Morrison and Gibb, Edinburgh,

Printers to Her Majestys Stationery Office.





Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.Ps. cxix, 105.

Behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks.Gen. xxxix. 2.

Second Memorial Edition


Published for the Missionary and Tract Society of the New Church




The Sermons comprised in this volume were originally preached by Dr. Bayley during the early years of his pastorate at Argyle Square, and, having been first issued serially, were published in their collected form as The divine Word Opened in 1858. The authors preface to this original edition states that they mere undertaken to illustrate the laws according to which the Divine Word is written, and that, with this object, four texts were selected from each distinct portion of the Scriptures, four on the Flood being added by special request.

On the decease of Dr. Bayley in May 1886, it was resolved, as the best tribute to his memory, and the most effectual means of continuing his distinguished usefulness as an interpreter of the Word and an advocate of the principles of the New Church, to publish this, his best known work, at a price to bring it within reach of all, and to facilitate its wide employment for missionary purposes. As it was believed that a Memoir of the Author would increase the interest of the volume, such memoir has been provided by the Rev. JOHN PRESLAND.

In the language of the preface which originally introduced The Divine Word Opened to the Church and world, The result is before the reader. We pray that it be found such as to lead him, whenever he opens the Divine Volume, to offer up the prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Author of the Word, both of the Old and New Testament: Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.


CHAP.                                                                      PAGE
I.               Days of Creation                                                 1
II.               Garden of Eden                                                 18
III.               The Fall                                                        34
IV.               The Tower of Babel                                          51
V.               Manna                                                               67
VI.               The Law respecting Millstones                                   84
VII.               The Burnt Sacrifice of Birds                                   101
VIII.        The Law of the Silver Trumpets                            118
IX.               The Ribband of Blue                                          135
X.               The Destruction of Adoni-bezek                            152
XI.               The Victory over the Midianites                            168
XII.               The Parable of the Trees                                   184
XIII.               Samsons Riddle                                          200
XIV.               Saul charmed by Davids Harp                                   217
XV.               The Tree planted by the Waters                            234
XVI.               Walking through the Valley                                   251
XVII.        Being lifted from the Pit                                   268
XVIII.               The Time to favour Zion                                   284
XIX.               The Born in Zion                                                 301
XX.               Resting in the Lord                                          318
XXI.               The Mountain of the Lords House                            334
XXII.        The Future Glory of the Church                            351
XXIII.        The Resurrection of Dry Bones                                   367
XXIV.        The Holy Waters                                                 383
XXV.               The bringing of the Son of Man to the Ancient of Days                      400
XXVI.        Knowing the Father and the Son                            417
XXVII.        The Son praying to the Father                                   433
XXVIII.        Saving Faith, and Faith not Saving                            449
XXIX.              Jesus, the First and the Last                                   466
XXX.               The Blood of the Lamb                                          482
XXXI.        The Sign of the Woman in Heaven                            498
XXXII.        The Dragon Foiled                                                 515
XXXIII.        The Descent of the New Jerusalem                            532
XXXIV.        The Blessedness of Keeping the Commandments              548
XXXV.        The Lord Jesus, the Root, the Offspring, and the Star       565
XXXVI.        An Invitation to the Waters                                   581
XXXVII.        Noah: Was he an Individual or a Community?              597
XXXVIII.        The Flood                                                        614
XXXIX.        The Ark                                                        631
XL.               The Rainbow                                                        648


JONATHAN BAYLEY was born on the twenty-second of July 1810, in the borough of Salford which practically forms part of the contiguous busy city of Manchester. A thorough Lancashire man, he retained through life the racy shrewdness and pushing energy which distinguish his native county, and probably never felt more entirely at home than when visiting the scenes and associates of his first years. Of the details of his education little, if anything, is known; but he delighted to acknowledge his early obligations to the wise, loving influence of his mother. At the age of fourteen he joined some classes in the Manchester Mechanics Institute, then in the first year of its existence; and throughout his youth he was ardent in the pursuit of various kinds of knowledge, devoting himself with especial perseverance to the mastery of geology and chemistry. Thus, though employed for a while at the engineering works in Salford, since conducted by Messrs. Mather and Platt, his deepest interest was always centered on some book, which supplied for the time his subject of study.

His introduction to the New Church he attributed to an elder sister, who induced him to join the Sunday School in connection with the New Jerusalem Temple, Bolton Street, Salford, then under the pastorate of the Rev. David Howarth. His teacher was the late Mr. Thomas Agnew; whose eminent services to British art eclipse, at least in popular estimation, his life-long devotion to the work of New Church Sunday School instruction; but who probably never accomplished a wider or more enduring benefit, than when he won to the cause of the new dispensation the many-sided ability and inexhaustible vivacity of the youthful Jonathan Bayley, who always revered his memory with peculiar affection and gratitude.

Aided by the counsels of this judicious friend, and encouraged by the precepts and example of his minister, and of the venerable Robert Hindmarsh--who, though retired from pastoral responsibility still maintained his association with his former congregation at the Temple--Mr. Bayley soon became active and prominent in the public uses of the church. Thus at the age of about nineteen, we find him master of the day school which had been established at Bolton Street a few years previously through the advocacy of Mr. Agnew, and which began the movement to supply Manchester with schools at once good and cheap. When twenty-one years old his name appears in the Conference returns as secretary of the Salford society, and it soon figures in the reports of various New Church institutions, with rapidly increasing frequency, as that of an occasional preacher at the Temple, and a valued missionary to the many small congregations in the south of Lancashire.

In 1833 Mr. Bayley married Miss Lydia Cheek Hodson an active member, like himself, of the Salford society; whose father, Mr. Francis Marcellus Hodson--deceased in 1828--deserves remembrance both as an energetic and successful New Church missionary, and as the author of some of the most beautiful and frequently sung hymns in the collection published by Conference in 1880. The wedded life founded in this common acceptance of the same great truths and this joint pursuit of the same ends of goodness, proved eminently useful and happy. It continued uninterrupted until the twentieth of May 1880, when his beloved wife preceded him into the spiritual world. Three sons and two daughters, all earnest and active members of the New Church, survived their parents.

In connection with her husbands missionary labors, the sound judgment of Mrs. Bayley, and her genuine love of the church, exerted a powerful and salutary influence on his career. The daughter of a zealous missionary, she had experienced some of the disadvantages which the families of such preachers at times sustain. Her father, intent upon the dissemination of the New Church doctrines abroad, was rarely able to spend his Sundays at home; the result being that while hundreds received from him the principles of the New Church, some of his own family grew up in ignorance of their truth, and positively rejected them. Therefore, counseled Mrs. Bayley, in the early years of her married life: Whatever be your position and use in the church, spend your Sundays at home. Let your own family, especially, share the religious guidance and example of their father. Of course compliance amounted to a determination entirely to discontinue desultory missionary work; thus, either to desist altogether from the work of preaching, which he had found so congenial and discharged with such ability, or else to preach only as a regular official minister.

The alternative thus presented to his mind soon took definite shape. On the first Sunday in the month of April 1834, school sermons were to be preached in the town of Accrington, then little more than a village of between six and seven thousand inhabitants, where there was a New Church society of forty-three members. The preacher appointed for this duty, being for some reason unable to fulfil the engagement, secured as his substitute his young friend Jonathan Bayley. Mr. Bayley shrank from the nearly three days absence from home which the coach journey would have involved. Their first-born child was then scarcely two months old, and he was unwilling to leave the young mother so long. Borrowing a horse, therefore, he rode the twenty miles to Accrington on the Sunday morning, and, after powerfully enforcing the claims of the school, returned home the same evening; leaving, in the congregation to which he had thus casually ministered, a strong determination to secure the permanent services of a preacher so attractive and capable. Accordingly an invitation was forwarded in due course, and, later in the same year, Mr. Bayley settled in Accrington as the resident pastor of the New Church society there; his ordination into the ministry, by the Rev. David Howarth, taking place, after the interval required by the regulations of Conference, on the third of October 1836. The report of his ordination in the Intellectual Repository, bearing the since well-known signature J. B., says: The service was felt to be solemnly impressive, as the beautiful ritual of the liturgy is calculated to make it; and the engagements then entered into before the Lord will, we trust, be rife with blessing. This aspiration of the young minister has been abundantly fulfilled; for thousands in the New Church confess that it was indeed a blessing to them that Jonathan Bayley entered its ministry.

Like most of our older ministers, Dr. Bayley, for many years, augmented a scanty stipend by conducting a private school; in which many who have attained prominence in the New Church, besides other useful members of the community, received their education. But his zeal as an instructor far overpassed even the wide bounds afforded by his scholastic and pastoral duties. From the first he aspired to raise the social and intellectual tone of those among whom he labored, establishing, with this object, a night school, estimable young men not only gained the rudiments of substantial knowledge, but were also encouraged to divest themselves of prevalent uncouth provincialisms, which would have hopelessly barred their progress to refined associations and advanced usefulness. Thus he gradually surrounded himself with men of acknowledged superiority, until it became generally admitted that the best people in Accrington were those attending the New Church.

Yet it was no easy task to win for the New Church this position of respect and influence. The young minister encountered much strenuous and bitter opposition, partly excited, no doubt, by the not unnatural apprehensions of other teachers whose followers were attracted by his brilliancy, and convinced by his logical and scriptural power. Thus--to specialize the chief of these controversies--in 1836 two Baptist preachers, Messrs. Worrall and Poynder, attacked the New Church doctrine of the Resurrection, while in 1844 a Methodist local minister, Mr. Figg, virulently assailed the doctrine of the Atonement. The only effect of this opposition, however, was to bring into stronger light the truth and helpfulness of the principles impugned, and to swell the growing congregation of their victorious champion. Thus, at a meeting held by the Accrington society on the third of March 1844, to present to Mr. Bayley a token of their affectionate esteem for his unwearied and successful defense of the doctrines, Mr. Agnew, who was present, expressed the delight with which he found his former pupil so deservedly high in the regard of the church and the conviction that upon him had fallen the mantle of her earlier defender, the Rev. Robert Hindmarsh.

Nor should we forget the self-denying energy with which Dr. Bayley labored, during his residence at Accrington, to establish other New Church centers. Always valued as a preacher by distant societies, he probably visited every English and Scotch New Church congregation, besides many places where no regular congregation existed. But his efforts were chiefly concentrated in his own neighborhood. Thus, in addition to his Sunday services, and to the maintenance of a Wednesday evening meeting in his own society, he visited every Tuesday the neighboring town of Burnley, six miles distant, and once a fortnight Clitheroe, nine miles away, and this--be it remembered--after the fatigues of a days work in his school. Moreover, as there was then no railway to these places, if, as frequently happened, he could obtain no conveyance, he would cheerfully complete the journey on foot.

Owing to the Sunday School his acquaintance with the doctrines of the New Church, and indirectly--through his unexpected engagement to preach at a Sunday School anniversary--his introduction into the ministry, Dr. Bayley naturally attached the utmost importance to this instrument of religious instruction; regarding it as a direct consequence of our Lords Second Advent, and, under His Divine providence, a chief means for disseminating the light and life which His nearer spiritual presence is intended to communicate. Immediately on his settlement at Accrington, therefore, he stimulated the society to provide more commodious premises for this essential use, and with such success that, on the day of his ordination, the third of October 1836, a new building was opened which supplied every need for forty-nine years; until, on the twenty-second of August 1885, he laid the foundation stone for a larger edifice, more in accordance with modern educational requirements, which has since been erected. No occasion could have been more appropriate or characteristic for this the last visit of Dr. Bayley to the scene of so large a portion of his long and useful life. For devotion to the Sunday School was with him a principle intensified almost into a passion. To officers and teachers he set the example of unfailing punctuality; his own class, of young men, found in him the readiest sympathy and the most efficient help in their various difficulties and temptations, religious and moral; while the children of all ages were encouraged by his cheerful presence and hearty co-operation in their toils and pleasures. He was the founder and first secretary of the New Church Sunday School Union, established at Manchester on the fifth of August 1840; and the chief promoter, and for ten years the editor, of The Juvenile Magazine, which began in 1842. Indeed, throughout his life one main-spring of his policy as a New Church minister, and an open secret of his abundant success, was his zealous affection for the Sunday School, and his unreserved surrender of his time and talents to what was to him the delightful duty of laboring for its prosperity. In his very last work, The New Church Worthies, he says--Many favoring circumstances have contributed to the progress of the New Church at Accrington, but the one predominating all others has been the appreciation by the society all along of the fact that not only has the Sunday School been one of the grandest results of the Lords Second Advent, but is the right hand of New Church operations. Long may this example continue not only to strengthen the church in that town and neighborhood, but to be a beacon to light other societies to the grand lesson, Look well to your Sunday School, and spare no labor in your steady loving care and help.

Moreover, while concentrating his affection and energies on his work for the church, Dr. Bayley, during his residence at Accrington--as throughout his life--maintained a hearty interest in whatever tended to the general good, and delighted in every opportunity of public usefulness. Thus he played no inconsiderable part in the enlightened efforts which have raised the manufacturing village of less than seven thousand inhabitants, where he took up his abode in 1835, into the busy and thriving municipal borough of to-day. His evening school was the direct precursor of the Accrington Mechanics Institute, and in every local work of philanthropy and progress he was always a leading spirit. For such purposes he delighted to co-operate with other ministers, holding--and proving; by his example and experience--that a New Churchman, without at all compromising his allegiance to his own convictions, may find many occasions of general sympathy and useful united work with professors of other creeds. He was an early adherent of the Temperance movement; to the fundamental principles of which, though not to its extreme developments, he remained faithful through life. He also rejoiced to combine with other Christian bodies in supporting the British and Foreign Bible Society, and was largely instrumental in so widening its operations--previously almost limited in Accrington to the Established Church--that the clergy of all denominations were included on its local committee, and invited to advocate its claims upon the public platform. During the Corn Law agitation he vigorously defended the cause of Free Trade, speaking with acceptance even at assemblies graced by the oratory of its chief apostles, John Bright and Richard Cobden. Long before our country had adopted the policy of national and compulsory education, he urged its justice and necessity, and promoted meetings, and took part in public discussions. in support of the principles since embodied in Mr. Forsters Act of 1870. Thus he gradually substituted, for the ignorant prejudice which had formerly so misunderstood the New Church, a reputation for enlightenment and public spirit; and attracted such hearty good-will that other religious bodies gladly attended the anniversary services of his congregation, and testified their respect and sympathy by the unmistakable witness of substantial pecuniary aid.

Indeed, to raise the popular estimate of the New Church to a just recognition of her exalted position in the dispensations of Providence, was always one of his prominent motives; pursued, amongst other means, by a consistent endeavor to improve the educational and social status of her ministers, and thus to strengthen their claims to general respect. With this design he visited Germany in the autumn of 1850, where he made the acquaintance of the late Professor Tafel, of Tbingen, one of the most eminent of New Church pioneers; and of his brother, the late Dr. Leonard Tafel--at that time of Stuttgard, but more recently of New York--the father of the respected minister of the Camden Road society, London. His special purpose in this visit, however, was to obtain from the University of Tbingen the diploma of Doctor of Philosophy, for which he presented a thesis on the Hebrew of the Book of Job, and which was granted to him on the twenty-third of October in the same year.

The twenty years pastorate of Dr. Bayley at Accrington undoubtedly supplied the impulse which raised the New Church society there from comparative feebleness and obscurity to the position it still retains of the most numerous in the United Kingdom. The old chapel, opened in 1807, became far too small for the growing congregation, whence the erection of the present commodious and beautiful church, which was dedicated on the twenty-fourth of June 1849. The gallery was added during the ministry of Mr. Edward John Broadfield; but the preacher at the re-opening services, on the twenty-eighth of July 1867, as on every important occasion in the history of the society, was the old friend whose abilities and devotion had so long before laid the foundation of its continued prosperity.

Early in 1855 it became known in Accrington that Dr. Bayley had accepted a call to London, to succeed the Rev. Thomas Clark Shaw as minister of the society at Argyle Square. All classes of the community joined in expressing gratitude for his services, regret at his removal, and earnest wishes for his future happiness and welfare. The members of the Mechanics Institution, comprising representatives of all the religious denominations in the town, presented to their founder an appropriate testimonial and address, at an enthusiastic meeting held on the fourteenth of June; his own congregation assembled for a similar purpose on the twenty-third of July; and thus, speeded on his way by the hearty good-will of those among whom he had labored for twenty years, Dr. Bayley quitted his native Lancashire.

He did not, however, at once remove to London, but, by arrangement with his new society, settled with his family for a year at Dresden; one purpose of this residence being to afford an opportunity for investigating the German system of national education with a view to the introduction of some similar plan in our own country.

Dr. Bayleys ministry at Argyle Square, which began on the sixth of July 1856, exhibited the same energy, and proved rich in the same manifold success, as his former pastorate at Accrington. Every department of the society was stimulated by his example and influence to new activity among the young in particular his presence and spirit exerted an almost magnetic power; which inspired them in their freshest vigor to work for the church, and to dedicate to the Divine service their dawning capabilities. Thus the Argyle Square Junior Members Society became the focus round which gathered much of the brightest intelligence and most generous purpose of the young New Church life of London. Its weekly lectures and discussions, its classes for the study of theology and elocution, its intimate union with the Sunday Schoolwith which nearly all its associates were connected, either as teachers or senior scholarsafforded training for many who have since labored usefully in the worlds wider field, and supplied the earliest practice in public speaking to several who have preached with acceptance the doctrines of the dispensation. Of course Dr. Bayley did not himself personally conduct all these departments, though it is wonderful in how many of them he found time to prove his active interest; but he possessed in a remarkable degree the happy faculty of surrounding himself with able workers, and of inspiring them with a noble ambition to find their supreme delight in efforts to help the church. Above all he strove to induce them to study, and practically to apply the heavenly doctrines. Read the Arcana, his constant advice. He discovered--he roused, developed, and encouraged--every capacity for good. Indeed, with his counsel and example, who could hold aloof? Ever the most cheerful and buoyant among them, he was also the most indefatigable, literally spending the whole of the Sunday at the church; where he arrived in the morning at a quarter before ten to teach his class, and which he never left until the close of the evening service. His ministry at Argyle Square was indeed a period of arduous and self-sacrificing, yet most happy, useful work.

The zeal for education which was so conspicuous at Accrington, and which prompted the visit to Dresden in 1855, also proved fruitful in London. The New Church Free Day School, established in the Waterloo Road in 1825, had ceased to exist in 1854, leaving the metropolis entirely unprovided with any New Church agency for secular instruction. Accordingly, Dr. Bayley induced the friends at Argyle Square to acquire some house property in Cromer Street, at the back of the church, which was converted into schools for boys, girls, and infants, and opened on the ninth of October 1865. Supported by moderate fees, supplemented by private subscriptions and the annual grant awarded by Government in proportion to the results attained, these schools usefully supplied a want in the neighborhood for thirteen years, when they were superseded by the admirable provisions of the London School Board, to which they were transferred in 1878.

Dr. Bayleys rare ability as a missionary found ample exercise during his ministry at Argyle Square. Not only was every Sunday evenings discourse, at least during the winter, especially addressed to strangers to New Church truth, but he at this time conducted some of his best-known and most successful efforts in other parts of the kingdom. Thus in 1858 he lectured at Leamington, in reply to the then famous Dr. Brindley, and held for three nights a public discussion with the same opponent in relation to the doctrines published through Swedenborg. The Brighton Lectures--the issue of which, by the Missionary and Tract Society of the New Church, to which the copyright was presented by the author, was, at the time of his decease, rapidly reaching its fiftieth thousand--were originally delivered in September 1859. In 1871 he filled to overflowing, for several evenings, the spacious Shoreditch Town Hall, in the east of London, while he unfolded some of the leading doctrines of the church, or applied its principles of correspondence to the interpretation of obscure portions of the Word. Yet these are only samples, chosen for their greater conspicuousness and importance, from a mass of work in which he was continually engaged. Probably no one has advocated the truths of the new dispensation in more places: certainly no one has been more successful in introducing them to others, and in securing for them a respectful hearing and an ultimate acceptance.

In the wider metropolitan area it was of course impossible to obtain the relative prominence in connection with social and philanthropic questions which had been secured in Accrington. Yet here, as there, Dr. Bayley was always alert to prove his sympathy with every movement wisely alert aiming at public amelioration. It is said that he preached the first sermon in London for the relief of the distress caused in Lancashire by the Cotton Famine--the result of the blockade of the ports in the Southern States of the Union, during the war of the American Rebellion. He also presided at a large meeting held at St. Georges Hall, near Argyle Square, to express sympathy with the Federals in their contest with the Confederates. In politics he was a Liberal; and, at times of important elections, he often journeyed into Lancashire to vote for the Liberal candidate, and to speak in support of his principles on the public platform. But he was never a mere partisan, ever proving himself a man of wide sympathies and broad, comprehensive views.

The pastorate of Dr. Bayley at Argyle Square was thus in every way successful. The visible results of his devotion and energy were soon apparent. The beautiful little church, erected in 1844, became too small for the numbers flocking to hear his vigorous and eloquent expositions. A transept was accordingly added, more than doubling the capacity of the building, which was reopened for worship on while the membership of the society, which at the time of his settlement in 1856 was only one hundred and twenty five, increased during the sixteen years of his ministry to three hundred and twenty-eight.

When, in 1871, the late Mr. John Finnie, of Bowden, crowned a series of noble benefactions by the gift to the Conference of the Palace Gardens Church, Kensington, the committee of the National Missionary Institution, to whom were entrusted the necessary preliminary arrangements for forming a society and congregation, justly thought that the success of this important undertaking would be best ensured by securing Dr. Bayley as the minister. He accepted the responsibility and--the newly acquired building having been consecrated on the twentieth of March 1872--began forthwith his third and last pastorate.

But he was not permitted to sever the connection with his former society, without receiving a substantial token of their affection and gratitude. As, moreover, his services had not been limited to his own congregation, but through a period of nearly forty years had been freely devoted to the church at large, its members throughout the country gladly united in the effort; which took ultimate form in the presentation of an address, a silver epergne, and a purse containing 250, at a large and enthusiastic meeting held at Argyle Square under the presidency of the late Mr. Bateman, on the twenty-second of July 1873, which day was selected for the occasion as being Dr. Bayleys sixty-third birthday.

His fourteen years in the west end of London, like the longer periods at Accrington and Argyle Square, were abundant in useful work and its fruitful consequences. The number of members, reported as one hundred and forty-nine when the society was received into connection with Conference in 1874, had increased, at the time of his decease, to three hundred and two, making Kensington, next to Accrington, the largest New Church society in England. Many, perhaps most, of these members, and certainly some of the most devoted and intelligent, first learned the doctrines from the pulpit of Palace Gardens; and not a few, under their ministers genial influence, became energetic workers in one or other of the various fields of use which the church affords.

One excellent work which engaged much of Dr. Bayleys attention during his ministry at Kensington was the New Church Orphanage. His deep and constant interest in education, especially in the religious and social training supplied by the Sunday School, proves that he always had at heart the highest welfare of the little ones. Many, however, have labored conscientiously in these spheres--deeming such effort the best antidote to existing abuses, and the surest instrument of enduring reform--who have felt but a cold and remote sympathy for the immediate objects of their philanthropic care. It was never so with Dr. Bayley. The love of little children was one of the deepest principles of his character. He never baptized an infant whom he did not kiss, manifestly as the natural expression of his fatherly and pastoral affection. He entered into the processes of a childs tender thought, and appreciated the manifold humor and pathos of child life, with a zest and vividness born of his own perennially youthful soul. Not Charles Dickens himself, the creator of little Dombey and young David Copperfield, had a more subtle insight into the workings of a childs mind; while to this keen perception he added a sense of the sacred and eternal possibilities bound up in every infant nature, and of the tremendous responsibilities of the church in relation to their development, which of course lay beyond the great novelists highest purpose. Thus, as far back as about 1870, Dr. Bayley had turned his attention to a scheme for maintaining the fatherless and orphan children of New Church parents. The object was then judged premature, but ten years afterwards it was revived under circumstances of peculiar tenderness. The young and admirable wife of his second son, Mr. Edward Hodson Bayley, was suddenly called away from her bereaved husband and their children. As a permanent memorial, therefore, the widower, with the assistance of his own and his wifes family--his father being a generous contributor--provided the necessary funds for founding the New Church Orphanage, which was publicly inaugurated by a meeting held at Bloomsbury Street on the twenty-eighth of November 1881. In determining the policy and methods of this important institution, Dr. Bayley had undoubtedly the chief share. Feeling strongly the unsuitableness of large public establishments, with their necessarily drill-like routine and discipline, to the tender intellects and affections of little children he advocated the assimilation of the maintenance to be furnished by the New Church Orphanage to the model of a well-ordered home. Thus he supported the recommendation of the late Rev. William Bruce to grant to widowed mothers, of course under proper supervision and control, such assistance as would enable them to retain the charge of their fatherless children; or, if this should be impracticable, he recommended the placing of the children with responsible New Church families, amid the salutary influences of domestic life. Probably no object lay nearer his heart during his last years than to strengthen the usefulness of the Orphanage. As President of its annual meeting, held on the nineteenth of October 1885, he expressed a sentiment often in one form or other uttered previously, and always eminently characteristic--I should like my epitaph to contain these words, He loved little children, and be tried to do them good.

Among other important uses for the church in which Dr. Bayley, during these last years at Kensington, bore a prominent part, should be mentioned the preparation of the present Liturgy and the new Hymn Book, published respectively in 1875 and 1880. Some of the best features in these works are due to his suggestion, and many felicitous phrases, especially those involving a use of Scripture, are of his introduction. He composed the touching prayer inserted in the Burial Service, to be offered at the grave; and wrote several hymns, or parts of hymns, duly noted in the index, of great beauty and usefulness. His share in these works naturally recalls the larger subject of his connection with the Conference, under whose auspices they were both undertaken. Attending for the first time at the twenty-eighth session, held at Derby in 1835, and last at the seventy-eighth, which assembled in the same town in 1885, he was present at every annual meeting in the interval, except in 1837, 1838, and 1855; while at seven sessions he occupied the presidential chair. He was elected upon the Conference Council for ten out of the fifteen years during which it has existed; for every year, in fact, except when it was decided to hold the meetings in Manchester. At the committee of the Swedenborg Society he was also a constant attendant and most influential member, laboring especially to issue the writings of the church in a cheap and portable form, and in translations which should render their Divinely revealed truth generally intelligible and welcome.

Dr. Bayley possessed in an eminent degree the useful gift of adaptability. Perfectly at home at a meeting of Lancashire factory folk, where his manly logic and familiar humorous illustrations-spiced, if necessary, with an accent of the native Doric, to give homely friendliness--would sway alike the tears, laughter, and earnest enthusiasm of his hearers, he was equally happy in dealing with those of higher social rank, and in winning the confidence of the educated and refined. The secret of his singular and delightful fascination, of his vivid personality, and the magnetic attraction of his manner and very presence, probably lay in his deep broad sympathies, or--tracing these to their spring--in his abundant charity. This gave him an affinity, swift and vital, with those into whose association he was brought, leading him, spontaneously, and probably without conscious effort, to accommodate himself to their capacities and tastes, and thus, in the best sense of the phrase, to prove himself all things to all men. The same loving spirit made him a frequent pacificator. In how many societies where, perhaps, the relations of minister and people have, for some reasons, become strained, his influence has pleaded for mutual considerateness, and restored harmony and peace! How often, in our public discussions, he has suggested means of united action between those whose differing opinions had raised a separating barrier! A man of strong convictions, and able, on occasion, to give them the most forcible expression and to strive vigorously for their realization, he yet counted as supreme the maintenance of charity, and counseled and practiced the mutual forbearance, and the respect for the judgment and preferences of others, which are essential to its preservation.

The same principle supplied the groundwork of his power as a preacher. Few finer discourses were ever heard than the best of Dr. Bayley's. Occasionally, of course, he was unequal--who is not?--while the vivacity of his mind and memory, coupled with his practice of speaking wholly without aid from manuscript, not seldom exposed him to criticism on the score of discursiveness. Indeed his very devotion to the church, which made it a hard thing for him to refuse any engagement likely to conduce to her service, left him, at times, scarcely an opportunity for previous study; though, even then, his abundant knowledge and ample experience would frequently supply the place of immediate preparation. Eschewing, for the most part, the minuter and subtler details of doctrine, he delighted in presenting broad fundamental truths, and in unfolding the spiritual sense of the Word. His preaching always bore a manifest relation to life, and was sustained by copious and appropriate quotations from the Sacred Scriptures. Few could stir, as he, the enthusiasm of his hearers--infusing a sense of the beauty of holiness, and of the foulness and deformity of sin, and its utter incompatibility with order or happiness, here or in the world to come. His familiarity with the letter of the Word, again, down to the very references to chapter and verse, and including an intimate acquaintance with the Pauline writings, enabled him to establish his teachings on the rock of truth, and armed him with special power in dealing with Christian believers of other creeds. Indeed, to witness Dr. Bayley in one of his most characteristic and successful aspects, it was necessary to see him in public discussion, or replying, at the close of some week-night lecture, to objections urged against the New Church doctrines. How he would expose the futility of adverse arguments, correcting, by his exceptional knowledge of the Word, the mangled and partial citations of Scripture brought against him! doing this often from the immediate contest of passages quoted in triumphant assurance of his defeat! Indeed, his early training as a polemic theologian sometimes gave a tone to his later pulpit utterances perhaps hardly needed. Thus, in unfolding some affirmative aspect of truth, he would exhibit, with trenchant humor or crushing force, the absurdity of the negative position, surprising his hearers by his scathing sarcasm and the vigor of his denunciations. Such instances were survivals of the old Accrington controversies--refutations rather of Messrs. Poynder, Worral, and Figg, than of any contemporary objector, immediately present to the preacher. For by far the greater part, however, tender affection more than disputative logic, the assertion of positive truth and not the warfare of were the distinctive marks of Dr. Bayleys pulpit utterances. Nor should we forget, in this connection, the charm of his voice. In the tender passages of oratory, and yet more in the reading of the Word, its modulations were most sympathetic. In the Hymn Book committee, which deliberated from 1878 to 1880, it was often remarked how immensely any proposed hymn gained in attractiveness if Dr. Bayley could be induced to read it aloud, in an affirmative spirit. Seldom, indeed, has any preacher possessed tones of such persuasive eloquence, so rich in the power of expressing every shade of feeling and affection.

His books, with few exceptions, were reproductions of his sermons, printed, with but scanty editorial revision, from the phonographers report. As examples of New Church preaching, and of the manner in which our doctrines grapple with the social difficulties and problems which many of them discuss, they are of high interest, and may be trusted to exercise for many years Dr Bayleys unrivaled power of winning converts to the New Jerusalem. But it was as a speaker rather than a writer that his chief strength lay; whence his most successful volumesThe Divine Word Opened and the Brighton Lectures--are precisely those in which his dualities as a speaker are most conspicuous. In the appreciation--or, at any rate, the practice--of literary style, he was comparatively deficient. Indeed, with his multifarious occupations it could scarcely be otherwise. Moreover, his very facility in extempore address operated against his attainment of the outward elegancies of authorship. Accustomed to produce immediate and satisfactory impressions by his impromptu utterances--impromptu, that is, as to their form, if not their substance--he wrote much as he would speak, and--whether preserving for the churchs future instruction some of his valuable sermons, or recording the lives and works of her departed worthies, or narrating in our periodicals his own experiences of travel and observation--retained the same characteristics of speed, and indifference to literary method.

Among the qualities to which he doubtless owed his unusual success, was his genial and sunny humor. No one saw more quickly t he ludicrous aspects of a question, or wielded with more effect the formidable weapon of ridicule. His kindly laugh will long be remembered for its hearty mirth; and many a company will be the sadder, not only by the sense of his loss, but from missing the cheerful influence of his presence. One of his last remarks, made within a very few hours of his removal, was to the effect--What a blessing a little humor is! it seems to lighten the atmosphere.

His buoyant hopefulness was another endearing quality. He looked ever on the bright side of life, and, believing that heaven and the Lord are enlisted in the cause of right, expected good things to succeed and not to fail. Thus he would embark on bold and costly enterprises in the faith--almost always, in the end, justified--that the means for carrying them through would eventually be provided. This sanguine trustful temperament was a constant source of his encouragement and strength. To it may be traced the various undertakings of church renewal or enlargement, and of the erection of new school-buildings, with which he was at various times successfully connected.

In personal habits Dr. Bayley was simple and frugal: for mere bodily indulgence he cared little, yet no one could be more entirely free from any gloom of asceticism. In London he found much enjoyment in the magnificent gardens at Kew, where no doubt he gathered many an effective illustration of the Divine love and wisdom. But his chief delight and relaxation were sought in foreign travel, which generally occupied his summer holiday. He usually journeyed alone, depending for society upon such company as he might encounter in his progress, and preferring to retain that perfect liberty to hurry on or tarry which is the privilege only of the solitary pilgrim. Germany we know that he had visited. He was also well acquainted with various parts of France, and had traveled in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Egypt, and Palestine; while, at the very time of his departure, he was contemplating a voyage to the United States. He prepared himself for visiting a foreign country by the study of its language, reading for this purpose some of its standard literature, whereby he rapidly acquired an extensive vocabulary and a general knowledge of its grammar and idiom. In this way he was able to converse with the people of almost every place he entered, and both to give and receive much information and mutual benefit. During his eastern tour he preached probably the first New Church sermon addressed to an Arab audience, to whom it was conveyed through an interpreter.

His love of travel remained with him to the very end; indeed, but for our assurance that in such matters the Divine providence rules supreme, we might even say that it was instrumental in hastening the end. Having suffered much from the severities of the previous winter and spring, he left London on the third of May 1886--alone as usual--for St. Valery in Normandy, where he had previously derived advantage. For a few days the change seemed beneficial, but, having taken a chill, he returned home in haste on Tuesday the eleventh. His medical attendant at once ordered him to bed, and required the relinquishment of any near public engagements; but no apprehension was felt as to his critical condition, which was afterwards pronounced due to congested lungs, complicated by an enfeebled action of the heart. The following day he was weak and feverish, but full of joy and thankfulness to be again at home. His youngest daughter, Mrs. Rawsthorne--who since Mrs. Bayleys decease had been her fathers constant companion--read him the newspaper, when he commented on the probable rejection of Mr. Gladstones Irish Bill, and the likelihood or otherwise of Lord Hartingtons being invited to form a Cabinet. Later in the morning she read, by his desire, The Cottars Saturday Night, always one of his favorite poems; while, as the day advanced, he reminded her of various uncompleted business, and of one or two poor people whom he had hoped to help, and arranged for the immediate dispatch to the New Church journals of a paragraph excusing himself from his various appointments. The longing for rest and sleep increased, however, and he began to murmur detached verses from the fourteenth chapter of John; her memory dwelling especially on the twenty-seventh versePeace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Then he said, Let us have the fourteenth of John, which she accordingly read, he following each word. She next sang several favorite hymns, after which he was silent for a while, until, at about half-past six, he turned hastily in his bed. She was quickly at his side, placing her arm under his head to prevent his slipping from the pillow. Smiling very lovingly, he drew her face to his, and thus, folded in each others arms, while she thought him falling into the peaceful sleep they had so earnestly desired, he was gently lulled into that better rest which remaineth for the Lords people.

The funeral, on Tuesday, May the eighteenth, was undoubtedly the most numerously attended, and probably the most impressive, in the history of the New Church. The service was read by the Rev. Thomas Child, Dr. Bayleys recently appointed coadjutor at Kensington, and the Rev. John Presland, his successor at Argyle Square; the first part taking place at Palace Gardens Church, which was filled by those who loved him. The coffin, borne by eight of the working men of his congregation, who had petitioned to be permitted thus to show their affection and respect, was completely hidden by the sweet fair flowers sent from every quarter; which also graced the chancel and altar, and the purple draperies of the pulpit. Mourners were there from all parts of the kingdom. Accrington sent a deputation, so did Argyle Square. Conference was represented by its president, secretary, and treasurer; while the New Church Orphanage, the Swedenborg Society, the Missionary and Tract Society, and other institutions likewise had their delegates. Old pupils, indebted to him for their early instruction, ministers whom he had ordained, couples he had married, and numbers who owed to him their knowledge of the New Church, or some stronger impulse to live in its faith and practice, also thronged around. And so, quitting Palace Gardens, and winding through the quiet roads of northern London, bright that morning with the blossoms of the spring, the long procession reached the beautiful cemetery at Highgate, where the remains of his beloved wife had been laid six years before; and there. in the golden sunshine, while the birds sang and the flowers bloomed, and every sight and sound told of life and resurrection, was left all that was mortal of this beloved and honored friend. The Sunday morning following, the Rev. John Presland preached in his memory in Palace Gardens Church, thronged for the occasion by the largest congregation it had ever held. And as--taking for his text the verse which Mrs. Rawsthorne heard her father murmuring on that Wednesday morning--he spake of the peace which the Lord leaves with His disciples, and which He dispenses, among other agencies, through the instrumentality of His church, all present felt that among those who preach the gospel of this pence, few have lived more nobly, or done work more worthy, or passed away by a death more beautiful, or with more certain warrant for hope and trust, than JONATHAN BAYLEY, the Lords servant, who loved little children, and who tried to do them good.





And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them, have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own Image; in the Image of God created He him.--Gen. i. 26, 27.

THE lessons derived from the study of the Word and of the works of God will undoubtedly harmonize if they be read aright. This idea reason hails; and with the ideas of science possessed by the Jews, there was nothing in the history of creation, as understood to be related in the divine book before us, which was felt to be improbable or untrue. They had a very limited conception of the extent of the universe. They supposed the earth to be the great central body, created some 6000 years ago. The sun, moon, and stars, brought into existence on the fourth day of creation, were satellites to the earth situated in a vault some few miles above the surface, and the whole revolving round the nearly flat plane on which we live in twenty-four hours. The sun and moon were to illuminate our days and nights; the stars to add splendor to the scene. They read the Mojaic account of creation in a week and although a little difficulty was felt respecting light appearing before the sun, yet some apparently plausible glosses were offered, and the whole was considered tolerably clear; and in this conviction the church reposed. But now science has changed the scene. Our earth--no longer conceived to be the great center of the universe--is known to be only one of a hundred worlds, which revolve round our sun as their center. Some of these worlds are far larger than our own. Jupiter would make nine hundred such worlds as ours. The sun would make twelve hundred thousand earths, and shines unceasingly.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 3 He and the earths and moons of his system enveloped in his light, were we to view them from a fixed star, all taken together would seem only like another star. Of such stars, doubtless with their attendant worlds, there are millions in our astral system. Nay, all the gorgeous assemblage of suns sad worlds which is visible to the eye and the telescope, on a magnificent night, would appear to a spectator placed on a nebula in far off space, only like a handbreadth of star-dust, of which there are myriads of others suspended in the sky. Each more perfect instrument brings us acquainted with numbers of these starry masses, so distant as to have been quite imperceptible by former telescopes. Their number, no doubt, is finite, but so vast, that the universe may be regarded as an ocean of worlds, and each sun as a drop. This ocean is so immense that light, with its inconceivable rapidity, would be hundreds of thousands of years in traversing it. Light has crossed it, to us, from points so remote as to require all those years for transit; therefore those stars and systems must have existed so long.

Holy sublime is the scene which is thus opened upon us! How immensely is our idea of Jehovahs government enlarged! And everywhere there is order, silent majesty, the reign of law. Everywhere there is infinite intelligence manifested in securing the attainment, in every portion of the vast whole, of perfect harmony and perfect safety. And what is infinite intelligence, working unceasingly for benevolent ends, but the effulgence of infinite love? Immeasurable benevolence, operating by immeasurable wisdom--this is the perfect source of all creation, preservation, and blessing.

Love and wisdomthe love which desires to impart happiness, and the wisdom by which it secures its aim--these provide the leaf which forms the joys of the meanest insects life. These pour forth, with inexhaustible bounty, all that gives variety, abundance, and pleasure to every living thing. These warm us in the sunbeam and radiate in all the beauties of the light. These we recognize in the perfect order of the planets, and in the regular supplies they obtain from the sun. These are manifest in the stability of the whole system; and we may follow them into the farthest depths of space, still having their bright evidences flashing back upon us, until--

All thought is lost, and reason drowned

In the immense survey.

We cannot fathom the profound,

Nor trace Jehovahs way.



When we cannot embrace the incalculable greatness of the universe, we can yet perceive everywhere the exhibition of the divine perfections, and acknowledge the evident power and presence of our heavenly Father; and we instinctively exclaim:--

These are thy glorious works, Parent of Good,

Thine, this universal frame! Thus wondrous fair!

Thyself, how wondrous then.

But fruitful as the discoveries of astronomy are, in suggestions calculated to awaken adoration, gratitude, and humility, we cannot conceal from ourselves that they take us to contemplations of spaces, and distances, quite inconsistent with the age of the universe, as drawn from the literal account in Genesis. If, as the astronomers tell us, many of the heavenly bodies are so distant, that it would require hundreds of thousands of years for light to come from them to us--which light has reached us, or we could not see them--then they must have existed for so long a time, and therefore, did not begin to exist on the fourth day of a meek some six thousand years ago. This is the first fact me desire not to be forgotten.

A sister-science, that of geology, has been found to yield lessons equally enlarging our ideas of the Creators grandeur, and of His providence, but equally unable to be reconciled with the first chapter of Genesis, considered as an exact divine account of natural creation.

Geology shows that the crust of the earth, for several miles thick, has been the accumulation of plants and animals, which have lived and died, and left their remains, as a proof of their existence, in ages long gone by. Beds of rocks lie one over another, with immense masses of shells, which show the ocean lay long there; then with remains of plants indicating dry land and periods of continued growth: again come masses of sea-remains, and these followed by immense layers of land growth, and thus in succession to such a number and amount, that the time to form them cannot have been less than millions of years.

During all these periods the sun must have existed, as with out its heat the water would have been all ice, and fish could neither move, nor live in it. Plants could not grow without heat, nor light, nor air; and, therefore, the same general laws of nature which prevail now, must have prevailed then, during the enormous periods before any traces of man announce that he had been created.



A long line of animal races has left remains which have been restored part to part, and form complete skeleton frames, with eyes and every portion of the animal constitution indicating that light existed, and in fact, that all those wise which infinite goodness and unerring wisdom sustain now for human happiness, were sustained then. In those far off ages, when the earth was being prepared, by an unutterably loving and all-wise provider, for the residence, after millions of years, of beings in the full image of Himself, with all the requirements of civilized life. These preparations in the remote ages of the worlds youth, of those incalculable forests, which afterwards became our coal-fields, of those accumulated remains of shells, which afterwards formed our mountains of limestone, marble, and chalk, in all their varieties these all speak of laws producing then, as now, beneficent results of wisdom framing and directing the laws of love, from which such wisdom flowed; for--

I cannot go,

Where universal love smiles not around.

Yet, must it be confessed, that all this stands irreconcilable with Genesis in its ordinary interpretation. If the sun were shining, enabling animals to see, and causing plants to grow, millions of years since, what am I to do with the account which states that the sun was created on the fourth day of a week, only about six thousand years ago? If long ages passed, in which life, and growth, and death proceeded nearly as they do now in the vegetable and animal kingdoms, before man appeared upon the earth, how can this agree with the account which states that on the third day of this week vegetables first came into being, and which brings man into being six days after the earth itself commenced its existence?

If when we are learning these lessons of science, we were reading some other literary production merely human, we might say we will abide by the Revelation of Moses, for that is divine. But in reading the heavens and the earth, we know they are a divine book also. The knowledge they disclose is from God. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork. And the revelations they make of the divine directness and goodness are so humbling and hallowing to the devout soul, we would not must not, part with themthey are divine teaching. All revelation must harmonize when truly understood. What then is to be done? Let us see.

Some learned and pious minds have suggested that perhaps the days in Genesis mean, not periods of twenty-four hours, but great epochs, possibly thousands of years in duration;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 6 and noticing the fact that a day is often used in the Sacred Scriptures in other senses than a scientific one, have quoted the passage, A thousand years, in Thy sight, are but as yesterday when it is past (Ps. xc. 4).

But, if we try to apply these long periods to the actual account in Genesis, we shall find the difficulties are not at all smoothed. What could be meant by the first great period in which the Divine Being divided the light from the darkness, and called the light day, while there was as yet no sun at all? What could be meant by the evening and the morning of such great days, when the water was divided into waters above, and waters below the firmament? Is there such a division in nature? And could it take a thousand years, or ten thousand years, to make it? What could be meant by the third of such great epochs, when the sea was divided from the land, and when plants first grew, although there was yet no sun? Can we conceive of this for ten, or any other number of thousand years? The water in such an absence of the sun could not have been liquid; and in stiffness, torpor, and cold, the inevitable concomitants of the suns non-existence, no movement or growth could be possible. What could be meant by the seventh of such days, in which God is said to have rested from His labors, and originated the Sabbath? Could this be a thousand or ten thousand years long? And does not the Divine Being still produce and still sustain as actively as ever? Does not geology also teach us that, at the time when the earliest strata were formed, the plants and animals then in being must have lived in such circumstances as imply undoubtedly that the sun shone, and the general laws of nature were the same as now? Besides, all science leads to the conclusion that the earth was formed by the Creator from the sun, and therefore must have existed after, not before, that body. All these considerations show that the mode of solving the difficulty, by making the days to be epochs, solves nothing, but creates additional perplexity. Others have proposed the suggestion that, probably, all geological phenomena should be considered as having taken place at a period before that of which the Bible speaks--that is, before the beginning. But this would so entirely denude the divine account of any feasible meaning, that we cannot be otherwise than unwilling to admit a solution which would make divine revelation pretend to give an account of creation, which was, in fact, no creation. If the record in Genesis is to be understood naturally, it is a history of the origin of the heavens and the earth. If the heavens and the earth were really in existence millions of years before, and the earth during those years was swarming with life and being, the six days cannot be called days of creation in any proper sense whatever. We cannot for a moment admit that man can do better than his Maker, in what that adorable Maker proposes to do.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 7 If the narration in Genesis is not a model of a scientific history of natural creation, we are persuaded it is because God never intended it to be so. If He made a history, it would be the perfection of history; for He does all things well. The reason why the divine narrative in Genesis is not a perfectly accurate description of natural creation is that it was never intended to be so understood. It is written in the divine style, and is a description of spiritual creation, as it took place in the earliest ages of mans existence. This divine style is peculiar to the Word of God, and underlies it everywhere. My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isa. 1v. 8, 9).

In this divine style the outer universe is a grand symbol of an inner universe in the minds of men. Each mind is a heaven and earth on a small scale. The development of the principles which conduce to the perfection of the soul is exactly portrayed by the creation of a world. Whether we speak of one mind or of many minds forming a church, it amounts to the same thing. Creation is the symbol of regeneration. If any man be in Christ, says the apostle, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new (2 Cor. v. 17). 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. ii. 16). Here we have creation, but evidently a mental one described. We have the exact counterpart of the commencement of Genesis in Jer. iv. 22, 23, 25: For My people is foolish, they have not known Me; they 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 from (empty) and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld and there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.



Here the state of mankind is described as reduced to the darkness of ignorance, and utter emptiness of all that is beautiful and good, by their obstinate folly; and this is represented by the emptying and darkening of a world. When the restoration of a heavenly state is the subject of prophecy, it is spoken of as the formation of a new universe. Take as an instance, 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 (Isa. lxv. 17, 18).

Such is the divine style; the outer world is the type of the inner one. The ruin of a church, or of a soul, is represented by the wreck of a world. The restoration of intelligence, order; righteousness, purity, and peace, are symbolized by a new creation.

This principle pervades the whole Word of God. The recognition of it will relieve from many an error which has been held both in relation to what has been taught as to the beginning of the world, and also respecting its end. The ancients knew this well, and they delighted to know it. The oldest writing known except the Bible, says, All things which are in the heavens are also upon the earth, but in an earthly manner; and all things on the earth are also in the heavens, but in a heavenly manner. Plato speaks of all material things being symbols of immaterial, and pictures of the Divine Mind.

When the Lord is represented in Job as saying, Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened, or who laid the corner-stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job xxxviii. 4, 6, 7) it is not Of the outer earth He speaks, for what are its foundations? or what its corner-stone? It is the church, whose foundations are the divine commandments; and its corner-stone, that which the apostle indicated when he wrote, For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (I Cor. iii. 11). He is the head stone of the corner, and when His church, His spiritual earth, is built on Him, the sons of God and the morning stars do indeed shout for joy.

It might relieve the fears of many a simple soul, a slave to the latter that killeth, who is ever and anon frightened with the cry, The world is going soon to be at an end, to observe, the world has often been at an end, according to the scriptural and divine meaning of that phrase. Not Gods world.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 9 Oh no! that needs no ending; that is perfect for Gods grand purposes, and will remain so. (Eccles. xi. 4; Ps. lxxviii. 69; xciii. 1, xcvi. 10; civ. 5.) All we have to do, is to become better acquainted with that, and use it in all its glorious relations as a seminary for heaven. But mans world consists of its worldly principles, habits, and practices; society such as he forms it, including the church as visible among men. This state of society, although it may have started on sound principles, becomes by degeneracy ripe for ruin, and then it falls, and gives place to a better dispensation, a new church, and society. This is the passing away of one heaven and earth, and the commencement of a new one

When David said, The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah (Ps. lxxv. 3),--he spoke not of the material, but of the moral earth. When he wrote, They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course (Ps. lxxxii. 5); he would be confined in his ideas indeed, who supposed some foundations of the natural world were meant. See also the whole of Isa. xxiv., where the earth is represented as utterly dissolved and ruined by human iniquity, and the inhabitants burned (v. 6), in language utterly unintelligible, unless we remember that the earth means the church, and the fires which most fatally burn men, are their passions.

When in the early days of our race--the golden age--men regarded the world as the out birth and the emblem of spiritual things, it was to them a living, ever-teaching book. The sky in its sublime depths, and the glorious lights there, spoke to them of the grandeur of God and the order of heaven. The silent majesty of the mountains told them of the peace which is the attendant of great interior principles. The heat, the light, the dew, the rain, were the types of the love that warms, the truth which enlightens, the calm lessons of wisdom and instruction which descend into the soul, and fertilize it. Each flower was the type of some lovely thought, each fruit tree, of those who are fruitful in good works: trees of righteousness, of the planting of Jehovah (Isa. lxi. 3).

This was a philosophy of a diviner sort than that which simply weighs, measures, and tickets nature, and has nothing further to say. This led them through nature, up to natures God. Such wisdom was the delight of the early wise ones, with whom hieroglyphics, and those beautiful myths of the early poets originated. These things, so dark to men of severe science now, were well understood then;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 10 and will be once more understood, when men will give themselves diligently to learn again the divine style of correspondences in which God speaks to man.

To men of reverential feeling, and minds enlightened by heavenly wisdom, the world has ever an inner as well as an outer side. They feel they are inhabitants of two worldsa natural and a spiritual one. The outer, they regard as the counterpart of the inner, and all the movements of the latter are the speaking signs of changes of state within them, and in the spirit world. In the cloud, and in the sunshine, in the storm and in the calm, in all the objects of the mineral, vegetable, and animal worlds, they see the reflections of principles and states in the soul. Through these they walk, and hear the Deity speaking to them everywhere, but chiefly in His Word and they know what is meant there when it is written, O earth, earth, earth! hear the Word of the Lord.

The days of creation are the seven stages, or grand states, of spiritual creation, and not natural days at all. Ye are all the children of the day, said the apostle: we are not of the night, nor of darkness (1 Thess. v. 6). The day of Christ, the day of salvation, the day of the Lord, are terms common in the sacred Scriptures to indicate states of the church and of man. The light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when Jehovah bendeth up the breach of His people, and healeth the stroke of their wound (Isa. xxx. 26). To be a type of these spiritual days, the week was originally instituted in the most ancient times, far beyond the Jewish Dispensation, and in allusion to these seven spiritual days of regeneration, not to any days of nature, it is said in the third commandment, In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them. The labor the Lord rests front is the labor of regenerating the soul, so long as there is opposition there. The rest He has, is the peace there is, when all within us is conformed to His Holy Spirit: and though we are still ever active for good, there is neither oppression nor weariness in us. All within us is moved by the all-softening, all-controlling power of love. This is the Sabbath of the soul, the seventh day.

The existence of light before the sun, the source of light, came into being, has presented serious difficulty to the thoughtful. But, in spiritual creation, light, which means knowledge, ever comes before the sun, which signifies the love of God as unfolded in the soul. There is light on the first day, the sun is made manifest later.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 11 The second day contains the work of dividing the waters into two parts-the waters above the firmament, and the waters below the firmament. To the ignorant simplicity of the untaught mind, which supposed rain and snow to come from immense reservoirs, which God had in reserve above the clouds, this account presented nothing at which it stumbled; but now me are aware that rain does not come from such celestial storehouses, but is raised by evaporation from the sea. What, then, is meant by this division of the waters? In spiritual creation it signifies the advance of the soul to the discernment that the instruction which it has previously received as a whole into the memory, like the general mass of waters, is to be divided into two grand classes--instruction concerning our duties to God, and instruction concerning our duties to man. On these two hang all the law and the prophets. Instruction concerning God, heaven, and heavenly things, is the water above the firmament. Everything we are taught concerning our duties in relation to man and time, is water below the firmament. The earth is said in the twenty-fourth Psalm to be founded upon the seas, and established upon the floods, in relation to the same kinds of waters as those named in the Divine Word before us. It is the instruction from the Word which covers the mind, as the waters cover the sea.

The next day, or the third state, discloses a fresh advance--the waters are gathered by themselves, and the dry ground appears. There are also brought forth grasses, herbs, and fruit-trees. In spiritual things this days work unfolds that great change of our states in our mental progress, when we perceive that valuable as instruction and truth are, duty and goodness are far more so. The good ground, said the Lord in the parable of the sower, are they, who in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience (Luke viii. 15).

When we appreciate heartily those sacred words, If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them, then our third state has begun. In loving and cultivating obedience to the Lord, there grow over the soul quiet thoughts on which the heart can rest, and say, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures (Ps. xxiii. 1). As we read the letter of Holy Word, blades of consolation spring up on every side There is first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear (Mark iv. 28). Here, these happy confiding thoughts are called grass.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 12 The higher perceptions of heavenly things which enable us to teach others, are called the herb yielding seed, and the perceptions which flow front inward faith are the trees yielding fruit: those trees of righteousness, branches of the planting of Jehovah (Isa. lxii. 2); and when these things are brought forth, the soul is ready for the dawning of a still higher day. The prophet says of the church triumphant,--Thy sun shall no more go down; nor thy moon withdraw itself: for Jehovah shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended (Isa. lx. 20).

Divine love and wisdom are the sun and moon of the regenerating soul, as they are of the kingdom of heaves. When they begin to shine more or less brightly in the mind, and the will is warmed by hallowed affection, the love of God shed abroad within the heart glows like a little sun there: and the intellect illuminated by spiritual intelligence, like a moon from within. These luminaries, nobler than those of nature, are perceived as signs and foretokens of what we shall be. It is summer when holy love is fully felt within us; it is winter when all is chilled by the presence of harassing anxieties, the result of temptation. It is day when all is bright with us; it is night when our states have become dim. Our whole concern is with our spiritual years; and when we read the individual verses of Holy Writ they shine now with a meaning they never had before: they are like stars in the firmament. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts (2 Pet. i. 19).

Unto him that overcometh I will give the morning star (Rev. ii. 28). In the fourth state, when the soul is conscious of the presence of divine things, the whole Word becomes a glorious milky way, studded with stars of different magnitudes, but each affording its charming and beautiful light; and God made the stars also.

When this consciousness of the power of love and the light of wisdom in the soul has been attained and realized, the new creation can make a fresh advance. n heavenly activity of thought is engendered,a holy ingenuity is exercised in deducing principles of scientific determination, and of sublimely rational thoughts, on all subjects. These spiritual sciences are the fish of the holy waters (Ezek. xlvii. 10), and of the fifth day; while the birds of the spiritual atmosphere are those lofty conceptions which soar up in the good mans spirit, and gather from the glories of eternity prospects which cheer and encourage him to bear the burdens of time.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 13 They mount up with wings like eagles; they run, and are not weary; they walk, and never faint (Isa. xl. 31).

While the intellect is thus busy with new thoughts, and man is confirming in himself ideas of truth and goodness of every kind, it is his fifth day.

But now another state arises, when in the will all good affections are brought forth in abundance. These are represented by the living creatures the ground brought forth. Desires to live in every habit we have, in harmony with the spirit of heaven, are ever present with us. Our lowest creeping things are alive. All our natural affections, the beasts of our earth, are filled with the spirit and purpose of heaven. Jehovah makes a covenant, as he says in Hosea ii. 18, with the beast of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the earth. In fact, all things in us praise the Lord. We delight to be conformed to His will. We take up the language of the Psalms to our little spiritual universe (Ps. cxlviii. 7, 10), Praise Jehovah from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps; beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl. And when the whole mind is thus filled with spiritual life we are prepared for the next grand change to be introduced by the Lord, and announced by the sublime words, Let us make man.

But before we proceed with the consideration of the sublime idea presented by these divine expressions, we will notice the criticisms which have sometimes been made on the word God, as well as on the plural pronouns contained in the verse before us--the pronouns US and OUR.

The word translated God, is Elohim, the plural of El; and the explanation offered by some is, that three persons exist in God; and the same reason will account, say they, for US and OUR in the test.

But these observations will not harmonize together. If Elohim (God) means three persons, then when the text declares God (Elohim) said Let us make, if Elohim addressed any one equal to Himself, He must have addressed other three or six, and thus there would be six or nine divine persons. The true reason, however, for this plural form arises from the radical signification of El, the singular, and root of the Word. El signifies power. Hence it is used in the singular number often, to express the highest inmost power or Deity; the power of Infinite Wisdom flowing from Infinite Love.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 14 The Most High God is expressed by El Elyon, in Gen. xiv. 18-20, and elsewhere. The singular El, is joined also with Almighty in the name God Almighty (El Shaddai), in the singular. This name El (power), in the Scriptures, occurs tow hundred and forty-five times. The term Jehovah, generally in the English Bible translated LORD, is also always in the singular. From these considerations we may conclude, that in His own Being, Jehovah, or the Divine Love, and El, or the inmost Divine Truth, the Eternal, is always singularone Glorious Divine Person. But when He proceeds to create, although this end is one, that of forming an ever-increasing heaven from the human race, yet the means are as multiform as the universe. The Word of God is not an expression, but a living energy, the power of Divine Truth from Divine Love, must form the heavens, and through the heavens the earths of the universe. By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth (Ps. xxxiii. 6). In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him; and without him was not anything made that was made (John i, 1, 3). This Word, the Divine Truth, the inmost power of the universe, flowing from the inmost love of Deity in Him, is one, and is meant by the singular El Elyon, the Most High God. But as it forms the heavens, and acts through them, as it creates the earths, and makes them the footstools of its glorious energies, it becomes innumerable powers, and is expressed by the term Elohim. All the heavenly influences flowing from the Divine Truth are powers, Elohim. When heaven became peopled with inhabitants, the angels, so far as they were receptive of the divine influences, became subordinate Elohim. In the 82nd psalm it is written, God standeth in the congregation of the might (literally, of God, El singular); He judgeth among the gods (Elohim), (v. 1). I have said, ye are gods (Elohim); and all of you are children of the Most High, (v. 6). Our blessed Lord, in alluding to this passage, said, Is it not written in your law, Ye are gods? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (John x. 35). Thus, then, all in heaven and on earth who partake of the power of divine truth, become in a subordinate sense Elohim or gods; and it is to show that all the powers of heaven and earth are, under the Highest, instruments of forming man, of raising human beings up to the character implied in that exalted appellationman.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 15 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them that shall be heirs of salvation? (Heb. i. 14) Even the powers within one human being are sometimes called Elohim. I will make thee an Elohim, a god to Pharaoh, was said to Moses (Ex. vii. 1).

We need not, therefore, wonder at the use of the plural form Elohim, or the pronouns us and our, in relation to the image and likeness of God, but rather adore that Infinite Goodness which works in all things, heavenly and earthly, angelic and human, intellectual and physical, to produce that godlike result, a true and real man. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. The Lord, the only Divine Person, Himself, however, is the real prime mover of all the operations of creation, natural and spiritual. Isaiah says, Thus saith the Lord (Jehovah, singular), 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). And in the verse following our text it is written, So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. He employs others, to give them the happiness of co-working with Him. He needs us not, but we need the holy employment of being instruments in His hands, of working out His divine designs of love and mercy, and therefore He says, Let us make man.

But what is man? The ready answer of the inconsiderate would be, a person in human shape. Our Lord did not judge so, when, speaking concerning Herod, He said, Go, tell that fox, To-day and to-morrow I do cures, and cast out devils, and the third day shall be perfected. Herod displayed the cunning which makes the peculiar life of the fox, and the blessed Savior called him by that name.

Animals have no moral sense, they obey their instincts. No conscience can be formed in them, for this involves knowledge, judgment, decision, choice, and inward determination, to carry out the right. The moral adoption of what is good and true constitutes true manliness. The more goodness and truth a person adopts, the more is he a man. Infinite goodness and infinite truth form the one perfect divine man, the Lord Jesus Christ; and we become His image as we receive from Him these essentials of manhood.

Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye call find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 16 and I will pardon it (Jer. v. i). Here is the divine definition of a man. He executeth judgment. He is aware he has a rational faculty, and he uses it. Undeterred by fashion or by folly, he judges for himself. We cares little for the decisions of councils, or for creeds, except as making him acquainted with what other men have thought. He has faith in God, who gave him the powers of judgment, and who, he feels assured, expects him to use them. He has faith in the truth which God thus enables him to see, and the good to which it leads; and he is daily and fearlessly executing judgment, and doing the truth. This is a man. This will be an angel. He loves the truth above his prejudices, above his passions. He loves it, as the Lord loves it, freely. He is the image of God. He is the child of the light. He follows the light: he rejoices in it. The Savior calls him His friend. Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you (John xv. 14). A true man asks only, in the requirements of duty. What has the Savior commanded? for what He commands must be the highest truth. What does the truth teach? and what he sees to be true, this he does. God is his law, and his example. His whole aim is to be an image of God. To raise man up to this state of true dignity and real freedom, is what is placed before us as the object of the Deity, expressed in the sublime words of our text, Let us make man. In all the days which precede this, man acts under some sense of restraint or fear; now he is to be raised to perfect freedom. The truth shall make you free (John viii. 32). To see the subject in its true and real character, we must think of it, not so much as so many spoken words, uttered at a particular time, as the expression and purpose of God at all times. We is for ever saying, Let us make man. To the angels, when he appoints them to watch over the infant spirit, and to lay therein those sweet remnants of holy goodness which form the foundation of heaven in the soul, He says, Let us make man.

To parents, when the young immortal is received as a gift from him, when the father admiringly regards the babe pence fully resting on its happy mothers lap, and dreams, perhaps, of possible wealth and greatness, the Spirit of our Father in heaven whispers, Let us make man. So to teachers, so to friends, so to all society; all are intended to assist in this glorious work, to produce and train beings to become images of their Maker: Let us make man.

For this, heaven and earth have been formed and are sustained;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 17 heaven with its excellencies, and earth with its glories, are both impelled to carry out this exhortation of the Divine Creator, Let us make man.

Let them have dominion, continues the Divine speaker, over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

He who has arrived at the liberty of the children of God, who, made free by truth, is free indeed, has dominion over all the lower principles of his mind, marshaled here before us by the various orders of animals. He goes to the sea of knowledge, and there presses into his service such principles of science as he call make truly serviceable in his life and conduct. The kingdom of heaven, with him, is like unto a net (Matt. xiii. 47). He casts his net on the right side of the ship, by his Saviors command, and he gathers the good into vessels. He takes care to rule his science and make it subservient to religion. He does not become, like Pharaoh of old, absorbed by it, so as to become a mass of scientific vanity, and nothing else. The prophet called Pharaoh a whale in his seas (Ezek. xxxii. 2). A great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is my own, and I have made it for myself. The spiritual man has dominion over his fish. However numerous they may be, they must all move in the older of divine truth. They swim in the river of God (Ezek. xlvii. 10).

He has dominion, also, over the fowls of the air. The kingdom of God, with him, once like a grain of mustard-seed, has grown up, and become greater than all herbs, and shot forth great branches, so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it (Mark iv. 32). Or, in other words, his thoughts, however high they may soar, however wide and far they may fly, will go only to seek for higher illumination, and greater power for good. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; shall mount up with wings as eagles: they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint (Isa. xl. 31).

Cattle are the symbols of the affections of the heart. When these are dedicated to the Lord, they are sheep which follow the good shepherd, who goes before them, and. whose voice they know (John x. 4).

A spiritual man has dominion over his cattle, and over all the earth; over his whole natural mind.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 18 The sceptre of heavenly order rules all within him, even his creeping things, his lowest appetites. Whether he eats, or whether he drinks, he does all to the glory of God (I Cor. x. 31).

Such, my beloved hearers, let us become. How solemn and how inspiring is the thought, when we assemble together, to open our hearts for the divine influences, to mingle our prayers and praises together, to hear the Divine Word, the innumerable company of angels is with us, to sympathize with us, to aid us, and to rejoice with us. The God of angels Himself has deigned to assure us that He, too, is there. O let us seek to rise above all earthly cares, into the atmosphere of these holy beings. Let us attend to the sacred suggestions they make. Let us co-operate with their inward breathings. Let us listen to the voice which is uttered from the eternal Father in the Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and descends through all these shining ranks, until it whispers in our inmost consciences--and this will be the Spirit of all its utterances,Let us make man. Let us co-operate with the sacred impulse, and strive at all times to execute judgment and do the truth; so shall we become true men upon earth and angels in heaven.





And the Lord God planted a Garden eastward in Eden: and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.--GEN. ii. 8-10.

THE outer creation is a sublime symbol of the inner one. Matter is the out birth and covering of spirit, and therefore corresponds to it. The universe on a grand scale is in all respects similar to the smaller world in man. These truths we have endeavored to illustrate in the Discourse of the Days of Creation, and that it has been seen that they afford the key to solve the difficulties in the Mosaic account of creation which under any other view have hitherto been found so stubborn. Nothing can be conceived grander than this rule. All things of nature are the words of its dictionary. The rules of its grammar are the laws of the universe. All the scenery of our beautiful world, and all the movements which give endless variety to the grand theater of life, are its illustrations. The sun, the moon, the stars, the air the clouds, the vineyards, gardens, fields, and wilds of our green carpeted earth, are the letters in this wonderful book. Through these Gods Divine Wisdom is ever teaching the wise who know how to read His lessons. And the fact which we hope to demonstrate, proceed to open the Divine Word by this law, that the Bible and nature are unfolded by the same rule, leads the thoughtful mind gently, but firmly and irresistibly, to the conviction that the Bible and nature are equally divine, being the work of the same Divine Hand.



We have already observed that the relation of things seen to things unseen, was well understood by the men of early times. They lived closer to God than we, and they delighted in nature chiefly as an index of things divine. Hence arose those beautiful myths, fables, and parables, in which all ancient histories lose themselves, as we trace them to their sources. The men among whom these originated understood them well. And so may me, if we apply the laws of symbols to their interpretation. Swedenborg has again brought those laws to the notice of men. And his having done so, affords us the means of reading lessons of divinest wisdom in nature, of unfolding the dark places of the Word of God, and the mythological literature of the ancients.

It is the proof and the justification of his mission.

It will be remarked by the student of the earliest literature of the ancient world, that the remotest records all describe the primeval people as having been introduced into a magnificent they speak of a garden on the summit of the mountain Kouanlun, near the gate of heaven. There is the fountain of immortality, which divides itself into four rivers. These four rivers are the mountains of the Lord the Spirit. There is also the Tree of Life.1 In the Persian sacred books, we have also a place of delights spoken of, more beautiful than the entire world besides, watered by a river, which was however destroyed by a great serpent which was placed in it, and became the another of winter.2 They speak also of Hom, the Tree of Life, near the fountain Ardouisor, the juice of which gives immortality.

1 Zmem. Chinois. Vol. i. p, 106.

2 Fargard, 1 Vend. Zend. Vol. i. p. 263.

The Hindoo books mention the holy Meroo, a fair and stately mountain, a most exalted mass of glory.3 It is not to be encompassed by sinful man. Many celestial medicinal plants adorn ifs sides, and it stands piercing the heavens with its aspiring summit, a mighty hill, inaccessible to the human mind. The Rig Veda speaks of the sweet fruit of the tree, to which the spirits who love goodness come, and which is a mystery to them who do not understand the Father of the world. Even Northern Mythology tells that under the roots of the great ash-tree, whose boughs extend through the world and reach to heaven, is the well Mimis, in which wisdom is hidden.4

3 Wilkins Notes to Bhagavat, p. 146.

4 Edda, 8 Paral. Schimmelman.



Every reflecting mind will readily perceive that these descriptions taken from the sacred books of the oldest nations of the earth, are allegorical, not to be understood of natural productions or scenes. They indicate the belief of nations widely distant from each other in a state of the highest goodness, wisdom, and happiness, to which, in the early ages of our race, God had introduced prepared and unperverted man. This too is taught in our text, by the garden of Eden.

That this garden, its trees, and fountain with four streams, were never intended to be otherwise than allegorically understood, the very names themselves undoubtedly imply. What is a Tree of Life? The Book of Proverbs answers, Wisdom is a Tree of Life. And may me not ask the firmest adherent of the letter of the Scriptures only, Did you ever find life growing on ally earthly tree? Has life more than one source, and do we not regard this to be Him who is the life? Do we not find this same tree declared in the Book of Revelation to be in the midst of heaven? To him that overcometh, it is said, I will give to eat of the Tree of Life that is in the midst of the paradise of God (Rev. ii. 7). But can any rational mind suppose that an earthly tree has been transplanted to a spiritual and heavenly world? The idea is obviously unworthy of being rationally entertained. Again, we find the Tree of Life in the midst of the New Jerusalem, and on both sides of the river. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the Tree of Life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (Rev. xxii. 2). Is this at all compatible with the idea of a literal tree? Assuredly not. But when on the other hand we reflect that from the one source of life, the Lord, there descend two grand influencesLove and Wisdom--in the most intimate union; and these form the inmost powers of light and blessing to the regenerated soul--the soul in a state of paradise, then we recognize the tree of two lives in the ancient garden of Eden. We say the tree of two lives, for the word rendered life, hachayim, is in the dual, not in the singular, nor in the general plural, in the account of this tree in our text. The holy influence of the Lord, in its twofold character of love and light within, is the tree of lives. This is in the midst of the garden of the soul; this the source of the joys of the angels. This is the center and pervades all the principles of the New Church called the New Jerusalem.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 22 The virtues it inspires in all the varying states of mans regenerationas his faith waxes and wanes, and thus his spiritual months go on--are the twelve manner of fruits it bears. On its holy branches grow acts of patience for reasons of affliction, of gratitude for those of prosperity, of trust and fortitude in the storms of life, of benevolence, charity, and justice in our daily walk, and of hope, ever speaking of better things, like an inward gem glittering in all the golden fruit of this divine tree. Its leaves are the truths, which are for the healing of the nations.

The tree of knowledge of good and evil, is equally indicative of a spiritual existence, not of a natural plant. For on what tree does knowledge grow, save on the human mind? The idle fancy that this tree was an apple tree, cannot be called a thought, it is a fancy having no rational ground. Can knowledge be cut from an apple, or squeezed from a fig? We find knowledge grows only as we exercise the desire to know. The knowledge of external things may well be exiled the knowledge of good and evil, for it is the knowledge of the results of order and disorder, of fitness and unfitness, of truths and appearances. It is an acquaintance with the outsides of things. This knowledge is useful for earthly purposes, but is not the real truth. It is a tree that has its uses in the garden, but its fruit is not to be eaten. Our own sensations give us a knowledge of ourselves, but that knowledge is full of fallacy, and needs the constant correction of a higher wisdom. We feel as if our life were our own. We are conscious of no origin of life out of ourselves. We feel that we exist, but we do not feel the stream of life from which our existence is momentarily maintained. Judging from our own sensations, we are self-existent. This, however, is an appearance, which we mast beware of confirming. Let the tree grow for its own purposes, but do not eat the fruit.       It is essential to our self-consciousness, and all bur individual enjoyment of life and sensation, that we should seem to live as if of ourselves. Without that, me should have no sense of responsibility, no choice, no self-cultivation, no moral defined being, no individual delight or progression. Divine Love has given us this sensation of distinct consciousness of life, that we may taste the sweetness of all our blessings, as if they mere entirely our own. Verily, He is a God that hides Himself. But the more we feel as if the life and the blessings we enjoy are our own, the more should we learn from revelation, and the more should we adoringly confess that every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Lights.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 23 Our own knowledge is good to know and to use, but not to eat, or to confirm, and make part of ourselves. The perceptions of heavenly wisdom are the other trees of the garden; and of these we may freely eat--they are in accordance with eternal truth. But, of the tree of our own self-perceived knowledge, we may not eat, for in the day, or state, in which we eat of it, we enter upon the path of error, of self-will, of carnal-mindedness, of spiritual death; For to be carnally minded is death; to be spiritually minded is life and pence (Rom. viii. 6).

Our knowledge of others is a knowledge of appearances. We see their bodies, and their outward mode of life. And this is necessary, that we may hold intercourse with them, sympathize with them, help them, rejoice with them, sorrow with them. Without it, the daily and hourly dealings of common life could not go on. To this outward perception, the body seems to be the man; its growth, is the mans growth, its decay, the mans decay, its death, the mans termination. The knowledge which we thus acquire, is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil--most useful in itself, but not absolute truth. Revelation teaches us that the body is but the covering of the man. Within the outward form, there are principles, and states, and grandeurs of which the outside view gives us but little acquaintance. To know man really, we must know his immortal capabilities. This comes only from revelation, and from the Lord, but all its lessons are real truths, of them we may freely eat.

On all subjects, there is the knowledge of appearances which we may use, but not confirm, and the acknowledgment of true wisdom which we should confirm. A familiar instance is afforded every day by the progress of the great bodies which mark time. The sun appears to rise in the east in the morning; to come to the zenith at noon, to set in the west in the evening. The earth all the time appears to be a vast stationary plain. All the conveniences of life are regulated upon this supposition, yet it is death to all true philosophy to confirm it. Real truth teaches our reason that the very reverse of this is correct. The earth is in an inconceivably rapid motion; the sun is almost still. For outside life, we must act according to the appearance; for inside life, we must adopt the real truth. Both trees can be rightly admitted into our garden, but each must have its proper place, and each its proper value assigned: the Tree of Lives must be in the midst of the garden; the tree of knowledge of good and of evil, at the circumference.



That a garden, and especially the garden of Eden, is regarded in the Sacred Scripture as symbolic of a regenerated, cultivated state of the soul, is manifest in the declarations of the prophets. When Balaam saw Israel encamped, and was ill an inspired state, having his spiritual eyes open, he said, How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the rivers side, as the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters (Numb. xxiv. 6). Here the states of orderly and happy Israel were described to the spirits eye in vision, as gardens by the rivers side.

The prophet Isaiah said: The Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not (lviii. 11). Jeremiah adopts the same language of correspondence: Therefore they shall come and sing in the heights of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat and for wine, and for oil and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all (xxxi. 12). Our blessed Lord spoke according to he same rule: Then said He, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it (Luke xiii. 18, 19). In all these cases, a garden is undoubtedly intended to represent a state of the soul, when the trees of righteousness, whose fruits are every holy work; the flowers of lovely spiritual ideas, for truth has its pleasure grounds, and the tones of encouragement, beauty; and blessing that charm him, as the songs of birds fill the mind with a foretaste of heaven, and make it a paradise in miniature.

