The Possessed With Devils Coming Out of the Tombs

The Possessed With Devils Coming Out of the Tombs

Matt. 8:28-the end.

And when He was come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way, etc

Q. HOW do you understand the miracle here recorded, according to its literal sense?

A. According to the literal sense of this miracle, are to be understood two men, who, as to their bodies, were possessed or obsessed by infernal spirits, coming out from amongst the filth and impurity of sepulchres, and so exceeding fierce and ungovernable, that it was unsafe for any one to come near them. And by the devils requesting to be permitted to enter into the herd of swine, and by the herd, when such permission was granted, running down a steep place into the sea, and perishing in the waters? is further to be understood, that the devils find delight in entering into the bodies of unclean animals, and then in instigating those animals to their own destruction.

Q. And how do you understand this miracle according to its spiritual sense, or according to that sense which is veiled under the letter?

A. According to the spiritual sense, by two are not to be understood two men, but two principles: and by their being possessed of devils, and meeting Jesus is further to be understood, that those principles were in connection with the power of darkness, and thus in opposition to the holy Jesus, that is to say, to his divine love and divine wisdom. And by their coming out of the tombs is further to be understood their issuing forth from their infernal abodes: and by their being exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way, is further described the violence of their opposition to the eternal truth, so that it was impossible for any truth to be manifested before them. According to this sense, therefore, by the devils beseeching Jesus to suffer them to enter into the herd of swine, and by Jesus permitting them, is further to be understood, that infernal spirits take delight in infesting both the bodies and minds of men, and that when, by the Word of the great redeemer, they are expelled from the minds of the humble, and the penitent, they then take refuge, and this by divine permission, in the minds of those who are here figured by the swine, that is to say, of the sordidly sensual and avaricious, who, under their infernal influence, descend rapidly into the infernal pit, and there perish in the polluted waters of all infernal persuasions.

Q. And what do you conceive the two principles to be, which are described as possessed of devils and meeting Jesus ?

A. By these two principles are to be understood the principle of evil in the human will, and the principle of error in the human understanding, both of them in connection with infernal agency: and by their meeting Jesus is further described a trial or temptation which the saviour of the world endured from the powers of darkness operating in His infirm humanity, before it was fully glorified, or made divine.

Q. But it is written, that the devils cried out, saying, What have we to do with you, Jesus, you son of god ? Art you come here to torment us before the time? — what do you understand by these words?

A. By the devils crying out, saying, What have we to do with you, Jesus, you son of god? is to be understood the vehemence of their opposition to the principles of the divine love and wisdom, notwithstanding their conviction that those principles were incarnate in the blessed Jesus. By the same words therefore is described, the torment under which they laboured through the opposition between their wills and their understandings, since with their understandings they knew the truth, but with their wills they hated and rejected it. They therefore exclaim, Art you come here to torment us (or, as it is expressed in the original, to explore us), before the time? to denote, that the manifestation of the divine truth was to them a source of the most exquisite pangs, because it was in opposition to their ruling love, and that consequently nothing is more painful to a wicked infernal being, than to have his purposes and thoughts thus exposed to the scrutinizing light of the divine intelligence.

Q. You have already told me what is to be understood by the herd of swine, and by the devils requesting permission to enter into them. Can you explain to me what is further to be understood by the words of the blessed Jesus, where it is written, He said to them, Go?

A. The Significant term Go, involves in it the whole of the divine will respecting the powers of darkness, which is, that they be eternally separated from Him, His kingdom, and His children, so as to be incapable of doing any mischief either to the great father of being, or to His happy family. Under every spiritual trial therefore, stirred up by the powers of darkness in the minds of the humble and the penitent, the great saviour is ever uttering the same authoritative command, Go, and the effect of this divine word is, to remove those powers from their usurped abode, that they may enter into minds congenial to their own, and precipitate them into their own infernal kingdom.

Q. What then is the general instruction which you learn from the above miracle?

A. I learn again to adore that divine power, which was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, and overturn their empire, whether established in the bodies or in the souls of men. I learn also from the above miracle, that the powers of darkness are in direct opposition to the love and wisdom of Jesus Christ, and that their greatest torment consists in being explored by the light of the divine truth, and in the discovery thus made of their secret purposes, thoughts, and devices. I am also further instructed, that a single word uttered by the great saviour is able to put to flight a host of infernals, and that that saviour is ever uttering such a word of salvation in the hearts of all his penitent and suffering children. Lastly, I learn to tremble under the idea of the effect of infernal influence, and of those defiled concupiscencies in which it operates, since this effect is nothing less than a rapidity of motion downwards, hurrying its miserable subjects from the realms of bliss, to perish everlastingly in the disturbed waters of impiety and iniquity. I am resolved therefore, henceforth to be upon my guard against such infernal agency, and for this purpose to endeavour, through divine mercy, to keep my mind pure from all denied affections and concupiscencies. Thus, under the assault of all my spiritual enemies, I may hope to hear the authoritative word, Go, pronounced against them by my god and saviour, and may thus behold every infernal power cast out, and the blessed Jesus glorified in their separation, and in the consequent salvation of His humble and grateful child. Thus too I shall be preserved from imitating the folly and wickedness of the people amongst whom the above miracle was worked, and of whom it is written, that when they saw Jesus, they besought Him to depart out of their coasts, since by the experience which I have of the omnipotence and miraculous energy of my god and saviour in my own bosom, I shall be led to cleave to Him the more closely, and to beseech Him the more earnestly, not to depart, but rather to take up His eternal abode in my purified and grateful bosom, amen.

The Wind and Waves Rebuked

The Wind and Waves Rebuked

Matt. 8:23-28.

And when He was entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him, etc.

Q. WHAT do you understand here by Jesus entering into a ship, and His disciples following him ?

A. By Jesus entering into a ship, and His disciples following him, is to be understood, according to the literal sense of the history, that He and his disciples entered into a natural ship, such as floats on the natural waters of the sea; but according to the spiritual idea, is to be understood that they entered into what is signified and represented by a ship, and this is nothing else but the knowledge of what is good and true, as derived from the holy word, since what a ship is as to its natural use and service, that the knowledge of what is good and true is as to its spiritual use and service.

Q. Can you prove to me, from the authority of the sacred scriptures, that ships have such a spiritual meaning and signification?

