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Behold the Sun !—but lo! a cloud Receives Him out of sight!
Howlong.OLord! shall Thine elect Await Thy coming might?
How long? Look round on Zion's walls!
The flaming stones proclaim The coming of the Sun of suns,
The Word of God—His name.
His chariot wheels shall fly around The boundaries of night;
And depths shall see, that never saw, The marvels of His light.
Dark Chaos, then, a sea of glass, Bright as the sea above,
Shall shine again with mingled fire Of wisdom and of love.
God's breath creative shall go forth
The trump of onward marching
Then thanks to Thee, my God and
Thy church, anew begun, Shall never cease again to be
The City of the Sun!
Inquiry With Answke.
In the February number we endeavoured to remove a seeming discrepancy between two explanations in the writings, of the image of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Another instance of the same kind, an explanation of which "A Student of the Writings" thinks would be useful to others as he feels it would be to himself, we now propose to consider. He states his difficulty in these words—" Bespecting the parable of the eagles, (Ezek. xvii.) in A. G. 3901 it is thus explained: 'The eagle first mentioned denotes the rational principle receiving illustration from the Divine; and the eagle mentioned in the second place, denotes the rational principle receiving illustration from the proprium, by reasoning from things sensual and scientific; it next denotes the rational principle perverted.' But, at A. E. 281, we read thus:—'By the first eagle is described the process of regeneration of the natural or external man, by scientifics and by knowledges from the Word ; and by the other eagle is described the process of the regeneration of the spiritual or internal man, by truth derived from good.' Hence, by the first eagle is signified the intelligence of the natural man, and by the second, the intelligence of the spiritual man." In this case also there seems to him a difference amounting apparently to a contradiction.
In examining this case, it would be interesting to follow the plan we adopted
in considering Nebuchadnezzar's image, —that is, instead of confining our attention to the two passages quoted by our correspondent, to take a comprehensive view of all that our author has written upon the subject, so that the variety might lead us to perception of the harmony. This is a mode we would recommend to every "student of the writings" who sees an apparent discrepancy in any two explanations. By doing this, he will find his ideas enlarged; and, each varying explanation shedding light upon the others, and receiving light from them in return, that which appeared confused and perplexed will gradually become distinct and clear, and the obscurest spots will often become the brightest in hisfield of vision. He should also endeavour, where the varying explanations do not themselves direct him, to look at the subject from its different points of view, or trace the explanation through the several analogous subjects to which it may be applied, and which we found so fully given in the writings themselves on the dream-image of the king of Babylon. We do not say that every first attempt will be successful, nor is it to be expected that the full and clear light on every subject will always be the immediate or present reward of a searching investigation. Those who have reaped the richest and largest harvest by long and laborious labour in this field, will, we are convinced, be the readiest to
confess that all they can justly say is, "we know in part;" and even those whose office leads them habitually to learn that they may teach, will not venture to say more than "we prophesy in part." We remember once asking Mr. Noble, in his old age, whether he had ever preached on a certain portion of the Word that we felt to be difficult but thought must be deeply interesting. On his answering that he had not, we ventured to ask him the reason; when he replied—"Because I never could see my way clearly through it." Younger students need not, therefore, be discouraged if every difficulty and obscurity does not yield so readily as they desire to their best efforts. Ardency to learn must be tempered with humility to bear, and patient waiting must be united to persevering study. A general advancement of the mind in knowledge will often of itself remove a difficulty, or clear an obscurity, which had refused to give way to direct and earnest exertion when the mind was as yet too imperfectly informed on collateral points to enable the understanding to take in the whole of the subject.
The science of correspondence is not the only key required to unlock the casket of the letter which contains the treasures of Divine Wisdom; a knowledge of the subject or subjects to which a passage of Scripture relates is often necessary to enable us to understand the explanation—especially is it requisite to enable us to see the agreement of two different and apparently discordant explanations. Besides an acquaintance with the subject of an explanation, it is necessary for us to know and attend to the different senses which every part of the Word contains; for what appears at first sight to be two discordant explanations will, in all probability, be found to be two different but corresponding meanings. The celestial sense, like the celestial state, is in some respects the inverse of the spiritual; and the particulars of a Scripture passage, when explained according to the higher sense, will, to some extent, have a meaning the inverse of that which they bear when the lower sense is given. Thus husband and wife in the celestial and in the spiritual sense have an inverse signification ; because "in the celestial church the husband was in good, and the wife in the truth of that good; but in the spiritual church the man is in truth, and the wife
in the good of that truth; and also they actually were and are so, for the interiors of man underwent this change." (A. G. 4823.) And so in the case of widows and orphans.
