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that the state of truth and good is different in its advancement from the beginning, through its further progress, and from thence to the end to be accomplished. In this part of the history of Jacob he represents that state of the regenerate life where the goodness which is of truth, is procured in the natural principle. And in this state man is assailed by temptations from his spiritual adversaries ; for he now not only knows the truth, but he is principled in the good of truth; in other words, he feels an affection for the truth which he perceives with the understanding ; he loves the heavenly truths he has read or heard, and is, therefore, anxious to retain them, and to live according to them, feeling, as he does, that they are his life. Now, it is precisely in this state of mind, when the Christian has advanced thus far, that he becomes subject to temptations, which are spiritual wrestlings, or combats. The truths which he loves as his very life, and by or through which, as a means, his regeneration is promoted, are now assailed by evil spirits, and it is when this opposition of evil to good is internally perceived by man, that it constitutes what is called temptation. Such, then, is the spiritual signification of Jacob's wrestling; whereby we are instructed to withstand manfully every opposition to the truth, and every thing which may hinder our progress in the regeneration, fearing not our ultimate triumph, since we are ever defended by ministering spirits from the Lord.
The victory, however, is not yet obtained, and, therefore, it is added, “ When he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint as he wrestled with him.” Truth combating from a principle of goodness, is signified in the Word, by a sword on the thigh ; and hence we read, “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty ; ride prosperously because of truth, and thy right hand shall teach thee marvellous things.” Every inember of the human body, whenever they are mentioned in the Holy Word, has its particular correspondence with some principle, or affection of the mind, according to the rule of spiritual interpretation. So here, by the touching the hollow of the thigh, and the hollow of Jacob's thigh being out of joint, is signified, that the truths already possessed were not as yet arranged in that order which is necessary to form a complete union between those truths and that spiritual good with which they ought to be united, in order to constitute true regeneration. Jacob here signifies natural good, for he is not as yet named Israel. And it is only when celestial love, or love to the Lord, and spiritual love, or charity to our neighbour, become united with natural good, i. e., with the doctrinal and scientific truths and goods of man's natural principle, or the principle of the natural man ;-—it is then, and then only, that a union is effected between the internal and the external man, or between the spiritual and natural principle in man. This is the conjunction signified by the hollow of Jacob's thigh.
But we read further, that “he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh (or because the day.dawn ariseth). And he said, I will not let thee go except thou bless me." “Let me go because the day breaketh.” Here we are instructed that temptatiou ceases when a unión or conjunction of the celestial and spiritual principles with the goods, or delights, and the truths scientifically acquired by the natural man, is about to take place. “Let me go,” said he to Jacob; desist! wrestle no longer ! combat no more! I yield to thee: the temptation is about to terminate, the trial has been made, that holy conjunction of principles wbich I have opposed, I cannot prevent, I have opposed in vain, my strength faileth me, my efforts are useless, I see that the bright dawn of spiritual and celestial day is breaking in upon thy soul, already thine intellectual principle sparkles with spiritual illumination, thy light shall break forth as the morning, and thy righteousness as the noon-day; thou art the victor, I am the vanquished.
Even so the Christian, as he goes forward iu the regenerate life, acquiring truths from the Word, storing them up in his memory, uniting them with spiritual and celestial affections, love to God and charity to man; and is desirous thus of becoming more and more purified, of growing more and more daily after the image and likeness of his Lord; soon discovers that he has entered a field of spiritual contest with worse than mortal foes-foes invisible, foes formidable, foes without, and foes within, who employ every artifice to insinuate into the mind any unhallowed thought, any unholy desire, any impure idea, which may, if possible, militate against his further progress, and prove inimical to his higher attainments in heavenly knowledge, celestial love, and holy zeal. But he knows they are not omnipotent, he is aware that the Lord fighteth for him, and that he will make a way for his escape, by dispelling the clouds of despondency which contending circuinstances may have thrown around him, and by “lifting up on him the light of his countenance,” in which there is exceeding great joy, that so he may in His strength take courage and go for
ward, “ conquering, and to conquer,” while this is the theme of bis rejoicing, “In darkest shades, if thou art near, my dawning is begun; Thou art my soul's bright morning star; and thou my
rising sun." Thus it was in the representative circumstance before us. The combat in this temptation had proceeded until, in the struggle for victory between the two opposite contending principles, spiritual good had gained the ascendancy, and though not as yet actually united with that species of good which belongs to the natural principle, it was, nevertheless, about to be conjoined therewith, as signified by the words, "the day breaketh,”-the day-dawn arisetb.
Times and seasons, both of the day and of the year, when they occur in the Word, spiritually signify states, both as it relates to churches, and to the individuals who compose them. And hence, in the present instance, as applying to the process of regeneration in the individuals of a church, the internal state with regard to the unition of spiritual, celestial, and natural principles of love and charity, and truth, by means of temptations, is signified by“ day dawn.” For in this state, the regenerate man, like one who in the morning awaketh out of sleep and with joy beholds the dawning of the day, awaketh from a state of spiritual sleep, to the enjoyment of the light of spiritual life and peace. Until then, truth in the natural principle-the truth of the mere external man, is “like a light shining in a dark place;" but attains to a higher state of elevation when “the day dawns, and the day star ariseth in the heart." And so desirable is this conjunction and elevation of state, that the Christian combatant, in effect, exclaims with Jacob, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” In other words, (which is the internal sense), temptation will not cease until that blessed union of principles, and affections, which is now about to take place, is fully accomplished.
