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Editions of the Bible made Use of by Swe
455. It ought to be remarked, however, that most of his spiritual writings abound with 454. "We have seen above, that after Sweden- errors of the press, which evil arose, as Sweborg's spiritual illumination had commenced he ap- denborg assures his friend Robsahm, from the plied himself exclusively to the study of the Word, circumstance that the printer also undertook both as to its letter, in the Hebrew text, and as to the office of corrector. This will explain its spirit and its life,' or as to that spiritual sense which he demonstrates as existing in every part of some things which have appeared to many as the Holy Scriptures. It may be interesting to the discrepancies or obscurities in his writings. present as well as to the future generations, to The errors of translators will account for know the different editions of the Bible which he many more. made use of. This information is contained in the New Jerusalem Magazine for 1790, p. 87, where we read as follows:
Swedenborg possessed four editions of the
Holy Bible in Hebrew:
I. That by T. Pagnini Montani, containing fol. 1657, in which he made no remarks in the margin, as I was informed by the person who bought it at
“III. Reineccii Bibl. Hebr. Lipsia, 1739, 4to. This I have happily found; it is filled with remarks, and with the Latin translation of several Hebrew words, as also some observations on the internal sense. The book is much used. I shall
add it to the collection of manuscripts.
456. It is well remarked by Wilkinson, in summing up the character of Swedenborg, that "the upper parts of it rose from the groundwork of excellent citizenship and social qualities. Naturally inoffensive and conservative, he was at one with the general polity, and never dreamed of innovations that should interfere with the moral basis of the state. Even his theology was referable, in his view, to an existing authority in the Bible, and in harmony with the earliest creeds of the church, so far as they went. He lent himself freely to his family ties, but never allowed them to interrupt his justice. As a friend he was stanch and ruled him without appeal in his public as in equally independent. The sentiment of duty
and the readers.
IV. Bibl. Hebr. secundem Edit. Belgi Edvardi Vander Hooght, cum versione Latina Sebastiani Schmidii; Lipsia, 1740, 4to. This book was given his private affairs: he had no acquaintances to the Rev. Mr. Ferelius of Schöfde, for interring but society and his country when their interhim at London, where he then was minister to the ests were involved. In disseminating his reSwedish chapel. There is no remark in the margin, ligious ideas, he was open and above board: but a great number of lines and asterisks, at the most placed his books within the reach of the Chrisremarkable places of the Latin version, the origi- tian world, and there left them, to Providence nal text not being in any manner touched; because, according to the expression of Swedenborg, By no trick did he ever The Word is perfect, such as we have it." Of seek to force attention, and intrigue had no the New Testament in Greek, he had none besides part in his character. Notwithstanding his that mentioned, No. II., and which is a fresh edition attachment to his first admirers, he kept his of that by Elzevir in 1624, made by Janson, and own space around him, and was not impeded the edition of Leusden, Amsterdam, 1741, with by any followers. Tender and amicable in the Latin version. It is probable he has followed his nature, he was always distant enough to this edition in translating the Apocalypse. have that large arm's length that so peculiar "Of the Latin translations of the Bible, he Ambition he must chiefly made use of that by Schmidius, Lipsia, a workman required. 1740, after the time that he began the Arcana Ca- have had in some sense, but so transpierced lestia, because he found this to be more literal and and smitten with zeal for his fellows, that we exact than all the others. Nevertheless, in all his can only call it, public love. The power of quotations, and above all in the Arcana Calestia, order and combination, is a main feature in he has more exactly expressed the sense accord- his capacious intellect; those who open him ing to the original language. He has never followed the version of Arius Montanus, either of the as a visionary, are struck with the masculine Old or New Testament, as I have carefully examconnection which he every where displays. ined and found to be the case. But he had four His sensual nature was evidently an obedient copies of the Latin translation of Castillis, apparent- though a powerful vehicle to his mind. He ly for the purity of the language, which he was very was perfectly courageous in that kind that his studiously applying himself to, before he learned mission needed; firm, but unobtrusive, in all Hebrew in 1745. In his quotations of the New courts and companies, and ever bending whithTestament, he only made use of the translation of Schmidius, first edition, which he sometimes has er his conscience prescribed. Religion was left, the better to express the sense of the Greek. the mild element that governed the rest, conFrom this it appears, that he always had the origi-verting them past their own natures by its nals at hand. But with respect to the author's trans-lively flames, and he walked with the constant lations of Genesis, Exodus, and the Apocalypse, sentiment of God between him and his fellows, they are directly translated from the originals.'"* giving and receiving dignity among God's
"We wish to observe that Swedenborg required the abso-his very numerous quotations from the Word, especially in the lute literal sense of Scripture as the basis of his spiritual inter-Apocalypse Explained, seldom departs from the version of pretation, and as the Latin version of Schinidius was in this re- Schinidius, unless to render the Hebrew text still more faithfully spect the most complete of any in existence, being an improve-ard literally."
