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spiritualists of our day, believe in no Word above | former being the archetype of the latter. What a that of men, spirits, and angels, or what comes sight it must be, for many a genuine Christian from the God of nature through them, of promis- who shall attain to it, to see, in the clear vision of cuous truth and error, according to human devel- his regenerated soul in eternity, the connected, opment, because they believe in no personal Lord. systematic, interior sense of the Word, in all the The God they worship is the God of Nature, if beauty of its relations to these great themes ! not, closely scrutinized according to their prin- And now we may assert the whole question, conciples, the God identical with Nature. Now, the cerning the nature of Divine Inspiration, to be alLord God is the God of nature ; but He is so dis- most entirely cleared of the difficulties which beset cretely personal, insomuch that He could appear it, by preserving this simple distinction between in human form upon our earth, that He could give the inspiration of the writer, and the inspiration of a Word essentially and infinitely different from the thing written. They are distinct questions enthe word of any man or angel. We have not tirely. And every one may see, that, admitting space here to go into particulars, or to enlarge phil- Swedenborg's principles, both the matter and the osophically. We refer the reader to the testimony. composition may be inspired of God, and yet the
With this view of the Divine Word, we may writer know not of the deep meaning therein conalso advert to the true nature of its inspiration, in tained. Even then, the varying peculiarities of distinction from the prevailing theories on this sub- style resulting from character may be regarded, ject. How various and conflicting, and withal giving to each writer some fashion of his own, yet how loose, are the opinions of the old church on still the One Almighty Lord may have control of this important subject! Some contending that the all the self hood of the man, and produce a commatter of revelation is inspired, but that the com- position, both mentally and verbally, framed upon position is human; each writer being left to his the laws of eternal correspondence between spirown selection of terms; — others contending that itual and natural things. It is this nature of ineven some of the matter is uninspired, the progress spiration, and of interpretation accordingly, which of natural philosophy making it impossible that makes the interpretations of the New Church so any thing but blind superstition should claim the uniformly consistent and harmonious. (See “ Life character of inspiration for certain physical facts, of Swedenborg,” Nos. 243, 244, 320.) For there especially for certain statements contradicted by is, in the science of correspondences, an almost science ; - others contending that all historical mathematical accuracy; there is quite, in the scifacts could as well be left, and probably were ence itself; though from the imperfection of huleft, to the knowledge of the writer, the Divine man language, and its variations, and the mistakes Spirit only interposing to prevent errors ; — others of transcribers and translators, there is of course again supposing that all the statements of the sa- some liability to slight errors. But the great prin cred writers may have been inspired, but the rea-ciples of interpretation by this science, make the soning left to the writers themselves; -- while others meaning of the inspired Word in the New Church, are for cutting out whole chapters on account of a very different thing from the confused jargon of some supposed lack of evidence, either of an his- the old church speculators. So that, even in the torical or philosophical nature ; — and still others, minutiæ and particulars of the Word, there is a deeming the whole a matter of human composi- wonderful harmony and consistency in all lands tion, though more or less inspired by spirits and and among all expositors and readers. It is only angels. And then again as to how we are to know necessary for one to become understandingly acwhether the Book is inspired at all, — whether by quainted with the system of scriptural interpretainternal evidence, or external, or by tradition, or tion which prevails in the New Church, to see by its effects upon the mind, or by supernatural at once that the New and the Old are at immeasdictum, or by all these combined. In short, the urable odds apart, and that while with the one, the whole subject of inspiration in the old church is Word of God is the Word of God indeed, as strikone mass of confusion. It is no wonder that the ingly and distinctively characteristic of Him as his faith of many is shipwrecked, and that naturalism, Works are plainly declarative of a divine hand; and "science falsely so called,” begin to take pre- with the other, there is not only the most marked cedence so largely, and to inundate the church. absence of all systematic analogy, but the most Now, Swedenborg has shown how all these errors heterogeneous and confused mingling of the human, have arisen from a tendency in the church to the insignificant, the contradictory, and the divine. merely carnal and natural principles; and when If now, there is a proper Divine Word, we we consider the vast amount of merely natural must raise the question here, Why not an authorapplication which the church gives to the histories ized erpounder of that Word ? Especially when of the Bible, we can but be struck with the sub- man has run so low in materialism, as to be wholly lime simplicity of the fact asserted by him, that insensible of interior things. Divine Truth is he two things to which the internal sense of the surely too important to be without it. If it could Word refers, are the Glorification of the Lord's be, it would be. And could it not be? The reader Humanity, and the Regeneration of the Soul; the must see, admitting the premises, that the Lord
Almighty could make use of his creature man, to standing. This may be called a blind produce a Word unlike to all human or angelic faith. And as being the dictate of one perinspirations, full of divine and infinite truth, and son abiding in the mind of another, it is an hiscould raise up a human expounder of it.