But prior to such union it is necessary that the real state of the man should be explored, that thereby his true state with regard to the nature or quality of the goodness or truth he has acquired may be ascertained. Wherefore we read as follows : “And he said unto him, What is thy name? and he said, Jacob.” Here, then, the discovery is made. Name signifies quality; and by Jacob, in his representative character at this stage of his history, the good of truth is signified, or goodness derived from truth.
We are perfectly aware, my hearers, that many of the terins which must, of necessity, be employed in giving the interual signi
fication of the Word of God may, to many, appear rather quaint and antiquated. This is not the fault of the expounders of the Word, but of the degenerated state of mind in the hearers thereof. For while the common and general knowledge of spiritual subjects is so exceedingly rare in the Christian churches, and while the generality of mankind in this age of the world, inake not the things of heaven the objects of their anxious solicitude, but, as the Apostle says,“ mind,” almost exclusively, “earthly things,” spiritual ideas cannot enter. And hence it is, that it has become imperative on the part of those who preach the doctrines and truths of the New Christian Dispensation, to familiarize their illustrations, as much as possible, to the spiritual and mental capacities of their hearers, giving (as the Apostle says again), “milk to babes ;' while, as he observes, “strong meat is for those of riper years.” And thus it is with regard to the “strong meat,” or the more interior doctrines of the New Christian Church; they can only be properly inwardly digested by those of more athletic spiritual constitutions, so as to be rendered at all beneficial to the nourishment of the soul in spiritual and celestial wisdom, goodness, knowledge, and truth. We have not, at present, to preach from sabbath to sabbath to congregations composed entirely of members of the true Christian Church, who have explored the astonishing heights, and lengths, and breadths, and depths of those wonderful and heavenly Arcana contained in the spiritual and celestial, or the internal and most interior significations of the Holy Word, and to exhibit to every reader, under types and shadows, names, numbers, weights, measures, representatives, significatives, allegories, and correspondences. No ! but were this indeed the case, then might we anticipate a paradise below, a heaven on earth begun.
I have been induced to make these remarks, by way of digression, from the terms employed in shewing the state of the regenerate man as pourtrayed in his representative, Jacob, signifying in this part of the Word of God, the good of truth. And as we are anxious, if possible, to be well understood on all occasions, we will venture a brief illustration of the term just employed, for the benefit of all who may be in a state and capacity to receive it. And in order to render it as generally useful as possible, we will attempt an illustration by comparison. When a man is in a state capable of the first act of regeneration, it is foreseen by the Lord, who graciously makes a suitable provision to effect the work. Take, therefore, an example of a man in this state. In this, his early state, he is like an infant, destitute of a true knowledge of that
which constitutes good works, of what the nature of true charity is, and what constitutes a man his neighbour. In his perusal of the Scriptures he has learnt that he should give alms to the poor, and that whosoever giveth to the poor hath a reward in heaven. But in the simplicity of his mind he conceives that such only as beg from door to door are intended, without any discrimination of character; and considers not, that for the most part such as these prefer a life of idleness and sloth, despise all religion and by habits of fraud and imposture extort alms from the undiscerning, for the purpose of indulging in drunkenness and every other vice. This he discerns not, this he suspects not, these he believes are the poor particularly recognised in the Scriptures, and, therefore, to these be more especially gives. Now these kind of actions, munificence thus bestowed, because he imagines it thus enjoined in the Word, are goods of external truth; the motive in the giver is good, and proceeds from truth, but that truth on which he has acted is external truth-truth natural; the truth as conceived of, and received in, the natural principle ; yet it is the good of truth according to its kind, or quality, and its existence in the man is necessary as a ground or basis from which regeneration commences. As the process of regeneration goes forward he becomes more enlightened, he makes the neces-, sary distinction in his acts of charity, and selects the good, the upright, and the deserving among the poor as objects of bis beneficence, knowing that, by affording pecuniary aid to the wicked he is injuring many, since he is furnishing the wicked with additional strength, and affording them more power and opportunity of injaring others with the greater facility. In his further advancement in the regenerate life, he regards not the persons of men so much as the piety of their lives, and the actual goodness which is in them; he giveth with a religious consistency, as unto the Lord, who bath said, “ he that giveth them a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, shall not lose his reward.” And thus as the Lord is present in every thing which bears an affinity, or resemblance to Him, in any of his attributes and perfections, so he dwelleth in the good man though poor ; Him the giver regardeth in the needy one, the humble disciple, and thus in bis affection towards that which is good in the man he manifests his love to the Lord. He may, indeed, from humility of heart, question the reality of this extent of goodness, and say, "Lord, when saw I thee an hungred and fed thee, and naked and clothed thee;" and the Lord shall answer, “Forasmuch as you did it to one of the least