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from this same circumstance that the prophets were clothed in garments of hair, and that John the Baptist, who was more than a prophet," as the forerunner of the Lord, and a representative of the Word itself, was clothed with camel's hair, and girt about the loins with a leathern girdle. The power of the Lord, of which we are now speaking was that which He exercised particularly in His infancy, and generally in the state of His humiliation--the power of resisting evil and overcoming hell. It was that zeal with which He clothed Himself as with a garment, when He trod the wine-press alone; when He trod His enemies in His anger, and trampled them in His fury, and their blood was sprinkled on His garments, and all His raiment was stained; when He redeemed mankind from the power of Satan.
By a third law, the Nazarite was to come at no dead body, nor to make himself unclean for his father or mother, or sister or brother, when they died. When we consider that persons in the Scriptures spiritually mean principles, and that a dead body means a principle that is without any heavenly life, which is consequently an evil or false principle, there is no difficulty in perceiving the purpose of this law. For, as to touch signifies to communicate with, and to receive impressions from that which is touched, this prohibition points out the injury which arises from admitting evil influences, either from our own self hood or from the self hood of others ;—the father and mother signifying the loves of self and of the world, which are the parents of all other evil loves, and the brother and sister denoting the false and evil principles which spring from them. With every mere man these principles are more or less actual ; with the Lord they were only hereditary. No evil which He inherited from His earthly parent ever came into act; so that He alone was without sin. He only, therefore, was the true Nazarite from His mother's womb. Every other one who has passed through the regenerate life has either voluntarily, or by the weakness of human nature, fallen through this law of the Nazariteship; and therefore it is provided that the offender shall offer sacrifice, which is to turn by repentance to the Lord, and consecrate himself anew to Him by the affections of innocence and truth. When we consider the spiritual meaning of father and mother, we can see the reason that the Lord never called Mary by the name of mother, because, although He was indeed her son by nativity, He was never her son by actual life; He never acted from those imperfections which He inherited from her. And when we consider the meaning of touching the dead, we can understand the Lord's words to the disciple who desired, before following Jesus, to be allowed to go and bury his father—"Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.”
If we would separate ourselves from worldly and selfish ends, and devote our heart and life to the service of the Lord who created and redeemed us, we must therefore deny ouselves, by crucifying the lusts of the flesh, and avoiding all that would defile the conscience; and at the same time exercise all due zeal and perseverance in pursuing the course of duty that lies before us. We must have a distinct object in view. Inward conviction must prompt us, and a holy resolution must bind us, as the vow did the Nazarite, to persevere in the state of reformation which is signified by the days of the Nazariteship; and if we are faithful unto the end, we shall come to that more joyous statethe state of actual regeneration, in which we shall be freed from the operation of those restraints which a hard but necessary self-denial had laid upon us, and shall enter upon the enjoyment of that liberty which Truth has purchased, and which Good enables us to enjoy.
When the days of his separation were fulfilled, the Nazarite was to be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer his gifts, to have his hair cut off, and to be released from the obligations which his vow had imposed upon
him. The offerings which were made by the Israelites represented whatever enters into the spiritual worship of the Christian, and which is not merely a confession of sin, but an acknowledgment that all goodness and truth which had been acquired during regeneration, is of the Lord alone. The goodness and truth thus acquired from the Lord, and thus rendered to Him again in devout acknowledgment, were represented by the animals sacrificed, and the bread and oil and wine offered. The animals signify strictly the living affections of faith and charity; the meat and drink, the good and truth by which the life of faith and charity is supported. By worship arising from such a living acknowledgment that all good and all merit belong to God, conjunction, which is signified by a covenant, is effected between the worshipper and the Object worshipped, which introduces the worshipper into a new state. The new state represented in the present instance is the state of regeneration, as distinguished from the state of reformation. The Christian is in a state of reformation so long as he acts from truth, or from a sense of duty, and the great work effected during this state is the putting away of evil; but he is in a state of regeneration when he acts from good, or from the affection of love, and the work effected during this state is the fructification of good and the multiplication of truth. This state, therefore, is a free state, compared with that which precedes it, and which comparatively is a state of bondage. It is however a state of bondage which the Christian imposes upon himself. For he cannot be forced, even by Omnipotence, to move one step in actual reformation ; but he can force himself, and this self-compulsion springs from freedom, and leads to its ultimate and unlimited control. In the case of the Nazarite this was represented by the removal and burning of his hair, and by his being allowed to drink wine.
By hair, we have seen, is signified truth in ultimates, or in its lowest manifestation—in the simplest form it assumes, such as it is in the literal sense of the Word, where the wisdom of God, which is infinite in its origin, is brought down to the apprehensions of the child and of those who think as children. The hair of the Nazarite represented the truth of the Word as thus first apprehended and acted upon, which forms a kind of sensuous faith, which exacts a severe obedience. The shaving of the Nazarite's hair represented the putting away of this first sensuous faith, to be succeeded by a new and spiritual faith,— which is not only understood by the new hair which grew in the place of that which was removed, but by the putting of the hair in the fire which was under the sacrifice of the peace-offering. For the fire upon the altar signified the Divine Love, and the burning or roasting of the things offered on the altar denoted the imbuing the things represented by them with the life of the Lord's love, by which they acquired new and heavenly virtues. Thus what was wholly burnt in the sacred fire upon the altar, was an emblem of what was wholly changed from natural to spiritual, or from spiritual to celestial.
