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numerous things beneath and out of ordinary sight which enter into the proof that the Hand which made them is Divine. The surface may be closely imitated, but the viscera which lie beneath, together with their connection and uses in the economy of life, are wonders which no human artist can achieve; and surely it is reasonable to conclude that something similar must distinguish the Divine Word on the supposition that it is a work of God. If God is its author, we may be sure that it is a marvellous production, the letter of which can only be the visible exponent of some more interior wisdom. This we hold to be the character of the Bible, and think that it is capable of the clearest proof. We, therefore, venture to commend it to the attention of rationalists. They will find in it an aspect of thought which they have overlooked, and see in it the means for a reasonable explanation of many of those difficulties which beset their inquiries and hinder their belief. To acknowledge that the Word has a spiritual sense within the letter, and to know the law by which that sense is to be extracted, is to bring into the Church a light and a power not previously enjoyed by it. They in the Church who think without these protections are in danger of thinking themselves out of it; whereas they who accept them will find that the more they think the more they will be within its intellectual pale.
It is not, however, to be understood, that by acknowledging the spiritual sense of the Word, we shall get rid of the miraculous phenomena recorded in the letter. That would be a great mistake: they will still remain and require acceptance and belief, but they will be arrayed in another light, and point to another glory. God has provided that they should stand out in the letter of His revelation, as a means for keeping alive some idea of the supernatural in the minds of sensual men. If the letter had contained nothing above the ordinary level of human experience, how could we have obtained any information respecting spiritual life? But the records of miracles strike the imagination, and lift it up into the pathway of spiritual thought. They are among the means for conserving faith in spiritual things among natural men; and the truth of their occurrence is proved by the testimony of witnesses, the credibility of whom it would be unreasonable to doubt. But the acknowledgement of the spiritual sense of the Divine Word takes a man into the region of spiritual thought. It furnishes him with new information concerning a higher life, and not only provides new materials for reasoning with, but the development of a new rational faculty with which to reason, a view of great importance in connection
with this subject. It is not required that reason should at any time relinquish its functions: true religion will court its sanctions and penetration: no man, no body of men, have a right to shut up the intellect of himself and others by dogmatic utterances under the plea that they are for faith and not for reason: that is certainly no part of Bible teaching. God has said therein "come let us reason together," and it is the duty of every one to be able "to give a reason for the hope that is in him." Still it must be admitted that reasonings imply obscurity we try by them to get at the knowledge of something about which we are not certain; we reason to satisfy our reason: and yet our best efforts are not always satisfactory, because our materials are either too few, or too imperfectly conceived. The power to reason has been given in a lower plane of the mind to supply, in some measure, the power of perception which belongs to the higher, and so aid us in the recovery of those spiritual knowledges which were lost in the process of the fall. But the circumstance that a man reasons is no proof that he is rational: he is rational only so far as he perceives truths in the materials with which he reasons; without this his reasonings will be fallacious. The natural man reasons from the state of his information about natural things; and the spiritual man reasons from the state of his information about spiritual things; but, unless their information about those things is true, it is plain that their reasonings must be false. Thus man is rational according to the quantity and quality of the truths which he knows, consequently truth is the foundation of all genuine rationalism. Take away truth from a man and he ceases to be a rational being: without truth he becomes a liar, how then can he be rational? Moreover, the natural man by his reasonings, be they ever so well founded in truth, cannot, from the very nature of his materials, ever become by them acquainted with spiritual things. He may by his science illustrate spiritual truth when it is revealed, but it cannot lead him to anything higher than itself. The outer cannot penetrate the inner; the circumference cannot conduct us to the centre. That which is of the earth is earthy. If a knowledge of the world could have taught us anything about heaven, that kingdom would not now have been so dark a spot in human thought as many find it to be.
Those who attempt to reason about spiritual things, merely from the information which they possess about natural things, cannot fail to be embarrassed respecting everything that is supernatural. Hence the Word, even in its letter, is not a level narrative of worldly events, national expectations, or didactic teachings. The supernatural, in the
way of vision, miracles, and descriptions of the spiritual world, frequently breaks through the letter, calling the attention of the natural man to the fact of another and higher condition of existence. If it were not so the natural man would be left without any instruction upon the subject of spiritual life. All our knowledge of the supernatural is the result of revelation. But besides those open intimations in the letter of the Word respecting spiritual things, that letter, from first to last, is so constructed that it might represent them, and be the vehicle for suggesting them to human thought. The quality of the reasonings which the natural man exercises on the letter is altogether different from that which the spiritual man will exercise upon it. The former will see obscurities and blemishes in the letter, because he thinks only from the plane of nature; but the latter will bring to it a superior lumen, and see the letter to be the requisite symbol of some phase belonging to regenerate existence, because he thinks of it from the plane of spiritual life. As men, by the love of holiness, come into a perception of the spiritual truth veiled by the letter of the Word, they will also come into the possession of a new rational principle, before which the former will recede as a husk from its kernel. is the principle by which the Word can be intelligently approached, and its divinity defended. To this new rational principle the Word will be a light, to the former it will be obscurity; the one looks at it from a spiritual plane of thought, the other from a natural; and if the Church would intelligently enjoy the true significance of the WORD, her people must aim at the development of this new rational principle by a careful attention to the duties of the regenerate life. Jesus said, “If any man will do His will he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God." Life is necessary to light.