A. Yes; it is said in the prophecy of Balaam, in reference to the gospel dispensation, that ships shall come from the coast of Shittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish for ever, (Num. 24:24). where it must be evident to every considerate person, that by ships are not meant ships, but the knowledges of good and truth derived from the word of god, which were  to oppose and overturn the reasonings of the natural man, signified by Asshur and  Eber,    It is written  again in the prophet Isaiah, where he is speaking, in like manner of the Lord’s Advent, and of its extraordinary effects, that the day of the Lord should be upon all the ships of Tarshish,   (Isa.   ii.   16). where it is again manifest that by ships cannot be meant ships, but the knowledges of good and truth, and in the opposite sense the knowledges of what is evil and false, which were to be supplanted at the appearing of the incarnate god.    To the same purport it is written in the Revelations concerning the destruction of Babylon,  or of the corrupt church signified by Babylon, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea, by reason of her costliness! (Rev. 18:19). from which words it is again plain, that by ships are not meant ships, but the doctrinals taught in that corrupt church.

Q. But it is said on this occasion, that there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves — what do you conceive to be meant by the tempest here spoken of, and by the ship being covered with the waves?

A. According to the sense of the letter, by the tempest is to be understood a natural tempest or storm; and by the ship being covered with waves is to be understood the natural effect of that tempest or storm, in covering the ship with the waters of the sea. But, according to the spiritual idea, by a tempest is to be understood a spiritual tempest, which is no other than the agitation and perturbation of the natural man, occasioned by the knowledges of good and truth derived from the word of god, which are here treated of. For in regard to those knowledges, the case is this, that when they are first communicated to the natural man, they disturb him in his natural loves, and thus cause what is called spiritual trial; trouble, or temptation, here called a tempest: and by the ship being covered with the waves is therefore to be understood, that the knowledges of heavenly good and truth were obscured by the agitation and perturbation of the natural man, signified by the waves.

Q. And what do you understand by the words which follow, where it is written; that he  was asleep?

A. The sleep here spoken of, according to the spiritual idea, has reference to the state of the natural man, under the agitation and perturbation which is here described. For when the natural man is in such a state, then Jesus appears to be asleep; in other words, His Divine presence is not noted or attended to, being immersed in the distracted affections and thoughts of the natural mind. Sleep therefore, in such case, is ascribed to the blessed Jesus, in like manner as anger and wrath are ascribed to Him, when yet they are only appearances, arising from the evil and false principles which prevail in the mind of man, leading him to suppose that, because he is against god, therefore God is against him. Thus Jesus is said to be asleep, when in reality the sleep appertains only to man, who is pronounced to be asleep, when he thinks naturally, and not spiritually, that is to say, when his understanding is immersed in the things of nature, and not awake to the perception and enjoyment of things spiritual and eternal.

Q. But it is added, that His disciples came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, lord, save us; we perish — what do you understand by these words?

A. By the disciples coming to Him is to be understood that their affections were excited towards Him, because every man comes or goes, according to the state of his ruling affection. If therefore that affection be directed towards Jesus Christ, man is then said to come to that great and holy god, as on the other hand, he goes away from that god, whenever his affection grows cold towards Him, by being fixed on inferior objects. And as by coming to Jesus Christ is thus to be understood a state of the ruling affection, so by awaking Him is to be further understood a state of the ruling thought, or a state of the understanding in its elevation upwards towards things spiritual and eternal, agreeable to what was just now observed concerning Jesus being asleep. This state of elevated affection and elevated thought is further described in these words; which the disciples spoke on the occasion, lord, save us; ice perish: for by the prayer, lord, save us, is evidently described a state of elevated affection; and by the additional words, we perish, is as evidently denoted a state of elevated thought, since without such a state it would have been impossible for them to discern the danger and destruction which threatened them.

Q. And what do you conceive to be meant by the words which next follow, where it is written, He says to them, Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?

A. By the interesting question, Why are you fearful? the blessed Jesus intended to lead His disciples to explore in their own minds the cause and origin of fear, that so they might discover that all fear has its source in mere natural affection and thought separate from spiritual affection and thought; and therefore He adds, O you of little faith, by which words He manifestly points out a defect of those spiritual principles. For all faith, properly so called, is the complex of spiritual affection and spiritual thought, since, if spiritual affection be wanting, it is impossible to suppose that there can be any true faith; and in like manner, if spiritual thought be wanting, the principle of faith cannot be supposed to exist. When therefore the blessed Jesus applied the words of censure, O ye of little faith, He manifestly designed to instruct His disciples, and through them all succeeding generations of mankind, that fear is the constant result of the want or weakness of heavenly principles in the human mind, in consequence of which want or weakness the mind is separated from that Divine strength and omnipotence, in which all true courage originates, and is left a prey to all those fears and alarms, which beset the natural mind in such state of separation, by plunging it into a dreadful association with the powers of darkness, of terror, and of dismay.

Q. But it is added, that then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm——what do you understand by these words?

A. By Jesus arising is to be understood, according to the spiritual idea, His exaltation in the minds of His disciples as the supreme good and the supreme truth, for god can never be said to arise in any other sense than this. When therefore the Psalmist says, Let god arise, and let His enemies be scattered, he manifestly prays for such an exaltation of god, that is to say, of His Divine love and wisdom in his own mind and life, by virtue of which he might experience power over all his spiritual enemies. It is accordingly added in the history of this miracle, that when Jesus arose, He rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm, because to rebuke the winds and the sea denotes the exercise of His omnipotence in subduing the infernal influence signified by the wind, and the evils and errors of the natural man signified by the sea, which exercise is to be considered as the result of His arising, in other words, of His being exalted to the supreme place in the affections and thoughts of His disciples. It is therefore to be well understood, that infernal influence, evil and error, can never be removed in man, until the blessed Jesus is first exalted in his mind and life, but that no sooner does such exaltation take place, than presently the wind and the sea are rebuked, and the agitations and perturbations of the natural man give place to the tranquil and composing principles operative from the great redeemer in the spirit of man. Thus, as it is here recorded, there is a great calm, because the great calm here spoken of has relation to the gentle and pacific rule of heavenly principles and persuasions in the human mind on the removal of the contrary principles and persuasions suggested by the powers of darkness, and it is called a great calm, to denote its Divine origin, as having its source in the operation of the Divine mercy and love, for the term great is always applied to denote that operation.

Q. But it is further written, that the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the  winds and the sea obey him? — what particular instruction do you learn, from these words?

