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tributed towards this advancement of man in the scale of intellectual and social being, the first and most active is mechanics, because it is that which deals with the practical details of construction, and finds its only subsistence in useful results; being in fact the tool, as it were, by which most of our natural knowledge is brought into outward act. That this, which is the peculiar science of activity, should thus take the lead in the onward march of intelligence, is the effect and the consequence of the new outpouring of truth through the mind, which in its lowest and most external development must ever tend towards practical and material uses by the work of the hands.
Were the patent lists examined of all the numerous mechanical inventions which have been published within the last half century, to increase the domestic comforts of life, it is believed that fully one-third would be found relating to, or in some measure dependent on, that proudest monument of the age-the steam-engine. The cause of power in this material agent has been before alluded to, but may be here further illustrated. To produce steam, then, nothing more is necessary than heat and water, two of the simplest and most widely diffused principles of nature; so much so, that they were by the ancients considered as the elements of the universe, as indeed they are essential to the existence of matter in all its variety of forms. These principles are, however, in themselves powerless and inert, any further than the simple gravity of the one, and the rarefaction produced by the other, have been sometimes employed as a source of motion. But not so when brought together and intimately blended; for then is generated a power to which there is no known limit, and which will overcome the strongest resistance that man or nature can oppose to it; for it is even believed to have torn and riven the solid foundations of the earth itself, when pent up and exerted beneath its surface.
Whence then does this terrific agent derive its mighty force? The answer of the philosopher is :-from the elasticity of vapour formed. And this elasticity ?—from the laws of nature : further than which he cannot carry us. Our reply, however, is, that this and every law of nature is but the external developement, or the effect of a spiritual cause within the human mind; and hence only it derives its existence and its force. Heat and water correspond to, as they are the lowest images or expressions of, the divine good and truth in the natural world; and when either of these is received alone into the mind it is comparatively powerless and ineffective on the life and conduct; but when they are united in the degree in which they are received, they become all-powerful over every thought and feeling, and bring into N. S. No. 29.-VOL. 3.
subjection and into order all the faculties and dispositions of the natural heart: and thence the corresponding effects of this union in nature, and the power thus obtained over all the material elements and forms of earth.
It may be further remarked, that it is only at one fixed degree of heat that steam is produced from water, and that no addition afterwards will increase the effect or the temperature, unless it is confined and prevented from exerting its natural elastic force: for every truth has its own proper good, to which when fully united it acquires its most effective power over the mind; and with no other degree of good can it form any conjunction which will result in equal use and benefit.
Again, though all water is capable of being converted into steam, yet for the purpose of mechanical effect it is necessary that the water should be free not only from all impurities, but even from salt and other chemical ingredients in solution ; for these cannot enter into the vapour, but must be left behind either in the boiler or the engine which is employed, and eventually render them foul and out of order. So all the truths, whether genuine, mixed, or apparent, are capable of uniting with some good in their degree; but the falses which may be mingled with the latter, will only choke and clog their spiritual operation and effect; for it is only the pure unadulterated truth of the Word of God which can produce its full power over the heart and life, and work that change in all the lower feelings and perceptions for which it was given and designed.
Another peculiarity about this mighty agent is, that in its highest state of tension it is neither seen nor felt except in its powerful operations; for though it may often appear that steam will scald the skin, yet it is believed that this only takes place when it becomes partially re-condensed into water, and that in a state of true vapour it is wholly imperceptible to the sense of feeling, as it is known to be that of sight. For the hand may be held with impunity in that which issues from the safety valve of a high pressure boiler, before the surrounding air has had time to cool it; and it is only when thus cooling that it becomes visible in the atmosphere. How strikingly illustrative of the operation of divine grace—the union of the divine good and truth in the soul, which works its sure but silent way, pervading every thought and affection of the mind, but is not perceived except in its power over the life and actions, that is, in its true uses.
(To be continued.)
ON THE POSSIBILITY OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS BEING
SEEN BY BRUTE ANIMALS.
manununun To the Editors of the Intellectual Repository. GENTLEMEN, I FIND, from page 123 of your last number, that Swedenborg was of opinion, when he wrote his notes on Numbers (the MSS. of which have lately come to light), that the statement in the 22nd chapter of Numbers, that Balaam's ass saw the angel, is to be taken as a literal fact.
The correctness of this conclusion has been questioned ; and it has been assumed, that Swedenborg subsequently altered his mind, in consequence of improved information. It has been said that, because it is impossible for an ass to speak, it must be impossible for it to see an angel. I do not see the consequentiality of such a conclusion. That the ass has not external speech is the necessary result of its not having internal speech; that is, intellectual thought. To suppose an ass to speak, is to suppose an effect without a cause. The miracle remains equally a miracle, when it is considered to have consisted in a miraculous appearance, as if the ass had spoken. The possibility or impossibility of a brute's seeing a spiritual being rests upon other grounds.