torical faith (or a faith that depends on the authorIn regard to Swedenborg's authority, we may ity of the relater.] This is not spiritual faith. be permitted to say one word, on our own responsi- Genuine faith is an acknowledgment that a bility. We consider it immense in one sense, thing is so because it is true. ... Spiritual and unimportant in another. His authority becomes truths are as capable of being comprehended as immense when we consider him as the especially natural truths; and when the comprehension of appointed herald of the New Church, in respect to them is not altogether clear, still, when they are which, to doubt his mission would be as absurd as advanced, they fall so far within the perception to doubt the mission of John the Baptist in re- of the hearer, that he can discern whether they spect to Christianity. No truly enlightened mind are truths or not; especially if he is a person who can peruse his pages, and understand the immense is affected with truths.
The reason that amount of truth which he has been made the in- spiritual things admit of being comprehended, strument of revealing, and the near intimacy to is, because man, as to his understanding, is capawhich he has been admitted with the Lord, and ble of being elevated into the light of heaven, in with the heavens, and with the whole spiritual which light no other objects appear but such as world, and especially in reference to unfolding are spiritual, which are trutns of faith. the true meaning of the Divine Word, without Faith and Truth are a one. This also is the according to him an authority which is great in- reason that the ancients, who were accustomed to deed, — which fixes upon him at once, the truth think of truth from affection more than the modof the great and general claim he has made, and erns, instead of faith used the word truth: and which is such, that around him, as the divinely for the same reason, in the Hebrew language, illuminated centre of all human teachers, the Chris- truth and faith are expressed by one and the same tian world will eventually gather by spontaneous word, namely, Amuna or Amen." Swedenborg on consent. In this respect, his authority is immense Faith, F. 1-3, 6. and unparalleled. To Swedenborg we shall have
Surely, Swedenborg will not object to being tried to go, for the sublimest help to all theological by his own principles, and received or rejected problems, and for the most powerful light upon accordingly. But it is be noted again what he the Divine Word. He will stand for the great says further. — “If any one thinks with himself, expounder of Christianity, when all other teachers, or says to another, “Who can have that internal at least all of previous ages, and for long time to acknowledgment of truth which is called faith? come, shall have dwindled to a comparative in- I cannot ;' I will tell him how he may: Shun evils significance. But even in this respect, he nowhere as sins, and apply to the Lord; then you will have asks us to surrender our own reason, but to see the as much as you desire.” F. 12. truth, and understand it, as well as believe it. Thus much on the matter of Swedunborg's
But in another sense, we do not regard his authority. It is, as we think, immense in one sense, authority as important. We refer to that almost but unimportant in another. Let none disparage verbal, particular infallibility, which some may have the proper authority of Swedenborg, as an esa disposition to claim for him. In short, we do pecial harbinger of the Lord's New Church, raised not consider him as infallible authority. He may up and qualified for the purpose. To doubt this, have committed some errors. His mind may not would be only to argue our own ignorance. have been, at all times, equally clear, when he Let us, in passing, briefly direct the reader's wrote. It would be surprising, perhaps, if this attention to the subject of Regeneration, as unwas not the case. But we do not know of any folded in the following pages.
This also is a material errors. We do not, however, speak for matter entirely overlooked by the naturalists and the New Church, or as an accredited organ of any“ spiritualists” of our day, and by many professed department of the so called New Church. On Christians. How vastly beautiful is it here unthis subject, there are different opinions in the folded! How divine and searching, how systemChurch. We have our own opinion, and are per- atic and momentous, how imperious and necessary! fectly willing that every one should have his. We would now call attention to another feature What we say here, is said for the promiscuous of the philosophy of Swedenborg's disclosures, world at large, that is, the more prepared classes and that is, the objective scenery of the other life. It of minds, for whom this book is especially de- is frequently objected by the novitiate in spiritual signed. “Let every man be fully persuaded in things, that the system of Swedenborg is a sort of his own mind.” (Rom. xiv. 5.) “The idea attached material spiritualism, that what he says of the to the term Faith, at the present day, is this : other life is so crude and gross, so much like the that it consists in thinking a thing to be so, be- world we live in, that it cannot be admitted to the cause it is taught by the church, and because it mind of the truly spiritual man. Most especially does not fall within the scope of the under-is this the case in reference to so many particu
lars, the descent into which, by this famous Seer, !
