Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

demands our present attention is to inquire what is the rule of final judgment - what is the proper objeet of it -- what the respective influence of equity and sovereignty in the whole process — and what the effect of all ?

$ 3. The $ 3. The rule of final judgment can be no other than that of moral government, cailed the moral lase; the immediate foundation of which lies in constituted relations. Hence it is plain, that obligations I 2

laf judgment, no resurrection, in the sense they have been always understood by the christian church. The foundation of these tenets, and most of the peculiar doctrines of the New Jerusalem Church, established by Baron SWEDENBORG, is what they term the Science of Correspondences. This once admitted as an inviolable part of their creed, the particulars just mentioned, with some other points of less notoriety, seem to follow of course. We shall therefore, first, look at the foundation and main pillars of this luminous caftle, from whence the remaining parts of the structure may be estimated ; and, then, subjoin a few remarks.

1. The Science of Correspondences. “ Correspondence in gene" ral may be defined, the relation subsisting between the essence 66 of a thing and its form, or between the cause and its effect : « thus the whole natural world corresponds to the spiritual world, " the body of a man, with all its parts, corresponds to his soul ; " and the literal sense of the word corresponds to the spiritual " sense. So that wherever there is a correspondence, there is “ neceffarily implied such an union between two things, as only “ takes place when the one is derived from the other, in the same

manner as an effect is derived from its efficient cause, or as “ speech is derived from thought, and the gestures of the body u from the affections of the mind ; in all which cases the exterior 66 forms can no more be separated from the interior essences, “ without losing their exigence, than the body of a man can be 6 separated from his soul without death. Such is the nature “ and power of correspondences.” Mr. HINDMARSH's Letters to Dr. PRIESTLEY, p. 281. “ The science of correspondences is now “ discovered, which is the only true key that can unlock the 66 cabinet of the literal sense of scripture, within which are conu tained the jewels of its spiritual and celestial sense. The great " diversity of opinions respecting the letter, of which you are

sufficiently

vary

! sufficiently apprized, is in a great measure owing to the want i of such a key ; for the more we are acquainted with the science u of correspondences, so much the more shall we be agreed in " judgment, and in the true understanding of the scriptures. “ Indeed fo regular and certain is that science, that were any

given number of persons, properly acquainted with it, required

to give their opinion of any part of scripture, they would all “ uniformly agree in the same explanation, if not in words, yet “ in substance ; which is a circumstance not even pretended to “ by those who reject the spiritual sense, but at the fame time a “ striking proof of the reality of correspondences, and that the “ Word of God is written according to that science.Ibid. 268. “ It only requires a proper knowledge of the science of correl“ pondences, to be possessed of a rational, satisfactory, and 6 determinate way of explaining them. For example, wherever « mention is made of a horse, it invariably fignifies the underjianding ; and a chariot means doctrine.Ibid. 273.

figure or simile is the resemblance which one natural object or “ circumstance is supposed to bear to another natural object or " circumstance; whereas a correspondence is the actual relation " fubfisting between a natural object and a spiritual subject, or a “ natural form and a spiritual essence ; that is between outer and

inner, lower and higher, nature and spirit ; and not between “ nature and nature, or spirit and spirit. This distinction should

be well attended to. The language of correspondence is " the language of God himself, being that which he always “ (peaks, both in his words and in his works : but figure and

metaphor, together with the language of fable, are the mere “ inventions of man, which took their rise when the divine science " of correspondences began to be lost in the world.Ibid. 283.

" Numbers, as well as names, in the holy word, arc fignificative and correspondent ; therefore it is said, Apoc. xiii. 18. Here

is

66 A mere

vary as relations and circumstances do. And it is no less plain, that moral obligation, the moral law, and constituted relations, are co-existent; there is no

obligation

" is wisdom, let him that hath understanding count the number of the beaji :

: for it is the number of a man ; and his number is fix hundred " three score and fix. — I remember to have read, some years ago,

many curious explanations of the number 666, all having refer

ence to the titles of the Pope, in Hebrew, Greek, or Latin, or in “ some other way alluding to the church of Rome. The words Lateinos, Romiith, Vicarius generalis Dei in terris, Vicarius Filii 6 Dei, with various others, were by dint of numeral powers,

and such like calculations, all made to produce the exact com" plement 666. At that time I thought some attention was due “ to those ingenious speculations ; but on further inquiry I foon “ found, that not only the names above mentioned would make “ up the required number, but perhaps an hundred and fifty « other names, that could no more be supposed to have any con6 nećtion with the contents of the Apocalypse than the man in 66 the 79700n.

