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angels, and conjunction with the Lord, are brought under view, in a still stronger light, by the following extract:-"Man, during his abode in the world, ought to live in the practice of external worship; for by external worship things internal are excited, and by external worship things external are kept in a state of sanctity, so that internal things may flow in. Moreover, man is hereby initiated into knowledges, and prepared to receive things celestial, and is also gifted with states of sanctity, though he be ignorant thereof, which states are preserved by the Lord for his use in eternal life; for in another life all his states of life return." (A. C. 1,618.) What immense benefits are here presented to our notice as the happy result of due attention to external worship! Who that has a heart to feel their worth, would neglect this sacred and every way profitable duty? And who that reflects upon these blessings can be so heartless as to mark his conduct by frequent absence, or by habitually coming late? Let us look again at these benefits, and endeavour to form a just estimate of their value. First, the internal things previously implanted of the Lord, are moved to activity; secondly, the external man becomes the subject of a holy state: thirdly, internal things flow in, consequently, there is free communication between the internal man and the external, and of both with angels and the Lord; fourthly, new saving knowledges are communicated; fifthly, the mind is thus more and more prepared to receive celestial influences; and, sixthly, the Lord gives states of sanctity, and preserves them for the worshipper's use in that world wherein he is to enjoy an eternal sabbath. What stronger inducements, brethren, can we require to ensure a constant attention and obedience to the calls of duty? Here is no room for excuses, such, for instance, as the plea, that in attending worship, "we learn nothing;" or, we are not interested;" or, we are not conscious of these benefits;" for it is said, "Man is gifted with states of sanctity, though he be ignorant thereof," and that these states are "preserved;" therefore, the non-consciousness of the benefits is no proof that we have not received them; and the certainty that, if we are sincere and faithful, states of sanctity will be given, be preserved, and become conscious after death, surely ought to be sufficient encouragement to cast away all excuses and indifference. Let each of us, then, seriously ask himself, “Do I avail myself of the afforded opportunities to associate thus with others for the worship of the Lord? Am I regularly at the house of God, and at the appointed time, or only occasionally, and a late comer? When there, do I enter into the service with humility, earnestness, and delight; or do my affections and thoughts wander into lower subjects and inferior associations?
You are aware, dear brethren, how emphatically the Lord said to his disciples, "What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch ;" and since, with respect to the mental states above referred to, our progression or retrogression depends, in no small degree, upon the quality of our choice as to what we read, and with whom we associate, let us carefully watch over this choice, bearing in mind that every voluntary step we take, either " prepares the way to admit the Lord into the lower regions of the mind," or closes the way, and prevents his entrance, which is certainly a most solemn consideration.
Finally, when speaking of the first and second states of regeneration, Swedenborg observes, that in the former "the influx of truth divine is immediate,” and that man then "perceives truth and is led by truth;" but in the latter state the influx is both "immediate and mediate,” and then "good is perceived, because the mediate influx is into the external sensual principle of man," and he is then "led of the Lord by good, and it is delightful and blessed to him to do it." He is then “in the life of good, and is in heaven, for the universal ruling principle in heaven is goodness; the truth of faith leads man to good, thus to heaven, but does not set him in heaven. The reason is, because in the other life, all are consociated according to the life of the will, and not according to the life of the understanding; for where will is, there is understanding, but not vice versa. In the other life every one is led according to his own willprinciple which he has acquired in the world. (A. C. 8,701.)
To conclude, dear brethren, let this practical doctrine be fully established within you by the following words of the Lord :-" Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you. A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John xiii. 34, 35; xv. 13, 14.)
With sincere desire that we may be ever watchful to keep this mark of true discipleship in practical remembrance,
On behalf of the General Conference,
Your faithful servant in the cause of truth,
"PRAY YE THAT YOUR FLIGHT BE NOT IN THE WINTER, NEITHER ON THE SABBATH DAY."-MATT. XXIV. 20.
In this chapter the Lord foretels the entire destruction of the church He came to establish. As the Jewish church had come to its consummation, so that the Lord, as the Son of Man,-as the divine Truth itself from which the church exists,-" had not where to lay His head;" so, at the consummation of the Christian church, the Son of Man, when he should come, "would not find faith upon the earth." (Luke xviii. 8.) Many suppose that these predictions of the Lord have reference only to the literal destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Titus; but although there are some things in the letter which appear coincident with that destruction, yet there are very many, as all commentators have acknowleged, which cannot be construed into a reference to that event, and, therefore, it has been generally admitted that the entire series of divine predictions contained in this chapter have relation to the decline, fall, and consummation of the first Christian church which the Lord established; after which He would come again to establish a New Church, denoted by the New Jerusalem in the Revelation, in which He, in His Divine Humanity, would be acknowledged as all in all.
