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exist and subsist in no other manner : thus in the case of man, no part within him could exist or subsist, unless there were a common bond in which it was included; the parts in man are the viscera with their several divisions, while the coats and coverings are the common bonds (communia), which not only encompass the entire man, but likewise surround each single viscus, and every single part in each. The case is alike in every beast, bird, and worm, and also in every tree, shrub, or seed; nor could there be a sound expressed either by a string or wind instrument, unless there were somewhat most common (communissimum), from which the parts of the melody derived their common principle that they might exist. The case is similar with all the bodily senses, as with sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, and also with every internal sense which belongs to the mind.* These instances are adduced for the sake of illustration, to shew that the church also has its common principles and its particulars, and likewise its most common principles, and that it is on this ground that four churches have preceded in regular order, from which progression the most common principle of the church has arisen, and in process of time, what is common and particular in each church. In man also there are two most common forms, from which all common forms, with each part, derive their existence : these two most common forms in the body are the heart and lungs, and in the spirit are the will and understanding, on which all things of his life depend both in common and in particular, for without them they would fall to decay, and die : the like would happen to the whole angelic heaven, and the whole race of mankind, nay to the whole created universe, unless all things in common, and each thing in particular, were dependent on God, His love, and wisdom.
* We are very sensible that the author's reasoning in this place will at first sight seem obscure to many readers ; nevertheless we will venture to assert, that the more it comes to be considered and digested by a truly enlightened and philosophical mind, so much the more will its truth and importance become manifest, and be found highly agreeable both to reason and experience.
VII. THAT THIS SECOND COMING OF THE LORD 18
NOT A Coming In Person, BUT IN THE WORD, WHICH IS FROM Him, AND IS HIMSELF. *
776. It is written in many places that the Lord will come in the clouds of Heaven, as Matt. xvii. 5, xxiv. 30, xxvi. 64, Mark xiv. 61, 62, Luke ix. 34, 35, xxi. 27, Rev. i. 7. xiv. 14, Dan. vii. 13 : But no one hath heretofore known what is meant by the clouds of heaven, and hence mankind have believed that the Lord will appear in them in person. But it has remained undiscovered to this day that the Word in its literal sense is meant by the clouds of heaven, and that the spiritual sense of the Word is meant by the power and glory in which also the Lord is to come, Matt. xxiv. 30, for no one until this time has had the least conjecture of there being in the Word any spiritual sense, such as it is in reality and truth. Now whereas the spiritual sense of the Word has been opened to me by the Lord, and it has been granted me to be with angels and spirits in their world as one of themselves, it has been revealed to me that by the clouds of heaven, the Word in its natural sense is meant, and by glory, the Word in its spiritual sense, and by power, the effectual operation of the Lord by the Word. That the clouds of heaven have this signification, may be seen from the following passages in the Word : “ There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth in the heaven, and in His magnificence on the clouds," Deut. xxxiii. 26 : “ Sing unto God, sing praises to His name, extol Him that rideth upon the CLOUDS," Psalm lxviii. 4: “Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swIFT CLOUD," Isaiah xix. 1: to ride signifies to instruct in divine truths from the Word, for a horse signifies the understanding of the Word, as may be seen in the APOCALYPSE REVEALED, 11. 298: for who cannot see that God does not ride on the clouds ? Again : “God rode upon the cherubs, His pavilion round about Him were thick CLOUDS OF THE HEAVENS.” Psalm xvii. 10 to 13: cherubs also signify the Word, as may be seen in the A POCALYPSE Revealed, n. 239, 672. “Jehovah bindeth up the Waters in His thick clouds, he spreadeth His CLOUD upon His throne,” Job xxvi. 8, 9: “ Ascribe ye strength unto Jehovah, His strength is in the CLOUDS," Psalm lxviii. 34 : “Jehovah hath created upon every dwelling-place of mount Zion a CLOUD by day, and upon all the glory shall be a covering," Isaiah iv. 5. The Word in its literal sense was also represented by the cloud in which Jehovah descended on Mount Sinai, when He delivered the law; the precepts of the law, which were at that time delivered, being the first fruits of the Word. In confirmation of what bath been said, the follow
* The carnal mind, we are well aware, will make many objections to this idea of the Lord's second advent, and will think the glory of that advent hereby much diminished and degraded. But let it be remembered, that the carnal or natural man always sees the things of God through a false medium, and therefore cannot possibly be a competent judge of what is, or is not agreeable to the divine glory. Thus the Jews of old deceived themselves with false notions concerning the glory of their expected Messiah under His first advent; they looked for a great prince, or deliverer, who should appear amongst them in the outward pomp and parade of a mighty conqueror, to rescue them from their temporal enemies; and few, very few, had their eyes enlightened by the purities of heavenly light to discern the glories of the Messiah, in the low sphere in which He appeared, and see the lustre of His advent in opening and establishing a spiritual kingdom of heavenly righteousness and truth in the hearts of His people through the light and power of His divine Word. The case most probably will be the same at this day ; the carnal Christian, looking for Christ's coming in great outward pomp, in the clouds of the external beavens, to reign visibly and in person on earth, will be offended to bear of His coming only in the spiritual sense of His Word, which is divine good and divine truth, to establish His spiritual kingdom in the hearts of His people, and will possibly think this a lessening and diminution of the lustre of His advent. But the truly spiritual Christian will be enlightened to see, that herein the glory of the Lord is truly revealed, and that no advent could possibly be more glorious than this appearing of the great Jehovah Jesus in the spiritual sense of that Holy Word, which is Himself, and from Him, and full of Him, and effective of conjunction with Him, in all such as truly receive that Word into their hearts, and let it operate in their lives and conversations.- May every reader, for his own sake, take this subject into deep and serious consideration !
