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Now let us suppose that men had come into such a state, that they could not be saved, unless the Lord assumed humanity' and made it divine, and that they could be saved if he did this; would not his infinite love lead him to do it ? Would not the very immutability of his love require him to do it? Would not his love cease to be infinite and immutable if he did not do it ?
Similar things might be said with regard to his divine wisdom and divine power.
Hence it appears that the very immutability of his attributes-of his love, wisdom, and power, would, under such circumstances, require that he should assume the human and make it divine; and that if we are afraid of thinking that the Lord is mutable, we ought to be afraid of thinking that he did not do it.
Let us now consider what change was effected in him by his coming. It is not the doctrine of the church that there was any change in his essence or essential attributes, but in his mode of existence and operation; and that this change, if such it should be called, was effected by his acting from and according to his eternal nature. He was always man in first principles. He always had a divine will and a divine understanding. He was always infinite love and infinite wisdom. And these are the essentials of man. Thus there was always in himn infinite humanity, and everything human in angels and men was derived from him.
He was always man in first principles, and he was always potentially man in ultimates ; but he was not actually man in ultimates, before his coming; for his becoming man in ultimates wảs his coming.
Man in ultimates is a substantial, organized being in the natural degree—so formed that he is capable of receiving the influx of love and wisdom from the divine, and capable of acting from them as of himself. The Lord was always potentially man in ultimates, because he always had the power of coming into the ultimate degree, and because he always had the power of forming and vivifying men in that degree. But he actually took upon himself that degree, and thus became man in ultimates, when he assumed humanity and glorified it.
There is an eminent sense, in which the Lord was always in the human form; for he was the source, from which flowed every thing that constitutes the human form. But before he came into the world he was not in such a human form that men could see him or form any distinct idea of him ; for when he manifested himself to angels and men he filled an angel with his presence. This is what they saw and this is the means by which they obtained an idea of his form.
Before his coming, he was in the human form as the giver and producer of the human form. Hence it was said of him in those times, He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He could see, not because he had such eyes as he has given to us—for our eyes are created organs and recipients of light—but he could see by virtue of his being the former of all eyes, and the source of light, and of the power of seeing. So he could hear, not because he had such ears as he has given to us—for our ears are created organs and recipients of sound—but he heard by virtue of his being the former of ears, and the constant source of the power of hearing. Similar things might be said with regard to the whole body and all its parts. And hence it may be seen, that even before his coming he was in the human form by virtue of his being the source of it.
But he was not then in the human form in the same sense that he was after his coming ; for by taking upon himself human nature and glorifying it, he made himself visible; he came forth in the human form, so fully, that angels and men could see him face to face.
Before his coming his form was a giving form ; but since then it is not only a giving form but a receiving one. When the three disciples saw the humanity of the Lord in its divine glory, it is said that his face shone as the sun. And when John saw him, in the Apocalypse, it is said that his eyes were as a flame of fire, and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace. Hence it appears, that the Lord now has a human form similar to ours—with members and organs similar to ours; but with this difference, that his are divine and have all the glory of the essential divinity, because they are adequate recipients and mediums of the divine love and wisdom. He has a human face, but it shines as the sun. He has human eyes, but they are flames of fire. And he has feet that are in the form of human feet, but they are like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace.
From what has been said, we may form something of an idea of what there was added unto the Lord by his assuming and glorifying the human, but in order that we may form any thing like a just estimate of the amount of change that was by this means effected in the mode of his existence and operation, we need to consider what he was always doing or endeavouring to do before he came.
The doctrines of the Church teach us, that the divine love is infinite love towards others; an infinite love of doing good unto others and communicating the things which are his own unto others. This love is eternal and unchangeable. He has always been acting from this love, as well before he came as since he came. Let us see then what this love led him to do or endeavour to do before he came. The nature of it was such as to lead him to communicate or to endeavour to communicate of his own unto others without limit, or, in other words, infinitely. It was such as to lead him to give without measure. It was also such as to lead him to endeavour to ipake angels and men receive all that he gave. His love was infinite, and it set no limit to itself. There was no limit on his part. There was no limit to his giving nor to his endeavour that others should receive. Consequently it may be proper for us to say, that in the greatness of his love he was always endeavouring to produce a divine man—that he was always endeavouring to make of the whole heaven one divine manthat he was always endeavouring to make of every angel a divine man—and that he was always endeavouring to make of every individual upon earth a divine man. There was nothing wanting on his part. As was said before, he gave without measure, and he endeavoured to make them receive without measure. The limit was with them; the measure was with them. They were finite creatures and could not be made infinite. They were also imperfect and did not suffer them. selves to be made perfect.
