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trine, which doubtless, above all other dociriries, was designed to be a source of the most sublime instruction, and at the same time, of the most invigorating energy of vital holiness, purity, and joy, to the human bosom, viz. the Doctrine concerning the Divine Person, Character, and Office of the GREAT REDEEMER, Whose high and holy name is Jesus CHRIST.
But it may be requisite to dwell more particularly on this instance of the dominion of error, as it is manifested at this day in the creeds, or formulas of faith, which direct, not only the opinions, but the lives and practises of the members of every church in modern Christendom. The Editor, therefore, (he trusts, not in the spirit of petulant judgment, but with the sober and serious view of the investigation of truth) would wish to ask the following questions-In what church in Christendom are its members taught, at this day, to address their prayers and their praises immediately to Jesus Christ, when yet that Great and Holy God Himself enjoins such immediate worship in a language which can leave no doubt of His Divine meaning, where He says, “ Come unto ME; Abide in ME; Without Me ye can do nothing ?” For why, or to what purpose, can JESUS Christ be supposed to call upon us to "come unto Him, to abide in Him," and to acknowledge that “ without Him we can do nothing,” except with the blessed view, either that we should make known to Him our wants, and confess Him to be the only Being in the universe who can remove them; or that we should humble ourselves before Him under a grateful sense of His mercy and lovingkindness, in imparting to us our life and all its benefits ? Yet how plain is it to see, that these acts of confession and grateful acknowledgement constitute the sum and substance of all Divine Worship, and that consequently, if they are directed to Jesus CHRIST, such direction implies that JESUS Christ is the sole object of our adoration, since it is absolutely impossible to direct those acts to more than one Being? On the other hand, if those acts are not directed to Jesus Christ, what eye cannot discern, that the precepts of that GREAT God and SAVIOUR are not attended to, and that consequently the brightness of the ETERNAL Truth is, in this instance, obscured by the darkness of error?
Again-in what church in Christendom are its members taught, at this day, to believe the Humanity of Jesus CHRIST to be the receptacle of all the fulness of Divinity, and thus to be a Divine HUMANITY, in, by, and through which, the invisible GODHEAD is made visible, the unknown GODHEAD is
made known, the unapproachable Godhead is rendered approachable, and that thus the penitent believer has continual access to his HEAVENLY Father? Yet that the Humanity of the GREAT Saviour is a DIVINE HUMANITY, and is also the medium of the communication of so many blessings to mankind, is evident from the repeated testimony of that Saviour, where He says, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him” John xiii. 31. “I and the Father are One” John x. 30. “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me: If ye had known Me, ye should have known my Father also; and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him; he that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me" John xiv. 6, 7, 9, 11. “I am the door of the sheep ; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” John x, 7, 9; to which may be added the testimony of the apostle, where he writes concerning the Glorified Saviour, “In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” Coloss. ii. 9. What enlightened eye then cannot again see, from this instance, that the church called Christian has unhappily turned her back on the light of heaven, by which it was intended she should have been at once illuminated, consoled, and purified? And what enlightened eye cannot further discern, that the cause of this mischief originates solely in the rejection of the Divinity of the Lord's Humanity, whilst its consequences are most awful, if regarded only in this single point of view, that in case the Godhead is not approached, in, by, and through the Glorified or Divine HUMANITY of the GREAT REDEEMER, the terrible denunciation of that Redeemer is then incurred, where He so emphatically says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber” John
Again-in what church in Christendom is it asserted at this day, as an article of faith, that the Jesus of the New Testament is the same identical Being with the JEHOVAH of the Old, and that the only circumstance in which they differ is, that the former is a visible, known, and approachable God, in consequence of His manifestation in a human form and essence, whereas the latter is invisible, unknown, and unapproachable, because unmanifested, except when He occasionally presented Himself to the spiritual view of mortals in an angelic form? Yet that this article of faith was taught
and confirmed by Jehovah Himself, is evident from the following passages in His prophet, announcing the Advent of this INFINITE and ETERNAL Being, or His manifestation in the flesh, “It shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us; this is Jehovah whom we have expected ; Jet us exult and rejoice in His salvation" Isaiah xxv. 9. “ The voice of Him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of JEHOVAH; make smooth in the desert a path for our God; the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. Behold the LORD JEHOVAH cometh in might,” Isaiah xl. 3, 5, 10; not to men. tion a multitude of other passages to the same purport. It is plain, then, as the sun at noon day, that the church called Christian, in overlooking the above testimony, has fallen into the dangerous error of regarding the Saviour God, not as Jehovah HIMSELF manifested in the flesh, but only as the Son of Jehovah, and as a son, too, born from eternity, when yet we never read in the Sacred Scriptures of any son of Jehovah born from eternity, nor indeed of any other son of JEHOVAH, until it was announced by the angel Gabriel concerning the Humanity assumed in the womb of the virgin Mary, “ Therefore also that Holy Thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God” Luke i. 33.
