« ZurückWeiter »
from the whole of the Formula Concordia, that our Saviour is, accord. ing to his human nature, also God, which Luther and the Formula Concordiæ corroborate with all power, and which also is in agree. ment with the entire Word of God. I will here only refer you to Colos. 2,9; 1 Epis. John, 5, 20, 21. More to the same purport has been adduced from one of my works, an extract from which may
be found in the printed protocols or reports of the Gottenburg Consistory. This [doctrine] is there called Swedenborgianism; but for my part I call it true Christianity.
“ This is the state of the question, concerning which we now contend, which on the one side the members of the Consistory have not, in the least, touched, but have only burst forth into shameful reproaches, which are of such a nature as to affect not only my person and honour, but even our Redeemer and his holiness.
" As to the Son of God from eternity, about which subject there is also a dispute, I have also proved, that in the Apostle's creed, which is received throughout the whole Christian world, and which contains the teaching of the apostles, no other Son of God is meant, than the Son of God born in time, who is our Redeemer himself, to whom every man can address himself, and, according to the Augsburg Confession and the Formula Concordiæ, he must address himself, in order to find salvation. If this doctrine were taken away, I would rather dwell in Tartary than in Christendom. Should another wish to go still further, to a Son from eternity, he is free to do so.
“ Through your letter, and the intimated fear respecting hard treatment, I have been occasioned to unfold and explain the matter in this manner, as theological subjects are of such a nature, that a person may easily wander in darkness respecting them, particularly if the accusers, from pretended learning, blacken them with such gross expressions, and thus kill the male child' with murderous words. However, I believe, and I feel persuaded, that his Majesty and his enlightened counsellors will judge of the matter according to its true nature, and without reference to the glosses and remarks of the dean and of others: for if you were deposed and banished from the country, what else would the present, as well as future, generations say, but that this had happened on no other account, than because you had addressed yourself immediately to our Lord and Saviour, and, notwithstanding, you did not deny the Trinity. Would not this cause every one to be greatly astonished and indignant? This subject, in its whole extent, will soon be laid before the whole Christian world,* the judgment of which + Swedenborg wrote this a short time before he published the Universal Theology, &c. I shall afterwards hand over to his Majesty, and to the honorable members of the state; for the priestly order, in the assembly of the state, is not authorized to hand over to his Majesty any particular depositions which should necessarily be followed. Religious matters belong also to others.
“As to your journey hither, I do not see that your presence could contribute much to your defence. Will you have the kindness to send a copy of this letter to his Excellence, the Counsellor N. N. von Stockenström, and one to his Excellence, the Counsellor N. N. Hermansson, with the remark, that you have sent them by my desire. I also intend to send a copy of it to the Chancellor of Justice, and another copy to his Excellence Count Ekeblad.
I remain, &c. &c. “ Stockholm, April 12, 1770.” “ EMANUEL SWEDENBORG.”
The next letter is dated from Amsterdam, July 2nd, 1771.
“ Captain Sjöberg has informed me, that he has a commission from Mr. Hammarberg to purchase some copies of the works published by me, viz. four of each, and also of the work which has just appeared; but on account of the strict prohibition, the captain durst only take one copy of each; besides this I have made him a present of a copy of the last published work. Perhaps Mr. Hammerberg may know of some way of receiving another copy, if it were sent afterwards. In a few days I shall send to Stockholm by Captain Casp. Nyberg two copies of the work just published entitled “ Vera Religio Christiana," one for the Bishop, Dr. Mennander, and the other for the Bishop, Dr. Serenius, and amongst other matters, I shall give them to understand, that so soon as the assembly of the states is pretty numerously attended, I shall send in a formal complaint about the proceeding of the counsellor of state in the Gottenburg affair concerning you and me; from which I hope for a favourable result. Herewith I send you two copies of the printed promemoria* against Dr. Ernesti. You can, if you please, communicate one to the members of the Consistory, as it has been circulated in Germany. What is said therein is also applicable to your dean. With heartfelt salutations to Dr. Rosen,
“ I remain, &c. “ Amsterdam, July 2, 1771."
66 EMANUEL SWEDENBORG.”
* This promemoria, which only consists of a few lines in reply to Dr. Eroesti's attack upon E. S. in his Bibliotheca Theologica, p. 784, may be seen appended to the English translation of the Coronis, or Appendix to the True Christian Religion.
Immediately after the preceding letter to Dr. Beyer, the Swedish Documents observe, that in the correspondence with that gentleman the following remarkable lines were found :
“ In the small treatise sent (to you) as well as in my former writings, I do not mean a Son of God born from eternity, but a Son of God conceived and born in the world, in whom is the Divine Trinity. In the Apostle's Creed, which was the confession of faith of the Apostolic church, no other Son of God is named, still less is any other understood in the Evangelists. Luke 1; 32, 35. Matt. 3; 17. 17; 5. John 20; 32. 1 John 5; 20, 21. But that the Council of Nice afterwards assumed a Son of God born from eternity, and added another divine person, took place because they could find no other way to put down the errors of Arius; and on this account it is, that the church, at the present time particularly insists, that reason shall be held captive in obedience to a blind faith. But whether it can come into the conception, or idea, of man so to explain the subject may probably be seen in No. 117, and also in No. 44.” (See Sum. Expo.)