But successive generations became more and more imperfect, and the time was approaching when they would not be able to receive any thing that he gave, and therefore could not be saved. On this account he came into the world.
And he came by uniting himself with a human body and the externals of a human mind; for we learn from the Sacred Scripture that he had a human mother, but not a human father; and we learn from Swedenborg, that the internal of the mind is in all cases from the father, and the external of it, together with the body, is from the mother. Consequently the internal of the human was not a finite recipient, like the internals of men, but was infinite, or in other words, it was the Father himself. But the external of the human, which was derived from the mother, was finite, imperfect, infirm, and hereditarily prone to evils and falsities.
The effort of the Lord was then to convert this external humanity into a suitable habitation for himself, and a suitable medium through which he might operate for the salvation of men. This is the work which was then to be done. And in doing it, there was no finite and imperfect human soul to operate through, as is the case when he is operating upon men, but he operated immediately upon the external humanity. And, by operating in this manner, he overcame and cast out all the hereditary propensities to evils and falsities, and implanted in the place of them divine affections for divine goods and truths. And then the divine love of doing and communicating good unto men was so great and powerful that it overcame and cast off all the finites of the human, and in place of them put on infinites, and that he cast off all inertness and put on life. Thus he glorified his human and made it divine. He made of it an infinite and divine recipient of the fulness of the essential divinity and a divine medium of it unto men.
Now therefore he not only communicates divine gifts unto men, but from his divine humanity he communicates unto them divine states of recipiency. From his divine humanity he is communicating unto us the feelings and thoughts which he had in relation to evils, and he is thus present with us taking away the sins of the world. From his divine humanity he is communicating to us the feelings and thoughts which he had with regard to goods and truths, and is thus present with us, endeavouring to make us will, and think, and do them. The Lord is God with us; he not only communicates unto us divine blessings, but also, by communicating to us his divine reci. piency and his divine reaction, he causes us to receive them.
Hence it may be seen that the change, which has been effected in the mode of his existence and operation, consists in this, that he has now done what he was always in the effort to do—that it is a change which the very immutability of his essential attributes required him to make—and that it is a change which neither the understanding nor the heart of man need to fear, but may rejoice in.
ON THE DESIGNATION "NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH.”
To the Editors of the Intellectual Repository. GENTLEMEN, · An Old Member reluctantly begs your admission of a few more remarks on the above subject.
I feel much obliged to your correspondent, J. C., of Leeds, for the manner in which he has questioned the correctness of the views upon this subject, given by me in the number for May.
I do not know any thing that would be more disagreeable to me, than to be engaged in any controversy, especially with a member of the New Church; but, I hope, I shall feel pleasure in an amicable discussion on any subject, carried on in the language of friendship.
It is with pleasure that I state my approbation of all that J. C. has written on this subject, as to the manner of his statements, except in the use of the word supposititious, as characterizing a case introduced by me. If he uses it in its mild signification of imaginary, I have little reason to complain ; but it is often used in a much worse sense, and that would represent me as doing that which I would not do on any account. When he says, page 217, we have a supposititious case, I take it for granted he means, we have an imaginary case, &c. This, I trust, will be sufficient to place us on the most friendly ground, and keep us in the most amicable frame of mind, while we attempt to agree in our sentiments.
Allow me here to state, that many papers in your Magazine, of a controversial character, through the use of many expressions and phrases, indicative of disturbed feelings on the part of the writers, and evidently used for the purpose of exciting uneasiness in the mind of the opponent, I suppose to balance accounts, give, on this account, great pain to many readers. Many papers, in themselves excellent, and well calculated, in other respects, to edify the church, are made worthless, and sometimes injurious, in order to gratify this love of being even with an opponent. I wish I could persuade your correspondents of this class, to make as little account of any display of cleverness, in this respect, as their readers generally do; and content themselves with shewing an error, without, at the same time, attempting to exhibit the writer as an imbecile, and thereby to procure for him the consequent contempt. No writer will allow another to be infallible ; and yet he who thus attempts to bring ridicule on a brother, seems to set up a claim for his own infallibility.
I have read and well considered all the remarks of J. C. on my former paper, and fully agree with him as to the distinctness of character, between the New and the former church.
The essentials of all real churches, in their states of integrity, are intrinsically the same, or similar, viz., love to the Lord and love to the neighbour. There can be no true church, nor any real heaven, except in those in whom these loves are predominant, and fill all things of truth, doctrine, judgment, and opinion, as proper to the understanding, and thereby flow into the life, or constitute the soul of the actions of life, on the part of the member of the church, or the angel of heaven.
All dispensations of divine truth have been given, and are still given, to realize these blessed effects in the human mind; and while and as long as they are received in their genuine character, they exist. N. S. No. 31.-VOL. 3.