" Though what if Earth
Be but the shadow of Heaven and things therein, is felt to be both wearisome and repulsive ; mani
Each to the other like, more than on Earth is thought?" festing altogether too great a familiarity with things necessarily placed beyond the province of And from Wordsworth thus: human curiosity or knowledge.
“ Of all that is most beauteous, imaged there As to this latter assertion, it needs no particu
In happier beauty. More pellucid streams,
An ampler ether, a diviner air, lar refutation. Universals are made up of par- And fields invested with purpureal gleams; ticulars : and the wonder might as well be, per- Climes which the Sun, that sheds the brightest day
Earth knows, is all unworthy to survey." haps, why no more particulars were not revealed to us by the same agency. If there is another But it took Swedenborg to see the actnal and world, doubtless the particulars are in much greater substantial source of all this poetry. And thus it multiplicity than in this comparatively crude sphere is that the true Seer is ever the greatest poet, and of materiality. And as to any repulsion felt at as Emerson says truly, “ Melodious poets shall the particular mention of them, the cause of this become as hoarse as street ballads, when once the is more readily found in human ignorance, than in key note of nature and spirit is sounded.” any antecedent improbability that a Seer of suffi- If we would look a little into the philosophy of cient capacity should not be able to see and re- this variegated existence of substantial forms in veal them. The mass of men have so accustomed the spiritual world, we may find it in the fact that themselves to the limits of their own blindness inatter itself is nothing but the crude outbirth, and ignorance, that it is thought presumption to sediment, or precipitate of spirit, from God through pretend to any more knowledge of the future life the spiritual spheres, by discrete degrees. (See than the general thick mist that prevails in Chris- COMPENDIUM, Nos. 40, 41.) And all our gold and tendom. To all this, there is an effectual fore- silver, vegetable substance, and animal composistalment of objection and all unpleasantness, in tion; yea, all the countless variety of existence in the admission of a Seer who had his eyes open. earth, and sea, and firmament; all vales, and “ Hereafter, ye shall see heaven opened,” said plains, and towering mountains ; thick forests and Christ; and in many more cases than one, doubt- Aowing streams; fish, and bird, and insect, and less the truth will appear more and more manifest, flower; all are but outbirths and formations of and the particulars grow and multiply upon us that variously endowed spiritual substance which with all the interest that attaches to a world far has become fixed in this world of matter. Why more real and substantial than the shifting and then should there not be, in the spiritual world, fading panoramas of earth.
gold and silver and precious stones, and vast As to the other part of this objection, that scenery of mountain, plain, and dale; shining Swedenborg's system is a sort of material spirit- fish in limpid waters ; birds of plumage fitting ualism, altogether too objective, and too like this through spiritual firmaments; animals of all kinds; world of crude materiality to gain admission to vast architecture of nature and art; yea, every spiritual minds, this comes from the der dark- thing there that there is here, only spiritua. ness of the men of this world in reference to stead of material, and in greater multiplicity and spiritual things. Christians call it refinement, to variety? To us, it follows as a necessary condo away with all form and objectivity of spirit. clusion from effect to cause, and from cause to Unhappily, it is a kind of refinement that verges effect. to annihilation. If there is any thing at all left But we must pay a more particular attention to of the human spirit and its world after death, there the moral character of this scenery, as set forth must be the form and the distinct outline of the and described by Swedenborg. In heaven, he inward essence. There can be nothing without a says, it is with all variety of beauty ; in hell, with form, neither spiritual nor material. All outward all variety of deformity and ugliness. He affirms forms are simply the effects of interior essences that the very animals and vegetables and minerals, as their causes. If, then, there is one form, (and which surround the inhabitants of the heavens, surely no Christian will carry his refining pro- are the outbirths of their own spiritual states; and cess to such a length as to annihilate all form, so also of the inhabitants of the helle. Why both general and particular,) upon the same prin- should it not be so ? Must not causes act and ciple there inust be an infinity of forms, varying shape themselves there as well as here? Must from the most stupendous and glorious scenery of not inmost essences clothe themselves in outward the heavens, with all the colors too of that supe- forms? This is the law of creation through. rior world, to the most minute and characteristic How is the outward world of heaven or hell creoutlines and shapes of spiritual creations. This ated, but by or through a more interior spiritual is to make the other world quite natural, in a spir- essence? And what can that essence be, proxitual sense, and altogether familiar to our earliest imately considered, but the spirits of the men and faith. The natural inspiration of men in every women who compose it? Swedenborg constantly age has recognized the truth here expressed. It tells us, and with all the familiarity of one who has breaks forth from the poetry of Milton thus : been admitted to the truth and actuality of these
