JAMES F. BUSS
NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH, PALACE GARDENS TERRACE
1 BLOOMSBURY STREET, LONDON
THE Essays brought together in this volume, have been written at different times during a period extending over five and twenty years, or more, and consequently represent different stages of mental growth. These may possibly announce themselves to the discerning reader, in the different degrees of maturity of thought characteristic of different Essays. If not, however, he will obtain no clue to their respective dates from the order in which they stand in the book; which is not chronological, but, as far as the nature of the case admits, logical. Thus, the first four are Scriptural, the next two are Philosophical; while the last two are concerned with subjects relating to the standing of the Writings of the Church in general, and that of one of them in particular.
Some of the Essays have been printed before, in the form of magazine articles. Several of them, however, now first appear in print; and these have been virtually, and three of them expressly, written for the present volume.
No attempt has been made to alter, or disguise, the main characteristics of the Essays of earlier date; but they have been subjected to such, and so much, revision, as the removal of more or les serious defects, and the elimination of doctrinal error, seemed to call for; while one has undergone some extension, with the object of adding to the completeness of a main argument.
JAMES F. BUSS.
LONDON, October, 1908.
THE START IN THE EAST: A STUDY IN DOCTRINE AND
SPIRITUAL INTERPRETATION 1
THE TWO GENEALOGIES OF JESUS CHRIST 16
THE SIGNIFICATION OF THE SCAPEGOAT: A PROBLEM
IN SPIRITUAL EXEGETICS 46
GEHENNA AND HADES: THE TWO INFERNAL
THE DOCTRINE OF DEGREES 71
THE DOCTRINE OF INFLUX, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE
TO THE RATIONALE OF SENSATION 93
THE INSPIRTATION OF SWEDENBORG 133
THE CANONICITY OF CONJUGIAL LOVE 151
THE STAR IN THE EAST.
(MATT. i. 1-12.)
A STUDY IN DOCTRINE AND SPIRITUAL EXEGESIS.
A.--THE DOCTRINE IN THE CASE.
THERE can be little doubt in the mind of the instructed New Churchman, that the central feature of the events recorded in the first verses of the second chapter of Matthew--the appearances and movements of the "star" in question--was a purely spiritual phenomenon, similar in character, in all probability, to the standing still of the sun upon Gibeon and of the moon in the valley of Ajalon (Josh. x. 12-13), of Old Testament history. Concerning that, we read: "That there was given them [i.e. the Israelites] a light out of heaven. LIKE that of the sun upon Gibeon and LIKE that of the moon in the valley of Ajalon, is not to be doubted" (A.E., 401:18).--So, in the present case, it cannot be doubted that the wonderful phenomenon witnessed by the wise men, was an appearance out of heaven, which, to them, looked like a star, in the sky of the natural world, traveling from immediately above their country in "the East," towards Bethlehem in Judea; stopping over Jerusalem while they made inquiries there respecting the Scripturally--predicted birthplace of "THE King of the Jews," and, that information obtained, resuming its progress through the sky, until, following its guidance, the wise men arrived at "the place where the child lay," and then being seen--apparently--no more.
The problem, how these wise men, living, as they evidently did, outside the pale of the Jewish Church, and not possessing, therefore, our present Scriptures of the Old Testament in which the prophecies concerning the approaching Coming of the Lord into the world are contained, should know anything about that event, is one that cannot be solved from any other source than the Doctrines of the New Church, but in them finds its complete and satisfactory solution.
"The east," the country from which these "wise men" came, and to which they belonged, is the same as that to which Jacob journeyed when he fled from the vengeance of his cheated brother, Esau; for we read in Genesis (xxix. 1), that, on leaving Bethel, on the morning following his wonderful vision of the ladder with the angels of God ascending and descending upon it, "Jacob lifted up his feet and came into the land of the sons of the east"; and that land, as all know, is the one geographically named Syria, and in some parts of the Letter of the Word, Aram, or again Padan-aram. This country, moreover, was the country of Balaam the Syrian prophet, who himself bears witness that Balak, king of Moab, brought him "out of Syria, from the mountains of THE EAST" (Num. xxiii. 7).
Now, Balaam knew Jehovah, and was actually, as the whole story evinces, a prophet of Jehovah, although a wicked man; this knowledge of Jehovah was certainly not derived from the Israelitish people--with whom, indeed, he seems never to have had any personal contact who had themselves, at the time Balaam appears upon the scene, been in possession of that knowledge only a few years, and held it, even then, far from firmly. Balaam's knowledge of Jehovah, therefore, must have been derived from some other Church, prior to the Jewish, which knew and worshipped Jehovah, and some vestiges of which must have still existed in Syria, "the land of the sons of the east," in his day.
The truth now stands out clearly, therefore, that the "wise men of the east" who, under the leading of the miraculous "star," the appearance of which heralded to them the birth of the predicted" King of the Jews"-who, when born, was named "Jesus," and is proclaimed in the Gospels as God manifested in flesh-were of the same country as this non-Jewish prophet of Jehovah, Balaam.
Another remarkable circumstance, having a very important bearing for our present study, is that the incident of the "star" seems to be pointed at by one Old Testament prophecy, namely, this:--"A STAR shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel, which shall smite the corners of Moab and destroy all the children of Sheth" (Num. xxiv. 17). And this, the one prophecy connecting the expected Messiah with a "star," was uttered by the Syrian prophet, BALAAM, on the occasion of his summoning by Balak, King of Moab, to curse Israel; when he was compelled by Jehovah, contrary to his own will and Balak's wish, to "altogether bless them" (xxiv. 10).
All that we have here had before us, is taught, either explicitly or implicitly, in the following, among other similar, teachings of the Writings of the Church: Gold and frankincense and myrrh "were offered by the wise men from the East, because among some in the East there remained, from olden times, the science and wisdom of the Ancients, which consisted in seeing heavenly and Divine things in those which are in the visible universe and upon the earth;
By means of this beautifully illuminative "doctrine"--without which the Word cannot be at all understood (S., 52) but with which it is so full of light-we are enabled to see how it was that the stupendous miracle of the Coming of God into the world as a Man, came to be known of and looked forward to, not only within the Church but out of the Church, and how vitally the Christian Word, that is the Word of the New Testament, is connected with the Jewish Word, or Word of the Old Testament, and also with the Word of the Ancient Church, that preceded the Jewish, or the Ancient Word, which is now, and was then, lost.
B.THE SPIRITUAL SENSE
Grounded, now, in the Doctrine involved, we turn next to the tracing out, under the guidance of the Writings of the Church, of the consecutive Spiritual Sense of the Divine narrative of the Star in the East, which the Lord has incorporated in His Word.
a. (Verse 1) "When Jesus was born, in Bethlehem of Judea "When the Divine put on the Human and thus came into the world, the Human was born spiritual-celestial with the capacity of becoming Divine (A., 4594:2) by Glorification; for Bethlehem = the spiritual-celestial (A., 4592:3). In this, the Lord's Human differed radically from that of ordinary men; or ordinary men are born natural with the capacity of becoming by regeneration, either spiritual or celestial (A., 4592 4594:3); and they, being born natural, cannot do more than become spiritual or celestial, however far their regeneration may be carried. It was just because the Lord, unlike ordinary men, was not born "natural" but "spiritual-celestial"--or, "in Bethlehem of Judea"--that He, unlike any other man that has ever lived, or ever will live, became Divine, when He Glorified His Human. To be born spiritual-celestial, we are taught in A.E., 449, is to have "the truth in one conjoined with good from birth."
"In the days of Herod the king," would seem to be, in the last days of the (Jewish) Church, when all truth was perverted and falsified, and all good adulterated; for "Herod," as "king," represented the people he governed; and the immediate significance of that people was always the Church as it existed among them, and, at that particular period, that Church as it then existed--which was in that last stage of corruption and perversion which immediately precedes consummation.
It was then, when the Lord came into the world in this wise, and in this state of the Jewish Church--the only Church bearing Divine credentials--that "wise men from the east came to Jerusalem," or, that the "remnant," outside the Church, who were in good, and in some cognitions of truth and good derived originally from the long-extinct Ancient Church, and were looking for the Coming of the Lord, approached the "Church specific" of the day, which was in possession of the only full and authentic Divine Revelation, or Word, then in the world;
(Verse 2) "Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?"--that is, to inquire further respecting the particulars relating to the Lord's Advent, and of the nature of His Human, thus put on; of which they had already some dim and general knowledge. "For we have seen His star in the east" = that they knew, in general, from certain prophecies and some cognitions relating to the subject, still traditionally preserved with those in good ( = "the east"), that the time of the Lord's Advent had come and the Advent itself had taken place; "and are come to worship Him," or, desired to come into His presence that they might render Him the Divine homage that is His due. This was the spiritual attitude and temper of the "remnant" from the long-ago vastated Ancient Church, who were now, therefore, in a "gentile" condition, and with whom, consequently, Divine Truth existed only in the form of a few stray fragments and vestiges. How different this from the attitude of the Jewish Church, the "Church specific" of the day; which is next described, and introduced with the words,
b. (Verse 3) "When Herod the king had heard these things." For, by "Herod, the king," is signified the rulers of the Jewish Church, or those who were in its internals, and gave it its quality. These did not desire Him whose the Church was; nor had they any welcome to offer Him.
(Verse 4) "When he had gathered together all the chief priests and scribes of the people," signifies that the leaders of the perverted Church, at such times, consult their dogmas; "to inquire where the Christ should be born," that is, to search out and bring forth the statements of the Word concerning the Lord and His Coming. This, however, they do not do, as the sequel proves, from any desire to welcome Him and do Him reverence, but with the purpose of fortifying themselves in their pre-determined rejection and repudiation of Him and His new Revelation.
c. (Verse 5) Their "saying unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea," signifies that the Word, truly understood, teaches that the Lord, when born, would come as Divine Truth, with which the Divine Good was inwardly conjoined--inasmuch as He would be born with a propensity for good and a desire for truth in His natural man; for "with the Lord alone the Natural hungered for good and desired truth" (A.E., 449:4)--which, again, is the signification of Bethlehem. "For thus it is written in the prophet," signifies, because the teaching of the Word on the subject is as follows, namely:--
Literal Sense. Spiritual Sense.
(Verse 6) "And thou, The Spiritual of the Celestial,
Bethlehem," or the state in which good and truth
"in the land" in the Natural
" of Judah" from the Celestial,
"art by no means the least" differently from and greater than
"of the rulers of Judah": even the man of the Celestial genius
"out of thee" in this state (into which man may come
"shall come a Ruler" the Lord as to the Human shall be born,
"who shall feed My people in order to "save His people from their sins"
Israel" and "give power to become sons of God"
to "as many as received Him" (John i. 12).
--This is the inner teaching of the Word
concerning the character and state in which,
and the purpose for which, the Lord was
to come into the world.
d. The next two verses show one of the ways in which the Dead Church endeavors--as it always does endeavor--to destroy the new Revelation of Divine Truth which constitutes the Lord's Coming, and even to make those who receive it, and thus Him, at His Coming, their unwitting instruments to this end.
(Verse 7) "Then Herod," that is, the perverted Church which has reached its end and is therefore hostile to the Divine Truth; privately calling the wise men, inquired of them earnestly," that is, from a hidden motive of evil-as the sequel proves--consulted with the "Remnant" among whom the Lord is establishing His New Church; or, what is the same thing, acquainted themselves in some measure with the new Revelation which the "Remnant received; "at what time the star appeared," specifically, with the particulars of truth relating to the Lord's Coming and the New Church.
(Verse 8) "And sending them to Bethlehem" signifies, pushing the inquiry, by application to the men of the New Church, to the very fundamental point of the Divinity of the Lord's Human, which is the foundation of the New Church; "said unto them, Go and search earnestly for the young child," which signifies that they seek, by means of the members of the infant New Church, to enter into the very inmost arcana of the doctrine of the Divine Human; "that I may come and worship Him also," i.e. under the hypocritical pretence that it is for the sake of receiving, whereas it is really with the purpose of destroying it.
e. In the next place, we are taught further of the progress of those who receive the Lord at His Coming and thus constitute the infant New Church:
(Verse 9) "When the wise men had heard the king," signifies that these, deceived by the apparent affirmativeness and receptivity of those of the perverted Church; "they departed," that is, fell into the snare, and put themselves in the way of complying with the wishes of those who sought to destroy the new Truths, and renewed their own study and cultivation of them with a view of imparting them to the pseudo truth-seekers. While so engaged, "the star which they saw in the east went before them; that is to say, they were led by means of their already attained knowledge and acknowledgment of the Lord in His Human, which is now more interior and intimate than before; "till it came and stood over where the young child was," that is, into the very essential arcanum of the Divine Human. Thus, the members of the New Church, in this stage, are no longer groping after this fundamental truth, they do not even see it now "as through a glass, dimly," as heretofore, but clearly, as with their own eyes, and in the very light of truth itself. At this happy development, they experience great joy of heart, arising from the spiritual affection of truth, which, by more interior regeneration by means of this more interior perception of Divine Truth, they now receive; which is what is signified by (verse 10), "when they SAW the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."
A still more interior reception of the Divine Truth concerning the Lord, and thus of the Lord Himself, even than that of inward acknowledgment from the genuine affection of truth awaits such, however; for, next (verse 11), "they enter into the house," or, pass from the more external state, of the affection of truth, to the more internal state of charity and good, and thus come to acknowledge from the good of love in the heart; for attainment of the good of love is what is signified by entering into a "house."
f. And now, the infant New Church, having advanced to inmost acknowledgment of, and conjunction with, the Lord's Human at His Coming, the efforts of the Dead Church to destroy the Divine Truth of the Lord's new Revelation, and especially the truth that the Lord's HUMAN is Divine, are brought to naught by Divine means. For (verse 12) "Being warned of God in a dream," or, learning from the new Revelation, in and by which the Lord effects His Coming, which they have livingly and inmostly received, in mind, heart, and life; "not to return to Herod," that is, not to burn back to the former and consummated Church, but that, on the contrary, that Church and all things of it must be rejected root and branch (inasmuch as "the faith and imputation of the New Church cannot be together with the faith and imputation of the former; and if they were together, such a conflict would take place that everything of the Church with man would perish," T., 647)--being thus warned against such retrogression, "they departed into THEIR OWN country," that is, set themselves to live the life and follow the fortunes of the New Church; "by another way," i.e. according to the Heavenly Doctrines of the New. Church and in entire disregard of, and freedom from, the falsities and all other influences of the Old,--which they have utterly and finally done with.
Summary.--The Spiritual Sense of the whole narrative is thus a Revelation concerning the real nature of the Lord's Human; concerning the reception of the Lord in His Human, at His Advent, and of His new Revelation, by the Remnant, who, though in no truths of doctrine are nevertheless in good of life, and thus in the acknowledgment of truth "inwardly, in the spirit" (see Faith, 30), and are therefore looking for the Lord; concerning the deadly hostility of the consummated Church to the new Revelation and especially to the doctrine that the Lord's Human is Divine and the Only God, and their crafty efforts to destroy or nullify it, even by means of its own truths and adherents;
Such efforts are made by every dead Church, at every Coming of the Lord, against every new Revelation and New Church raised up by the Lord thereupon, in its infancy; and, at every Coming those who receive the Lord and His Revelation are in danger of being deluded by the specious appearances and outside shows of the organizations of the consummated Church, into the notion that they also are really of the New Church and inwardly acknowledge the Lord, and of surrendering the Divine Truths of the new Revelation into their hands, to be destroyed by attenuating and "accommodating" them almost beyond recognition. The Lord's Providence is over His New Church, however, the true members of which learn eventually, from the new Revelation, that the Dead Church and all that is of it must be totally and finally abjured, and the New pursue its course, proclaim and live its doctrines and develop its life, internal and external, and thus its organization, in complete severance and separation from the Old, even as if it were non-existent "DEPARTING into their OWN country, by ANOTHER way."
THE TWO GENEALOGIES OF JESUS CHIRST.
EVERY reader of the New Testament is aware that there are given there two genealogies of "Jesus, who is called Christ" (Matt. i. 16) one in Matthew (i. 1-17) and the other in Luke (iii. 23-38). It is also generally understood that, when compared together, these genealogies exhibit a certain amount of discrepancy, which has been held, by infidels, secularists, atheists, rationalists, and the opponents of Divine Revelation in general, to invalidate the claim of the Sacred Scripture to be the Word of God. But the precise nature and amount of the discrepancies, and the utter and hopeless impossibility of their ever being reconciled, few have realized, and none who have not realized, can, I will venture to say, imagine. And, as it is important to the present study that we realize, as early as possible, the full truth on this matter, it is necessary that we begin with this point; and set out at once on a detailed examination and comparison of the two genealogies as they stand in the Letter of the Word. The most effective way to proceed for purposes of comparison is, clearly, to place the two tables side by side on the page. This, therefore, is the method that will be adopted.
As, however, the genealogy in Matthew is given in a descending series, or proceeds from the earlier to the later generations, while that in Luke follows the ascending order, proceeding from the later to the earlier, the method of parallel comparison will necessitate the conforming of one of the tables to the other, in this regard. As the descending series is the simpler, and is, moreover, the one adopted in the first Gospel, it will be better to take that as the standard, and to conform Luke's order to it, by simply reading the names, as given in Luke, in a backward series.
Another difference between the two tables--that of the extent of the ground covered: Luke's tracing back to Adam-even beyond Adam, to "God" (iii. 38), and Matthew's taking Abraham as its earliest name--calls for yet another adaptation. All that this will involve, however, is the omission of those generations in the Luke genealogy that are not given in the Matthew genealogy--that is to say, of all the names prior to Abraham.
Adapted to each other in these ways, the result stands thus:--
THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHIRST AS GIVEN IN
Abraham to David = 14 generations.
1. Abraham. 1. Abraham.
2. Isaac. 2. Isaac.
3. Jacob. 3. Jacob.
4. Judas. 4. Juda.
5. Phares. 5. Pharez.
6. Esrom. 6. Esrom.
7. Aram. 7. Aram.
8. Aaminadab. 8. Aminadab.
9. Naason. 9. Nasson.
10. Salmon. 10. Salmon.
11. Booz. 11. Booz.
12. Obed. 12. Obed.
13. Jesse. 13. Jesse.
14. David. 14. David.
David to the carrying away into Babylon = 14 generations
15. Solomon. 15. Nathan.
16. Roboam. 16. Mattatha.
17. Abia. 17. Menan.
18. Asa. 18. Melea.
19. Josaphat. 19. Eliakim.
20. Joram. 20. Jonan.
21. Ozias. 21. Joseph.
22. Joatham. 22. Juda.
23. Achaz. 23. Simeon.
24. Ezekias. 24. Levi.
25. Manasses. 25. Matthat.
26. Amon. 26. Jorim.
27. Josias. 27. Eliezer.
28. Jechonias. 28. Jose.
The carrying away into Babylon unto Christ = 13 (NOT 14) generations.
29. Salathiel (35). 29. Er.
30. Zorobabel (36). 30. Elomdam.
31. Abiud. 31. Cosam.
32. Eliakim. 32. Addi.
33. Azor. 33. Melchi.
34. Sadoc. 34. Neri.
35. Achim. 35. Salathiel (29).
36. Eliud. 36. Zorobabel (30).
37. Eleazar. 37. Rhesa.
38. Matthan. 38. Joanna.
39. Jacob. 39. Juda.
40 Joseph (55). 40. Joseph
41. Jesus (56). 41. Semei.
55. Joseph (40).
56. Jesus (41).
A comparison of these two lists of names reveals the following discrepancies:--
Now, as to any possible reconciliations of these discrepancies.
1. The difference in the number of the "generations." It is suggested that this difficulty can be got over by supposing that, while Luke gives the full number of generations, Matthew omits some of minor importance, and gives those of outstanding moment.
