is sown" (resuming, you see, his figure of the growth of wheat) "it is sown in corruption," dishonour, weakness; but that which rises from this sowing is the reverse of all these. In fine, it is sown a natural body, but that which is raised is spiritual. In this the resurrection is unlike the sowing and growing of wheat, in which the body which is raised is exactly like that sown.

We have not time to follow the apostle as he goes on to amplify this illustration by reference to the earthy man Adam, and the heavenly man Christ; declaring that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

Again, in his second Epistle to these Corinthians, he enforces, with still greater directness, dropping figures, this same idea. Though the outward man decays, the inward grows stronger day by day; the outward, visible man is temporal; the inward man (not visible in this world) is eternal. And he triumphantly declares that he knows that if the outer man,�the natural body, the kernel, which is cast into the ground and dies,�the earthly house in which he dwells,�is dissolved, he will still continue to live eternally in the heavens, in his spiritual body,�the inner man, the building of God,�which God gives as it hath pleased Him.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 217 He does not expect or desire a resurrection of the outer man, the earthly house, for he has a body which is eternal in the heavens. And has Paul long ago realised his expectations? Is he now enjoying angelic life in his house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens? Or is he still waiting, these two thousand years, for the old body of earth?

Many other passages confirming this doctrine might be cited from the New Testament; but these must suffice. We say from the New Testament; for this doctrine of life and immortality was not "brought to light" until the Gospel came. It underlies, as a spiritual sense, the whole of the Old Testament; but it was brought out in the New. There is not time, nor can it be necessary, after these quotations from the sacred Scriptures, to demonstrate the physical impossibility of a material resurrection. It might be shown by many considerations; such as, that a material body cannot enter the spiritual world, or world of mind; that it could not subsist, if there; that when once dispersed its atoms can never be re-united. But the material body is continually changing, so that in seven years or less a complete change takes place in the particles which compose it. A man who has lived to the age of seventy may be said to have worn not less than ten material bodies, each formed of particles of matter entirely different from those which entered into the composition of any of the others. In the material resurrection, which body shall he have? The last? old, shrivelled, decayed, defective? That worn in the prime of life? It is no freer from difficulties. In the prime of life a man may have lost limbs, eyes, teeth; his lungs may have gone in a lingering consumption, or ulcers may have wasted his substance. And what will you do for him who lost an arm in infancy, and another in his youth, and lived to be fifty? The arms, if raised, will be poorly adapted to the trunk; or what if he is born defective of a limb?



But there are, and always have been, cannibal nations. The South Sea Island chief, who for seven years had subsisted upon his slain enemies, what will he do about the claims of others to the particles of matter which composed his body? Do you say we will leave that for the cannibals to settle? Suppose the question is brought nearer home. We are all anthropophagi. When the soul returns to God who gave it, the body returns unto the ground; for out of it was it taken; for dust it is, and unto dust shall it return (Gen. iii. 19); but not to remain as dust. It enters again at once into the composition of vegetable or of animal bodies,�of the bodies of men. And this not once only, but again and again, in the unnumbered generations of our race upon the earth. Have not all the tourists told us how the vegetation grew ranker in the spots where most blood was spilt, or where most bodies decayed, on the field of Waterloo? And have we not all read that the bones were shipped to England, pulverised in the bone mills, and spread upon the wheat fields? Indeed, not cannibals only are interested in the question of rival claims for atoms of matter in the resurrection of carcases.

But this point needs no argument. Every man feels the physical impossibility of a resurrection of the material body. Its advocates admit that it is beyond human reason,�beyond the limit of intelligent belief. And it is only necessary that it shall be seen how directly opposed it is to the teachings of the Holy Word, to drive it from the minds and creeds of all Christian people.

This is a very brief and a very imperfect statement of the doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Resurrection; imperfect of necessity, from the narrow limits of a single discourse; and still more from the imperfection of him who makes it. But a more perfect statement, with abundant and conclusive proofs, may be found in the writings of the seer of the New Dispensation, Emanuel Swedenborg.

In conclusion, allow me to say, that in the light of this doctrine we can fully accept the declaration of our text,�"If a man keep my sayings he shall never see death."



There is no death to him who keeps the sayings of the Lord. A dreadful death,�spiritual death,�alienation from God and heaven,�awaits the disobedient. But to the true disciple death is swallowed up in victory. Then let us rejoice and be glad in the resurrection which is made known in the Gospel. In the sure promise of perpetual uninterrupted life,�life now, and life right on for evermore. Most heartily can we, now that we see as he saw and may feel as he felt, join in the triumphal song of the great apostle,�"O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?"

There is no death I Our Father, from the courts above, sends down his angel-usher,�glorious in beauty; �he touches us,�we turn our faces from earth, and lo! wide open stand the heavenly gates, and we enter into the enjoyment of angelic felicities, exceeding all our conceptions of blessedness. Do you call this death? Is it not rather the supplanting of death by a happy, a glorious resurrection? Does it not fully justify the declaration of our text: "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death."




THERE is no need to make any apology for treating upon this subject. How much joy would be taken out of life, how much real bliss, if we entertained no thought of heaven�a condition of things where all that puzzles us here, all that distresses us and pains us, shall be righted, where the just, the pure, the holy, the beautiful, the true, the lovely, shall prevail, and where the wise and the good shall be surrounded by those conditions which are worthy of their character. In this world too often the good and the innocent are trampled upon by the heel of injustice, and the foot of pride treads them in the dust. In heaven they shall appear the true kings and princes that they are, the loyal sons and daughters of the Most High, brothers and sisters of the angels. Let no one, therefore, ever despair because of the darkness of the way through time; never give way to despondency because of the roughness of the journey, for the end is where suns rise, where light prevails, where splendour reigns, where the summer is perennial, and joy ever ripples in brightness and glory and satisfaction from the heart overflowing with Divine Love and God-like aspirations. It is well in this world where too much sorrow, too much isolation, too much of care, of anxiety, of labour, of toil, are abounding to turn our eyes to that world revealed to us by the Word of God.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 221 Well may the poet dwell with rapture upon its glories and grandeurs; the Christian sing of its joys, its happiness, its sweetness, and its loveliness; and the preacher dilate with ardent soul upon its laws, its governments, its order, its reality, and its ministrations; and thus unite to cast upon the journey of this life some flashes of Divine brightness such as shall stimulate the lagging and weary traveller to press forward for the prize set before him.

