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RADCLIFFE (near Manchester).-On Wednesday evening, December 4th, a tea-meeting was held in the New Jerusalem Sunday-school, when four hundred persons sat down. After tea a meeting was held, over which Mr. Lowe presided, and on the platform were the Rev. James Boys and a large number of the members of the congregation. The object of the meeting was to take into consideration the advisability of enlarging the present church and raising funds for that object. A very unanimous feeling was expressed that a bazaar committee should at once be formed to carry out the object. During the evening a choir party sang several glees, etc., in a very able manner, Mr. Carter of Bury acting as accompanist. In the course of the evening upwards of £600 was promised in goods and subscriptions, which augurs well for the success of the undertaking.
MELBOURNE (Derbyshire).—At the weekly meeting of the Mutual Improvement class connected with this church, held on Wednesday evening, the 4th of December, Mr. Cook of Derby gave an interesting and instructive lecture
66 'Martin Luther." Mr. Fairweather presided. Mr. Walter Bates and Mr. William Cook, members of the class, made some remarks on the merits of the subject, and a very hearty vote of thanks was accorded the lecturer. Mr. Fairweather delivered during the month of December some Sunday evening lectures on special subjects, the attend ance at which was better than on ordinary occasions. The subjects discussed related to the invisible world, and embraced some of the questions excited by recent publications and controversies on this subject.
On the 11th of December, at the New Jerusalem Church, Spring Bank, Hull, by Mr. J. R. Boyle, Mr. Joseph C. Wray, of Hull, to Ada Hannah, eldest daughter of the late Mr. William Dunlin, of Hull.
Died, on the 12th of November, Mrs. Susanna Upton, aged sixty-nine. She was first made glad by the cheering light of New Church truth under the ministry of our esteemed and venerable friend Mr. William Dean of Loughborough, in Leicestershire, of whom she used to speak in grateful remembrance. She has been a useful and much esteemed member of the Nottingham Society about twenty-six years, and very much might be truly recorded of her unwearied and active, yet unassum. ing, charity and love. Her services in numberless ways were always rendered so willingly, yea, rejoicingly, as to endear her to all, and by some she was greatly beloved. She had her trials, but an abiding trust in the wise and merciful providence of her Father in heaven always gave her confidence and hope. After a brief illness she has finished her earthly life, and has joined the company of the good and blessed who have gone before.
Departed this life,
On the 3rd December 1878, At his residence, Kearsley Mount, Stoneclough (late of Accrington), JOSEPH GRIMSHAW, Esq., In the 56th year of his age.
Departed this life, at his residence, Cheltenham Road, Bristol, Captain J. Cooper, aged 59 years. He was a strong powerful man, and a fine specimen of an English captain, and although physically powerful, he was gentle as a little child, and had qualities which
commended him to love and admiration. He was of an amiable disposition, good understanding, and sound judgment. He was humble and unpretending, and when his sight became impaired through so much exposure to the light of the tropical sun, and he retired from active life, he bore his affliction with great fortitude and patience. He was instructed in the doctrines from childhood, having had the privilege of being one of a third generation in the Church.
THE connection that exists between the natural and the spiritual world, and the communication that takes place between their inhabitants, with the laws that regulate their intercourse, and the uses that result from it, are set forth so clearly and fully in the Writings, that we are relieved of the void and formless notions that so generally prevail on the subject.
The idea of distance, which gives the notion of separation, is produced by one of the conditions of our natural existence. All our natural conceptions are based on space and time; and we cannot help thinking, when we think from nature, that the spiritual world, as being above and beyond the limits of the natural, is far away. Science in this case does not aid us; for the more we know of the extent of the material universe, the farther away must the spiritual world appear. Science may have this good effect: it may lead us to the truth on the subject indirectly. The space between the two worlds being so immense, science alone would say, there can be little or no connection between them; and souls must be unable, on any natural calculation, to wing their flight to a region so incalculably distant. Must there not, then, be some other link of connection between the two worlds than that which space supplies? We have, indeed, in science, evidence of the extraordinary rapidity with which some of the subtler and purer essences of nature can pass through space. Still, time is required; and if the soul could travel many times as rapidly
as light, some thousands of years at least would be needed to enable her to complete her homeward journey.
Simple faith and common perception come to the aid of unsophisticated minds; and that which is impossible to the rich in science becomes easy to the poor in spirit. Yet it is not necessary to close the eyes of the understanding in order to believe that the soul at death passes at once out of the natural into the spiritual world; and that angels and spirits do, in like manner, pass instantaneously out of the spiritual world into the natural.
But even. this is more than it is necessary to think; for the two worlds are so closely connected, that neither human souls, nor ministering angels, nor tempting spirits, need to leave one world to be present in the other. The two worlds are indeed distinct, most distinct in their nature and characteristics, but they are not separate. The soul and the body are most distinct; but the soul dwells in the body; and she finds her envelopment so much one with herself that she sometimes denies her own distinct and possible separate existence, maintaining that she is nothing more than brain power, the happy result of the arrangement and activity of molecular substances.
