Page images

herds, priests, kings, fishermen, men of all ranks living in different ages, speaking different languages, Hebrew, Chaldee, and Greek, and occupying various parts of the world. It would be marvellous that a collection of such volumes should present a harmonious whole, without one guiding Spirit having pervaded and inspired them. Still more extraordinary if, underlying every portion of their literal sense, an inner spiritual meaning should exist, the key to which should be this law of correspondences, that every external type should have its spiritual co-efficient, applying with equal force in Revelation or Genesis, and by using this key to every portion of the Divine Word, the narratives of the simple-minded Apostles, the records of Jewish wanderings, the prophetic announcements of the seers, and the glorious chants of the Psalmist should be all alike susceptible to this law of interpretation! Yet so it is! God's Word is a rock, requiring only to be smitten by the spiritual rod of Moses to freely yield up the waters of Truth for the purification and enlightenment of mankind.

Before a company of intelligent New Church people it will be unnecessary to dwell upon this branch of our subject. I need only briefly allude to one or two simple illustrations.

The correspondence of the term "earth," when employed in the Bible, as most of you will know, represents the "human mind," especially that part wherein dwell those affections and thoughts which are brought into play in the conduct of our worldly affairs, our earthly thoughts, and our earthly affections. When we read therefore in the prophecy by Jeremiah, "Earth, earth, earth, hear the Word of the Lord," it is an appeal to the natural mind, beset with sordid mundane care, to give ear to the teachings of God. The same term employed in Genesis, first chapter, as the earth that was without form and void, is the most appropriate type of the unregenerated mind, wherein all is chaotic and unformed. By pursuing this idea throughout the chapter, we may easily see that the record of external creation narrated therein is allegorical, and fitly symbolizes that higher form of creation which the Psalmist refers to, saying, "Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me." At first all is ignorance and evil, but if God be allowed to breathe upon the surface of the waters, dry land will appear soon to be adorned with every form of animate and inanimate beauty, the regenerated soul is exalted into that state which is elsewhere described as a (6 watered garden."

The earth was the foundation whereon rested Jacob's ladder, whilst

its summit reached unto heaven. By correspondence, if the spiritual ladder of God's holy Word finds a firm resting-place in the natural region of man's mind, and its precepts are cherished and practised in his daily avocations, he will rise step by step upon this ladder, with angel companions helping him, though unseen, from earthly and grovelling states into the highest degrees of love and wisdom to which his nature is susceptible.

As there is a spiritual earth, so there are spiritual seeds and trees to be planted in this earth. Seeds in the Scriptures typify "knowledges," and good trees are the external emblems of good principles. Seeds of knowledge are sown in the mind, and undergo processes of development analogous to those of seeds in the ground, which eventually become noble spiritual trees, bearing good and useful fruit. The righteous shall flourish like a palm-tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. The man whose mind is furnished with good principles is like a husbandman possessing a fertile vineyard. These principles take root, gather strength, put forth the leaves of external profession, and bear the fruit of a good and honest life. Now, whether we apply this interpretation to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil recorded in Genesis, or to the tree of life referred to in the last chapter in Revelation, it is found to be perfectly apposite. Aided by the light thrown upon Biblical research by the writings of Swedenborg, the student will not only easily perceive the truth of this correspondence in the cases cited, but will discern the nice shades of meaning existing between the gopher tree, of which the ark was constructed, the fig, the vine, and the olive trees, as referred to in the ninth chapter of Judges, and why these trees refused to reign over the others, whilst the bramble was willing to do so, a parable which only the science of correspondence can elucidate.

The sun is frequently mentioned in the letter of Scripture, and sometimes under conditions so obscure as to force us to resort to some other than a literal explanation. We read in Genesis of the sun, moon, and stars making obeisance in a dream to Joseph. In the Levitical observances, the leper was made clean after the sun went down. In Joshua, tenth chapter, we are told of the sun standing still upon Gibeon. Isaiah proclaims (sixtieth chapter) of Zion, in prophetic language, that the sun shall be no more her light by day. In Joel, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it is said that the sun shall be darkened as one of the signs of the Second Coming. In Revelation, twelfth chapter, we read of a woman clothed with the sun; and lastly, in

speaking of the holy city, New Jerusalem, John tells us (twenty-first chapter) the city had no need of the sun to shine in it.

