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THE ANGELS' SONG.
peace.” This peace comes not to the full perception of the mind while the present life continues, but is felt as an inward composure of soul, and a trust in the Lord as the Author of providence and salvation: nor even in the future life can it ever be perfectly conceived of; for “ the peace of God passeth all understanding.”
The peace which the angels proclaimed as the result of the Lord's advent is not to be understood as being confined to the heart, although it has there its first and highest abode. The Lord exhorted His disciples to have peace one with another; and this peace is the legitimate fruit of that which they have individually in themselves from conjunction with the Lord. With this peace is connected that other result of the Lord's incarnation, good-will amongst men. Everything that tends to bring men nearer to God, has also a tendency to bring them nearer to each other; and the more they are at peace with Him, the more must they be inclined to live in harmony with each other. If God has manifested His love and benevolence towards men, they ought to cultivate good-will towards each other. There can be no true love to the Lord where there is not mutual love. “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one towards another.”
In commemorating the Lord's birth into the world, let us never forget the Divine purpose in which it originated, and the nature of the work by which that purpose was to be accomplished. While our gratitude rises on high in praise to God,-in giving glory to Him who, though having His dwelling in the high and holy place, came down into the world of sin and darkness,---who, though the Everlasting Father, became the Child that was born, the Son that was given,-let us remember that the design of that act of Divine condescension was to give peace on earth, good-will amongst men. Let us remember, likewise, that all that we can think of as resulting from the Lord's divine work, must be realised in ourselves. The Angels' Song must be chanted in our own hearts, by our own regenerate thoughts and affections ;6 Glory to God in the highest” in the thoughts and affections of the inner man, and “peace on earth, and good-will to man,” in the works and words of the outer life. Those who on earth thus chant the song of glorification on the Lord's birth into the world sung by the heavenly host, will finally be numbered among the blessed throng who raise the Hallelujah of celestial praise to Him who was born as a feeble infant in Bethlehem, but who now sitteth upon the throne of universal dominion, and hath the keys of hell and death ;—to whom be glory and dominion for ever and ever!
THE SPIRITUAL DIARY.
[TRANSLATION.] “To do goods and not to fight against evils is to do goods from self and not from the Lord.
“It is believed by many that they will be saved because they have done good, as for instance, that they have given to the poor, benefitted their neighbour, acted sincerely and justly in their sphere of duty and daily labours, and yet have never fought against the evils opposed to their goods; thinking that it is in this manner that evils are removed, It appears to them, moreover, as if it were goods which removed evils; for they say in their hearts, If I do good then I shall avoid evil. Nevertheless the case is as follows: that such a one does good from obedience to the precepts of the Lord, yet not from the Lord but from himself, thus not from any spiritual law except only apparently, but from a moral and civil law actually. In this case his evils nevertheless remain ; for although he does them not, yet he is not averse to them, Consequently when the love of evil with its delight returns, he does not resist the evil, but either excuses it and does it, or omits doing it on account of himself and the world ; moreover, he does not know that it is evil. The case is otherwise when he fights against evil from a spiritual law; for, in so far as he does this, he blames evil as evil, and he then loves good and its truth ; and in proportion as he does good from the Lord and not from himself, in the same proportion the Lord, by the good and truth in the man, removes his evils.
“I have heard spirits saying, that they know no otherwise than that to do good is to avoid evil. But they received for reply, that in this case they no otherwise avoid evil than that they do not do it; but that nevertheless they do not hold evil in hatred, and charge it as sin, unless in so far as they have fought against it. It is by fighting against it that evil is removed, and it is then that good succeeds, that is, it is by conflict that the devil is removed and the Lord enters. To do good, and not to fight against evil, is to do good only in externals and not in internals; but to fight against evil and thus to do good, is to do good in internals. Man is not made spiritual except by a conflict. Some of those who have been sincere, just, chaste, and have not fought against what is insincere, unjust, and unchaste, are after death sent into a state of conflict, and then it clearly appears how much they have done good
THE SPIRITUAL DIARY.
from themselves, or on account of themselves, or from the Lord; and by these conflicts they are reformed.
“Before this they do not come into an affection of truth ; nor their hearts into the perception or knowledge of it; nor are they taught what evil is and what good is. Their former state is thus one of ignorance.
“Man does good from obedience, and he does good also from affection. Man does good from obedience before he has fought against evil. This is the first state of man, and it may become a state of reformation ; and he who is in this state and does not evil, is regenerated in the other life by conflicts against evils or by temptations. To do good from affection takes place only when man has fought against evils; this is a state of regeneration of man, and this state is the inverse of the former.
“ To do good from obedience is not to do good from a state of freedom, because not from affection; in thus doing good there is a thought of reward, and consequently afterwards of merit.
“No one can do good from himself; it is the Lord with man who does the good, and no one comes to the Lord but he who removes evils from himself by conflicts against them. Hence it is that in proportion as any one thus removes evils, in the same proportion he does good from the Lord; and this good appears in like manner as if it were done by the man, but nevertheless the man always thinks that it is from the Lord, and the angels have a perception that it is from the. Lord.
“In proportion as man avoids evils as sins, in the same proportion he does good not from himself but from the Lord.
“ In proportion as man avoids evil, in the same proportion his works become works of charity.”
RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, AND LITERATURE.
