Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

through heaven, or by the agency of angels. Therefore the Lord says, " Let us make man.” Yet, as the angels have nothing and do nothing of themselves, but all they possess and do is from the Lord, and is the Lord's in them, the Lord is all in all in the work of regeneration. Therefore God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him." As the Word is infinite this does not exhaust the meaning of the statement, which no doubt contains also the idea that man was created by the Lord's Divine Love and Wisdom. And these are to be seen in regenerate man as possessed of the principles of love and wisdom, or the graces of charity and faith. Man, thus created anew, is therefore called both an image and a likeness of God. He is an image as a form of wisdom, and a likeness as a form of love; for God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."]

Reviews. THE SOUL, AND HOW IT FOUND ME: Being a Narrative of Phenomena

connected with the production of - England and Islam.” By EDWARD

MAITLAND. London : Tinsley Brothers. The book to which this has relation we have not read, and therefore can say nothing of the connection between them. One object of the present work is to explain the origin of much that was written in “ England and Islam.” Since the author wrote that work he has become a spiritualist, and revelations have been made through a seeress identical with several of the most important parts of his then unconsciously inspired production. It was while a circle of his friends were holding a séance that a communication was received from a spirit concerning him, saying, “A new prophet is among you ;” and this spirit was John the Baptist. At a subsequent séance the author himself thus interrogated a spirit who had a message for him : “ Is it then really John the Baptist that speaks, and that controlled my book ?” “ The same spirit.”.

“ And that spoke through Isaiah also, whom you have quoted ?” “The same spirit.”

“Through Hermes, Daniel, and John of Patmos, also ?” “The same spirit.”

“Am I to understand that my book was really dictated by the spirit that spoke through the great prophets of old ?" "Yes; by the same spirit."

The communications that come from or through the spirit are of revelations. We therefore read several times of the “New Revelation,” and of its being destined to regenerate the world. “But, though New Revelation, it contains no new gospel, but is a confirmation, reinforcement, continuation, simplification, combination, and development of that which was the substance of all former gospels, even the doctrine of salvation by the culture of the soul and worship of perfection, relieved of all assertions, perversions, and degradations, and restated in its original proper simplicity.” In accordance with the statement that the new revelation is a combination of all other gospels, it combines the views of almost all existing systems, ancient and modern. The personality of God is combined with Pantheism, the immortality of the soul is combined with the doctrine of transmigration and the gradual combustion and final destruction of impure spirits, while animals have a future existence, to compensate for their sufferings in this. The value of some of the doctrines of the new revelation may be judged by some of the communications. To the question “What do you mean by Almighty God?” the answer is, “God comprehends all things, but is no person in the sense in which we understand person. Divinity is the substance of all things. It throws off rings which become individualized as spirits ;” and in answer to another question it was said, “The Jews are undoubtedly right regarding the nature of Jesus. To conceive of God as incarnate or having a son in the way supposed by Christians is a blasphemy against the Divine essence.”

As in many other spiritualistic books, Swedenborg is spoken of, and on several occasions. “The allusion to Swedenborg in the vision just described was especially gratifying to me. The little I knew of that remarkable man had convinced me that I was on his tracks, and that our experiences in a great measure coincided. His own followers also had already recog. nized a certain identity in our respective ideas. Early in the previous year I had received a letter from the council of the Swedenborg Society, informing me that they had been struck by the coincidence between the system of the correspondence of the solar phenomena and the history of the human soul, regarded in the ancient religions, and set forth in my book, 'The Keys of the Creeds, and the system of Swedenborg; and they offered to present me with Swedenborg's works. I had replied that I was desirous of studying him, as I had an instinctive consciousness of sympathy with him, but that now I should prefer to wait until I had found all I could for myself ; that I felt more and more I was being led in the same way; and should eagerly compare notes at the journey's end. After the publication of 'England and Islam,' I claimed and received the fulfilment of their kind offer. I now can say that I recognize to the fullest extent the claims of Swedenborg to be a true seer and to have enjoyed with the spiritual world the influence he claims. To the truth of all that he has said respecting the correspondence subsisting between the spiritual and the phenomenal worlds, the existence in the former of various orders of intelligences, and the general accuracy of his teaching, I can bear my positive witness, and while there are some directions in which he seems to have gone beyond me,-and I am able to confirm his statements,—there are, I think, others in which I was permitted to see beyond him. One of his most advanced disciples, an accomplished and well-known London physician, has recognized the inspiration of my work and its revelation of new spiritual truths."

It is but due to the author to say that his book contains views that we can clearly recognize as gospel truths; as that God is Love, and that salvation does not come through vicarious sacrifice ; while purity of mind, and of body too, is strongly insisted on. We see in it, however, sufficient evidences of spiritualism being not only an uncertain but an unsafe guide.