Let us, then, as far as may be, travel in mind among the blessed facts which God has revealed concerning heaven. Let us throw open the doors and windows of mind and heart so that the blessed rays of truth may illuminate our souls, and enable us to perceive that the life of man, after all its petty cares and annoyances, is a grand and sublime thing, having as its end and object purposes which are sweetly human and magnificently Divine. In the first place, we beseech you to make no mistake as to the origin of heaven�of the source whence it flows; that is, do not imagine that it is a place into which the Divine Being can dispose of you and in which He can make you happy for ever independently of your own will and wish, and independently of considerations concerning your own character. Do not err in supposing that all that is required to be done is for the Lord to forgive. This is a huge mistake. "The kingdom of God, or heaven, is within you," declares the very God of heaven.

"He who has no inward heaven, none perceives,

Though all around be heaven."

God makes heaven for His children by first making them heavenly.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 222 And He cannot make a man heavenly all at once, or else He would not send him here to suffer, to endure, to toil, to be tossed about and buffeted, for seventy or eighty years. Depend upon it, heaven is a state lived into hour by hour, day by day, year by year; and it needs that you should do many times over and over again those duties which you do daily. All this toil is permitted in order that you may live into God's truth so far as you know it, and by faith in Him make it part of yourself. This is not done by confession merely�by faith, by belief, by hope; but by all these united with true and honest action and love of duty and of God.

When man battles with adverse circumstances he becomes more and more confirmed in his character. Divine qualities become fixed and stamped upon him, and there abide. The truth in his soul is a portion of himself. Goodness is a necessity of his nature; and as these are the very essentials of which the heavens are constituted, he becomes a heaven in the least form. So, then, when he comes to the termination of his mortal existence�the taking down, as old Andrew Fuller called it, of his "clay cottage," the body�he is still the same man, the conscious individual person, but now in the spiritual world�a world perfectly adapted to all his capacities and requirements.

Man comes on the death of the body into the world of spirits. There is no waiting hundreds of years before he becomes a conscious inhabitant of that world, but he is there at once. There are processes through which he has to pass which require certain states and conditions to be induced, but to all intents and purposes a man is there at once;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 223 and it is in this world of spirits�the middle region between heaven and hell�that the process of judgment takes place and the man is prepared for his final abode. His time in this region, speaking according to our ideas of space and time, will be longer or shorter according to the period required to bring the external life into conformity with the internal. For in that world the lives of all become transparent; there is nothing hid. And when a man's good heart is united with a good understanding and with a good life, then he is prepared for heaven; and when a man who is thus heavenly as to his nature arrives in the world of spirits, those blessed messengers who are in heaven, who do the will of God, and hearken to the voice of His Word, meet him there�those especially who can help and instruct him.

But here we are met by the notion entertained by some people, that when the body is cast aside, or, at the resurrection, the man will know everything�that he will at once have revealed to him all heavenly wisdom. But this is a fiction. A man when he arrives there knows no more than he knew in this world. He has to depend upon instructors, and these are angels. Angels understand at a glance just what is best for the man to know. They understand how to impart knowledge, and for this employment they have the best possible appliances. Instead of the description of ideas in words, they can present the very thing itself. By as much as the actual witnessing of a scene exceeds the most faithful and vivid description, so much and even more do their means of instruction exceed ours. There is no misunderstanding and no unlearning of what is taught.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 224 By most perfect methods those men who are good at heart, and yet have errors connected with their character, are soon led to see their errors. Each person will be permitted to see for himself; and all will be done in perfect order, without force or the exercise of arbitrary power�all going on under the direction and guiding wisdom and mercy of the Lord. No trouble is considered too great, no patience too much tried, in order to lead man to his final abode.

To speak generally, of course, the final abode of the regenerated man is heaven. But heaven includes so much�is so vast, so extensive, so immense�that to say a man is gone to heaven is to make a most general statement. It .is like saying the home or house of a man is in the world. You have not said whether it is in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, or when you specify one of the quarters of the globe, there are still many divisions. If so separate are the portions in this small globe, how vast must heaven be, which is the home of all the good who have lived from the beginning of time!

"Thought is lost and reason drowned

       In the immense survey;

We cannot fathom the profound,

       Nor trace Jehovah's way."

How poor and weak is the idea which some seem to entertain of heaven!�a large building, or a single city with streets of gold, and so on. Why, heaven is a magnificent world, containing people from all tribes, nations, and tongues, and all these arranged according to the plan of infinite wisdom�not a promiscuous mass, a multitude drawn together without thought as to character, genius, and disposition, attainments and abilities;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 225 but a world of perfect order�perfect adaptation�as perfect as in that Divine work the human body, each part of which has its own place and work to perform. Each unit in that world is a distinct addition to the perfection of the whole. So that the disposition, the faculties, the likes, and dislikes of each individual are fully considered. And in that vast world one is not lost among the throng, but finds himself in that position where he is perfectly at home�just as each member of the body is at home in the system�there and nowhere else. Of course only the infinitely Wise could make this wonderful arrangement. As men are distinct as to their individual character and as to their genius, this is all taken into account in that world.

There are especially three classes amongst men�men of love, of truth, and of obedience. Therefore, as indicated in the Word of God, His kingdom is divided into three heavens, but there is a perfect communication between them. This is arranged for the sake of order and in the nature of things. Hence we read of "the heaven of heavens;" the Lord dwelling "above the heavens;" we speak of "our Father who art in the heavens." Paul was "caught up into the third heaven." There must thus, of course, be a first and a second if there be a third. Each man has within him these heavens in possibility. He has an inmost, a middle, and an ultimate, and his entrance into one or other of these depends upon his reception of Divine Goodness and Truth from the Lord during his life in the world. What a thought is this, that you have heaven within you! and with each it should be a question of immense importance, "How can these heavens be opened?"


