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proof, is of no value. If some parts of the Word of God are spiritual, why not all? They all come from one source, and all must contain a rich fulness of the love and wisdom of our heavenly Father.
The breath of God gives life to the whole, and his divine love, like the hallowed fire in the bush, burns without consuming, and shining as it were through the letter, gives beauty and brilliancy to every jot and tittle thereof. In the five books of Moses, if viewed literally as plain matters of fact, there is nothing said about Christ, and yet the Lord Jesus expressly says to the Jews, “ Search the Scriptures; for they testify of Me.” Again: “Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me; for he wrote of Me.” (John, chap. 5, ver. 39, 46.) And the Lord, after His resurrection, opened the understandings of His disciples that they might understand the Scriptures, and taught them that all things were fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning Himself. (Luke, ch. 24, ver. 27–44.) It is then plain, that if Moses wrote of Christ, it is not apparent in the carnal matters of fact as relating to the Jews, but in the spiritual sense, which is the life and soul of the divine law. The “clergyman,” in conclusion, says, “Our Lord's genealogy is given by Luke, ch. 3, and traced up to Adam, and the pen of inspiration was never known to mislead; but it is equally true that many “do err, not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God.” In the genealogy given by Luke, it is a matter of fact that Joseph, the husband of Mary, was the son of Heli ; but in the genealogy given by Matthew, it is declared as another matter of fact, that Joseph, the husband of Mary, was the son of Jacob. (Matt. chap. 1, ver. 16.) This apparent contradiction is not a real one, for the New Church views the truths of revelation in the light of heaven; and where the literal sense appears cloudy and dim, the spiritual sense shines forth in glory and brightness.
I must now, my dear Madam, draw to a close, for I am afraid I have wearied you with my long letter. I hope that nothing will prevent you from going on in your religious inquiries. Be not in haste to determine, but go on in your own way of investigation. Search the Scriptures-prove all things by them, and you have nothing to fear. Look to the Lord Jesus for illumination. He will bless your endeavours, and crown them with complete success. Wishing you every earthly and heavenly blessing,
I remain, &c. Norwich.
GOD GENERALLY WORSHIPED, BY MODERN
To the Editors of the Intellectual Repository. GENTLEMEN, RESIDING where there is no New Church place of worship, and being in the habit of attending the worship of the Old Church, I have been struck with a peculiarity in the preaching, which I have pointed out in the following remarks, and which are at your service, should you deem them worthy of a place in your Magazine.
T. N. PERHAPS nothing more clearly shews the distinction between the tenor of the doctrines of the New Church and those of the Old, than the bearing they respectively have on the Power of the Lord. Members of the New Church consider the divine power as nothing more or less than infinite love and infinite wisdom, blended and in operation: they have no conception, therefore, of divine power any further than they have a conception of God's wisdom and goodness. It is true they may not always see His reason for acting thus and thus with his children; but they are as fully convinced that all His works are dictated by infinite love, as that the light and heat on the earth proceed from the sun, although that luminary be hidden from the sight by a passing cloud.
But how different is the leading idea of God with those of the Old Church. Power is placed by them at an immense distance from and above all the other qualities of the divine nature. By some it is esteemed so highly, that it may safely be said to be their whole, and their only God. It is worshiped by them because it is supposed to be capable of making them happy or miserable at pleasure, and that, too, for ever. With such persons God is God not by virtue of his infinite goodness and wisdom; for these, and especially the former, have but little weight with them. He is regarded and worshiped as God, solely by virtue of His power ; or, in other words, He is regarded as God, because it is supposed He can do any thing he pleases, can damn or save of his own sovereign pleasure and arbitrary will, totally independent of all law and order on which the hopes of his creatures can safely rest, as upon divine rights immutably secured to them. Hence arises the importunity of their prayers, that God will change their hearts, and by which is too frequently meant, merely that He will remove the dread they have of His wrath, and give them a comfortable assurance that they shall receive no ill effects from it. They confess themselves to be the vilest of sinners, and declare that they deserve God's most righteous condemnation; not, however, because they inwardly believe it, but because they entertain a secret notion that there will be less necessity for the Almighty to convince them of His terrific power, when he finds that they already acknowledge it, and tremble before it.
The prominent view which any class of Christians take of God, will naturally give a corresponding tone to their remarks in conversations respecting Him. Hence, with the class of Christians alluded to, thunders, lightnings, tempests, God's power in forming the earth, in creating the heavens with the myriads of suns, are the chief lenses in the material creation, through the help of which they can conceive of the divine Being, and the chief mediums by which they make Him known to their fellow-creatures.
For a similar purport are those passages of the Holy Word continually set forth, which give an idea to the sensual mind of anger and rage as dwelling in the breast of God: while, on the contrary, those passages which represent Him as an ever-kind Parent to His rebellious creatures are passed by, being considered tame and comparatively uninteresting and ineffectual for the work of conversion, owing to their presenting little that is congenial to minds capable of being incited to action only by the strong arm of power awakening their selfish apprehensions.
