measures of meal,” therefore, denote a full and complete amount of the truth which leads to good. Now if a woman, i.e., the church in man, possessed a full amount of such truth, our uninstructed intelligence would not be likely to imagine that it would make that truth like the kingdom of heaven if we added to it falsity from hell. Nor would it have that effect if such falsity were to be retained, to be eaten, i.e., to be appropriated. But if that falsity were not to be appropriated, if it were to act only as a ferment, and if the result of adding that infernal thing were to be the purification and clarification of truth, then, indeed, we might admit that such an addition would be a blessing. This, in fact, is exactly what takes place in all temptation. Temptation is a combat between truth and evil. It is caused by the exit of evil spirits from hell to man, who excite his evils in opposition to the truths he has acquired from the Word. So that in all temptation the Divine Providence allows to happen what amounts to hiding filthy leaven in good flour. The Lord then allows filthy spirits to act upon truths. But the reason why the Lord does this is not to cause man to appropriate to himself the filthiness of those evil spirits. The reason is that man has already much filthiness of his own, much spiritual carbonic acid, much dregs, and these filthy elements are so mixed up, so combined with what is good and true in man's nature, that they actually do not appear at all until those evil spirits stir them up

and bring them to light. Truths, as first received by man, are tainted with the evils which lie dormant in his unregenerate heart. They are defiled by contact with those evils. This does not appear to be the case, because those dormant evils have entered into a kind of chemical combination with truths, like the carbonic acid in the sugar. Truths, when we first receive them, seem to be so sweet, that we do not imagine them to be combined with evils. Hence the necessity of those truths being subjected to a process of spiritual fermentation. This takes place whenever evil spirits act gently upon us. They are the leaven which we require. They soon throw us into a state of internal commotion. They decompose the seeming unity of our states. The result is separation, although not in all cases the same separation. Perhaps, as in wine, the good is left while the bad is purged away. Or perhaps, as in bread, the bad is retained and the good is dissipated. The result depends on the choice the man then makes.

This process of spiritual fermentation, which thus breaks up the combinations of spiritual elements into their constituent atoms, is very clearly described in the following extract from the writings of

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the Church :- “When man is being reformed, good and evil are let loose together, and then there exists a conflict. If that battle is severe, it is called temptation, but if not, it is like wine or spirituous liquor fermenting. If, then, good conquers, evil with its falsity is removed to the sides, just like the lees falling to the bottom of the vessel, and the good becomes like wine after fermentation, generous, and like clear spirituous liquor. But if evil conquers, good with its truth is removed to the sides, and becomes turbid and foul like unfermented wine and unfermented spirituous liquor. This comparison is made with fermentation, because what is fermented in the Word signifies the falsity of evil” (D. P. 284). And again in the same work—“ Purification is effected in two ways, one by temptations, and the other by fermentations,

spiritual fermentations are effected in many ways,

but in the world, what they are, and how effected, is not known. They are, however, evils and falses together, which, being let into societies, act like ferments put into meal and fermentable liquors, by which heterogeneous things are separated, and homogeneous things are conjoined, and there results what is

pure and clear. This is what is understood by these words of the Lord, — The Kingdom of the Heavens is like unto leaven,'” &c. (D. P. 25).

We see, therefore, that the spiritual fermentation referred to in the text is a kind of gentle temptation. It is so gentle that it goes on unperceived, like the quiet and unnoticed leavening of the three measures of meal.

It is produced by the addition to a mass of mixed, but on the whole sound, conditions of something vile from hell.

Such fermentations may be seen working in societies as well as in individuals. Swedenborg speaks of this phase of the subject in the last extract quoted. Paul also speaks of it in the passages from his epistles above referred to. Such fermentations are not agreeable, but they are necessary. Societies, even of the church, are not always combinations of perfect elements. Bad elements are often combined with the good. The Divine Providence then allows some of the old leaven to introduce itself. This old leaven comes either from the world, from hell, or as was the case with those addressed by Paul, from the old church. But the working of it is scarcely seen even by those who are most immediately concerned. The process goes on quietly and unobtrusively, the good elements are gradually separated from the bad; the bad are thrown off, as it were spontaneously, and the result is a nobler and purer state of society. In this manner does

the Lord raise up His kingdom. “ It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”

This explanation shows us in what sense the kingdom of heaven was compared to the leavening of the three measures of meal. It is not the leaven itself to which that kingdom is compared. But the way in which the Lord's kingdom is produced is compared to the action of the leaven and the result of its presence. Putrid old dough can itself represent nothing but what is from hell. To compare, therefore, as some do, the doctrines of the New Church to leaven, is to blaspheme the holy truths of the Lord's Second Advent. Such a comparison is based on a complete misconception of the Lord's parable and the Apostle's teaching. Both the Lord and the Apostle used leaven in a bad sense. Such a substance is not capable of being used in any sense but a bad one. The “leavening of the whole lump,” of which the Apostle spoke, was the gradual destruction of the new church by the introduction of the spirit and doctrine of the old church. It is a complete falsification of both the Word of God and of the Apostle's meaning, to compare the old church to the three measures of sound flour, and the doctrines of the New Jerusalem to putrid leaven.