That the garden of Eden means no part of outward earth, but a state of delight resulting from the possession of heavenly graces, its Dame implies; the word Eden in Hebrew signifies delight; and Dr. Hirsch, the Jewish Rabbi of Luxembourg, renders it, in his Jewish catechism, the garden of joy; and evidently perceives, and admits, its symbolical character.

True joy, however, which the Lord Who planted this garden prepares for man, is only to be obtained in a high and holy state of the soul, and is not dependent upon places. The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom. xliv. 17).



This circumstance gives us the reason why the site of Eden has never been formed. Persons who have had no higher idea of the Divine Word than the literal one, have sought everywhere to discover a land watered by four rivers flowing from one fountain: one of the rivers being the Euphrates. No satisfactory discovery has ever been made. To find it, they have explored regions the most distant in Asia. Africa has also been well searched, but in vain. Some of the so-called Fathers have supposed it would be found under the earth. It has been like the search of children for the house Beautiful, mentioned by Bunyan. Butler, in his Hudibras, describes the futility of such labor in vain, when he says of his hero:--

He knew the seat of Paradise,

Could tell in what degree it lies;

And as he was disposed, could prove it,

Below the moon, or else above it.

To account for the geographical failure, some have suggested that the flood had destroyed the boundaries of Eden. But all have admitted that the exact site could not be found. And yet, according to the prophet, the king of Tyre had found it, and been in it many hundreds of years after the flood, if it also were a natural event. Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold; the workmanship of thy tabrets created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire (Ezek. xxviii. 12-14).

If the garden of Eden means a cultivated, enlightened, and happy state of mind, this language is not difficult to be understood. The precious stones represent precious truths, the stones of fire, truths glowing with love. The tabrets and pipes are descriptive of the music of the soul when joyfully acknowledging the goodness of the Divine Creator The mountain of God means the exalted love of the soul when it adores Him above all things. In a state of this kind the king of Tyre might have been, but it is quite impossible that he could have been in any literal Eden, which must have been destroyed centuries before he was born.



Another mention of the trees of Eden is made by the same prophet in chapter thirty-one, where the language of the whole chapter is unquestionably allegorical. Behold it is said, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of a high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs (ver. 3). Of the Assyrian thus represented by a majestic cedar, the prophet proceeds to say: The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chestnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty. I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden that were in the garden of God envied him (ver. 8, 9). Again: I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth (ver. 16). Here, it is manifest, no natural trees can be meant. These could not envy the Assyrian, or strive to hide him. These could not be comforted when they went down to the pit, with them that are slain. From every consideration, therefore, it is clear that in the Divine word, Eden and its trees are the types of a mental and spiritual paradise, not of a natural garden.

The river which watered the garden, with its four heads of subordinate streams, though nowhere found in nature, is easily found in spirit. It is that Divine Truth, which is called the river of the water of life (Rev. xxii. 1), which is meant by the River of God, which is full of waters and that holy stream which the prophet saw, and which made everything live where it went (Ezek. xivii. 9). Divine Truth as it descends from the Lord comes as one river, but as it is received by man it is parted into four great divisions, faith and knowledge, reason and science, and these illustrate the different departments of the mind, which are like so many countries into which they flow.

The first river, Pison, or abounding, as the Hebrew word signifies, the full broad stream of intelligence which flows into the soul when we are in faith inspired by love. The gold of that land, the celestial love, which makes us rich in the divine sight (Rev. iii. 18), is good. There is the bdellium, or pearl, and the onyx or ruby.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 27 The two stones, the white and the red, represent the precious gems of thought possessed by persons in this state on all subjects, both of the intellect and of the heart.

The second river, Gibon, or the valley of grace, is representative of truth as imparted under the form of knowledge. It is more limited and external than the formed. It compasseth the land. Such knowledge, as compared with the light of interior faith, is as the letter compared to the spirit of the Divine Word. But yet Divine Truth in the letter is a valley of grace. It is a covering, a defense, and an introduction to the inner glories of religion.

The third river, Hiddekel, or sharp-flowing, is expressive of the keen light of reason. It is said to go eastward to Assyria, because Assyria is the land which is ever used in the Divine Word as the symbol of those whose chief delight is to see every subject submitted to them, rationally. It is said to go eastward, for the direction towards the sun-rising, in spiritual language, signifies towards that state of love to the Lord, in which He as the Son of Righteousness can arise upon the soul, with healing in His wings. This river goes eastward in all cases when our reasoning is all Godward, in favor of righteousness, holiness, and heaven.

The fourth river, Euphrates, that which grows, the stream that bordered Assyria, is the representative of science. This is the lowest form in which truth is obtained by the soul; but with observation it constantly grows and serves to illustrate all that the mind interiorly sees. Happy is it with man when all these streams are received and harmonize together. His state is then an Eden indeed; a paradise of light, and love, and joy.

We must now notice two particulars which are somewhat striking in themselves, and have served to confirm theories entirely incompatible with the authority of this portion of the Divine Word as a revelation from Infinite Wisdom. The first is, that notwithstanding in the preceding chapter it is said, that God made man, male and female, on the sixth day, yet in the present chapter (ver. 5) it is said, after the seventh day, there was not a man to till the ground. It has been suggested that the creation of Adam, as recorded in the second chapter, is a detailed account of what is briefly stated in the first; but no ingenuity can make it probable that all the proceedings related to have taken place, from the creation of Adam to the foundation of Eve from his rib during his sleep, could be the work of one day only.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 28 He is said to have named all the animals in the time, and to have discovered that it was not good for man to be alone. Can it be supposed that all which is implied in these operations could be the work of twelve, or even twenty-four, hours? Impossible. We must seek for a higher reason; and happily this is afforded. We observed in our first discourse that, in the first chapter of Genesis, the regeneration of man is the theme, up to that state in which truth becomes his only law and guide. He is then a true man, and a free man, in the image of his God. His religion is not constrained now, as it is in all the states meant by the days preceding the sixth. Hence, at the conclusion of that day, all things are pronounced by the Divine Being to be very good.

Man is in that state a truly spiritual man; he conquers in every trial to which he is subjected. But there is a state better still; it is that in which LOVE is the supreme law--in which man is more than conqueror: he is no longer the subject of temptation. There is no labor in his states; all is rest, not the rest of inactivity, but a rest from struggle--a state of interior peace--a Sabbath of the soul. This is truly a celestial state. The former chapter traced mans mental creation,--his spiritual progress, up to the stage of his becoming fully spiritual; but this chapter is taking the description forward until he becomes celestial. Up to the period described in this verse there was no man to till THIS ground, to cultivate the celestial state.

We shall, perhaps, be able to see the interesting subjects of thought to which the spiritual sense here invites us more clearly, if we notice three remarkable features of distinction between the first chapter and the second, both of them apparently treating of the origin of things, and of man. In the first chapter water occupies the leading place; in the second chapter ground is the most important. God broods over the face of the water on the first day; We divides between the waters, on the second; He distinguishes between land and water, on the third; He made living animals, and fowls, from the water, on the fifth day. In the operations of the days in the first chapter water has undoubtedly the pre-eminence, and this will readily be understood and its bearing be seen by the spiritually-minded student who knows that water, in its varied forms, is the symbol of truth--that living, purifying power which is called the water or life (Rev. xxi. 1; John iv. 10, 14). Water in the sea is representative of truth in the memory; general, external, undiscriminated, capable of being tossed about by every wind of doctrine.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 29 Water, as gentle rain, is representative of truth as it descends from the intelligent mind of a loving teacher, or from the Lord the Divine teacher; hence Moses said, My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the rain upon the tender herb, as the showers upon the grass (Deut. xxxii. 2). Water, as a river, is representative of truth when it has become elevated to the inmost affections of the soul, and thence flows down again into the whole mind and life, purifying, directing, fructifying, and blessing the whole man. This is the river of God, which is full of waters (Ps. lxv. 9; xlvi. 4). In the second chapter, the only mater mentioned, is the river which flowed out of Eden, and which was divided into four heads: a river which has never been found on earth. It is a symbol of truth flowing from the heart, when man is in a celestial state.

In the second chapter ground has the lending position. Mist comes upon the whole face of the ground; man is made of the dust of the ground; out of the ground grow all trees, pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of lives and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; out of the ground fowls are formed (ver. 19), though in the first chapter they are said to be formed from the water (ver. 20). Ground is the symbol of goodness; for this is the ground into which the seeds of truth should be received. The good ground is an honest and good heart, said the Lord Jesus (Luke viii. 15). Those states are properly spiritual, in which the spirit of truth is the principle from which man acts as the guiding rule of his life. Those states are properly celestial, in which love or goodness is the leading characteristic. When a man is in spiritual states he is rigidly right, aims at constant correctness in the path of duty, is perhaps brilliant, and delights in pursuing the truth, bur is comparatively cold. When a man is in the celestial state, he is gentle, loving, kind, merciful, easily entreated, long-suffering, ever regarding goodness as the chief object of his care, and in all his religious duties, warm. The spiritual man regards the water of heaven, or truth mainly; the celestial man, the ground of heaven, or goodness, mainly. Hence the first feature of distinction which the discriminating mind will notice between the two chapters.

The next distinctive feature between them, is in the different name employed to express the Deity. In the first chapter, everything is done by God, Elohim; in the second, by the Lord God, Jehovah Elohim.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 30 This circumstance has led some to conjecture that the two are merely separate traditions of the creation collated by Moses, and giving only the speculations of the writers respecting the origin of men and of all things. But this idea, in order to explain the difficulty of finding the Creator designated by different names, leads us to the unspeakably greater difficulty, of a denial of revelation. For, if we deny this portion of the Divine Word to be anything more than unauthorized traditions of unknown writers, we by implication deny the whole Bible to be a divine revelation, fur the whole proceeds upon the basis of this early part being divinely true. And what a result is this! To think that our Heavenly Father has left His immortal children without a guide! that He who provides food for the humblest insect has left mans spiritual demands unsatisfied! Oh, no! We cannot admit so terrible a result. Man, already an angel in embryo, for angels food, and He who has provided for all his other wants, must have provided for this. Man lives not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. That which seems an imperfection in the divine revelation only appears so, because the spiritual character of that revelation was not seen. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul (Ps. xix.); and when its application to the soul is seen, its divine beauty and excellence at once are made manifest.

But when me ascertain the spiritual sense of the names God and Lord, we shall find that their diversity is an example of the divine excellence and perfection of the Holy Word, as well as an illustration of the truth of our principle of unfolding it. The appellation God (or powers) is expressive of the divine truths, which manifest the powers of God, and which under the name of the divine laws, really effect all which God does in the entire universe. The appellation Jehovah (He who is) designates the inmost existence of Deity, the Divine Love. God is love. The two grand essentials of Deity, Infinite Love, the source of all the Goodness of the Lord, and Infinite Wisdom, the source of all the truth from the Lord, are constantly referred to in the Old Testament, mid discriminated from each other by these two names, Jehovah, or Lord, and God. I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me, means that we appeal to the Divine Truth, but Divine Love really saves us. Yet I will rejoice in Jehovah, I will joy in the God of my salvation, directs our attention to both divine principles as sources of interior joy.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 31 By noticing the use of these two appellations, and bearing the signification in mind, a beauty and force will be found in the Holy Word which was before unsuspected, but is eminently interesting and important.

While man is in the spiritual states of his regeneration, truth is the spring of his conduct--his guiding star, his impelling power. He follows it, he bows to it; it rules him, fights for him, recreates and renews him. Hence God does all for him in these states. Although Divine Love is really within the Divine Truth at all times, man is not consciously aware of this. He abides by the language of the poet;

For truth alone, whereer my lot be cast,

In scenes of plenty, or the pining waste,

Shall be my chosen theme--my glory to the last.

When, however, man has entered into a celestial state, and, in all he does, goodness has the lead, a great change is gradually effected in his mode of thinking. He does not value truth less, but he esteems Christian love and goodness more. He is no longer prone to dispute about truth, but is only careful to practice it. The law is written upon his heart; it is no longer the object of reasoning. He sees it by light from within he says, Yea, yea, to what he inwardly perceives to be right, or Nay, nay, to the reverse. He is now at peace, and has but to cultivate and preserve the virtues Divine Love and Wisdom have unfolded within him. He is in Eden, and has only to dress, and to keep it. In all the Divine dealings with him now, he sees the Divine Love as manifest as the Divine Wisdom. He discerns not only the right of Providence in all things, but its mercy. It is no longer God only, but Jehovah God, who leads him. It is the Deity as his Father that he rejoices to hear. He feels His LOVE around him, and within him, and he is happy. He lives in his Fathers house; his Fathers commands are no hard laws to him but delightful directions. He loves the law, and has great peace (Ps. cxix. 165). This, therefore is the sufficient reason for the name of the Lord being Jehovah God in the second chapter, and simply God in the first.

The third distinctive peculiarity is, that man is described in the first chapter as being created male and female, on the sixth day. In the second, after the seventh day is described, he is created as Adam, alone, and not until many proceedings are narrated which cannot be supported to have taken place in twelve or twenty-four hours, is it found not to be good for man to dwell alone, and during Adams sleep, Eve is formed.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 32 We do not mean it to be inferred that we think mans physical creation is related in either the first or the second chapter. An inquiry into that, is the proper subject of natural science, not of divine revelation. Gods Word has to do with souls, churches, and mans spiritual career, not with earthly questions which scientific love is quite adequate to solve. There are sufficient indications of the existence of other inhabitants of the world in the time of Adam and Eve, to show that their history is not the account of the single solitary family of human beings, then inhabiting the globe. Cain went into the land of Nod, and there he took a wife (chap. iv. 17). Whence came this wife, if there were no other people yet existing than his own father and mother? When he slew his brother Abel, and was condemned by Jehovah, he complained that when he was cast out from His presence, every one that met him would kill him, and Jehovah set a mark upon him for his protection. Of whom could he be afraid, if there were no one on earth but his father and mother? He built a city, it is said, and called it after the name of his son Enoch (ver. 17). Whence did they get the building materials? Surely a city implies more than one family.

In thinking, therefore, of Adam, we must dismiss from our minds the idea of the natural creation of man, as the subject of our divine narrative at all. Doubtless God created the physical universe, and man upon it but that is not the subject now; nor of that revelation whose grand purpose everywhere is not natural history, nor external events, except as the medium of conveying heavenly and divine instruction (Isa. lv. 8).

Adam is the generic name for all human beings; in Hebrew it is equivalent to MAN. Hence it is said in the fifth chapter of the book before us (ver. 2), God created them male and female, and called THEIR name Adam in the day, etc. This single appellation, Man, was expressive among the wise ones of old of human beings is a regenerated state; and as these, when presented together in the divine sight, compose one body (Cor. xii. 12), the Church, however numerous they may be they are called by this one name, MAN or Adam.

This is expressed very strikingly in the Hebrew of Ezek. xxxiv. 31, And ye, My flock, the flock of My pasture, are Adam, and I am your God, saith the Lord Jehovah.

Let us resume then the inquiry for the spiritual reason why man is spoken of in the first chapter, as having been created male and female, and in the second as Adam, alone.



In the spiritual states of man, which we have seen to be described in the first chapter, and in which truth in the intellect is the sovereign ruler, the two grand faculties of the mind are distinctly presented, as male and female. The intellect is male, for intellect predominates in the properly developed manly character; the will, the sent of the affections, is female, for the heart is the predominating characteristic of the true womanly character. Both these grand faculties are, however, found in each mind, so that, in a certain sense, each mind is male and female, and when both the heart and the understanding are combined in the reception of true religion, in that mind there is a marriage, an interior union of the truth which is understood, with the goodness which is loved: their land is married (Isa. lxii. 4), they know the truth, and they are happy because they do it.

Now, while man is in spiritual states, and has first to learn the truth by slow investigation and reasoning, and afterwards to bring his heart by further effort, to adopt the truth and do it, he perceives these two faculties of his soul very distinctly, as though they mere separate. He feels that he is male and female. But when he has entered into the celestial slate, so that love from the heart rules every lower faculty and power this divided consciousness disappears. He feels as one embodiment of love from first to last. Heavenly love in him adores, love believes, love bears, love speaks, love acts. He becomes a form of holy love. That principle glistens in his eye, pervades his language, and if the spirit could be visibly presented to the sight, it would be a beautiful form of celestial affections embodied. Because this state, the celestial one, is the subject of the second chapter, Adam is presented up to the time when something not good is discovered, and of which we shall speak in our next discourse as dwelling in Eden alone.

We have a parallel presented in Deut. xxxiii. 28: Israel then shall dwell in safety, ALONE: the fountain of Jacob, shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew. Here Israel is treated as one person, and dwelling alone, when there was nothing foreign, or adverse there. The loneliness is not that of solitariness, but of unity. So is it in the celestial state of man, or of the Church. The ruling love, being heavenly, glows like a celestial fire in the highest region of the soul; wisdom like a flame from that fire, illuminates the whole mind with a calm and holy light. All things below have bees molded to delightful and ready obedience, and happy order rules in every principle of the character and life. Then, man dwells in Eden, in safety, alone.



Such, then, are some of the lessons which are presented for our consideration, in the divine account of man in Eden, spiritually understood.

In this view of it, we have no longer a subject of doubt, perplexity, and profitless mystery. It is a lesson of the mode by which happiness was attained and enjoyed by the most ancient men; it is also a description of the only mode in which happiness can be attained now.

We most return to the Eden state, or we can never attain the joys of Paradise. The Lord will sow the good seed of the Word in our souls, if we will permit Him. He will give us power to cultivate our minds, and make our souls like a watered garden. We must have His love and wisdom like a tree of lives in the center of our garden, and its fruits we may eat and live. This is the only way of securing Paradise. The kingdom of God must be formed within (Luke xvii. 21). It is indeed not meant and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom. xiv. 17). How vain is the dream of those who fancy that to find happiness, they must seek it in distant lands--some in Jerusalem, some in Mecca, some in America. Heaven and happiness are as near in our beloved land as on any spot of Gods earth, and by them who seek faithfully, by help from our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus, to subdue the sources of misery in themselves; in their vices, their passions, and their follies, whether they dwell in a palace or in a cottage, in our island, or in distant lands, the divine promise will to them be realized: The Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isa. ii. 3).

Have we, then, felt our hearts at times like a desert, cheerless, cold and bare, our minds tossed about in the worlds wide wilderness, and tormented with doubts and fancies as wild as those around us?--let us look to Him who said, I am the vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Let Him purify our affections and role our thoughts. Let us perseveringly co-operate with our Divine Savior, and in due time beauty and blessing will diffuse themselves over the spirit, and peace and joy will reign for ever there. The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom like the rose (Isa. xxxv. 1).





And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.GEN. iii. 13.

THAT man is not now in the condition in which he must have been created, seems evident if we reflect upon the perfections of his Divine Creator, or the manifest capabilities of the human constitution, and then notice the individual and social state of the race at present. When man came from the hands of his MAKER, without the intervention of other human beings, he must have been complete and unperverted in his degree of life, and in his powers, though that degree and those powers were finite; since his Divine Creator must have been too good not to desire to make him complete for happiness, too wise not to know how to accomplish His purpose, and too powerful not to be able to carry it into effect. Man must, therefore, have been created, at first, in a state of order, and with every power to arrive at the possession of the highest, fullest bliss. He was then the production of Infinite Love, Wisdom and Power, which could not produce anything opposed to themselves. Possessed in embryo of all the powers which have since been developed in the human race, being, in fact, heaven and earth in miniature, to be unfolded under the influence of freedom, so that he might become truly man, freely wise, freely good, and thus freely happy. The powers of the primeval man would be gradually unfolded as they are now, and for the same purpose beginning with the lowest.

Look at the babe upon the breast. In him are enclosed the powers in embryo, which may result in the archangel. The capabilities of inventing or appreciating all arts, all talents, all improvements,


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 36 --all principles which may be evolved and expanded into the glories of heaven and earth are there. We are fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well (Ps. cxxxix. 14).

But the order of free choice and free existence requires that these powers should be unfolded and adopted gradually, from the lowest to the highest. The child learns first to imbibe its nourishment with delight; this is the opening of the corporeal degree of life. Subsequently, he learns to observe by means of the senses, and through seeing, healing, tasting, smelling, and touch, which is the universal sense, he accumulates a vast treasure of knowledge; this is the opening of the sensual degree of life. Then comes the period for unfolding the reasoning power. He is to be led to scrutinize, to compare, to weigh, to consider the relation of one fact with another; to discriminate between realities and appearances, and so arrive at grand general laws, and be guided by them; and thus is unfolded the natural degree of the mind. Then comes the period for opening the spiritual degree, by which we become interested with spiritual things: we learn truths in relation to our everlasting life, and have a still higher delight in them than in the things of earth; and, lastly, there is opened that inner or celestial degree of life, by means of which we can learn and love the Divine Will supremely; the love of God, as the Supreme Good, can reign in the highest region of the soul, and thence bring the whole man into the order and bliss of heaven. Thus is the wondrous being, man, now developed, in those who carry out their preparation for heaven. Doubtless, this gradual unfolding of the degrees of life is for the sake of human freedom, the all essential human element. We are free at every step of the progress to go on, or stop, or retrograde; to stop, however, is to resist the Divine invitations, which beckon us upward and onward, and to resist is to retrograde. So is it now, so must the law for making man freely angelic, ever have been. Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual (I Col. xv. 46). At first, man would be born innocent and ignorant, but prone to good. In his regeneration, he would proceed from lower excellencies to higher, beginning as now, with the lowest, but advancing with comparative ease. At this day, man is born innocent and ignorant, but prone to evil, beginning also at the lowest, and advancing with difficulty, because of the evil tendencies which obstruct him at every step.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 37 If we contemplate a state of society in which all is orderly, good and progressive, not, certainly, with the cultivation and science of modern times, but with a gentle spirit of loving obedience, reigning in all things, a sacred delight in heavenly wisdom, and a pastoral and patriarchal simplicity in their whole lives, we shall probably have a fair idea of the condition of early, uncorrupted men. Innocence and pence dwelt serenely together; all were happy, because they were wise and good. They loved God and their neighbor, lived peacefully in families, each one contented with his own, none selfishly seeking the power or goods of another. But now, alas, how changed is the whole scene of mankind! Swarms of police and immense standing armies are required to prevent private and public ruffians from preying upon mankind. Wild passions are with difficulty restrained; now and then they burst all bounds, and like volcanoes which have been long pent up, but whose burning surges can no longer be held in, they pour forth their rivers of scorching death on all around. Universal imperfection is admitted, and testifies to an universal fall, seen from the outside of society. But when we regard man as he is within, he who watches his own heart and mind knows how much there is to subdue, to reform, and to regenerate, before he can be happy. Others see, sometimes, what is done, but they see not what is resisted. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it? (Jer. xvii. 9). The human mind is like a magnificent building whose splendid arches and glorious proportions may be traced, but which lies in ruins. It is a volume of incalculable worth, on which the laws of eternal righteousness are to be traced in golden letters, but, alas, it is all torn and blotted, and can only, by a Divine Hand, be restored. The world within is like the world without. By the diligent hand of cultivation, fair spots are formed, of verdure, and of beauty lovely enough to show what is the intention of its Maker, and what are the earths capabilities, but at the same time it is actually infested with jungle and wild, with marsh and quagmire, with thorn and briar. Wild beasts of every hideous and terrible form, hide and howl, and roar, and fight and destroy there. Such is the human soul now. How came it thus? That is our present inquiry.

The history of nations has no answer to our question. Human philosophy is equally dumb.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 38 Divine revelation gives an answer, and the question upon which we are now engaged is, what does the answer mean?

Those who take the early chapters of Genesis as a literal history inform us that a natural serpent seduced our first parents, and persuaded them to eat of a fruit which God had forbidden to be touched, and for this offence God cursed them and their posterity, the serpent, and the earth. But this is so strange an dark ages, and continued to be taught generally in childhood, it would not have been received at all. What a strange idea does it give of God, when it represents Him as placing a tree needlessly in paradise; for, according to this idea, its fruit was never to be tasted, it could only tantalize the inhabitants or the garden. What a character does it attribute Infinite Love, the Best of Beings, when it describes Him as so jealous of the fruit of this one tree, and so unfeeling to His immortal children, as to curse them and their unborn posterity, because this fruit was taken! What an improbable circumstance when we are told that our first parents in their perfect state could be seduced by an animal, and be led away from God by a beast of the field. This has been felt to be so improbable that many have said the devil was in the serpent, but Moses says not a word about any devil entering the serpent. His words are simply, Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made (Gen. iii. 1). And if a devil was the real delinquent, how comes it to pass that he escapes without a word, while the poor serpent, his innocent tool, is punished? By this mode of understanding the narrative, the real culprit is never mentioned, the beast is condemned to go on its belly and to eat dust all the days of its life. And what is still more wonderful, not only does the devil escape unnoticed, but the serpent takes no notice of the sort of food he is condemned to live upon, and declines to eat dust any more than other carnivorous animals.

This serpent, too, according to a mere literal interpretation, should have its head bruised by the messiah, and it should bruise His heel (chap. iii. 15). But whoever heard of its continuing to live four thousand years, until the Savior came, or then fulfilling this prediction?

The whole narrative is crowded with difficulties, when interpreted naturally, and becomes entirely useless. It is no warning, for no other human being would ever be tempted in that strange way.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 39 It gives no account of the origin of evil, for if the devil tempted our first parents, by entering into a serpent, to inquire into the origin of evil would be to ask how it came to originate in him.

It is contrary to the divine dictate of our Savior: it is not that which goeth into a man which defileth a man, but that which cometh out of the heart. For in this case, eating an outward fruit caused the defilement of the whole human race. Add to this, the account of the eating of the apple, constituting the fall, does not explain at all the immense change that must have occurred in the human mind itself, to make it the fountain of all the mischiefs which now afflict society. How comes it, that the love of God, evidently the principle which would be highest in the soul in a state of order, is now almost powerless and obliterated from the heart? How is it that the love of self, which ought to be the lowest in the soul, is now the great inspiring principle of nearly all human minds? and in those with whom it is not so, is only opposed and subdued by the severest mental struggle, and divine help? Whence come the preferences for the abounding impurities that infest the pleasures of mankind, when all the considerations of health, of abiding peace, and social well being, point to pure and orderly enjoyments, as being the only rational ones? Disorderly society without, is but the transcript of the disorganized mind within, and the question is, how came this so? The eating of an apple does not explain this. It may be said by those who have no clear idea of the unchanging love of God, that He inflicted the curse of this mental ruin in consequence of His law having been despised and broken. But in doing this, they would be declaring the Unchangeable One to have changed; from being the Giver of life and peace, to become the Inflicter of death and misery. In attempting irrationally to account for the fall of man, they have brought forward the terrible idea of the fall of God. Oh no; we cannot for a moment admit that Infinite Love has changed, or can change: He is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works (Ps. cxlv. 9). I am Jehovah! I change not, He says; therefore, O Jacob, thou art not consumed (Mal. iii. 9). He is the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James i. 17). O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever (Ps. cxxxvi. 1). Any doctrine which proceeds on the assumption of a changing or unmerciful Deity is thereby manifestly shown to be untrue. He may, to our changing minds, seem to change, as to the moving earth the sun appears to move:


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 40 but as in the latter case, the sun really remains in his place, it is the earth which really changes so in the former case man turns from God, but God remains the unchangeably good, for God is love.

But it is said, God gave a law respecting the tree of knowledge of good and evil: Thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen. ii. 17). And He was bound by His undeviating truth to put this law into execution. But here the literal interpretation meets with another difficulty, or rather with several difficulties. For, taking the word death in the natural sense, its advocates are compelled to admit Adam did not die on the day he ate of the tree, and not until nine hundred and thirty years after. If this death were a curse, these advocates say, Christ took upon Himself the curse inflicted upon man, and so saved the human race. Of course then man ought not to die. Besides, in that truth, bound to enforce, was not enforced after all; for the law was THOU shalt surely die. It says not one word of any one dying for him. The death of another would not fulfil the law, THOU shalt surely Lastly, all this argument respecting the inflexible law, goes upon the implied meaning of the law to be what it by no means expresses. In the day thou eatest thereof I will cause thee to die, or I will put thee to death.
There is, however, nothing of this kind in the announcement.

Taken in its spiritual meaning, it is a caution of merciful wisdom, warning man that if he preferred the appearances of his own knowledge to the lessons of heavenly intelligence, meant by the other trees of the mental garden, he would come into a carnal or external state of mind, and as the apostle said, To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom. viii. 6). Seen thus, what has been called a law, is a caution of fatherly mercy, instructing us of the inevitable consequences of slighting His will and wisdom, which are perfect goodness and perfect truth. These consequences are invariably fulfilled in the very nature of things. If we turn from the light of heaven, we become dark; if we turn from the warmth of heavenly love, we become cold; if we stay, with the lower principles of our nature, and will not advance to the higher, we become selfish. And spiritual darkness, coldness, and selfishness, constitute spiritual death. In the day, in the hour, we adopt these principles, we spiritually die, and never can be reclaimed but by the word and power of the Divine Savior, who said in the days of His flesh;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 41 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 (John v. 24).

Having seen the difficulties which crowd around a merely natural interpretation of the serpent, and the circumstances which are connected with it in the Sacred Scriptures, and seen how full an illustration they give of what the apostle calls the letter that killeth, let us now advance to the spirit which giveth life (2 Cor. iii. 6).

That the serpent is used in the Sacred Scriptures with a spiritual meaning, is evident from this very book of Genesis, and almost from every other. We read, (chap. xlix. 17,) Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward; language this, very obscure, unless we apply to its interpretation the science of correspondences, in which each natural object bears a representation which has an analogy to its nature and habits. The serpent lives and moves close to the earth. In warm countries it is to be found in great numbers, in great variety, and often of great size. Some kinds ire harmless, but some are most deadly. They are generally insidious in their movements, and they spring from under the grass or leaves, or from their holes in the sand, ere the traveler is aware that danger is near. Some tribes exercise great power of fascination, and make it almost impossible for the animals they have destined for their prey to escape. From all these circumstances, we can easily recognize their analogy with that affection of our nature which disposes us to delight in the gratifications of sense. The love of sensual things is useful, though its uses are of a low kind. If it were not pleasant to us to observe the beauties of our lovely world, to listen to the music of the human voice and the harmonies which nature offers, to enjoy the fragrances with which the balmy air is loaded, and to taste the savors of the food which Providence bestows to sustain and strengthen us, our bodies could not be maintained as a healthy base for the higher things of life. The serpent, though a creeping animal, has his proper place and use in the little world of the human mind. Yet in the strong excitements of sense there is a subtle tendency to excess, that needs the constant watchfulness of wisdom to preserve this principle in order. The serpent is more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God has made.



If we love the things of sense, the scenes and charms of the outer world, only to make ourselves thoroughly acquainted with their uses, and control this love by a spirit of innocence derived from religion, me are then wise as serpents, but harmless as doves (Matt. x. 16). Many, however, there are, who suffer themselves to be so absorbed in sensual indulgence, as to lose sight and taste for everything nobler. These become altogether sensual men. In their judgments, they prefer time to eternity; the things of earth to those of heaven. Instead of advancing on the path of truth, making their intellect serve them as a goodly horse in the battle of life (Zech. x. 3), they suffer facts to be distorted to serve selfish ends, and comes at last to a complete overthrow of their own noblest views and highest objects. These are, indeed, serpents in the way, adders in the path, who bite the horse heels, and make the rider fall backward.

Some are absorbed by the ceremonies of religion, and magnify and multiply them for their own aggrandizement, to the utter neglect of a hallowed spirit and life; making much of mint and anise and cummin, and omitting the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith (Matt. xxiii. 23), until at length they make the Word of God of none effect by their traditions. These are described by the Lord as serpents, when He said, Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (ver. 33). Others are more refined sensualities, which are pregnant with ruin. These are like the smaller, but more deadly serpents, whose minutest bite is almost certain death. They only who love the Lord those who set their love upon Him, Jehovah says, Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under foot. Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name (Ps. xci. 13, 14). Sensual love, when chosen and preferred above the higher and holier principles that dignify the moral, the rational, and spiritual departments of our nature, makes the spirit of fiends and fiendish men, and hence is called that old serpent, even the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world (Rev. xii. 9). To oppose this spirit, and destroy its direful power, the Lord came into the world by assuming the seed of the woman, and thus fulfilled the prophecy by bruising the head or chief power of the serpent, when He conquered hell.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 43 The infernal influences bruised His heel or lowest part, His outward human nature, while He was completely triumphant, by then glorifying His human nature, and subduing hell and death.

He gave His disciples, at first, and He still gives them, power to tread upon serpents of sensuality in themselves, as He says, I beheld Satan 1ike lightning fall from heaven. Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke x. 18, 19).

We have now the chief elements for understanding the divine account of mans fall. The tree of knowledge represents the knowledge we acquire by our senses; the serpent, the love of sensuous knowledge and experience, which may be good or bad, according as it is kept in its proper place, or raised to rule where it ought to serve. When the serpent is the servant of higher principles, it inspires its possessor with circumspection; when suffered to rule, it leads to sensuality. But before pursuing the subject further in relation to the serpent, we would briefly draw attention to the fact, that the account of the decline of the human race does not commence with the notice of the serpent in the third chapter. All things are spoken of as very good, until the intimation in the eighteenth verse of the second chapter, when the Lord God said, It is not good for be alone. Here is something discovered not good, where all had been very good before. And, if we have understood the meaning of that beautiful scriptural expression, dwelling alone, as indicating the state of self-forgetfulness, in which we have no preference of our own, but are most fully acquiescent in the divine will, we shall not only understand the high state of excellence which Balaam predicted for Israel, Lo, the people shall dwell alone (Numb. xxiii. 9), and of which we have an intimation by the prophet, Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth, without care, saith the Lord, which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone (Jer. xlix. 31), but we shall also be prepared to perceive that when the Lord God saw it was not good for man to be longer alone, it is an indication that he was verging towards an inferior state, in which he wished to love something of his own, in connection with divine things.

This desire, not to remain in that highest, purest, state of celestial life, in which our will is as it were absorbed in our supreme regard for the divine will, induced a weariness of the felicities of inward love and wisdom, and a disposition towards the things of outward life, represented by the deep sleep into which Adam fell.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 44 Sleep is the symbol of a natural state, wakefulness of a spiritual state. Hence the kingdom of God is said in the Gospel to be like a man that should cast seed in his ground, and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up he knoweth not how (Mark iv. 26, 27). Alternation of state, the pursuit first of spiritual things, and then of natural things, is useful, if we follow each with a regard to true and proper use: He giveth His beloved sleep (Ps. cxxvii. 2). But we should beware of becoming so much engrossed in things of earth, as to neglect and despise those of heaven. Our prayer should ever be, Lighten Thou mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death (Ps. xiii. 3).

The external state, into which the people of the most ancient times came, is represented by a deep sleep. Divine Mercy watched over them still, and opened in them a religious condition, in which their self-hood was moderated and hallowed by being blended with, and softened by heavenly affection. This is meant by forming the rib into a woman. It has been a vulgar idea that man has one rib fewer than woman has, but this is entirely unfounded. The rib is the symbol of self-hood in thought. to which man inclined, in which there is little heavenly life, but which can be made truly religious when man suffers himself to be led of the Divine Mercy to love the exalted things of heaven as if from himself, but yet adoringly acknowledges that the power to do so is from the Lord. This is a state to which we who are born in evil have to rise; hence it is said in the prophecy of Jeremiah, Behold, I will create a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a man (Jer. Xxxi. 22); but to the primeval people, who had been in a better state, it was a descent.

This formation of self-head, which is hard like a bone, into something angelic, by filling it with love from the Lord, is represented in other places in the Scriptures, by making bones to flourish and to live. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. And when ye see this ... your bones shall flourish like an herb (Isa. lxvi. 13, 14). O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones, Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live (Ezek. xxxvii. 4, 5). All my bones shall say, Who is like unto thee?



When the early people of the earth no longer wished to remain in the elevated condition of single and celestial dependence on the Divine Good, but were disposed to have somewhat of their own will in religion, the Lord permitted it, and so filled it with the graces of heaven, that from being like a hard bone, it became like a beautiful woman. O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever.

We cannot leave this interesting part of the subject without intimating the clue it affords to the deep ground in the wisdom of the Divine Creator, in which has originated the distinction of the human race into male and female: His perfect image below being formed, not by one sex, but by both. The essential male principle is truth and intellectual power; the essential feminine principle is affection for the truth, as manifested in the mind and life of man. Had both these been created in one being, the affection for truth would have been concentrated on his own truth, thus on himself, and have formed an intensely selfish being, vain of its own excellencies, hard as bone against others. But by forming this affection into another being, the beautiful form of female softness and grace was produced, with the tendency to love man for the excellencies which are in him, from God.

He for God in her, she for God in him, and both for God above them. Thus by this beautiful arrangement of Infinite Wisdom both are disposed to love what is out of themselves, and that principle of marriage-union originated, round which cluster all the blessings and graces of wedded life, the blisses of home, and the orderly propagation and training of the human race.

We will once more return to the subject of mans fall, as we have now a ready and satisfactory means of arriving at the divine account of its important stages. We have already observed the departure from the highest state of order, and the adoption of a state in which self-hood was allowed some exercise, but moderated and softened by the spirit of heaven, and under the confession that it is from the Lord, that it has been raised to what is loveable and holy. We have now to consider the operation of the sensual principle, signified by the serpent, upon the religious state signified by Eve, already blended with self-hood, and thus having a tendency to confide in its own strength. The serpents speech is expressive of the tendency of the sensual principle to give importance to our own knowledge, and to have doubts of divine communications. Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 46 In this temptation, as in all temptation from the same principle now, and in this respect temptations at the present day proceed from sensual desires, similarly with temptations in olden time, and they begin with the suggestion of doubt. Hath God said this? Are you sure He hath so strictly required purity, honesty, virtue? Do you think He troubles Himself to notice you? Is there not, after all, some mode of gratifying your desires, and escaping from the consequences? Why should you not indulge every desire of your nature? Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

In the womans reply a remarkable fact is to be noticed; she regards the tree of knowledge as in the midst of the garden, although as the Lord God arranged the garden, the tree of lives was in the midst (chap. ii. 9). She says, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die (chap. iii. 3). In this declaration of the woman me have another change of state implied; she regarded the tree of knowledge, not the tree of lives, as the center of all wisdom. When we have adopted our conclusions from the short-sighted appearances of sense, as being central truth, we are ripe for ruin, and such was the condition of the people represented by the divine record before us. There is an experience illustrative of this in the case of every one who falls. If we firmly adhered to Divine Wisdom; if the tempted fled for refuge from their own clouded fancies, to the Rock of ages, all would be well. But when they place the tree of their own knowledge in the center of the mind, they find their fancied strength becomes the veriest weakness, and the issue is misery and death.

The serpent next becomes bolder. The sensual principle strengthens itself, and suggests, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. When we determine to act upon our own conceits, we deem ourselves singularly clever. We conclude we shall take no harm; we shall know how to elude all the dangers Divine Wisdom has predicted, and all the world shall see how successful shall be our projects. We shall no longer be hoodwinked; our eyes shall be opened, and we shall be as gods, showing that we know how to secure, in our own way, and by our own strength, the goods of selfish and worldly success, and avoid the evils of adversity and want.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 47 We take then the fruit of the tree; it seems brood, it seems pleasant. It is a tree to be desired to make one wise. We take it, but soon experience shows that this wisdom of the serpent is the curse of the soul. Alas! for such opening of the eyes as then takes place! A sense of weakness is soon unfolded; a sense of restlessness and loss; a sense of blame, and necessity for covering. We desire to excuse, and apologize. We cover ourselves with the fig-leaves of idle pretenses that we had so power to do otherwise, although we forsook the guidance and the strength which were extended to save us. We have lost the bright day of former light and love; it has become evening, and we are cold and sad.

The sorrowful experience of those who turn from the paths of wisdom and peace, to follow the dreams of their short-sighted fancy, is accurately represented by the language of the eighth verse, spiritually understood: They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden, in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God, among the trees of the garden. In the Hebrew, tree is in the singular. Our translators probably thought they could not hide in one tree, and therefore rendered it as they considered the case required, trees of the garden. But, the Hebrew is as it ought to be; it expresses the state into which man comes, when he chooses his own mistaken conceits instead of the divine mode of being happy. The other trees of the garden, the perceptions of heavenly intelligence, disappear from him, and he has only his one tree left. He hides himself in that as well as he can; he finds a poor covering, and he is condemned and unhappy. It is the cool of the day. The hour of reflection has come on. The merciful voice of the Almighty is perceived moving in the garden of his soul, and asking the important question, Adam, where art thou?

The strangest absurdities arise from supposing these words to be literally interpreted, but the most interesting lessons from their spiritual acceptation. Can any one conceive that the All-knowing needed to inquire after man in an earthly garden? Surely not. But He comes from His mercy into the conscience of every one after sin. The question implies the divine impulse, leading the sinner to ask himself, Man, where art thou? Remember where thou wast. Thou hast been innocent, peaceful and happy; how art thou now? Thou hadst once the sweet lessons of heavenly wisdom shining brightly within thee; these are all obscured and fed.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 48 Man, where art thou? Thou hadst once a loving sense of the presence of thy Heavenly Father, a holy confidence in His law, a full prospect of His kingdom. Now, where art thou? Hiding, flying, from having placed a serpent where the All-wise should be, and taken its miserable delusions, instead of the counsels of the Most, High. Man, where art thou?

To all of us, there are seasons when this same scrutinizing but merciful visitor comes. We have had our falls, and, from the suggestions of the same serpent, the love of sensual pleasure over those of eternity; and then we hear in the recesses of the conscience the divine voice inquiring, Man, where art thou? Oh! let us be led by it to ponder over our state, to look up to our Father whom we have left, as our Savior, who alone can redeem us. Thou, O Jehovah, art our Father, our Redeemer: Thy name is from everlasting (Isa. lxiii. 16).

The spiritual view of the history of mans fall not only relieves us from the difficulties which have been so strongly felt, as to confirm many in their opposition to the Bible as the Word of God, but it throws a light over all that is said of serpents in the early records of other nations than the Jews, and in their religious uses. Among the Egyptians, it is said by Kircher, the serpent was the emblem of subtlety and cunning, and also of lust and sensual pleasure. They likewise represented the great god Kneph, the author of all good, by this form of a serpent. The sensual degree of the mind, including the senses and the passions, or affections connected with the senses, is a mass of lust and cunning, if separated from the higher principles of justice, judgment, faith, and love; or it is the source of every outward blessing, when submissive to the will and the wisdom of the Lord. Hence, as the god Kneph, it was the emblem of the source of good, as the god Typhon of the embodiment of evil.

In Greece, the serpent was represented as drawing the car of Ceres, the goddess of abundance; as being wound round the staff of Mercury, the messenger of the gods to men, and as waiting at the feet of sculapius, the god of healing: thus representing that earnest love of work which brings plenty upon earth; that accurate observation which enables wisdom to exercise power upon earth, and that ability of promoting or restoring health, which is the attendant of a practical attention to the laws of God, in outward nature.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 49 The serpents which are seen to hiss from the girdles of the Furies are the symbols of the sensual passions, lawless and fierce, devouring their possessors, and breathing hate, defiance, and cruelty against others. The hydra-headed serpent which Hercules could not slay so long as it touched the earth, and which prevented his entrance into the garden of bliss, is the symbol of selfish and sensual love which can only be overcome by preventing its flowing into practice. Sin must be resisted by us from going into act; we must not let it touch the earth, and the Lord will destroy the life and delight of it within the soul.

In India, the good serpent is represented as bearing the sleeping Vishnu on the Sea of Milk; the bad serpent being rendered helpless and having its head bruised beneath the foot of the god of Love and Salvation, Chrishna. The sensual degree of the soul, in order, is the support, in the world, of interior wisdom; when overweening, and desirous of ruling alone in man, it must be crushed and subdued. In Persia, it was the symbol of Ahrima, the evil principle: in China, of the Circumspection, by which the Tien-hoangs, the Kings of Heaven, and the Ti-lings, the Monarchs of Earth, rule. Everywhere is the double character of the sensual degree of the mind, as subordinate to the laws of religion, or as being allowed to resist them, presented to us by the symbol of the serpent, as good, or as evil.

The brazen serpent, which was lifted up is the wilderness for the healing of those who had been bitten by the fiery flying serpents, was the symbol of the Humanity of our blessed Lord, which was perfected by suffering, and so sanctified, as to become the source of salvation to all who look to God in Him.

Who is there of us who has not been bitten by the fiery serpents? Who has not suffered from inflamed passions; from inordinate desires; from indulging the earthly, instead of restraining it by the heavenly part of our natures? What a message of comfort it is to know, that He who has glorified His own human nature will give us power to subdue ours, and restore it in us to order! Behold, I give unto you power to trend upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke x. 19). The great fact for us to learn, is, that as soon as man fell, and throughout the subsequent progress of the human race, children were born in the image of their parents. Of Adam, it is said he was made in the likeness of God (Gen. vi. 1). But after the fall, it is written, he begat a son in his own likeness, after his image (ver. 3).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 50 It could not be otherwise: Divine Wisdom has linked the race together, as connected parts of one great whole. What parents cherish is therefore transmitted with the rest of their being, in embryo, to their children. When the order of the mind was distorted, then sensual things, although right in their place, mere allowed to engross the chief authority in the soul, and to rule where they ought to serve, disturbing and dislocating the whole mind. This disordered nature was transmitted to children; hence thee divided and broken condition of the human mind,--the proneness, which we all feel, to give undue importance to things of sense. The origin of evil was not the introduction of a new principle into human nature; it was only displacing the principles which were already there, and were all good, in their proper order. Natural evil is not anything original: it is but the exaggeration, or displacement, of what is otherwise good. Fire is a good thing as a servant, but bad as a master: water is excellent as rain, or in a river, but as a flood: every power of the human mind and body is good in its place and proportion, but each one becomes an evil, when unduly exalted. When the senses and the passions of the lowest degree of the soul were raised to undue importance, and the higher and holier principles of the soul were first neglected, and then despised and disbelieved, this constituted the fall and it was a real and fearful fall,--the higher principles of love to God and man were thrown down; and made to serve. The lifes business of man now is to reverse this, and thus rise again by power from the great Serpent-bruiser--the Lord Jesus Christ. Our serpents--our sensual principles, are now too fearfully impure, and too strong for us. He will give us power, however, to tread upon them. It is hard for us, at first, to resist our proneness to place the pleasures of time before the purities of eternity, the desires of the flesh above the principles of the spirit; but if we look to Him, the Divine and Perfect Man, virtue will go out from Him and we shall be saved. Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins. He will enable us to deny ourselves and all our faculties as our own, and follow Him. By His power we shall not only subdue the sensual things of our nature, but they will be regenerated, filled with new heavenly life. We shall first tread upon the serpent, and then take it up, and join it to what is heavenly: These signs, our blessed Lord says, shall follow them that believe; they shall take up serpents (Mark xvi. 18).



When we have thus struggled, and by the aid of the Captain of salvation conquered, in the conflicts of the regeneration, the fall will be reversed in us; the love of God and man, wisdom and faith, peace and happiness, will be restored to us. We shall realize the gracious words of the divine promise, and have paradise and the tree of life once more. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (Rev. ii. 7).

Feeling the loss of mankind, by separation from the source of all happiness, wisdom, and peace; feeling our own personal want of the divine Deliverer from sin and sorrow; let us lift our eyes and hearts to our only Savior, and in the language of Milton say,--

Queller of Satan, on Thy glorious work

Now enter; and begin to save mankind.





And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.GEN. xi. 3, 4.

LIKE the garden of Eden, the Tower of Babel has been a puzzle to geographers who look to the literal sense of the Bible alone. They have sought for its remains in different regions, but with most unsatisfactory results. The sum of these results is thus stated by Dr. Kitto, himself a literalist:--After the lapse of so many centuries, and the occurrence in the land of Shinar of so many revolutions, it is not to be expected that the identification of the Tower of Babel with any actual ruin should be easy, or tend to any very certain result.

The mound styled Birs Nimrod, on the west of the Euphrates, about six miles from Hillah, has been a favorite spot with those who have wished to find the ruins of the Tower of Babel somewhere, yet it is much more clearly ascertained that these are the ruins of the Temple of the Sun. It has been surmised that Nebuchadnezzar selected the ruins of Babel, and finished them, to become the Temple of Belus, or the Sun. But even this is contrary to probability. To suppose that a great Eastern monarch should select an accursed ruin to make it into a temple of his god, indicates a want of appreciation of the sentiments which usually prevail among men, especially among Eastern men. They would shun an abhorred spot even for their common dwellings, and much more for what they believed to be a sanctuary for their gods. Besides, this ruin is a building of brick, 37 feet high, and 28 feet broad. What a profane idea does it give of God, to suppose that the erection of such a pile caused Him to come down from heaven to see what the men were doing, and stop their proceeding by a miracle!


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 53 Who can explain why such a structure should cause alarm, and the pyramids, so much more immense, be constructed in divine indifference?

If the sacred writings had only represented the people as designing to reach heaven by a tower, it would have been difficult for rational belief; but when it proceeds to state that the Deity came down and felt it necessary to stop their efforts by rendering them unintelligible to each other, surely it must induce every thoughtful person to say this cannot be literal, this must have another signification. What! come down to see, because these men were building something not half so large as many a chimney in Great Britain, and perform a miracle to prevent them from thus reaching heaven?

But, it must not be forgotten, that if the ages of these early personages were the ages of individuals, (and not, as they really were, descriptive of communities, called by single names, as Israel was for more than a thousand years,) then Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth must have been among these people. They had come down from the mighty Ararat more than three miles high. Could they have so childish a conceit as that they could reach heaven by a brick building, in a plain or a valley, when they had not found it in the regions of perpetual snow? Surely, if its forming part of that primeval history which we have seen, in relation to the other great subjects, can only be allegorically or spiritually understood, did not lead us to a spiritual sense, the inevitable difficulties of the letter, in this instance alone, would. lead us to look for some higher, some interior meaning.

Besides, if the history be a literal one, what is its moral? What is it to teach? That men were not to build large erections?--thousands far larger have been built since without interference. That men are not to build, to make themselves a name?--it is equally wrong to do anything else for vain-glory, and yet there is no especial interference of the Almighty. That men are not to try to reach heaven by earthly buildings?--if that were necessary to be learned, much better let them build on; so insane a project would soon cure itself. In this case, as in the others we have treated, we must say to the Biblical student, Come up higher, friend.

We have mentioned that, like the site of Eden, the position of this Tower has greatly perplexed the curious. It is like Eden with its Tree of Lives, in another respect. Paradise has a leading position at the beginning of the Bible, and we find it again in the last book (Rev. ii. 7; xxii. 2).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 54 It is thus represented as the blissful slate from which men fell, and as that which by regeneration they will again attain. In both, a spiritual blessing, not a natural place. So with Babel; it is here as the symbol of pride, building up superstition to scale heaven its own way. It is the same in the Book of Revelation. There, Babylon the great is the symbol of a selfish and superstitious church, a prostitution of religion by mysterious doctrines and priestly craft to the awful purpose of lording it over mens souls, as well as their bodies. No one supposes that Babylon in the Book of Revelation means an earthly city, why then assign that meaning, so replete with obscurity, to Babel here?

Let us turn now to the same history as opened by the divine science of correspondence, or analogy. The whole earth is said to be of one language, and of one speech. The earth, as in all other cases, means the church, especially as to its external principles, worship and practice. It is that earth which is called upon the prophet when he said, O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. In it is the ground in which the seed of the Word of God is sown. The earth at this time is said to have one language, and the speech one, or as the latter part may be rendered, the words united, or made one (Debarim echadim). Because, the church is represented in a state of charity and harmony. Where love rules, there unity prevails. Even, if doctrines differ, kindness can find sentiments sufficiently in common to harmonize mens minds. Where charity prevails diversity of view does not produce discord, but only makes beauty in variety. The ideas may be varied, but the spirit may be the same, under all forms. The language in such case is one, and the words are in unison. If a spirit of love prevailed, varying forms of faith would not repel or divide men, but rather lead each to seek others and help them. Love is a golden bond, around which all true thoughts, like pearls, will gem themselves. It harmonizes them; it fulfils the law; it is a fire that melts into one, metals which hold each other off when cold, and what is too impure it removes in dross or in vapor. The members of the human body are wonderfully varied in form, but the heart harmonizes them and sends the living blood to each. In their variety, the warm fluid produces unity and health. When love animates and directs them, the tone of all and of each is directed to the production of use. Their language is one, and their words are one.

Such a state of feeling is represented in the opening terms of this divine description. It is characteristic of a church at its commencement.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 55 The sentiment of its members is harmonious, and their expressions tend to the good of all.

But we are informed these people went from the east, and they found a plain (or valley) in the land of Shinar, and dwelt there.

The east, in the divine language, is the symbol of a state of love to the Lord, because, in such a state of the heart, the Sun of righteousness, the Sun of the soul, arises, and gives its beams of light and warmth over the mind. Eden is said to be eastward (Gen. ii. 8). The glory of the God of Israel came to the representation of the spiritual temple, seen by the prophet Ezekiel, by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east (Ezek. xliii. 4), and such is ever the case. Only when the heart from a spirit of love turns to the Lord, does He pour forth the beams of His grace and glory, from the chambers of the east. He was ever shining there, for His love is always the but He seems to turn to us, when we really turn to Him.

But the people of whom we are now speaking went from the east, and found a plain, or, more properly translated, a small valley, in the land of Shinar. The word (Beka) translated plain, ought rather, according to Parkhurst and Furst, to be rendered a break, or gorge, or small broken valley. The word Shinar means Lionland.

Valleys are the symbols of the lower affections of the soul, and mountains of the higher. Hence we read of the valley of bones (Ezek. xxxvii. 1), which the prophet addressed, and which symbolized the natural mind full of the skeletons of religious teaching, long uncared for. The Psalmist blesses those who, passing through the valley of Baca (or weeping), make it a well; or, in other words, who are brought into troubles and sorrow externally, but make these the means of: opening in themselves that well of salvation, whose bright waters sparkle with hope and consolation--that water of truth, which springs up for ever, to quench the thirst of the faithful soul (John vii. 37, 38).

When the effect of the Lords coming into the world was predicted (Isa. xl. 3), it was said, Every valley shall be exalted, to hold out the glorious promise that those who were in low and external states, on account of the depressing influence of the powers of darkness, and the want of heavenly light, should be enabled to rise into states of devotion, love, and holy joy.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 56 The mountains are said to bring peace (Ps. lxxii.), because they are, in their stillness, their grandeur, and their elevation, the representatives of those interior heights of the soul, in which adoration, gratitude, deep devotion, and holy trust in our Savior, have their abodes. In the latter days it is prophesied (Isa. ii. 2), the mountain of the Lords house shall be at the top of the mountain; and again, the mountains shall run down with new wine (Joel iii. 18). The meaning of these and many similar uses of the term mountain, is manifest, when we see its signification to be a high state of love in the soul.

When those to whom our text relates are described as coming into a little broken valley, in the lion land, and dwelling there, it is to intimate that they had departed from their first love, and sunk into low and carnal states. They had rejected all high principles, all real goodness, the only real greatness, and boldly determined to make a religion for themselves. They would appear religious as before, but be inwardly devoted to their own glorification, and to the gratification of spiritual pride. This is to leave the glorious mountains of the east, and to dwell in a little broken valley of our own, in the land of the lions, or Shinar. My soul is among lions, David said, and I lie among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword (Ps. lvii. 4). He no doubt was strongly infested by temptations from those who rejected all virtue and all true wisdom, and boldly followed the diabolical impulses of pride and ambition. He felt the bitterness of dwelling in the land of the lions.

Such, then, are the indications given in the divine volume of states of those who proceeded to build the Tower of Babel; but let us consider the materials they used, and their whole mode of operation. They said, Lee us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. In this speech there is manifestly displayed the spirit of ostentatious pride, and an utter want of trust in the providence and ways of the Lord.

Let us build a city and tower, whose top may reach heaven, make us a name. What a burst of arrogance and self sufficiency is here. Let us build a city, let us construct a system of doctrine, let us make a church. The true church of the Lord is a city which comes down from heaven, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. xii. 22). It is the city of truth (Zech. viii.); the strong city, which hath the salvation which God hath appointed for walls and bulwarks, and of which it is said:


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 57 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in (Isa. xxvi. 1, 2). It is a city of defense for the soul, and thrice happy are they who walk in its holy light, and delight themselves in its golden streets and pearly abodes. But when men say, Let us build a city, it is an indication of their determination to have a system of their own. Unsatisfied with the calm, simple grandeur of the divine law, Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God,If ye would enter into life, keep the commandments,if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and follow me,--the conceits of human self-derived intelligence are active to contrive a mode of teaching that may spare their sins, and yet warrant their salvation. Let us build a city, let us contrive a scheme, say they, which shall profess to honor God, and save souls, but which shall really make us a name. Let us seek influence with all our might. Let us teach men that we are the mediators between them and God. We will induce the Deity to be propitious. We will forgive them their sins. We will teach them a way to be saved, although they cling to evil, and despise such of the divine commands as interfere with their sins.

They not only determined to build a city, but also a tower. The city, as we have seen, was a church perverted to their self-idolization; a tower in it, represents the arrogant claims of self-love in such a church. True religion is represented by the Lord as a vineyard hedged round, with a winepress and a tower in it (Matt. xxi. 33), because the tower in such case means the elevated thought of spiritually minded men. But the tower a man builds from pride and self-confidence, is the ambitious claim to be reverenced by all. When men prostitute religion to foster their insane pride, there is no demand too haughty for them to make. They arrogate the powers of Deity. An offence against them is an offence against God. A crime against the divine laws is with them very light, but an offense against their dignity, or even their opinions, is sure to bring down the heaviest excommunication. Ambition is terrible at all times; it is the fruitful parent of wars, and tears, and woes innumerable; but ambition in priests is a plague which spreads itself throughout society, and poisons the very springs of blessing. The servants of the lowliest become the insanest examples of haughtiness. They pretend their power reaches to heaven; they have the keys of the celestial gates, and can refuse admission to those who refuse them servility; as if heaven could be opened to aught but heavenly-mindedness: or closed by aught but sin.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 58 They parade their idle pretensions, dignify themselves with great names and extravagant titles, and presume to deck themselves with the attributes of God, to impose upon unthinking and unenlightened men. Such has been the towering pride of Rome, the Babylon of the Revelation, and such was Babel in the land of Shinar. The Divine Word denounces all such arrogance. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one who is proud and lofty, and upon every one who is lifted up, and he shall be brought low. And upon every high tower and upon every fenced wall (Isa. ii. 11, 12, 15). The ministers of true religion imitate Him who was the servant of all; they say, Blessed are the meek. They point to their Master, who said, Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them; and they that are great, exercise authority upon them; but it shall not be so among you. Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. Love one another. By this we know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. Such is the language of a true servant of the Lord Jesus; but the priests of a selfish system ever cry, Let us build us a tower, and make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth. As if their insane claims could be a better protection than the wall of fire which Divine Love places around the humble who trust in Him. Far, far be it from us, brethren, to suppose we need any self-derived aggrandizement, or defense.

Safe is the man, my God, who flies

To Thee, when storms and dangers rise.

He, from his inmost souls retreat,

Shall mark the awful tempest beat,

And feel Thy hand in mercy spread

Its guardian shadow oer his head.

Let us now mark the materials which these Babel-builders used. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.

Stone, as a natural production affording a strong foundation, and the material for firm and solid walls, corresponds to divine truth; brick, as a human manufacture, and a substitute for stone, is the symbol of opinions fabricated by mans contrivance.



God, as being essential truth itself, is called the Rock of Israel (2 Sam. xxiii. 3); the Rock and Fortress (Ps. xviii. 2); the stone which the builders refused, which became the head- stone of the comer (Ps. cxviii. 22). The foundation truth, which is a correct faith in the Lord as the only Savior, is the stone which the prophet refers to when he announces to the people, Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste (Isa. xxviii. 16). For other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (I Cor. iii. 11). He who builds his hopes, his prospects and his principles upon this truth, builds upon a rock, and that Rock is Christ. Whosoever, says the Lord, heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man who built his house upon a rock (Matt. vii. 24). When Simon the apostle uttered the truth that the Lords Humanity was divine, the Son of the living God, the blessed Savior called him Peter, the rock-man, and said, Upon this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matt. xvi. 18). Peter was the representative of every man who in heart receives this fundamental truth. Every such man becomes also a Peter or rock-man. In him the Lord builds His church, and the gates of hell can never prevail against it. To him, as he reads the Word, the Lord gives the keys of heavenly knowledge, which open to him angelic states. What vices he binds in his life, the Lord binds in his spirit. What virtues he loses in his conduct, the Lord loses in his inmost soul. Such is the meaning, the value and the power of the stones of divine truth. Interior truths are precious stones, and The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a merchant-man, seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it (Matt. xiii. 45, 46) But the truths of heaven, common or precious, all teach humble, holy love to God and man, displayed in a just and pure life, as the essence of all religion. Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; this is the law and the prophets (Matt. vii. 12). True religion has nothing in it conducive to priestly pomp, or hierarchical splendor. It elevates principles, not persons. It leads men to God, and to the adoption of His divine laws for their government, not to outward show, and sacerdotal parade. It proclaims the infallibility of principles, the eternity of right, and calls upon all men to adopt these in love, and follow them in life, as the only means to be happy.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 60 But these truths will not serve the purpose of Babel-builders, so they make materials of their own, brick have they for stone.

The false principles engendered by spiritual pride, which elevate man in the place of God, and substitute unintelligible mummery in worship, instead of enlightened adoration, are aptly represented by brick which the builders make themselves. Where, for instance, could the paraphernalia of superstitious religion--consecrated ground, holy water, sainted bones, and rags, the worship of dead and living men, high-sounding names--His Holiness, father in God, and such like pompous titles applied to mortals quite as frail, and feeble as others, be obtained, unless they had made them themselves? The stones of divine truth would not do, and so they made brick. The whole of the persuasions which tend to the exaltation of priestly pride, are bricks of human contrivance substituted for the stones of a true spiritual building.

They said also, let us born them thoroughly. Fire is the symbol of ardent affection. Heavenly fire is the affection to do good (Ps. civ. 4). The fire of hell is the affection or lust for doing evil (Isa. ix. 18; James iii. 6). The fire which burned these bricks was the intense desire for power over mens souls, which produces zeal for self, not for God. It is amazing with what ardor the lust of spiritual dominion will work. It will compass sea and lad to make a proselyte. It will both do and suffer much more than true religion requires, to accomplish its insane ends. It will madly rush on, trampling upon all laws, divine and human, if happy it system may triumph. That it may turn this lovely earth into a field of blood, scatter all tender human ties, destroy millions of Gods children, ruin cities, depopulate nations, is nothing, if its proud claims may but triumph. Nay, so fanatical does he become who blends the lust of power and the profession of religion together, that he will often give his own body to be burned, but yet not have Christian love or charity (1 Cor. xiii. 3). Such zeal for false principles is operative in their formation and propagation, when men say in spirit, Let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. Not only had they brick for stone, but slime had they for mortar.

When truths are the stones, the love of truth is the cement which unites them firmly together.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 61 Truths without love like stones without mortar,--loose, and devoid of strength. However much a man knows, if he lack the love of the truth he has no saving strength in the sight of heaven. But the uniting principle among Babel-builders is merely the lust of being worshiped by others, and is therefore described by slime. Nothing is so unclean as the love of self in its varied forms. It spurns the chaste delights of marriage, and longs to wallow in the impurities of adultery. Out of the evil heart comes all that really defiles a man. Nothing is so unclean as those worse than Augean stables, the secret recesses of the bad mans soul. He gloats on polluted fancies, and foul thoughts. His sentiments revel in corruption. His dreams reek with defilement. From such a State the Psalmist rejoiced to be delivered: He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings (Ps. xl. 2). The defiled condition of the wicked is alluded to, when their perpetual misery is described in that awful sentence, He that is filthy, shall be filthy still (Revelation, chap. xxii. 11). The impurity of the lust of power, from which a selfish Babylonish system is held together, is here called slime. In the days of the prophet Ezekiel, when false prophets seduced the people, as they do in all ages, by
offering salvation on other terms than loving goodness, believing truth and obeying Gods commandments, the prophet said, Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar: say unto them which daub it with untempered mortar, that it shall fall (Ezek. xiii. 10, 11). The wall, like the tower, is a system of falsehood; the untempered mortar like the slime, means the impure affections which sustain it.

How diligently the laborers work at their tower. They teach, they preach, they indoctrinate, they counsel. They parade their mysterious powers, they decry reason, they insinuate that science is of very doubtful character. Religion is an awful mystery, and they are its only expounders. The people would certainly destroy themselves, if they ventured to investigate and decide for themselves. Pray and pay are enough for the people. They are the authorized mediators between the Deity and man, armed with awful powers. He who serves and obeys them, is sure of Paradise, though ever so negligent; he who does not follow their doctrine, will be eternally ruined, though ever so faithful to Gods commands.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 62 They labor diligently; and among a simple and ignorant people they labor successfully; and were it not that Divine Providence watches over human well-being, nothing would be restrained from them which they have imagined to do. Happily, however, He who keepeth Israel never sleeps, and He comes down to see the city and the tower.

The Lord is said to see, when He makes it manifest to His creatures that He sees. Undoubtedly, He who fills heaven and earth is present everywhere, and knows all things. But when He manifests Himself to man, He seems to come down to him, and when He shows that He knows, it appears to us that He then first observes. It is in this way, the Lord is said to have come dorm to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

He is divinely careful of human freedom, and human progress. And, when a system, fraught with peril to both, has so far as fully to unfold its noxious character, then is the time for Infinite Goodness to act. Midnight has come over the mind, and it is time to commence the morning. Mans necessity is Gods opportunity. The horn of judgment sounds. God reveals His light to minds capable of better things, and His truth flashes conviction. The tower of superstition totters. Men feel that God is there. He has come down to their states, and they see, as it were, His lightning striking their lofty structures, and hurling them to the dust.

The eyes of the Lord are the wisdom of the Lord. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good (Prov. Xv. 3). The wheels of Divine Providence are said to be full of eyes (Ezek. i. 18), because all their movements manifest the most perfect wisdom. When that wisdom is displayed in defeating the machinations of the evil, the eyes of the Lord are described as going to and fro in the earth (Zech. Iv. 10) It is thus that the Lord is said in the sacred narrative to come down to see. The fullness of time has come. The tower of spiritual pride is completely ripe for judgment; the safety of the human race demands its overthrow. The divine wisdom selects suitable minds, and directs them to its contemplation; opening their eyes to its monstrosity. This operation on the part of Divine Providence is intimated by the words, Let us go down and see. The Divine Mind, acting through free agents, expresses itself by Let us; the low and mean character of the lust of power, as far beneath all that is heavenly, is intimated by Let us go down;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 63 and the revelation to men of the baselesness of all arrogance of man towards man, and the determination of heaven to defeat it, is intimated by Let us there confound their language.

We cannot have a more perfect illustration of all this sacred narrative, than is afforded by the history of the papal power, and its overthrow by the agency of the reformers.

From the time of the Council of Nice, when they left the true foundation of the church, the acknowledgment of all the fullness of the Godhead being bodily in the One Divine Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the leaders of the church began to build with bricks of their own making. They invented three divine persons as kings in heaven, and one semi-divine person as queen. All sorts of impostures, in writings, in stories of miracles, in relies, and wonders of every kind, were produced and diligently propagated. The ignorance of the laity presented the most favorable field for operation, and burning zeal gave energy to the inventors and proclaimers of pious frauds. They made bricks, and they burnt them thoroughly. The manufacture of holy lies went on apace, century after century; if opposition raised its voice, it was hunted down as irreligious. The slimy lust of temporal power, and wealth, and pleasure, by spiritual means, held the bricks of falsehood together, and the city of lies extended, and the tower of haughtiness grew, and reared its head to heaven. The Popes claimed all power, divine and human. They set up kings, or threw them down at pleasure. They gave away kingdoms at their caprice. They excused and pandered to vice, but made it profitable. Any sin wax passed over in the authorities of the earth, if the power of the Holy See were but protected and extended. A system foreign to the simple purity, and the intelligent holiness of real Christianity, spread itself over Christendom, and gaudy ceremonies thinly veiled essential heathenism. DAubigne says Morals and doctrine were alike poisoned, and both needed a mighty regeneration. The more the value attached to the outward works, the farther off was sanctification of the heart; dead ordinances had been substituted everywhere for Christian life and there had sprung up that strange but natural union of the most scandalous debauchery with the most superstitious devotion. Theft had been practiced below the altar; seduction in the confessional; poison had been administered in the mass; adultery had been committed at the foot of the cross. Superstition, by destroying doctrine, hall destroyed morality.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 64 The tower of pride, a second Babel, was again erected; and its adherents hoped it would last for ever, it would never be scattered over the face of the earth. Every abomination was practiced in it,--legalized in it for a certain sum. The essentially infernal nature of sill was lost sight of, and for a consideration heaven could easily be had without virtue. The dignitaries of religion were monsters of lust and rapine, were braves in surplices, yet still the builders went on with their tower, and thought in their hearts, We will ascend into heaven, we will exalt our throne above the stars of God; we will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. We will ascend above the heights of the clouds; we will be like the Most High (Isa. xiv. 13, 14). But the time of judgment came. When least expected, the divine light broke upon the minds of Luther and others. The Word was taken from its dusty repositories, and the Divine Wisdom said, Let us see the tower, and the city which the children of men have builded. The lightning of divine truth struck it again and again; down fell battlement and buttresses. Here lay a portion, and there. The whole pile became a ruin, and so remains. It is supposed to be of some little use to despotism, and for this mean service, it obtains yet permission to seem to be. It has a name that lives, but it is dead.

The confounding of the languages represents the different doctrines which arise when a spiritual despotism is exposed and overthrown. The system in which men have apathetically trusted, having been shown to be fictitious, and hurled down, its former adherents know scarcely what to do. They are thrown upon their own resources, and those resources are most scanty. They have been trained in lies, and the rational faculty, the true servant and representative of divine truth in the soul, has been systematically neglected, or crushed. The unregenerate heart, the most fruitful source of malignant error, has been unpurified by the sacred streams of heavenly wisdom, and it mixes itself largely in the general turmoil, and the result is confusion, which the word Babel in Hebrew means. They do not understand each others doctrines, they oppose and fly from each other. They are no longer united for despotism, nor are they united at all. The tyranny of the priesthood is broken; but innumerable sects are formed. In the turmoil of the universal fray, different nations seize upon different dogmas, and form them into separate churches. The wildest notions are taken up, some by one party, some by another.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 65 The whole structure is broken down into fragments, each land holding a language, a doctrine of its own, and excommunicating the others. Such was the Babel of modern times, and such was that of the ancients, represented in the Babel before us.

Luther, when describing the state of things after the papal power had been arrested and so rudely shaken by his assaults, says: Wherever the Word of God has made itself heard, and God has brought together a band of the faithful, the devil has quickly perceived the divine ray, and has begun to chafe, and blow, and raise tempests from every quarter.... I hold that I myself (let alone the ancients) have undergone more than twenty hurricanes, twenty different assaults of the devil. First I had the Papists against me. Every one knows, I suppose, pretty nearly, how many tempests of books and of bulls the devil has through them hurled against me, and in what a terrible manner they have devoured and torn me to pieces. It is true that I sometimes blew gently though, against them, but it was no good; they were the more irritated, and blew again more violently, vomiting forth flames and fire. It has been so without interruption to the present hour. I had begun to hope for a calm from these outbreaks of the devil, when he made a fresh attack through Munzer and his revolt, which failed, though, to extinguish the light. Christ Himself healed that breach, when, lo ! in the person of Carlstadt, he came and broke my window-panes. There he was, bellowing and storming, so that I thought he was come to put out light, wax and tinder at once; but God was at hand to aid His poor little light; nor would He permit it to extinguished. Then came the Sacramentarians and the Anabaptists, who broke open doors and windows to put out this light. Again it was in great danger, but, thanks be to God, their spite was again disappointed. Others, again, have raved against the old masters, against the Pope and Luther all at once.

Regarded in this light, the history of the Tower of Babel is deeply interesting for all time. Viewed only as to the letter, it is a childish story, incredible to a considerate mind, scarcely having a perceptible moral. In the spirit. however, it is eminently important. The tendency to selfish rule, inherent in all men, displays itself most fearfully when it assumes a religious form. In a wide-spread community, where the doctrines and the sentiments are the same, it may accomplish incalculable mischiefs. It has done so again and again. It puts forward its schemes and fallacies; it pursues them with furious zeal;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 66 it persecutes those who oppose; it pants and hopes for universal success, but what is the end thereof? The time is sure to come when Divine Mercy will interfere to save the human lace, and Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, will again be cried. Of all evils, the lust of power is the subtlest, and the most terribly seductive; yet it is the insanest, and the emptiest of results. What but the merest phantasy can be the delight of dictating to others, and filching from them their freedom?

The foes of the freedom of others are ever the destroyers of their own. Alexander, hurried madly on, gnawed by the rage for fresh conquests, with no rest, pushing everything to extremes, destroying his friend in one drunken debauch, and himself at the age of thirty in another, is a terrible illustration of the lust of power. Napoleon, after keeping Europe in turmoil twenty years, making homes by millions the abodes of woe, and then pining for years on the distant rock of the Atlantic his insatiable lust for dominion had necessitated for his prison, is once more a spectacle of the same crime, and its punishment. The Russian despot, master of sixty millions, instead of struggling against this passion in himself, must make his vast power more, lighting up the horrors of war, leading to the destruction of half a million of people, and so increasing his own anxieties and his violence, as to send him sadly down to a premature grave. The same spirit is shown in ecclesiastical history as the demon of discord, transforming the ministers of the Prince of Peace into fomenters of persecution, founders of the Inquisition, and harassers of the world. Oh, how opposite to the nature of religion is all this! Who was so lowly as the Highest of all? He washed His disciples feet,--He was the Servant of all,--He breathed mercy and forgiveness towards His murderers,--His religion is the religion of love, and Love worketh no ill to his neighbor. The true disciples of the Savior seek to promote freedom in all things, not to grasp power. They labor to make men enlightened to know their rights, and free to practice them. They seek to subdue selfishness in their own bosoms, not to stretch its influence over others. They know that, if they would follow the Lord, they must deny themselves, and take up the cross. They know, too, that if this cross is worthily borne, it will surely have its crown. They see in all experience the punishment selfishness written, but they know and feel its evil nature in themselves so truly, that they abhor the principle more than the punishment. It is the serpent, upon which they tread. It is the essence of Hell.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 67 The victory over it prepares in each breast for the reign of wisdom, love, and good to others, and these make heaven. How much more blessed it is to give, to promote the well-being, the freedom and happiness of others. The Lord creates all to be free. He gives his blessing freely, and is Himself unseen, lest man should be dazzled by His majesty. His sun rises, and diffuses its glorious beams over the earth in silence. His heat softly and secretly insinuates itself into all things, elevating the juices of vegetation, and unfolding leaves, and flowers, and fruits, but the hand that guides the whole is unseen. The Creator, like the Savior, is a God hiding Himself (Isa. xlv. 15). His Word makes man free. The more truth a man receives, the more free he is (John viii. 32). The power of truth is intended to redeem us from the bondage of our evils and passions, to lead us to triumph even over ourselves, and make us free indeed. Why, then, should any of us seek to enslave our fellow-men?

O let us ever guard against ally of these insane attempts. Why need we build a city with our bricks, when the Lord has given us one from heaven, with a street of gold, clear as crystal, and garnished with all manner of precious stones?

Why should we go into our valley, and build our tower, when we may ascend, by purifying our hearts, into the Lords house at the top of the mountains of celestial love, and there breathe the balmiest atmosphere, and enjoy the most magnificent prospects. Oh! let the language of our hearts and our prayers ever be, Lord, make us ourselves truly free, and true but humble promoters of real freedom, real wisdom, real progress amongst all around us! We will build no city nor tower for ourselves; we will enter into the city Thou hast given, Thy new, Thy Heavenly Jerusalem.