It may however be said, that this admiration, or rather apprehension, of divine power, is productive of humility, and is, therefore, beneficial. But if we reflect for a moment, we shall find that such humility is of the very shallowest and lowest description. It does not convince them of their utter destitution of goodness, contrasting such conviction with an admiration of the unutterable goodness of God, associated with an humble desire to be led by Him, and become a form receptive of truth and goodness from Him; but it consists in a sense of their physical weakness as contrasted wtih God's omnipotence, perfectly abstracted from all moral and spiritual goodness. It is, in fact, the trepidations of abject ignorance rather than the feeling which accompanies a sound and rational conviction, moderated by a good hope, founded on a just view of the divine character—such, indeed, is true humility.
While these false views respecting the nature and quality of the divine Being lead those who entertain them (as they must do of necessity) to form false estimates of goodness and truth, and consequently tend to give a wrong bias to their inward motives and outward actions, how thankful should those of the New Church be to have the Lord exhibited to them as He is ! Love itself! Life itself! How should such a favour increase their humility, Christian meekness, and docility, with an inward reverence for His holy name, -His infinite righteousness! How careful, too, should they be not to pervert the truth, and abuse the mercy of the Lord, by separating His goodness from His wisdom (thus making it merely natural goodness) flattering themselves they can be the recipients of His mercy while living in any known sin, or sin which they are unwilling to discover. It is acknowledged by all, that there is nothing in the doctrines themselves which has any tendency to encourage a vague confidence in a false view of the divine mercy; but there is much in the imperfect reci. pient of truth tending to pervert and abuse even a just view of it; there is much in our unpurified affections which may render of none effect, or, what is worse, defile the sacred truths which are floating in · our understanding.
HEAR THE CHURCH. (No. 3.)
(Concluded from p. 445.)
To the Editors of the Intellectual Repository. GENTLEMEN, A FEW words on the writer's views of the sacrament, and the admi. nistration of that holy ordinance. Our friend is unwilling to go to such an extreme as “ to advocate the promiscous administration of the sacrament,” and says (I trust in an unequivocal sense of the words), “We fully appreciate the apostle's advice, “Let all things be done decently and in order.' And yet that order, established by the apostles, and acted upon by the Church in the first three centuries (as already shewn), does not appear to meet with his approbation. He seems to be opposed to ordination altogether; and intimates, that it is supposed by some that ordination confers a “peculiar fitness or mystic power :" or why make the remark? If this is not his drift, “ forgive me this wrong." But does it not so appear from p. 218 (for it is the language of bitter complaint), where we read thus,-" The conference possesses no power to confer the ministerial office; that is said to reside in the ordaining minister only; and the orderly and lawful administration of the sacraments is considered by many to belong exclusively (the italics are his own) to such ordained ministers.” “Here is the grievance. This is the very head and front of offending. And is it then, MORE ORDERLY that lay preachers should administer the
sacraments, than that previously approved, and therefore ordained ministers, should do so? Is this right reasoning? Is it consistent with the “order” to which the writer of the article accedes, and which he “fully appreciates.” And again, (to follow out the observations quoted from p. 228), it is further stated, that “it is often assumed, that ordination confers validity on the ministerial office, and that the ministerial dispenser confers validity on the sacrament.” If the term “validity' is intended in some “mystic” sense, then I say, and that boldly, that “no man taketh this honour unto himself.” If something supernatural, some mystic spiritual power residing in the “ministerial dispenser," be the explicative to the inuendo--if this is intended to be implied—then, I ask, by whom is this assumed ? Is it intended to apply to those of the Old Church, or to those of the New? Are they lay preachers ? Of course not. I admire their zealous exertions; their laborious zeal; their self-denial; their unassuming and honourable course. Does it apply to the orderly ordained ministers of the New Church? “I trow not.” Are they the communicants of any New Church society known to the writer? If so, I commiserate their state of ignorant simplicity, if any such unenlightened persons are to be found within its precincts. These, certainly, require to be better taught: and if they have not gained better information from sermons on the occasion, let them consult the Liturgy; they may be instructed on the subject even during the administration of the ordinances, if the Liturgy is used, which is calculated to disabuse the mind of all such superstitious notions, both in reference to minister and people. And if the ordination service is carefully perused, it will be seen that such insinuations, when thrown out against the ministers of the New Church, cannot justly be drawn from thence. And here, methinks, is one instance of the utility of the Liturgy, the approved formulary of the Church, if there were none other use. Its articles,-its ordination service,-—form of administering the sacrament -meets and answers queries as to the belief of the Church on such points, and is sufficient “to convince gainsayers.” But strip the last quotation from J. W. H. of its “questionable shape,” and it will by no means fright our “ministers from their propriety;" but they will, I rather think, take the affirmative of the position, and adopt it as a sentiment; i. e., if the term “ valid” is taken in the sense of that which is done in due form and according to constituted rule. But can nothing be done in due form and order without attaching some mystic idea or power to the deed or to the doer? Absurd. I think I may take N. 8. No. 36.--VOL. 3.