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be less able and less willing to hear it, although that voice be
not wholly silenced. If the inner and better nature conquers,
that grows stronger, and the man grows better and wiser, and
more able to resist similar or farther temptations when they

Come they must ; for he has taken only the first step in a
path which he must follow far onward. And every step will
be like unto the first. Every step, if it be forwards, will be
taken by permitting the inner to overcome the outer. This
is Regeneration. For as the inner overcomes the outer, it
cleanses and elevates the outer, and makes it one with itself.


We have said that it is no part of the inner to destroy the
outer, for it seeks to give to it a true life. Hence, with
the regenerate man, and with the angel, and the highest
angel, self-love and the sensuous nature may continue for
ever to be vivid and powerful. But with the angel self-love
has ceased to be supreme and therefore it has ceased to be
selfishness ; and the sensuous nature leads him not to sensu-
ality. The reason is that these belong to his outer nature ;
and his inner nature has not only conquered them, but has
made them its own external, its own instrument and embodi-
ment. The regenerate man loves self, in his own selfhood,
dearly, and provides for it most tenderly and carefully, and
looks after its nourishment and repose, its recreation, enjoy-
ment and invigoration. But because he loves his neighbor as
himself, in all his love for himself his love for his neighbor
is included. Therefore, his endeavor to give himself strength
has for its end the continuance and enlargement of the uses
he may perform by means of this invigorated self. He desires
to be strong, healthy and happy, and is wise and watchful in
all precautions for this purpose, because the more vigor he
has the more useful he may be. So too, his sensuous nature
is indulged and cultivated, but always within the bounds of
innocence ; for these limits are fixed by his inner nature ; and
his outer nature yields, for it has become more perfectly what
it was originally intended to be, the instrument and servant
of this inner nature.

We say that what is outermost is farthest from God ; and
what is inner is nearer to Him. The words inner and outer,
near and far, higher and lower, refer originally to time and
space, neither of which belongs to the soul or spirit of man.
But we are obliged to use these words because we have no
other; and from the correspondence between things of the
spirit and things of the body, they express our meaning suffi-
ciently well. We should not be troubled by a vain logic.
To refer again to an illustration we have already used, he


who should say there could not be for the mind a right rule,
because right meant only a right or straight line, as it certainly
does primarily, and rule, only the straight edge of wood or
metal by which to know whether a line was straight or not,
would be laughed at. For when we say " right " and " rule, "
meaning a moral or mental right and rule, men know what
we mean, whether they philosophize about it or not. So it is
with the words outer and inner, far and near, higher and
lower, as applied to spiritual things. Or so it will be, when
it is usual to think of, or speak of, or care for spiritual

What is outermost is farthest from God. What is inner-
most is nearer to God. Here then we have the foundation
of the universal law, that all spiritual progress consists in the
subordination of the outer to the inner, in such a sense and
such a way, that the inner makes the freest use of the outer,
and the outer, in its own freedom, obeys the inner.

This law ascends to the very highest. From our low and
dark point of view, we can follow it, even in imagination, but
a very little way. We may however see that it leads even
towards an absolute subordination of all that is not of God, to
all that is of God ; of all that is of God in its essence and
origin but has become perverted and corrupted in its form,
manifestation and effect, to all that is of God and unperverted ;
to an absolute infilling of all that is not divine with that
which is ; and to a perfect cleansing of all that is not divine,
and by this cleansing, and in the degree of this cleansing,
fitting this external to become the clothing, the habitation,
the eternal and universal instrument, the living body, of
that which is divine. And religion gives to this final and
consummated state, the name of conjunction between the
human and the divine ; or, conjunction of man with God.

Because this is a universal law, it begins in the lowest
forms of spiritual existence. If there is anything of good in
man, so much of the divine is united to what is human. If


good grows in him, the conjunction of the divine with the
human grows. For the human without the divine is, first,
nothing ; and then if the divine be received, but by the abuse
of man's freedom is perverted, it becomes evil. This absolute
conjunction of the human with the divine is the end which we
approacli from the first moment that we become better than
we were. Unless we are lost, this approach will be eternal ;
and it will always measure our approach to all good, and to
all happiness.

Because God is good, and is Love, it is the eternal end of
his infinite providence to lead and help men along this path-
way to himself. It may indeed be called the one end, and,
because it unites all others, the only end of Divine Provi-
dence, to enable and induce man to do his share of this

God's own share is to come down to us, and fill the inmost
of our being, and thence to come forth and forward from this
inmost, to meet and welcome whatever there is in us which
rises to approach Him. Of this inmost of our being, we are
wholly unconscious ; for consciousness belongs only to our
inner and our outer being. He animates these also ; but
with a life duly tempered and qualified into fitness for us by
the angelic or spiritual mediums through whom it flows. He
does this in such wise as to provide with unutterable and in-
conceivable wisdom, exactly that degree of influence upon us
which shall do all that can be done towards leading us in
freedom to good, with nothing of that coercion which would
destroy our freedom. For, as the work for man to do is to
choose good rather than evil, to love good better than evil
(and love, by its very nature, must be free), this work would
be done in no sense and in no degree by man, if it were only
the choice of God in man.