A. By the men marvelling, I am taught what is the genuine effect on human minds, resulting from the display of the Divine Omnipotence in removing infernal influence in the natural man, and that this effect is the acknowledgement of that omnipotence, or of a Divine power infinitely exceeding all human agency whatever, for to marvel, according to the spiritual idea, is to recognise such a power. It accordingly follows that they said, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him? by which words it is evident, that they began to regard the blessed Jesus as a being more than human, and even as Divine, since no other than a Divine Being can be supposed to exercise control over the winds and sea, and especially over what is signified and represented by the winds and sea, namely, the tempestuous influences of the powers of darkness operating on the disorderly passions and appetites of the natural man. When therefore the men exclaimed, What manner of man is this? it is the same thing as if they had said. This man can be no other than the great and holy god. Thus the first disciples were convinced by this miracle of the Supreme Divinity of their lord and master, and thus too all future disciples may be convinced of the same divinity, whensoever they observe in themselves the turbulence of unruly passions subdued, and in their place the tranquillity, the peace and gentleness restored, which ever flow from the admission of the meek and mild Spirit of the holy Jesus.

Q. What then is the general instruction which you learn from this miracle?

A. I learn to adore, in the first place, the Divine Agency, by which the almighty has been pleased to manifest His absolute control over the elements of nature; and in the next place to adore the same Divine Agency, as exercised upon the higher elements of human minds. I learn further to trace up that agency to the incarnate god, so as to behold in His divine humanity all the fullness of deity and of omnipotence. I am instructed yet further, by the spiritual sense of this miracle, to look up to that incarnate god for protection under all my spiritual trials and temptations, and especially for deliverance from the winds and waves of my own boisterous passions excited by the destructive influence of the powers of darkness. Lastly, I am taught that in such perturbation and tempests of the natural mind, the blessed Jesus frequently appears to be asleep, and that He can only be awakened by fervent prayer arising from a mind sensible of its danger and of its inability to be its own deliverer. I am resolved therefore now on, in all my spiritual trials and troubles, to apply to and put my whole trust in the holy Jesus, and then I may humbly hope that he will arise, and rebuke the winds and sea, so as to produce a great calm in my disturbed mind. Then too shall I also be led to marvel at the omnipotence of His operations, and to answer the interesting question, What manner of man is this, by the devout and grateful acknowledgment that he is god over all blessed for ever, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the ending of all spiritual life, power, protection, benediction, and salvation; to whom be ascribed all praise, honour and glory, for ever. amen !

The Devils Cast Out

The Devils Cast Out

Matt. 8:16-18.

When the even was come, they brought to him many that were possessed with devils, etc.

Q. WHAT do you here understand by the even coming?

A. By the even coming, according to the sense of the letter, is to be understood the close of the natural day, or the time when the sun sets to this lower world of nature; but according to the spiritual idea contained under the letter, by the even coming is to be understood a state of obscure faith and love in the church, or the close of the spiritual day, when the Sun of Heaven sets on benighted mortals, in consequence of their want of faith in the brightness of his rays, and their want of love for that heavenly warmth which they inspire.

Q. And what do you conceive to be here meant by the possessed of devils?

A. By devils are to be understood the spirits and powers of darkness in the infernal world, and by being possessed of these devils, according to the sense of the letter, is to be understood the possession which these spirits and powers took at that time of the bodies of men; for such at that time was the deplorable state of the Jewish church, in its departure from god and His kingdom, that the infernal inhabitants entered even into the corporeal part of man, and ruled it at pleasure. But by being possessed of devils, according to the spiritual idea, is to be understood the possession which the infernal powers take of the souls of men, by virtue of which possession they obtain entire government over the thoughtless and impenitent, and rule them with the iron rod of diabolical malice and agency. For such is the awful situation of man in this lower world, that he is placed as it were between two kingdoms, the kingdom of light, which is the kingdom of god, and the kingdom of darkness which is the kingdom of the enemy of god, called the Devil and Satan ; the Devil by reason of the diabolical evil by which he is impelled to all kind of mischief: and Satan, by reason of the false principles in which that evil works, and effects its mischievous purposes. Moreover, the inhabitants of both these kingdoms have access to man, and he becomes of necessity associated with the one or the other according to his ruling love, that is to say, according as he is desirous to submit himself to the government of the divine love and wisdom of god, or to govern himself, by exalting his own will and wisdom above the will and wisdom of the most high. It is further to be remarked concerning such association, that, man acquires a life and a form according to it, an angelic life and form if his association be angelic, but an infernal life and form if his association be infernal. Jesus Christ accordingly declares concerning the wicked and unbelieving Jews, You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. (John 8:44).

Q. Can you assign any reason why the possessed of devils were brought to Jesus when the even was come?

A. Yes, if the even be understood according to the spiritual idea above expressed, as denoting the absence of good and of truth in the church, for whenever this is the case, then the members of the church must of necessity become a prey to evil and error, and of course must be possessed of devils, because wherever evil and error are, there the powers of darkness, called the Devil and Satan, must have their abode. It is only therefore in the even, according to its spiritual meaning, that mankind can become possessed of devils, and thus brought to Jesus for deliverance.

Q. But it follows, that He cast out the spirits with His Word, and healed all that were sick — what do you understand by Jesus casting out the spirits with His Word?

A. By the spirits here spoken of are to be understood the powers of darkness, who have their abodes in all man’s natural evils and errors, and by the word of Jesus Christ is to be understood the complex of His divine love and wisdom brought down into the letter, or literal expression. By Jesus casting out the spirits with His Word is consequently to be understood the removal of evil and error through the implantation, the growth, and fruitfulness of heavenly love and wisdom, or what amounts to the same of heavenly goodness and truth. It is not therefore to be understood that Jesus cast out the spirits by the mere sound of His voice, or by any extraordinary act of divine authority or omnipotence separate from His divine love and wisdom, for evil can never be supplanted but by good, nor can error be supplanted but by truth, and therefore it is to be understood, that the voice of the blessed Jesus operated to the casting out the spirits by virtue of the omnipotence of His divine love and wisdom, as formed and contained in it. Hence then may be discovered the obligation imposed on every one, who is desirous of experiencing in his own mind the casting out of the powers of darkness, to cherish carefully in himself the contrary powers of heavenly love and wisdom, or goodness and truth, from a firm conviction that one opposite can never be cast out but by another, in like manner as darkness can never be cast out but by light, nor cold but by heat.