The natural sun corresponds to the spiritual Sun-to the Lord Himself, the sunshine of whose love and wisdom sheds glory throughout the heavens, just as the light and heat of our orb irradiate the earth. In the eighty-fourth Psalm we read, "The Lord God is a Sun and a Shield." Elsewhere He is described as the Sun of Righteousness (Mal. iv. 2). This is one of the many instances in which the letter of Scripture furnishes the clue to the spiritual interpretation, as if to lead the reflective mind to "dig deeper." Throughout the Bible the sun has the same meaning. It would be impossible for us within the limits prescribed for this paper to do more than attempt by the elucidation of one passage to give a general indication of the rest. We will confine ourselves to that of Joshua imploring the "sun" to stand still. Now, this narrative could not be a description of a natural historical event, though it accurately portrays a spiritual one. The unchangeable God having once launched the orbs of heaven in their majestic course, could not arrest His own work. To have disarranged the relative positions of the sun and the earth, even for a single day, would have overturned the balance of solar and terrestrial influences, involving the destruction of both spheres.

Joshua and the Israelitish hosts were in conflict with the dreaded Amorites, who opposed their entrance into Canaan, the land of promise. Three figures stand prominently in relief in this sacred event, Joshua, the Israelites, and the Amorites. Spiritually every regenerating soul is an Israelite. Every earnest Christian is doing in mind what the Israelites did externally. Let us hope that in spirit we are all journeying towards our heavenly Canaan. Do we not find that this promised land is not reached without encountering many foeswhat the Scriptures call the foes of our own household, temptations, which like mental Amorites beset our path, attacking us in moments of weakness and irresolution? Our only safeguard is in following the example of Joshua. In our hours of trial to pray that the Divine Sun may not go down; in other words, that the rays of Divine Love may abide with us, warming, encouraging, and strengthening us. If so, our prayer will be heard, and we, like Joshua, shall conquer and subdue our enemies, saying with him, "Fear not, nor be dismayed. Be strong and of good courage, for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye fight." We read that there is no night in the holy city, neither is there darkness in the soul when the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. J. C. B.


A PERSIAN student in the days of the good Haroun Al Raschid sought vainly for the road to happiness. He had inherited the wealth of his forefathers, and tasted the sweets of luxury, but they palled on his taste from frequent enjoyment. Leaving the pleasures of sense, he tried to find the joy he longed for in the perusal of books and the conversation of the learned. Yet the increase of knowledge brought with it an attendant pain, in the consciousness of ignorance, and inability to fathom all the secrets of the universe. He pored over the manuscripts of his country till his eyes became dim, and with the possession of knowledge came also the possession of a desire for something more human than knowledge-something that would quicken the bounding sense of life, and evoke the affections of his heart. To attain this he travelled over the country, meeting life in its various phases, but became wearied in his quest as he found that little sympathy existed between his ignorant neighbours and himself, as a votary of knowledge. He was about to return home, believing that the search for happiness was a vain one, when, arriving at Bagdad, he heard of a dervish who was accounted so wise that he knew what best suited the states of all men and what would make them happy. To this dervish he went, attracted by his fame, and narrated to him his career and his search for happiness. The dervish seeing the earnest nature of the student, asked him if he were married?


"Have you any family?"


"Then I will give you a present that will lead you in the way to happiness."

He disappeared for a short time, and came back bringing in his arms a young child. "Take that," said he, "to your home, nurse it with care, and in a year return and let me know whether you are a happier man."


The student went home, taking with him the dervish's present. His wife welcomed the little stranger and bestowed on it her warmest The student could not resist its prattling wiles, and lost the thought of selfish distinction in ministering to its pleasure. A happier mood came gradually over him, and as time passed on the love for the child became merged in the love of his neighbours, and his life was spent in useful deeds.

At the end of the year he returned to Bagdad and met the dervish, who, seeing his face happier than it was a year ago, said he had no cause to ask if his present had been a good one. The student thanked him for the gift, and admitted that he looked forward to the future He with a lighter heart, and would not like to part with the child. then asked what had been the child's name. "Call it Love," said the dervish, "for it is the symbol of affection, and learn from it that without love all human pursuits are vain, and wherever love dwells there happiness may be found."

When the student arrived at his home he saw the little one reposing in the arms of his wife. They reared it carefully, and it was the comfort of their old age. Throughout his life the student would frequently say that he owed his happiness to love, and that the first step in the road to happiness is to wean the soul from selfishness and cultivate a love for others.


"Love is like a little tree,

Needing constant care,
Till it ripen into bloom,

Filled with beauty rare.
Love is like a little child,

Type of highest heaven,
Sweetest blessing on this earth
God to man has given."




To the Editor of the Intellectual Repository.

DEAR SIR, I have read in your No. for January 1876 the alterations proposed to be made in the Te Deum, and think them both excellent and judicious. But there is one clause in that ancient and admirable spiritual song which requires no change, viz. :-" Spare thy people whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood." Redemption by the precious blood of Christ is a perfectly Scriptural phrase, and should be, in anywise, retained. True, it has been sadly misunderstood and misinterpreted, but that is no reason why it should be rejected, having its warrant in the inspired pages-1 Peter i. 18, 19; Rev. v. 9.

« PreviousContinue »