« ForrigeFortsæt »
together with them; they have also inquired a long time, but in vain ; their intention was to destroy him, for as the delight and blessedness of heaven is to do good to man, and to help forward his eternal salvation, it is the delight of hell to do evil to man, and help forward his eternal ruin; thus heaven and hell are opposite to each other.”
It is to prevent this deadly hatred of evil spirits to man from being carried into effect, that the Lord provides that they shall not be aware of their presence with him; for
“If evil spirits perceived that they were attendant on man, and that they were separate spirits from him, and that they could flow into those things which belong to his body, they would attempt by a thousand means to destroy him; for they hate him with a deadly hatred.” (Ib. 5863.) This implies that these spirits have indeed a general knowledge of the existence of mankind, but it shows us that the specific knowledge of the attendance of particular spirits on particular persons is carefully withheld from them.
But our friend's difficulty is to understand how spirits who are in consort with man, can “observe and perceive what he thinks, what he intends, and what he devises, as clearly and openly as if he were exposed to the view of the whole world,” and yet be ignorant of the fact that they are attendant upon him. It is the very perfection of the knowledge which evil spirits have of all that man knows, that is turned by Divine Providence into a means of keeping them in ignorance of the separate individuality of the persons on whom they are attendant. This seeming paradox is clearly explained :“It has been shown me to the life in what manner spirits flow in with
When they come to him they put on all things of his memory, thus all things which he has learnt and imbibed from infancy; and the spirits suppose these things to be their own; thus they, as it were, act the part of a man with a man. But it is not allowed them to enter further with man than to the interior things which are of the thought and will, not to the exterior things which are of the action and speech; for these come into act by a general influx from the Lord, without the mediation of particular spirits and angels. But spirits, although they act the part of man with man, as to those things which are of the thought and will, still however, do not know that they are attendant on man, by reason that they possess all things of his memory, and believe that these things are not another's, but their own; and by reason also that they would hurt man; for, unless spirits attendant on man believed these things to be their own, they would attempt by every method to destroy man, as to the body and as to the soul, this being infernal delight itself.” (Ib. 6192.) (Enl. Series.—No. 100, vol. ix.]
The author confirms this by his own experience :
There have been spirits attendant on me who supposed that they themselves were they who lived, and that I had life from no other source but from them, thus that they were I. But when they were told that they were separate spirits, and that I also was a spirit as to the interiors, this they could not believe. In order to convince them, they were separated, and thereby it was shewn them that they were spirits by themselves; still they would not believe, obstinately persisting; they went away for a time, and when they returned, were in the same persuasion. Hence it may be manifest that spirits know no other than that the things belonging to the man are their own. But they who are of such a character as obstinately to believe so, are not admitted easily to man, because they cannot be separated without difficulty. A like persuasion indeed is impressed on all other spirits, to the intent that they may be serviceable to man, but with a difference.” (A.C. 6198.)
There are in general two ways in which they can be made serviceable. Man, being so far removed in state from the Lord as the Source of life, and thus of thought and affection, cannot receive the power of willing and thinking but through the agency of spirits; and these spirits must be both evil and good, to give man the power and preserve him in the freedom of thinking and willing either with or against heaven, without which he would not be really human. This is the first and general "evil use" which evil spirits perform to mankind. But they perform a second and subordinate use. By putting on all things of the man's memory, evil spirits are able to excite man's evils, and to bring them to his knowledge, that he may fight against and remove them. But while attendant spirits put on and use all the memory of the person on whom they are attendant, they are not allowed to infuse into him any of their own.
• If it were allowed to spirits to use their own exterior memory, mankind would perish, since every man is ruled of the Lord by spirits and angels; and in case spirits from the exterior memory should flow into man, it would not be possible for him to think from his own memory, but from that of spirits; thus man would no longer enjoy freedom of life and determination in himself as his own, but would be obsessed (or possessed). Such was the nature of obsession in old times.” (Ib. 2477.) For this reason :- -"Evil spirits cannot come near infants, because they have not as yet anything in the memory to put on; wherefore good spirits and angels are attendant upon them.” (Ib. 5887.)
Were spirits to flow into man from their own memory, they would obtain possession of and control even his bodily organs, and be able to make their subjects speak and act as they pleased; they would, therefore, as remarked, take away man's proper freedom and individuality,
“There are at this day many spirits who are desirous to flow in, not only into man's thoughts and affections, but into his speech and actions, thus even into his corporeal organs; when yet the corporeal organs are exempt from the particular influx of spirits and angels, and are ruled by general influx; in other words, when what is thought is determined into speech and what is willed into action, the determination and transition into the body is according to order, and is not ruled by any spirit in particular; for to flow into man's bodily organs is to obsess him.” (Ib. 5990.)
Of this numerous cases are recorded in the Gospel, where we read of spirits casting the persons of their victims into the fire and into the water, and speaking through their organs from their own memory“Our name is Legion, for we are many."
Happily, as we are assured, the spirits of this character, who have gone to their final abode in the lower world, are kept apart, their communication with man being cut off, so that there are no external obsessions at this day. Nevertheless, as numbers of these sensual spirits are constantly entering and passing through the world of spirits, it is no doubt possible that attempts may be made by them to return, as they desire to do, into the natural world, through the sensual nature of still living men. And such attempts are more likely to be successful at the end of a church, or in a transition state from one dispensation to another, in which the present time resembles that of the Lord's first advent. This at least seems certain, if the philosophy of this subject, as given in the Writings, is true, that where men speak and write from the memory of spirits rather than from their own, and act from the dictate of spirits rather than from their own rational judgment, they must be the subjects, for the time, to some degree at least, of external obsession.