THE MANSIONS OF HEAVEN.
To the Editors of the Intellectual Repository. GENTLEMEN, I had lately the pleasure of hearing a sermon in a dissenting chapel passage,
my Father's house are many mansions.” The preacher stated, that by the Father's house the Lord literally meant the temple at Jerusalem, as evidenced by his saying at another time, (John 2.) “Make not my Father's house a house of merchandise.” And by the many mansions in the temple, he said we may understand the ninety distinct dwellings, called chambers, (1 Kings 6.) for the priests, which were within or upon the walls, and formed a part of the temple, in the largest sense of the word. The preacher took the temple as meaning figuratively heaven; and the distinct mansions as meaning distinct " groups" of happy spirits, attracted together either by their likeness of character, or their former relations of affection; and each group dwelling nearer to, or farther from God, according to the degree of its purity.
It is certain that this idea of the societies of heaven had not been borrowed from Swedenborg; and it cannot but be felt as pleasing, that it should receive confirmation so complete, from the testimony of a student of the literal sense of the Word only.
THE GREAT IMPORTANCE OF TRUTH AS WELL AS
IN THE REGENERATION OF MAN.
We sometimes hearit asserted, that if the life be upright and good, no matter what a man's opinions are in relation to doctrines and truths; and this assertion, we apprehend, is very generally admitted, even amongst those who have abundant means and opportunities of knowing better. It should be well considered, however, that truth is as necessary as goodness in order to constitute man an image of his Maker, and to render him fit to enter into heaven, and to enjoy its eternal beatitudes. It is certainly true, that without goodness, or genuine love as an operative principle in the heart, there can be no admission into heaven; but it is equally true, that there can be no admission likewise, unless truth, in correspondent fullness, be united with that goodness. The perfection both of the human and of the angelic character consists, not in goodness alone, or in truth alone, not in charity alone, or in faith alone, but in these two principles united; and in proportion to the quality and nature of their union will be the perfection, wisdom, and happiness of man, and after death, his elevation into heaven.
The assertion, therefore, that it matters little whether a man's opinions in relation to doctrines and truths be correct, provided his life be correct and upright, is only worthy of that ignorance of the real nature of love and wisdom, charity and faith, and their relation to each other, which exists in the fallen church, many of whose members never concern themselves about doctrines whether what they hear be true or false. They go to church from youth to old age, from Sab. bath to Sabbath, and hear sermons preached, which are composed on the doctrinal belief that there are three persons in the trinity, which in reality amounts to the acknowledgment, in thought at least, that there are three gods, and it seems to matter little to them, whether there be three gods or only one, so great is their unconcern in respect to genuine truth. The fact is, that so long as the mind remains thus deeply sunk in sleep as to the necessity of opening its eyes to seek and to find genuine truths, the life, howsoever it may be characterised by external propriety, and blameless in the eyes of the world, is, nevertheless, merely natural, and has not any spiritual and saving good within it.
Like the members of the church at Sardis, such people may
a name to live, but are, in reality, dead," and for the same reason, because “ their works are not perfect, or full, before
God.” It is truth which gives to goodness all its quality; which raises it from a merely natural to a spiritual state; which gives it eyes to see, ears to hear, and a mouth to speak. Hence to be unconcerned and indifferent about the acquisition of truth is a sure sign of the prevalence of merely selfish and worldly loves.
The Lord consequently says to his church, in order to arouse it from this dreadful state of slumber, which is very similar to the sleep of death, “ Be thou instructed, 0 Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee, lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited,” (Jer. vi. 8.) Here the necessity of receiving instruction is plainly and awfully declared. The Lord's “ soul” is his divine wisdom, which is certain to depart from us if we neglect to be instructed, and to receive truth. Since his wisdom can only dwell with us in the truths which we have acquired from his holy Word, it follows, that only in proportion as we feel an interest in the study and proper discernment of truth, can we become truly wise. This will be more evidently seen, when we consider, that without truths we cannot know the Lord, because he can only be seen by the light of truth,—without truths we cannot love the Lord, or worship him aright: hence he says, “that he is near to all who call upon him in truth,” and that we are to “ worship him in spirit and in truth.” Moreover, without truths we cannot love our neighbour; indeed we cannot know, who, in a proper sense, our neighbour is, still less can we love him as we ought. Again, without truths our regeneration cannot be effected, because the entire process is carried on by truth. The Lord is working by the Spirit of Truth within us, and we are required to co-operate with him by truths which we have acquired from his Word; and the progress is advanced or retarded in proportion to the energy of the co-operation on our part; all which is effected by means of truths and their application to the life. It consequently follows, that without truths we have no power against what is evil and false from hell, and evil spirits can easily lead us withersoever they will, and make us an easy prey to their deceitful wiles and malicious purposes. Thus, truths are “ the whole armour of God, with which we must be clothed, in order that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” (Eph. 6; 11); they are “the breast-plate of righteousness,” the "helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,” without which it is impossible to stand against the enemy in the hour of temptation and in the day of battle. By truths, moreover, we are purified from our numerous inbred and acquired defilements. “ Now ye are clean through the Word I have spoken unto you." By truths we receive from the Lord a genuine conscience,