Here will we take our joyful rest,

Nor eer from Salem roam;
       For ever and for ever blest,

In this our happy home.





And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna; for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.EX. xvi. 15.

IN the discourses which have preceded this, we have shown the Divine Wisdom as it was conveyed in the allegorical language of those early people who lived before the times of history. With Abraham a race of another genius arose. The Jews were a people devoid of taste for spiritual things. The veil was upon their eyes and their hearts, and they walked in the oldness of the letter. To them, then, Divine Wisdom shrouded itself in facts which transpired before their eyes and in real history; so ordered, nevertheless, as to be a shadow of good things to come. The history of Abraham was real, and yet no allegory (Gal. Iv. 24). All things with the Israelites were outwardly seen as they are described, and outwardly done, yet were they figures of the true (Heb. ix. 24). Divine Providence arranged the affairs of ancient Israel, so as to contain lessons of highest wisdom for the new Israel, the Church of god in every age. This is so manifestly taught in the New Testament as to be commonly admitted by Christians as a general fact. Our aim is now to illustrate that great principle, and bring out of the storehouse of the Divine Wordthe treasury of heavenly wisdomsome of those spiritual lessons which it contains alike in every part, whether parable, history, or prophecy, and which constitute its peculiar divine character as Gods Book,--a work infinitely above all human compositions. The journey of the Israelites was a series of types portraying the regenerate life of the Christian. With all its incidents, its changes, its trials, and deliverances, the events in our religious experience are foreshadowed. Egypt, with its science and its slavery, was the symbol of that carnal, worldly condition of the soul in which it is by nature.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 69 Distinguished it may be for talent, for learning, for philosophy, for accomplishments, for gifts of manifold excellency, but all subject to a false and self-seeking worldliness that dreams but of earthly glory, sensual pleasures, and temporal gratifications,--which has no ends in heaven, and whatever be the projects it pursues,

The trail of the serpent is over them all.

Such was Jerusalem when there the Lord was rejected. Hence it is written: The great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified (Rev. xi. 8). Science and worldliness combined with every good principle which our heavenly Father may have implanted in the soul held captive, sighing for deliverance, are represented by Egypt when Israel was in bondage there.

The boastful pretensions of Egypt, as referred to often in the Holy Scriptures, are accurately descriptive of the vanity of the learned but selfish man. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself (Ezek. xxix. 3). When the Pharaoh to whom Moses was sent disdainfully asked, Who is the Lord, that I should serve Him? he did but what in his secret soul is done by every unregenerate man. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God (Ps. xiv. 1), and when the messages of heaven reach him, there is ever secretly or openly the defiant resistance involved in these insolent words. The removal of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, as portrayed in the divine volume, is the history of the spirits change from a carnal state to a heavenly one--from one in which holy principles are bound, to one in which divine truth has made them free and blessed. All who come into true obedience to the commandments of the Lord must have forsaken the Egyptian state, and this gives us the reason why, in the first commandment, though addressed rightly to Christians and to all men (for our Lord says, If we would enter into life we must keep the commandments), the Divine Being speaks to us as the Lord our God, who brought us out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. We have all, then, this journey to make, if we would arrive at the Canaan state on earth, and the heavenly Canaan above.

An attentive study of this journey is then, to every spiritually-minded person, full of interest and importance. Every incident is a lesson. Every battle is the picture of a struggle in the soul.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 70 The leading, the support, the defense, vouchsafed by the Almighty from time to time, is descriptive of the protection awarded to the Christian in his spiritual pilgrimage. And of these pilgrims of the spirit, in every age, the apostle says, They desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city (Heb. xi. 16).

One of the chief incidents in the Israelitish journey was the miraculous supply of food, given direct, day by day, with the exception of the Sabbath, for forty years, until they arrived in Canaan, and could obtain the natural supply from the promised land.

They had left Egypt and its food behind, they had the barren wilderness to traverse, and no natural source of sustenance during the journey, and they had not arrived at the country where their wants would be supplied in the regular course of things.

Is there anything in Christian experience in analogy with this? A little consideration will enable us to discover that there is. When one who has determined to live for heaven has left the pleasures of wickedness behind him, he has forsaken the fleshpots of Egypt. He will no more indulge in the delights of sin. His resolution is blessed by heaven; he goes forth triumphantly. He passes the Red Sea of all the false principles which would hinder his journey. He sings, as Israel did, the song of victory. He goes on rejoicing. He supposes the work is done, and heaven will assuredly be his. He imagines he is quite ready to enter, and almost longs for the pearly gates to unfold He has a very vague idea of the nature of regeneration. He supposes it will be sudden and short, whereas it is ever painful and slow. To change mans thoughts or his fancies is not difficult, often, and may speedily take place; but to change the affections which form the very man, is a work of a most gradual character. The fallen soul is like a world in ruins: to restore it to an image of heaven in every department, is an immense work, and must be gradual. That state of the human affections which is to be a source of happiness, a channel, or rather a collection of innumerable channels, through which the adorable fountain of all good will for ever pour peace and every blessing can only be given slowly. The old state of sinful pleasure is the food of Egypt, the new angelic state of holy interior blessedness is the regular food of Canaan,--the wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig-trees, and pomegranates, and oil-olive, and honey (Deut. viii. 8) of the blessed land.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 71 Between the leaving of the one kind of pleasure, and the full possession of the other, there is a great interval, in which trials have to be endured, assaults have to be received, painful duties and self-renunciations to be performed, heavy sorrows to be borne, self in myriad forms to be subdued: all this is the labor to be done in the wilderness; and during this time we cannot enter into the enjoyment of the pleasures of that heaven within which does exist in the sou1, but which cannot yet be opened to us, of which with its joys we have not yet come into the possession. We have left the food of evil, we have not yet got angels food. We cannot subsist without food. How then is it to be obtained? The mode of the souls supply is described by this miracle of giving the Manna.

That it was intended to bear this spiritual significance we may learn, first, from the fact that all food for the body is emblematical of food for the soul; and is so used in the Word. Solid food is the symbol of goodness, which supplies the will with strength and blessing; liquid foods symbolize truth, which refreshes the thirsty understanding. In this sense the Lord Jesus speaks, when He says, Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled (Matt. vi. 6). Again, Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meet which endureth to ever-lasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you (John vi. 27). I have meat to eat which ye know not of (John iv. 32). My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work (ver. 34)

That food which is eaten corresponds to goodness which is to be received into the will, is manifestly indicated in many portions of the Word. There is a very clear evidence of this in Psalm cvii 8, 9: Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfieth the longing (or thirsty) soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. The prophet Isaiah gives a similar instance: Wherefore do ye spend your money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness (Isa. lv. 2). How strikingly the Divine Speaker by the prophet contrasts the empty pleasures of time and sense, for which so many toil, with the solid blessings of everlasting goodness. The glittering dreams of ambition are not bread, but bubbles which are never caught, or which burst the moment they are seized.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 72 The sordid gains of avarice are not bread, but dust which is the serpents meat, and leave the cravings of the soul unsatisfied. The filthy pleasures of the sensualist are not bread, but husks which the swine do feed upon. And yet men, immortal beings, toil and struggle, and labor, and fight, all the day of human life, for these unsatisfying, deceptive, and delusive enjoyments, and neglect that reception of heavenly goodness which alone imparts undying peace. The prophet Jeremiah speaks by the same rule, because from the same divine inspiration, in the thirty-first chapter: And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, saith the Lord (ver. 14).

Not only is solid food in general the emblem of heavenly goodness, but Manna is especially selected in the New Testament, and used to represent this blessed meat for the soul. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth swing he that receiveth it. (Rev. ii. 17).

Here the hidden manna and the white stone are mentioned, to denote the celestial blessings of interior goodness and truth. The hidden manna, the secret joy and peace which follow conquered sin; the white stone, the clear confidence and assurance which his faith gives, by whom truth is loved and carried into practice. No man knows the worth nor the peculiar nature of those blessings but those who have enjoyed them. They are ever meat to eat which the world knows not of.

We would here call attention to what seems somewhat remarkable in the phraseology of the verse we have selected as a text. The Israelites said one to another, It is manna; for they wist not what it was. No doubt things are usually called by names which designate some qualities which are known. It seems a singular reason for calling this new substance manna, because they knew NOT what it was. Our difficulty on this point will vanish when we know that in Hebrew, manna or man-hu means what is it? or, what is this? The people came out of their tents, they saw a new and unknown substance lying around, and they said one to another, What is this?--Man-hu. This expression, therefore, became its name, to all future generations.

In the spiritual journey of the Christian a circumstance of a precisely similar character takes place.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 73 The pleasures of mere sense have been left, the pilgrimage of the soul has been begun. No longer call the hollow delights of the selfish and the insincere charm the servant of a new law and a new master. The duties of the Christian life are undertaken, and at first with alacrity; but after a time a sense of want comes; the pleasures of the old life are remembered with a sigh, and the heart yearns somewhat for the enjoyments once so dear. Now is the time of trial. Duty, faith, heaven say, Still forward. The appetites of the old man allure the tempted one to go back. We struggles painfully, and would fall but for the Divine law, and the doctrine which explains and applies it; these are the Moses and Aaron who lead us spiritually, and these point to the only source of help and blessing, and say, Come near unto the Lord, for He hath heard your murmurings. The struggle is now near its end, a sense of the Divine Presence has come. And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud (Ex. xvi. 10). The Israelites had come up from Elim unto the wilderness which lay between Elim and Sinai; to look to the wilderness was then to look forward. And thus before them appeared the cloud, with the glory of the Lord resplendent in it; a figure of the letter of the Word with the glory of its Divine Spirit shining through it. So appears the Word when the soul is recovering from the struggle of temptation, and the trial is well over. The promises of heaven brighten over the spirits path. We feel conscious of our experience, similar to that which dictated the beautiful lines:--

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,

       The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy, and shall break

       In blessings on your head.

Already the darkness of the cloud is being fringed and permitted with the glory of heavenly light. We are conscious that the Savior is with us, and soon all will be well.

The Lord gives man to see that his struggle and distress have not been unobserved, but have prepared him for higher states of blessing. I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel; speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be lied with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God. And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay around about the host.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 74 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a. small round thing, as small as the hoar-frost upon the ground (Ex. xvi. 12-14).

The bird here called a quail was a sea-bird (see Num. xi. 31), and its flesh which was to be given in the evening, corresponds to the satisfaction felt by the Christian that his danger is over. He is conscious of this while it is evening, whilst he is yet in an obscure slate. It is not the reception of inward divine goodness, like what is represented by eating the flesh of the divine Savior. It is only like eating the flesh of a sea-bird. Yet we feel safe: to be no longer harassed by a fear of approaching ruin: to have comfort over the mind, like the quails covering the camp: this is much, but it is preparatory to what is to follow.

Evening preceded the morning in the days of creation; and so it does in the present case. Throughout the regenerate career of man, he rises from shade to light, from cold to warmth. After the evening that ends his temptation, comes the morning of a new state. Dew is mentioned first as lying round about the host, and then the manna was found.

Dew corresponds to that inward truth which descends into the soul from the Lord, when all is peaceful and happy within. The truth of peace fills the Christian with confidence is his heavenly Father, with an assurance of his love, and a firm reliance on His providential care. When in a spiritual morning, this dew has descended upon him, fear is unfelt, solicitude no longer disturbs him; he relies with a childs confiding trust on the Giver of all good, and feels a freshness and vigor like those of heavens own morning over the soul. This cheering, inward, blessed sensation is often in the Word described by dew. Thus in Isaiah, For so the Lord said unto me, I will take my rest and I will consider in my dwelling-place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest (chap. xviii. 4). I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon (Hosea xiv. 5). And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people, as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men (Micah v. 7).

The sense of rest, of confidence, of peace, of future progress, which is expressed in this passage, and which comes from the assurance of nearness to and communion with the Lord is with exquisite appropriateness expressed by dew.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 75 When, on a summers morning, we walk forth in a beautiful country, the red light of the early dawn tinging the whole eastern horizon with golden splendor, a holy quiet reigning round, not broken, but charmed and enriched with the thrilling songs of the birds, while every leaf, blade, hedgerow, and flower, are gemmed with pearly dew, glittering like diamonds in the suns new beams, there is an image of the so--calmed, illuminated, and blessed with the truth of peace.

But after the dew, we come to the manna-the substantial food which gave so much pleasure, and so much support. We are informed it was a small round thing, like hoar-frost, white as snow, and sweet as wafers, or thin cakes, made with honey (ver. 31).

When it is seen that solid food in divine language corresponds to goodness, which supplies the will of every one who is living for heaven with energy and delight, and remember that this manna was given to supply food to the Israelites while they were in the transition period between living in Egypt and living in Canaan, we shall easily perceive that it is the symbol of that heavenly goodness which the Lord can impart to the soul of man while it is in the transition state, laboring to become regenerate, following the truth, fighting against its evils as they from time to time present themselves, but not yet entered into that phase of the spiritual life, in which he feels at home in heavenly things. He has the spirit of truth with him, but not yet in him (John xiv. 17). He, like the apostle, is striving to attain the resurrection from the dead, but has not yet attained. He is reaching forward to those things which before (Phil. iii. 11-13) Such is the ordinary state of earnest, spiritually-minded Christians, for the greater portion of their lives. Hence the manna describes the goodness and the delight which the Divine Mercy imparts to man while laboring to become regenerate. It is small, because, as compared with true angelic joy, it is of little account. It is round, because roundness expresses the smoothness, and also the completeness, of goodness, as compared with truth:--truth is ever sharp and piercing. It is white, to denote its purity, and sweet, to express its deliciousness. It is like a thin cake, or wafer, to mark its inferiority, its shallowness, so to speak; when compared with true celestial joy. Yet feeble as it is, so far does it transcend all merely human and external joy, that when it is first truly awakened in the soul, all other delights in the estimation of the possessor become as nothing, and he cries out in the spirit, What is this?--for he knows not what it is.



It is a state of peace, of richness, of sweetness, that passeth all understanding. It may be felt, but cannot be described. It is as if every fibre of the soul thrilled with joy. It is blessedness unspeakable. All other delights seem now unutterably poor. They are as the lights of earth in the presence of the sun. And the soul entranced by this amazing rapture cries out, What is it?

To take a glimpse within the veil,

       To know the Lord is mine,

Are springs of joy that never fail,

       Unspeakable, divine.

These are the joys that satisfy

       And sanctify the mind,

Which make the spirit mount on high

       And leave the world behind.

Such is the experience intimated in the spiritual sense of the exclamation, What is it? and the additional intimation, for they knew not what it was. How strange and how sad it is, that so many of us should prefer to this exalted good and its delight, the low and fleeting dreams of earth,--though. Universal experience has taught to be true what the Divine Word declares, There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked: the wicked is like a troubled sea, that casts up mire and dirt,--though the delights of evil are but like the smiling vineyards which cover a volcano. They bear the fires in their bosom which are secretly devouring their supports, and will one day pour their lava-tides over all the enchanting scenes which form the lovely covering of the hidden curse, and leave blackened and bare. Yet we linger near the danger instead of deciding at once to fly. Oh, may it be our wisdom to take our cross, to resolve to quit, at whatever expense, the low delights of sensual life, and live for heaven. Thus may we come under the protection of the Most High, and on our spiritual journey eat of His hidden manna.

We must, however, notice some additional circumstances connected with the descent of manna, which are alike interesting and instructive.

It was to be gathered daily,--what each man needed for each days use. None was to be kept for the morrow except on the sixth day, when enough was to be gathered for itself, and for the Sabbath also, on which day no manna would descend,--there should be entire rest.



By receiving each day the food for the day, and no more, the important lesson is conveyed that we should ever be guided in our wish to receive heavenly blessings, not by the desire of selfish gratification, but by the love of use. So much as we need for our work, so much should we desire to receive. The petition in the Lords Prayer, Give us this day our daily bread, is in harmony with the same great truth. Seek food for use, and delight will be given in. Seek it also for the duties of today. The only way to make any advance in heavenly things is to do our duty now. The good not used now will vanish when the sun of selfishness becomes vigorous within us. If we attempt to save it for the future, and to deceive ourselves with the good we will some day do, it will breed the worms of vain conceits, flattering and false. It may become polluted hypocrisy, most abhorrent in the sight of God and angels, but can never be saving good.

The lesson involved in the corruption of the manna in the hands of those who gathered to hoard and not to use, is of inestimable value. To be a miser, is bad in earthly things, but far worse in heavenly. And it is to be feared that spiritual hoarding is even more prevalent than natural. How many sermons do we hear with delight, but whose influence goes no farther than to stock our memories! How many good books do we read, whose pages unfold to us exalted lessons, and truths of sterling worth! We hear, we read, and we admire, but our hearts remain as cold, heedless, and unpractical as before. We are no better, we admit; but we do not suspect what is the real truth---that w are worse. The manna we are hoping to preserve for future use, is becoming corrupted and defiled. We are gliding into states of self-dependency, self-complacency, self-flattery. We are supposing we are righteous, or, at least, in no danger, because we know righteous things, while, with every effort we make, we are strengthening our inherent evils, our hereditary tendencies We are not searching out our frailties and opposing them, but indulging them, and salving them over with our religious knowledge and pious observances. The richest substances become, when corrupted, the most loathsome; and nothing is so abhorrent in the Divine sight as a religion unused for good, pandering only to self-gratulation and deceit. In the unfoldings of the soul, which take place in the eternal world--for the books will be opened--many a fair pretense, many a specious covering, many a settled sanctimoniousness in a soul which has avoided justice and active usefulness, when unveiled will be found abhorrent to celestial beings.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 78 It will be far, far from possessing the odor of sanctity, and will be registered as unclean, both by God and heaven. And he who is filthy will, alas! be for ever filthy still. The polluted manna also bred worms. And when we hear the false pretences which spring from mock religion, the conceits of our own excellence, the fancies engendered by the love of procrastination, the dream that our religion, being that of the respectable world, must be all-sufficient, that we do as other people do, and certainly are not as loose as many are. That we will bring all the excellent things we hear and read into practice some day, when we have less to do with the world. And, probably, we shall not be judged so strictly in relation to our lives, because we are so rigid in our faith. We certainly will have nothing to say, but scorn and condemnation to those who differ in creed from us. Alas, thus drone and dream, and destroy themselves, those who love darkness rather than light. So swarm the wicked with conceits, vile as they are false. So maunder on, in folly and falsehood for ever, those whose worm never dies. And what a lot is this. For ever deceiving ourselves. Plunging down and down a bottomless pit of error. One fallacy exposed and exploded only left for another. Everlastingly striving to delude others, and in effect everlastingly deluding ourselves. Instead of the living beauty and health of the spiritual body of an angel, our appearance in the sight of truth must be that of a carcass breeding worms, painful to ourselves, and disgusting to others.

Oh! may we, beloved brethren, be delivered, by active living hunger after righteousness, from the delay which thus pollutes the heart, and the worms which thus destroy the mind.

Our whole progress depends on eating today what God gives today. Tomorrow is the day that with the sinner never comes. Present strength is given for present duty. Todays duty done provides us with an appetite for new food, and He who cared for and supplied us today, will give us all that is needful and happy for each succeeding one. Is this sense the Lord Jesus said, Take no thought for the morrow; let the morrow take thought for itself: sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.

Oh! what a relief from the anxieties of life would it be if this grand lesson were admitted and practiced! What a load of cares and fears would fall away!

Far would fly each care and sorrow,

       God provideth for the morrow.



The same lesson would teach us also the duty of doing, as it comes, the work of each successive stage of our business of life, and the reception of its proper and present blessing. Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man. Let no man leave of it until the morning (Ex. xvi. 16, 19).

One exception to this rule, however, there was. It is thus stated: See, for that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day (ver. 29). Days for the soul are states. The six days of labor represent the states of the soul, in which it is striving to obey a truth, although as yet it is laborious to do so, in consequence of oppositions within and without. The sixth day is the end of this struggle, when the soul has succeeded in realizing, not only the truth of a duty, or a principle, but also the good, the blessedness of it. Two omers are then received, the bread of two days.

In the early periods of our regenerate life, we are only able to attend to one thing at a time, to acquire knowledge first, next to reduce that knowledge to practice by opposing the evils we discover in our minds contrary to the truth, then to resist the temptation to fall back again. Such is our work at the commencement and through the middle of the week, but near its termination we are permitted to be tempted more deeply than before. We come to the verge of despair. We see that of ourselves we are weak and helpless, only by divine mercy we are preserved. We have been led to the brink of ruin, and have seen the divine hand outstretched to deliver us. We have learned by our own experience the truth of those divine words, Without Me ye can do nothing.       At the same time, however, we have learned that when we truly seek it, divine help is ever near. When we passed through the valley of the shadow of death, we suffered no evil; the Lord was present with us; His rod and His staff comforted us. He prepared a table before us in the presence of our enemies. He anointed our heads with oil, our cups have run over. We are now fully prepared in all our ways to acknowledge Him. We gather now not only the good of truth, but also the good of love,--enough of good to aid in serving our fellow-creatures, and enough to enable us with gratitude to serve and adore the Lord. We feel that it is by divine mercy alone we are what we are, and from our hearts we can join the angelic hosts in saying,


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 80 Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.

The Sabbath which follows, represents the souls conjunction and communion with the Lord. This is done within the soul, when it is thus prepared, by the Lord Jesus alone. Hence He is Lord of the Sabbath-day, and man ceases to work. Man enjoys a hallowed time, a holy state of calm and peace. Such is the Sabbath of the soul. This was represented by the cessation of manna on the day of the Sabbath.

One more incident we would notice. The manna was gathered by an omer1 full at once, and no otherwise; and we are informed at the conclusion of the narrative, Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah (ver. 36).

1 Between five and six pints.

There were three chief measures for dry articles, each ten times larger than the other,--the homer (Ezek. xlv. 11). These three measures, like the three kinds of bread of the tabernacle--the loaf, the cake, and the wafer--we may readily conceive, have relation to the reception of heavenly good by the three grand classes of Christians, who form afterwards the three heavens of the Lord (2 Cor. xii. 2). The good which they receive who have entered fully into love to the Lord as the supreme source of all their operations, is of the largest measure, the homer. The good of those who glory rather in the light than the love of heaven, though they are true to the light, and sons of the light, is of the second measure, the ephah. The good of those who are not even intellectual Christians, but still steadily obey what they see to be enjoined in the Word, is the lowest measure, the omer, which is the tenth part of the ephah. And this is the measure by which we all receive heavenly good in our spiritual journey. Our law of duty is to obey the ten commandments. Each commandment obeyed brings its omer of blessing.

One of the most grievous errors in Christian experience, is to stand proposing to ourselves to do something large, to defer the simple duties of daily life, promising ourselves to do some astonishing work some day. In this there is much self-deception. We should ever remember destruction may be great and sudden, but all growth and erection are slow and gradual. Vegetation rises almost imperceptibly; buildings rise brick by brick, stone by stone: rains come in drops; the body is renewed and strengthened by daily food:


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 81 so is it with religion,it is first the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear (Mark iv. 28). We must gather the heavenly manna, then, by the omer; the measure in which we obey the laws of duty will be the measure according to which the blessings of heaven will be imparted.

Once more, my beloved hearers, let me remind you of the fact, that regeneration is a journey. Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it (Matt. vii. 14). Few there be, indeed, that really try to find it. Yet it is a way that must be trodden, if we are to be prepared for heaven. Heaven can only be formed of the heavenly minded. That is evident. Selfish and worldly-minded men can never make a heaven, place them where we will. The cruel, the haters, the scorners, the polluted, can never be formed into a blessed company of everlasting happy ones, but by the journey of regeneration. We must be born again. We must leave the Egypt of mere outward learning, outward talent, and outward pleasures; and seek a state in which the love of what is good, for its own sake,the love of what is true, for goodness sake,and the love of obeying God in all things, will form the constant habits of the soul. These make the Canaan within. Before this state is attained, we have many changes to undergo. Our march is through a wilderness; and it is a march. Step by step only can we advance. There is no avoiding the journey,no short cut. Onward we must go, determined to sacrifice whatever principle, temper, habit, practice, or interest stands in the way. Thus are the soldiers of salvation formed. The road is checkered. Sometimes it is in a deep, dark glen; sometimes over a glorious mountain: now we come to wilds, where furious beasts howl, and now to pastoral plains, where sheep and lambs graze and lie down. Today the weather is bitter, and storms rage around: tomorrow all is calm, serene, and lovely. We must take these variations as they come; and we have no provisions sufficient for the journey; nor shall we be able to raise any by our own labor, until we have reached the Promised Land. Forlorn enough would be our prospect, but happily we have an all-sufficient source of help. The Eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and He shall thrust out the enemy from before us, and say, Destroy them. Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 82 Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people, saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee, and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

This glorious God and Savior will provide us with food by the way. Though we have no delight proper to ourselves in heavenly purposes and principles, He will give us delight. Day by day He will feed us, comfort us, cheer us, bless us. No good thing shall we want. The Lord will provide.

Can we then hesitate in entering upon this important journey? Have we not been slaves in Egypt too long? Too long been content with the anxieties, the cares, the turmoils, and the miseries of a life quite unworthy of heirs of immortality, the children of the Heavenly King?

Let us at once rise, trusting in the call of heaven. and confidently relying that bread will be given us, our waters will be sure. Manna, so rich and delightful, will descend; and, entranced with its exceeding sweetness, we shall exclaim, What is it? What is it, O Lord Jesus, which Thy mercy has provided? It must be angels food. We had hoped only to be pardoned for our rebellion, our negligence, our waste of Thy former gifts, but here is the bread of heaven! What is it? All our former joys have had some alloy in them, have been hollow and short-lived, superficial and vain. But this is interior, pure, deep, lasting, sweet beyond expression,--a foretaste of heaven. And if such is the foretaste, what must the blessedness of heaven itself be? O may our hearts, encouraged by this bliss vouchsafed to us in the wilderness, faithfully follow out our calling, never suffering ourselves to be turned aside, but heeding constantly the voice of God which says, This is the way, walk thou in it.

While here below we walk with God,

With heaven our journeys end in view;

Supported by His staff and rod,

We find His mercies ever new.

This wilderness affords no food;

But He for our support prepares;

Our God provides all needful good:

His bounteous hand no blessing spares.

Nor must we, lastly, forget that all our manna has one divine source--the Lord Jesus Christ. How strikingly He taught this in the Gospel! I am that bread of life. Again As the Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 83 This is that bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever. He is goodness itself From His Divine love, or the Father within Him, the divine good, the bread of life, was brought down into the humanity He assumed, to be imparted to the world. From His glorified humanity it is now given to angels, and offered to all who begin the pilgrimage of regeneration. Alas, that all mankind are not included in this list. The service of the world and sin is hard,--the food, poor,--the end, ruin. Let us arise, for this is not our rest; the whole land is polluted. Let us fly from Egyptian bondage, and commence a career on which angels will be our assistants and companions, the divine truth will lead us by day, the divine truth will console us by night, we shall be nourished with the bread of heaven, and men will eat angels food, our contests will be certain victory, and our end be heaven. Let us begin this journey, if it has yet to be commenced, and trust our divine Savior for the needful strength to persevere, assured that we shall never lack it while we look up to Him with the language of His disciples, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

The bread of life! What a beautiful name, and how suggestive! It is said of the Lords disciples of old on one occasion, They had forgotten to take bread. How often is it the case now. We feel feeble and weak on our spiritual journey. We are too apt to be infirm for good; we are easily deterred from pursuing, from carrying out purposes of kindness, and objects of blessing for others. We are even becoming impatient, and easily offended. How is it our spiritual life is so weak? We have forgotten to take bread. We have been delighted with the truth and doctrine of religion, we have seen and acknowledged its beauty and worth, and have set out upon our journey; but soon we become fatigued, wary, and worn, for we have forgotten to take bread. Happily the Lord is near, and has compassion upon us. If in devotion and humility we go to Him, He will not cast us away. He will give us the bread of life, He will strengthen us, cheer us, animate us with holy goodness, and we shall be truly satisfied. Our life will be enriched, and our listlessness removed. But we must have bread. Truth alone, however plenteous, will not suffice, any more than faith alone will satisfy as a doctrine. We must have the bread that strengthenth mans heart (Ps. civ. 15).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 84 In every state, and in every undertaking, let us seek this blessed nourishment in the spirit and language of the Lords Prayer: Give us this day our daily bread. Nor must we, on the other hand, fall into the supposition that truth is of slight importance, and goodness is everything. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matt. iv. 4). The Christian must know the truth, cultivate the truth, become enlightened by truth, and the truth shall make him free. Good to strengthen, and truth to direct; good to animate, and truth to illumine; good to bless, and truth to confirm,--these constitute the twin essentials for the mind, and when these are so embraced as to flow into the virtues of a just and holy life, and works testify to the presence of heaven within, me shall assuredly realize the sacred declaration, Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.





No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a mans life to pledge.DEUT. xxiv. 6.

THE law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul (Ps. xix. 7). This is the grand truth we should ever bear in mind when considering the legal part of the Word of God. The Jewish Law was important to that people as their national code. Its enactments were wisely adapted to their condition, and the land they inhabited, and were calculated to secure their prosperity. But these considerations alone would not have justified its adoption is the Word of God. The Divine Mind aims at higher objects than those which are included in this worlds prosperity: For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isa. lv. 8, 9). The Jewish Law, then, although admirably adapted to secure the freedom, independence, comfort, and well-being of the people so long as it should be faithfully observed, in this respect has little more claim upon our attention and respect than the laws of other nations. For us, and for our circumstances, it would now be mainly obsolete. It was given in a narrower field, and in circumstances widely different from those which the British nation occupies. Its laws, in many respects, would be totally unsuitable for us, and the British legislature does wisely, in making laws for us, to consider how the ends of national virtue and prosperity can be secured by laws dictated by justice and judgment, adapted to the wants of modern society, entirely irrespective of Jewish legislation. God lives now, and to the men who seek first His kingdom and its justice (Matt. vi. 33), He gives the inspirations of His wisdom at the present day, as He did in days of old.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 86 As outward law, the regulations of the Jews have long passed away; but as inward law, they are part of the Word of the Lord, which will endure for ever (Isa. xl. 8). As laws for the body we have with them but little concern, but they will have everlasting worth for us, as the Law of the Lord which converteth the soul. For the law having a shadow of good things to come: and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually, make the comers thereunto perfect (Heb. 2. 1).

But the law being a shadow, or representation of good things, though of itself insufficient to make those who followed it perfect, yet was the outward form of such principles and practices as do lend to the perfection of the soul. It is the correspondence of the outward laws to inward laws, which constitute their dignity and worth. To know this correspondence, and see its application to the soul, is to be able to appreciate the words of the Psalmist; The law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver (Ps. cxix. 72).

That a spiritual meaning is contained in the Jewish law we must feel, if we are assured of its divine character. Who can imagine, with a worthy idea of infinite wisdom the laws of this and the two foregoing chapters to have come from God, unless besides the letter in which they served the Jews, they have some deeper import by which they call give wisdom to Christians? The law of the birds nests (chap. xxii. 6, 7); the law of not sowing a vineyard with different seeds (ver. 9); the law of not ploughing with an ox and an ass the law of not wearing a garment of linen and woollen together (ver. 11); the law of making fringes to their garments (ver. 12); and this law of the millstone, and many others, are surely not of that dignified character to be worthy of Him whose understanding is infinite, unless some hidden wisdom is contained in them. But this being admitted to be there, we may then join with the Psalmist in the petition, whenever we study this portion of Divine Revelation: Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law (Ps. cxix. 18). May this be our devout prayer in considering the law before us.

We may be the more prepared to appreciate the spirit of this divine law, if we have reflected often on the suggestive thought, that all vegetable nature is emblematic of the growth of principles in the mind. This every one feels so palpably, that our whole language is imbued with the idea.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 87 The barren intellect, the cultivated mind, the fruitful suggestion, the rooted prejudice, the fertile fancy, are terms which one continually hears. Poetry is full of this correspondence to the poetic feeling in all of us

                     The earth has still

Some traces of her youthful beauty left,

Substantial happiness for transient joy;

Scenes formed for contemplation, and to nurse

The growing seeds of wisdom; that suggest

By every pleasing image they present

Reflections such as meliorate the heart,

Compose the passions, and exalt the mind.

To the inner eye of the thoughtful mind, each spot of earth is a lesson. The field with its rich green sprouting vegetation, is the symbol of the mind when young living thoughts are rising into life and vigor. The tree in blossom typifies the intellect adorned with the rich hue and beauty of heavenly lessons; the tree loaded with fruits is the blessed emblem of religion brought into practice;--of the man who is full of the sap of heaven, and brings forth each in its season, the sacred works of justice, charity and piety. Such are the trees of righteousness, branches of the planting of Jehovah (Isa. lxii. 2).

To a mind thus susceptible of the inner teachings of nature, also, all varieties of earths scenery are instructive. It is beautifully remarked by the poet,

Truth has her pleasure-grounds, her haunts of ease,

And easy contemplation; gay parterres,

And labyrinthine walks; her sunny glades

And shady groves in studied contrast,each

For recreation, leading into each:

These may he range, if willing to partake

Their soft indulgences, and in due time

May issue thence recruited for the tasks,

And course of serve, truth requires from those

Who tend her altars, wait upon her throne,

And guard her fortresses.

Earth, in this view becomes indeed the shadow of things mental and divine. The soul views in it an inner glory everywhere. The flowers of life never die. When they have perished from the surface, they bloom still in the spirit. Let not the sensualist say that this is dreaming only. The soul feels that it is gathering earths richest, truest treasures. It is soaring.

Hush, tis thou that dreaming art,

Calmer is her gentle heart.

Yes! oer fountain, vale and grove,



Leaf and flower, hath gushed her love

But that passion deep and true,

Knows not of a last adieu.

Types of lovelier than these

In their fragile mould she sees;

Shadows of yet richer things,

Born besides immoral springs

Into fuller glory wrought,

Kindled by surpassing thought!

Our Divine Master taught us thus to walk among the green things of earth, and thus to use them. The herb, the flower, and the tree Him perpetual sources of instruction. And He said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground ;and should sleep, and rise, night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear (Mark iv. 27-29). Here the divine use of correspondence, and the correspondence of cool, are evident. But before dwelling upon the specific representation of corn, allow me to impress upon you all the truth so clearly shown in this passage, and by the whole vegetable kingdom, that all growth in heavenly, as all growth in earthly things is gradual.

When the seed of instruction in the duties and promises of religion has been sown (the seed is the Word of God, Luke viii. 11), and received into the ground of an honest and good heart, it soon begins to show signs of life and germination. First comes the blade consisting of gentle thoughts, of quiet meditations, of confiding trust. The Lords invitations are pondered over and believed. And the penitent experiences an interest in all the offers of mercy, in all the promises of defense, and ventures to say, The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down ill green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters (Ps. xxiii. 1, 2). All around the fresh blades of comfort and support seen, and the spirit reclines there like the sheep on the green grass. It is first the blade. When the perceptions of truth become stronger, and a clear comprehension of the principles of faith are obtained--of the faith which manifests itself in the virtues of a holy life, the understanding of truth forms the ear; and when this understanding of truth is so filled by the love of it, that it can be brought into use, the good to which truth leads, as seen in the mind, is the full corn in the ear.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 89 The virtuous life, inculcated by living religion, is indeed the full corn, the essential substance, that promotes true heavenly nourishment, and lends to religious growth. It is not by knowing only, but by loving and doing, that we truly advance in our preparation for the regions of pence. An earnest and persevering love of the sacred duties of life forms a virtuous character, and doing fixes it in our habits. When we have learned the commands of the Lord, and meditated upon them, and, seeing their bearing upon our lives, we aim with sincere purpose of heart to carry them into action, we are nourishing ourselves with the corn of heaven, we are enjoying angels food.

Such correspondence of corn to truths, when they are elevated to become purposes of the heart, is the reason why it is referred to in the holy imagery, both of the Old and New Testaments. Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to trend out the corn; but I passed over her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plough, and Jacob shall break his clods. Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you (Hosea x. 11, 12). It is manifest that the corn here referred to is spiritual food. The prophet Isaiah, gives a similar instance when he addresses the Church in the words, O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you (chap. xxi. 10). The Lord Jesus undoubtedly employed the same idea when, pointing to the fields as representing the condition of a large portion of mankind, He said, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth, and he that reapeth may rejoice together (John iv. 35, 36). He who reapeth this corn of heavenly goodness does indeed gather fruit to life eternal. He receiveth wages full of blessing. O let us hope that our fields are white. Let us cultivate the practical teachings of the Divine Word. Let our spirits be brought in meditation and prayer, often under the holy beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and there warmed by His love, and brightened by His wisdom, be blest by an ever-increasing harvest.

Before proceeding further with the subject before us, let me remind you of that most important fact, which is equally true in vegetable growth, and in the growth of religion, that all progress is gradual. It is first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. Destruction may be sudden; growth and erection are by little and little.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 90 To rejoice over the sheaves of plenty, we must be up and doing: we must steadily persevere. He who is negligent will have a scanty harvest, and he who delays to begin until harvest-time, will have no harvest at all. However bitter it may be to us to shake off our lethargy, let us, by all our hopes of heaven, or happiness on earth--for the laws of the one are the laws of the other--by all our prospects of a happy home, of a Christian and a heaven-blessed life, not hesitate to send the ploughshare of honest determination through our thorns and thistles, and break up our fallow ground. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him (Ps. cxxvi. 6).

But corn, before it is fit for human food, must be brought to the mill, and ground; and this operation is more especially connected with the subject before us. The use of grinding is twofold; first, the separation of the husk, and less nutritious portion from the richer, interior substance of the corn; and secondly, the trituration and pulverizing, which reduces the grain to flour, and thus presents it fully prepared for the sustentation of man. Both these essential services are done by the mill. In ancient times, each family had its own mill, and the flour for daily use was ground each day. The mill was composed of two circular flat stones; one the upper, the other the lower. In the upper one there was a hole, in which a wooden handle was fixed by which it was made to go round. The persons grinding sat to their work, and frequently when women did it, there would be two, and one passed the handle round to the other, and so the work went on. To this our blessed Lord alludes when He says, at the end of the Church, meant by the end of the age, or world: Two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, and the other left (Matt. xxiv. 41).

These circumstances all guide us to the correspondence. Corn, we have seen, corresponds to the good in life to which truth leads. The virtues which our views of religion open up to us are a harvest of graces; but, as general principles, they are not quite ready for daily use. They require to be rationally investigated, to be stripped of the forms in which we learned them, and to be accommodated to our own wants and circumstances. This is one of the works of the rational faculty in man. In this respect it is a spiritual mill.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 91 The operation of mental grinding is most interesting to contemplate. Let us endeavor to obtain a definite view of it. We are taught in the Divine Word the duty, and the right, of yielding ready and implicit obedience to the commands of the Most High. This was the law in Eden. It was thundered on Sinai, it was announced again and again to the Israelites. The dying words of Moses impressively hung upon this duty. He said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law, for it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life. The whole history of the Jews is an exemplification of this truth. When they were obedient all went well with them; when they were disobedient their guilt was soon followed by defeat, distress, captivity, slavery, and destruction. The Psalmist sung the blessedness of obeying the law. The prophets announced that all future glory was based upon a faithful compliance with the divine commandments; as all past loss had resulted from their dereliction. Oh, that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments, then would thy peace have been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea. When our Divine Father Himself tabernacled amongst us, He not only proclaimed that he who broke the least commandment, and taught men so, would be considered the least in the kingdom of God, but He fulfilled in every particular His own law, and thus magnified the law and made it honorable. If He, God incarnate, might not break it, but must fulfil all righteousness, much more must we. If we would enter into life, we must keep the commandments. He came to give us power to do it. He is ever present to the seeking soul, for the same gracious purpose now. If we read the Word with a single eye, we learn this doctrine in every page. We ponder over it, we pray over it. It grows up within us from story and history, from precept and prophecy. We obtain a clear understanding of it. Then comes the determination if we are wise to will and to do it. We have then got the full corn in the ear. But obedience with us has a very different application from that which it had in ancient times. We need yet to see how to apply this general principle to our own circumstances. We are merchants, tradesmen, workmen. We are engaged, it may be, in the warehouse, at the counter, in the shop. We are engaged in factories, or in land carriage, or are seamen. We are possibly men of letters, or engaged in medical or legal pursuits, or in the ministry.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 92 We are fathers, brothers, friends, citizens, subjects, or governors. We are of the gentler sex, perhaps: we are mothers, wives, sisters, mistresses or servants. What does obedience to Gods commandments require of us? How is it to be applied to our case, and in our circumstances? We must set our mental mill to work to bring this sacred duty of obedience to our daily operations of life, and thus reduce the corn to flour, which will serve for daily bread.

It is the same with faith in the Lord. We are taught by patriarchs who lived and died in faith, that trust in the mercy and support of the God of love is the sure foundation of solid virtue and real comfort. This lesson is illustrated by the triumphant example of seer and sage. In the deepest want, in the deepest sorrow, to the trustful, help ever came. No temptation was suffered to be so great, that loving faith could not come out of it unscathed and purified. And when, through the perversity and degeneracy of ages, the cup of human wickedness became full, and no help but that of Jehovah in the flesh would suffice to seek and to those humanity, brought His omnipotence to bear in rescuing His fallen children, conquered hell for them, and in His own glorified hands took possession for ever of the keys of hell and of death. Thus is the broad lesson for the fullest assurance of faith taught and impressed upon us in the inspired Word. We learn it, we understand it, we admit it, we seek to net upon it; but our circumstances are widely different from those of bygone days. We have not to exercise it in outward persecution or violent danger. Our trials are of a less showy kind, but to us equally real. We fear we shall not succeed in business if we do justly. We fear unless we are overweeningly anxious we shall not succeed in the worlds race. We fear that He who took care of us will not take care sufficiently of those who are to follow us, unless we overload body and mind with double work to provide for a long tomorrow. We fear we cannot overcome our selfishness, our sinfulness, our fretfulness, or our peevishness, mid so we scarcely try. We fear it is no use to begin now, and we will wait for a more suitable opportunity--in age, in sickness, in retirement, in change of circumstances. Such are our oppositions to the divine lessons of trust in God. How shall we bring them to bear? We must employ our rational faculty, our mental mill, and thus prepare it.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 93 The Lord lives, and is as near to us as He ever was to men of old. All power is His in heaven and on earth, and He loves us infinitely. All things are really in His hands and under His control, and only apparently in those of His creatures. He who conquered all the powers of darkness can surely conquer the few who infest us. He to whom the combined power of sin could really do no harm, but who bruised the whole serpents head, can surely bruise it in us. Come now, and let us reason together, He says: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. When the rational faculty is thus employed, the good purposes which the teachings of the Word inspire are adapted to our states, and we feed upon them. Our spiritual mill does its appropriate work. In fact, every verse in the Holy Word affords it full employ, when submit the hallowed teaching to its operation. For we are not to learn the letter only; we must uncover the husk of the corn of heaven, and enter into its spirit and life. Never was a more delusive fallacy than that which has taught men to trust in a mysterious religion, or the Word not understood. When any one heareth the Word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart: This is he which received seed by the wayside (Matt. xiii. 19). The Word not understood is like corn unground, or bread unmasticated undigested. It affords no nourishment. The light of heaven cannot illuminate one who makes no attempt to open his eyes. More light, more light; Open Thou mine eyes, should be the prayer of every mind. Then soon would the time come when the knowledge of the Lord would cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea.

To know and understand the truth, that we may love and practice it, this is the spirit in which to read and hear the Word. The wisdom we understand enters into the mind, the wisdom we love enters into the heart. The opening of Thy words giveth light, it giveth understanding unto the simple (Ps. cxix. 130). The opening of the divine words giveth light. The words which remain in the memory, and do not enter the intellect, leave us, and have left the world, unenlightened and unedified.

The grand use of the rational faculty, then, as a spiritual mill is evident. May we never surrender it, or barter it away. But the mill had two stones, an upper and a nether millstone.



Stones represent truths of doctrine, especially in relation to the firmness they afford as a foundation, and a defensive wall, to our faith. In this sense stones are constantly employed in the Word. Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a, tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a. sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste (Isa. xxviii. 16). No doubt the foundation-stone means the foundation truth, that Jesus was Jehovah Himself, as our Savior and Redeemer. He that believeth on this shall not hasten from one refuge to another in the day of danger. His soul shall be satisfied with the presence and with the loving protection of God with us. He who believeth shall not make haste.

The Lord Jesus finished His sermon on the Mount with the same use of the correspondence of stone. Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock (Matt. vii. 24, 25). The rock is evidently the truth everywhere present in the Lords words. This truth is arrived at by faithful and diligent investigation. Hence, in Luke, it is written, Whosoever calleth to Me, and heareth My sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: he is like a man who built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation upon a rock. Holy important it is to dig deep, not to make a surface examination only of divine truth. The richest jewels often lie the deepest. The more interiorly we investigate, the brighter will be our reward, and the surer will be our foundation. The truth that God had really come to save men was the stone which the builders rejected, but which became the head of the corner (Luke xx. 17). When the Gentiles had received the truths of the Christian religion, the apostle Peter calls them lively stones, built into a spiritual house (1 Peter ii. 5). When the Lord made the divine promise, To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it, He obviously meant that pure truth would be imparted to the man who overcame his evils, with a peculiar luster, clearness, and power, which could only be fully appreciated by its happy possessor. The twelve stones which should be the foundations of the New Jerusalem, mean all the grand truths of love, faith, and obedience, upon which that Church would be erected in the soul.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 95 The uses of stone manifest the correspondence. Stones for a foundation and stones for a wall are the express symbols of those truths upon which religion is founded, and by which it is defended; and when these are cemented together by love, they form a spiritual wall, through which neither evils nor errors can break.

The two stones of which the mill consists represent the two grand truths into which the whole Word divides itself: those which teach love to God, and love to man. The upper stone is the symbol of the first and great commandment. Our Lord refers to this when answering the question, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matt. xxii. 36-38)

The two tables of stone upon which the ten commandments, the first and the essential principles of all the divine Word, were written, were intended to represent the same twofold division of all heavenly lessons.

The mill, then, with its two stones, represents the rational faculty when it is furnished with these two grand truths. With these two universal principles it can do, and is intended to do, the utmost service to man. Everything that enters the mind should be submitted to its inspection and action. Whatever is taught in relation to God which is inconsistent with love to God and love to man, should be rejected; whatever is in harmony with both should be received. All that love would do God will do, for God is love; all that love would reject God will reject, for God is love. So in relation to man. Our duty in all things is to measure our conduct by the great law, Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets (Matt. vii. 12). If the teaching which we hear and the lessons which we read are in harmony with this, then will our spiritual mill prepare them for practice. It will bring them into operation on the exchange, in the market, at home, and at work. By this shall we know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.

Such is the spiritual mill, and such is its operation. What a wide field of use it has; and how essential is that use!


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 96 To try to sift, to discriminate, to investigate, to adapt all that we learn so that fallacy and mere appearance may be rejected, and only what is really conducive to salvation and blessing be retained, What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.

With this view of the important objects and indispensable character of the millstones, seen in their correspondence, we shall be prepared to see in spiritual light the reason of the command in our text: No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a mans life to pledge.

Of course, in its literal application to the Jews, this was a merciful law. It secured to all men, however poor, the means of preparing the food essential to life and health. This was never to be interfered with. Another law secured to the poor man corn for his present necessities, and this the mill to grind it. No man shall take the nether or upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a mans life to pledge. But of how much higher significance does this divine law become, when we see its relation to our spiritual life!when we hear the divine announcement in this respect, that no man should be deprived of the free use of his reason in religion, nor led to part with either the truth, that we should love our neighbor as ourselves, the nether stone; or that which teaches the love of the Lord, the supremely loveable, with all the heart, which is the upper stone. To retain these two grand laws, and to use them, to compare and harmonize all we are taught as true with them, this is our life.

To take a thing in pledge is to deprive of its possession for to supply some other need for a time. There are some curious and interesting regulations respecting pledges in this same chapter. Some things might be pledged, as, for instance, a garment. The person taking the pledge must not go into the pledgers house to fetch it out; the owner must bring it out. The pledge must be returned before the sun went down. These regulations have an important spiritual relation to our inner life, and in these, chiefly, their divine worth consists. A mans profession of religion, his spiritual garment, may be placed in abeyance, if he find it necessary for some higher spiritual good. He may forego for a time the form to secure the substance. This the person himself may do externally, but his inmost affections must be untouched. We must not go into the house for the pledge. He must have it returned, at least when the sun goeth down. When states of spiritual cold and obscurity come on it must be restored to him.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 97 When all is bright and cheerful with us, a vivid possession of our doctrinal views may be spared; but when trial comes on they are indispensable.

       But when on life, were tempest-driven,

                     A conscience but a canker,

       A correspondence fixed. with Heaven

                     Is sure a noble anchor.

We must have, then, in the time of obscurity, of cold, and of sorrow, all our religious convictions strongly wrapped around us, and feel thus the succor it is divinely intended they should give. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. But the millstones must not be parted with at any time, nor on ally condition; it is taking a mans life to pledge. The rational faculty, and its two grand essential principles, must never be parted with, nor even be placed in abeyance.

Oh! that this great truth that we ought never to suspend, never to place in abeyance, never to forego the use of this general principle, our rational faculty, were engraven on every heart. In this sublime portion of our nature the essential means of manhood reside. He will never become a man who never thoughtfully dares to reason for himself; who never strives to penetrate the appearances of things, and see with a single eye divine realities. Here is the judgment-seat for each mind. Here sits the porter of the castle of Mansoul, whose business is to challenge every comer, and to see that none enter but friends of its Lord. How poor a being he becomes who fears to use this glorious capability let degenerate millions answer. He has not the fixed instincts of brutes, and their obedience to the laws of their order, and while he is born with debased affections, he does not use this grand means of rising for ever higher. Born in spiritual slavery, the truth alone can make us free. Without that we cannot free ourselves from our own passions and prejudices, much less from the domination of other men. Without that we cannot rise to the freedom of citizens of heaven. We are things, not men. Let then no man take your mill; it is your life.

But neither the lower nor the upper millstone must be taken. The two grand essential truths, upon which all others hang, must neither of them be given up. Whatever is not in harmony with them ought not to be received. Whatever is unworthy of our love to God, whatever would lessen our love to man, should be rejected at once. How great a source of elevation should we constantly have, if in all our hearing and reading we should bring our spiritual corn to the mill, furnished with these spiritual stones!


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 98 Let us notice their operation. We are reading the history of Israel. We learn how God selected them to be His people; how He brought them through great dangers, delivered them in a thousand straits, gave them peculiar laws, drove out and subdued their enemies, the previous possessors of Canaan, and blest them with safety and abundance so long as they were obedient; so that they supposed themselves the favorites of heaven. But now, how shall I rationally understand this? I cannot conceive the Lord of all to have favorites, to be capricious, or make especial selections. I could not love with all my heart a Being who was partial,--that had not the same kindness and love for others as for me. Heaven itself would have no charms for me if I were placed there by favoritism, by a partial mill, which rejected and condemned others who were not more undeserving of it, and less prepared to enjoy it than myself Much rather would I say with the apostle, I would be accursed for my brethren if they might be saved. The partial view will not agree with supreme love to God nor love to man. But what if the Israelites were selected for the sake of others, that they might represent those who were Israelites indeed, who are Jews inwardly, owning allegiance to the great Savior, the divine King of the Jews. What if these laws are spiritually to be understood, and then become universal ones, true of every nation and every age? What if their enemies were types of our evils, which must be cast out for us to be prepared for happiness? What if their country were an expressive symbol of Heaven? Strip off the husks of the divine teaching, its temporal covering, its letter, and then you find the fine flour within, the lessons of goodness in strictest harmony with love to God, and charity to man. Nay, your love will with every lesson rise higher. You will be satisfied with honey from the rock, and be fed with the finest of the wheat (Ps. lxxxi. 16).

Take the character and history of David as the subject, and the bearing of it in the letter of the Word is certainly not such as to lead us to select him as the example of gentleness, of chastity, or of mercy. He was fierce and cruel to his enemies, and revengeful at the last hour of his life. It would not increase our love to God to consider Him as an individual person, a man after Gods own heart. It certainly would not illustrate love to our neighbor for us to act in like manner. But let us remove the husk, and get to the interior of the lesson. Let us regard David as a type, but not a pattern.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 99 Let us regard him as representing the Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine King of the spiritual Jews in all ages;--the victories of David, as the shadows of the victories of the Redeeming God over infernal powers, those conflicts and triumphs by which He saw of the travail of His soul and was satisfied. Let us think of him also as representing, in a more particular application of his history, each Christian as he seeks to follow his Divine leader in the regeneration, and then the foes, which are condemned and rooted out, are not persons, but wicked principles. The charge to Solomon to put the foe to death whom David could not himself destroy, declares the desire of the soul, that the last vestige of interior evil should be extirpated when it enters upon the possession of higher principles, though it is unable to do it now. Thus may spiritual food be obtained, when the rational faculty really seeks it. Thus we obtain bread to eat that the world knows not of.

But what a field for such a spiritual supply is the life of our adorable Lord. His birth, His journeys, His miracles, His sayings, His death, His resurrection and His ascension, high above the heavens: all are fraught with wisdom for contemplation and for life. He must be born in us, He must walk in us, He must calm our stormy sea, open our blind eyes, strengthen our withered forms, and enable us to walk in the path of His Divine commandments. We will live and die in us, for we shall find evil principles unmasked in our fallen nature, which will reject and deny the Lord, but He will rise again, and draw all things unto Himself. So shall we find that His works, like His words, are spirit and they are life (John vi. 63)

Thus shall we find the corn of Heaven full of nutritious food, when it has been adapted for nourishment by the spiritual mill; but we must never suffer either the nether or the upper stone to be taken in pledge, for it is in that case a mans life which is taken in pledge. Our principles of reasoning and comparison must always be the two grand laws.

We have already noticed the remarkable saying by our Lord, that, at the end of the dispensation He was then founding, there should be two women grinding at the mill; one should be taken, and the other left. Those who do not remember that the Lords words are spirit and life, but who hang only on the letter, have been much perplexed with this passage. They have wondered why the obscure employment of two such women should have been selected by the Divine speaker; and in case the world with all its fields and mills should be burnt up, where the rejected woman should be left.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 100 When, however, we regard working at the mill in its spiritual bearing, and the two women as the symbols of the two classes of persons to be found in a Church at its end, we call hardly fail to be instructed and edified. There are those in a fallen church who are genuine lovers of truth and goodness, who, when false doctrines prevail, sigh like Mary, and say, They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him. Such earnestly desire to see and practice the truth. They are like the kings daughter, all glorious within (Ps. xlv. 11). These investigate, as best they can, the truths of the Divine Word, and, though with much difficulty, they obtain food for their souls. Others there are who, though in the field of the Church, have no genuine regard for truth at all. They love themselves, their pleasures, their passions, their power, and their conceits. They labor only to retain their pelf, place, and position, in all they do. They labor at their mill, they learn and investigate, but only to support their false views and evil ends, not to receive or to support truth. Both these classes are in the field, both are grinding at the mill, but one will be taken and the other left. One class can be taken into the holy city of the Church here, and into the glories of Heaven hereafter; but the other, not. The difference of the two classes, though scarcely discernible to outward view, since all appear in externals alike, is most manifest to the searcher of hearts, and is no doubt the chief inward reason why those of the one class readily receive the truth, those of the other obstinately resist it. This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world but men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. He that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Finally, let me earnestly impress upon you all the importance of using the mill. There is no possibility of true manhood being attained without a conscientious use of reason in receiving the things of God. Have no fear in employing the glorious faculties Divine mercy has blest you with. The same trust that leads you to be confident that you are right in employing your hands to work and your feet to walk, because the God of Love and Wisdom has given them to you, and they must have been given to be used, should lead you as confidently to use your reason to apprehend, comprehend, and hold to the truth. Fear nothing, only be diligent and sincere.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 101 Oh, it this sacred liberty had been constantly maintained, how different would have been the lot of millions is the past, and how different the states of millions at the present day. What is the out-cry against reason, of the priests of mysterious folly, but a breach of the Divine Law before us? You are simple people, to reason. Dont use your reason, you will sink into heresy or into infidelity. You must not think for yourselves; we will tell you what to think. Your faculties are too weak to discover truth, (although God gave them to you for that purpose), we can discover the truth for ourselves, and you also. Alas, for such preposterous folly. These blind leaders of the blind cause both to fall into the ditch.

Oh! that men would rise manfully to the dignity of their high character, as rational and immortal beings capable of receiving the truth, judging of it, loving it, and making it their own by practice. Reject every attempt to place this heavenly mill in pledge, for it is your real manhood, your life, that is wished to be taken, when you are told to forego the use of your reason.

Above all, let us see well that our mill has ever, in good condition, the nether and the upper stones.

Let us receive no instruction that is inconsistent with love to our neighbor, the spiritual neither millstone. Let no sectarian sentiments, no idea that heaven was made just for this small party who think with us, or that gain our assent. Let us unite with men of love and virtue, of every name, assured that of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Let not the upper millstone go into pledge. Let us unceasingly try every sentiment proposed to supreme law o f love to God above all things. Reject every doctrinal view which would lead us to regard Him as angry, vindictive, unmerciful, partial, changeable, or imperfect. But, on the other hand, everything that illustrates His infinite love and mercy; everything that shows Him to be long-suffering, and plenteous in goodness and truth; everything that displays His matchless beauty, and the order of His almighty power; everything that exhibits His perfection as our Creator, His pity and compassion as our Redeemer, His tender care as our Friend and Father, His excellencies without limit, and His unceasing acts of kindness to attract man to be happy, to bless angels, and make the universe an abode of unlimited joy, that welcome and cherish. Always, let us rest assured, the Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.





And if the burnt-sacrifice for his offering to the Lord be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtle-doves, or of young pigeons. And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and wring off his head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood therefore shall be wrung out at the side of the altar: and he shall pluck away his crop with his feathers, and cast it beside the altar on the east part, by the place of the ashes; and he shall cleave it with the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder: and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt-sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord.LEV. i. 14-17.

THE custom of sacrificing so widely spread among ancient nations, and existing even in the present day, indicates an origin of the practice in times most remote, and of such a character as to affect the whole human family. The prominence of sacrifices in the pages of divine revelation is such as to command our deepest interest, while we seek to solve the questions, Why were these questions attentively, and to answer them truly, may the spirit of our blessed Lord, without which we can have neither the love nor the light which are essential to the inquiry, lend His all-sufficient aid.

The first observation which we propose to illustrate from the Divine Word on this subject is, that the leading idea presented to us by revelation is, that sacrifices are the dedication in worship of good things to the Lord, not the punishment of bad ones.

Secondly, we would remark that the objects offered, and the mode of sacrifice, are strictly in accordance with worship according to correspondences, and hence we infer that they originated in the perversion of the ancient, universal knowledge of the science of correspondence.

Thirdly that outward sacrifices never were in accordance with the Divine will, but the result of human darkness and degeneracy.



Fourthly, that typical meaning of sacrifices in relation to man has a still higher fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ, the great High-priest, and the supreme sacrifice.

We have observed, in the first place, that worship and dedication to God the general ideas connected with sacrifices in the Sacred Scriptures, and this is most important to a right understanding of them. They have very commonly been regarded as a typical of the punishment of the Lord Jesus Christ for our sins. But a careful consideration of the subject will show that punishment is not included in the true idea of sacrifice at all, much less the punishment by an infinitely righteous Being of the innocent for the guilty. His own Divine love induced might be a Savior to glorify His humanity through sufferings, that He might be a Savior for ever to bring His children to Himself; and thus He suffered, as the apostle says, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. He suffered to satisfy His love, not as a punishment to appease the anger of another divine person. The idea of punishment is not included in the doctrine of sacrifice at all.

In the sacrifice before us, it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord. A symbol this of the offering of interior worship from love, the fire of the soul, on the altar of the heart. This constitutes a spiritual burnt sacrifice, a sweet savor indeed unto the Lord. But, let us remark how sacrifices are mentioned in the sacred volume, and we shall see how far they are from including the idea of punishment.

We find an instance of this use of the term so early as Deut. xxxiii. 19: They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand. Sacrifices of righteousness, undoubtedly, imply the worship of the Lord from righteous feelings and emotions. The Psalmist still more definitely points to the spiritual idea to which sacrifices correspondence, when he says, The sacrifices or God are a broken spirit: a broken and. n contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. Do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion: build Thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shall Thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon Thy altar. Here, undoubtedly, the true sacrifices of God are described to be a spirit in which pride is broken, a heart in which sin is subdued.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 104 The adoration and devotion of hearts like these are the sacrifices of righteousness or justice; and when this is done from the fire of a love which glows and burns first in the inward spirit, and then throughout the whole soul, it is a burnt offering, and a whole burnt offering, acceptable to the Lord. The passage in the previous Psalm, Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High (chap. 1. 14), evidently speaks of the offerings of a grateful heart. In Psalm cvii. 22 there is another reference to the same interior offerings: And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.

In the New Testament a similar signification of sacrifices is evident. There is a striking example in the Epistle to the Romans, where the apostle says, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (chap. xii. 1). Here, it is most evident, the idea of sacrifice is that of offering ourselves up to the worship of God, by doing Hi will. We are not to destroy ourselves, or to punish our bodies, but to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, to become holy and acceptable to God. Again in the Epistle to the Philippians, we find the apostle saying, I have all, and abound; I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God (chap. v: 18); where it is evident the idea of sacrificing is offering from the heart. In the Epistle to the Hebrews it is written, But to do good and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased (chap. xiii. 16). The apostle Peter speaks in like manner, when he says of Christians, Ye also, as lively stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1 Pet. ii. 5). From all this, therefore, we may clearly gather that the general idea of all sacrifices is not punishment, but a preparation for the sacrifice, and part of the type. It was representative of that destruction of selfishness which must be effected in us before we can offer ourselves up to the Lords will. This self-denial is very strikingly placed before us by the Lord, when He said If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 105 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it (Luke ix. 23, 24). This important truth was shadowed forth also in the place for sacrifice and for washing, being the outer court of the tabernacle, not is the holy place, nor in the holy of holies (Exod. Xl. 29, 30). The lesson intended by this is, we presume, clearly this, that our entry into the Church can only be really made by the purification of our minds, and the destruction of self-will in our hearts. And this is the very truth. The Lord said to Peter, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part in Me: and this is the indispensable lesson to be learned by us all. We must be washed, made clean from our evils; we must take up our cross daily, and close our selfish life, or we call offer no sacrifice that will be acceptable to Him who sanctified Himself that we may be sanctified by the truth.

O may this lesson be deeply impressed upon all who contemplate the subject now before us. First, may we renounce our selfish life, and become contrite in spirit, and broken in heart, and then offer up our whole talents, powers and faculties, a whole burnt sacrifice of loving service to the will of Him whose service is perfect freedom.

But secondly, the objects offered up were correspondences of good principles or powers in the mind. The animals used in the sacrifices were lambs, sheep, oxen, goats, turtle-doves and pigeons, and a consideration of the typical character each will assist us to confirm the truth of our first proposition. For, surely, it is more natural to conclude that these different animals are the types of different principles, and their being offered up the dedication of these to the Lord, than to suppose that, though there was so great variety in the sacrifices, there was no variety in the things signified: they are related to the one act of the Lords death upon the cross, regarded as a. punishment for our sins.

Let us endeavor to take a wider view, and first inquire into the typical character of the animals in question. They are often referred to in the Word of God. The lamb is used there as the symbol of innocence, and is so expressive of this grace, that it is almost a household. word for those who are in possession of it. I send you forth, said our Lord, as lambs in the midst of wolves. Sheep are the types of the gentle principles of charity, or sympathizing brotherly love. The sheep described by the Lord Jesus in Matt. xxv. were those who had fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the side and the prisoners, and succored the strangers.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 106 Inasmuch as ye did these things, said the Divine Savior, to the least of these My brethren, you did them unto Me.

Oxen are the types of the dispositions to duty and obedience. It was the animal chiefly devoted to the plough, and ploughing, in the spiritual sense, means the preparation of the soul to receive the knowledge of heavenly things.

The true method to prepare for fresh instruction is to practice what we already know. Our Lord has a remarkable declaration in allusion to spiritual ploughing. No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke ix. 62). There is also a remarkable passage in the prophecy of Isaiah, which becomes, however, very expressive when we apply the correspondence of the ox, the principle of obedience: Blessed are ye who sow beside all waters, who send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass (xxxii. 20). Blessed, indeed, are they who having a spirit to obey--the ox, and to progress in the faith of truth, though it be only in the letter of the Word--the ass, yet go to the waters of salvation, and strengthen and purify their lives thereby. Blessed are they. The goat, whose delight is in leaping from rock to rock, is the symbol of the disposition to regard the truths of faith with great pleasure, which sometimes degenerates into a love of faith only, and then is strongly condemned by the Lord (Ezek. xxxiv.; Matt. xxv.). Birds, from their soaring power, are the symbols of thoughts. Turtle-doves and pigeons are correspondences of those tender thoughts and yearnings after the heavenly life which the soul has in the early part of its regeneration. The cooing of the turtle-dove was first heard in the groves of Palestine, on the return of spring. Its sweet sound was the sign of the approach of a brighter and warmer season. When the soul, therefore, is coming to a more genial condition, the sweet thoughts of hope and trust that encourage its advance towards the heavenly state and kingdom are like the soft notes of a God-sent turtle-dove. All these types, then, of good affections and thoughts, as well as the mode of offering up by fire, abundantly confirm the view we have drawn from the Holy Word, that the sacrifices were representative of good things and principles dedicated to the Lord in worship, not of punishment for human sin.

But we will proceed to examine more closely the particular sacrifice before us, that of fowls.

Birds, in general, correspond to thoughts. That man in his intellectual part has a power of soaring into lofty subjects, far beyond the state he has already attained in practice, is evident to everyone.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 107 We can think much better than we can do. And this is owing to the freedom Divine Mercy has preserved for our thoughts, even when our hearts are still the slaves of sin. This free intellectual power is represented in nature by the free flight of birds, the lofty elevation they can reach, and the extensive survey they can make. The gentle birds correspond to gentle thoughts, the destructive birds to pernicious thoughts. When on a bright sunny morning we take a walk in the fields, and watch the lark soaring high over head, and pouring out her flood of melodious song, still rising higher and still warbling more sweetly, while her song trills on, we feel conscious of a power to ascend. to things divine. We, too, would soar and sing. And when we observe that the bird of loftiest flight and sweetest song has the lowest nest, we can scarcely fail to read the lesson, that he who has the lowest thoughts of himself can most loftily enter into the things of heaven, and most sweetly utter and deeply feel what is expressed in those glowing words of grateful love: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name.

In the Scriptures, birds are constantly used as correspondences. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowler; the snare is broken, and we are escaped (Ps. cxxiv. 7). The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; which indeed. is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof (Matt. xiii. 31, 32). The birds which lodge in the branches of the heavenly tree can of course only represent heavenly thoughts. When the Lord says in Hosea, And in that day will I make a covenant for them 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 (chap. ii. 18); a very slight reflection will enable us to perceive that the beasts, fowls, and creeping things, are analogies of principles in the mental world. With these alone can the Divine Being make such a covenant as will issue in a world at peace used.

Turtle-doves and pigeons are used with great frequency in the Divine Word in relation to spiritual things. O deliver not the soul of Thy turtle-dove unto the multitude of the wicked: forget not the congregation of Thy poor for ever (Ps. lxxiv. 19,


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 108 --where, it is obvious, that by the turtle-dove is meant the state of the soul tenderly yearning after what is good. O that I had wings like a dove, then would I flee away and be at rest (Ps. lv. 6), is a breathing after the same heavenward thoughts and aspirations. There is a beautiful use of this correspondence of the dove in Ps. lxviii. 13: Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. The soul is depicted rising from a condition of depression and trial, and entering upon thoughts consolatory, sweet, and delightful; her wings covered with the silver of spiritual intelligence and comforts soft as feathers, and breathing the very essence of holy love, the gold of heaven. In the early portion of the Word, the dove that was sent out of the ark, and could not find a place, for a time, for the sole of her foot, was a figure of the state of things when falsehood floods the earth, though God always saves a few from the general wreck. He gives them the ark of a saving religion, which preserves them from the desolation around. Their soft and gentle thoughts meet with rejection when they try to put them forth. Only slowly, and after repented trial, can the dove find any welcome in the world.

When the prophet is describing the last and best dispensation of religion which God will impart to mankind, he speaks of those who yearn after heavenly things, who will come out of the world around to hail and receive it, when he says: Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? The adorable Jesus, in a very striking passage, uses the same correspondence of dove: Be ye therefore wise as serpents, but harmless as doves; where we are taught that: we should be circumspect to avoid danger from evil, and gentle in all our thoughts. From these multiplied instances, it is clear that the Divine Word uses birds as correspondences of thoughts; doves, especially of soft and heavenly thoughts, and of those persons who cherish such thoughts and delight in them. The Holy Spirit was seen, we are informed in Matthew, to descend upon the Savior like a dove, because in the world of vision, or spirit world, into which those who beheld the heavenly dove were permitted for the moment to see, all things around the inhabitants are the exact correspondences of the states within them, and, because the Humanity of the Lord had thee attained a more full union with the Father, and consequent reception of the divine views of tenderness and love towards the human race, the dove appeared over Him as the correspondence of this.



From these considerations it will not be difficult to perceive the reason for the divine command, that if fowls be offered in sacrifice, they shall consist of turtle-doves or of pigeons.

For what worthier offering could be made, than that which typified mans yearning towards a holier state? When the sense of the insufficiency of earth to satisfy the angelic demands of our immortal part are felt; when we are sensible how poor are earths grandest things, and we have begun to hunger and thirst after righteousness; when we have heard the Divine invitation, Arise, for this is not your rest, for the whole land is polluted, and thoughts of love, and hopes that whisper better things, make themselves heard within; these are the voices of spiritual turtle-doves which are the heralds of summer in the soul. The later and larger birds, the pigeons, which in Palestine were singularly beautiful, their feathers having the colors of the rainbow, are the types of the more matured thoughts of the soul, when more fully confirmed in rational prospects and views of heaven. When Peter was confirmed in his adherence to his Lord, he was called Simon, son of Jonas, by the Savior; and when he uttered the declaration that the Lords Humanity was divine, the Son of the living God (Matt. xvi. 16), his Master said, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona; flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven (ver. 17), both Jonas and Jona being only other forms of the Hebrew joneh, pigeon. Peter is described as the son of the pigeon, then, in harmony with the correspondence of that bird to thoughts of heavenly things, such as they are in the mind of a person who is in true faith. When, therefore, the sacrifice of birds is directed to be of turtle-doves, or pigeons, we may now readily see the reason. In adoring the Lord for our thoughts, we must do so especially for those, our choicest and best, which have their home in heaven. We must bless Him for all things, but chiefly for the things which belong to our peace. The Lord said, Labor not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth to everlasting life, and this ordinance of the sacrifice of fowls implies worship not from thoughts which have earth for their object, but from thoughts which tend to regeneration and to heaven. Let no vain fancies or idle dreams intrude in your approaches to the King of kings; let your sacrifices be of the turtle-doves, or of the pigeons of those spiritual aspirations which soar towards the home of the angels, and rejoice in the glories of heaven.

The priest, it is said, shall bring it to the altar, and wring off its head, and burn it upon the altar.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 110 By burning the head completely on the altar, is indicated the acknowledgment from the heart, and with an earnest spirit of love,--the fire upon the altar, that all our good thoughts originate from the Lord, and are His. The accessories come to us in various ways, and sometimes are mixed with fallacies and mistakes derived, it may be, from our association with some erroneous form of faith, for blessed be the Divine mercy, salvation is possible under every form, but the head is wholly the Lords. All my springs are in Thee.

The next proceeding of the priest was to wring out the blood on the side of the altar, and this reminds us of the frequent use of blood in a strikingly symbolical manner. The blood of the Paschal lamb was directed to be sprinkled on the door posts and lintels of the Israelitish houses in Egypt, that the destroyer of the first-born might not enter (Ex. xii. 23). There are express directions given in relation to each sacrifice, whether the blood should be sprinkled on the sides, or poured at the bottom of the altar. These circumstances will no doubt lead the Christian to think of that blood of the Lamb which purifies the conscience, washes our spiritual robes, and maketh them white, and without drinking of which we have no everlasting life. This blood is Divine Truth from the Lord. The blood of the New Testament, He calls it Himself, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. No outward blood can affect the conscience, or impart purity to the soul. Only truth, inwardly seen and felt, can do that. The Word learned, loved, and sent on its mission through the soul, is the blood which cleanses. Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you. We are sanctified by the truth (John xvii. 19). The union of truth with goodness, which takes place when we worship the Lord, was represented by the blood sprinkled, or wrung out, on the side of the altar.

The priest next was to pluck away the crop, with the feathers, and cast it beside the altar on the east side. And this takes us to a most important consideration. The crop, being the birds depository of food before it is digested, corresponds to the memory in man. Instruction in the memory before it has been digested in the rational faculty, and made our own in practice, is like food in the crop. When we die, such knowledge in the memory is of no avail is the sight of God, and is rejected. In the eternal world, knowledge passeth away (I Cor. xiii. 8). Only the principles of truth and goodness remain, which we have made our own, by doing what we know to be according to the Divine Will.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 111 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them, said our adorable Lord, and so it undoubtedly is.

The religion of the memory is, alas, all that is possessed by a large portion of those who call themselves Christians. They have read and heard possibly much upon this all-important subject. They have admitted as right what religion claims. They can speak on religious themes it may be fluently, but the tone and temper of their minds are contrary to its hallowed precepts, and their lives are uninfluenced by its laws. The words of religion they have learned, but they are foreign to its Divine spirit of love and virtue. Theirs is the religion of the crop and feathers, and these will be rejected to the very externals of the soul, as ashes. Alas, what will be left.

The cast side of the altar signifies out of regard to the will of the Lord, for the east corresponds to a state of love to Him, the Sun of Righteousness. Some there are who diligently store the memory with languages, and pass for learned and wise among men. They give no heed, however, to enter into and understand the great things of which languages are but the vehicles. Take them beyond the words, and they are at once out of their depth. They do not cultivate their reason, and seek light to live for the sublime objects of eternity. Words, words, words, are almost all they know. When they are stripped of these feathers of thought, by coming into a world where none of the languages of earth are utterable, where thought itself must speak, what must be their helplessness! How will the wise become stupid! How will the eloquent be struck dumb! How will the fluent in words, but careless in intellect, find that a light prevails which they have hated, a language is uttered which they have not practiced, and, like spiritual owls, they will fly from the light of the eternal world, muttering the indistinct emptiness of souls, really insane.

O may this state never be ours! But, on the contrary, may our happy diligence warrant us to say with the prophet, When I found Thy Word I did eat it, and it was the joy and rejoicing of my heart. Then when all the words and the memory of our earthly part are closed up and laid aside, we may find treasures of wisdom in our inner man, treasures of gratitude, of love to the Lord, of righteousness, and every angelic grace which will then inspire us with true heavenly eloquence. O my beloved hearers, forget not the express words of the Lord, Provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 112 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Luke xii. 33, 34).

