Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

rejected ; His flowing into also in this case means afflux, and His being received, influx. The Scriptures are in some parts very explicit on the difference between afflux and influx, and without naming the words, clearly point out the two fluxes, and also the difference between them; as for instance—“Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice and open the door," etc. (Rev. iii. 20). The standing at the door and knocking is evidently afflux, and His going in, when the door is opened, is influx. Afflux only gives man an opportunity to accept or reject, but influx yields a blessing.

Mediate life as it comes to man may be more properly styled influence than influx. It

may

be called influence for a most obvious reason; thus, when it flows to man it operates upon the forms in his menory, and excites them, and arranges them into an agreement with the state of the spirit or spirits whence the influence came, and that arrangement is perceived by man in himself as the presence of such spirits, whatever may be their qualities.

When influence comes from spirits to man, so far is it from giving him a quality, that it may be made the means of his receiving an opposite quality; for by evil influence his own evils are excited and made to appear, which might otherwise have remained quiescent and latent; and, when seen, they may be opposed and subdued ; and so far as that is done, he is elevated out of them, and is at the same time brought into an opposite state of goodness.

Inasmuch as life does not become mediate by reason of flowing through spirits, but by reason of what is assumed in them, it has been a question as to whether the idea of mediate life ought not to be confined to that which is derived from the medium ; that is, its quality, good or evil, for take away its quality, and all sense of mediate life is gone, nor would man be conscious of its presence ; yet life is the active principle, without which there could be neither influx nor afflux. This being so, it would appear, that the word mediate life involves the idea of an active principle to operate and assume, and also the state which is assumed; and although there is a clear distinction between the two, yet neither alone, but both together, constitute mediate life.

We may here, without digression, introduce a correlative idea. Previously to the development of man's interior degrees by regeneration, he has communication only with spirits in the world of spirits (H. H. 600), but afterwards with angels. But, notwithstanding this, he is not sensible of his communication with spirits in the world of spirits, nor can he be unless his spiritual senses be opened ; his evidence of such communication is affectional and mental : this is so because his consciousness is on one plane and they are on another, or he is in the natural world whilst they are in the spiritual ; they are consequently inhabitants of different worlds. This being the case, were it not for influx existing between the two worlds, and between spirits and men, they could not communicate at all. Spirits do not communicate with man from their voluntary principles, nor are they, when in their normal states, conscious of such communication any more than man is conscious of his communication with them (H. H. 249, 292). Why, it may be asked, cannot spirits in their normal states consciously communicate with man in this world? It is because the two worlds which they inhabit are so different from each other as to have nothing in common; those who are in one cannot see, hear, taste, smell, or feel anything that is in the other. Of this, so far as man in this world is concerned, we have continual evidence, and as it is with the inhabitants of one world, so it is with those of the other. The communication which exists between the two worlds cannot be sensibly perceived, but must be effected by an internal way. The only ordinary communication is effected by influx, and such communication is not felt. That communication is effected by the spheres of spirits, which flow from them spontaneously, therefore without their power of direction. Those spheres act upon all who are near to them, and they are the means of associating or dissociating the inhabitants of that world ; with those who are like-minded they effect conjunction, but with those who are dissimilar as to state, they cause disjunction and separation ; they are also the cause of distances in that world. Spheres originate and terminate on the same plane—they never leave the plane on which they originate ; they extend, but neither ascend nor descend : and inasmuch as spirits and men exist upon distinct and altogether different planes, the spheres of spirits cannot be made manifest to man in this world.

The spheres of spirits do not affect men as they affect the spirits who are on the same plane; spirits are affected as to their bodies as well as to their minds, because there are spheres from both their minds and their bodies, and being on the same plane, they are affected as to both; but it is not so with men. The spheres of spirits affect the degrees in others which are similar to those in the spirits themselves in whom they originate, and from whom they proceed. There is a sphere from each degree, internal as well as external; the sphere from the spirit's body affects the bodies of other spirits, and they are sensibly perceived ; the sphere from their understandings affect the understandings of others, and the sphere from their wills affect the wills of others—not the will as a capability, or the power of determination, but the will as a substantial subject, the subject of the power to determine. But men existing in a discrete degree below that of the spirits, their spheres