No. XII.--THE NEW ERA. The eighteenth century,—the age of materialism in philosophy, dry facts in theology, and hard literalism in Biblical interpretation. “Darkness indeed covered the earth, and thick darkness the people;" yet its gloomiest moment was “the hour before day.” Foremost among the witnesses for theosophy in this century we have-nine hundred years after Erigenamà native of Ireland, George Berkeley, born at Kilcrin (i.e., the ancient wood), in the county of Kilkenny (1684–1753), and educated at Kilkenny College (localities well known to the writer of this article), having graduated with high honour at the Dublin University, RELIGION, PHILOSOPRY, AND LITERATURE.
became in due time famous for his works in science, philosophy, and theology, and was made Bishop of Cloyne and Ross, in the county of Cork. All who knew him have unanimously concurred with the great English poet of the day in ascribing to him “every virtue under heaven.” In presenting a brief abstract of his theosophic views to the reader, we are not going to enter into the vexed question of his notions concerning the material world. We shall confine ourselves entirely to his "Siris," the ablest, perhaps, of all his works,-a wonderful chain of reasoning, wherein the reader is conducted through medicine, science, and philosophy, up to the sublimest heights of theology, by a series of imperceptible transitions, like the changes in dissolving views. It is, at the same time, no less remarkable for its erudition than its philosophy, being richly illustrated from the lore of Hellenic, Egyptian, and Oriental wisdom. Of course, the following compendium refers only to the theosophic portion :
“Lusis, Phuge, Palingenesia—the unbinding, the flight, and the regenerationare common to both philosophy and theology, which gently unbind the chains that tie down the soul in its lapsed condition, and assist her flight towards the Sovereign Good, and raising her above the fleeting things of sense, that she may recover the lost region of light. In the soul of man, prior and superior to intellect, is something of a higher nature, by virtue of which we are one, and by means of our one, or unit, we are most closely joined to the Deity; and as by our intellect we touch the Divine intellect, even so by our unit, or inner nature,--the very flower of our essence, as Proclus * expresses it,--we touch the First One. Thus the one (or principle of unity in our inner being) is the means of leading the mind to Him who Is. In Him is the Fount of Deity, the Logos,-a necessary emanation, who is Supreme Reason and Order, and the Spirit that quickens and inspires."
The next witness, by the spirit of his writings, more properly belongs to the last article ; but chronological order requires us to place him in this. William Law (1686—1761), a clergyman of the Church of England, and tutor to the celebrated Gibbon, a theocratist in the beginning of his career, became a mystic theosophist, of the school of Behmen, (see No. IX.) of whom he was the zealous apologist and
* Proclus, a native of Lydia, in Asia Minor, was the last of the Alexandrian school of philosophy, or, as he himself expresses it, “ of the Hermaic chain.” He flourished in the fifth century. The following extract, given by our author, from his commentary on the theology of Plato, is worthy of note:"As in the mysteries, those who are initiated, at first meet manifold and multiform gods; but being entered, and thoroughly initiated, they receive the Divine illumination, and participate very Deity. In like manner, when the soul looks abroad, she beholds the shadows and images of things; but returning into herself, she unravels and beholds her own essence. At first, she seemeth only to behold herself; but having penetrated further, she discovers the mind.
RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, AND LITERATURE.
enlightened expositor. Law was a good man, highly gifted by nature, with a mind well cultivated by that learning on which he set so little value. He reiterates the views of Behmen already stated, frequently with able reasoning and great originality of illustration.
“ The doctrine of Redemption,” he says, “asserts that the seed of Christ was sown in the first fallen father of mankind, as the seed of the woman, the bruiser of the serpent, “the engrafted Word of Life;" therefore he was in all men, in the same fulness of relation to them as Adam the first was. He stood in this relation, secondly, by His incarnation and the Divine appointment. ... And then it was that everything which had overcome Adam was overcome by Christ; and Christ's victory did, in the nature of the things, as certainly and fully open an entrance for Him and all His seed into paradise, as Adam's fall cast him and all his seed into the prison and captivity of this earthly, bestial world. ... We have therefore all the union and internal relation to Christ by Redemption, that we had with Adam by way of natural birth; so that it may be said, that because Adam fell, we must of necessity be heirs of his fallen state ; so because Christ, our second Adam, is risen out of our fallen state, so we, having His seed within us, be heirs of His glory.”
He goes on to state that,
“Adam and his race have after the Fall nothing good in them, but the incorruptible seed of the Word inspoken into him and them ;” (Gen. iii. 15.) everything else is devoted to death. All the doctrine of God's reprobation and election relates solely to these two things--the earthly, bestial nature from Adam, and the heavenly seed of the Word, the Immanuel in every man. From the moment of man's redemption, which began with the Fall, when the heavenly seed of the Word was given to Adam, every son of Adam, to the end of the world, must come into it, under the same election and reprobation ; because the whole earthly nature, from which man was to be redeemed, and the seed of the Word, by which he was to be redeemed, were both of them in every man, one as well as the other. These two opposite natures in every man were prefigured by Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau.”
The end of every man being thus gifted with the seed of the Word is, that there may be a birth of divine love in the soul, which is regeneration.
“Divine love,” he continues, “is perfect peace and joy; it is a freedom from all disquiet ; it is all content, and mere happiness.”
We shall conclude these extracts by a very brief compendium of the author's teaching concerning light. He says :
" That true light is supernatural, immaterial, and spiritual,-in short, identical with the inseminated Word; and natural light is only darkness illuminated by this supernal light, which is superior, separate from, and eternally antecedent to darkness. The Divine mandate--Let there be light,' was therefore no creation of light, but the darkness of this world then began to receive a power or operation of the Eternal Light upon it which it had not before. For light, as it is in itself, is only