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such a character of him wholly inconsistent with the benevolence demonstrated by his works here? Is it not restricting the enjoyment of Heaven to a sphere so limited, that it falls far, far below our enjoyments here? Who, in his senses, would feel happiness at the thought of leaving the social enjoyments found among his friends, parents, children, to go and spend an eternity in prayer and psalm singing? Could any reasonable being be resigned to die, if he were sure that not more attractive employment awaited him? Are not such thoughts of heavenly happiness wholly inconsistent with our faculties for enjoyment-wholly inappropriate to our characters ?
How different is the belief of the New Church on this point, and how much more rational and attractive. They believe that, after the natural body dies, the spirit which is our real self, retains all the faculties of thought and affection, in the exercise of which we find our principal enjoyment here; that our character is still our real self; and that we still have a definable form, a body, perfect and entire in its parts, but wholly divested of all that is material and corruptible. That this spiritual body is as perfectly adapted to the world it then inhabits, as our natural body is adapted to the world in which we now live. They also believe, that social intercourse is a source of happiness there, and a far more perfect one than here, for there, our companions will be such only as are congenial to us; and that there can be no clashing of spirits. They also believe in the perfection of happy marriages. And ask the being who knows the ecstacy of that perfect union of soul, mind, and spirit, which is the only state that deserves to be called a real marriage, ask him if he would not rather remain forever on earth, than be deprived to all eternity of such supreme happiness? Then how far does the conception of happiness of Heaven in the New Church, exceed that of the Old!
What the Lord Jesus Christ says to the Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection: "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven," (Matthew xxii. 30), seems to forbid a belief in this spiritual union. But Swedenborg explains this passage as having a different meaning from that which appears in the letter. Its internal meaning refers to that celestial marriage expressed in scripture by the
marriage of the Lamb, and the Bride, or of the Lord and his Church-that spiritual union with the Lord, which is true. righteousness, and that marriage must be commenced here on earth, or it cannot take place after this state of probation is passed. It is true that the Sadducees did not understand this internal meaning, and the Lord knew that they would not. He knew that they were too carnally minded to comprehend what a true marriage is, therefore in silencing them He uttered an internal truth, which He knew the time would come when men's minds would be prepared to receive. He also knew that the time was not then, therefore, H epermitted them to misunderstand his words, as He did also when he said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John ii. 19.) The Jews thought he alluded to the Jewish temple; and replied," Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?" (verse 20.) He did not explain to them, that they misunderstood his words; but the evangelist, in the next and following verses (21, 22) says: "But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them, and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had said.” Many similar passages are to be found in scripture. And happy for us would it be, if all at the present day, like those Jews, also believed, when the internal sense was revealed to them.
But I have wandered from my subject.
With regard to my reasons for joining the Episcopal Church, this is what I have to say. As far back as I can remember, I always looked upon Religion as a matter of importance in childhood, and for some time after, my religion was more the religion of fear than of love, yet I never doubted that there was a Heaven and a Hell, and an over-ruling Providence who rewarded the good and punished the wicked. But I thought more of His power than of any other attribute. Of his Benevolence I was not fully convinced. His Justice, I sometimes doubted; as I could not reconcile with it, the prosperity and happiness of some of my fellow creatures, and the misery of others. Though I endeavoured to refrain from sins, it was not because I loved to obey a benefactor, but because I
feared the punishment of a master. I saw many whom I thought far more deserving of Heaven than I was, and I was filled with apprehension. In every danger, every thunder storm, every fit of sickness, I trembled and was in mental agony at the thought that death might come suddenly upon me and carry me to Hell; for, though there were many worse than I, I felt that I was not worthy of heaven.
