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OF THE HOLY GHOST.
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“The Holy Ghost is divine truth. Therefore our Lord Himself is also the Holy Ghost.” “The divine operation, signified by the Holy Ghost, consists in reformation and regeneration; and, in proportion as these are effected, in renovation, vivification, sanctification, and justification; and, in proportion as these are effected, in purification from evils, remission of sins, and final salvation.”
Whoever is acquainted with the process of the work of God in the soul, must see, with the fullest evidence, that a man talking of it after this rate, is, if not a madman, ignorant of all vital religion. 15. Another grand truth which the Baron flatly denies is, justification by faith; and he not only denies it, but supposes the belief of this also to exclude all that believe it from salvation. “Do not you know that Luther has renounced his error with respect to justification by faith? and, in consequence thereof, is translated into the societies of the blessed?” “The bottomless pit, mentioned Revelation 11:2, is in the southeast quarter. Here all those are confined, who adopt the doctrine of justification by faith alone; and such of them as confirm that doctrine by the word of God are driven forth into a desert, and mixed with Pagans.”
And we may hope the time is near; for he informs us that “some months ago, the Lord called together his twelve Apostles, and sent them forth through the whole spiritual world, as formerly through the natural, with a commission to preach the Gospel.”
So if men have not saving faith in this world, they may have it in the world to come.
But indeed there is no room for any justification in the Scripture sense, that is, forgiveness, if, as he vehemently asserts, (after Jacob Behmen,) that God was never angry. “It is extravagant folly,” says he, “to teach that God can be angry and punish; nay, it is blasphemy,” says this bold man, “to ascribe anger to God.” Then the Scripture is full of blasphemy; for it continually ascribes anger to God, both in the Old and the New Testament. Nay, our Lord himself is a blasphemer; for he ascribes anger to God: “His Lord was wroth;” yea, wroth to such a degree, that “he delivered him to the tormentors. So likewise shall your heavenly Father do also unto you.” (Matthew 18:34,35) In flat opposition to which the Baron affirms, “God cannot sentence man to damnation!”
To those who affirm, with Jacob Behmen, the Baron, and most of the Mystics, that there is no wrath in God, permit me to recommend the serious consideration of only one more passage of Scripture: “And the Kings of the earth, and the great men, and every bondman, and every freeman, said to the mountains and rocks, Fall On us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelations 6:15-17.) Here I should ask, (l.) Is not “He that sitteth on the throne” distinct from “the Lamb?” (2.)Is not “the Lamb” Jesus Christ? God and man? (3.)Is no wrath ascribed to Him in these words?
Who but a madman can deny it? And if there was no wrath in the Lamb, what were all these afraid of? a shadow that never had any real existence?
Would the Baron have told them, “It is extravagant folly to suppose that God can be angry at all?” 16. But it is no wonder that he should utter such hold assertions, seeing he judges himself to be far wiser, not only than the inhabitants of this, but than those of the other, world. “I was amazed,” says he, (in one of the visits he favored them with,) “that people who had resided some time in the spiritual world, should be so ignorant still. Lest they should continue so, I waved my hand as a token for them to listen.” He informs you farther, that “some of them fell into fits,” — hysterical or epileptic?
Again: “Being on a time in a conversation with angels, there joined us some spirits lately arrived from the other world. I related many particulars touching the world of spirits, which were before unknown to them.”
Yet again: “Being in the world of spirits, I observed a paved way, quite crowded with spirits. I was informed, it was the way which all pass, when they leave the natural world. I stopped some of them, who did not yet know that they had left it, and questioned them about heaven and hell.
They seemed altogether ignorant of them. I was amazed, and said, ‘There is a heaven and a hell; and you will know this, when your present stupidity is dispelled. Every spirit, for a few days after death, imagines he is still alive in the world.’” No, not an hour; not a single moment! It is absolutely impossible. “‘This is now the case with you.’ So saying, the angels dispelled their ignorance: On which they exclaimed, ‘O, where are we?’ We said, ‘You are no longer in the natural world, but in the spiritual.’
They cried out, ‘Then show us the way to heaven.’ We said, ‘Follow us.’
They did so. The keepers of the gate opened it, and let us all in; but when those who receive strangers examined them, they said instantly, ‘Begone; for ye have no conjunction with heaven.’ So they departed and hastened back.” 17. Permit me now to mention a few of his peculiar sentiments, before I proceed to those relative to the world of spirits. “These truths are implanted in the understanding, in a place inferior to the soul.”
What place is that, in the understanding, which is inferior to the soul? “Faith enters into man from the soul, into the superior regions of the understanding.”
Is then the soul placed between the superior and inferior region of the understanding? “The human understanding is, as it were, the refining vessel, wherein natural faith is changed into spiritual faith.”