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 226 Doubtless the Lord has revealed the necessary means, "Seek and ye shall find." You may see an illustration of this threefold arrangement in the world of nature, which is really a theatre for the display of Divine order. There are three kingdoms in the natural world�the mineral, the vegetable, and the animal. Perfect order is in each of these; just so is it above.

In each of the three heavens there are innumerable societies, formed of individual angels, arranged according to a most perfect law, divided into larger and smaller, according to the differences of the good and the faith in which they are grounded, those who are grounded in a similar good forming one society. Distance and nearness there have their origin in the differences of state. Those who differ much are found at great distances; who differ little at little distances; but those whose states of love are similar dwell together. Is not this a most admirable arrangement, worthy of man to think about, worthy of God to reveal? When we are with people here who have the same tastes; love the same subjects of conversation; love the same pursuits; follow the same purpose; love and serve the same God in the same manner, are we not delighted and filled with intense joy, is not this a foretaste of the joys above? So, then, when angels are in their own society, into which they come as spontaneously as the bird to its nest or the bee to its hive, they feel as if amongst their own relations�amongst those who have been their kith and kin from the beginning. Yes, they feel at home, in perfect freedom, and in the full enjoyment of their life.



Now, I am sure if you have followed carefully this line of thought, you already see that heaven, according to our idea, is a far more human and definite world than the generality of men suppose. It is not a place where a man has a pair of wings put on him, or where he stands on clouds, or spends his existence in eternal hymn-singing and other acts of worship; as though God had nothing else for him to do but to sing anthems and psalms. These ideas arise from a misconception of what the real service and worship of God is, and what He created men for. What we call the worship and service of God are really the means of worship and service. We sing and pray, and meditate and read, in order that we may serve God. He is served in a life of usefulness, and the man who sings and prays and thinks should do so with the purpose in his mind of becoming more useful to his fellows. "What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" We are to be "not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."

To tell reflecting men that all that will be permitted them to do in heaven will be to engage in external acts of devotion, such as prayer and praise, is but to lead them to hold the idea of heaven almost in contempt, as well as to disrespect the Bible, whence they imagine the idea originates. Undoubtedly there will be Divine worship in heaven, singing and music, far surpassing in beauty the compositions of Handel and Mozart. We may rest assured, however, that the uses of earth have more to do with the hereafter than the above notion would warrant us in supposing.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 228 As we have repeatedly said, this world is to prepare us for another; that the duty we have to perform here is to prepare us for duty there; the character we establish here will be our character there. Hence, the idea of eternity should go into all we do in this world. Indeed, no one can truly understand existence here except in the light of eternity. The whole of life should point to heaven, not merely church worship, family prayer, and the sacraments.

But when reference is made to employments or occupations in respect of the future life, people are very apt to misunderstand the subject, the notion having got abroad that we teach that the occupation one follows in this world will be continued hereafter. This is a mistake. The natural avocation of a person by no means determines the character of his spiritual employment. If we just reflect upon what is really the justification of existence in this world, we shall discover much that will assist us in forming true ideas of the future.

What is the great purpose of existence? Is it not use? Apart from use there is no reason for existence. If you are of no use, then you are an abortion, a hindrance, and an excrescence. Use is the test of knowledge and virtue. A man is never born for any other end than that he may be of use�of use to society and to his neighbour. Does not society cast out the useless man? Did any one ever object to this doctrine of use? Everything does and must perform a use of some kind, and no one objects to it so far as it applies to material things and to life in the material world. The ends of creation are plainly those of use. From God the Creator, indeed, nothing else can exist, and therefore nothing else be created but use.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 229 Now, it is this law of use, the principle of which is carried forward into the other world, which we teach, which we insist upon. "The kingdom of heaven is a kingdom of uses." If the Lord's kingdom be a kingdom of mutual love�which no one can deny�then it must be a kingdom of uses. There is no escape from this conclusion. For the constant endeavour of love is to confer delight and benefit. And love is there in perfection. Therefore in heaven there must be employment of a most delightful character. The performance of use from a principle of goodwill in this world is a passport of admission into heaven, and also the source of angelic joy. Life spent in ceaseless devotion of an external kind, in contemplation, or in perpetual repose, would be perfect misery to the healthful active man. There is a most intimate connection between useful employment and perfect enjoyment. The joy of the great God is the joy of the performance of perpetual use. He is the great Minister. Hence His words: "I came not to be ministered unto, but to minister;" "Behold, I am among you as one that serveth."

But though heaven will be a condition of activity, it will not be one of toil. Because life here has been made to many a burden and a weariness through labour, men have thought that heaven in order to be delightful must be a place of eternal repose. But this is a misconception. A proper amount of labour here is good; its excess alone is painful. Whilst it is said, "They rest from their labours," it is also said "their works do follow with them." In heaven there is no toil or weariness; but at the same time there is blessed and most delightful activity, each one having his special function, some use which he can perform better than any one else.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 230 This is a man's only apology for being there, that he delights in doing what he can for the good of the whole. A minister of the Lord doing His pleasure, and hearkening unto the voice of His Word.

In this world much of a man's life is necessarily occupied in providing himself and his family with the means of living, in procuring sufficient and suitable clothing for the body, and in obtaining means of shelter and protection from the weather? He has no opportunity, or very rarely, for engaging in those things which are altogether congenial to his desires. Most of the occupations of this world relate to food, clothing, and habitation.

Now, these things in heaven are all provided by the Lord. Consequently none of these employments are there required. He feeds with food convenient, and clothes with suitable garments; and in His house He provides "many mansions." Some have ignorantly supposed we should not require food there; but we read of "angels' food," "I will give them to eat of the hidden manna." "In His house is bread enough and to spare." We shall not, however, require to labour for food, for the "bread is given and the water sure." But there will be an abundance of congenial employment in which man as an angel will be permitted to engage. And by reason of this heaven is a world of greater happiness than this, because we shall find there more abundant, various, and perfect means for the exercise of every faculty of will and understanding. All happiness flows from love. There all pure, noble affections have the widest scope and abundant means for their development.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 231 And there will be perfect freedom of action; all freedom springs from love. We feel free when we can do what we please. In this world we are restricted and hampered in our pursuits, but in heaven all obstacles will be removed; we shall meet with no opposition from others, but have a perfect understanding of each other, and find helping hands and encouraging hearts on every side.