I then faw, that all fuck explications could not be the " effect of that wisdom spoken of in the 13th chapter, and to 66 which we are invited ; but that there must be some other “ hidden meaning, with which the learned were unacquainted. “ It did not satisfy me, that Lateinos, Romiith, Vicarius Filii Dei,

or even Ludovicus, made up the complement 666, when other 66 words were to be found, that did the same, such as

Joseph 66 Smith, Tomkins, Benjamin Bennet, and what is fingular

enough, the Rev. Jos. Priestley; for by the magical power of 66 numcrals I could bring them all to sing the same song, fix huhdred and fixty fix. It was indeed a curious circumstance; but I " thought that not sufficient for one who is in search of genuine 66 truth; neither did I then, nor do I now think, that a mere 6 rebus or conundrum is worthy a place in those oracles of divine “ truth, whose author is no less than the great Jehovah, the 6 God of heaven and earth.” Ibid. 284, 286. 66 As the true “ meaning of the number 666 may be seen at large in Baron

" SWEDEN

obligation without law, and there is no law without constituted relation; and the one flows from the other as a necessary effect. The only possible way, therefore, of exempting us from obligation to the

moral

I 3

[ocr errors]

à SWEDENBORG's Apocalypse Revealed, I shall here only observe, " that the whole chapter in which it is contained, gives a de.

scription of the faith of the Protestant or Reformed churches, particularly in respect to its separation from charity or good works, and that the number of the beast denotes the

quality of that faith, as being a complex of the most enormous falses ! “ It is called the number of a man, because number signifies quality, " and man fignifies wisdom and intelligence, but in the opposite “sense, as in the present case, self-derived wisdom; for it is said

of those who separate faith from charity. I have already ob& ferved, that a whole church, or community of men, appears " before the Lord as one man : it is for this reason that the quality " of a church is, in the letter of scripture, said to be the number “ of a man.Ibid, 288.

“ He who knoweth nothing of the spiritual sense of the word, " little thinketh that by a garden, a grove, and a wood, are meant “ wisdom, intelligence, science; that by the olive, the vine, the “ cedar, the poplar, and the oak, are meant the good and truth “ of the church, under the different characters of celestial, spiri“ tual, rational, natural, and sensual ; that by a lamb, a sheep,

a goat, a calf, and an ox, are meant innocence, charity, and natural affection ; that by mountains, hills, and valleys, are

meant the higher, the lower, and the lowest things relating to “ the church ; also, that by Egypt is signified what is scientific, " by Afhur what is rational, by Edom what is natural, by the " children of Ammon the adulteration of truth, by the Philistinen “ faith without charity, by Tyre and Sidon the knowledges of “ goodness and truth, by Gog external worship without internal ; “ in general, by Jacob in the word is understood the church

natural, by Israel the church spiritual, and by Judah the “ church celestial.” Ibid. 291. On the history of 1 Sam. chap. v. and vi. it is thus remarked : “ That all these devices

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

moral law, properly so called, is to annihilate our human existence. -- This law, which is the rule of right and wrong, will be the standard of measure in judgment, the impartial balance to weigh the varied

characters

" of the Philistine diviners were correspondences, is evident from " their signification, which is this ; the Philistines themselves “ fignified those who are influenced by faith feparate from cha“ rity; Dagon represented their religious worship; the emerods, “ wherewith they were smitten, signified the natural loves, which, “ if separated from spiritual love, are unclean ; and mice figni66 fied the devastation of the church, by falsifications of truth ;

a new cart fignified natural doctrine of the church; for chariot, " in the word, signifieth doctrine derived from spiritual truths ; “ the milch-kine signified good natural affections; the golden “ emerods fignificd the natural loves purified and made good; " the golden mice signified the devaitation of the church re“ moved by means of goodness; for gold in the word signifieth

goodness; the lowing of the kine in the way signified the “ difficult conversion of the concupiscences of evil in the na“ tural man into good affections; the offering of the kine and “ the cart as a burnt-offering, signified that thus the God of “ Ifrael was rendered propitious. All these things then, which " the Philistines did by the advice of their diviners, were corres

pondences; from which it appears that that science was long

preserved among the Gentiles.” Ibid. 296. “ The reason “ why the science of correspondences, which is the true key to the

spiritual sense of the word, was not discovered to later agcs

[though it remained amongst many casern nations, even till the * coming of the Lord] was, because the christians of the primitive church ucre men of such great fimplicity, that it was to no purpojë " to discover it to them ; for had it been discovered, they would " have found no use in it, nor would they have understood it.”

[ocr errors]

Ibizt. 300.

2. The second coniing of our Lord. “ With respect to the Lord's Jocond adevent, the doctrine of the New Church is this ; that the " Lord cannot come in person into the material world, because

r since

« IndietroContinua »