How this work of infinite wisdom and mercy is done for all
for us, at every moment, we may not understand, not, at least,
while it is going on. But after each providence, we may look


out from the clefts in the rock, wherein we may dwell, and see
Him after He has passed by. But neither need we be blind
to it, even at the time. For if we heartily try to do one
good thing in the name of the Lord, or because he desires it,
we shall even then feel and see that it is we who do it in ot.r
freedom, and yet that we so do it because he helps us.

Because there is this work for man to do in his freedom,
he is free to leave it undone; and many leave it undone.
And he is free to do it imperfectly ; and all do it very imper-
fectly. But it remains nevertheless the constant end of the
providence of God, that all may do it perfectly. To this end
all his providences, whether operative in physical laws, or
revealed as truths, or hidden far away from the recognition of
men ; whether universal or individual ; all tend thither, and
in it all unite, and always have united and always will.

The last and greatest providence of all, one towards which
all that came before pointed, and to which all that has
come or shall come hereafter, refers, one which moved and
influenced all that is, from the centre of being to the outer-
most bounds of existence, was the coming of God down to this
earth, in the person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
And in His birth, and in His life, and in His death, and in all
the works He did in the spirit-world even while living here,
and in His Resurrection, we have the history of the great
and universal endeavor of the Divine to come into absolute-
union with the human, and to facilitate forever the approach
of all that is human towards conjunction with the divine.

In His life on earth, our Lord exhibited the externals of
those acts He was then doing in the world of spirit. His
external and visible work was the image and revelation of
His internal and invisible work. The words He uttered were
in their letter and external divine as well as human ; for
while He spake as a man, He spake as never man spake. But
this letter was also the form and expression of higher divine
truths, by which He works spiritual miracles that are as the



soul of the miracles He wrought here. Thus, because He was
divine, His acts and words partook of His eternalness, and
their force and meaning and influence are eternal and univer-
sal. And the works He then did among the spirits in the
world where spirits live, which were shadowed forth and pre-
sented to our view by the works He did among men on earth,
are similar works, for a similar end, to the works He is
always endeavoring to do ; and so far as man permits, always
does, in and for the spirit of every man.

The Jews were a chosen people ; but were not chosen for
their excellence. They were selected to form the mere repre-
sentative of a church. Their history represents the history
of a church in man, or of divine truth in the mind. Their
bondage, their deliverance, their wanderings in the desert,
and their possession of the holy land, are all symbolic in this
way. They were commanded to extirpate the nations who
possessed that land ; and the command represents the com-
mand to us to subdue and extirpate the idolatrous and sinful
affections and thoughts which possess what should be our
holy land. They were selected for this purpose, because
their extreme and entire naturalness, or the absolute prepon-
derance of the external and worldly nature in them (indi-
cated by the fact that the religion given to them alone
among the religions of mankind, makes little reference to
another life) made it possible for them to be led without
mischief through experiences which would have been in-
jurious to others.

A woman of this nation was selected to be the mother of
our Lord. A woman of the house of David the king ; for
he stood at the head of his nation, and was always regarded
as its perpetual head. In his symbolic capacity, he repre-
sented Jehovah, the head of the living church, while in his
own nature he was the embodiment of the Jewish character-
istics. Therefore was Jesus the son of David in both senses.


His human was the last result of Jewish naturalness, and so
He was the son of David; and He was also the son of
David as the representative of Jehovah, for Jehovah was his
only father. His father did not impart life to him through
the qualifying medium of a human father. Jesus Christ was
conceived, or Life came to the human mother, directly, with-
out qualification or modification of any kind or measure.

In Jesus Christ were an internal nature and an external
nature as in every man. But in Him, these were infinitely
far apart. The external nature was full of the proclivities to
evil which infest man. The internal nature was perfect and
absolute goodness. Hence, there can never be in any man, so
great an opposition between the external and the internal as
there was in Him. The whole external was gradually
brought forth into activity, and was wholly subdued and
subordinated by the internal. This also can never happen in
any man. In Jesus the external was human and the internal
was divine ; and when the internal had overcome and expelled
from the human all the evil from the mother, or everything
in the nature derived from her which belonged to it person-
ally and individually by her act or by her inheritance, and
had filled its place with its own divine good, the external be-
came divine as the internal, and divine with the internal ;
and they became one God. This also can never happen with
any man. As the whole external was thus brought into con-
flict with the internal and subdued and vivified by it, there
was in that external all the suffering due to that infinite con-
flict ; and this also was more than any man has suffered or
can suffer.

