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phere it constantly breathes. "The structure of the Tabernacle," says Professor Plumptre, "was obviously determined by a complex and profound symbolism, but its meaning remains one of the things at which we can but dimly guess. . . We cannot but believe that as each portion of the wonderful order rose before the inward eye of the lawgiver, it must have embodied distinctly manifold truths which he apprehended himself, and sought to communicate to others. It entered, indeed, into the order of a divine education for Moses and for Israel, --an education by means of symbols. . . . The material, not less than the forms, in the Holy of Holies, was significant. The acacia, or shittim, least liable of woods then procurable to decay, might well represent the imperishableness of Divine Truth, and of the laws of Deity." Here it becomes important to remember that totally different Hebrew words are employed where the Authorized Version uses simply "Ark" to denote that of the Covenant, Noah's "Ark," and the "ark" in which the infant Moses was laid before concealment among the bulrushes.
That the acacia stands, in the world of God's visible works, as the representative of something very sweet and precious that pertains to the heart, something to thank Him for, and to trust in Him for, we may be sure, or He would not have told us that, if faithful to His law, it should be awarded as a benison and a blessing. The words will bear quoting anew: "I will plant in the wilderness the acacia and the myrtle, . . . that they may see, and know, and consider, that the hand of the Lord hath done this." They must needs refer to some excellent gift to His Church, that is to say, to men who seek to have the kingdom of heaven "within" them, or the words would be void. of practical bearing, and if not practical, and for everyday application, what is the use of a text at all?
(To be continued.)
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL.
II. OUR DUTIES TO THE YOUNG.
BY THE REV. W. BATES.
Is there any difficulty in seeing what is the most exalted use we can perform? Does it not appear as in noon-day light, that it is the instruction and training of the young? There is no doubt we all
1 Smith's Dictionary of the Bible,-Article "Tabernacle," vol. iii. p. 1416.
agree that it is the noblest, most sacred, and most responsible duty which devolves upon us. But out of this arise two questions, viz. :— What is the nature of that duty? and as a church individually and collectively, What is our special duty? The question of our complete duty I should neither have time on the present occasion, nor would it be in keeping with our object to-day, and the title of my essay, to attempt to shew. Suffice it to say that it is the common one of all people, therefore it is our duty to consider and provide for their physical, moral, and social welfare to the best of our knowledge and ability. It is my object on this occasion to endeavour to shew what I consider to be our special duty as New Church people to the young.
The speciality of our duty arises out of the circumstance that we are possessors of special light, "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required" (Luke xii. 48). By a wonderful and allwise Providence, in which we believe, yet cannot entirely see through, we have been led to see and perceive the coming light in this the dawn of a new day, which is destined to flood the world with its glory, and it thereby becomes incumbent upon us to endeavour to awaken others, so that they may open their intellectual eyes to behold it, and that they may live in it. When the understanding is opened and clear, it admits and perceives the numerous rays of truth which light up, discover, and open every faculty of the whole man, and form within him the kingdom. "If thine eye be single (looks to the Lord alone) thy whole body shall be full of light" (Matt. vi. 22). And the sublimest feature of these heavenly doctrines is their infinite adaptability to every capacity and degree of mind; thus while they contain inexhaustible stores of wisdom, from which even the highest angels may ever derive new glories and delights, they reach down in simplicity and beauty to the apperception of children of tender years. The supreme medium by which the Lord thus accommodates His Wisdom to all, is the Divine word, which, by its successive degrees of birth, natural, spiritual, celestial, as by a grand stair-way, such as Jacob saw, the angels of heaven, and the men and women of the Church, can ascend and descend in kindly ministrations to all around them. Our knowledge of this ascending and descending pathway of truth gives us the power, and imposes upon us the duty, of teaching them to others, so that they may be enabled to walk in the way and enjoy the light of life. And the reason why we should specially strive to inseminate these knowledges into the minds of the young, is because the young are most open to receive them, being willing to
learn and free from the error which is generated by evil, and because knowledges are absolutely necessary to form the first or natural-rational mind, which is like fruit containing seeds, which in process of time becomes superseded by "the second or spiritual-rational mind, with which man is gifted by the Lord when he is regenerated, and which is like the same fruit in good ground, in which there is a decay, or rotting of those parts which encompass the seeds, and the seeds themselves shoot forth from their inmost parts, and emit a root, and also a stem above ground, which grows into a new tree, and unfolds itself, till at length it is multiplied into new fruits, and afterwards into gardens and paradises according to the affections of good and of truth which are received" (see Matt. xiii. 31, 32; John xii. 24. A. C. 2657). Our author further informs us on this subject that "by instruction the interiors are formed, and by them the internals, and are adapted to the reception of the goods of love and the truths of faith, and thus to the perception of goodness and truth. No one can apprehend by perception what he does not know and believe; consequently, no one can be gifted with the faculty of perceiving the good of love and the truth of faith, except by knowledges, by which he may become acquainted with the nature and quality of such good and truth. All, therefore, even infants, must of necessity be instructed, before they can be admitted into the Lord's Kingdom (A. C. 1802). And again, he says, "Man is not born into any truth, but he has all to learn, and this by an external way, namely, that of hearing and of seeing, whereby truth ought to be insinuated, and to be implanted in his memory" (3175). Those who recognize the authority of Swedenborg will see from these quotations that it is essential that they should take the opportunity to instruct the mind in youth for many reasons, some of which are, because the hereditary tendency to evil is then comparatively quiescent, there are then no acquired falses to obstruct, innocence is in all its tractableness, and the young implicitly depend upon, imitate and believe those who, in the Lord's providence, are placed over them.
