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of its species. The wisdom and goodness of God are manifested both in animal instinct and in human reason ; they proceed from the same source, but are separated from each other by a discrete, not merely by a continuous, degree, and are each suited to the created beings to whom they belong.
The two other distinguishing characteristics of man are morality and religion. "Two things there are,” said Kant, "which the oftener and more steadfastly we consider, fill the mind with an ever-new, an ever-increasing admiration and reverence-the starry heaven above, the moral law within.” Self-preservation and the propagation of the race sufficiently explain the genesis of such conscience as the animals have, but we cannot confound it with Kant's moral law within, which we recognise as the will of an objective lawgiver.
It is not to be concealed that some unbelievers oppose religion in general and Christianity in particular as they have come to be regarded rather than as they are in themselves. When the Christianity of the New Church comes to be better known and more generally accepted, Agnosticism will lose its reason, and therefore its power, of offensive warfare, and others will be armed against it. We do not say it will
There are two kinds of infidelity, one that is produced from within and one that is produced from without. To adopt the language while we change the subject of the Lord's teaching: There are infidels who have been made infidels of man, and there are infidels who have made themselves infidels. Of those there is much ground for hope, of these there is little. Thank God, there are none who are born infidels; so that the young are the hopes of the better age. It would be an evil day for the world if many instances should occur, which Miss Clapperton expects will be universal, of both parents being atheists. Of this we need have no fear. All women are not so easily perverted, mothers less easily than others. If men have more intellect, women have more heart; and theology is of the head and religion is of the heart. Relatively, men are the light of the world, women are the salt of the earth. If the salt should lose its savour, wherewith would it be salted ? But whatever aberration the masculine intellect may be subject to, woman's better part will preserve even the scientific world from corruption.
CATECHISM OF THE SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE OF THE RESURRECTION. By LARVA.
Reprinted from “Modern Thought." London: Richardson & Best.
If we mistake not we owe this catechism to the author of the “Spiritual Body," which we favourably reviewed at the time of its appearance. In the catechism the author's views are, if not more distinctly stated, more carefully elaborated. Two all-important points he fully establishes. According to the testimony of Scripture, man has a spiritual body and a natural body; at death the spiritual body rises into the spirit world, and the natural body returns for ever to the dust from which it was taken. We wish the author had confined his labours to the establishment and elucidation of the two essential points of the doctrine of the resurrection. His .anxiety to explain certain facts and statements of Scripture that seem to be at variance with the doctrine of spiritual and immediate resurrection, has led him to offer explanations that rather obscure and perplex than clear and simplify the subject. This arises from the fact that he has not yet obtained the light which is required to enable him to see the subject clearly in all its bearings. It is evident that he knows something of the writings of Swedenborg, whether directly or indirectly is not apparent; but he knows or admits their teaching only partially, or he would have seen his way and have been able to lead others to a more satisfactory view of the subject. He believes that the natural body can be converted into a spiritual body. The material bodies of Enoch and Elijah were so changed," as the bodies of those will be spiritualized who shall be alive and remain at the coming of the Lord;” nay, “ to the Christian who is gifted with the faith of Enoch and Elijah there need be no death, . . he may pass into the sphere of spirits without leaving his lifeless body on the bed of death.” The Lord's own body is supposed to have passed through a transmutation of the same kind. The Lord's resurrection body “ was in fact a spiritual or glorified body. All the natural elements which had place in His mortal body were taken up into it, amalgamated with it, resolved into it by Divine power.” - The
power which He possessed (after His resurrection of materializing and dematerializing Himself at will, made His sacred body appear at times to be the same with that in which He had preached, travelled, fasted, and suffered, while at others it was evidently altered to angelic and spiritual substances, whose proper home we usually call heaven." With such crude notions it is not surprising that, in passing from general principles to particulars, the author should mystify the subject. He admits, indeed, the difficulty he felt of explaining the different appearances which the risen Saviour presented ; for he observes, after speaking of the resolution of the natural elements of His mortal body into spiritual substance, “ hence the manifestations of Himself which He deigned to make during the forty days after His resurrection were of a mysterious and perplexing description. Even now the nature of these appearances is ill understood, and requires special aids of His grace and providence to elucidate them.” We heartily concur in this concluding remark. The Lord's special grace and providence have been shown in His having called one to the high office of Interpreter of these and other mysteries of His kingdom. The resurrection of man, which it is the main object of the catechism to demonstrate and explain, is one of these, and the glorification of the Lord is another.
In the writings of this chosen Interpreter it is thereby shown that man is an immortal soul in a spiritual body, highly organized, and perfectly suited to the spiritual world in which he is to live for ever; that the material body is nothing more than an earthly tabernacle, in which the immortal man is to sojourn for a season upon earth, so as
prepare him for his final abode ; and that when the tabernacle of this body is dissolved, never to be restored, man enters into, or becomes a conscious inhabitant of, the eternal world, possessed of the faculties and senses that he had in the world, but in a far more perfect state. The author of the catechism maintains, as distinctly as Swedenborg had testified long before his time," that man has an immortal mind, and the mind an immortal organism; and as the mind cannot act at all unless it act organically, whatever argument makes for the immortality of the soul makes also for the immortality of the [spiritual] body.” Also that “the resurrection body will not contain one particle of the carnal body which it tenanted, and from which it is to be evolved. The carnal frame, with all its wonderfully complicated animal life, system within system, will utterly perish.”