On the other hand, it has to be pointed out (a) that Matthew lays special emphasis on the number of the generations" in his list, which Luke does not; and (b) that Matthew's first thirty generations exactly answer to the actual generations of Old Testament history; while Luke's, after the first fifteen (Abraham to Nathan), answer to nothing to be found in that history, or, so far as is known, anywhere else. (c) Again, the date of Zorobabel (circ. B. C. 550)--Matthew's thirtieth generation-yields the same average length to each of the generations that follow, as do the forty-one generations of the entire period covered by the genealogy.
It must be admitted that these three considerations taken together tell very heavily, almost indeed irresistibly, against the suggestion we are considering. And there is no other.
2. When we observe that this discrepancy really is, that, in the case of the twenty-six generations of Matthew's list coming between David and Joseph, answering to the forty-one generations of Luke's coming between the same two names and filling precisely the same interval of time (nearly a thousand years), both lists giving the ancestors of the same man, Joseph--there is not one single point of agreement, not one single ancestor the same in the two lists--it must be perfectly obvious that such a discrepancy does not admit of reconciliation.
3. This is simply the starting-point of the whole string of discrepancies we have just left, and falls, therefore, under the same verdict. The point is, that Matthew's genealogy puts it that the ancestor of Joseph in the generation next following "David, the King," was Solomon, who succeeded David on the throne; whereas Luke's gives the ancestor in the same generation as Nathan, one of Solomon's elder brothers (see 2 Sam. v. 14). It is needless to labor the point that he could not have descended from two brothers.
4. No reconciliation of this discrepancy has, so far as I know, ever been attempted.
The absolute impossibility, then, of any reconciliation of the discrepancies presented by the two genealogies of Jesus given in the New Testament, is a fact there is no getting away from. It is certain.
Which, then, is the historical truth? It is impossible to say--even to say whether either is the historical fact. There is no means whatever of determining the point; although, on the whole, I incline to the opinion that the balance of probability lies on the side of Matthew's. It is one of the unspeakable consolations and sources of strength and confidence of New Churchmen, and women, however, that there is no necessity to determine the point. This that we have to do with is the Word of the Lord; and of His Word the Lord Himself said, "It is THE SPIRIT that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John vi. 63).
On the face of it, even this principle may not appear to offer much promise; for it would seem as though the spiritual significations of two statements so hopelessly conflicting must prove as mutually conflicting as the statements themselves. But, how if the things treated of in the spiritual sense of the two genealogies are I different things? In that case, of course, the things predicated of them might be entirely different without, being in the least inconsistent.
It is here that the solution lies. The thing treated of in the spiritual sense of the Matthew genealogy is a different thing from that treated of in the spiritual sense of the genealogy in Luke. Yet, the fact that both are "genealogies of Jesus Christ" assures us that the general subject in the spiritual sense must be the same in the two cases: the differences in the letter must cover certain differences in regard to the general subject, common to both in the spirit.
The general subject of any "genealogy of Jesus Christ" must clearly have to do with the state and quality of the Humanity, born of the virgin Mary, in and by which God came into the world and manifested Himself in flesh.
The ancestry, or "genealogy," of that Humanity must be, in the spiritual sense, a revelation of the hereditary states and qualities of that Humanity; for hereditary qualities and states are derived from our ancestors.
But "Jesus Christ" had two heredities-one from the ancestors of His human mother, derived to Him through her; and the other from His Divine and only Father, and derived directly and solely from that Father.
It is perfectly clear, next, that these two "heredities," or humanities, or "humans," as the term of the Writings of the Church is--the Human from the Father and the human from the mother--must have differed widely from one another, both in quality and in contents of the one would necessarily differ, and that not less widely, from a representative genealogy of the other. This is seen to be inevitable; and light already begins to shine upon the subject.
The starting-point is, that one of these conflicting genealogies treats, in the spiritual sense, of the hereditary qualities of the infirm human that the Lord took from the mother, which of course, necessarily had her ancestry in it; and the other, of those of the Divine Human from the Father, that the Lord "put on" by "glorification" in the world, in proportion as He put off "the human from the mother" until He was no longer her son, even as to His human. That He was never her son as to His Divine, goes, of course, without saying.
The question now is, Which genealogy treats of the Divine Human and which of the infirm? A close examination of the differences between them, in the light of the spiritual sense and of interior doctrine, has convinced me that the infirm human is treated of in Matthew's, and the Divine Human in Luke's.
a. The point of divergence between the two tables lies, it will be seen, in the generation following "David the King," where Nathan, in Luke, takes the place of Solomon, in Matthew. What is the significance of this divergence?
Solomon was Davids son by Bathsheba, with whom David had first committed adultery, and, for the purpose of procuring whom for himself, as well, as it would appear from the narrative, as to cover this sin, he afterwards craftily and cruelly contrived the death of her husband and his own most faithful soldier, Uriah the Hittite. The name Solomon, therefore, on account of his being born after these crimes, and of the two persons who were involved in them--although the guilt can only be laid on David--would appear to carry in it the taint of those crimes, and thus to connote, almost of necessity, hereditary evil and consequently the infirm human; for the Divine Human had no taint of evil, hereditary or otherwise. From the standpoint of these considerations, moreover, the fact that in Matthew's genealogy Solomon's same is explicitly associated with this heinous twofold sin--"David the King begat Solomon of her of Urias" (i. 6)--carries a significance, the force and point of which, surely, cannot be missed or escaped.
In the fact, on the other hand, that Nathan, as noted above, was an elder brother of Solomon, and born, consequently, before David fell into these evils, so that his name is free from their taint, as it is indeed from that of any evils, we seem to see a fitness in his name being used in reference to the Divine Human: Nathans name is in Lukes genealogy.
b. The fact, again, that all the succeeding names, until the third generation before the birth of Jesus, are names unknown to human history, and consequently absolutely free from any possible association of evil of any kind, is surely a most eloquent suggestion of the Divine Human; the qualities of which are, of the necessity of the case, because Divine, so largely beyond human ken, as well as absolutely pure from all that is evil. And it is in Luke's genealogy that these names, thus suggestive of the Divine Human, occur,
c. The genealogy in Matthew is directly associated with the birth of Jesus; that in Luke expressly with His Baptism, which there leads up to its insertion (see Luke iii. 21-23). Now, Baptism, as we all know, signifies regeneration, and, in the case of the Lord, Glorification. The Baptized "Jesus," therefore, is, spiritually, the Glorified Human, or, which is the same, the Divine Human.
d. The word "generation," in the exordium of the first chapter of Matthew; "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ" (i. 1), is a very peculiar one, used only here and in two other places (Jas. i. 23, and iii. 6) in the New Testament; in the former of which, occurring in the genitive, it is treated as an adjective and translated "natural," and in the latter is translated "nature." The word is [scanner unable to insert word]; (genesis), and it means beginning, origin, and hence birth; and it is not the word that is translated "generation" in other parts of the New Testament.
e. The introduction to Luke's genealogy: "Now Jesus Himself began to be about THIRTY YEARS OLD, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, etc." (iii. 23), as well as the circumstance, noted above (p. 26), that it immediately follows upon the account of the Lord's Baptism, further confirms the position that this genealogy has reference to the Divine Human. Indeed, it may, I think, be regarded as establishing it. For, "thirty years old" signifies, in the spiritual sense, a full state as to "Remains" (A., 5335). In this passage, the signification of "thirty years," just cited, is given in connection with this very place in Luke, and its application in reference to the Lord, expressly shown. We had better have the statement entire. After stating and confirming the signification of "thirty years," as already given, the passage continues: "It is now evident why the Lord did not manifest Himself until He was thirty of years (Luke iii. 23); for He was then in the fullness of Remains.
f. May we not--rather (after all this weight of conviction) must we not, regard the surely most significant fact that Luke's genealogy is traced back to "GOD" (iii. 38), whereas the earliest name in Matthew's is still a man--"Abraham" (Matt. i. 1, 2)--as so conclusively clinching the confirmation as almost to convert hypothesis into certainty? I think so.
For "that God is the Divine, is evident without explanation" (A., 5257, 5901, see also 5459). And more conclusive still: "God, in the supreme sense [and it is certainly in "the supreme sense" that it is used here; for it is predicated of THE LORD] is the Divine which is above the heavens; but God, in the internal sense, is the Divine which is in the heavens: the Divine which is above the heavens is THE DIVINE GOOD, but the Divine which is in the heavens is the Divine Truth" (A., 7268).
g. Another point of contrast between the two genealogies--which, of course, must also have its bearing upon our subject--lies in the difference in the way in which the word "son" is treated in the one and in the other. In Matthew, we have the introduction, "Jesus. Christ, the son of David, the son, of Abraham," expressly assigning "sonship" of two human beings to the "Jesus. Christ" whose genealogy is given here.
When we remember that the Lord--by His puzzling question to the Jews, "If David then call Him Lord,. how is He his son?" (Matt. xxii. 46)-repudiated sonship of David; not for His maternal human, of course; for that, we are expressly taught, was from David (A.E., 205), but for His Paternal, or Divine Human, it is surely impossible to escape the conclusion that the "Jesus Christ" that is thus expressly and unreservedly said to be "the son of David" is the maternal, or infirm human, and that, consequently, it is that human whose "genealogy" is given in Matthew.
But, let us have the doctrine on this point immediately before our minds. It is set forth in T. C. R., 102: "It is believed at this day that the Lord as to His Human not only was, but also is, the son of Mary; but, in this, the Christian world is under a great mistake. That He was the son of Mary is true; but that He is so still is not true; for, by Redemption, He put off the human which He derived from the mother, and put on the Human from the Father; ... This is further proved by the fact that He did not acknowledge Himself to be the son of David; for we read in the Evangelists that Jesus asked the Pharisees, saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is He? They say unto Him, David's. He said unto them, How then doth David in spirit call Him his Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son? (Matt. xxii. 41-46)." More explicit still, if possible, is the following, from A. E., 205: "In order that David might represent the Lord as to Divine Truth, the Lord willed to be born of the house of David, and to be called the son of David ...; but, when the Lord put off the human from the mother, and put on the Human from the Father, which is the Divine Human, then He was no longer his [i. e. David's] son. This is meant by the Lord's words to the Pharisees, etc. (Matt. xxii. 42-45, etc.). That the Lord glorified His human, that is, put off the human from the mother and put on the Human from the Father, which is the Divine Human, may be seen in H. D., 293-5, 298-310.
Turn, now, to the contrast, with this characteristic, of the Matthew genealogy, presented by the use of the word "son" in that in Luke. The Luke genealogy is, it will be noted, differently from Matthew's, constructed on the plan--the backward-tracing plan--which almost necessitates the employment of the phrase, "the son of," at every stage. Yet it is not used! The method adopted, all the way through, is that of putting the name of the person mentioned as the father, in the genitive case, e.g. "Nathan, which was of David; which was of Jesse, etc." (v. 31), and rigidly excluding the word "son" altogether. It is the case, certainly, that the word is introduced once, in the phrase "the son of Joseph" (iii. 23)-only, however, to be implicitly, it is true, but not the less unmistakably, repudiated: "being (as was SUPPOSED) the son of Joseph" (ibid.). This strict exclusion of the word "son" from the Luke genealogy, contrasted with the express employment of it in the one in Matthew-where, as we have seen, it, in the clearest way, when viewed from the standpoint of doctrine, connotes the infirm human--is still another indication that not the infirm, but the Divine Human, is the one with which the genealogy in Luke has to do.
h. So far, we have concerned ourselves with the differences between the two genealogies, and have found them eloquent of difference in the subjects treated of in the internal sense. But there are also agreements. These are two in number: (i) both trace the genealogy as if through Joseph; and (ii) in the generations from Abraham to David, we find that both have the . same names in the same order.
(i) The difficulty presented to the New Churchman by the fact that both genealogies trace as if through Joseph, is twofold, viz.: (a) the difficulty--in the Letter-of conceiving how, standing thus, they can have any relevancy to Jesus, unless Joseph was the actual father of Jesus; and (b) the difficulty--involving the spiritual sense-of conceiving the Divine and the infirm humans as having--as such agreements seem to imply that they must have had-anything in common at all.
The literal difficulty (a), in connection with the appearance in both genealogies of the name of Joseph, is common to all believers in the New Testament, whether of the New Church or not. It has been stated thus: "These genealogies are absolutely irrelevant and useless, unless Joseph was the actual father of Jesus. It was necessary," it is affirmed, "in order to accord with traditions concerning the Advent of the Messiah, to show his descent from David: hence these genealogies from David; but, to be consistent with the orthodox theory of the immaculate conception, they should have been traced through Mary, certainly not through Joseph."
The first point, here, is the apparent inconsistency of claiming Davidic descent for one not the actual son of the man through whom the descent is traced, though of that man's espoused, but not yet married, wife.
But, leaving this, In what way would--nay, could--any Jewish genealogist trace he ancestry of a Jew, for Jews, except through the head of the house into which the subject of the genealogy was actually born? A moment's reflection settles it, that no other mode was possible. And, if it were known to the genealogist--as it probably would have been, in this instance, if such had been the case-that Mary was of Joseph's kindred, that knowledge would have emphasized the propriety of giving the genealogy of Joseph as that of Jesus. It is absolutely certain that it would, and must, have been so given, in the o facial genealogical records o f the day. That it should be so given in any narrative of the life of the person concerned that set itself to give an account of the person's ancestry was, therefore, simply natural, and, in fact, inevitable. And there is no reason to believe, even from the standpoint of New Church doctrine, that the writer of the Gospel supposed himself, in writing it, to be the subject of Divine inspiration, or to be doing anything else than chronicling the facts known to him as accurately as the most scrupulous care enabled him to do it.
It was inevitable that a child born into the house of a man descended from David should have been accepted by all who knew of it, and accounted for, as a descendant of David--which is all that the "tradition," so-called, required.The fact of His birth having occurred under the conditions elaborately set forth in both the Gospels that give the genealogies--and NOT in the Gospels that do not--would have been no bar whatever to His being so regarded, whoever His mother might have been. No Jew could have thought of such an unheard--of thing as tracing a genealogy through the mother. It could only be through the man of whose house the child was accepted as a son.
(b) The more serious difficulty, for the New Churchman, is that from the standpoint of the spiritual sense. There is no difficulty, of course, in Joseph's being assigned a place in the spiritual "genealogy" of the infirm human, as signifying some one or other of its evil, false, or otherwise infirm, hereditary elements--although the Lord actually derived nothing from him. His name stands there simply as representative o f some quality, or state, that was in that human from birth. The difficulty lies in conceiving how he could also have a place in the spiritual genealogy of the Divine Human; all the elements of which, of the necessity of the case, were absolutely and exclusively Divine!--which difficulty, it will be noted, is similar to the remaining one, that (ii) "in the generations from Abraham to David we find, in both genealogies, the same names in the same order."
The suggestion I would offer for the solution of this difficulty, is the well-known and universal principle of spiritual interpretation, that "most names in the Word have also an opposite sense, by reason that what is good and true in the Church in process of time degenerates into evil and falsity, by various adulterations" (A.C., 3322), and carry an evil signification where the subject treated of in the internal sense is evil, and a good where the subject is good. The sense in which any name is to be taken is, therefore, always and altogether according to the subject in the internal sense.
On this principle, all these agreeing names must have their evil as well as their good signification; and, as a matter of fact, we find that several of them are actually used in an evil signification in other parts of the Word, though most of them commonly carry the good one. And when we recall, and reflect upon, the fact, that the work of the Lord's glorification consisted in the expulsion from His human of every evil and falsity originally constituent of it, and the replacing them with the exactly opposite Divine Goods and Divine Truths,--the "putting off" of the infirm and the "putting on" of the Divine, Human,--I think we may consider that the agreeing names in the two genealogies are fully accounted for, as well as the disagreeing ones-dealt with above.1
1 See pp. 25-31.
i. The point to which we are thus brought, however, would seem to necessitate agreement all through the genealogies. How is it, the question now becomes, that such agreement is found only in the first period, and, in the others, no point of agreement until we come to Joseph? For the answer, we must go to Doctrine; from which we learn:
j. There remains the discrepancy, pointed out towards the beginning of this study,1 between the number of the generations stated in Matt. i. 17 and the number actually given in the genealogy. Matt. i. 17 asserts: "So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations." The genealogical table yields: "from Abraham to David," fourteen generations--agreeing with the summary; "from David [not inclusive] to the carrying away, etc.," fourteen generations-again agreeing with the summary; "from the carrying away, etc., unto Christ" (both termini inclusive), thirteen generalizations only.
1 P. 20.
It should be understood, to begin with, that the numbers given in verse 17 are not, in the spiritual sense, any summing up of what has gone before, although that is the appearance of things in the Letter--but something additional to what has already been given; the additional spiritual teaching being according to the spiritual signification of the numbers. What that signification is will be seen presently; and it will be seen that the spiritual truth to be there represented necessitated the presence of the number "14" in each of the three groups of generations; and, as the spiritual truth is what the letter was given for, the letter had here, as everywhere, to bend to the exigences of the "spirit." The position is that the number "13" would not carry the spiritual signification to be carried; therefore, it could not be used, and a number that would carry it must be used instead.
i. What, now, is the signification of the names? Names always signify qualities. The names given in this genealogy, therefore, signify specific hereditary qualities--that is to say, evils and falsities--of the infirm human when it was assumed by the Lord, according to the specific significations that those names bear in the spiritual sense of the Word--into which, in detail, we need not attempt to go.
A glance at the signification of the names--or the designations of the periods--mentioned in verse 17, however, is of importance: Abraham to David; David to the Babylonish captivity; from the Babylonish captivity downwards.
Now, it is a principle of the spiritual interpretation of the Word that the name that stands first in a series, determines the general qualitative signification of all the names in the series that it heads. Thus, we read, in reference to the different order in which Jacob's sons are named in different places: "Their quality [i.e. in the spiritual sense] is circumstanced according to the order in which. they are named. Thus, it is circumstanced in one way when the order commences with Reuben, or faith; in another way when it commences with Judah, or celestial love; and in another when it commences with Joseph, or spiritual love; for the essence and quality of the beginning, is derived, and passes, into those that follow" (A. C., 3939). The signification of the leading term in each of the periods given in ver. 17, therefore, will give us the general scope, in spiritual signification, of that period.
"Abraham" representing, as he does, "what is celestial" (A. C., 1965), the period beginning with Abraham, will signify specifically the Celestial degree of the Lord's human-infirm or Divine; in Matthew, the infirm; the period beginning with "David"--designated "David the King," in the genealogy--as representing in a good sense Divine Truth (A.C., 4763:5, etc.), and also what is "spiritual" (A. C., 3305:5), stands here for its Spiritual degree; and the period from the Babylonish captivity onwards, as a period of national eclipse and degradation,--the lowest level of the national life,--signifies the lowest, that is the Natural, degree.
ii. Next, the number fourteen, as the multiple of two and seven--seven, the number of the days in the complete period called a week, signifying what is full and complete, and two (a pair) signifying the conjunction of good and truth, or, in a bad sense, as here, of evil and falsity--signifies, fullness as to both evil and falsity.
The Salvation which the Lord effected by admitting temptations into Himself, and thus overthrowing all the evils in the infirm human He inherited from the mother, could be a full and complete SALVATION, adequate to all the needs of the human race for all time, because in it He inherited an absolute fullness of evil and falsity, in every degree, Celestial, Spiritual, and Natural. "So all the generations from Abraham to David are FOURTEEN generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are FOURTEEN generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are FOURTEEN generations."
k. Our study would be incomplete did we not take into consideration, before leaving it, two peculiarities--not discrepancies, but differences, and carrying, as such, we are sure, their own significance--the peculiarities (1) that the genealogy in Matthew goes no farther back than Abraham, whereas that in Luke is carried back to "Adam, who was of God" (iii. 38); and (2) that the Luke genealogy is arranged in an upward series, and the one in Matthew in a downward. What light do these peculiarities throw on the problem before us?
(l) The additional period tracing back to "Adam" and "God," given in Luke.--We have already learned that Matthew's genealogy, in its three periods, presents the assumed human-and this is the case whether our position that the "infirm" human is treated of in Matthew is correct or not-in its three degrees, Celestial, Spiritual, and Natural; and that the "Celestial" degree is signified by the period beginning with Abraham. It is at once evident that the period prior to Abraham must signify--in this association-something higher than the "Celestial degree," which, if our position is correct, the Divine Human possessed, but which the infirm human with the Lord lacked. The question is, Does Doctrine teach us of any such peculiarity as is here shadowed forth? The answer is, that it does.
