Chapter XVIII. Man at Birth.

THIS diagram presents

The degrees that are composed of spiritual substances, all of which are from the father,

The parts which are organized of material substances and are from the mother,

The taint of hereditary evil from the father and mother respectively, and

The development of the degrees at birth. *

* note: For the name of each degree of the spiritual mind and each of the natural, see Diagram XIII; this applies to all subsequent diagrams.

Concerning what is from the father and what from the mother, we read-

“The soul which is from the father is the man himself and the body which is from the mother is not man in itself but from him and is only the clothing of the soul woven of such [materials].. are of the natural world. but the soul is of such [substances] as are in the spiritual world. Every 3 man after death lays aside the natural which he carried from his mother, and retains the spiritual which was from the father, together with a certain limbus [an envelop] of the purest [substances] of nature around it.”- TCR 103.

“The soul is from the father and the body from the mother; for the soul is in the seed of the father and is clothed with a body in the mother; or, what is the same, all the spiritual [organism] man has is from the father and all the material [organism] he has, from the mother.” TCR 92.

“There is a difference between what man receives from his father and what he receives from his mother. Man receives from his father all that is internal, his very soul or life is from the father; but he receives from his mother, all that is external. In a word, the interior man or the spirit is from the father but the exterior man or the body is from the mother.”-AC 1815.

“That the inmost of life, which is from the father, is continually flowing in and operating upon the external which is from the mother and endeavoring to make this like itself, even in the womb, may be manifest from sons in that they are born with the inclinations of the father, and sometimes grandchildren and great grandchildren with the inclinations of the grandfather, and the great grandfather; this is because the soul which is from the father continually wills to make the external which is from the mother like itself and an image of itself.” AC 6716

“Nothing is provided in the womb of the mother except a body conceived by and derived from the soul.”-TCR 167.

“Man is born spiritual as to his soul, and is clothed with a natural which makes his material body.”-TCR 583.

“The soul of man that lives after death is his spirit and this is in perfect form a man.”-.DLW 394.

“The mind of man is the man himself; for the first rudiments of the human form, or the human form itself with each and everything of it, is from the beginnings continued out of the brain through the nerves. This is the form into which man comes after death, and which is then called a spirit and an angel, and which is in all perfection a man, but spiritual: the material form, which is added and superinduced in the world, is not a human form from itself but from the former.” – DLW 388.

“The life of every man is from the father and only the clothing is put on in the mother, hence it is that every man has his name from the father and not from the mother.”-A.S. (N.Y. Ed., p. 45; London Ed., p. 52.)

“Since man is not life but a recipient of life it follows that the conception of man from his father is not a conception of life but only of’ the first and purest form receptive of life, to which as a stamen or beginning, substances and matters are successively added in the womb in forms adapted to the reception of life in their order and degree.” DLW 6.

Since the fall, man is the subject of hereditary evil. We read, –
“Man’s inmost [or spirit] is from the father, whereas the exteriors, or those parts which clothe that inmost, are from the mother; each, namely, what he derives from the father and the mother,

      is tainted with hereditary evil.”-AC


      . (Also AC





“All the evils which man derives from his parents, which are called hereditary evils, reside in his natural and sensual man but not in the spiritual.”-AE 543 [b].

“Man is born into evils of every kind from his parents and these reside in his natural man which of itself is diametrically opposed to the spiritual man” – TCR 574; (also AC 1902.)

The inmost A and the natural body E and F are the most developed at birth and are drawn large to indicate this. The spiritual mind B and the natural mind C are drawn small to indicate that at birth they are advanced but slightly beyond their rudimental state as at conception, requiring years for development to be effected by discrete degrees successively.

The extremes which are the inmost and the natural body are at birth very large in comparison with the intermediates B and C.

By the inmost as an active and the natural body as a reactive all the intermediate degrees are formed out and stored with remains during childhood and thus are prepared for reformation and regeneration in after years.

The whole natural body (all that the infant takes on from nature) consists, as said above, of the limbus and the gross body. The limbus is the higher and mental part and is retained after death, the gross body being rejected. (See Diagrams XV and XVI.)

