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at least have the wisdom to suspend their judgment for a time, and to ascribe such failure to the feeble and imperfect manner in which this Science has here been applied, rather than to any fault or imperfection in the Science itself. We would have them reflect that a subject so vast as this, would require a volume to unfold and present it in a luminous manner; and that the ablest mind could hardly be expected to do it any thing like tolerable justice within the narrow limits of two lectures.
If, however, there should be any who think they already see reason for believing that there may exist in the constitution of the universe a correspondential relation between the natural and the spiritual world, and thus between every natural object and some spiritual principle, as between an effect and its producing cause --that this may be a law of divine order in creation that the Sacred Scriptures also may be composed according to it, and that therefore this Science of Correspondences may be the only rule for interpreting the Scriptures aright-we trust they will feel desirous of pursuing the subject farther, and of learning more about this interesting and important Science from the thelogical writings of Swedenborg. And we trust also that they will see reason for admitting, that a science so important as this is a subject well worthy of a special revelation; that the precise correspondence and spiritual meaning of the various things mentioned in Scripture, could not indeed have been found out in any other way.
But let all who desire further knowledge of these things, be temperate in their wishes and patient in their pursuit. Let them not expect to comprehend the whole of the grand Science of Correspondences at once; for it is a Science which connects this earth with heaven, and is vast as the universe of God. But let them know for their encouragement, that if they really desire to have their hearts purified from all evil loves, and have faith in the Sacred Scriptures as the Word of God, this Science shall be to them what it really is—“the Key of Knowledge"—the key to the kingdom of heaven. By a right application of it, in simplicity and lowliness of
mind, they may unlock the volume of nature, the Oracles of God, and the inmost recesses of their own souls. They may come to see, as they never saw before, the perfection and beauty of the Word as well as of the works of the Lord. And by shunning as sins all the evils which the radiant light of the spiritual sense of Scripture reveals, they shall open in their souls the gate of heaven, through which the streams of living water from their eternal Fountain will gush warm and free to water in their minds the Garden of God.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH
CONCERNING THE DIVINE TRINITY AND THE
TRUE OBJECT OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP.
6. Lo, THIS IS OUR GOD."- Isaiah xxv. 9.
When Paul was about to proclaim at Athens the doctrine of the first Christian Dispensation," some said
What will this babler say ? other some, ‘He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods;" because he preached unto them Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears : we would know therefore what these things
“ Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' Hill, (or court of the Areopagus,) and said, 'Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are very religiously inclined.* For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The UNKNOWN God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you.' And when he preached unto them the doctrine concerning the resurrection of the Lord, some mocked; and others said, “We will hear thee again of this matter.]” (Acts xvii.)
* This is the true meaning of the Greek words ώς δεισιδαιμονεστέρους (see Schleusner's Greek and Latin Lexicon.)
We should not be surprised therefore, but should rather expect that similar things would occur at the present time, whenever the doctrines of the New Christian Dispensation are proclaimed. When the doctrine concerning the true object of Christian worship, as taught in the revelations made for the New Jerusalem Church, is proclaimed in the ears of those upon the altar of whose hearts is traced the inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN God, it is not surprising that he who preaches the new doctrine should appear to some as setter forth of strange gods.” And when we proclaim the glorious doctrine of the Lord's resurrection, the doctrine of His second appearing in the powerful and glorious truths of the spiritual sense of the Word, which is a resurrection of his own truth from a state of darkness and death in the Church, to one of light and lifeit is not strange that some, when they hear of this resurrection from the dead should “mock”. But there is abundant cause of devout thankfulness to the Lord, in the fact that so many are ready to say, "We will hear thee again of this matter.”
The doctrine of the New Jerusalem Church concerning the true object of Christian worship, and the Divine Trinity in the Lord, will form the subject of our present lecture.
And I think it must be admitted by all who acknowledge God as the Creator and Disposer of all thingsas the Source of all truth, love, and life-that the doctrine concerning this object of our worship, is the grand, central doctrine of the Christian religion. It is the great sun at the centre of the Christian system. If therefore the doctrine of the Lord, as received and acknowledged in the Church, be true, then the minds of men can receive from Him spiritual light and heat, and can make steady and orderly progress in spiritual life; just as all the
opaque bodies in our solar system circle the sun in a steady and orderly progression, and receive from him their light and heat. But if this central doctrine as received by men be false, then darkness, disorder, and confusion upon all religious subjects, must of necessity pervade the Church. For then, in respect to human
minds, the sun is darkened; and as a necessary consequence,
6 the earth reels to and fro like a drunkard." (Is. xxiv. 20.) “All her foundations are out of course.” (Ps. lxxxii.) Such things then take place in the whole system of religious doctrines, as are fitly represented, because of their correspondence, by that chaotic state into which this natural world would be thrown, if the sun were extinguished, and the power which holds the planets in their orbits annihilated. Human minds are then hurled into wild disorder and confusion, and left to the guidance of a wayward fancy, or to move blindly forward on their eternal course.
There have been some men in all ages of the church, who have perceived and acknowledged the supreme importance, in a practical point of view, of possessing right apprehensions of God. Scott, in his “ Christian Life," says:
• Whilst we are ignorant of God's nature, or possessed with wrong and false apprehensions of it, we must necessarily wander in the dark, and neither know what to do, nor how to behave ourselves towards Him. For, how can we imagine what will please or displease a dark and unknown nature, whose bent and inclinations we are utterly unacquainted with? But if we are under false apprehensions of his nature, they must necessarily mislead us in our behaviour towards Him, and put us upon false ways of serving and pleasing Him." (Right Apprehensions of God vol. ii. p. 161.)
Moreover the supreme importance of the doctrine concerning the Lord, may be inferred from this first and greatest commandment, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Mat. xxii. 37.) For unless we know who and what the Lord is, how can we love Him? If our minds be unenlightened on this point, our love can at best be but a blind impulse. And if we be falsely instructed hereon, our love will then be not of the true but of a false God ;-some offspring of human intelligence ;-an idol of silver or gold, the work of men's
*For passages similar to this, taken from the works of different writers upon theology, see Clissold's End of the Church p. 1–7.