scenes, that the outward objects of the whole spir- the whole outbirth of those deformed souls is as itual world are but the appearances of the thoughts deformed as the interiors from which it all emafrom the affections of the angels and spirits of nates. The evil spirit is surrounded with his own. that world. But these are real appearances, that dark and sin-smitten world. His dwelling is amid is, actual, objective existences, or outward forms wild beasts of every description, the exact forms or investments of interior essences. And they and embodiments of his own evil affections ; come and go, and vary their appearances, with bears, wolves, and all ravenous and destructive the changing states of the inhabitants. Is not animals; snakes, crocodiles, and all noxious and this a most vital and highly interesting and im- venomous reptiles; owls, bats, and all birds of portant truth?
darkness, the spiritual creations of his own evil But how, says one, can a certain affection, and thoughts ; with a sterile and poisonous earth, and thought thence, take the form of a horse, or lamb, a gloomy and threatening sky, and a tempestuons ur eagle, or tree, or any such thing? To which sea; even as the Scriptures say of Babylon, with we reply, are not all forms of animals in the mate- a meaning grounded in these same correspondrial world just such outbirths ? Did they not ex- ences: “Wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; ist in thought first? Were there not divine ideas ?) and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures ; Did not Plato conceive a great truth? What is and owls shall dwell the and satyrs shall dance a horse but a certain spiritual entity or thought there.” (Isaiah xiii. 21.) And again in the Revof God, first, afterwards embodied in its necessary elation — “ Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and appropriate matter ? Just so in the spiritual and is become the habitation of devils, and the world; only there, these creations are immediate, hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unnot fixed as they are here, yet lasting so long as clean and hateful bird.” (xviii. 2.) These dethe state lasts, and ever varying with that varying scriptione refer to the spiritual world. So also we state. Hence there are always earths and waters, read of "outer darkness," "miry places,” “ caves skies and stars, and a substantial, familiar dwell- and dens of the earth.” All these appearances ing-place, (that is, the real appearance of place) with are real in the spiritual world, and we are no the whole animal, vegetable, and mineral world, longer in doubt as to their meaning. The diabolvarying more or less frequently, according to the ical spirit has his own universe around him, and prolongation of the varying states. And how im- there are in his view, as the immediate outbirth mensely important is all this, in a moral and re- of his dark and sinful spirit, dark and doleful tributive point of view! In heaven there are caverns, that lead duwn to still lower deeps and beauties unnumbered and indescribable, and we more fearful perdition; a barren earth, a rank and are no longer at loss to comprehend the glowing poisonous vegetation, dire forests and vast deserts ; and forcible, yet truly correspondential, language filthy cities and dwellings; stagnant ponds ; “ lakes of Scripture. It is no longer a merely figurative of fire and brimstone ;” and an atmosphere foul speech. The pen is inadequate to describe the and pestiferous with the breath of every
passurrounding scenery of the good spirit, who dwells sion. And here, living and walking among these in the Eden of his own regenerated affections. scenes, are most miserable beings, whose faces There is the renovated and refined Earth; palaces bid defiance to every attempt at reformation, and of splendor, and houses of visible joy; ever- who are themselves the very forms of evil, or evil in blooming gardens of delight, forests of grandeur, its external impersonation, which is deformity itgroves of quiet beauty, vocal with the songs of self. Moreover, their bodies are frequently disbirds whose clime is the genial sphere of those eased, and there is the actual appearance of heavenly inhabitants, and whose every note is of wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores.” We intelligence and love; doves, swans, eagles, birds are drawing no fancy sketch. These are the verof paradise, rich in the colors of those heavenly itable outbirths and realities of hell. They are tropics; all the noble, good, gentle, and