The spiritual mind B is drawn in white to indicate its purity. There is no taint of ancestral evil in this mind of the child, as there was no evil in the spiritual mind of the father. Into this mind, which is in form or image a heaven, evil cannot enter; yet this mind may be closed and rendered almost inoperative by the reaction against it of the natural mind confirmed in evil as is the case with the wicked. (DLW 270, 261, 432; AE 176, 739.)

The natural mind is drawn dark to indicate the taint of hereditary evil from the father. (DLW 432, 270; D. W. in AE III, 4, and IV.)

The spiritual body being derived from the natural mind and as it were one with it, is also tainted with evil from the father and is drawn in dark to indicate this.

That the spiritual mind, the germ of which is from the father, is free from taint of evil and in heavenly form and order and that the natural mind, the germ of which is also from the father, is tainted since the fall, may be seen in Divine Love and Wisdom 432, and in Divine Wisdom (in AE ) III, 4.

The two higher degrees of “the little brain, in the order and form of heaven” (DLW 432) constitute the spiritual mind and are equivalent to the three planes of that mind (B in this diagram), and are the two degrees of the spiritual mind B in the 2nd form, which illustrates the degrees of the mind as presented inDivine Love and Wisdom 432 and DivineWisdom (in AE ) III,4. These numbers describe the rudiments of the spiritual and natural minds; the inmost A is not mentioned in them though its presence is implied. The two interior degrees in the order and form of heaven are the two degrees B in the 2nd form. The exterior degree which was in opposition to the form of heaven is the natural mind C in the 2nd form, and is equivalent to the three degrees of C in the first form. The natural mind like the other parts is variously described in the Writings-in one degree, in two and in three, according to the purpose in different passages.

The subject in Divine Love and Wisdom 432, and Divine Wisdom (in AE ) III, 4, is the primitive of man which is a spiritual substance not visible in natural light but only in spiritual and is the seed from the father by which conception takes place. The exterior degree mentioned therein does not include the limbus which is composed of natural substances but consists only of that part of the natural mind which is composed of spiritual substances. (See Chapter VIII.)

The inmost, the spiritual and the natural mind, and the spiritual body are formed of spiritual substances, as shown above, and in their strictly initial state as at conception are derived directly from the father, at which time the ultimate parts are more rudimental than the internal parts and especially more rudimental than the inmost or soul proper as this is the first form from which the others proceed.

This diagram shows the development reached at birth, not the form of the initial at conception. We have in part shown the quality of the paternal faculties at the period of birth by their quality at conception. During growth in the womb no change occurs in their hereditary quality though they undergo an important development which as to the spiritual body is very great, but as to the mental faculties less. Whatever growth occurs in these paternal faculties A B C D from conception to birth must be from an incorporation of spiritual substances; growth from natural substances occurs only in the parts from the mother which are the limbus and the gross body.

The evil from the mother inheres of course in the organism drawn directly from her, called in the whole the natural body. The inmost of this body consists of those purest substances of nature which compose the merest external of the natural mind (mentioned in DLW 257.) This is illustrated in Diagram XV at E. In this mental part from the mother the evil from her primarily inheres, tainting thence the gross body. This mental part is the limbus E E in this diagram. To indicate this taint of evil E and F are drawn in dark.

We have already shown, -That the natural mind consists of spiritual substance and at the same time of natural substance,That from its spiritual substance arises thought but not from its natural substance,That the spiritual substance is initially from the father and the natural substance at birth from the mother,That the natural substance appertaining to the mind constitutes after death the cutaneous envelop of the spiritual body,That by such envelop the spiritual body subsists, that is, is preserved permanently in form because the natural is the containing element.And that in the part of the natural mind composed of natural substances (the limbus in this diagram) and not in any part of the mind composed of spiritual substances, the taint of maternal evil resides.

