« AnteriorContinuar »
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE LATE REV. WILLIAM MASON. 827
and faithfully served the church, and who will he long remembered with gratitude,—to join the hosts of the high ones on high. A great, good, thoroughly conscientious, truth-loving man is gone out from our eight, yet not from that universal communion which embraces as well the church that is above and the church that is below, and which interlinks all its members in the sublime work of hastening the coming of the Lord's kingdom upon earth, that " His will may be done here as in heaven."
At Derby the Rev. John Hyde preached Mr. Mason's funeral sermon, on Sunday evening, May 31st, from the words—" So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom;" and the services closed with a favourite hymn of Mrs. Mason's, commencing— "When life's tempestuous scenes are o'er, How calm he meets the friendly shore
Who lived averse from sin I
By reciprocal influx is not meant that the exterior natural principle flows into the interior, because this is impossible, for exterior things cannot flow into interior things, or, what is the same, inferior or posterior things cannot flow into superior or prior things; but the rational principle calls forth those things which are in the interior natural principle, and these call forth those which are in the exterior; not that the very things themselves which are therein are called forth, but the things which are thence concluded, or, as it were, extracted. Such is the nature of reciprocal influx. It appears as if the things which are in the world flow in, through sensual things, towards the interiors; but this is a fallacy of sense; it is the influx of interior things into exterior, and apperception by that influx. On these subjects I have occasionally conversed with spirits; and it was shown by living experience, that the interior man sees and apperceives in the exterior what is doing out of this latter, and that the sensual principle has life from this source and from no other, or that the faculty of being sensible, or of sensation, is from this source and from no other. But the above fallacy is such and so great that it cannot in anywise be dissipated by the natural man, and not even by the rational, unless he is able to think abstractedly from the sensual principle. These observations are made in order to show what is meant by reciprocal influx. (A. C. 5119.)
Inspiration And Interpretion: being an Exposition of the Principles of Correspondence, and a Spiritual Interpretation of the First Chapter of Genesis as founded upon them. By the Rev. Ana. Clissold, M.A., formerly of Exeter College, Oxford. No. V. Oxford: H. Hammans, High-street. London: Whittaker and Co. 1863.
The present number of Mr. Clissold's Tracts is perhaps the most powerful and the most deeply interesting of the series. Those who wish to read the first chapter of Genesis with the spiritual sense of the "Arcana," presented in a light striking and illustrative, should procure this little work.
The author seems to have chosen the beginning of Revelation as a means of testing the soundness of the prevailing theories on the allimportant subjects of the Inspiration and Interpretation of the Bible; and he has made excellent use of it to show the opposite results of a literal and a spiritual exposition—the literal tending to a denial of any really Divine inspiration of the Word, and an exclusion of Christianity from a great portion of the Scriptures; the spiritual resting on the basis of a verbal inspiration, and giving Christian instruction from every part of what constitutes the Word of God. The regenerate state of man is a state of order. He then comes to a state of mind which is that of chaos. In this state the mind "confounds together things earthly and heavenly, itself, God, and nature; it makes no distinction between body and soul, mind and matter, moral and physical; there being as yet no regular divisions of thought, or distinct regions of the human mind. It is 'a land of darkness,' without any order, and where the light is as darkness." On this subject, on which there have been many curious inquiries, even among the students of the New Church writings, we find the following:—
"At the same time the aboriginal state of man, being such as we have described, must have been that of the animal nature. In this case, the argument for the Divine Authorship of the Cosmogony in the first chapter, is not the least affected by the fact that Geology shews that there were creatures of God that destroyed and devoured one another long before the time of which we are now treating, and were furnished with the natural means of so doing; for creation was not as yet pronounced good, and much less very good.
"It is indeed a popular error to suppose, that in the earliest times all animals were of a tame and gentle disposition, such as is described in the words of Isaiah— 'The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;' but this arises from confounding the aboriginal state of man with his state EEVIKW. 829
in Paradise, whereas the aboriginal state was to Paradise what the wilderness afterwards was to Canaan, and what the natural man is to the spiritual. It was only in the Paradisaical state that man was truly lord of the creation."
