« السابقةمتابعة »
NEW JERUSALEM MAGAZINE.
VOL. XI.-ENLARGED SERIES.
PUBLISHED BY THE GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE NEW CHURCH,
SIGNIFIED BY THE NEW JERUSALEM IN THE REVELATION:
AND SOLD BY
C. P. ALVEY, 36, BLOOMSBURY STREET, W.C.
THE RESTORATION OF THE INTELLECTUAL
By the Rev. E. D. RENDELL.
"There shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion, unto the Lord our God."-JEREMIAH XXXi. 6. THE Prophecies of THE WORD may be considered as the anticipated history of the church; and when viewed in this light, we can intelligently connect them with the spiritual purposes of Revelation. The church is an institution for spiritual instruction, founded on the Word; and it is intended to inform us concerning God, Immortality, and a Future Life; also to guide us in the performance of those duties by which the will of the Lord may be done on earth as it is done in heaven. This is a result for which we are taught to pray; and, therefore, it is a blessing for which we are encouraged to hope. It involves the intellectual and practical possession of all those graces which are commonly called faith, charity, and use. But this has not always been the condition of the church with men, because they have not always intelligently received the Divine teachings. The church is obscure when our understanding of the Word is cloudy; it is bright only so far as our perceptions of its truths are clear. We cannot rightly attend to our duties unless we are correctly informed concerning them; and the Word is the primary source of all such knowledge. We cannot "gather grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles." The church, like men, is to be known by its fruits.
These "fruits," in general, may be described as love to God, and charity to man, for the Lord has taught us that "on these two commandments hang all the law and all the prophets." (Matt. xxii. 40.) As there cannot be any ripe fruit without the light and the sunshine, so
there cannot be any true church without the knowledge and the life of those two laws; they are to be accepted as among its chief and primary things. But the moment we begin to reflect upon those two general laws, we at once perceive that they involve a great variety of particular duties: the love of God obviously implying the love of goodness under every conception of it; and charity to man denoting the performance of use under every occasion for it. General laws are observed by the faithful performance of particular uses. The beautiful temple is a successive erection of particular parts; it is raised and decorated by means of specific works; and it is through the variety and harmony of these that it becomes a magnificent whole.
The teachings of the Word are general in the letter, suited to the general conceptions of the natural mind; but they are particular and singular in their spirit, because they are adapted to the interior and higher apprehensions of the spiritual mind. The letter is as a general continent of truth, on which the particular teachings of its spirit rest, and by which they are protected from the rude intrusions of sensual thought. It is said of those who are in such thought, that "they seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand." (Matt. xiii. 13.) "The natural man," says the apostle, "receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (Cor. ii. 14.) But spiritual men remember the Lord's declarationThe words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John vi. 63.)
Now if we take these considerations to our text, we shall at once see that it was not only intended to indicate some general truth, to encourage the church during the prevalence of some unfavourable influences; but also, that it was designed to reveal some spiritual consideration of a particular kind, for men's higher perceptions and greater security.
The whole prediction with which the text is associated is commonly understood to treat of the restoration of Israel. The heading of the chapter in the authorised version so speaks of it. This, however, is not considered to mean the deliverance of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon and their return to Jerusalem. The tribe of Judah did indeed return, and in that event some of the predictions of the Word received an historical fulfilment. But the prophecy is commonly thought to mean, that the Jews, after the establishment of Christianity, will be gathered out of the nations into which they have been scattered, and be returned to Judea, with an acknowledgment of the Lord. We of course should rejoice in their conversion, but do not think that to be a correct view of this prophecy.
THE INTELLECTUAL PRINCIPLE OF THE CHURCH.
The Jews were carried into captivity before that which they experienced in Babylon. It was effected by the invasion and conquests of Shalmanazar king of Assyria, and in that disaster ten of their tribes were lost. They never returned to their native land. The Word furnishes us with no information respecting their subsequent residence and dispersion, and all knowledge concerning them seems to have dropped out of the world's history. Now it is the discovery of those tribes and their restoration to Canaan which are commonly considered as the subjects of the general prediction before us. And, therefore, many expeditions have been undertaken by Christian men to explore various portions of the world with a view to their discovery; but they have all terminated in disappointment. Those tribes cannot be found, simply because, as we believe, they must have ceased to exist as a distinct people. Their captivity was unfavourable to the maintenance of their national and their religious peculiarities. And there can be no well-founded doubt that their descendants, by marriage connection and political influences, gradually lost all hope of nationality, and, therefore, they have finally disappeared from history; consequently all reasonable hope of their restoration to Canaan must be abandoned.
But, it may be asked, if this is a correct view of the case, why then was their restoration predicted? We answer that such predictions were not given to be understood of the people, but of the principles which they had been chosen to represent. The history and the religion of the Jews were types, selected by the Divine Providence to represent the spiritual and intellectual teachings of Christianity. The Apostle expressly tells us that "the law was a shadow of good things to come." (Heb. x. 1.) He furnishes many examples of the allegorical pointings of Jewish history, and expressly tells us that "they are not all Israel which are of Israel." (Rom. ix. 6.) Upon this principle we say that the loss of the ten tribes from among the Jewish people was a figure of the disappearance of some great truths from the Christian church; and that the predictions which speak of their return to Jerusalem, are to be understood of the restoration of those truths to the church. In this view we pass from the letter of the predictions to their spirit: we regard the one as the basis and vehicle of the other, and thus we pass into the expectations of spiritual Christianity.
The return of the Jews to Canaan would not bring them nearer to the Lord. It would not make them more faithful or more religious, for wisdom and holiness are not the results of country nor of climate; those graces do not spring out of geographical locations, nor do they depend upon latitude for their preservation. Men may be as good and