The order in which the animals are generally named in Scripture, as in their creation in Genesis i., is, it may be noted, the same as that adopted from the relative perfection of their organization by naturalists of the present day. Thus natural truth is found to harmonize with spiritual truth, when the different tribes and orders of the animal kingdom are accurately examined, and classified according to the development of their structure, and their uses, and not by some external peculiarity of a trivial nature. In the animal creation, the mammalia, or those animals that suckle their young, are, from the perfection of their development, properly placed at the head. Both in their internal organization and their outward structure they approach nearest to man. Next in order are the birds, and both these classes are warm-blooded animals, that is, they have lungs and a heart formed for the perfect decarbonizing, or purifying, of the blood. But a fish, from the imperfect circulation of its blood, and from the circumstance of its not being wholly freed from its impurities in its passage through the gills, is coldblooded ; and these imperfections of structure and function are still more strikingly displayed in other animals lower in the scale of existence, "which pass through the paths of the seas."
The animals of the class Mammalia represent the various interior good affections or evil propensities of the natural mind, and in their habits the likeness may be traced between them and man considered as to his animal nature; and if that nature could be separated from the influence of his reason, he would in every respect be nothing more than a mere animal. But the class of birds represents the various conditions of the natural intellect; reptiles the sensual states of the natural will; and fishes the scientific states of the intellect. But the still lower classes of animals represent the merely external delights of the intellect and. the senses.
When, as in the description given in the spiritual sense of Psalm viii. (for which see the end of the volume), the Divine Influx is received in a well-ordered mind and life, that is, in an inmost state of innocence, from which it flows down and regulates even the lowest states which belong to the life of the senses, then is the spiritual structure complete, and the dominion of the Lord is for ever established; and then too there is a- concurrent re-ascent of all the faculties, and the circle- ends where it began, with "O Jehovah our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the land!"
The faith in the Lord, which accompanies such a heavenly ordination of man's life, is neither a blind, nor a dead faith, but is a reliance on His love, from a living perception of His Divine qualities, and a living obedience to His Divine law. For we can have no true faith, unless our minds be stored with the interior truths of heaven, or such as instruct us in our spiritual as well as natural duties to God and to our neighbour, and unless they actually control and subdue the evil determinations of our will. Until then we are spiritually dead, and what we call our faith is either spurious or hypocritical, and therefore utterly unworthy of the name. But when the Lord, by the conquest over our natural propensities to evil, creates a new will in us, which is formed of heavenly love, and every gentle and sweet affection, our real life begins, our spiritual morning dawns, and truths multiply according to our interior wants. The former state was represented by the disciples when they toiled all night in their ship and caught nothing ; but when their day dawned, and the Lord appeared to them, He directed them to cast their net on the right side of the ship, and then they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
The spiritual reason for the Lord's commanding them to cast their net on the right side of the ship was, because the right side of the ship corresponds to the power of truth when it springs from charity ; and this was the state of their minds - or abstracted from person, this is the state of the mind - consequent upon the Divine Presence in man's spiritual morning. Then, being no longer involved in the spiritual night of a blind faith, - which consists in giving credence to things which cannot be understood because they are self-contradictory, and obeying the Lord's instructions to unite the light of truth with the warmth of charity, He will bless us with an abundance of scientific truths, according to our wants, signified by the fishes which they at length drew to land. Thus are we led, by the revelation of those internal changes, which were involved in the miracle, and which are called its spiritual sense, to see the proper uses of scientific truths, and that, though they are insufficient of themselves to regenerate us, or to bring us spiritually near the Lord, they are necessary means for the formation of His kingdom within us, as necessary as are the foundations of a house for its superstructure. It is an observation of our author, that no man, with a right use of reason, would build a house for the sake of its foundation ; but he lays a solid foundation for the sake of the walls, and he builds his walls for the protection of the rooms in which he designs to live. Scientific truths, of different orders, are the bases and the walls of our spiritual building, and these, when connected together, and made coherent by that right affection for truth which is free from all unworthy motives, are our safeguards against the injuries to which we should otherwise be exposed.
The science of correspondencies is beautiful, not only because it enables us to draw forth a pure and elevated doctrine from the events recorded in the Holy Scripture, but because it is universally truthful in its application to every circumstance and every form in nature. It spiritually numbers the very hairs of our heads, and connects the fall of a sparrow with our Father who is in the heavens within us. It makes the written Word of God a living Word, in which the various changes of state, which the human mind undergoes, are displayed to us when we are abstracted from the representative time and space of the natural sense,which consists in a great measure of nothing more valuable than so many curious historical facts, and when we are elevated into the region of their spiritual causes. In this way is the Divine Truth restored to life, when we see it in relation to our own states of mind, and when it unfolds to us, by a living influx, the universal as well as particular condition of the Divine Truth in man.
It is a striking fact that the earliest fathers of the church, though they had not such a distinct knowledge of the science of correspondencies in its practical application as would have enabled them to trace the order and coherence of the spiritual sense, yet seemed to be well aware that the Holy Scripture had universally such a sense, and in more than one instance it was asserted, by a profounder insight into the nature of things than we might be inclined to give them credit for, that all things would be fulfilled after a spiritual manner at the Lord's second advent, which took place naturally at His first. It is evident from this, and from the interior sense which they elicited from many parts of the Holy Scripture, that the science of correspondencies was upon the verge of being revealed to them; and we have good reason to think that, but for the general corruption both in life and in doctrine which had overspread the church at the time when the Council of Nice was held, it would have been revealed. But at that time the love and charity of the primitive Christian Church had become extinct; a blind faith had interposed its dark mantle to shroud the light of heavenly truth, and then their tenets became as gross and unintelligible as their views were selfish and earthly. Then first the maxim was broached and acted on, which is so commonly repeated at the present day, "You are free to use your reason in worldly concerns, but be careful to exclude it from all matters of faith." By excluding all rational judgment on the tenets of their faith, they closed their minds against the reception of Heavenly Light, and in the same proportion admitted the darkness of error which was directly opposed to it.
Respecting the signification of the quarters of the world, and the reason why the Lord is always associated with the east and is indeed called the East, it is to be observed, that spiritually the points of the compass are determined by His presence, and His presence by the state of the recipient mind. In heaven, which consists in a purely spiritual state of love and wisdom, or faith and charity, there is no fixed space or time, such as belongs to the phenomena of our natural condition ; but there is a real appearance of both, not only as fully and perfectly as here, but even much more so. But in that interior state all outward phenomena are living and plastic, because they are known, and intuitively perceived to owe their existence to the affections and thoughts of the angels to whom they are presented, and primitively to the Lord, by the finite reception of His infinite properties. As they are effects from the causes within them, they are entirely dependent on those causes for their existence. Unlike the mass of mankind, who ascribe the phenomena of the senses to causes extraneous and independent of the sentient being, and who, by such a false and irrational judgment, deaden and darken their perceptions of truth, angelic beings know, for they think spiritually, and not naturally, above space and time, and not in them, that similar phenomena, and those of the most exquisite beauty and variety, are presented to all who belong to the same society, because their wills are united by mutual love, and their thoughts are in harmony, and that these are the causes for the beautiful scenery, and the various lovely forms, with which they, like ourselves, appear to be surrounded. As space and time with them are the living effects of their states of mind, it is easy to account for their instantaneous presence to each other, when they think of one another from mutual affection. Their mutual presence is grounded in the harmony of their thoughts and their affections, and these have their origin in the omnipresence of the Divine Love and "Wisdom, of which they by mutual love are receptive.