useful no more pictures of the imagination than the dingy animals; fountains of pure and crystal water; and dread aspect of the habitations and persons seas of majestic grandeur and quietness, which of the vicious in this our world. They are far more are the boundaries of those heavens; skies of real, because exactly correspondent to their spiritsurpassing glory and loveliness, beaming with the ual state. They are in real reality subjective. pure, white, silvery light of Divine Truth, or with but they appear in all the substantiality of ob the softened, flame-colored, golden light of the Di-jective realities. Heaven is all beauty and har vine Love, which pervades the celestial heavens mony, and “ without are dogs, and sorcerers, and with a holy warmth, and from which are visible whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and the stars of other and far-off angelic societies; whatsoever loveth and maketh a lie.” (Rev. and yet higher and holier than all, the angels xxii. 15.) themselves, who are the very forms of charity, or So much for the philosophy of Swedenborg's goodness in its external, which is beauty itself. disclosures respecting the objective scenery of
Such is a faint «description of the objective the other life. It is founded in the eternal and scenery of heaven. Turn we now to hell, and inevitable laws of spiritual nature, and it is no
mere daydream of a visionary, and none too par-ored to supply a want which has been deeply fe.. ticular for the tremendous importance of the in our own mind, and which, we doubt not, thou subject.
sands may yet feel, in sympathy with us. W6 We would also bespeak a special attention to have considered well the dangers. We have the arrangement of men in the heavens, hells, and painfully reflected on that levity and profaneness world of spirits, in respect to the Grand Man, as with which many may at first treat the sacred truths presented in the wonderful chapter on “ Corre- here given to the world; but we have also dwelt spondences.” What a penetration of intellect and in joyousness upon the prospect of souls enlightspiritual wisdom is here exhibited! How nice ened, idols overthrown, errors and sins forsaken, and exact, and how interior, and how masterly of by those who will first be introduced to the subthe fine and intricate analogies of the anatomy and lime Seer of the latter ages, by this compendious physiology of the human system, are the several introduction to his works. We must consider it departments of the immortal kingdom here de- the book for introduction, to the thousands of inscribed! It is astonishing that such a piece of quiring minds. If it is now asked by a stranger work has been made to appear on human pages, “ What book can I read first? To which of and it will be more than astonishing if it does not Swedenborg's works can you recommend me, to benow arrest the world's attention. How different gin with ? ” — the answer may be," THE COMPENis the discriminating wisdom here manifested, DIUM. This will give you the fullest insight.” We from the crude arrangement of the spheres by the hope, in modesty, we may say this much, with so comodern “revealments !” O, man! O, moral and pious a selection and so full a “ Life!” And we can responsible creature! heed, I beseech you, the but regard it as a happy omen, indicative of a predeeply varied and eternal distinctions of thy moral pared state in the community, for the breaking and nature, and grow wise unto salvation.
distribution of the heavenly truths among them, that But we must not tarry with these preliminaries; such a work has been permitted by the Divine we specify here no other themes ; the book is full, Providence at this day. And as it has been the full of matchless and superior wisdom. We are happiest, and as we regard it, hitherto the most as sensible as any one can be, that the work is useful, work of our life, so may its uses become not so perfect as it might be, and that there may manifest in the promotion of the true church on be occasion for fault-finding. But assured we are, earth. But let not the reader stop with this. that no pains or labor has been spared from the This is indeed a Compendium of Swedenborg's preparation, and until we were fairly and fully in writings, and a very full one ; but it must not be it, we had no idea of the difficulty and laborious- viewed as a whole — it must not, and particularly ness of such a work. To select well and arrange for the scriptural considerations aforesaid, be rewell, is a work of responsibility and importance garded as sufficient — but only as introductory to any where; how much more so from so vast, that vast ocean of truth which is here only entered voluminous, and intervolved a mind as Sweden- upon, but which may yet conduct to the haven of borg! Suffice it to say, by a labor and revision eternal rest. With the prayer that it may be inin which much time has been consumed, and every strumental in so guiding many souls, it is now precaution taken to present a work which should trustfully committed to its mission. be permanent and worthy, we have thus endeav
SEE CONTENTS OF THIS WORK, AT THE END OF THE VOLUME.