A church does not arrive at its consummation until "one stone in the buildings of the temple is not left standing upon another," or until there is an utter desolation of those divine principles of love and of faith which constitute the church. The temple, about which the disciples inquired, represents the Lord in His Humanity. This is abundantly evident from what the Lord said of the temple, in John ii. 21, where it is expressly declared that He spake of the temple of His body. There being "not one stone left upon another which should not be thrown down," denotes the utter destruction of all faith in the Lord's Humanity as being divine,-in which all the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily,-who hath ascended far above all heavens that He might fill all things;-who hath all power in heaven and on earth,-who hath the keys of hell and of death, who openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, and who alone giveth the blessings and felicities of eternal life. (Rev. ii. 7, 11, 17, 28.)
The slightest elevation of thought as to the object and tendency of revealed Truth might teach us that the events of mere history, relating only to the affairs of this life, are, as primary objects, far beneath the dignity of revealed wisdom, which can only contemplate eternal objects and ends, and not those which are temporal, except in so far as they can
be made conducive to the attainment of heavenly and eternal ends, or to the salvation of mankind. The Word of the Lord relates primarily to His kingdom, and as His kingdom is not of this world," so it may be said in like manner, that His Word is not of this world; hence it does not relate in its primary or spiritual sense to the revolutions of earthly polities, or the subversion of earthly governments, or the destruction of earthly cities; although these events may serve, according to the laws of correspondence between things natural and spiritual, as the external types of the destruction of churches, and of those judgments in the spiritual world by which that destruction is accomplished. Thus by the destruction of Jerusalem and the abrogation of the Jewish system of worship, and the dispersion of the Jews, the total destruction of the Jewish dispensation was effected, and thereby was likewise represented, in the divine predictions of the Lord in Matt. xxiv., the entire consummation of the first Christian church.
Although, as stated above, some things in the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Titus appear to coincide with the Lord's predictions, there are, nevertheless, many particulars in the divine record which do not coincide, and which have constrained all commentators to admit that these divine predictions have an ulterior object not yet accomplished. This ulterior object can only be understood by a knowledge of the spiritual sense of the Word, which in these latter days has been so mercifully vouchsafed to the church, and by which we can clearly see the object, scope, and end of the Lord's predictions. Thus the true nature of these predictions being only understood from the spiritual sense, we may readily see how immensely important a knowledge of the spiritual sense is; inasmuch as little or no practical profit can arise unless we understand the Scriptures, and see their application to our own states as well as to the states of the church in general. For the Word of God is infinite and universal, comprising all states of the church in the aggregate, and all states of the human mind in particular. Thus the utter desolation of the church in the unregenerate mind, especially at the time of death and judgment, which we know is one of the immediate consequences of death, is especially described in these divine predictions of the Lord. The inestimable value of the spiritual sense of the Word is especially seen in the fact, that it brings every prophecy, as well as every precept, closely home to the heart and life of the individual, so that he there sees the history either of his regenerate or of his unregenerate state; his regenerate state being portrayed to him in those prophecies which describe the church in states of faithfulness and obedience, and in consequent glory and happiness; and his
unregenerate state depicted in those prophecies which describe the church in ruin and desolation. Thus the Word spiritually understood is a constant source of life and light to the mind," a fountain of living waters."
When, therefore, the Lord, in the series of prophecies relating to the fall and consummation of the church, says, “Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath Day," we may be certain that there is some very important instruction conveyed, which it is of the utmost consequence to know. The merely literal sense of the passage, that the disciples were to pray that when the siege took place it might not be in the winter, must appear to the devout and reflecting mind too insignificant an exposition to be worthy of the divine Truth, which ever. contemplates eternal ends. There is a winter of the soul as well as of the body; and the ulterior, or rather the primary object of which commentators speak, as being involved in these predictions, is to warn us against taking our departure from this life in the winter of the soul,-in that state in which all the affections of the heart are cold and dead to everything spiritual and heavenly,-when the chill of spiritual death has benumbed and frozen every emotion of love and charity in the soul (Matt. xxiv, 12,)-when a cold-hearted selfishness has taken possession of the mind, and congealed and contracted all its sensibilities for good, and all its disinterested love of truth. This indeed is a dreadful winter, and we should earnestly pray that our flight,—our departure out of the desolated state of the church in this world into the eternal world, may. not be in this wintry state. Thus it is that the Lord's words are of universal application. All His disciples, all the members of His church, have now and at all times most earnestly to pray that death and judgment may not overtake them in this winter state. As to our departure out of this world, it is obvious that we have no control over the time when it is to take place; whether it be in summer or in winter is not of our appointment. But we have, through Divine Mercy and Power, a control over our states, so that by earnest prayer, selfdenial, and sincere repentance, we can cultivate the states represented by the beautiful spring, the glowing summer, and the fruitful autumn, and avoid the cold, dismal, death-like states of winter. We all, indeed, have to pass through these winter states during the process of regeneration, when states of coldness as to things spiritual and heavenly will come upon us; when temptations and trials will assail us, when " we should hasten our escape from the windy storm and tempest." (Ps. lv. 8.) As the people of Israel had to pass through the desert before they could arrive at the “land flowing with milk and honey,"—as the Lord Himself