But the proof of error on this important doctrine respecting the Divine person and character of the Great REDEEMER is not only to be found in what is not insisted on and taught in the churches of Christendom at this day, but also in what is insisted on and taught. For what is the grating language which constantly resounds from the modern press and pulpit on this most interesting of all subjects? The Socinian is not afraid to tell us, in plain terms, that Jesus Christ was a mere man, distinguished indeed from other men by his superior wisdom and virtue, yet claiming no pretensions to absolute Divinity either in His person or character. The Arian, in like manner, degrades the Saviour by denying His GODHEAD, and making Him a creature, at the same time that he assigns Him a place of eminence superior to that of any other creature. And what shall we say of that other opinion, which is maintained on this subject by those who call themselves the most orthodox and the most enlightened, and who nevertheless have been betrayed (possibly without being aware of it) into the dangerous infatuation of distinguishing the Deity into three Deities, by assigning to each a distinct personality, a distinct office, and a distinct adoration? For when it is said of the FATHER, that He created the world; of the Son that
He redeemed it; and of the Holy Ghost that He sanctifieth it; and when these three, viz. the FATHER, the Son, and the HOLY Guost, are called distinct persons, and have distinct offices allotted them, and lay claim to a distinct worship, what is the necessary result of all these distinctions, but to establish a monstrous tritheism, fraught with the most mischievous consequences, by its direct tendency to distract the mind of the sincere worshiper, to perplex him as to the proper object of his adoration, and thus, by dividing his worship, to destroy it, since it is absolutely impossible for the human mind to pay its debt of religious gratitude, love, praise, and supplication, to more than one DIVINE BEING?
But the pernicious consequences of the above error respecting the Divine person and character of the GREAT REDEEMER do not stop here. For if Jesus Christ be not acknowledged and approached as the supreme and exclusive object of adoration, by virtue of the inseparable union of His Divinity and HUMANITY, or what amounts to the same thing, by virtue of His Divine HUMANITY, what must be the necessary result, but that the human mind will worship it knows not what, and having no definite personality on which to fix its attention, will wander it knows not where? Hence come all the mischiefs of modern infidelity, Materialism, Atheism, and Sadducism, against which there is no possible security to be found, but in the adoration of Him who said, “I am the way,
the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by ME” John xiv. 6. For if man does not thus come to his HEAVENLY FATHER, how or where can he hope to find Him? Will he not then confound the infinity of the GODHEAD with the infinity of space, and thus perish in the errors of Pantheism, by identifying God with the purest principles of nature ?
It is evident then from the above considerations, that on this most important of all Christian doctrines, viz., the doctrine which elucidates the Divine Person and Character of JESUS Christ, error prevails at this day in the church called Christian, which error, like an eclipse of the sun, at once darkens the face of the grand luminary of heaven, and intercepts all the bright beams of His celestial heat and light, by hiding from human eyes the Divine countenance and beneficent aspect of the CHRISTIAN GOD. And since all error is in its nature prolific, and especially the grand fundamental error of which we are speaking, therefore it is further to be considered and lamented, that by denying to the INCARNATE God the Sole Exclusive Divinity to which He is entitled, a thousand other deadly misconceptions have had birth in the church respecting Christian doctrines and Christian duties of the highest moment, whether regarded as articles of faith, or as precepts of life. For what eye cannot see, that all the mistaken ideas of an imputed righteousness, of an arbitrary election on the part of God, of justification by faith alone, of salvation by immediate mercy, &c., &c., have originated principally in a division of the Godhead into three persons, and in the consequent allotment of a distinct office and operation to each person, by assigning to the Father the act of creation, to the Son the act of redemption, and to the Holy Ghost the act of sanctification ?
If then it can be proved, that in the Theological Writings of Swedenborg is discoverable, not only the true ground of the above enormous error, but also its effectual cure; if it can be shewn (and what candid and sincere reader of those Writings can doubt the possibility of its being shewn?) that this enlightened Author has been made an instrument, in the hands of the Most High, of restoring to the christian church the lost knowledge of her God, by proclaiming His Unity, and, at the same time the Divine TRINITY which enters into the composition of that unity, whilst the All of FATHER, Son, and HOLY SPIRIT, is seen united in the One Divine Person of the the GREAT SAVIOUR, forming together One Divine Being, in like manner as soul, body, and operation in man form one human being;-if, in consequence of maintaining the Sole Exclusive Divinity of Jesus Christ in His One-ness with the Father, the same pious and enlightened Author has been gifted with wisdom from above to detect and to eradicate, not only one error, but a thousand other errors of doctrine and of life, which, like a deluge of waters, have overflowed the church called christian, whilst he has been enabled by the same wisdom to restore to the church the simple but true doctrine of Christian life, consisting in repentance, obedience, and faith in the GREAT REDEEMER;—if, I say, all this important testimony can be established and confirmed in favour of the distinguished Author of the Extracts which accompany the new Translation of the Gospel here presented to the public, (and what testimony can be established and confirmed, if this cannot?)—then what apology can be deemed necessary for introducing that Author to the reader's attention? Rather, would not the concealment of such an Author's name, dignified as it is become by the most profound researches in the volumes both of Nature and of Revelation, and more especially by an unspotted purity of life and character, require an apology?