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move in one grand harmony. The central doctrine of the system being right, no other can be wrong; for all the others derive their existence from it, and are dependent upon it. Hence so much stress is laid in Scripture on the doctrine of the Divine unity. It was our Lord Himself who said, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is onę Lord” (Mark xii. 22). And He did so to teach us that the unity of God is the foundation of the love of God. For, having declared that God is one, He proceeds to say, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, • Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” The truths of the Word, numerous and various as they are, all have relation to these two universal laws of love to God and love to man. The Word teaches nothing else ; for there is nothing else for it to teach. It contains, it is true, much that appears to have no immediate relation to the love either of God or man, and some things that seem to be contrary to both. But here we see the power and find the benefit of the long-lost and now restored law of correspondence, according to which the Word was written, and by which, therefore, it is to be interpreted. For as God created the natural world through the spiritual, and thus established between them the relation of cause and effect, besides their relation to Him as the Cause of all causes, and through them of all effects; so all natural things are the images of spiritual things, and all things, both spiritual and natural, are images of Divine things. When interpreted by the law of correspondence, all that is natural becomes spiritual, all that is earthly becomes heavenly, and all that is temporal, eternal; and the Word in its essence is seen to be nothing and to teach nothing but love to God and love to man. The nature of the love which the law commands, and which the Prophets teach, we may best know from the nature of the Divine love, from which all true human love is derived. God is love; and the essence of God's love is to love others out of Himself, to desire to be one with them, and to make them happy from Himself. These three essential properties of the Divine love were the cause of creation. This Divine work was effected for no other end than to bring into existence a race of beings who might consciously receive and freely reciprocate the love of their Creator, and, being conjoined to Him by love, might live in the enjoyment of eternal blessedness the image
and reflection of His own. These properties of the Divine love were the cause of redemption, as they had been of creation. And when the Lord appeared in our nature His teaching and example were designed to bring His people back to the love of Himself and each other from which they had departed. Besides enforcing the old law of love He gave them a new one. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” The old commandment required that a man should love his neighbour as himself; the new commandment requires that a man shall love his neighbour as the Lord has loved him. The disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ are to be known of all men by their love for each other being of the same character as His love for them,-a love which prompted Him to give Himself for them, and which still prompts Him to give Himself to them.
But how are the disciples in this respect to imitate the Lord's example? By turning their love into the channel of usefulness. Love must be guided by wisdom, and must be terminated in use. Use is the ultimate form of love. A life of love is therefore a life of usefulness. The third essential of the Deity Himself is USE. “Love, Wisdom, and Use are in the Lord and are the Lord.” “God as man is the essential form of all uses.” Therefore, “all things which are created from the Lord are uses,” for “nothing but use can exist from God the Creator.”
As use is the ultimate of Divine love, and all that proceeds from the Divine love is use, so is use the ultimate of all spiritual love, as derived from the Divine love. So far, therefore, as we are influenced by love to the Lord and love to man, so far our life will be a life of usefulness. We are created with the capacity for this. “The external man is formed to serve the internal, and the internal man is formed to serve the Lord as to all uses which love to Him and love to the neighbour require, first in the natural world and afterwards in the spiritual world.” “Charity, or love to the neighbour, considered in itself is the love of uses : for charity desires to do good to the neighbour, and good is the same thing as use.” “Angelic life consists in use and in the goods of charity. For nothing is more delightful to the angels than to instruct and teach spirits coming from the world,
—to serve mankind by inspiring them with what is good,—and, restraining the evil spirits attendant on them from passing their proper bounds, to raise up the dead to eternal life, and afterwards, if their souls be of such a quality as to make it possible, to introduce them into heaven.” This description of angelic life shows what human life should be, and what it must be, if men desire and hope to become angels.
It is true, that in our world there are many things that our necessities impose upon us that have a less direct reference to the good of others than these angelic uses, which are also angelic delights. Yet all the labour and duties which our temporal condition imposes upon us are uses, and contribute to the good of others as well as to our own, and all serve, if faithfully and cheerfully performed, to prepare us for the more exalted uses of angelic life. There is a series of beautiful passages in the Divine Love and Wisdom, in which the author treats of the uses that belong to the present life. “Man,” he says, “cannot be conjoined to the Lord unless he be spiritual, nor can he be spiritual unless he be rational, neither can he be rational unless his body be in a sound state.” He then proceeds to show that uses for sustaining the body have respect to its nourishment, clothing, habitation, recreation and delight, and protection and preservation of state. Uses for perfecting the rational principle are sciences and studies which have relation to things natural, economic, civil, and moral. And uses for receiving a spiritual principle from the Lord are all things appertaining to religion, and thence to Divine worship, consequently which teach the acknowledgment and knowledge of God, and the knowledge and acknowledgment of good and truth, and thereby eternal life.
