« 上一頁繼續 »
represent. Mineral, vegetable, and animal form in this case is determined by those to forms, nay atmospheres, planets and suns, are whom it comes. It is given in the lowest then nothing less than so many means and speech, that it may contain all speech, and be tendencies to man, on different stages of the adequate to the whole purpose of redeeming transit, and finite man resumes them all, pro- mankind. Such a Word is the Bible. Beclaims visibly their end, and may connect them fore the present Bible, however, there existed with their fountain. It is throughout a sys- an ancient Word, (still extant, according to tem of correspondences, all depending upon Swedenborg, in Great Tartary), of which the the activity of a personal God, as the sub- Book of Jashur, the Wars of Jehovah, and stance of the latter depends upon the inter- the Enunciations formed part: this was the vention of God in history, as Jesus Christ. divine voice to an earlier humanity. The Remove from the centre of the system the Word which we now possess is written in four position that God is a man, and he becomes styles. The first is by pure correspondences necessarily unintelligible to mankind; he has thrown into an historical series ; of this characmade them think of him otherwise than as he ter are the first eleven chapters of Genesis is; they communicate with him by no religion, narrating down to the call of Abraham. The but the beginning of their knowledge is dark- second style is the historical, consisting of true ness, its object a mere notion, and their love historical facts, but containing a spiritual falls into a void: there is in short no corre- sense. The third style is the prophetical. spondence between the Creator and any crea- The fourth style is that of the Psalms, beture. Maintain however that master position, tween the prophetical style and common and humanity is the way to the Divine Hu- speech. manity, the high road of the living truth. 301. “ It is the divine sense within the let
299. - The path by which God passes ter that constitutes the holiness of the Bible: through heaven into nature is laid down in those books that are wanting in this sense are distinct degrees, and the doctrine of degrees' not divine. The following books are the presfurnishes a principal interest with Swedenborg ent Word. “The five books of Moses, the in these elucidations. Degrees are the sepa- book of Joshua, the book of Judges, the two rate steps of forms or substances, the measured books of Samuel, the two books of Kings, the walk of the creative forces : thus the will in Psalms of David, the Prophets, Isaiah, Jereone degree is the understanding in the next, miah, the Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hoand the body in the third : the animal in the zea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, highest is the vegetable in the second, and the Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechmineral in the lowest: and all these are one, ariah, Malachi; and in the New Testament, like soul and body; and are united, and each the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, uses the lower, by the handles of its harmony John, and the Apocalypse.' with inferior utilities; just as a man is united 302. “ The Word exists in the heavens with, and makes use of, the various instru- equally as upon the earth, but in its spiritual ments which extend the powers of his mind and celestial senses. Its stupendous powers and arms through nature. The world there- and properties are there evident, examples fore is full of interval and freedom, and in the of which are given by Swedenborg. If it is movements of each creature, whereby it lays read in holy moods, heaven sympathizes; the hold of whatever supports it, the whole be- devout mind enters it as a Sheckinah, and is comes actively one, and marches forward in angel-haunted: when love and innocence read the realms of use, where it meets the Om- it upon earth, its inward life is perused equivnipotent again.
alently by special angels, and the letter in cor
respondence becomes divine and holy. EsThe Sacred Scripture.
pecially so when little children read it, and its 300. “ The Doctrine of the Sacred Scrip- literal sense is offered obediently to the inture is the doctrine of the Lord, and of the forming influx. In such moments the veil is manhood of God, in its middle form, for the rent, and a marriage of heaven and earth is Word is the wisdom whereby both the world consummated. The perpetual holiness of the was made and man is regenerated. It is a Word to us, depends upon no mechanical inlaw of divine order, that whatever is omni- spiration;' viewed as a book, the Bible is present and all-prevalent, is also in time cen- dead like other books, but the mind that aptred in its own form ; for no creative attribute proaches it, is influenced as it deserves, and is lost by diffusion, but reappears in fuller spirit and life come down accordingly. The splendor when its orb is complete. This is affinities that constitute presence in the other the order of the incarnation. And so also life, illustrate the character of the Word. when the Word has created all things, and The letter is truth in a fixed circumstance, moved through humanity, when deep has answering to the Lord and the whole heaven, called unto deep, and speech has overflowed and he who reads it aright, engenders for from human tongues, the same Word takes at himself divine and spiritual associations. last a form among its creatures, and appears Within it dwells the living God. The conamong our words as the Book of God. Its ditions of its inspiration are like those of the
animation of our bodies. The letter as well which the doctrinals of Christendom are so as the body is in itself motionless and inani- commonly founded. mate ; but both have souls, and when man
“ « With regard,' says he, to the writings of kind addresses the literal Word, it hears and Paul and the other apostles, I have not given quickens from its divine life, as our frames, them a place in my Arcana Cælestia, because when objects strike them, feel and act from they are dogmatic writings merely, and not writthe life within.
ten in the style of the Word, as are those of the 303. * This assertion of the Word's divini- prophets, of David, of the Evangelists, and of the ty implies a counter statement regarding the Revelation of St. John.