On turning to the Apocalypse Explained, n. 140, I find a statement concerning the record in question. E. S. says, “The arcanum concerning the ass which Balaam rode, which turned three times out of the way, on seeing an angel with a sword drawn, and the circumstance of its speaking to Balaam, shall be here briefly explained.” After explaining the spiritual meaning of the narrative, E. S. remarks: “It sounded in the ears of Balaam as if the ass spake to him, notwithstanding she did not speak; but the speech was heard as it were from her.” Now, if it was worth the while of our author to guide us to a right understanding of the letter of the narrative, by correcting a misleading appearance as to one particular, it was equally so as to another. Why did he not question the record that the ass saw the angel ? My opinion is, that he did not consider it questionable. The grounds of this opinion I beg permission to state :
In A. E., 1201, our author says, “ The souls of beasts are not spiritual in that degree in which the souls of men are; but they are spiritual in an inferior degree.” By this I understand, that they are spiritual organized forms, wanting, however, that interior organization,
by virtue of which a man is spiritual in a superior degree, and thence immortal ; and for want of which brute souls perish with their bodies. If this be the case, I do not see why the soul of the ass, it being a spiritual organized form, with all the senses complete, might not see a spiritual being. If a man's body is an image of his spirit, which has all the senses equally with his body, I do not see why a similar relation should not exist between brute souls and bodies.
But when we turn to Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 344, we there find a description of the souls of brutes, from which we learn, that they are in the perfect form of the body, wanting nothing of the forms and functions of sense. E. S. says, that in the world of spirits, “there was exhibited to Sir Hans Sloane a beautiful bird (an instantaneous spiritual creation), and he was told to examine it, and see whether in any, the least thing, it differed from a similar bird on earth. He held it in his hand, examined it, and said that there was no difference.... He also said, that if that bird were to be clothed (impleta) in its least parts with corresponding matter from the earth, and thereby fixed, it would be a durable bird, as birds upon earth.”
But being fond of facts, because I feel my judgment secure while it rests upon their ground-work, I must beg leave to refer to what I believe to be a fact as well established as any thing of the kind can be, and which is not questioned, but admitted, in the Life of Wesley, by Southey, and in the Memoirs of the Wesley Family, by Dr. Adam Clarke. I allude to a fact in the narrative of the supernatural disturbances in the house of John Wesley's father, the Rector of Epworth. It is stated that, amongst other strange noises, a noise was heard within the house as of a violent knocking against the outer door; and that on such occasions, a very sharp house-dog, which used to bark vehemently at the slightest noise outside of an ordinary kind, was always silent, and shewed signs of the greatest terror and distress. On opening the door no visible cause of the noises could be discovered. I am not certain whether this fact is given in both these volumes; but I perfectly recollect that it is given in one of them. Hence I conclude, that this animal had either his spiritual sight or hearing opened on this occasion.
I am, therefore, at present impressed, that it is possible for a brute to have the sight of his spirit opened to see spiritual objects, to the extent of the visual discrimination which its body possesses, and which, of course, it derives from its spirit, according to the laws of order.
I beg to add, that our author having given us to understand that there are certain statements in different parts of the Holy Word which are not genuine truths, but apparent truths; and as this belief is calculated to create a prejudice against us, I think it is advisable that we should be cautious of multiplying his instances of apparent truths, by too hastily adding others of our own. I have not been able to find the alleged fact of the ass seeing the angel in his catalogue of apparent truths or facts; but I hope any one who has discovered it, will shew it me: until this is done, I am, without any authority for deviating from the opinion held by E. S., when he wrote his notes on Numbers.
FOURIER'S SYSTEM AND - THE LONDON PHALANX.”
We have seen some numbers of the London Phalanx, a newspaper advocating the views of Fourier. Their object appears to be to prepare the public mind for adopting an enlightened system of association for mutual benefit. The defective arrangements, now almost univerversally prevalent, have led many philanthropists to attempt to devise some means of enabling mankind, in general, to benefit by the inventions and other improvements that characterize the present age; many of which, they find doing nearly, if not quite, as much harm as good to the labouring classes. The proposed remedies, it is true, generally regard men merely as inhabitants of the present world, and accordingly take merely an external view of the matter, leaving eternity, and Providence too, quite out of the question.
Fourier, it seems, has investigated the causes that have led to the actual state of things, and finds the prevalent ignorance respecting the nature of the human mind, has had an extensive and baneful influence on the destiny of our race. Men have been so blinded by their passions as not to see that an implicit obedience to the laws of nature, or rather of God, is essential to their happiness, either present or future. In his investigation he has shewn a charitable spirit that is well worthy of imitation. He is unwilling to reject the whole of a system, because he honestly dissents from some of its parts; and, making due allowance for the unavoidable influence of prejudice in others, he has the talent to extract some honey from every flower. His views are very likely to be considered visionary, as indeed is the case with most that are really worth anything. We are happy to observe that he unequivocally bases his system upon Christianity, and that he venerates the Scriptures, and considers they are to be spiritually understood ; thus being at