We are taught, in the Doctrine of the Church, of a fundamental respect in which the Lord's infirm human differed, and that in respect of deficiency, from that of an ordinary man.
Now, the "inmost angelic heaven" is the "celestial" heaven; and it consists of those "angels with whom the third--i. e. the Celestial--degree is opened" (H. H., 33). The particular "Internal" expounded in A. C., 1999, therefore, is situated above the "celestial degree"; and therefore answers, in this regard, to the part of Luke's genealogy that contains names prior to Abraham ( = the celestial degree). It thus supplies us with something of what we want.
The same passage resumes, a little farther on "Those Internals of men have not life in themselves, but are forms recipient of the Lord's life.... Thus it is in respect to man. But, in respect to the Lord, His Internal was JEHOVAH HIMSELF, inasmuch as He was conceived of Jehovah, who cannot be divided and be-come another's, as man's Internal is, in the case of a son who is conceived of a human father.... With this Internal, the Lord united the Human Essence; and, as the Lord's Internal was Jehovah, it was NOT a form recipient of life, as is man's Internal, but was Life Itself" (A., 1999).
The Lord's infirm human, therefore, did not include anything above the "celestial degree," answering to "the inmost angelic heaven"; or, in other words, what He took by birth FROM MARY extended no higher than the "celestial degree. The plane of the "human internals," lying above the celestial degree and consisting, in an ordinary man, of "the very first forms" "recipient of the Lord's life," which is derived, in his case, from the human father (see T. C. R., 103), was, in the Lord's case, "Jehovah Himself," and also, not "a form recipient of life, but ... Life Itself." A true spiritual genealogy, therefore, of the infirm, or mother-derived, human, must present a blank for anything above the "Celestial degree." What was from the mother contained nothing above that plane. The fact that the representation of the MATTHEW genealogy stops short at "Abraham," or the "celestial" degree, points, therefore, to the infirm human as the one with which it is concerned.
The fact, on the other hand, that the genealogy in LUKE does go beyond that point, right to "God," that is, to the Divine Itself, which lies beyond even the plane of the "human-internals," and so includes within it. the whole scope of that plane, in the first place points to the Divine Human and not the infirm being what is here. treated of, and, in the second, teaches that the Divine Human embraces the "human-internal" plane, that lies. beyond the celestial degree-which, in it, is not a blank, but comprises definite Divine Human qualities, signified by the names lying between "Abraham" and "God."
These names are, however, all of them taken from the early chapters of Genesis--those from "Adam" to "Lamech" signifying, as every student of the Arcana knows, the successive generations, and thus states, of the Most Ancient Church, which was "Celestial," and the remainder, from "Noe" to "Thara"i. e. Terah--the successive generations, and thus states, of the Ancient Church, which was "Spiritual." The names in the first group, therefore, are all of them of "celestial" significance, and those in the second, of "spiritual"; and we learn from their presence that this plane, of the "human-internals," in the Lord's Divine Human, was Divine-Celestial and Divine-Spiritual, or, what is the same thing, consisted--and consists--of Divine Good and Divine Truth; for "Divine Good ... is what is called the Celestial, and Divine Truth is what is called the Spiritual" (A. C., 4696, end).
A difficulty here suggests itself, from the fact that these names, in Genesis, signify downward and fallen states. This is quite true; but (a) every fallen state is the perversion of an unfallen one: consequently, every one of them is susceptible of a good sense, in which it signifies an unfallen, and thus a good state; and (b) since, as we have found, it is the Divine Human that is treated of in Luke's genealogy, the names must here carry their good, and not their evil, signification.
(2) The last point is that of the different order in which the names are traced in the two genealogies-a downward order in Matthew, and an upward order in Luke. What is the arcanum of this difference?
Our position, to which, so far, every detail of agreement, disagreement, or other peculiarity, passed in review, responds affirmatively and confirmatively, is, that the Matthew genealogy brings before us the infirm human.
But, when we turn to the Divine, or Glorified, Human, the case is far otherwise. There, the order must be the order in which its constituent states and qualities are "put on" from the Divine from which they are derived; and as that "putting on" was, as seen earlier, the very process of Glorification, the order in question is the order of Glorification; and that is the same as the order of Regeneration in man. And the order of Regeneration, or of the actual putting on of its states, is an upward order. We have only to recall the first representation in the Word of this subject of Regeneration, which, as we know, is the theme of the first chapter of Genesis, to be certified that this is the case. The order of Regeneration with man, and consequently the order of Glorification with the Lord, is an upward order, a matter of ascent from lower to higher, and higher to highest. Therefore, a "genealogy" of the Divine Human showing the order in which its constituent elements were derived, and thus "put on," from the Divine, must needs proceed in the upward order. This the genealogy in Luke does and the genealogy in Matthew does not;--from which, once more, we conclude that Luke is treating of the Divine Human, but Matthew not.
Finally, it is not, of course, claimed that there is anything authoritative, much less infallible, about the arguments here advanced, or the conclusions reached. They constitute simply a serious study of the difficult but important problem involved, in the light of the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Church; where, alone, all New Churchmen are assured, the solution can be found, and where some day it certainly will be found, even if we have not found it yet. At the same time, it is felt that the fact that the hypothesis here advanced fits in with all the numerous discrepancies, disagreements, and peculiarities presented in the Gospel genealogies, affords a degree and weight of confirmation--separate and cumulative--that comes, it might seem, within measurable distance of demonstration. For, after all, what more, in this point of view, could the very truth do, than fit the facts at all points?
THE SIGNIFICATION OF THE SCAPEGOAT: A PROBLEM IN SPIRITUAL EXEGETICS.
THE removal of sins with those who have performed repentance, was represented in the Jewish Church by the he-goat, called Azazel, upon the head of which Aaron was to lay his hands and to confess the iniquities ,of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions as to all their sins, and then to send it away into the desert, and thus the he-goat would bear upon it all their iniquities into the land of separation (Lev. xvi. 21, 22). Aaron, here, represents the Lord; by the he-goat is signified faith; by the desert and the land of separation is signified hell; and by bearing the iniquities of the sons of Israel thither, removing and casting them into hell.... The internal sense teaches ... that it is the truth of faith by means of which ... sins are removed; and, inasmuch as the truth of faith is from the Lord, therefore it is the Lord Himself who removes them.... Aaron represents the Lord; the he-goat of the she-goats signifies the truth of faith" (A.C., 9937:5).
"The natural man in everyone, so long as it is separated from the spiritual--as is the case before regeneration--is hell, because all the hereditary evil into which man is born, resides in his natural man; and it is cast out from it, that is, removed, only by means of the influx of Divine Truth through heaven from the Lord....
In these two passages, the one from the Arcana Coelestia and the other from the Apocalypse Explained, we have a sufficient introduction of the subject of the present paper, as a study in the Internal Sense of the Word. Each passage, moreover, appears to be a luminous and convincing statement, and so complete as to leave nothing to be desired. Yet, when we compare them in detail, there emerges a certain appearance of inconsistency, of such a character as to make the two spiritual significations presented seem mutually exclusive, so that if one is the signification of the transaction involved, the other cannot be.
In seeking to gauge the situation with which we thus find ourselves face to face, let us first trace out the signification of the ceremony in question, along the lines laid down in A.C., 9937. According to this passage, the whole transaction of sending away the scapegoat represented "the removal of sins with those who have performed repentance." The representative removal was effected by the instrumentality of "the scapegoat"; and, as "it is the truth of faith by means of which sins are actually removed," it is evident that "the he-goat of the she-goats" that was sent away into the wilderness, "signifies the truth of faith"--even apart from our knowledge, from correspondence that "by a he-goat is signified faith." All which is beautifully clear and satisfying.
There is, however, one loophole for a possible misconception. After teaching, as we have noted, that "it is the truth of faith by means of which sins are removed," the passage before us continues: "and, inasmuch as the truth of faith is from the Lord, therefore it is the Lord Himself who removes them."
Now, the great solvent of all difficulties connected with the understanding of the Word, is DOCTRINE (S.S., 51; T.C.R., 226)--of course, the specific Doctrine involved in the particular case. In the present instance, it is evidently the doctrine as to what becomes of the truth of faith by which "the removal of sins with those who perform repentance" is brought about, that we are concerned with.
"With those who perform repentance." With those, therefore, who are engaged in the work of Repentance; or, what is the same thing, with those who--whether in regard to regeneration in general, or in regard to some specific evil--are in the stage of Repentance.
Moreover, the sins that are removed by means of the truth of faith, in repentance, are in the natural mind; "for all hereditary evil into which man is born, resides in his natural man" (A. E., 730:42). The "truth of faith," therefore, by means of which its removal is to be effected, must be in the natural.
The "truth of faith," consequently, signified by the scapegoat, is truth of the Natural such as it is in the beginning of Regeneration (A. C., 3974). And the DOCTRINE concerning this, and what happens to it after, in repentance, sins have been removed by its means, is given in the following terms:--"Truth in the beginning is not truth, though it appears like truth: nevertheless, it is of service as a means of introducing genuine truths and goods. Wherefore, when goods and truths have been insinuated by means of it, it is then dismissed; and the genuine so procured, are retained" (ibid.).
In the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement, two "he-goats" were involved: one that was sent away into the wilderness laden with "the iniquities of the sons of Israel," and another, not so laden, that was offered in sacrifice to the Lord. The sin-laden goat, we are expressly taught, signifies "the truth of faith" of the first stage of regeneration, or that in which evils are put away in repentance; which truths, having served their purpose, are, we now learn, likewise put away, or "dismissed." This being the case, it cannot be regarded as a difficult or hazardous inference, that the other "he-goat," the one that was sacrificed to the Lord, signifies the "genuine truths" which succeed in place of the former.
But why should these earlier truths be thus rejected, as regeneration advances? It is, manifestly, because they are not pure and genuine; and they are not pure and genuine, because, until Repentance, "the first thing of the Church in man," has done its work of removing the evils which from birth reside in, and pollute, the natural man--by reason of which the natural itself is as yet "unpurified"--everything in the natural, partakes of the universally prevailing impurity. Until "the unpurified natural man," has been cast out, or removed, neither truth, nor faith, nor good, nor charity, nor any other quality or state whatsoever, can be pure or genuine. It is only when, and as, the natural, as a whole, becomes purified, that pure or genuine truth, faith, good or charity, are possible to the regenerating man.
These laws bring us, clearly, a distinct stage nearer the position as set forth in A. E., 730; which has it that "the natural man unpurified" is what is signified by the scapegoat, and "the natural man as far as purified," by the he-goat that was sacrificed.
The solution lies in the fact that, in the spiritual interpretation of the Word, it is quite usual for a signification that is primarily determined to a specific state, or quality, to be extended to the whole plane, or degree, of which that specific state, or quality, is a characteristic, a product, or one of the contents--the obverse of that other principle by which a vessel has its signification from the correspondence of its customary contents: a cup, or flagon, from wine (see A. C., 5118, 5144); a table, from bread, or food (A. C., 9527), and so on. On the principle here mentioned, for example, "a bed," we are expressly taught, "signifies the natural man, AND the doctrines that are in it" (A.E., 163:3). It is perfectly clear that the statement of A. C., 9937, that the "hegoat" signifies "the truth of faith" (whether infirm or pure), and that of A. E., 730:43, that "a he-goat signifies. the natural man, as to its affections and knowledges" [thus, evidently, as to its contents and states] rest upon the unexpressed, but, in this case, not less sure principle and truth, that "the he-goat signifies the natural man, AND the truth of faith that is in it." The parallel is complete, manifest, and incontestable.
"GEHENNA" AND "HADES": THE TWO INFERNAL KINGDOMS.
GEHENNA and Hades are two Greek words which are of interest to us, as occurring in the Word of the New Testament to indicate, if not precisely to name, a portion, or portions, of the spiritual world.
Until the appearance of the Revised Version of the English Scriptures, the reader could not know, from his English Bible, that the two words are used in the New Testament; for both, in the Authorized Version, save in one solitary instance, are uniformly translated "hell," without any hint that there are two Greek words involved. Persons with sufficient Greek scholarship to use the Greek Testament have, of course, always known that the single English word "hell" in some cases represents one, and in other cases the other of these two Greek words; and thus that the New Testament really has three words for designating parts of the spiritual world-namely, "heaven," gehenna, and hades, and not the two only, "heaven" and "hell," with which alone the Authorized Version acquaints the English reader.
Becoming aware of this, some advocates of the doctrines of the New Church, past and present, have supposed that we have, in these three words, Scripture proof of the tripartite division of the spiritual world into heaven, hell, and the world of spirits, or intermediate state, and thus a peculiarly direct confirmation of this doctrine of the New Church.
I. Inasmuch as all are agreed upon the identity of the gehenna of the New Testament with "hell," it will be unnecessary to pass in review, so far as this point is concerned, the texts in which this word occurs. But, as the first of the propositions I have undertaken to make good, is, that the identification of hades with the world of spirits is "at variance with the use made of this word in the New Testament," it is evidently necessary to adduce, and carefully scrutinize, the passages there in which this word appears. They are eleven in number, and are as follows
1. "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down unto hades" (Matt. xi. 23).
2. "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build My Church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it" (ibid. xvi. 18).
3. "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hades" (Luke x. 15).
4. "And in hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom" (ibid. xvi. 23).
5. Because Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption" (Acts ii. 27). (A quotation from Ps. xvi. 10.)
6. "His soul was not left in hides, neither His flesh did see corruption" (ibid. ii. 31).
7. "O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor. xv. 55).
8. "I am He that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen, and have the keys of hades and of death" (Rev. i. 18).
9. "And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was death, and hades followed with him" (ibid. vi. 8).
10. "Death and hades delivered up the dead which were in them" (ibid. xx. 13).
11. "And death and hades were cast into the lake of fire" (ibid. xx. 14).
In all these cases, as I have said, the Greek word hades is represented, in the Authorized Version, by the English word "hell," except in 1 Cor. xv. 55, where it is translated "grave"--"O grave, where is thy victory--with the marginal note, "Or, hell."
In the Revised Version, the treatment of the word is entirely different. There, with the solitary exception of 1 Cor. xv. 55, the word is not translated at all, but imported, bodily--by simple transliteration-into the English version; so that, with the one exception specified, the passages stand, in the Revised Version, exactly as they appear above. That one exception, it may be observed, is the single case in which the Authorized Version also has "grave." The Revisers, however, have here rejected hades from their Greek text, and substituted thanatos--"death"; so we have here no exception to their mode of treating hades. That mode is, as stated, to refrain from all attempt at translation, and to content themselves with importing the very word itself into the English New Testament.
An examination of these passages must convince every New Churchman, at all events, that, in only one of them at most, could hades be translated, or even interpreted, "world of spirits," without doing violence to the indubitable sense of the statement of which it forms a part. The suggestion that we should read (or even understand), for example, that Capernaum, which was exalted unto heaven, should "be brought down unto the world of spirits," so evidently destroys the obviously intended antithesis--for "hell," and not "the world of spirits," is the antithesis of "heaven"--that its untenableness must be at once admitted. Again, in Matt. xvi. 18, "The gates of the world of spirits shall not prevail against" the Lord's Church, does not admit of discussion.
Turning, now, to the passages in the Book of Revelation, we find their bearing entirely similar, even if not quite so immediately manifest. When the Lord says of Himself, "I have the keys of hades and of death" (Rev. i. 18), can we conceive of His merely meaning that He has "the keys" of "the world of spirits and of death"? Surely not! Again, what sort of congruity is there in the idea that the world of spirits followed with the rider on the pale horse, whose name "was death"? (arid. vi. 8). Assuredly, none!
Rev. xx. 13, however, "Death and hades delivered up the dead which were in them," and Rev. xx. 14, "Death and hades were cast into the lake of fire" have, I admit, the quality of not yielding palpable nonsense, if by hades we understand the world of spirits, and even of appearing to yield better sense than if we understand "hell." The idea of the "world of spirits" delivering up the dead that were in it, "to judgment, admittedly gives a better, or rather a more plausible, sense, literally, than that of "hell" doing so. We must remember, however, that if hades is the "world of spirits" in the 13th verse, it must also be so in the 14th; and the 14th verse declares that hades, that is, according to the contention before us, "the world of spirits," "was cast into the lake of fire; and "the lake of fire," of course, is, hell. This prophecy we, in the New Church, know has been fulfilled. Is there, then, no "world of spirits" now? For if it was swallowed up of hell, "the lake of fire," in the Last Judgment, that is the position to which we are reduced by the idea that hades is the "world of spirits"! The truth is, of course, that these verses are not of literal interpretation at all; and, in the spiritual sense, "the world of spirits" in substitution for "hell," as the translation or equivalent of hades, will be found wholly out of the question.
To satisfy ourselves of this, it will suffice to consult the spiritual sense of these passages, as given in Apocalypse Revealed. We there read:
And death and hell (infernos) gave up the dead which were in them, signifies the men of the Church who were impious at heart, and in themselves were devils and satans, called together to judgment. By 'death' and 'hell' (infernum) no others are meant than those who inwardly in themselves were devils and satans; by `death,' those who inwardly in themselves were devils, and by hell (infernum), those who inwardly in themselves were satans. [This] .... is plain from its being said that death and hell (infernus) were cast into the lake of fire (ver. 14); and neither death nor hell (infernos) can be cast into hell (infernum); but those who, as to their interiors, are death and hell that is devils and satans, can" (n. 870).
"Its being said that death and hell (infernos) were cast into the lake of fire, is according to angelic speech, in which the person is not mentioned, but that which is in the person and constitutes him; here, that in the person which makes his death and hell. That this is so can be seen from the fact that hell (infernos) cannot be cast into hell (infernum)" (n. 872).
That no translation, or interpretation, of hades, in these two verses (Rev. xx. 13, 14), which involves the idea, or conditions, of the intermediate state, is coherent with the spiritual sense, is therefore absolutely certain.
We turn, nest, to the reference in 1 Cor. xv. 55: "O world of spirits where is thy victory?" surely, could not find an advocate! As surely, also, on the other hand, "O hell where is thy victory?" is altogether more congruous with the unquestionably spiritual idea of the passage, than the Authorized Version, "O grave with, however, the margin, "or, hell"--or the Revised reading, "O death."
There remains, now, only Acts ii. verse 27 and verse 31, where the language used is quoted from Ps. xvi. 10 "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell" (Heb., sheol; Greek, hades). A difficulty is usually felt in translating sheol--commonly accepted as the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek, hades-by "hell," in this place, on account of the fact that by doing so, it is necessarily implied that THE LORD was, at some time, in hell; from which idea there is a reverent shrinking. Really, however, there is no occasion for the New Churchman so to shrink; for he knows that, if the Lord did go literally into hell, it would not be for punishment, or from sinfulness, but as the Divine Master and Lord of hell, as of the remainder of the universe, and to perform some act worthy of the "Infinite Love, Wisdom and Use" that He is.
But, when we remember, that our Lord, while in the world, literally "bore our suns" by inheriting evils and falsities from a human, and therefore infirm, mother, in order that He might be truly "tempted in all points like as we are" (Heb. iv. 5), though remaining, through it all, wholly "without sin" (ibid.); and when we know, from doctrine, that, in the Lord's case as well as in man's "temptations are as it were immersions into the hells," as we are expressly taught in A.E., 5381, we clearly see that the Lord, in being really tempted, as He was, went into hell, but, being always victorious in temptation,, never remained in hell. We can fully understand, therefore, and accept, the inspired declaration of the Psalms, in reference to the Lord: "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption." In strongest confirmation of this, moreover, is the circumstance, that, in the Index Biblicus, under "Inferior, Infernum," where Ps. xvi. 10 is cited, "in hell" is explicitly stated to stand for "in the agony of temptation"--"Jehovah non relinquit Animam in inferno- (pro in cruciatu tentationis)."
