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THE INTELLECTUAL PRINCIPLE OF THE CHURCH.
There are two general things which are proper to the church with men ; these are the intellectual principle by which to know God, and the voluntary principle by which to love Him. These two principles are as two spiritual brothers; the former is represented by Ephraim, and the latter by Manasseh. The voluntary principle by which God is loved, and which is represented by Manasseh, is first with regard to activity and end, and therefore he was really the elder brother; but Jacob, by adoption, made Ephraim the first; (Genesis xlviii. 14--19.) and this was intended to teach us that the intellectual principle by which God is known, is first in respect to faith and time. Love first stirs up the thought; but it is thought which first gives to love its light and form. We are moved by love to know God; but we cannot love Him unless we know Him; thus love is first in respect to end, but knowledge is first in respect to means.
It was in consequence of those significations that the Psalmist prayed and said—“Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. (lxxx. 2.) The internal sense of this supplication is, that the Lord would lead those who intellectually know what is true into the voluntary love of what is good, because it is only through this good that the Lord can come and save us."
It is because Ephraim sustained this representation that it is so frequently said of him that he is gone down into Egypt, and departed into Assyria ; for those statements had only a slight (if any) historical significance, and they were written mainly for the sake of the spiritual lesson they are intended to convey. Egypt, in such cases, represented the scientific things of religion in a state of perversion, and Assyria the rational things of religion in a condition of defilement. And the reason for those significations is because the external corruptions of the Ancient Church remained in those places much longer than in any other of the surrounding countries. When, then, it is said that Ephraim went into those lands, the spiritual meaning is, that the intellectual principle of the church descended into those perversions, and this is a condition of it frequently treated of in the Word. Mind does not cease to be mind because it may be exercised in the confirmation of what is false; in that case, however, it becomes a perverted mind. So that when Ephraim is spoken of in a bad sense, he still represents the intellectual principle of the church, but misdirected by some corrupting love. Hence we read of the “ drunkards of Ephraim," and of the “pride of Ephraim," to denote the mental intoxication and spiritual haughtiness of those who are wise in their own conceits. And Ephraim is said to be "joined to his idols " when the intellectual knowledges of the church are employed
only for the gratification of some selfish love: when men use the sanctities of the church to hide the deformities of their heart, Ephraim is joined to his idols.
But this is a state which will pass away as the regeneration of the church is effected. It is predicted that "the envy of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim,” (Isaiah xi. 13.) plainly to inform us that a period will arise in the history of the church when its people will understand the truth, because they will love the goodness which it teaches, and so shake off the fallacies and falsehoods by which it may have been distressed. The intellect, represented by Ephraim, and the love, signified by Judah, are to be mutually conjoined. Every one knows that this has not always been the case, and that its absence has been one of the marked deficiencies of men. Who has not loved what his knowledge has condemned? Do not all know much better than they do ? and in those facts do we not experience something of the envy of Ephraim and the vexation of Judah? But this experience is not confined to individuals; it has been developed in the church. The doctrines which have been taught, and the loves which have been demanded, do not conform with each other. Who does not know that charity has been divorced from faith? The teachings of Justification by Faith alone do not require the duties of charity for such a result; and so Ephraim envies Judah, and Judah vexes Ephraim. But this is a state of things which is to cease, because as the regeneration of the church advances, the affections will conform to the truth which the intellect perceives, and both will work together in carrying out the great purposes of enlighted love.
Again, it is written—"Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance : in all my labours they shall find none iniq in me that were sin. ... I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets." (Hosea xii. 8, 10.) Here by Ephraim being rich, and finding substance, is not meant natural wealth and worldly possessions, but heavenly riches and enjoyment, which are the knowledges of truth and goodness; and these things are said of Ephraim, because by him is represented those whose minds are illustrated when the Word is read : and hence it is added that he spoke by the prophets, multiplied visions, and used similitudes, which every one may see are among the activities of the intellectual principles of the church. The Lord said—“Ephraim is the strength of mine head,” (Psalm 1x. 7.) to teach us that the knowledges of truth are the power by which He manifests his goodness in
THE INTELLECTUAL PRINCIPLE OF THE CHURCH.
the world of men. This goodness is His “ head," and those knowledges are its strength. We also read, that "they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man ; their heart shall rejoice as through wine : yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord, .. for I have redeemed them; . . they shall increase ; . . and I will sow them among the people, and they shall remember me in far countries, and they shall live with their children, and turn again.” (Zech. x. 7-9.) These things are said of Epbraim, because the subject treated of is concerning the restoration of the intellectual principle of the church. This is described as mighty, and rejoicing ;-as being redeemed, and sown among the people ;- -as an excellence that will remember the Lord, live, and return ; because such is the nature of this principle, and such are the advantages it is designed to experience and display.
