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There is evidence that in what is called the Drift period flint implements were made by men in these islands who were contemporary with the mammoth. There have been, it would seem, very distinct periods in the unwritten history of our race. These are indicated by the kind of implements made and used, such as rude and then polished instruments of stone, then others of bronze, and then 'of iron, at a period when European history begins. During the era of polished stone tools, we find that in Switzerland and elsewhere the edges of lakes were set round with huts, which, built on piles, had the waters of the lake as a natural moat for their isolation. Some of these lake-dwellings still existed, we are told, at the time of the Roman dominion. Other and more ancient evidences of man and his ways are found in the “kitchenmiddens,” or vast shell heaps, first examined in Denmark, but not confined to the Old World. Once more, we learn that many borings have been made in the Nile valley to a depth of sixty feet, and even at that depth fragments of pottery are still found. If it be true that the deposit of mud in this valley takes place at a rate of only a few inches in a century, it becomes a significant fact that at a depth of 60 feet relics of the potter's art are discovered.
It is apparently certain that man has existed for milleniums longer than our fathers supposed. The next question is as to the condition of these ancestors of men. Here we quote from Mr. Tylor's article on Anthropology in the Encyclopædia Britannica, ninth edition :—"Till of late it was a commonly received opinion that the early state of mankind was one of comparatively high culture. .... At present, however, the view has become paramount that the civilization of the world has been gradually developed from an original stone age culture, such as characterizes modern savage life. .... The evidence of comparative philology corroborates this judgment.” So far good. So far the evidence is that man's original condition was but little different in general appearance from that of the beasts that perish. This agrees with that theology which begins by asserting that man's mental, or rather spiritual, state was without form and void. But this theology speaks also of a prehistoric state of man, when a race, or perhaps races, called Adam were brought into a high state of spiritual intelligence, from which there has been a continual fall, except where Christianity has led to a re-ascending development. If this be true, we should expect two results, namely, that the human history has not been the record of a uniform slow ascent, and that, on the contrary, the record for many centuries back has, on the whole, been a record of decline and fall.
(To be continued.)
MAN CANNOT BE FORMED FOR HEAVEN EXCEPT BY
MEANS OF THE WORLD.
This statement in Heaven and Hell, No. 360, deserves the name that has been given to this and similar pithy sayings of Swedenborg, of “ Concentrated Essence of Theology.” It summarizes grandly and definitely the purpose of human existence, and throws a flood of light upon many of the doctrines of the Christian Church. It teaches us in one brief sentence the relationship between our life here and our life hereafter-between time and eternity. This world is a preparatory world. Yet fleeting though it be, its results are eternal. Our life here is a fading flower, but the flower ere it fades becomes the parent of immortality ; our life here is short and fleeting, but its achievements are eternal; our life here is a battle-ground, but the victories we win are on behalf of an endless peace in our Father's house above.
The great object of creation is the formation of a heaven from the human race; the great purpose of Redemption was to clear away spiritual obstructions which long ages of sin had placed in the pathway to heaven; the great aim of Divine Providence is to overrule all the events of human life, that we may be induced to travel on the heavenly pathway; and the great mission of the Word is to point out the way thither. Everything that we can learn of the Divine nature and attributes points to heaven as the goal of human life. This will be admitted as a general principle by nearly all sections of the Christian Church—except that miserable section which delights in holding out the prospect of inevitable eternal torment to the great mass of humanity, and that increasing section which, revolting from the orthodox doctrine of hell-fire, has sought to solve the problem of the future of the wicked by linking their (the wicked's) destiny with that of heathens, children, and infants, as a destiny of nothingness, a future without consciousness. We do not propose now to examine into these theories, but rather to expound the true doctrine of the Church as presented in the extract at the head of this paper.
But though heaven is generally recognized as the Divinely-appointed destiny of the human race, it is not so generally acknowledged that “ man cannot be formed for heaven except by means of the world." People have, from not understanding the laws of Divine order in relation to human liberty and reason, frequently cherished the idea
that God can, and often does, introduce men into the life of heaven when their life in this world has been utterly opposed to heavenliness
—the great change being wrought in a moment, the last moment of earthly life—by the irresistible influence of the Holy Ghost. Hence the most urgent appeals have been made in Christian pulpits and in sick-rooms, to ensure such a belief in the blood of Christ as will ensure a “ Christian death.” Far better would it be for earnestness to be manifested in the incubation of a “ Christian life.” This is the great want of the Church and the world.