Yet he returns to the notion, which goes far to neutralize the whole of his argument, that “at the sound of that spiritual trump the dead will rise incorruptible, whether they swell the train that follows their returning Lord, or whether they close in some mysterious way with those remains of the former bodies which happen to remain in the sepulchre or in the sea, and which have not yet been resolved into dust and gas, and been absorbed by other men.' The author admits that “there are discreet and continuous degrees,” and that “the natural and spiritual bodies are separated by the former.” This doctrine forbids the transmutation of matter into spirit. The natural can never transcend its own degree. The natural may be organized and vitalized by the spiritual, but never can be changed into it. The Apostle Paul does not say that at the last trump our bodies shall be changed, but that we shall be changed—changed from a natural to a spiritual state, so as to enable us to ascend into the spiritual world.
In speaking of the Lord as the first-fruits of them that slept, and the first-begotten from the dead, the author says, that if other men “ rose from the dead before Him, as undoubtedly they did, it was through the virtue of His pre-ordained resurrection, and through it alone, just as all who have been saved from the beginning owe their salvation to the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Hence Christ is called the first-fruits, though not the first who rose from the dead in point of time.”
The opinion that the spiritual immortality of man is the result of the Lord's resurrection—that if the body of the Lord had not risen from the dead, the souls of men could not have risen from the dead body into the spiritual world—has neither reason nor analogy to support it. It involves the notion, which we had hoped was nearly exploded, that if Adam had not eaten the forbidden fruit, he and his descendants would have lived for ever in this natural world. If the
penalty of eating the forbidden fruit was physical as well as spiritual death, the resurrection of the Lord's body ought, in strict analogy, to have given man physical as well as spiritual resurrection. The truth is, man was never intended to live in this world for ever. Even if man had never fallen, he would have passed by death into the eternal world. The Fall did not cause the death of the material body. Not physical but spiritual death was the result of sin; not physical but spiritual resurrection was the purpose of the Incarnation. And by spiritual resurrection we mean resurrection from spiritual death, from the death of sin to the life of righteousness. This is the death, the only death, from which the Lord came to redeem that is the only resurrection which He came to secure for us.
The author of the catechism dwells much and lays great stress on the resurrection of the Lord's body, which he seems to think constituted His glorification. The Lord's glorification consisted in the glorification, not of His body only, but of His humanity. Sin did not bring death to the bodies of men but to their souls, it corrupted their whole nature. The Lord, therefore, took man's whole nature upon Him, and glorified and redeemed it. His temptations and agonies, and even His sufferings and death, were not of the body only, they were chiefly of the soul (the psyche), that was sorrowful even unto death, and that was laid down by death and taken again glorified at the resurrection. The Lord rose again as to the body, not as a token that the natural or even the spiritual bodies of men are to be raised, but as a sign that He had redeemed men even from the ultimate effects of sin in the body, and is present with them in the natural sphere of their life, and even in their physical sufferings and death. But the glorification of the Lord's body did not consist in converting matter into spirit; it consisted in putting off matter and putting on the Divine. The author of the catechism speaks of the Lord's body as being spiritual, as the author thinks any other body may be. The Lord's body, His whole humanity, when glorified, was Divine. The bodies of spiritual beings are spiritual; the body of a Divine Being must be Divine. God indeed is a Spirit, but He is an uncreated and infinite Spirit; all others are created and finite. The humanity of the Lord was raised, therefore, into the sphere not only of angelic, but of Divine life, not only into heaven, but far above heavens, even into the light that no man can approach unto. In the humanity thus exalted, God is more intimately present with us than He was when the humanity, yet unglorified, was visible and tangible to the material senses of man. By His glorified humanity the Lord is not only present with us but in us, with all the virtue of His finished work. His glorification is the archetype of our regeneration. Regeneration is spiritual resurrection. Resurrection from the natural world into the spiritual is common to the righteous and the wicked ; resurrection from the natural state to the spiritual is that for which the Lord rose, His resurrection being the completion of His glorification. His appearance and disappearance were due, not to His putting on and putting off matter, but to the spiritual sight of His disciples being opened and closed, for He was visible only to the spiritual sight.
We have devoted much more space to this little work than it might seem to be entitled to. Its subject is of vast importance, and deserves careful consideration. If we have been critical, it is because, agreeing entirely with the author in the doctrine he sets forth, we desire to see it freed from those side-issues which in his work mar and obscure it. The concessions made to old errors and prejudices tend to weaken the truth, so plain and clear in itself, that the resurrection is the resurrection of man at the death of the body, not the resurrection of the body at the supposed end of the world. We heartily wish the author success in his most useful efforts to draw Christians away from their dark and unpractical view of their resurrection to one that will brighten their prospects and stimulate them to attain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, on which their eternal happiness depends.
IS LIFE WORTH LIVING ?
Is life worth living? so we get
A glimpse of what is best in life,
A conscious calm within the strife,
What if much care should swallow up
All hope, and fill the bitter cup
To move e'en mountains if it will,
What if the heart of man stands still
And what seems real, faith declares
To be a fatal web of snares,
Our little cares, how real they seem !
In those man lives, in these he dies.
That earthly life will cease to be,
And death the great eternity