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translated into the spirit of the beloved Son of God; the souls who are accounted worthy of it, and are willingly suffering for it, and who will be preserved into that heavenly kingdom. Christ's spirit is the kingdom that will be inherited by the souls who are poor in the spirit of the world, and rich in faith : the kingdom which is promised to the souls who love God: the kingdom which is the power of God's Christ, salvation and strength to the souls of the faithful who desire that better country (Heb. 11. 16), and who will be made perfectly happy with it, wherever and in whatever condition they will be : far happier than any one could be, were he translated into the most beautiful place that can be imagined, without having in himself of the spirit of the true kingdom of God and of heaven; for the coming of which into our hearts we ought not to cease to pray daily and most fervently, as our real felicity lies in that Divine Spirit. Come, Lord Jesus (Rev. 22. 20)! Thy truth, thy humble Spirit, come into our souls, and reign in them! Would to God that they should cease to be kingdoms of the world, kingdoms of error and pride!
I consider the words kingdom of God, and kingdom of heaven, in some passages, as applicable to those souls who, like that of Christ, believe in God alone, and are ruled by His commandments : or at least are in the way of becoming governed by them.
It seems to me a great pity that in our education we are not exercised to apply to all parts of the Scripture the explanations that are so kindly given to us in some places, and throw so much light on others. For instance, we find in Rev. 12. 9-20. 2, 3. that the Devil or Satan is called the great Dragon; the old Serpent which deceiveth the whole world, and which shall be cast into the bottomless pit, that he should deceive the nations no more: from which I think it has been understood by many that the Devil is the subtle serpent alluded to in Gen. 3. 1. Why should he not be taken also for Leviathan, the king over all the children of pride (Job, 41. 34); Leviathan the piercing serpent, Leviathan the crooked serpent, the dragon that is in the philosophical sea (Isai. 27. 1)! And for Pbaraoh, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of bis rivers (Ezek. 29. 3,5)? Is it impossible that the words Leviathan and Pharaoh express vices or degrees of the evil spirit, as well as the words serpent, dragon, devil, Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Belial, &c. ? Why should we not take also for spirits of devil, or evil spirits, the serpents mentioned in Numb. 21.6,7,8,9,- in Deut. 8.15,-in Isaiah, 65, 25. -Amos, 9.3. --Matt. 23.33; the dragon, Ps.91.13; the viper, Acts, 29, 3? It seems to me that the more consistent we should be in our way of our understanding the Holy Writ, the more able we should be to perceive the wisdom and consistency that cannot be doubted throughout the whole of that admirable book.
In the explanation of the parable of the sower (Matt. 13), we read that the seed is the word of God; and the the earth, the heart. Why should we not consider the seed manna (Exo.16.15. 31), the corn of heaven, angels food (Ps. 78. 24, 25), to be likewise the Word of God; and the ground on which it falls to be also the heart? Would not that application seem justified by Numb. 11. 6. that shews that the Manna it speaks of, refers to the soul who finds herself in a dry state, and murmurs at receiving daily the same kind of instructions ?
In a letter, dated 30th May, 1819, and addressed to the Pope, by the cardinals, archbishops, and bishops of Franoe, to the number of 77, they have quoted the words of St. Ambrosius" Launch out into the deepest " questions,” which I think he has meant as an explanation of the words launch out into the deep (Luke, 5. 4). I know not whether he went farther, and explained also the ships, the nets, the fishes, the lake of Gennesaret and the contiguous land, so as to be consistent with his interpretation : which, for aught I know, may be a good one. Should the dignitaries of the present French Church, who approved of it, apply it to other passages, I imagine they might arrive at an understanding of the Scripture, very superior to that in which they have been brought up; but it is likely that in launching out into the deepest questions, and entering more fully into the spirit of the Sacred History, they would be frightened and alarmed at the consequence; which would probably be the destruction in their minds of the literal notions of their church, which they respect, and of the religious system which they value, which they are bound to preach, and wbich I suppose they could not save from being upset in the deep into which they would launch out; but it is probable also that what they would learn, would amply compensate them for their loss.
I take this to be in general our case, and more partilarly that of the ministers of instructions on the Holy Writings, no matter wbat persuasion they follow. They perceive that the literal sense is inadmissible in a passage; they search for one that may give satisfaction ; and, if they succeed, they are apt to confine it to that passage; instead of applying it to others, where, if the true one, it would be equally pleasing and elucidating. It seems to me inconceivable how they can understand and expound one verse morally, and the preceding and following ones literally; exposing their hearers and readers to believe that in any chapter the Scripture speaks alternately of spiritual things, and of vulgar things, having no connexion together. Surely such a glaring inconsistency cannot be in so great a book as the Bible. So long as they will persevere in the opinion of the ancient Jews, that it speaks of this visible earth, I apprehend they will never attain a right intelligence of it: and that they will always be, more or less, in confusion, uncertainty, and mistake, as they have neither rule nor proper guide to ascertain whether in such or such verse, they ought to understand the words earth, water, Egypt, the wilderness, Babylon, Jerusalem, heaven, sun, moon, stars, &c. literally or otherwise. I think that if they do not, after considération, part with the vulgar notions of this world, they will never become a part of the people of God, and the very members of His Church Christ; nor will bring any of their flocks to it; and I am afraid they will never arrive at the true knowledge of the sublime religion that is taught in the Holy Writ from one end to the other: beginning with the philosophical instructions of the first regenerate man, which, by leading them in the true human philosophy, cautiously and wisely, from one degree of knowledge to another, would prepare them and bring them safely to Christ's spiritual doctrine; from which, after having been instructed in it by the Saviour himself, they might, in the course of time, by the Grace of God, pass to the still bigher and mysterious religion that is to be learned from the Comforter, or rather from the Holy Spirit dwelling in him, and revealing all things by bim, even more than by Christ (John, 16. 12, 13). To those who have been told in their youth that they were instructed in the truth, and who, from want of a serious and unprejudiced inquiry, believe firmly that they are positively acquainted with it, the opinion of such an individual as I am, that perhaps they do not know quite so much about it, as they have imagined all along; and that it would be useful to them to inquire immediately and earnestly whether they are right or wrong, my opinion, I say, will probably appear most impertinent and ridiculous : I own it may deserve no better appellation ; but still i beg leave not to surrender to their learning, as long as, without the discussion to which I invite them, they will be persuaded that the forefathers of our Jews were the natural descendants of Abraham, by faith only the father of the faithful or of the people of God, according to the Scriptures. It seems to me that there is as little propriety in considering our Jews as Abraham's posterity, as there would be in saying that the converted Gentiles are Paul's natural descendants; because he begets them in Christ by instructing them in the true charity, that which contains love of God and of the neighbour. I concede willingly that the Jews, in their having received the Old Testament, in their having adopted literally some of the ceremonies and ordinances that are prescribed, in a philosophical sense, in the Books of Moses, their having been the masters of Judea and the inhabitants of Jerusalem ; their having built in that town a temple for the worship of the Almighty God; in their