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difficulty in showing what connexion there is between the Creator and creation. Nevertheless, we may resume the question; and in reply observe, that between the Deity and His works, there is the same connexion as there is between cause and effect. It may be observed, that, that is what is universally believed. So it may appear; but it is all an appearance. It is generally believed that creation came by God, but out of the New Church, there is no conception of its coming from God. Nay, it is rather denied than affirmed, for it is said that creation was
spirit.t This I apprehend to be the truth; and if so, W. M. N. must do something more than “
assert," before he will convince that metaphor is only real so far as it partakes of correspondence; for it is clear that one is entirely natural, and never enters into the domain of spìrit; and is, as the above writer observes, “ the invention of man;" while the other has its foot on earth and its top in heaven, and is the medium of conjunction between God and man. One is as the image, the other as the living man; and we do not see how W. M. N. can breathe into the dead image any portion of the living spirit which is possessed by the other.
And in reply to the remarks he makes upon the observation, “ that metaphor is mere imagery, and implies but a fanciful connexion between the thing and its presumed resemblance;" and also to his wit about the “bat,” I can only say, that he absolutely forgets the idea he is endeavouring to find fault with! The idea is, that metaphor, being mere imagery, and having but a presumed resemblance to the thing illustrated, and no natural connexion, may be “changed at will to suit the pleasure of the user,” for any other imagery or presumed resemblance. Now, if he sees any
resemblance between the “bat” and White, then, no doubt, it would serve for a metaphor; but if he does not, it is very evident he has forgotten the “ resemblance" part of the matter altogether, or he would not have named the “bat” at all! Thus he either proves my position, or he shows he forgets the subject he is presuming to discuss! If I am in error, perhaps it may be excused, since I am not the first that has strayed; for Mr. Hindmarsh has led the way, and I have only followed that great man at a great distance, and nearly copied his exact words, the truth of which is now questioned: he says—“A mere figure or metaphor is the resemblance, in some certain way, which one thing bears to another, not according to the true nature and fitness of things, so much as by the arbitrary choice of the speaker. Consequently there is no necessary union between the subject and the figure, nor is one an effect of the other, or in anywise dependent on it for its existence, as is the case in all correspondence. As, for example, Virgil likens the destruction of Troy, with its lofty spires, to the fall of an aged oak, on being hewn down by the woodman's hatchet. This is a figure, but not a correspondence.”
W. M. N. seems to suppose that he has proved his case, when he shows that the eagle represents something that was in Kirke White; but who denied that? It is a common axiom in the New Church, that all things in man correspond to all things in nature; and, therefore, it was easy enough to show that an eagle, being part of nature, represented something in Kirke White, just as it does in any other man. But that is not the question; the question is, is there any absolute difference between
+ Hindmarsh to Priestley.
produced by God from NOTHING ; therefore, where we place God, they place nothing. Thus between our idea and theirs, there is as much difference as between the Deity and nothing!
You will therefore perceive, probably, that in our view, creation was produced from the Eternal, exactly as every effect is derived from its
For instance, the soul is the nearest cause of the body; and therefore we may say, as the soul is to the body, so is the Creator to creation. God is the soul of creation, and creation, in a certain sense, is His body. And as the body derives its all from the soul, so does the universe from the Almighty. Creation, therefore, does not come from nothing, but from God. It is a formation of the finite from the infinite. You may suppose, prima-facie, that this is making creation absolutely divine, a falling into pantheism ; for you will say, "like soul like body." Be careful, my friend, how you reason here, for you may easily fall into false conclusions. Such a first-sighted view is totally erroneous. You might as easily fall into the same supposition respecting our bodies. The soul, as we have observed, is the nearest cause of the body; but the body is not of the same substance as the soul ; for one is natural, while the other is spiritual. Here you see that a spiritual substance gives birth to a natural one without itself becoming natural ; and that the two are entirely distinct in their qualities. Just so, therefore, has the infinite substance given existence to the finite, without making the infinite finite, or the finite infinite.
The rationale of this you can only understand by taking into consideration Swedenborg's doctrine of degrees. He says there are two kinds, discrete and continuous. Discrete degrees mark the distinctions between such things as end, cause, and effect, or between soul and body, or God and creation. Continuous are the different degrees of quality in the same thing; as the difference between light and shade, heat and cold, from what is hard to what is softer, &c. We are informed that there are three discrete degrees, and, consequently, three continuous degrees, in the Eternal ; and from and by these, have all the distinctions and differences in the universe been formed.
correspondence and metaphor ? and can the things of nature be used metaphorically without entering the domains of correspondence ? That there is a difference, and what it is, has already been shown; and that one is capable of being used independently of the other would seem to follow, from the admission of the correctness of this distinction. In the case of Byron's lines, it appears to be clear that they are used purely metaphorically; for though “ the eagle'' seems to square pretty well with W. M. N.'s view, can he show that “the dart” corresponds to disease, and “the feather" to genius, &c. ? It is unfair to stop at the first step; he should go on and show that his theory will explain the whole. There is evidently but a "presumed resemblance” between these things and White, and no correspondence—no natural connexion. Thus we see that correspondence is one thing and metaphor another, and that they are totally and necessarily distinct.