The liberty to drink wine will be understood from the remarks which have been made upon it, in speaking of its prohibition during the period comprehended in the vow. Wine and the grape denoting spiritual and celestial truth, they were only allowed after the first state, because such truth is proper only to the states which follow. And even with regard to the third—the touching of the dead, -the prohibition no longer exists, for the danger has ceased ; and therefore the Lord declared to His disciples after and as a consequence of His resurrection, that “if they should drink any deadly thing, it should not hurt them.” There are different states, therefore, in which things both good and evil affect very differently. In a natural state, we are greatly liable to be infected by the contagious touch of evil, because there is an hereditary predisposition to it; and even where there is natural innocence, it is not always a match for refined duplicity. Innocence requires to be guarded by wisdom to be secure against allurement. Wisdom, spiritually, is innocence, and in this state there is less injury to be apprehended from evil and false principles, because we then can impart of our own good to others without receiving evil from others in return.
In short, when we have attained unto that change of state which the Lord works in the willing and obedient, we are surrounded with a sphere of Divine protection which preserves us from the deceitful influence of evil spirits and the contamination of evil example. And while we ought at all times to have a deep sense of our own weakness and fallibity, we may be strong in the confidence that in the Lord we have liberty and protection. Let us only be careful to use that liberty as not abusing it. Knowing that true liberty consists in being led of the Lord and not of self, and that the Lord leads us by our ends of life, let us carefully preserve these in such simplicity and singleness, as that we shall find supreme delight in serving Him alone.
I PROPOSE in the present article to address myself more particularly to those who have reached that period of life when the powers of the mind have come, either fully or to a considerable extent, to the use of independant action, and when it is of the utmost importance that those powers should be exercised in such a way as that they shall acquire the healthful vigour and fair proportions which are conducive alike to usefulness and happiness. I shall endeavour to point out the manly vigour and feminine grace which the sons and daughters of our homes and of our church should exhibit, and which it must be the ardent wish and devout prayer of every Christian parent, of every friend of humanity, and eminently of every member of the household of faith, that they should fully attain; that, in the beautiful language of the Divine Word,
our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth, and that our daughters may be as corner stones polished after the similitude of a palace."
The strength and beauty of the church depend on the proper development of the characteristic excellencies of her male and female members. The male mind was so constituted by creation as to have its characteristic excellence in wisdom, and the female mind as to have its characteristic excellence in the love of wisdom. The male mind is therefore formed and developed by truth; the female mind by the affection of truth. Yet both of these excellencies may exist in one mind, and must exist in every mind before any good degree of spiritual excellence can be attained. This union of the good and the true in every mind does not destroy the distinctive character of the sexes, since affection is principal in the one, and intelligence is principal in the other. It is not necessary in our remarks to keep this distinction constantly in view, the general principles and rules of life being designed equally for the use of both, though each extracts from them that which is suited to the character of their minds respectively. I shall therefore offer some remarks applicable to both, on the duties, the pleasures, the temptations, the advantages of early life.
1. The younger members of the household of faith whom I address, I assume to have arrived at that period of life when “the world is all before them where to choose;" and on the choice which is now made depends, in a very great measure, the whole experience of after life. In the exercise of freedom and reason, a choice is now to be made of the principles which are to guide them in the conduct of life, and which are to determine their character and their happiness here and hereafter. It is now that previously acquired habits are to be fixed or new ones formed; it is now that friendships are contracted or strengthened which are to exercise a very considerable influence for good or evil, and that attachments of a more tender character are forined, which, far beyond any other, help to determine the whole state of the mind and experience of the life. In these and all other affairs of life, there is need for the discerning and discriminating power of a well-instructed understanding, and still more for the perceptive power of a well-disposed heart. The choice which is made in all subordinate things depends essentially on the principles which are adopted for the regulation of the mind and of the conduct in the higher affairs of life. No principles can guide us aright but those of religion. By forming a true conscience, religion confers on the mind the power of a right determination on every question of good or evil, happiness or unhappiness. It is this which enables us to distinguish our real from our apparent, our eternal from our temporal, interests and happiness. To be able to distinguish between the real and the apparent in these, and to have the principle that enables us to act upon it, is our highest wisdom as well as our highest duty. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” its inmost life; for those only can possess true wisdom to direct them in life, who feel and act under the influence of a will and wisdom above their own, and who place the fear of God far above the fear of men, and the praise of God above the praise of men. Where religion is a first and fixed principle, there will be in civil and moral life the principles of justice and equity, and of honesty and decorum. Honesty is the complex of all moral virtues, and decorum is the form of those virtues. The one is a principle of good-will; the other is the agreeable manner in which that good-will is manifested ;the one is the body; the other is the becoming dress in which it is