“The style of the Word consists throughout writers of the Bible. The more the genius in correspondences, and thence effects an imme
in any work, the less is the work its author's ; diate communication with heaven; but the style • the more the property, the less can it be of these dogmatic writings is quite different,
owned. No man ever claims his inspired mo- having, indeed, communication with heaven, but ments, until afterwards, when he is dis- only mediately or indirectly. inspired. The divinity however of a work
«• The reason why the apostles wrote in this abnegates its instruments, let them have been style, was, that the first Christian Church was
then to begin through them; consequently, the as busy as they will: they are mere tools,
same style as is used in the Word would not have chosen only to deposit the work in some one been proper for such doctrinal tenets, which replace or age. The inspired penmen then are quired plain and simple language, suited to the simply clerks, notwithstanding that their capacities of all readers. names appear upon the letter, fitting it to
« • Nevertheless, the writings of the apostles Jewish or Christian times. The patriarchs, are very good books for the church, inasmuch as prophets, psalmists and evangelists are not they insist on the doctrine of charity, and of faith holy men ; they are not even venerable for done in the Gospels, and in the Revelation of St.
from charity, as strongly as the Lord Himself has the most part, but the voice of sacred history John, as will appear evidently to any one who itself generally assails them. Their names,' studies these writings with attention. says Swedenborg, "are unknown in heaven.' “• In the Apocalypse Revealed, No. 417, I have There are no saints with earthly names, but proved that the words of Paul, in Rom. iii. 28, are only sinners, scarlet more or less. God's is quite misunderstood, and that the doctrine of 'jusall the glory, but Abraham, Moses, David or
tification by faith alone, which at present constiJohn, are plain mortals like ourselves, entitled is built on an entirely false foundation.'
tutes the theology of the reformed churches, to no great consideration when their office is laid aside, and their divine insignia are put 306. “ We notice in the doctrine of Scripoff. The men after God's own heart,' are ture, as throughout the author's works, a only so for a time and a mission: every one is turning of the tables in the matter of evidence. a man after God's own heart' for the func- Instead of commencing inquiries with no betions that he does best. Holiness is not in- liefs, he accepts the most universal creeds as volved. The Jews, the chosen people of God, the hypotheses of investigation, and puts them were chosen because they were the worst of to the fact. To commence from nothing, is people, for redemption begins at the bottom. to end in nothing, as the present biblical In admitting therefore the divinity of the scholars illustrate. But Swedenborg takes Word, we rid ourselves of the Bible writers, the divinity and holiness of the Bible as his and their idiosyncrasies; and we know that postulate, and then looks for the like in the as the fixed Word was produced through them text. His method, to say the least, has ended they necessarily occupy the lowest stratum of in no reductio ad absurdum, but the interprehuman history.
tation gained has confirmed the truth of the 304. “ We have not space here to mention preliminaries. No writer has shown so subthe various modes of inspiration (by voices, lime a quality in the Bible as Swedenborg, visions, &c.) recounted by Swedenborg from none has added to the probability of its divine the facts of the case and the letter of the origin so practical and scientific a demonstra. Scripture, and which he himself also expe- tion. If wisdom and beauty shown in nature, rienced for the instruction's sake :they are be God's evidence there, then by parity of indeed interesting, and comport with cir- reason, wisdom and goodness expounded in cumstances that are at this day coming to Scripture should be the witness of his Word light, at the same time that they contrast, in the latter sphere. The theorem of plenary toto cælo, with metaphysical philosophy. inspiration, or the contrary, can only be setWe can only however notify to the reader, tled by this procedure, which makes one prothat Swedenborg has given their theory from cess for all truths ; but never by what are the experimental or real, and biblical side, called "evidences 'proceeding from void hearts for there is much in the Bible upon the sub- and unbelieving understandings. If nature ject, when it is looked for with a scientific even were investigated by the latter, it would aim.
never declare its author, or let its unhappy 305. “ It may here be expedient to give questioner escape from the labyrinth of its Swedenborg's dictum on the Epistles, upon contradictions and interpolations.