It would be easy to enlarge these expositions, and to select other passages to illustrate this general idea; these, however, will be sufficient. But here it may be useful to explain what this principle is. By the intellectual principle of the church, we mean the understanding of its people so illustrated that it may clearly comprehend, from the teachings of the Word, those truths which are to be believed as the subjects of faith, also those virtues which are to be loved and done as the uses of charity. Faith, charity, and use, are three essentials of the church, and they must cohere together and constitute a one in the work of man's salvation ; for faith without charity is dead, and cbarity without faith is blind; and if these graces are without the activity of use, they have no basis on which to rest. Thus the intellectual principle of which we are speaking, is not the ability to confirm any sentiment that may be drawn from the Word, but the capacity to perceive, before confirmation, what is good and true therein. A man may to some extent confirm from the letter of the Word any tenet which he may choose to invent: this may be evident from the heresies which are extant. Doubtless such heresies have been confirmed by those who accept them, and yet it may be evident that they are not true. Of two opposite conclusions one must of necessity be false ; and the minds of those who confirm themselves in error are such that they will not see the truth. We may bring their errors to the brightest light of revelation, and yet they will not acknowledge that they are so. They will shut their eyes, and tell us that what they believe are holy things, mysteries, for faith to accept, and not for reason to investigate.
How plain is it that in all such cases the intellectual principle of the church is lost. Some, indeed, suppose that they possess it because they can readily select and skilfully talk about passages from the Word which
apparently confirm the errors they have adopted, and also because, by these means, they can dexterously expose the heresies of others. But this supposition is a mistake. The office of the intellectual principle of the church is to perceive, and thence to acknowledge the truths of the Word; but to confirm a tenet is the effort and the ingenuity of the sensual mind. How plain is this! How frequently have such confirmation been undertaken by bad men,-men whose conduct has proved that they believed nothing of that which they have displayed so much ability to establish. Such persons do not properly possess even a rational principle. The wicked can, and sometimes do, reason and discourse upon the subjects of sense and science, morality and religion, the Scriptures and the church, with much cleverness and power; but how can they be said to possess a rational principle, when they are found to love and do those things which all just reason condemns ? A principle is a living reality in man; it belongs to his love, and, therefore, the rational principle is that which manifests itself in enlightened acts of truth and virtue, and thus it is the excellence of a man's life which testifies to the existence of his rationality. Bad men, then, cannot have this principle; they merely acquire some materials which may be requisite for its formation, but when they reason, they simply draw those materials from their memory as a storehouse (and these they wield by some selfish love for some worldly end), and not from a rational principle considered as an enlightened and living reality. Bad men, viewed as to their interiors, and as to their relationship to the church and to heaven, are insane; yet it is a responsible insanity, because it springs out of a known and voluntary opposition to God and His kingdom.
Now, as the rational principle displays itself in an orderly life, so the intellectual principle manifests itself in orderly reason : this exists in, or belongs to, a higher region of the mind, and by means of it the man of the church is enabled to perceive, when he reads the Word, and carefully compares one portion of its teachings with another, what is thence to be believed as a matter of faith, and what is thence to be done as a matter of charity. Consequently, this principle is to be obtained only by those who sincerely desire to know the truth, not for the purpose
of reputation or of glory, but for the sake of wisdom and of life.
The accuracy of these conclusions will be easily seen when it is remembered that it is the intellectual principle of the church of which we are speaking; thus, it is not the common intellect which pertains to things of the world, but that which belongs to a Divine institution, that by which its regenerating members are enabled to perceive that the
THE INTELLECTUAL PRINCIPLE OF THE CHURCH.
teachings of the church are true, not because they are conformable to science, or sanctioned by philosophy, but because they are put forth by the Word of God, especially in the unfoldings of its spiritual sense. Hence arises all mental illustration respecting spiritual things; and they who possess this priuciple are called “the children of light.” The acquisition of it is gradual, like the attainment of every other grace; and during the process, the knowledges of truth will continue to advance in brightness ; "the light of the moon will become as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun as the light of seven days.” The notion that the things of faith were not intended for our comprehension will gradually recede, and men will come into a satisfactory understanding of them, so that those in whom the intellectual principle of the church is formed will be enabled to see, inwardly in themselves, what things are true, and what are not so; and they will accept them with a "yea,” or reject them with a “nay,” as the case may require.
Surely every one may see that this is a condition of mind which is proper to the men of the church, and much to be desired ; but can we discover any remarkable displays of its existence in the Christianity of the churches as commonly portrayed ? The candid mind confesses to doubts
upon this subject. The doctrines which are taught are of such a nature that they stop inquiry at the threshold. They are not simply a thin veil behind which you may see some shadowy forms of truth, but they are as a thick curtain through which no eye can penetrate, and upon which “mystery " is written with breadth and boldness.
The doctrine concerning God and the Divine Trinity is said to be a mystery; so also is the Redemption which He effected, the Atonement which He made, the Salvation which He promotes, and the Judgment which He executes. If inquiry be made concerning the soul, where is the doctrine which teaches what it is? The creeds and the catechisms are silent; and if investigation be urged, it will be found that all knowledge respecting the continuation of its life, after the experience of bodily death, passes into obscurity and darkness. Who does not know that the doctrine of the Resurrection is always represented to be a mystery for Omnipotence to deal with? The beatitudes of heaven, and the myseries of hell, yea, the very nature and existence of these two kingdoms, are placed in the same category. Where within the walls of common Christianity is to be found a definition of that in which consists the divinity, the sanctity, and inspiration of the Word ? Doubts may be heard, and disputations may be discovered ; but how various, how differing, and how unsatisfactory are the expositions which appear ! What is the faith—the faith only "--which is said to justify, but a