ing particulars may be mentioned : there are clouds in the spiritual world just as in the natural world, but from another origin; in the spiritual world there are sometimes bright clouds above the angelic heavens, but over the hells hang dusky clouds; the bright clouds over the angelic heavens are a representative of obscurity there, proceeding from the literal sense of the Word, but the dispersion of those clouds signifies that they are then in clearness from its spiritual sense; but the dusky clouds over the bells signify the falsification and profanation of the Word. The origin of this signification of clouds in the spiritual world is grounded in this circumstance, that the light which proceedeth from the Lord as a sun there, signifies divine truth, whence He is called The Light, John i. 9, chap. xii. 35; it is on this account too that the Word itself, which in that world is kept deposited in the sacred recesses of their temples, appears encompassed with a bright light: and the light is obscured by the interposition of clouds.
777. That the Lord is the Word, is evident from this passage in John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word was made flesh,” chap. i. 1, 14 : that the Word in this passage is divine truth, is plain from this consideration, that Christians obtain divine truth from no other source than the Word, which is a fountain from which all churches, that take their name from Christ, draw living waters in their fulness; and yet in the natural sense of the Word divine truth is in a cloud, but in its spiritual and celestial sepse it is in glory and in power : that there are three senses in the Word, the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial, one within the other, has been shewn in the chapter on the Sacred Scripture, and in the chapter on the DecALOGUE or CATECHISM: hence it appears, that the Word mentioned in John signifies divine truth. John also testifieth the same in his first epistle : “We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an UNDERSTANDING, that we may know the truth, and we are in the TRUTH, in His Son Jesus Christ,” v. 20. It is for this reason that the Lord so often said, “ VERILY I say unto you,” for Amen (which is the word translated VERILY], in the Hebrew tongue, is truth: and for the same reason he is called the Amen, Rev. iii. 14; and the Trutu, Joho xiy, 6. If you consult also the learned, what they understand by the Word spoken of in John i. 1, they will tell you they understand the Word in its supereminence; and what else is the Word in its supereminence but divine truth? From these considerations it is evident, that the Lord will now also appear in the Word; the reason why He will not appear in person, is, because since His ascension into heaven He is in His glorified Humanity, and in that Humanity He cannot appear to any man unless the eyes of his spirit he first opened, and this opening cannot be effected in any that are in evils and the falses thence derived, thus not in any of the goats whom He setteth on His left hand; wherefore when He shewed Himself to His disciples, He first opened their eyes, for it is written, “ And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him, and he vanished out of their sight,” Luke xxiv. 31. The case was the same with the women who visited the sepulchre after his resurrection; hence at the same time they also saw angels sitting in the sepulchre, and conversing with them, whom yet it is impossible for any man to see with the material eye. It is plain from His transfiguration before Peter, James, and John, that the apostles before the Lord's resurrection did not see Him in His glorified Humanity with their bodily eyes, but in the spirit, (which vision appeareth after waking as if it was seen in sleep,) for it is written, “their eyes were heavy with sleep,” Luke ix. 32. It is then a vain thing to imagine that the Lord will appear in the clouds of heaven in person, when the truth is, that He will appear in the Word, which is from Him, and is thus Himself.