To see that evil can inhere in these substances we must reflect that they are organized into a mental form constituting the merest external part of the natural mind conjoined to the spiritual part of it which spiritual part thinks and wills immediately within the natural, so that while this merest external is itself incapable of thought still it is the lowest and active seat of thought during life in the world. The thought is necessarily qualified by the state of this external, and is brought into act by the gross body. That evil does inhere in the part of the natural mind composed of natural substances (the maternal part) as well as in the part composed of spiritual substances, may be seen in Divine Love and Wisdom 270. This external is the seat of the external memory or memory of the body (AE 193[a]) both before and after death, though after death it is quiescent. This memory composed of material substances is usually called natural, exterior, or corporeal (as in HH 461; AC 2469-2494, and AE 569 [a], 832), but in Spiritual Diary 2752, it is called the outmost or material memory. When this memory quiesces after death, the internal memory formed of spiritual substances and appertaining to that part of the mind which is from the father comes into conscious activity.

This external from the mother is the residence of all impressions and knowledge received through the senses whether gained by physical and sensible experience or by instruction in science, morals and religion, and also the residence of all conscious emotions arising from within. In this part only can man by introspection become conscious of his evils and falsities for here only can they be distinctly perceived. This is that ultimate or external in which man is together with the LORD and wherein he must directly cooperate with the LORD; the LORD alone working in the interiors. (DP 119, 120.) What lies further in is not perceptible except by outflow into this plane: only in this outer plane can be clearly seen the light of spiritual truth, and distinctly felt the warmth of celestial love.

In this external part of the natural mind every maternal inclination whether evil or good has its primal abode. Here too reside all mental bias, faculty, disposition and ability, from the mother. These however are subject to more or less modification and even practical nullification from the various conditions of the gross body.

Not only does the body from the mother partake of her quality good or bad but there are always induced upon its interior and often upon its exteriors the quality and likeness of the father also. This is done in the construction of the body from the substances furnished by the mother during gestation. Results produced after birth are not here presented. The infusion of the father’s quality into this maternal structure is in part accomplished by the influence of the soul of the child which was from the father and consequently fully imbued with his quality. This soul sits mistress in the formation of that natural human which it is assuming from the mother and weaves more or less fully the materials furnished by her into its own form and quality. It is according to order that the active, here the spirit, shall form the reactive, here the body, as fully as may he after its own nature and gift it with its own quality that it may perform its intended use. This agrees with Arcana Coelestia AC 10125 where the meaning is not that the body is composed of spiritual substances from the soul but that the soul forms the natural substance from the mother into a body resembling itself (See also AC 6716, 10823; TCR 82, 103; DLW 388.)

According to the above order the spirit of the child first forms those purest substances of nature from the mother into the enveloping part or limbus of the natural mind, that it may use that covering as the lowest seat of its thought and the medium by which it may flow into the gross body; and it also forms this body of grosser and grossest substances of nature and places therein the five senses as organs for sensing the outer world, acquiring knowledge and expressing its own feeling and thought. Although the soul of the child measurably imparts its own quality to that natural external it does not remove the quality of the mother. (TCR 103; AC 6716.

We said the quality of the father is imparted to the body of the child chiefly by the child’s own soul, but the quality of the father is communicated to the body of the child by being first appropriated by the mother and by her transmitted to the child in the substances and forms furnished by her. In some cases (and there will be more as the Church advances) the father’s likeness flows in each globule of the mother’s nervous fluid and his image in every drop of her blood. Something of this exists in most instances if not in all. (Marriage page 9, item 22; Latin Edition, p 7. AE 1004.) Still whatever of paternal quality thus reaches the child’s body is first materialised and imparted as the mother’s also. Conversely, the father may appropriate the sphere of the mother and impart it as his own to the spirit of the child and thence to its body.

Errors Regarding the Child’s Inheritance from the Mother.BECAUSE the external acquired by the first rational is called the maternal rational it has been inferred that the rational as an organic faculty is from the mother. Not so. That faculty before regeneration, and with the LORD before Glorification, is called maternal in consequence of clothing itself with an external acquired by means of the maternal but not from it. Moreover the above inference conflicts with the teaching, “that all the spiritual which man has is from the father” (TCR 92 and 103) and that the maternal rational does not exist at birth but is acquired by instruction and sensuals of various kinds. (AC 1893-1895.)