Besides the celestial and spiritual senses, in which things have an inverse meaning, there are two other senses in which the meanings are frequently opposite to each other. These are, the internal or spiritual sense and the internal-historical sense. It is here where the student is most likely to meet with "a difference amounting apparently to a contradiction." The internal-historical sense treats of the church as a dispensation, or as established amongst a particular nation or people; the spiritual sense treats of the church as a spiritual state realised in the mind of one individual. It is evident that these two senses of the same portion of Scripture will often run counter to each other. The reason is this,—every church that has hitherto existed in the world has, after a time, fallen from its primitive state, and afterpassingthrough successive changes for the worse, has finally come to its end. If the same passage or part of Scripture describes, in the internal-historical sense, successive states of such a church, and, in the spiritual sense, successive states in the regeneration of man, it is clear the explanations, like the states they describe, cannot, except in the earlier states of a church, run parallel to each other, since the same particulars, historical or parabolical, which describe a downward progression in the one repeesent an upward progression in the other. Let us take an example. The decline and fall of the Israelitish nation represents at once the degeneration of the Israelitish church and the regeneration of man. How are we to explain this apparent contradiction in the double sense? And how does the higher sense -correspond or agree with the lower? We can easily see how the descent of Israel in national disorder and degradation can represent the sinking of the Israelitish church in spiritual corruption; but it does not seem so easy to perceive how either can represent or describe man's advancement in holiness. Yet there is no great difficulty when the leading idea is obtained. The evils which Israel committed represent the evils to which the Christian is tempted. Israelitish sins are types of Christian temptations. On this prin
ciple it is that representativemen—David for example—could, even in the commission of the most heinous crimes, be types of our Lord in His spotless life, because their great sins represented His deep temptations. And those same sins, and that same history, in which our Lord's life and experience were shadowed forth, shadow forth ours also; for we are regenerated as the Lord was glorified. As the Israelites, in the course of their history, continued to fall into greater sins, so the Christian, as he advances in the regenerate life, is tempted to greater evils—deeper states of his proprium are opened in bim as he becomes more fully regenerated. And as the Israelites became more and more corrupt, so the Christian sees more and more of his corruption; for the more he sees of his own proprium the more corrupt he sees and acknowledges himself to be, even to the abhorring himself in dust and ashes. Therefore are the highest angels in the profoundest humiliation. To take the three captivities of Israel, in Egypt, Samaria, and Babylon; while these were the effects of the increasing corruption of the people, and describe a corresponding decline of the church among them, they represent the three kinds of temptation experienced by the Christian while passing through the three distinct states or degrees of the regenerate life,—the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial. Hence it was that severe judgments were denounced against those who refused to submit their necks to the yoke of the king of Babylon; (Jer. xxvii. 8.) this yoke or captivity representing, in the spiritual sense, a necessary means of regeneration. Hence, also, the parable of the two eagles, which was uttered against Zedekiah, because he had thrown off his allegiance to the king of Babylon, who is meant by the first eagle, and had sought to strengthen himself in his rebellion by an alliance with the king of Egypt, who is meant by the second eagle, the ruinous consequences of whieh are described by the tree, which, after having been planted by the first eagle, sent out its roots to the second, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation, being utterly withered by the east wind. Let us now turn our attention to the parable itself.
