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spiritual intelligence, and thence advance to Truth from the Divine. A star signifies the knowledge of good and truth; specifically of internal good and truth from the Lord. “ Good,” says our great author, multiplies truths about itself, and in every truth it is like a little star, luminous in the midst.” The star in the east is the significator (if we may use an astrological term) of the most interior or highest degree of this knowledge coming direct from the Lord, who is called the East or Orient, and the Morning because He is the Sun of Heaven, and the Sun never sets, but is always in the Rising.
The knowledge thus signified proceeds from what is more obscure and general to what is more clear and specific, as the star led the sages from their own country to Bethlehem. Bethlehem, in the Hebrew tongue, signifies the house of bread. A house denotes what is internal, and bread the primary principle which nourishes the soul; also, everything celestial and spiritual, and this agrees with the internal sense, according to which Bethlehem denotes the spiritual of the celestial, and has the same spiritual meaning among the significatives of the word that Benjamin (who was born here) has among its representatives. The spiritual of the celestial is the medium of conjunction between the higher and lower principles of our nature; it is faith in its first embrace with charity, kindling into life like the grey twilight catching the first glow of the morning redness. It is thus the medium of connecting us with higher truth, immediately proceeding from the Divine, from whose good it has derivation. And this brings us to the reason why our blessed Lord was born in Bethlehem. Every man is born natural, with a capacity of becoming spiritual and celestial, that is, he is born destitute of all truth and good, but with the capacity of acquiring these heavenly qualities, which capacity is derived not from himself, but from the Lord, who is continually present with all good and truth. But our Lord alone was born spiritual-celestial, that is, not only with the capacity for goodness and truth, but in the actual possession of them, being, as to His internal, goodness and truth in their very fountain. He alone combines in Himself the representation of both Joseph and Benjamin, being at once the Divine principle and the medium of connecting us therewith.
Such is the Heavenly knowledge signified by the star in the east, which, like the glad tidings announced to the shepherds, causes to “ rejoice with exceeding great joy," as did the wise men when the herald star, like the herald angels, had fulfilled its heavenly mission.
“ It is our guide, our life, our all:
It bids our dark forebodings cease,
Now safe moored—our perils o'er,
For ever and for evermore,
THE GENESIS OF MAN:
A PARAPHRASE AND A COMMENT.
I. In the most ancient time, when men first began to exist upon this world, God made man a being possessing an internal and an external mind. His external mind was as yet destitute of goodness, and devoid of truth. His natural affections were confused and obscure. As a hen broods over her eggs, the Divine mercy and care brooded over the nascent perceptions of man's external or natural mind. And God, working within and upon the natural mind, enabled man to obtain an external knowledge of what was good and of what was true; to perceive that there was and must be something higher than the truths learned by his senses, or than the naturally good things which he possessed. This light of truth in the external mind was good, because it was from God, and was somewhat of Himself in man's mind. It enabled man for the first time to think of God and to believe in Him. Man was then enabled to distinguish between his former state of ignorance and his present state of comparative knowledge; the state of knowledge was to him as the light of the day, and the previous state of ignorance was to him as the darkness of night. The close of the previous state of darkness and ignorance, and the dawn of the succeeding state of natural intelligence as to the true and the good, were the first complete state or stage of the spiritual Genesis of mankind."
How many centuries passed away during the continuance of each stage of man's development, from the lowest to the next and higher stage, or through how many generations each successive step of the process was conducted, or by means of what natural experiences and mutual action upon each other of mankind, or how many millions of men were in either of these initiatory stages of existence, no man knoweth. The process is summarily described, and nothing is said as to the periods. The duration of these periods is a question in science, which may be, or may not be, approximately ascertained ; the process belongs to the Divine science of the spiritual Genesis, and of the new and second Genesis of mankind.
II. The first day grew from its morning to its noon, and external knowledge, mingled with internal and spiritual thoughts, increased in
God enabled man to distinguish between external and worldly things, and internal and heavenly things. Man then began to understand that whatever of good he was enabled to do, and whatever of truth he could learn or think, was from the Lord. He distinguished between natural knowledge, gained by means of the senses, and that higher knowledge, or wisdom, which came by an internal way. Both classes of perceptions increased in number, and having learned to distinguish them one from the other, both gained in clearness. The internal mind was Heaven ; its knowledge of truth and goodness were waters above the expanse; the external knowledges of truth which man had gained were the waters under the expanse.
The close of the previous state, and the beginning of this succeeding state, were the second complete state or stage of the spiritual Genesis of man.
III. The knowledges of goodness and truth in the external mind were stored up in the memory of man. They enabled him to comprehend himself. He could then distinguish between his two faculties, viz., his understanding and his will. The gathering together of his knowledges formed seas. His will was as the dry land, which now could rationally and voluntarily bring forth goodness. Thus was man enabled to discriminate between what was of his will and what was of his understanding: and this discrimination was of and from God.