In regard to the maternal rational (called the first rational and represented by Ishmael) it should be recollected that this rational is formed by truths obscured by appearances which appearances are to be dispersed during regeneration; this is the rejection of the maternal rational. From Arcana Coelestia AC 2654, 3207, 2557, we see that this rational is called maternal only because it is mediately, not directly, from the mother.

Another misconception is that because the child inherits somewhat of inclination and talent from the mother, it derives from her some part of its spiritual organism also. Not so. The child inherits no part of its spiritual organism from the mother. These maternal characteristics inhere in the mental part of the natural derived from the mother. (See Diagram XV.)

That the soul is from the father and the body from the mother rightly understood involves no disparagement of the functions of the mother. That no disparagement is involved appears from the following:

I. The maternal part of the natural mind is the seat of all the mental states inherited from the mother and is the seat of the natural memory (AE 193), and during life is the active seat of all the degrees derived from the father. Although this maternal part of the natural mind becomes quiescent after death it still servestwo great and indispensable uses to eternity. (1) It is an envelop of the spirit holding its structure in form and its state entire, thus preventing its disintegration through the volatility of its spiritual substances. (2) It preserves the state of man after death as determined by his ruling end, changeless to eternity, securing to the enduring heaven and preventing the evil from sinking good an ever into deeper hells.

II. Without the natural furnished by the mother there could be no propagation of the human race, thus no heaven of angels which is the Divine end of creation.

III. Although the spiritual faculties are not from the mother, they must for regeneration acquire an external, from various knowledges and truths, to embody themselves; and these are obtainable only by means of the natural from the mother.

Let no one then undervalue the function of the mother in comparison with that of the father, his impossible without hers, hers eternally conserving the fruit of h

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The Heavenly Host

A Sermon by the Rev. James P. Cooper

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace to men of good will! (Luke 2:13, 14)

Each year, as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we read many prophecies that were given to prepare mankind for the Lord’s coming. A few selected phrases will serve to bring them to mind.

He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.

I shall see Him but not now. I shall behold Him but not near.

The scepter shall not depart out of Judah until Shiloh comes.

He bowed the heavens and came down.

And many others. Each of these prophecies was given through the agency of the angels, for all communication between God and mankind takes place by means of the angels. Our word “angel” comes from the Greek word “aggelia” which means “messenger.” We read from the Arcana:

For in order that the message may come to man … the Lord makes use of the ministry of angels, filling them with the Divine, and lulling the things which are their own; so that at the time they do not know but that they themselves are Jehovah. In this way the Divine of Jehovah, which is in the highest things, passes down into the lowest of nature, in which lowest is man in respect to sight and hearing (AC 1925).

In the New Church we speak openly and with confidence about angels. We feel close to angels because we know so much about them, and because we know that one day we too will be angels. Today, as our thoughts and our most tender affections turn towards the story of the Lord’s birth on earth, let us pay particular attention to the important role that the angels played in Jesus Christ’s birth.

Angelic societies descended into the world of spirits where they met with men in the world who had been prepared for the meeting by having their spiritual senses awakened by the Lord. In this way they were able to make a more direct, sensible approach to mankind, and deliver their messages more effectively, for example when:

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. {17} “He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” {18} And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” {19} And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. (Luke 1:13, 17-19)

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. {11} “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)

The angel did not do anything or say anything from himself. He was filled with the Divine presence of Jehovah Himself, and yet his presence was entirely necessary for the thing to happen. To think of an illustration from the world, the angelic heaven is like the system of wires and transformers that carry electricity from the power plant to our homes. The wires and transformers are in themselves inert – but there could be no distribution of electric power without them. All forms of energy, even spiritual energy, must flow through something.

So far we have been speaking of the things the angels did to assist the Lord in His coming during a period of thousands of years before the actual event took place in time. Let us now turn our attention to the assistance that the angels gave at the time of the Incarnation itself.

The first event in the New Testament where angels play a key role is the annunciation to Zacharias in the temple (Luke 1:13-20) where he is given a message from the Divine that in spite of his and his wife’s advancing age, they were to be the parents of a boy who was to be named John, and who would become a prophet. Zacharias could not have lived if the Lord Himself had appeared to him. It was absolutely essential that the message be passed down through the heavens and accommodated to his particular state in that time and place.