ment on the literal version of Montanus, he preferred it, and in
children. His life indeed is not heroic in the Christendom, as the doctrine of justification by old fashion, but take his own account of it, Faith alone is extirpated Who then shall and he has travelled far and perilled much: say that this Divine Church is limited to those he has seen and been what would bleach the who assemble in their places of worship, and lips of heroes. Whether you receive his ac- who do so because they understand each othcount or not, you must own that his structure er and have sympathies in common?, Such was heroic, for how otherwise could he have Ecclesiæ avowedly constitute but one phasis outlived those tremendous fancies' of heaven of the Church; their providential use is to and hell. But let that pass, and we still claim diffuse its truths, and eventually, perhaps, to him as a hero in the new campaign of peace. inaugurate its order as an institution; the The first Epic of the Study is the song that while its universal body is growing in all lands, will celebrate him. There are many simple and its members marching from every point of problems, but how few dare face them: it is the compass under a variety of banners. Lift more difficult to be courageous there than be- up thine eyes round about, and see,' exclaims fore batteries of cannon: it is more impossible the Prophet, all they gather themselves toto the most to lead the forlorn hopes of thought, gether, they come to thee. . . Thus discouraged since history began, to victory, saith Adonai Jehovih, Behold, I will lift up than to mount the scaling ladder in the immi- my hand to the Gentiles, and set up my stannent deadly breach. To do the one requires dard to the people: and they shall bring thy only command of body; to perform the other sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be needs courage over the brain itself; fighting carried on their shoulders. Thereagainst organism and stupidity older and more fore thy gates shall be open continually; they terrifying than armies. Select your problem, shall not be shut day nor night; that men and ask the world round who will besiege it may bring into thee the forces of the Gentiles, until it cedes the truth, and you soon find that and that their kings may be brought.' Isaiah of all the soldiers there is none who does not xlix, lx. The receivers of Swedenborg's straightway show fatigue and sob impossible, writings are well aware that it would be foolish which are cowardice under its literary name. to apply such prophecies to a mere organizaIn these ages there has been no man who tion of religious societies, and their assemblies stood up so manfully to his problems as Swe- in meeting houses; but they know, at the same denborg, who wielded his own brains so like a time, that they apply in all fulness both of the spirit, or knew so experimentally that labor letter and the spirit, to the NEW CHURCH. rises over death. Therefore we name him Leader of the world's free thought and free press; the Captain of the heroes of the writing desk. Wilkinson's Biography, pp. 245-247.
457. 'IN drawing this Memoir to a close, we are led to observe that the world is at this instant reaping a manifold harvest from the works of Swedenborg, without knowing, perhaps, into whose labor it has entered. The walls of a new school are also rising up among the ruins of ages, and many are helping to make them high and strong who have never comprehended either the plan or the foundation; each working at his own chosen task, and overruled by a mysterious intelligence which elaborates the unity of the whole in silence and darkness."
459. "The New Church, therefore, according to Swedenborg, is a new dispensation of all that is good and true, and cannot be pronounced, any more than it can be made, sectarian, without a violation of its attributes. As an Institution it doubtless claims to be eminently spiritual in its operation, but as an intellectual and moral force it connects religion with every human interest. While, therefore, its particular object is to change the whole man by regeneration, and make him the child of God, its general object is to evangelize the world and bring it into correspondence with the order of heaven. Swedenborg has nowhere prescribed any organization of the Church."- Rich's Sketch, pp. 189–192.
Qualifications for his sacred Office.