The simple distinction between the internal-historical sense and the spiritual sense will, we think, enable onr correspondent to see the harmony of the
two apparently contradictory explanations of the parable of the two eagles. The first passage he has quoted, that from the Arcana, gives the internalhistorical sense of the parable; and the second, from the Apocalypse Explained, gives the spiritual sense. This, we think, will be readily perceived by comparing these two explanations with others of the same parable that occur in the writings. In regard then to the first,—
In the Summary Exposition of the Prophets and Psalms, which, summary though it be, is a most important help to the understanding of the Word, especially as to its internal historical sense, which is the sense generally given in that little work, but from which the other higher senses can without much difficulty be deduced, we have an outline of the meaning of this 17th chapter of Ezekiel. The explanation begins by saying that the parable describes "in what manner the ancient church was established by the Lord, and of what quality it became with the Jewish nation." It then goes through the whole chapter, describing the decline of the church, and its final consummation among the Jews, and ends by explaining the concluding verses, where the Lord promises to plant the branch of the cedar in the mountain of the height of Israel, as signifying the establishment of a new church among others, who, as we shall see by another passage, were the Gentiles, at our Lord's coming into the world. Thus the entire chapter, according to this sense, treats of the church, from its establishment with Noah after the flood, through its successive declensions, to its close with the Jews, and its reestablishment at the Lord's incarnation. This sense is given with more or less completeness in other passages.
In A. C. 8764, speaking of Ezek. xvii. 1—8, the author says—" This describes the establishment of a spiritual church by the Lord. Afterwards is described by the prophet, in the same chapter, how that church, established among the ancients, was perverted among the Jews." So in 10,299, we are told that it" treats of the beginning of a spiritual church, and its growth, and next its perversion and end." In the same work (7761), the conclusion of the chapter is explained as treating of " the churoh of the Gentiles, which was spiritual, and which was a goodly cedar." And "the mountain of the height of Israel," in which the cedar
was planted," signifies the highest degree of good and of truth derived from good appertaining to the spiritual church.1' (9484.) This part of the subject is thus spoken of in explaining the 23rd verse— "These words describe the establishment of a New Church by the Lord; its establishment anew, or from its first rise, is understood by the shoot of the lofty cedar, the cedar here as in other passages denoting the spiritual-rational church, such as was that of the ancients after the flood. Spreading out a magnificent cedar, signifies the full establishment of the church; that under it may dwell bird of every wing, signifies that there shall be rational truths of every kind; to dwell in the shade of its branches, signifies terminated in natural truths, for these cover and guard rational truths which are from a spiritual origin." (A. E. 1100.)
To come back now to the passage itself. "The first eagle denotes the rational principle receiving illustration from the Divine, and the second eagle denotes the rational principle receiving illustration from the proprium, by reasonings from things sensual and scientific; it next denotes the rational principle perverted." Now the first eagle signifies the rational principle of the ancient church, strictly so called; and this received illustration from the Divine, for the ancient was a spiritual church "called an eagle from perception." (A. G. 6988.) The second eagle signifies the rational principle of the Hebrew church, called (A. C. 1241) a second ancient church," which was a church that succeeded that called Noah, and exercised a sort of holy worship, which consisted of external rites. This church in process of time was variously deformed, and its external worship was changed into idolatrous worship, and then was its consummation." (A. G. 2243.) This was the church whose rational principle came to be illustrated or formed from the proprium, by reasoning from things sensual and scientific, described by the vine bending her roots, and sending out her branches to the second eagle, which is Egypt, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation, (ver. 7.) Although, however, its rational principle came to be more natural than spiritual, it had not lost all the rational apprehension of truth, for in its early state it had something of a spiritual principle,
and worshipped God truly, though obscurely, through types and symbols. It was under the Israelitish church that "the rational principle was perverted," for the Israelites, essentially idolatrous, worshipped the rites and ceremonies themselves, or themselves in them. The rational principle in them was entirely natural, and opposed to the spiritual, for of true spirituality there remained none, either in their life or worship. The state of the church under this dispensation is especially described in the 9th and 10th verses,—" Thus saith the Lord God, Shall it prosper? Shall He not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither," &o. Speaking of the vine, or of the church vastated, whose fruit, which is goodness, and the leaf plucked off, which is truth, shall wither, (A. C. 885.J a promise is however given that the church shall be restored, a promise that was abundantly fulfilled when the Lord came into the world as a man, and made the rational principle in Himself divine.