I cannot at all comprehend this. It is quite above my understanding. “The human mind is an organized form, consisting of spiritual substances within, and of natural substances without, and, lastly, of material substances.”
Nay, natural substances must be either matter or not matter. But indeed the mind is not matter, but spirit. “Every man at death casteth off the body, and retains the soul only, with a circum-ambient accretion, which is derived from the purest parts of nature.
But this accretion in those admitted into heaven is undermost, and the spiritual part uppermost; whereas in such as go to hell it is uppermost, and the spiritual part undermost. Hence a man-angel speaks by influence from heaven; a man devil by influence from hell.” “The form of God is truly and verily human; for God is true and very man.”
But the Scripture says, “God is not a man.” Which shall I believe? the Bible or the Baron?
This is my grand objection to the Baron’s whole system relative to the invisible world; that it is not only quite unconnected with Scripture, but quite inconsistent with it. It strikes at the very foundation of Scripture. If this stands, the Bible must fall. 18. The account which he gives of the creation is this: “By the light and heat proceeding from the spiritual sun, spiritual atmospheres were created.
But the spiritual universe could not subsist without a natural universe.
Therefore the natural sun was created at the same time; and by means of his light and heat, three natural atmospheres were formed, enclosing the former, as the shell of a nut does the kernel.” So then the spiritual world is enclosed in the natural! I thought it had been “in the midst between heaven and hell!” “By means of these atmospheres the terraqueous globe was formed, to be the abode of man and other animals. So God did not create the universe out of nothing, but by means of the spiritual sun.”
But out of what did he create the spiritual sun? It was created, unless it was eternal. Therefore this, or something else, was created out of nothing, unless some creature was co-eternal with its Creator. So that we must come, at last, to something created out of nothing; and this alone is properly creation. In this sense it was that “God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth.” And what a sublimity is there, with the utmost simplicity, in the Mosaic account of the creation! How widely different from the odd, whimsical account of the Baron and Jacob Behmen! 19. He informs you farther, “There is a full correspondence between angels and men.” Of what kind? Not the wisest mortal can guess, till the Baron unfolds the mystery. “There is not a single society in heaven which does not correspond with some part or member in man. One society in heaven is in the province of the heart or pancreas. Others are in correspondence with the spleen or the stomach, with the eye or the ear, and so on. The angels also know in what district of any part of man they dwell. I have seen a society of angels, consisting of many thousands, which appeared as a single man.” “And God joins all the heavenly societies in one, that they may be as a single man in his sight. Yea, and he joins together the congregations in hell, that they may be as a single infernal form. He separates these from heaven by a great gulf, lest heaven should be an occasion of torment to them.
When I had informed an assembly of spirits of these things, which they did not know before, the spirits which wore hats departed, with their hats under their arms. In the spiritual world, the intelligent spirits wear hats; but the stupid wear bonnets, because they are bald, and baldness signifies stupidity.”
I really think this needs no comment. He that can receive it, let him receive it. 20. “As angels and spirits are men, (for no angel was ever created such,) so they have divine worship; they have preaching in their temples; they have books and writings; particularly the word of God.” “The word, kept in the temples of the spiritual world, shines like a star of the first magnitude, sometimes like the sun; and from the radiance that encompasses it, there are beautiful rainbows formed about it. Yea, when any verse of it is wrote on paper, and the paper thrown into the air, that paper emits a bright light of the same form with the paper itself. And if any one rubs his hands, face, or clothes against the word, they emit a strong light, as I have often been; but if any one who is under the influence of falsehood looks at the word, as it lies in the holy repository, it appears to him quite black. If he touches it, it occasions an explosion, attended with a loud noise; and he is thrown to a corner of the room, where he lies as dead for the space of an hour. If he write any passage of it on a piece of paper, and the paper be thrown up toward heaven, the same explosion follows, and the paper is torn to pieces and vanishes away.”
And can anyone think the all-wise God would work all these miracles for no end? 21. “Every verse communicates with some particular society in heaven and the whole communicates with the universal heaven. Therefore, as the Lord is God, so also heaven is the word.” Exquisite nonsense and selfcontradiction! “There was an ancient word extant in the world, previous to that given to the children of Israel.” I cannot believe it. I believe there were no letters in the world, till God wrote the two tables. “This word is preserved in heaven; and also in Great Tartary.” “I have conversed with angels who came from Great Tartary, and informed me, the Tartars have had it time immemorial. They said, likewise, that in this word is contained the ‘Book of Jasher,’ mentioned Joshua 10:13, and the book called ‘The Wars of the Lord,’ mentioned Numbers 21:14. They told me that they cannot endure any foreigner to come among them; that the spirits from Tartary are separated from others, dwelling in a more eminent expanse; and they do not admit among them any from the Christian world. The cause of this separation is, because they are in possession of another word.”