460. Swedenborg's qualifications, both moral and intellectual, for such an office as it is claimed he has been elected to, it is well remarked, "were such as all must allow to be appropri458. There are some, however, who will be ate in the highest degree. In him were united disposed to exclaim, in reference to the pro- the utmost integrity, piety, and innocence of fessions made by Swedenborg and his friends, manners, with the most comprehensive under"Is your Swedenborgian Church a new sect standing and most extensive attainments in in the Protestant community, set up as the knowledge. The former excellences, it will fulfilment of prophecy"! On this point there generally be admitted, were necessary to preis much misapprehension abroad. "The New pare him for his office at all; and without the Jerusalem, Swedenborg says, is formed of those latter, it will easily be seen, he could not have who worship the Lord and do the work of re-discharged it with effect. He stands not in the pentance by shunning evils as sins, and conse- character of a new prophet, in the sense usually quently it is formed gradually, throughout all applied to that term, and as he has sometimes
been denominated in derision; nor in that of a and not only by domestic study and by correwriter of additions to the Word of God, as he spondence with foreign literati, but by repeathas also been maliciously represented. The ed travels in all the scientifically enlightened Lord engages, at his second coming, to appear parts of Europe, in Germany, Italy, France, in the clouds of heaven,' — or in the outward Holland, and England, he made himself covering of his Word, which is its literal sense, thoroughly acquainted with all the knowledge with power and great glory,' with the of his time, and was admitted, by general confull evidence and clear brilliancy of the genu- sent, to a station among the first philosophers ine truth of his Word, to which the letter is of the age. As, in the midst of the distincthe covering. This could not have been ac- tions with which he was honored by his comcomplished by sending a prophet, again to peers in learning and by sovereign princes, he speak in the enigmatical, and never, without never forgot for a moment his original piety special illumination, clearly understood lan- and modesty, his scientific writings conguage of prophecy; but only by raising up a stantly breathing the humble and devotional teacher, who, under the influence of divine spirit of a true Christian philosopher, - the guidance and illumination, should be able to acquisitions he made in natural science must see in the Scriptures, and to comprehend in be acknowledged to have formed an admirable his own mind, the sublime truths he was to preparation, and a most suitable basis, for the teach, and to communicate them in a manner apprehension and explication of the spiritual suited to their depth and importance. Hence truths which he was to be the Instrument for the necessity that the Human Instrument unfolding. Between the book of nature, read made choice of on this occasion should be a man by the eye of humble intelligence, and the of learning. Something similar occurred at Word of God, every one intuitively perceives the first promulgation of Christianity: for the there must be an exact agreement; and spirapostles were not all ignorant men. To dif-itual views can never be so little likely to parfuse the knowledge of the gospel among the take of delusion, as when they take for their Jews, persons possessing nothing beyond com- foundation a copious store of sound natural mon Jewish attainments, but guided by the science. An extensive acquaintance with the Spirit of God, were competent: but when a knowledge of God in his works, must be the chosen vessel' was required to bear the best preparation for a superior perception of Lord's name before the Gentiles, and kings, the knowledge of God in his Word: and by and to the children of Israel' scattered among the former was Swedenborg eminently disthe Gentiles, to carry the gospel to the tinguished." learned and polished nations of those times, 462. But it is, after all, in the interior evia man was miraculously called to the work, dence of his writings, that the great question who, having been born and long resident at must finally be settled. "I am indeed satisTarsus, a polite Grecian city, was as much fied," says Mr. Noble, " that a most convincing skilled in the learning of the Greeks, as, by work might be written on the Internal Evihaving been brought up at the feet of Gama-dence which the writings of Swedenborg bear liel, he was versed in the doctrines of the Jews. to their own truth; and this not only in the Much more was it necessary that, in this age great and leading doctrines which they deliver, of the general diffusion of natural knowl- and which they so scripturally and rationally edge, the Human Instrument for first commu- establish, but in innumerable more minute nicating the truths to be made known at the points, in which they speak to the heart, and Lord's second coming, should stand upon a experience, and best intelligence, of man. par with the first of his contemporaries in sci- There is no subject of which they treat that entific attainment; especially as, while all the they do not lay open in a deeper ground than general doctrines he was to unfold were to be is done by any other author: in particular, far more clear, and more easily intelligible, they discover so profoundly and distinctly the than those commonly received at present as inward operations, the interior workings, of the doctrines of Christianity, some of the the human heart and mind, and unveil man so truths to be discovered were to be of the most fully to himself, that no person of reflection can profound kind, requiring for their full devel-attentively peruse them, without feeling a moniopment the highest talent for abstruse investi- tor in his own breast continually responding to gation, and for their perfect comprehension their truth." Noble's Appeal, pp. 198-201 the most exalted powers of the best cultivated mind.
461. "In Swedenborg, every requisite gift was centred. Well imbued, first under the tuition of his learned father, and then at the University of Upsal, with all the usual elements of a learned education, he for a time cultivated classical literature with diligence and success. He then applied himself to the most solid and certain of the natural sciences,
Testimony of Oberlin.