Imagine a society in this world where each member in his place found his delight in doing his own work, and could do it better than any one else. What unity, power, and happiness would be the result. Each one would be content. Each one would serve the whole; the whole would serve the one. What could conduce more to happiness? Could not the toilful life find rest in this�rest worthy of the name? Not in inaction, for inaction is death, but rest from jar, discord, and strife. Within all harmony; all harmony without; perfect peace and beauty everywhere. All the senses of the spiritual body too will be more acute. The sight will be clearer, the atmospheres will glow as if composed of rainbows, and sparkle with colours brilliant beyond description. The hearing will no more be affected with the piercing cry of grief and sorrow; the moan and the wail of the broken heart will be no more heard. But gentle affections will flow forth in soft and winning harmony, while joy will burst forth in loud and jubilant strains. Think of a song rising from voices of angels vibrating through the whole of the heavenly society, while every heart is delighted, exalted, and thrilled by it. Every tone clear, melodious, and sweet. Every note having its meaning�every affection its note and its expression; and the ear attuned to the music.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 232 Such delight as this will form one of the elements of heavenly happiness.

And so we might amplify the subject. Of this, however, be assured that everything in that heavenly world is not vague, unreal, and shadowy, but real and substantial. You will be more yourself than ever. Everything you see will be nicely adapted to your whole being as the development of the character proceeds. For there is development and growth there. The mind will gain strength and expand by its action, and the affections will become more and more pure; by use all will become more capacious. The more a man is able to do the more good will he receive, according to the law that the "inflowing is in exact proportion to the outgoing." This is so, because every life is like a channel reaching up to the Divine fountain, each heart like a rill that carries the water over the meadows, making them luxuriant and fruitful�the larger the channel the larger the stream. So in the heavens all hearts and lives are means for carrying forward the Divine bounty and joy and gladness. How grand and glorious and blessed is human destiny! The strongest mind cannot conceive it. For it cloth not yet appear in fulness what we shall be. We know, however, that-

"In heaven all pain shall cease,

       No cares shall there annoy;

The Lord will bless with wisdom, peace,

       Pure love, and endless joy."

There will be no more sorrow nor crying, no old age, no decrepit forms, no decay, but continuous advance toward the morning of youth and glorious springtime.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 233 There will be perfect happiness in the performance of the noblest uses; a continual growth in beauty and in perfection; a perpetual expansion of all the powers of affection, of thought, and of life.

In order to realize this blessed result we must, while in this world, endeavour, with all earnestness, to cultivate large-heartedness and mutual love, to cherish the truth as our best friend, to make it our guide and director; we must put away selfishness and all meanness; in a word, we must cease to do evil, because it is sin against God, and live a life according to His commandments.




WHATEVER may be our convictions as to the personality of Satan, of the reality of Satan there can be no doubt. Around us, and within us, there exists a power of evil betraying us into frequent sin, and involving us in much calamity and danger; against which, accordingly, we are called upon to fight. It is, therefore, our duty and our wisdom to learn whatever we can regarding this momentous subject. "Forewarned, forearmed," is a proverb known and respected by us all. We propose, therefore, to endeavour to forewarn ourselves by the light of Holy Scripture, in order that we may be forearmed against the perils which will assuredly beset us during our heavenward progress.

The doctrine generally received, or at any rate formulated, in the existing creeds, regarding the existence of Satan, may be briefly stated thus: that Satan was originally created an angel of light�an archangel, even�among the supreme circle of the hierarchy, who are regarded as originally peopling the heavens. But being discontented with any subordinate position, however eminent, he rebelled against the Most High, and induced a great number of the other angels to unite with him in revolt. The consequences were their expulsion from heaven and their eternal condemnation.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 235 It is further supposed that man was created in order to refill the places thus made vacant in heaven; and that Satan immediately attempted to frustrate the Divine plan, and with only too good success, by corrupting the primeval innocence of our first parents, whence came "death into the world and all our woe." This, I believe, though briefly stated, is a true representation of current doctrine regarding the existence of Satan. It assumes, in the most direct manner, his personality, and, if we are to accept it as correct, requires an affirmative reply to the question which we are about to consider. It is this doctrine, then, which we propose reverently to examine in the light of Holy Scripture; for "to the law and to the testimony" must be our appeal.

How, then, does Jesus Christ speak upon this subject? "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John viii. 44). Surely, it would be impossible to find more emphatic contradiction of the assumption that Satan existed in the beginning as an angel of light. "He was a murderer from the beginning;" and anything more contrasted with a murderer than an angel of light it would be difficult to find. And if any one should be disposed to view the rendering of our authorized translation, that "he abode not in the truth," as implying that, at any rate, Satan was once in the truth, the answer is obvious to all who are acquainted with the original Greek text, or who have access to the recently revised version. For the right rendering is not that "he abode not in the truth," but that "he stood not in the truth;"


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 236 thus teaching, not that he has fallen from truth in which he was once principled, but that he is not in the truth, and never was in the truth, because, as our Lord expressly adds, "there is no truth in him." The idea of truth, and the idea of Satan, are diametrically opposed to each other; consequently, we must conclude from the Saviour's testimony �the highest testimony, remember; the testimony of Him who spake as never man spake, and taught with the authority of the Light of the world�that Satan, so far from ever having been "an angel of light," was "a murderer from the beginning, in whom there is no truth."