I do not know whether I can convey my idea clearly or not; but suppose that the creative energy of God flowed first by continuity, that is, from rarity to density ;-—thus far there would be but one substance, differing only according to pure and less pure; but there are millions of substances in creation; and how have these all arisen? When this degree of continuity was completed, the Divine flowing through this substance, by correspondence, would form a second substance, differing entirely in nature and quality from the first, and divided from it by a distinct or discrete degree ; exactly as the end produces the cause, and the cause the effect; and in the same way, too, as the soul produces the body. The end is not the cause, nor is the cause the effect. The end or want is first conceived, and when this exists, it seeks instruments or causes corresponding to its desires, and these causes or means produce the effect, and the end is then answered, or the want is then gratified. Now these three things, end, cause, and effect, dwell one above another, and follow one after another, and are divided from each other by discrete degrees. And just as you may suppose these producing each other, and being united to each other by correspondence, and exact fitness of the lower to the higher, so you may suppose the Creator to have formed one degree from and by another, until the purely finite, in which we are, existed. If you
do not understand me by this simile of end, cause, perhaps you may, by referring again to your body, and its being produced by correspondence from the soul. There is another simile, however, but it may perhaps seem simple to take it to illustrate so mighty a subject; nevertheless it will, in some measure, serve our purpose. Bulbous plants, and particularly the bulb of the onion, are formed of coating after coating, and each produced by and from the other, and entirely distinct from each other, but united and forming a one by a peculiar fitness and natural correspondence. In the centre is the essence, from which it proceeds to the circumference, taking up different qualities and conditions in its progress through the different degrees which mark the different coatings of the bulb. I name this for the purpose of illustrating what we mean by discrete degrees, and how one produces another until the lowest is formed. You may perceive that each inner coating produces the outer one, not by the inner entering into, and forming part of, the outer,,for the two are entirely separate, and distinguished as to quality; but by the inner acting according to the
law of correspondences, and producing its like in a more external form, In some such way as this, therefore, it is conceived that finite things came forth from God. Now, if this be true, or anything like the truth, it will
that every degree between us and the Lord, came forth from Him, and was produced by the laws of correspondence, therefore, there is a complete chain of correspondences from creation up to God. These discrete degrees are something like “ Jacob's ladder;" they descend in regular succession, from the Most High, who is at the top, to the earth, and thus unite God to man, and man to God. Each step of this
ladder" is as a degree. And if each descends from the other, and is, as it were, the form of that above, it is clear that the bottom step will exactly correspond, through successive steps, to the highest; and thus nature, through successive discrete degrees, will correspond to its Creator.
And when we see clearly how these are, we can mount this “ladder" in thought, and at every step approach nearer to our Maker. Each thing in nature having its prototype in God, the more we understand of nature, by looking up through correspondences, the more wo may know of Deity. Did I not, therefore, say truly that correspondences show us God from creation, and that nature is an image of the Eternal, a mirror in which we can behold the face of the Almighty ?
But this is not all; correspondences teach us extraordinary lessons concerning ourselves. The very same things we have said respecting the light which correspondences throw upon the attributes of God, may, with equal truth, but in a lower degree, be said of man. Man is the image of Deity; hence in Scripture, men in spiritual bodies or angels are called “
gods. Man, though first in end, was created last in actuality, that in him all creation might meet, and that through him the Divine might flow to perpetuate existence. Thus man is, on the one hand, an image of God, and, on the other, an image of Nature. He is the mediator, the intercessor between the Divine above him and the finites below him. The Almighty looks down upon inferior creation through him, and inferior creation is conjoined to the Creator through the same medium. Behold, what a distinguished and extraordinary position dost thou occupy,
O man! Creation corresponds to God, because creation is in Him in divine first principles ; and so inferior creation equally corresponds to man, because it is in him in finite first principles. Man is, therefore, precisely what the ancients called him, a microcosm, a little world! He is, so to speak, an epitome of all things. To creation he is the Almighty's Vicar; and before God he is as the world's Representative !
You will scarcely need to be told, that the body of man is the first natural representative of the soul. The body may be called the material microcosm, which represents the mental microcosm. From time immemorial it has been seen that the mind possesses a peculiar controlling power over the body; but, until the days of Swedenborg, it does not soem to have been known how the former acted upon the latter. He shows, however, that the action is by correspondence; that the soul possesses every thing that the body has, in an interior degree; and these flow into their proper correspondences in the body, and yet are not mixed therewith, but are conjoined by contiguity and fitness. So that the soul is in the body, and yet forms no part of the body; and its life animates the whole. The body, therefore, is something like a wonderfully fitting garment, that covers the interiors as well as the exteriors of man; and which is animated by the soul much in the same way, but, of course, in a manner infinitely more perfect. The mind is thus omnipresent in the body; and hence that simultaneous action between the two that all must have noticed. The soul has every thing like the body; and if these two kinds of likes are conjoined, one within the other, it is easy to see that mind and body is as the “ spirit” and the “wheels" of the prophet! “ When the living creatures go, the wheels go by them ; whithersoever the spirit of the living creatures are to go, thither the wheels go. When those went, these went; when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them; for the spirit of the living creatures is in the wheels."
This minute and simultaneous corresponding action, and the soul as the prime mover, has been seen and recognised by the ablest men of science. Professor Liebeg, in his “ Animal Chemistry,” page 9, says,-“ Physiology has sufficiently decisive grounds for the opinion, that every motion, every manifestation of force, is the result of a transformation of the structure, or of its substances ; that every conception, every mental affection, is followed by changes in the chymical nature of the secreted fluids ; that every thought, every sensation, is accompanied by a change in the composition of the substances of the brain.” Here is recognised an involuntary correspondential action of the soul upon the body, which may be illustrated by the correspondential action of the will or spiritual heart, on the heart of the body, and also the understanding on the lungs. When the will, in which reside the affections, becomes excited, as in passion, the heart quickens its motion, the blood flows more rapidly, and the pulse beats higher. And, on the other hand, when the affections are comparatively inactive, the blood circulates, and the pulse beats