463. While upon this subject of interior evidence, we cannot refrain from a most interesting testimony to the importance and value of Swedenborg's writings, which is to be found in the experience and practice of the celebrated Oberlin. Distinguished as he is for his labors of love and heavenly philanthropy, we can but regard it as a rich and lasting testimony to
the truths of the New Church, to have so full | little or no desirable effect. Cases became an account from such a man. This testimony more numerous, and the circumstances so is recorded in the "Intellectual Repository" striking as even to stagger the scepticism of for April, 1840, in a visit which the Rev. J. Oberlin himself. About this time, being on a H. Smithson paid to the worthy philanthro- visit at Strasburg, he met with the work On pist and Christian, two years prior to his death. Heaven and Hell, which a friend recommended After some previous conversation, Mr. S. pro- him to peruse. This work, as he informed ine, ceeds as follows: gave him a full and satisfactory explanation of 464. "I now prepared myself to converse the extraordinary cases occurring in his valley, with him on things of a more exalted character and which he himself was, at length, from evion his manner of perceiving the truths of dences which could not be doubted, constrained the Word, as well as his conceptions respecting to admit. The satisfactory solution of these the realities of heaven, and the spiritual state extraordinary cases afforded great pleasure to of man in general. I at once asked him his mind, and he read the treasure, as he whether he had read any of the works of Swe- called it, very attentively, and with increasing denborg? Without replying, he immediately delight. He no longer doubted in the nearreached a book, and clapping his hand upon ness of the spiritual world; yea, he believed it, expressive of great satisfaction, told me, that man, by virtue of his better part-bis that he had had this treasure many years in immortal mind — is already an inhabitant of his library, and that he knew from his own the spiritual world, in which, after the death experience that every thing related in it was of the material body, he is to continue his exThis treasure was Swedenborg's work istence forever. He plainly saw from the On Heaven and Hell. As I had lately become correspondent relation existing between the acquainted with the theological writings of the two worlds, that when it pleased the Lord, enlightened Swedenborg, and as Oberlin was man might easily be placed, by opening his almost the only person I had met with who spiritual senses, in open communication with had any knowledge of those writings, I was, the world of spirits. This, he observed, was of course, highly delighted to meet with a frequently the case with the seers mentioned in man, whose name was universally honored, the Old Testament; and why might it not be and whose life and character were considered so now, if the divine Providence saw fit, in as a bright example of every Christian virtue. order to instruct mankind more fully in reThe great weight which accompanied the spect to their relation to a spiritual state of name of this good man, and the approving existence, and to replenish their minds with declaration he had already made respecting more accurate and copious views respecting one of the most important works of Sweden- heaven, the final home of the good, and hell, borg, materially strengthened my convictions the final abode of the wicked. of the truth of his claims to universal atten- 465. "This conversation of Oberlin's seemed tion. I accordingly felt the deepest interest highly reasonable and delightful; and I inin conversing with Oberlin on the subject of quired further, by what means he had arrived Swedenborg's theology, and the amazing spir- at convictions so solid respecting the truth of itual intelligence displayed in his writings, Swedenborg's statements and descriptions conand inquired how it had happened, that he had cerning the world of spirits, and heaven and arrived at convictions so solid respecting the hell. He replied, that he himself had had facts and truths contained in the work On ocular and demonstrative experience respectHeaven and Hell. He replied, that when he ing these important subjects, and that, strange first came to reside as a pastor among the in- to say, he had come into that state of open habitants of Steinthal, they had many super- communion with the world of spirits, which he stitious notions respecting the proximity of the had formerly considered as a rank species of spiritual world, and of the appearance of vari- superstition, and which he had endeavored to ous objects and phenomena in that world extirpate from the valley. He observed, that which, from time to time, were seen by some the inhabitants of that mountainous district had of the people belonging to his flock. For in- always been notorious for this peculiar kind stance, it was not unusual for a person who of spiritual experience, and in this respect had died to appear to some individual in the much resembled the highlanders of Scotland, valley. This gift of second sight, or the open- of whom he had heard and read similar acing of the spiritual sight, to see objects in a counts. He, therefore, could readily underspiritual state of existence, was, however, con- stand Swedenborg's case, who, for most useful fined to a few persons, and continued but a and salutary purposes, was mercifully permitshort period, and at different intervals, of time. ted to enjoy an open intercourse with the The report of every new occurrence of this world of spirits, during so many years of his kind was brought to Oberlin, who at length life, in order to instruct mankind in respect to became so much annoyed, that he was resolved to put down this species of superstition, as he called it, from the pulpit, and exerted himself for a considerable time to this end, but with
subjects of the greatest moment to wisdom and happiness, and of which they are so deplorably ignorant: with regard to himself, however, he had only had glimpses, as it were,
into the spiritual world, which continued only for short periods, and at distant intervals; and if he had not read Swedenborg's work, he could not rationally and satisfactorily have explained to himself the various objects and phenomena he had beheld.