Q. And what do you conceive to be meant by the words which follow, and healed all that were sick?

A. By the sick, according to the spiritual sense O the Miracle, are here meant those who are spiritually sick, and the spiritually sick are all those who are distempered in their understanding, by reason of the influence of false persuasions and perverted thoughts. By healing the sick therefore is to be understood the removal of such false principles and perverted thoughts by the insemination and growth of heavenly truth and knowledge. This operation of healing the sick accordingly follows that of casting out the spirits, because by the spirits are meant the spirits of evil infecting the will of man with disorderly love, and until these spirits are cast out, it is impossible the sick can be healed, since if the love be disorderly in the will, it must of necessity give birth to false persuasions in the understanding; but no sooner is evil extirpated from the will, than error is at the same time extirpated from the understanding, and thus the sick are healed.

Q. But it is added, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses   how do you understand these words? A. By these words I am instructed that all the Miracles worked by the blessed Jesus were of divine prediction, and that thus the prophetic Word and the evangelical are in the most perfect harmony, and accord with each other; the latter being the accomplishment of the former, in the person of the incarnate god. By this god taking our infirmities, and bearing our sicknesses? I am further instructed, that he subjected himself to the assault of all those evils and errors which infest the nature of man, and which are in connection with the powers of darkness, to the intent that he might finally subdue those powers, and deliver man from their tyrannical usurpation. Mention is accordingly made both of infirmities and sicknesses, because infirmities relate to the disorders of evil in the human will, whilst sicknesses have relation to the disorders resulting from false principles in the understanding.

Q. What then is the general instruction which you learn from this Miracle?

A. I learn in the first place to adore the power of that incarnate god, who was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, both in the heart, in the understanding, and in the operation of man, by delivering the heart from the love of evil, and the understanding from the darkness of error, and the operation from the mischievous effects of both.    I learn in the next place to venerate that holy word, which proceeds from this incarnate god, and is embodied in the letter or literal sense of the divine records, and to regard it as the grand complex of the divine will and wisdom let down from heaven for the use of man, by forming in him the same heavenly love and wisdom with which itself is filled.    I learn also that the incarnate god effects all his saving purposes by the instrumentality of   this His holy word.    I learn further that so far as I deliberately cherish any evil or error, in the same proportion I admit into myself infernal agency, and by degrees become a living form of diabolical influence, from which I  can never by any possibility be delivered, but through the reception of the eternal truth, producing in me the blessed fruits of repentance, of faith in Jesus Christ, and of a holy life according to His divine precepts.    I learn lastly to adore that divine mercy, which was pleased in the fulness of time to assume a body of flesh, and in that body to submit to all the assaults of the powers of darkness, for the purpose of subduing them, and thus removing them from man.    I am resolved therefore from now on to take Jesus Christ for my only god and saviour, by believing that he alone has power to deliver me from my natural evils, and thus from infernal association and usurpation.    I am resolved also to venerate His holy word, by believing it to proceed from him, and to contain in its inmost bosom all the fullness  of His love and wisdom, by virtue of which it is in continual close connection with Him. Lastly, I am resolved to cherish this holy word in my heart, my understanding, and my life, from a full conviction that I can never attain any ascendancy over my own natural evils, and thus over the powers of darkness, only so far as the heavenly goods and truths of the eternal word are implanted and bring forth their blessed fruits in my life and conversation, amen.

Peter’s Wife’s Mother Healed

Peter’s Wife’s Mother Healed

Matt. 8:14-16.

And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever, etc.

Q. WHAT do you here understand by Jesus entering into Peter’s house, and by his seeing Peter’s wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever?

A. These words have both a literal and a spiritual meaning, like the words of all the other Miracles performed by the lord, and according to the literal meaning they relate to Peter as a man, and to his wife’s mother as to a person sick of a bodily disorder called a fever; but according to their spiritual meaning, they relate to Peter and to his wife’s mother, as representing spiritual principles belonging to the church, that is to say, to the members of the church at that period, and to the distemper with which the members of the church were then affected.

Q. And according to the spiritual signification, what do you under stand by Jesus entering into Peter’s house?

A. By Peter, as an apostle, is represented the principle of faith in the church, and especially of that faith which acknowledges the divinity of the great saviour, (see Matt. 17:13-20); and by his house therefore are represented the interiors of that faith. Thus by Jesus entering Peter’s house is to be understood His Divine Influx into the interiors which constituted the faith of the church.

Q. What then do you understand, according to the spiritual idea, by Peter’s wife’s mother, and what by Jesus seeing her laid, and sick of a fever?

A. According to the spiritual idea, by Peter’s wife’s mother, is to be understood the affection in which the good of the faith of the church originates; and by Jesus seeing her laid, and sick of a fever, is further to be understood Divine Inspection into that affection, and a consequent discovery of its being merely natural, and infected with evils of concupiscence: for by Jesus seeing is signified Divine Inspection; and by being laid, and sick of a fever, is further denoted that the affection in which the good of the faith of the church originates, was immersed in mere natural love, and thus infested with the concupiscencies originating in that love.

Q. But it is written, that Jesus touched her handy and the fever left her, and she arose and ministered to them——what do you here conceive to be expressed by Jesus touching her hand? and the fever leaving her?

A. Agreeable to the above spiritual idea, by Jesus touching her hand is to be understood, the communication of Divine Power to the affection in which the good of the faith of the church originates; and by the fever leaving her in consequence of that touch, is to be further understood, that when that affection had communication opened with the Divine Power of the lord, and became thus conjoined with his love, it was then immediately liberated from the concupiscencies of evil which had before infested it, and was thus restored to its proper strength, purity, and activity.

Q. And what do you understand by her arising, and ministering to them?

A. These words, like the foregoing, have both a literal and a spiritual meaning, and in their literal meaning they relate to Peter’s wife’s mother, and to her arising out of her bed, and fulfilling her appointed duties, but in the spiritual sense, as applied to the affection in which the good of the faith of the church originates, they were intended to record the elevation of that affection, and its consequent application to works of service and of use in the church. And since all spiritual elevation implies an elevation towards the great and holy god, and thus a conjunction of life with Him, and the performing of useful services under His divine Influence, therefore this also is to be understood by arising and ministering to them.