Faith, Life, and Providence. for their greatest good. Upon the subject of 307. “ The Doctrine of Faith in Sweden- predestination, Swedenborg maintains that all borg's writings occupies a part of great sim- are predestined to heaven, and it is their own plicity. Faith, says he, is an inward acknowl-doing if they do not arrive thither. Momenedgment of the truth, which comes to those taneous salvation from immediate mercy is who lead good lives from good motives. •If impossible, and the belief in it, is the fiery ye will do the works ye sball know of the flying serpent of the church, which raises doctrine.' Faith therefore is the eye of sensual evils to a new deadliness of sting, and charity. Spiritual clearsightedness is its emi- moreover imputes damnation to the Lord. nent attribute. It is not the
mysteries, for there is no belief in what we do
Spiritual Diary not understand. There may be suspension 311. “We now turn aside for a moment of the judgment, but never faith. The high- from Swedenborg's published works, to his est angels do not know what faith is, and when posthumous Diary, the last date in which is they hear of any one believing what he does the 3d of December, 1764. This day book not understand, they say, 'this person is out he had begun in 1747, perhaps after finishing of his senses.' With them, faith is only truth. the Adversaria on Genesis and Exodus, the Divine and human knowledges are under the last date in which is February 9th in the latsame class; for both there is the base of ter year. We must attempt to convey to the scientific proof; but with this caution, that reader some notion of this extraordinary each state apprehends only its own objects, Manuscript, which extends over a period of and that practical goodness is the ground seventeen years. We have termed it a Day upon which religious truth can be properly or Book, and such it veritably was in the intenprofitably received.
tion of the bookmaker, being written on those 308. " The Doctrine of Life is equally English ‘oblong folios' which are so common simple. We are to shun, as sins against God, in our counting houses. In these businesswhatever is forbidden in the ten Command-like volumes thought and vision are duly ‘enments, and to do the duties of our callings. tered' with the greatest regularity; in the The shunning of evils as sins is the first ne- earlier part of the work the date is generally cessity ; the doing good is possible after that. subjoined to the paragraphs, and here and Charity consists in this course, and faith fol- there parts are crossed out, having been faithlows it by divine ordination. A life of this fully posted,' and delivered' into the aukind is the only contribution that each man thor's published books., The whole is in more can make to the New Jerusalem. No one than six thousand paragraphs, of which the however can do good which is really such, first hundred and forty-eight are missing: it from self, but all goodness is from God. makes six closely-printed octavos, and consid
309. “ For the rest, our sage is no counsel- ering the difficulties of the original, to which lor of asceticism; he admits us to enjoy the we can bear witness, it is but fair to mention good things of this life, in preparation for the name of Tafel, its editor, Professor of those of another; he advocates no self-immo- Philosophy and Librarian of Tübingen, as an lating pietism, but “a renunciation of the honorable specimen of even a German scholar. world during a life in the world;' and as 312. “ Almost every reader would smile sense is an everlasting verity, he teaches the ex- doubtfully if he perused a page or two of this pansion of the senses, under the spiritual powers. Diary. He would meet with conversations
310. “ In 1764, Swedenborg published at with Moses and Abraham, Aristotle, Cicero Amsterdam a continuation of his work on the and Cæsar Augustus, Charles the XII. of Swedivine attributes, under the title, Angelic Wis- den and Frederic of Prussia, the author of the dom concerning the Divine Providence, in whole Duty of Man, and other of the deceased, which he identifies Providence with the Lord's and as the belief practically runs, the annihigovernment of mankind. He states the ends lated worthies and notables of history. He which the Divine Providence has in view, would find them treated as living men and real whereof the first and last is the formation of forces. He would learn of strange punishan angelic heaven out of the human race. ments and new criminalities ; of fathomless He then propounds various laws of the Di- pools of evil; of goodness detected in those vine Providence which are unknown in the that history condemns, and of the mask of exworld, and occupies a considerable part of this cellence quite fallen away from some of her very beautiful Treatise, with setting us right brightest exemplars ; of Paul and David [in a upon points on which infidelity founds objec- very low state of spiritual life,) and Mahomet tions, and in short, with vindicating the ways a Christian convert.
But let him read on, of God to man. He insists on the universali- and the laugh dies before the supernaturalness ty of Providence, and on its presence with of the unbending context. Moreover amid all men alike, the wicked as well as the good, the narrative, he meets with thoughts of the but the former will not receive its blessings, newest import; with lovely sentiments fraand their freedom of choice is respected. Hell grant towards God and man; and with lessons is the false creation which they make, the pointing life and the world towards plain goals Lord sets their places there, and ordains them of blessedness. It will be no doubiful contest
with him between the sanity and the insanity | He is still associated with his like in male and of the author ; strangeness will recede by female company, and he and his, in the charry degrees, overmastered by the moral element light of hell, which is the very falsity of evil, that explains the appearances into truths; and are not unhandsome to themselves. Such is whatever the verdict be, it will be granted the illusive varnish which in mercy drapes that a profound meaning lurks in even the oddest the bareness of the ugly skeletons of devils forms of this spiritual commonplace book. and satans.