Under the first words of the chapter—"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," the author discusses the subject of Inspiration and Interpretation. Those who adhere to the literal interpretation assert that Revelation contains Christianity, but that it contains more, that is, something that is not Christianity, nor has any concern with the Christian religion; and of this character is the first chapter of Genesis. According to the spiritual interpretation, Christianity is not merely a part of Revelation, but is co-extensive with it. The first chapter of Genesis is concerned with the very first principles of Christianity itself; for it relates to the new creation of man, and the great end of the Gospel is the restoration of man to his primaeval state.
Speaking of the order of things in the frame of the world, in which earth takes its place below water, water below air, air below the more subtile and active elements of the heavens, he observes:—
"Now the order observable in the outward universe is not more accurate than that observable in the inward. The regions of the mind are arranged one above the other with the utmost exactitude; and all this that external things might not rule over internal—the natural mind over the spiritual; for in this inversion of order, as we shall afterwards perceive, consisted the Fall."
There is one other extract which its singular beauty induces us to give: this occurs in explaining the 8th verse—" And God called the expanse heaven,"—that heaven in the human mind which is the region of the activities of interior thought and will:—
"Now, the faculty of discerning truth from falsehood, good from evil, is the distinguishing faculty of the human mind; and the question of Pilate—' What is truth?' shewed at once that this faculty was lost, or that the region of the mind, originally called heaven, had been closed. Hence, when our Lord said, 'Hereafter shall ye see heaven opened,' it implied that He had come to open that region of the mind to which pertained the faculty of perceiving truth, thus to create the expanse anew. Therefore He said so often, 'the kingdom of heaven— of the new expanse—is at hand,'—that inward region in which truth was perceived, into which it was received, and from which sovereignty over the natural mind was to be exercised. It was in this way that Stephen saw heaven opened, and the truth in its reality—'Jesus—standing at the right hand of God;' because, first of all, the heavens had been opened within Jesus Himself, when He saw the spirit of God (i. e., of Truth) descending upon Him like a dove. 'And He it was who opened the kingdom of heaven, thus of truth, to all believers. To a large portion of mankind this expanse, or kingdom of heaven, has been closed, and has become a lost region of the human mind. The question is still asked—' What is truth?'"
After having gone through the whole chapter, and placed the spiritual sense of every part in such an aspect as must commend it to the approval of every one who is disposed to assign this part of the Word a Divine origin, the author concludes in these words:—
"Thus has God caused to be recorded, for the edification of the church, the successive steps by which Man passes out of the region of sense into that of rationality, and hence onwards to the image and likeness of God. One would have thought, that in a professedly Christian age a more practical subject could not have engaged the attention. For how does the case stand? Call it mystical, as you may, we affirm that it is Historical in the highest sense of the term; for it contains the Primeval History of the development and progress of the human mind—a History which serves as a beacon to all other histories; a History which Christianity is but labouring to realise, in order to effect the restitution of all things; a History which alone explains the infinite diversities of the human race, and all the mythologies, religions, wars, speculations, philosophies, crimes, and virtues which diversify the annals of the world—a History Of ProGress, on the consummation of which the Seven Thunders utter their voices, and the mystery of God is finished."
Oh! sadly do I open Memory's book,
And gaze upon the grey retreating years,—
Where of my friends the last farewells I took,
And struggles of the soul, from this hard dream
Of earth to wake, and see what doth but seem.
But sadder still the memory of each sin
Comes stealing through the chambers of the soul,
And all the creeping guilt that dwelt within,
Of our frail bark upon life's shadowy main,
Oh! how our hearts still wish the voyage o'er again!
Birmingham. J. W. T.
How we love that wondrous story
When, to save man from hell's sway, Heaven's Lord of life and glory
In that Bethlehem manger lay!
Angel bands to man drew nigh,
"Glory be to God on high!"
Now, when hell's infernal legions
Flee before His conquering might, Seeking in their gloomy regions
Shelter from His glorious light, Happy spirits, pure and holy,
Bright as those who hymned His birth, Good and truth their pleasure solely,
Hold sweet converse with our earth.
When a child of sin and sorrow
Leaves the path of sin and shame, Strives in virtuous paths to follow,
Seeking help from His great name, We can think that holy spirits
Whisper thoughts of hope and joy, Guide her ways till she inherits
Happiness which cannot cloy.
When, undaunted and unquailing,
Nobly man performs his part, In good actions never failing,
Loving truth with all his heart, On his inmost hearing breaking
Like sweet music, soft and clear, He may hear good spirits speaking
Words to comfort and to cheer.
Spirits of our friends departed,
Mingle with earth's tender-hearted,