I venture to believe that, in this review, the case against "the World of Spirits" as, in any single instance, an admissible translation or understanding of hades, is overwhelmingly made out, so far as the New Testament is concerned. I have next to show-
II. That such translation, or understanding, "is at open war with the practice and teaching of the Writings of the Church."
(a) First, as to the practice of the Writings in this matter.
Matt. xi. 23 (and therefore Luke x. 15, which is verbally the same) is cited in A.E., 653:9.
Matt. xvi. 18, in Preface to A.C., 2760, in A.C., 4368:3, 6344, 8304, 8581, 9410, 10483; A.R., 798; T.C.R., 224, 379; and A.E., 206, 209, 411:12.
Luke xvi. 23, in A.C., 8918; in H.H., 365; L.J., 19; C.L., 41, and T.C.R., 455, 475, 651.
Rev. i. 18, in A.C., 6119, 9410; in A.R., citation of chapter, "Contents" of chapter, and n. 63, 321, 870; A.E., citation of chapter, and n. 75, 86, 536.
Rev. vi. 8, in A.R., citation of chapter, "Contents" of chapter, and n. 321, 870; and A.E., citation of chapter, and n. 186, 377, 383.
Rev. xx. 13, in A.C., 3934; H.H., 471; A.R., citation of chapter, "Contents" of chapter, and n. 870; and A.E., 98, 250; and
Rev. xx. 14, in A.R., citation of chapter, "Contents" of chapter, and n. 835, 870, 872; and A.E., 186.
Thus, these eight passages are quoted in fifty-three places in the Writings of the Church. How, then, do the Writings translate hades in these fifty-three places? In every single instance by infernos! There is no exception. And infernos, as everyone knows, is "hell," and never is anything else.
(b) Next, for their "teaching." This, as regards the passages of the Word before us, and so far as our present inquiry is concerned, is to be found in the use to which they are put as evidence of the divisions which exist in the spiritual world. Only one of them, so far as I have observed, is put to this use at all; and that one is the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke xvi. 19-31). The doctrinal teaching of this parable is given in the following twelve places: A.C., 3305, 5078, 8918, 10597; H.D., 228; H.H., 365, 370; L.J., 19; A.R., 282; T. C. R., 455, 475, 651; and, in everyone of these passages, it is explicitly declared that the Rich Man was in "hell," and in eight of them (namely, A. C., 5078, 10597; H. D., 228; H. H., 365; L. J., 19; C. L., 41; and T. C. R., 455, 651), that Lazarus was in "heaven." Nor is there ever, or anywhere, in the Writings of the Church, any other testimony, direct or indirect, express or implied. But, not to multiply quotations, yet to bring the matter to a decisive issue, absolutely conclusive and final is the testimony of T. C. R., 475: --
The spiritual world consists of heaven and hell; heaven is above, or over the head, hell is beneath, or under the feet.... Between heaven and hell is a great interstice, which, to those who dwell there, appears like a complete globe, or world: into this interstice there arises a most copious exhalation of evil out of hell, and, on the other hand, there descends into it continually as copious an influx of good out of heaven.
The explicit, indisputable, reiterated, and uniform teaching of the Writings, is, therefore, that hades, where the Rich Man of the parable was, is hell, and not the World of Spirits; and we are taught with equal clearness and unmistakableness, that the World of Spirits is the "great gulf" of the parable--not the "hades." It might seem that, on this point, there is nothing more to be said--at any rate, from the point of view of the New Churchman.
Yet, within recent years, and in a New Church journal, all this is ignored, and appeal is made to Josephus's. "Discourse to the Greeks concerning hades," to prove that the "hades" of the parable is not hell, but the World of Spirits! The writer of the article to which I refer, has already said in it: "Sheol and hades ... are generally translated hell, or grave. But an examination of the passages will show clearly that they do not refer to the final state of the wicked"!
But about this "Discourse" of Josephus "concerning hades"! It certainly presents some very remarkable features--quite apart from those to which I shall have occasion to refer. Hades is described in it as a place "wherein the souls of the righteous and unrighteous are detained." It is "a place in the world, not regularly finished"; "a subterraneous region," and "in perpetual darkness." In hades, is "a lake of unquenchable fire," into which "no one hath yet been cast," but it is prepared against a future day of judgment, when "the unjust ... shall be adjudged to this everlasting punishment." The "just," also, are temporarily "confined in hades, but not in the same place where the unjust are confined." The "just" are in a part called, "the bosom of Abraham."
The writer we have referred to, in, common, doubtless, with many others, takes the position that the Lord adopted these terms, "hades" and "Abraham's bosom," from the Jewish tradition which Josephus here sets forth;--as may very possibly have been the case. But when he goes on to assume that the Lord, in adopting the terms, endorsed and took over with them the ideas which the benighted Jews--who "scarcely believed that they should even live after death" (A. C., 302), and had almost no knowledge of another life-attached to them, he is surely going entirely unwarrantable lengths.
These contrasts, it seems to me, are enough to satisfy anyone, New Churchman or not, that we shall not get any light on the meaning of "hades," "Abraham's bosom" or the "great gulf," of the Lord's parable, from Josephus's Discourse," but rather darkness. Much less will the New Churchman be prepared to listen to an appeal to Josephus, as against the express and reiterated teaching of the Heavenly Doctrines!
III. So far, we have not at all considered the case of "Gehenna"; which, all agree, is hell: we have simply assured ourselves, beyond a doubt, that hades is also "hell," and not the "World of Spirits." It is certainly remarkable, and cannot but be significant, that the Word of the New Testament should employ these two words for "hell." What is the significance of this fact?
"Gehenna" is a Greek word, formed from the Hebrew, gia-hinnom (= "valley of Hinnom")--the name of a locality outside Jerusalem, where the Jews, in their worst days of idolatry, celebrated the worship of Moloch, and "made their sons to pass through the fire" to him, that is, sacrificed them to him as burnt offerings. "When Josiah overthrew this idolatry, he defiled the valley by casting into it the bones of the dead, the greatest of all pollutions among the Hebrews; and, from that time, it became the common" receptacle of all the filth and refuse of the city, the combustible portions of which were there consumed by perpetually-burning fires. Thus, the idea of fire adheres, from its derivation, to the word gehenna; and, in five out of the ten passages in the New Testament in which the word occurs, the word "fire" is associated with it. Indeed, in two of them (MARK lx. 43, 45), gehenna is employed as an equivalent for its fire, as in fact it is: "It is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to be cast into gehenna, into the fire that never can be quenched." On the other hand, the word "fire" is never associated with hades, though a word of kindred literal meaning, "flame," is. The Rich Man, we remember, exclaimed, out of "hades," where he was, "I am tormented in this FLAME" (Luke xvi. 24). In these little facts, in the light of Correspondence and of Doctrine, we have the clue to the dual naming of hell, which now occupies our attention. The difference of Correspondence between "fire" and "flame" is given us in a passage (among others) in which is unfolded the spiritual sense of the Rich Man's complaint to Abraham, "I am tormented in this flame." "No one in hell," we there read, "is in flame; but the flame there is an appearance of the love of falsity, and the fire is an appearance of the love of evil" (A. R., 282).
The clue from Doctrine is found in the division of hell, as of heaven, into two "kingdoms": "because heaven is distinguished into two Kingdoms, we are taught, "hell also is distinguished into two Kingdoms, opposite thereto: into the Diabolical Kingdom, and the Satanical Kingdom" (A. R., 387). "The Kingdom opposed to the Celestial Kingdom [of heaven] is behind ... and is meant in the Word by the Devil; but the Kingdom opposed' to the Spiritual Kingdom is in front ... and is meant in the Word by Satan" (A. E., 655). "By the Devil," moreover, "is signified hell, and in like manner by Satan; but, by the Devil is signified the hell whence come evils [thus, "the hell of evils"] and by Satan, the hell whence come falsities [thus, "the hell of falsities"]. The reason why the latter hell is called Satan, is because all who are in it are called satans; and the reason why the former hell is called the Devil, is because all in it are called devils" (A. E., 740).
By Correspondence, therefore, the hell where there is fire, or with which the Divine Word associates "fire,"--which is gehenna, and which is, moreover, in three places (Matt. v. 22; xviii. 19; and Mark ix. 47) expressly called "gehenna of fire"--must be the hell of the "love of evil," to which "fire" corresponds, or, more shortly, "the hell of evil"; and the hell where there is flame, which is hades--and which we might, proceeding on the analogy of "gehenna of fire," speak of as "hades of flame"--must be the hell of the "love of falsity," or, more briefly, "the hell of falsity."
The "arcanum" involved in the use of these two words, gehenna and hades, for hell, would seem to be, therefore, the division of the universal hell into its two "Kingdoms," the "Diabolical" and the "Satanical," answering, by opposition, to the two "Kingdoms," the "Celestial" and the "Spiritual," into which the universal heaven is distinguished.
And that this is the arcanum involved in this peculiarity of the Word of the New Testament, seems to me to be placed for ever beyond doubt by the following express testimonies from the Writings: "Gehenna," we read in A. C., 8910, "is the hell of concupiscences"; and, in A. C., 10283, we read, "whether you say voluntary evil, or concupiscence, is all the same thing; for voluntary evil is concupiscence." And when we learn that "gehenna is the hell of concupiscence," or of "voluntary evil," and again, that the "Diabolical Kingdom" of hell is "the hell whence come evils" (A.E., 740, above), consequently, the hell where evil is, thus "the hell of evil," we are learning, in reality, that "gehenna" is the "Diabolical Kingdom" of hell.
As regards, in conclusion, the relation of hades to the infernal "Kingdoms," the testimony is clear and direct. "By death and hell" (Greek, hades), in Rev. xx. 13, 14, "no others are meant than those who inwardly in themselves were devils and satans; by death, those who inwardly in themselves were devils, and by hell (hades), those who inwardly in themselves were satans" (A.R., 870, above1); and such constitute, we remember (see A.E., 740), "the hell of satans," or "the Satanical Kingdom" of hell; which, consequently, is indicated by hades, just as we have seen reason to conclude that "the Diabolical Kingdom" of hell is by gehenna.
1 P. 59.
Such appears to be the highly important and beautifully illuminative teaching, alike of the Word and of the Writings, respecting this dual nomenclature of Hell, in the letter of the Word.
THE DOCTRINE OF DEGREES.
THE DEGREES: DISCRETE AND CONDTINUOUS.
WITHOUT a knowledge of degrees," we read, "nothing can be known of the difference between the three heavens, nor the difference between the love and wisdom of the angels in them, nor the difference between the heat and light in which they are, nor the difference between the atmospheres which surround them. Without a knowledge of these degrees, moreover, nothing can be known of the difference of the interior faculties of the mind in man, therefore neither anything about their state as to reformation and regeneration; nor of the difference of the exterior faculties, which are of the body, both of angels and of men; and nothing at all of the difference between spiritual and natural, and, therefore, nothing of correspondence; yea, nothing of any difference of life between men and beasts, or of the difference between the more perfect beasts and the imperfect ones; nor of the difference between the various forms of the vegetable kingdom, and between the various materials which compose the mineral kingdom.
The first circumstance demanding attention in connection with Degrees, is, that there are two kinds of them, called, respectively, "discrete" and "continuous." "Discrete" degrees are also named "degrees of altitude," and "continuous" degrees, "degrees of latitude"; "discrete" degrees being related to one another as higher and lower, because thoroughly distinct, and "continuous" degrees being confined to the same level, or plane. To adopt still another mode of expression: the distinction between the "discrete" degrees is what is ordinarily meant by a distinction of kind, that between the "continuous" degrees, one of degree, or extent. Or, lastly, "continuous" degrees can be compared with one another in respect to quantity or proportion--as thick, thicker, thickest; fine, finer, finest; dense, denser, densest; rare, rarer, rarest; pure, purer, purest; good, better, best, etc.
But the nature of the distinction between the two kinds of degrees may be more clearly seen and firmly grasped by being observed in concrete fact. Let us examine it, therefore, in the atmosphere which surrounds our bodies in this world. It is a known fact that this atmosphere is densest and heaviest at the surface of the earth, and that as its distance from the surface of the earth increases, its density diminishes, until, eventually, it becomes so rare and thin as to be incapable of supporting animal life. Now, this increase in the tenuity, or thinness, of the air is an increase according to "continuous" degrees: the atmosphere we are speaking of is the same in identity all the way from the surface of the earth upwards, for several miles; but its comparative lightness or heaviness, rarity or density, differs in a certain definite proportion to the distance. from the surface. "Continuous" degrees, we thus see, are degrees of comparison, proportion and extent: with them, it is a case of more or less.
But this atmosphere, the medium of respiration, speech and hearing, is not the only atmosphere. There is, in addition, the luminiferous ether, which carries the sun's light to the earth, and is the atmospheric medium indispensable to the experience of the sense of sight in a material world; and beyond this again, there is a third, called the "aura" (T.C.R., 32), which is the atmospheric medium indispensable to the enjoyment of thought and affection, so long as we inhabit material bodies.
Another thing will be evident from this illustration, and it is, that, when we speak of "degrees" being of such and such a character, it must be clearly understood that "degrees" are not themselves things, having an independent existence; they are simply the radical distinctions between the parts or provinces of objects, or things, which do have independent existence (D. L. W., 196). And all things contain within them, as essential to their very existence, degrees of both kinds (ibid. 222-229). Look once more, for example, at the air we breathe: it contains both "discrete" and "continuous" degrees. Of the existence of "continuous" degrees, in it, we are assured by the fact, already alluded to, that it is progressively less dense as its distance above the surface of the earth increases--a difference of "continuity." For the "discrete" degrees, the evidence is equally conclusive; for here, at the surface of the earth, the level proper to the common atmosphere, called "air," we exercise the functions not only of respiration, speech and hearing, of which the "air" is the atmospheric condition, but also that of sight, which necessitates the action of the "luminiferous ether" upon the organs and nerves of vision; and likewise those of thought and affection, to which the existence and action of that still more exalted atmosphere, the "aura," are indispensable. In this object, the air we breathe, therefore, we discern the co-existence of degrees of both kinds, "discrete" and "continuous."
We may now proceed to distinguish more precisely the nature and characteristics of these degrees. "Continuous degrees," it has been made abundantly evident, are simply comparative conditions among things of the same kind, existing on the same level. They, therefore, need not detain us longer. That some things are finer than others; some lighter; some darker; some thicker; some thinner; some sweeter, and so forth--all of them comparisons in regard to the same fact, and on the same plane, and, consequently, comparisons of "continuity" --this is so familiar a truth that any enlargement upon it is wholly unnecessary. But with "discrete degrees," the case is totally different. The very phrase is absolutely unknown outside the New Church; and to mention it to people unacquainted with New Church theology and philosophy, would simply call forth a stare of blank unintelligence, mingled, it might be, with a plainly evinced doubt as to whether the user of the term was altogether in his right senses.
We may, however, most readily see and understand what discrete degrees are, from the relations in which they stand to each other. "Discrete degrees," then, are related to one another "as end, cause, and effect" (D. L. W., 189-194); and what these are can best, I think, be understood by reference to the operations of the mind. Mentally, the "end," is the object a person proposes to himself in doing any particular thing that he does--it is his purpose, or aim; and its home is that supreme part of the mind, which is called the will. The "cause" of the action, is, technically speaking, the instrumentality by means of which the thing is accomplished; the knowledge and comprehension of how to set about and carry through the thing contemplated and aimed at-which was the "end." And these means, or instrumentalities, reside in and are supplied by the understanding, or intellectual mind. It is, indeed, the distinguishing function of the understanding to provide these means, or "causes," and to thus contribute its share towards the accomplishment, or effecting, of the "ends" of the will. That the "effect" is the thing, actually accomplished and "realized, needs no explanation.
This, then, is how the three "discrete" degrees of which all objects are composed and into which they can all be analyzed stand related to one another: the first, or highest, stands to the other two as the "end" from which they spring and in virtue of which they exist and subsist; the second, or middle degree, stands to the first as the "means" by which that first can realize or fulfill itself in act, and to the third as the "cause" to which that third is immediately indebted for its existence (see D. L. W., 190).
It will be seen, further, that the "end" is just as much the cause of the "cause" as the "cause" is the "cause of the effect (D. L. W., 197). So that, really and finally, the relation between the discrete degrees is that of causation, all through. The case of the atmospheres is once more to the point. They successively originate in, and proceed from, the sun--whose emanating sphere they are-in a manner illustrated by the proceeding of the photosphere from the flame of a candle. The one which first proceeds is the "aura"; next around the aura, and inevitably, from the circumstances of the case, born of it as the aura is born of the sun itself, is the "ether"; and this, in its turn, becomes the parent of, and comes to be enveloped in, the "air." The truth here exemplified, moreover--that, of two "discrete degrees," the lower and outer is caused or produced by, or born of, the higher and inner--is absolutely universal. It knows no exceptions. Whatever the entity in which you are observing the "discrete degrees," the relation in which they stand to one another will be invariably, for it is inevitably, causal. And on this fact depends, and from this fact may be manifestly perceived, every single thing that can be predicated of "discrete degrees."
Take, for instance, the fact that "the first degree is the all, in all things of the following degrees" (D.L.W., 195). This is true for no other reason than that the "end," which is the "first degree," is the cause of each
of the two others in succession.
The same relation--the causal one--explains the further fact "that the discrete degrees are homogeneous with one another" (D. L. W., 189); which means, in a word, that they are of the same fundamental nature (ibid. 192), or are successive links in one and the same chain. For the necessities of coherent thinking positively disable us from conceiving of anything being truly "caused" by a thing which has nothing in common with it; which does not somehow, and to some extent, share the same fundamental nature. To use a very homely and merely approximate illustration, no one ever heard of such a thing as a cow giving birth to an elephant, or a mouse to a crocodile. These different animals are not "homogeneous" with one another, but unapproachably "heterogeneous"; and, not having a common nature, they are unable to occupy the relations of "producer and produced," or of "cause and effect," the one to the other.
It is perfectly true, of course, that all "ends" exist in the first degree, and all "causes" in the second degree, and all effects in the third degree, to whatsoever man they may belong, or to whatsoever thing be related the point is, that only an "end" and "cause" "homogeneous" with, one another, can, in any circumstances, produce an "effect"; and that that "effect," when produced, must needs be "homogeneous" with that "end and "cause: which produced it, and with no others in the possible universe of "ends" and "causes." And this is a fact of immense importance in relation to many of the problems of life, of which the New Church doctrines alone supply the key.
THE INTER-COMMUNION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE DISCRETE DEGREES.
Influx in Regeneration--Successive and Simultaneous OrderUltimatesGlorification the Divine Humanity.
So far, then, we have seen, albeit most briefly and generally, that the "discrete degrees" are related to one another as "end, cause and effect"; that "the first degree is the all in all things of the following degrees," or, that it confers upon them, both in the first instance and moment by moment, all their characteristics and properties; and, tat these degrees are absolutely "homogeneous." But these facts, interesting and important though they are when applied to their proper use, are of but little value, unless we know something about how effects are accomplished by the discrete degrees.
We propose, next, to consider "the Inter-communion and Development of the Discrete Degrees"; and we will begin with their inter-communion, or the law of such communication as takes place between them. That law is, in one word, the law of INFLUX (D. L. W., 186); and the Influx is according to Correspondence (ibid. 88, 202). This means that the higher degrees themselves flow into the lower, taking with them in doing so what they have and what they are; and that they are able to flow into, and be in, the lower, just in so far as the lower is in a state of correspondence with them. And this, of course, makes it necessary for us to say a word on this subject of Correspondence-though only a word. Correspondence, then, is the very relation of "cause and effect." So that, strictly, no two things really "correspond" to each other unless they occupy that relation. Between a man's body and his soul, for example, there is "correspondence," for the reason that the soul produced and formed the body, and the body (to state the same thing conversely) was produced and formed by the soul. This is, in fact, why they "correspond" to each other. There is positively no other reason. But one man's body cannot correspond to the soul of another man, although the two are on different "discrete" planes. Much less can one idea of the imagination, say, correspond to another idea of imagination; since, however much the two ideas may resemble one another, they both reside in the same degree of the mind, and, for that reason, cannot occupy the real relation of "cause and effect," nor, consequently, mutually "correspond." Resemblance, therefore, is not "correspondence"; and neither is "correspondence" resemblance.
