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We see, then, that Religion is the primary source of human happiness, and that it may be viewed under three distinct heads, namely, Speculative Religion; Devotional Religion; and Practical Religion. The first is of no use by itself; for thongh it may yield a transient pleasure of novelty, or a longer gratification by a connection with some extrinsic objects, it can produce no enjoyment durable as eternity. To be of any real use, it must lead to a desire to become what Religion teaches. This will infallibly introduce us to Devotional Religion; and this, again, sought and cultivated in a proper spirit, will as infallibly conduct us to Practical Religion; but negligently attended to, Devotional Religion will die away, recede into Speculative Religion, which will then consist only of “a name to live," a nominal and dead Religion.

Truly happy are they only, who ardently and sincerely cultivate Religion in its fulness; because there will then daily grow within them a holy resemblance to the Lord, which will conjoin them more and more closely with him, and capacitate them to receive greater and greater communications from the Eternal Fountain of true blessedness.

OBED.

THE PRINCIPLES OF SOCIAL INTERCOURSE:
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE CHAIRMAN AT THE LATE

ANNIVERSARY OF THE LONDON SOCIETY FOR PRINTING
THE WORKS OF THE HON. EMANUEL SWEDENBORG.

GENTLEMEN, To enumerate the various motives which operate with mankind for the promotion and preservation of Social Intercourse under every condition of existence, would prove a task of no easy accomplishment; but every one must allow that the gratifications which we experience from it are of so pleasing and so real a kind, as to ensure its permanent influence over human nature, 'even though the motives which more immediately give rise to it, are, too frequently, both trivial and insignificant. The motives, howover, which do so operate with men for maintaining what is called friendly and social intercourse, are divisible into two distinct and opposite classes; one of which includes all such as have re

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spect to selfish considerations merely; while the other embraces all that are of a disinterested and truly enoobling order. : Of the first class we do not think it requisite to say more, than that the proofs are too evident, that they exist and operate to so vast an extent, as to render the existenee and operation of the second class, in the eyes of the multitude, as almost impossible and altogether improbable: and if this sentiment be a prevailing one in regard to our mutual and social intercourse, how much more strongly must it prevail in regard to matters of business, and to the relative duties and offices of society? But what does this doubt, and this scepticism respecting the possibility of motives of a disinterested kind having sway over the minds of any society of men, make manifest to the eye of the more enlightened observer? Nothing less, I answer, than a deeply concealed disbelief of, and disregard for, the principles which are alone the constituents of genuine Christianity.

The danger, moreover, which lurks within the too generally prevailing notion of man's being actuated in all cases by selfish considerations, is of such magnitude, that it both blinds the understanding and hardens the heart of him who entertains it; and it becomes of proportionate concern to every individual, that not only an effectual check should be given to such a debasing sentiment, but that signs of an undeniable kind should be shewn to exist, which render it at once nugatory and fallacious.

But to discover the real motives from which men act, it is requisite thoroughly to understand the nature of the sentiments and religious tenets they may profess, to weigh them in the mind's judgment, and to trace them to their consequences : for by these means do we at once deprive them of the false and alluring glare they may perchance present on their surface. If men would but adopt this mode of examination upon their own sentiments, as freely as they do upon those of others, I think they would have cause to be astonished, in the majority of instances, at the extraordinary delusions under which they have so long laboured.

The very circumstance of man's capability of distinguishing true principles from false ones, by having recourse to those means which are afforded him for the purpose, whether in the way of common perception or rational analysis, ought, we imagine, to

lead to the supposition, that principles do exist, or that doctrines can be inculcated, which, while they will bear the mode of examination above mentioned, will at the same time render evident their own intrinsic worth; just in the same way as gold, in the hands of the assayer, comes forth the purer upon being subjected to those modes of analysis which are instituted for discovering its real value.

And, in truth, such principles and doctrines are at this very time firmly established upon the earth; such actuating forces, if I may so call them, upon man's powers of every degree, whether spiritual, rational, scientific, or sensual, are beginning to take effect; and he is at liberty to weigh, to examine, and to reason upon,

those very principles and sentiments which are constituent of his faith, and declaratory of the real purity of his motives.