There is a remarkable injunction still remaining to be considered. The bird being sacrificed was to be cleaved, but not so far as to be divided. In the case of Abrahams sacrifice in his vision (Gen. xv. 9, 10), God said to him, Take Me all heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtle-dove and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another, but the birds divided he not. In the case of the beasts, which represent good dispositions in the heart, there was a full division, and placing of the pieces parallel, over against one another. There was an answering of each to each. They are as the two sides of the covenant. The Lord imparts goodness to man from within; man receives it. On the one side, the Lord conjoins Him to Himself by it, on the other side man obeys. There is a correspondence and communion between them. Abide in Me, the Lord says, and I in you. This takes place by means of goodness in the regenerated will. The thoughts of man are not susceptible of this close parallelism with the Divine Truth, nor is it essential they should be so. There may be many fallacies and errors in his thoughts, yet he may be guided in the right direction. The religion of fear may help a man out of a brutal life, although his ideas of God are grossly mistaken. There is in them a saving side, an acknowledgment of the authority of God, and His right to govern. There is submission given. He allows the claims of heaven in a certain way, although not as they are truly taught by the Divine Truth itself. This was represented by the birds being cloven, but not divided, and laid one side over against the other. This want of exact resemblance between Gods truth and mans thought may continue during mans whole life in the world, and yet God accepts his sacrifice. Full correspondence will only be effected in that world, of which it is written, Whosoever hath to him shall be given, and whosoever hath not from Him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have (Luke v. 18).

Lastly, the offering is made upon wood, by means of the fire, and wood also has its correspondence. It is the type of good, of almost the lowest kind, a regard for orderly bodily habits. This furnishes the framework of religion. Whether we eat, or whether we drink, we should do it all to the glory of God. Our spiritual sacrifices should be made upon wood.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 113 When the waters of Marah were bitter, Moses was commanded to cast wood into them, and they became sweet. The waters of truth are ever hard and bitter, until we unite them with the good which delights in reducing them to life. If, however, this be there, even in the lowest degree, we are on the road to that blessed enrichment in all heavenly graces of which it is written, For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood, brass, and for stones, iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness (Is. lx. 17).

We are now briefly considered all the particulars of this divine law. Its divine lessons come out by means of the correspondences, and are most deeply interesting. May I not ask you, my beloved hearers, if you have no spiritual sacrifice to make? Wave not the turtle-dove, or the young pigeon of heavenward thought, begun to make themselves heard within you? Have you no yearnings after a better land? Have you not felt the aspirations after a fuller conformity to the Lord, after greater purity of heart, and greater usefulness on earth? If you have, follow their leadings, and offer them up to the Lord in love. Let the fire glow on the altar of your heart. Acknowledge that these first yearnings for good are from Him. He will not despise the gift, but bless it, as an offering made by fire, a sweet savor unto the Lord.

We have observed that so far from the idea of sacrifices being regarded as symbolical of punishment by the Divine Being, the truth is, that outward sacrifices never were in accordance with the Divine command at all, but were mere permissions to serve as types during human darkness and degeneracy.

A common idea has been entertained, that outward sacrifices are frequently commanded by God, and He originated the divine arrangement with the Israelites; but this is altogether an error. Sacrifices were prevalent among the nations of the East before God spoke from Sinai at all. Pharaoh told the Hebrews they could sacrifice in his land, before a single law respecting sacrifice was given them (Ex. viii. 25). In the book of Leviticus, where the laws respecting sacrifices are all expressly given, they do not command sacrifices, they only regulate them. The language is, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, as in chap. i. 2; If his offering be of the flocks (ver. 10); If the burnt sacrifice for the offering of the Lord be of fowls (ver. 14); and so on through the book, evidently implying no command, but regulation.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 114 The Israelitish people, like all their neighbors, had sunk from worshiping God in the heart and mind, with those affections and thoughts to which animals are the figures and correspondences, and were only too ready to offer up animals instead of offering up themselves. God only regulated this disposition to be a shadow of a better worship to come. The graces of the heart are what God requires, not the slaughter of animals. This is very distinctly stated in the prophets. Jeremiah says: For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them, in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. Hut this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be My people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you (chap. vii. 22, 23). Nothing can be clearer than that outward sacrifices are not of command, but only of permission. God commands inward and living virtues alone. The prophet Samuel taught the same truth to Saul, when the unhappy king thought he would be sure to do right if he sacrificed: Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?       Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams (1 Sam. xv. 22). The proposition now before us seems to be placed beyond all doubt by the glorious passage in Micah, where the divine requirements are declared in terms the most sublime and lucid: Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before Him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man what is good and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God (chap. vi. 7, 8). Nothing can surely be clearer from this declaration than that outward sacrifices are not required by the Divine Being. We needs no purchase of His mercy, nor reconciliation from anger to favor, He is mercy itself, and unchangeable love itself. All He requires is, that we should be brought to become like Him, and thus enabled to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. Let us never suppose, then, that any sacrifice will be acceptable to Him, instead of that devotion of all the principles of the soul to do His holy will, which is the inward meaning of all the sacrifices.



Lastly, to enable us to do this, and thus to return to the order of heaven, and to offer spiritual sacrifices again, the Lord Himself took human nature upon Himself, and purified, perfected, and glorified this, so that all the sacrifices have their highest fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ, the great High Priest, and the Supreme Sacrifice.

On this subject, we should first remember that the Lord Jesus took our nature to become God with us. He took our nature as it is, in order that He might be tempted in all respects like unto His brethren.

This assumption of Human Nature in its fallen character had objects in view not at all interior to creation itself. The whole spiritual world was in a disorganized state, and all things tended to mental ruin. The world of spirits with which man is more immediately connected was swarming with the powers of darkness. Not only the souls of men were in slavery, but in many cases their bodies also. The Lord had governed the human race hitherto through angels (Heb. ii. 2), and under this government all these evils had arisen. To avert utter ruin to His immortal creatures, it was necessary He should come immediately into the presence of His creatures, as a Redeemer and Savior.

First, that God Himself might became known to them from His own words and acts, as a Being of Infinite Love, whose lender mercies were over all His works.

Secondly, that He might through His assumed Humanity thrown down the powers of darkness, and place man again in spiritual freedom (Luke x. 18).

Thirdly, that by glorifying or perfecting this Humanity, He might lead us as an example in the path of the regeneration.

Fourthly, that this perfected Human Nature might be a medium, or Mediator between Himself and His creatures for ever, to give salvation and strength to the penitent, and to hold hell in subjection (Matt. xxviii. 18; Rev. i. 17, 18).

Fifthly, that he might found His church on the great truth, that His perfected Humanity was divine, and through it God and man might for ever be conjoined as Church and Head, as children and Father, as Savior and saved, as Shepherd and sheep. Such were the great objects of the incantation of Jehovah, worthy of Infinite Love, and necessary for the everlasting salvation of the human race. Creation itself would have become valueless had it not been followed by Redemption. Hence the importance attributed to the work of redemption in the Word, especially in the prophecy of Isaiah (chap. xxxv.; chap. xlv. 11; chap. xlix. 24, 25).



Now we have seen that in relation to man the sacrifices represent the dedication of the several principles of his nature to the Divine will, by the destruction of selfishness is him, and his consequent regeneration.

In our blessed Lord this sanctification of His Humanity was far higher; it was the making of it divine and thus the Supreme sacrifice. He had the same principles in His Humanity which we have in ours, thus He had the innocence represented by the lamb, the charity of which the sheep is the symbol, the obedience typified by the ox, the desire for faith of which the goat is the emblem, the thought and yearnings for the salvation of the human race represented by the turtle-doves and young pigeons. As His Humanity was from Jehovah interiorly, being the Son of God, but clothed with infirm coverings from His mother, He needed to sanctify and perfect it by a process precisely similar to that by means of which His children are prepared for heaven. Hence, in looking to the Lord as sacrificed for us, we should not confine our view to His cross. This was hut the last net in His struggle with the powers of darkness (Luke xxii. 53; Heb. ii. 14). His life was a constant series of sacrifices of the glorifying of His Humanity, first as to one principle, and then as to another. He glorified it again and again (John xii. 28). He was the Lamb of God as to the innocence of His Humanity, and this, when sanctified from the imperfections assumed from the mother Mary, became so filled and permeated by the Divine love, as to become a whole burnt offering, not destroyed, but perfected, and glowing With the splendors, of the Godhead for ever. He was the dove of God as to the meek wisdom of His Humanity and when He was baptized from the limitations of mere human imperfections, from His association with our nature, fallen as He took it at first (Luke xii. 50), then He became altogether a sacrifice of a turtle-dove, the blood of His Divine Wisdom sanctified the altar the crop and feathers of mere materiality were rejected, and He became in this respect an offering made by fire a sweet savor unto Jehovah. He entered into His glory by sufferings, of which His death on the cross was the last, but not the first. These sufferings were not to be regarded as punishments from another Divine person, but as means of glorification submitted to by His Divine Love for man, that He might offer Himself without spot to God (Heb. ix. 4), and that we might afterwards be sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ. once for all (Help. x. 10).



Christ our Passover was then sacrificed for us in a wider and fuller sense than has often been supposed. And He is now a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, His flesh (Heb. x. 20). Through this way all the blessings of Divine mercy, strength, light and joy, descend to us. O may we look to this door of the Godhead with adoration and reverence. In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He is Divine Love in a Divine Body. He that seeth Him seeth the Father. Through the glorification of the Son is the entire likeness of the Eternal Father in Him, and it can be truly said, as the apostle remarks, Unto the Son He saith, thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows (Heb. i. 8, 9). All the angels worship this glorified Redeemer, let us worship Him too. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing (Rev. v. 12).

Surely, my beloved friends, we may now appreciate those Divine words, Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law (Ps. cxix. 18).

The law thus seen is indeed what the Psalmist declared it to be, better than thousands of gold and silver; Blessed is he whose delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth meditate day and night. Each precept opens to the mind some spiritual duty, and invites to holier devotedness. By this interesting Divine ordinance, we are led to contemplate the duty of worshiping the Lord in our thoughts as well as in our hearts. We are invited to praise the Lord with beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl (Ps. cxlviii. 10). While, then, we are delighted to find in our spiritual pilgrimage we are not left solitary and songless, but as we go on we have happy thoughts soaring and singing around us and above us, like birds of heaven, let us gratefully confess all these are from the Lord. Let us devote them to Him. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (Is. xl. 31). Let us glorify the Lord for our birds. Let us make them a living sacrifice to Him filled with adoring love. He originates them, the head is wholly His. He desires that the truth which forms their inward life should be united to the good from which we adore our heavenly Father, the altar of our hearts.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 118 Let us thus pour the blood upon the side of the altar.

Let us never forget, too, that all our power to fulfil the law in our spirits comes from the Divine sacrifice of Him who lived and died for us. Had He not assumed and glorified His Humanity there was no help for man. The Holy Ghost was not given until Jesus was glorified. All the law as well as the prophets pointed to this great work. He was the end of the law for righteousness. The lamb that was slain, the serpent that was lifted up, the turtle-dove that was sacrificed, all supremely shadowed Him who lived, and died, and rose again, that He might be Lord of the dead and the living (Rom. xiv. 9). Let all the powers of our minds be consecrated to ponder upon this dedication of the Human to the Divine in the Savior, until the Divine Love, as an infinite fire, filled it wholly, and made it a whole burnt sacrifice, a savor of mercy, the head of all things, to heaven and the Church for ever.





Make those two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.NUMB. x. 2.

REVELATION is to man as a trumpet-call from heaven; hence the prophets are often told to lift up their voices like a trumpet. The human race is a grand army of immortals. The journey of life is a series of marches intended by the Captain of our salvation to terminate in heaven. But whether this journey will be successfully accomplished or not depends upon our faithfulness to the directions of our Divine Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are His soldiers, and if we obey the proclamations of His mercy and wisdom, as given in His word, We are certain of success. If not, we shall miss our way, and fall victims to the enemies who wait around, ready to fall upon the heedless and disobedient. The law of the silver trumpets is the law of nature, uses, and objects of Divine revelation, when it is seen and felt as the utterance of Divine love, and the authorized guide and director of our journey to heaven.

We have mentioned, that to sound a trumpet is, in the language of the Word, to deliver a revelation. When the law was given on Sinai, there was the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud, so that all the people that was in the camp trembled exceedingly (Ex. xix. 16). The same correspondence of the sounding of a trumpet to the delivery of revelation very clearly appears in the prophecy of Ezekiel: Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman; if when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 120 then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning, if the sword come and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchmans hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me (Ezek. xxxiii. 2-7). The blowing of a trumpet is here, manifestly, the type of the delivering divine warning and revelation. To the prophet Hosea it was said, Set the trumpet to thy mouth (Hosea viii. 1). When the prophet Isaiah speaks of the Gospel dispensation, he says, In that day the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem (Isa. xxvii. 13). The great trumpet is here, no doubt, the great revelation of divine truth in the Gospel. By its means, those who were ready to perish in states of perverted reasoning, like the soaring Assyrians, or of perverted science, like the magic-loving mysterious Egyptians, should he saved by following the joyful sound of life and immortality in the Gospel.

The Lord God shall blow the trumpet, it is said in Ezek. ix. 6. And in the book of Revelation, the disclosure of truth from heaven is called the sounding of one of the seven trumpets by one of the seven angels (Rev. viii. 2). The call of man from earth to the eternal world is likened to the sounding of a trumpet--The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (I Cor. xv. 52). In all these cases, the trumpet is the symbol of divine revelation, as the utterance of the love of the Almighty to lead, or warn, or call man to himself. To represent divine revelation in these respects was the purpose of the law we are now considering.

Divine revelation in its letter takes a hard and earthly form sometimes. From it weapons of fierce spiritual war can be formed; and in this respect it is said, The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (Eph. vi. 17). But the silver trumpets represent the Word in its spiritual beauty and luster, which, as compared to the letter, is as silver compared to iron. The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times (Ps. xii. 6).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 121 When the Lord came into the world, as our Savior, He did so to introduce as far as then possible to mankind the spirit of heavenly wisdom, instead of the mere teaching of the letter, such as was all the Jews had known. This is declared in that magnificent passage in the prophecy of Isaiah: For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and. for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also mike thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness (Isa. lx. 17) No thoughtful Christian will suppose that the Lord came, or ever comes, to increase our earthly gold and silver. He comes rather to wean our attachments from the splendors of earth, to fix them upon the more lasting gold of inward heavenly love; to the silver, far more lasting and brilliant, of inward heavenly wisdom; for iron I will bring silver. When the Lord is refining the character in the work of regeneration, to raise us to purity of thought and feeling, it is said, He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness (Mal. iii. 3). And here we may remark, how appropriate silver is as a correspondence to spiritual wisdom. It is white, brilliant and precious. So is the spiritual meaning of the Word. When the letter is at first dark, and difficult to us, but is at length duly opened, and we see the spirit glittering as it were within, it is indeed to the mental eye like silver, beautiful, bright, and unspeakbly precious. O may its sweet and silvery lessons be to us as dearest treasure. To teach us then, that it is the spiritual sense of Divine revelation which is intended to guide us, guard us, and call us to heaven, the trumpets were made of silver.

They were two in number, but formed of one piece. The whole spirit of the Word is expressive of love to the Lord, and charity to Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang the law and the prophets (Matt. xxii. 37-40). To represent this twofold character of the spirit of the Word, then, there were two silver trumpets, not one only. Yet they were both formed out of one piece. For, indeed, the truth that we should love our neighbor comes out from the grander truth, that we should supremely love the Lord.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 122 The apostle John states this very clearly, when he writes, And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God, love his brother also (1 John iv. 21). And again; Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him (2 John v. 1). Both silver trumpets were made of one whole piece, to represent to us, that both the grand commandments originate in the love we have for Him who is love itself. The love and contemplation of His character and excellencies lend us to imitate Him; also to love His children, who are His works, and in our spheres to be centers of good and blessing to all around us, as He is to the whole universe. The two great spiritual truths which form the essence of the Word spring from the one, that we are to love, the fountain of all good. They were two trumpets made out of one piece of silver.

Another idea is intimated by this command to make them of one piece; that, namely, of the entire harmony of the spiritual sense of the Word with itself. The letter which is given for the natural man, and intended to rouse him by appeals to his curiosity, to his fears and to his hopes, is expressed often in the language of appearance. The punishments which assuredly follow disobedience to law and which the evil man supposes to be inflicted by God, although, in reality, they come from himself, are, in the letter of the Bible, ascribed to God, to give to the sinner the certainty of their infliction. Because, also, they do come foul opposition to those laws which Infinite Love and Wisdom gave to the universe, and sustains it. The letter of the Word is varied in its style, according to the age and the circumstances in which its several parts were revealed. But the spiritual sense is free from these irregularities. It is harmonious throughout. It speaks ever in accordance with genuine truth. It is bright and coherent everywhere. It is silver, all of one piece.

But let us run now from the composition of the trumpets, to their use.

Firstly, they were to be used to call the people to the assemblies. And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation (ver. 3).

Secondly, they mere to excite to, and direct the journey of the people. When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east part shall go forward. When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey; they shall blow an alarm for their journeys (verses 5, 6).



Thirdly, the trumpets were to be sounded when an enemy appeared in their land to express them. And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies (ver. 9).

Fourthly, the trumpets were to be blown on the days of rejoicing. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginning of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God. I am the Lord your God (ver. 10).

Let us now consider the lessons which these uses of the silver trumpets were designed to indicate in relation to our Christian journey and Christian duties.

The first use of the trumpets, then, was to call the assemblies to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, there to hear the will and decisions of the Most High. In like manner we are called by the silver trumpets of the Word to assemble together in the name and in the presence of that glorified Divine Man who said, I am the door; by Me, if any man shall enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture (John x. 9). The whole spirit of the Word calls Him to worship Him, and to learn of Him. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. xix. 10). Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, were all types of Him; some in one respect, some in another. One shadows Him another as the Father; another, as the conquering Savior; another, as the King of His people. The silver note of the spiritual trumpets calls us to Him, and assures us that where two or three are gathered together in His name, He will be in the midst of them. They will find Him the door to every blessing. Light flows from Him. He is the true Light which enlighteneth every man who cometh into the world (John i. 9). Love comes from Him. We love Him, because He first loved us. Power to vanquish evil comes from Him. Without Him we can do nothing (John xv. 5). He feeds the soul with goodness. He is the bread of life. He gives fortitude and perseverance in our souls conflicts. He watches over our struggles, and says.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 124 Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life (Rev. ii. 10). He is, indeed, Lord of all (Acts x. 36) And to all who have fully enrolled themselves among the Israel of God, Christ is all in all (Col. iii. 11). Before every other duty, then, the silver trumpets call us to the Divine door of the Godhead. Let us ever joyfully listen and obey. From the Lord Jesus we shall derive acceptance, comfort, and courage. Come unto Me, He says, and I will give you rest. The love of God manifest in His becoming our Redeemer is so great, that we cannot doubt of it; we cannot despair. He who came to earth to seek and to save that which was lost, will not reject us when we go to Him. Oh no: He on the contrary said, Whosoever will come unto Me I will in nowise cast him out. When, then in care and in sorrow, in weakness and fear in the darkness of doubt, or tossed on the waves of anguish, we remember our high capabilities as heirs of immortality, destined for heaven, let us hear with hearts energetic from hope, the sound of the silver trumpets which call us to the door of the tabernacle of the Godhead.

When we have been to the Lord Jesus Christ in worship, and to learn His will, we shall find the second use of the silver trumpets will be unfolded to us. We must march on. Regeneration is a journey in which we advance from state to state, as from stage to stage in outward travel. We begin in Egypt, we must reach Canaan. The silvery music will call us forward. The import of its sound is this, Arise, for this is not your rest, for the whole land is polluted. Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord has arisen upon thee (Isa. lx. 1). Arise, child of heaven, from the selfishness and darkness in which thou hast been enshrouded. Arise from the slavery and pollution of sill to the glorious liberty of the children of light. Move on.

But let us notice the order prescribed for the march. When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. The spiritual sun is the Lord. Unto you that fear My name, saith the Lord, shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings (Mal. iv. 2). The east, where the sun rises, is expressive in spiritual language of that reverence and love for the Lord in which He rises, and shines over the soul. Love turns the soul to its Savior, and He is ever ready to shed a new rosy morning of beauty and blessing over the humble heart and contrite spirit.



O blest be His name who in sorrows stern hour

Hears the prayer of affliction, and sends forth His power,

Like the moon oer the valley, night-shadowed and dim,

Oer the heart breathes the spirit of mercy from Him.

                     Bless, bless His name.

The garden of Eden was said to be planted in the east. The glory of the God of Israel came to the temple Ezekiel saw in vision from the east. The wise men came from the east to worship the Lord. In all these cases and in every other where the east is spoken of in the Word, it corresponds to a state of love to God in the heart, except when a condition of things opposite to the heavenly one is described, when man idolizes himself as a sun, and then the east to such a sun describes the love of self, which leads to the most despicable idolatry.

The camps on the fast side were to move at the first sound of the silver trumpets, to teach us that in our heavenly journey we should always move from love. My son, give me thy heart, says Divine Wisdom. Without the heart turning to God, and striving fur heaven, there is so real progress. Let the camps on the east side move forward, when the spirit of the Holy Word is heard, calling us sweetly to advance; and Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance (Ps. lxxxix 15).

Next, however, it is said, When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey. The south is the quarter where the sun is at noon, when he throws his greatest splendor over the earth, and it represents a state of the soul in great heavenly light. When we look to the east, the south is the right hand side. Hence both these terms are used in the spiritual language of the Word to express states of illumination. Thus in Psalm cxxvi. 4, Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. The streams in the south are the free flowing waters of heavenly intelligence. The holy waters which the prophet Ezekiel beheld came from this side of the altar (xlvii. 1). When the Psalmist describes a state of deep suffering in temptation, he writes, And I said, This is my infirmity, but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High (Ps. lxxvii. 10). To remember the years of the right hand is to remember the states of previous light and joy, to be comforted when all is blank and dreary with the treasured remembrances of days gone by; in which a holy light shed its cheer over the mind, and we basked in the favor of heaven.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 126 To teach us, then, that while the heart moves on the intellect must follow, it is said at the second alarm, Let the south side go on their journey.

The lesson indicated by this portion of our subject has, alas, been often strangely neglected. In some cases as strangely denied as if religion were not a thing of light as well as a thing of love. The Divine Being, however, shows us by this law his desire that the understanding should be enlightened, as well as the heart warmed. In fact, this He has ever done. In the Old Testament his servants were taught to say, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Again: Come, now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isa. i. 18). That the reason of man should be enlightened equally with his heart, being purified, has ever been the doctrine of revelation. Indeed, the truth we do not understand has not yet a fixed home and influence in the mind.

The Lord Jesus said, When any one heareth the Word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he who received. seed by the wayside (Matt. xiii. 19). The Word understood and loved is the Word that saves. Hence, while the heart is ever the most important in the divine estimation, the eyes are also ever directed to be opened and used. As the heart becomes purer, the eyes will be more fully brought into the light. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. These, then, are the truths which are indicated by the movement of the eastern side of the host forward on their journey, and then the advance of the south.

Next we are carried forward to the contemplation of the third use of the trumpets; to sound an alarm when the enemies within the land seek to oppress.

When the Israelites commenced their journey after their passage of the Red Sea, it was under circumstances of great splendor and joy. The Egyptians, their former cruel oppressors, had sunk in the Red Sea, and would be seen no more. They beheld the guiding pillars of a cloud by day and fire by night leading them on, and they expected a speedy and triumphant entrance into the land which was to be their final and glorious inheritance. When, however, they commenced their march, the realities they found were very different from their glowing anticipations. Dangers and distresses lay before them.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 127 Enemies hovered around them. Many a toil had to be endured; many a struggle for life and progress entered upon. Forty years of checkered pain and pleasure must be passed. Sometimes glorious scenes, and sometimes terrible enemies, were discovered by them, ere they came to Jordan. And when they entered the promised land, they found it was inhabited by polluted and idolatrous tribes, which could only be driven out by little and little. It was not until the time of Solomon that they could be said to have obtained full, final, and peaceful possession.

All this is the exact type of the Christians hopes and the Christians journey. We begin our regeneration by forsaking the grosser sins to which we have been accustomed, and we think we have left all that is offensive in the sight of heaven. We are full of joy at having broken our bonds. We spring forward with alacrity. Divine mercy gives us an abundance of high delight and happy feelings. Angels rejoice with us. The veil of the future hides from us the trials which yet lie before us, and we anticipate in our new career only a succession of peaceful and happy states. We have felt the blessedness of the man whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered (Ps. xxxii. 1). We suppose our evils are all obliterated, and henceforth there is no struggle before us, but only peaceful triumph. We think we are wholly given up to God and goodness, and so we shall continue. Alas! we have in this but little conception of the wonderful nature with which we are endowed, or of the extent of the ramifications of evil. Each mind is a world in ruins. The soul is organized more astonishingly even than the body, and each organ or principle is more or less perverted. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. From the crown of the head to the sole of the foot we are full of wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores. Could we see ourselves as we really are, we should shudder at the view. No sudden transformation of the whole man is possible. If his entire evil nature were at once taken away, there would be very little of him left. Besides, the heavenly nature is to be acquired in freedom. The building which is to last for ever can only be slowly erected. By little and little must the evils of the soul be discovered to man, and rejected by him, in the trials and temptations which Divine Mercy will suffer him to endure only as he becomes capable of conquering in them. Adored be the tender care of our Heavenly Father and Savior, who finds us leprous in sin, but leads us to the heavenly waters to wash again and again until we come out with our flesh as a little child.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 128 He finds us In a desert land, in a waste howling wilderness; He leads us about, He instructs us, He keeps us as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone does lead us, and no strange God is with us (Deut. xxxii. 10-12). If We wish to have a vivid idea of the slow change which takes place in the affections of man, let us only reflect what effort and perseverance it requires to conquer a single bad habit; how difficult it is to bring ourselves even to the determination to strive against it; how painful to resist the inclination to fall back upon it again, after it has, to all appearance, been mastered.

And if this be the case with insignificant habits, how much more must it be with the change of the very principles and foundations of the character! Yet this is what regeneration has to effect. The lover of impure pleasure must become pure in heart. The worldly man must be brought to love the treasures which make the soul rich before God, rather than the fleeting things of earth: the selfish man must deny himself, and substitute for self-will the pure government of justice, truth, and love: the vain man must abase himself, and exalt the love of right: the slothful man must renounce his interior disinclination to disturb himself for the good of others, and receive from heaven an ardent and untiring love of usefulness. To all men the Lord Jesus says, Ye must be born again. Who is sufficient for these things? Struggles innumerable must take place before the battle of rife is over.

Nor will I dream the heart and life

       Are in a moment clean:

For long and painful is the strife

       Which must be felt within.

Were we left to ourselves, we might well turn back in despair, and die. But happily, what is impossible to man, is possible with God. He can give us a new nature: He can give us the victory again and again: He can and will protect us. He intended each one of us for heaven and we will he with us in all our conflicts with our sins and failings, until we have acquired that inward heaven without which we never could be happy anywhere (Luke xvii. 21). Fear not, His divine promise runs, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by My name; thou art Mine.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 129 When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not over-flow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee (Isa. xliii. 1, 2).

When, then, our internal enemies, the plagues of our own hearts, appear to us, and dispositions which we supposed were for ever done with are met again and again, let us not quail nor be dispirited. With divine help we shall overcome them, and triumph until the last enemy is overthrown. But the Lord saves us by His Word. This is the lesson intended by the use of the silver trumpets which we are now considering: If ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets, and ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. We wrestle not, saith the apostle, against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Eph. vi. 12, 13). When, then, my beloved hearers, selfishness rises up in your hands to oppress you; when like a serpent it crosses your path, and would overcome your devotion to heavenly principles; when you have labored against it, wrestled with it, and feel the struggle to be a hard one, go to the Divine Word, and hear its holy sound. Let its voice of love and mercy be heard in your spirit like the silvery tones of heavenly trumpets, and by its truth and power you will be saved. O how like the tones of a heavenly trumpet are those precious words of the Psalmist, Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder; the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under foot. Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him. I will set him on high, because he hath known My name. He shall call, and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, find honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and grant him, My salvation (Ps. xci. 13-16).

So, whatever be the evils by which we are assailed, and their name is legion, for they are many, we must go to the Word; let its voice be heard; like heavenly music, it will impart courage, light, perseverance, patience, and indomitable determination to conquer every opposing lust, inclination, temper, principle, habit, fancy and pursuit, which we perceive to be contrary to the spirit of religion and of heaven.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 130 O that we may ever remember this blessed truth! Go to the Word for encouragement and strength. Blow the silver trumpet, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. The Word, read and pondered over in the spirit of prayer, is the divine safeguard for the struggling Christian. They cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saveth them out of their distresses. He sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions (Ps. cvii. 19, 20).

The Word assures us of the presence of the Lord, and of His angels. It is as the sound of a host of friends approaching like the heralds of heaven, announcing the Savior; and if in prayerful devotion we listen to its teachings, the tempers of the soul must fly front its sphere and presence.

Prayer makes the darkened cloud withdraw,

Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw.

Infernals tremble when they see

The contrite heart and bended knee.

Such, then, is the encouraging divine instruction conveyed in the spiritual import of this use of the silver trumpets. Let us never forget it. We shall have our conflicts and trials. We have to labor and bear the burden and heat of the day. In our own strength, we can neither grow in goodness, nor conquer our evils. But oh, how delightful is it to think there is a refuge which will strengthen us, and be perfected in our weakness. We have a charm which is sufficient infallibly to give us the victory,--the Word of our God, which abideth for ever. The silver trumpets are there; let us blow them, and we shall assuredly be saved from our enemies.

The last use of the trumpets was, that they should be blown on the days of solemn rejoicing. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you a memorial before your God: I am the Lord your God.

It is sometimes a serious omission in the life of a Christian when he forgets to sanctify, by the voice of religion, his joys as well as his sorrows. Our Lord said, I come not to take away your joy from you, but that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. All innocent joys have their origin in heaven; but especially such as spring up within us, when we have conquered an evil, been faithful in a duty, and tasted the luxury of doing good.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 131 On our days of gladness we should see that all our feelings are such as are under the influence of the Holy Word. Were it not for sin, all our days, like those of heaven, would be days of gladness. The purification of our joys, then, is one of the great works of our regeneration. Let us blow with the silver trumpets on our days of gladness, and on our solemn days. There are states, which recur from time to time, of peculiar solemnity, when conscience is more than usually earnest with us: states of self-examination, states of solemn thought, states of recollection of mercies and blessings formerly received, states of self-dedication to high and holy objects; these are our solemn days. The Israelites had three most solemn feasts: the feast of unleavened bread the feast of first-fruits, and the feast of ingathering. And these are the correspondences of three solemn periods in our regenerate life. The period when we resolved to quit a period of evil, and entered upon our Passover, or feast of unleavened bread; when we commenced the reception of the bread of heaven, though as yet to us tasteless, like unleavened bread; then comes the period when faith enables us, under its influence, to bring forth the first-fruits of a harvest of virtues and graces to be repeated for ever; and lastly, the feast of spiritual ingathering comes on, that matured state of the soul when charity rules in the heart, and perfect love casteth out feat. It has been first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear, as our Lord described. And when we call feel gratefully assured that such states have been secured in us, these are occasions for solemn rejoicings. These, too, should ever be in harmony with the sweet spirit of the Word of the Lord. Blow with the silver trumpets over the solemn days. There are minor solemnities connected with the varied events of life which induce in thoughtful minds solemn states: the births, the marriages, and the deaths of those we love, the serious circumstances of our families and our country, all these make solemn days; let the spirit which rules over them be the spirit of love to the Lord, and charity to man. Blow the silver trumpets over the solemn days.

There is mention made also of the beginning of the months, and as there is a perfect correspondence between outward nature and mans spiritual and interior existence, there is a correspondence in this respect also. The months are the times which depend upon the moon; and the moon is the symbol of faith in the soul.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 132 As faith has its variations in the soul, sometimes being bright and luminous, at others dim and obscure, its changes are represented by those of the moon. The beginning of a month is therefore the commencement of a new state of faith in the soul, when, after being in obscurity, we enter into clear and holy light on things divine. The tree of life is said to bear twelve manner of fruits--one for every month; implying that in every state of mind, and in every change of circumstances in our Christian life, we may receive from the Lord within the power of bringing forth the appropriate works of piety and justice.

At the beginning of our mental changes, in the attainment of new views on subjects of faith, we should observe that they are in harmony with the essential principles of the spirit of the Word, of love to the Lord, and charity to man. Blow the silver trumpets in the beginning of the months.

And, lastly, over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings.

Our offerings at this day are all spiritual. Yet are we as truly called upon to make them as were the Jews. To us, as to them, it is said, The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar: it shall never go out (Lev. vi. 13). We should be prepared to worship the Lord at all times, in acts of praise, and in acts of usefulness. We worship the Lord in praise and prayer, in public and private devotion. And this, when it is done from love and interior devotion, is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord. But we can worship the Lord also in act; indeed, in everything we do. This latter worship is the very end for which the former was instituted--to obey is better than to sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. It is beautiful to assemble together to pray for the supply of our necessities, especially our spiritual ones, to praise for blessings already enjoyed, to hear the divine counsel unfolded, and to devote ourselves afresh to carry out the sacred laws of heavenly order. When love glows in the heart on such occasions, a burnt-offering is made of a purer kind than that which arose from the altars of Aaron. But still more beautiful is the sacrifice of the whole life from love, so that every purpose is pursued and every duty performed with regard to justice and judgment, which are the Divine will. When we seek for affection, for light, and strength, to do this in all things, we follow the Lords admonition, to pray always and never faint. Each sacrifice involved three things--the devotion to the Lord of what is good in us, the rejection of what is impure, and the blending together of goodness and truth in our intentions and thoughts, represented by the sprinkling or pouring the blood upon the altar.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 133 O may we be sanctified by the truth to realize these sacrificial objects! Our divine head and example, the Lord Jesus Christ, sanctified Himself and became a whole burnt offering; perfected by complete dedication to the Father within, He is the Passover who was sacrificed for us. Let us follow Him in self-dedication. Worship in prayer, and worship in work, these are both essential in the Christian character. Let ours be a series of such sacrifices, both burnt offerings and peace offerings. The burnt offerings were fixed sacrifices for certain defined objects: the peace offerings were voluntary sacrifices. Life consists of fixed duties, and free will efforts. Let both be performed in the spirit of devoted self-dedication, under the divine spirit of the Holy Word. The silver trumpet must sound over our burnt offerings and our sacrifices of peace offerings, that they may be to us a memorial before the Lord our God. Our worship and our works are indeed for a memorial to eternity, when they build us up for heaven. It is a consideration we sometimes overlook, that all our deeds have an inner, as well as an outer side. The motives and principles in which they originate have as decided an effect upon the inner man as the acts themselves have upon the outer world; and even it may be a greater effect. Works are effected in the outer world, and these will endure for a time, perhaps for a long time, but at length they will perish; works are accomplished within which will last for ever. The love which aims at the happiness of those around us builds up within us holy hopes and holy feelings. The faith which reposes upon the Lord, and His Word, builds up bright views, noble expectations, plans, and purposes, and convictions, bringing the whole mind into the order and harmony of heaven. The resolute resistance we make to evil within and without us; the objects of charity and justice we labor to effect, all form the soul, to be a memorial before the Lord our God. No soul can be happy in the eternal world but one which has become in this world accustomed to the glorious principles of the other. A spirit accustomed to respire with delight in the atmosphere of impure thoughts which surrounds the impious and polluted, could not breathe in the air of heaven. A heart hot with revenge, or with lust, would cringe and writhe beneath the glow of heavenly love, like a tormented serpent. An intellect accustomed to the darkness and deceit of folly and falsehood would fly like a terrified owl from the light of heaven.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 134 The whole organized mass of selfishness and sin, which composts the spirit of a hardened bad man, is in bitterest contrariety with the order of the inner world. Every law of heaven smites him. Were he forced into heaven, he would be unutterably agonized at every pore. Hence the indispensable necessity for regeneration announced by our Divine Savior, Ye must be born again. The kingdom of God is within you. There is no peace, there can be nose for the wicked. But when the soul by worship, by self-sacrifice, by self-dedication to all that is pure, peaceable, elevating, wise, noble, and virtuous, builds up in itself angelic states, these are works which will be taken with it beyond the
grave. These are a memorial imperishable before the Lord. This memorial is written upon the heart, written upon the mind, written upon all its powers, and written upon the life. Its characters are everlasting, as the soul itself. It is a memorial before Him to whom all hearts are known; before the Lord our God.

In conclusion, the adorable Giver of the ordinances before us reminds us that He is Divine Love itself, and Divine Wisdom itself, in the impressive sentence, I am the Lord your God. The LORD, or Jehovah, is expressive of the very BEING of the Eternal, and God is love. The term God, which in the He brew is expressive of power, imports the Divine Truth without which love, even Infinite Love, cannot effect its objects. By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made. Men are sanctified by the truth. Truth is the spiritual power by which love acts, illuminates, guards, and saves. When then we can have directions for our guidance, endorsed with the declaration, I am the Lord your God, let us gratefully accept the counsels which have issued from the sources of all goodness and intelligence, the Divine Love and Wisdom of the Eternal Himself.

In conclusion, let us be grateful for the provision by our adorable Lord of the interior truths of His Word, the silver trumpets of heaven. Let as seek to find them by reading, by thought and meditation, until we have individually realized the promise of our Heavenly Father and Savior, For iron I will bring silver. When we have acquired the clear perception that all truth hangs upon the two grand laws of love to God and love to man, then let their silvery voice be heard over all the circumstances of our lives. Let them be heard calling us from Sabbath to Sabbath to the public worship of the Lord Jesus Christ,--the Way, the Truth, and the Life.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 135 Let them be heard directing our attention to Him in our morning and evening devotions. When we have attained light and strength in prayer, they ever call us to march on to progress. Let us go forward with a glowing, firm, and fervent will, and then strengthen and confirm our progress by the light of a full and active intellect. Let the east go first and the south afterwards. When enemies appear in our land, the foes which have been lurking in heart and mind, the silver trumpets make their sound heard, calling us to faithful but to loving and patient resistance. Let us be fearless, but gentle; firm, but kind. No spirit of fretfulness, impatience or despair should be heard within us, but the spirit of the Divine Truth--the sound of the silver trumpets. And when our days of struggle have been followed by days of gladness, let our joys be as sacredly in harmony with heavenly wisdom as our struggles have been. In all our solemn days, let the trumpets sound. Let us, in fact, place our whole lives under the government of the hallowed directions of the two universal truths of heaven, so that at home and abroad, in the closet and in public, in heart and in act, in thought and word, in devotion and practice, the silvery notes of heavenly wisdom may sound. When the last trumpet calls us from earth shall be heard, its hallowed import will then be no words of terror or dread, but those divine expressions heard by the beloved John, and we can say like him, I heard a voice as of a trumpet talking unto me, saying, Come up hither.

No ills in death my soul shall fear,

For still my Shepherd will be near;

His peaceful comforts will be given,

Whilst angels bear me up to heaven.





Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fingers in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and they put upon the fringes of the borders a ribband of blue: and it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them.NUMB. xv. 38, 39.

IT is extremely to be regretted that so many who bear the name of Christian have the most inadequate view of religion. To many it is but a name. They call themselves by the name of this or that great body, but ask them what they think of the principles which the name implies, and you find the name and little besides. Others, again, seem to think that religion is an excellent debating-ground, a favorite battle-field. They will incessantly wrangle and dispute about its everlasting principles, but meditate little upon them, and practice them less. These are like the left-handed men of Benjamin among the Israelites of old, who could sling stones at a hair-breadth and not miss. They are not of much use except in war. Far more eloquently and convincingly does he speak for his religion, whose life pleads for it; who shows that he derives from it virtue and defense consolation and strength, light and blessing; and therefore re-commending it is deed can also recommend it in word. Ye are our epistles, said the apostle, seen and read of all men.

Perhaps we cannot give a more comprehensive definition of religion, than to say it is the supply to the soul of all its spiritual wants. It is the souls home, its food, and its clothing. To this latter feature, its being clothing for the soul, we now entreat your attention. Blessed, it is written, is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame (Rev. xvi. 15).

That garments, even in the Jewish law, are corresponding symbols of those principles which clothe the soul, may be inferred from the laws which we frequently find in relation to them.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 137 Unless there was a spiritual sense in them, surely it would not have been worthy of the High and Lofty One who inhabiteth eternity to give directions in relation to what kind of clothes men should wear. There is the direction not to wear a garment of woollen and linen together; again, for a woman not to wear the garment of a man; again, for a mans garment not to be kept in pledge after the sun has gone down; and now the law before us, that a fringe should be made to the garment, and on the hinge a ribband of blue. Surely it cannot concern the Infinite Ruler of all worlds what kind of trimming His people have to their dress, or color of ribband they have thereon.

The soul and its concerns are surely the only appropriate objects of a Revelation from the Eternal Father of immortal beings. To teach us how to give the spirit a dress, so that it may be beautiful in the sight of angels, is worthy of Him who clothes Himself with light as with a garment (Ps. civ. 2). I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness may not appear (Rev. iii. 18).

The chief use of clothing is defense against the chills and variations of the weather: two subordinate uses are for the promotion of beauty, and for distinction of office.

We can be at no loss to perceive that there are mental uses corresponding to the above which require for the soul spiritual clothing. The soul has its summer and its winter, and all the varieties of a mental year. There are seasons of hopefulness and brilliancy in which we have all the elasticity and promise of spring; there are states of peaceful warmth, of continued serene happiness; the souls calm sunshine and the heart felt joy which bespeak the spirits summer; but there are likewise periods of decreasing warmth, of incipient depressions, and coolnesses to what has formerly yielded the highest pleasure; until at length we arrive at states of painful chill, and even of intensest cold, the joylessness, the hopelessness, and the sadness, which are the characteristics of the winter of the seal.

This depressed condition of spirit is portrayed with graphic truthfulness by one who said

My years are in the yellow leaf,

       And all the life of life is gone,

The worm, the canker, and the grief,

       Are mine alone.

And in a sweeter spirit of piety by another poet,--



O for a closer walk with God,

       A sweet and heavenly frame;

A light to shine upon the road

       Which leads me to the Lamb.

Where is the blessedness I knew

       When first I saw the Lord?

Where is the foul-refreshing view

       Of Jesus, and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed,

       How sweet their memory still;

but they have left an aching void

       The world can never fill.

In this wintry state storms of distressing fears and darkening doubts will rush upon the soul. Strong delusions that we may believe a lie, will, like fierce tempests, howl about us with discomfort and dread; bitter self-accusations urged upon us. Cold, harassing, cheerless frames of mind, dispiriting anxieties, filling us with discomfort and dread; bitter self-accusations urged upon us, perhaps, by spiritual wickednesses in high places, like pitiless hail-storms which come upon us again and again, all teach us how real it is that the soul has its winter as well as its summer. In relation to these spiritual seasons it is written And it shall be in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea; in summer and in winter shall it be (Zech. xiv. 8).

Thrice happy are they who remember that the living waters of the Divine Word will be a comfort and a blessing in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health in summer and in winter; but they should also bear in mind, that to be a protection in all seasons the Divine Mercy has provided us with spiritual clothing.

The DOCTRINES of religion, when intelligently adopted and adapted to our particular states, serve this important purpose. And when those doctrines are, as they ought to be, full, comprehensive, and complete, applying themselves to all the departments of human affection, thought, and life, they make a complete dress. Hence it is said in Isaiah, I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels (lxi. 10).

The doctrines which teach the true character of the Lord, His infinite and unchanging love, His unerring and all comprehensive wisdom, His omnipotent and ever-orderly power, these form the clothing for the head.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 139 The doctrines which teach and impel us to our duty to our neighbor, form the clothing to the breast: while those which teach that our religion should be operative, and descend to inspire and sanctify every word and every deed of life, these are the remainder of the spirits dress, even to the shoes upon the feet.

With this view of the spiritual dress of the Christian, we shall see the fullest significance in many interesting portions of the sacred Scriptures. When the prodigal son returned, we are informed, The father said unto his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet (Luke xv. 22), where it is manifest that the clothing of a newly-penitent spirit with those sacred truths which will form its best robe; that assurance of everlasting love which conjoins it to its Lord as a golden marriage ring; and those true principles of virtuous practice which are the only bases of real religion, are the shoes upon the feet.

A most important lesson is afforded to us by the divine Word in Matthew. It is said of those who came in to partake of the wedding feast of the King of Heaven, And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (xxii. 11-13). No one can imagine that there is any sin in a particular earthly dress not being had by those who enter the Lords kingdom. nut in a spiritual point of view nothing can exceed the value of the intimation it contains. The kingdom of heaven, in fact everything heavenly, is the result of a marriage. Wisdom sweetly blends with love to form the heavenly state. It is not a kingdom of faith alone, but of faith united to charity. No cold knowledge is tolerated there, but it must be conjoined with affection for what is known. All is union in an angelic mind. All heaven is united to its Divine Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. The marriage order reigns complete, and joy is the result. Thou shalt no more be termed forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married (Isa. lxii. 4).

Not to have on a wedding garment, then, is not to have a doctrine which unfolds this glorious union of truth and love in religion, and in heaven.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 140 It is to be practically among those who say and do not. It is to make a parade of our piety and profession it may be, but to neglect that, without which piety is nothing, faith is nothing, doctrine is nothing, name is nothing; that pure and holy love which worketh, which hopeth, which believeth, which beareth all things; which in sight of all the Christian virtues is deserving of the apostolic declaration, And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (1 Cor. xiii. 13). When we have taken for
our religion only that which relates to belief, and not that which concerns love and conduct, the heart unchecked and unchanged will be the home of selfishness and impurity; and the time will come, either in this world or in the next, when there will issue from the unregenerate heart those virulent evils which will paralyze every power of good, will bind the hand and foot, and plunge the spirit into the darkest abysses of folly.

With these views of doctrines forming the clothing of the soul, we see at once the importance of those allusions to garments which are so frequently met with in the Old as well as the New Testament. When the prophet predicts the Advent of the Lord into the world, and thus the opening to mankind of the glorious doctrines of Christianity instead of the miserable shreds of Jewish tradition, he says, Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean (Isa. iii. 1). Again, in that well-known prophecy which begins The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, the prophet continues to unfold the gracious purpose of Jehovah in the flesh: To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness: that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified (Isa. lxi. 3). Here the doctrine of the Love of God manifest in the flesh is called a garment of praise. What could more powerfully induce the soul to clothe itself with praise than the perception that our Savior is our Heavenly Father, that the High and Lofty One who inhabiteth eternity had for our sakes condescended to appear in the extreme of His vast domains, the skin of the universe as it were, and by assuming and maintaining a connexion with the enter universe, He became first and last in Himself, and from Himself fills, sustains, and succors all.



When the Lord Jesus said, Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments: and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment. He is evidently describing the condition of those who have not stained their profession of the Christian doctrine with impurity of life; they had not defied their garments now, and in eternity their views would be still purer, they should walk with Him in white. Doctrines in harmony with purest truth are white raiment wherewith we may be clothed.

The new dispensation of religion, which in the fullness of time would be introduced from heaven among men, is represented as coming down as a bride adorned for her husband. And, by this language, we are assured, no doubt, not only that this church would regard the Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Lamb, as the only object of her supreme love, her husband, but that her doctrines would be beyond all precedent beautiful. She would be adorned. for her husband. Such a glorious system would she have of celestial truth,--such disclosures of heavenly order,--such discoveries of the divine laws as existent in the soul: in the regenerate life; in the heavenly world; in the spiritual sense of the Holy Word: in fact, on all subjects of Divine Wisdom, that to the truly devout and thoughtful spirit, she would truly be adorned as a bride for her husband.

There is an interesting intimation of the character of true heavenly clothing in Psalm xlv., The kings daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework (verses 13, 14), where the character of true celestial doctrine is declared to be the gold of love wrought into system,--love wrought out. The kings daughter, all such as animated by pure affections for truth derived from the King of kings, are desirous of graces of the heart and mind, which are worth more than the wealth of kingdoms. They become glorious within, and all their views of doctrine are love as it were speaking, and declaring its true nature. With them, God is love, heaven is love, love is the fulfilling of the law, love keeps the commandments, the Word truly understood is the revelation of love. Their whole doctrine, like the street of the holy city, is of pure gold, formed by the spiritual embroidery of an intellect which spiritually discerns the harmonious relations of everlasting things.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 142 The Word supplies the raw material, line upon line, and precept upon precept. The rational powers weave them into a beautiful system, and prepare them to be worn. And when the judgment, under the impulse of a humble determination to live for heaven, adapts these doctrines to its own especial states and requirements, the Christian is equipped in the garments of salvation. He is glorious within, and his clothing is of wrought gold.

And here we would strongly guard against one of the most dangerous delusions which has crept into nominal Christianity; the idea that we are saved by the infinite purity of Christs righteousness being imparted to us, and not by actual, practical righteousness. It is true, our righteousness is derived from the Lord; their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord (Isa. liv. 17). But no righteousness will be imputed to us which has not been imparted to us. His spirit will be imputed to us, so far as we receive it, but no farther. God is a God of truth, and never imputes to ally one what he does not possess. He that doeth righteousness is righteous (1 John iii. 7). The merit of divine righteousness in salvation is as incommunicable as the merit of creation. The robe of the Saviors perfections has a name on it which no man knows but He Himself (Rev. xix. 16). And yet numbers neglect to acquire the white robe or the wrought gold of imparted truth and love, under the vain idea that the personal perfections of our Lord will be imputed to them. Our food is from Him, but if instead of eating that which He now provides, we were to attempt to live by imputing that which He ate in the days of His flesh, we should die of starvation. So, if instead of receiving and applying to ourselves the living streams of His righteousness by earnest prayer and earnest practice, we expect His merits to be imputed to us as righteousness, so that although really wicked, to be accounted good; although really polluted, to be accounted clean; we shall be naked and helpless in the day when He makes up his jewels. No doubt the Lord lived on earth for our sakes, suffered for our sakes, died for our sakes, rose again for our sakes, made His Humanity righteousness embodied for our sakes. For their sakes, I sanctify Myself, He said, that they may be sanctified by the truth (John xvii. 19). All was done for us to enable us to be sanctified, but not to be put down to our account. When our account is made up, we shall find the rule to be, They that have done good shall come forth to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation (John v. 29).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 143 He comes quickly to give to every man as his work shall be (Rev. xxii. 12). Blessed shall we be if we watch and keep our garments made white by His truth, and thus are ready to follow our Divine Leader in the realms of peace, adoring in humble love those infinite perfections which make His face to shine like the sun, and His raiment white as the light (Matt. xvii. 2).

We are, then, to speak to the Israelites who are typified by those of our test, the spiritual Israelites who are, as our Lord said, Israelites indeed; and say first that they clothe themselves with genuine doctrines of divine truth, with the garments of salvation, and next, that they especially make them fringes in the borders of their garments, after we have meditated upon the doctrines of religion, and seen their fitness to our own states of mind and heart, thus clothed ourselves in them, the next part of our duty is to bring them into life. This is a most important point. Many there are who put on religion as a dress for the head, and even also for the breast, but do not bring it down to the feet. But we are to make a border for our garments, and the border must be a fringe. The distinctive feature of a fringe is, that the material of which it is composed is divided into small portions firmly united at the upper part but hanging with separate forms of beauty at the lower. The idea suggested by this is, that religion must be employed in all the small affairs of daily life as well as on great occasions; the lowest part of our spiritual dress must be a fringe. Our Lord declared the same important truth when He said, He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much (Luke xvi. 10).

This practical admonition is of the very highest consequence. One of the most serious errors of life is that our religion is only to be brought out on grand occasions, as some think, or on Sundays, as others practically show they suppose. The only way in which we make the truths of religion really ours, is to infuse their spirit and tone into all our little acts in our daily conduct. Life is made up of little things. One circumstance follows another, one net comes after another, each one small of itself, but the whole form in the tissue of our entire outward existence. Our whole journey is made step by step, There are no great swoops made. By little and little me drive out our evils; and by little and little me introduce the principles of wisdom and goodness into the whole texture of our conduct.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 144 But this we must not be misunderstood to mean that we are not to subject the whole man to the government of heavenly laws, but only that we are to do it in each circumstance as it comes to hand, and do it now, not to wait for great occasions. Let the border of your garment be a fringe.

Many, very many, have no objection to the head or the breast being in the church, but the feet they imagine may be quite otherwise engaged. But die true disciple of our Savior adopts the language of the Psalmist, Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem (Ps. cxxii. 2). He is particularly watchful over his feet, or his daily practice. If in his moments of weakness he wavers, he looks up to the Savior, the Source of strength, and prays, Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not (Ps. xvii. 5). Often will he have to confess, But as for me my feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipped (Ps. lxxiii. 2). Yet will he find invisible hands have borne him up, for his ever-watchful Father has given His angels charge concerning him, lest he dash his foot against a stone (Ps. xci. 11, 12). And again and again will he find occasion gratefully to exclaim, O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of His praise to be heard: who holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved (Ps. lxvi. 8, 9). If, like Peter, at first he thinks it quite beneath his Masters dignity to purify the lower concerns of life, and declares, Thou shalt never wash my feet; when he is better informed, and hears the Saviors words, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part in Me, he, with an entire spirit of self devotion, exclaims, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head (John xiii. 9).

This religion of daily life is the grand necessity of the world, Without that our Sabbath worship is but an organized hypocrisy. We should pray, that we may be able to practice, not to substitute prayer for practice. Beautiful as is the devout worship of the sanctuary; sweet as is devotional piety; and soul-exalting as are hymns of gratitude; they are only the unsubstantial beauty of a dream, unless they are brought down to give direction, purity, and strength to daily life. Let there then be a fringe for the borders of your garments throughout all your generations.

It is for want of this descent of religion into daily life that its blessings are often very faintly felt. The sweetness of the knowledge of the Lord is only experienced when religion has become a living hourly series of virtues with us. It is said of the disciples who were going to Emmaus, though the Lord walked with them, and they felt the holy glow of His presence when He talked with them on the way, He only became known to them in the breaking of the bread.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 145 It is so with His disciples in all ages. So long as the bread of life is received in a mass, and remains thus, the blessing of conjunction with the Divine Being is unknown. He is with them, but as a stranger. But let them break the bread; let them, at home and abroad; in the counting house and on Change; in the workshop, and at market; in their pleasures and in all their family duties, break the bread of heaven, and apply it to every work and word, and they will then know the Lord. Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning, and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain upon the earth.

O then let our religion not be like a Sunday dress, put on only for parade on state occasions, and put off when the occasion has passed by, but like a simple daily robe whose usefulness is seen of all, and whose fringe goes all round the hem of our garment, so that it extends over the whole circle of our outward life.

We are, however, not only commanded to have a fringe to our garments, but to have upon the fringe a ribband of blue. And this leads us to consider the correspondence of colors. Natural colors, we know, originate in natural light. They are the separation of the beauties which are bound up in the sunbeam, and their reflection to the human eye. There is a trinity of fundamental colors, red, blue, and yellow. From the blending of these in varied proportions all others are made. Blue and yellow form green.

Bearing in mind that the Lord is the Sun of the eternal world, and that essential truth shines as a spiritual light from Him, the three essential colors into which light divides itself, will represent the three essential features of divine truth, in its application to man. There are truths of love, which apply to our affections, truths of faith which apply to thoughts, and truths of life. Red, the color of fire, is the symbol of the truths of love. the fire of the soul. Blue, the color of the azure depths of the sky, is symbolic of the deep things of the Spirit of God, on which faith delights to gaze. Yellow is the hue of truth which applies to outward life, and in combination with blue it makes green, which corresponds to truth in the letter of the Word, made simple to the common eye of mankind.

Blue gives a sense of clearness and depth, in which it surpasses all other hues.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 146 When we gaze into the blue depths of the sky far above the changes of the clouds, their tranquil grandeur arching in peaceful majesty far over the turmoils of the world, strikingly images those depths of heavenly wisdom from which the good man draws strength and peace.


Though round his breast the rolling clouds are spread,

       Eternal sunshine settles on his head.

Blue, then, is the color which represents the spirit of the Holy Word, the depths of heavenly wisdom.

There is, however, cold blue, as it has more of white in it, and warm blue, as it derives a certain hue from red. There has also been some difficulty in determining the exact shade meant by Techeleth, the Hebrew name for this color. But from a full consideration of this subject we are satisfied it was the name for blue tinged with led, from violet to purple. And this very strikingly brings out the divine lesson by correspondence. While the blue indicates that in our demeanor in life we should be correct, in harmony with the spirit of truth, the red hue indicates that all our truth ought to be softened and warmed by love. Speak the truth in love, said the apostle, and to remind them of this duty God commanded the ribband of warm blue to be worn upon the fringe of their garments by the sons of Israel.

Truth without love is cold, hard and unpitying, and therefore repulsive. Truth with anger is scalding hot, and like medicine impossible to be taken, useless or injurious: but truth coming from a loving heart, firm but gentle, and soft like the warm sunbeam, is welcome to all.

The loving blue of the eye, which reveals the sweet impulses of a kind and gentle heart, is like the color of the ribband before us, it speaks of the purity and the warmth of the spirit within. Let there, then, be upon all your demeanor this color of heavenly love.

Seen in the view we have now arrived at, this commandment increases in practical importance the more we contemplate it. Perhaps the neglect of it is the cause of more families in the delivery of well-meant advice, than any other circumstance. We proceed to correct with the rough stern hand of truth alone, and we encounter resistance. We are sure we are right, and we proceed to reproach and invective. Quarrels ensue, instead of amendment. We brood over our failure, and wonder at the perversity of mankind, not reflecting that we have forgotten to put on the fringe upon our garment, the ribband of heavenly blue.



Oh, be kind to each other,

       The nights coming on;

When friend and when brother

       Perchance may be gone.

Nothing can be farther from the spirit of heaven than a stern, harsh, vindictive utterance of truth. We should ever remember that we can ourselves only be assisted by one who manifests to us a spirit of kindness in his counsel. To an assailant we close up. We cannot bear our faults to be exposed who does it in a spirit of exultation and insolence. But we love the friendly hand which has a brothers touch. We delight to see the dress not starched with prudery, but having upon all its fringe the ribband of heavens own blue.

With this blessed tone, how often would homes be happy which are frequently torn with dissension. A brother is gentle from courtesy to others, but sulky or sharp to his own. A sister, from politeness is brilliant and fascinating to visitors, but often fails to wear the blue ribband to those of her own fireside. Oh! if the Christian ministry has one object which more than another should be its constant aim, it should be to contribute to the happiness of home, that sacred center of all that is elevating, strengthening, purifying and ennobling among men. And nothing will be a truer source of all these blessings than to speak to brothers and sisters, and say. In all your intercourse with each other let the spirit of religion be visible. In each small act of daily intercourse with each other let there be a fringe from your religion within, and on the fringe let the truth of intelligence be blended with the kindness of real love. You were created to learn to be fellow-angels in the house. You were placed to walk together on your path to heaven, to give an assisting hand when a weak one stumbles, to exhort the slothful, to cheer the weary, to warn against dangers paths and dangerous foes, to encourage the struggling, to rejoice together when you gain a glorious prospect, to animate each other to your daily progress, and often to taste by anticipation the triumph you will have when all the dangers of life are gone by, and heaven is for ever your home. Remember the charge of Joseph to his brethren, See that ye fall not out by the way. In your acts and your words let there be seen upon all your fringe the ribband of heavenly blue.

We come, now to a still dearer connexion, which would often be more blest if the spirit of this divine command were more faithfully carried out.



In that most sacred of all human ties--the marriage union, it is of the highest importance that the blue ribband should appear in all the demeanor of husband and wife. Yet sometimes the domestic hearth is less tender and happy than it might be, for want of the gentle amenities of truth spoken in love. When that mysterious sympathy which attracts congenial souls to each other first induces ardent thoughts in the young lovers, the earnestness of affection presents to both only all that is amiable and agreeable. Each finds a magnifier of the excellencies of the other, and no imperfection can be seen. And, when the hopes of both are crowned by possession, a long vista of happiness is beheld, thronged with an endless succession of joys and blessings. Yet both parties have failings. The perfection fancy has painted will, in many respects, be found to be overdrawn. The bloom of outward beauty will wear off. Possession will deprive many attractions of the exaggerated value for which they were chiefly indebted to passion. Both are probably young, both imperfect, both are human. Hence there come discoveries of faults and shortcomings which belong to us all, but which had been before unseen. And now is the opportunity for the manifestation of real love, in having patience with the loved one. If they have loved wisely the virtues of each other, and these, with that mutual adaptation of feeling, taste, and character which has drawn their souls to desire a union impossible with any one else, have been the chief attractions; for their sakes they can well afford to bear with some defects. Instead of being astonished to find that the mere mortals we have married have some of the failings of our fallen race, we should take kindly the opportunities of showing, that ours has not been the selfish passion which desires only its own gratification, but rather the holy affection that, forgetful of self seeks chiefly the happiness of those we love. To assist, and be assisted, to form angelic characters in each other, these are the chief objects for which marriage has been instituted. And to accomplish these ends, we must have a faithful but a friendly eye for the imperfections of each other. We should scarcely notice the unpleasant effect of faults in relation to our personal gratification, but be quick-sighted to perceive the injury they inflict upon the doer. Who is so blind as He that is perfect, says the prophet, in reference to that Divine mercy which not our sins so far as they are directed against Him, and condemns them only as they are fountains of misery to ourselves.

Our Lord washed His disciples feet, and said, As I have washed your feet, so must ye wash one anothers feet.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 149 And if to assist each other, to remove imperfections from our conduct, (which is spiritually washing one anothers feet) is a duty we owe to our ordinary Christian friends, how much more is it a duty to assist in removing the spots which soil the characters of those we have undertaken to love and to cherish. Yet what tender care this duty needs. The true wife, or husband, cannot bear to think that the deeply-prized love of the other is being lost. Noticing a fault rudely betrays the appearance of dislike, and. wounds deeply. Sometimes, self-love will creep in between married partners, and the struggle for power will take the appearance of opposition to faults. Then lacerated feelings are poured forth in bitter expressions. Then quarrels arise, long animosities are inaugurated, which take from home its sweetness, banish all those tender endearments, those happy confidences, those heartfelt reliances on each other, those fireside pleasures which constitute earths nearest likeness to heaven. Then oppositions are engendered, recriminations are heard, hateful everywhere, but intolerable from those we love. Distrusts, fears and anxieties intrude where only confidence should reign, and home becomes the saddest abode of misery. All this has happened, will happen, if we are not careful, in our married life especially, to speak the truth in love. There, above all, the blue ribband should be seen upon our garments Sweetness in our goodness, and tenderness in our truth, should be the incessant law of married partners to each other. n fearfulness of injuring the feelings of the other. A friendly, kindly touch, when any mental sore requires attention. A determination to do nothing which does not manifest a constant affection. A deference to each others wishes. A manifest active effort to promote the others happiness. These are the dispositions which call alone preserve and complete that choicest of all Divine blessingsgenuine conjugial love.

When misunderstanding has been sustained, and bruised affections manifest how deeply they are hurt, their pain should not be treated lightly. He would be thought cruel who trampled on the inflamed foot of another, yet the anguished heart is sometimes tortured with stinging words of bitterest taunt and reproach, under the delusion that it is necessary to blame where a fault has been committed. The first necessity is to bring ourselves into a state of real kindness and affection. Then ascertain if the supposed fault be as real as it appeared. If so, to ask from Him who views us all from kindness, for wisdom, first pure, then peaceable, to speak the truth in love.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 150 While our ribband is blue, to take care that it is soft and warm How desirable this is in our intercourse with others! In our intercourse with those who are to form with us the happiness of heart and home, it is indispensable.

And yet it is not at all uncommon for unwise married partners so far to neglect this divine commandment, as to be all smiles to others, and to reserve their coldness for those whom they should most fondly cherish. The husband open, smiling, and sedulously polite to any other lady, will be reserved, negligent, discourteous, and unkind to the heart which should be to him above all price. The wife, all radiant with smiles to others, attentive to their minutest wishes or comforts, will not trouble herself to retain or regain the affections of that one on whom all her real happiness depends. The gentle conciliating word, for which her husbands heart beneath a firm exterior is longing, she will not speak. The one she won by gentleness and grace, and all the feminine virtues, she will not preserve by growing in those virtues, but rudely repels. And the heart whose faintest throb she once valued beyond all earthly riches, she rudely throws away.

O married partners, tenants of the same home, who should be all in all to each other, for time and for eternity, never neglect in your sentiments, your spirit, your acts, and your words to each other, to let there be visible on all the manifestations of character with which your lifes dress is fringed, the truth and the love of celestial blue. O wife, mother, remember your strength is in tenderness. Never shock the feelings of your husband or family by harsh, bitter, unwomanly exasperations. Your peculiar province is at home let it be ever preserved sacred to domestic peace, by a meek and quiet spirit. So will you be your husbands dearest trust and chief consoler your childrens constant refuge; and when you have passed beyond the shades of time, the star of fond remembrance that shines high above the cares of earth, and lures them still to heaven.

O husband, O father, on whom the wifes fond heart desires to lean, let no harsh expression drive her thence. A yearning of unspeakable tenderness keeps you within her presence mentally, wherever you may be from morn to dewy eve. And when you return, she expects the friendly greeting; let her not be disappointed. Be assured her love would encircle you, if you were driven from the common ranks of men; hear heart would be the truest pillow for your aching head. Her grace, her happiness is the worthiest ornament for you now.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 151 Your strength is cold, repulsive, and forbidding, until it is combined and chastened by the gentleness and sweetness of your faithful, loving wife. Let her be cheered, then, to see upon the fringe of your garments the clearness and the warmth of true celestial blue.

It is equally important that the firmness and clearness of truth, blended with the warmth and gentleness of love, should be visible in all our intercourse with our children. Firmness, without gentleness and cheerfulness, is painful and repulsive to children, and they shun the circle of its influence as much as softness, without firmness, strengthens their hankerings for selfish indulgences, and increases those disorderly demands which at length must be restrained with rigor a hundredfold more painful, or they must sink in ruin. Children look for just direction, and their sense of justice leads them readily to acquiesce in what is right when it comes from lips they love. Only let the true blue ribband be seen by your children always, and they will follow where you lend, and your counsel will be laws they will revere in your absence as well as in your presence; and when the music of your loved voice will be heard by them no more, its recollections within will be prized as the tones and the wisdom of those dearest and best-beloved ones who piloted them safely in the early walks of life, and still have only gone before them, and are waiting to welcome them on the purer plains of heaven.

This attention to the very externals of the Christian life is fraught with blessing every way. It is only thus, in fact, we can obtain strength to be healed of our spiritual diseases, and only thus we call exhibit the worth of our principles to others. When the poor woman who had spent her all upon helpless physicians for twelve years came to Jesus, she said within herself, If I but touch the hem of His garment, I shall be made whole, and as soon as she did so, virtue went out, and she was healed.

In the hem of the vesture of Divine Truth, or in other words, in the literal sense of the Word of God, the divine virtue is ever present for the meek and lowly, and when it is touched by trusting love, that virtue will go out.

The prophet Zechariah, speaking of the glorious church of the latter days, the church which is now unfolding itself amongst us, the New Jerusalem, declares, Thus saith the Lord of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of all nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you:


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 152 for we have heard that God is with you (viii. 25). It is religion in life that is observed by and is attractive to good men. When it not only enlightens the head and rules the heart, but comes down to the skirts of the garment, infusing justice, kindness, and courtesy in every net and word, then it has an eloquence which will inspire many a well-disposed heart to say, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you. Let your good works and your good words so shine before men, that they may glorify your Father who is in heaven.

While you pay due and supreme attention to the interior principles of love and faith, never forget the fringe. Let your religion come out. Be loving and truthful in little things. Let your daily duties and daily expressions manifest in them the spirit of heaven in their entire round, and thus upon the fringe let there ever be seen THE RIBBAND OF BLUE.





And Adoni-Bezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table; as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.JUDGES i. 7.

So decidedly do the Scriptures intimate that a spiritual sense is contained within them, that most who revere the sacred oracle; are prepared to admit that statement to a greater or less extent. The parables, the visions, some portions of the prophecies, and much of the cook of Psalms are believed to have spiritual lessons chiefly in view, but the historical parts of the Sacred Volume are less freely acknowledged to contain heavenly wisdom within their bosom. Yet it is interesting to remember, that the first literal history contained in the Divine Volume,--namely, the history of Abraham, is declared by the apostle Paul to be allegorical. For it is written, said he, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond-maid, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh: but he of the free woman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all (Gal. iv. 22-26). It certainly seems not too much to conclude, that the apostle was led to select this early portion of the historical part of the Holy Word, and declare it to be a divine allegory, as by a specimen to assure us, that the historical style, like every other style in the Word of God, is the medium of conveying to mankind those deep truths which are the lessons of Divine Wisdom. Besides this consideration, however, there are many others which lead to the same conclusion.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 154 That the Jewish nation was a typical as well as an historical one is commonly admitted. He is not a Jew who is one outwardly, Paul said to the Romans, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men but of God (Rom. ii. 28, 29). It is here stated, that he only among the Jews comes fully up to the divine appointment of that people, who in heart and spirit accepts those realities of which their laws and ceremonies were the symbols. Again, the journey of the Israelites to reach Canaan, is commonly admitted to be a divinely arranged chart of the changes through which the soul passes in the journey of the regeneration. Canaan is an acknowledged type of heaven and the interiors of the human soul where that heavenly state resides, of which it is said, The kingdom of God is within you. And from these general admissions, it will follow that both the difficulties and the foes which the Israelites met with on their journey, and the idolatrous tribes which had to be overcome in the land of Canaan, mere also typical of the difficulties through which the Christian has to pass, of the spiritual foes, the evil and perverted principles which he must extirpate from the Canaan of the soul.

And here we may remark, that if the sublime lessons which unveil to us the early spiritual condition of mankind in pure allegory--such as are the account of creation, the garden of Eden, the fall, and the whole of the early parts of the Scriptures,--excite our admiration, and prove, by their perfect wisdom, their divine origin; how much more astonishing still is that adorable Providence which we see conducting the affairs of the Jewish nation, so that from their earliest fathers down to their complete ruin, their history should be real and symbolical at the same time. Their kings, their priests, their prophets, were all real, and besides that, all typical: all outward events, yet all the types of inward principles. They were naturally useful for the Jewish nation; and by their history in the Word and its correspondences, they are spiritually useful for all nations who understand the Word, and for all ages. We may surely exclaim here, Thou hast exalted Thy Word above all Thy name.

With respect to the historical circumstances connected with our text, we may remark, Bezek was a city some seventeen miles from Shechem on the east, the capital of a small territory, which had imposed a cruel and hateful rule over the petty kings around and reduced them to abject misery.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 155 That these kings must have been very small chieftains is evident from the circumstance of Adoni-Bezek having maimed and enslaved seventy of them.

The name, Adon, means Lord, and Bezek may be interpreted, in or among the fetters. The Lord among the fetters very properly designates a monarch of the character described in our text, in every point of view, and affords the proper basis for the Divine lesson intended to be conveyed in the Holy Word. This king made head, as the general leader of the Canaanites and Perizzites, against the People of Israel. Judah and Simeon were the leaders on Israels side. The idolatrous nations conquered with the loss of ten thousand men. The cruel tyrant was deprived of the extremities of his hands and feet, being treated as he had treated the numerous victims of his former wars. He was subsequently brought to Jerusalem, and there he died.

The history in its letter affords room for interesting and important moral reflections. It points to the retribution which certainly comes sooner or later to the wrong-doer. The Most High rules among the kingdoms of men, and always in reality, but often with amazing exactitude even in details, the sins of the wicked fall back upon themselves. History and private life both afford innumerable examples of the blows of guilty men being returned, with awful precision and increase, upon their own heads:--the tyrant of to-day becoming the slave of tomorrow; the contriver of a snare being caught in his own net; and the oppressors of nations becoming the ruined captives, suffering alike from their pent-up passions and the scorn and execration of the world. The miserable king in our text is an example and a type of this retributive law of Providence. He had maimed and beggared others, and precisely the same lot became a portion for himself, until he ended his mutilated life by a captives miserable death. Such is the illustration which even the letter of the Divine Word affords of a great practical truth illustrated in all the ways of Providence, and proclaimed by our Lord Himself,--With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Here, we may remark, appears an excellence of the doctrines of the New Church of the highest value. The spiritual sense of the Word is not a denial of the letter, or a substitute for it. It is contained within it:


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 156 it is the sap of the trees of the Lord: it is the soul of the body of the Word. Whatever lessons of virtue and use others can draw from the letter of the Bible, we can also draw. And when they have exhausted with us their reflections on the outward history, we then, by the mercy of the Lord, in the dispensation He is opening in these, latter days, can rise to the inexhaustible beauties of the spiritual sense. Having stood for awhile on the lowest step of the sacred ladder which leads to heaven, we can then say, as we say now, Come up higher, friend.

The region over which Adoni-Bezek reigned might possibly have obtained its name Bezek (among the fetters) from the fetters which it had long forged for the surrounding countries, and under which it held them in bondage. Its cruel tyranny, as well as its name, is the expressive symbol of the slavery of sin. Fetters enchain the body; false principles enslave the soul. Truth alone makes man free. False doctrines, false views, false maxims, false customs, confine and enchain the spirit. They make a Bezek, a city of chains, in the soul.

All outward slaveries are but the effect of inward slaveries. False opinions are the foundations which sustain all the tyrannies of evil customs and evil habits, and even of governments. People are first led to suppose that wrong is right, or if not right, necessary, and then they adopt it, or submit to it. Hence the great importance of the struggle for the truth. Illuminate the mind, and false opinions disappear. The chains which fetter men are truly the chains of deluded thought, the chains of folly and falsehood. The dupe becomes the willing or submissive slave to what he fancies must be right, because some one, whose dictum he obeys, has assured him it is so. Oh, that men would use their own great powers honestly. Just as their divine Creator has given them eyes, which serve them truly, and upon which they may depend in their outward walks in life; so has He given them spiritual eyes, powers of investigation and perception, upon which they may equally depend. To doubt it is to doubt Him who has made us, and who is All-good and All-wise. Oh, that men would follow the teaching of that glorious Savior who said, Let thine eye be single and thy whole body shall be full of light. If the minds of men, unswayed by their own perversities, determined to investigate the truth, to act upon the truth, and no longer to be blind followers of the blind, how quickly they would shake off the fetters which bind them to misery and rise to true manhood, and the glorious liberty of the children of light.



False principles in relation to religion are most potent to bind the soul. The most interior and deep-seated feelings of the heart being those which are intended to connect man with the Supreme, when they are misdirected, serve to crush him to the dust. The man who has been induced to believe that his God is a cruel, partial, or revengeful Being, has all his generous instincts enthralled. His better part, the germs of angelic love and holiness within him, are fettered at the core. If he is taught that God is unjust, confounding the innocent with the guilty; that He is regardless of interior character, and only respects those of a particular creed, name, or dogma, this tends to cramp his own noble aspirations of goodwill and charity, and either to strengthen the worst part of his nature, or to fret the better. Every false doctrine is a chain, and every constituent fallacy a link, to bind the soul to darkness.

Who can tell what harm has been done by false views of God, of faith, of love, of duty, of immortality? Let inquisitions, wars for religion, crusades and massacres for religion, plagues arising from human folly, neglect and dirt, but attributed to God, answer. Just as much as truth tends to elevate does falsehood tend to depress.

If we suppose that God is selfish and arbitrary, the check upon our self-will, which exists when we contemplate the Deity as Sovereign Goodness, Sovereign Wisdom and Sovereign Order, in Divine Human Form, is weakness; and we easily become, or remain, if we are naturally so, exacting and selfish too. Those whom we believe our God dislikes we readily condemn, and possibly persecute. The better part of us is chained, the worst is at liberty. Even if we are told by those who are supposed to know, that our life really has nothing to do with our preparation for heaven, but only our faith;-- that we cannot keep the commandments; and much more are we unable to love our neighbor as ourselves; to return good for evil; to prepare, by a life of love to God and love to man, for a world in which these loves reign for ever, and bliss in all things; our best resolves are checked and weakened; efforts which might result in an earnest Christian life are blighted in the bud. By such mistaken views the mass of mankind in the professing religious world are kept in the low state of virtue, and true peace and blessedness, in which they confessedly remain. Too many dwell in Bezel, the land of chains.