I conclude this essay with a valued extract.
Swedenborg says, "There appertain to every man who is regenerated two rational principles, one before regeneration, the other after regeneration. The first, which is before regeneration, is procured by the exercise of the senses, by reflections on things in civil and moral life, by the sciences, and by reasonings grounded therein, and directed thereby, and also by knowledges of things spiritual derived from the doctrine of faith or from the Word; but those things at that time enter no further into man than a little above the ideas of the corporeal memory, which ideas are respectively material; whatsoever therefore he thinks at that time is grounded in such things, or semblances of such things, formed comparatively or analogically, in order that they
may be comprehended together at one view by the interior or intellectual sight; such is the nature of the first rational principle, or of that which exists before regeneration. But the rational principle after regeneration is formed by the Lord by the affections of spiritual truth and good, which affections are wonderfully implanted by the Lord in the truths of the former rational principle, and thus the things therein which are in concord with and favour those affections, are vivified, whilst other things are separated thence, as of no use, till at length spiritual goodnesses and truths are bound together as it were into little bundles, the things not agreeing therewith, and not capable of being vivified, being rejected as it were to the circumference; and this successively, in proportion to the increase of spiritual goodnesses and truths with their affections; hence it is evident what is the nature and quality of the other rational principle. . . . But it is to be observed, that with man, although he is regenerated, still all and singular the things appertaining to the first rational principle remain, and are only separated from the other rational principle, and this miraculously of the Lord (A.C. 2657). E. D. R.
SWEDENBORG IN THE NEW DAWN.
II.-1745. (ADV. p. 1, Vol. I.)
"Could I begin my existence again, and—what is equally impossible—could I see before me all I have seen, I would choose few acquaintances, fewer friendships, no familiarities. This rubbish (for such it generally is) collecting at the base of an elevated mind lessens its height and impairs its character."—LANDOR.
"Forewarned that the vice of the times is an excessive pretension, let us seek the shade and find wisdom in neglect. The scholar must embrace solitude as a bride."-EMERSON.
No sooner did Swedenborg reach home than he resumed the duties of his assessorship; this is clear from official documents: Hebrew was also to be commenced; as is evident from the fact that a few months later he begins to make use of it in his biblical studies. Conjointly with these labours, there were more papers on the "Animal Kingdom -the secret of the soul, for instance-to be wrought out: last, and most important work of all, there was the Word to be taken up-not for science merely, nor for critical exegesis, but because he felt he was called to a new career, and that the Scriptures had everything to do therewith. Such labours enforced privacy; yet, because Swedenborg
accepted solitude, and toiled away in happy ignorance of the world. without, he is called "a man of no friendships!" For his indifference
to the essentially indifferent, he is called " a man of small heart." The truth is, the hour had its work; and with singleness of aim he betook himself to the punctual accomplishment of that work. A student, earnest, plodding, and systematic, he could not but despise that giddiness called Fashion, seeing, as he did, how its thousand frivolities emasculated the will until this became the very slave of appearances; how they distorted intellect until it could judge but through conventionalism; how they debauched the religious sentiment till faithful search and loving worship were no longer possible. It was the creations of vanity only that he ever despised; and, as we shall soon see, he really never cherished humanity more warmly than now:-for this, from a love of this, all his subsequent labours were undertaken; let us be grateful for that harvest of wisdom won for us in those hours he felt were God-given, and thus worthy of higher uses than are effected where life spends itself out in flatteries and soulless commonplace, "speaking weakly and from the point, like a flighty girl." "Lovers should preserve their strangeness."
It was with the highest expectations he took up the Bible. "The Scriptures should be chiefly studied with this intent;-that we may see the future kingdom of God therein, and the many things pertaining thereto. Not here and there only, but everywhere do the Scriptures treat of His kingdom; for this was the end contemplated in all creation both in heaven and in earth." Such are the words introducing No. 1 of Swedenborg's first great theological work-the "Adversaria "-a work extending over 2889 pages of Latin. It is a commentary composed in agreement with the above view, and was written from first to last within the twenty months immediately following the date of his return home. In this work, the whole of the five books of Moses, Joshua, Judges, Isaiah, and Jeremiah are gone through at length; and from page to page, as you read, you see the writer advancing to higher intuitions and clearer perceptions, while experiences relating to the spiritual world are given from time to time, but are carefully distinguished from the text itself. Much of the work was written in the very presence of angels; the holy thoughts of the beatified are oftentimes set down in their own words. Philosophy transcending all that mortal man ever penned before will be found running through innumerable pages. Free from moodiness and melancholy, large portions of the book, if found within the covers of Plato, would be deemed his