A PHILOSOPHIC TREATISE ON THE NATURE AND CONSTITUTION OF MAN.

By GEORGE HARRIS, LL.D., F.S.A., etc. IN two handsome octavo volumes Dr. Harris has given us, not a book, but elements from which many books might be formed. Disconnected as the Sibylline leaves, paragraph after paragraph, even phrase after phrase, is full now of information and then of suggestive conjecture. The author has read largely, and maintained a wide correspondence with distinguished thinkers; and this is his commonplace-book, enriched with brief but not always consistent meditations of his own. The resulting volumes will be found very valuable to those who possess the constructive faculty of which this writer does not here give evidence. Here are stones enough, some rough, some shaped, and timber in abundant beams and planke,—all building materials are here, and a plot of ground is marked out; it only remains for the reader to become his own architect and builder, and the form and use of the edifice will depend on none but himself. Thus the work will prove useful in so far as it incites thought. Writing under the motto Γνωθι σεαυτον- “Know Thyself,” we are led to consider in a preliminary dissertation the origin and constitution of animated beings, the nature of vitality, and of man considered as a being in whom body and soul are distinct, yet united. Then the author treats of the medial nature of man, including sense, emotion, appetite, passion, and affection. Next the moral nature of man, under the heads disposition and character, moral desires and conscience. Finally, the mental nature of man is examined, the classification adopted being the following: the intellectual faculties, understanding, reason, genius, and memory, their correlation and discipline and cultivation. These topics are inviting ones, and the work is rich in learning under every one of these heads. Taking one subject as a sample, we find fifty pages devoted to the conscience, and these are enriched by the opinions, quoted or inwrought, of above forty writers, extending from Plato and Aristotle to Darwin and Herbert Spencer.

It is, however, not made very clear what conscience is. It is “supreme among the moral endowments ;" conscience alone “dictates” “what is right to be done.” It resembles the deliberative council or judicial assemblage in the constitution of a state. It is analogous to the legitimate sway of a constitutional sovereign. It may be compared to a pilot. It is that endowment through which our duty as regards our existence in a future state is discerned. It alone leads to the performance of acts which are wholly and solely consonant to the will of the Divine being. Reason is the leading element or ingredient in the constitution of conscience, and ever assumes the supremacy as being the active or moving principle. There is no ground to conclude that the conscience is an independent, innate faculty such as has been imagined. These are but fragmentary excerpts, which sufficiently indicate one main defect of the work before us : its terms are not always properly defined, and are thus frequently changed in their signification. We refer, however, with great pleasure to the disquisition (vol. ii. p. 137) on conscience regarded as the voice of God in the soul. The text of this section is supplied by the common persuasion embodied by La Placette in the words, Conscience is indeed the gift of God. It is the impression of His hands; and in some manner it supplies His place, whether in directing or in judging us ;" by Milton in these, “ I will place within them as a guide, My umpire, Conscience” and by Shakespeare, when he calls conscience, “This Deity in my bosom;" and the examination of the subject is worthy of careful and sympathetic attention.

In conclusion, we recommend this work to all earnest thinkers, and only to them. It is valuable for much that is contributed by Dr. Harris himself, and for the citations which he gives of authors who uphold or controvert his views. Its very defect, the incompleteness of the author's thinking, will render it a valuable school for the athlete, and for a New Churchman it will prove specially valuable as an incentive to a careful search into those writings in which who seeks shall find clear teaching on the thousand very practical matters which are here the subjects of speculation. Strange it is that so receptive and candid a mind as that of the author should never, as it seems, have made acquaintance with Swedenborg.

W. C. B.

As we grow

THE DUBLIN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE. In that talented periodical, the Dublin University Magazine, there is an article by Kiningale Cook, whose volume of poems, “ Purpose and Passion," we reviewed some time since in the Repository, under the singular title, “ Does God grow ?” We find the object of it is to show that God, so to speak, extends Himself, by producing from Himself and around Him systems of worlds, as the habitations of beings in whom He may live, and to whom He may communicate something of Himself. “In Swedenborg," says the writer, “there is a narration that angels throw off from them existences which they afterwards cherish, thus making out of themselves a life which is not themselves.”