There is one chief advantage which man derives from the law, in obedience to which spirits put on all things of the man's memory, and believe them to be their own, Not only does it save man from being practically subjected to the operation of their deadly hatred, but it secures to him their friendship and esteem; for, as evil spirits love and esteem everything that belongs to themselves, therefore, in loving and esteeming those things in man which they believe to be their own, they love and esteem the man himself. (H.H. 292.) In this way, him whom they malignantly hate and desire to destroy, they are compelled unknowingly to cherish and respect. True, that in cherishing and respecting him, they cherish and respect his evils and errors, and are hence in opposition to the attendant angels who cherish and esteem his goodnesses and truths; but even in this they are made unconsciously and unwillingly to contribute to man's best interests, for the evils which they thus excite and defend against the principles which the angels maintain, are removed with their own defeat, which never fails to be the result of temptation conflicts, when man is faithful to the Lord and to himself.
But there is another side of this instructive subject which remains to be noticed. Although “the spirits attendant on man do not know that they are so," yet, “ the angels from the Lord know this." (A.C. 5863 ) And it is interesting to see that the opposite character of man's spiritual attendants is providentially made to result in these different effects. The selfish character of evil spirits keeps them in ignorance of their presence with man, while the unselfish character of angels makes them aware of their being ministering spirits to their yet toiling brethren
Evil produces in one class the persistent belief in a fallacy, goodness gives the other a perception of the truth ; and the purposes of the Divine Benevolence are advanced both by the fallacy and the truth. Evil spirits can be willingly kept in ignorance of their presence with man, for, being in the desire of claiming all man's possessions as their own, they eagerly identify him with themselves; angels, on the contrary, disclaiming the authorship and ownership of what is good and true, even when they themselves possess it, they have no desire, but have an aversion, to laying claim to man's mental possessions as their own. Being in the desire, they are therefore in the condition, to recognise man's separate existence, and to respect bis individuality. The knowledge of their being attendant on man enables them to perform the uses of their office as guardians of his priceless soul. For amongst their various uses," the angels attentively and continually observe what the evil spirits and genii attendant on man are int nding and attempting; and as far as man suffers it, they bend evils into goods, or to goods, or towards goods.” (16. 5980.)
They especially call forth the goods and truths appertaining to man, and oppose
them to the evils and falsities wbich the evil spirits excite. Hence, man is in the midst, nor does he perceive the evil or the good; and because he is in the midst, he is in the freedom of committing himself either to the one or to the other. By such offices, the angels from the Lord lead and protect man, and this every moment and every moment of a moment; for if the angels should only intermit their office a single instant, man would be plunged into evil, from which it would be impossible for him afterwards to be extricated. These offices the angels perform from the love which they derive from the Lord, for they perceive nothing more delightful and more happy than to remove evils from man ; that they herein have their joy, appears from Luke xv. 7 (that there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth'). That the Lord has
such care for man, and this continually, from the first stamen of his life to the last, and afterwards to eternity, scarcely any one believes.” (A.C. 5992.)
Such are some of the particulars of that economy under which we live, as beings who are in constant and close communion with spirits and angels. We cannot fail to see in it, as in every part of the Divine government of which we are the favoured subjects, the clearest evidences of wisdom and benevolence. And, if we would realize the benefits which a merciful Providence designs to confer upon us, through the agency of these attendants, who connect us with another world, and are striving to lead us, the one to the kingdom of light and the other to the kingdom of darkness, we must wisely use the freedom we enjoy, by choosing the good and refusing the evil.
years of age, an old clerk, and an old ESSAYS AND REVIEWS AND THE COURT crier of the court; the latter officers OF ARCHES.-As the questions arising probably well able to offer opinions de out of the celebrated publication with vino, though we should not be inclined the above title are by no means settled to lay much stress upon their judgments in the theological world, and as the on matters doctrinal. Then there are clergy seem far more to depend upon one or two, sometimes three lawyers on the Court of Arches to defend the Church each side, with a few old books, and halfof England, than upon any satisfactory a-dozen spectators, and there you have refutations they can offer, we consider the Court of Arches. it may not be without interest to our On the decisions of this court depend readers to describe the practical working the positions and incomes of probably of this Court of Arches, as we have 13,000 clergymen of the Church of observed it on the occasion of the trials England. both of Mr. Heath and of Dr. Williams. The very essence of this court seems The Court of Arches tries cases involv- to be delay. The sense of shade and ing questions about ships, and questions death that comes over one, in watching about doctrines. A curious connexion the proceedings of such a body, is painof things, certainly, but perhaps involv- ful indeed. It seems as if one were in ing one of those occult instances of a cave, and witnessing incantations. It connexion by correspondence, which are is the valley of dry bones—the place of to be met with everywhere, but of which a skull. The old judge, Dr. Lushington, the subjects are quite unconscious. See on the occasion of the trial of Mr. Heath, the black gowns of the preachers of faith commenced his remarks by the observaalone, the dragons on church spires, and tion,—“We are not here to enquire into the refusal of wine to the laity in the the truth: we are here only to decide Romish church. Well, ships and doc- as to the doctrine of the Church of trine are committed to the Court of England.” Pretty nearly the truth, no Arches. The proper seat of that court doubt, but a sad truth, and one that is in the dingiest room of that dingy old corresponds only with the apathy of a neighbourhood Doctors Commons, be- dead state of the people. The case of tween St. Paul's and the river. Let Dr. Williams was not heard at Doctors our readers figure to themselves an old Commons, but, from some cause, the room capable of holding 100 persons, court was transferred to a much more with black wainscotting, covered with eligible locality in Westminster Hall, the escutcheons, but all faded and indistinct, Vice-Chancellor's court. The spectators an old gentleman for judge at least eighty too were more in number, probably 30.