We have enumerated these particulars, in which the ex-
ample of Jesus cannot be followed by man ; and yet it will
be obvious, that while it cannot be followed to the same de-
gree and extent, and with the same result, it may be followed,
step by step, in every respect and every particular of every
kind, by every man, but in an infinitely less degree ; and is


and must be followed by every one who advances from evil
towards good, because no other path leads in that direction.
The glorification, or making divine of the humanity of Jesus
Christ, was the doing perfectly, of that of which every good
action is the partial and imperfect doing.

The question then occurs, in what way does this perfect
example of what man should do, assist him in doing it. The
very question suggests one answer to it. A perfect example
is an ever-present standard, an everlasting lesson. But this,
which is the most obvious answer to the question, is also the
most external and the lowest.

There are other answers ; one within, or above the other ;
bearing us upwards in their own ascending flight. This
great mystery must forever remain one to created intellects.
It is one with the great mystery of godliness. But it will be
always better understood as man or angel follows in the path
it points ; and learns what was done by doing it ; and learns
why it was done by possessing the fruits of it. Thus it
fills every mind that advances along that path, with light and
hope and joy, and always promises from the inexhaustible
wisdom which united with perfect love in that infinite act,
more light, and always and forever, more light.

It was imperfectly understood by the early Christians ;
and soon settled into forms of doctrine which have remained
to our own time ; and these contain much truth, mingled with
much that is not truth. One great want in the view taken of
it by the first Christian church, arose from their ignorance of
what our Lord was doing in the spiritual world, even while
he was working visibly on earth. This want has been
recently supplied in the revelations made for the new Chris-
tianity now hi its beginning. And the information thus
given is the key which may unlock this mystery, and open
this new gate to heaven.

We are taught that all men are constantly under the influ-
ence for good or for evil of spirits; and that the life


which flows into us through them, in them is qualified
into fitness for us, and becomes our own life. But that the
divine Providence modifies, balances and equilibrates these
influences in such wise, that every man is always able in his
own freedom to rise, if he will, and strengthen the good that
is in him, and this more and more continually.

We are further taught that at the coming of our Lord, man
had fallen into a condition so debased and wretched, that all
evil influences had undue power over him ; a power too great
for his freedom, and threatening to become absolute and in-
evitable. His state had become so entirely evil, that the
balance was lost ; and evil spirits not only infused thoughts
and affections of evil, as they have ever done and will do, but
were enabled to take. bodily possession of men ; and it seemed
as if destruction was near, and there was none to help.

Then help came ; sufficient, because it was Almighty ; and
came in such a form that its work might be perfect and per-

If the question be asked why did not God, from his throne
in heaven, will at once the extinction of evil and the restora-
tion of order, one answer is to point at the mingled good and
evil everywhere, and say that this proves that he does not so
resist and destroy evil. Another answer is, that God always
works by means, and according to the laws of His own divine
order ; this is the universal law of His providence, and it was
the law of this crowning and infinite providence.

God made man makes man by imparting to him His
own life, and by giving to His life in man, human selfhood ;
and only by and in and through this selfhood does He ever or
can He ever help any man ; and only in and through this
human nature could He give to the human race the very
help that they needed ; and therefore He, the Father, assumed
this human nature, or this human selfhood, and the Son of
God became the Son of Man, and stood and worked and
suffered among men as one of them.


The Father came down to humanity in a new way ; and
because humanity had descended so low that it could fall no
lower and live, the human nature he then assumed was full
of all proclivities to all evil. And in this nature and these
proclivities, he found the means of combatting all the evil in-
fluences which can infest humanity, because all were permitted
to assail it in precisely the same way in which they assail our
own human nature. This they did; and the conflict with
them constituted the temptations, the inexpressible and incon-
ceivable sufferings of our Lord. But as these evil spirits
were conquered, and when all were conquered, all the hells
were subdued and restored to their own proper order. Those
who filled them, and those who have joined and may here-
after join them, live, and live without voluntarily doing good.
They love to do evil ; and only in their own loves can they
live. Hence, they are not denied access to man ; for his re-
generation, his salvation and his happiness, depend upon his
knowing, combatting and putting away his own evils, volun-
tarily and in free choice ; and the tendencies to evil in men
could not be filled and animated by life flowing through good
spirits. The devils are permitted to live and do their proper
work ; and earth is full, and we are all full of the work they
do. "War, plague and famine, the great calamities which dis-
tress nations, the more particular mischiefs which fall on indi-
viduals, all disorder and all sin, are their work. But now
they work forever under the limitation that what they do
shall be balanced and equilibrated. However they may here-
after infest or tempt man, they can never more have power
to prevent his resistance, or to stir up lusts and propensities
which he cannot deny and overcome.