Q. What then is the general instruction which you learn from the above Miracle?

A. I learn, in the first place, from its letter or history, to adore that Divine Power, by which the great saviour at one and the same time manifested His Divinity, and relieved the natural infirmities of His suffering creatures; and from the interior contents of that letter or history, I learn in the next place to acknowledge with equal adoration and gratitude the same Divine  Power in its application to remove spiritual infirmity and disease.   I learn further, from the significant history of a bodily fever, to reflect on that more terrible mental fever in which it originates, and which it was intended to represent and make manifest, and to be continually upon my guard against its assault and destructive effects.    And since this mental fever consists in those concupiscencies of the  natural man,  which  infest and defile the affection of truth, or of a right faith, in the spiritual man, I am further instructed by the spiritual sense of this Miracle, to be continually on the watch against the infecting influence of those concupiscencies, which all originate in self-love and an inordinate love of the world.    I am resolved therefore from now on, through the Divine Grace and Mercy, to take heed to myself, lest at any time the defiling influence of mere natural love should infect the higher principles of the life of my immortal spirit, and thus plunge me into that most terrible  and dangerous, yet least dreaded of all disorders, a fever of the mind, Still should it come to pass, through the weakness of my  corrupt nature, that I shall at any time become the prey of such infection, I am resolved not to despair of Divine Aid and Relief but rather in all humility of penitence and contrition, to throw myself at the feet of my merciful saviour, and implore the healing power of His divine benediction. Thus may I hope, like Peter’s wife’s mother of old, who had the happiness to experience the blessed touch of her saviour’s hand, to be partaker of the same high privilege, and to receive from that touch the cure of all my spiritual maladies. And thus too, like her, shall I also arise and minister; in other words, become elevated to an eternal conjunction of life with my god, and by virtue of that elevation, be enabled to perform all useful services to my fellow-creatures to His glory and my own happiness. amen,

The Centurion’s Servant Healed

The Centurion’s Servant Healed

Matt. 8:5-14.

And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came to Him a Centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, lord, my servant lies at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented, etc.

Q. WHAT do you here understand by the centurion, by his servant, and by the palsy of which he was sick, and by which he was grievously tormented?

A. According to the sense of the letter, by the Centurion here recorded is to be understood a Roman Commander of a hundred soldiers, and by his servant is to be understood one of his domestics employed in his service, and by the palsy with which he was afflicted, is further to be understood a bodily disease called by that name, and consisting in the want of a proper circulation of the blood in some part of the body, in consequence of which the part affected was rendered incapable of performing the functions for which it was intended. But according to the spiritual idea, which is involved in every part of this Miracle, as well as of all the other Miracles performed by the great redeemer, by the Centurion above-mentioned is to be understood the Church among the Gentiles, and particularly the Church combating against spiritual adversaries, for the Centurion here spoken was a Gentile Soldier. Agreeably to the same spiritual idea, by this Centurion’s servant is to be understood some lower principle in the natural mind intended to administer to the higher principles of the spiritual mind; and therefore by the palsy, with which the servant was afflicted, is to be understood a defect of truth in the lower principles of the natural mind, in consequence of which defect there was a want of circulation of heavenly life and love from the higher principles of the spiritual mind, which rendered the natural mind unable to perform the functions for which it was intended, particularly in the way of combat against the evil principles and false persuasions with which it was infected. It is accordingly said concerning this servant, that he was sick, and grievously tormented, because sickness has relation to the evils which were unsubdued and thus unremoved, whilst grievous torment has relation to the false persuasions originating in those evils.

Q. But it is added, that Jesus says unto him, I will come and heal him——what do you learn from these words of the blessed Jesus?

A. I learn, not only His willingness to administer to the relief of the servant here recorded, but also His willingness to administer to the relief of all other His afflicted servants, who apply to Him out of pure and penitent hearts. It is therefore to be understood, and attentively considered, that Jesus is ever uttering this same expression, I will come and heal him, over every individual child or servant, labouring under any disease or sorrow, whether mental or corporeal. For the great redeemer is the same compassionate mercy yesterday, today, and for ever, and consequently as He was willing in the days of His flesh to listen to the prayers of His afflicted children, and to relieve their distresses, so He is alike willing at this day, and alike in the act of coming, to remove the infirmities of all those, who, like the good Centurion of old, supplicate His Divine Power and Presence, It is to be remarked further concerning the two expressions, coming and healing, that the former must in all cases precede the latter; in other words, that the blessed Jesus cannot heal, unless he be first allowed to come, and that healing therefore is to be regarded as the effect of His Divine Presence, and that consequently whoever wishes to experience the power of His healing, must first labour to open his mind, and to keep it open, to the Divine presence, favour, and benediction.

Q. But it is added that the Centurion answered and said, lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed — what instruction do you learn from these words?

A. I learn from these words two necessary qualifications to secure the favour and blessing of the holy Jesus, the first of which is humility, as manifested in these words, lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, and the second is, confidence in divine aid grounded in that humility, and expressed in these words, speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

Q. And what instruction do you learn from the words which follow, where it is written, for I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this [man] Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes ; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it.

A. I learn a third qualification necessary to secure the favour and blessing of the great redeemer, which qualification consists in a well arranged mind, resulting from the two former qualifications, humility and confidence in Divine Aid. For the soldiers here spoken of, as being under the Centurion, have reference to the subordinate principles of the natural mind, and to say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it, denotes the orderly arrangement of those principles. It is further to be observed concerning this arrangement, that to say to one, Go, and he goes, denotes the first energy and effect of the will in the execution of any purpose; whilst to say to another, Come, and he cometh, denotes the excitation and presence of means in the understanding for the accomplishment of the same purpose; and to say to my servant, Do this, and he does it, denotes the effect, or the full accomplishment of the purpose in word and in work.

Q. But it follows, that when Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel — what instruction do you further learn from these words ?

A. By Jesus marvelling, I learn, that the case of the Centurion was singular and extraordinary; and by his saying, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel, I am further taught in what respect the case was both singular and extraordinary, namely. because the faith of the Centurion was a faith not grounded in himself, but in the affection of charity, thus in the god from whom that affection is derived, on which account it is called a great faith, for the term great is always applied, according to the spiritual idea, to denote heavenly good, which is the good of love and charity. And since the faith, which prevailed at that time in the Israelitish Church, was not of that description, being grounded in selfish and worldly love, and thus not in god, it is therefore added, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Q. And what instruction do you further learn from the words which follow, where Jesus adds, and I say unto you, that many shall come from the East and West, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of god, but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth?