ered in connection with the general exemption from vice and crime, were striking proofs of something like that genuine spirit of Christianity, which has seldom been witnessed upon earth, but which, as the New Jerusalem Church advances, will not be so great a stranger amongst men.
would be their elevation in the Lord's kingdom, either to the first, second, or third heaven. His flock were extremely delighted to hear his remarks concerning heaven; and the manner in which he explained to them how the love of the Lord above all things, and the love 466. "From this time, he observed, he ceased of our neighbor even better than ourselves, to manifest his opposition against the super- constitutes the life and soul of the heavenly stition' in question, and endeavored, when kingdom, served, no doubt, to kindle that ceany thing occurred, to turn it to the instruc- lestial fire of mutual love amongst his people, tion and edification of his people. He care- which made them a bright and shining light fully wrote down every occurrence, and drew to all around them. For the numerous infrom it some salutary instruction, which either stances of remarkable self-denial, of benevowarned his flock against evil, or encouraged lence to the orphan, widow, and stranger; of them in goodness and virtue. He said that he liberal contributions from their scanty means had a large pile of papers, which he had writ- to procure Bibles for those in the surrounding ten on this kind of spiritual phenomena, con- districts, that did not possess the Word of taining the facts, with his own reflections upon God, and to purchase articles of clothing, and them. One of these occurrences I can here re-implements of use for those who were destitute, late. In the year 1806, a tremendous convul- and not able to work for the want of necessasion of nature occurred in Switzerland, which ry means: these facts, I repeat, when considdeeply moved the whole of Europe: it was the fall of the Rossberg, a great mountain, which suddenly fell, and buried several villages under its ruins. This catastrophe excited the greatest consternation throughout the whole surrounding country, and deeply affected Oberlin and the people of Steinthal. As it was customary in cases of deep excitement for 468. "From seeing, as explained by Swesome person or other in the valley to become denborg, that the Lord's kingdom is a kingclairvoyant, that is, to have their spiritual dom of uses, Oberlin resolved all the exertions vision opened; so in this case, several individ- and operations of his life into one elementuals became clairvoyant, and the unfortunate USE. He taught his people, that to be useful, people who had been destroyed by the moun- and to shun all evil as sin against the Lord, tain, were seen in the world of spirits. They in being useful, is the truly heavenly life. On appeared, said Oberlin, in places very similar this account, when his flock assembled in the to those they had left in the natural world, church on the week day, to hear from their and associated together, as they had been ac- beloved pastor some instructive and edifying customed to do, but by degrees they separated discourse, the females brought with them their from each other, and were associated accord- knitting, needlework, and platting, and thus ing to their moral worth. This account, Ober- worked with their hands, whilst their minds lin observed, was in agreement with what were being instructed in various kinds of useSwedenborg says respecting the state of man ful knowledge. His discourse on some weekimmediately after his departure from this day evening was not exclusively theological world; and likewise respecting what he states and religious, although religion was blended in regard to the manner in which spirits associate together, or constitute societies; for all are there arranged according 'to their moral worth,' those who are good, and, in similar affections, constitute heavenly societies, and those who are evil, and in similar malignant dispositions, form infernal societies.
of heaven, and brought down a celestial influence into the common duties of life.
with every thing he said; but it frequently conveyed some eminently practical ideas on the various useful arts of common life. These useful ideas on the concerns of ordinary life were always connected with something heavenly, and ascribed to the goodness of our heavenly Father; in this manner Oberlin con467. "So convinced was Oberlin of the sal-nected the concerns of earth with the realities utary importance of teaching his flock respecting heaven and hell, and the correspondent relation which man sustains to the spiritual world, that he formed a chart, or map, representing heaven, which he hung up in his church. This celestial diagram, as it was called, was taken from Solomon's temple, which, in all respects corresponded to heaven. These correspondences Oberlin had derived from Swedenborg, and he pointed out to his flock, that according to their humility, piety, fidelity, and their love of being useful to each other,
469. "The day after my arrival was the Sabbath, and I anticipated much pleasure in hearing the venerable pastor address his flock. He preached in French; his discourse was characterized by simplicity and warmth. He almost invariably called Jesus his heavenly Father, which struck many as a peculiarity not common with Christians in general, but I well knew how he had contracted this habit of addressing the object of his supreme love