Let us therefore be careful, in all our speech and ideas of thought, to avoid what would cause the letter of the Sacred Scriptures to be falsified in our minds. And at the same time let us be on our guard against the introduction of the old leaven of the old church. For there can be no doubt that what the Apostle says is true, and that a very little of that old leaven will by degrees leaven the whole lump, and thus at last destroy the New Church out of our hearts. If, however, under the Divine Providence, any infernal leaven should be permitted to hide itself away in our minds, let it so work, as that it shall

rge out the impurities which still defile us, purging itself out also along therewith, so that we shall finally become, both as individuals and as a church, a wholly "new lump, as we are then unleavened.”


LUKE XV. 4-7.

How much of tenderness and mercy towards His sinful creatures does the Lord manifest in calling those who have strayed from the right way by the gentle appellation of sheep. When one human being

exhibits great ingratitude towards another who has bestowed numerous and substantial benefits upon him, the expression “he is an ungrateful dog," is too often applied to him, and the bitterness of the designation is manifested when we remember that the most ungentle treatment is described by being “ treated like a dog." The contrast between the unmercifulness of man and the


of God is thus made very prominent by the different ways in which those who have received unnumbered mercies without making any return are looked at by, our loving Saviour and an erring fellow-creature. We all know that there is no animal treated with such uniform gentleness as a sheep or lamb. They are driven carefully and tenderly from one pasture to another, guarded with the utmost watchfulness by night and by day, and often brought back on the shoulders of the shepherd when they are found straying, or too weak to keep pace with the rest of the flock.

So the Lord treats all His erring children. He follows them with His loving care, even when they have wandered far from the paths of virtue. The ways by which He does this are manifold. Sometimes He sends those who, having felt the value of their own souls, desire to save those of others, and by their earnest entreaty to lead them to forsake the paths of the destroyer. At other times, the voice of a parent comes with the deep tones of affection, recalling the innocent joys of childhood, the morning and evening prayer said when the tiny hands were clasped whilst kneeling at the mother's knees, and endeavouring, perhaps in vain, to awaken an answering echo in the heart of the beloved child. If these powerful means should fail, and the wanderer appears to be left to himself, the Holy Spirit works more directly on the heart by many secret influences; bringing to the memory some long-forgotten verse of a hymn learnt in childhood, or some text impressed upon the memory when the heart was yet tender, and the conscience not hardened by a sinful course. Oh, how many are the devices by which Infinite Love seeks to bring us all to that happy state so beautifully represented by a flock of sheep resting securely in the fold, and only led in and out to find pasture !

But perhaps some of us may think that we are not “lost sheep,” that our desire is always to be obedient to the Lord, and to attend to the duties of religion both in public and private, and in our daily life. Still we must remember that we are each of us called upon to be shepherds, and to watch over those good and innocent affections which are characterized by sheep. It is on this account that the occupation


of a shepherd is marked with special approbation in several instances in the Holy Word. Of Abel we read that “he was a keeper of sheep,” and that “the Lord had respect to his offering.” Again, we find that the children of Israel, the acknowledged types of God's children, were shepherds. David, the shepherd king, as he is called, was marked out for that exalted position when he was keeping the flock of his father, and it was to shepherds tending their flocks by night that the glad tidings of the birth of a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, were first made known, to teach us that only as we cherish the innocent and gentle disposition of sheep and lambs can our loving Saviour come near to us, and bring peace on earth and good will to men.

We must each then guard the flock in our own hearts from the destruction which angry passions, revengeful feelings, or impure thoughts would bring upon them. Have any of us lost our innocence, our forgiving spirit, our readiness to help others who are needing assistance, our honesty or truthfulness? If so, let us seek earnestly until we find it, which we can only do by repentance and heartfelt prayer to God for the aid of His Holy Spirit to purify us from all uncleanness. Then, when our prayer is answered, and we have found our lost sheep which had been led astray on the mountains of self-love, or the love of the world, let us follow the example of the shepherd in the parable, lay the sheep upon our shoulders, that is, use all our power to recover that which we had lost.

We know how easily bad habits are formed, and that it requires greater strength than any we possess in ourselves to overcome them. If we have given way to idleness, or lying, or any other vicious habit, how difficult we find it to become industrious or truthful! Many and strong must be our efforts to get back to the right way. But let us remember that the Lord and His holy angels are ever ready to help us, and that "greater is He that is for us than they that be against us."

M. S. B.



For forty-six years the Beloved Minister of the New Church, Henry Street, Bath.

In the eternal mansions of the blest,
When he we loved ascended to his rest,
What glorious greetings ! what rejoicing reigned !
For there the Church another victory gained;

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