The other passage from the writings, quoted by "A Student," explains the subject, as we have said, according to its spiritual sense, which treats of the regeneration of the man of the spiritual church. This indeed may appear from the passage itself; for it begins by saying, "The first eagle describes the process of the regeneration of the natural or external man, and the other eagle describes the process of the regeneration of the spiritual or internal man." Here we find that regeneration is the subject of which the passage treats, which of itself indicates that the author is explaining it according to the spiritual sense. This is the sense given to the parable in several other passages of the writings. Not however to occupy space in proving what we hope is by this time evident, we will conclude by citing a minute and beautiful explanation of the strictly spiritual sense of the whole parable, from the first to the eighth verse, and which will be read with pleasure and profit by every one, whether he may have felt any interest in the foregoing disquisition or not:—
"The subject here treated of is concerning the establishment of a spiritual church by the Lord, and in the internal man is here described the process of its establishment, or of the regeneration of the man of that church from beginning to end. By the first eagle is described
the process of the regeneration of the natural or external man by scientifics and by knowledges from the Word ; and by the other eagle is described the process of the regeneration of the spiritual or internal man by truths derived from good; hence, by the first eagle is signified the intelligence of the natural man, and by the second, the intelligence of the spiritual man. It shall also be explained in a few words what the particulars signify. The first eagle is said to be great in wings, with long quills, and full of feathers, and thereby is signified abundance of sciences and knowledges of truth and good, from which is the first intelligence, which is the intelligence of the natural man; it is therefore said that it had embroidering, for by embroidering is signified what appertains to science and knowledge. It came upon Lebanon, and took a small branch of cedar, signifies the taking some knowledges of truth for the doctrine of the church which is derived from the Word; Lebanon signifies that doctrine, and a small branch of a cedar signifies knowledges; it plucked off the head of its shoots, and carried it to a land of commerce, signifies primary knowledges thence derived, to which it applied sciences; the head of the shoots signifies primary knowledges; and the land of commerce signifies the natural man, to whom science belongs; it placed it in a city of dealers in spices, signifies among truths derived from good in the natural man; spices signify truths which are grateful because derived from good; it took the seed of the earth and placed in the field of the sower, it took it to great waters, it placed it circumspectly, signifies multiplication; the seed of the earth denotes the truth of the church; the field of the sower denotes the good from which it grows; great waters denote knowledges of truth and good; to place circumspectly denotes to separate from falses; it budded and became a luxuriant vine, so that the branches thereof looked to it, and the roots thereof were under it, signifies the church springing into truth from the arrangement of the knowledges of truth, and from the application of them to use; so it became a vine which produced branches and sent out boughs, signifies the beginning of the spiritual church and the continuous in. crease of truths.
"Hitherto is described the institution of the ohurch with man, which is effected
in the natural or external man; now its establishment which takes place in the spiritual or internal man is described by the other eagle, which because it signifies spiritual intelligence, it is said concerning it that the vine applied its roots and sent out its branches to it, that is, to the eagle; for roots signify sciences, and branches the knowledges of truth and good, which are all applied to the truths which are in the spiritual or internal man, since without their spiritual application man has no wisdom; the multiplication and fructification of truth from good, thus the increase of intelligence, is described by its being planted in a good field near many waters, to form the bough and to bear fruit that it might be a vine of magnificence; the good field is the church as to the good of charity, many waters are the knowledges of good and truth, to form the camp is to multiply truth, to bear fruit is to produce goods which are uses; the vine of magnificence is the spiritual, thus internal and external." (A.E. 281.)
Welcome To The Rev. George B.
Pokteous, On His Introduction «0
The Pastorate Of The Society At
The readers of the Repository will,
no doubt, be glad to learn that the
New Church Society at Glasgow, which
has so long been without the care and
instruction of a regular pastor, has
now happily come into a more genial
and agreeable condition, consequent on
obtaining the valuable and highly-prized
services of the Rev. G. B. Porteous, late
On the evening of Thursday, April 2nd, the society's place of worship was quite filled by the members and friends of the church, to welcome Mr. Porteous to his new and extensive field of use, an object which was amply attained and evinced by the general cordiality and enthusiasm of those present, as well as by the highly commendable and complete arrangements of the younger members, who acted as purveyors and stewards. The plaoe of meeting was tastefully deoorated for the occasion; and tea having been served in a most satisfactory style, and finished amid much genial conversation, the chair was taken by Mr. Eadie, treasurer to the society, who expressed himself in most feeling, judicious, and suitable terms, inculcating mutual good-will and