And if we reach this conclusion, does it not also follow as a matter of logical inference, that Satan cannot be a personal existence at all? He "was a murderer from the beginning." If Satan was a person, how came such a person into being? We are taught, and we all surely acknowledge, that there is but One First Cause, Almighty God, the Creator; and we read that "in the beginning," when "God created the heavens and the earth," He "saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Gen. i. 31). Was any "murderer from the beginning" included in this commendation? Certainly not. The works of our God, as made by Him, are indeed very good. If, then, Satan is a personal existence, are we to suppose that he exists independently of God? that he is a being self-existent? a great anti-god, infernally Divine? One naturally shrinks from the inference, and it is well to do so. Our Lord is here speaking, not of any person, but of that which is in very truth the "father of a lie," and the father of every evil thing. And what is that? Our own Shakespeare helps us to the reply, when he says, "The wish is father to the thought: "and not only father to the thought, but to every action; for at the bottom of these lives of ours lies a wish of some kind or other, and it is a wish of some kind or other to which our Lord refers, under the name of the father of the Jews, the devil.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 237 The father of their corrupt lives was the love of self, the continual wish to gratify themselves, and to have their own selfish way in all things; and it is the love of self which is indeed the father of everything wrong; the father of every lie, the father of every disgrace and shame and misery that stains the fair face of the universe which the Lord God created in the beginning "very good." So that we are obliged to conclude, from the evidence of our Saviour (John viii. 44), that Satan never was an angel of light, and that he never was, and is not at the present time, a personality at all.

But, it may be objected, admitting all this, there are surely other declarations of Scripture which assume very clearly the personality of Satan, and even his existence at one time as an angel of heaven. Bound up between the two boards that include our Bible, there are certainly two such declarations. The first reads thus: "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment," etc. (2 Peter ii. 4)-a declaration, you will say, emphatic enough. Similarly, we read, "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6). But in both these quotations, the apostles are referring to a book known as the Book of Enoch, which Jude expressly quotes in his fourteenth verse: "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints."


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 238 And what is the character of this Book of Enoch? According to the best modern criticism, it was written in Hebrew during the reign of Herod the Great, and within a few years of the birth of Christ. It was then translated into Greek, and in the first ages of the Christian era was well known throughout the primitive Church. It was frequently spoken of by the early fathers, until, in the eighth century, it entirely disappeared from knowledge. Joseph Scaliger, the eminent French critic, discovered a Greek fragment, which he translated, about three hundred years ago; and more recently our own countryman, James Bruce, found in Abyssinia a complete version in the AEthiopic language, of which he brought three copies into Europe, one of which was deposited in the Bodleian Library, at Oxford, and was translated by Dr. Laurence, the Protestant Archbishop of Cashel in Ireland, and formerly Professor of Hebrew at Oxford University. This Book of Enoch is manifestly the authority for the declarations found in Peter and Jude, for the translation prepared by Dr. Laurence contains the passages quoted by both apostles. Dr. Laurence, himself an Archbishop of the then Established Church of Ireland, and naturally disposed to sustain the current doctrine of his Church, candidly confesses: "That the author was uninspired will be scarcely now questioned; but although his production was apocryphal it ought not, therefore, to be stigmatized as necessarily replete with error; although it be on that account incapable of becoming a rule of faith, it may nevertheless contain much moral as well as religious truth, and may be justly regarded as a correct standard of the doctrine of the times in which it was composed."


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 239 That is to say, it is a correct standard of the doctrine of the time of Herod the Great; the grossest, most wicked age that ever blackened the earth, when the whole world was sitting in darkness, and before the Great Light had risen to dispel the gloom. Not to such times, nor to such a source must we look for truth regarding any important doctrine of religion.

What, then, is the real origin of the common doctrine of the Personality of Satan? Its source is to be found in the heathen mythologies of the East. Another authority of the Church of England, Dr. John Lamb, Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, says, in his work on "Hebrew Characters derived from Hieroglyphics:" "There can be no doubt respecting the source whence it was obtained. The first notion of the existence of a fallen angel is found in the Zendavesta. The Arithman of Zoroaster is the original model of Satan. The later Jews became conversant with the Persian mythology, and introduced this, with various other notions, into their writings; and it seems to have been adopted by the early Christians without any inquiry into the scriptural authority upon which it rested. Our immortal countryman, Milton, by clothing this fiction of the Persian mythology in all the beauty and attraction of poetry, has so recommended it to our imagination, that we almost receive it as of Divine authority, and we feel a reluctance to be convinced that all his splendid fabric is based on falsehood."

But it may be asked, If we relinquish the doctrine of the Personality of Satan, how are we to account for the temptation before which Adam and Eve fell, and which began all the wickedness and sorrow of the human race?


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 240 Do we not read of "that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world"? (Rev. xii. 9,) and is not this a clear allusion to the incidents which took place in Paradise? But the Book of Genesis does not state that the devil had anything to do with the form of a serpent, and makes no allusion whatever to any agency beyond that of the serpent himself: "The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (iii. 1.) Whatever may be intended by the serpent, he only is described as the agent of temptation, and he alone is represented as receiving condemnation: "And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life" (verse 14). If the serpent was the helpless agent of some mightier power, how unjust becomes this sentence; how irrational the fact that while all censure and reprobation are heaped upon the serpent, Satan, the great author of the ruin, should entirely escape! But this Divine narrative is expressly so written, as to direct the mind to the truth that the event it describes is spiritual, not natural, in its character. If the Scripture is intended to suggest a material serpent, how should we understand the doom, "upon thy belly shalt thou go"? How did the serpent progress before the Fall? And how does it subsist now? Does it ever eat dust, as, according to the merely literal interpretation of the description of the Fall, we should expect?


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 241 Yet there must be some special reason, some Divine propriety in the sentence which condemns the serpent to such fare, for we find it reiterated (Isa. lxv. 25), where, after relating the blessings of the era of peace that shall at length dawn upon the world, the chapter concludes with the declaration that "dust shall be the serpent's meat."

In fact, the earlier chapters of the Book of Genesis are allegorical in style, the expositions, not of literal facts, but of spiritual truth, veiled in appropriate literal forms. This is not peculiar to the Divine Word, since the oldest records of all the most ancient nations are precisely of the same character. The discoveries of Baron Bunsen, Max Muller, and others testify that the earliest chronicles of all nations are lost in myth and allegory; events of unquestionable authenticity connecting themselves, by a seemingly uninterrupted narrative, with the fables of legendary tradition. Even our own country, one of the most recent of the great family of nations, traces its pedigree from such clearly historical names as Caractacus and Cassivellaunus, through the shadowy reigns of kings like Arthur, Lear and Lud, up to a purely mythical origin in Brutus, son of AEneas, Prince of Troy, from whom our island is said to have derived its name of Britain. In like manner all the most ancient history is merged in tradition and allegory, because in the most ancient times the allegorical was the usual form of writing. The tendency of human thought in all simple ages is to express metaphysical ideas through physical symbols; and the Divine Word, which, in this respect, as in every other, is intensely human and in harmony with the deepest human experiences and necessities, was written in its earlier pages according to the customs of the people amongst whom it was originally produced;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 242 thus, not in the style of literal history, but in a form which assigns to every material symbol its precise spiritual equivalent; a form, consequently, in which the fact described can only be discerned by understanding such spiritual equivalent, and by reading it through its appropriate material type.