Christians are not made by withdrawal from the world, but by performing the duties devolving upon us in the world, as feeling that earth should be subordinate to heaven, a feeling that will constantly urge us to shun evils as sins, and to love mercy and do justly, and walk humbly with our God. There is a ghastly mockery in the scene that has often been witnessed, and afterwards spoken of as a triumph of Christian grace, of some old sinner who has during life, and health, and strength, taken his fill of the pleasures of sensual life, in contempt of the requirements of morality and religion, when he lies at the point of death, when he has neither strength nor opportunity to indulge in such pleasures, being exhorted voluntarily to renounce the Devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh. The whole affair is a mockery, alike of religion and those who are led to trust themselves in fancied security! It is quite time that, as members of the New Church, we should speak out plainly against all those sentimental feelings and false doctrines which tend to encourage men to cheat the Lord during life, under the idea that at the moment of death they will be able to cheat their master the Devil. This may seem strong language, but we believe it is fully justified by the facts every day made apparent.
Man requires to be “formed” for heaven, and this formation must be gradual. Man must grow into a heavenly form : “first the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear,” is the law regulating the growth of the fruits of goodness from the seeds of truth. Man must be builded up into a temple of the living God; truth upon truth must be cemented together by the affections of holy love. “ Precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little." Man must spiritually pass through the various stages of the new birth (“ye must be born again"), infancy (" as new-born babes desiring the sincere milk of the Word”) and childhood (“except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven"), before he can “come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect Man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
The teaching of the Word is very clear upon this subject. The kingdom of heaven can only be formed within us by the systematic shunning of evils as sins against God, and the bringing forth fruit meet for repentance. Though this may not seem a very comforting and consoling doctrine to those who so dearly love the evils of the world as to wish to remain in them as long as they possibly can, even to the extent of risking the chance of having a brief space at the last to entreat the mercy of God, IT IS TRUE, and we must not be so foolish as to cry, “Peace! peace ! where there is no peace.”
As we resist every temptation that would cause us to forget our great destiny; as we humbly yet earnestly shun evils as sins against God; as we loyally obey the truths opened out to us; as we faithfully perform the duties devolving upon us in the station of life to which we are called, we lay the foundations of heavenly blessedness deep within our hearts. There is nothing " sensational” in this method; but it is truly the good old way that leads to eternal life, for “man cannot be formed for heaven except by means of the world.”
OBSERVATIONS DURING A TOUR IN FRANCE AND
ITALY. HAVING recently returned from my autumnal vacation, and having had the kindly assurance from many friends that the previous accounts of my travels have interested, if they have not edified them, I take the opportunity of placing the remarks that have been suggested to me at your disposal.
I have stated, I think, on a former occasion that for many visits I have not cared to stay in Paris. It is a magnificent, luxurious, and doubtless a very interesting and important city, but I know it well from frequent visits, and residing ordinarily in a still mightier metropolis, quieter scenes in the interior of the country have long been to me much more attractive. I usually, therefore, cross the Channel and get to Dieppe and Paris the same day, if I do not remain a day at Rouen, which well repays the traveller for such a pause, and a stay at which is provided for in your ordinary ticket for Paris by Newhaven. By taking the night boat I arrived the next day at noon in Paris, passed to the station for Lyons and the Mediterranean, and got in good time the same evening to Dijon, the capital of Burgundy.
Dijon is pleasantly situated in a fertile country, has a noble palace for the municipality, formerly the residence of the powerful dukes of Burgundy, equal to kings. There is a goodly park in what was formerly the property of the princes of Condé, now free to the inhabitants. There are excellent schools in the city, and some fine old churches. There is also a well-filled picture-gallery and museum. Dijon would be a pleasant place for a family to reside for a time that required means of instruction for their children, and experience of French life, for few foreigners, as a rule, reside there. I spent Sunday in Dijon; and on enquiring for the French Protestant place of worship, was told the Protestants were allowed to have a large room in the ducal palace for a chapel.
I have attended French Protestant worship in many parts of France, and have often found the Protestants receiving very liberal treatment on the part of the authorities. At Epernay they met in the town hall; at Grenoble the municipality granted 30,000 francs, I believe it was, towards the building of their new Temple ; at Tours, Rheims, Lyons, and elsewhere, and here was a congregation worshipping in the old palace of the dukes. I went to the service. There was a very suitable room, a pulpit and harmonium. The congregation was about fifty in number, and the preacher a grave, scholarly, gentlemanly man in a black clerical robe. The sermon was earnest and good, founded on a text taken from the epistles. As the congregation went out, contributions were taken. All was very orderly and very respectable, and such has been the case wherever I have attended Protestant worship in France; but somehow the Protestants seem to have very slight hold of the people. They have had a noble history in France, a succession, a long line of great, faithful, and eloquent men, but their impression on, the mass of the people is very slight.
They have suffered, they have endured, they have fairly won the position they now hold, but I wish it were a thousand times more popular. Their worship is respectable, but tame. They have no liturgy in which all the people can join. The minister enters, and a hymn is sung, and afterwards the minister prays, while the people stand. The prayer is in very correct language, and very long. It is, in fact, a short sermon with the eyes shut. Then another hymn, a