A knowledge and a consciousness of this fact enables us to discern more clearly and fully the Infinite Wisdom which is exerted in providing for the necessities of man, and also, to discover that the faculties and powers with which he is gifted by the same aH-wise Being, have their appropriate and correspondent actuating forces constantly operating upon him from without. For seeing that man, by the abuse of these faculties, has invented such notions and sentiments as best accord with, and favour, his innate, perverted tendencies, and thereby has established a code of religious opinions of his own begetting, maintaining that the Scriptures, which he interprets according to his own narrow view of things, are their basis: it is fit time that the thick clouds which have been thus engendered and attracted to the minds of men should be dispersed; and that it should be seen, that means

been orded, in a thousand ways, to bring man into an altogether novel condition of existence, consisting in the free and unrestrained exercise of his mental faculties, whereby they are gradually restored to their primitive and legitimate power of distinguishing rightly and readily between truth and error, good and evil. Under such a state of things, which, every one must allow, exists at the present day, provision might be expected to be made for furnishing the liberated mind with actuating and enlightening principles, suited to the increased receptivity and heightened powers which it enjoys as the consequence of its freedom. And, indeed, if there do exist principles of a more ennobling and exalting kind than othors, what can be more so than those which enlighten the understanding, at the same time that they influence and warm the heart?

Can rational beings desire or look for any higher ones ? can the mind that is divested of all the restraints arising from higotry and prejudice, require any thing more? The answer is plain: and yet! now that principles and doctrines of this nature are spreading slowly but surely through the world, they are nevertheless opposed, calumniated and abused as the ravings of a madman, of a visionary, nay! of an atheist. But, Gentlemen, greater abuse and greater misrepresentation still may be looked for; and we have only to form the most favourable conclusion we can respecting the spirit from which they proceed, and to shew ourselves truly charitable in all things. The nature and source of such a spirit as is at enmity against principles and doctrines that inculcate love towards God and charity towards our neighbour, need not be enquired into; suffice it to say, that the more that spirit becomes manifested, the stronger evidences shall we possess of the truth as well as of the necessity and seasonable appearance of the doctrines and principles in question. These principles, coupled with the acknowledgement of the Being from whom they are primarily derived and continually proceed, must be the fundamental constituents of true religion: and to deny the possibility of their entering vitally into the purposes, thoughts and actions of men, would be to render the name of religion traly ridiculous. Remove fallacious notions and narrow prejudices from the mind, and then inquire into her powers. Inculcate those pure principles with steadiness, and educate the more youthful mind under their guidance, withdrawing it at the same time from bad examples, and what can hinder their entire sway? they will enter into, and animate, all the relative duties which it is incumbent on every member of society to perform; they will regulate and direct every action; they will give a soul to all social intercourse, and render it a thousand times more gratifying and delightful.

But who are they that make charity a secondary.consideration, by regarding it as an effect of religion rather than as the vital and essential cause? They are such as are utterly ignorant of its nature; such as know not how to define it; such as allow the understanding to have no part in religious concerns : well then may

its sacred name have incurred so much obloquy and abuse: well may there exist the divisions and dissensions which do violence to charity, which tear it in pieces and disperse it, as it were, to the four winds. The distorted view which is consequently presented of charity, is one among many of the causes of its being regarded as a dangerous thing whereon to place any reliance; but suffer it to be seen in its own native lustre, let it be viewed in the light which it emits from itself, and will it not appear, nay will it not be cherished, as the most sacred thing intrusted to man's keeping ? Let me give you the view which is presented of charity in the New Church writings—" Charity," say they, “is an internal affection of the soul proceeding from the source of all good, and prompting man to do good and to act uprightly upon all occasions, and in the discharge of every duty, from a pure love of goodness and uprightness, without any regard to reward or recompence." Who can suggest a principle superior to this ?

But, let me now ask, what sort of a faith must that be, which requires the understanding and its derivative powers of reason and science to be deaf, dumb and blind in its imaginary presence? Of what shape ? of what form can it be? Is it some strange kind of airy nothing, which can be talked about and never seen? or doth it possess so soporific and benumbing a quality, that, on imbibing it, all the mental faculties and powers become paralyzed and devoid of sensation ? This cannot be the faith which we are assured sball make us wise with the wisdom that is from above; nor the faith which can render us in any way children of light. What then is the view which the New Church writings furnish of a true faith? It is there said, that faith is essentially nothing else but a complex of truths, which enlighten the understanding, by teaching not only that it is requisite to believe, but also in whom we are to believe, and what we are to believe.

Thus are we enabled to contemplate the principles which are fundamentally constituent of true religion in their own native form and loveliness, and can consequently perceive in what man-, ner they can enter into and vivify all man's faculties, powers, and enjoyments, and how they can render bis motives both pure and disinterested, and at the same time free from any meritorious stain. We are enabled also to understand how a society of individuals can assemble together in social intercourse, for the most useful and exalted of purposes, and can enjoy with the

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