By the statement, then, that the communication between the "discrete degrees" is by Influx and Influx is according to Correspondence, is meant that the higher degree of a thing is able to flow into, and dwell in, the degree next below it, to the extent to which the lower degree, in all its details, corresponds to the higher. If, from any circumstances, the correspondence is not perfect but only partial, the influx of the higher degree, is, to that extent, not received, but scattered and lost for lack of a "corresponding" receptacle.
But this law finds its most easily graspable illustration in the course of man's spiritual development, or regeneration. By secret means, employed in the various workings of His Divine Providence, the Lord is always placing the interior parts of our spirits in an "orderly" condition and relation, and from them endeavoring to lead us into a correspondingly "orderly" condition as to our outer and conscious mind. But so long as we will not conform our outer man and life to what we know of the laws of Divine Order, which are, in sum, the Ten Commandments, there is no correspondence between the part of us which is under our control, and that part which is under the Lord's control because beyond ours; and, consequently, the Influx from the internal man where the Lord is, is not received, and the Lord Himself is not able to enter the field of our conscious life.1
1 This is the spiritual truth involved in Isaac's blindness in his old age (Gen. xxvii. 1).--See A.C., 3493.
Any higher degree, therefore, communicates with the next below it only by Influx; and the Influx occurs according to the "correspondence" of the lower degree, which receives the Influx, with the higher degree, which inflows.
It remains to be said, that all these degrees exist in every man's mind both in this life and in the future life (D. L.W., 239); but, this notwithstanding, it is impossible for him, whilst here, to come into the knowledge or enjoyment of any but the natural degree, the other degrees being discretely separated from the natural, and only, as we have seen, communicating with it by Influx and according to its "correspondence" with them.
Another very practical point is as to the conditions under which the Influx from these higher degrees is received, or, as it is often expressed, how those higher degrees themselves can be "opened," whilst we are still in the world. On this subject we have the following valuable information:
1 See H. H., 25, 33.
Yet another aspect of the Doctrine of Degrees calls for notice here. The lowest of the three degrees is called the "ultimate"; and the consideration of "intimates" introduces us to a new feature of our general subject, namely, that the "discrete degrees" are capable of existing in two "orders," named, respectively, "successive" and "simultaneous." We have hitherto regarded them as in "successive order," or as proceeding from above downwards, and, in that "order," producing their effects and having their relations. But when "ultimates" are reached, then "simultaneous order" exists as well.
From the doctrine of "successive order," too, it should be clear that things may, and do, exist, in a certain way called "potentially," before they exist in ultimates, when first "simultaneous order," obtains; but it is equally clear that their existence then is not full, true and complete existence, but only shadowy, "ideal," unstable and necessarily unconscious. Hence it comes to pass, that, "in their ultimates all things exist in their fullness and in their power" (D. L. W., 217). This truth is particularly exemplified in the Divine Word, whose "fullness and power" exist in the "letter," which is its "ultimate" (ibid. 221); and, by virtue of this fact, the devout reader of the Word is able to enjoy unconscious, but none the less real, spiritual communion with the heavens and the Lord, whilst reading the Divine volume in its literal sense upon the earth.
This truth, also--the truth, that is to say, that things do not actually and fully exist until they have come into "ultimates"--is the reason why all the inhabitants of the spiritual world were necessarily once inhabitants of a natural world; for, while their "human internals"1 existed, of necessity, prior to birth into the world, or "descent into ultimates"--which always occurs according to "successive order," involving a certain pre-existence of the higher degrees-there was, then, no conscious existence; and, unless that "descent into ultimates" had occurred, the souls (in such imaginary case) would never have come into conscious existence, and, therefore, never have become living, talking, loving, acting men and women on earth, nor, consequently, angels in heaven afterwards.
1 See below.
But one point almost inevitably arises out of the reference, above, to the "making Divine" of the humanity our Lord took upon Him from the Virgin mother; and that is the conditions which made such a marvel as the making Divine of a thing not previously Divine, possible. The Doctrine of Degrees supplies the key to the mystery. We are already aware, from the necessary "homogeneousness" of the discrete degrees, that, in order that the Lord's humanity might be made Divine, it was indispensable that He should have possessed a Divine Soul, as the former, shaper and qualifier of the Divine Humanity, which. was successively developed in the process of His "glorification." What we already know of degrees assures us of the necessity of this prior condition. A little further knowledge will teach us more, and place the whole subject in the light of day.
The three degrees we have enumerated are not the only degrees there are. They are the degrees of finite conscious being, or the degrees of mind and experience men may consciously attain-the degrees of earthly and heavenly life and blessedness into which men may actually enter.
THE DOCTRINE OF INFLUX, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE RATIONALE OF SENSATION.
THE special point to which the present study of the important subject of Influx is directed, necessarily leaves out of view very much that properly falls under the subject itself, comprehensively considered. In particular, all those parts of the doctrine that specifically concern the regenerative processes, are beyond the scope of our present purpose, and will not, therefore, be found here touched upon. Our business is with what may be called the groundwork of the subject, and those phenonemena of Life, in general, which are common to all men as human beings, irrespective of their state as to Regeneration.
The doctrine of Influx is based upon the fact that there is only One Self-Existent Being, namely the LORD, from whom the existence of all other beings is derived, This fact the Lord Himself stated, when, while yet in the world, He gave His disciples the memorable warning, Without Me ye can do nothing" (John xv. 5); and still more plainly, in His assurance to Pilate, "Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above" (John xix. 11).
It is true that these statements are not usually regarded as bearing the interpretation here put upon them, but, merely, as expressions, in the first case, of the sole-intrinsic and original goodness of the Lord, and, in the second, of the supremacy of the Divine Providence, even in respect to the evil acts of men.
But, while the latter constructions are unimpeachable, they are not necessarily exhaustive; and they cannot be so viewed by those who believe that the Lord is preeminently and solely "The Life" (John xi. 25; xiv. 6; i. 4), and that the same expression is capable of more senses than one. The truth we claim to be contained in the literal (and, indeed, also the spiritual) meaning of the words cited, is their absolute--universal sense; the other truths may, perhaps, be accurately enough described as relative-universal.
The fact, however, is capable of being established, to the satisfaction of the mind which occupies an affirmative position on the matter (the indispensable condition of rational conviction), on purely rational grounds. The evidence is, that all beings with whom we have contact, or of whom we have knowledge, at one time came into existence. Did they, then--being not yet existent--cause themselves to exist? The very statement of the question, conveys the only possible answer. For a non-existent being to produce himself, or to bring himself into existence, is out of the bounds of possibility, and the imagination of such a thing is absurd. Since, therefore, these did come into existence, and that, assuredly, not of their own agency, the next inference is, that they must owe their existence to an agency not their own. And this necessary truth must be carried along through all the links of finite existence.
While, however, it may be admitted that a Giver of Life was necessary in the first instance, and thus that a Creator is a necessity of human thought, it may still be urged that this Creator may have parted with a portion of His life, and given it to His creatures as their inalienable possession, and that, thus, though not self-created, they may be self-preserving and sustaining.
Such a supposition, is, however, if possible, more incredible than the former, for, were it true, there would manifestly be no death; for, what self-preserved being would, under any circumstances, consent to cease to exist? While, therefore, the fact of birth, or coming into existence, reliably argues the existence of a Being who is Life-in-Himself, to bestow the life originally, the fact of death demonstrates that preservation in life comes, not from the man who has received the life, but from some other and sensibly-hidden source. And, what recommends itself to our rational mind as the Sustainer of life, so strongly as life's Bestower? Such considerations firmly establish the fact on which the doctrine of Influx is based; the fact, namely, that there is only One Self-Existent Being who has Life in Himself; and that One the Doctrines of the New Church call the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
How, then, are finite and dependent beings maintained in the enjoyment of life?
This continual supply of life, from and by the Lord, to man, is what is meant by Influx.
It should be obvious, however, that this communication of Life, by Influx, involves the communication, in like manner, of all the things which go to make up that sum of activities we call Life. Hence, by Influx come all thought and will; all perception of truth and ambition of good; all delusive falsity and lust of evil; all power of thinking intelligently, of acquiring the knowledge which furnishes food for thought, and habits on which permanent loves are based; speech and action; motion and sensation; equilibrium; freedom of choice and act; the capacity of growth, progression and retrogression: in a word, as was said, all the activities and experiences which make up human life, enter into man by Influx, the first Source of which is the Lord. But this does not end the matter; for, since creation produced all objects, not only men but the entire, universe of animal, vegetable and mineral existences, it follows, that all these things are indebted to the same Influx for their preservation or subsistence.
Not a single object, or event, within the whole. range of existence, but flows by way of this universal Influx of life, from Him Who alone is Life.
Allusion was just now made to the notion that the Creator might have endowed each finite creature with a portion of His Life, as its own inalienable possessionan allusion which brings up a point altogether vital to the Doctrine of Influx. This point is, that, whatever is Divine, since it is therefore Infinite, is, by virtue of that fact, indivisible and inseparable (T. C. R., 364).
To suppose that Life is capable of subdivision into portions at all, for any purpose, or in any manner, is to suppose what is essentially impossible to the nature of the thing we are discussing. This truth leads to the almost overpowering conclusion, that "God enters, by Influx, into every man, with all his Divine Life, that is with all His Divine Love and all His Divine Wisdom, these two constituting His Life" (T. C. R., 365); that "the Life of God is present, in all its fullness, not only with the good and pious but with the wicked and impious, and., in like manner, with the angels of Heaven and the spirits of Hell" (T. C. R., 366); and, "in short, that all things are full of GOD [He being the Life], and everything takes its own portion from that fullness (T. C. R., 364).
The case being, therefore, that all things, from a speck of dust to the highest angel, derive, and are maintained in, their existence by the Influx of the Lord Himself into them, and that He flows in, not in any fragmentary or piecemeal manner but in unbounded fullness, into every one of these things, the inherent tremendousness of our subject, and the vastness of its scope, stand out in full relief.
In order that it may be discussed to some purpose, however, I here indicate the lines along which I propose to consider it. I propose to enquire, then, (1) How Moral Responsibility is compatible with this doctrine; (3) How the Reception of the Influx is conditioned; (4) What consequences ensue from the possible modes of reception; and (5) What is the rationale of Sensation.
(1) We approach the first of our divisions of the subject without further prelude. How does Influx take place? The answer furnished by the Writings, is, that Influx takes place in two most general ways; (i), Immediately from the Lord alone, and, (ii), Mediately, from the Lord, by means of beings higher in the scale of existence than those receiving it.
i. Immediate Influx comes, as its designation implies, direct from the Lord into the recipient subject. To it, the highest angels and the lowest devil, or satan, good and evil spirits in the world of spirits, good and evil men , in the world of nature are, alike, indebted--and, in fact, every entity, spiritual and natural, in the universe--for the continued enjoyment of the boon of existence. But, it is to be noted that in the case of human beings this influx of Life is not effected directly into the particular degree of being in which the recipient consciously lives. It enters, directly, into the inmost of the human soul, denominated, in the Writings, the "Human Internal" (A. C., 1999), which, as it is farthest from man's consciousness, is nearest the Lord (Who is the Highest and Inmost of all things), and thus receives His inflowing Life before it can reach any of the lower parts of the mind.
But the Influx proceeds towards the plane of conscious receptivity of its subject. The next stage of the downflowing Influx, is the highest degree into the conscious enjoyment of which men ever come; and this is called the Celestial degree.
The angels of the third heaven, called the Celestial Heaven--the summit of possible human attainment--are consciously living in this degree. They, therefore, receive the Divine Life into consciousness, in the highest degree of finite purity, only one degree removed from the original and perfect purity in. which it enters them from the Lord.
Between this state, however, and that of men on earth, there are two others; the first of which is called Spiritual, and the second Natural. The Spiritual degree of the mind receives the inflowing life as it issues from the Celestial degree, by its descent through which it has undergone a further modification, and thus become adapted to the lower capacities of the, lower degree. Conscious enjoyment of this degree, only the angels of the spiritual or middle heaven enjoy.
The next channel through which the Divine Life flows, in its descent to the faculties which are active with man in the world, is what is called the Natural. This degree is the lowest of angelic attainment, and presents some analogy with that which man consciously enjoys in the world. But, since, though the lowest heaven is denominated "natural," it is still constituent of the spiritual world as discretely distinct from the natural, it is manifest, beyond a doubt, that the descending Influx has, at the least, one more stage to traverse before it can be consciously received by men in the world. That stage is the lowest degree of spirit, which has contact with the highest and purest of the substances of the natural mind of man, where the Influx is effective of all the mental activities--sensible, intellectual, and affectional--of which man in the world is the subject.
It must be well observed, however, that, in no case, does this Immediate Influx with which we are here concerned, enter immediately into the consciousness of any heavenly being; and this observation leads us to the true significance of the term "Immediate," in its present employment. It signifies, in a word, that the manner of Influx thus described, is independent of the instrumentality of any personal medium other than the person receiving the Influx. This definition will be more fully illustrated in the next sub-section.
It is to be noticed, moreover, that this Immediate Influx does not directly affect the details of life, but simply communicates life, and, thus, is only general in its character. Besides this, there is another variety of "Immediate Influx"; a variety which, since the Incarnation, has greater power than formerly existed of promoting man's regeneration. For, previous to that miracle of Divine condescension and love, the Lord could be present in the states in which men are in the world, only by the employment of angelic and other spiritual mediums of communication; while, since that time, and by virtue of the fact that in the world the Lord put on and made Divine the Natural degree also, He is now able to be present, immediately, in His Divine Natural Human, in those experiences men necessarily traverse in their passage from the Natural to the Spiritual (see D. L. W., 233; also, T. C. R., 109). This appears to be the full significance (a fuller significance, probably, than the Apostle was aware of) of the statement: "In that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able also to succor them that are tempted" (Heb. ii. 18).
ii. Mediate Influx.--The second manner of Influx is termed "Mediate"; and, by that term, is understood that the Influx is affected by means of some third person, who occupies a ground somewhere intermediate between the Source and the particular recipient of the Influx with whom we are at the moment concerned. This Mediate Influx comes under two headings: (A) General, and (B) Particular.
(A) General Mediate Influx is constituted of the combined-Sphere of all the heavens, proceeding and operating as a single general force upon the planes of existence which lie beneath. And hence the name.
(B) Particular Mediate Influx, the second of our present sub-headings, is a Divine provision whereby man may return from the state of spiritual disorder and disease into which he is now born, towards the state of order and health, to, and in, which the race was originally created.
Probably the most vivid realization of what this Particular Influx is, will be gained by tracing it from base to summit, or from the last recipient to the First Source. Before we can do this effectually, however, it is necessary that we get two or three facts well before our minds. In the first place, the truth, "man is a social being," is an organic truth, predicable of every degree of the human mind, from highest to lowest. He cannot live alone. There must be intercourse with other beings constituted like himself. Secondly, it would be entirely erroneous to regard human minds as connected with the Lord along parallel lines (like so many telegraph wires), stretching from the man in the world to the Lord above the heavens! Such a notion is very apt to creep in with those who demand a pictorial idea of every truth they may desire to grasp; but, since spirit has nothing in common with space, this view is plainly fallacious. The spirit, at every degree of its ascent (or descent) is surrounded by, and in contact with, hosts of other spirits, who are consciously living in the particular degree, which is, at any given stage, the subject of thought. Thus, the lowest spiritual degree of a man still in the world, is among spirits in the state called the World of Spirits; his next higher degree among the angels of the lowest heaven; his spiritual degree proper among the angels of the middle heaven; and his celestial, among angels of the celestial heaven (see D. L. W., 252). He is, therefore, associated with other created beings all along the line. Each one, too, is a centre, in every degree, of all those beings who consciously exist in that particular degree which may be under consideration.
We are now prepared to trace, as we proposed., Particular Influx from its last recipient to its first source.
Suppose the last recipient to be a man in the world. A thought suddenly and inexplicably occurs to his mind; an impulse to pursue some particular course of action unaccountably seizes him. Whence is this? It has not its source, or explanation, in the motions amongst the molecules of his brain, although these activities are the indispensable conditions of thought and will. For, what is material cannot produce, or generate, anything spiritual: to suggest that it can, is an outrage upon intelligent thinking. There must be some adequate cause, of which the thinking and willing man is not consciously aware. The Writings tell us that the suggested thought, or impulse, comes from spirits consciously living in the world of spirits and no longer in the world of nature, who are associated with the mans spirit, put on his memory so completely as to suppose it and all its contents to be their own, and live their life in such close association with his spirit that they are unaware of any distinction (A. C., 6192, 6198). Their conscious activity in connection with the inner chambers of the mans natural mind, is the source of all the mans thoughts and impulses. And these attendant spirits are associated with the man according to their spiritual affinity with him.
Now, man in the world is a mixture of good and evil; he is evil by hereditary quality, and he has good adjoined to him in the form of Remains (by means of instruction, and angelic ministration in the interiors of his spirit), to the intent that he may reject his evils and adopt the adjoined goods as his own. To both the evil and the good aspects, or sides, of his character, agreeing spirits are associated are-associated;--with-his evils; evil-spirits take up their abode, and with his adjoined goods, good spirits. All his evil thoughts and desires come to him by Influx from his evil attendant spirits; all that is ennobling in its tendency, and aims at leading him to the Lord and Heaven, is insinuated by Influx from the good spirits.
Those spirits, however, in their turn, are operated upon, in quite a similar manner, by beings (angels on the one hand, and devils and satans on the other) who consciously dwell in the degree immediately interior to that of which the spirits themselves are in the enjoyment; and these angels, again, by higher angels than themselves, and the devils and satans, by devils and satans of a deeper malignity, and, consequently, of a lower hell than theirs.
But, let us here leave the satans and devils out of direct consideration, and confine our attention to the angels. We will take an angel of the lowest heaven--that being the degree immediately interior to the one that is open in the world of spirits. This "natural angel" is similarly circumstanced in reference to "homogeneous" angels in one of the heavens above,--the spiritual or the celestial. If he belongs to the Spiritual division of the natural heaven, and is, consequently, a "spiritual-natural" angel, he receives influx from the spiritual, or middle heaven, which is immediately above the one in which he himself dwells.
The thoughts and desires of the spiritual angels, also, reach them, in like manner, by Influx from homogeneous celestial angels; but celestial angels, there being no "creatures" above them, are not, nor from the nature of the case can they be, subjects of this "particular mediate Influx" at all.
The meaning of the statements, that everything of thought and will enters the mind of the person who thinks and wills by Influx from others; that those others think and will from others again, and they from still others, until the Celestial degree is reached--where they think and will from the Lord alone--should now be plainly apparent. This manner of Influx is called particular, because particular, or individual, angels and spirits are employed as mediums for its transmission.
We conclude this branch of our subject by announcing the unvarying and universal law, which is clearly involved in the various circumstances enumerated, that all Influx takes place from within outwards, and from above downwards, and, primarily, from the Lord alone (A. C., 2886).