The New Testament speaks of the Lord as both the Son of Man and the Son of God because of His dual nature before He was fully glorified. When reference is made to the Son of Man, it refers to the Lord as to the human, or the Truth, while when reference is made to the Son of God, it refers to the Divine Itself, or the Divine Love. When Jesus Christ was in the World, in the human, He was the Word, the Divine truth personified, or as it says in John, “the Word made flesh.” And yet at the same time it was not apparent from merely looking at the infant Jesus Christ, that He was God the Creator. The Divinity within Him had to be hidden so that men’s freedom not to believe in Him could be preserved (See AC 4391). Is this not an exact parallel to the Word itself which contains the Divine Truth itself in such a form that it is a source of comfort, strength and information to those who believe it to be the Word of God, and yet it can also, to those who do not wish to believe, appear to be just a book about ancient peoples? The Heavenly Doctrines teach:

As to each and all things, the Word has descended from the Lord… In its descent it has clothed itself with forms adapted to apprehension in the three Heavens, and at last with a form for the apprehension of man… (AC 6221)

The parallel does not end there, for just as the Word comes to Man from God by means of the angelic heavens, so the Lord Himself “bowed the heavens and came down” (Psalm 18:9), by passing through the angelic heavens and taking on a clothing of their humanity, their characteristics, their nature so that by the time the Holy Spirit was to enter into the interiors of Mary’s mind it was in a form suited to do so.

A key event in the process of incarnation was the appearance of the angel Gabriel to Mary. In order to understand this better, we need to remember that except for the appearance of the angel to Zacharias (which Mary probably did not know about at the time), there had not been an angelic visitation in Israel in 400 years. We know that the promise of a Messiah was dear to every Hebrew heart, and so we must assume that Mary, like other Hebrew women, longed for the coming of the Messiah, and at the same time hoped that He would be born to her. So in a sense, when Gabriel appeared to her, she had been prepared by her upbringing as to know of the Messianic prophecy, and perhaps to hope that this very thing would happen to her.

The angel carried the Divine message to her – but more than that, the angel asked Mary questions, and listened to the replies, for the most important thing about this message was that the invitation to become the natural mother of the Lord was received with understanding and with rational consent, for we know that nothing can be truly one’s own unless it is received in freedom. Mary listened to the angel, considered, and willingly accepted her mission, and so the Holy Spirit was received in the interiors of her mind in freedom, there to continue the process of clothing itself with the materials of this world.

Joseph was also visited by an angel in a dream. He was in the extremely difficult position of discovering his betrothed wife to be pregnant. He could have submitted to jealous rage and had her stoned for what he thought was her sin – for Joseph knew that the baby could not be his because they had not yet come together. What other explanation could there be but that Mary had sinned with another man. However, Joseph truly loved her and wished her no harm, and when the angel came to him with the Divine message regarding the special child she was carrying, he was eager and willing to believe that message. Once again, an angel was called to bring a message of peace and order to earth – and it was eagerly received, for we know that Joseph happily took Mary to be his wife, and raised the child as his own.

Another important use that the angels performed was to guide the Wise Men to the Lord’s place of birth. The New Testament tells us that they saw the star while they were “in the east,” that is, in Syria. There were scholars in Syria who still knew many things from the Ancient Church, that is, they knew something of the science of correspondences. Thus they were able to read the various prophecies that had been given in the Ancient Word and the Old Testament and understand what they meant. They knew to look for a star, and when that star appeared at a certain point in the heavens it was a signal that the Messiah had been born on earth.

Although the modern countries of Israel and Syria have a common border, in those days it was not a simple thing to travel even those distances, and so careful preparations has to be made. So, once the star was seen it still took some time for the Wise Men to actually arrive in Jerusalem asking for the newborn king.

The world has provided many theories as to what the Star of Bethlehem was. Astronomers have not found evidence of a celestial event that might explain such a bright, unusual star. Some have supposed that the Star was a comet, or a meteor, or some other natural event. Sometimes there are newspaper articles that suggest that if Venus is close to the moon and will be unusually bright, that perhaps it is the same event that the Wise Men saw as the Star of Bethlehem. But scripture records that no one other than the wise men in Syria saw or recorded the presence of the Star. Even Herod’s own wise men had not seen it.