313. “A great part of it dwells upon un- 314. “We cannot dismiss the Diary withhappy themes, and indeed no book more de- out observing how true Swedenborg is to himranges one's habits of thought than this unre- self in a record whose publication he did not served Diary. Our crotchet of the abstract contemplate. His public words are at one nobleness of spirits, receives there a rude shock. with his secret thoughts ; he is as grave in Our father's souls are no better than our heart as in deportment. To one who has selves; no less mean and no less bodily ; and perused the work, the question of sincerity their occupations are often more unworthy nevermore occurs; he would as soon moot than our own. A large part of their doings the sincerity of a tree. And indeed the inreads like police reports. Even the angels quiry after sincerity, in the ordinary sense, are but good men in a favoring sphere: we goes but a little way in the determination of may not worship them, for they do not deserve such a case. it; at best, they are of our brethren, the prophets. It is very matter of fact. Death
Apocalypse. is no change in substantials. The same prob- 315. “Besides the Diary, Swedenborg for lems recur after it, and man is left to solve several years had been engaged upon an extenthem. Nothing but goodness and truth are sive work on the Apocalypse, which is published thriving. There is no rest beyond the tomb, among his posthuma, but which he did not but in the peace of God which was rest before complete. The original edition of the Apocit. This is the last extension of ethics, and alypse Explained occupies four large 4to volwhile it deprives the grave of every vulgar umes. That he intended to produce it is eviterror, it lends it the terrors of this wicked dent from the clearly-written manuscript with world, which itself is the reign and empire of occasional directions to the printer, and from the dead. Moreover while the Diary abol- the first volume of the copy being marked in ishes our spiritual presumptions, it justifies to the titlepage with London, 1759; which rennearly the whole extent the low sentimental ders it moreover probable that he had begun credence on ghostly subjects, as well as the the work after finishing the Arcana in 1756. traditions and the fears of simple mankind. However this may be, we learn that on one The earthly soul cleaves to the ground and occasion he heard a voice from heaven, saygravitates earthwards, dragging the chain of ing, “ Enter into your bed chamber, and shut the impure affections contracted in the world; the door, and apply to the work begun on the spirits haunt their old remembered places, Apocalypse, and finish it within two years." ' attached by undying ideas : hatred, revenge, The Apocalypse Explained is one of the finest pride and lust persist in their cancerous of his works, interpreting that book of the spreading, and wear away the incurable heart- Testament down to the tenth verse of the strings: infidelity denies God most in spirit nineteenth chapter, and pregnant, if we may and the spiritual world; nay, staked on death use the expression, with a number of distinct it ignores eternity in the eternal state with treatises on important subjects ; but it has gnashing teeth and hideous clinches : and the been supposed that he thought it too volumiproof of spirit and immortal life is farther off nous and elaborate. Certain it is, that he than ever. The regime of the workhouse, abandoned the work, and set himself to prothe hospital, and the madhouse is erected into duce an exposition in a smaller compass, a remorseless universe, self-fitted with steel which he published under the title of Apocfingers and awful chirurgery; and no hope alypse Revealed. lies either in sorrow or poverty, but only in one divine religion, which hell excludes with
Meeting with Dr. Beyer. all its might. Human nature quails before 316. “It does not appear whether Swesuch tremendous moralities ; freedom tries to denborg revisited Sweden from 1762 to 1764: abjure the life that it is, and calls upon the he may have resided in Amsterdam during mountains and rocks to cover and to crush it. the whole period, or he may have paid a visit A new phase appears in the final state; the to England; but it is probable that he rememory of the skies is lost; baseness accepts turned home during the latter year, for in the its lot, and falsehood becomes self-evident: first half of the next year he was again in wasting ensues to compressed limb and facul- Sweden. Soon, however, he set forth upon ty, and the evil spirit descends to his mineral new travels, and in 1765 came from Stockestate, a living atom of the second death. holm to Gottenburg, where, during a week's Impossibility is the stone of his heart, and stay, while waiting for a vessel to England, crookedness the partner of his understanding. he accidentally met Dr. Beyer, Professor of Greek and Member of the Consistory of Got-takers of this Apocalypse. It appeals to all tenburg, who having heard that he was mad, in the Christian church, under the sevenfold was surprised to find that he spoke sensibly, designation of the churches of Asia, whose without discovering any marks of his alleged variety describes the entire circuit of the life infirmity. He invited Swedenborg to dine and faith of Christendom in the two worlds. with him the day following, in company with It then describes their exploration, by the inDr. Rosen. After dinner, Dr. Beyer ex- flux of divine light from the ncient heavens: pressed a desire to hear from him a full ac- first