A. By many coming from the East and West, I am instructed in the call of the Gentiles into the Christian Church, both of those who were in a state of more enlightened good, signified by the East, and of those who were in a state of more obscure good, signified by the West; and by their sitting down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of god, I am further taught the several degrees of goodness and of blessedness to which they will be admitted, whilst some attain to a celestial degree, signified by Abraham, some to a spiritual degree, signified by Isaac, and some to a natural degree, signified by Jacob; in other words, while some become principled in love to the lord, others in charity towards their neighbour, and lastly, others in simple obedience to the truth, because they believe it to be their duty to live uprightly and sincerely one amongst smother. For according to any other idea,  what can be meant by sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of god? And again, by the children of the kingdom being cast out into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, I am further instructed, that they, who are principled in faith and truth alone, separate from a life of charity, or obedience to the truth, will be removed from all communion with the blessed, and plunged into a more terrible darkness than they who are ignorant of the truth, and will thus be deprived of all heavenly love and wisdom, and left a prey to every evil purpose and false principle, signified by weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Q. But it is lastly written, that Jesus said to the Centurion, Go your way; and as you have believed, so be it done to you. And his servant was healed in the self-same hour — what is the instruction which you learn from these words?

A. By Jesus saying to the Centurion, Go your way, is to be understood Divine Exhortation to live according to the great faith with which he was gifted, for to go, and to go in a way, according to the spiritual idea, signifies to walk or to live according to the knowledge of heavenly truth which has been received; and therefore I am instructed by these words, that every one, who has been blessed with the knowledge and belief of the eternal truth, ought to endeavour to form his life and love according to it; heavenly dictates. By Jesus saying further, as you have believed, so be it done to you. I am again instructed that the Divine Blessing, with its operation, attends every one, according to his faith; in other words, according to the ruling persuasions of his mind, as grounded in his ruling love, if that love be in agreement with the Divine Will, and that for this plain reason, because those persuasions are in conjunction with the eternal truth, and the eternal truth is ever connected with Omnipotence, agreeable to which idea it is written in. another place, that ail things are possible to him that believes. Lastly, I am instructed by the concluding words, his servant was healed in the self-same hour, that a Divine Effect always attends a Divine Intention and loving-kindness, in all cases, where obstructions to its operation are removed, as in the present instance of the faithful Centurion and his afflicted servant, and that thus the palsy is healed in all the lower principles of the human mind, whenever the higher principles are opened, by genuine faith and love, to the reception of the Divine Mercy and its full operation.

Q. What then is the general instruction which you learn from, this Miracle?

A. I learn, first, that there is a spiritual palsy as well as a natural one, and that a spiritual palsy consists in some spiritual obstruction in the mind and life, whereby the free circulation of heavenly love and wisdom is impeded, so that the mental faculties are not able to perform their proper functions, which functions consist in opposing evil and false principles, and in cherishing such as are in agreement with the supreme good and the supreme truth. I am instructed yet further, that no radical cure is to be found for this spiritual palsy but in the incarnate god, or In the great saviour, Jesus Christ in His divine humanity, and not even, in this god and saviour, unless he be approached in a right faith, that is to say, with a faith grounded in love and charity, producing right arrangement in all the subordinate powers and principles of the natural mind. I 1earn still further from the above Divine Miracle, that let the obstructions to heavenly life and love be ever so formidable, and the Divine circulation of Blessing be ever so much impeded, yet if Jesus Christ in His divine humanity be believed in and approached with a sincere heart, and in the spirit of true repentance, every obstruction will then soon be removed, which prevents the free circulation of His blessed influence, until at length the whole mind and life be restored to their proper health and strength, by being enabled to comply willingly and freely with the Divine Operation. I am resolved therefore now on, whensoever I feel my own mind affected with a spiritual palsy, to apply immediately, like the faithful Centurion above recorded, to my god and saviour for his healing virtue, and to apply to him with that living faith in His Divine Omnipotence, for which the Centurion was so eminently distinguished. I am resolved also to attend well to the operations of my own mind, that so all its powers and faculties may be brought into right arrangement, and thus rendered strong to withstand the assault of evil and false principles, and eager and earnest to cherish all heavenly and holy influences. Lastly, I am resolved to believe confidently, that if my faith in my god and saviour be grounded in His love and wisdom, it will then connect me perpetually with His Omnipotence, and through that Omnipotence every obstruction to the circulation of the Divine Blessing will finally be removed, and I shall feel myself restored to the free exercise of every mental faculty, and to the happy perception of its close conjunction with the mercy, favour, peace and blessedness of my heavenly father. amen.

The Leper Cleansed

The Leper Cleansed

Matthew 8:1-5

When He was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him, and behold, there came a Leper and worshiped Him, etc.

Q. WHAT do you conceive to be here figured by the Leper, who is the subject of this Miracle ?

A. The Leprosy, like all other bodily diseases prevalent at the time, was a representative figure of spiritual disease, and the spiritual disease which it represented, was the profanation of Good and of Truth, which then prevailed in the Jewish Church.

Q. And what do you understand by the profanation of Good and Truth?

A. Man is guilty of profanation, and is thus a spiritual Leper, whenever he has been initiated into the knowledge of what is true, and into the love of what is good, and afterwards acts contrary to such knowledge and love. This evil of profanation is represented by what Jesus Christ says concerning the unclean Spirit, that when he is cast out, he says, I will return to my house from whence I came out. Then he goes and takes to himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man, is worse than the first) (Matt. 12:43-46). The lord therefore, in his merciful providence, exercises a peculiar care over mankind, to prevent, as far as possible, their receiving more knowledge, and being affected with more love of what is right and good, than they can be supported in to the end of life, because the profanation of what is good and true exposes man to a more grievous condemnation than he can be exposed to by mere ignorance of, and insensibility to what is good and true, agreeable to those words of Jesus Christ, where He says, ” That servant which knew his lord’s will, and pre- pared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many blows; but he who knew not, though he committed things woryour of blows, shall be beaten with few, (Luke 12:47, 48). The Leper then, who is the subject of this Miracle, is a representative figure of all those, who have once admitted into their minds the knowledge of heavenly things, and been made sensible of the love of them, and who afterwards decline from such knowledge and love, in consequence of immersing their thoughts and affections again in the selfish and worldly love which they had forsaken.

