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kind were led into that fatal delusion represented by eating of “the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” fell from their state of innocence, wisdom, and peace, and at length lost that heavenly intelligence denoted by “the garden of Eden,” and became the prey of evil and woe.
But my object in calling your attention to the text is not so much to enter into an explanation of the origin of evil, as to point out the necessity of guarding against the serpent in ourselves; or, in the words of the apostle, “lest, as the serpent beguiled Eve, our minds should be corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ.” The influence which, relying on the evidence of the senses alone, it exerts on the moral character, is a subject of vital interest. It was not only the origin of man's fall, but has also perpetuated his degradation ; it will ever lead to the same fatal delusion, and is the source of all the evils which ever have distracted society. Nothing is more opposed to the authority of revalation than the suggestions of the sensual principle. The Word of God, for instance, teaches that man is a deperdant being, that all his faculties are derived from the Lord, and that the proper exercise of them depends on the acknowledgment that of ourselves we possess nothing. Enlightened reason assents to the truth of this declaration, but when the evidence of the mere senses is trusted to, we become the dupes of fallacious appearances; our senses would flatter us that our faculties are self-derived, and that all our mental powers are under our own controul : in other words they lead us to the conclusion that we are gods. The mind then becomes inflated with pride, and burns with the lust of dominion ; it seeks its own pre-eminence, and the gratification of its own desires, and is utterly regardless of all save self; self becomes the moving (main) spring of all its operations, and the centre of all its hopes. All the moral disorders to which the human mind is subject, and all the evils which society deplores, have their origin in the love of self, and the love of self is the poison of the serpent. Observation and experience may prove the truth of the declaration in the text, that the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made, or that the sensual principle, when relied on, is more deceptive than any which enter into the constitution of the mind. Whence has infidelity its origin? or what is infidelity but a denial of the existence of a God, because he is not the object of the senses? They who refuse to admit any conclusion, which is unsupported by the evidence of the senses, must necessarily reject every thing connected with either religion
or revelation. The influence of the sensual principle, will shut their ears to the beauty of divine truth, as the deaf adder is said in Scripture, to "stop its ear to the voice of the charmer charming never so wisely.” What, again, are the various depraved and inordinate affections exhibited in the conduct of men, but so many modifications of the loves of self and the world, of which, as we have shewn, the sensual principle is the strong-hold. We see the serpent exhibiting itself in a thousand forms; self-love or the love of dominion pervades nearly the whole of the world ; sets nation against nation, and man against man; it often severs the nearest friends ; insinuates itself, and engenders discord, in the family circle; and even rears its head in the sanctuary of God, spreading its malignant influence, and separating into sects and parties, those who should constitute one fold under one shepherd. How specious are the reasonings by which the sensual principle, or the serpent, justifies the disorders (evils) self-love has occasioned. The insatiable love of dominion, which incited an Alexander or a Napolean to sacrifice myriads of their fellow-creatures at the shrine of their ambition, and to convert the world into a desart, is held up to the admiration of mankind under the specious title of glory. He who sows dissension in the church, vindicates his conduct as being actuated by a zeal for the truth : in short, most can find a palliative for their actions, which, if it does not convince the world, satisfies themselves.
But the time would fail us to trace the influence of the sensual principle, or the serpent, and of the loves of self and the world, which are the poison of the serpent, through all their intricate windings in the human heart, and to detect them in the thousand shapes they assume; the point which most demands our attention is, the necessity of resisting it in ourselves. When we resist evils as sins against God, and look to him who came to “bruise the serpent's head," He will impart to us, as he did to his disciples, the power of “ treading upon serpents;" and, as we exercise that power—as we curb the inordinate passions of the natural man, and repress the risings of self-love, and the pride of self-derived intelligence, the mind will be restored by regeneration, to that order and beauty from which it fell, will again become an image and likeness of the Lord, and be opened to the reception of those graces which bloomed in paradise. When the insatiable love of dominion shall be subdued, pure heavenly charity will take possession of the breast, and the affections harmonize in a feeling of supreme love to the Lord, and universal benevolence towards our neighbour. This state attained by the individual members of the church, will raise the character of the church at large; and as the influence of the church is felt in the world, it will effect a complete revolution in the state of society; society will wear another aspect; the evils we now deplore will cease, and the world present an image of heaven, or, to use the language of inspiration-“the wilderness" will become “ like Eden,” and “the desert like the garden of the Lord.”
