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When the great bulk of a nation are ripe for a wiser administration, it were unrighteous not to grant it, and though the voice of the majority cannot be regarded as the test of what is truth, yet at present there is no basis of authority so safe as this, and though only temporary, yet for the time it must be obeyed. Petty rebellion defeats itself, and rebellion of any magnitude would be equally disastrous, were it not that it seeks to establish authority on the true basis of the universal voice.
For expediency, meaning selfish or inferior good at the expense of that which is higher, let us cherish the strongest feelings of opposition, but where expediency rises into the simple, the unavoidable necessity of law and order, where it is a good means to a good end, where it is like the scaffold to the building, or spectacles to imperfect vision, as it is in the authority exercised by the state, society, and the church, then let us give authority our fullest obedience, bow to it decrees, and if we are dissatisfied with its utterances, let us unite to get them altered, quietly, surely, and according to law.
WAITING FOR SPRING.
I sit by the fireside warm and bright,
I am waiting for Spring.
I think of the vanished summer day,
I am waiting for Spring.
The mist and the gloom will disappear,
The glorious sunshine is spreading round,
I am waiting for Spring.
Through life in the valley of death and sin-
THE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL PUNISHMENTS.
THOSE whose privilege it is to feel and know, from the fundamental principles of our nature, that the spirit is the real man, and that
Angels are men in lighter habit clad,
And men are angels loaded for an hour,” at once perceive that the life after death is but a continuation of life in the world. They watch the career of those whose lives are the manifestation of goodness and truth in its heavenward progress. They see that progress often impeded, it is true, by the influences of the outward veil of clay, but they often have reason to admire the fiery, indomitable ardour of the soldier of Christ whose spirit brooks no obstacles, and who only lays down his sword when every combat has successively been won. They glory as he overcomes the dominion of sense, and they emulate his life. There is an irresistible appeal to their every dormant energy, in his intrepid aspirations which appear almost to render him impatient to be released from earthly bonds, whose existence he would gladly ignore could he but bathe his vision in the light of purer skies and rise unfettered in the world of spiritual reality. They can already see some portion of that light transfusing itself in his beaming countenance, and they can imagine-nay, they knowhe enjoys, however unconsciously it may be, the high and holy influences of the better world. And when his outward garment is removed by death they can still follow him as he rises into conscious communion with those blessed spirits whose influence he had imbibed almost unconsciously here below. They follow his manly form, and by the induction of reason behold him exercising in his new sphere all the grand distinguishing attributes of his being, his sensitive faculties refined and developed in an atmosphere far more exquisite and gentle in its breathings, and with nothing to depress or weigh him down. They feel such a spirit can never be quenched, and that he will assuredly “find his place” amongst the good and true. An American New Church writer has justly observed that when we think, without reference to a creed, of our departed friends and relatives, we instinctively think of them as perfect men and women, and in the form which they wore on earth ; and he asks whether, in this fact, we do not read the triumph of inborn perception over outward dogmatic teaching (Rev. G. Bush, M.A.). By this view we see man laying aside the garment of flesh, but emerging from it to his true and only resurrection—his resurrection as a spirit into the world of spirits. And, following out the line of thought we have already indicated in regard to the just, we see the rule may be applied with equal force and justice to the wicked. The leading principle of his life, whatever the love in which he delights, and with which his very existence as a spirit is involved, is clearly seen to determine his future destiny. He drops his mortal coil, but he carries with him the full exercise of his faculties, blind as they have been to the perception of good, and prone as they are to the embellishment of the evil he has chosen as his good; and so he mingles and grovels with his kind, and, indeed, “ finds his place” in the only society that is congenial to him. If, then, we contemplate the thousands who are constantly departing into the unseen land, we may regard them as a mighty sea, surging and boiling with elements at strife, the elements of evil opposing the elements of goodness, and the principles of truth contending with those of error and falsity, till that sea divides and sweeps all that is beaten back, as irreconcilable, to the right and left. This view of the world of spirits is one which may be attained by those who follow the process of reasoning which is beginning to be proinoted in the more enlightened ranks of Christian ministry. If it receive a more general assent than that hitherto accorded to it, it will render the minds of close observers of human nature all the more ready to receive the fuller and more definite light of the New Church. Swedenborg, in illustrating the truth that spirits and angels have sensations much more exquisite than men in this world, says if men
"had only believed that their interior essence was a spirit, and that the body, together with its sensations and members, is adapted only to uses in the world, and that the spirit and its sensations and organs are adequate to uses in the other life, in this case they would come of themselves, and almost of their own accord, into ideas concerning the state of their spirits after death; for they would think with themselves that the spirit of each is that very man himself who thinks, and who lusts, who desires and is affected; and, further, that all that sensitive principle which appears in the body is properly of the spirit, and belongs to the body only by influx; and these things afterwards they would confirm with themselves by many considerations, and thereby at length would be delighted with the things appertaining to their spirit more than with those appertaining their body" (A. C. 4622).