From what has been said, I trust, that as New Church people we all see that there are special duties which we owe to the young. It now remains to point out what those special duties are. They may be classified as follows:-Our duty in the home, in the Sunday school, and in the literature which we provide for them.
The mention of the word Home doubtless awakens in the memory of every one of us a crowd of pleasant scenes and associations. The
after cares and troubles of life help to enrich the picture of youth's joyous days, the mere reference to which causes a good man to look up in profound thankfulness to his Father in heaven, for His kind providence over him in youth, and even sensibly affects a bad man when reminded of his youth and parentage, when seemingly nothing else can touch his hardened heart. Home is a word of talismanic power. The love for it is most deeply rooted in the human heart, and the dwelling of people in houses and families is of the greatest antiquity. In the golden age "men lived at that time apart, or in their own families, and celebrated a most holy worship in their own tents" (A. C. 414). They so dwelt together that "all the houses and families might be dependent on their parent, and so remain in love and true worship.
. . Thus the Church was a living representation of the Kingdom of the Lord, for in the Lord's Kingdom there are innumerable societies, each distinguished from every other, according to the differences of love and faith" (A. C. 471). A family in true order is a beautiful miniature of heaven. The father is the Lord's vicegerent, who rules, guides, and protects; the mother ministers in many household duties, which thus image the various uses which the Church performs; while their conjugial union is the grand emblem of the Kingdom of Heaven, which our Lord compared to a marriage, and their sons and daughters truly illustrate the spiritual increase of goods and truths which are consequent on the heavenly marriage. It is on account of this signification that obedience is enjoined on the part of children towards their parents, and that parental duty towards children is so strongly enforced. Every home should be a heaven upon earth. Angelic harmony should there swell its love-tones, and from the family altar, with its golden censer, mutual love should ascend as a sweet-smelling savour in devout worship to heaven. The holy Word should be exalted in the family circle by a portion being daily read and expounded, and the Lord's aid invoked by repeating the Lord's Prayer, as is done every day in heaven (A. R. 839). Such recognition of the Lord in love and worship would bind the whole family together, in which case every avenue of every soul would become open to heaven and the Lord, through which divine influences would flow to bless all within and around its sphere, and the scripture would be fulfilled, "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children" (Isaiah liv. 13). The parents of such homes might in the end be able with truth to say that "they have enriched heaven with as many angels as they have had descendants, and have furnished society with as many servants as they have had children" (C. L. 404).
But while the heavenly life on earth is thus firmly planted in the garden of home, it requires to strike deep root into the neighbouring ground-the Church,-and while it is vivified by the warmth and light of the heavenly Sun from above or within, it requires nourishment in the institutions of the Church from without, for when these act and re-act upon each other in mutual reciprocation, they produce the fullest spiritual prosperity. The truly good "take root downward, and bear fruit upward" (2 Kings xix. 30).
That institution of our Church which is specially devoted to the culture of the young, has its exact analogy in the nursery garden, where the plants grow thickly together preparatory to being planted in the larger garden, where they can develop and yield their fruit. Our Sunday Schools are the nurseries of our Churches, and if we will look we may see that the analogy is a perfect one. The nurseryman seeks a sheltered spot and good ground, and he tends his seed-beds with the greatest diligence, carefully weeding and constantly watching and providing against the ravages of insects and untimely frosts, knowing that upon the health and strength of his plants mainly depend his crop. So in a higher sense, the willing devoted labourer in the Lord's vineyard desires to gather thickly together the youth of the human race in the Church's nursery. He desires to provide good school buildings in which to gather them, a well organized, well informed complement of teachers and an excellent system of teaching, so that the human plants may be well supported and spiritually fed, and in his care he will espy and remove the first blade of the weed of error, and endeavour to protect from the destructive frosts of evil. And just as man in natural things reaps according to what he has sown and tended, so in spiritual things we can only gather grapes of cultivated vines, and good figs of trees growing in rich soil. What if the gardener altogether neglected the seed-time and ridiculed the idea of a nursery! What if a father refused to procure for his sons the elements of reading and writing, and the knowledge of trades! What if the Church forgets and neglects the Sunday school! What if, when the Divine Husbandman comes to receive the fruit of His vineyard, His servants cannot render it!
The day of the New Church is as yet in its early dawn, but that which has dawned is the morning of a day whose sun shall no more go down, but be ever ascending. We see the sun in its rising. Few as yet are awake to greet its early rays as they pierce the thick darkness. To the question "Watchman, what of the night?" we can joyfully answer,