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laws of analogy, that man has an internal and an external part, the internal, which is his spirit, constituting the real man. This it is that should bear the image of the heavenly, even “ the Lord from heaven.”
We referred just now to the direct symbolism of Nature. When by their agency the beauties of the spiritual life have been unfolded to the New Churchman, and confirmed in the external plane of the senses, he instinctively knows that truth and goodness are alike active and eternally progressive, and that their orderly development in the life is accompanied with the highest and truest happiness of which we are capable. Happiness, indeed, cannot be contemplated as something passive, any more than the truth and goodness of life which go to make it. If we imagine ourselves--for a moment regarding happiness in its natural and outward degree-in the position of Prince Rasselas, who from his birth upwards had been confined to the beautiful, the “Happy” valley of Amhara,—"the sides of the mountains covered with trees, the banks of the brooks diversified with flowers, every blast shaking spices from the rocks, and every mouth dropping fruits upon the ground”-a sphere in which all the diversities of the world were brought together, all the blessings of nature bountifully supplied and its evils rigorously excluded,—we immediately perceive we should very soon, like the missing prince himself, find all these pleasures cease to please. We would necessarily ask for some new pleasure, if only to realize the pleasure of the journey in quest of it. “I can discover within me," exclaimed the lonely prince, “no power of perception which is not glutted with its proper pleasure, yet I do not feel myself delighted.” Like Alexander the Great, who mourned that he had not a second world to conquer, his soul is not at rest. “ Man surely has," he reasons, “man surely has some latent sense for which this place affords no gratification, or he has some desires distinct from sense, which must be satisfied before he can be happy." Too many there are and have been in every age in this sad state, in which the pleasures of the outward man extinguish and suffocate the interior delights which are those of heaven.
On this subject Mr. Ruskin, who has sometimes penned some stern, if not pleasing truths, in relation to our social life, has recently given his disciples the following unquestionably sound piece of advice : “ Never seek for amusement, but be always ready to be amused. The least thing has play in it-the slightest word wit, when your hands are busy and your heart is free. But if you make the aim of your life amusement, the day will come when all the agonies of a pantomine will not bring you an honest laugh.” It is evident that although there are orderly pleasures provided for the body, they must not be pursued to the exclusion of the equally orderly enjoyments of the soul; and we may readily concur in the vulgar though trite observation that “all play and no work makes Jack a dull boy."
Johnson's picture of Prince Rasselas is eminently suggestive of a higher happiness, and an order of things different to that described, because not a blind search after pleasure,—the joy which accompanies the development of truth and goodness in the regenerating life. It is unknown to one in the position of the prince, or rather in any position in which the aim of life is the pampering of the exteral senses. The one thing needful is that which is absent, the love of the Lord and of the neighbour, a dual love which is ever expansive, in contradistinction to the love of self, which is all absorbing, and instead of expanding, contracts and draws all things to itself, self being the only good considered. How different to this the life of heaven! “It consists in desiring from the heart good for others more than for one's self, and in serving them with a view to their happiness, not from any selfish aim of receiving remuneration, but out of love ” (H. H., 408). This is the ideal to the realization of which we should endeavour to attain. It is imaged forth in the activity of nature, in the picture of “the sides of the mountains covered with trees, the banks of the brooks diversified with flowers, every blast shaking spices from the rocks, and every mouth dropping fruits upon the ground," a picture not understood by the merely external man. At the best, with all his knowledges, he is but as a tree covered with leaves, and bearing not the fruits of the good works of love, charity, and use. His mind cannot grasp the Divine symbolism of the glad foliage, fruit, and flowers of earth.
The leaves of a tree signify rational truths. “Rational truths are those which proximately receive spiritual truths; for the rational faculty of man is the first receptacle of spiritual truths, inasmuch as in the rational mind there is perception of the truth in some form, which the man himself does not see in thought, as he does the things which are under the rational mind in the inferior thought which connects itself with external vision” (A. R., 936). This, as we have seen, is precisely the case with Prince Rasselas. He has “the perception of the truth in some form,” though he does not see the truth in thought, when he says, “ Man surely has some latent sense for which this place affords no gratification, or he has some desires distinct from sense, which must be satisfied before he can be happy." Had he been in the clear perception of the truths of correspondences he would not have lamented his happy position, for it would have enabled him to read the grand lessons conveyed to his mind by means of those beautiful gifts of Nature. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” And as the foliage and fruits of the earth are the garments by which we judge of the qualities of which they are the outward and visible forms, so the words and works of men are garments “ seen and read of all.” Our Saviour says, “ Beware of the scribes, who desire to walk in long robes ” (Luke xx. 46), and they preferred these garments in token of greater gravity than others. An old author has very wisely remarked that if men were only half as earnest in becoming what they would wish others to believe them to be, the world would be much better than it is. Natural simplicity of character is a virtue but rarely met with. Janus is unfortunately the more frequent type of what we see around us ; and it is with reference to this duplicity of character that the Apostle exclaims, “ Can the fig-tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs ? so can · no fountain both yield salt water and fresh (Jas. iii. 12). And he continues, "Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you ? , let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. ... The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (Jas. iii. 13, 17). How true the words of Bailey
“ If each but did what lay within his pow'r,
Nor strove to strain a leaf into a flow'r,
Having glanced at some of the symbols of Nature, we shall next consider those of Art.