What then was meant by the serpent which figures so prominently in the narrative of man's first disobedience? In fact, why do we read in Scripture about the beasts of the field, and the lower orders of the creation, at all? Every word of God is spirit and it is life: why should the Bible contain, then, so many allusions to horses and cattle, to birds, lions, serpents, and the like? It is because, in that to which the Word of God really refers, in man and in the life of man, there are the spiritual equivalents of all these animals; the courage of the lion, the docility of the ox, the innocence of the lamb, the gentleness of the sheep, the cunning of the fox, the sensuality of the swine, and also that which is represented by the serpent. Otherwise how could we understand such a declaration as, "In that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely"? (Hosea ii. 18.) The true beasts, birds, and reptiles with which God makes a covenant, are the affections and thoughts and appetites which form the human character. When these enter into covenant with Him, war will indeed be broken out of the earth, and all shall lie down in safety.

What then is meant by the serpent? The serpent is the lowest of all animals, which lives nearest to the earth, and whose progress is necessarily a cleaving to the dust.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 243 Therefore the serpent represents that which is lowest in human nature, or that entire range of man's affections and thoughts which clings most closely to the dust of earthly things, and finds its delight therein. It represents the sensuous nature of man, which takes cognizance of the things of the outward universe; the love which lies nearest to the eye, the taste, the touch; together with the thoughts and imaginations which spring out of this love, and are most immediately excited by contact with this transient material world. Such is the spiritual serpent in every soul among us. But this serpent is not necessarily evil. Even the serpent was made by the Lord God, and was, therefore, in its original state, "very good;" but the serpent had and has this quality, that it was "more subtle" than any of the other beasts "which the Lord God had made." "More subtle," because, from the very nature of things, this world of sense and nature is, in great measure, a world of appearances rather than of realities, in which, if we choose to give chief heed to the suggestions of our senses, we shall undoubtedly be deceived. This is true even as regards the natural universe; the first sensuous impressions as to the movements of the heavenly bodies, the rising and setting of the sun, the apparent sizes of the stars, etc., being mere fallacies, which require continual correction by the application of severe judgment and analysis. If, then, the sensuous nature is so insecure a guide in the material philosophy which is properly her own, how treacherous will she prove if allowed an influence in those spiritual concerns which transcend her functions!


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 244 Yet such a disorderly pre-eminence has been extended to the sensuous mind; and the various stages by which this usurpation was attained are described in the allegorical narration of the Fall in Eden. For the Fall consisted simply in this: that man, in the exercise of that free-will without which lie would not be man, but would be as the beasts, preferred the outward to the inward; the apparent to the real; the temporal to the eternal; the human to the Divine; the selfish to the Godlike. And that is the history of every individual fall. Whenever you or I fall into sin it is because our sensuous nature�the serpent portion of our being�craves some forbidden indulgence, and begins by an appeal to our affections, of which, in Scripture, as in fact, the woman is the embodiment and type. And the desires, thus excited, corrupt and pervert the judgment, the masculine attribute of the soul; so that, at length, the man and the woman, the understanding and the will, combine in the evil, and the sin is consummated. Such is the true character and meaning of "that old serpent call the Devil and Satan which deceiveth the whole world." It is sensuality and selfishness, which are indeed the root of all evil, the foundation of all iniquity, the father of all lies and all wickedness, from the beginning until now. It is against this "father" and not against any earthly parent that the Lord declares, "I am come to set a man at variance" (Matt. x. 35); because until we hate this self-love of ours, and see what an evil thing selfishness is, and how abominable is sensualism apart from spirituality, we cannot receive any of the good things of His kingdom; but are miserable victims "of that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world."



But it may be said�Are not the words Devil and Satan as much personal names as Peter and James and John? and do not they consequently imply that the being to whom they relate must be a person? Supposing, however, that they are personal names, the use of the rhetorical figure of personification by no means involves actual personality. For instance, we read, "Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets" (Prov. i. 20). The Church is spoken of as a woman (Rev. xxi. 2, 9); and, conversely, the anti-church, the ideal embodiment of all those evils which vitiate the faith of the world and corrupt its life, is represented as the Scarlet Woman, whose name is "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth" (Rev. xvii. 1-5). The employment of the figure of personification, therefore, does not necessarily imply the fact of personality.

But we altogether demur to the proposition that the words Devil and Satan are in any correct sense proper names, or the names of any individual person at all. The word devil occurs precisely four times in the Old Testament, and always in the plural; a sufficient proof that it cannot be regarded as expressing any individual person (Lev. xvii. 7; Deut. xxxii. 17; 2 Chron. xi. 15; Psalm cvi. 37). In the New Testament it occurs frequently, and when employed in the manner of a proper name, always as the equivalent of the Greek diabolos, which literally signifies a false accuser, an evil speaker, or slanderer, and is often so translated. For instance, Paul, speaking of deacons, observes, "Their wives must be grave, not slanderers" (diaboloi), "sober, faithful in all things" (1 Tim. iii. 11). Again: "In the last days perilous times shall come.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 246 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce�breakers, false accusers" (diaboloi), "incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good" (2 Tim. iii. 1-3). Similarly: "Speak that the aged women be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers" (diaboloi), "not given to much wine, teachers of good things" (Titus ii. 3). In all these instances the original diaboloi might just as well be rendered by the word devils as by the equivalents actually used, but for the obvious impropriety of such a translation; and, conversely, in many places where the word devil has been employed, it would be as well or better rendered by the term "false accuser" or "slanderer." We have an illustration in the well-known passage, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter v. 8). The Authorized Version of this text affords a wise and salutary caution; but it is open to question whether the meaning in the mind of Peter and of those to whom his letter was addressed was not simply, "Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the false accuser, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour." For great part of the epistle is occupied with forewarnings of the persecutions which the Christians would suffer, and with admonitions that they should live circumspectly, giving no just occasion to the malice which would be levelled against them (ii. 12, 19, 20; iii. 16, 17; iv. 12, 16).