DOCTRINE ON PUBLIC WORSHIP AND THE DUTIES
OF THE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH.
BY REV. E. D. RENDELL,
John iv. 20. “ In Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." This sentiment was expressed by the woman of Samaria in a conversation with our Lord Jesus Christ. The Samaritans were gentiles, and were a people with whom the Jews had no dealings. From the sentiment of the text, however, it appears that they had become acquainted with the doctrine taught by the Jews, namely, that Jerusalem was the proper and appointed place for the worship of Jehovah. They had learnt this doctrine from many expressions in the Word. It was also to be inferred froin the circumstance that Jerusalem was the only city in the land of Canaan where there was a temple. The sacrifices were offered there, consequently divine worship performed; and there three feasts were held every year, to which every male throughout the whole land was commanded to come. The Lord Jesus Christ, who knew the internal, which is the proper signification of the sentiment, recognized its correctness, though, he adds, that the object of worship there would not be the Father, but, as in other places he informs us, the Son in whom the Father dwelleth.
The reason of those statements and circumstances of the Word on which were grounded the sentiment, that "in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship,” is, because that city, as it is well known, was representative of the true church, and, therefore, by implication it follows that the true church is not only the place where men ought to worship, but that the worship therein is genuine in its quality. Now the Lord's church is constituted among mankind by the truths of doctrine and a faith in them, and the goods of love and a life from them. By the former he is present with mankind, and by the latter he effects conjunction with them. By such presence and conjunction their happiness is procured; and this is the distinguished purpose which the Lord has ever had in view in the establishment of his church. The dispensation of the New Jerusalem professes to be in possession of these two essentials of the genuine church. Her doctrines are truths which are capable of becoming objects of faith, because they can be rationally discerned; and because they are divinely true they also lead to goodness, and thereby to heaven. This dispensation is that which was representatively shadowed forth by the Jerusalem of old, and is in reality the fulfilment of that prophetic vision in which the apostle saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven. Here it is, then, that men ought to worship; bere it is that genuine doctrine upon the subject of worship is to be learnt; and here it is that the consequences attendant upon the observance of the duty may be clearly seen : here it is that the worshiper is taught that all his negligences of duty result from a defect or deficiency in his reception of the essential principles of the church, and that without such reception he cannot enter into heaven. This church is the crown of all churches, because it possesses, in a state of unity, all the constituent elements of a church both internal and external. The Adamic
The Adamic or most ancient was an internal church without an external; the Noetic or ancient was an internal church with a representative external; while the Jewish was an external church without an internal; and in the professing Christian church the proper character and connection of the internal and external of the church have been but imperfectly conceived; but in the New Church they both exist in fulness. All the essential principles of love and wisdom are there seen to be only such in proportion as they descend into act. It is a spiritual church from first principles to last, and, therefore, may be compared to a complete man in the world with soul and body. In this church none of her essential principles can be said to have a genuine existence in her members, if they are negligent of their formal use. Principles are not complete without their principiates. An essence without a form has no proper existence. It is like a house without a foundation, liable to perish. So, again, a form without an essence is hypocritical, and in respect to worship it is idolatrous. Hence with the man of the church the internal must be conjoined with the external things thereof. We cease to be genuine members of the church, as it appears before the Lord, in the proportion in which we effect their disunion. In such a case we separate faith from life, which is the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place.
In the Old Church, faith alone exists as a doctrine which has