H. W. ROBILLIARD.
THE GENERAL CONFERENCE. The meeting of Conference is the event of the year. Conference is our ecclesiastical parliament, that meets to transact the business and order the affairs of the body which it represents. It is a combined effort to secure united action in all that relates to the Church as an external organization, and to promote, as far as this can do it, its internal order and wellbeing. None should be able to understand better than the members of the New Church the nature and use of externals, and the difference between the externals of the Church and the externals of religion. The externals of religion are life and worship. Externals consist of those things that form the body, of which internal things are the soul; and as no soul can exist without a body, neither can the internals of religion and the Church exist without their externals. The externals of religion are life and worship: the externals of the Church are means of life and modes of worship. “The Church is one thing, and religion is another. The Church is called a church from doctrine, and religion is called religion from a life according to doctrine" (A. R.). « The Church teaches the means that lead to eternal life, and introduces man into it, leading him to it by the truths of doctrine, and introducing him into it by the good of life” (T. C. R., 415). This function of the Church does not belong to Conference to direct. It has, strictly speaking, no right to determine what the doctrines of the Church are, or what the Church should teach as doctrine. Otherwise, the Conference or Convention of any and every combined number of congregations in the general body of the Church might declare that to be the doctrine of the Church which others had pronounced to be erroneous, the result of which would be discord and confusion. These are, or belong to, the internals of the Church. The externals of the Church are those which come under the care and direction of Conference. And the Conference, or the representative body of any branch of the Church, can order these externals to suit the genius and habits of the people, or the circumstances under which they live. In doctrine the Church may be, and should be, one, while in externals it may be various. While the Conference has only to deal with the externals of the Church, it has in the exercise of its function a sufficiently wide and important field of operation. Although it does not assume the right of declaring what the doctrines of the Church are, so as to alter them, one, and the most important, of its duties is to see that the members and children of the Church are properly instructed in the doctrines. This duty implies the providing of the proper means and instrumentality for carrying it
these means for promoting the end
out. In these are included a suitable literature, primarily the translation and publication of the Writings, and even of the Scriptures themselves, the building or purchase of schools and churches, and the education of teachers and ministers. We do not mean to say that all these are to be provided by the immediate action of the Conference itself, but only that it should see that they are provided. It should encourage and foster both individual efforts and public institutions that en ploy any of these means for promoting the end which the Conference has in view. One of the earliest impulses of the members of the Church in this country was to diffuse the doctrines by means of education, and some schools were erected and endowments provided for that purpose. We are not sure that these schools and endowments had not some share in producing or helping forward a movement for cheapening instruction, and thus bettering, indirectly as well as directly, the educational condition of the poor. Some would, no doubt, be disposed to call these schools sectarian. If to hold and teach other doctrines than those which are called orthodox, and to form other organizations than that of the State Church, be sectarian, these schools, as well as our whole ecclesiastical machinery, is so. But these do not make a sect, and have nothing necessarily sectarian in them. What is done for the good of souls, and not for increasing the numerical size of an ecclesiastical body, is in the best sense catholic. And these schools, we have no donbt, were catholic. State education, now happily accomplished, has changed the whole aspect of the educational question amongst us; and it will now be a question, What is to be done with the endowments which the Conference holds for the education of poor children? Leaving this to be decided by the intelligence of the Church, as represented by our General Assembly, the education of our children in the heavenly principles of the New Jerusalem is still a matter of the first importance. Domestic instruction and training is the highest form of religious education. But this is not sufficient in all cases. The State school confines itself to secular education, leaving the different religious bodies to give religious instruction. · Should anything be done by the Conference to supply what the State does not impart? The Sunday School must be the main instrument, and more than ever should be an object of attention both as to number and efficiency. Our Sunday School Union, with its co-operative energy and careful supervision, its building fund, its book distribution, its magazine, is a powerful instrument for good, and deserves all praise, and should receive all encouragement. From the subject of schools and teachers for children we pass by a natural gradation to that of churches and ministers for adult members, and not for them only, but