The word Satan, on the other hand, is simply the Hebrew for an adversary, which is frequently given as its equivalent in our Authorized Version.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 247 Thus, in the account of Balaam's attempt to prophesy against Israel, we read, "God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him" (Num. xxii. 22). Of course it would be improper to call the angel of the Lord Satan, wherefore, in this instance, the translators abandoned their usual inaccurate practice of retaining the original Hebrew word as a proper name, and substituted its correct English synonym of adversary. And so in several other instances. The word adversary, in the Old Testament, is frequently a translation of the Hebrew Satan; and where the term Satan has been left untranslated, the meaning would usually be more correctly rendered by reading an adversary or the adversary in its stead. Properly translate the word Satan in the Book of Job, and it will simply denote a malignant, accusing spirit introduced among the characters of that sacred drama; for the whole structure of the narrative shows that, though a most sublime relic of ancient devotion, philosophy, and poetry, it cannot be regarded as a simple narrative of actual facts. So, too, the Satan seen in the prophet's vision as resisting the high priest, Joshua, and incurring in consequence the Divine rebuke (Zech. iii. 1, 2), was some hostile spirit who embodied the antagonism which delayed the building of the second temple, and in whose confusion was prefigured the final triumph over their opponents of Zerubbabel and his coadjutor.

Hence the words Devil and Satan are not, originally, proper nouns or personal names at all. They have no such application as the words Peter, James, and John possess, nor do they indicate any individual person. On the contrary, they are descriptive of character, and denote that principle of sensual and selfish evil, which is the slanderer and accuser of everything good and true.



But why should two names be employed to denote this essential principle of evil? Why should a doubleness of expression be continually used throughout the Word of God, in reference to almost every subject? For if we search the Scriptures as we are commanded, we shall observe that Divine truths almost always go in pairs. We seldom find the assertion of a solitary fact, but nearly every declaration is balanced by some parallel statement. Thus we read of Jehovah (LORD) and God, Lord and Master, Jesus and Christ, righteousness and truth, loving-kindness and tender mercy. The reason for this peculiarity, as for every other characteristic of the inspired Scriptures, is not arbitrary or superficial, but is essential and vital. Because God, who gives the Word, is supremely a Being of double perfection; and man, whom He invites to receive the Word, is a being of double receptivity. The primary and inmost essentials of the Divine nature are infinite love and infinite wisdom. Man, created in the image and likeness of God, is endowed with a will to receive the Divine love, and an understanding to receive the Divine wisdom. And that principle of self-love which, as we have seen, lies at the foundation of all evil and misery, is expressed by the twofold appellation, the Devil and Satan, because its deadly character is to degrade and ruin both these capacities of the human mind. On the one hand it vitiates man's affections, rendering his will the aggregate of every corrupt passion; on the other hand it clouds and obscures his understanding, disposing him to love darkness rather than light, because it has caused his deeds to be evil.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 249 These two operations of self-love go hand in hand, marching together on their work of destruction. At the very beginning of all mischief, when the serpent commenced his work of temptation, it was not enough to excite wrong desires in the will. The mind, also, must be darkened; the worst must be made to appear the better cause; the faculties of conscience and reason must be blinded. Therefore we read that he levelled his first assault against his victim's knowledge of what was right, trying, and with too fatal a success, to confuse her ideas of duty and obligation: "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Gen. iii. 1.) It is just the same whenever we are tempted. None ever experienced an inclination towards wrong without feeling a disposition to destroy and pervert the truth, by exercising a wicked ingenuity upon the commandment which forbids that wrong. We reason with ourselves, "It is not so very wrong under the present circumstances. True, it is written, 'Take heed and beware of covetousness,' 'Thou shalt not steal,' etc., but then my case is very exceptional. Divine Providence is infinitely merciful," and so on, and so on. We tamper with the truth, we allow the force of wrong desire to overcloud the convictions of our understanding, until the Devil and Satan, evil love and false persuasion combined, drag us into sin, deceiving us, as they deceive the whole world.

Now, of these two names the former, Devil, expresses that selfish love of evil which is the father of every wicked action, and which continually instigates the soul in opposition to what is pure and good, proving itself, in very truth, the slanderer and false accuser which the original Greek word indicates.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 250 Satan, the adversary, on the other hand, is the representative of falsehood, the adversary of everything wise and true. These significations are strikingly confirmed by the language which our Lord addressed to two of His disciples. Speaking of Judas He said: "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (John vi. 70;) whereas He addressed Peter in the words: "Get thee behind Me, Satan" (Matt. xvi. 23). And why? Because the sin of Judas sprang out of the deep evil of his heart, from the intrinsic love of wickedness and the corrupt greed of gain; while the transgression of Peter originated rather in an error of judgment than in an ingrain perversity of will. Therefore, while the one was characterized as a devil, the other received the milder though severe rebuke, "Get thee behind Me, Satan."

And yet, although these two names are not to be understood as implying any one great personal king of hell, they have a personal application, and one which it is very important we should bear in mind. Our Lord illustrates this application in the passages just quoted. If He called Judas a devil and Peter a satan, we may be sure the one actually was a devil, and the other as positively a satan. Every man who loves evil and does evil is essentially a devil, and, dying in this evil state, will continue his infernal life in the world to come, and will there become a devil visibly. Every one who delights in falsehood and tries to deceive is a satan, and if he passes hence unrepentant, will, in like manner, remain the same in the eternal state. Of such, indeed, hell consists. But its ruler is not any one great King-fiend.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 251 Its ruler is the Lord alone, who governs the hells as He governs the heavens and earths; not, however, with severity, or for the sake of inflicting misery, but solely in the interests of those who dwell there, that He may restrain to the uttermost the excesses of their disordered natures, and, as far as possible, may mitigate their self-imposed torments. While, therefore, there is no Personal Devil, there are many personal devils. All of us are every day and hour preparing to become hereafter either angels of heaven or devils and satans of the pit.

