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is longeval in the soul, is longeval also in nature; what is ephemeral in the world is the picture of something ephemeral in ourselves.
The law of Use, wherein consists the second grand cause of the diversity in the lease of life, is vast as creation itself, seeing that subserviency to another's wants and happiness is the purpose for which all things have been designed, and the world framed and methodized so admirably. The greater the amount of the differences between any two or more objects, the stronger is the proof of their necessity as regards the general welfare, and thus of their having some special use in their respective sphere, whether we can perceive the exact nature of it or not. The difference, for example, between an elephant and a rose, and between a rose and a pebble, is the precise measure of their value and importance in the collective economy and constitution of things. Wherein these two qualities consist, of course is a separate matter of inquiry, and falls to the province of the accurate observer of nature. .
All uses are referable to one or other of three great Ends; they were designed for these ends, and they are perpetually promotive of them. The first is the physical welfare of the living organisms of our planet; the second, the instruction and delight of man; the third, which presupposes and ensues upon the other two, is the glory of God who ordained them, and for whose pleasure' all things were created. Physical uses comprise all those by which things reciprocally sustain one another in health and comeliness, and preserve their respective races extant upon the earth. The soil supports the plant; the plant feeds the animal; both repay all that is rendered them, and with interest ; and strengthened by what they have received, succour their own species. According to the needs of each superior thing is the adaptation of every inferior one that supports it, as regards structure, configuration, and vital economy; every plant and animal, every bird and tree, every mineral even, is so constituted as to enable it to minister to a nobler nature; the term of its life is exactly adequate and proportionate to its office, and concludes when the duties of that office have been fulfilled. The tree that provides timber lives for centuries; the corn required for food is ripe in a summer.
Nature ministers to the instruction and delight of man by shadowing intellectual and religious truths; and this great use it most efficiently subserves in the circumstance of its incessant Change. Change, at least in the material world, implies death; and death, for its full efficacy and impressiveness as a monitor, needs to be various and wonderful as life. Were there no such thing as external nature, man would be an irremediably ignorant savage ; he becomes civilized man would be an irremediably ignorant sa [Enl. Series.—No. 22, vol. ii.]
and intelligent by the just contemplation of its mysteries. Nature is the grand, rich book of symbols which we prove it, not simply in the significance of its forms, but in the significance and lessons of the phenomena of its mortality. Were all things like the gravite mountainpeaks, that have caught the first beams of immemorial morning suns, enduring for ever, though we might wonder more, our love and true spiritual activity would be less The very frailty of things excites a tender interest in them, and when to this is joined an almost endless diversity as to the period of their stay, they become to us storehouses of curious wisdom and satisfaction. Where would be the gladness of the spring if the primroses blossomed throughout the year, or the grandeur of the ancient woods if the trees were but children of the summer? Man is a thousand times happier from the fact of some plants being annuals, others perennials, others longæval trees, than were all to die at a common age.
Finally is the use of all things in reference to the glory of their Almighty Framer; and this, as in the preceding case, is exalted by what to a small and narrow view, is their very weakness. Why the mass of organic nature is so brief-lived, why it seems to exist only to die, is that, taking a thousand years together, the amount of enjoyment (or of picturesque on the part of what is not competent to enjoy), shall be greater than were it to survive for the whole period. The larger the number of beings that enter the world, whether by fertility of individuals, or by successive renewals, one generation after another, so much the more scope is there for that happiness and physical beauty which it it is the Divine pleasure to communicate and sustain. Doubtless, a solitary tree, a single animal of each kind, or of any kind, attests the hand of God as powerfully as a world-full, and a single generation as powerfully as a hundred; but God is essential Love, and the nature of love is to give ; its satisfaction is to surround itself with receptacles for the blessings which it burns to bestow, and in a finite kingdom such receptacles are best multiplied,-- perhaps only so,—by the magnificent institutions of Death and Renewal, whereby myriads are successively introduced upon the scene, instead of a few antique and venerable ones remaining always. It is infinitely more to the glory of God that ten men should live for seventy years a-piece, one after another, than that there should be only one instead of ten in the same period. It makes ten happy lives instead of only one, for seventy years properly used, are as good as seven hundred. In a word, whatever advantage it is to man's welfare, either physical or moral, that the lease of life should be various, is also a glory to God, because all human enlightens ment and delight shines back upon the heaven of its origin.
erst Presidions of Emanter the Spirits
Modern MYSTERIES EXPLAINED AND EXPOSED. In Four Parts.
1. Clairvoyant Revelations of A. J. Davis. II. Phenomena of Spiritualism Explained and Exposed. III. Evidence that the Bible is given by Inspiration of the Spirit of God, as compared with the Evidence that these Manifestations are from the Spirits of Man. IV. Clairvoyant Perelations of Emanuel Suedenborg. By Rev. A. Mahan, First President of Cleveland University.
Boston, 1855. This is a work which undertakes to solve all the problems of “Spiritualism," or of those “Spiritual Manifestations” which of late, especially in America, have become so frequent and notorious. As this work contains a chapter on Swedenborg, and abounds with erroneous statements and false reasonings respecting the doctrines of the New Church, we shall, especially as it is the production of a man high in authority, and likely to meet with an extensive circle of readers in this country, enter more fully upon the subject than we otherwise intended.