Hitherto man had not voluntarily and intelligently co-operated with the operation of God. Now, God caused the external mind to discover, and bring forth, as of itself, things which are both true and good. These things are various, such as scientific truths, the doing of good from a principle of obedience to the truth, which has the power of increase in itself; and also the doing of good from a discernment of the beauty and excellence of the truth, which is capable of bearing fruit, and of yielding a farther increase in goodness. In this state man was able to discern and to regret the errors into which he had previously fallen by reason of his ignorance. This new state was altogether of and from God, working within, and operating on man. The close of the prior state, and the beginning of this new state were the third complete state or stage of the spiritual Genesis of man.
IV. Thus far we have seen the opening and development of the external mind. Now began the opening to man's consciousness of the internal mind, and also its development. Internal love of God, internal faith in God, deriving its light from love, and internal
knowledges concerning God, were next implanted in man. Man now began to recognise the changes of spiritual states which took place within himself, and distinguished them as severally having respect to his love, or to his faith, or to the clearness or obscurity of his knowledges of divine things. When he felt full of love, it was unto him the sunshine of the day. When he walked by faith and knowledge rather than by love, it was moonlight, starlight, and night unto him. All these perceptions, this love, this faith, and these knowledges, were of and from God in man. The end of the previous state, and the beginning of this new state, were the fourth complete state or stage of the spiritual Genesis of man.
V. Man in the initiatory stages of spiritual development was first natural and afterwards became spiritual, first external and afterwards became internal. Love and light from the internal mind next flowed down into the external mind, bringing forth therein living knowledges of truth, and also living rational and intellectual perceptions and thoughts, which rendered the man wise, whereas previously he was but knowing, or possessed knowledges which had been acquired by an external way, and which were stored up in the memory.
These knowledges were previously inanimate; now they became animated by faith in God, love for God, and the constant recognition of God in all things. This new state abounded in such knowledges and perceptions, both as to general principles and all particulars. This state was altogether of and from God working within and operating on man. The power of prolification, or of perpetual multiplication and increase, was given by God to these knowledges and perceptions, so that the external mind should, through all eternity, become more and more full of acquired knowledge, and of the rational and intellectual understanding thereof. The close of the prior state and the beginning of this new state were the fifth complete state or stage of the spiritual Genesis of man.
VI. Thus endowed as to the knowledge and understanding of truth, man was fitted for a still higher state. As He had before caused man's understanding to bring forth all varieties of knowledge and wisdom, now God caused the will part of man's natural mind to bring forth from the internal, living affections of goodness of every kind. Man now began to act from love according to wisdom, ever doing good, and ever speaking truth. The good affections now produced by God from the internal into the natural will of man had relation to God, to man's neighbour, and to man's own self. These affections were all good.
The lower good affections were the first to be produced, afterwards the higher, and afterwards the highest. The production thereof was God's work in man.
God willed to complete the union between the internal and external minds of man, so that from externals to internals the man might be one, even as God is one. Man should thereby become an image of God as to his understanding, and a likeness of God as to his will. In this work God employed the ministry of all the angels, who had been formed from all the previous generations which had lived and died upon this world, and who had been raised into heaven, and who had there received the fulness of the Divine image and likeness. By receiving this farther development of divine life within him, man was to obtain and exercise complete dominion over the knowledges, intellections, affections, and all things of the external or natural mind, together with all the desires and dispositions which have regard to corporeal and sensual things.
While employing the ministration of angels and angelic spirits, it was in reality God who alone produced this new state in man, making man's understanding and will an image of Himself. This likeness to God extended to both the great classes of principles and faculties in man,—to his internal and external minds; to his will and understanding in each of those degrees ; to the receptive and the re-active principles in him, by which he was enabled to receive love and light from the Lord and to co-operate therewith.
God blessed this dualism of man's nature, which thenceforth was to continue for ever to increase in all goodness and to multiply all knowledges of truth; by which the external mind was continually to be filled, and yet to remain subject to the internal. Henceforth man, now, become consciously internal and spiritual, was to have dominion over every sensual and scientific knowledge of exterior truth, over every intellectual and rational perception of interior truth, over every affection of his natural will, and over every affection which related to the corporeal degree of his nature.
In order to feed, maintain, and nourish the external by means of the internal, God gave to man every truth which had regard to use, with all their joys and delights, and also all the good things of faith in God, with all their tranquillity and peace, for his meat. His external and natural mind, both as to its will and understanding, and also as to its sensuous and corporeal affections, was nourished and refreshed by all the truths and duties which had regard to use; each faculty and desire