In the irreligious world, too, how numerous are the chains which fetter the spirit to what is wrong.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 158 The persuasion that we are acting according to nature, when we are only indulging our vices; the idea that worldly enjoyment is everything; that religion is a painful deprivation; the supposition that we cannot succeed in life except by tricks, or overweening devotion to the body and to wealth; the denial of God, the denial of Revelation; the denial of mans ability to will and to act, except as he is impelled by circumstances; all these net as chains to fetter the nobler utterances of conscience, and keep multitudes dwelling in Bezek who often sigh for better things.

That the sinner is a slave, is not only the dictate of Revelation, Whoso committeth sin is the servant, (or, as it might be better rendered), the slave of sin; and he who strives to break his captivity will speedily find it to be true. Habit has been weaving round him invisible meshes, which, however, he will feel restraining and restricting him in every direction when he seeks to quit the enchanted ground on which his ruin was being completed. How strikingly is this sometimes seen in the drunkard. He has felt the galling slavery of his vice. The reproaches of conscience, the loss of comfort at home, the evident diminution of his childrens respect, the loss of character, of means, of health, blow after blow lacerating him in mind and in body, make plain to him how galling is the slavery under which he exists. He vows he will break his fetters. He determines thenceforward to become another man. But soon his habits make him uneasy. He yearns after the missed cup at the accustomed time. The appetite increases. Inclination whispers, he can indulge a little without going to excess; he can surely do as other people do; he perhaps has done wrong in changing too suddenly; possibly his health will suffer by the change; could not he defer the alteration for a short time, and enjoy himself this once? Appetite comes to the reinforcement of inclination, and the poor captive is led back to his slavery once more, and finds how true those divine words are--Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy back-slidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see, that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord of Hosts (Jer. ii. 19).

The sinner is a slave; he dwells in Bezek the land of chains. There is only one way of escape, to cry to the Lord Jesus the Savior, the Redeemer of Israel, for strength, and we will give deliverance, as he overthrew the Lord of Bezek by the instrumentality of Judah and Simeon.



And who is there that has felt the sad weight of evil, the wretchedness it engenders here, and the deeper misery to which it leads, does not respond in his inmost heart to the sigh for real freedom?--

Where is the slave so lowly,

Confined by chains unholy,

       Who could he burst

       His chains at first,

Would pine beneath them slowly?

We have considered the fetters which are represented by Bezek, let us now fix our attention for a time upon the Lord of Bezek. He is the representative of self-love. This principle, in its fallen state, is the terrible center of all evil, of all slavery, and the secret origin of all falsehood. Self-love it is that forms the hidden soul for all wrongdoing. Why does the dishonest tradesman overreach in his transactions the man whom he should serve justly? Because he loves himself so much, that he prefers his own slightest gain to the just right of others. Why does the highwayman plunder the passing traveler, and take what, perhaps, is the hard-earned support of his family and himself? Undoubtedly, because he loves his own appetites so well, that, in comparison, the others just subsistence or comfort are as nothing. Why does the reckless speculator, for the least chance of enriching himself, tempt by misrepresentations, by highly colored and positively false descriptions, by hollow and urgent persuasions, and strive to obtain, as the means of prosecuting his daring and unwarranted schemes, the substantial support of probably thousands of families? Why, but because lie prefers himself to all those families, and all their comforts and interests combined. Why does the ambitious tyrant, thirsting for conquest, and yearning to have the homage of a wider territory, send his armies to seize, slaughter, and plunder; involving hundreds of thousands in desolation and death, combining all those myriad crimes and curses, whose name is War? It must be, that he loves himself more than the well-being, the interests, and the lives of millions.

And God forbids these crimes, and sinners know it. Why then do they resist, and defy the Will and the Wisdom of the Most High? Undoubtedly, because they prefer their own will, their own judgment, and themselves to God. Self, self, self, is the fountain of all evils; the idol which is worshiped as the central object of the evil soul: the Lord of Bezek.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 160 And self is dark, is hideous, savage; feeds on the empty pleasures of sense, creeps near the earth, and though it hides its horrid nature as much as possible under a fair profession, its beauty is only the skin-deep covering of malignity. Every one despises self in another. Every one feels conscious that his own self-hood would be despised as soon as seen. It is a serpent that reigns in the inner hell of an unregenerate heart. It is Lord in Bezek. Hence the selfishness of evil men and evil spirits, taken together, is that serpent whose head the Lord Jesus came to bruise: That old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world (Rev. xii. 9). What a picture is this! but it is true. The wise ancients knew that self-hood was a serpent, and they called it so, and made representations of it in this character. Their stupid descendants worshipped these very forms as deities in Egypt, in India, in China, and we shudder with disgust when we read of such prostration. But every worshipper of himself adores an idol within, far more insatiable, malignant, abominable, and horrid than any serpent that ever lived. He is there, within us, with sub-infernals for his court. There is Pride continually making his haughty exactions, and craving incessant homage. There is Envy gnawing himself with pain at all excellence in others. There is Passion, burning with impatience, insisting upon having instant gratification, or instant destruction. There is Malignity, preparing constant poison for the objects of its hate. There is Fretfulness, ever bewailing itself, and weeping wormwood to embitter every half hour of human life. Anxiety is there, ever foreboding pain, misery, and loss; and Revenge and Remorse are there, the first burning for fresh victims, and the latter howling over those who have already fallen, and dreading the judgment to come. A whole tribe of polluted pleasures are there, which feed upon their own lives, and scatter dismay and death around.

Such is the court, say rather, the den of self-love. It is a devil, in the form of a serpent, and this monster we obey and inwardly worship so long as we continue in evil. And as long as he remains enthroned, no real advance in true religion can be made. Hence the Lord says, If any man will come after Me, let him DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross, and follow Me. We must make war upon the Lord of Bezek, by the command and in the strength of heaven. Until he is dethroned, there is no security, and no peace, in our Canaan.



But there is a curious particular mentioned in our text. Adoni-Bezek said: Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and great toes cut off gathered their meat under my table. Of course this reveals a very cruel proceeding, but it is chiefly interesting to us in its representative character. A king in the spiritual sense signifies a ruling principle. The number seven, or its compounds, here seventy, corresponds to what is complete and holy. Hence it is very commonly used in the sacred Scripture, where, in such cases as the seven days of the week, the clean beasts taken by sevens, the seven sprinklings of the leper, the seven washings of Naaman, the seven spirits of God, the seven stars, the seven churches, the representation of that number manifestly appears. In the Hebrew language the same word which signifies seven, signifies also perfect. The seventy kings, then under the table represent all the holy truths which have been received into the mind since infancy, and are, when Adoni-Bezek reigns, dejected, powerless, and despised. The seventy disciples, whom the Lord sent out, have a similar signification. They are said to be under the table, because the natural understanding, furnished with instruction, is like a table supplied with food. To be under the table, is to be only in the memory, among things little thought of and despised. The portrait drawn is the state of the irreligious man, and of the unregenerated portion of the soul in a mind yet desirous of being brought into the harmony of heaven. It is the abode of a foul tyrant, where luckless captives are maimed, helpless, and down-trodden. Seventy kings lie in miserable mutilation under the table. It is a den of thieves. All that is holy is sunk and crushed there. My beloved hearers, how is it with you? From infancy, through childhood, many royal principles of heavenly truths have been taught you, and commissioned from the King of kings to rule in various departments of the mind, and bring you into heavenly order. Are they reigning, or are they suffering? If self-love is your master-passion, they will be dethroned and captive. All those sacred messengers of heaven, introduced by a good mothers early hymns, by a virtuous fathers counsels, by the lessons of worthy friends and teachers, by faithful preachers, by your own readings of the Divine Word in earlier better days, all lie captive, and a vile monster reigns, terrible and desolating in you, abhorred of angels and good men, making all around him a little hell. O wrestle with these principalities and powers, as the apostle calls them, these spiritual wickednesses is high places.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 162 Range yourselves under the banner of Him, the adorable Conqueror of death and hell, who alone can give the power to take this strong mans palace, and to spoil his goods.

But it had been the cruel practice of Adoni-Bezek to cut off the thumbs and great toes of his captives. Let us inquire what this strange conduct imports.

All the parts of the human body are correspondences of principles in the soul; and are so used in the Sacred Scriptures. The heart, the eyes, the head, the reins, are used manifestly to correspond to mental principles, and so are the arms, hands, fingers, legs, and feet.

The arms are the extremities which proceed from the breast, and denote the powers of affection and thought which flow from love to our neighbor, and the truth connected with that love. When we seek to advance our neighbor in real good and happiness, it is helping him with the right arm and hand. When we endeavor to assist him in intelligence, and lead him to higher views, we are assisting him with the left arm and hand.

The powers of the Divine Being Himself are thus described: Let Thy hand be upon the man of Thy right hand, upon the son of man whom Thou hast made strong for Thyself (Ps. lxxx. 17). The man of Thy right hand is the man who is influenced by the power of love. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Thy hand lend me, and Thy right hand shall hold me (Ps. cxxxix. 9, 10). However far we may be led into the turmoil of earthly thought, of care and trouble, the powers of the Divine Love and Wisdom, the two hands of Deity, will sustain and preserve us.

The finger of God means the Divine Power applied to some particular circumstance. Hence the Lord said: If I by the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you (Luke xi. 20).

The hands of man are equally correspondences in the Word. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully (Ps. xxiv. 3, 4). To have clean hands is to have the powers of the mind directed by goodness and truth. The Lord uttered a precept, strange in sound, but important in spirit, when He said, If thy hand offend thee, cut it off(Mark ix. 43).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 163 Its import is, if the power of the mind has been perverted by evil, reject such power, cast it from thee.

To be delivered out of the power of any one, is constantly, both in scriptural and common language, called being delivered out of their hand. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man (Ps. lxxi. 4).

The feet are the lowest portion of the body, the extremities of the members which issue from the trunk of the human form. Upon them the body rests, and by their means progresses. They represent the practical powers of life--the aspirations of the mind in daily duty. Upon these the mind rests; upon these it advances. There is no progression by contemplation, it is by act. The right principles we look at do not improve us, but those we do.

The powers of life, in the practice of daily duty, as the feet of the spiritual man, constantly meet us in the Word. Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord: for He shall pluck my feet out of the net (Ps. xxv. 15). He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings (Ps. xl. 2). Where it is manifest that to establish the life in accordance with divine truth, is to place the feet upon a rock. Again: Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about. The iniquity of my heels is the evil which tempts us in our daily practices. Many, alas! have fancied that religion has nothing to do with daily life. They admit that the eyes, and perhaps the heart, have something to do with it, but not the feet. How different from the practical life which the Word really inculcates, and which the New Jerusalem proclaims and restores. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem (Ps. cxxii. 2), is the language of the true believer. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy feet to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber (Ps. cxxi. 2, 3). Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living (Ps. cxvi. 7-9). This walking religion is the only real religion, be assured, my beloved hearers. All intention, all fancy, all talk, all promises of what you will sometimes be, are vain, illusory, and fleeting as a dream, until they are fixed in a virtuous daily life.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 164 We have not anything strained and extraordinary to perform to live the life of true religion; we have, in our usual avocation, but to do justly, love mercy, and wall; humbly with our God, but we are sunned in the smile, and strengthened by the power of the King of heaven. To do each act, as duty presents it, in the spirit of love and light, seems a little thing; but he that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much (Luke xvi. 10).

The whole effort of real religion is to spread itself over our daily life--to do the will of God in each act. The grand effort of irreligion is to oppose this daily dedication of ourselves to right, to faith, and to love. If it can nullify our virtue practically, and make what we know of none effect now, it is little concerned about the future. One evil done outweighs a thousand virtuous acts only intended. Evil cares very little for religious truths in the memory, so that it reigns in the heart and in the life. This is precisely what is represented by the kings under the table having the thumbs and great toes cut off. They represent truths shorn of their effect in act,--truths maimed and mutilated, which performed nothing, but remain hidden and depressed until they die. They are heavenly things known, but not done, and therefore have no blessing.

It was, no doubt, in reference to this important lesson, that in the consecration of Aaron and his sons it was directed to take the blood of a ram and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their-right hand, and upon the great toe of the right foot (Ex. xxix. 20). And when Christians devote themselves to become spiritual priests, to offer up living sacrifices to Him who is God and the Lamb we must ever apply the living blood of Divine Wisdom to the very extremes of the soul. The tip of the ear must be touched with this blood to denote the complete and actual obedience with which we hearken to the divine commands, the thumb of the right hand to show that we will seek our neighbors good by every effort of benevolent kindness, and the great toe of the right foot to intimate that in the fullest measure we will act justly in our daily avocation. Thus we become actual, not theoretical, servants of Him who ministers to all.

In the cleansing of the leper, the blood of the offering was to be put upon the tip of the right car of him that is to he cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 165 And afterwards, The priest shall pour of the oil into the palm of his own left hand; and the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before the Lord: and the priests shall put of the oil that is in his hand upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot (Lev. xiv. 25-28). When the leper of sin is to be cleansed, it can only be done by applying the truth, the living blood of the Lamb, to his absolute nets. He must actually obey, actually operate the deeds of kindness, actually do unto others what he would have them do to him, and if he has done this first from truth, he will soon be able to do it from the soft meekness of heavenly love. First do it with blood, and then with oil; first from duty, and then from delight.

When Adoni-Bezek was taken, he was deprived of thumbs and great toes, and rendered helpless, as he had rendered others. And now we are prepared to see one of the most essential truths connected with mans regenerate life,the mode in which mans character can be changed, consistent with the laws of the soul. After the vileness of selfish opposition to God has become revealed to us in the light of heaven, in the fervor of our first love, we would, if we were able, take a scalping-knife, and cut it completely out of our being. But it is not possible. Evil is so interwoven with our spiritual organization, that were it at once to be all eradicated, the whole man would be gone. We are full of wounds, and bruises and putrefying sores. The Lord alone call alter the interiors, and does so with a merciful and patient hand. He does not quench the smoking fax, nor break the bruised reed, but He brings forth judgment unto truth (Isa. xlii. 3). He said of the inhabitants of earthly Canaan, By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased and inherit the land (Ex. xxiii. 30). This is a necessity of our nature, and cannot be departed from. Sight may be given quickly, but changed affections can only be imparted slowly. The structure of character which is to last for ever can only be obtained by steady perseverance in the right. But if we cannot destroy, or have destroyed (for the Lord is the great worker in this), selfishness, and ail its attendant evils at once, what can be done? This can be done; it can be rendered powerless in act: and this is our province and our duty. Resist evil in act, resist in Word.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 166 Take care that no selfish act to militate against our neighbors good be done. Take care that no evil operate in our ordinary walk. This we can do. We cannot for a time avoid the promptings to wrong; the old man will weigh upon us, and desire to have the dominion still. But we must steadily resist him in act. This is to cut off the thumbs and great toes of Adoni-Bezek. We must not give him an inch of influence in practice. It is not that which cometh into a man which defileth him, but that which goeth out. Here, then, we must resist, and here by the power of the Lord Jesus we can. The commandments of the Lord are nearly all negative; they tell us what not to do: because our grand safety first lies in shunning evil in act. Cease to do evil, learn to do well. This is the love of God if ye keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous (1 John v. 3). Blessed are they that keep His commandments, that the gates into the city (Rev. xxii. 14).

This, then, is the spiritual import of cutting off the extremities of this wicked lord of fetters. O may it be deeply impressed upon us all. Let us, my beloved brethren, deny self, conquer self, abolish self in act, and thus co-operate with our Lord, who will fight for us and conquer it within, and reveal within us all the peace of sill subdued and heaven revealed.

We are finally informed, They brought him (Adoni-Bezek) to Jerusalem, and there he died.

Jerusalem, as you are aware, is the emblem of the Church. The Church, on a grand scale, consists of all those who in mind, heart, and life, acknowledge the Lord, and live according to His Divine will. The apostle calls it the heavenly Jerusalem. Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels (Heb. xii. 22). The mind which has raised its inmost love as a mountain from which it adores the Lord, and surrounded itself with the doctrines of divine truth for a man of defense, and a city in which it dwells, has come to the heavenly Jerusalem. There it rests as in an impregnable city, and there it has intercourse with angels. It has become angelic. It thinks as angels think. It loves as angels love. In its atmosphere selfishness cannot breathe, cannot live. When we come to Jerusalem Adoni-Bezek dies. This is the land of love, of disinterestedness, of purity. The Lord it owns is He who is love itself, and ministers to the whole universe.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 167 The law of this great country is, Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you. Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down and running over, shall men give into your bosoms.

To Jesus be praise without end,

       for glories revealed in His Word;

We see the new city descend,

       Adorned as a bride for her Lord.

Here nothing can enter unclean;

       No evil can breathe in the air:

No gloom of affliction is seen;
              No shadow of darkness is there.

Before quitting this interesting subject, let us notice the two leaders of the Israelites, Judah and Simeon. The children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first to fight against them? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand. And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with him.

The sons of Israel were representative, like everything else under the Law. Hence each name was divinely given, and is constantly employed with exact discrimination. Their births are related to shadow forth the order in which holy principles are born in the soul; the first son was Reuben, whose signifies he hath seen; the second was Simeon, which term in Hebrew means he hath heard; the third was Levi, the word for conjunction; and the fourth was Judah, which imports, praise Jehovah. This is the very order in which holy things are produced in the soul when we are returning to God. First we see what is right, then we hearken to, that is we obey it; we next determine to conjoin faith and works together always, and then we have born within us that grateful love to the Lord which impels us to bless and praise Him for all His mercies. Love to the Lord, therefore, is Judah, and obedience to him is Simeon. The Canaanites and Perizzites represent evils and false principles in general.

To overcome the opposition of impiety and error, then, and especially to subdue self-love in the soul, it was not without meaning that Judah was selected to lead with Simeon for his coadjutor. How can self-love be dethroned but by the power derived from the love of the Savior,love, not as a barren sentiment, but as a principle which is ever accompanied by obedience.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 168 If ye love Me, the Lord says, keep My commandments.

Our Divine Director calls for love to Him to lead us in our holy warfare against selfishness and sin. Without this, we cannot succeed; and if this principle be genuine, it will always call for Simeon. With love and obedience, we shall never fail. However strong Adoni-Bezek seems, he will fall before these saving powers, and the Divine Savior for whom and under whom they act. Their strength is not their own; it is His who is Almighty. In His name and by His power we call assuredly conquer, and what a conquest is that which is achieved when the hell within is subdued and destroyed. It is like the extinguishment of a volcano: it is the obliteration of present and future restlessness and misery. This is the great warfare to which all men are called,--the Divine crusade. Without this conquest all other achievements are unavailing. If self be unconquered, every flower of life has in it a destructive worm, every joy is an illusion.

Be not dismayed, my beloved hearers, at the thought of undertaking this all-important work. Have the faith which springs from love. We are well able to accomplish it. Let Judah come forth to lead; love will join us to angels, and to Him who first loved us. He will nerve us for this encounter with self. He will impart His own likeness to us. He has led us the way. The Divine Love which condescended to wear our nature, to live in it, to suffer in it, to die in it, to sanctify it, and glorify it,--not for Himself but for us,--will teach us to follow Him, and overcome even as He overcame. We can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth us. Never let us doubt, since He has the keys of death and hell. Be of good courage: all the powers of evil will be extinguished within you; heaven will be opened and formed; Jehovah Jesus has descended,--lived and died, and risen again,--that He might be Lord of the dead and the living.

Amazing mercy! love immense!

Surpassing evry human sense,

Since time and sense began;

That man might shun the worlds of pain,

And know and love his God again,

       His God became a man.





And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal; and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.JUDGES vi. 20.

WAR, though sometimes a sad necessity, is never an object upon which the Christian loves to dwell. Hence, probably, without a perception of the spiritual sense of the Word, the history of Israels wars would form its least valued portion. We shudder to lead of the extermination of cities and nations. And though it may be said, and with justice, that the nations which were to be rooted out of Canaan were so sunk in pollution, so inveterately corrupt, that ridding the world of them was like ridding the body of fearful cancers, which unless extirpated would destroy the sufferers life, so that the surgeons knife is merciful, yet the operation is not agreeable, as an object of contemplation. We would rather not ponder upon the means, however beneficial the end. To such a state of mind it sometimes occurs as a question, why the relation of wars should form part of the Word of God? We answer, for the sake of the spiritual sense, There are wars in which every one must engage, and these were represented by the wars of Israel. This consideration raises the narrative of battles in the Sacred Scriptures at once to a divine and necessary character. We greatly need to be instructed how to fight, and how to conquer, in the warfare with self and sin. It is alike a manifestation of Divine care and Wisdom to enable us to say with the Psalmist, Blessed be the Lord my strength, who teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: my goodness and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and He in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me (Ps. cxliv. 1, 2).



That we have all much to struggle against and conquer is one of the first lessons we should learn: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth, saith our Lord, I came not to send peace, but a sword (Matt. x. 34) Though peace is the ultimate object to be attained in the soul, it is only to be obtained by struggle. Happy is he who learns this lesson early, and begins this struggle soon.

To recognize the necessity of a severe and constant strife against the disorderly propensities of our nature, we need only to reflect that peace and happiness can only exist where love to God and charity to man are the ruling principles of life. They flow from one fountain, God, and love is the channel down which they descend. Interior rest can only be found in God; outward comfort can only be when we are in kindly harmony with men. He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, for God is love: there is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear. The convictions of our inmost highest nature are in agreement with these declarations: I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members (Rom. vii. 22, 23).

This is the universal experience. The mind of man is by nature like two hostile camps. In the higher region are principles of innocence, hope, love, justice, trust, kindness, purity, and tenderness,--those angels of the soul; For of such is the kingdom of heaven. In the lower regions of the soul are selfishness, pride, vanity, contempt for others, injustice, faithlessness, harshness, impurity, and violence, and of such is the kingdom of hell.

There can be no peace between these two. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt (Isa. lvii. 20, 21). Life is a state of conflict, both for the virtuous and the evil. The virtuous, however, strive on the side of heaven, and they are assisted by heavenly powers, and by the Savior Himself. They have often cessations of warfare, seasons of blessing, and their end is peace. The wicked struggle against their better part; they oppose their inner convictions; they stifle the voice of conscience; they smother their nobler impulses; they harden themselves against God and goodness. Again and again they resist the calls of virtue, religion, and right, and take the side of self-indulgence, pollution, and wrong, until all that is heavenly is scared from the breast, and they deliver themselves up to the unending dominion of passions and lusts, which have only ceased to struggle against heavenly influences to prey upon one another.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 171 Little comfort had the wicked man before he gave the victory to his lusts, but less has he now. The harpies of his betrayed appetites incessantly harass and worry each other, his spirit is like a dark forest in which fierce animals prowl and fight: There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

It is in reflecting light upon these mental struggles, and affording guidance to the earnest Christian, that the history of the wars of the Israelites is of inestimable value. Let us trace and apply the lesson in the narrative before us. The Israelites had been much infested by three nations in their immediate neighborhood, the Amalekites, the Midianites, and a people called the children of the east. They oppressed them with a cruel hand: they destroyed even the means of subsistence, as we are informed in the preceding chapter. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; and they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come to Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass (ver. 3, 4).

These people, at least the Amalekites and the Midianites, were descendants from Abraham indirectly, and inhabited the borders of Canaan on the south, south-east and east. They were at the land, but not in the land. Hence they correspond to the principles of those who border on the Church, but are not in it. They know and believe what the Gospel teaches in a certain fashion, but do not love and do it. They are opposed to, and hasten to destroy, a growing and progressive religion. They assailed Israel most cruelly on their march, and came, as recorded in the narrative before us, to destroy the rising corn.

We will endeavor to investigate more closely the threefold foe indicated in the Divine history, and we shall then probably see more fully the appropriateness of the preparation by Gideon for their discomfiture, and the important lesson indicated by the mode of attack, mentioned in our text. They were all at this time deadly enemies of Israel. The Amalekites were the most malignant. It is recorded of them that they insidiously hung around the Israelites on their march, and when any remained behind from weakness or weariness they were put to death by these lurking and harassing foes.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 172 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; how he met thee by the may, and smote the hindermost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God (Deut. xxv. 17, 18). Amalek was the most powerful foe of Israel during the pilgrimage in the wilderness, as well as the most malignant. Amalek was the first of the nations, but his latter end should be that he perish for ever (Numb. xxiv. 20). Amalek has an awful peculiarity of notice from Jehovah: And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi: for he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation (Ex. xvii. 14-16).

From all this it is not difficult to draw the inference that Amalek must be the representative of some peculiarly deadly principle, some malignant strong delusion, to which the Spirit of the Lord is incessantly opposed. There are times in our journey of life, when we fell weary and toilworn; when we are tired of our struggles against our evils and our difficulties, and become almost hopeless. Life seems hollow and a blank. We are weary with the world and with ourselves. Perhaps high hopes have been blighted. The fair prospects we once had have gradually receded until they have vanished. Disappointments and losses have perhaps been added to internal vexations, and we are sadly pining over the disappearance of many a golden vision. At such times the deadly fallacy will break in upon us. Give up; throw all good aside; strive no longer. Do as other people do; get as much sinful pleasure and sinful gain as you can, and take your chance with the millions who are reckless. This is Amalek. Many a poor weak soul, battered and downcast in the struggle of life, has sunk under this direful despairing suggestion, which comes into the soul from fiends who have a malignant joy in mans ruin, and like the withering hot blast of the desert, ruins and wastes all before it. This is Amalek,--subtle, terrible, despair-creating. Under its influence spirits often become paralyzed, and a melancholy downward course is terminated in a ruin, at which pity shudders and turns mournfully away. Oh! that men would learn to remember that this principle of despairing delusion is abhorrent to the Divine Love. Jehovah has war with Amalek, from generation to generation.

Never despair, should be the motto of life.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 173 The objects we fondly follow are often only gilded snares. To grant our requests would frequently be less merciful than to refuse them. Divine Wisdom sees better how to promote our real good than we ourselves do, and Divine Love infinitely cares for us. Let us be confiding and content: Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth. Let us welcome the sifting which removes from us our chaff, but secures to us the wheat. Let us submit our own wills to the directions of unchanging, unerring mercy, and all will be well. Let love and faith, like Caleb and Joshua, hold up our hands when we are assailed by Amalek, and power will descend from heaven to give us the victory, and change our despairing thoughts into joys, hopes, and blessings unspeakable. Amalek with his black troop will fly, and ministering angels will take their place.

The Midianites were not always enemies of Israel. They were traders and intermediates between Egypt and Canaan. Midianites drew Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Israelites,--thus saving his life. That they were representative is evident from their being mentioned in the prophetical part of the Scriptures as taking part in operations of the future Church, in times when Midian, as a distinct nation or tribe, would long have ceased to be. In the glorious state of things described by Isaiah---which can have no fulfillment in anything less than an eminently exalted state of the Christian Church, such as has not yet been attained, it is said, The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord (Isa. lx. 6). On the other hand, in that sublime and mysterious vision of the prophet Habakkuk, in which the end of the Jewish dispensation is portrayed, the prophet says, I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. Was the Lord displeased against the rivers? was Thine anger against the rivers? was Thy wrath against the sea, that Thou didst ride upon Thine horses and Thy chariots of salvation? (Hab. Iii. 7, 8).

Midian, then, sometimes the friend and sometimes the foe of the Church; sometimes assisting the praises of the Lord, and sometimes covering the soul with curtains which tremble before the judgment and presence of the Lord; is the type of that kind of general belief in the doctrines of religion which may lead to something better, but in which great numbers often rest, so as to make a profession of a kind of faith which is not saving, because neither grounded in love, nor flowing into practice.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 174 The children of the east, the coadjutors of the two former, represent all such portions of the Scriptures as can be pressed into the service of an outward aversion to God and goodness, but combined with an outward profession of piety and regard for holiness.

The three enemies then, taken together, typify a sort of religion, practically and interiorly setting love and goodness at nought, but at the same time covering this by pious pretenses and false views of God, His dealings, and His Word. Such is the religion of a large portion of mankind. The true end of religion is to make men into angels. This can only be done by a Church which subdues selfishness, and raises up justice grounded in love. That religion whose principles are pure, and whose practice is in harmony with its principles, can alone bring the human soul into harmony with heaven, and make it possible to enter there. A religion which only cries believe, believe, believe, may be prevalent, and may even be universal, and still its professors may be real enemies of the genuine Israel of God; of those who are endeavoring, by Divine mercy, to cultivate in their souls that heavenly harvest which is first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear.

The devils believe and tremble. If we have all faith, and have not charity, we are nothing (1 Cor. xiii. 2). The true Israel of God, the Church which strives to the Lord Jesus in the regeneration, which shows it loves Him by keeping His commandments, is oppressed when such systems of faith without love, profession without practice, piety without justice, prevail. Mankind sink under the dominion of such principles when they love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. How the watchful care of our heavenly Father delivers us from such principles is the grand lesson of the work before us.

First, the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon who was threshing wheat by the wine-press, to hide it from the Midianites (Judges vi. 11). The Lord selects such to be lenders in His cause; as they are quietly cultivating the interior virtues of religion; discriminating between what is substantially good, and what is only apparently so: such as, in practice, are saying, What is the chaff to the wheat? Gideon is doing this by the wine-press, because the wine-press corresponds to the rational faculty: that principle whose office it is to press out the wine of heavenly truth from the letter in which God gives it to man.



In evil times, when folly and wickedness abound, the man whom God will choose for His enterprises is he who in secret ponders over His will and service; he who determines for himself, unswayed by custom or by fashion, what is good and acceptable in the sight of God his Savior: he who does not stray from what his reason enables him to acknowledge to be right, but lives spiritually by the heavenly sustenance he thus quietly obtains. This man is a spiritual Gideon, and sooner or later will the angel of the Lord announce to him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor (ver. 13).

The next circumstance which is especially worthy of remark is the mode by which the men of Gideons army were to be selected. They were to be taken to the water, and the Lord would distinguish who should be accepted by the manner in which he drank. So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shall thou set by himself, likewise every one that boweth down on his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. And the Lord said unto Gideon By the three hundred men that lappeth will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man into his place. (ver. 5-7).

This remarkable test is full of instructive interest. The people are led to the water: and so must it ever be with those who are to become spiritually victorious; they must be brought to drink of the heavenly water--the truth of the Word of God. The prophet announces this: Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; come, buy wine and milk without money and without price (Isa. lv. 1). The Lord Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee the living water (John iv. 10). To receive those truths which teach the necessity of purity in heart and life, as the very path to heaven, which illustrate the purity of the Lord--of His divine law and His everlasting kingdom,--this is to drink the water of life.

But those alone who lapped as a dog lappeth, putting their hand to their mouth, mould be the only ones permitted to do the work of the Lord. To lap as a dog lappeth, is to take Divine Truth eagerly; not to be dainty and difficult with it, but earnest.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 176 Putting the hand to the mouth, also intimates that it should be done with the souls whole might; and such only is the mode in which we can at any time be prepared to overcome in the contests of life. If we are hesitating and uncertain in our acceptance of the truth; very nice, in the when, the where, and the how, we shall acknowledge our adherence to it; rather patronizing it, than accepting it as our law and guide; we are not warriors whom God will own, but such as will hear the words, Let the people go every man to his own place.

O may this salutary lesson sink deeply into our hearts, and make us earnest! The struggle with our sins is no childs play: the evils of the heart are mighty, the fallacies of the mind are numerous, specious, and strong. Nothing but their overthrow will really prepare us for heaven. The reason why so much ineffective religion exists in the world, so little enjoyment of peace and blessing from the Lord, which comes only from conquered sin, is, that so many read and hear the Word with listless half-heartedness, not as the truth of the Eternal God, the message of life and death, the summons to work, upon obedience to which our everlasting weal depends. O may we, my beloved hearers, be deeply impressed with the serious character of life, and lifes business; and when we come to hear or read the truth, may we do so with an earnest appetite,putting our hand to our mouth!

The men who were thus selected by God to be led on by Gideon were three hundred, and were to be formed into three companies. Thus there are three armies of enemies on the one side, and three companies of friends on the other.

But let us next notice the remarkable equipment of Gideons soldiers. They were to be furnished with trumpets in their right hands, to blow withal, and pitchers in their left hands, each containing a lamp lighted within.

This method of arming would scarcely be effectual in modern times, but it appears to have entirely succeeded on this occasion. A sudden panic seized the hearts of the oppressors; they quailed before the advancing friends of freedom, and flew in the utmost terror away; numbers of them slew each other, and Israel was completely delivered.

The Christians armor both for offence and defense is obtained from the Word of God. When properly equipped, however, to oppose the Amalekites, Midianites, and children of the east, which trouble him, he has always the trumpet in his right hand, and the pitcher with the lamp in his left.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 177 When he speaks of the evils which are to be shunned, and the virtues which are to be done, he lifts up his voice like a trumpet. Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins (Isa. lviii. 1). The trumpet, with all its varied notes of joy and wail, of vigor and of triumph, is an expressive symbol of the proclamation of the Gospel. The solemn yet glorious invitation to a happy home in heaven, is like the clear, joyous, heart-exhilarating note of a silver trumpet, and Blessed are the people that hear the joyful sound. The utterance of the divine commands to shun and extirpate our evils, is as the sounding of a charge to battle, while the grateful outburst of thanksgiving, when we feel we have conquered, is indeed a trumpet of victory. In our conflicts, then, against sin and error, especially against such subtle forms of them as veil themselves with specious fallacies of a deference for God and His Word, we most be well grounded in the knowledge of what the will of the Most High is really proclaimed to be. We must have trumpets in our right hands.

The point to which all real religion converges is the keeping of Gods commandments from a spirit of love and faith in Him. What cloth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God? The point to which all irreligion converges is to resist, or to neglect the commandments of God. All true religion tends to obedience, all irreligion to disobedience. Atheism declares there exists no Deity, and therefore He can have given no commands. Deism admits a Deity, but says He has given no special revelation to man, and therefore there are no commandments to which we need attend from Him. The practical result is the same, disavowal of Gods commandments, and a life according to our own will. Amidst a crowd of professed religions, precisely the same object is attained, and to a far greater extent; for few men are satisfied to have no religion, and these with great effort constantly keep down the demands of their nature for God. The great mass demand and acknowledge a religion, but invent some specious perversion under that venerable name, which still leaves them the practice of such sills of omission or commission as they feel naturally inclined to retain. This compound of unwillingness to change, combined with reverence to God and revelation, which the acceptance of religion requires, is often seen.

Vast numbers substitute for a change of heart and life certain ceremonies, to which they ascribe immense importance;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 178 and if these are done, the weightier matters may be without danger omitted. Others suppose that forgiveness by a priest at periodical times will secure their pardon from the Deity, however His divine laws are slighted, and their evil passions are unconquered. Others, again, suppose their lot to have been fixed before the world began, and they cannot presume to attempt to alter it. While an immense number trust that the Lord Jesus suffered the punishment due to sin, and at any time when they believe this, His holiness and merit are attributed to them, and they are, from that moment, at death, or whenever the instant of faith may be, as fully saved and as completely righteous as the most devoted saint or highest angel. These views, however varied, in other respects unite in this,--they induce neglect of the commandments of God, a persistence in the evils we love, and prevent religion from really transforming us into the likeness of the grand Head of the Church, and Fountain of all excellence.

The opposition to practical and progressive religion by such compounds of secret aversion to goodness, and partial acceptance and real perversion of the truths of revelation, is represented by Amalek, Midian, and the children of the east in the struggle before us. When the young Christian has received the good seed of the Word, and is watching its growth in the soul, desiring really to bring forth fruits meet for repentance, and fruits meet for heaven, these false persuasions come on like a devastating foe. When Israel had sown, the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them, and they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth. And Israel was greatly impoverished, because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, because of the Midianites (Judges vi. 3, 4, 7). When those who are represented by these foes of Israel see tender souls wishful to live for heaven, careful to conform to the commandments of God, it is not uncommon for them to ask, How do you expect to be saved? The conscientious Christian replies, Through Divine help, walking according to the commandments of the Lord. Keeping the commandments! keeping the commandments! Why you surely dont expect to go to heaven that way? You are depending then upon your own righteousness! You are undervaluing Christs atonement! You are sure to be lost! You are neglecting the way of faith! Man is saved by faith, and faith only, without the deeds of the law.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 179 But surely the sincere seeker for purity and peace rejoins, We are to keep Gods commandments. Oh no, it has nothing to do with salvation! That is buying heaven with your own works. You are in a very wrong way indeed. The commandments have nothing to do with salvation. They were not given to be kept, only to show us what Gods requirements are, and convince us how impossible it is to keep them, so as to drive us, to another path--the path of faith in Christ as our substitute. Such persuasions, urged with vigor, bring the spirit into doubt, until some heaven inspired Gideon comes to arm the oppressed and suffering servants of the Lord. And first the trumpets are placed in their right hand to blow withal. Or, in other words, they are well furnished with those plain declarations of the will of the Lord which so abundantly declare the necessity of practical obedience, as altogether essential to salvation. And this the whole Word supplies. It commences with the opening of divine revelation, and is repeated to the last chapter. If thou doest. well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door (Gen. iv. 7). O that there was such a heart in them that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever (Deut. v. 29). And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is at this clay. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He hath commanded us (Deut. vi. 2, 4, 25). Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which you shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life (Deut. xxxii. 46, 47). ((The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes (Ps. xix. 7, 8). O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments, then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea (Isa. xlviii. 18). Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, shall be
called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in NO CASE enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt. v. 19, 20).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 180 If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments (Matt. xix. 17). By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous (1 John v. 2, 3). Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city (Rev. xxii. 14).

The Divine Word on these great subjects, and all thus connected with the weighty concerns of love to God and man, gives no uncertain sound. It is a true clear blast from heaven. Its glorious proclamation ever is, Love worketh no ill to his neighbor, love is the fulfilling of the law (Rom. xiii. 18). Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but keeping of the commandments of God (1 Cor. vii. 19). Faith is a means to effect obedience, but not a substitute for it. Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing (1 Cor. xiii. 2). The Word of God as a trumpet then is the Word proclaiming goodness, and denouncing sin: the Word insisting on supreme love to the Lord, testified by shunning evil, and doing His holy will. The people were ordered to shout The sword of the Lord and of Gideon, because their weapons also are from the Word of God, and the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (Eph. vi. 17). This Word is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

But, besides the trumpets in their right hands, the people were to hold pitchers in their left hands containing lamps (ver. 20). And these pitchers are the types of the letter of the holy Word, and of those portions especially where its divine truth is not so manifest to all, being a light within, but covered round as it were in a pitcher. From such portions as are thus covered to come down to the state of the natural man, it is chiefly that obstinate errors derive their support. They lean on the letter that killeth and neglect the spirit which giveth light (2 Cor. iii. 6). Like the veil which was put on the face of Moses in mercy at first, until the Jews could bear to look on the inner light, but was afterwards retained by them on their hearts, as St. Paul says, even to his day; so the letter of the Word, which is intended as the first step of the ladder let down from heaven to give us the means of rising to the upper ones. But the natural man who does not desire to become spiritual, will have the letter and nothing else.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 181 The pitcher is all in all to him, and not the light which it contains. The soldiers of Gideon, however, knew that their pitchers contained lamps, and were prepared, when necessary, to break the pitcher, and show the light. Let it be borne in mind now, that a state of mind is pictured in the warfare before us, which is infested by a specious but false religion; interiorly opposed to all real growth in goodness, signified by the deadly Amalek,--presenting some scheme as a substitute for actual regeneration. Often such a persuasion will represent the Deity, as they say, infinitely just, but really fierce, harsh, and selfish; and appeal to His dealings with man in the garden of Ellen. Did He not there, say they, command that the tree of knowledge should not be touched upon pain of death to Adam and his posterity for ever? Was not this threat put into execution? Did not death come upon all, and would it not have so continued had not Christ brought back the favor of God for all who believe that He died for them? Is not then salvation from the wrath of God by belief only? Such and such like are the reasonings founded on the letter without any perception of the spirit o the Holy Word. They belong to the pitcher and not to the light. The soldiers of Gideon are instructed to break the pitchers and show the light; or, in other words, to penetrate through the letter and expose the spirit of divine revelation. They know and they explain that the garden was an inward state of mind, and its trees were the principles there. When man turned to his own knowledge, instead of feeding on the life-giving principles of love and wisdom from God, he inflicted death upon himself, the only death the good man dreads. God cautioned him against it beforehand, but could only save him from it so long as he wished to be saved. He who sins sinks into death, and can only fly from death by flying from sin. To be carnally minded is death; to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom. viii. 6). Christ came to deliver us from sin, by giving us the power to rise above it and out of it, not to substitute what He did for what we have to do. Come to Him, my beloved hearers, for life, the actual life of love and goodness. He came that we might have life, and that me might have it more abundantly (John x. 10). He came, the very God, against whom man sinned in Eden; came to reach us, to save us, to give us life. He lived, and died, and rose again, that We might be to us a Savior from sin, and thus from death and hell.



Oh, but it will sometimes be said, we cannot come to Christ unless the Father draw us. Is it not written, No man can come unto Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him? Here again we must break the pitcher and show the light. The Father is the Divine Love, this is the principle of the Deity which is the Father of all things. This principle was the moving cause of redemption. In His love and in His pity He redeemed us. This Father must indeed draw us before we can come to Christ and be taught. But He never fails to draw. His warmth pervades the spiritual universe like that of the sun pervades the solar system; and as this latter draws up all the juices of vegetation to bring forth flowers and fruits, so does the attractive influence of the love of God draw us.

This is the sun of the spiritual system. Jehovah is the everlasting light. He draws for ever. We inns been drawing us ever since we were born. He will still draw us, so long as we have anything within us upon which His love can act. But He never draws capriciously, warning and drawing this man, and refusing that, in equal circumstances. The Father is the Divine Love. It is infinite. It says for ever, Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not hare compassion on the son of her womb? yea, she may forget, yet will I not forget thee. This is our Father. Never let us attribute to Him our want of salvation and happiness. He desires to save us, infinitely more than we can desire to be saved. The Father in Christ is the fountain of every blessing. It is said again, that the Lord limited salvation when He said, To sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give, but for whom (or to whom) it is prepared of My Father (Matt. xx. 23). Look again, through the letter, to the spirit. The Father is the Divine Love. How could any one enter and enjoy His kingdom, but those who are prepared for it by the work of love in their hearts and minds? Heaven is the kingdom of love: Divine Love warms it, forms its magnificent scenery, and blesses all its inhabitants. But none can be blessed, by the unutterable and innumerable joys of a kingdom of love, but such as are prepared for it, by the Divine Love forming them to itself, in this world. The vain would not be in happiness where all are humble; the ambitious, where self-seeking is abhorred as a monstrosity; the sordid and polluted would not be happy where all are pure. But they may here become pure. The kingdom of love is prepared--they may be prepared by the truth flowing from love, which we have from the Lord Jesus. For our sakes He sanctified Himself, that we may be sanctified by the truth.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 183 Oh! let us then never hesitate to begin the work of preparation for heaven, by being heavenly. We can never enter heaven without this preparation. Even Jesus, who says all power is given unto Me in heaven and on earth, declares, to sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give, except to those for whom it is prepared. He could give it, if any one could, but it is impossible. Love cannot enter where hat dwells, or purity where lust is nurtured.

Glory to Jesus sacred name

       Who all my sorrows bore;

for this great end the Savior came,

       That I might sin no more.

Yes, God who reigns in realms of bliss,

       Where angels Him adore,

Was born and glorified in this

       That I should sin no more.

When, then, the Amalekites, against whom Jehovah has war from generation on to generation, with Midianites, and the sons of the cast as allies, come against your harvest growing for heaven; when they would persuade you that the conquering of sin, and the growth in goodness of real religion, are not required; blow your trumpets and break your pitchers. Let the trumpets of divine truth be loudly and clearly heard; let the light of the Spirit of the Word be clearly seen. No happiness can be had on earth but in proportion as self and sin are subdued. No religion that takes our attention from that great work, either to ceremonies or modes of mere belief, can have any value in the sight of God, or of good men. The Lord has done everything for us that boundless love and wisdom could do. But to be angelic men we must now co-operate with the Lord, and work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We are unhappy now in proportion as we are in evil, and so it will be in eternity. Let us shun sorrow by shunning sin, and faithfully cultivating all the virtues which flow from justice, mercy, charity, and piety. Let us pray constantly and earnestly to the Lord Jesus Christ for daily power to do this, and we shall become more than conquerors through Him that loved us. Never allow any persuasions to have the least influence with you, which, under pretense of honoring God, would make you less observant of His laws; but overturn all such destructive fallacies as keep you from the life which alone leads to happiness, here and hereafter.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 184 Struggle in the power of the living Savior, against inbred sin and all its seductive suggestions, and when pretended forms with an inward evil would lead you to suppose that a barren religion will suffice to secure your everlasting peace, like Gideons victorious three hundred men, who took of the water, putting their hand to their mouth, do you, with holy zeal, blow the trumpets in your right hand, break your pitchers, and show the light in your left, and depend upon the assured strength of the sword of the Lord and of Gideon.

                     Above all the things

Be spiritual; what thou hast to do,

Do as before thy God, th all-seeing One,

Lest thou become the slave of hollow shame,

and meaningless observances; a thing

Less of vitality than mechanism.

Examine if thy piety to God.

Be real, earnest, thorough; if to man

A sacrificing, self-denying thing.

Let thy devotions be sincere, beware

Lest prayers be only words: remember, God

Not only hears thy prayers, but answers thoughts.

Hey who live prayer, best pray; live praise,

Best worship. With thyself be still sincere,

If thou desireth peace or joy. Thy heart,

Is it antagonistic to thy head?

Behind conviction still does duty lay?

Woe, woe to him who is a two-souled man,

Heavenly on Sabbath, worldly all the week;

An angel in Gods house, a fiend at home

Neither at one with God nor with himself.

Are you, then, my beloved hearers, thrashing wheat by the wine-press? Are you endeavoring to distinguish between real goodness and its coverings? fire you doing this faithfully, humbly using your dearest reason? Then persevere, the Lord is with you. Though the three foes of inward malice, false faith, and misapplied Scripture be against you, fear them not. The Lord will give you three companies of virtue to combat for you. Let these drink of the water of life freely. Let them come well equipped from the armory of heaven. And when the struggle comes they will so blow the trumpets and break the pitchers, that all opposition will fly, and fade, like chaff before the mind. Be ye then faithful, valiant for truth and goodness; and ye will be victors in a struggle where the prize is everlasting bliss.





The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honor God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig tree, Come then, and reign over us. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow; and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.JUDGES ix. 8-15.

THIS divine parable is full of interest. It is the oldest complete example of a parable blending with literal history. The early chapters of Genesis are divine allegories entirely describing the spiritual states of mankind--in form historical, but in substance entirely spiritual. But here we have in the midst of real history, a manifest parable; both the history and the parable, however, containing in their spiritual sense those divine thoughts which constitute the especial excellency of a revelation from God: For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isa. lv. 8, 9).

But this parable is highly interesting in its literal bearing. And I cannot too much impress upon my hearers the truth, that the spiritual sense of the Word is not instead of the letter, not a substitute for it, but is within it, like a soul. All that the most devoted admirer of the letter can learn from it, we also learn. Its historical facts and moral lessons we fully accept and appreciate. They are a lamp unto our feet. They show us God in history. They disclose the final triumph of virtue, and the curse of crime in the lowest sphere of things, and prove that justice rules in this lower world eventually, as it forms the habitation of Gods throne above.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 186 When we have obtained from the literal sense all that any one else can obtain, and in many respects even more; for the spiritual sense gives us often a clue to decide on points in the letter otherwise dark and doubtful; then we can rise by the wonderful law of correspondences into the inner garden of heavenly wisdom. The divine parable before us illustrates these important points of view.

It was spoken by Jotham, the youngest son of Gideon, to expose the unworthy conduct of the Israelites, and to arrest them in their course. His father had won the gratitude and admiration of his countrymen. He had delivered them from famine and from slavery. They had seen that God was with him. His efforts were crowned with complete success. And if we strive to realize the picture of a land down-trodden and crushed by a combination of enemies, before whose united strength resistance seems hopeless--pining in misery, a prey to insult and degradation--its altars and homes desecrated, and its fields wasted; and then see these foes vanquished and broken, flying before the defenders of their land, their liberty, and their laws, we may have some conception of the joyful acclamations with which he would be hailed when returning from victory. The air would be filled with his name. The men would exultingly point to their chief. The women would bring their children out to feast their eyes on their deliverer, and to lisp his praises. Such was Gideon to his countrymen. He was their hero. He was their temporal Savior. They offered to make him their king, and to fix the succession to his children. But Gideon was a truly great man. He desired that his country should be free, ruled only by God. He returned his countrymen this answer, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you (Judges viii. 22). Oh! that this feeling were universal; that none desired to rule, but all to serve. The love of serving is the spirit of heaven: Are they not all ministering spirits. It is the spirit of the Lord Jesus. I am amongst you as He that serveth. It is the spirit of happiness and peace. Where all serve, all are happy. In this spirit, therefore, Gideon replied, and his words are deserving of letters of gold, or to be written still more nobly--engraven upon all heartsI will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you.



During the forty years of Gideons after-life, Israel dwelt in peace: he guiding his countrymen as a valued counselor and judge. The land smiled in plenty. After his death, however, a son of his, by a concubine, moved by low ambition, induced the Israelites to conspire with him to have him for their king, and in carrying out this conspiracy, he slew all the sons of his father born in marriage, except one, the youngest, Jotham, who escaped; and from the top of an eminence, while his enemies were at bay, he uttered this parable to exhibit their ingratitude, and to warm them of its fatal end. The olive, the vine, and the fig-tree, in the metaphorical application, would be his father, his brethren, and himself, none of whom would be king. The bramble would be Abimelech, who would either reign or destroy, and who would in the end, as the parable teaches, introduce so wretched a system, as to entail upon himself and people mutual destruction. And so it happened. And such is the eternal law. Evil slays the wicked. The empire founded upon treachery and murder is rotten at its core. He whose throne is reached through falsehood and blood, who has no foundation of virtue and right and worth to rest upon, must continue to cement with fresh crime the edifice he has reared, and so to add to the fire of vengeance that is secretly gathering around him, until at length some additional blow breaks the cover under which it has been smoldering, and it bursts upon the wicked tyrant and destroys, as it was with this Abimelech, both reign and life. Then judgment is manifest, even upon the earth. Then it is visibly seen that the Most High ruleth in the kingdoms of men; whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.

Such is the lesson yielded by this parable in its letter, as a warning against that destructive ambition which has so often desolated the earth, in ancient and in modern times. May its voice ever be remembered by us, who though not likely to exercise that terrible principle on the stage of the wide world, where kingdoms are the stake for which men struggle, yet in the narrower sphere of a society, or in our homes, may cherish a similar disposition, and bury ourselves in an equal ruin. May it be our nobler portion humbly to work out the designs of love: to help, to succor, and to serve; to subdue self, and to promote peaceful improvement: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

Before quitting this part of the subject, allow me to call your attention to the difference between metaphor and correspondence.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 188 Metaphor is a certain likeness which is perceived by the mind, between two natural things, which have in other respects no connection with one another. Correspondence is the analogy which exists between two things, one spiritual and the other natural, and which answer to one another in all their uses and in all respects. We might go further, and attempt to show that in all cases of true and complete correspondences the spiritual is to the natural as the cause to the effect, the soul to the body; but upon this we cannot now enlarge. We have dwelt upon the parable as a metaphor. The olive tree stands in this respect for Gideon. Like him, it was most valuable and honored, and like him it would not reign. In other respects there was no connection or relation between them, and both were natural visible objects. We come now to the spiritual sense of the parable, and to bring this out we must employ, not
metaphor, but CORRESPONDENCE.

PERCEPTIONS, or acknowledged principles of truth or error, grow up in the mind like trees in the soil, and answer to trees in all their progress. Instruction is like seed. Instruction in divine things is the seed of all that is great and good in the soul. The seed, the Divine Savior said, is the Word of God (Luke viii. 11). If we watch the reception and growth of knowledge in the mind, until it becomes a clear and enlarged view, and at length a productive principle, we shall discern the closest analogy to the progression of a tree from seed to fruit. Let us take for our example a good tree, which will of course correspond to a good principle. There is first the seed taken from the great storehouse or granary of heaven--the sacred Scriptures. But this will only grow in suitable soil. The good ground, saith the Lord, is as honest and good heart. If it be received into this ground, and cherished by the warmth of that early innocence, and those soft impressions for good, which the Lord deposits in every infant soul, it will soon show signs of life. The germs will be signs of those trees of righteousness of which the prophet speaks: the branches of the planting of Jehovah (Isa. lxii. 2). But heat and light must descend from the sun upon trees to make them grow; and love must warm, and wisdom must illuminate, the mind; both coming from the sun of righteousness; or its trees will make no progress. And this is done when the heart opens itself, in private or public devotion, and we lie in the sunlight of heaven. Rain, too, is wanted to refresh and invigorate earths plants from time to time, and so is it with the plants of heaven:


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 189 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, said Moses, it shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass (Deut. xxxii. 2).

When these conditions are attended to, a growth of principle takes place, in complete correspondence with the growth of trees. First are seen your thoughts, like leaves, induced by the literal sense of the Word. We think of the historical incidents recorded there, and how we should have acted had we taken part in them, and draw conclusions of comfort, direction and instruction, which evince both life and progress. Next, come those more beautiful reflections, which arise when we perceive the everlasting side of things, and are the product of the spiritual sense of the Word: when the earthly Canaan is acknowledged as the minor of the heavenly one, and we ourselves Israelites, seeking slates of purity and peace, such as reign in the homes of the blessed. These higher thoughts are the blossoms of the trees of the soul. And when these contemplations are followed by the actual virtues of a Christian life:when the justice which seeks to honor every claim of right--the charity which feels and acts for the good of others, even beyond the rigid line of lawwhen the piety which delights in adoring the Giver of all good, are beheld in the daily walk in life, at home, in business, and at church, then we can appreciate the divine words, a good tree bringeth forth good fruit.

It is true all persons who receive the seed of heavenly things do not bring them forth to perfection. Some produce leaves, and there stop; these are they who learn and think about the natural meaning of the Scriptures, and go no farther. Others produce blossoms, and appear beautiful for a time, but so fruit follows; these are they who meditate and speak of heavenly things, are at times even eloquent in their praise of them: but they are different from those wise ancients who said, We do not speak great things, we do them; they speak great things, but will not do them. Even the differences in the quality of fruit have also their correspondence. Some persons, in the good they do, are not sufficiently humble and pure-minded; these are like those trees whose fruits are wanting in that rich, luscious, and delightful flavor which constitutes the perfection of fruit. While there are others who bring forth their fruit in due season, in due quantity, and of the most agreeable quality. Such are they who are ever ready at the calls of duty and of mercy; orderly, kind, upright, and good;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 190 and in every good they are enabled to perform, delight to acknowledge the whole power to have come from that great Savior who said, I am the vine, ye are the branches; without Me ye can do nothing.

Such is the correspondence of trees. And it is from this correspondence we find them continually used in the Scriptures in a spiritual manner. The trees of the Lord, said the Psalmist, are full of sap (Psalm civ. 16). The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing, to show that the Lord is upright: He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him (Psalm xcii. 12-15). Nothing can be more beautiful, or more instructive, than such a lesson seen in the light of correspondences. The fruitful palm and the majestic cedar represent the principles which involve love to the Lord, and an enlightened faith in Him. These are planted in the house of the Lord when they are grounded in the regenerate heart, where the Divine Love delights to dwell. When they are rooted in the affections they still for ever expand in increasing wisdom and intelligence--they flourish in the courts of our God. In old age they will still be ever young from their immortal character. They will be fat and green; or, in other words, they will confer the richest blessings within the soul, and the freshest truths to illustrate the onward march of life, and to show the ever springing abundance of the eternal source of every excellence. The trees of which the prophet speaks when describing the full blessing of the redeemed, can be no other than the exalted perceptions of the soul rejoicing in the glorious goodness which has accomplished its full salvation. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off (Isa. lv. 12, 13).

Regarded in their spiritual character, trees form a profitable theme for devout meditation at all times, especially in spring, when all nature is full of promise.

Think, think, O my soul, what a lesson for thee,

The bough may bloom fair, yet quite barren the tree,

While planted I am in this garden below,

Some fruit, if but little, some fruit I must show,



Lest He that hath planted should say with a frown,

The axe to the roof, cut the cumberer down.

My season for bearing, not long can it last,

And I know not how nearly that season is past:

Let it pass; earth is not my favorite clime,

Nor skillful the hand of the gardener, Time;

Heaven, heaven is the clime, and once plant me but there,

O how shall I bloom, and what fruit shall I bear:

In the Planters own garden, beneath His own eye,

My leaf shall not wither, my fruit shall not die.

By the fountain of life I shall flourishing stand

Transplanted by love, with the gentlest hand.

In our text, however, we have not only the subject of trees in general placed before us, but three trees especially are singled out as valuable, but declining to reign,--the olive, the fig-tree, and the vine: and one as worthless determined to rule or to destroy--the bramble. Let us examine these singly; and first, the olive. It is the tree most esteemed in Eastern countries, and especially in Palestine. Its wood yields a precious gum, its fruits are delightful and nutritious, and its oil, which is as it were the essence of the fruit pressed out, is used in food, also to give light, and in holy oil in the offerings of worship. When Canaan was described as to its richest blessings by Moses, it was called a land of oil-olive and honey (Deut. viii. 8). Its admirable character is expressed also in our text: Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honor God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Or, as it should be rendered, Should I leave my fatness, which God and man honor in me?

The oil of the tree, which was used in the sanctuary, both with the offering and for the holy light, is said therefore to be honored by God; and from its uses and its eminent value for food and healing purposes, is also said to be honored by men.

As trees correspond to truths perceived as principles in the mind, the most worthy tree will correspond to the most valuable principle, that is, the wisdom which teaches love to the Lord. This principle when it has grown up in the soul, and given us to know the true character of our heavenly Father,--shows us that He is not only loving, but love itself, infinite love unutterably tender, unchangeably merciful, good to all, whose tender mercies are over all His works. This is the celestial olive-tree which yields the oil, honored both by God and man. How soothing is the gentle influence which flows down into the soul of him who has come to a full perception of the love of God. It generates the divine likeness in him. He loves God who is love itself, and that love fills him with a tender regard for his brother, the child of God.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 192 The love of God and the love of our neighbor, or strictly speaking, the wisdom conjoined with these two principles, are called the two olive-trees, which stand before the Lord of the whole earth (Zec. iv. 11-14). He who is in the grand principles of love to God and charity to man dwelleth in God and God in him. He is ever interiorly in the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The two olive-trees are called two witnesses in the Book of Revelation, xi. 4; and they are indeed the best witnesses for God in the human soul. They give us to know the spirit of heaven; they testify of the tenderness, the sweetness, the pity, the joy, and the blessedness of the love of God, by the qualities they diffuse through us. The leaf even of the olive became the emblem of peace among all the nations, and the oil, of the holy influence of love, diffusing softness and joy into our whole being. How much we need this holy oil! Our selfishness by nature makes us hard, cold, severe, and sometimes bitter and cruel. But when the oil of heavenly love descends from the interiors of the soul, and infuses itself into every affection and thought, it gives a softness, and at the same time interior joy and pence, which to others is unknown. The Psalmist said, Thou hast anointed my head with oil: my cup runneth over and the prophet, speaking of the same holy principle being imparted to the regenerate Christian, describes it as the oil of joy for mourning (Isa. lxi. 3).

Without this oil of love there cannot long be the light of faith; hence, in the Gospel, the five foolish virgins who took no oil in their vessels, are represented as rising from their slumbers and carelessness, and running to the wise with the despairing cry, Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out (Matt. xxv. 8).

It is of the olive-tree corresponding to the interior wisdom which conjoins the soul and its God together, and through which holy love descends, that we are informed in our text it refused to be king over the trees. The Divine Word teaches us by this that the spirit of rule is opposed to the spirit of love. Love desires to aid, to serve, to bless, but not to rule. If placed in positions of government and responsibility, it accepts them that it may minister, not that it may reign. If it were to enter into the desire of ruling it would lose its fatness; or, in other words, its richness and its joy. In the lower world all strive to rule and all are wretched; in the heavenly world all strive to serve, and all are happy.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 193 God honors the disinterested love of serving; it is like His own. When He came into the world, He came to be the servant of all; He ministers to the whole universe, and ministers unseen; He ministers to the worm and to the feeblest thing that lives. They cannot know the Author of their bliss, but He blesses them; they all wait upon Him, and He gives them their meat is due season. He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing. He blesses them unseen and unknown. Such is the divine love, such is heavenly love from Him. It is innocent as a little child--it will not think of ruling, but rejoices in the blessedness of serving; and God honors it, and men honor it, while they behold it ever striving to serve, and ever striving to be lowly. O may this spirit be ours, my beloved hearers, so may we in truth take up the words of the Psalmist, I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever (Ps. iii. 8).

The fig-tree is next brought under notice, and is often introduced in the sacred volume. It was one of the most common fruit trees in Palestine, growing often on the way-side. It corresponds therefore to that natural perception which teaches the ordinary virtues of daily life. The Word, as it was known in the letter by the Jews, was a fig-tree. You will recollect the incident recorded of the Lord, on His visit to Jerusalem. He saw a fig-tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.

This seems very strange conduct of the Savior, especially as we are told in Mark that the time of figs was not, unless we bear in mind the correspondence of the fig-tree, and likewise the fact that fruit comes on this tree BEFORE THE LEAF. Hence, if it were in full leaf and there was no fruit, it was clear there would be none. The truth that teaches obedience is the lowest essential truth of the Church. And we ought to practice obedience first from regard to our parents, and by command of the Lord; afterwards we shall be able to see and state the reasons for it. The fruit first, the leaf after. The Jewish Church at its end was all leaf and no fruit; all profession and no practice: and hence it was that the time had come for the church to be removed from them, and given to a better people. The Lord said to Nathaniel, When thou wast under the fig-tree I saw thee; language which intimates that Nathaniel was not only one who had a fig-tree, but who made the truth, meant by the fig-tree, his ruling principle: he was under it.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 194 The Lord always calls such to be the commencement of a New Church. They are Israelites indeed.

But even the common virtues of life, to be genuine, must be separated from the love of dominion. It is not always so. But unless this is really the case, there is no sweetness in doing good. Our good in fact is not good, but self in a disguise. A person will sometimes be liberal in his support of charities. He will profess the utmost sympathy for the poor. He will be Generous in his support of public institutions fur education and general improvement. His fig-tree seems to bear fine fruit, and yet it is quite possible that the love of applause, the desire to be paid by the suffrages of his fellow-citizens, being given to confer upon him political power, may be his aim. And if so, his figs have no sweetness, and are not good fruit. And oil, what is the applause of men compared with the sweetness of heaven! What are fruits worth if they are only gilded dust! The apostle says truly, Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth nothing (1 Cor. xiii. 3). Oh certainly it profiteth nothing! What profiteth the noise of a mob, the hollow applause of the vain and self-seeking, who will cry Hosanna today, and Crucify their Lord tomorrow, when there is not the sweetness of the approval of conscience and of heaven? Our figs in such case are like those bad figs the prophet saw in vision,--Evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil (Jer. xxiv. 8). Such then is the lesson conveyed in the reply of the fig-tree spiritually understood. Should I forsake my sweetness and my good fruit to go and be promoted over the trees? And when we are ever tempted, my beloved hearers, to make the virtues of outward life a mere stepping-stone to power, may our reply be the same. Should we leave the sweetness of heavenly virtue, and the real goodness of works which will abide the scrutiny of eternity, for the empty pageantry of place and power, sought only from the love of rule, and entailing bitterness here, and misery hereafter.

Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou and reign over us. Vines correspond to the truths of faith. The Church, especially as to its principles of faith, is commonly called in the Scriptures a vineyard. The reason is, no doubt, that the influence of principles of true faith is to the mind what wine is to the body,--it strengthens the exhausted and cheers the weary. There is a beautiful use of the vine in this respect in Isaiah: My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 195 and he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes (Isa. v. 1, 2). A little lower we are informed, The vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant (ver. 7). The choicest vine is that faith which joins us to the Savior. He implants this faith in the hearts of those who seek Him, and gives them power to bring forth fruit that yields new wine. His love energizes it, purifies if, and enriches it. He is the source of faith, the author and finisher of it (Heb. xii. 2). I am the vine, He says, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. The influence of faith is as wine to the soul. There are times when the spirit is faint, and weary with the toil of life. Dejection depresses the mind, and the pilgrim in the valley of gloom and care is ready to sink; but faith comes and whispers, Courage, help is near.

The use of wine in the Sacred Word, as the corresponding image of cheering truth, is quite common in both Testaments. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hat no money, come ye, buy and eat: yea, come buy wine and milk, without money and without price (Isa. lv 11). Here, undoubtedly, the truth which purifies is meant by water; that which cheers, by wine; while the simpler lessons of religion, which are adapted to babes in Christ, are signified by milk. Truths of duty and intelligence purify the life and quench the thirst like water; but truths which speak of Divine Love, of salvation, and of heaven, refresh and elevate the soul like wine. In a prophecy of the Book of Joel, respecting the time when the New Jerusalem would be the Church of mankind, there is a beautiful use of the term wine: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk (chap. iii. 18). That is, in that day, when knowing that God is love, that heaven is a kingdom where love reigns, and whose joys all flow from that blessed principle being wrought out in all its arrangements; when men are able with an enlightened eye to see that Divine Providence forms all its ordinations, and suffers all its permissions from a spirit of infinite tenderness to us, to guard us as far as possible from harm, and introduce us as far as possible to happiness;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 196 the souls inmost feelings of adoration and gratitude rise like mountains within, blessing their Creator, Redeemer, and Eternal Friend, and seeking for ever to be sunned by the light and the love of His divine countenance. From these mountains shall run down new wine. Who can despair with an infinite helper? Who can fear with angels of love around him? There are more that be with us than all that be against us: why then should we faint or despair? A God of love has created and prepared us for our work. His creation consists of innumerable channels, through which His benevolence descends. Loving friends are around, and a heaven of love before us. All things cheer us on. The mountains run down with new wine.

The vine, in our text, speaks of its wine as cheering God and man. And when we perceive that wine is the emblem of encouraging truth, we appreciate the force of the divine words. For when man is cheered by truth and saved, God rejoices with him. The same wine that cheers man, cheers God. The new wine, which should be but into new bottles, was the new spiritual tidings the Lord brought into the world, and which should be received into renewed minds. The new fruit of the vine which the Lord Jesus would drink in the Fathers kingdom with His disciples, is the new unfolding of the spirit of the Word in which the angels delight. This is, indeed, the wine which cheers both God and man. But the vine intimates that, if she sought to be ruler over the trees, she would leave her wine. Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And so it is. If any one, by means of heavenly truth seeks dominion, his truth ceases to be saving. It is poison, not wine, to him. Of such it is written, Their wine is the poison of dragons, the cruel venom of asps (Deut. xxxii. 33). When the truth which comes to make men really free,--free from sin, free from selfishness, free from falsehood,--is perverted to seduce them to slavery, no poison can be more terrible. The fallen Church is said to make men drunk with the wine of her fornication (Rev, xvii. 2). But the real vine says, Should I leave my vine, which cheereth God and man, to be promoted over the trees? Oh no! This wine is heavenly nourishment. It exhilarates, strengthens, and consoles the soul, by all the glorious views of a sublime faith. A blessing is in it. By drinking again and again, our fainting powers are renewed for our labors of patience and love: and after being recreated by it in all our difficulties on earth, we shall drink it new with the angels in our Fathers kingdom. What is there in ambitions empty with this?



Lord, let me never turn aside,

       Nor leave the path divine!

Let faith, and love, and zeal abide;

       Let patience neer decline.

We come now, however, to a plant of a very different character, and you will find the reply quite different.

Then said all the trees to the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. The reply takes it for granted that he is willing, and expresses his determination either to rule or destroy. This bramble is a low bushy tree with strong thorns, and whose wood is of a fiery nature easily set in flames. It is the emblem of the lust of dominion, which is also essentially unbelieving. The ambitious man believes in nothing but himself and his cunning. He will patronize things sacred if they will help him to rule. He will take religion, and the loftier views of mans nature, under his protection, if they will be subservient to his glorification; if not, he despises, and will do his utmost to destroy them. He is of the earth, earthy. Everything which will contribute to his earthly aggrandizement is become; but he hates what will not come down to his level. Let us hear him. If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and, if not, let file come out of the humble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

What an extraordinary invitation was that! The olive, the vine, the fig-tree, the lofty cedar and all the noble trees of the forest, were to come and put themselves under the shadow of this contemptible shrub! Now ridiculous an idea! Yet it is paralleled, in all respects, by the demands of ambition. It will deign to lend its protection to divine things, only they must be subservient, and it must be chief This principle in politicians makes religion an instrument of state policy; the ministers of religion a superior kind of police. But woe to the religion which stoops to it. It loses its own native life and vigor: it leaves its oil, and its figs, and its mine. The principle in an ambitious priest uses all the semblances of earnest piety to attain his selfish ends. He cares, however, nothing for them in themselves. He is an infidel at heart. He puts himself in the place of God. That which he cannot bend to his selfish rule he burns to destroy. He says, like this miserable plant, If not, let fire come out of the humble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon. He burns with the mad rage of frenzy against whatever will not stoop to gratify his insane whim to rule over all things.



Those grand old trees, the cedars of Lebanon, with their lofty summits and immense branches, correspond to the exalted rational principles, which declare mans immortality. The perceptions which soar high above the earth, which teach that human beings are not creatures of a day, but have commenced a being which will never die, these are mental cedar trees, and these are what are called upon to praise the Lord when the Psalmist exclaims, Praise Him, mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars (Ps. cxlviii. 9).

This conviction of our immortal life, this sense of being an inhabitant of two worlds, our abode in one being only temporary, in the other for ever, is the greatest barrier against men demeaning themselves, and their religion, to the exaltation of earthly despotism. That principle would rejoice to have only tools which care for earth. The despot would, if it were possible, destroy the cedars of Lebanon. Those glorious sentiments are, however, not to be destroyed. They are immortal. The compound of low self-hood and infidelity, meant by the bramble, will destroy itself in its impurity and insanity, as Abimelech did at Thebez, but all that is orderly and divine will live on:

Diffusing peace on all around,

and joy, and happiness, and love.

From the whole of this divine lesson, my beloved hearers, we may gather the most invaluable impressions. We cannot too strongly imbue ourselves with the conviction that all heaven breaths humility, and everything heavenly is humble. The moment any sacred principle is tamed to a selfish purpose, it loses its richness, its sweetness, its holiness, and worth. Love becomes flattery, virtue hypocrisy, faith deception. The whole man becomes debased to earth, and worships the vilest idol known, defiled human self-hood, the very essence of all that is infernal. O let us shun this awful, desolating, soul-destroying sin. And, on the contrary, let us attend to Him who is at once the humblest and the highest. Bring often to mind the impressive and beautiful scene, when, surrounded by His disciples, He took a little child, and placed it in the midst of them. It was the day following that of the grand scene of Transfiguration.

The disciples generally had heard from Peter, James, and John, of the splendor which appeared in and around the Savior: of His face shining like the sun, and His garments so bright as no fuller on earth could equal. They had begun to speculate upon the dignities they should fill in the earthly kingdom, now, as they thought, soon to be fully realized in superhuman grandeur.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 199 The high and holy, and yet the meek and lowly One, knew their thoughts, and when they came to Him, Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. xviii. 2-4).

Let us shun the lust of dominion as the deadliest destroyer of our purity and peace. Cherish the love of our brethren for the Lords sake and for theirs, and ever remember the divine words with which We opened His wonderful sermon on the mount, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt. v. 3).

The great and good Bishop of Hippo, Augustine, was once asked which was the chief virtue of the Christian religion. He answered, Humility! His questioner added, And which is the second. The bishop again replied, Humility! And which is the third, said the inquirer? And the bishop the third time said, Humility! He meant that the grace of humility in a Christian insures every other And he was right Man of himself is only evil. Every virtue he has is a gift from heaven. If he receives love and power to overcome his selfish dislike of others with envy, scorn, and all their horrid brood, a grateful thankfulness is due, not a spirit of boasting. If he is proud of it, and seeks to rule by it, he has already defiled it; it has lost its fatness, it is no longer of heaven. O make me humble! should be the Christians daily prayer. Tis the want of this celestial grace which chiefly divides men, repels them from one another, each thinking himself better than the rest, and making of his gifts and graces even crimes. What have we that we have not received? The more we have the more we owe. Let us, then, never dare to prostitute the graces which should deepen our lowliness into means to heighten our pride. An angel turns away from praises, and points upward. It is an invaluable privilege to be in the Lords kingdom; a privilege to be enabled to do something for it. Let us enjoy our mercies and be grateful. And for every increase of our blessings let us say, O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever (Ps. csviii. 29).

The want of humility is the greatest barrier to our progress in truth. When self and pride are within us, we shun new truths because they are contrary to our former opinions.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 200 We are too proud to learn. Even the truth we have is not loved because it is true, but because it is our opinion; and was received at first because it was the opinion of our fathers. Such persuasions, however, are not wine; they are vinegar. The vine with us has left its wine, and become a worthless stock. And, except for its wise, the vine is the least valuable of trees. The Lord guides the meek in judgment. He teaches the meek His way (Psalm xxv. 9). The eye, jaundiced by prejudice, discolors all the light of heaven. Whoever will advance in the truth let him pray for a humble love of truth, because it is true. Meekness, meekness, meekness! this is the grace that keeps the channels from heaven open. And when at any time faith would whisper, that in virtue of our intelligence, our talents, or our gifts, we should aspire to be king among the trees, let our reply ever be, We are unprofitable servants when we have done all. Should I leave my wine, that cheereth God and man? Should I forsake those beautiful outpourings of heavenly wisdom with which my cup has often run over those holy lessons of faith which have cheered, consoled, elevated and blessed me so often, those high and pure unfoldings from the divine vine which have blessed the angelic thirst within me, and given me a foretaste of the new wine which is drunk in my Fathers kingdom? No, never Lord! keep me like thyself, meek and lowly. Give me the grace at all times to lay up my treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal. Do Thou, Divine Tree of Life, reign alone in my garden, and when my little paradise has rejoiced and bloomed, and borne ripe fruit in the sunshine of Thy countenance on earth, transplant it, O Gardener Divine, to the glorious plains of Thy celestial kingdom.





And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat. and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.JUDGES xiv. 14.

THE testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. xix. 10). This truth should be ever borne in mind. It gives the account of the prophets, priests, and kings, of Israelitish history an interest for us of supreme worth, to consider them as shadows of the varied characters and attributes of the Savior God.                                          

Kings and leaders, prophets, seers,

       Penmen of the Sacred Word;

Each to Jesus witness bears,

       As the only God and Lord.

Abraham, the father of the faithful, represented the Lord as the everlasting Father of all Christians; Moses typified Him as the lender of the spiritual Israel by the law of love in the New Testament; Joshua, as the conqueror of the tribes in Canaan, represented the Lord Jesus as the subduer of the inner evils of the heart; and Samson, whose strength was astonishing, and who constantly displayed it against the Philistines, was a type of that attribute of His character upon earth, in which He denounced and condemned all Pharisaic pretense and all mock religion. Regarded thus, we shall find the life of Samson more interesting to the Christian than it was to the Jew: and it will be interesting for ever.

To obtain the proper groundwork for the divine lessons connected with the history of Samson, we must remember that he was the strong opponent of the Philistines, and we must consider the character and representation of that people. They occupy a prominent position in the history of the Jewish nation. They were constantly at strife with Israel, and if Israel represented the Church of God, the enemies of Israel must represent the enemies of the Church of God: and the champion and defender of Israel must represent the champion and defender of the Church.