, the exploration of the reformed church, count of his doctrines; upon which Sweden- and lastly that of the catholic: the doctrine borg, animated by the request, 'spoke out so of justification by faith being typified by the clearly and wonderfully,' that both the doctors dragon ; the dominion of the Romanist church,
1 were astonished. They did not interrupt him, by the great harlot sitting upon many waters. but when he had finished, Beyer requested It proceeds to narrate the divine judgment on him to meet him the next day at M. Wenn- these churches : also in the nineteenth chapgren’s, and to bring with him a paper con- ter, the glorification that ensued in heaven taining the substance of his discourse, in order when the catholic religion was removed ; and that he might consider it more attentively. in the twentieth, the damnation of the dragon. Swedenborg complied, kept the engagement, Then, proceeds, chap. xxi., xxii., the descent and taking the paper out of his pocket in the from heaven of the New Jerusalem, with a presence of Beyer and Wenngren, he trem- description of its spiritual glories. bled and appeared much affected, the tears 319. “A volume, unless it were a reprint, flowing down his cheeks; and presenting the would not give an analysis of this book on the paper to Dr. Beyer, he said, “Sir, from this Apocalypse. When we say that the cortime the Lord has introduced you into the mentary takes the text word by word, and society of angels, and you are now surround- translates it into spirit, we still convey but a ed by them. They were all affected. He slender idea of what is done. Our own first then took his leave, and the next day em- impressions on reading the work will not soon barked for England. From that time Dr. be forgotten. Following the writer through Beyer became a student of his doctrines, and the long breaths and flights of this vast emin spite of persecution, he remained stead-pyrean, we were momently in anxious fear fast to them throughout his life, and busied that to sustain a context of such was impossihimself upon an elaborate Index to Sweden-ble. Each fresh chapter seemed like a space borg's theological writings, which was published that mortal wing must not attempt; and yet thirteen years after, just as Dr. Beyer died. the fear was groundless, for our guide sailed
onward with a tranquil motion as if he knew Apocalypse Revealed.
the stars. History and common sense, pant317. “Swedenborg did not make a long ing and gasping science, philosophy in its betstay in England, but after a few weeks or ter part, above all, the confidence in a divine months proceeded to Holland, spending the support and a supernal mission, appeared to winter of 1765-66 at Amsterdam, where he be covertly and unexpectedly present, to anpublished the Apocalypse Revealed in the nihilate difficulties, and pave the skyey way spring of the latter year. This work, as was of this humble voyager. And when we had his wont, he gave away liberally to the Uni- again alighted from that perusal which strained versities and superior clergy, and to many every faculty to the utmost, it was as though eminent persons, in England, Holland, Ger- we had been there before, so entire was the many, France and Sweden.
impression of self-evidence that was left upon 318. “ The Apocalypse Revealed is an in- the mind. Genesis and the Revelation were terpretation of the book of Revelation, on closely at one in this marvellous Apocalypse, principles similar to those made use of in the thenceforth the most open of the Bible pages : Arcana Cælestia, and which we have already the two ends of the Scripture called to each mentioned. The spiritual sense alone fur- other; an arch of divine light spanned the nishes the key to this often expounded scrip- river of the Word, and the original Eden ture, and those who were ignorant of that blossomed anew in the midst of the street of sense, could not unfold its true meaning. It the holy city. The author the while disdoes not foreshadow outward events either in claimed the authorship, for what man,' says the church or the world, nor the progress of he, ó can draw such things for himself.'” the Christian church from its beginning; but Wilkinson's Biography, pp. 132-151. it records in spiritual symbols the end of that 320. The author of the Memoir before church, and the establishment of its successor ; quoted, says also of this work :— “It conboth in the spiritual world. It is the book of tains the exposition of the spiritual sense of the Last Judgment, which we have described the Book of Revelation, that sealed Book, above. It commences as the Revelation of i which has been an embarrassment and a marJesus Christ,' signifying that those who ac-vel to the church in all ages, and which, inknowledge his divinity by good lives from deed, on account of its obscurity and seeming charity and faith, are the witnesses and par- incoherency, was at one time in danger of