(2) How moral Responsibility is compatible with this doctrine of Influx.-It cannot but occur to the person who hears the New Church Doctrine of Influx announced for the first time, that, at the least apparently, it (i) does away with human responsibility, and (ii), in the last issue, lays the responsibility for evil, as well as the glory for good, at the Lord's door, since the Influx, in every case primarily proceeds from Him. Were there no other factors in the problem, these conclusions would be irresistible. There are other factors, however; and they are of such a character as to show the conclusions entirely erroneous.
i. As regards human responsibility, the fact stares us in the face, that, let man's thoughts and desires come by particular Influx from individual spirits, he still holds the reins. It rarely, if ever, happens, that only evil is presented to the mind: it is, indeed, the special province of the attendant good spirits, to suggest the good which forms the exact antidote, as it were, to the suggested evil. Nor is it permitted by the Divine Providence that the inherent influence of the one should outweigh that of the other. Nor, we remember, has this particular Influx any operation into the man's actions and speech; they being governed (A.C., 6192) by the "general." Influx we have previously considered. The man is, therefore, master of the situation; for it lies with him to determine whether, or not, the inflowing suggestions shall be carried into effect. If this "particular" Influx passed into the speech and acts, and controlled them, then, indeed, human responsibility would be annulled; man would be the helpless slave of the spirits, good or evil, who are associated with him.
ii. The Responsibility of Evil with the Lord?--The foregoing observations tend to avert this objection, also. When a man, having full freedom and ability to choose the good and refuse the evil, perversely chooses the evil and refuses the good, it is plain that his perverse employment of the freedom of choice (which is his distinguishing gift as compared with all other creatures) is the door at which the blame for evil must be laid. That is where it belongs; and there we leave it. It is a truth, however, which we must not shirk, that the Divine Good itself is received by an evil man as evil, and Divine Truth as falsity.
But this brings us to the inquiry:
(3) How the Reception of the Influx is conditioned.--That there is such a thing as Reception of Influx, our previous observations place beyond a doubt, and, also, that, as far as the effect of the Influx upon its recipient is concerned, everything depends upon the Reception. It is instructive to observe, at starting, that, although all Influx is from within outwards and from above downwards, Reception, is in the reverse order, or, from without inwards, and from below upwards. This is how it is that Education--which is nothing but the provision of the outward mind with vessels, in the form of knowledges, whereby it may consciously receive the Influx from the understanding, which, otherwise, does not enter the consciousness--has to commence with what we call the rudiments of the thing being taught, and to proceed, afterwards, to its more advanced aspects in orderly succession. This is how it is, also, that, notwithstanding the frequently repeated truth that the internal man is first regenerated, and afterwards, and by means of that, the external (A.C., 3321, and many other places), man's conscious participation in that work must commence at the very lowest rung of the ladder, and ascend, rung by rung, to the height eventually attained.
What, then, are the Conditions of the Reception of Influx? The Writings furnish the reply to our question, by first enunciating the universal law,--the Reception of Influx is strictly determined by the quality of the recipient (A.C., 6467, and elsewhere). Reception, moreover, takes place only in consciousness; and, therefore, that quality of the recipient which determines the Reception, is the quality of the plane of life and mind in the conscious enjoyment of which the man is. This plane, with men in the world, is the Natural degree.
From this it follows, that, in order to receive the Influx, in purity, and without adulteration or perversion, it is necessary that men in the world, should, if that be possible, induce on their natural mind a quality conformable to that of the inflowing Life, as that emanates from its Divine source.
But we ask the question, What light does the doctrine of Influx throw upon the matter? How does this course of life affect our Reception? In this way. By obeying the Divine Commandments, the organs of the spirit are gradually molded into a form harmonious with those Commandments; and the more fully this work is accomplished, the more readily and genuinely do those organs receive the Divine Influx. This has its exact correspondence in bodily health. When the life of the body is lived in conformity with the laws of physical health, its members are maintained in their normal state; they receive the life, for the communication of which the blood is the channel, rightly and adequately; and, thus, the physical well-being of the whole system is promoted. Just so is it with the health of the spirit. The Divine Commandments are simply the laws of
The matter will be illustrated, and, possibly, better illustrated than explained, by the teaching of experience concerning habit. Experience has taught everybody that the long-continued exercise of any particular organ--provided, always, that the exercise is not carried to the length of exhaustion--enables it, ultimately, to perform, without conscious effort, or with but small conscious effort, feats which, prior to that course of exercise, would have been impossible to it. The organ has become, as we say, habituated to the exercise; and, thus, a habit has been induced upon it, which consists in giving it, so to speak, a gradually increasing elasticity and power, which, in turn, enables it to receive the supply of blood in greater fullness, and renders it more plastic under, and responsive to, its influx.
Thus viewed, also, it is equally plain that a salvation worked out in this way cannot be regarded either as a reward of merit, or as the real achievement of the person concerned. For, as we have already seen, freedom of choice, and the impulse to exercise it consistently with his spiritual well-being, are just as constantly supplied to man by the Lord as his life itself--are, indeed, supplied to him with his life and as part of it; and, thus, the utmost credit the man can claim is the negative one of not frustrating the operation of the Divine Mercy. Even this, however, is not creditable, in the sense of being meritorious; it is simply spiritual common sense in the man who earnestly and intelligently desires to attain the end for which he was created, to re-act with, and not against, the only Power capable of gifting him with it. In a word, the placing of the thing on its philosophical basis, removes it quite out of the region of meritoriousness.
We now leave this branch of inquiry, with the announcement of the unvarying truth, that nothing existing below, or without, thus nothing in the natural world or in the region of man's conscious activity, does anything more than dispose that part of him immediately involved for receiving the Influx constantly offered for reception.
(4) What consequences ensue from the possible modes of Reception.--Although we have hitherto considered only that mode of Reception which is called "orderly," as being conformed to those Divine Laws of Order according to which both Influx and Reception are regulated, the disorderly mode is plainly implicated in the orderly, as its contrary. A life of violation, or disregard, of the Divine Commandments, produces a disorderly reception of the Divine Influx; a reception, as is apparent from the considerations already brought forward, quite inimical to spiritual health, and destructive of what is strictly meant by "spiritual life." In order that these blessings may come to consciousness, and, thus, be enjoyed by the subject of the Influx, some amount of agreement, in respect to quality, must be established between the Influx and its particular subject. For, if the quality of the recipient differ from that of the inflowing life, the Life, when received, is manifested in a different form from that in which it inflows. It puts on, in all cases, the quality of the recipient. The subject which receives the influx in a disorderly fashion, is called evil"; the subject of orderly reception, "good."
It follows from various things already stated, that the disorderly manner of reception may be exchanged for the orderly, by a compliance with the Laws of Order. The question naturally arises, Is this exchange always possible, or has the time during which it is possible limitations? Can a man who has all his life (to put the point differently) received the Divine Influx in a disorderly manner, alter his manner of reception after he leaves the natural world?
(5) The rationale of Sensation.--This branch of our inquiry is one which exclusively occupies the treatise On the Intercourse between the Soul and the Body; and it has been debated amongst philosophers at least ever since the coming into existence of the Western school of philosophy--roughly speaking, for over two thousand years. And, when we call to mind that there are, at the present time, three different opinions in the philosophical world concerning the intercourse between the Soul and the Body, or, to revert to our own expression, concerning "the philosophy of sensation," we at once see the importance of acquainting ourselves with the doctrine of the New Church on this subject.
The first of the doctrines at present accepted, is, that our sensations are the external world; or, to put it otherwise, that there are no objects of sensation apart from, or independent of, our sensations themselves. This is the Berkeleian hypothesis.
The second and third doctrines agree in denying this identity of sensations with objects, and in affirming that the objects have an independent existence of their own, in which they constitute what is technically termed the "external world," as being external to, and entirely independent, and even causative of sensation. We say "technically termed the external world," because, while the "external world" of popular conception is the world we know in sensation, that of the philosophers is a world existing outside our sensations, and, therefore, a totally different matter. And this distinction must be carefully borne in mind, in the consideration of what follows. These two latter doctrines, however, which agree in affirming what is technically termed an "external world," differ in respect to the character of the external world they postulate; one affirming that it is the exact pattern. of which our sensations are a reflected image, as a man before the mirror is the "exact pattern" of the reflected image in the mirror; and the other that it has absolutely nothing in common with our sensations. The former is the doctrine of those philosophers--among whom the names of Reid and Stewart are conspicuous--who have styled their theory "the common-sense philosophy"; the latter is the Kantian hypothesis, sometimes called the "noumenal theory," from Kant having given to his "external objects" the name "noumena" (things in themselves).
i. The problem cannot be intelligently understood, however, without premising that all the philosophers are unanimous in locating the phenomenal world, that is, the world that the senses perceive, within the mind--that world being composed of nothing but our sensations, and sensations being purely mental things. They are called bodily sensations, to be sure; but this term simply indicates the indispensable instrumentality of the bodily organs to the experience of the sensations by the mind.
To the thoughtful mind, habituated to discriminating between the real and the apparent, the essential and the accidental, or contingent, there can be no doubt that the objects of which we have conscious knowledge are sensations and nothing more; and, since sensations are, of necessity, mental perceptions in the realm of sense, that those objects exist only within the mind. We speak, it is true, of knowing things by sensation, as though sensation and our knowledge of it, were different things. This, however, is simply a confusion of terms. The true state of the case is expressed by saying that we know objects in sensation, or by means of the organs of sense.
The truth of these positions might be amply demonstrated by examples; but our space will not allow of our doing this at all fully. Let us, however, devote a few moments to an endeavor to realize the situation.
This conclusion does not, be it noted, affect the question as to whether there are objects distinct from our sensations, or not; it only shows that the objects we know in sensation whether regarded as to their component parts--that is, as qualities--or as entire objects, i.e. specific aggregates of qualities, exist nowhere but in the mind.
ii. The question, however, does arise,--and it is here that philosophical opinion diverges,--Are there other objects than these "objects of sensation"?--objects totally distinct from our sensations, and, so, capable of existing outside our minds? This question, since we have no direct experience of any other objects than our sensation, is, it is to be remarked, purely a question of inference. From the nature of the case, as already pointed out, we cannot possibly have any knowledge--understanding that term strictly-on the point, at all. It is, then, a matter of inference; and the question becomes,--Is the inference that such distinct and independent objects, noumena, "things in themselves,"--as distinguished from the "things that appear," or our Sensations,--exist, a just one?
A.--We will, first, suppose it to be just. This "external world," as it is technically termed, may then be, either, (a) the efficient cause of our sensations, or, (b) simply an indispensable outward condition of sensation.
(a) To speak of the "external world" as the efficient cause of our sensations, is, strictly, to preclude any other cause from even a share in the production of the phenomena we are discussing. This, in effect, the ultra-materialistic philosophy does.
This "external world," however, may be, and has been, regarded as one of several concurring causes, which together constitute the "efficient cause" of sensation. The view here represented, supposes that the objects of nature impress the senses; that the senses carry the impression inwards, towards the soul; and, that, at some intermediate station, the influx from the soul meets that from the body, and, together with it, produces sensation as a mental experience. This view, likewise, however, has its explicit contradiction in the Writings.
But (b) this "external world" may be regarded simply as an indispensable outward condition of sensation; and, thus viewed, it would be indeed difficult to show that the New Church doctrine is essentially incompatible with the noumenal hypothesis of Kant. For the Writings have it, amongst numerous other testimonies, thus:--
"The subject of touch is the skin with which a man is encompassed; the very substance and form of the skin cause it to feel the things applied to it; the sense of touch is not in the things which are applied, but in the substance and form of the skin, which are the subject: this sense is merely an affection of the subject from the things applied. It is the same with taste: this sense is only an affection of the substance and form of the tongue: the tongue is the subject. The same with smell: it is well known that odor affects the nostrils, and is in the nostrils, and that it is an affection of them caused by odoriferous things touching them.
B.--We will now suppose, with Berkeley and Tulk, that there is not any such "external world" as the noumenal philosophy postualtes. Two things might then be imagined: (a) that the non-existence of such an "external world" is contrary to the foregoing quotation from The Divine Love and Wisdom; and (b) that, in that case, sensation itself would be impossible. But the scope of the term "external," as here employed, must be carefully noted. What is this world affirmed (or denied) to be external to? The apparent meaning, is, that it is (or is not) external to the body. But this is precisely not what is meant. All agree, Realists and Idealists, that all objects except the body are external to the body. The body itself, however, in our present view, is merely an object of sensation, like the other objects of nature. To say, therefore, that the other natural objects are external to the body, says nothing more than that there are distinctions, and local and other relations, between objects. Our problem is, however, Are there such things as objects which are DISTINCT FROM our sensations?
This being so, the passage just cited from The-Divine Love and Wisdom, not only does not prove the existence of the "external world" we are discussing, but actually does not touch the question; it merely asserts the relation between the objects mentioned, be they within the mind only, or without it also.
(b) Perhaps, more confidently still would it be affirmed, that, apart from an external and entirely independent world, sensation would be impossible. And yet, this view cannot be entertained by any ordinarily well-instructed New Churchman! For it is an elementary truth of New Church doctrine, that, in the other life, there is no independent external world; and, nevertheless, angels and spirits have more exquisite sensations than we have, and sensations, moreover, altogether similar to ours (A.C., 4622).
But, elementary though this truth is, its recognition is by no means general. It may, therefore, be well to make one or two observations on the matter. The angels, we are taught, let them turn their bodies in whatever direction they will, have the sun of heaven always before their faces (D.L.W., 105). Let there be a circle of a thousand angels, all of them, first, looking inwards, and thus facing the centre of the circle. Every one of them will have the sun of heaven in the part of the heavenly immediately in front of him!
Again, the Writings declare it to be a fact that all the objects which appear in heaven, "appear to the life, and exist around an angel, and around angelic societies, as produced, or created, from them. They remain around them, and do not pass away. That they are as it were produced, or created, from them, is plain from the fact, that, when an angel goes away, or when a society passes to another place, those things appear no longer: when, also, other angels come in place of the former, the appearance of all the objects around is changed" (D. W. L., 322).
Once more: "From the earths, there [i.e. in the spiritual world], which are from a spiritual origin, vegetables are produced in a moment, and in a moment disappear; this, however, only when the angels depart otherwise, they continue" (A. E., 1212). More conclusive still, perhaps, is the testimony that was once afforded, in the other life, to Sir Hans Sloane, in favor of the truth that all creation is from the Lord alone, and perpetually. "A beautiful bird was shown him, and he was asked to look at it carefully, and to notice whether it differed, in the smallest particular, from a similar bird on earth. He held it in his hand, examined it, and said that there was no difference. He knew, all the time, that it was nothing else than an affection of a certain angel represented outside him as a bird, and that it would vanish or cease with its affection; WHICH, ALSO, HAPPENED," (D. L. W., 344). Such facts as these--and the Writings abound with them-place it beyond dispute, that, not only is sensation philosophically possible without the aid of external objects having an independent existence of their own, but that, in the spiritual world, sensation is enjoyed under precisely those conditions--which, it is imagined by some, would render sensation impossible!
(c) What is wanted, therefore, is to determine whether such independent external world, unnecessary for the existence of all the phenomena of sensation in the spiritual world, is indispensable to the experience of those
phenomena in the natural world.
And the reasons in favor of this conclusion are the following:--There is no getting away from the fact, that, according to the Writings, the natural world has a constitution altogether distinct from that of the spiritual. For while, in the spiritual world, animals and vegetables are not reproduced by propagations, but are as it were created from the spiritual states of the inhabitants, and, therefore, perfectly correspond thereto; in the natural world, these existences are reproduced by propagations, and, consequently, have no such correspondential relation to the spiritual states of men, as have all the surroundings of an inhabitant of the spiritual world to the states of his spirit. Again, the natural world and its objects are fixtures--a quality they derive from the matters of which the earth, differently from the earths in the spiritual world, is composed--and do not undergo variations according to the spiritual states of men; while in the spiritual world, on the other hand, the objects surrounding any of the inhabitants, are constantly varying in appearance and changing in identity; and such changes are brought about by the changes of state which take place in the spirits themselves. Such a thing, again, as that-already cited-which Sir Hans Sloane witnessed in the spiritual world, could not possibly occur in the natural world-so radical are the distinctions and differences between it and the spiritual. And D. L. W., 334, in full keeping with all we have said, furnishes the conclusive testimony;
There may be some, however , to whom this does not appear so conclusive as it does to ourselves. To such, the following, which seems to concern itself directly, and explicitly with the point before us at this juncture, should be of service: "That all things, both in heaven and on earth, are representative of celestial and spiritual things may appear plain from this circumstance, that similar things to those which appear in the visible heaven and earth, are also manifested visibly in the world of spirits; and this as distinctly and evidently as in open day--and yet are nothing but representatives.... The reason why on earth they exist NOT IDEALLY BUT ACTUALLY, is, that all things, both celestial and spiritual, that are from the Lord, are living and essential, or, as they are termed, substantial; wherefore, in ultimate nature, they exist ACTUALLY" (A., 1808). The distinction, here so plainly asserted, between spiritual-world and natural-world existences, respectively, by the terms "ideal" for the former and "actual" for the latter, must certainly be a real distinction; and that it covers just such a distinction as we here claim to exist, it seems to us impossible to call in question.
But, again, there is the teaching that man is the medium of conjunction between the natural world and the spiritual (H., 112 and elsewhere).
Finally, the priority, in point of time, of Nature in this world as a whole, to man--which is the teaching not only of geology but of New Church doctrine--pronounces the same verdict: "Creation commenced from things highest or inmost, because from the Divine, and proceeded to ultimates or outmosts, and then first subsisted. The ultimate of creation is the natural world, including the terraqueous globe with all things that are upon it. When these were finished, then man was created, and into him were collated all things of Divine order from firsts to ultimates: into his inmosts were collated all things that are in the primes of that order, and into his ultimates those that are in the ultimates; so that man was made Divine Order in form. Hence it is that all things that are in man and with man are both from heaven and from the world;
Note that, here (1) a distinction is made between man's ultimates;" and the ultimates of creation;1 insomuch that "into his ultimates were collated the things in the ultimates [of creation]"; (2) "the ultimate of creation" is expressly stated to be "the natural world," while (3) man's "ultimate" is clearly identified with "his sensations and pleasures." To our mind this closes the debate.
1 This distinction is brought out with equal, if not greater, clearness, in the statement of A., 72703: "There are continual successions from the First, that is from the Lord, even to the ultimates that are with man, yea, to the ultimates that are ix NATURE"; from which it is plain that the "ultimates that are in nature" are other than "the ultimates that are in man"--and a remoter ultimate, utterly outside man.
The conclusion is, therefore, that the New Church philosophy clearly teaches that there is an "external world" totally apart from, and independent of, the world we know in sensation; and, to this extent, it endorses the "noumenal" theory of Kant.
(d) But, with equal certainty, it negatives Kant's doctrine that the objects of this external world flow through the bodily organs, into our minds, and there produce sensations; for this doctrine is undiluted physical influx--which, the Writings affirm, is "contrary to Order and to nature" and "therefore impossible" (A.C., 9110).
It would be easy and useful to work out this doctrine of the relation which exists between the "external world" and the experience of sensations, in detail; but space does not permit. Every reader, however, may do this for himself, by applying to each organ and its appropriate sensations, the two doctrines, (i) that all Influx is spiritual, or from the Lord into the soul, the Soul into the Mind, and thence into the body--there being no such thing, in nature, or spirit, as physical Influx, or an Influx which proceeds from nature into the body, the body into the mind, or the mind into the soul; and (ii) that external nature, whilst it does exist independently of men's sensations respecting it, is still nothing more than an outward condition to the experience of those sensations:
To sum up: even from the very general presentation of the subject here given, it will be evident that the fact of Influx is the cause of all the phenomena in the Universe and, consequently, that a true doctrine of Influx is altogether indispensable to a true understanding of every department of existence, natural or spiritual. Apart from a true Doctrine of Influx, therefore, true theology, true philosophy, true science, true life, are impossible; and that Doctrine, revealed by the Lord out of Heaven in the Writings of the New Church, is, in brief, that all Influx takes place from within outwards, and from above downwards, thus from the soul into the body, from the spiritual world into the natural world, and ultimately from the Lord Alone; who is thus the Centre and the Life of all that is.
THE INSPIRATION OF SWEDENBORG.
THE importance of the subject we have here to consider can hardly be over-stated. Indeed, I do not hesitate to say that it is the grandest and sublimest theme--with the single exception of the Glorification of the Humanity of the Lord at His First Advent--that can engage the thoughts of men. For, is it not intimately and vitally connected with His making of His Second Advent?