First, let us glance at Philistia and the Philistines. The present ordinary name for the whole country which the Israelites inhabited, Palestine, is derived from the Philistines. They dwelt on the south side of the country, all along the Mediterranean Sea., from Joppa, now called Jaffa, to the borders of Egypt. They were a powerful people, with flourishing cities, and much commerce. The greatness of these cities was owing chiefly to the extensive trade between Europe and Asia, which was carried on mainly by them. The religion of the Philistines was very singular. They worshipped Dagon, a god whose image had the body of a fish, with the head and hands of a man. Tradition had told them that an extraordinary being of this form had come out of the sea, and taught them the use of letters, arts, religion, law, and agriculture. The word dag is the Hebrew word for fish, and the name Dagon will therefore signify the fish-god.

We have here probably all the elements for perceiving the correspondence of the Philistines, and the reason of their incessant warfare with Israel. They dwelt in the land of Canaan, were immediate neighbors of the Israelites, yet did not worship the same God. They hated Jehovah, and worshipped the fish-deity. They were powerful by their traffic on the sea, and they despised the more peaceful cultivation to which the sons of Israel were confined.

To be Philistines, and yet to dwell in the same land as Israel, is spiritually to be acquainted with the doctrines and knowledge of religion, to have the Word, and thus externally to be with the Church. But not to worship and obey the Lord, and instead, to set up an idol of our own, means in spiritual language to refuse the heart, and internally to worship an intellectual idol. The sea, or mass of waters, is the symbol of truth in general; of knowledge in the mass. Fishes correspond to those who have a scientific turn of mind, who delight in exploring the domains of knowledge, the waters of truth; but merely from the love of knowing. To dwell on the sea-coast, spiritually means to abide in a state of knowing merely without applying that knowledge to the cultivation of the heart and life. Some people are ever at the sea-side, ever gazing on the waters, and curiously investigating their depths, but never making the efforts requisite to obtain that much higher blessing involved in those words of the Lord, If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.



As the correspondence of the sea will throw light upon the character of the Philistines of the present day, we will dwell a little upon the subject, and upon its use in the Word. The seals the great highway of nations, and the grand reservoir of all our supplies of water, for the varied purposes of life and fertility. The whole mass of the accumulated knowledge of all ages is like the great sea, by means of which we mentally communicate with our fellows, and from which we each extract so much truth as is needful for our spiritual thirst and spiritual growth. The earth is said to be founded upon the seas, and established upon the floods (Ps. xxiv. 2). Not because the outer world is so founded, but because the Church is erected upon the knowledge which is stored in the memory, and which forms the outer groundwork of all our progress. In Isaiah it is expressly said, The knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (xi. 9).

This correspondence of knowledge, in its mass, to the sea, is the key to many edifying lessons in the Scriptures, as well as to many instructive meditations, while we survey the mighty movements of the deep. Let the seas praise Him (Ps. lxix. 34), is not an unmeaning expression, but intimates that all knowledge should be used for the glory of God, and the well-being of man. The sea in a storm is like the mind lashed by passion into terrible vigor and energy, and using all it knows to dash itself against all opposers and overwhelm them with its billows. The wicked are like a troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no Peace, saith my God, to the wicked (Isa. lvii. 20, 21).

When we witness the tempestuous ocean, lashing itself into foam under the wild howl of the furious storm while the opposing waves dash frantically against each other, and then resume their mad impetuosity, like an army of furies, we have a terrible illustration of minds in an uproar and rushing madly on. Mental storms exist when the soul is thus assailed. Such assaults, in temptation from evils spirits, are felt as tempests on the sea, and as terrible floods. These are the waters of which it is said, Save me, O God; for the waters are come in upon my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 204 Let not the water-flood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me (Ps. lxix. 1, 2, 14, 15).

Knowledges misapplied, tossed about by wild frenzy, make false principles, terrible is proportion to the energy with which they are enforced; and when secretly impelled from the powers of darkness, making a storm which can be hushed only by the voice of Him who, on the Sea of Galilee, said to the awful billows which threatened the little bark of the disciples with ruin, Peace, be still: and at once produced a calm.

When billows swell, and winds are high,

And clouds overcast my will try sky;

Out of the depths to thee Ill call,

And make Thy name of love my all.

Then, Lord, the pilots part perform,

And guide and guard me through the storm;

Defend me from each threatning ill,

Control the waves! say, Peace, be still.

The sea in a calm state is an emblem of the mind stored with knowledge, ruled by order, and enjoying peace. It is a grand sight to behold on a sunny day,--its surface, like an immeasurable mirror reflecting the sun, the bright and gorgeous clouds, and the calm blue depths of the sky. An invisible power moves the immense field of silvery waves with gentle regular swell, but it obeys no other force. Such is the well-stored good mans mind. It reflects the beauty of the Almighty and of heaven. It enjoys an unutterable calm, and moves only to the dictates of the inward law of love. Such are the minds of angels. Hence the Apostle John says, And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God (Rev. xv. 2).

Happy is the man whose stores of knowledge are transparent: who sees in all things earthly something heavenly: whose memory, filled with information from the Divine Word, perceives spiritual light and loveliness shining through it. He stands on the sea of glass. And if his soul is tuned as it ought to be, by love to praise, he will truly have a harp of God.

The sea, then, in its various moods, corresponds to knowledges accumulated in the mind, sometimes agitated by passion, at others ruled by peace. The fishes which swim in these waters are the definite scientific principles with which we penetrate the domains of knowledge and enjoy them.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 205 Clear scientific conceptions of religion are the fish of the waters of the sanctuary. And when we enjoy our researches into divine knowledge, when we have a living earnestness in it, coming again and again to the waters of divine truth, and delighting in them, our fish will multiply. Everything that liveth and moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and everything shall live whither the river cometh (Ezek. xlvii. 9). To have even his scientific thoughts made alive by the waters of the Gospel is the privilege of the true Christian. May it be ours.

The Philistines dwelt constantly by the sea, and they made a fish god. They were opposed to Israel, and strove from time to time to injure it. And are there no Philistines now? Are there not multitudes who are nominally in the Church, but who are strangers to its inner spirit? They busy themselves with the knowledge and science of religion, but never with its humility, its sacrifice of self, its love of goodness, purity, and virtue. Such persons cannot unite with others if there is any difference of opinion. They live upon hair-splitting. They will sacrifice all the sweetness of heavenly love, and all the uses of life, to convict any one of a mistake in doctrine or in science. The science of religion is their god, and they form themselves into its image. They have a fish god, and they become fish men. They will fight for an idea, or a creed, until all charity and good will towards others are completely sacrificed, and they breathe only persecution, revenge, and war. These are Philistines at the present day. They dwell only at the seaside of knowledge, and worship a fish. They become themselves, at last like a creed embodied, ready to do battle with all who do not bow down to their idol. Religion to them is a war-cry. They seek not to agree with others, but are diligent to discover a disagreement, that they may at once proceed to show their prowess, and defeat the unorthodox professor who has not ranged himself under their standard. These are the bitter adherents of faith only: the Philistines of modern Christendom. No matter that a Christian may worship Christ supremely; may forego his own will to Christs love; may strive to subdue his entire soul and life to the power and law of Christ, they ask only is he of the settled way of thinking with reference to some creed, or even crotchet which they have determined to be indispensable to salvation? if not, down with him;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 206 no quarter for him; no association with him: perpetual war. It is in this state of mind that sects and divisions originate. True religion is a law of love and life, and faith is only saving so far as it leads to amendment and sanctification of heart, and purity of conduct. But the Philistines deny this. They declare that unless a person takes their particular dogma or interpretation, there is not the slightest hope of salvation for him. Speak to them of loving God above all things, and they immediately suspect you are unsound; but it you proceed to intimate that our blessed Lord declared that whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets (Matt. vii. 12), they at once exclaim. it is meriting heaven by good works, and that is complete blasphemy. Believe or perish, is their one note. They do not mean believing in loving God above all things, and showing we believe by keeping His commandments, is St. John says (v. 2). They do not mean believing in loving our neighbor as ourselves, and showing we believe by working him no harm, but doing him all the good we can, for love worketh no ill to his neighbor, but love fulfilleth the law (Rom. xiii. 10). Not in believing anything of this does the faith of Philistines consist, but in believing some fancies of theirs about Adams sin being imputed to us, all mankind being condemned in Adam, and Christs righteousness being imputed to us the moment we believe it, and God accounting us white as snow, because Christs purity is reckoned to our credit. These things, say they, make saving faith which gives everlasting life in a moment. The belief in these things will save you, making you acceptable to God. It will create in you love to God, good works, grace, and every blessing. Such are the principles of the Philistines of the spirit, and wild waste indeed has been made by them in the Church of God. There is a plausibility to the natural man who holds back from the real work of the regenerate life, who clings to his inward evils, and wishes to gain heaven at the least possible expense, which makes the Philistines a worse than common foe. There is a power of bending the Scriptures to seem to favor this delusive dream of man being lost and saved by imputation, which makes the professors of it Goliath-like, presume upon their strength, and defy the armies of the living God. Yet nothing is more baseless than their whole system. And when it rears itself, giant as it looks, to oppose the real power of real religion, one smooth stone from the brook of Gods Word is competent to strike the giant to the earth.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 207 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them (John xiii. 17).

Having thus endeavored to describe the Philistines of the present day, we will now proceed to consider Samson as their opposer. He is the type of the Lord Jesus as a practical Savior. He came as the opponent of absolute and present sin, not to propound any strange and theoretic schemes, but to conquer hell then, to put down sin then, and to do this really and fully, and thus to be the spring of new power to all His people in the coming time; the Everlasting Father of the new age. Samson was a Nazarite from birth, not partaking of wine or anything from the vine. He also, according to angelic direction, preserved his hair from being cut. Both these particulars indicate the practical feature of the Saviors character. Abstinence from the vine and its product is representative of abstinence in His practical life of all help from faith: He acted from good itself. He did good, because He loved good; not for the sake of the distant rewards which faith proposes, but for the sake of the present excellence inherent in goodness. He borrowed nothing from the vine. His uncut hair was the emblem in Samson of truth in the lowest externals of life. Truth in word and work is symbolized by hair, hence the hair of the risen Savior is described as white like wool, as white as snow. When the prophet is derided as merely helpless and unable to be of any service, he is addressed with the opprobrious expressions, Go up, thou bald head: go up, thou bald head. Truth to be powerful must be truth seen clearly even in the letter; not mere mental truth. And to represent this in Samson, his hair was not to be cut.

Of the fallen Jewish Church it is said, Instead of well-set hair there should be baldness, indicative of the want of external truth and truthfulness among them. The prophets wore hairy clothes as an indication of the truth which they were to utter even to the lowest apprehensions of men. Elijah is called a hairy man (2 Kings i. 18). Esau is especially mentioned as a hairy man; and, to obtain the full benefit of his brothers birthright, Jacob covered his hands and neck so as to make them hairy. This, like the history of Abraham, was an allegory. These two men represent the two principles of the mind, the will, and the intellect. The will, slow to be regenerated, and heedless of its immortal birthright for heaven;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 208 the intellect, capable of being led by faith, winning the inheritance, and leading his external life into order from duty, until the heart renewed resumes its proper government at last, and Esau regains his birthright, and breaks his brothers yoke from off his neck (Gen. xxvii. 40). Samsons strength lay in his hair. The strength of truth is always in its ultimates when seen in harmony with its spirit. When a person sees a principle interiorly, and then can impress it with a Thus saith the Lord, he is invincible. When the true thoughts of a Christian are expressed in true and simple words, they are felt to be powerful. They are, in fact, sure to triumph in the end. Truth goes furthest. Truth lasts longest. Truth is great and will prevail. These are proverbs furnished by the experience of mankind; and, to represent the power of truth in word and work, Samsons strength was in his hair. The whole cunning of falsehood is applied to prevent persons seeing the truth, conscious that, if seen, it will prevail. Let it come out so as to manifest the spirits hair, and it will certainly prevail.

Samson resolved to take a wife of the daughters of the Philistines, which much pained his father and mother, who knew not that it was of the Lord, and that an occasion was sought against the Philistines. The Son, the Divine Samson took into His human nature the imperfections and tendencies to evil of the whole human race. The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa. liii. 6). The affection for a spurious religion, which is one part of the iniquity of us all, is represented by a woman of the daughters of the Philistines. How contrary to His Divine Love and Wisdom it was that He should associate Himself to our fallen states, is intimated by the complaint of Samsons father and mother: Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? (ver. 3). But Samson persisted. He saw that the result would be the overthrow of the Philistines. The Lord condescended to cloth Himself in our unsanctified and imperfect nature, and at what an expense to His infinite purity we can but faintly conceive. He humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven (Ps. cxiii. 6). The heavens are not clean in His sight (Job xv. 15). To take, then, not our nature purified as the angels have it, but as men had it, even the seed of Abraham (Heb. ii. 16), this is persistence for the sake of love. This was condescension. To take on Him our infirmities, that He might have a feeling of our infirmities (Heb. iv. 15).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 209 To receive into His humanity our infirmities, that He might be tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin (Heb. iv. 15). To come into the region where men were, and even where infernals were, that He might triumph over the latter, and save the former: this was the wondrous mercy of the Most High in assuming our nature, and this was indicated by Samsons connections with the Philistines. What Samson did literally, of course only occurred mentally in the temptations of the Lord. When Samson went down to Timnath in Philistia, and came to the vineyards, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid.

Samsons going down to take his betrothed, and prepare her to become a wife, will represent the Lords exploration of His human nature, and the preparation for its glorification and full union with Himself In doing this the lion roared at Samson, to represent the opposition to the Lords redemption of our nature and of this world, made by the powers of darkness here effigied by this lion. The lion is the symbol of couragethe courage of those who are bold for the truth in a good sense--of those bold for falsehood, when, as here, the evil are described. In saving men, the Lord had first to put down the power of infernal spirits. The lion roared on Samson when he was at the vineyards, and before he got to the house of the woman he desired. So was it with the Lord. Before He could begin to save men from their sins, it was essential that He should overthrow that terrible power which held them inwardly ill bondage. This is the lion prefigured in the one before us, and referred to in more places in the sacred Scriptures. Peter says, Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devor (1 Peter v. 8). By the devil is not meant any one great evil spirit, but the concentrated force of a multitude is personified and represented in one. Jesus said to the evil power infesting the poor man among the tombs, What is THY name? And he answered, saying, My name is legion: for we are many (Mark v. 9).

In the Book of Psalms, where the Lord is represented by David, His sorrows and struggles with the powers of evil are oftened portrayed in a most vivid and touching manner, the lion is often referred to as the type of the infernal powers. In the twenty-second Psalm, which is applied to the Lords sufferings by His own use of the commencing words on the cross, it is said, They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion (v. 13).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 210 Save me from the lions mouth, for Thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns (v. 21). My soul is among lions, and I lie even among them that are set on fire; the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword (Ps. lvii. 4). Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder; the young lion and the dragon thou shalt trample under foot (Ps. xci. 13). In these, and many more passages, it is evident that by lion and young lion are meant those terrible powers from which the Lord came to redeem man, and with whom He fought. They assailed Him. The young lion roared. But not now having a feeble man to contend with, but a Divine man the power which overthrew the hells is represented by Samsons tearing the lion as he would a kid. The omnipotence wielded by the Lord Jesus effected the overthrow of the infernal societies in the world of spirits, which had held the minds of men in bondage. Thus was the lion slain. This work of conquering hell in the invisible world is often passed by unnoticed by those who read the Psalms and the Gospels, where they are frequently adverted to, and strikingly announced, because there is now but little known of the world of spirits and its close connection with this. Yet the Lord is there manifestly described as effecting a judgment in that world at the time when He was among men. There is a striking instance in Luke: And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan like lightning fall from heaven. Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you (chap. x. 17-19). Here manifestly the subjugation of infernal spirits is declared, and the result to be a conveyance of hew power to man on earth. All societies in this world should be regarded as associated with spirits in the world of mind, with such as are mentally nearest like themselves. And when the world has been long pursuing a certain system or dispensation, those who quit this world with that system interwoven with all their affections, sentiments and habits, go to strengthen the sphere and the power of such as favor that system; and hence its influence in this world on the minds of men becomes more rooted and riveted, and so it continues until the Lord judges it, and thus provides for a change.

The condition of the spirit-world, as a leading element in the condition of this, is commonly overlooked;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 211 yet in the economy and arrangements of the Divine government it cannot be, and is not disregarded. All the great movements of the outer world have their roots in the inner one; and the only way to improve society on earth is, first, to clear the spirit-world of those from whom old and corrupt influences have come. When the Lord was upon earth, He announced, Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me (John xii. 31, 32). Men could not be drawn to the Lord so long as all awful inner world of corrupt spirits, the accumulations of ages, were interposed as ruling influencing powers between mankind and Himself. When the prince of this world was cast out, then men could really in spirit be drawn to their Lord. To put down the powers of darkness, then, was to lay the axe to the root of the upas-tree of falsehood and sin, and branches would wither and die, making room for the mustard seed of true religion to be sown, which would in its turn become a great tree, and protect all who seek to grow in the love to God and one another. This meeting of the powers of good and evil in the spirit world, and at the end of an age or dispensation, the descent of the Lord into that world to judgment, should ever be borne in mind by every one who will under-stand those cycles in which the great progressions of society move. For hundreds of years mankind go on in the same beaten track, only deepening and widening the extent. No effort to change the march of events does anything but crush the daring protester against, it may be, some preposterous popular superstitions. He testifies against the Juggernaut of the age, but he sinks beneath its wheel. The time for judgment and changes has not come. At length there is a consummation of folly and iniquity brought about. A false system has fully worked itself out. There is a ripening in rottenness. A prophet comes and speaks heroic soul-elevating truths. Men feel their souls at the same time unwontedly free and buoyant. They loathe the old tyranny. They feel the light and the new air of heaven playing around their souls, and they gather round the new standard. A new dispensation has begun.

Such is the groundwork and rationale of all those epidemic movements by which the face of society is changed. A judgment and clearance are effected in the mind-world, and the result of the spiritual heavy clouds being dispersed in the freshness, the light, and the beauty of a mental spring for this world. All thoughtful persons look for judgment at the end of a dispensation of things, but they look for it to happen in the wrong world.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 212 It is appointed for men once to die, and after death the judgment. All great judgments upon ages, like individual judgments upon persons, take place after death. Unless the corrupt adherents of an old dead age are removed from the world where they can still influence this, and bar the road to progress, no new start call be made. They are sensible of this. They resist their removal. They war against the Divine Samson, but in vain. He tears them as if they were a kid, though there is nothing in His hand. Divine Omnipotence, acting through the humanity of the great Savior, broke down the power of the infernals, and thus effected the deliverance of the human race. Expressed in the language of the prophet, He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him, and His righteousness it sustained Him (Isa. lix. 16). No power but that of God Himself could have effected man s redemption; but His love is as great as His power, and therefore He became our Savior. I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with Me; for I will tread them in Mine anger, and trample them in My fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My raiment (Isa. lxiii. 3). The lion roared at Samson when he was at the vineyards. The Lord is said to have trodden the winepress alone. The vineyards signify the Church. There, spiritually either the good or the bad vines grow. When society has gone wrong, it is the Church which has first gone wrong.

       When nations are to perish in their sins,

       Tis in the Church the leprosy begins:

       The priest, whose office is with zeal sincere

       To watch the fountain and to keep it clear,

       Carelessly nods, and sleeps upon the brink,

       While others poison what the flock should drink;

       Or waking at the call of lust alone,

       Infuses lies and errors of his own:

       His unsuspecting sheep believe it pure,

       And, tainted by the very means of cure,

       Catch from each other a contagious spot,

       The foul forerunner of a general rot.

Every judgment, therefore, begins at the Church. The spirits connected with a false Church are the lion which roars at the vineyards. The Divine Redeemer and Judge explores the inward motive of all opposers. He brings the most secret disposition to light. This is called treading the winepress.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 213 By this means, as the juice is separated from the husk, so is the inward essence of the soul separated from its outward seeming. The books of mens souls are opened. The self-seeker, the power-seeker, are unmasked, and multitudes who have kept up a semblance of piety are unveiled, and shown in the light of heaven to be only fit for the abodes of the perseveringly wicked. In the world of spirits are gathered multitudes of covered hypocrites, who, when unveiled, are shown to be monsters of iniquity; there are also great numbers who have been deluded by such sanctimonious impostors, who cannot be entirely freed from their influence after death, until the time of judgment and exposure comes. These are inwardly good persons, who have been taught the general prevalent errors, and have regulated their lives and motives even by them. They are watched over, and cared for by the Lord, but cannot be fully delivered until the time of judgment. These were they whom Peter says the Lord visited when He was dead as to the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who sometimes were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah (1 Pet. iii. 18-20). These were the captivity whom the Lord led captive when the everlasting doors were opened to receive Him (Eph. iv. 8). These were the prey which were taken from the mighty, the lawful captives which were delivered when Jehovah became our Savior and Redeemer (Isa. xlix. 24, 25). They were taken, as it were, from the very jaws of the lion, and saved with an everlasting salvation. Although these truths were well known in the early days of Christianity, they have become almost forgotten amongst so-called Christians at the present day, who suppose that the whole of redemption consisted in the death of the Lord, to satisfy the demands of another Divine Being. They know scarcely anything of His struggle with and overthrow of infernal spirits, and the deliverance of myriads of the good who had been held in bondage. They know little, indeed, of His destroying, by His death, him that had the power of death, even the devil (Heb. ii. 14); of His being manifested to destroy the works of the devil (1 John iii. 8). The victories which made heaven ring again with holy and triumphant exultation are almost ignored among men, because the Church has so sunk into ignorance of spiritual things and the spiritual world, that the Scriptures on such subjects have become unintelligible.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 214 Let them, however, be faithfully consulted, and me shall then learn that redemption was not effected by the pain inflicted on one Divine Person, to appease the wrath or justice of another but that it was the work of one Divine Person, besides whom there is no other to bring the universe once more into order, by vanquishing the powers of hell in both the invisible and the visible worlds. And He did it. And the heavens rejoiced over it. Their glorious companies were increased by countless multitudes. Hence it is written I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee. Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel (Isa. xliv. 22, 23).

In its most extensive signification, we can now see what is involved in this Divine Riddle: Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness (Judges xiv. 14). For the eater or devourer is a most appropriate term to express the terrible character of those infernals who, being frill of self-love, seek only to devor, or to reduce to their own selfish ends, the property, the power, and the comforts of all others. They are strong from the false principles with which they envelop themselves. But where the devourers and the strong had raged and reigned, there the Lord had triumphed, and constituted His new heaven of redeemed ones. Their joys are signified by the honey formed in the carcass of the dead lion. Samson partook of this honey to intimate that the Lord rejoices with His people. It is meat and drink to Him when man is happy. It was to represent the divine sympathy and joy with His people after redemption, that He said, on His appearance to His disciples, when they were fishing, after His resurrection, Have ye here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and a honeycomb, and He did eat before them? (Luke xxiv. 41-43) The broiled fish and honeycomb were not only real but symbolic. They signified the true thoughts and sweet delights which His people could now enjoy; and His Divine joy with them and in them. What is meat to them is meat to Him. His joy is in them, and their joy is full. When the lion was slain, a swarm of bees formed in his carcass, and Samson ate of the honey, and gave his father and his mother some. When hell was conquered, and the redeemed were constituted into a new heaven, like a swarm of happy bees ministering to each others happiness, the Lord rejoiced with them: His Divine love, His Father, was satisfied, and heaven and the Church as a mother rejoiced also.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 215 He ate, and gave His Father and His Mother some.

But let us now make a more individual application of this Divine riddle. Every man must follow the Lord in the regeneration, or he cannot enter into His joys. No cross, no crown; no labor, no triumph; is the law both of nature and of grace. We become strong not from our own strength, but as the Apostle said, I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. Though ourselves the veriest weakness, through the Saviors hell., we become real Samsons, mighty to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. x. 4, 5). But this power is given from the Lord in proportion as we are thoroughly dedicated to God, and thoroughly trained to be virtuous and truthful in all our matters. Our inward convictions should be suffered to come out in words and works. We should let our spiritual hair grow. Or in other words, not shape our outer life to the fashions of a hypocritical world, but speak the truth and do it.

Let us heed so reasonings that would slacken our efforts for self-conquest--for imitation of our Savior--for devotion to His laws. By His might we shall conquer, and me shall enter into His joy. The lion roars. Gods law is a terrible thing. It is a flood to drawn you. It is a park of artillery, every gull trouble-shotted. It is a fire to destroy you. It is a judge to condemn you. It is awful to think of the law. But the Samson-like soul looks up at this wild rage, at the merciful rules of the God of love, and hears, as if from a seraphs silver voice, The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb (Psalm xix. 7-10). The young souls gathers courage; he determines to gird himself for the holy war with what is evil in him, to follow the Lord Jesus his Savior, to live the life of heaven upon earth, to be a real Christian, and to begin by putting down is himself all the opposing reasonings against the law of love and mercy, and the evil in which they originate.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 216 He sees it now as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places. His salvation depends upon crushing him. He looks to His Divine Savior and prays: Arise, O Lord, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, thy sword (Psalm xvii. 12, 13). He sets his love upon the Lord, and he treads upon the lion and the adder in his soul, and goes on his way rejoicing.

Now it is that, having resisted and conquered evil, he begins to feet the sweets of heavenly goodness. In grace, as in nature, there is no vacuum. When darkness is expelled, light enters; when evil with its misery is overcome, goodness with its joy is present; when hell with its attendant demons is driven from us, heaven with its angels encompasses us with songs of deliverance. The joy of conquered sin, the feeling that we have begun to live for heaven, and have already subdued many obstacles, is beyond all description. It is the hidden manna which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Man eats angels food. The meat of heavenly goodness is partaken of, the sweetness of heavenly truth is experienced. We rejoice in ourselves, we rejoice with the Lord, we rejoice with the Church in heaven and on earth. We eat the honey, and give our Father and our Mother some. Our life is gilded with a new glory, never felt before. The world seems radiating with heaven. Old things have passed away, all things have become new. All our thoughts, like busy bees, are full of projects for the good of all around us, and each one brings its sweetness, each makes its honey. We find that in doing the commandments there is great reward. Great peace have they that love Thy law. Conquered evil has given us meat: conquered falsehood has given us sweetness.

Oh, if men would only learn the blessedness of conquering themselves, what rapture would be experienced even here. If the ambitious man would overcome his ambition--that restless, craving, insatiable monster, which cares neither for slaughtered millions nor ruined nations, so that its vain dreams may be carried out--what peace he would have within. How great would be his felicity, while he felt himself firm on the truthful Rock of ages; abiding in the protection of the holy and true One. His soul shining with the pearls of imperishable beauty; clothed with the garments of salvation; feeling his heart bum within him while his Savior talks with him by the way, and having around him countless opportunities of strengthening himself in angelic graces from day to day.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 217 And then before him glitters his everlasting home. There dwells the King in all his beauty. There are the hosts of the happy. There are all his present joys immensely increased, and there are also new joys and glories pet undreamt of. All things that delight the pure heart, all that can charm the pure thought, all that can bless every heightened sense, are there; and these will increase in beauty and blessing for ever.

Such are the fruits of sin conquered. Out of the eater indeed comes forth meat: out of the strong indeed comes forth sweetness.

When lifes tempestuous storms are oer

How calm he meets the friendly shore,

       Who lived averse from sin!

Such peace on virtues path attends,

That where the sinners pleasure ends,

       The Christians joys begin.

See smiling patience smooth his brow I

See kindred angels downward bow,

       To lift his soul on high;

While eager for the blest abode,

He joins with them to praise his God,

       Who taught him how to die!





And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.1 SAM. xvi. 23.

WHO has not felt the power of music? There is undoubtedly a correspondence between its varied sounds and the affections of the heart. The soft voice of the mother soothes the infant on the breast. Music speaks a language understood by all, savage and civilized alike: alike in all countries and all dimes. The heart speaks by music; the intellect by words. Hence animals, since they have affections and desires, though far inferior in their nature and their number to those of man, are sensible to music. The sounds of fear scare them the sounds of hope and love attract them. The whole animated creation breathe their sorrows in plaintive tones, and their raptures spring forth in joyous song. Each living thing has its own notes to make its feelings understood; and man and commands the whole universe of song, because his nature is a miniature universe in itself. He has in his wonderful being an affection corresponding to that in each animal hence he can imitate their cries their songs: he has, besides, affections yearning after virtue, truth, wisdom, purity, peace, and all the sacred and sanctifying desires which attach him to immortal things; he can express all these therefore in music far surpassing that of all outward creation. He has a nobler nature than theirs, and therefore he can raise a nobler song. And when his purified affections shall pervade and hallow his whole being, and his spiritual body, made perfect by regeneration, shall express in its beautiful forms the holy character which is the likeness of his Lord, no doubt his speech will be most sweetly musical, and the voice, the liquid outpouring of the heart, will be equally adequate to whisper in luscious music its melodious delight, and to take part in the grand hallelujahs of heaven.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 219 The music of the heart will find its glowing expression in the music of the voice. And, although to limit the bliss of the blessed ones in heaven to the joys of singing and of prayer, is certainly a most narrow and insufficient conception of their countless and varied delights, for to do good must be a deeper source of rapture than to sing about it; yet, no doubt, the highest achievements of earth can give but a faint idea of the sublime anthems of heaven:--

There, love divine, that holy flame,

       Will all you powers employ;

To celebrate Jehovahs name,

       In sweetest songs of joy.

Music is in its very nature heavenly. Discord is infernal. Evil itself is a discord in the universe: its genuine utterances are all in harmonious: from the discordant roar of the battlefield, to the hiss-like whisper of secret sin, its whole real sounds are horrid. Harmony is from above, and is only prostituted when it is made to lend itself to cover vice. True, real music is the correspondence in the world of sound of true orderly affections, and invites us to realize what is noble and virtuous. Hence the evil spirit fled from Saul when Davids harp was heard.

Saul is the type of the external man. He represents man as he is by nature, partly good, partly bad, with many advantages of person: he was graceful and taller than any others of the children of Israel. He was possessed of rank, dignity, and command, yet he was not happy. He had become a king, had obtained great renown, and achieved over the enemies of his country decisive victories, but he was not happy. Like all who have not entered upon the struggle with selfishness, which is induced by true religion, he was jealous of the achievements of others. But the decisive trial of his life was the commission to go against Amalek. Samuel the prophet pointed out to him the requirement of heaven, that Amalek should be wholly destroyed, Saul only partially performed this duty, leaving the king Agag alive, and destroying only what was vile and refuse of the property of the Amalekites. From that time his throne became insecure, the spirit of the Lord departed from him, and an evil spirit troubled him. The spirit departed when Davids music was heard, on which the king was refreshed and was well: but in a short time he relapsed, and again the evil spirit was there.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 220 The king sunk from one trouble to another, until at length he is the correspondence in the world fell under the arrows of the Philistines and the thrust of an Amalekite, and lost at the same time both crown and life.

This history is typical of that of a large class of mankind. How many are there on whom lifes morning shines fair! They are blest with happy homes, with a goodly share of the advantages of life, beautiful in person, having a wide circle of friends, and the best prospects in life. All things seem to promise a happy future--a successful existence. Yet, like Saul, they sink into moroseness and misfortune; their after years go down in shade, and they die unhappily. How is this? The divine history before us is intended to open this mystery to us. They will not faithfully destroy Amalek, and especially its king: they will not obey the Lord in fighting against that interior opposition to Him which was represented by that deceitful, corrupt, and treacherous people. The war with Amalek is urged with terrible distinctness in the Divine Word: The Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah Nissi: for he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation (Exod. xvii. 14-16). The Amalekites were the first foes of the Israelites when they commenced their journey to Canaan; they were the most subtle and the most merciless. They were met with in the whole desert of the south and south-east, through which the Israelites had to pass, and were the most dangerous of their foes.

These resolute, constant, vindictive, and subtle enemies are the representatives of corrupt principles in the mind, equally obstinate, persevering, and subtle, which infest the spirit now; and to teach us that these must be overcome, and how they must be overcome, is the great lesson of the Bible, and the great lesson of life.

In the course of every individual life there are periods of struggle and trial. Duty and inclination are at variance. Religion says, Do right; self-interest urges, Do wrong. Innocence calls us to be pure; sensuality instigates to self-indulgence and pollution. Times come in which life and death, salvation, and everlasting ruin depend upon the result of the struggle. The Lord says, destroy Amalek utterly; root out all opposition to divine goodness and truth; spare no inclination which rises against the divine will,--no imagination which intrudes itself in the place of divine wisdom; destroy utterly the very purpose of resisting the commands of the Lord.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 221 However bitter it may seem, surrender for ever all desire of opposing the order and purity of heaven, especially the very essence of such desire--its king. If we do this truly, praying ardently to the Lord for help, resting open His Word, supporting our feeble strength by love and faith, we shall be like Moses when he sat upon the stone, with his arms supported by Aaron and Hur, and like him we shall be victorious over Amalek:--

When Moses stood with arms stretched wide,

Success was found on Israels side;

But when through weariness they railed,

That moment Amalek prevailed.

If, on the contrary, we make reserves; if we cannot submit some darling sin, some dear indulgence, some secret lawless delight, to the divine authority, we are like Saul, preserving Agag. We are entering upon a downward course of secret disobedience, which will result in utter ruin. Our evil may seem to us delicate, as Agag appeared when called for by Samuel, but only one course is open to the true servant of the Lordwhatever is found to be really an enemy to God and goodness, must be utterly rooted out; Agag must be hewn in pieces before the Lord. Unless we do this, there is no real progress made in our regeneration. One of the most fertile sources of error in self-knowledge is this: me find we are not guilty of the same kind of sin as we condemn in our neighbor; we are not drunkards perhaps, we are not misers, we do not defraud any one of money in our dealings, and we conclude that we have nothing particular to blame and to change, although perhaps me may have other sills equally distant from the purity and the love of heaven; we are quite ready to condemn the vices to which we are not prone, but this darling sin of ours we cannot bear to have touched,--it is an Agag that moves delicately. But in such case we fail in the very testing point; we are unsound in the essential particular where we should have been faithful; and because all other evil persons do the same, the kingdom of darkness is peopled. Each persons reservation of his darling evil was portrayed in this divine representation of Sauls preserving Agag. Thousands like Saul are quite willing to offer burnt-offerings and sacrifices, but not willing implicitly to obey just where obedience is really wanted, and so they are ruined like Saul. Oh that they would learn the grand lesson given to the mistaken king by Samuel! Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 222 Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

The first consequence of Sauls want of obedience was, that he lost the spirit of the Lord, and an evil spirit took its place. And this opens to our consideration the important truth, presented to us, indeed, both by revelation and experience, that we are in daily connection with the spirit-world, as well as with the world of nature. Revelation familiarizes us with this great truth in all its pages. Angels are then regarded as ministering spirits to men from the cradle to the grave. Our Savior says of little children, Their angels do always behold the face of My Father, who is in heaven; and of the good poor man: The beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abrahams bosom. The angel of the Lord encampeth round them that fear Him, and delivereth them (Psalm xxxv. 7). He shall give His angels charge concerning thee, to keep thee in all thy ways (Psalm xci. 11): while the reverse of this is clearly brought before us in the history we are considering. The Spirit of the Lord departed, and the evil spirit came. What an important and interesting fact is thus intimated and pressed upon us! We stand between the powers of heaven and hell. We are companions of one or of the other, in proportion as we incline to good or evil, to vice and virtue. Angels woo us to heaves; fiends entice us downwards. Could we see these spiritual companions as they really are, surely we could not hesitate for a moment as to our choice and course. We should cling to our angelic friends and helpers; we should shrink from the impure monsters who have ruined themselves, and would fain ruin us. This doctrine of spiritual association is not only taught by the Scriptures, it is suggested and confirmed by reason and experience. All thoughts must come from minds; they are not wafted about like independent atoms in the air. Yet how often are suggestions received by us, both good and bad, which are not the results of previous trains of thought, which come upon us unexpectedly. They strike us we say. A good man is ever being struck with something better, wiser, and holier; a bad man has opened to him deeper depths of guilt and sin, greater ingenuities of mischief, more awful mysteries of iniquity. The good ascend, assisted by their angelic guardian friends, up to the higher degrees of wisdom and goodness, the ladder which leads to heaven; the wicked sink by degrees of vice and impurity, changing the evil spirit of their early disobedience to the seven others more wicked than he, which make their last state worse than their first.



Oh, that this truth were known and felt! Did we fully rest convinced that we were indeed the companions of angels or devils, as we are the followers of virtue and vice, what an importance would be given to our every act. The triumphant villain, who exults over his successful crime, would probably feel little pleasure with his victory could he perceive the demons who are raising their jeers of malignant pleasure over him,--could he see them, as he one day will, glad that the tares they solved in his mind were fondly valued as his own, instead of being recognized and rejected at once as the work of his bitter foes. A large portion of the circumstances, not only of individual, but of general, human life would be much better understood if the companionship of man with spirits were more fully known and admitted. Strange epidemics set in upon mankind, and multitudes are affected with extraordinary manias, from which at other times they would shudder. They dance wildly, like the Jumpers in Wales, they contort themselves strangely; they shriek out unknown tongues like the Irvingites and Mormons, they rush and tremble; and all who come within their sphere are strongly affected to do the same extravagant things. They lash themselves perhaps till blood comes, like the Dominicans in the middle ages. The common sense of mankind stands aghast; but could we see their spiritual associates we should behold some demoniac crew urging them to these absurd and frantic excesses. After a time the mania ceases and peace ensues. The storm subsides, the spirit-atmosphere is stilled, and all is well. The explanation of all this is, that some portions of mankind have brought themselves into such a state, that a certain class of evil spirits could more fully operate into them than usual, and these frenzied outbursts have been the result. Some wild hell has opened to them, and the awful delusions that prevail there have rushed out and affected mankind in a similar manner, who, for want of a knowledge of the spirit-land, have taken these blasts from hell for airs from heaven. The tumult has continued until, from the same voice which hushed the stormy waters of Galilee, the fiat goes forth, Peace, be still; with authority He commandeth the unclean spirits, and they obey Him (Mark i. 27). He only half understands the influences which act upon man, who regards only his body-side. The influences which affect him most potently, come to him through his spirit. So is it with the world.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 224 Its great soul is the spirit-world; all its great movements are from thence, and when it is greatly wrong, it is because the spirit-world has become crowded with corruptions from degenerate multitudes pouring into it from fallen churches, and to change the current of wrong, it is needful that judgment should be effected there: that the spirit-world should be cleared, and He who sits upon the. throne should say, Behold, I make all things new (Rev. xxi. 5). Then the world, freed from its incubus, leaps forth on a new career of liberty, light, benevolence, virtue, science, improvement of every kind, and a new church begins. Hence the Scriptures always precede the account of a new dispensation upon earth, by a description of judgment in the spiritual sphere of things. Now is the judgment of this world, said the Lord: now the prince of this world is cast out (John xii. 31). Again, I believe Satan like lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.

This subject, however, we cannot now pursue; yet it is full of interest and importance. The world has its times when the spirit of the Lord departs from it, or rather, is excluded from it, and evil spirits trouble it, as they troubled Saul. The evil spirit is said to be sent from God, when the spirit of the Lord departed. And it may, at first sight, seem strange that the evil spirit, as well as the good, should come from the Divine Being. But we must remember that He is the Governor of the universe. All things are under His control, either by ordination or by permission. All good He ordains and provides. Evil He only permits, and He so arranges that the least possible amount of misery takes place. Among the arrangements of His Providence, it is one, that when a man himself chooses evil, spirits who are in that same evil are permitted to associate with him. In this way, by their suggestions, which he call reject if he pleases, he can see the vile character of the principles which he has adopted, and shun them. He is also in less danger of mixing good and evil together, and thus sinking into the worst possible state of guilt, than if he had good angels only for his constant associates. Hence, in the same way as the Lord said to the evil spirit who had been cast out of the man among the tombs, and entreated to go into the swine, Go, giving them permission to do that which they desired, so in the present instance the evil spirit is said to be front God, because from mercy the Lord permits such spirits to come to those who cannot bear the presence of the good.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 225 Let us now, however, return to the unhappy king.

When he felt his soul disturbed by this unwonted influence, his advisors counseled him to obtain one who could play well upon the harp, and while the music fell softly on his soul, a change of state would be induced, the evil spirit would depart, and the king would recover (ver. 16). In this, they were guided, no doubt, by the Divine Wisdom. Perhaps, also, some lingering remains of the knowledge of correspondences disposed all the parties to acquiesce in this dictate from heaven. For to play upon the harp, was precisely what was wanted to dispel the moody discontent of the king, according to the science of correspondences. Saul had come into his sad condition from sympathy with Amalek, and having spared its king, Agag. Amalek sprang indirectly from Abraham, being a grandson of Isaac, through the marriage of a son of Esau, Eliphaz, with a concubine, Timna. (Gen. xxxvi. 12). He represents, therefore, those who have an utter aversion to the work of regeneration, or a progressive preparation for heaven, founded upon false and gloomy ideas of faith. They picture to themselves a religion full of melancholy, gloom, and painful sacrifice. They think of God, not as a Divine Father, Savior, and Friend, but as a Monarch infinitely powerful, and unalterably rigid. Theirs is the religion of fear, terror, and dislike. They suppose they must submit to it some time, but they will defer it as long as they can. Such are they who are spiritually under the Amalekitish influence, and whom Saul sparing Agag symbolized.

Some years ago, in conversation with a friend, himself a Calvinist, a miserable-looking man passed us, clothed in rags. My friend remarked, There goes a true Antinomian, an old miscreant who has killed his wife, ruined his children, thrown away by drunkenness and beastliness all his chances in life, and made himself the poor creature you see. But he says it is not his fault. If God wants him to turn, He must turn him, he cant turn himself. He is what God made him, and when God wants him otherwise, He must make him that. Such is an Amalekite, with an aversion to all that is good, fostered by a perversion of a few truths, and a hatred of all the rest.

Poor infatuated men! they are far from being what God made them. He made them with so much of heaven in them, that He can say over the little ones, as He did in the days of His flesh, Of such is the kingdom of God.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 226 It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. He has given to every man the germ of an angelic state, to combat his fallen nature. He has given His angels charge over every child. He has given His Word, and His Church upon earth, with all its varied forms, to suit every state under which humanity exists. His truth comes to every man, in some form or other, and if a man will improve the little he understands, by using it to purify his heart and life, more and higher truth will be given him. Nothing is wanting on Gods part; He is Love itself, only let man be true, and strive to be good, and power will be given him, and he will walk the courts of heaven. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

When ally one is forgetful of these things, and sinks into melancholy, despair, and abhorrence of religion, the divine method of cure is indicated by Davids playing upon the harp.

All music, as we have before observed, corresponds to the harmonies of the soul. The music of wind instruments, as flowing directly from the performer, corresponds to the play of the affections and their delights. This music is the sweetest, and the most energetic. Who that has listened to the tender warbling of the flute, has not felt its sweet discourse awakening the very soul of harmony within? Or, if manly and great emotions need to be evoked, what is there so potent as the trumpet? Its tones go to the heart direct. And when Divine Wisdom is describing those appeals to a man which are intended to touch his affections, the prophet is described as one playing on such an instrument as in the prophecy of Ezekiel, And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; for they hear thy words, but they do them not (xxxiii. 32). The Lord describes the states of those He addressed in a similar manner. Whereunto shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? They are like children sitting in the market place, and calling one to another and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not wept (Luke vii. 31, 32). Divine Mercy is ever piping unto us, giving us the sweetest invitations to happiness and to heaven. But it is often true now as it was then, we have not danced. We are dull, and cold, and heedless. Divine Mercy mourns at our inattention, but we ourselves are unconcerned; we have not wept. Oh! if we knew our true interests, the bare possibility of being excluded from heaven would induce tears of bitterest agony;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 227 while the welcome invitations of Divine Love would make us indeed dance with delight. Let us, my beloved hearers, listen with joy to the heavenly messages here, and at last it will be our exulting portion to hear, as John did, a voice from heaven, as of a trumpet, saying to us, Come up hither.

The harp is a stringed instrument, and being played with the fingers, its music expresses more of the precision of the intellect, than of the fullness of the heart. The understanding, animated by the love of truth, is like the golden frame of the harp, the spiritual truths of religion are its strings, and praise to the Lord and hope and joy for man are its music. From this representative character of the harp, it comes Lo be so often mentioned in the Psalms, and we are called upon so frequently to praise the Lord upon the harp: Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God, my God (Psalm xliii. 3, 4). O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory. Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early (Psalm cviii. 1, 2). Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp and the voice of a psalm (Psalm xcviii. 5). In the seventy-first Psalm, the stringed instruments as representatives of the truths of heaven in the mind are mentioned. I will praise Thee with the psaltery, even Thy truth, O my God: unto Thee will I sing with the harp, O Thou holy one of Israel. The psaltery was a kind of harp, and yet it is described as Thy truth, O my God. And when we regard the soul well furnished with heavenly truths, a soul tuned to praise as a holy harp sometimes swept by angel fingers, and filling the mind with joy and gladness, we shall see that all may praise the Holy One upon the harp.

In the eternal world, where all the principles and states of the inhabitants are expressed by the objects around them, and what is seen is the outbirth and index of what is not seen, the music of the angels fell upon the rapt ear of the prophet-apostle John, as the voice of great thunder, and the voice of harpers harping with their harps (Rev. xiv. 2). And when he observed the heavenly minstrels nearer, he says, I saw as it were a sea of glass, mingled with fire, and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God (Rev. xv. 2). The sea of glass expresses the transparent clearness of their knowledge, the fire the holy glow of their love, while the harps of God are expressive of their glorious intellects tuned to praise.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 228 Each victorious saint has a harp of gold. He has fought the good fight, and obtained the victory over evil and falsehood within and without; the beast and his image, the mark and the number; and now with all the truths of heaven acquired, and seen, and felt, the soul pours out its joys is praise. They have the harps of God. There is no music produced which is not the outbirth of inward feeling. The harp is of gold. The spirit of God flows through the angelic soul which is already an inward harp, and produces a harp for the hand. It is the harp of God. It will pour forth celestial music, and that music is the genuine utterance of the joys within.       It is the harp of God. We may regard the grand truths of religion as the strings of this spiritual harp. We look around upon the glories of creation on earth and in heaven, and we see love and wisdom reflected everywhere. This world of ours What a scene it is of beauty and of blessing. The grand and glassy ocean, which, like a boundless mirror, images the deep blue sky, the glowing sun, the silvery moon, and the ever-moving panorama of cloud and star; the green carpeted earth, the infinitely varied loveliness of the flowers, bedecking with living gems the land on every side; the flowering bushes, the stately trees with every shade of foliage, waving their majestic heads in luxury of life, and ever rising higher to the light; while over all, the magnificent arch which cover; in this palace of our God, in the still cerulean hue of day, and the brilliant blaze of golden grandeur in the night; ever suggesting infinitudes of solemn majesty, order, mercy, and peace, constitute a whole, opening out the heart to adoration, love, and praise. But this world, this system of stars and worlds, is but the spangled robing of an inner and a higher. It is but the nursery of the universe, where our heavenly Father schools his children, and though furnished with objects to train us for the higher life they all are plainly made, as becomes our early schoolhouse. We are the bark of the universe, and from our rough covering can only faintly guess the glories which are within. We live on the threshold of the kings palace, and though the ornaments here are beautiful, what are they to the state apartments of the King of kings? All the glories of this universe, heightened ten thousand times, will fail to give us an ad equate idea of the inner chambers of our Fathers house.

For if the outwards of our God

       Be so immensely grand;

What is His own divine abode,

       Where waiting angels stand?



But if we can only faintly conceive and sketch the riches of our Creators beneficence, we can appreciate enough to place the first string harp, and summon every power of the soul to praise and adore Him for His goodness. Let this be the first note of our music, Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men (Psalm cvii. 8).

But, while we adore the Lord as our Creator, we cannot but remember that our creation would have largely failed in its grand object,--the formation of an ever-increasing heaven from the human race, had it not been for our redemption. Better for us had we never been born, than to be born unredeemed bond-slaves of infernals. When, therefore, we had sunk where no finite hand could savingly reach us, our Father became our Redeemer. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him: and His righteousness, it sustained Him (Isa. lix. 16). In His love and in His pity He redeemed us. Shall we not therefore put a string to our spirits harp to celebrate redemption? Call any be too high to raise to celebrate the Infinite Mercy, which bowed the heavens, and came down and brought God in Christ to reconcile the world to Himself to live, to die, and to rise again, that we might be rescued and happy.

O for a seraphs golden lyre,

With chords of light and tones of fire,

       To sing Jehovahs love;

To tell redemptions wondrous plan,

How God descended down to man,

       That man might rise above.

And shall our harp have not another string to tell the mercies of our Regenerator? Can we look back to the events of our individual lives, and not desire to bless the mercy which has watched over our every hour? Have not goodness and mercy followed us every day? Have we not been saved when we were reckless, spared when we were guilty, encouraged when we were despairing, cheered when we were languishing, strengthened when we were weak, enlightened when we were dark, comforted when we were sad, and blessed with ten thousand mercies, and shall not our harp have a string to record all this? Oh yes! every moment has had its mercy, and shall have its praise. We have been blessed in our health and our strength, in our powers of body, and in our faculties of mind;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 230 we have been blessed in our opportunities of improvement, and in the struggles of temptation; we have been blessed in the Word, and in the power to perceive its strength, its salvation, and its beauty; we have been blessed in our victories past, and confiding in His help in all our life to come, and in our death our harp shall still tremble with His praise,--

       Bless, bless His name.

We might go on with fresh strings to our harp, with fresh truths to celebrate the mercies of our Lord. The Psalmist mentions an instrument of ten strings (Psalm cxliv. 9); and possibly when the ten commandments are represented as the holy laws of love, and when we gratefully revere them, and keep them in the spirit and in the letter, they will form for us such an instrument from which the spirits music may ascend, and be welcomed by Him who upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down (Psalm cxlv. 14).

Such is the correspondence of Davids harp. David himself is the type of the spiritual man, and, in the highest sense, of the Lord, of the divine king of Israel. We wish now, however, not to distract your attention, and confine ourselves therefore to the application of the passage to man. Saul is the representative of the natural man disturbed by evil influences under the operation of evil spirits, to whom he has laid himself open. David represents the spiritual man with his grateful and cultivated intellect. Saul is troubled with discontent, with distaste for the things of heaven, with ill-humor, with melancholy, with gloom at the present, and with a fearful looking forward to judgment. But David is brought forward: his better man is brought to view; he has his harp with him; he touches its various strings; it speaks of gratitude to the Lord as our Father, our Savior, and Friend; the sweet notes swell with adoration, love, praise, and hope, and as the music rises, the discontent and gloom give way, and Saul is refreshed and is well.

To teach this lesson, it was, that in the time of types and shadows with the Jewish nation, this event took place, and was recorded in the Word of God.

Are we not all occasionally like Saul, my beloved hearers? Do we not all at times hesitate to sacrifice some principle which, like Agag the Amalekite, is an enemy to our true progress, and watches our weak moments to betray us? Oh, let us be faithful! Whatever the Word, our Samuel in these days, says destroy, let us fearlessly extirpate.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 231 But if from our weakness, and our wickedness, we have compelled our good angels to depart, and the evil ones come; if we are in trouble and dismay, fretful in ourselves, and discontented with all around us, let us be sure and call for David and his harp. Let our spiritual, our better nature, be brought forward; let the strings of the harp each be touched, and the music of the soul be heard; let our blessings be numbered with grateful hearts,--and rest assured the evil spirit will depart, and we shall be refreshed, and be well.

Sometimes we are discontented and churlish because some cherished plan of worldly success has failed,--some object upon which we had fixed our hearts has not fully realized our expectations, and the evil spirit troubles us. But let Davids harp be heard. Let the earthly blessings even we enjoy be enumerated. Let us be reminded of what receive daily and hourly; of our health, whereas disease is possible at every point, from the head to the heel; of our food, of our clothes, of our domestic comforts; of our possession of sound faculties, bodily and mental; of our having the blessings and privileges of two worlds--the natural and the spiritual and if this string sound out in proper fullness, our discontent will disappear like a mote in the sunbeam, and we shall be refreshed well.

But, some one has been unkind, has spoken a harsh word, or treated us ill; and we resent, and we think we do well to be angry. Let the string of redemption be touched. What had become of man, if God had not been forgiving? Let it speak of Him who forgave His murderers; of Him who was reviled, but who reviled not again; who was led like a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. And from His life and from His cross let us learn to be patient, gentle, and forgiving. As God in Christ forgave us, let us forgive each other. Thus may we be led to realize those gracious words of His: Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great; and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind to the unthankful and to the evil (Luke vi. 35). He is kind to us, who have been so often forgetful of Him. Let us be kind to each other. Surely, while this sweet music is heard, the evil spirit will depart, and we shall be refreshed, and be well.

We are impatient, perhaps, at our spiritual progress. We thought we had been more advanced than we are. We think our trials have been long enough. We scarcely know what to make of ourselves.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 232 We find much which we thought we had finally discarded had only slumbered. We doubt much of our states, and are unhappy. Amalekites, which we thought were all subdued and expelled, have crossed our path again, and we find we have not been as faithful as we thought, and we are melancholy. Let the harp be struck again, and we shall hear its blessed notes. The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters: He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His names sake. Yea, though I walk though the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Ah no, we will neither complain, nor fear. The divine care has been sufficient for us thus far, and will surely be our safeguard onwards. We know not our precise position in the regenerate life, nor is it good for us to know. It is enough that the Lord invites us to cast our care upon Him. He has brought us through a thousand dangers, and He will not leave us now. He is too good to forsake us, too wise not to know what is best for us, and too powerful to be overcome. We will banish every fear, confide in the merciful care of our God and Savior, and do well the duty of today, ever mindful that sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. We will praise the Divine Goodness for all mercies past, and trust Him for every state to come. In all the changing scenes of life and death, our harp shall still tremble with His praise who brought us from darkness to His marvelous light, and we are assured will make us victorious at last. Thus shall our harp resound, like the golden harps of heaven, with--

Strains that hope and love impart,

Strains that chase away our fear,

Strains that elevate the heart.

Thus will the evil spirit assuredly depart, and we shall be refreshed, and be well.

All experience teaches that there will be times of mourning and depression for all. Sorrow is induced from outward and from inward causes.       Night follows day in the spiritual as well as in the natural world. Sometimes darkness is induced from outward afflictions, loss of health, loss of dear relatives, loss of property, and occasionally these come thickly upon the heels of each other; for sorrows, as well as joys, go in groups. These are not themselves temptations, but sometimes they are the occasions of very bitter temptations indeed.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 233 Discontent will set in upon the soul; a feeling that we are hardly dealt with, will deepen within us; and the gloom will thicken upon us even to despair. And in such nights how blessed is it to have the spirit furnished with a harp,a harp of God to cheer us! When we hear the divine counsel, Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast (Isa. xxvi. 20); how salutary is it in our loneliness to have a spiritual harp to cheer us, and to sing those songs of comfort which have been given to cheer us in our spiritual gloom. Thy statutes have been my songs which have been given in the house of my pilgrimage. I have remembered Thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept Thy law (Ps. cxix. 54, 55). To be furnished, then, with a spiritual harp,--to bring out its varied tones of gratitude and praise,to utter, from our depths of loneliness and sorrow, faith in our God, our Savior, and our Father, love still fondly clinging to Him, and to His divine law; a conviction that all His ways are right, and in due time we shall set and acknowledge their surpassing rectitude; a remembrance of past mercies, and a Job-like trust that at last our deliverer will appear and turn our mourning into joy; these and a thousand other topics will cheer our dark night, and help us to look forward to a coming morning, in which sorrow and sighing will flee away. Make, then, my beloved hearers, for each of you, a heavenly harp. String it with divine truths. Have it ready for tones of praise and adoration. Delight in acknowledging with thankfulness the blessings you daily receive. Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King. Sweet is the music of the soul when thus honoring and adoring the Giver of every blessing. But still sweeter are its tones in times of sorrow: the spirit needs it then. When fainting from fear, we exclaim, Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful unto me; for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. And if me do this, we shall find, though weeping endureth for a night, joy cometh in the morning. Our anguish will pass away, and the morning of a new state the beams of the sun of heaven will cleave through the gloom, and the murky shadows will disappear.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 234 Then can we take a joyful note once more, and sing, Awake up, my glory, awake psaltery and harp; I myself will awake early. I will praise Thee, O Lord, among the people; I will sing unto Thee among the nations. For Thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and Thy truth unto the clouds.

Thus shall we have the spirits music in joy and in sorrow. And the time will come when the shades of death will gather around us, and natures voice be altogether hushed. But when our ears no longer are sensible to the tones of earth, they will be all the more opened to the music of heaven. How delighted shall we be to catch its delicious sounds, and join our harp to theirs, while welcoming us to join their blessed company they lake as the burden of their hymn,--

Soldier of Christ, thy laurels wear,

       Thou hast the victory won;

Angelic blessings thou shalt share,

       Thy earthly work is done.

Come, join the burst of holy joy,

       Which through the heavens shall ring

O grave, Where is thy victory!

       O death, where is thy sting!





And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season: his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.PSALM i. 3.

THE Book of the Psalms is the Christians daily guide. There is state into which he may fall or rise but will be found to have been described and realized there. The changes of the soul are not treated as abstractions, but as real things. The spirit is shown laboring under guilt, and crying with agony for pardon and help, or as relieved and pouring itself forth in praise. A laying open of the varying conditions of the regenerate life, its cloud and sunshine, its pain and peace, its deep self-knowledge and self-condemnation, and its slowly returning consolation, all are displayed and unfolded in this Divine Book with living graphic force and truthfulness. Really spiritually-minded men, in all ages, have thankfully made the Psalms their daily manna of devotion, their heavenly daily bread. And in this they have done wisely. Suffer me to advise you, my beloved hearers, to do the same. He who resolves to let no day pass without reading and pondering upon some portion of these divine songs, will find them a comfort, a strength, and a blessing; a lamp unto his feet, and a light unto his eyes.

The Psalms open with the beautiful word Blessed. A word which is not only the first, but contains in itself the result to be realized at last. It is so placed as if to show us that the good mans regeneration begins from God and heaven within, and is brought out by his successive states until it spreads over his whole mind. He starts from blessed principles within, and he comes to blessedness in fullness. The first manifestation of the inner life, in the outer, consists in putting down evil there: it is negative.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 236 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. As he thus resists evil his delight in the truth increases. His delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. This meditation upon the Divine Word leads to growth in knowledge, perception, and wisdom. He becomes like a tree planted by the waters.

Before proceeding, we would here again call your attention to the correspondence of a tree, which we have given in previous discourses. It corresponds to the perception of truth in the mind. This perception grows from the slightest idea at first, until it acquires a lofty and all-protecting influence in the soul. From a seed it grows up to become a tree. A man perceives truth very slightly at first. He sees little of its nature and less of its application; but as he continues to be faithful to the commandments of his God, the truth becomes larger and nobler within him, until it covers his whole life. This was the correspondence of the tree when we treated of Eden; again, when we dwelt upon the parable of the trees choosing a king; and now it is the same in the spiritual sense of the Psalms. Such is the uniformity of the divine rule according to which the Word of God has been written, and by which its divine lessons can really be opened.

This same signification of tree continues through the Psalms, the prophets, and the New Testament. For, of course, David could have no other than this same spiritual use of tree when he said, I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever (Ps. iii. 8). Where it is most evident that the tree corresponds to something in man. In the ninety-second Psalm a very beautiful instance occurs of the correspondence of a tree. The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age: they shall be fat and flourishing: to show that the Lord is upright: He is my rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Here we have not only the spiritual likeness of man to a tree, but to different kinds of trees. He shall grow like a palm-tree; he shall grow like a cedar. The palm-tree representing mans growth in the perception of goodness; the cedar tree the increase of his perceptions of truth. A most important truth also is couched in the remark as to the place where the trees are to be planted.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 237 Those that be planted is the house of the Lord, or Jehovah, shall flourish in the courts of our God. The house of Jehovah means a state in which divine love bears rule. They who are planted in such a state flourish in the courts of divine truth, our God. The great secret why we often make little progress in the truth, is, that we do not cultivate the good. Let us seek daily to become more planted and rooted in love, and we shall find as the result that we shall flourish abundantly in more enlarged perceptions of the right and the beautiful. We shall know of the doctrine that it is of God. And we shall realize the declaration, they shall still bring forth fruit in old age: for the fruits of virtue and usefulness will be daily increasing, and their perfection advance as our progress in the regenerate life enables us to net from purer motives and greater faithfulness. And all our advancement will be an evidence of the constant goodness and wisdom of our Heavenly Father, from whom alone all good proceeds.

When we observe the correspondence of trees we shall perceive that the call for them to praise the Lord is something more definite than we might previously have thought. Praise ye the Lord, says the Psalmist, mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars (Ps. cxlviii. 9); where fruitful trees express truths for practice more especially, and all cedars, truths of expansive thought and enlarged ideas. There is a striking passage in Isaiah, which seems extremely obscure without the spiritual sense, but very striking with it. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil-tree: I will set in the desert the fir-tree, and the pine, and the box together: that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it (chap. xli. 19, 20). When we discern the correspondence of trees, we can perceive how the implantation of them in the wilderness and the desert can enable man to see, and know, and understand. Unless his perceptions of truth are opened and advanced, he must remain in spiritual darkness; but, in proportion as by study and reflection, from a sincere and earnest love of truth, he learns and meditates upon the divine lessons of the Word, his previously barren mind becomes furnished and beautiful as a garden of the Lord. The prophet Ezekiel has many striking instances of the spiritual correspondence of trees. There is one whole chapter, the thirty-first, devoted to it. In the seventeenth, too, there is a remarkable passage, which, without that, is difficult to be understood.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 238 Thus saith the Lord God; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it: I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon a high mountain and eminent: in the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar, and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell. And all the trees of the field shall know that the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it (ver. 22-24).

The highest branch of the high cedar is the perception of the Lord as a Divine Man. This, when seen in the intellect, and loved by a Supreme affection, is planted on the mountain of the height of Israel, and it makes all other perceptions of the mind. harmonious, expanded, and complete.

The most exalted view which reason can grasp is, that God is an infinitely glorious Divine Man. That He is infinitely all that a good and true man is finitely. That just as finite man impresses on all his works something which bespeaks the finite human character of the author, so in all His works the Creator has manifested a likeness to humanity, and most of all in immortal creatures who are images of Him. All things in the universe have a likeness to man. Men are universes in miniature. Men and the universe are types of each other, and the reason is, they both are outbirths from Him who is the infinite Divine Man. They resemble each other because they resemble Him. This truth. that God is a Divine Man, is the highest branch of the high cedar, and when it is transplanted into the Church, and loved there, when God is loved in the person of our Savior, the Lord Jesus, it brings forth boughs, and bears fruit, and is a goodly cedar. Under it dwells every noble, heavenly thought,--the fowls of every wing. A revolution takes place in all mans previous perceptions. Instead of regarding the Divine Being as a distant, awful, unfeeling power, He is adored as a loving Heavenly Father and Redeemer. Then the previous high tree is brought down, and the low tree is exalted; the previous green tree is dried up, and the dry tree is made to flourish.

The same correspondence of tree forms the basis of much of the teaching of the Divine Savior in the gospel. The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds:


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 239 but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof (Matt. xiii. 31, 32). The perception of man, that he was born for heaven, is the smallest of all the truths then perceived by the mind. But if united to love, if warm, like the mustard seed, it grows.       It becomes daily of more importance. It becomes more and more the all-pervading idea. We are more and more convinced that our business should be so carried on as not to peril our everlasting peace: our friends should be such as will assist us in our journey of life, so that we arrive at the goal of heavenly rest: our tempers should be moulded to the Christian pattern: our homes should be so ordered as to be a miniature heaven, and thus over every department of life, religion should put forth her branches, and cover, hallow, and protect the whole. Then has the mustard seed grown to become a large tree, and all the birds of heaven can make their nests in the shadow of it. This tree becomes so great, because in the seed there is contained the germs and elements of all true greatness. If we believe that man is born for heaven, there is involved in that the conviction of the existence of heaven, and all its laws of order and happiness. There is implied the Lord who reigns there, and all His divine excellencies and attributes; there is implied the regenerate life to fit man for heaven, and thus our redemption and liberty, our love, and faith, and virtue; all that is meant by religion is implied in this little seed. The kingdom of heaven is like unto it, and the kingdom of heaven is contained in it. O may we take it and plant it in the fields of our souls!

The use of the tree in the language of correspondence is very frequent indeed in the New Testament. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matt. vii. 17-20). The trees, undoubtedly, have relation to men.

The circumstance of the religious state in the soul being likened unto a tree, in its growth and gradual production, shews to the reflective mind how extremely fallacious are those views of religion which make it a spasm, a convulsion, a thing done all at once. With them a man is black as death at one moment, and then, by faith like an electric shock, as they fancy, a man is instantaneously made as white as heaven.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 240 All that religion can do for him is done. But no, says the Scripture, religion is like a tree. It grows gradually. Trees do not start up by convulsions; they grow slowly; seasons pass over them, and at various times there are leaves, blossoms, and beautiful displays; these are followed by wintry seasons, when all seems bare and barren. But still the tree grows on. In spring and summer the parts above ground grow, and in winter the roots. So is it with man. From his first sincere convictions he advances with continual change. At one time all is blooming and delightful with him; at another all is wintry, cold, and bare. Yet, in his states of sadness, the roots of religion grow. Humility, self-examination, a true estimation of the things of time; a sincere trust in the Lord, and a refuge under the shadow of His Divine protection; all these principles increase in time of sorrow, and thus prepare the way for great spiritual prosperity in the future.

       From all our afflictions salvation shall spring,

       The deeper our sorrows, the sweeter well sing.

In our text the lover of the law of the Lord is said to be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. These rivers are the streams of divine truth. He is said to be near them who brings his mind into harmony with them. He who keeps close to what truth teaches, who brings his thoughts, sentiments, and feelings, and, above all, his life, into conformity with the lessons of Heavenly Wisdom; the man who considers each day how to bring himself as nearly as possible to what his daily study of the Word unfolds, is like a tree planted by the waters.

The waters--what an expressive and beautiful symbol of truths themselves. In the Book of Revelation, John is stated to have seen a river of the water of life proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb (chap. xxi. 1). The water of life, the truths of love. How striking is the correspondence of water. How pearly it looks when the suns light is upon it, it is like liquid silver. It is bright and clear, like truth. It satisfies the thirst, and diffuses over the body a refreshing moisture, aiding every organ, and diffusing health and satisfaction throughout. So to the mind does truth. It gratifies the appetite for intelligence. It throws health and comfort through our spirits, and assists every genuine operation within us. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. But water purifies too. It makes the body clean, and truth cleanses the soul.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 241 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, saith the Lord, and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. Sanctify them by Thy truth: Thy word is truth (John xvii. 17).

Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you (John xv. 3).

But we must not fail to remark that the good man is said to be planted by the rivers of water. And while we remember that water is the symbol of truth, in its proper character as clear, satisfying, and purifying to the mind, rivers of water especially correspond to truth received into the best affections of the heart, and flowing down to fertilize the life with heavenly if further, only into the intellect, and is then only a thing for occasional amusement, for intellectual display, or for pride of virtues. Truth is sometimes received only into the memory, or, victory. Many persons, it has been well remarked, will talk for truth, wrangle for truth, write for it, fight for it, die for it, but few will truly live for it. Now truth, in the minds of those who do not use it for daily practice, is like a stagnant pool, not like a river. Water at rest engenders foulness, malaria, noxious creatures, disgusting and filthy. So is it with truth unused. The mind which possesses it often becomes filled with self-conceits, with vain dreams of pre-eminence over others, whereas, he who knows more than others, and does less, is not a wiser man, in proportion to his knowledge, but a more foolish man than others. Nothing is more lamentable to see than a man animated with pride in his intellect, and contempt for others, because of his having more unused knowledge than they. He maybe brilliant sometimes in talk, but he is like a man spending his fortune and time in letting off fireworks: he is like one who is pining to death while he has vast stores of provisions which he is not wise enough to eat: he is like a person who has a large reservoir of water of which he never drinks, while he is dying for thirst; with which he never washes, while he is covered with dirt: and which he never turns over his land, although it is so parched it produces nothing.

In time, men lose the truth they have neglected. My people have committed two evils, says the Lord, they have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water (Jer. Ii. 13). But truth, as rivers of water, is that heavenly intelligence which the heart hails and appreciates in its inmost affections.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 242 Rivers rise in mountains; the rains and vapors of the upper regions filtrate through the mountain-tops, and give rise to fountains and rills which form rivers, and pour over the plains and valleys the rich means of beauty and abundance. Thus, too, it is with truth, when it is received and lifted into the heart. It comes forth again in gushing streams, flowing to do good. Flashes of silvery sentiments, dancing in the sunbeams, like crystal rills on the mountain-side, will flow down from the inner heights of the soul, and the whole mind will be satisfied, and the life will be like a fair land, teeming with plenty. All truth, as it flows from the Lord, was seen by the prophet-apostle John, as a magnificent river in the spirit-world. And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev. xxii. 1). The water of life means truth filled with love, for love is real life. It flows from the Lord through heaven, which is His throne; where, as to His Inmost Divinity and His Divine Humanity, He reigns for ever. What a sublime idea it is! A magnificent stream of truth, flowing from love, to fertilize and bless heaven and earth. O may we drink of its sacred waters! Blessed be His holy name who caused it to be written,--And 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 the water of life freely (Rev. xxii. 17).

The same glorious water of truth is meant when the Psalmist exclaims, There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The Church, the true city of God, is indeed made glad by the sacred waters of the Holy Word. Its streams go forth in every direction to purify, to hallow, and to bless:--

See, from Zions sacred mountain

       Streams of living water flow!

God has opened there a fountain:

       This supplies the plains below

              They are blessed

       Who its sovereign virtues know.

The tree of the genuine Christians religion is said to be planted by or near the rivers of water to intimate that it grows in harmony with its divine doctrines.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 243 He has no far-fetched conceits, no whims of vain fancies, unfounded in the teachings of heavenly wisdom. His tree grows near the waters. He reads the Sacred Word day by day, and forms his views and sentiments by its lessons. Daily his tree grows in strength and height, because it is daily fed by the refreshing streams of living water. He learns, and loves, and lives, the precepts of heavenly virtue. Nor must we forget that man plants his own tree there. The earlier lessons of religion, such as become our childhood and youth, may be planted by others, but religion, when it becomes a tree, when it forms a rational perception of spiritual things, a noble system on which to think, to rest, and to live, must be planted by our own hands. The Lord provides the seed and the soil. He will give the rain, the light, the heat, and the other potent secret influences which are required, but we must dig the soil, plant the tree, and keep it clear from weeds, to give it room to grow. The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

The seed of true faith, the conviction that we are really born for heaven, is, at first, the smallest, the least influential thought of the mind. It is nothing like the size of grammar, of arithmetic, of the varied sciences, of the whole army of knowledge which has come in by the senses. It is like the faintest streak of light which distinguishes the earliest dawn, but it will grow. It has immensity within it. If I am really born for heaven, there must be a heaven for which I am destined. That must be an abode of heavenly order, heavenly love, and heavenly wisdom. I have but the germs of heaven within me. I must work them out. I have tempers, principles, and practices, which are not heavenly, these must be cast out. I cannot do this of myself, but He who made me to be happy will give me the means. It is a great work, I must not delay. The only way to be prepared for heaven hereafter, is to be heavenly here.

All this is contained in this sacred seed. Faith is in it, love is in it, works are there in embryo, heaven is in it, the Spirit of the Lord is in it, and as we ponder upon it these things unfold, and it grows, it enlarges in the soul. It puts forth a branch nearest the earth to direct and influence our daily habits: it puts forth another to extend over our friendships, for he is no true friend of the Christian who is not a lover of the good and the true:


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 244 another branch comes to overshadow and direct our business, so that this is brought under the principles of justice and judgment: another branch is over our home, and directs that it should be a little heaven: another over the education
of our children: others over the other departments of our life; while the whole keeps towering upwards, rejoicing in the air and light of heaven, until it becomes a grand tree. Such is the growth and development of the tree of spiritual perception. It is small at first, but, having within it the elements of all that is great and good, it becomes at last a glorious tree under which we can rest, and on and around which every noble, lofty, brilliant, blessed thought, like birds of heaven, can nestle, play, and sing.

Let us, however, go on to the next particular in the divine description: that bringeth forth his fruit in due season. Fruit is the essential sign of the value of the tree. No matter what beauty of foliage, or splendor of flower there may be; if there be no fruit on the fruit-tree, its value is slight indeed. The religion of man is the same. Without the works in which love and faith embody themselves where they exist, it is nothing. You remember what the Divine Owner of the vineyard is represented to have said. Behold these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none: cut it down: why cumbereth it the ground? (Luke xiii. 7). When the Savior, on His road to Jerusalem, came to the fig-tree covered with leaves, but having no fruit thereon, He said, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever; and presently the fig-tree withered away. An expressive and significant token of the sad termination of a career in which there has been much profession, but practice has been wanting. By their fruits, said our Lord on another occasion, ye shall know them (Matt. vii. 20). The fruit embodies all the excellencies of the tree. Such as the tree is, such is the fruit. Oh, that we looked fully and constantly to this doctrine of works; not of course as involving any idea of merit, but as manifesting what we are and have been. There is no more merit in a good work than in a good thought or a good faith. What have we which we have not received? It is of mercy, the richest mercy, that we are brought out of our evil condition, and gifted with the ability given to us every moment to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. But we must work. By works is faith made perfect. By works is love made perfect.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 245 Works are the manifestation of the inward character. We are to a great extent what we do. Hence, the Scriptures ever declare our final lot to be determined by our works. God will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation, and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honor, and pence to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; for there is no respect of persons with God (Rom. ii. 6-11). If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. Blessed are they that DO His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and to enter in through the gates into the city. Be assured, no righteousness is real righteousness which is not a doing righteousness. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to DO all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He hath commanded us (Deut. vi. 25). He that DOETH righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous (1 John iii. 7). What doth the Lord require of thee, but to DO justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God? (Micah vi. 8).

Oh, that this real practical religion were felt deeply by us all. Let us rest assured no righteousness will be accounted ours, in the eternal world, which we have not made ours by practice. That vain dream of some, that the Divine Righteousness of the Lord Jesus will be put dorm to their account, and God will account them righteous, simply because they believe that the Saviors righteousness is theirs, is a fearful delusion. Just as well might they suppose that Creation would be set down to their account, as that Redemption will. The robe of the Saviors righteousness is one which none but He wears, it is Divine. On His vesture and on His thigh was a name written King of kings, and Lord of lords (Rev. xix. 16). We must have robes more humble, but which will fit us, and be the expression of what the Lords goodness, in our regeneration, has made us. Our robes must be made white in the blood of the Lamb, the divine wisdom of the Savior: but we must not presume to remain unrighteous and dream we shall enter into heaven wrapped up in a stolen robe. The good tree bringeth forth fruit in his season. The fruits are varied in different seasons. In the book of Revelation it is said, The tree of life yielded her fruit every month.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 246 The spirit has its changes both as to love and faith, both as to the sun and the moon, but the good man produces works of virtue in every state, and accommodated to every condition. In temptation he exhibits firmness and patience; in difficulty, perseverance and self-possession; in cases of danger, resolution, boldness, and decision; in business, activity, uprightness, and kindness; in worship, devotion, humility, and love; in learning the Word, diligence, thoughtfulness, and truthfulness: in all things, sincerity and earnestness. He brings forth his fruit in its season. The real worth of the good man will appear more fully the longer he is known, and with greater opportunity of testing him. He will be sure in trial and in triumph; in poverty and in riches; in sickness and in health; in life and in death, he will bring forth his fruit in his season.

We are next informed, and this is a beautiful and instructive intimation, his leaf shall not wither.