This personal allusion of the word Devil finds striking confirmation in the Gospel records of demoniacal possession; in which, however, the Greek word employed is daimonion or daimon. For previous to the coming of our Lord, the power of evil had obtained such terrible ascendancy in the world that the hosts of hell, in many instances, had absolute control over the very bodies of mankind. I am aware that the rationalistic scepticism of the present day seeks to attenuate the force of the testimony borne by the Divine Word to the existence of this calamity, by referring the phenomena it describes to the operation of such natural diseases as insanity, epilepsy, or other cerebral excitement. But such an evasion of the plain statements of Holy Scripture cannot be accepted by those who appreciate its worth, and rightly honour its Giver. Our business is not to explain away the Word, but to explain the Word. How can these rationalistic theories account for the fact that the spirits by whom those demoniacs were possessed knew the person of the Lord Jesus Christ so intimately, and expressed regarding Him a knowledge even more full and accurate than that evinced by most of His disciples? "I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God" Mark i. 24; Luke iv. 34);


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 252 "What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of the Most High God?" (Mark v. 7; Luke viii. 28.) The natural human lips, which uttered such confessions, must have been animated for the time by supernatural intelligences; by devils, who do indeed, in their miserable sense, "believe and tremble" (James ii. 59), and who recognised and feared their Divine Conqueror and King.

There is yet another sense in which these words Devil and Satan are employed in Scripture; namely, to express the aggregate of the hosts of hell, as consisting of spirits both evil and false. Such groupings of several or many individuals under a single name are not uncommon in the Divine Word. Thus, "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them" (Ps. xxxiv. 7). One angel cannot encamp round about: evidently, therefore, the single term is used to express the multitude of the heavenly host, who are all "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Heb. i. 14). Similarly, we read in relation to the powers of darkness, "My name is Legion, for we are many" (Mark v. 9); where numbers of infernal spirits are, in like manner, exhibited as bearing but one name. Thus the Lord's temptation in the wilderness, ascribed to the devil (Matt. iv. r; Luke iv. 2), and to Satan (Mark i. 13), is not so much to be regarded as the literal narrative of an encounter with any one evil spirit, but rather as a spiritual history, epitomizing, in figurative terms, the lifelong contests of our Saviour, from Bethlehem to Calvary, with the aggregate forces of hell. The purely spiritual character of the record is evident from the fact that it cannot be literally true; since no mountain exists upon earth so "exceeding high" that it is possible to see from its summit "all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them" (Matt. iv. 8).


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 253 Another instance of the grouping of numerous infernal spirits under a single name occurs (Luke x. 18), which records the Lord's assertion, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." Jesus spoke these words to the seventy disciples, with reference to their successful labours reported in the preceding verse�"Lord, behold, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name." The falling from heaven to which the Saviour alludes, is not the expulsion of Satan from a place among the angels before the creation of the world, but the removal, from a usurped supremacy in the spiritual world, of legions of false and evil spirits, and the consequent destruction of their power over the minds of men; which removal was accomplished at the time of His incarnation, when He effected a judgment of this world, and the prince of this world was cast out" (John xii. 31). A similar victory is predicted in John's vision of "war in heaven" (Rev. xii. 7-9), in which Michael and his angels prevailed against the dragon and his angels. It denotes the triumph, in the period of the Second Advent of which the Apocalypse treats, of the powers of heaven over the powers of hell, and of the principles of heaven over the principles of hell.

Therefore, to the question, "Is there a Personal Devil?" we reply that there are many personal devils, but no personal devil; many lost miserable spirits striving by their wicked arts and machinations to make us as depraved and wretched as themselves, but no stupendous Anti-God, created originally an angel of light, who, having fallen by pride from his high estate, now rules the hosts of darkness.


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 254 For the Lord alone reigns in hell; and His empire there, no less than on earth and in heaven, is administered solely in the interests of beneficence and mercy, and continually seeks to restrain, as far as possible, the evils of those it governs, and thus to mitigate their self-imposed torments. Moreover, these evil spirits around us find constant allies in their insidious work of temptation, in the treacherous perversities of our fallen human nature, those "foes of our own household" (Matt. x. 36) of which the Saviour warns us; and chief among such corruptions is the wicked love of self lurking in every heart; "that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world;" "a murderer from the beginning;" "a liar," and the father of lies. For is there any single evil thing of which this is not the parent? What is it which underlies all the sin and crime which desolate the world? which plants discord amongst brethren who should dwell together in unity? which divides society into hostile cliques and castes, mutually envious and hostile? which degrades business into a mad race for wealth and position, won too often by puffery and fraud? which sends drunkenness and shame to stagger and flaunt in our streets? which whets the murderer's steel? which stains God's fair universe with the horrid carnage of war? In every case it is the love of self�the corrupt passion for selfish gratification, which, if but its own desires can be secured, spurns all principle however sacred, and violates all rights however just. This is indeed a murderer, because it slays all the pure heavenly love in which consists the soul's real life; a liar, because it denies and disobeys every truth which forbids its wild indulgence;


CIRCLE OF NEW-CHURCH DOCTRINE p. 255 the father, as the Lord taught, of the wicked Jews, because all their words and actions sprang from its base promptings; the father of all sin and deceit and misery and disgrace the wide world over. Are we of this parentage? The test is, whose life animates us? Is our daily conduct inspired by the love of self? or are we governed by Him who came that He might destroy the works of the devil, and who promises His gifts only to those who overcome? For we are sent on earth for the very purpose that by conquering our evils we may enter into life. If we resist the devil he will flee away. We are not alone in the contest, "God worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure." "In that He Himself," as to the Humanity He assumed for our redemption and salvation, "hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted." Relying on His promise, faithful to His Word, consistent in the persevering use of the strength He bestows in the denial of ourselves, enduring unto the end in that path of regeneration in which He is our Divine Example and ever present Help, we shall indeed prove "more than conquerors," though Him that hath loved us.





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