“ If God grows, it is by food. But what is spiritual food ? The natural body grows, and is fed by the assimilation of natural substances ; but how feeds the spirit ? By its life-work. 'My food,' said Jesus, 'is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to achieve His work. In His words we have the keystone of our thought, the idea of the growth of God. ... in noble qualities, and so in our truest self, by every strenuous blow in the direction of good and in the conquest of selfishness that makes us lag, may He not find growth in the development of myriads of His little men, in the blossoming of His countless clustering spheres of angels ? Our meat is to do His will ; that is to do and love. Is not His life and meat to do and love too? . . As we live by Him, has He so far abandoned His central life that He cannot live without us? As love is love, is not creation the necessary complement of the Godhead ? The profoundest insight has shown us the infinite sensitiveness that works the simplest life : Inasmuch as ye did aught to the least of these My brethren, ye did it unto Me.' Does this Fatherly heart, so closely knit to all of us, then grow? Do our hearts grow? then grows His. Man grows in the surrender of cherished selfness, in the domination of personal pride, in the exiling his truest from his apparent self

. If His law be ours, God grows in His wondrous selfabandonment to us, in His ruin of His seclusion to live in us; in His hard-working faculty rather than in an infinite centrality of ease. Man grows by the love that pours into him when he has done well, by the return God makes for every slightest act of labour for godlike purpose. God grows by the infinite coming to blossom and fruit of His grand experiment ; His heart swells with every baby-growth of the love of the children that hang upon His breast; He is joy of their joy, and they joy of His. And in His fullest joy He renounces Himself again, and draws breath of love to pour out from His lungs that life which shall be ten thousand times ten thousand more children, all treading with doubtful steps the old stern path of growth,--all treading, by virtue of freewill eventually finding its own and its best, through the uncounted ages, back to that tender Heart that never ceases to grow in love and to vibrate with new creation.”

We have strung together a number of separate sentences to show the idea which the writer intends to convey by the title of his paper, in which there are some useful thoughts.

537

Miscellaneous.

CHURCH CONGRESS.—This great as- collision, but when two awoke it became sembly of the Episcopal Church has this more difficult, and when three awoke year been held at Croydon in the archi- then there was great danger. We live episcopal diocese of Canterbury. It is in days when all three are awake. the seventeenth of these annual as- There is no set of theologians which is semblies, and the first that has heen not awake and intent on doing its duty presided over by the Primate. The according to its own conviction. Then invited presence of all parties in the the greater is the necessity for toleration Church, and the arrangement to discuss and kindness; but there is one point I the differences of the several schools of will mention which is not so pleasant. theological opinion, led some to expect It is a peculiarity of this nineteenth cenconsiderable excitement and warmth. tury, so apt to vaunt itself of its many This expectation seems to have suggested excellent characteristics, that when war some of the remarks of Canon Lightfoot, breaks out the regular army is attended who preached the introductory sermon, by an undisciplined army of light skirand also of the Archbishop in his opening mishers, sometimes called Bashi. Bazouks, address. In his sermon, the Canon sometimes Cossacks ; but in whatever said—“As disciples of the Incarnate, form they exhibit themselves, the civil. we should rest assured he has much to ized nations of the world say that it teach us, and believe that for the Church is an anachronism that such people there is a future much more glorious should be found in the nineteenth than all that has been in the past. century. Now I don't mean to say There is the cloud now and the whirl- that these skirmishers will be exactly wind, but even now the eye of the faith. reproduced in our ecclesiastical warful can see light beyond. Looking at fare, but still it is as well to take the signs of the present time, there warning. We do not wish to return could be discerned already evidences of to the sort of skirmishing on theothe growth of a greater and wider church, logical subjects which prevailed in the the national giving place gradually to dark ages. the universal. If they would help for- These addresses thus recognize the ward this work they must let mobility, fact that we are entered upon a new spirituality, and universality inspire age, and that the Church has awakened all their efforts, not clinging obstinately from the slumbers into which she had to the decaying nationalism of the past, fallen. The similes employed are those or to its forms, but absorbing new ideas of the scriptural descriptions of the and welcoming now institutions, in all Second Coming of the Lord and the things following the teaching of the descent of the New Jerusalem from God Spirit in the direction of freedom and out of heaven. “Lest coming suddenly, expansion." In like manner, the Arch- He find you sleeping, was a Divine bishop, after strongly urging mutualtole. caution respecting the time of the Lord's ration and kindly consideration of each coming. According to the Archbishop, other's opinions, alluded to “the three a dead sleep had fallen on all parties in phases of thought which had ever existed the Church ; and from this sleep, they within the Church—the first laying are now awaking. “Behold, I make all stress on the deepening of the spiritual things new” is one of the promises of life, the second on the corporate work the New Dispensation and of the brighter of the Church, and the third on the im- and better hope, which is the last great portance of dealing with the intellectual promise of the inspired Word of God. problems of the age. As long as these And although the present state of the three schools were dead, men cared little, Church is a day “known unto the Lord, there was no difficulty in keeping the not day nor night,” yet not a few see, peace; but when one party awoke, beyond the gloom of its contentions and another found an leasant disturbance uncertainties, the dawn of a brighter of its slumber. Yet still when only one day gilding the horizon with its prowas awake, there was but little fear of mised glory.

« AnteriorContinuar »