Page images


and masterly defence of the plenary inspiration of the Word, and of its threefold adaptation to the celestial, spiritual, and natural genius of the regenerated man. The peculiarity of his interpretation of the Word, consists in his applying to it the doctrine of "Correspondence." Every narrative, and history, and fact recorded in the Divine Word, constitutes a basis for a description of man's spiritual degeneracy, regeneracy, and progress in the Divine life. The objective and historic, translated from the realm of mere history and objectivity, are seen to be facts of metaphysics and realities of the soul. The sentences which are involved in a maze of mystery in the letter, when interpreted by the spirit, become clear and convincing, and the spirit giveth life. The Word is Divine in every word, and is significant of cternal realities. The light of the is very old, but the morning, very new; so the grand doctrine of correspondence, with which Swedenborg interprets the main portions of the Word, is very ancient, but its application, in a theological sense, very modern. It is not new. The great Swedenborg was as royally conscious of the nature of truth as any man could be. No man ever affirmed to himself any great truth so loyally, or had such comprehension of its majesty, or ever gave it such earnest allegiance, as he. He knew that Truth was not the child of yesterday, and finite--but from everlasting, and infinite. The perception of it takes place according to well-arranged laws in our mental and spiritual constitution. The progress of man consists in this--that ho arrives at the perception of truth. The Divine Mind, which is its source, has left it to be apprehended, appropriated, and developed by human intelligences and human hearts. By the science of correspondence the earnest student of the Scriptores is enabled to understand the things "hard to be understood;" to see the Word in its glory and feel its warmt!ı; to make it more efficient as a light to the feet and a lamp to the path; to make it more surely a guide in all action, and the inspirer of all genuino charity. To him who searcheth with this key, treasures will disclose themselves. The Word will be seen to be a shield, x sword, a breastplate, and a preparation for the feet. The Word will adapt itself to the man in all his moral, mental, and spiritual phases of character and desire. The true disciple should glean from the Word things "new and old.” So long as a man remains on the surface of a subject, just in that measure is he likely to remain in darkness. All clearness is to be found in depth ; obscurity is ever on the surface. The deeper we descend into any science, the more clear does the truth become ; so the deeper we search for the hid treasures in the Word, the clearer we shall find them.

The Word of God is, in its natural and literal sense, the Pool of Bethesda : lame, impotent, blind, and diseased huma nity has lain by this pool, waiting for the stirring of its waters The angel of spiritual life moveth the waters ; the spiritual and internal sense of the Divine Word "giveth life.”

Would ye be cured ? then go down, mentally, spiritually, and bodily, into this great river of God, which cleanseth from all sin. The LORD sits upon the Jacob's Well of His Word, to give to those who come near it with earnest and sincere hearts, the living water. Bring hither your pitchers and water-pots-open yo your vessels of thought, imagination, memory, affection, and desire-He will fill them full. In the Holy Mount of the Word the LORD is transfigured for our gaze ; let us look and be healed. In the Word He always comes to bless and cure.

Swedenborg has expounded the senses of the Scriptures in such a manner that, when they are known and adopted, they will change the whole aspect of religious faith. His theology differs from the old theology in this—that it recognises a porpetual Divine unfolding, through literature, through science, through nature in all her provinces, through art in all its solemn glories, and through man, the crowning work of God.

Is it a marvel that men called, and do still call him, a visionary? No. I wonder not that men call him visionistic and a rhapsodistic! But Swedenborg was not the visionary who peopled the airy domains of nothingness with the pale, white images of dreams; he was not the rhapsodist-if by this term is meant a mind in whom calm, cool, thorough common sense has been supplanted by loose and flimsy habits of speculation, till the ability to discern and discriminate between the real and the unreal has been lost; this is not found in the whole tenor of his life, certainly less in the ordered form and established harmony of his mental constitution. What! was this great naturalist, fit mate for Linnæus-this great physiologist, of vaster scope than Boerhaave—this man of the world, with deep practical knowledge and talent, entitling him to sit in the councils of kings and nobles-was this man a mere speculator in the realms of fancy? O no! He was no conjuror of weird, unreal phantoms; rather the last man in the world to whom such a charge could apply. Whatever may have been his diseases, madness was not of the number. His philosophy and profound theosophy are awfully ponderous and sternly practical; his doctrine of religion soul-influencing, spiritstirring, heart-exalting, intellect-illumining; his teaching and example are calculated to make men meek, gentle, and charitable, and his followers catholic, intelligent, and pious. His moral conduct was as genuinely pure as his intellectual stature was gigantic and transparent; his piety was as sim.

