New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 12

new church life: march/april 2017 cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.” In the 230 years since – and throughout all of history – the Lord’s providence has watched over “the affairs of men” in all nations. We have witnessed much horror and evil in those times – and much recovery and hope. America and the world still are anxious places but the Lord and His providence always offer the calming antidote: “Peace has within it confidence in the Lord, that He directs all things, and provides all things, and leads to an end that is good.” (Arcana Coelestia 8455) (BMH) religious feelings: holy fear and unworthiness We began this series in the January/February issue on the feelings of awe and mystery that a sense of the Lord’s presence brings. This was expressed by Jacob when he awoke from his dream, saying: “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not! And he was afraid and said: How fearful is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” (Genesis 28:16,17) Jacob had stolen his brother Esau’s birthright, and was afraid that God was now going to punish him. But the better part of his nature caused him also to feel “holy fear” – which is a fear, not just of being punished for our sins, but of sinning itself. Holy fear is joined to “the kind of love young children feel towards parents, that parents feel towards young children, that married couples have for each other.” It causes them to “fear doing whatever is displeasing, thus whatever injures love in any way.” (Arcana Coelestia 8925) When we realize and are moved by how greatly the Lord has loved us, and thus love Him in return, then we fear doing anything that would offend Him or damage our relationship with Him; anything contrary to His Word. This is holy fear. We feel it because we are aware of how unworthy we are of the patience, loving-kindness and tender mercies He has shown toward us. A feeling of unworthiness is a recurring theme in Scripture. Jacob expressed it later in the story of his li fRvVR6C( ĒBv'FbFPV7BbFRW&6W2BbFRG'WFv6RfR6vVFW 6W'fB( vVW623#6W2fVBBvVRV6VFW&VBVfBFR'W&r'W6@W6VC( vFB6VBvVF&BFB6VB'&pf'FFR6G&Vb7&VWBbVwC( WGW236VR6c"s