There are two kinds of leaves, green leaves and flower leaves. They correspond to our conceptions, or the ideas we form, first, from the literal sense of the Word, meant by the green leaf, and then from the spiritual sense of the Word, meant by the flower. The superior loveliness and delicacy of the flower over the leaf intimates the higher grace and more refined charm of interior views over the comparatively lower ones which we obtain from the letter of the Word. But the views derived from the letter of the Word when truly understood, as a basis for the spirit, will never perish. The leaf will not wither. The history of the Jews will still remain in the mind, but it will be as the history of our regeneration. The knowledge of Canaan will not perish, but it will be regarded as the description of heaven. The Lords life in the world will never cease to be regarded with reverence and with wonder, but it will be regarded as the great lesson of the movements of Divine Love and Wisdom in the soul; and thus seen, these leaves will become greener, fresher, more lovely, throughout eternity. As the soul altogether will become more redolent of health, of beauty, and as it were of youth, as everlasting ages pass, so all its ideas will become deepened, heightened, and invigorated, its leaf will not wither.

And lastly, is added those expressive and important words, Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. This is a most important assurance. But it rests upon the doctrine that the Lord is the Universal Father.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 247 His providence extends over all, and not in a general manner only, but enters into every particular of our lives. Not a hair of your heads falls to the ground without your heavenly Fathers knowledge, says the Lord. And again, All power is given unto Me in heaven and on earth. And what a blessed assurance is that! Our God is not a remote, formless, incomprehensible intelligence. He is our Savior, and under His kind guardianship we live and move, and have our being. With this conviction, the Christian may walk firmly and freely and lovingly, for whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. It is true, that possibly, his prosperity may lie in a different direction from that which he supposed. He may not succeed in something he intends; but it may result in something he did not intend. It will be all overruled for the best. The view of the ever-watchful, ever-present, ever-kind, Providence of the Lord, is full of comfort, and tends to induce freedom from anxiety and care. How large a number of mankind are oppressed with heart-corroding, health-destroying mistrusts and fears, who, if they could have a loving deep confidence that the Lord cares for them, both in their earthly and eternal concerns, would rise to spiritual freedom. Their burden would be cast off, and they would walk confidingly, as if they held the Divine Friend and Fathers hand. Of this we may be fully satisfied, that we are never forgotten. The Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want. For He is too good to act from anything but Love and Mercy, too wise not to employ the best means for our help and elevation, and too powerful to be overcome by any who would do us harm. Whatsoever then the good man does, in the way which is best for him, it is sure to prosper.

This does not always appear to be so, but is ever really the case. When Joseph was seat by his father to visit his brethren, and was seized by them, cast into a pit to perish, and afterwards sold as a slave, it did not seem that his affairs were prospering, but they really were so. When, afterwards, he was accused of evil, and sent to prison as ungrateful and vile to appearance he was on the road to ruin, but it was really otherwise. This was the mode in which he was prepared to be an instrument of the Divine Providence, to save Egypt; to be promoted to honor and use; and to be a type of Him who ever saves us in our spiritual famine and distresses. So is it in the histories of all of us. Who cannot see, when he looks over his life, that many a thing which he once earnestly longed for, but was prevented from obtaining, would have been most detrimental had it been got.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 248 Many a disappointment, which we felt severely at the time, has manifestly been a blessing in disguise. In what the Lord permits, as well as in what He ordains, He has ever eternal ends in view. And, hence, for the promotion of these ends, sometimes projects which we fondly desired to see prosper, fail, and something me suppose to be most disadvantageous occurs, but in the end our real prosperity is accomplished. Of all the blessed ones in heaven, it is said, These are they who came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. vii. 14) Tribulation is quite as essential to our real progress as is prosperity. By affliction we learn sympathy with others; we also learn humility. And these virtues are worth any price we can pay for them. The jewel which is being polished, most likely, if it could speak, might object to the rough hard treatment which is needed to bring out its brilliancy, but when its true luster has been obtained, it is seen that the triumph far overpays the labor; and the gem that shines with so much beauty now, will blaze in splendor for ever. The trouble is temporary, the gain is everlasting. The winter seems harsh and bitter; it looks like the adversity of the year. But winter is as salutary, in the real progress of the year, as summer. In winter noxious and hurtful insects are destroyed, the clods are broken to powder, and the juices of trees are retained about the roots, so that these latter grow. So is it with man. In his wintry states, in sorrow and in suffering, blessings are conveyed to the soul which are of inestimable value. The roots of heavenly virtues grow, and preparations are made for all our subsequent advancement. It has been said, that just so much as the fibers of the root extend in winter will be the progress of the upper part of the tree in summer. And mans mental tree will spread more fully, and bear a richer harvest of virtues, in proportion as in times of sorrow we strike the roots of religion more deeply by meditation, humility, and prayer.

The Israelites must have been often perplexed when going forward and backward in the wilderness. They must have often felt afraid that they would never succeed in reaching their promised destination, in the face of fierce foes, hostile nations, and fearful journeys. It is said of them in the Psalms,--They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way: they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 249 And He led them forth by the right way, that they might find a city of habitation. Thus, we notice, that however great their trials and privations, they were led by the right way. The pillar of cloud, and the pillar of fire, directed them in the course indispensable to their perfect success. It was the right way. And, my beloved hearers, when enter into the eternal world, many sorrows which now we would fain shun, many struggles which we would fain have been spared, many privations which have seemed to us detrimental, will be found to have been all working their destined amount of discipline and of good. We have, by a merciful hand, been led in the right way, that we might come, at 1ast, to a city of everlasting and all-blissful habitation. Gratefully then, may we add with the Psalmist, O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.       

Thus may we see how true it is of the good man, Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. It shall prosper either in what he intends, or in some greater blessing which he does not now, but he will see hereafter. On the whole subject we may perceive that the correspondence of the tree is lessons of here, as elsewhere, in the Divine Word. The rule for its spiritual interpretation is precisely the same. Let us, my beloved hearers, ever ask ourselves, are we growing and fruit-bearing trees, or are we mere weeds?       Do we bring forth our fruit in due season? Is the fruit mellowed by the inward flavor of grateful acknowledgment to the Lord, that He is the source of this and every good work? Are we diligent cultivators of our spiritual tree, watchful that no destructive influences destroy its beauty or its fruit? Do we yearn for it to grow upwards heavenwards? Do we thus seek to realize the blessed promise to the good in our text. His leaf shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. If this be our happy determination, we shall find that the virtues we are directed to possess in this first Psalm, will secure those in all the other Psalms.

The first will be seen to contain the germ of all the rest. Nay, not only the first Psalm, but the first word of the first Psalm, will contain that which will qualify our state, and be the spring of all real felicity for us in earth and in heaven. Blessed is the word which begins the Psalm and the book, and this term will truly describe our state. Blessed shall we be in sowing the seed of heavenly faith within us;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 250 blessed shall we be in receiving the fruit in his season; blessed shall we be in beholding fresh truths come forth, and old truths with fresh luster, from the ever green leaves of ideas growing from the Sacred Word; blessed shall we be, in a child-like confidence, that all we do and all we suffer will be for our perpetual good; blessed shall we be in life; blessed shall we be in death, and blessed shall we be in heaven. We shall experience the divine saying, The Lord shall guide thee continually, He shall satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not (Isa. lviii. 11).

So may we grow: so may we act: and so may we be blessed.

Finally, let us learn not to be too anxious from an immediate apparent growth of our spiritual tree. One of the most fruitful sources of anxiety and mistake in our spiritual career is, the desire to feel at once, and fully, a state of interior blessedness. Some persons are curiously and painfully prying as to their exact states. But this is incompatible with real faith in the Lord and a pure love of goodness. The growth of a tree in a day is scarcely to be marked; yet it grows. And if the cultivator obeys the laws of vegetable progress the success of the tree is certain. He need not trouble himself to mark each measure of advance. All will, in due time, be well. So is it with us. If we obey the commandments of God from a spirit of love, all within us will grow up and flourish and bear in good time. Let us not be anxious, but obedient; doing our natural duties from spiritual motives, and our spiritual duties faithfully; and we may leave the rest, with child-like confidence, in the hands of the Lord. We know not what the Spirit of the Lord is doing within us. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth: so is every one who is born of the Spirit. But this we may know, that Divine Mercy will do the best for us that call be done. If me do our part the All-Good will certainly do His. Let our sole care be to cultivate faithfulness in duty, from an earnest love to the Lord and our neighbor, and a firm faith in the promises of the Divine Word. Then shall we certainly find the truth of the description, in which the Lord said, So is the kingdom of God as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep and rise, night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 251 We shall have our nights and days, our sleepings and wakings, our periods of gloom and of gladness, of shade and of brightness, of chill and of warmth; but let us faithfully obey, whether pleasant or unpleasant, the voice of love, of truth, and of duty, from our Divine Savior, and we shall find that the tree will grow up, though we know not how. In Jesus Christ, neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.





Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.--PS. xxiii. 4.

LIFE is a journey. In the sunny morning of existence we set out and advance by easy stages through the golden mountains of love; we bask in the sun, we run joyously from side to side and gather flowers; we lead a kind of charmed life, caressing all things, and confiding in the love and goodwill of all around us. It is, doubtless, the intention of the Divine Providence that we should gather in this early stage of life stores of affection, of confidence, of trust, and of encouragement, and happy are they who traverse this part of lifes journey with no rude shocks which may give them knowledge of the existence in their path of selfishness and sin. As we advance in life, we come to scenes less warm, but bright, beautiful, and varied. We have the love of knowledge; we seek for truths, and welcome them. We listen with full faith to all around us. We walk in wonderland, but its marvels are to us not astonishing. All things come and go, and all our wants are attended to without care, contrivance, or anxiety on our part, and we are ready to receive, nay, are formed to receive, all that the highest truth can tell us of our heavenly Father, of His unceasing bounty, and His glorious kingdom. Our parents and the good people around us seem loving and disinterested, to come and go wonderfully, and to do wonderful things, and we delight, undoubtingly, in all that we are told of still higher good people, who are invisible to us--the angels. It is our age of faith, and happy are those who are supplied with the food their states demand; who are provided thus early and fully with the conviction expressed in the first verse of this Psalm, The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 253 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.

After a while, however, we come upon lower ground, and walk among sterner scenes. We eater the darker realities of life, and are amazed to find wild beasts begin to appear on our road; we become aware of gloomy jungles; mysterious thickets skirt our road, and sometimes lie before us. Our remembrances of the sunny heights of infancy and childhood become more faint as the scenes themselves become more distant, and we find often we are walking in a valley; sometimes it is one of deep and awful shade. It is such a valley of which our text speaks. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.

The correspondence of valleys easily suggests itself when we remember the correspondence of mountains. The latter corresponding to high principles within the soul, which are connected with our inmost motives; the former, the valleys, will correspond to the lower principles of the soul, those which have especially to do with action and with outward life. Such is the correspondence, and such its use in the Word. It was said by the prophet Isaiah, when announcing the Lords coming into the world, Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain (Isa. xl. 4). The valleys were exalted when men s lives were made better, animated by purer and nobler purposes. The mountains and hills of self-love, and worldly love, which were exalted by pharisaic pride, were laid low when judgment came upon them, and their power over the souls of others was broken by the Savior God. The crooked were made straight, when men were led to adopt rectitude instead of perversity, straight-forwardness for double-dealing: and when the entangled meshes of traditional absurdity were exchanged for the simple precepts of the Gospel, surely the rough places became plain.

An interesting application of the word valley is made in Psalm lxxxiv.: Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee; in whose heart are the ways. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God (ver. 5-7) The spiritual sense alone enables: us to see the force and beauty of a passage like this. Baca is the Hebrew for weeping. The valley of Baca, therefore, means the external affections of the mind in sorrow.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 254 The passage declares, therefore, the blessed effect of adversity rightly borne. When our fortunes are a wreck, and our darling dreams have vanished; if, amid our tribulations, we learn to prize eternal possessions as the only sure ones, and go to the Divine Word to seek them, then we are indeed blessed. Perhaps a beloved child has been called away, and the bruised affections are pouring out their woes in tears. Perhaps the only one has to be sent to herald our path to heaven. The child of our constant love, our daily solicitude, has pined and died. We strove and prayed, and hoped and feared, and labored, but all in vain. The ties of earth were too feeble to hold the rising immortal, and we are left to mourn in the valley. We are overwhelmed with grief. We are at first inconsolable. But after the early bursts of sorrow are over, a calm comes over us, and we feel as if it were the presence of the dead raising our attention upward, heavenward, and a secret assurance enters the soul, and intimates He is rises. Heaven becomes to us more of a real home, since it already contains those who were the charm of our home here. We resolve to become more spiritual, more angel-like. We go to the Holy Word again and again for consolation, and we find it a well whence we can constantly draw the living waters of pure and holy truth. We have gone through the valley of Baca, and made it a well. Of all such it may truly be said, Every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

In the prophecy of Hosea there is a similar use of the idea of a valley (ii. 15). I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. The valley of Achor is the valley of trouble. And all our troubles really take place in the natural mind, where spiritually this valley is. Our temptations are there. All our battles against our passions take place there. Our sills and our sorrows are alike experienced in this region of care and disorder. But if we faithfully stand in temptation, struggling manfully and trustingly for the right; heeding neither the whispers of lust, the cravings of covetousness, the violence of passion, nor the hisses of hate; but watch and wait for help from above, to aid us still to walk on the path to heaven, each trouble borne and conquered will become a door of hope, assuring us of final victory.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 255 And with each fresh temptation overcome, we shall sing there, as is the days of our youth; or, in other words, as in the day when we first devoted ourselves to do the Divine will, as in the day when we were first brought out of Egypt. The prophet Jeremiah speaks with a like use of valley. How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Balaam? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done (ii. 23). Thy way in the valley is the evil which they had brought into act. Ezekiel had a vision, which while it is typical in the letter of the sad political state of the Jews, then enslaved in Babylon, is also the type of the unregenerate at all times. The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry (xxxvii. 1, 2). A striking representation this of the mind dead to the holy life of religion, and of heaven. No warm and generous sympathies with virtue and truth are there; no living activity is goodness is there. The doctrines of religion which would have formed the framework of a new man lie like disjointed bones, in the memory here and there, without life, and very dry. When the soul in this state comes under our notice, and we observe how careless, how heedless it is of its highest interests; how indifferent to things of the weightiest moment, and only alive to trifles, or to polluted pleasures, which drain up all its energies, we are tempted to exclaim with the sacred speaker, Can these bones live? They are very dry. And, if man were left to his own unaided exertions to improve himself, doubtless it would be impossible to make them live. But the Divine mercy would be over them, and breathe heavenly life into the otherwise motionless mass, and those who were dead become alive again, and those who were lost are found.

But the valley mentioned in our text is said to be the valley of the shadow of death, and some have supposed that the allusion is to the hour and pains of death is the body. It is, however, not so. It is the valley, not of death, but of the shadow of death. Besides, death in the Bible seldom alludes to earthly dissolution. The living death of sin is usually meant by the term death, with its related terms in the Scriptures. The death of the body is not properly death at all. It is but the change of a lower for a higher kind of life. It is but the stripping off of the husk that the grain may come forth. The shell is removed, but the kernel is still uninjured, and is freer for being stripped of its bonds.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 256 The covering of man is thrown aside, but the man himself arises, unencumbered by his clay, to display powers before but feebly exerted, because in their swaddling clothes, but now triumphant, for they live in their own element, the world of mind. Oh, no, the death of the body is no real death; it is but a change, a removal, a throwing off of the clothes worn out in the world, for the enjoyment of new life in a new dress. The messenger of death is to the good man only the herald of everlasting life. It is the nuncio of the King of kings who summons us, from our outpost in the wilderness, to return home to the palace. He calls us to perfections, to joys, and to company, which are all a reward and a welcome to the good. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

The death that is to be feared, is the death which moral evil inflicts upon the soul. The first time death is mentioned in the Scriptures is where it is said, In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And that death is undoubtedly spiritual death, for no other death did man suffer that day. To be carnally-minded is death; to be spiritually-minded is life and peace (Rom. viii. 8). Love is the life of the soul, hatred is its death. All hatred bears within its horrid heart death to the person hated. Indeed, all sin carries death within its bosom. Then, when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James i. 15).

The love of self, which is the antagonist to the life of God in the soul, is essential death. It threatens the destruction of generous and holy emotions in the soul. It craves possessions, pleasures, power, fame, unceasingly, and against all who place obstacles in its path it breathes revenge and war. Such a spirit is in opposition to truth, to order, to the universe; hence it conspires for the death of all these. Hence originate murders, wars, and all those terrible crimes which tend to destroy the human race. Sins are anomalies, unnatural in the universe. They choke up and hinder the divine life wherever they are manifest. Every sin tends to destruction. The wages of sin is death, because the fruit of it is death, and cannot be otherwise. Let any one attempt to conceive a society founded on any evil principle, on universal covetousness for example, and all that is worth calling life would be impossible. Universal sullenness, universal suspicion, universal distrust, universal jealousy, universal hatred, universal rapacity, universal misery would prevail. First, the property, and then the life of each, would be greedily sought by every other, and hence universal destruction would ensue.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 257 So would it be in a society where all were thieves. The purpose of each one to take from every other would turn the whole into a herd of malignant plotters, schemers for plunders, and fierce assailants. The wildest struggle, the deadliest cruelty, and universal destruction, would be the result. So would it be with any other evil, for in each one there is the essence of every other, and thus the germ of all hell. Hence it is that the apostle James writes, that he who offends in one commandment of the law is guilty of all (chap. ii. 10). Not that a person who, from weakness, cannot yet yield perfect obedience is equally guilty in the sight of our heavenly Father with him who recklessly breaks all the divine laws: but that he who deliberately breaks one commandment because it suits him, has no love for any, and would break any if it suited his purpose he is already, in the sight of God, guilty of all. Because death is inherent in sin, in the Word death is spoken of not as passive so much as active. Death shall come up into their dwellings. Death shall feed upon them. O death, I will be thy plagues: O grave, I will be thy destruction (Hosea xiii. 14). O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Thy sting of death is sin (1 Cor. xv. 55, 56). Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire (Rev. xx. 14).

Sin, then, is essential death, and the only death that the good man needs to fear. The kingdom of darkness, where sin in all its horrid forms is wrought out and prevails, is the region of death. One awful absence of all which constitutes true life prevails. There is no powerful purity, no happy innocence, no active disinterested love, no generous self-sacrificing friendship, no active earnest zeal for a neighbors good, no love of truth, of virtue, or of God. Death lives a horrid kind of life, and all is gloomy and malignant misery. The unhappy beings who live there seek to bring others under their dominion, and hence they approach us, and cast their fearful shades at times around us. The gloom they induce is the shadow of death: When we are in it we are in the valley of the shadow of death.

When we reflect that shadows are cast by a dark body coming between the object shadowed and the sun, we shall see, readily, that the shadow of death is the darkening which evil causes in the soul, and which shuts out light from the Sun of the mind.

When evil spirits excite self-love within us, it darkens within us the light and the presence of God. The Psalmist exclaims: the transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, there is no fear of God before his eyes (Ps. xxxvi. 1);


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 258 where it is clear that there is a temptation described from evil spirits to induce insolence to the Divine Being. This would cause gloom and depression of mind. The pilgrim would walk in the shadow of death. So when discontent sets in upon us we undervalue all our mercies and blessings. Ten thousand provisions for happiness go for nothing. We have got a. speck upon the mental eye, and that shuts out the sun and all his universe. We are in shade and darkness until we remove the speck. Or, perhaps, some tendency to evil desire is stirred up. Some lust or passion is excited, which for the time makes a spiritual smoke around us. We lose our clear discernment of the truth. The bright light we once had is hidden in sadness at the discovery of so much to lament over. We feel desires which are impure and unholy, but which we can scarcely resist. We look up to the Source of all good, and pray earnestly against the besetting sin, but for a while no help appears. We labor on, still struggling for purity and right, but the darkness thickens upon us; we sink almost to despair. We are, then, in the valley of the shadow of death. And how well it is to remember and believe that the Lord is with us! It is dark, and we cannot see Him, but assuredly He is there. This is the hour and the power of darkness. We seem to be alone. The Lord and Master who trod this vale when it was ten thousand times darker than it call ever be with us, said, I am not alone, but the Father is with Me. So it is with us. Our Father is with us; we are not alone. He will not leave us in the hands of our enemies. He will never forsake us, and He is too powerful to be overcome. If we but walk firmly and trustingly we are sure to be triumphant.

O never sit we down and say,

       Theres nothing left but sorrow;

We walk the wilderness today,

       The promised land tomorrow.

When the pillar of a cloud so longer leads us, in the night of our distress and darkness the pillar of fire will still be there. The Divine Presence will inspire hope; will inwardly soothe and comfort; and we shall be able to say, Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise Him who is the health of my countenance, and my God (Ps. xlii. 11).

It will occur, perhaps, to thoughtful minds that valleys are more fruitful than mountains, and yet their correspondence is to lower principles in the mind.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 259 Mountains represent exalted affections, valleys the lower determinations, which are visible in life and conduct. In the valleys growth, fertility, and richness are chiefly found, and not on the mountain-tops; but, nevertheless, all which makes the valley fruitful owes its origin to the mountains. Without mountains there would be no rivers; even the soil which forms the rich bottom in which the heavy-laden fruit-trees grow, is brought down by winds and rills from the mountain sides, and settles in the hollows at their feet. So is it in the Christians mind. It is in his life that the fruits of his religion are manifest. There are his virtues seen. But all that enables him to be actively good, just, and true, is from within. The exalted sentiments which unite him to God and heaven, the high aspirations for the holy and the pure, the intense yearnings after the divine likeness, which distinguish the real Christian, these, with the wisdom that streams from above, are the powers within to which all the virtues of character, the fruits of the mental valleys, owe their rise. Principles, like mountain-tops, are bare themselves, but they are the great sources of abundant benefits and blessings in their results. They really make the valleys smile.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.

It is well to notice that sorrow itself is not an evil. It may, in its purifying effects, be to us a great good. Temptation is not an evil, but is the only way by which we can come at the knowledge of ourselves, and of the evil tendencies within us. Nothing is an evil, but a disorderly impulse, which we make our own by practice. Though, therefore, we may be enveloped for a time in darkness, we need fear no evil so long as we trust in the Lord. The evil stirred up in us we can remove. The evil suggested to us we can reject. We will fear no evil, for Thou art with us.

One thing, however, we must not omit to notice. We must walk through the valley. We must not willingly stop, nor must we turn back, but walk on, and walk through the valley. In other words, we must continue to live according to the commandments of the Lord, for this is to walk. Our prayer should ever be that we may be kept still doing our duty. O let me not wander from Thy commandments. And we are promised that this shall be the case. There is a beautiful declaration in Isaiah to this effect.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 260 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: and thine ears shall hear a voice behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left (chap. xxx. 20, 21). Sometimes this walking on will be very difficult and very threatening, but me must fearlessly persevere. Terrible scenes are often manifested to the Soul in temptation. The lusts and passions, like wild beasts, are excited in fearful energy. We had supposed, in the earlier part of oar journey, because the Lord had in mercy restrained and hid them from us, that they no longer existed. But now we find it is far otherwise. They mere muzzled and overawed, but not exterminated. They are raging with fury, excited from hell. They are the lions and serpents which prowl and creep in the dark valley. Often will our experience be like that described by David: My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword (Ps. lvii. 4). But in all this fearful struggle we must still keep a firm and lively faith in the presence, power, and protection of our great Savior. The Psalmist continues, after describing his terrible position: Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Thy glory be above all the earth (ver. 5). And such must be our confiding, courageous exclamation.--Though the powers of evil surround and fiercely threaten us, be Thou exalted, O God. Though thou would induce me to think I am forsaken, and there is no help, yet will I trust in Thee. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me; for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge until these calamities be overpast.

While, at some times, fiery passions sorely try us, like beasts of fiery breath: at others, deep and raging waters of false principles have to be faced, struggled through, and passed. Persuasions full of malignant fallacy come on and on, like terrible waves, across our path, and forbid our advance. We persevere, however, in spite of them, but are at times nearly overwhelmed. Often the internal assault is accompanied by the reasonings of associates in business or in society, who advance and retail pernicious notions, vile, blasphemous, and intolerable. This is especially so, often in the large workshops of the manufacturing population. The spirits of young men are sorely tried. There are their own hereditary impulses inclining them to evil, and to those false ideas which favor evil.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 261 There are scoffers at hand sneering at everything sacred, and exulting in impurity; there are cunning reasoners for wrong, sedulously seeking to undermine every just and virtuous principle; and, withal, a persevering prolongation of those varied attacks, until the spirit well nigh fails, and cries out, Save me, O God, for the waters are come in upon my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing. I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary: my throat is dried, mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.

Such are some of the awful experiences of the dark valley; not unfrequently increased by worldly disappointments and sorrows; failures in business prospects, and destruction earthly hopes; yet there is no need for despair: the Lord is with His servants in their gloomiest hours, and His grace is sufficient for them.

Happy is it for those who have early learned that such trials will come, and are prepared to meet them with the confidence expressed in our text. Yea, through I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. A friend of mine was once brought into the deepest gloom on the subject of the Divine character of the Lord Jesus. The human necessities He condescended to assume, when He truly assumed our nature, were so pressed upon my friends mind. The Saviors growing, eating, drinking, sleeping, weeping, seemed for the time the only things of which he could think. The gloom continued and deepened. Ideas of the Saviors form, of His sorrows, and of His death, hemmed him closely round, find there appeared no escape from the conclusion that we had only a human Redeemer. Still this was struggled against by my friend; proofs to the contrary were wished for, looked for, but nothing came: only the conviction remained deep in the soul, that the Divinity of the Savior had been seen in days gone by: that the deepest assurance had been obtained that Infinite Love had embodied itself in human sorrows for the redemption of the universe, and had laid hold of our humanity, and raised and glorified it in Himself, for the perpetual restoration of fallen men in all ages. This he had seen, but it only remained as a heartfelt conviction to which he clung; he could not see it now. He prayed for help, and looked and looked, and trusted for it, and slowly but surely it came. There darted amidst the gloom, like a flash of light, the divine words of the Lord Jesus HimselfAll power is given unto Me in heaven and on earth (Matt. xxviii. 18). Then a succession of declarations were opened upon him.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 262 The promises of Jehovah, again and again, that He would save mankind, and there was no Savior beside Him: the declaration, at the Lords birth, that He was God manifest in the flesh: the display of creative powers in His miracles showing, on the sea and on the land, that the Lord of Nature was there; the declarations of the Gospel and of the Book of Revelation, announcing that He was the Father as well as the Son, the First as well as the Last, all shed a flood of light around the tried ones mind; and now the darkness entirely fled, and he felt that his Father and Savior had been with him and succored him at the right time; and with greater confidence than ever he could say, Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.

Often we are brought into the dark valley by family afflictions. A child whom we have fondly loved, and carefully nurtured, is a victim of painful and slow disease. We have been alarmed by the attacks of a serious nature; we have, however, labored, and with apparent success, for improved health; and again we rejoice in the beloved ones recovered strength, the manifestation of distinguished talents, and of all those amiable qualities which the daily virtues of a religious youth disclose. We forget the fears and pains of the past, and are rejoicing in the present and the future, when again the insidious destroyer appears, and again our beloved one suffers, and we recognize a similarity to the former painful symptoms. A suspicion flits across the mind that a fatal disorder lurks there. But we strive against it, and the disease again seems mastered. We hope, but tremblingly, that all is now right, and again are delighted with the progress, both in mind and body, of the length come fresh attacks with increased virulence. We put forth fresh exertions; we persevere; alternately hope and fear rise uppermost; at length the loved one, perhaps the only one, dies, and we feel the hope of our life blighted. We are alone and forlorn. No wonder that darkness comes round us, and we sometimes find ourselves muttering discontent, and believe that no sorrow is like our sorrow. Yet the Lord is surely with us. It is our natural state that makes our bereavement seem so hard. The loved one is not lost, but gone before. In a little time consolation manifests the presence of the Divine Comforter. We are turned to think how long we have enjoyed the blessing of an angel in the house, rather than too deeply to repine at the loss now sustained.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 263 The thought comes down, Is he not safe from shipwreck? Shall we not certainly find him in heaven? What a blessing it is that we have seen our flower sown, reared, early matured, and transplanted to paradise! Is it not much better that the cherished object of our affections should have gone before, and be ready to welcome us to heaven, than to be left struggling with a diseased and feeble frame, with the harsh necessities of a selfish world, and be left by us far from confident that he will be either naturally or spiritually victorious? Ah, no, it is well.

The vernal flower, by early blight

       Expires, to bloom again no more;

But youths fair blossom watched from sight,

       Blooms fairer on a happier shore.

What solace for parental love!

       What antidote to dark dismay!

To know lifes closing scene shall prove

       The herald of eternal day!

So in this dark valley the Lord is with us, and will be ever with us. Happy, thrice happy are they who have learned this sacred faith, this hallowed trust, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me. Shades we shall have to pass through many, and some very gloomy. Yet fear not; our Almighty Friend and Helper will be with us, and fulfil His own assurance. Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine. When thou passsest through the waters I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned: neither shall the flame kindle upon thee (Isa. xliii. 1, 2).

The Divine text goes on to say, Thy rod (shehvet) and thy staff (mishgehneth) they comfort me. There are here marked two sources of comfort, the rod and the staff. As comfort can only be imparted to the mind, the allusion will be to such appliances as afford comfort to the mind. These are furnished in the Holy Word. It comprehends, therefore, both the rod and the staff. The spirit of the Word is the rod, the letter of the Word is the staff. The rod is an instrument for the hand. It is used to direct, and is the symbol of power. It is the word commonly rendered scepter, and is the symbol of royalty. The staff is a support to assist the feet in walking, and is the symbol of truth as applied to the daily life.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 264 The spirit of the Word is to its letter as a king is to a subject, or as a scepter to a staff.

The rod plays a very important part in various portions of the sacred volume. The rod of Moses is introduced on the occasion of every miracle. It represented the power of divine truth employed in saving the good, and manifesting the evils and false principles of the wicked.

Because divine truth in its interior brightness and beauty reigns in the true kingdom of the Lord, it is said, The scepter (shehvet) of Thy kingdom is a right scepter(Isa. xlv. 6). The rule of truth from love is the only government acknowledged by the Lord as true. The scepter of Thy kingdom is a right scepter. But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod (shehvet) of His mouth (Isa. xi. 4). The rod or scepter of His mouth must undoubtedly mean His divine truth. Feed Thy people with Thy rod, the flock of Thy heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old (Micah vii. 14). Where, under the image of bringing his flock from the western woods to the rich mountains of the east, Bashan and Gilead, the desire of the Lord is expressed, that His people should be elevated from the perplexities of a low earthly state, to the sublime wisdom of a heavenly one. To be fed with the rod, means to receive the directing and exalting lessons of sacred truth, and spiritually to live upon them.

The rod or scepter represents the power of the spiritual sense of the Word, and is the highest source of comfort. The staff, as a support to assist the feet, corresponds to the power of the literal sense of the Word, rightly understood, to aid man in his daily life, to help him to walk. Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Ps. cxix. 105) To be a lamp unto the feet, is to illuminate and direct us in our daily conduct. To be a staff to the feet, is to strengthen us in the right, in every transaction of life. This attention to the feet is often overlooked in the religious life, yet it is of the highest importance. Without that, we are attempting to raise an everlasting pyramid without a base: we are building a house without a foundation, and it can be nothing but a visionary fabric. The true Christian is therefore directed in the Sacred Volume, and especially in the Psalms, to be ever mindful of his feet. Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord:


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 265 for He shall pluck my feet out of the net (Ps. 15). Where it is obvious that to pluck the feet from the net is to deliver the life from the meshes of a false and corrupt system: Thou hast set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings (Ps. xl. 2). For Thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not Thou deliver my feet from falling that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living? O that this were the prayer of every professing Christian; to walk before the Lord, to have the feet preserved from falling. Many there are who are careful to make their heads religious, but totally neglect the feet. This is, however, emphatically our part. By means of the feet we make progress. And if we watch well our practical daily life, we shall find how prone we are there to act a part unworthy of Christian profession. We shall often have mournfully to say, But as for me, my feet were almost gone: my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked (Ps. lxxiii. 2, 3). Still, if we are true to our principles, look earnestly to our Divine Helper, and pray sincerely for His aid, we shall be able gratefully to take up the language of the Christian conqueror: Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt beautifully with thee. For Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living (Ps. cxvi. 7-9).

To aid us when we are weak and weary the Lord has given us a staff in His Divine Word. There we have every direction how to proceed, and constant strength afforded us. It is a staff on which we can lean. In the beautiful description of the Church, in the prophet Zechariah, such as it would be in the future, it is described as Jerusalem, a city of truth; the mountain of the Lord of Hosts, the holy mountain; and it is written, There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age (viii. 3, 4). To have the staff in the hand, means to be well sustained and strengthened by the letter of the Word, so as to have for every duty, and every state, a direction from divine truth, a Thus saith the Lord. In such case, our weakness is made strong, our doubts are dissipated, and where we hesitated and trembled, we feel the everlasting arms around us. The rod and the staff of Jehovah, they comfort us.

And, now, what a beautiful feature of the hallowed Word, both of its spirit and of its letter, is that which is presented before us, They comfort us.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 266 And this is the real purpose of both its divine senses. The whole Word is intended to comfort. It is Divine Love drawn out, and especially calculated to kindle love to God above all things, and to our neighbor as ourselves. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

What is so great a source of comfort as to know that God is Love? And this the whole spirit of the Word unfolds. From Love He desired to create immortal beings, that He might bless them. This world, with its countless varieties of bounty and of beauty, this universe of innumerable worlds, is the grand school where Love places its children to be trained and taught. Down all the myriad forms of creation Infinite Love pours its life, and light, and blessing. Oh, what a comfort it is to be assured of this. The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works (Ps cxlv. 9). What gratuitous discomfort do they cause themselves, who do not credit this great, this gracious truth! Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.

Do we feel at times uncertain of the Divine mercy? Does our changing nature suggest the uneasy idea that perhaps He also has changed, and become forbidding and vindictive? The Word unfolds the answer. Our Creator is our Savior. He has been our unchanging Preserver and Redeemer. Almighty Love following His erring children to reclaim and save them. All good men and all good angels are made His instruments for mans salvation. The spirit of the Word unfolds throughout mens declensions and Gods mercies. I cannot find. in myself any evil, but in the Scriptures are the means unfolded by which Omnipotent Love and Wisdom have overcome it, and are willing to overcome it in me; while the letter of the Word loudly and distinctly proclaims, Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth for I am God, and there is none else. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.

The Word unfolds to us our spiritual nature, and our relation to the spirit-world. It opens to us the mystery of those alternations of joy and sorrow, brightness and gloom, pain and peace, which come over us, independent of the outer world. And when I am conscious of awe and dread at the idea of beings unseen, influencing my states and feelings, I am comforted by the disclosures of the whole of Revelation that angels are all assisting me up the ladder of spiritual progress, at whose summit is the Lord, the director of the whole.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 267 Evil spirits are only suffered to operate to produce the highest eventual good for those who love the divine commandments. Under Him who is King of kings, and Lord of lords, all things are working together for those who love God. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.

The Word, too, opens to my delighted gaze my relation to the everlasting home of the good, the pure, and the great of all ages, Heaven. This is my spirits home. To prepare for this is the object of all my training, all my struggles. For this I must be born again. For this have I been born at all. All the circumstances of my life have been ordained or permitted as they have had a beneficial bearing on my unending career in heaven. And what a glorious world it is that is opened to the wandering soul. All those who have loved the good and the true, for the sake of the good and the true, perfected to their highest capability, and arranged in a spiritual world, where all is so plastic, from their own forms to all the innumerable objects by which this more perfect sphere of things is enriched by the inexhaustible beneficence of infinite goodness, that it reflects exactly the perfections and beauties of the heavens within them. What glorious forms their pure, loving, dignified souls will have generated! What scenes of paradise will exist as correspondences of the inner excellencies, where every soul is a paradise. What gems will glitter around, where every soul has sought the goodly pearls of heavens own wisdom. All that is magnificent and grand on earth must there be immeasurably surpassed, for though all ideas of art and beauty come from that inner world to us, we receive them so faintly, and unfold them so imperfectly at the best, that all we have or beauty here must only feebly indicate the boundless loveliness of heaven. And when we say love reigns there, the spirit willing only the happiness of others, we give the principle from which comes all delight.

Truly then may we say of the spirit and the letter of the Word, which unfold to us these blessed realities, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.

All the trials and troubles of earth become as nothing when we see they are to terminate in an everlasting abode in joys and scenes like these. Why need I care that I am to suffer a cross, when it is the way to so glorious a crown? Welcome the fire that purifies my gold! Welcome the storm that clears my mental air! Welcome the temporal trials which hallow, and soften, and sanctify my affections, and draw them upwards!


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 268 At Thy right hand there is fullness of joy, even life for evermore.

It is a comfort inestimable that God has spoken to us, and given us a revelation of His will. We look around in nature, and are astonished at its silent grandeur, its stupendous majesty, but it is silent. We ask its meaning, but no answer comes. It gives no account even of itself, much less of its Maker and its Makers gracious intentions. Only by man can nature speak, even of physical objects. When we examine her diligently, ideas come into our minds concerning her, but not from her. Nature cannot give what she has not got, and she has no ideas. She has only physical objects. Ideas come into our minds from the spiritual world, from that true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world (John i. 9). These ideas correspond to nature, but come not from her. And, if nature cannot be unfolded except through men, much more is it the case that Gods will and wisdom can only be declared through men inspired for the purpose. Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Spirit of the Highest. And thus we have revelation. And blessed be the Divine mercy, it is a scepter to rule us, a staff to sustain us. May it for ever be to us a guide and a support. Especially shall we find it essential to us when we are in the gloom of affliction or temptation, the valley of the shadow of death. By its counsels we shall pass safely through, and each one can take up the triumphant language with which the Psalm concludes, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.





I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and trust in the Lord.PSALM xl. 1.

THE human mind is a marvelous thing; it became the custom of the benighted philosophers of the last century to represent it to be as nearly like nothing as possible. Instead of looking at it from its own wonderful principles, powers, and qualities as seen in themselves, and revealed by the workings of the soul in its own sphere, and in the wonders of social, domestic and scientific life, they looked at it from the properties of matter. They asked for its material bulk, weight, and tangible parts; and as they could not find these palpable to their outward senses, they concluded that it was fine as breath, and small as a formless atom. Strange and vain delusion! To ask matter what spirit is, is not so reasonable as to attempt to judge of light by the ears, or the world of harmony by the smell. The world of light, though real and marvelously glorious to the eyes, the smell, is nothing to any other sense: the universe of sound, though including all the marvels of speech, and all that music and discord call impart, yet to the taste, the touch, the eyes, the smell, it is nothing at all. Each sphere of existence, though comprising innumerable wonders and beauties, speaks only to the sense appropriate for its observation. So is it with the soul. It must be examined not by the body, but by itself, and in its own senses. Let a person feel for his soul with his material hand, and he will not find it, but let him notice his thoughts within, and he will observe there multitudes of affections, desires, feelings, sentiments, emotions, purposes and principles of action. There are also plainly manifest to every ones experience, masses of science and knowledge within the soul, ideas erroneous or true, intellectual views, and wise determinations.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 270 All these form an inner man, living in a world of his own, and connected with a grander world of all spiritual beings. Or if the soul is degraded, it is an inner monster living amidst distorted images, perverse imaginings, and vile impurities, acting upon others, and being acted upon by others, its like. The soul is an inner being, living now obscurely in an inner universe, but hereafter broadly and openly; its states are not those of the body, but they correspond to those of the body; its world is not the world of nature, but it corresponds to the world of nature. Sometimes it stands on the mountains of glowing emotion, and gratefully gazes on the Lord, the Sun of the eternal world. Sometimes it walks upon the plain of direct principle, sometimes it is busy in the valley of earthly cares and pursuits, and sometimes it sinks into a pit. And this last is the state treated of in the subject before us. Thou hast brought me, says the Psalmist, out of a horrible pit. Let us inquire, then, what is meant by being in a pit, and next, what by being brought out of it.

A person in a pit, especially if it is a deep pit, is confined, depressed, chilled, imprisoned. The soul is in a pit when it sees but little out of itself, is discouraged in temptation, harassed, cast down, and miserable; when it sees little brightness, little hope, scarcely anything, but is surrounded by its own troubles, perplexities, and fears, which are to it a pit. Occasionally, this sad condition will continue long, and gather vexation. A wearisome time of straitness and bitterness will set in. We look before and behind, but there is so opening. Our own sad thoughts and harassing suggestions from without are our only companions. It seems as if no man cared for our souls.

This correspondence of being in a pit is often employed in the Divine Word, and easily recognized in human experience. Who has not been in states of depression and distress, in which a chill cold atmosphere is around the spirit, and it feels narrowed in its views and impressions, confined for comfort only to memory and hope, and surrounded by false suggestions in thousands? This is to be in the pit, and to have the soul in prison. O Lord, Thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: Thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit (Ps. xxx. 3). For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul (Ps. xxxv. 7).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 271 Here the snare of falsehood is likened to the net placed in a pit to entrap an animal in the forest. At other times, the pit is represented as almost closing itself over the imprisoned and infested soul, as if only a little light descended through the aperture overhead. Let not the water-flood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let the pit shut her mouth upon me (Ps. lxix. 15). And, when we have been the subjects of continued sorrow and infestation, our hopes defeated, our prospects blighted, our best efforts unavailing, and plans unblessed with success, while prosperous vice intrudes itself incessantly upon our notice, painful doubts of the Divine justice, mercy, and providence straiten our minds, but very little light comes down to us. These distressing states are more deeply felt by those who are most interiorly desirous of coming into the order of heaven. They seek in every thought and every sentiment to be in harmony with God, and to think worthily of Him. But when bowed down in temptation by unworthy ideas which they cannot drive away, their pain of mind is intense, and they cry out, My soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. I am counted with them that go down to the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength. Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps (Ps. lxxxviii. 4, 6). None but God, and the heart itself, can know the bitter agony which is experienced; it is as though it were caged in hell. False and gloomy views of itself and of all things surround it, and sometimes it becomes weary of life itself.

These states occur with every sincere soul, and are severe in proportion to the genuine character of our conversion, and the purity of oar religious principles. A person of flippant, unreflecting character, who hears something glibly uttered about salvation, by believing this or that which the preacher utters, readily accepts it, believes as he thinks accordingly, and supposes very complacently that all is right with him. Though he is steeped in spiritual pride, he is not aware of it; though he is too selfish to give a single practical thought for the good of others, he never suspects that anything is wrong with him; though he is full of bigotry and fierce sectarianism towards those who in ally wise differ from him, he never suspects that he is not a man after Gods own heart. He does not unfold the windows of his soul to the light of heaven, and therefore he cannot see the dust of its dark and narrow chambers. Were he tried as stronger Christians are, he would be swept by the dark flood to utter perdition.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 272 Such a person often takes up with the pleasing phantasy that he is one of an especial few, the elect of God, the special favorites of a capricious deity who singled out, and preserved them from no purpose more reasonable than that he would. But men of deeper thought and more conscientious self-knowledge are very different. They aim to be what the Gospel invites them to be. They will not deceive themselves with the fancy that they have virtues which they have not, or have not faults which they have. They see their failings and their sins, and mourn over them deeply. They find their sins do not vanish for mere wishing; they must will, and work to remove them. They cannot believe they are removed while they are still there. They are earnest with themselves, faithful with themselves. They are gentle and sympathizing with others, but they never spare themselves. These are the persons who find difficulties, who labor, who fall down in discouragement, and cry to the Lord for help. They obtain help, and make some progress, but again temptations come on. They long to be like their Lord and Savior; they find they are not so, but they pray, and strive and mourn, and pant for purer states, and holier habits. Then come on periods of despondency, a sense of being forsaken of God. It appears to them that they are more tried than others. They do not see why it should be so, and hence come suggestions of doubt respecting the Lords care, and love and justice; and, when the darkness thickens, there come fearful dreams of the possibility of chance or necessity ruling the world; of there being no truth is revelation, no truth in a hereafter. Then will sometimes follow a weariness of life, a loss of hope, a fearful sinking lower and lower to utter darkness and if the person has been one educated in the idea that some are incapable of salvation, not unfrequently this horrid falsehood presses heavily then, and he trembles on the verge of insanity, and sometimes utterly sinks there.

In such a state, it is said, Cowper had been when he composed the beautiful hymn:--

God moves in a mysterious way

       His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps on the sea,

       And rides upon the storm.

He had, however, found help at the most fearful moment of mental agony, and hence he could write these verses full of comfort:--



Ye fearful saints fresh courage take,

       The clouds you so much dread

Are big with mercy, and shall break,

       In blessing on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

       But trust His constant grace;

Behind a frowning Providence

       He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,

       Unfolding every hour;

The bad. may have a bitter taste,

       But sweet will be the flower.

The pit in our text is called a horrible pit. The term horrible is hardly as definite as the original word would warrant. It is, strictly, a pit of noise. It is a word which implies the tumult, alarm, and crash of all assailing army. It is thus an intimation of the bitter and malicious infestation of evil spirits in our temptations. They infuse slanders against God; they rail at our faith and our virtue; they suggest that we are altogether corrupt and condemned: that our faith has been fancy, our religion a delusion, our heaven a dream. These are continued with a frightful reality and perseverance, until the spirit becomes conscious almost of the personal presence of the tormenting fiends. Most likely the visions of Luther in the castle of Wartzburg, in which he assures us he saw and heard the spirits of darkness, were only a very strong form of this interior temptation--the pit of noise. The whole kingdom of darkness is called the bottomless pit, because the infernals are in states of confirmed falsehood from confirmed evil. In them, therefore, are engendered new fallacies, and denser lies without end. When a person in this world loves darkness rather than light, he is ever fertile in delusive reasonings. There is no end with him of ingenious excuses, and justifications of the worst vices. And so it is with such spirits in the eternal world. They immerse themselves in false persuasions, deep, dark, frowning, and horrible. This gives rise to the position they occupy in that world by correspondence. It is an awful pit. Because of their persistence in the falsehoods they love, their understandings having become the everlasting slaves of their wills, they go deeper and deeper in folly, delusions, and deceptions. Theirs is a bottomless pit. When the soul in its sorrows is exposed to their fearful tempting influences, it is brought in a less degree, it is true, but with a fearful vividness, under their sphere, like a lurid cloud.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 274 Their noise, their persuasions, their insolence, and their reproaches attack it on every side. There is, indeed, a partial connection opened with hell. They entice, they persuade, they inject doubts, they harass, and at last they mock, deride, and insult, and this with a cruel obstinacy. This is a pit of noise, the pit of misery, the horrible pit. The only shield for the tried one, in cases like these, is the shield of faith, wherewith he will be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked, and the only temper which ensures a victory is patience. I Waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit. With faith, with patience, and prayer, the conflict will assuredly end, and end in victory. The soul will come out of its pit, as out of hell itself, and express the feeling uttered by the Psalmist: I will praise the Lord my God with all my heart; and I will glorify Thy name for evermore. For great is Thy mercy towards me, and Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.

The Psalmist speaks of being delivered also from the miry clay. And by this language is designated the pollution of the unregenerate heart. For from within, out of the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these things come from within, and defile the man (Mark vii. 21-23).

The miry clay, natural impurity, is the image of defiled tendencies and feelings, which is spiritual impurity. The awful pollution of our fallen nature no language can adequately describe. It is veiled from our view in infancy by the goodness implanted in our nature by the Lord. It comes out somewhat in the passions of youth. But its full manifestation is only beheld in the worst dens of infamy, and the interior discoveries of man to himself, which take place in the unveiling of temptation. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, said the prophet: who can know it? (Jer. xvii. 9). Few read the pages of their own heart under the light of heavenly wisdom; but those who do, shudder at themselves. The imagination of the sensual voluptuary reeks with pollution. It is an Augean stable which nothing call cleanse but the river of Divine Truth. When we dig through the wall of outward decency, without which society could not subsist, we find now what the prophet found,


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 275 Every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about (Ezek. viii. 10). But the impurities of the imagination are still far surpassed by the depths of pollution which are contained in the lusts of the fallen will itself. Their direful character is, of infinite mercy, only exposed to the Christian when he has strength to bear it; but he learns, then, by the successive sad revelations which disclose mans vileness to himself, that the most impure of the impurities the universe contains is the uncleansed heart. Avarice, and its constant attendant sensuality, which gloats in grossness, are represented in the Scriptures by the swine and its filthy habits. Hypocrisy and its impurity are portrayed by the whited sepulchre full of dead mens bones, and all uncleanness. Dead bodies with their corruptions are the types of dead souls with their defilements. Only partially and by degrees is man made conscious of his own defied self-hood.

       Heavens Sovereign saves all beings but Himself,

       That hideous sight--a naked human heart.

When, however, he is strong enough to do some of the work of abhorring, subduing, and expelling sin from its hidden recesses, then comes interior temptation. Then he is shewn the miry clay; then, filled with horror at himself he cries to Him whom he feels to be the only Savior, Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink; let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. He would rush affighted away, but he cannot. He must read the lesson that teaches him to deny himself, and lean upon his Savior. He must learn to abhor his corrupt nature, and receive a new heart and a right spirit from his Regenerator. He knows now why it is said, Ye MUST be born again. He waits, therefore, humbly and patiently, but longingly, for the redeeming hand which call alone raise him from the MIRY CLAY, and make him pure in heart.

We must not quit this part of the subject without noticing the wonderful mercy of our heavenly Father and Savior, who tempers our trials to our strength. When we turn from evil, at first we see only those gross forms of sin which are easily marked, and not so difficult to renounce. We march out of Egypt, maxims, which form the boundary between vice and virtue. We renounce the grossness of wickedness, and we sing the song of and cross the Red Sea of those opinions, customs, and false maxims, which form the boundary between vice and virtue. We renounce the grossness of wickedness, and we sing the song of victory. We suppose that all we have to do is to make good our ground, and never return to our old state. We are grateful and happy.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 276 We imagine that if the pearly gates of Paradise were to be opened before us, we should have nothing to do but to walk in, and be everlastingly blessed. The Israelites thought they should soon reach the promised land when they commenced their march, but it was after forty struggling years, and many changes, that their hopes were crowned with success. The first generation died in the wilderness, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, before Canaan was entered and possessed. So it is with us; we suppose the work is done, when it is only commenced. The Lord favors us in this; He gives us His sanction and blessing; He permits us to be encouraged by this feeling, I and the angels rejoice with us, and welcome us to their glorious company. How beautifully and cheeringly this is represented in the parable of the returning prodigal: And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him (Luke xv. 20). While he was yet a great way off, his father saw him. Our Divine Father sees the first movement of contrition, and while we are yet very far off, while we are very far off in thought, and sentiment, and feeling, and purity, He still comes forward, and gives us the encouraging kiss of His divine benediction, and says to His angelic servants: Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son who was dead is alive again; he was lost, and is found (Luke xv. 22-24).

But notwithstanding this welcome, much still remains to be done; and when we are strong enough to bear it, the Lord permits us gradually to come into trials; first gentle, then severe, gradually increasing in difficulty until by little and little the full deep depravity of our corrupt nature is revealed to us. The horrible pit and the miry clay come full into view again, and our heartfelt prayer is that the All-good will save us from ourselves, and create in us a new heart and a right spirit.

All my powers may thy wisdom prepare,

Against my corruptions to fight;

O make me resigned to Thy care,

For Thy dispensations are right!

And since of myself I am weak,

My soul with Thy influence fill;

And be, when I act and I speak,

The spring of my thoughts and my will.

To arrive, however, at these slates of trial and complete deliverance, patience is needed.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 277 I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

The want of patience is the cause of many a failure. No virtue is a surer forerunner of success than patience. We often have to lament for too great hurry, but never for too much patience. This is especially the case in spiritual things. We wish to be perfect, but we wish for perfection all at once. We wish to be delivered quickly from sin. We desire to be rid of our troubles as shortly as possible, not reflecting that freedom from pain, unless at the same time we are free from the evil, would be a short-lived benefit. It is good for a man that he hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord, said the prophet; and here in our text it is written, I waited patiently. This celestia1 virtue of patience is the source of inestimable blessings. Patience alone can bring any work to perfection, said St. James: Let patience have her perfect work, that she may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (chap. i. 4). In patience possess ye your souls, said the Lord. And if this glorious virtue were always cherished, we should succeed much oftener than me do. As it is, after many failings through tribulation we learn patience. From toils and experience we obtain patience, and patience is crowned at all times by complete deliverance. I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined His ear unto me, and heard my cry.

Tis patience, the beloved of heaven! the meek,

The mild, the lowly, and the gentle patience

Whose eye looks up to God; and neer unbends

Its fixed and placid gaze to look upon

The thorns that tear her bleeding breast: who stands

Pale, calm, unmoved amid the storms of life:

Whose soul weeps not for hearts torture, patience,

The meek-eyed pilgrim of the earth, that child

Of heaven--perfections crown.

Let us, my beloved hearers, never forget this inestimable virtue--patience. By it the husbandman watches and tends the seed until it ripens into the golden grain. Though he wait for it long, it surely comes. By patience, time brings a balm for every sorrow. By patience, the load of impurity which composed the old man is subdued and removed, and the new man grows up to the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus. Are you suffering, then, my beloved friend?--have patience. Are you longing to be entirely freed from everything that can impede your spiritual growth and happiness?--have patience.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 278 By patient diligence all that is rough now will be polished, and you will acquire a brilliancy and a beauty which will be fully known in the day that the Redeemer makes up His jewels.

The text continues: And set my feet upon a rock. Here the correspondence appears in striking form. Feet, the lowest portion of the body, representing the operative energies which are exhibited in the outward life; these are the lowest affections of the soul. This correspondence of feet appears everywhere in the Word, and we readily perceive its cogency. It was said of Asher by Moses, Let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil; where it is easy to see, that what is commanded to Asher is that he should be gentle in heart, and gentle in act. Some persons who mean well, defeat their own kind intentions by the rude and repulsive manner with which they act to others. They do not dip their foot in oil. True Christian courtesy is such a sweetness in demeanor that a kind action is made doubly kind by the earnest tenderness with which it is done. Even a refusal in such a spirit is deprived of ungraciousness. The oil of heavenly charity is admired by all when it flows down into all the daily acts of common life: when not only the heart but the foot also is dipped in oil. In this book of Psalms the foot is mentioned very frequently indeed, appearing as the correspondence of the outward life. Thus in the ninety-first, For He shall give His angels charge concerning thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone (verses 11, 12). Where to dash the foot against a stone is to impair our daily life by some false and spurious teaching. For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against (Ps. xxxviii. 16). The truly good man desires to be preserved in a blameless life, not only for his own sake, but that no harm may come to the cause of religion on his account. He prays that the evil may not have cause to exult through any fault in him: for if his foot should slip, thy would magnify themselves against him. When I said , My foot slippeth, Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up (Ps. xciv. 18). Here the constant watchfulness and constant prayerfulness of the good man in daily life is manifested. He feels that he needs the Divine Helper to prevent him from failing in some duty, or from falling into some misconduct, and the interior quiet prayer of the heart goes up, O Lord my foot slippeth, and the strength of heaven descends, and the sinking spirit is sustained.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 279 This religion of the feet is of far greater importance than many suppose. For want of sound feet religion can often neither stand, nor walk, and yet many dream that they will be saved by their faith, whatever their life may be. But it is not so. The feet must be regulated by the principles of justice and judgment, or there is no safety for the soul. The Word says, Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.

O let us, my beloved hearers, as members of the New Jerusalem, never forget that our feet should be within her gates. We must do justly, as well as will and think justly. It is only thus religion becomes real, and stands upon solid ground. At first, when we become religious, we do not admit this truth in all its force. We are more intent upon seeing the truth than upon doing it. We say, as Peter said to the Savior, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Our daily acts seem to us beneath the dignity of our sublime views. But if we are earnestly seeking to be right, we shall hear the Divine Master saying, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part in Me. Every act is the outbirth of good or of evil, and is fraught with salvation or destruction; it is the any either of heaven or of hell. When, therefore, the deep fountains of impurity within us are opened to our gaze, and, filter a patient endurance, the temptation has passed by, with our lives more firmly grounded in what is good and true than before, how gratefully we call say, Thou hast set my feet upon a rock; Thou hast confirmed me in right: Thou hast given me power to stand against the excitements of evil; my life shall now more than ever be based on the Word of God, which is the Rock of Ages.

What a difference is implied between the confident safety now attained, and the horrors from which the soul has escaped. It is depicted in our text by the representation of a person in a pit of miry clay, dark and horrid, with confused noises of terrible foes around, and seeking destruction, and then the same person delivered from his miserable position, brought out into the sunlight, and placed upon a rock. Lately all was threatening and awful, now all is free and gladsome. Then all was slippery, now all is solid. Then danger lurked everywhere, now all is calm, secure, and certain. Thou hast set my feet upon a rock.

Every temptation, in which we have been victorious, has made us stronger. The virtue we have struggled for becomes more completely ours. Principles which have stood the test of seducing influences and urgent assaults, become confirmed and established as settled habits.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 280 This is expressed by the Psalmist in the next sentence: Thou hast established my goings. Our steps are made firm. The effect of temptation properly met and resisted is most salutary, not only in leading to a steadier of the virtues which have been endangered, but to a firmer trust in the Divine Providence. An army that has not met its foes is diffident, and without the steady confidence of veteran troops. So is it with the soul in its spiritual conflicts. When we have endured temptation we know what we can bear, and what we can resist. We have been tried, and not found wanting. We have acquired new abhorrence of evil from the very odiousness with which it has pressed itself upon us. We have been into the depths of iniquity, and we know how vile they are. But we have also acquired fresh faith in the Lord. We know that though He seemed long in manifesting His power, it came at last, and we have seen that His was the right time. Our foes have been scattered; our heads have been lifted up. Peace, be still, was uttered, and all our fears were hushed. Like the calm sunshine after rain, the presence of the Lord has gone forth like the morning. Hitherto has the Lord helped us, and we set up our stone of testimony, as the Israelites at Ebenezer, and feel assured that the same kind and victorious hand will be outstretched for us in every future danger. The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

The Divine Word adds, And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God. Many shall see it and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

Well does praise become the mouth, when deliverance so signal has been experienced. The whole heart should melt itself in song. Praise unto our God is the grateful expression of the delivered soul, for experience has taught the sacred truth that God is our Savior and Friend, and the powers of evil are our only enemy. There is a mistaken theology which attributes man a danger to God, and says, there is a second Divine Person, who is the Savior. But no, says the Scripture: Look unto Me, all ye ends of the earth, and be ye saved; for I am God, and there is none else (Isa. xlv. 22). It is not God we are to be saved from; He is the Savior Himself, and the only Savior. Evil and hell are the sources of danger. God is our help; God is our refuge and strength: a very present help, in trouble; or, as the French version with great simplicity and beauty renders it, And very easy to find (Psalm xlvi. 11). Let us, then, ever look up to the Lord Himself as our best friend.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 281 He is not an incomprehensible essence; He has brought Himself near to us is the person of the Lord Jesus. In Him He is easy to find. Think, then, in every hour of need, of the adorable Savior, the Divine Man. He who was the first, the Maker; He became the Last, God visible in the lower world, that He might be a Savior to the uttermost. Trust in Him, serve Him. Expect Him as your Divine Deliverer, and you will find Him sufficient for all your needs--the Creator, the Savior, the Friend of His people. He will give you cause to offer up praise unto Him our God.

An influence will also be exercised upon others. Many shall see it, and fear, and trust in the Lord. We are not alone in anything we do. We are connected from the cradle to the grave with many others. We have our family, and our kindred, our social friends, our business connexions, our neighbors and fellow-citizens. Upon all these we exercise influence, both consciously and unconsciously by our uprightness they are strengthened, by our courage they are cheered, by our perseverance they are confirmed in the love of right. Every person is thus a preacher to his neighbor; and the most powerful of all eloquence is the eloquence of a virtuous life. It is a testimony to the whole world that religion is not utopian. It can be practiced and realized; for here it is done. When a parent adds to the gentle precepts of true religion, delivered to his children, the practice of a just, a patient, loving life, he preaches to his household in golden words. When a Christian tradesman shows a spirit of honor and rectitude in his dealings, a desire to afford full justice to his customer, as well as to himself, he preaches with the utmost force the sermon, Go thou and do likewise. The best sermon any one can preach on patience, is actual calmness under provocation. The preaching of truly good lives is what the world now most needs. It is the one sweet note having the power to reduce to harmony all the discords of mankind. Alas! the world has too long been taught, and been all too ready to believe, that the Lords commandments--those great laws of heavenly order--cannot be practiced, impossible to be kept. The grand means of proving the contrary is to DO them. When men declare that their gods many and lords many do not enable them to do works of faith, and love, and duty, let our lives convince them that our one Lord Jesus Christ, Jehovah in His humanity, does give us power to show we love Him, by keeping His commandments.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 282 We find that in the world it is practically assumed that selfishness and evil are indigenous, and without remedy; let our lives teach that our Savior gives us power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt us. This is the sublime mission of the New Jerusalem in the world. To show in our lives that goodness is the true source of happiness, and truth is the way to goodness, and its defense to show that evil, however specious, leads only to misery, and me reject it. We reject what is inconsistent with love to God and man, however seductive it may appear, however pressing to be accepted, however powerful. We will live by the Lords law of love and light, and when in our course we endure: trials, sufferings, sacrifices, foregoing the gilded baubles of pampered crime, and when to outward loss inward sorrow is superadded, opening to us inward impurities, which disgust and horrify us, we will still wait patiently upon the Lord; we doubt not that He will incline His ear unto us, and hearken unto our cry. He will lift us from the horrible pit, and from the miry clay. He will put our feet upon a rock and establish our goings. He will put a new song into our mouth, even praise unto our God. Yes, our God, the Lord Jesus, the First and the Last, is alone worthy of praise. From Him, the truths of the New Dispensation descend, and from Him all the power to practice them. From Him comes victory over hell, and victory over sin. From Him comes light to see the path, power to walk in it, patience to persevere, and blessing to encourage us. Let then the praise of every virtuous affection, thought, word, and work be unto Him our God. In His strength let us so unfold the light of His holy city, that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He (the One Divine Person) shall reign forever and ever. Many shall see it, and fear, and trust in the Lord.

And now, my beloved hearers, be not surprised if you should at times be brought into the pit of noise. The Lord alone knows what is best for us. He sees our interior condition, and observes how prone we are to self-conceit, and self-indulgence. We are apt to settle upon our lees, and suppose we are quite right as we are, and need no further purification. A merciful voice says, I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire. Our gold at present is greatly mixed with dress; it must be cleansed by trial and temptation. The fire will sometimes blaze fiercely; but He who watches over us will take care, if we look to Him, that it shall be a friendly flame.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 283 So we may, to induce in us deeper dependence upon the Lord and a greater distrust of ourselves, be brought into the pit; and it may be a horrible pit, a pit of noise and alarm, in which too there is miry clay, and scarcely any standing. Fear not, but be patient. Hope still in God, and you shall yet praise Him. Joseph was cast into a pit, and after that into prison, before he was elevated to share the throne of Pharaoh. Daniel was cast into the pit of lions, before he was raised to sit over the province of Babylon. Jeremiah was cast into the pit, but he was lilted thence unharmed. Rest patiently upon the Lord Jesus, and no pit can finally hold you, for He has said,

       Fear not, I am with thee, I only design

       Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

But above all things we must be mindful of our lives--our feet. If we suffer ourselves to do evil we sink under the temptation, and give infernals the victory over us. We take no harm, however severe the temptation from temptation itself. It is not that which goeth into a man which defileth him; Master said, but that which goeth out. We cannot prevent tempting thoughts coming into the mind, but we may prevent them flowing into acts. Let us keep a tight hand upon their outgoings: Whatsoever we shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven. If in the struggle me stay long in the pit, heed it not: wait patiently. We may hear the noise and alarm of our spiritual foes, but we are safe in the protection of the Lord, and He will bring us to the promised blessings. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. I will go into Thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay Thee my vows' (Ps. lxvi. 12, 13). Such will ever be our experience if we abide trustfully and lovingly during the tribulation we experience, until the Lord sees good to end them.

It may be that some of my beloved hearers are even now in the pit, even now feel the presence of the miry clay. Suffer me to speak words of comfort to you. Think not that you are less the objects of divine care because of your sorrows: Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth.

It is not a sign of your external character that you are tempted, but rather that you are strong enough to be trusted to fight the good fight. Never forget that you are under the especial providence of Him who said: Come unto Me, all ye that are weary, and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 284 The blessed Lord you serve is too powerful to be overcome, too wise to be deceived, and too good to forsake you. He descended from heaven for you: He gave Himself for you, and will surely in His own good time bring you into the peace which passeth all understanding.       In all your trials, therefore, wait patiently upon the Lord. Take the beautiful language of the apostle James for your comfort: Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh (James v. 3).

But if the reward of the husbandman is the golden grain which waves in plenty over the fields, blest with an abundant harvest, what is that to the glorious reward which awaits the tried but triumphant Christian? His harvest, the very end for which he was created is secured--peace on earth and peace forever. His mind, brought into the image of heavenly order, is now a little heaven. His impurities removed, no longer distress him, but all is harmony, purity, and confidence within him. For this, His God has watched over him, waiteth for him, defended him, and now is about to remove hint to His heavenly garner.

They who die in Christ are blessd

Ours be then no thought of grieving!

Sweetly with their God they rest,

All their toils and troubles leaving;

So be ours the faith that saveth,

Hope that every trial braveth,

Love that to the end endureth,

And from Christ the crown secureth.

He knows the nature of heaven and its joys, for he already dwells in the love which produces them. He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, for God is love. He has no fears; perfect love casteth out fear. He knows he will not be forsaken in any future trial, as he has not been forsaken in the past. Death, terrible to most, has no terrors to him. It is a messenger of a loving Father, to call him home. Death lost his sting when sin was conquered: and since then, his dart has been turned into a golden scepter. He takes a heaven of love, wisdom, peace, and joy with him, and hopes and joys, like angel crowds, swarm within, and bless him with a foretaste of heaven.





Then shalt arise, and have mercy on Zion: for the time to favor her, yea, the set time, is come. For Thy servants take pleasure in her stones, they favor the dust thereof.PS. cii. 13, 14.

TWO things are remarkable in the Psalm before us,---its extreme pathos, and its astonishing sublimity. It seems clear from its contents that it was written during the time of the captivity; and the prophet pours out a wail so tender, so pitiful, that it is perhaps unequaled. in the whole circle of literature, for the utter desolation it expresses. One can imagine the mournful soul of the servant of God who had longed, and hoped, and sighed, and prayed, and agonized, for deliverance, but no help came, until hope deferred and accumulated disappointment, brought him to the very verge of despair, and his heart melted itself into tears and moans, breathing the very agony of sorrow. His days are consumed like smoke. His bones are burnt up with feverish anxiety. His heart is smitten and withered like dried grass. He is like a pelican in the wilderness, the sad owl in the desert, the lonely bird on the housetop overlooking the widespread ruin. One single ground of consolation remains,Jehovah loves His people as ever. The remembrance of His wonderful mercy in days gone by will never perish, and He will doubtless arise and have mercy on Zion. The prophet singer believes the time, the appointed time has come; for he pleads, Thy servants take pleasure in her stones, they favor the dust thereof. By building up Zion again, the nations will fear the name of Jehovah, and all kings His glory.

But the grandeur of the latter portion of this Psalm is quite equal to the plaintive wail of the former. How sublime is the likeness of the universe to the vesture of the eternal. Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of Thine hands.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 286 They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure: yea, they shall all wax old like a garment; like a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not end (Ps. cii. 25-27). There is a vesture which perishes, and one which does not perish. Let us consider them both.

It is an idea no less sublime than stupendous and true, to regard the universe as the dress of the Almighty, the gorgeous array of systems and stars as the jewels of His robe. The glories of heaven, and all the countless societies there, are but the inner vesture of the Love and Wisdom of the Divine Man; and the countless worlds of the universe with all their inhabitants are His outer garments.

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,

Whose body nature is, and God the soul

That changed through all and yet in all the

Great in the earth, as in the ethereal frame,

Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,

Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees;

Lives through all life, extends through all extent,

Spreads undivided, operates unspent;

Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,

As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart.

As full, as perfect, in poor man that mourns,

As the rapt seraph that adores and burns:

To Him no high, no low, no great, no small,

He fills, He hounds, connects, and equals all.

This expression of the wondrous truth, In Him we live, and move, and have our being, takes our attention to a vesture of the Almighty, which is permanent after its creation. Thus the Psalmist declares: Praise ye Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars of light. Praise Him ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for He commanded, and they were created. He hath also established them FOR EVER AND EVER: He hath made a decree which shall NOT PASS (Ps. cxlviii. 3-6). The declarations of the Psalms, which speak of the stability of the created universe, are numerous and striking. They shall fear Thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout ALL GENERATIONS (Ps. lxxii. 5). In His days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth (ver. 7). His name shall endure for ever: His name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in Him: all nations shall call Him blessed (ver. 17).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 287 Here the sun, moon, and stars, are all declared to be established to exist for ever; to continue as long as the Lords peace and name shall continue. And when we remember that they are creations of Divine Love, for the purpose of calling into existence and training ever-increasing myriads of finite beings that they might be blessed for ever,--creations whose order human error cannot interrupt nor spoil,--we may perceive that no change can take place with them which would impair their stability. He hath established them for ever and ever. The earth, too, as to its material laws and conditions, is declared to be formed equally for perpetuity. See the following intimations. And He built His sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth, which He hath established for ever (Ps. lxxviii. 69). The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith He hath girded himself; the world also is established, that it CANNOT BE MOVED (Ps. xciii. 1). Say among the breathen, the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it SHALL NOT BE MOVED: He shall judge the people righteously (Ps. xcvi. 10). Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed FOR EVER (Ps. civ. 5).

There is then a vesture, a clothing of the Divine Majesty, which will not be changed, a robe which endureth for ever. The outward universe, as an outbirth from Divine Love and Wisdom for everlasting ends, will everlastingly endure. The Divine purpose which brought it into being is unchanged, cannot change. The love of God cannot cease to be, nor can it be filled with objects to eternity, for it is infinite. It will still demand more, not fewer, immortal beings whom it can bless; therefore creation will increase, but never come to an end. The Giver of life will never become the author of death; the Creator will never become the destroyer; the same fountain, as the apostle says, cannot send forth sweet and bitter.

There is, nevertheless, in the Psalm before us mention of a vesture which will be changed, of a garment which waxes old, in allusion to the heavens and the earth. And this brings us to another and very important subject of reflection. The Spirit of the Lord, we have seen, covers itself with the universe of mind and matter, as a clothing of its divine thoughts and purposes, and as the means of carrying them out to an everlasting completion. And this universe, as under the laws of the Divine Majesty alone, undisturbed by human perversity, answers its ends and obeys its laws with perfect order and perfect truth, it will therefore be stable.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 288 There is, however, another clothing of the Spirit of God, another heaven and earth, which is not so fixed; I mean the moral and intellectual world, which we call society. For all the feelings, thoughts, sentiments, ideas, and institutions, which at any particular time are prevalent in the world, are nothing but the human vesture of the Divine Spirit, sometimes pure, sometimes a mass of awful perversions, but at all times mans covering of divine principles. The love of God broods over man, and moves him to be happy; the wisdom of God informs him of the means of happiness; the power of God places at his disposal the ability to effect the purposes of his life. If man, wisely and purely, receives the impulses of the Divine Love, and desires to feel and live in its hallowed delights, he forms a heaven within of purity and peace. He receives and clothes the Divine Love and Wisdom with emotions and desires, affections and delights, which are all in harmony with it. He abides in the Lord, and the Lord makes His abode with him. His thoughts are derived from the teachings of the wisdom of heaven; he learns and he teaches the laws and the lessons of true intelligence, and he originates around him, in the Church and in the State, a condition of society which embodies his reading of the truth. He clothes the truth with what he conceives it means, directs and intends, and thus produces a good transcript on earth of the heaven he feels within. This is a moral HEAVEN and EARTH, a new creation.

This, however, as it is mans rendering of Gods Holy Spirit in the world, is a heaven and earth not stable and abiding like the universe in which God reigns alone. It has the weakness of humanity about it. It is like a garment which waxes old. It is a vesture which is changed. It is a heaven and earth which pass away, giving place to new heavens and a new earth; or in other words, a new dispensation, a new church, and society among mankind. This has been often done. The earliest dispensation of religion among mankind, or the Most Ancient Church described by the creation in Genesis, and the placing of Adam in Eden, in the garden of delight, was a realization of the Divine idea that man should be happy, by enjoying the blessings of love to God and man, and the perception of the Divine wisdom in nature by correspondence. All nature was a book, in which they delighted to read. Creation was to them a garden of innocence and wisdom.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 289 They had child-like simplicity of heart, and heaven was reflected to them in all they saw around. Their heaven was realized in the interior light and joy they experienced, and their peaceful, simple, happy, outward life was their earth. All went well for a time, perhaps a very long time,--it was the golden age. The Divine idea, that man should be innocently, simply, and wisely happy, was, we conceive, clothed with every form of vegetable beauty; they lived in gardens, the outer paradise being the reflection of the inner one. We have very faint means of knowing how long it continued in its purity; but at length there came a desire not be entirely led by the Lord as before. The love of external sensual life, the serpent, insinuated self-derived intelligence grounded in appearances; self-will arose, and that train of errors and evils was generated, which brought this first great dispensation to an end in the soul-destroying falsities represented by the flood. Another dispensation was begun, signified by Noah and the ark. To those who, in their time, like the Psalmist in his time, prayed that the water floods might not come in upon their souls, the Divine Mercy gave help and consolation. Divine truth, in its beauty, was imparted to them. They cultivated the spiritual vine. It was the age of silver. They did not satisfy themselves, like their forefathers of the golden age, with the peaceful perception of the correspondences in nature, but they delighted in imitating correspondences, in making representatives. They originated the beautiful mythologies of India and the Greeks. From them came the hieroglyphics of Egypt, the strange winged forms, and mythic trees of buried Nineveh. All these wondrous stories and figures were full of intelligence and wisdom to them, and they gloried is them, spreading them over all the East.

They, however, degenerated into idolatry and corruption The degenerate sons made idols of what was full of meaning to the fathers. Instead of dedicating their affections in worship and in life to the will of their heavenly Father, they offered up the animals which corresponded to them. Their evils sank them into stupidity. Hence came their idolatries, the strange myths, the bloody sacrifices of the ancient heathen world, all originating in the perversions of correspondences, the garment had again become old, the vesture must again be changed. The darkened heavens and earth must again pass away, and a new heaven and earth, or a new state of society, be formed.
Then the Jewish Church. The world was sunk so low that no intellectual or spiritual Church could then be formed, and yet the fullness of time had not arrived for Jehovah Himself to become incarnate.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 290 A typical dispensation must now be formed; and the Jewish religion was begun. The Divine idea amongst them clothed itself with all the arrangements of the tabernacle and the temple, the priestly robes, the minute regulations of the sacrifices, and the patterns of things in the heavens, which would prevail until the time of the great and wonderful work of God--His own manifestation in the flesh. At first the Jews mere happy in performing this use. They were in a heaven of enjoyment in being distinguished by so many miracles and so many divine favors. They made a new state of society, a new crowd of institutions, a new earth, in their Canaan, and for a time all went well. But the theocracy established did not last long. The people thirsted for distinction among the nations. The selfish and worldly spirit set in. They would have kings, armies, and selfish dominations. They must have grand alliances with powerful heathen nations. Their religion itself became corrupted by vain traditions, and at length was what the Great Savior found it, a system of hypocrisy and deceit, preying upon blind dupes. The garment had become once more old; the vesture must be once more changed. Again, heaves and earth, the Jewish heaven and earth, must pass away, and a new heaven and earth be formed. And now that we are treating of limes to which the revelation of the Jews refer, we have ample opportunity of noticing what the breaking down and removal of heaven and earth really imply. When referring to the foundation of the Jewish Church, the Lord speaking by the prophet says, 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). Surely no one will fail to admit that the heaven and earth here spoken of mean the Jewish Church as to its interior principles, and the results which grow out of them.