cannot affect them ; communication must therefore be effected in another way. That way is as follows. Although man, whilst he is ii. this world, is conscious only in the world, still he has in his constitution degrees which are of the substances of the spiritual world, and although whilst he is in this world he has no consciousness in them, still they may be affected by what is on their plane, and are so affected by the spirit's spheres; which affection is carried down by descending life to man's conscious degrees where it becomes inwardly manifested. That descending life, together with its assumed state, is what is called influx. The spheres of spirits which affect man's spirit originate in their vital parts—their wills and understandings, which contain their qualities as to good or evil, and proceeding thence carry with them these qualities; and inasmuch as the sphere affects that degree of man's spirit which is on the same plane as that of the spirit whence the sphere proceeded, it is manifested as an affection of the mind, good or evil according to the quality of the spirit whence it emanated. This is the ordinary communication which exists between spirits and men in this world; it therefore follows, that spirits are not conscious of such communication, much less are they conscious of the particular individuals with whom they are held in connection. However, whether they possess such consciousness or not, and whatever be their qualities, their spheres proceed to and act upon man's spirit; nor can they prevent it, neither can man avoid feeling the effects thereof, for he feels them from the same necessity that the body feels whatever acts upon its skin. But, notwithstanding the mind being necessitated to perceive the effects of spirits' spheres, both good and evil, yet he is not necessitated to yield to either, but receives or rejects them as a matter of free choice. That to which he gives preference, and receives into his will and thought, from afflux becomes influx, and he becomes one with it in quality, and is conjoined with the spirits in which it originated. Yet, we must observe that man's quality is not from those spheres, nor from the spirits whence they proceed, but it is from his own free choice of good or evil. This is the way in which the first hunian quality, whether good or evil, originated; it is the way in which both angels and devils have acquired theirs, and in no other way could human quality of any kind have been acquired. If man had originally waited for evil influences from others, or from any extraneous source, in order that he might procure for himself a quality, it is clear, that he would never have procured one, because there then were no such influences. Human quality originates only in man, each man originating his own, just as the first evil was originated, whatever may be the circumstances by which he is environed. We conclude that life is a living force, and that it exists in two conditions : firstly, as a proceeding of spiritual heat and light from the sun of heaven; that this passes through spiritual atmospheres, as accommodating mediums, by which it is tempered and made receptive by the highest and most perfect human beings, viz., the celestial angels. That proceeding, even when accommodated by those divinely appointed mediums, is immediate life. That same proceeding, by entering into angels and spirits, and also devils, assumes their qualities, and thereby becomes mediate life. The proceeding life does not become mediate life by passing through the accommodating mediums, but by passing through living, voluntary mediums, which contain angelic or infernal qualities, which are spirits in the spiritual world ; it therefore comes to man as good or evil influence. There is always this distinction between immediate and mediate life, the former enters man without his consent or his consciousness, and without his power of interference; but of the latter he is conscious, and he can interfere with it, and does so interfere, it not being able to enter into him without his consent and reception. By immediate life man is endued with capabilities, and by mediate life he is furnished with objects on which these capabilities can be exercised, by which under the influence of his free-will he forms in himself a state which, in the future life, becomes the ground of his everlasting happiness or misery.

S. S.

THE MIRACLE OF MULTIPLYING THE LOAVES

AND FISHES. ADDRESSED TO THE SICK AND AGED IN A UNION WORKHOUSE.

MATT. X. 32-39. Our attention was drawn on a previous occasion to our Lord's cure of the lame, the blind, the dumb and the maimed, of which the account is given in the preceding verses. By such wonderful cures the Lord Jesus Christ proved to those who were willing to be convinced that He was God as well as man. But so condescending was He to our fallen and unbelieving state, that though the miracle of performing such cures was enough to convince any teachable spirit that the Lord was God, He yet added another equally wonderful proof of the truth of St. John's declaration, that “without Him was not anything made that was made,” by showing that He could multiply food also, so that seven loaves and a few little fishes fed four thousand men, besides women and children. When we think how few could get a meal off the same qnantity of food when distributed by human hands, we see that it was only One who could create food that could have fed so great a multitude. When we were talking abont the cure of those who were sick of various diseases, you may remember that I told you, one lesson which we had to learn from it was, that we were to go to Jesus Christ for the cure not only of our bodily ailments, but of what is far more to be dreaded, the sickness of our souls. And the miracle of feeding so many has a lesson for us too. Jesus says, “ Man shall not

that

live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” He says also, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.” When we are sick we do not feel much appetite, but as our health returns our desire for food comes back; and so it is with our souls. So long as we do not wish to live according to our Lord's commandments, we do not desire to be taught what we ought to do, we have no appetite for the bread which cometh down from Heaven, and will not drink of the “ Water of Life.” But when we have truly come to Him, asking Him to take away our sins, and to give lis a “new heart and a right spirit,” then we desire to be all that He would have us to be, and are constantly thinking, when any difficulty arises, "I wonder what I ought to do?” Under the influence of such thoughts we go to God in prayer, to ask Him to teach us, and we read God's Holy Word that we may learn His will. Then He sends His Holy Spirit, to show us what our duty is, and so we are fed by Him. It may be only a few words, or a short verse, but it is enough to feed the soul. It is like a grain of mustard seed, which springeth up into a great tree, or “ like a little leaven, that leavens the whole lump." For, suppose we feel angry with any one who has done us harm and desire to revenge ourselves, we open the Bible, and see, “Forgive your enemies," "do good to them that hate you.” “Render not evil for evil,” or “railing for railing.” Then we begin to hesitate, and perhaps another text comes to our help, “ For if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither shall your Father in Heaven forgive you your trespasses.” What a dreadful thought that is! If we are not forgiven then we cannot go to Heaven, and if we do not go there, there is only one other place. Oh, awful thought! Shall we sacrifice the hope of eternal happiness for the sake of saying a few angry words, or doing an unkind thing, which will give neither us nor our fellow-creatures any real pleasure? Then perhaps we remember having heard at church, or read for ourselves, “ Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." There is something in that word blessedthat seems so attractive! It is not only that we shall be forgiven, but we shall be made happy into the bargain. Well, we think, it is only a little sacrifice that I am required to make, and the gain is more than eternity can tell, so I will pray to God to help me to forgive this time. Ah, now we taste heavenly food, good affections flow into our hearts from the Lord, and we not only feel the blessedness of “the merciful,” but the blessedness of “the meek,” and of “the poor in spirit;" and so you see how heavenly food is multiplied. Well may we pray, “Lord, ever more give us this Bread.”

M. S. B.

MODERN SCIENCE AND REVELATION. The faculty of observation and the desire of knowing are the two important principles which impart to the mind its progressive tendency. Glancing back into the remote ages of the past, we can conceive primæval man calling these powers into exercise in recording his

« ElőzőTovább »