Thus was man Redeemed : thus was Jesus Christ our Re-

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.
He was wounded for our trangressions ; He was bruised for
our iniquities ; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him ;
and with His stripes we are healed.


I looked and there was none to help ; and I wondered that
there was none to uphold. Therefore mine own arm brought

In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His
presence saved them. In His love and pity, He Redeemed

He has showed strength with his arm ; He hath scattered
the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has holpen
his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as He spake
to our Fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed, forever.




And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord
appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young
child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I
bring thee word : for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night,
and departed into Egypt. MATT. ii. 13-15.

THE correspondence of the natural or external things men-
tioned in the Word with spiritual or internal things, to
which we have so often alluded and must so often allude,
is absolutely universal ; and it must therefore extend to the
different countries there mentioned, and give to each its own

The three countries most frequently mentioned are Egypt,
Assyria (or Asher), and Judea (or Israel). What is the sig-
nificance of each of these ?

There are three distinct and successive steps or degrees in
intellectual progress. We may call them knowledge, intelli-
gence, and wisdom. Or we may describe them (1) as the
learning and knowing of truths of any kind ; (2) as the un-
derstanding of what is thus known ; and (3) the applying to
the improvement of life and character, of what is known and
understood ; and thus growing wise.

It is obvious that if nothing whatever is known, there can-
not be even the beginning of intellectual progress. It is
equally obvious, that whatever be the amount of our mere
knowledge, if we understand nothing that we know, we know
it in vain. And it is equally certain, although not equally


obvious, that whatever it may be that we know and under-
stand, we are in fact none the better for it, and none the
wiser for it, if we make and desire to make no application of it
to the improvement of life and character.

In the Word, Egypt denotes the learning and knowing of
truths, or the truths thus known. Asher denotes the reason-
ing faculties by which we understand what we know, or this
understanding itself. And Judea (or Israel) denotes that
wisdom which is founded upon knowing and understanding
truth and applying it to life.

As we learn only by the exercise of the external or natu-
ral faculties, Egypt frequently denotes all of these faculties in
the complex, or the merely natural man. So Judea (or
Israel) represents and denotes a church, because a church iu
man's own soul is the result of knowing truths, especially
the truths of the Word, and understanding them, and
applying them to life ; and a collective church is formed from
the union of those in whom this condition prevails.

All progress, intellectual or moral, must begin with learn-
ing and knowing ; and this is what is represented by Egypt,
and going down into Egypt.

Abraham, as the father and founder of a church, represented
and prefigured our Lord. When seventy and five years of
age, but at the beginning of his spiritual life, the Lord called
him, to go out from his country, his kindred, and his father's
house, that is, from all he was by birth and nature, unto a
land which God should show him. And he journeyed " going
on still towards the south. And there was a famine in the
land ; and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there."
And after a while, he " went up out of Egypt."

So Jacob, another father of the Jews, and another and dif-
ferent antetype of the Lord, was driven by famine into
Egypt. He did not return during his life, but required of
his children that they should " carry him out of Egypt, and
bury him with his fathers."


Joseph was another and a very different antetype of our
Lord ; and his whole story in its spiritual sense is a perfectly
connected, consistent, and most wonderful relation of our
Lord's spiritual life while on earth, and of His spiritual life
in the mind of every man in whom He dwells. Joseph said
to his brethren, that God would surely visit them, and bring
them up out of Egypt to Canaan, and that they should carry
up his bones from Egypt.

So too our Lord went down into Egypt, and there sojourned
a while. For His human nature was subject to all the laws
and necessities of our own. He was initiated into knowl-
edges, and especially into knowledges of the Word, and passed,
step by step, there where we may pass, and must pass, if we
would follow Him. And this is what is meant by His going
down into Egypt.

It is not said that the child Jesus was driven into
Egypt by a famine, but by the fear of Herod, who sought to
kill Him. The meaning is substantially the same. The fam-
ine, from which they are saved who go down into Egypt, is a
famine for the truth ; for the knowledge of what is good is
the food of the mind, and the knowledge of what is true is its
drink. It is, as said by the prophet, " a famine, not of bread,
nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord."
And because this is what famine corresponds to and signifies,
it is mentioned so perpetually when the declining state of the

Online LibraryTheophilus ParsonsDeus homo: God-man → online text (page 6 of 38)