plistic as his endowments were marvellously brilliant and post humous. Few men have approached the hem of his garment in respect of moral purity ; fewer still to the majesty and volume of his personal growth in intellectual proportions There is every element of scientific, philosophic, and theologie vastness in the culture of this great man. He realises in his manhood all the ordinary standards in Astronomy, Anatomy, Mathematics, Mechanics, Metallurgy, Metaphysics, Physics, Poetry, Philosophy, and Theology. In him are all the elements of a quickened and ripened intellectuality, and every matured fruit of a stalwart and cosmopolitan individuality, splendid analytic order with Plato ; vast generalisation with Spinoza ; Titanic power of argumentative force with Luther ; piety and spiritual greatness with Wesley; grand scope and use of correspondence with Bunyan ; deeper reasoning than Calvin, Knox, Baxter, Channing, Priestley, Paley; sweeter and more serenely logical than the Westminster Divines; warmer in sympathies than the passive and mystical school ; reverent and deeper insight in the exploration of the Cosmos than Humboldt; the leading man of the ages; the central man of many knowledges; the typal man of comprehensive achievements : the man without an equal, a model, or a shadow !

The starlike Galileo swept the material heavens with a material telescope, and led the way to those splendid discoveries which have crowned with undying glory the brows of Kepler, Copernicus, and Newton. To this great wanderer among the stars, the material forms of planets unveiled themselves in glorious beauty and spheral harmony. But Swedenborg went apward to the higher heavens of spirit, and, with spiritual telescope in hand, he gazed upon the heavenly and infernal worlds. To him was given the lensic and telescopic power which is in the human soul. He planted himself on the observatory of the subjective and spiritual plane, and looked thence to the spiritual and sublime heavens. Greater astrono mer than Galileo or Kepler, he was one great eye set in the collective brain of human thought; and Deity and destiny-our spiritual and eternal future-our homes in the blessed heavens, and our possible dens in the awful hells-mapped themselves out upon his plane of vision! What gladsome and gloomy hours of vision were his ! Earth, sky, and nature were but breathing vestures of Deity; and his spirit gave them a tremendous significancy and a terrible reality. Look how he roams and searches for the soul's immortal and final abode! No false mission was his; his being was rapt in the secrets of the to-come. Eternity comes to him and unfolds its sublime realities and its solemn beauty. Ages pour along-are scrolled backward; still unruffled eternity and

infinitude around and before--unruffled infinitudo behind him: but he is still calm and balanced. He beholds the verdant plains of heaven; he hears the music of celestials; he speaks with angels; hierarchy above hierarchy, towering in grandeur, with brows resplendent as the rainbow, pass before his vision; he sees the holy homes of sainted hearts, and the congugial joys of wedded breasts, and the noble employ of redeemed intellects, and the glory-work of artistic skill. He beheld “The Divine Man" as the heavenly Vesper, shining amid its sunny hopes, and hallowed peace, and tender whisperings, and rapturous glances, and deep inexpressible bliss, and unwavering constancy, and deathless friendship, and fadeless charms, and matchless beauties, and dulcet melodies ! He passed his fingers over the cathedral harp of eternity, and sounds issued forth. The hymn of that life to come is immortalised in his “Heaven and Hell ;” or “Theories of a Future Life." He climbed to the summit of Parnassus--none above him; he plucked the laurel-its leaf unfading. He felt all the solemn witcheries of the natural creation, and all the sublimer witcheries of the spiritual world. He traced the golden links of that chain which binds the universe to God, and God to man. He saw the Lovely Form that excelleth, and drank in the delicious fra. grances of highest heaven. What more? Had he not quaffed the cup of life? What more to complete his knowledge or his power? What but an immortal life itself, and its mild morning sunlight ! He had mastered all the science and lore of earth-communed with the great and gifted, the noble and princely of earth : what remained to charm his soul, or complete the greatness of his being ? He looked up at Vesper twinkling ever brightly in evening's shadowy hemisphere, and lo! from Heaven he heard a voice proclaiming-“He is ripe

, even unto the harvest :” and with the angel of tranquillity standing by his side, and with words of humble protestation on his lips, Emanuel Swedenborg passed awa to the eternal world.




AM monarch of all I survey,

My right there is none to dispute, From the centre all round to the sea,

I am lord of the fowl and the brute. O solitude! where are the charms

That sages have seen in thy face? Better dwell in the midst of alarms,

Than reign in this horrible place!

I am out of humanity's reach,

I must finish my journey alone, Never hear the sweet music of speech,

I start at the sound of my own. The beasts that roam over the plain,

My form with indifference see, They are so unacquainted with man,

Their tameness is shocking to me!

Society, friendship, and love,

Divinely bestow'd upon manOh! had I the wings of a dove,

How soon would I taste you again! My sorrows I then might assuage

In the ways of religion and truth; Might learn from the wisdom of age,

And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth.

Religion !-what treasure untold

Resides in that heavenly word ! More precious than silver and gold,

Or all that this earth can afford. But the sound of the church-going bell

These valleys and rocks never heard, Ne'er sigh'd at the sound of a knell,

Or smil'd when a Sabbath appear'd.

« PreviousContinue »