The doctrine of use, which may be said to be peculiar to the New Church, is one of great practical value. It dissipates those visionary, ascetic, and morose views of religion which have given birth to pietism, monasticism, puritanism, and every other form of religion which regards the body as antagonistic to the soul, and the world to heaven, and separates as far as possible their mutual sympathies and activities; whereas “the Lord by His Divine Providence joins Himself to things natural by things spiritual, and to things temporal by things eternal, according to uses.” It is and has always been the general tendency of religionists on this subject to give the fruit of the body for the sin of the soul, instead of rendering to God what He requires of them, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God. The doctrine of uses shows that all religion has relation to life, and that the life of religion is to do good, not to our own souls only—supposing this could be effected alone—but to our neighbour, with a view to promote his temporal and eternal welfare.
It is then, beloved brethren, incumbent on us as members of the Lord's New Church, to cherish the spirit of love to the Lord and to our neighbour as the very essence of our religion, and to show that a life of love is a life of usefulness. By such a life. we best fulfil the purpose of our existence upon earth, and best prepare for the life and the blessedness of heaven.
I am, beloved brethren, on behalf of the Conference, affectionately yours,
THE ETERNITY OF THE EARTH. ALMOST all persons who are unacquainted with the doctrines taught by Swedenborg believe that the globe we inhabit will in due time be destroyed or annihilated. And there seems to be a tendency in the minds of some who are acquainted with the writings of Swedenborg to think that in some way or other this is possible, and will be accomplished; and that this marvellous seer taught such a doctrine in explanation of the Divine promise to Noah, that “while the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest (shall not cease.” He says in explanation of this promise, “Hence it may be seen that the earth will not endure for ever, but that it will have its end.” Why Swedenborg may have given such an explanation of the Divine Word shall be considered presently.
Now Swedenborg is the only theologian who teaches that all angels and spirits in the spiritual world were once men either upon this or upon some other planet. Therefore, before they were spirits in any sense, they must first have been inhabitants of a material world. For the creation of angels (and this is the ultimate purpose of all creation) earths must first have been formed. Earths are the groundwork, as it were, from which they sprang; thus from first principles by means of ultimates; i.e. earths, angels, and the angelic heavens have been created. Nor is it taught anywhere that angels and spirits will be created by any other process. Earths or planets, then, must continue to exist as long as the creation of angels and spirits continues.
It is now pretty well established from spectroscopic research that the earth originated from the sun. All the elementary substances found on the earth have been found to exist in the sun. Indeed, many elements were not known to exist on the earth until they had previously been discovered in the sun. And more elements doubtless exist in the sun than have been or may be discovered on the earth. This has led modern philosophers to conclude that the earth has originated from the sun. Now Swedenborg teaches plainly that the earth did originate from the sun. The whole of his Principia leads to and teaches this doctrine. Other natural philosophers, Leibnitz, Descartes, and La Place, have taught, more or less vaguely, that the planets have originated from the substance of the sun, but none of their mathematical arguments will bear comparison with the clear and logical demonstrations of Swedenborg, not only as to the origin of the planetary elements, but as to the curves and forces of the magnetic vortices in which he believed the planets move. Newton has not given the slightest idea about the origin of worlds. It is pleasant, then, to find that so far Swedenborg had anticipated by induction the discoveries of modern science. But after his spiritual illumination he leaves no doubt to his readers about the matter, for he says, “ The sun of the natural world is pure fire, and nature derives its origin from that sun” (A. D. L. & W. 157), and that “all natural things are from that sun" (164).
But it will perhaps be better to step a little further back, and ask whence came the natural sun. Swedenborg says, “There are two suns by which all things were created from the Lord, the sun of the spiritual world and the sun of the natural world” (153). But these suns are creations too, and the natural sun depends for its existence on the spiritual. “The sun of the natural world was created that it might act as a medium or substitute" (ut succenturiatum opem ferat) (153). “The actuality, actualitas, of the sun of the natural world is not from itself, but from the living power proceeding from the sun of the spiritual world, wherefore if the living power of the latter sun were withdrawn, the former sun would perish ” (157). He also teaches that all the things of the spiritual world are from the spiritual sun, and all the things of the natural world are from the natural sun. It seems therefore clear that the order and purpose of creation could not have been completed if the natural sun had not been created. And as all the things of the natural world have proceeded from the natural sun, it is reasonable to ask why? and for what purpose ? and Swedenborg replies, “Forasmuch as the lowest substances of nature, which constitute earths, are dead, and are not mutable and various as in the spiritual world, but immutable and fixed, therefore there are spaces there : such things are in consequence of creation closing there, and subsisting in its rest” (160). And again, “The reason why a dead sun was created is to the end that in ultimates all things may be fixed, stated, and constant, and that thence things may exist which are to be permanent and to endure. On this, and no other ground, creation is founded ” (165). And “the highest, by means of what is ultimate, holds together all the interior things which are intermediate in connection and in form, so that they look to one end” (A. C. 10,044). From all this it is clear that the natural world exists for the sake of the spiritual world, that it is the foundation upon which it reposes : therefore for this reason also the natural world must exist as long as the spiritual world.
But it may be asked, Is it not possible for the substance or matter of which the earth is made to be so evaporated or changed that it would amount to the destruction of the earth? May not the world grow old, as it were, and decay, and a new one come into existence in its stead,—a world of new, fresh, and vigorous substance ? Sweden