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there have been any cloud about the Holy Oracles ? Why did the Lord place this covering upon the internal glory of his Word? Why was it not composed in such a manner that the genuine truth could be readily perceived by every one ?"

And why, I would ask, was not this natural world so constituted, that any one, say a child or an ignorant savage, might comprehend its interior structure and understand all its laws, by a single glance of the eye? Why is it so difficult to understand and explain the laws of the natural phenomena we witness; and why do so many things around us appear different from what they really are? Why does not a flash of lightning reveal at once to every beholder the nature and laws of the electric fluid? Or those flickering pencils of light that dance in the northern sky, why do they not proclaim the cause of the aurora borealis? Why does the color of trees and flowers appear to be one of their own inherent properties, when in reality all their color belongs to the sun ? Why do the sun, moon, and stars appear to rise and go round our earth once in twenty four hours, when in reality they do not; but the earth turns round in that time, and thus causes this appearance? Why should the God of Nature delude his intelligent creatures with such fallacies, and so often suffer the appearance of things to contradict the reality ? Answer me these questions, and I will tell you why there is a cloud or covering upon all the glory of God's Word ; for He who gave the Word, made and governs the world also; and the same laws of order therefore, which appertain to the one, belong also to the other. Many things in the Word appear different from what they really are, just as they do in the natural world. And this obvious answer, which must occur to every one, to the question why there exist such fallacies in nature, viz. that it is according to divine order, because the world could not have been constituted otherwise than it is, is the true answer to the question why the appearance of truth in the letter of the Word so often differs from the genuine truth itself. The Word of the Lord is not less orderly in its construction than his works.

And it could not have been written without the clouds, or any otherwise than according to the fixed and eternal law of correspondence between natural and spiritual things, and be a divine composition. And the many fallacious appearances of truth in the literal sense of Scripture, can with no more propriety be urged as evidence of any imperfection in God's Word, than the fallacious appearance of many natural things can be urged as evidence of any imperfection in nature. The truth is that the clouds of which we have spoken, do not really belong to the Word itself, but to human minds; just as natural clouds, which obscure the light of the sun, do not belong to the sun itself, but to our own planet. And in proportion as the spirits of men are purified from evil loves, and brought into a state of heavenly order, or of conformity to spiritual truths, the clouds will disappear from the letter and the internal sense of the Word be unveiled.

Again, it is asked, why has not the internal sense of the Word (if there be such a sense,) been revealed to men long before? With equal propriety might it be asked, why was the Lord's first advent so long delayed ? And the true answer to both questions is, that each of these events took place when the fulness of time had come. The world was no more prepared for the revelations that are now made at any period previous to their announcement, than it was prepared for the Lord's first advent at any time prior to his appearing upon earth. And inasmuch as men were not prepared for this rev. elation before, it could not have been understood or rationally received, and therefore would not have been useful. Upon this subject Swedenborg remarks as follows :

“The reason why the science of correspondences, which is the key to the spiritual sense of the Word, was not discovered to later ages, was, because the Christians of the primitive Church were men of such great simplicity, that it was impossible to discover it to them; for had it been discovered, they would have found no use in it, nor would they have understood it." -(Doctrine concerning the Sacred Scriptures, n. 24.)

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That the sacred Scriptures are indeed “the power of God and the wisdom of God,” we have the fullest evidence in the civilizing and humanizing influence which they have exerted among all nations where they have been generally received and acknowledged. Wherever the written Word of God has penetrated, the fountains of knowledge have been opened to man. And wherever this Word has been most thoroughly studied and best understood, there the human mind has been most enlightened upon all subjects which appertain to the wel. fare of man ; there the principles of human government have been best understood, and the arts and sciences, and everything which distinguishes civilized above savage life, have flourished most. I would ask the infidel, and sceptic, and all who are inclined to reject the Bible as a revelation of God's will to man, to think of this fact, and weigh it well. I would have them look at South Africa, look at America; look at New Holland, look at England ;-and account, rationally if they can, for the amazing difference in point of knowledge and mental cultivation which exists between these countries, without ascribing to the Sacred Oracles a more than human power and origin : without admitting that the Word of God is indeed the light of the world.

