By Edward Craig Mitchell
Pastor of the New-Jerusalem (or Swedenborgian) Church, St. Paul, Minn.
The Sacred Scriptures are the Word of God, written in a Divine way, and for a Divine purpose.
The Divine Word contains messages from God, as a Spiritual Being, to men as spiritual beings. But, in order to bring down the truth to the apprehension of natural-minded men, spiritual truths must be presented in corresponding natural ideas, in natural imagery.
"I, Jehovah, thy God, have also spoken by the prophets, and have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets." (Hosea xii. 9, 10.)
Hence the Bible has a spirit and a body, between which there is the relation of correspondence, as inward and outward counterparts.
The word "parable" is used in three senses,-1, as an enigma, or obscure saying; 2, as any figurative discourse; and 3, as a fictitious, but possible, narrative, invented to convey and illustrate a truth. The parables of the New Testament are strictly within the third class. But, on the same exact basis, there are very few parables in the Old Testament. And so, for the treatment of the parables of the Old Testament, the second definition is adopted, which includes, also, fables and visions.
Every parable has at least three senses,-1, its narrative sense; 2, its figurative meaning, as applied to other natural persons and things; and 3, its spiritual meaning, illustrating principles operating in the mind.
The system of interpretation here employed is that known as "The Science of Correspondences," made known to the Church through Emanuel Swedenborg.
As it seemed best to have each explanation of a parable complete in itself, some repetition was unavoidable. E. C. M.
ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, February 21, 1903.
Judges ix.:8-15 Trees Choosing a King
Judges xiv.:4, 5, 12, 14. Samson's Riddle
2 Samuel xii.:1-4. Nathan's Parable of the Ewe-Lamb
2 Samuel xiv.:5-7, 11. The Revengers of Blood
1 Kings xx.:39, 40. The Escaped Prisoner
2 Kings xiv.:9. The Ambitious Thistle
Isaiah v.:1-7. The Wasted Vineyard
Jeremiah i.:11-4. The Almond Rod and Seething Pot
Jeremiah xiii.:1-7. The Marred Girdle
Jeremiah xvii.:2-6. The Potter's Vessel Marred
Jeremiah xix.:1, 2, 10, 11. The Potter's Vessel Broken
Jeremiah xxiv.:1, 2. The Two Baskets of Figs
Jeremiah xxvii.:2, 3, 6; xxxivvv.:1, 2, 10, 12, 13. Jeremiah's Bonds and Yokes
Jeremiah xliii.:8-10. Hiding the Stones in the Mortar
Ezekiel i:4-16. Infolding Fire, Living Creatures and Wheels
Ezekiel i.:8-10; iii.:1-4, 14. Eating the Roll of a Book
Ezekiel iv.:1-13. The Siege of Jerusalem
Ezekiel v.:1-5. Ezekiel Cutting Off His Hair, etc.
Ezekiel viii.:1-16. Jerusalem's Idolatry
Ezekiel ix.:1-6, 11; x.:1, 2, 7. The Slaughter in Jerusalem
Ezekiel xii.:1-7. Ezekiel Removing His Goods
Ezekiel xii.:18-20. Eating with Quaking and Drinking
Ezekiel xiii.:17-23. The False Prophetesses
Ezekiel xv. The vine of Jerusalem
Ezekiel xvii.:2-10. The Eagles and the Vine
Ezekiel xviii.:1, 2. Eating Sour Grapes
Ezekiel xix.:1-9. The Lioness and Her Whelps
Ezekiel xix.:10-14. Israel's Mother as a Vine
Ezekiel xxiv.:3-12. Jerusalem as a Boiling Flesh-Pot
Ezekiel xxxi.:3-12. The Assyrian a Cedar in Lebanon
Ezekiel xxxiv.:1-6, 9-11. The Evil Shepherd
Ezekiel xxxvii.:1-14. The Dry Bones Revived
Ezekiel xxxvii.:16-23. The Two Sticks Joined
Ezekiel xxxix.:17-21. Invitation to the Great Sacrifice
Ezekiel xlvii.:1-9. Water Flowing From the Lord's House
Daniel ii.:31-45. Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the Great Image
Daniel iv.:10-28. Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the Great Tree
Daniel v. The Feast. The Handwriting on the Wall
Daniel vii. : 2-19, 23-27. Vision of the Four Beasts
Daniel viii. 2-26. The Ram and He-Goat
Zechariah i.: 8-11. The Man Among the Myrtle Trees
Zechariah i.:18-21. The Horses and Four Creatures
Zechariah ii.:18-20. The Man with a Measuring-Line
Zechariah iii. Vision of Joshua, the High Priest
Zechariah iv.:1-7, 11-14. Golden Candlestick and Olive Trees
Zechariah v.:1-4. The Flying Roll
Zechariah v.:5-11. The Women and the Ephah
Zechariah vi.:1-8. Four Chariots and Horses