I had heard that religion gave peace of mind, comfort, happiness. There was none in mine. Almost all religious duties, to me, were irksome and unsatisfactory-a constant doing violence to my inclinations and feelings. Though 1 prayed regularly, it was seldom that I felt that a benevolent, compassionate Father was listening to me; and most generally, while I repeated my prayers, my thoughts were otherwise engaged. Nor, did it occur to me, that to lead a good and holy life was the spirit of prayer. I had heard preached the doctrine of regeneration, and that only the regenerate could be saved. I reflected that, as I could not even conceive what regeneration meant, I could not be one of the regenerate, and therefore that I could not be saved. * Such was the state of my mind, when one day, in February, 1836, my evil genius seemed to have total possession of me; and I burst into a violent fit of anger against my father. I was in a full tide of ungovernable passion, when my gentle mother, whose health was then on the decline, gave me a look! oh! such a look! and mildly said, "I never spoke so to my parents;" and she drew my father from the room. I was subdued-tears gushed to my eyes. I retired to my own room, and locking myself in, I wept with indescribable bitterness. And I prayed ardently, fervently prayed that I might be forgiven! It was instantly whispered to me," apologise for your conduct." I paused, I thought it was a hard condition; for I considered myself as much an injured party as an offending one. But, still the voice said, that is the price"-I then took pencil and paper, and the voice then whispered, that the atonement would be incomplete unless I also complied with my father's wishes with regard to my writing a certain letter, which my having refused to do, had occasioned the altercation between us. I wrote the letter accordingly, and the note of apology to my father. Though I asked his forgiveness, and expressed sorrow and regret for my rage and dis
respect to him, still I could not refrain from implying some censure of his harshness towards me. I sent them both down to`him, and I waited in anxiety for a reply. The letter was soon sent back to me, with word from my father that it would do. But with regard to the apology, not a word. The style of it was probably such as not to deserve a comment; but I thought differently then, and I felt the silence as unjust and unkind.
I sat down to copy the letter, when, a few moments after, a messenger came up from my kind mother. She had realized the state of my feelings, and wished to minister to me. She sent me some refreshments prepared by her own dear hand. This little act of kindness wholly overcame She had forgiven me! She pitied me! She felt that my lips must be parched, my eyes burning, and my head aching, and her gentle spirit sought to minister to me!
This tenderness on the part of my mother, at that moment, caused a singular revulsion of feeling. I determined, that in future, she should be my model, and that I would seek to deserve her love and kindness to me.
I spent the rest of the day, the evening, and the must of the night, in meditation and prayer. It was a lovely moonlight-that, also, had an influence on my feelings: never can I forget them! all the events of my life-all the sins I had committed-all the wicked thoughts and feelings which belonged to my character-all the antipathies and hatreds in which I frequently indulged, rose up before my mental vision with a horrible vividness. I felt as if scales had suddenly fallen from my eyes, and as if I could now clearly see the corruption of my heart, and the impurities of my affections. I felt that such a being as I was, could not be an object of love to a good and holy God; that I did not merit love from him, nor happiness, nor heaven. My life had been an unhappy one, and I now felt that it was deservedly so-that I had no right to expect happiness here nor in the world to come. I thought that holy, happy place will be opened to my god, pure, kind mother; but, closed against me. In anguish I asked, "Is there no hope for me?" My soul heard the answer, "There is: seck-perseveringly seek to become a true christian, and heaven will be won." I replied, "O God help me, and I will do all in my power." A calm, soothing, comforting
feeling stole over me, and I knew that my prayer was heard.
I then resolved that my future life should be unlike the past. I made the Bible my daily study. The practical parts I most frequently read and meditated upon: and I constantly sought to conform my life to the precepts therein taught. I frequently and fervently prayed to be led into the right path. Gradually my fear of God gave place to love and adoration of His character, and confidence in His justice and benevolence; I began to understand what regeneration meant. Then it was that I first felt truly grateful to God for His blessings; and above them all, for that coming blissful peace of mind of which I had been ignorant before.
Now it was that the heaviest of earthly afflictions overwhelmed me with grief. My beloved mother became a constant sufferer, and, for four sorrowing months I watched and tended by her sick bed. And in August, 1835, I closed her eyes in death! The gentle light that once beamed forth had now left them forever! those beautiful features had now become cold and immoveable, and hei nuble and lovely form was now laid low in the cold grave! The being on earth, whom I most loved, and who most loved me, was gone, and I was left to supply her place in the domestic sphere. This heavy affliction served still more to soften my heart, and turn my thoughts to God for consolation. My life was now one of active duties. To supply her loss in the family, in such a manner as she would have approved, was my constant aim. This state of things served well to call forth the practical part of true religion. But, I did not rest satisfied with this. I soon became anxious about points of faith. My mind was wholly unsettled on the subject. I wished to know what class of christians came nearest to the apostolic christianity. With this view I read the whole of the Bible through, and the New Testament repeatedly. I also perused Echard's Ecclesiastical History, Dwight's Theology, the first volume of Rev. William Jones' works, (on the Trinity); The Unitarian's Answer, by Rev. Orville Dewey; A Statement of Reasons for not believing the Doctrines of Trinitarians, &c., by Andrew Norton, with many other books. And I became fully convinced that the Unitarian religion could not be the religion taught