In this Periodical we have often guarded our readers against the danger of intercourse with spirits.* Swedenborg, indeed, has pointed out these perils, † and warned us against the direful injuries which arise from cherishing a desire to have communication, or to hold converse with spirits. He was the first to shew why God's Word so strictly and so severely forbids this communication, (see Lev. xix. 31; Deut. xviii. 9-12.) and to point out the very injurious effects such open intercourse must have on the spirit of a man, in not only retarding his regeneration and advancement in the truly spiritual or heavenly life, but in leading him astray from the Truth of the Divine Word, and from dependence on the Lord and His guidance as the only means of salvation, and the only way to heaven. Hence it was that the people of Israel received so strict a command, which was so often repeated, to put those to death who had “ familiar spirits,” and who were “necromancers,” or as in the Hebre:v Text, “ asked inquiries of the dead.” (Deut. xviii. 11; Lev. xx. 6, 27.) The Divine Word, as Swedenborg teaches us, being an immediate revelation from the Lord Himself, places the devout reader directly (as the phrase is) in rapport with Him, and is infinitely superior to any immediate or open intercourse even with the highest angels in heaven ; how much more then with spirits in Hades, or in the world of spirits !
See this l'eriodical for August, 1853. Second Article.
who are the spirits of men lately deceased, and who, to a great extent, are fallacious and lying spirits, who have carried with them all their own subjective states of fallacy, error, and false doctrines, and who, when having ope: converse with men, can only speak, especially as to everything spiritual and saving, from their own subjective states, and thus, by an infusion of their false persuasions, bewilder, confound, and infatuate, even to madness, the victim with whom the intercourse is effected.
In ancient times, prior to the Mosaic dispensation, this intercourse with spirits was extensive among the corrupt nations of Canaan ; it was especially one of the “ abominations” which was by no means to be tolerated among the Israelites, or the representatives of a true church, for the “soul that practised these abominations was to be cut off from amongst his people.” The Lord gave the Word as a direct Medium of intercourse with Himself, in order to supersede not only all direct and open communications with spirits, but also, as was the case in primeval times, even with angels themselves, and to make Himself the immediate OBJECT with whom we can come into a direct communication. In His Word He also revealed a system of external worship, consisting of rituals, ceremonials, and sacrificial observances, which, instituted according to correspondences between things spiritual and natural, should form a true system of external representative worship, and thus supersede and put an end to all the ancient forms of worship which, through the fall of the ancient churches, had become corrupt and idolatrous, and instead of effecting a communication with heaven, established “a confederacy with hell,” and led to the worship of devils. (Lev. xvii. 7; 1 Cor. x. 20.) This external system of worship thus revealed, although now for the most part abrogated as to the letter, involves nevertheless, as to its “ spirit and life,” the true principles of a genuine worship for all times, and for all states. These true principles are brought out by the system of spiritual interpretation which, according to the correspondences between things natural and spiritual, unfolds their true meaning. From this point we may also see how infinitely necessary the Word is for man, and how great a blessing it is, that by it we can have direct communication with the Lord, so as “ to hear His voice,” (Rev. iii. 20.) and thus by obeying Him, “ may open the door" of our minds, when “ He will enter into us and sup with us, and we with Him,” that is, enter into a full conjunction with us and save us.
Besides, what have spirits, yea, even the highest angels to tell us in relation to doctrine and life, which we have not fully revealed in the Word? We, therefore, conclude that it is not only dangerous but impious to seek to have communication with spirits, especially in rela
tion to any thing of doctrine and life; and as to other matters recorded in the periodicals and documents, of “Spiritualism,” they are really so trifling, so empty, so inconsistent, and often so self-contradictory, that every truly rational mind must repudiate them with disgust and abhorrence. And we further conclude that no angel, and that no really good spirit, desires to have open communication with men, and that no really good man or true Christian, wishes to have open communication with any angels or spirits. For as to every thing pertaining to life, doctrine, intelligence, and wisdom,“ if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead ;” (Luke xvi. 31.) that is, the Word, as the Lord expressly declares, is the only Source of all heavenly intelligence, wisdom, faith, love, holiness, and happiness to man.
What, then, we may inquire, is the good which may arise from the “ Spiritual manifestations” which are now so frequently permitted ? We reply, that as they are permissions, the good which may arise from these phenomena is that of awakening certain minds from scepticism as to the reality of a spiritual world, and as to the continued existence of men after death. The awakening of the mind to this belief is a good, although it will not become a real spiritual good, until it is based upon “ Moses and the Prophets,” that is, upon the Word, as upon the à priori ground of its existence and saving efficacy.
We have thus, as on former occasions, shewn the stand-point from which the church of the New Jerusalem views these “Spiritual manifestations,” and we wish to be kept quite aloof and separate from all such phenomena. When, however, they occur in an authentic form, without deception, we can think about them, and endeavour to explain them, by the laws with which, through the instrumentality of Swedenborg, we are now acquainted respecting spiritual beings, and their relation to men whilst living upon earth. And it was on this account that Professor Bush published his work entitled “Mesmer and Swedenborg,” referred to by Mr. Mahan, in which he successfully explains, from the writings of Swedenborg, most of the phenomena of mesmerism and clairvoyance, and which could not have been explained but on the elucidations of Swedenborg. For Mr. Bush by no means intended, as the Rev. A. Mahan, the author before us, seems to intimate, to identify Swedenborg and Mesmer in one category of thought, or that Mesmerism and Swedenborgianism, so called, are one and the same system. It would have been better if Professor Bush's work had been entitled,—" The Phenomena of Mesmerism explained from the Writ