Can you imagine that Herod and his advisers did not immediately rush out of the palace to look for the Star themselves as soon as they heard the news from the Wise Men? And can you imagine that if Herod had been able to see the Star himself that he would have sent others to search for the child? Not only that, unlike natural objects, this star moved in such a way as to lead them from Syria first to Jerusalem, and then went from there to stand over the spot where the young child actually was. That is indeed an unusual star.

Once again, the Heavenly Doctrines, and our knowledge of the use of angels in the process of incarnation, makes things much clearer. We read from the Apocalypse Explained:

The star appeared to those from the east because the Lord is the east; and because they had knowledge respecting the Lord’s coming from representatives that were with them, the star appeared and went before them, first to Jerusalem, which represented the church itself in respect to doctrine and in respect to the Word, and from there to the place where the infant Lord lay. (AE 422)

That “stars” signify the knowledge of good and truth, is from the appearance in the spiritual world; for there the Lord appears as a sun, and angels from afar off as stars. (AE 72)

Thus it should be clear that the Star of Bethlehem was not a natural object of any kind, but rather an angelic society made visible to the spiritual eyes of certain men whose love and regard for the truth in the Ancient documents made it possible for them to receive this special and important message.

And finally, there was the angel who announced the Lord’s birth to the shepherds. While there is nothing is specifically said in the Word to link the two events, some people find comfort and delight in the thought that the angelic society that appeared to the shepherds was the same society that was at that very moment guiding the Wise Men to the Lord’s place of birth. In any case, an angelic society did come to the shepherds to announce the Lord’s birth, appearing at first as a single angel proclaiming with joy the news that was to echo down the ages, the most beautiful message ever to come to mankind from heaven: “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” Unable to withhold their joy any longer, the whole society – an army of angels – came into the view of the shepherds in a spectacular vision of heavenly joy.

So, as we return home to prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christmas with our families, and to reflect on the miracle that God Himself took on a human form on our earth, let us also remember the important part that the angels played in the Christmas story. Let us go home, and live our lives in such a way that our every action and deed will proclaim the angelic message: “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to men of good will.AMEN.

First Lesson: Luke 2:1-20

(Luke 2:1-20) And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. {2} This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. {3} So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. {4} Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, {5} to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. {6} So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. {7} And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. {8} Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. {9} And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. {10} Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. {11} “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. {12} “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” {13} And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: {14} “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace [to men of] goodwill!” {15} So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” {16} And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. {17} Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. {18} And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. {19} But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. {20} Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. Amen.

Second Lesson: AE 422 (port.)

AE 422:[20] In ancient times there was a church in many kingdoms of Asia, as in the land of Canaan, in Syria and Assyria, in Arabia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Chaldea, in Tyre and Sidon, and elsewhere; but the church with them was a representative church, for in all the particulars of their worship, and in every one of their statutes, spiritual and celestial things, which are the internals of the church, were represented, and in the highest sense the Lord Himself was represented.

These representatives in worship and statutes remained with many even to the Lord’s coming, and thence there was a knowledge of His coming; as can be seen from the predictions of Balaam, who was from Syria, and who prophesied of the Lord in these words:- I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not nigh; there shall arise a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel (Num. xxiv. 17).

That this knowledge was afterwards preserved is evident from this, that certain wise men from the east, when the Lord was born saw a star from the east, which they followed, which is thus described in Matthew:- In the days of Herod the king wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him; and lo, the star which they saw in the east went before them till it came and stood over where the young child was (ii. 1,2,9).

The star appeared to those from the east because the Lord is the east; and because they had knowledge respecting the Lord’s coming from representatives that were with them, the star appeared and went before them, first to Jerusalem, which represented the church itself in respect to doctrine and in respect to the word, and from there to the place where the infant Lord lay.

Moreover, a “star” signifies the knowledges of good and truth, and in the highest sense the knowledge respecting the Lord. And because the Orientals had such knowledges they were called “sons of the east.” Amen.