On a clear recognition, moreover--if not on a true and adequate understanding--of Swedenborg's inspiration, on the part of the men and women of the New Church, depends all hope of a just estimate of the character of the Writings in which her Heavenly Doctrines have been given to the world; of those doctrines themselves; and of the Church that rests upon them. Are those Writings merely Swedenborg's, or, in some true and distinctive sense, the Lord's and not Swedenborg's--a real Divine Revelation? Are the doctrines they proclaim, the opinions and findings of a man; or, are they verily Divine Truths given by the Lord, and consequently coming to us, not with any man's, but with the Lord's authority? And, is the Church which founds upon those doctrines, at liberty to pick and choose among them, and to say: We believe this, and, do not believe that; we accept this as true and rational, but we reject that as neither rational nor true?
And, in view of the facts (among others), that, not many years ago, one of the foremost ministers of the New Church in this country, wrote to a provincial newspaper, some letters (afterwards reprinted in one of the New Church journals) indignantly repudiating the horrible accusation that "New Church people believed that Swedenborg was inspired"; and that, quite recently, another of our ministers has been reported (though, I have ground to believe, mistakenly) to have stated to a representative of the Press, that New Churchmen only believe those teachings in the Writings that they can rationally accept--in view of these things, it is evidently requisite, first of all, to deal with the question of fact: Is there such a thing as "the Inspiration of Swedenborg?" Was he inspired?
That point settled, I propose to consider, next, the exact quality of the Writings of the Church, and, consequently, the standing they ought to have among us; and, lastly, to investigate, as far as time will allow, the special states characteristic of Swedenborg, in the performance, under the Divine auspices, of the duties of his mission.
It is, perhaps, necessary to premise that I know nothing on any of these subjects, of myself.
And, firstly: Was Swedenborg inspired?
Gjorwell, the Royal Librarian of Stockholm, in his testimony concerning Swedenborg, at a certain point in his narration, writes: "About all this he spoke with perfect conviction, laying particular stress upon these words: . ... When I think of what I am about to write, and while I am writing, I enjoy a perfect inspiration, for otherwise it would be my own; but now I know for certain, that what I write is the living truth of God" (Dr R. L. Tafel's Documents, ii. p. 404). Nothing could be more explicit than that, though it has the disadvantage of not coming to us under Swedenborg's own hand. That being so, it would, of course, carry no weight whatever, unless confirmed by Swedenborg himself.
Writing, in the Adversaria, on the inspiration of the Word, Swedenborg says: "That [in the Word] there is not the least of a word, not a jot, which is not inspired, I--who am inspired-can asseverate" (iii. 6965).
Not only, however, does he, on occasion, thus expressly. assert his inspiration; but things written by him were utilized, in the other life, as a means of enabling spirits to understand the nature of the inspiration of the Word. We read in The Spiritual Diary, for example, "Some that were raised up into heaven [temporarily] saw, particularly, that the things written in God's Word are inspired; for there appeared to them the manner, and also the great abundance, of what flowed into the things that were written by me: yea, not only what flowed into the meaning, but even into the particular words, and into the ideas .of the words.... This, also, it was given me formerly to perceive, by a spiritual idea--yea, even to, as it were, feel-namely, that [there is such an influx] into every smallest thing of each little letter that I wrote. Hence, it appears, in clear light, that the Lord's Word is inspired as to each letter" (D., 2270). This was written in June 1748--the time Swedenborg was engaged in writing the first volume of the "Arcana," the contents of which were, doubtless, "the things written by" Swedenborg, from which the spirits in question were able to obtain an intelligent idea of the inspiration of the Word.
Now, it is perfectly evident, that, unless the things written by Swedenborg had been "inspired"--and thus Swedenborg himself, in writing them--they could not possibly have furnished these spirits with an idea of
"the inspiration of the Word," nor, even, unless their inspiration had been similar in kind--whatever difference there might be in certain respects--to the inspiration of the Word itself.
Finally--for this point-there is the well-known solemn declaration given in the chapter in The True Christian Religion on "The Consummation of the Age and the Second Coming of the Lord": "The Second Coming of the Lord takes place by means of a man, before whom He has manifested Himself in Person, and whom He has filled with His spirit, to teach from Him the doctrines of the New Church by means of the Word; ... who is able, not only to receive the doctrines of this New Church in the understanding, but also to make them known by the press. I testify in truth that the Lord has manifested Himself before me, His servant, and sent me on this office, and that, after, this, He opened the sight of my spirit, and introduced me into the spiritual world, and granted me to see the heavens and the hells, and also to speak with angels and spirits, and this now continually for many years; and, likewise, that from the first day of this call, I have not taken anything relating to the doctrines of that Church from any angel, but from the Lord alone" (T., 779). Could a stronger or more certain way be devised of asserting that a person was "inspired," than to say that the Lord "filled him with His Spirit" in order that he might "teach the doctrines" he was to teach, "from Him" and not from himself, or from any angel even, although he was admitted to intercourse with the angels?
We note next, that the actual, as well as the intended, effect of this "inspiration" was, that the man who was the subject of it himself received "nothing whatever relating to the doctrines of the New Church" from any other source than the Lord alone, and that, in teaching them, he taught them "from Him." What is so "received" and so "taught," carries with it, in the nature of the case, the completest Divine authority, and that is, therefore, the "authority" with which everything whatsoever "relating to the doctrines of the New Church" in the Writings of Swedenborg comes to us.
On the assumption that there is a possible distinction between (a) "everything relating to the doctrines of the New Church," and (b) the Spiritual sense of the Word, on the one hand, and (c) the disclosures concerning the Spiritual world and the life after death, which form so large a portion of the Writings of the New Church, on the other, it is well to inform ourselves that these latter, also, are authenticated in precisely the same way.
Respecting the things "heard and seen" in the Other Life, in the imparting of which, angels and spirits, both good and evil, frequently bore an instrumental part, we have Swedenborg's comprehensive assurance, "the things which I have learned in representations, visions, and speech with spirits and angels, are from the Lord alone," brought home to our understanding by the following explanation of how this was effected: "Whenever there was any representation, vision, or speech, I have been held interiorly and inmostly in reflection upon it, as to what was useful and good, thus as to what I might learn from it.... Thus have I been instructed, consequently, by no spirit, nor angel, but by the Lord alone, from Whom is all good and truth" (S.D., 1647). Even such things as were presented by evil spirits, were in precisely the same case: "Evil spirits are held in speaking [i.e. are compelled to speak] those things which are to be observed by me; but they are unaware of it.... A perception was also given [me] as to what was to be observed.... From which it was evident that the things also, which I had learned through evil spirits, I have learned from the Lord alone, although spirits spoke" (D., 4034). The contents of the work, Heaven and Hell, moreover, which are the same in scope as the things we are here concerned with, are heralded, in the introductory number of the book, as an "immediate revelation," the giving of which constitutes "the Coming of the Lord: Such immediate revelation is now given, because this is what is meant by the Coming of the Lord" (H., 1).
Even the "Memorable Relations" carry the same authentication. Not only did Swedenborg inform Count Hopken that he "was commanded by the Lord to publish them" (see Documents, i. 66; ii. 414-416); but they are expressly stated, twice over, in the Writings themselves, to be "revealed by the Lord." Once, in the spiritual world, Swedenborg was asked by some angels, "What news from the earth?" and replied, "This is new: that the Lord has revealed such arcana as, in point of excellence, surpass all the arcana revealed from the beginning of the Church down to this time." He subsequently enlarges on the various things the Lord had revealed (in the Writings), and then continues: "besides many memorabilia 1 and wonderful things from the spiritual world, by which many particulars, teeming with wisdom, have been revealed from heaven" (T., 846; C.L., 532:7).
1 This is the Latin word represented by the phrase, "Memorable Relations," familiar to all readers of the English Versions of The True Christian Religion, Conjugial Love and Apocalypse Revealed. In the latest revision of The True Christian Religion, however, the word itself, untranslated, is incorporated in the English version. See T., 16, and all similar cases throughout the work. What is meant by the word in this place, therefore, is quite unmistakable.
As regards, next, the Spiritual Sense of the Word so far as that is given in The Apocalypse Revealed, the reader of that work is admonished in its preface: "Think not, therefore, that anything here given is from myself, or from any angel, but from the Lord alone."
The following, evidently, covers everything of the Spiritual sense, wherever given: "I have discoursed with spirits and angels now for many years; nor has any spirit dared, nor any angel wished, to tell me anything, still less to instruct me, concerning anything in the Word, or concerning any doctrine from the Word, but THE LORD ALONE has taught me; who was revealed to me, and has since appeared constantly, and does now appear, before my eyes, as the Sun [of Heaven] in which He is, in like manner as He appears to the angels, and has enlightened me" (D. P.,135). And how the Lord "taught" Swedenborg the Internal Sense of the Word, as well as the doctrines from the Word, is stated in these very explicit terms: "That the Internal Sense is such as has been expounded, is evident from everything that has been explained; and especially from this, that it has been dictated to me out of heaven" (A., 6597).
This passage brings us to the question of the nature of the "Inspiration," the reality and certainty of which has been now, we trust, sufficiently established: it was a "dictation out of heaven."
In what way are we to understand this expression--"dictated to me out of heaven?" Not, in the first place, as an audible dictation of the very words we find in the Writings; for Swedenborg tells us, in another place (Adv., iii. 3764), "The things which have now been written here have manifestly been divinely inspired, for the very words, although not dictated, have still been sensibly inspired.
In order to realize what this involves, it is necessary to take cognizance of the fact that revelation assumes one of two forms: "All revelation is either (a) from speech with angels through whom the Lord is speaking; or (b) from perception" (A., 5121). It is at once evident that the "dictation in the thought" by which Swedenborg received the Spiritual Sense of the Word "out of heaven," constituted this second form of revelation, revelation "from perception."
Now, it is to be noted that those who are in good and thence in truth, and especially those who are in the good of love to the Lord [i. e., those regenerated to the Celestial degree], have revelation from perception; whereas, those who are not in good and thence in truth, may indeed have revelations, yet not from perception, but by a living voice heard in them, thus by means of angels from the Lord: this latter revelation is external; the former is internal (ibid.). What is here called revelation from perception, is evidently the same thing that is elsewhere called enlightenment (or, to use the old-fashioned term, illustration), and is enjoyed by every regenerate person, in a measure determined by the extent of his regeneration, and is strictly according to the knowledges that are already with him (see T., 208). This enlightenment, or illustration, or revelation from perception, or this internal revelationcall it what you willSwedenborg certainly enjoyed; for his regeneration extended to the Celestial degree. Of this, we are certified by the fact, disclosed in a passage we have already had before us (D. P., 135), that, after the time of the Lords manifestation to him before sending him on his office, the Lord constantly appeared before his eyes, as the Sun in which He is, in like manner as He appears to the angelswhich is the case only with those who have been regenerated as to the Celestial (H., 118).
But, though Swedenborg, in common with all men who are regenerated to the necessary degree, enjoyed this enlightenment, he enjoyed more. The "enlightenment" by virtue of which the Spiritual Sense of the Word, for example, was revealed to him, was of a kind which regeneration alone does not confer. For, concerning the Spiritual Sense of the Book of Revelation, given in A. R., he tells us, in the preface, "every word of it [the Book in question] contains arcana which could never be known without a unique I enlightenment, and thus revelation; wherefore, it has pleased the Lord to open the sight of my spirit and to teach me"; and this indispensable "unique enlightenment" which Swedenborg enjoyed, and which ordinarily enlightened men do not, is, we note, associated with "the opening of the sight of his spirit." That, also, is an experience which others besides Swedenborg have had. The seers of the Word, for example, had it, in a way; but, regarding this, Swedenborg states, in T., 157, "this is the state in which I have been for twenty-six years--with this difference that I have been in the spirit and at the same time in the body, and only sometimes out of the body"; or, as he puts it in another place (D., 722), "as it were, separated from the body, and yet at the same time conjoined with it." Intromission into the spiritual world," says he (in Invitation to the New Church, 52), "has not been granted to anyone in the same way as to me, since the creation.
1 This word, which I especially emphasize, represents, here, the Latin singularis; which is defined in White and Riddle thus: one by one, one at a time, single, solitary, alone of its kind. Figurativelysingular, unique, matchless, unparalleled, etc. From this, the reader will see the unmistakably exclusive sense which the word carries, and in which it must be understood.
2 Or, as expressed elsewhere, to be in enlightenment there, through immediate light from the Lord (Coronois, Summary, Lastly about Miracles, IV.).
Another of his special endowments was a certain "double thought," which appears to have capacitated him for taking cognizance of what was transpiring in his internal mind, at the same time that his external mind was in full activity; and this, in both his spiritual-world and his natural-world experiences. "I have been endowed," he says in his Spiritual Diary (no. 484), "with a double thought, one more interior and the other interior; so that, while I have been in the company of evil spirits, I was also able to be at the same time in the company of good spirits, and could thus perceive of what quality the spirits were who desired to lead me." It was this faculty that gave him the power of adjoining to his "reflection" upon "the representations, visions, and conversations with spirits and angels," which entered by his spiritual senses in the other life--which he calls in one place "sensitive reflection" (A., 5171)--a "perception," from his "interior thought," that enabled him to separate what, of all that was thus presented, was from the Lord, from what was from the proprium of the spirits and angels, and to accept the former and reject the latter, and thus to be taught "by the Lord alone," in it all.
By virtue of his "double thought," or faculty of thinking on two planes at once--while engaged in the difficult task of transferring the purely spiritual ideas, in which the internal sense of the Word and its spiritual doctrines were "dictated" to him by the Lord in his interior thought, into ideas of external thought for expression in human language in writing his books--he was able to think from his interior perception, or his spiritual ideas, at the same time that his external mind was engaged with the natural ideas to which the spiritual had to be brought down, for expression in words in his books, and so to perceive, still, when writing, what was from the Lord, and what from spirits, angels, or the infirmities of his own proprium; and to keep out all the latter, and to write down all, and only, the former.
It was, doubtless, in virtue of this fact, and in this sense, that Swedenborg was able to use, in the fragment, A Sketch of an Ecclesiastical History of the New Church, the remarkable expression, "The books that have been written by the Lord through me, from the beginning to the present day, are to be enumerated" (n. 3). It was by reason of this, that the English Bishop in the Spiritual world was told that "Heaven and Hell" was "not Swedenborg's work, but the Lord's"; and by reason of this that "on these books in the spiritual world, on all of them, was written, The Lord's Advent" (ibid. 8).
It is only on such grounds-namely, that the books are, in some very real sense, THE LORD'S and not Swedenborg's, the product of a true and efficient Divine inspiration-that we can understand, that we can even really credit, what Swedenborg tells us of the stupendous and extraordinary effects in the spiritual world, by which their completion, or publication, in the natural was signalized.
THE CANONICITY OF "CONJUGIAL LOVE." 1
1 A paper read before the Reading Meeting of the New Church Educational Institute, on the 19th January 1892. Revised and extended.
IN the history of a Church, as of an individual, times will arrive when it becomes a matter of imperious necessity to define our convictions on specific points. It becomes a duty to certify ourselves, unmistakably, as to what our real belief in regard to those points is, and what are the grounds, in fact and reason, on which we so believe and are so convinced.
Such a time is now upon the New Church. The specific point on which the Church is called upon to define its convictions to its own mind, and to certify itself of its belief and of the stand it is going to take, is the one we are about to consider, namely, the right of the work entitled, "The Delights of Wisdom respecting Conjugial Love, after which follows The Pleasures of Insanity respecting Scortatory Love, by E. Swedenborg, a Swede, published in Amsterdam in the year 1768"--to rank amongst the canonical Writings of the Second Advent of the Lord. And, if proof be demanded that this necessity really does exist, I need only point to the attacks which have been made upon this work in a journal nominally identified with the New Church, and to the hostile tone, and even the undisguised expressions of hostility, with which some of the ordained Ministers of the Church have there written regarding it.
I will refrain from giving specimens of the attacks and hostile expressions to which allusion has been made they are too painful reading and hearing for the loyal New Churchman--especially when it is remembered that they are the work and words of New Church Ministers in a professedly New Church journal-to be avoidably encountered. And they are not really necessary to our present purpose. Of these, therefore, we gladly spare ourselves examples.
But, respecting the last-named point, I will quote you the words of a most earnest, and, as I firmly believe, a peculiarly excellent New Churchman, who, nevertheless, disputes the right of Conjugial Love to a place in the canon of the "Writings." The gentleman I refer to, explained his reasons for writing an article which appeared from his pen in Morning Light of the 19th May last year1891--in the following straightforward and unmistakable language: "because, in view of recent developments, it has become absolutely necessary that we should know precisely ... what is involved in the declaration o f faith which every member of Conference must sign. Shall the expression the Writings include more than those which Swedenborg himself terms theological? Or shall the work on Conjugial Love, as regards certain parts of it which treat of morals, be
considered as-excluded from the theological Writings of the Church?" (M.L., for 1891, p. 182).
Now, if there is one thing more certain than another in connection with this subject, it is, that, in the solitary Conference Document1 in which the term "theological" is at present employed to describe the Writings of the Church, it is not employed in any meaning which could exclude any book whatsoever which Swedenborg published in his mission of giving the Doctrines of the New Church to the world. It is employed simply to distinguish those of his works which give the Doctrines of the Church, from those previously written--the scientific and philosophical--which do not do so. I am perfectly satisfied that, if the framers of the Conference "Memorandum of Association" had been asked, when framing it, if they wished by the term "theological" to exclude the work on Conjugial Love, they would, first, have opened their eyes in incredulous amazement at the question, and, secondly, on being shown that there was a reasonable probability of its being so construed in the future, have at once substituted, for "theological," the word "doctrinal," or some other word not capable of such a construction as we are considering.
1 The "Memorandum of Association."
The phrase, "the theological Writings of Swedenborg," moreover, has always been understood in the Church to be used in contradistinction to the phrases, scientific writings and philosophical writings;--and as certainly--covering every work written and published by Swedenborg on any subject of New Church doctrine.1 I make bold to say that this is absolutely certain. What is now being attempted, therefore, is the dethronement of a work, which has always been esteemed by New Churchmen as one of the most precious o f the glorious doctrinal possessions of the Church, from the royal rank of one of "the Writings of the Church," to the position of a merely human treatise on worldly morals.
1 Witness, for example, the SWEDENBORG SOCIETYS Annotated Catalogue in which the work, Conjugial Love, is placed in the category of Swedenborgs Theological Words.
It is sufficiently manifest, therefore, that the inquiry on which we are about to embark is no vain or frivolous one, but altogether the vital question of the hour; a question, moreover, on which the New Church must make up its mind, and then act accordingly.
Seeing, next, that what forces the present inquiry upon the Church, is an attempt to overthrow the status quo on the subject, it is evident that the onus of showing reason why English New Churchmen should make the proposed change lies with those who make the proposal.
They may be stated, and I believe exhaustively stated--I have brought together all I can anywhere discover--under five heads:
Firstly, that Swedenborg does not describe himself on the title-page of this book as "Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ," his description--so it is alleged--as the human instrument of the Lord's Second Advent. This claim, I would remark in passing, leads us to expect to find that designation on the title-pages of all books which were really written "by the Lord through" Swedenborg, and thus belong to the New Church canon.
Secondly, that this work avowedly aims at establishing its teachings on rational as distinguished from Scriptural grounds.
Thirdly, that, in agreement with the avowal just referred to, the Word in the letter is very sparingly appealed to, and, in what have been called the "permissions" set forth in "Part II." of the work, scarcely at all.
Fourthly,--and this is the great confidence of the attacking party--that, in a letter to Dr. Beyer, Swedenborg expressly stated that the book "does not treat of theology, but chiefly of morals"; and
Fifthlywhich is the real reason and ground why the attack has been made at all--that the work contains provisions, permissions and statements, which certain New Churchmen are not prepared to accept, which they will not, therefore, acknowledge as Divine Revelation, and on account of which they personally repudiate the entire work as any part of the "Holy City which has "descended from God out of Heaven."