If, then (as there are the strongest reasons for be. lieving), the Sacred Scriptures are indeed Divine Truth, -the very wisdom of God, and the only true Light to guide man in the path to heaven, certainly there is no subject of human inquiry of such momentous concern to all who desire the life of heaven, as is the question What do the Sacred Scriptures really teach? This is the question which has divided the first Christian Church into so many conflicting sects, and which is every year becoming more and more embarrassing—more and more difficult for theologians themselves to answer with confidence, as religious sects multiply. Every one appeals to the Scriptures as authority for what he believes, and each alike can confirm his creed by the appearances of truth in some parts of the Word. The most irrational dogmas that have ever been maintained by any sect in Christendom, have found some support and confir

mation in the literal sense of the Word. And it is well known, that many of the religious sects differ widely in their opinions, and some hold views which are diametrically opposed to those entertained by others, upon subjects, too, which are acknowledged to be of primary importance. Each sect can boast of learned and talented men among its champions, and each appeals to the Word of God in support of its own peculiar doctrines.

Since things are so, is it any wonder that many honest, observing, and reflecting men should ask themselves, as they often do, “How is this? Is the Bible indeed the Word of God, and does it contradict itself? Is there the same conflict between the things there taught, as exists between the different religious sects which appeal to its authority for support ? Has this Volume really so many different faccs, and an approving smile for so many widely differing sects? If so, where will be the end of religious controversy ?-When will these desolating wars in the Church cease? If not so, then what do the Sacred Scriptures really teach, and how may we be sure of it ?• Many an honest seeker after truth has often found himself embarrassed with questions of this sort. And if, in his perplexed state of mind, he undertakes to exa„mine the Sacred Volume for himself, with a desire of learning whether it be the Word of God, and what it really teaches, is he then relieved from all embarrassment? Does he not find that some parts of the Word appear to contradict others? That some parts appear to contradict true science ? That some appear to countenance immorality? That some appear unimportant and trivial, and wholly unworthy the Divine mind? And does he not find many passages from which he can extract no intelligible meaning whatever? And if, according to the acknowledged principles of interpretation in the Old Church, the obvious or apparent meaning of Scripture be its true and only meaning, how can he reconcile all the things which he there finds, with the idea that the Bible is really what it purports to be—the Word of God?

And as

Without attempting in the present lecture to illustrate or explain the nature of the internal sense of the Word by examples, or to offer any direct evidence of the existence of such a sense, we will here endeavor, in few words, simply to state what it is.

Upon this subject we learn from the writings of Swedenborg, that, as there is a natural and a spiritual world united by correspondence, or as there is a natural and a spiritual-a body and a soul-appertaining to man, so there exists in the Sacred Scriptures a natural and a spiritual, or an external and an internal sense. the soul and body of man are united in one person, and perfectly correspond with each other—the soul flowing into and filling every part of the body--so the spiritual and literal senses of the Word are united and form one by correspondence; the letter being filled and pervaded with the spirit. And as the body of man hath no life in itself, and dies when separated from the spirit, so the letter of the Word hath no life in itself, and, separate from the spiritual sense, is dead. The literal sense is natural, treating for the most part of objects and events which belong to the natural world, and is therefore adapted to the states of natural men and children'; the spiritual sense is above the natural and treats of things which belong to the spiritual world, or to the human mind; of the infinitely various states of human life; and consequently is adapted to the state of angels and spiritual men. The literal sense is Divine Truth in obscurity, and hence it is as a cloud; the spiritual sense is Divine Truth in its brightness and true glory. The literal sense is as the clothing of man, while the spiritual is as the man himself. And as those parts of the body which man has occasion to use most frequentlythose in which all his senses are ultimated, viz. his face and hands—are usually left naked, so those parts of the Word which are most needed for spiritual use, are, as it were, naked : i. e, the cloud of the letter is so thin as scarcely to veil the internal sense. To quote the language of Swedenborg:

“ Divine truths in the literal sense are rarely found naked, but clothed; in which state they are called the

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