It is evident that if the Rev. J. Baldwin Brown is neither a Universalist nor an Annihilationist, but while rejecting the doctrine of the former—the restoration of the whole human race—he adopts a modified view of future punishments, he must admit that as all the impenitent are not saved, those of them who are ultimately raised to a higher life occupy a different sphere and undergo a different treatment to that of the utterly ungodly, who are left in outer darkness and misery. And this, we venture to say, is a doctrine which, carried to its logical conclusions, bears a strong affinity to that of the New Church. Its advocates see the injustice of classing the unfortunate with the wicked, they even perceive the unreasonableness of associating the man of ambition with the drunkard, the drunkard with the false prophet, the false prophet with the miser, the miser with the dissolute and profligate spendthrift, the spendthrift with the murderer or traitor. All these have been guilty of offences which differ in kind and in degree, and it is conceived to be impossible for the Divine Judge of all men to pronounce upon them the same sentence. Every sin bears its own burden. Such as we have described are grounded in different loves, and hence it is easily understood that no one in the spiritual world can live with others but such as are in a similar love to himself. "He that is already in the delight of evil cannot be let into the delight of good" (D. P. 338). Swedenborg maintains that it is provided by the Lord that there should be a religion everywhere, and that in every religion the two essentials of salvation should consist in acknowledging a God, and in not doing evil because it is against God, and that all who have lived well and acknowledged a God should be instructed after death by the angels. “ There is also given to every man after death an opportunity of amending his life, if possible. All men are instructed and led of the Lord by the angels; and as they then know that they are living after death, and that there are such places as heaven and hell, they at first receive truths; but those who have not acknowledged a God and shunned evils as sins in the world, are in a short time after disgusted with truths and recede” (D. P. 328). In the world of spirits a man is, as to his love which is his very life, the same as he was in the world. “Good spirits are never punished, notwithstanding their having committed evils in the world, for their evils do not return, because they did not in committing them act of set purpose in opposition to truth, nor from a bad heart, any further than what adhered to them from the hereditary nature derived from their parents, into wbich they had been carried by the influence of blind pleasure, when they were in their externals separate from their internals ” (H. and H. 509). If it is for the ultimate redemption of such as these that the Rev. Baldwin Brown and those who think with him have been pleading, they may probably be led to the truth of the Intermediate State, where such spirits are by the Divine Providence separated from those who ultimately sink into perdition; for “no one's life can possibly be changed after death, and to transmute an evil life into a good one, or the life of an infernal into that of an angel, is utterly impracticable; since every spirit is from head to foot such in quality as his love is, consequently such as his life is; and to metamorphose this into an opposite one were to destroy the spirit altogether" (H. and H. 527). It is in the Intermediate State that a man's governing love is to be distinguished from his other loves, and developed ; and it can only be developed by his inevitable association with other spirits whose love is in affinity to his own. He is stripped of all that is secondary to this distinctive love, and his real nature becomes revealed. If the life that is in him be good, it is strengthened by his intercourse with the blessed spirits who are his ministering angels, and he casts from him all that would impede his heavenward ascent; but if his life be evil, he grovels in his own loves, and sinks deeper and deeper into the infernal associations with which he is in affinity, nor can his life be changed when once he has plunged into the hells.