BY JOHN WORCESTER
MASSACHUSETTS NEW-CHURCH UNION
THE least living parts of the body are the bones, which are composed largely of earthy material, and seem to have a use like that of the rocks in nature; that is, they serve as a basis and fulcrum for the softer parts, keeping them extended and in their right places, and serving also for protection to the organs that specially need protection.
The rocks, and likewise the bones, correspond to the fixed facts upon which all other elements of mental life depend; and, in the Greatest Man, the provinces of the bones are occupied by those who have little other life than that of holding firmly to certain facts of experience which serve for support and protection to those who live more active lives. They serve to preserve the proportions and relations of the parts of the man--not [p. 222] exerting any force themselves except that of stolid resistance when their facts are in question.
"The societies of spirits to which the cartilages and bones correspond are very many; but they are such as have very little spiritual life in them, as there is very little life in the bones relatively to the soft parts which they enclose; as, for example, there is in the skull and the bones of the head compared with either brain and the medulla oblongata, and the sensitive substances there; and also as there is in the vertebrae and ribs in comparison with the heart and lungs; and so on. It was shown how little spiritual life they have who have relation to the bones; other spirits speak by them, and they themselves know little of what they say; but still they speak, having delight in this alone. Into such a state are they reduced who have led an evil life, and still had some remains of good; these remains make that little spiritual life, after the vastations of many ages. . . . They who come out of vastations, and serve the uses of bones, have not any determinate thought, but general, almost indeterminate; they are like those who are called distraught, as if not in the body; they are slow, heavy, stupid, sluggish about everything. Yet sometimes they are not untranquil, because cares [p. 223] do not penetrate, but are dissipated in their general obscurity." (n. 5560-5562.)
He explains that the lack of spiritual life is lack of spiritual intelligence and charity, not necessarily lack of natural intelligence. Therefore in the "Diary," he says, --
"They correspond to bones, in the other life, who have studied various sciences and have made no use of them, as they who have studied mathematics only to find the rules, and have not regarded any use; or physics and chemistry only for the sake of experiment, and for no other use; also philosophy to find its rules and terms, only for the sake of the terms and for no other use; and likewise other things. They who become bones also, when they reason, hardly discuss anything else than whether it is or is not. Hence it is evident that the greatest part of the learned within the church become bones. They are those who are finally sensual; the church also is in this state to-day; hence is its end." (S. D. 5141.)