Q. But it is said of the above Leper, that he worshiped Jesus Christ, saying, lord, if you will, you can make me clean — what do you understand here by the Leper’s worshipping Jesus Christ ?

A. The worship of Jesus Christ implies the acknowledgement of His divinity, and thus that He was god made man in One Divine Person. Such worship therefore is here recorded of the above Leper, because the acknowledgement of the divinity of Jesus Christ is the necessary qualification to draw from Him the operation of His Divine Virtue for the cure of disease whether mental or bodily.

Q. And what do you further understand by the Leper saying, lord, if you will, you can make me clean?

A. These words involve confidence, on the part of the Leper, in the Omnipotence of the incarnate god, whom he now worshiped, which confidence was grounded in the conviction, that Jesus Christ is able to accomplish every purpose which is in agreement with His Own divine order and providence; in other words, that He has power to effect all things which are not contrary to the laws of His own appointment, thus to the determinations of His Divine Will. This confidence therefore is here recorded, because it is another essential qualification for receiving all the benefits and blessings resulting from the Divine Operation.

Q. But it follows, that Jesus put forth his hand and touched him, saying, I will, be you clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed — What do you here understand by Jesus putting forth his hand?

A. By the hand is denoted power, because the hand is formed to execute the determinations of the will, in which all power originates.    By the hand of Jesus, therefore is represented  Divine Power, which is Omnipotence, and by putting forth the hand is signified the exercise of that Omnipotence, thus the fulfillment of the purposes of the Divine Mercy and Love,    According this sense, it is to be understood that the blessed Jesus is always putting forth his hand, because he is always in the act of relieving the infirmities, soothing the sorrows, and healing the spiritual distempers of all his children who believe in his divinity, and have confidence in the omnipotence which he possesses as the only god of heaven and earth.

Q. And what do you conceive to be further meant by Jesus touching the Leper and saying, I will, be you clean ?

A. By touching is here to be understood the communication of that omnipotence which is signified by putting forth the hand, in other words, its application to the distempered principles which it intended to cure. It is therefore added, I will, be you clean, because the expression, I will, is significative of the Divine Intention or Purpose, as originating in” the Divine Mercy or Love, whilst the expression, Be thou clean, denotes, with equal emphasis, the accomplishment of that intention or purpose, through the application of an omnipotent energy to the malady which was to be removed. It is therefore further to be under stood, not only that Jesus Christ is perpetually putting forth his hand, and touching his distempered children, who with confidence supplicate his Divine Aid, but likewise that he is perpetually saying, as in the present instance, I will, be you clean, in other words, that he is perpetually declaring the purpose of his mercy to relieve the wants and heal the infirmities of his penitent and humble children, and is always in the act of executing that purpose, whenever his children are in a proper state of heart and of life to admit his Divine Operation.

Q. And  what  do  you  understand by what next follows, where it is said,  immediately Ms leprosy was cleansed?

A. The blessed Jesus had before expressed the purpose of His Love, and also its operation, in the emphatic words, I will, be you clean, and therefore now the effect of that purpose and operation is described. Thus we are instructed that every Divine Work is threefold, including in it Intention which is of love, design which is of wisdom, and effect which is of operation; and thus too we are instructed further, that in every effect there must be a cause or design, and in every cause or design there must be a purpose or end; and that consequently in every work of creation and redemption there is a manifestation of Divine Love and Wisdom, of which such work is therefore an exact representative type or figure, so that the whole of creation may be regarded as a theatre representative of the Divine Principles in which it originates, which are love, wisdom and use.

Q. But It is written that Jesus says unto him, See you tell no man, but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded) for a testimony to them — what do you conceive to be here meant by the injunction, See you tell no man?

A. According to the sense of the letter, this injunction implies, that the cleansed Leper should be silent respecting the Divine Operation from which he had received such an extraordinary benefit, and in this sense of the term, it contains an useful caution to those, who are forward to speak of the experience they have had of the Divine Mercy, and who consider it as a crime to conceal from others the blessings which have been bestowed on themselves. But according to the spiritual idea, the injunction implies that the Miracle worked should not affect the understanding only, by being regarded merely in an intellectual view, or as a point of curious speculation, but should affect the will of its cleansed subject, by being regarded as an effect of the pure love and mercy of the most high god. It therefore follows, Go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded, for a testimony to them. For by the injunction, Go your way, is to be understood a requirement to live according to the mercy which had been experienced; and by the further injunction, show yourself to the priest, is to be understood an opening of the mind to the consideration and reception of the good of heavenly love and life, which good was figured and represented by the priest under the Jewish law; and lastly by the injunction, offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony to them, is to be understood the grateful and devout acknowledgment that all spiritual cleansing and purification, especially in the case of the profanation of Good and Truth, is the sole effect of the Divine Loving-kindness, and a proof most positive of the Divine Omnipotence.

Q. What then is the general instruction which you learn from this Miracle?

A. I learn from it, in the first place, to adore that Divine Power and Goodness, which when manifested here on earth in a bodily form, was exercised on the bodies of men, by the removal of bodily disease and infirmity, and thus proves the original of that form to be from the father of mercies. And I learn from it, in the next place, to reflect with consolation and confidence, that the same Divine Power and Goodness is continually flowing from the glorified body of the great redeemer, to remove all spiritual disease and infirmity, even that greatest of all distempers, the profanation of Good and Truth, in all cases where Divine Aid is supplicated out of a humble and penitent heart for the purpose of removal. Lastly, I learn what are the qualifications to receive the healing gift of the Divine Mercy, and that they consist, first, in the acknowledgement of the incarnate god in His divine humanity; and secondly, in the confidence that He has Omnipotence, in other words, that He can do all things consistent with His own order, and with the laws of operation which He Himself hath been pleased to appoint. I am resolved therefore from now on to believe in this Omnipotence of the incarnate god, and to apply to Him, and to Him alone, for relief under all my spiritual distempers, and never to despair of His Divine Aid, even though I should inadvertently offend against His holy laws, and thus incur the guilt of profaning them. amen.

Introductory Remarks on Miracles.

Introductory Remarks on Miracles.

Q. What do you mean by a Miracle?

A. A Miracle is the manifestation of a supernatural Power controlling, in some degree, the Common or established laws of nature.