I may as well say, at once, that I do not propose now to enter into the merits of this fifth objection. The present occasion is not suitable for such a discussion; and, moreover, the discussion of the other objections will give us sufficient occupation for a single sitting.... Before dismissing it, however, I feel entitled to remind you, that, though the cutting of a Gordian knot is an infinitely easier, and for that reason to many minds a more attractive, course, than patiently untying it, it does not invariably, in intellectual difficulties, lead to truth. In fact, I would venture farther, and say that in such cases it does not often lead to truth. The way to truth is a patient study of the subject in all its parts and all its bearings; a careful adjustment of its details in their due relations to one another; and, in this way, the construction in our minds of one harmonious doctrine out of the multitudinous and various doctrinals bearing upon the subject.
But the method of approaching the difficulties of Conjugial Love which I have just indicated, is a troublesome and laborious one, and distasteful withal to the natural man; and some prefer the easier way of repudiating the work in connection with which the difficulties arise, and thus getting rid at one stroke, of work and difficulties alike.
But the LORD'S NEW CHURCH cannot adopt this course; for it would thereby prove itself the New Church only in name. An essential characteristic of the real Church of the Lord is the love of His Truth. The genuine Church, therefore, cannot, and will not, resort to any methods, howsoever easy and inviting, which entail ultimate danger to the truth. Place before the true Church the choice between the easy way which imperils truth, and the painful and laborious way at the end of which, under Divine guidance, the truth will surely be found, and it must, and it will, choose the straight and painful path that leads to truth, and shun the broad though tempting and pleasant way that leads to falsehood.
The first four of the reasons advanced for the dethronement of Conjugial Love, however, we can face on this occasion; and we propose to occupy the remainder of our time and space in doing so. We will examine them in the order in which we have just recited them.
Firstly, then, it is urged as an objection to Conjugial Love being regarded as a work of the New Church, that it does not bear on its title-page the imprimatur "Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ," as in the case, for example, of the True Christian Religion. This is perfectly true. But it is equally true of every other book of the Writings, with the solitary exception of the True Christian Religion! That is positively the only work in which Swedenborg does adopt that designation. All but four bear no name at all. One (Intercourse) is simply inscribed "Emanuel Swedenborg"; Conjugial Love and also Brief Exposition--declares itself to be the work of "Emanuel Swedenborg: a Swede." As a matter of fact, Swedenborg had no method of self-description which he reserved for the books "written by the Lord through him," "for those who were to be of the New Church." And the circumstance that he did not, in Conjugial Love, call himself by the same title as in the True Christian Religion, is, consequently, no reason at all for our refusing to Conjugial Love canonical rank. The marvel is that such a reason could ever have been advanced.
The second objection--that Conjugial Love avowedly aims at establishing its teachings on rational grounds as distinguished from Scriptural--is of a different order. It is based on the following declaration given in Conjugial Love, 295:--"The subject of betrothals and nuptials, and also of the rites and ceremonies attending them, is here treated principally from the reason of the understanding; for, those things which are written in this book have for their end that the reader may see truths from his rational, and thus may consent [to them], for in this way his spirit is convinced; and those things in which the spirit is convinced are allotted a place above those which enter from authority and. the faith thereof, without the reason being taken into counsel." This declaration, it is claimed, is completely neutralized if we are to receive the teaching of Conjugial Love "on authority"; and it is held that this "end" of the work gives it a character which entitles every reader to reject anything in it which does not commend itself to his "reason."
The self-declared aim of the book we cheerfully accept to the conclusion which has been drawn from it, as stated, we entirely demur. That we are not able to rationally accept, and thus intelligently believe, any proposition of which we cannot see the truth, is unquestionable; for rational acceptance consists in our seeing the truth of what we so accept. But to reject and deny a proposition because we cannot see it to be true, is a totally different matter, and, withal, wholly inadmissible.
But to turn, now, from the unwarrantable conclusion from the object of the work, to that object itself--"that the reader may see truths from his rational." Does Conjugial Love herein differ so fundamentally. from the other Writings of the Church, as to be thereby placed in a different category from them; so that we are entitled to say, "In them you have Divine Revelation: in this you have mere human reason?" I trow not. We are taught in the Arcana (2719), that "human rationals grounded in scientifics, ... which rationals are not from a Divine but from a human origin [though adopted by the Divine], must be adjoined to the doctrine of faith in order that the man of the Spiritual Church may be able to receive it; because without them the Spiritual Church would not comprehend doctrine, consequently not receive it; for ... the man of the Spiritual Church is in such obscurity respectively [to the man of the Celestial], that doctrine must needs [for him] be clothed with such appearances as are accommodated to human thought and affection, and yet are not in such disagreement with real truths but that Divine Good may have somewhat like a receptacle therein." This "appeal to reason" which Conjugial Love makes, therefore, is just in accommodation to that characteristic of the man of the Spiritual Church, which disables him from inwardly embracing, and truly believing, anything, howsoever true, which is not thus, in its mode of presentation, adapted to rational apprehension.
The third objection to allowing Conjugial Love to remain in the New Church canon, is, that, in accordance with its avowed object as stated in objection no. 2, the Word in the letter is very sparingly appealed to, and, in what have been called the "permissions" mentioned in Part II. of the work, scarcely at all.
It is quite true that the letter of the Word is less extensively quoted in Conjugial Love than in most of the other Writings of the Church. For all that, it is more than probable, that, if some of our friends who urge this objection were to look at the list of Scripture references and allusions contained in this work, furnished at the end of the latest edition of it, they would be surprised at the length to which it reaches ! I admit, however, that it is less lengthy than a similar list drawn from almost any other of the Writings of the Church of an equal size. But what though this be the case? It is alleged that a New Church minister has a right-almost that it is his duty--to take up the position: "I cannot teach anything as a doctrine of the Church which I cannot prove from the Word of God."
I shrink from believing that any New Church minister would take up this position in a thorough and consistent manner.
We cannot, therefore, take up the position implied in, and sometimes asserted from, the objection that Conjugial move appeals very sparingly to the letter of the Word. It would carry us too far. In the logical issue, indeed, it would deprive us of all those truths which belong to the Spiritual Sense of the Word proper, and thus to the strictly spiritual plane of thought, and leave us none but the few elements and rudiments--the mere foundation-truths--which "shine through the letter."
In reality, this objection is no objection to the canonicity of Conjugial Love. It is NOT, moreover, as has been assumed, because the aim of the work is to convince man's spirit by rational considerations, that the Word in the letter is, comparatively, so little quoted. Has it never occurred to our friends that there is a sufficient reason in the nature of the case, for this smallness of appeal to the letter? I suppose it cannot have done. Yet this is wonderful. For they must be aware that this subject of Conjugial Love is scarcely touched upon in the letter of the Word! They must know that there is not even a solitary precept to be found, from Genesis to Revelation, expressly forbidding POLYGAMY; and that, as a matter of fact, we owe the disappearance of polygamous and polyandrous marriages from those parts of the world whither the Christian religion has reached, not to the express teachings of the Gospel, but to the secret workings of Divine Providence!
This third objection, I think, need not detain us longer. The characteristic on which it rests is one which belongs to the nature of the case; and cannot, therefore, in any justice, be urged as against the work it characterizes. It may also, I think, be safely added, that the work we are considering brings in all the evidence which the letter of the Word contains. What could it do more?
The fourth and last objection, is, as previously stated, the great confidence of the attacking party. Swedenborg once wrote to Dr Beyer, complaining of the confiscation of some copies of Conjugial Love, at the instigation of Bishop Filenius, as an utterly unjustifiable proceeding. Swedenborg's claim was, that the book did not need to be examined as to the orthodoxy of its teaching by the House of the Clergy of Sweden, as was the law regarding "theological" works, because, says he, it "does not treat of theology, but chiefly of morals." Since,--the contention runs,--Swedenborg himself ruled this work out of the category of books "theological," and defined it as treating "chiefly of morals," what right have we to require New Churchmen to attest their New Churchmanship by declaring faith in this book as though it were one of the Writings of the Church? To some, no doubt, this objection presents difficulties. But let us face it.
To begin with, Swedenborg's contention must be admitted to be just.
They 1 might have appealed, also, as we should, to his own definition of "moral truths," as enforcing their contention: "Moral truths are those things which the WORD teaches respecting man's life with his neighbor, which is called charity; whose goods, which are uses, refer themselves, in general, to justice and fairness, to sincerity and rectitude, to chastity, to temperance, to truthfulness, to prudence, and to benevolence. To the truths of moral life pertain also the opposites of these, which destroy charity, and, in general, refer themselves to injustice and unfairness, to insincerity and fraud, to lasciviousness, to intemperance, to lying, to cunning, to enmity, hatred and vengefulness, and to malice.... These are called moral truths" (On the Divine Wisdom, xi.).
1 This and the following paragraph were not in the paper in its original form.
It was with the strictest accuracy, therefore, that Swedenborg asserted that Conjugial Love did "not treat of Theology, but chiefly of morals." But, if this is to exclude it from the New Church canon, let it be well noted, that, by the same standard, the Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem, and, in fact, all teaching embracing the doctrine of "charity," must also be ruled out!
To the man of the world, marriage is a matter of morals only; to the man of the Church it is a question of "religion." Simply, however, because religion, if a genuine and vital thing, annexes the domain of morals, and stamps it with its own mark. The domain of morals does not thereby cease to belong to that category; the quality of religion is added to it, and it becomes religious "morals."
But, after all, this has simply nothing to do with the question of whether, or not, Conjugial Love is one of the works by the giving of which to the world, through Swedenborg, the Lord has made His Second Advent, and thus one of the Divine Books of the New Church. Nothing whatever. For, although Swedenborg said, and said truly, that the subject matter of the book was not "theology" but "morals" he did not say that in the book itself the subject is not treated from the religious, and, therefore, the Divine, standpoint--thus, that its subject is not religious morals, or that the work is not a "religious" work. If he had said this, "our friend the enemy" might have had something to go upon. But he did not. Much less did he ever say that none but his "theological" books proper--interpreting the term narrowly--were given him by the Lord, and thus were part of the Lord's gift to His New Church. And until it can be shown that Swedenborg excluded all those works of his which were not strictly "theological"--and Conjugial Love is not the only one!--from the New Church canon, his classification of Conjugial Love as "not theological, but mainly moral," simply does not affect the question of the rank to which that work is entitled in the esteem of New Churchmen!
But there is something that does. In the last work which Swedenborg published in the discharge of his Divine commission, there appears this statement:--I attest in truth ... that, from the first day of my call to this office [of receiving the doctrines of the New Church into his understanding and making them known by the press], I have never received anything relating to the doctrines of that Church; from any angel, but from the Lord alone, while I was reading the Word" (T. C. R., 779). This is vital. The question is not, Is Conjugial Love a theological work or one on morals? but--Is its subject matter--conjugial love--something "relating to the doctrines of the New Church," or is it not? If it is, then, according to Swedenborg's testimony, it comes to us, as it came to him, "from the Lord alone."
Let me press the question, Does the subject of conjugial love "relate to" the doctrines of the New Church? Has the doctrine relating to the conjugial state, which is "the jewel of human life and the inner homestead of the Christian religion," anything to do with the doctrines of the New Jerusalem? Is that doctrine a part of the Holy City; or does it stand outside? We need not demand a categorical answer; for we know, full well, that the New Churchman does not exist--be he of whatsoever shade of opinion, or school of thought, he may-- who would either dare, or wish, to reply in the negative.
[Scanners note: There was a footnote but it was not noted in the text above.] 1 The Latin is as follows: "testor in veritate ... quod a primo illius vocationis die, non quicquam, quod Ecclesia illius Doctrinas attinet, ex aliquo angelo, sed a Solo Domino, dum legi Verbum, acceperim."
We have now fairly considered the reasons which are advanced for turning Conjugial Love out of the Divine Library for the New Church; and we have found them, I think I may safely say, altogether wanting. When straightforwardly and honestly faced, they are seen to afford absolutely no ground for the course it is desired that we should take. And we have also seen, that, following Swedenborg's solemn declaration concerning the source of everything whatsoever which he received "from the first day of his Divine call," "relating to the doctrines of the New Church," we are bound to receive the work, Conjugial Love, on precisely the same footing as all the other works which Swedenborg published in the discharge of his Divine commission.
But we have more than even this, to show us the attitude we ought to take up on this momentous question. Surely, if this work, or part of this work, was not to be received by New Churchmen on the same footing as the other doctrinal works published by Swedenborg, it is but reasonable to expect that he- would have given us some intimation of the difference of status, in the shape of explicit warning, or at least by alluding to it, when at all, in a different way from that in which he alludes to his other doctrinal Writings. For, this work was written at a time when he was, by universal consent, in the full enjoyment of the special Divine Illumination which pertained to his office and attended him in the discharge of its functions. It was written two years after the Apocalypse Revealed, and was followed in one short year by the Brief Exposition and the Intercourse between the Soul and the Body, and in only three, by The True Christian Religion--in the publication of which his labors of giving the doctrines of the New Church to the world were completed and crowned.
But in this last-named respect, what is the fact? In nos. 42 and 43 of the work itself, and also in no. 534, as well as in The True Christian Religion, we are told how Swedenborg was led to write the work. We find him saying, in Conjugial Love, 43: "An angel appeared to me out of that [i.e. the third, or highest] heaven, holding in his hand a parchment, which he unrolled, saying, I saw that you were meditating about conjugial love. In this parchment there are arcana of wisdom concerning that love which have not yet been disclosed in the world. They must now be disclosed, because it is of importance that they should be. Those arcana abound more in our heaven than in the rest, because we are in the marriage of love and wisdom. But I foretell that no others will appropriate that love to themselves, but those who are received by the Lord into the New Church, which is the New Jerusalem. Having said this, the angel let down the unrolled parchment, which a certain angelic spirit took and laid on a table in a certain chamber, which he instantly locked, and handed the key to me and said, Write! Here we have Swedenborg's own account of the genesis of the disputed book.
Before proceeding farther, I invite you to observe that this claim of exemption from accepting "the Pleasures of Insanity, etc.," as a "direct revelation from the Lord," on the ground that it was not written--as was (it is conceded) the work on Conjugial Love--"by command given by the Lord through heaven," involves the acceptance of Conjugial Love itself--by which is here meant the first part of the single work so entitled--in that light; that is to say, "as a direct revelation from the Lord." The writer's own argument binds him to this.
But on what ground is Part II. of Conjugial Love discriminated from Part I. in this respect? They were published by Swedenborg as one work; they were bound up together in one volume; the numbering of the paragraphs is carried forward from Part I. into Part II. without any breach of continuity; and in Part II. the reader is several times referred to Part I. on points under discussion, and in Part I. to Part II. There is every sign of the unity of the work; its being divided into two parts is no more a proof of there being two distinct treatises, written under different auspices, and occupying a different rank, than is the fact that Divine Love and Wisdom is divided into five parts, evidence that we have under that general title five different works, of different value in respect to the question of Revelation.
We are told, however, that Swedenborg himself intimates a difference at the end of the very first article of Part II., where he states,-_"As I have now finished the delights of wisdom relating to conjugial love, I am able, by virtue of the intelligence thence acquired, to describe the pleasures relating to scortatory love" (no. 424). It is assumed from this, that, while Swedenborg wrote Part I. by "command given by the Lord through heaven," he wrote Part II. of the same work on his own responsibility! But, most assuredly, this explanation of Swedenborg's goes no way at all towards justifying such an opinion. It is simply given as an illustration of the great law that evil cannot be truly discerned in its real nature, until the opposite good is fully known. For it follows immediately upon the question, "Who can form a correct judgment of the filthiness of scortatory love, but he who has first formed a correct judgment of the cleanness of conjugial love?" The statement may be taken as an intimation, that, before he had expounded the heavenly love, he was not qualified to expound the opposite infernal love, and that, in fact, his exposition of the former gave him the necessary qualification for unfolding the latter. But what of that? We have his assurance that the Lord prepared him "from his youth up"--that is to the end of his life--for the work He had for him to do. And the present avowal both lets us into the secret of how the Lord prepared him for this part of his work, and certifies us beyond a doubt that he was so prepared.
The1 passage last cited, however, has been appealed to as proving that "Part I.," and "Part II." are declared by Swedenborg to be two different treatises, and that, therefore, no claim on behalf of Conjugial Love can be admitted as valid for the "treatise" on "Scortatory Love," the special subject of "Part II." I may be told, as in fact I have been told:--"Before writing Part II., Swedenborg declared (no. 424) that he had completed his treatise on Conjugial Love. Were it not for this very emphatic and conclusive statement, I should admit your reasoning to be indisputable."
1 This and the four following paragraphs have been added since the paper was first given.
Let, then, the last of the objections that we consider be this one, on which so much is said to depend. "Swedenborg declared" (no. 424),--it is said,--"that he had completed his treatise on Conjugial Love" before writing "Part II." Will it be believed-certainly the gentleman who advanced the above contention did not know it--that C.L. 424 never mentions, nor alludes to, any "treatise on Conjugial Love"? Yet such is the fact.
It is most deplorable that the English reader cannot be aware of this fact; for the translation of 1876 (and, I suppose, all previous ones) contains the words:
He does, however, in other passages in Conjugial Love, refer to "Part I" and "Part II." by their respective titles; and then he prints their names in the manner usual for indicating the title of a book. Thus: "Unchastity, however, which is altogether opposite to chastity, is treated of in the latter Part of this work, where it is described, in its fullness and with its varieties, under the title, The Pleasures of Insanity relating to Scortatory Love" 1 (no. 138). This occurs in "Part I and refers to "Part II." In a passage in "Part II." we find "Part I." referred back to, in an entirely identical way: --" .... has been fully proved in The Delights of Wisdom relating to Conjugial Love, which constitute the first Part of this Work" 2 (no. 457).
1 Latin (capitals, &c., exactly reproduced): "De Incasto autem, quod prorsus est oppositum Casto, agitur in Parte posteriors hujus Operis, ubi hoc sub intitulatione, VOLUPTATES INSANIAE DE AMORE SCORTATORIO, in sua amplitudine, et cum suis varietatibus, describetur."
2 Latin (capitals, &c., reproduced, as before): .... in DELITIIS SAPIENTIAE DE AMORE CONJUOIALI, quae Partem primam hujus Operis constituunt, plene demonstratum est."
Whilst, therefore, it is unquestionable that no. 424 does not call the "first Part" of Conjugial Love a "treatise" in its own right, and thus separate it from "Part II." as a different work from that; whilst it is not even referring to "Part II." as a "Part" of a work, but simply naming the subject which is specially discussed therein;--nos. 138 and 457 show us how Swedenborg would have disposed his type, had he wished to make any such distinction as has been supposed to be meant in no. 424.
Now, and to conclude, let us look for two minutes at another side. After publishing Conjugial Love, Swedenborg gave to the world only three other works for the New Church-Brief Exposition; Intercourse of the Soul and the Body; and True Christian, Religion. In all of these he alludes to Conjugial Love. In what terms? And to what "part" of Conjugial Love? Always to point the reader to it for further or fuller information on, or for confirmation of, some point discussed in those later works; and, to both parts alike, without any kind of distinction. I cannot occupy you with the contents of all these references; 1 but I will select one, which, even if it were the only one, would be altogether and finally conclusive. That one is True Christian Religion, no. 313, where the obligations devolving upon Christians from the natural sense of the command "Thou shalt not commit adultery," are being affirmed:--"In the Natural Sense, by this command is meant not only whoredom, but also, etc....
1 The reader may usefully look them up for himself, however. They are, B.E., 55; Intercourse, 2, 11; T. C. R., 19, 313, 607.
I end my case here. To my mind, and I think to every truth-loving mind, the facts brought under review settle for ever the status of Conjugial Love in the New Church. Whatever difficulties anyone may experience in understanding, and thence in rationally accepting, any particular positions laid down in it, its title to rank as one of the Writings of the New church, on a perfect equality with all the others, is a matter on which we can have no doubt. It was written when Swedenborgs illumination was in the zenith of its splendor; it was written by command given through heaven by the Lord; it is in all its parts placed by the Writings subsequently published on exactly the same level as those works themselves occupy; and, although received by Swedenborg through an angel, was, like everything else relating to the doctrines of the New Church, not from any angel, but FROM THE LORD ALONE (T. C. R., 779).
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