When that church was sinking into decay, it is represented as an earth in a state of dissolution. Thus David said; The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it (Ps. lxxii. 3). Certainly, the earth whose pillars David bore up, could be nothing else than the Jewish Church. Again, it is said, They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course (Ps. lxxxii. 5).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 291 But what foundations go out of course when the people will not know nor understand their true duty, but will walk on in darkness? Surely no other foundations but the foundations of truth and virtue!

The prophet Isaiah has a whole chapter strikingly illustrative of this use of earth to signify the Church. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the ever-lasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left (chap. xxlv. 4-6). Here, not only is the earth represented as fading sway between two and three thousand years ago; but the inhabitants as being burned, and few men being left. Such language is quite without meaning respecting any earth but the moral earth, that is, the Church. But when its members fall away from goodness, and sink into the embraces of vice, they become inflamed with lust and passion, which is the burning the prophet means, and there are few men left. Again he says, The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly (ver. 19). But what earth? Surely not Gods earth! The material world has been as little dissolved up to the present time as it ever was. It is mans earth, the society which man forms, which dissolves when it looses its hold on God and immortal principles, and gives itself a prey to self, to falsehood, and to sin. The prophet Jeremiah speaks in the same manner, and, I may say, all the prophets, for it is the Divine style; For my people are 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 (chap. iv. 22, 23). No one surely can fail to see that the heavens which had no light are the minds of those who were wise to do evil, but to do good had no knowledge; while the disordered and void earth is the wretched state of society which they produce. When the Jewish Church is described as about to pass away and to give place to the Christian, this is the language in which it is described: 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 (Isa. lxv. 17, 18).



The Jewish heavens had become darkened by falsehood, they loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil the Jewish earth had become a mass of mingled heathenish tradition and sordid schemes for making everything subservient to a greedy desire for gain: this should give place to the new heavens of Christian faith and love, and. the new earth of Christian obedience and benevolence. Men were to be removed from the old man of selfishness to the new man of Christ; and, If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, said the apostle; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new (2 Cor. v. 18).

And now we may be prepared to regard the sublime language of this Psalm with a solemn and deep significance in relation to the rise, the progress, and the decline of churches or great dispensations of divine things among mankind. They are as successive vestures clothing the Spirit of God among men. At first they are as a new and beautiful robe of the Almighty, but in time they become corrupt, they wax old as a garment. The Spirit of the living God, which they clothe, remains the same, and it puts no new piece on the old garment. As a vesture it changes them, and they shall be changed; but He is the same, and His years have no end. So was it with the golden or Adamic age; so was it with the Noetic or silver age; so was it with the Jewish; and so was it to be, and so has it been, with the Christian.

Some, however, may demur, when they hear that the first Christian Church was in time to give way to a second, represented by the New Jerusalem. Yet it is plainly so taught in Holy Writ; and if we have succeeded in showing that the passing away of heaven and earth, and the formation of new heavens and a new earth, is the Scriptural mode of stating the end of an old Church, and the beginning of a new one, then there will be no difficulty in admitting that the first Christian Church would come to an end, and give place to a better. For there can be no question, that in the New Testament it is prophesied that heaven and earth would once more pass away, and a new heaven and earth be formed. Heaven and earth shall pass away, said our Lord, but My words shall not pass away (Matt. xxiv. 36); meaning that the dispensation He then established would come to an end, but from His divine words another would arise. The apostle Peter, in language very like that in which the prophet Isaiah described the fallen Jewish Church, and which we have already quoted,--


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 293 The earth is clean dissolved, and c.,--announces the end of the first Christian Church, when he says, Looking for and hasting unto the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat (2 Peter iii. 12). The heavens are on fire when the inward hearts of men are possessed by selfish excitement, by lust and passion, when hate takes the place of love, and revenge the place of mercy. In such case the elements of virtue and right melt with fervent heat, and become destroyed. Nevertheless, as the apostle continues, we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, or justice. The new heavens and earth are not to contain new sun, new moon, or new stars; but they are to contain justice.

To the same effect is the vision of John in the Book of Revelation: And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: and the former heaven and the former earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God, out of heaven, adorned as a bride for her husband (Rev. xxi. 1, 2). This language, in the divine manner of speaking, assures us that the heaven and earth of the first Christian dispensation would be succeeded by another. Jerusalem, in spiritual language, undoubtedly means the Church, and a New Jerusalem can only mean a new Church. This would descend upon earth, and transform by its glorious principles the kingdoms of this world, to be the kingdoms of the Lord Jesus Christ, doing His will, and receiving His happiness.

That which is thus symbolically taught by these majestic emblems was also plainly taught by the Lord Himself: And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (Matt. xxiv. 11, 12). The very expression end of the age, frequently used by our Lord, and erroneously in our version translated end of the world, teaches that the age He instituted, like all other ages, would have its end. The word aion, translated world, occurs in the Greek of the New Testament one hundred and twenty-eight times, and is rendered many ways, but never once means the material globe. It is rendered by age several times, as in Col. i. 26; Eph. ii. 7; iii. 21; and such is its proper meaning. And therefore the end of the age is an announcement that an end would come to that age, as it had come to others, and something still more perfect would be revealed by Him who is the God of all ages.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 294 The apostle expresses it thus: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away (1 Cor. xiii. 9, 10).

That which was given in part at the beginning, because the world was not in a state to bear a fuller revelation, would then gradually become darker and darker unto its end, and then that which is perfect, a full development of heavenly wisdom, would take place. The great lending feature of that more perfect system would be a clear and full knowledge of the Lord. The time cometh, said the Savior, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I will show you PLAINLY OF THE FATHER.

And now, looking backwards up the history of the Christian Church, what is it but a long declension? The time would fail me to trace, however faintly, the gloomy story, abounding in follies and cruelties, which announce not religion, but baptized heathenism. In the days even of the apostles; they saw the spirit of religion already becoming tainted with pride and folly (2 Thess. ii. 3-7; John iv. 1-3). Onwards the mystery of iniquity worked, weaving self and sanctimoniousness into an awful system of priestcraft and sensuality. In the third and fourth centuries a scheme of religion acquired increasing influence, and became fully developed at the Council of Nice in 324,--by which the deity was divided into three persons of different characters, and men were led to hope to be saved, not by following the Great Savior; and becoming like-minded with Him, but by praying at any time to one of the divine persons to pacify the other. Instead of altering themselves, they were bent upon altering God. This unhappy folly spread and deepened.

First, it began by setting up the Savior as a different Being from the Father, to pacify Him. Then the Virgin Mary was exalted, from the idea that she was a gentle being, who would still more easily wink at the frailties of her worshipers, and she would incline her Son to mercy. Then successive saints were exalted, who were thought likely to influence the Virgin, and so on. And as this direful state of things spread, iniquity abounded amongst priests and people, so that an ever-darkening gloom thickened over the human mind, diversified chiefly by flashes of tremendous crime--nations and creeds burning against others with dread volcanoes of malice, hate, and vengeance, terrible to contemplate.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 295 The cruelties against the Albigenses, the monstrosities of the Inquisition, the thirty years war between Catholics and Protestants is Germany, the terrible Huguenot dragonnades, are fearful illustrations of what me mean, when it was evident that the so-called religious were but fiends in human shape; and the doctrines which could produce such characters must be fearful perversions of pure and undefiled religion. BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM. At last the midnight of such a fearful time arrived, when just a century ago even the pretense of believing in religion at all was almost entirely cast off. Infidel and sensual kings, infidel and sensual priests, infidel and sensual philosophers, were the rule throughout Christendom, with the faintest possible exceptions; and Europe and the world were drifting into the dreadful convulsion of the French Revolution. This was the end of that age. It was once more a terrible flood: atheism, deism, materialism, and every form of falsehood, rolled on like the roaring waves of the sea. The world was voted a mere crust of matter, on which men crept for their little day, animated by their petty passions, and then sunk into everlasting silence. The time was terrible. The floods were awful. No hope appeared. The floods lifted up, O Lord, the floods lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves: but the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea (Ps. xciii. 3, 4). He who ever loves and cares for mankind cared for them, and launched a little ark over this troubled ocean. A new and spiritual religion was disclosed to the human race, as small at first as one mans hand, but containing in it the germs of a new age. This religion, instead of a divided God, offered the Great Savior, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col. Ii. 9), for a God of infinite anger directed mens minds to Jesus, the God of Infinite Love. instead of looking at the universe as a great cold machine of dead matter, it regarded nature as the clothing of spirit, and warmed everywhere by its living soul. Mans life in the world is no longer a chance medley of only passing moment; but is the wondrous apprenticeship, in which souls learn eternal principles, to do immortal work, and death is the entrance to higher life.

The Divine Word is no longer a mere historical record, a thing of shreds and patches, for each quibbler to run away with and quarrel over, but a wondrous casket, whose glorious gems may be seen to be worthy of its Author, no longer the letter that killeth, but the spirit that giveth life (2 Cor. iii. 6).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 296 The divine commandments are the only laws of happiness, and the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ is the spirit of love and light which imparts power to keep them. Heaven is no longer like a mere word or dream, but is a land whose laws are order flowing from love and wisdom, and whose perfections are purities in form. Such are the outlines of this wonderful ark, which saved a few. It floated above and on the waters at first, but at length obtained a solid settlement on the earth, and became a beautiful golden pearly city, in which ever-increasing numbers take up their happy home. Of this city it is written, I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain (Zech. Viii. 3).

And now we may appreciate the bearing of our text, and its connected truths in this Psalm. As mankind declined, the truly good must have felt more and more lonely and desolate. Their great sad souls must have sickened, and mourned, and been like the sparrow on the house-top. One cheering light after another went out, and there was only one ground of hope. The Lord endureth for ever (ver. 12). On this, though mournfully leaning, they could hold, fast. But now we live a century after the dark time of the end, and signs of morning everywhere appear. Now, it may be said, Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favor her, yea, the set time, is come (ver. 13).

By Zion is meant the Church as to goodness. The term Zion is expressive of elevation, and the soul is only elevated in the sight of the Lord in proportion as it is receptive of goodness from Him. And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity (or love) (1 Cor. xiii. 13). As a person becomes animated by love to the Lord and his neighbor, he enters the heavenly Zion. Therefore the apostle said to the truly converted, Ye are come to Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem; and to an innumerable company of angels. The temple was on Mount Zion, literally, to teach us that the Lord should be worshipped from goodness. For the same reason Zion is spoken of in its representative character in the most glowing terms. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion (Ps. xlviii. 1, 2.) The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 297 Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God (Ps. lxxxvii. 2, 3). The truths which, like gates, introduce men to holy love and hallowed goodness, are of more value in the sight of the Lord than all the states of mere faith and knowledge. All the principles of the New Church tend to goodness. When, therefore, these truths are being unfolded and received among mankind, it may be truly said, Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favor her, yea, the set time, is come (Ps. ciii. 13).

It is said the time to favor her, but it is clear the word time implies its spiritual sense, which is state. State constitutes the time of the soul. When the soul is in a state of sorrow, a short time appears long; when in a state of joy, a long time appears short.       The time to favor Zion, then, means the state to favor Zion. And it is repeated, because before Zion can be really blessed there must be a state of love in the heart and of faith in the mind. Hence it is expressed in the double form, the time, and the set time. It is, however, more particularly explained as we proceed. For Thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof (ver. 14).

It is manifest that the time for favoring Zion depends upon the state here expressed. When the servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust, then the time to favor Zion has arrived.

The stones of Zion are the truths which flow from and lead to goodness, and to favor them is to love them. Let us examine these stones a little. The first is a most wonderful one,--it is this: That Jehovah Himself from infinite love visited the world as its Savior. In His love and in His pity He redeemed them (Isa. lxiii. 9). This is the stone which the builders rejected, and which has become the headstone of the corner (Luke xx. 17) It is the pearl of great price (Matt. xiii. 46). It is the stone of which it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste (Isa. xxviii. 16). When this stone sinks deeply into the heart, it becomes a foundation of hope, of trust, of love, and consolations innumerable. If my Heavenly Father really became my Savior, then will I fear nothing: I know the Almighty One loves me. If the Father were seen in Jesus, and He is the First and the Last, then am I safe. I know there is no angry frowning Deity; He is, He must be love.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 298 What but love could bring Him down to us, to make His mercy really known, and to save man to the uttermost! He who restored sight to the blind, strength to the lame, raised the dead, who calmed the sea, and has all power in heaven and on earth, will restore, strengthen, enlighten, raise, and calm me. This stone has seven eyes upon it: all divine wisdom flows from it (Zech. Iii. 9).       If it be true that God was manifested in the flesh, then Jehovah is our judge, Jehovah is our lawgiver, Jehovah is our king; He will save us (Isa. xxxiii. 22). It must be true, the heart demands this close conjunction with its God, and when He says, he that seeth ME seeth the Father: Thy servants, adorable Redeemer, take great pleasure in this stone. But there are many other delightful stones. It is written, I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones (Isa. liv. 12). The windows are of agates when a rational faith freely admits the light of heaven into the soul; the gates are of carbuncles when the introductory truths of religion are all assurance of the mercy and wisdom by which all things are arranged for our salvation and happiness, and, when we see the spirit shining through the letter of the whole sacred Scripture, all our borders are precious stones. The servants of the Lord take pleasure in these stones of Zion. They love them for their own sake, and they love them for their Givers.

And, may I not address all of you, my hearers, and ask, is there not an unspeakable pleasure in contemplating those holy truths which yield us a religion which satisfies at once the heart, the reason, and the life, which throws light over the eternal world, and brings its laws down to make of earth a preparatory heaven? Thy servants take pleasure in her stones. They favor the dust thereof.

Dust corresponds to what is external, and of comparatively slight importance. The outward possessions which so entirely please the selfish, are called dust in the Word: Dust shall be the serpents meat (Isa. lxv. 25). Celestial and spiritual blessings are expressed by gold and silver in the divine estimation: but the fleeting possessions of time are regarded as dust. The soul that seeks its satisfaction in power, pomp, or wealth, will find itself as empty and unblessed as an animal would which sought to supply its nourishment by feeding on dust. How often has this been realized. Title, fame, talents, and wealth, could not save the lordly poet from the sad lament on his thirty-sixth birthday:--



My years are in the sallow leaf,

       And all the life of life is gone,

The worm, the canker, and the grief,

       Are mine alone.

Earthly possessions are, however, valuable if used means, and not regarded as ends, if made subservient to real usefulness and not set up as idols. They only become dangerous and destructive when we seek to feed upon them, or, in other words, make them the very delights of our souls. The dust of Zion means the externals of the Church. These are of little importance compared with its internal principles. Attendance upon outward worship, singing, outward prayer, the externals of the sacraments when compared to the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, faith, are as mere dust. Yet we should not forget that mountains are made of atoms. Each grain of dust, though of small value itself, is of great importance as tending to a great result. Attendance upon public worship is an external thing, not to be compared with the value of the possession of interior heavenly virtues; but when regarded as a means of attaining and strengthening heavenly virtues its worth is great indeed.

We cannot too strongly impress upon ourselves the greatness of little things. The dust of Zion is sacred dust, and the wise servants of the Lord favor the dust thereof. They love the very spot where they hear the Word, pour out their souls in prayer, and join in sacred song. They delight in worshiping the Lord in the beauty of holiness. They will never willingly be absent. They go cheerfully, and testify their cheerfulness by being ready in good time to join in the invocation for the presence of the Lord. They know that the ministry of the Word is the divine means of imparting to them light, and strength, and blessing, and they enter into the feeling expressed. by the Psalmist: One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple (Ps. xxvii. 4). Well is it for us, and well is it for the Church, when we thus take pleasure in the stones of Zion, and favor the dust thereof.

Let us never suppose that attendance on divine worship in our solemn assemblies is a matter of indifference. Little as the good of outward worship at one particular time may be, he who is faithful in that which is least is faithful also much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much (Luke xvi. 10).


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 300 When we love the dust of Zion, and testify our love by a prompt, cheerful, punctual presence at the hearing of the Word and worship, the time to favor Zion, yea, the set time to favor her, is come. What stones are like her stones? What dust is like her dust? Can any earthly knowledge or science be compared with the treasures of heavenly wisdom? The grand themes of the nature and ways of the Lord; the wonders and glories of His Word; the regeneration of the human soul; the laws of heaven and of the universe; the happiness of the angels; the principles of the Church; these comprise stones of splendor, and of inestimable worth. Thy servants take pleasure in her stones. And what assemblies can compare with the public worship of the Lord, when our hearts enter into its sacred delights? There the ever-blessed One speaks to us in His Word. He sits at the mouth of the well from which springs the water of everlasting life. There we commune with Him in prayer, and, elevated for a time above all earthly cares, we dwell in the atmosphere of angelic thought, and are sunned with divine light and heat. Our hearts bum within us, while He talks with us by the way. No other meeting is for a moment to be compared with the public worship of the Lord. And when we ponder upon its worth, none will be so highly prized. We shall take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof.

And now, my beloved hearers, I feel fully impressed with the persuasion that you yearn to have Zion favored in the world. You know that mankind will never be orderly and happy, until all things earthly are filled and guided by things spiritual and divine. We long to see the Church increase, because her increase is the increase of the means of order, of goodwill, of purity, of peace, and of blessing among mankind. We have often walked round Zion, and told her towers. We have marked well her bulwarks, and considered her palaces, that we may tell it to the generation following. Often have we said, This God is our God, for ever and ever: He will be our guide unto death (Ps. xlviii. 12-14).

How shall we do our part to help on the progress of mankind towards this universal justice, enlightenment, peace, and happiness? Let us in all our learning, doing, and worshiping, show that we take pleasure in the stones of Zion. Let us talk of them in our families, and show our value of them in our lives. Let us be earnest, attentive, and warm in our worship. Let it be seen that we delight to be there.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 301 Let us be glad when they say unto us, We will go up to the house of the Lord. So shall we prove that we love the very dust of Zion; and we shall find, by a delightful experience in our own states, and by the success of the Lords Church, even in our day, that the time to favor Zion, yea, the set time to favor her, is come. For Thy servants take pleasure in her stones, they favor the dust thereof.

The manifest tendency of all this is to realize what prophets have long proclaimed as the ultimate destiny of mankind, the reign of a God who call be known as a God of love and light, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the Savior of all the families of mankind, regenerated in bonds of brotherhood, governed by justice, and enjoying peace. Where is this God of love and light to be found but in the Lord Jesus Christ:Jehovah now made known in His Divine Humanity? Isaiah calls the acknowledgment of this, All nations coming to the house of Jehovah at the top of the mountains (chap. ii. 2). Zechariah says, In that day there shall be one King over all the earth. In that day there shall be one Jehovah, and His name one (chap. xiv. 9). The opening of the Word shall be the grand of leading mankind to happiness; 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. There shall be a victory over evils, and from the mountain of love to the Lord all unkindness shall be subdued. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea (Isa xi. 9).

       Peace oer the world, her olive wand extends,

       And white-robed innocence from heaven descends.





And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the Highest Himself shall establish her. The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.--Ps. lxxxvii. 5, 6.

THE Word of God has not only a spiritual sense, but that sense is connected and. flows on in a series. Hence it is well to notice the commencement of a subject, to observe the beginning of a divine lesson, that we may lay hold of the successive links of the golden chain until the whole is unfolded. This will give us the clue, without which we should not fully perceive the application. We may illustrate these remarks by the Psalm before us. It commences with the words, His foundation is in the holy mountains. Very frequently is the Scriptures the foundation of man is said to be on a rock. In the fortieth Psalm it is said of the delivered penitent, He set my feet upon a rock; in the prophecy of Isaiah, in like manner, we read, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a. stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation (xxviii. 16); and in the Gospel our Lord declares, Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house upon a rock.

That there is some reason for this striking difference in the character of the foundation will readily occur, and that reason will be found fully satisfactory if we have some knowledge of spiritual life; and use the science of correspondences, by which, as the divinely-appropriate vessel, living water can be drawn from the deep wells of salvation. There are two general classes of spiritual character, the celestial and the spiritual. In the celestial, goodness predominates, and there is an air of sweetness and gentleness in all they think and all they do.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 303 The spiritual are they in whom truth has the chief place. They are sharp, keen, brilliant, it may be, but hard. The celestial are more intent upon the oil of religion, the spiritual upon the light. The spiritual man is more of a warrior; the celestial more of a peacemaker. The one has more of the force of the church, the other of the glow of the seraph. The spiritual revels in conflict and victory, the celestial delights in peace. In the order of complete regeneration the Christian advances, first in light and then in love, first in faith and thee in charity. First he is a conqueror in his struggles for purity, and then he is more than conqueror--he has entered upon the region of interior peace. He is spiritual during the days or states of his spirits labor; he is celestial when he has attained the sabbath of the soul. The foundation of the spiritual man is the rock of divine truth; the foundation of the celestial is the mountain of divine love. It is the divine love which gives the celestial man his supply of holy feelings, which is the object of his supreme regard. He exclaims, in the language of Psalm cxxi., when perfectly rendered, I will look into the mountains, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, who made heaven and earth (ver. 1, 2). Again, Thy righteousness is like great mountains (Ps. xxxvi. 6).

The commencement of this Psalm, being a reference to the celestial things of the divine love, gives us the key to the whole subject of it. The sanctity, the surpassing worth, and the blessedness of the church in which love is the chief element, is the topic of every verse.

The celestial and spiritua1 sides of religion were typified by those constantly recurring terms, Zion and Jerusalem. Zion, being the most elevated part of the holy city, and the part on which the temple stood, represented the celestial men of the Church. Jerusalem, whose name implies the sight of peace, represented the spiritual men of the Church. Each complete Christian, however, partakes of both, and then Zion denotes his will, in which love reigns, and Jerusalem his intellect, in which truth is ruler. The use of both names is very frequent in the Word, and ever with this discrimination. Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the states thereof shall ever be removed., neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken (Isa. xxxiii. 20). Zion is the Church as to the love or goodness which hallows the affections, and Jerusalem the Church as the truths which gladden the eyes of the mind.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 304 In Zechariah it is said, I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain (chap. viii. 3). Here Jerusalem is the city of truth, and Zion is the mountain of holiness. The apostle Paul shows the spiritual use of both these terms, when he remarks to the Hebrews who had embraced Christianity, But ye are come to Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. To the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect (Heb. xii. 22, 23)

Zion, as representing a state of love, and those in whom love reigns, because such persons are truly the Lords Church in an eminent degree, is often spoken of in the most glowing terms. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion (Ps. xlviii. 1, 2). Again, Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death (ver. 12-14). Were we Jews, and exulting in the capital city of our native land, our patriotic feelings might warrant these glowing terms; but in this sense only they would not be worthy of a place in the Word of the universal Lord. No natural predilections are to be admitted there. Again, the angels of heaven were seen by St. John on Mount Zion; he says, And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Fathers name written in their foreheads (Rev. xiv. 1). This is beautifully expressive, when we know that to be on Mount Zion means to be in a state of holy love to the Lord. In harmony with this, is having the Fathers name written on the forehead. For the Father means the divine love, and His name on the forehead means His nature inscribed on the will. The will is above the intellect, as the forehead is above the eyes. The spiritual meaning of Zion is surely evident now, for in application to the heavenly world it can have no other meaning. It was the highest part of Jerusalem, its very name signifies height, and it represents, therefore, the highest principle and state in religion.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 305 Now abideth faith, hope, and charity (or love), these three: and the greatest of these is charity (1 Cor. xiii. 13). Hence we may perceive the reason for the remarkable language of the second verse of the Psalm before us The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob (ver. 2). The gates of Zion are the truths which lead men to states of love. These are precious in the Lords sight, more than all the speculations of science or knowledge, or faith even. For though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, and have not charity, I am nothing (1 Cor. xiii. 2). Without the possession of heavenly love, no other grace is truly valuable. Love is the fulfilling of the law; love worketh no ill to his neighbor. Love disposes the heart to believe: love rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Because, then, Zion represents the Church, especially as to the principles of love, and the persons in whom these are cherished, we may see the propriety of the divine declaration, The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob (ver. 2). The Lord desires that we should be not men of profession only, or of a cold fault-finding, talking religion alone, but that we should go through the gates of Zion, and become men of love.

The Zion, then, whose gates the Lord loves, and of which it shall be said, when He counts up the people, This man was born in her, is no local Jewish city, but a state of holy inward love. We cannot surely suppose that the Almighty has any preferences of one place over another in His beautiful earth. He who is no respecter of persons, will certainly not be a respecter of cities. To a just and sensible man, the accident of birth constitutes no real merit. He respects a good man wherever he may have been born; much more is this the case with Him who is perfectly just.

When, then, it is written, Of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her, our attention is intended to be directed to the all-important subject of our re-birth, or regeneration, so as to have a, new nature from the Lord, and become the citizens of a new heavenly city; the inward communion of saints. Ye must be born again, said our Lord. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. And again, He cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John iii. 7, 3, 5)

This doctrine so distinctly declared is corroborated by all experience.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 306 With man, such as he is by nature, elderly and constant happiness is impossible. Indeed, a reflecting mind will easily perceive that society, as it exists, is the outbirth of the minds which compose it; and if those minds were transported to another world, they would produce all the tangled maze of order and disorder, joy and sorrow, care and negligence, success and failure, health and sickness, wealth and poverty, which compose society now.

This is strikingly manifested in the reproduction of new cities in new countries. They are the very facsimiles of the old. The United States and Australia, are England repeated. The emigrants have taken their minds, their characters, themselves with them, and the result is, that the same interior causes which produced the restless selfish struggles of the old world, reproduced them is the new. It is not change of place which will alter these, it is only change of state. So would it be after death, without an interior change. There could be no heaven formed out of minds which are not heavenly. Again, let us ask, What is man in his present condition? Self is confessedly most painfully prominent in the varied scenes of life.

       The trail of the serpent is over them all.

The greedy lusts of power, of gain, and of sensual pleasures, induce incessant restlessness, incessant conflict. Within man they assail the virtues implanted by the Lord to counteract the fall. For, Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. There can be no true peace so long as this inward contest is continued. But in every act some principles prevail to induce action, and too often the worse part of our nature prevails, and then we come into difficulties with others, and rouse opposition. This opposition induces further effort and struggle, and stirs up the deeps of our fallen and depraved characters. The result is energy in evil, which often produces crimes at which the perpetrator would once have shuddered. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. And in its dark recesses are often hatched horrors which make the world stand aghast. Out of the heart, said our Lord, proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man (Matt. xv. 19, 20). By education, by the usages of society, by the power of law, the real character of the perverted affections of the will are smoothed over, but it is in vain to deny its direful condition.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 307 The lowest degree of the soul was created at first in the image of the earth, but now it is the image of hell. Let a man examine the movements of his own heart and mind, and except so far as religion has subdued, chastened, and renewed them, he will find them abodes of the foulest desires and insanest follies. Were he to utter aloud what his inflamed passions suggest, men would shrink from him with loathing. When the mask falls off during intoxication or under great excitement, when self-command is for the time lost, or, as in the lowest grades of society, where self-respect and mutual respect are at a very low ebb, then the fearful depravity of fallen man appears, and no words can equal the horrible reality. During an insurrection, when law is suspended, and hoarded vengeance and ruffianism riot unchecked in villainous indulgence, the difference between man and fiend appears exceedingly minute. See the accounts of the horrid brutalities which have arrived day by day to shock and agonize us from India. Before the outburst of the mutiny all seemed smooth, decent, and even obsequious, but when the ties of order were loosened, and the vile impulses of unregenerate men held complete sway, what abominations were perpetrated! How the heart sickens as it notes the malignant atrocites of which women and children were the victims! It was as if hell were let loose. Refined cruelties, slow tortures, maddening indignities, strange obscenities, and horrid orgies were committed on all sides, at which our common humanity trembles with indignation, and shudders with loathing horror. Yet such in itself is unregenerate human nature. And how strongly do these things echo the divine words, Ye must be born again.

How could a heaven be formed out of minds like these? Some have proposed to make men happy by a better arrangement of their outward circumstances. But supposing all men could be placed beyond the reach of want, and be enabled even to roll in splendor, with their minds unregenerate they would still be impure and unhappy. The proportion of happy persons amongst the high is quite as small as amongst the lowly. The volcano may look smooth, and smiling vineyards on its sides may induce the traveler to believe that solid peace reigns there, but a raging fire is gathering fierceness within, and shortly will pour its red rivers over village, church homestead, and smiling fields, burying them beneath its scorching streams. So is it with human nature unchanged by religion.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 308 The blandest manners may be there, a smooth and smiling courtesy may give it an attractiveness of the most inviting character, but if the power of the Divine Savior has not supplied it with inward virtue, the time will come when the old man will assert his native selfishness, vileness, and fury, and those who have leaned upon it will discover that the beauty they admired was the beauty of the serpents skin, and with the brilliant colors of the skin there is also the danger of the reptiles deadly bite.

No! there is no lasting peace, lasting safety, or lasting loveliness, but in obedience to the divine injunction, Ye must be born again.

If happiness have not her seat

       And center in the breast;

We may be wise, or rich, or great,

       But never can be blest.

No treasures, nor pleasures,
              Could make us happy long;

The hearts aye the part aye

       That makes us right or wrong.

But the heart by nature is the seat of selfishness and sin. Until this has been changed by power from heaven, true and lasting happiness is impossible.

The necessity for mans regeneration will appear still more manifestly if we consider what heaven is. The word hashamayim (heavens), in the original language, is derived from the union of esh (fire) with mayim (waters). And the orderly union of the fire of love with the waters of truth, gives us the interior elements of heaven. The two grand principles of love are insisted on by the Lord as the very essence of religion, because heaven and happiness without them are impossible. Love to God is the conjoining link between God, the fountain of happiness, and man its receiver; and unless the receiver be conjoined with the Giver, it is obviously impossible that the gift of happiness call take place. The kingdom of God, the apostle declared, is not meat and drink: but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. xiv. 17). The kingdom of God is within you, the Lord Jesus said. And the least reflection will enable any one to see, that just as the earth can only bloom, and bear, and be blessed under the warm and glorious presence of the sun, so immortal man call only become truly happy in conjunction with the Eternal God. With Thee is the Fountain of life, and at Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore. If for a single day a man would be happy, he muse devote that day in the first and highest place to Him from whom alone light, love, and peace descend.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 309 No heaven can exist without this. The first commandment there, and consequently the first law in this our training world is, 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. He that dwelleth in LOVE dwelleth in God, for God is love. Such is the chief, the essential element of heaven. The angels are all receivers of life and bliss, from Him who is their spring.

Secondly, where love to the Lord reigns, it generates love to our neighbor for His sake. This is the distributive principle. Without this a man would be solitary and selfish. His blessings must necessarily be confined. But if each glow with the desire to bless others, if whatever grace, excellence, or possession he has, he desires to impart it to those around him, immediately the blessings of all multiply by the number of possessors, and all are made happy by the aid of each.

Let us take a household of tell persons for instance. If the chief thought of each was how he could make the rest happy, how he could impart to them what he possessed of gift or grace, the result would be, that each would be ten times as happy as he could be alone. So would it be in a society of a hundred or a thousand where this principle reigned. And from this alone it may be seen how great must be the happiness of heaven, where the angels far surpass men in goodness, in wisdom, in grace, and in power, and each glows with a desire to make others as happy, or happier than himself. This, then, is the second law of heaven, and he who would know how far he is preparing for heaven, should examine himself to ascertain how far he practices this holy law at home. He only who is heavenly in heart, mind, and practice, may safely conclude he is capable of forming one of the heavenly company after death.

The third great principle of a heavenly world, a world of joy and peace, must be that harmony or correspondence between the inner and the outer sphere of things. Every one feels that there should be harmony between the principles and the position of the wise and excellent. There is a conviction which impresses itself on all minds that something is wrong when virtue suffers, and vice revels in plenty. The moral sense of mankind revolts at the spectacle of integrity and misery in close companionship, and only becomes reconciled to it by the assurance that it may be permitted for the sake of higher objects at present, but that, in the end, virtue will be triumphant and happy.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 310 Heaven would not be complete without this justice, and therefore it is written, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, but I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. In the world of mind, mind is triumphant. The dress, the mansion, flip paradise, and all the thousand circumstances of angelic life, are the exact outbirth and correspondence of the inner principles. These rule over all things; and hence all things are lovely without, because all things are beautiful within. Such is a faint outline of heaven. But what possibility is there of the selfish man, full of adoration and preference for his own individuality, devoted to his faults and vices even, forming one of the society in which love of God, and rejection of self, are the chief laws?

Heaven can only exist and continue from heavenly principles. Men at present have their minds formed by evil passions, and the perverted persuasions to which they give rise, more or less moderated by the influence of the germs of a heavenly nature implanted during mans formation by the Lord. Hence, by man, as he is, only such a society as we see can be formed--a noisy, struggling earth, not a heaven.

How strongly this is exemplified, in cases of emigration, we have already noticed. Many who pass away from an old country, do so with aversion and disgust at its customs, habits and laws, its disorders, turmoil and selfishness. They will go to another land, and be quite free from the vexations which had fretted and oppressed them. They will found a happy community, perhaps. They go beyond the Atlantic, but find New York is but another Liverpool. They push on further west, and come perhaps to Chicago, and there discover the Spirit of greed and speculation quite as great as in any town in Europe. They pass on to where population becomes few, but among the few there is only a repetition, on a small scale, of the struggles, envies, enmities, sins and sorrows of the greater communities. And so must it be since man is the same, and so would it be for ever, without regeneration. One whom I well knew some thirty years ago, went to America from the north of England, completely satisfied that his regeneration was impossible in an old country like this, with so much to vex the mind in its manifold annoyances of Church, State, and business. He would leave the whole, and divide them from him by an ocean. So would he in the Arcadian scenes of a new world grow undisturbed in the heavenly life, and thus fulfil the end of his being.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 311 He had not, however, been long away, before his letters informed his friends that all was not perfectly smooth in his new home. He was astonished that vexations occurred even there. He thought he had left everything perplexing behind, but he found one annoyance after another thickened upon him until he was feelingly bound to admit, that the greatest source of difficulty he had overlookedhe had taken HIMSELF with him. And this self he must subdue before he could bring himself into order, and thus into peace, either in the new or the old world. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. My friend discovered this by his experience, and the lesson was cheaply bought. He came home determined to act upon it, a wiser and a better man We must be born again.

But we are told in the text, that the Most High will expect us not only to be born again, but born in Zion. We have already seen that Zion was the highest portion of Jerusalem; on one of its heights, Mount Moriah, was the temple situated, and there everything most sacred in the representative church was to be found. It thence became the type of the most sacred states in the real Church, those of love to God from which He is worshiped and obeyed, and love to man, by means of which we seek to benefit our fellow-creatures. To be born in Zion, is to be born in these holy affections, and to live from them. And this is the great end of religion. Above all things put on charity, says the apostle, which is the bond of perfectness (Col. Iii. 14). Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned (1 Tim. i. 5). To attain this great end of religion, all the means are given; if this end be not attained, the means have been received in vain. In vain have we learned religious truths, in vain have we diligently attended service, in vain been attentive to meetings, in vain have we read, in vain have we disputed about particular views of doctrine, in vain have we been eloquent preachers, or had faith even, such as it was. The Lord will say when he writeth up the people, This and that man was born in Zion. If not born there, no matter where else he was born. For happiness he must be born in Zion. Though I speak with the tongue of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all FAITH, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing (1 Cor. xiii. 1, 2). Oh! That this lesson were learnt by all. Too many are they who set out on the journey of religion, but never reach Zion.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 312 They come to the gate of knowledge, and spend a long time dallying about that. They then retire, and fall in with worldly companions, and waste their time in earthly pursuits alone. They then start again, and come to the gate once more, but still make no resolute exertion to go through, or if they do so, it is only to read on both sides of the road the directions to the golden hill of Zion; but instead of advancing they remain reading them, singing them, praying them, perhaps, and then retiring until another opportunity, when they go the same round with little variation. They resolve, resolve again, then re-resolve, and. die the same. O that they would advance to the heavenly state of charity and love! They would then be conjoined with angels. Ye come to Mount Zion, says the apostle, and to an innumerable company of angels. They would then taste angelic joy, and realize somewhat of heaven upon earth.

Yet, how often do we find persons who have been professors of religion for years, yet are bitter, keen, condemnatory, unamiable, full of accusations against others, assuming they themselves are faultless. Such persons never attain the end of religion, which is charity.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; but they have no patience even with those who are striving to do their best. Charity vaunteth not herself, is not puffed rip; but they are especially desirous that any little affair of theirs should be particularly appreciated. Charity doth not behave itself unseemly, and seeketh not her own; but these push forward their pretensions in season and out of season. Charity is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil. But these take offense at trifles, and attribute evil where none is intended. rejoiceth not ill iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. But these take care that their neighbors faults are sufficiently known they deem it a public duty to let the staple of their conversation be the failings, or supposed failings, of those who come within the reach of their observation. They are not half so vigorous to publish the progress of truth the advance of virtue, the excellencies that are manifest around them. O for that Zion-like state which is the support, the root, the foundation of every other virtue: which beareth all things: which listens with gladsome fervor to what truth teaches, having an ardent affection for it, seeking to be rejoined with what was its companion in the bosom of God, which believeth all things: which is an ever radiant center of joyous expectation: which hopeth all things:


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 313 which is full of patience, ever excusing as much as possible the waywardness of others, and bearing with opposition and difficulty for the sake of ultimate good: which endureth all things. This is the charity which never faileth; it still regards the great end in view, our heavenly Fathers will in the salvation of souls, and works on. It realizes the blessings of religion. It feels that heaven is not a vain thing. The love it knows enables it to comprehend the love of God. The happiness it experiences gives it to know somewhat of the happiness of heaven. Its own enduring character gives it unwavering assurance of the unchanging care of the Lord. He who loves God, knows God; knows His will, His kingdom, and His ways.

Faith, Hope, and Love, were questioned what they thought

Of future glory, which Religion taught
       Now Faith believed it firmly to be true,

And Hope expected so to find it, too.
       Love answered, smiling with a conscious glow,

Believe, expect? I know it to be so.

The mode in which this new birth into a spirit of love is to be brought about, has been the subject of much discussion; yet it is not very difficult in itself? The Lord has implanted into every soul the germs of angelic life, an incipient heaven. These consist of affections for goodness and truth. When, in the course of human life, under the guidance of Divine Providence, truth is brought home to a man, the good which is in him from the Lord pleads for it, and disposes him to adopt it; if in the use of his freedom he determines to do so, the truth is joined with his good, and exercises an influence over his life. It is faith working by love. The more truth a man learns, and thus joins to his interior good dispositions, the more powerful is his faith, for there is weak faith, and strong faith, and the more powerful his faith, the greater is its influence upon his life, until with time and perseverance the whole man is renewed and happy. This union of truth and good in the soul is very strikingly referred to in Psalm lxxxv.: Truth shall spring out of the earth: and righteousness shall look down from heaven (ver. 11). Again Mercy and truth are met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other (ver. 10).

It is of great importance for us to have a clear idea of the mode in which faith is obtained and increased in the soul, for it is sometimes said that faith is given in a miraculous way by irresistible grace, and that man has nothing to do in relation to it.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 314 It is the gift of God. No doubt, faith is the gift of God originally, for every good and perfect gift is from Him. But He gives it, as He gives most other things, by means, and to those who are willing to receive it. L Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom. x. 17). The new birth takes place as we admit the power of truth to operate within us. Of His own will begat He us by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures (Jas. i. 18). Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own souls (verses 21, 22).

The order of mans new birth is this: he receives a knowledge of the truth by hearing and reading. Whenever he reflects upon that knowledge, with a determination to practice it, light appears to his mind, and as he practices what he knows, the light increases. The entrance of Thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple (Ps. cxix. 130). God Himself is the cause, and the Word of God is the grand instrument by means of which souls are born again. And this takes place gradually. It is first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear (Mark iv. 28). It is first as a grain of mustard seed, but it grows until it becomes the greatest among herbs, and at length a tree, so that all the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof (Matt. xiii. 31, 32). As man hears and receives the truth, he removes from himself his previous errors: as he practices the truth, he removes from himself his previous evils, and the love of goodness descends into him from the Lord, so forming him into a new man. This is a change so great and so wonderful that it can only take place by degrees, even with the most earnest. We may suppose that an entire change has been undergone, when we feel very happy at a particular time, but subsequent experience will prove to us that only by little and little can the evils and errors which formed the inhabitants of our souls by nature be driven out, as it was with the enemies of Israel in the laud of Canaan (Ex. xxiii. 30). As we obey the truth, more power will be given, more light, more purity, and more love. And thus we shall grow in all that is good, until the entire new man is formed, and not only formed, but increased unto the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus.

This doctrine of gradual regeneration is most important to be known by the Christian, for without it he is apt to fall into grievous errors.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 315 Instead of looking for the re-birth through the increase of truth, as he learns and loves the Word, he will seek it in enthusiastic fancies. He will suppose his work is done, when in fact it is only just begun. He will be cast down beyond measure when new temptations open to him new revelations of his being, and evils of whose existence he was unaware, although this is only what he ought to expect. The soul, to begin with, is like a world in ruins. Wildernesses and deserts there are in the soul, with wild beasts prowling in them, where beautiful gardens ought to exist. To reform and regenerate man, as to his whole conscious being, is his lifes-work. And if this he performed, his life will indeed have been of the utmost value. He will have provided heaven with one blissful helper of its joy, at least, to all eternity, and what other work can be compared with that? All the operations of earth, the proudest erections by means of which the architect may dream of immortality, or the efforts of the painter or sculptor, may induce the hope for enduring fame, but these in time will perish. The soul, too, once saved, will flourish in immortal youth. It will progress in beauty and joy for ever. No wonder, then, that a work of such eternal worth should be comparatively slow in its completion. Let us be assured, that if we are faithful in our obedience to the Word, the divine work will go on within us, as fast as possible. Oh that My people had hearkened unto Me, and Israel had walked in My ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned My hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto Him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee (Ps lxxxi. 13-16). Thus, then, may we be born in Zion.

It is worthy of notice that it is written, This and that man shall be born there. In the original it is, A man and a man shall be born there. And by this language the twofold character of man is no doubt referred to. For as the Divine Being is Infinite Love and Infinite Wisdom, so He intends man not to be regenerated as to one of his grand faculties alone, but as to both. He must be born again as to his understanding, and as to his will. This is described in the Gospel by being born again of water and the spirit, or of truth and love. He who receives the grand principles of nature and religion into his mind, becomes a man as to intellect; and when he receives them into his will, and reduces them to action, he becomes a man as to his heart.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 316 A man and a man shall be born there. And when this gracious work has been begun, the Divine Love will watch over it until its completion. The Highest Himself shall establish her. The Lord is called the Highest, specially in relation to the Divine Love, because this is the inmost of His nature. All other attributes flow from the Divine Love. God is love. His truth is the light of love. His power is the strength of love. His righteousness is the constant virtue of love. His justice is the rectitude of love. His patience is the endurance of love. What love will do at any time, God will do, for God is love. Hence this divine principle is the highest. And whenever we come into the Zion state of loving goodness and truth, in heart and mind, the Highest watches over this with infinite tenderness. The Highest Himself will establish her. How comforting it is to the humble soul who fears lest the good in him may perish, lest he may succumb in some of the future trials of life, to have this divine assurance, he shall be established. The vigilance of Him whose care is unsleeping and untiring, will incessantly watch over him. Whatever may be the strength he needs, it will be given. He will never be forsaken. Every want of his Zion will be supplied. The Highest Himself will establish her.

We are next assured that Jehovah shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there. And it is an interesting inquiry to ask what is meant by His writing up the people? It suggests the idea of making a final account, an exact reckoning. It is scarcely necessary to suggest that the Lord does not keep any account-books in which a minute history of human actions is registered, separate from man himself. This idea, prevalent in days gone by, was a misunderstanding of a great and important truth. That truth is, that principles make their impressions upon the persons who practice them, write their nature upon them. Evils write their impress upon their victims. The sin of Judah, said the prophet Jeremiah, is written with a pen of iron, and with a point of a diamond; it is graven upon the tablets of the heart (chap. xvii. 1). Sin does really make a likeness of itself upon both the mind and the body of the sinner. Sensuality gives existence to vitiated and prurient thoughts, and to a coarse and bloated visage. Cunning imparts to its possessor a certain peering fox-like aspect. Insolent violence gives an inflamed ferocious expression to the features.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 317 And if these impressions betray themselves in the body, what must they be in the more plastic mind? On the other hand, the principles of virtue, purity, honesty, gentleness, holiness, give also their impulses and character to both mind and body. Who does not delight in the presence and the sphere of one long familiar with the ways of heaven? The clear and gentle eye, the frank, open, and benevolent countenance, the soft and friendly voice, all speak of a spirit within, on which the Divine image has been written. Ye are our epistle, said the apostle Paul, known and read of all men: forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart (2 Cor. iii. 2, 3). This writing by the Spirit of Christ within, proceeds as we become regenerated from innermost principles, until the whole man is inscribed by the image and order of heaven: Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, said the Lord, and he shall go no more out. And I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God; and I will write upon him My new Name (Rev. iii. 12). God is the term which expresses especially the Divine Wisdom; and to make the Christian a pillar in the temple of God, is to establish him firmly in the reception of the Divine Wisdom, so that he would never depart from its precepts. To write upon him the name of God is to impress upon his highest inmost sentiments the nature of the Divine Wisdom, and upon the maxims and rules of his life, the nature of the doctrines of religion derived from heaven, the name of the city New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from the Divine Wisdom there, and upon his whole life the nature of the Divine Love, which is manifested in the glorified humanity of the Lord, I will write upon him My new Name.

To write a name in the Book of life, is to form the mind into a book of Christian love, to make it a heaven within; this is being done by the Lord throughout our lives, so far as we cooperate with his Holy Spirit. But, at the last, when we pass into the world of spirits where judgment takes place, For it is appointed to men once to die, and after death judgment (Heb. ix. 27), then the final lot of man is fixed. To him that hath is given, and he finally has abundance of wisdom, light, and every blessing; and from him that hath not is taken away even that which he seemed to have. This final preparation is Jehovahs writing up of the people.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 318 They are finally numbered among the redeemed, who are seen to have been born in Zion. To assembled spirits and angels it is made manifest by the mercy of the Lord, This man was born there. It is made manifest by the spirit of heavenly excellence which glows in every feature; it is manifest by the heavenly beauty which love has created in both face and form; it is manifest by the sphere with which he is surrounded; it is manifest by the heavenly clothes he wears. Everything then testifies that in the world this man was born again in the holy mount of Zion.

The Psalm closes with the instructive and cheering words: As well the singers as the players on instruments [more properly dancers] shall be there: all my springs are in Thee.

The joy of the heart is expressed by singing, the delight of the mind and life by dancing. Both are perfectly compatible with, and indeed flow from interior religion. In ancient times dancing was joined with singing in the praise of the Lord. And when it is done from gratitude to God, and a desire to make others happy, there is good reason to restore dancing to its honored position as with singing--handmaids to the pure joys of religion. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise in the congregation of saints. Let them praise His name in the dance (Ps. cxlix. 1, 3).

In conclusion, my beloved hearers, let our constant aim be to be born in Zion. No earthly birth or rank will avail us in the eternal world to which we are hastening. No tides or dignities of earthly value are admitted there. All rank is entirely dependent upon interior worth and living virtue, and when we are inspected by the great Judge, only these words concerning the celestial Zion will be music to our cars: This man was born there.





Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way; because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.Ps. xxxvii. 7.

WE all yearn for peace. Rest and security are the objects sought universally, but seldom found. The want of interior quiet is felt by every one; it is the deepest desire of our being, but it is pursued wisely only by a few, and can be attained only in the mode pointed out in the divine words we have read, Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.

That the Lord intended man to enjoy rest may be known by these three considerations; first, He has made it the inmost affection of every human being; secondly, restlessness is destructive to the health of both mind and body; thirdly, God has assured us in His Word, and provided in His works, that we may come into a state of rest.

It may not appear at first sight evident that the demand for rest is an interior feeling in every one. Yet very little reflection will make it plain. Under the restless garb of the busiest of mankind abides the constant desire to procure a sufficiency, that he may enjoy in peace the gratification of his delights. Look at the energetic tradesman: he seems incessantly active; he labors early and late; even in his leisure his head is busy; schemes of gain and aggrandizement incessantly employ him; one step won, leads to another; his trade is ever extending, and he pushes on to fresh conquests: nothing seems so foreign to him as rest. Yet let him unbosom himself, and you will find all this activity arises from a wish to secure the means of attaining a secure rest in his declining years. He believes he can only be satisfied in the gratification of his desires, and when he has won all that his wishes require, he will recline in peace and enjoy rest. He thinks indeed in early life, often, that a very moderate competence will satisfy him; if he gain such or such a sum, or such a style of establishment, he will have nothing else to seek, he will be satisfied and rest.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 320 This aim, however, realized, he is restless as ever. The possessor of one thousand he desires to labor for ten thousand, and then he will be happy and quiet; this attained, he is anxious for a hundred thousand, and then it will require two to satisfy him; but still he is struggling for rest in the future. He is seeking in the wrong direction; but peace is the prize for which he struggles. He is pursuing tranquillity, but in a region of the moral atmosphere too low to find it. He is grasping at its image in the region of storms, while rest dwells with innocence in the calm, serene blue depths of the soul. Rest call only be had in the Lord.

The soldier seeks rest even in battles. He views his foes as the disturbers of his safety, his life, or his peace: he believes it essential to his rest that he should destroy them. And if He provoke an enemy who seems now at rest, and commences a struggle of a terrific kind, still his fear is that the time will come when the enemy he is now able to cope with will be so powerful as to overcome him, and he and his will be unable to enjoy liberty, comfort, or perhaps life. To prevent this he enters upon the most fearful conflicts his hope however is, that he shall be victorious; and, as the fruit of conquest, sit under his own home-roof and spend his days in peace. Great conquerors disable kingdoms in the pursuit of rest.

       They make a desert, and they call it peace.

But these external conflicts do not confer calm confidence and heartfelt rest. Under the decent calm of outward social quiet a thousand cares may harass the soul and make it a stranger to peace. Storms of passion, innumerable gnawing anxieties, fears for the loss of health, wealth, possessions, power, place, fame, and, above all, fear of death these infest the soul of the merely natural man, and make true rest impossible; but he seeks it, he craves it; it is his inmost wish. Not however by outward, but by inward victories can it be obtained. We wrestle not with flesh and blood, says the apostle, but against principalities and against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. vi. 12). Victory over falsehood, victory over sin, victory over self, these are the means by which alone we enter into peace.

The rest, which is the inward aim of the soul, and to which every man may attain, is foreshadowed by the contentment of little children, though theirs is the peace of ignorance, not the peace of wisdom.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 321 They find their wants supplied, and they have no cares. They have full confidence in the love of their parents, and no doubt as to their power. They have no evil intention and none of the fears which evil engenders. They attribute nothing to themselves, but all that they have received to their parents. They have no anxieties about food or raiment and none concerning their future life. They do not covet, the worlds possessions, but with the few trifles which are given to them for play, they are content. They love their parents, friends, nurses, and playmates, and in this love they are happy. Where their parents are; they are confident and secure. Of such is the kingdom of God. This state retires within as we grow older, and around it is wrapped, as we grow familiar with the ways of the world, many a fold of selfishness, worldliness, and distrust; but still the child-owned states are contained within, and constitute a center through which the divine influence comes, when we have strayed far into darkness, doubt, and difficulty, and utters with a gentle voice from the regions of innocence, Arise, for this is not your rest.

We may be assured that rest is intended to be enjoyed by us in this world from the circumstance that restlessness disturbs and destroys the health of both mind and body, and is therefore in contrariety to the laws which build up both. Opposites cannot come from God. The laws which create and form man do manifestly come from Him; therefore the agitation and distrust which destroy man cannot be from Him. Mark the care-worn visage of the person who has no lively hope in God. Fear is ever suggesting danger and exciting suspicion. Under certain circumstances, it is well known, fear will induce suddenly all the decrepitude of premature old age or even death itself. But where these extremes do not exist, the effect of anxiety is to make the mind in a constant disturbance, to induce unsound sleep, or prolonged sleeplessness. It affects the nervous system, disturbs the circulation of the blood, the action of the heart, the breathing of the lungs, the digestion, and through these the whole body. Mental disturbances undermine the bodily structure, and when, through their secret sappings carried on for long periods, the body at length falls a victim to serious disease, it is often supposed to be afflicted by God; would we more truly examine ourselves, we should find the true cause to be deep in our absence from, our resistance to, and in our want of God. Divine Mercy seeks to alleviate the effects of our incessant cravings and cares, which are so destructive, by drawing the mantle of night over us for many hours in the twenty-four;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 322 laying our selfish propensities to rest: pouring refreshment into the mind, and health into the body, and thus restoring us from the wear and tear of our wakeful time. Oh no, our diseases are not from Him. In Him is our help. Were man in order, he would live without disease, and without disease die. Taking a wide range over our history and our hereditary connexion with our ancestors, and their evils: our mental connexion, too, with evil beings, and our reception of their influences, it may truly be said, our sins and their consequences are the deep causes of all our sorrows. Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil and good. Fly then from restlessness and distrust as the enemies of the soul and the enemies of health. Rest in the Lord.

We are invited, by frequent calls in the Word, to rest on the Divine Love and Wisdom. Our text is an instance of it, and the whole psalm, of which it forms a portion, is a chain of golden truths all tending to the same counsel, and full of the same assurance. Trust in the Lord, and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delighteth in His may. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand. I have been young, and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them. He shall deliver them from the wicked, because they trust in Him.

All these invitations and assurances are full of consolation, and are intended to lead us to cast all our care upon Him who lovingly cares for us. In the New Testament, our Blessed Lord gives this tender address to all the children of sorrow; Come unto Me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me: for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. The blessed effects of thus going to the Lord, and resting on Him, are most salutary and delightful. Care flies, anxiety ceases, calmness takes the place of unrest, and an orderly progression in virtue is felt, which brings us daily more and more into harmony with all that is good.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 323 As we ascend in purity, we ascend in intelligence and wisdom. We have meekly accepted the divine call to rest Him, and learn how true are the sacred words, The meek will He guide in judgment, the meek will He teach His way. As we abide, tranquilly resting in His divine will, all that is heavenly advances and grows within us, and we have a foretaste of angelic peace.

But when thus invited to trust is the Lord, we find obstacles arise. We cannot for a time repose entirely on the divine assurance. We are wanting in love, and therefore are wanting in faith. We cannot yet rest in the Lord. Let us examine our real or supposed

We feel ourselves to be very weak, and our evils to be very strong. We fear we cannot entirely overcome them. Or if they do not trouble us much just now, we fear they will. They keep us from the Lord. We fear to go to Him with all our hearts, and we fear that as we are He will not receive us. But why is all this? The Lord Himself invites us to rest in Him. He assures us He will give us rest. His love for us is infinite, and infinitely tender; and it is to strengthen and bless us that He invites us. Why should we hesitate? He who calls to us is the Being who has followed His children through all their wanderings, still with the same grand object to save them from sin and sorrow; and He has saved in every age and nation those who have trusted in Him. Nay, it is that all-gracious Being who showed His love and condescension to us by becoming a man for us. He lived, and died, and rose again, as the apostle said, that He might be Lord of the dead and the living (Rom. xiv. 9). Talk of our sins being strong, and our fear lest if they do not now, they will at some time overcome us; why it is the Lord of heaven and earth who invites us to confide in Him. His strength, which supports the universe, is surely sufficient for us. It is He who overcame all hell in banded opposition when He redeemed the world. Surely we need not fear that He will be powerful enough to save us. Besides, that is His very object. He invites us to rest in Him, and lay our selfhood aside, that He may redeem us from all our iniquities, and impart to us perfect peace. And what He says, He will undoubtedly perform. Rest then in the Lord.

But, we sometimes forget the important lesson imparted in the words immediately following in our text, wait patiently for Him. It is the attendant of our very imperfect knowledge of spiritual things that we are impatient. We wish to have our desires gratified quickly.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 324 We have very little knowledge of the texture of the soul; but we surmise that whatever needs to be done in it can be done shortly and sharply, and we are anxious to be perfect. In this, however, we only show our yet incomplete confidence in the Lord. We wish Him to work in our manner and in our time, and not according to the laws of His own divine order. Did we really feel that He is too good not to take the very best mode of helping us; too wise not to know the most perfect method; and too powerful not to be able to do whatever His love and wisdom dictate, then, we should indeed ever say, Not my will, but Thine be done.

In bodily sickness, which has greatly wasted the frame, or in the healing of a wound, we are aware we must wait patiently for a perfect cure. We know that the multitudinous parts and fine textures of the body need time for their complete restoration. And could we see the spiritual body diseased by sin; full of wounds and bruises and putrefying sores, as the prophet expresses it, we should doubtless perceive the necessity of waiting patiently for Him. We should not be discouraged, but confide. It is good that a man should both hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord (Lam. iii. 26).

But the divine words, Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him, involve something more than a calm repose on the Divine sufficiency. He rests in the Lord who relies on the Lords laws. This is the love of God, says St. John, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous (John v. 3).

It is most important that we carefully observe this. A person often imagines he loves God, when he is only pleased with the sentiment of loving God. He may imagine, too, that he rests in the Lord when he is pleased with the idea of reposing beneath the protection of an Infinite Father and Friend. But this is very far from the requirements of real religion. The love of God, as a principle, is the love of His laws, of His wisdom, and of His ways: a love manifested by our obeying them when they are unpleasant to us equally as when they are agreeable. There is more love displayed by far when we prefer the Divine Will to some darling tendency of ours, and do our duty under difficulties, than when we seem to ourselves to glow with emotion in worship. Many do this latter who are slow to take up the cross and follow the Lord. Yet only in works of love are divine principles established in us. He hath showed thee, O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God.



As it is with loving the Lord, so is it with resting in the Lord. He rests in the Lord who confides in His laws, in His teachings, and in His promises. This, at times, will entail sacrifices. In the varied occurrences of this life of training and discipline, it not unfrequently happens that some great advantage appears to be attainable by a departure from the law of right. If we would rest upon selfishness and worldly love for this occasion, and close our eyes upon the Lord, we should become suddenly rich perhaps, or suddenly powerful. And unless we take the short road of unprincipled gain, we shall lag behind others in the struggle for fortune. We are strongly tempted to enter upon the wild race of greedy speculation, and forsake the just path of righteous dealing and slower profits. By dashing dishonesty we shall clutch sudden riches, and we can quietly regulate our spiritual duties at our leisure. But no, the voice of duty and of conscience says, Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him. Rest upon His principles; rest upon His justice. Wait patiently for such rewards in life as the divine laws will give. Whatever is more than this cometh of evil.

The lust of becoming suddenly rich is one of the most prevalent evils of the present day. It gives rise to wild and dishonest schemes, to reckless speculation, to a restless mania for anything which promises extraordinary gain, and ultimately to wide-spread ruin. There underlies this a desire for self-indulgence, an aversion to healthful, plodding industry, and work for our neighbors good. We wish not to render uses to others, but only to make them subservient to ourselves. Such a course is replete with anxiety and with danger. We rest not in the Lord, but in ourselves. We have no peace, but an ever-agitated mind. We walk on hollow ground, and fear every moment it will sink with us. Thus is a painful uncertainty our constant companion and not unfrequently insanity is the result. Oh, how much better would it be to wait patiently for Him! The gain may in such case be slower, but what of that? We are performing uses, and we love to perform uses. All the real necessities and comforts of life are supplied, and what want we with more? A mans life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth (Luke xii. 15).

Let us in all these things rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.

But some are prepared to confide fully in the Lord in relation to spiritual things;


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 326 in their natural affairs, however, they have painful misgivings. They see wicked men prosper. They see prosperous vice often honored. They find themselves sometimes in straitness and difficulty, and these things grievously try them. It was so in the Psalmists time: I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green hay tree. Yet he passed away, and lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

We should never forget that this world is not our perpetual home; it is but our training place. The Lord refuses us some indulgence in wealth to prepare us, perhaps, for higher blessings. He is good in what He refuses, as well as in what He gives. More men can safely bear the temptations of poverty than the temptations of riches. Better privation for a time to be succeeded by everlasting wealth, than riches for a time to be succeeded by everlasting poverty. We should feel assured that Divine Mercy does all things for the best. He has eternal ends in view, and if He does not give us precisely what we want, it is because He has some better thing in store for us. It is not for lack of power to give us all we wish. All power is given unto Me, the Lord Jesus said, in heaven and on earth (Matt. xxviii. 18). If He, therefore, has not given riches and rank, it must be because He sees it would not be for our eternal good. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Be assured all might is in the hands of our blessed Redeemer, and His love is as great as His power. No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Resting in the Lord implies its responsibility as well as trust. He who hangs down his hands, and does not use powers he at present possesses, does not rest in the Lord. Trust in the Lord, and DO good, and thou shalt dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Our future grows out of our present, and only by wisely and diligently using the powers we have, do we walk in the path of Divine Providence, and prepare for the blessings Providence has in store for us. Some persons are ever dreaming and pining for a splendid future, building castles in the air, but nothing on the solid earth. There is no harm in sketching a plan for future progress, if we are not withdrawn thereby from present duties. But, oil the contrary, if we are allured from the duties of today, by the projects of an unrealized phantasy ever fleeting before us, the injury is very great. We should do our present duties in the best possible manner, and trust in the Lord for the result.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 327 The present is in our power, the future we dream of may never come. If we do our best now, using every talent we have, we are certain to be in the best condition to receive any future good that may await us. If we are not energetic now, but propose to be so at some distant period, we are probably only encouraging some lethargic tendency in our nature, which is disposing us ever to procrastinate. Work while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work. Be earnest now, be diligent now, be trustful now. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Work and wait.

We shall be encouraged to this reposing upon the divine care, if we reflect upon the proofs of it which are visible around us. We are told that when the celebrated traveler, Mungo Park, was in one of the remote wilds of Africa, and had been plundered by some barbarians of the trinkets which he had been accustomed to barter with the natives for food, he became deeply discouraged that he lay down with the feeling that he was forsaken of God, and there was nothing for him but to lie down and die. But on the spot where he lay there was a beautiful specimen of moss, and his eyes fell upon its exquisitely formed leaves, and thoughts came into his mind, like the whispers of an angelGod must have formed that; His love, wisdom, and are here; and surely He who has provided for that moss will much more care for me. Hope sprang up within him, and shortly help came. A Negro woman found him, took him in, found him a mat for the night, and food to assuage his hunger. He learned a practical illustration of the promise, The Lord will provide. Let us look around. Not a blade of grass grows by its own contrivance. Not a flower blooms, but from divine bounty. And yet how richly is Nature stored! How lavishly is everything provided with the means of being. See the lilies how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. He provides for the grass and the flowers will much more provide for us. Rest in the Lord.

We see no more in Thy pure skies,

How soft, O God! the sunset dies:

How every colored hill and wood

Seems melting in the golden flood:

Yet by the precious memories won

From bright hours now for ever gone,

Father, oer all Thy works we know

Thou still art shedding beautys glow;

Still touching every cloud and tree

With glory, eloquent of Thee;



Still feeding all Thy flowers with light,

Though man hath barred it from our sight,

We know Thou reignest, the unchanging One, All-just!

And bless Thee still, with free and boundless trust.

Why look for other examples of divine love? We are ourselves in every respect the most striking instances of it. We came into the world naked, helpless and ignorant. We did not even know our wants, much less how to supply them. Yet so admirable were the arrangements of Divine Providence, that our every want was abundantly supplied. Food was created for us of the best kind, and at the best place. Cradled on the mothers lap, surrounded by parental love, who is so well cared for as the helpless child? If danger were around, the baby would be first the object of every ones attention and its safety would be first secured. By girding it with a circle of love, divine mercy has secured for it every other blessing and defense. Oh, that we never forgot this lesson of Divine care, thus given at the outset of life, but remembering how well we were provided for when we could do absolutely nothing for ourselves,--ever be prepared with the conviction that--

       He who hath helped us hitherto,

       Will help us all our journey through.

Rest, then, in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.

Let any one look back over the events of life, and he will have sufficient evidence of the goodness of his heavenly Father to convince him that he need never despair. We cannot see the ways of Providence beforehand, but we can discern them after their work has been completed. We can stand, as Moses did in the cleft of a rock, and see, though yet but dimly, not as on the top of a rock, but as in a cleft, the glory of the Lord from behind.

In contemplating this, how many instances of wise arrangements, of unexpected aids, of deliverances from danger, of comforts in sorrow, of evil overruled for good, of light breaking forth in darkness, and of joy in grief, shall we not have to recount? Joseph is a remarkable illustration of this, given in the Holy Word. When he was rudely thrown into a pit, and left to die, how forlorn must have been his thoughts! He was far from home, and from help,--the only persons He could, from their relationship, have fairly expected to give aid, being those who had left him to destitution and death. Yet help came.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 329 Foreigners from a far land were brought by at the right time, relieved him, and took him to the right country to work out the merciful designs of infinite love for him and his. Then again, in the still worse sorrow, when he was cast into prison by a powerful noble, on a vile charge, supported by one whose word was not likely to be doubted, how dark all must have seemed! Even his good name was not left to him. He was not only in confinement and poverty, but in disgrace. No one spoke for him. He was no doubt considered a detected hypocrite. Yet the Lord, we are told, was with him, and gave him favor in the eyes of the keeper of the prison. Whatever Joseph did, prospered. Even dreams were sent for his help, and the means that had been taken to crush him were the very things which led to his exaltation. He was raised from the dungeon to be second in the land. A striking encouragement to all to rest in the Lord.

It is often not difficult to admit the overshadowing presence of Divine care, and the all-penetrating influence of Divine Providence as a doctrine, but it is not always so easy to acknowledge it practically, and in our own case. Yet this is the very thing wanted. The doctrine only descends as a source of strength, purity, and consolation, when we recognize it in the application to us, and in every circumstance of life, the sweet and the bitter

       The good are better made by ill,

       As odors crushed are better still.

It cannot be that He who so tenderly provided for our little bodies when we were infants, and our influence was extremely small, will now forsake us when we have connexions, dependents and relationships, wide-spreading for good or for ill. Let us not talk of Divine Providence only in great matters; it is in small. All great things are made up of small. What is small when considered in its consequences? Mountains are made of atoms, oceans of drops. A signature incautiously given, nay, even a shake of the dice, may entail loss of fortune, and horrors too terrible thin think. A word, a look even, may be potent far and wise for weal or woe. It must be, therefore, that these are all under the watching care of unerring goodness and wisdom. Not a hair of our heads falls to the ground but our heavenly Father knoweth. And, if so, why should we ever despond, or ever repine? What He does, He does from love and wisdom, and what He permits, He also permits from love and wisdom. The Divine Gardener knows best what His plants require to prepare them for paradise.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 330 Let it be ours to feel assured that He ordains all good possible for our happiness; and only permits such affliction as is necessary to lead us to purity and peace.

Sometimes we think we have no doubt of the divine kindness if men would not interfere with it. We are satisfied that every provision has been bountifully made for the good of man and for continued well-being, but evil men come between the Creator and His creatures, and deprive men of what their Makers love had designed for them. Evil men enrich themselves at the expense of the many, and keep multitudes depressed for individual gain. And, no doubt, there is much truth in this. But we must never suppose that this, also, is not under the supervision of the Lord. Our text says, Fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. The prosperity of the wicked is often the only means of making them useful to society. Outward success will often stimulate them to make gigantic efforts for human improvement, and they cannot benefit themselves without benefiting others. Such are the admirable laws of Divine order and wisdom, that selfishness is compelled to minister to the public good, and this willingly. The millionaire, who seeks still to increase his wealth, must spend it in more extensive arrangements for increased manufacture and wider commerce, and thus he sends a blessing to thousands of cottages, as well as multiplies the productions of nature and art. Instead of being a pest to the earth, which he would be if he were wicked and useless at the same time, he is made to be an instrument of extensive good. Fret not thyself because of him (though an evil doer) who prospereth in his way. He is also under the benign care of Him who will make the best of every one. The Lord will either lead him from his evil in His own merciful way, or overrule it for good. Fret not thyself because of evil doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity (ver. 1). Grieve not at their prosperity. It is short-lived, and a poor exchange for the everlasting riches which they despise. Rest thou in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. No one can really injure thy lot but thyself. Thou art guarded with a. Fathers care, and none can do thee real harm.

We are not, however, to remain undisturbed only when we see the wicked prosperous, and confide that all things are under the guidance of unerring wisdom, working for the universal good, and for ours: but also to remain trustful and unshaken even amid the wicked devices of the evil. Fret not thyself because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.



The devices of the evil are of two kinds. There are snares in relation to our worldly prosperity by wicked men, and snares against our spiritual prosperity by wicked spirits. Both these beset our path everywhere. And in sight of their number and their malignity we sometimes quail, and fear that we shall hardly escape some of them. Philip Quarles expresses them very quaintly, but very truly:--

The close pursuers busy hands do plant

Snares in thy substance; snares attend thy want;

Snares in thy credit; snares in thy disgrace;

Snares in thy high estate; snares in thy base;

Snares tuck thy bed; and snares surround thy board;

Snares watch thy thoughts; and snares attack thy word;

Snares in thy quiet; snares in thy commotion;

Snares in thy diet; snares in thy devotion:

Snares lurk in thy resolves; snares in the doubt;

Snares lie within thy heart; and snares without;

Snares are above thy head; and snares beneath;

Snares in thy sickness; snares are in thy death.

This catalogue is true and terrible: but what then? The All-wise watches over us; the Omnipotent guards us. If we rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him, live on His principles, walk in His ways, we shall be perfectly safe. The simplicity of the straightforward baffles the cunning of the malignant. They walk on their own pure course, live in the light of truth, and the cunning devices of the wicked fail of themselves. We need not trouble ourselves about them, but go straight on, doing what is right, and all will be well. Whatever be the device, our souls will escape as a bird out of the snare of the fowler; the snare will be broken, and we shall escape (Ps. cxxiv. 7). Let us not be faint-hearted, nor discouraged. Let us not fear a thousand schemes of earth or hell, but fearlessly walk in the path of purity, and the result will be safety and blessing.

Lastly, let me address my brethren of all ages, states and circumstances, in these Divine words, Rest in the Lord.

Young man, be not ashamed to adopt as your guide the laws of virtue and religion. Rely upon them, they will save you from a thousand errors, a thousand dangers. Let them guide you in your reading, let them guide you in the choice of your companions: and, above all, let them guide you in your marriage. Make all your arrangements on these divine principles, and you are safe.

Parents, rest in the Lord in training your children. See that their education is conducted upon the principles of truth and justice.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 332 Let them be trained to be really upright, truthful, and loving. Avoid, in your life before them, whatever would sanction low motives, improper and unprincipled habits or conduct. In all things rest in the Lord. Fully confide, that thus resting on true principles the results will be happy. Wait patiently for Him.

Troubled Christians, in your sorrows, trials and temptations, fear not. Rest in the Lord. It may be that your afflictions are bitter and prolonged. You have prayed that they might be removed, and hoped they would soon be over, and still they continue. Weary nights and weary days you have, and you see yet no termination. Do not suffer your faith to droop. Rest upon the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Keep your soul tranquilly reposing on the laws and promises of the Divine Word. Be assured that in the end all will be found to have worked for the promotion of your true well-being here and hereafter. Cling to the great principles of practical love to God and love to man. Suffer, if need be, but never depart from faith in the Lord Jesus. Rest in Him, and wait patiently for Him.

In sickness rest upon the Lord. You may have to endure pain, watchings, wearisome days and nights. Still trust, confide, love. Wait until infinite love restores your health again. Wait patiently for Him.

Dying Christian, fear not: rest upon the Lord. You are merely going the road to which you at birth were destined. Nature trembles, but the spirit will enter into greater liberty and life. Divine mercy has promised to accompany you in your passage into eternity. He whispers to your heart, Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.

Shudder not to pass the stream!

Venture all thy care on Him!

Not one object of His care

Ever suffered shipwreck there.

One more application of these divine words, and we have done. It is evidently a law of divine love that man should work. Every one has talents to perform some useful part in the universe, and should seek his happiness in doing it. Each use is a channel, as it were, down which bliss from the Lord will descend in proportion as it is faithfully done. Every one in his sphere should be a worker, and in doing this there is great reward. The Lord says, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 333 The essential Divinity had been active before He had assumed our nature for creation, and now that He had descended among men We was active in the humanity for our redemption. All the angels are ministering spirits. The law of labor is the law of love. Without it, the body remains weak and unsolid, and the mind stagnates. A wandering, restless languor oppresses the spirit that shrinks from its allotted portion of the worlds work. A distaste of life comes from inactivity and idleness, which increases by time, until the wearied and self-tortured spirit rushes into some-vicious exertion against others, or seeks refuge in self-destruction. How much better would it have been to rest in the Lord: to take our allotted labors as a gift and a blessing from Him. If we strive to do it earnestly and well, it will be to us a fountain of life and joy. In doing Gods commandments there is great reward.       We should never seek to fly from our allotted portion of the worlds labor, but strive to do it well. The opposite feeling induces often anxious desires to become suddenly rich that we may escape from our post of duty as early as possible: a speculative gambling spirit of greediness, and an impatience with the ordinary rewards of honest trade. We do not rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him: we are all on fire to catch at some enormous gain, and to become magnificent by magic.

This often induces dishonesty, both in trade and in trust. To escape from present responsibilities to the fancied bliss of living in splendor and doing nothing, a man will strive for unrighteous gain, and betray the trust which confiding friends have placed in him. And when we bear in mind the prevalence of the doctrine that a man can go to heaven by believing only, that a life of virtue is not necessary, but he can be fitted for its everlasting joys in a few moments, we need scarcely wonder that every now and then the world is shocked by great acts of fraud, and we meet everywhere almost, and in everything, petty adulterations. O how different a world this would be if we were content with the certain and happy rewards of right! These may seem to come slowly, but they come fast enough for all reasonable demands. No man, we are assured, who cultivates his powers and talents, makes the best use of his time and ingenuity, seeks all the information of which he is capable, and works these out in a genuine and earnest performance of his duty, will fail of his reward. It may need patience, but it will come.

Our heavenly Father gives us not only His blessings in heaven, but, as far as the great end of our existence will permit, a happy existence in this life also.


DIVINE WORD OPENED p. 334 Trust in the Lord, and do good, says the Psalmist, and thou shalt dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. O that this spirit of resting satisfied with our place and our work in the world were universal! A man will sometimes find he can do something else promising more important results than what he is now engaged in, and he should no doubt change to that. But having discovered what he can do best, let him labor in that for love. Let him rest satisfied with his calling, depending that in conscientiously carrying out his usefulness, he will be truly bleat. If he find obstacles to overcome, difficulties in himself and difficulties in his business, let him wait patiently and work actively, and these will disappear. Let him be conscientiously assured that he is really performing a use in the world, and then pray to the Lord daily for love, direction, and power, to do it well. Let him rest assured that full ability will be given him, and in the performance of his daily duty he will find his whole life become a life of religion. Every act will be an act of piety. The old adage, to work is to worship, will be realized in him. The Lords will realized in him will be done on earth as it is done in heaven, and every blessing that Divine Mercy can impart will be his. Let us all, then, thus rest upon the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. When our selfish desires would induce us to quit our posts in the world, let us persevere. When temptations would urge us to quit duties that at present are somewhat irksome, although in the highest degree useful, let us patiently rest where we are; trust that He who gave the work will make it easy. Let us all, in our several vocations, Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.





And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lords 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.ISA. ii. 2-5.

THE last days--the last days--what can be the meaning of these expressions? The common accustomed to associate wi