But a nexus has been found between simple faith and scientific doubt on this momentous subject. Although the natural world is in space the spiritual world is not. All persons and things in the spiritual world are as distinct, and apparently as separate from each other, as are those of the natural world; but theirs are the distinctions and separations of state. These states produce, even in the spiritual world, the appearance of space and also of time; but spaces and times there are not fixed distances and periods of duration. All distances there are dissimilarities of state; all times are progressions of state. In this world the nearest and dearest friends may be separated from each other by space. In the other world those who are in one state are in one place. This is the law which determines all distinctions and separations in the eternal world. Heaven and hell are separate from and opposite to each other, because their states of life are separate and opposite. The heavens are distinct from each other, because the states of the angels are distinct. The same cause produces the existence of distinct societies in each heaven; and even individuality of character as well as of consciousness gives and preserves distinct personality. If two angels could be entirely alike they could not have a separate existence. The Divine infinity prevents this. No two beings can be precisely the same; nor can this be the case through eternity.
Married partners in the other life make the nearest approach to perfect unity. But here their very oneness is grounded in their distinctness. The more perfectly one they become, the greater is their distinct, and their sense of distinct, individuality. Their sense of being their own, and their sense of being each other's, increase and strengthen together. They are related to each other like will and understanding; but the more these are discriminated the more they are united.
The spiritual world being within the natural, in a similar manner to that in which the soul is in the body, though perfectly distinct from it, we are, as to our spirits, in the spiritual world while we live in the natural world, and angels and spirits are in the natural world although they live in the spiritual world. The only difference between man and angels is that the seat of their consciousness is different. Our consciousness as men is in the natural mind, their consciousness is in the spiritual. All that is needed to translate us from earth to heaven, supposing we are heavenly minded, is to raise our consciousness from the body into the soul; and the same change introduces us into the opposite place, if our state is the opposite of heavenly.
While we live in the natural world we are therefore as near to heaven or hell as we can be when we take our departure from it, or close our eyes upon it. And angels or demons are as much our companions now as they will be then.
But while we live in this world we are attended both by angelic and by evil spirits. For we are here working out our regeneration. And in the progress of this work we have to fight against evil and to strive to cultivate and do good; but evil spirits are present in our evil inclinations, and angels are in our good affections and desires, each exerting their influence to determine our choice and draw us in the downward or upward course. Evil spirits are attendant even upon the good, for so long as they have evils to overcome, these evils must be excited, and this is the evil use that evil spirits perform. But the law which makes the good subject to the influence of demons brings the evil under the influence of angels. But if the good are potentially in heaven and the evil in hell, even while they are living in the world, how is it that good and evil angels can be present with both? While angels are in heaven and demons are in hell, and while the good on earth are in heaven and the evil on earth are in hell, there is a region of the spiritual world which is neither heaven nor hell, and which is the common channel by which both of them communicate with men on earth, and through which men communicate with them. This is the
intermediate state, the world of spirits.
It is here that all meet.
Both the angels of heaven and the spirits of hell, while they are in immediate personal connection with man, are in the world of spirits. Not that they leave heaven and hell as local habitations. Where there is no space there is no such removal as we make from place to place. The world of spirits, in relation to the Grand Man, corresponds to the memory. The memory is the basis of all things of the mind, both of the will and the understanding. While we, as inhabitants of the natural world, are, as to our affections, either in heaven or hell, we are, as to our memory, in the world of spirits. It is the common region of memory for all men, in heaven, in earth, and in hell. Although men carry the external memory with them into the other world, and it is never abolished, yet it is quiescent, both with the angels of heaven and with the spirits of hell. The angels of heaven and the spirits of hell who are in association with man, do not, however, in coming into the region of the memory, come into the knowledge and use of their own memory; but they come into the knowledge and use of the memory of the person to whom they are adjoined. Spirits know all a man's memory and thoughts, angels all the ends of his life. Indeed, attendant spirits put on the whole of the man's memory, and are in the persuasion that it is their own, that is to say, they so identify themselves with him that they know no other than that what is his is their own. It is from this circumstance, this law which regulates the intercourse of spirits with men, that evil spirits do not infuse into the mind of their subject any evil and falsity of their own, but only excite those which are in the mind of the person with whom they are associated. Evil spirits cannot, therefore, make us any worse than we are. They may stir up our evils, but in doing this they do what we may turn to our own advantage. The stirring up of our evils enables us to see ourselves as we are, and gives us the opportunity of self-correction; or rather, it enables the attendant angels to excite our good thoughts and affections; and thus gives us the opportunity both of weakening the evil and strengthening the good that are in us.
If in coming into the intermediate state, spirits came into the use of their own memory, they would be dangerous, if not fatal attendants. Instead of the spirit putting on the memory of the man, the man would put on the memory of the spirit; so that, instead of merely exciting the thoughts and concupiscences which he found in the mind of the person with whom he was associated, he would infuse his own, and