Q. How many kinds of Miracles are there?

A. Miracles in general may be referred to two classes, Divine Miracles, and what may be called magical or infernal Miracles.

Q. What do you mean by a Divine Miracle?

A. A Divine Miracle is the exertion and effect of a supernatural agency, exercised by the almighty himself for the benefit of Mankind.

Q. And what do you mean by a magical or infernal Miracle?

A. A magical or infernal Miracle is the exercise and effect of magical and infernal agency, separated from Divine Agency, and in opposition to it.

Q. Can you tell me any instances of this latter agency, as recorded in the word of god?

A. It is written in the book of Exodus, that when Moses lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants, all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood; and the fish that were in the river died, and the river stunk, etc. And it is then added, that the Magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments, (Exod. 7:20, 21, 22). Again, it is declared by Jesus Christ, that in the latter days there shall arise false Christs and false Prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that) if it were possible, they shall deceive even the very elect, (Matt. 24:24). The beast also in the Revelation is described as doing great wonders, so as to make fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceives them that dwell on the earth by those Miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the Beast, (Matt. 13:13, 14)

Q. Can you see any reason why the almighty should permit his enemies to exercise a miraculous power in opposition to himself and to his kingdom?

A. Yes: there is every good reason to suppose that the almighty grants this permission for the sake of His own children, or with a view to the trial of their faith, and to its further confirmation in consequence of such trial. For the necessary effect of an infernal or magical Miracle on the mind of a well-disposed person must be to induce doubt respecting the truth of a Divine Miracle, and the result of that doubt would be a clearer discrimination between the two classes of Miracles, and thus finally a rejection of the infernal or magical Miracle, and an establishment of the power and validity of the Divine Miracle.

Q. And what do you conceive to be the discrimination between these two kinds of Miracles?

A. The discrimination is grounded, not so much in the external aspect or form of the two kinds of Miracles, as in their internal characters and qualities. For the internal quality and character, which distinguishes the Divine Miracle is, that it is representative and expressive of the Divine and Spiritual Principles which give it birth. Thus, when Jesus Christ raised the dead to life, this Miracle contained in its inward bosom a Divine and living Principle, and was thus expressive of the operation of that Principle, not only in imparting new life to a dead body, but also in imparting new and spiritual life to a dead soul, by raising it from the death of sin to the life of righteousness. This was the case too with all the other Miracles worked by that incarnate god, every one of which was thus figurative of a divine operation exercised, not on matter only, but on spirit also, producing in the latter an effect corresponding to that which was produced in the former. But in the case of magical or infernal Miracles, no such internal principle was operative, and of course no such principle could be expressed, and therefore the Miracle was a mere outward and dead form, without animation from any spiritual principle of life whatever.

Q. What then would  you suppose was the immediate design of the lord’s Miracles?

A. In the first place, his Miracles were incontestable proofs to all his followers of a divine supernatural agency, and not only so, but of a divine mercy and loving-kindness. Thus they produced a double effect on all his penitent disciples, convincing their understandings, in the first place, of the divinity of their lord and master; and, in the next place, operating on their wills, by making them sensible of His divine tenderness and compassion towards the children of men. It is therefore well to be understood, that it was not the intention of His Miracles, to make converts to his doctrine, since there is every reason to believe that no one cart be converted to the Truth by any miraculous testimony whatsoever, agreeable to what is intimated in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, where it is written, If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead. Accordingly Jesus Christ testifies in another place, If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of god ; instructing us by these words, that the qualification to admit the evidence of divine doctrine does not arise so much from miraculous testimony, as from a sincere desire to do the will of god, thus from a well-disposed heart and life. Accordingly the unbelieving Jews were not convinced by our lord’s Miracles, nor does it appear to have been his intention to promote their conviction in that way, and therefore he says in another place, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh for a sign, but there shall no sign be given. The conclusion therefore is, that the lord’s Miracles were intended for the confirmation of the faith of his pious followers; but not for the conviction and conversion of those who had no previous disposition or inclination to become his followers.

Q. But in the Scriptures of the New Testament, mention is made of Signs as well as of Miracles,—how do you distinguish between a Sign and a Miracle?

A. By a Sign is to be understood a divine supernatural agency operative on the understandings of men, and thereby producing conviction respecting religious Truth, which conviction, so far as it relates to the understanding, may at any time be worked by the almighty, and would at all times be wrought, if it was agreeable to the order of his providence, and conducive to the regeneration and consequent salvation of mankind. But inasmuch as such conviction of the understanding, separate from the conversion of the will, would be of no avail, or rather would be injurious to man, by rendering him the subject of a more severe condemnation, supposing him to be unfaithful to it, therefore such signs are not given, and to seek them is declared by Jesus Christ to be the proper mark and character of an evil and adulterous generation. Miracles, on the other hand, do not produce conviction of the understanding only, but are intended to affect the will, as was above observed, and therefore Miracles are vouchsafed of the divine mercy for the reasons above mentioned, because Divine Miracles have a representative signification, by virtue of which they become instructive and edifying to all those who are in a state of mind capable of being benefited by them, in other words, who are in a state of mind sincerely desirous both to know and to do the whole will of their heavenly father.

Q. How ought you then to be affected by a sense of the lord’s Miracles?

A. With unfeigned adoration both of His divine power and divine goodness, manifested in every Miracle which He performed. I ought also to be rightly affected with the significative sense of every Miracle, and with this view to explore attentively what their distinct signification is, that so I may gain a clearer insight into the nature of the divine operation. Lastly, I ought to consider, and to consider seriously, that Jesus Christ, in his adorable mercy, is ever disposed to work all his Miracles in my own mind and life, and since this cannot be done, only so far as I co-operate freely with him in the working of such Miracles, therefore I ought to consider further, that I am appointed, under him, to perform the same Miracles, agreeable to His own declaration, where He says concerning every one of His true followers, The works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go to the Father, (John 14:12), I am resolved therefore now on to pay due attention to the meaning and import of every Divine Miracle, and to take heed to my own conduct and conversation, that I may always be in a fit state to be a subject of the Miraculous Operation of my god and saviour, and may thus co-operate with Him in the removal of all my natural infirmities, ignorances and disorders, until I be finally restored, through his Divine Agency, to the full and complete order of that heavenly life, which He is ever willing to re-establish in every principle and degree both of my soul and body. amen.