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much longer period, and all in the space of a ments of actual or natural time. The appearar cording to the state of our mind and its changes.
Sometimes indeed there is an approximation to the same thing during our waking hours. If we are idle, or in a duil, listless, inactive state of mind, the hours move heavily and slowly on, and a day appears to us very long. But if we are closely occupied, and our minds actively and affectionately engaged in what we are doing, then we make no account of the hours; there appears to be no time. Every one is more or less familiar with this fact, and knows from his own experience, that, even in this natural world, time appears longer or shorter according to our mental states.
Now because in the spiritual world, time is not actually defined by days, months, years, &c., as it is in this, but appears there long or short according to one's state, therefore all words in the Sacred Scriptures, which, in their natural sense, denote somewhat of time, in their spiritual and true sense, denote state. Consequently Aiùy or Age, which naturally signifies a full period of time of indefinite duration, in its spiritual sense denotes state. Therefore the Consummation of the Age must signify a fuilness of state even to the end. And since it was on account of the condition of the Church that the Lord came at first into the world, and evidently on account of its condition that He will come a second time, we may rest assured that when He speaks of The Age, He refers to the life or duration of the Church which had then but just commenced ;-to the living and active operation, in the men of the first Christian Church, of those truly human principles which He came to impart. What else therefore can the Consummation of the Age signify, but a full and consummated state of that Church ?
According to Swedenborg, the tenth chapter of the Apocalypse treats of the exploration and manifestation of the internal states of those in the reformed churches at the time of their consummation. And inasmuch as they were seen to be generally principled in the doctrine of justification by faith alone, and true charity was so
far extinguished among them that they could no longer be a church, the angel whom John saw is represented as having " in his hand a little book open,” and swearing “by him that liveth forever and ever," that there should be time no longer." (v. 6.) From what has been said of the spiritual meaning of time, and of all words in Scripture, which, in their natural sense, denote time, the meaning of this language will be readily understood. When a church has had all its seasons from spring to mid-winter; when it has been in all possible states; has had its morning, noon, and evening, and has reached its night, then its state is full and it can have no more states; i. e. it can be no longer a church. It is like a man who has passed his childhood, youth, and manhood, and arrived at extreme old age. He cannot live these periods over again, or pass through these states a second time. This full age of the church, therefore, is properly said to be the fulness of time, and when time shall be no longer. Hence the Apostle, in · his letter to the Galatians, says of the Lord's first advent, when also the Jewish Church was consummated, that it happened" when the fulness of time was come.” (iv. 4.) Certainly he could not be understood to mean that natural time ceased with that event, for he knew that it did not. And yet is not this precisely the conclusion to which we should be brought by a fair application of the principle of literal interpretation, according to which men have come to believe that natural time would one day cease, because it is declared in the Apocalypse" that time should be no longer"? How much confidence then deserves to be placed in such a principle of interpretation ?
No: this idea of the cessation of time is a merely natural idea, and has been derived from the natural or literal sense of the Word.
The spiritual meaning of time as denoting state, has its ground or origin in the correspondence of things in the natural with things in the spiritual world. The Lord, as we are taught in the writings of the New Church, is the Sun of the spiritual world, and hence it is said in the word, “For Jehovah God is a sun and
shield.” (Ps. Ixxxiv. 11.) His wisdom and love, or his divine truth and divine goodness are the light and warmth of all minds, and hence of all things in the spiritual world, just as the beams of the natural sun are the light and warmth of all things in the natural world; and this not in any poetical or merely figurative sense, but in real verity. Now all the changes of natural time, as through the four great divisions of the day and seasons of the year, are at the same time changes in respect to the light and heat, or to the earth's reception of these from the natural sun. So, from correspondence, all the changes of spiritual time, i. e. all the changes in the spiritual condition of any church or of the mind of any individual, are but changes in regard to the reception of wisdom and love from the Lord who is the spiritual Sun.
In the natural world, we know that there is something peculiarly joyous and animating to all creatures in the bright light of the morning sun. This is on account of the correspondence; for morning, in the spiritual sense, denotes a corresponding state of the church; i. e. a state, when from little or no genuine truth and love, (which is spiritual darkness and night,) it receives a communication of intelligence and wisdom from the rising of the spiritual Sun; or a new dispensation of divine truth. Hence it is that the morning, and the coming of the morning are so often mentioned in the Word where the Lord's advent is treated of. Thus it is said in Psalms where the church is spoken of under the designation of “ the city of God,” that “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her when the morning appeareth.” Every one must perceive that a natural morning cannot be here meant; for God is no more a respecter of times, naturally considered, than He is of persons; yet it is here said that He will help the church when the morning appeareth." But a spiritual morning is here denoted. When the Lord in his Providence sees fit to make a new and clearer communication of divine truth to men, whereby they are able to see the falses and evils which before were concealed from their view, then ap
peareth the morning to the church, and she is indeed helped of God.
So likewise in Isaiah, where the end of the Jewish, or of any old dispensation, is treated of under the image of the fall of Babylon, and the commencement of a new dispensation is foretold, there is a call out of Seir, “Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?” The watchman said : “The morning cometh, and also the night." (xxi. 11.) Whenever a new dispensation, and consequently a new church commences, which is what is denoted by morning, there is at the same time an end of the former dispensation and church, which is signified by night. “ The morning cometh, and also the night.”
Again: in Ezekiel, where the end of the former church and the beginning of a new one is treated of, it is said, “An end' cometh; the end cometh. The morning cometh upon thee, 0, thou that dwellest in the land." (vii. 6, 7.) This is said by Jehovah God unto the land of Israel, evidently denoting the church. Moreover the Lord in the Apocalypse is called “the bright and morning star;" and in the Gospel of John, He is called “the Light," and "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (i. 9.) This is the bright and Heavenly Sun, whose searching beams bring morning to the church.
It would be easy also to cite many passages from the Word, where the end of a church, or its state of vastation as to goodness and truth, is spoken of as a time of darkness and night. For such is the state of any church at the time of its consummation, that the faces, i. e. the affections of men, which are their spiritual faces, are turned away from the Lord to the darkness of their own intelligence; just as the face of the earth in night-time is turned away from the sun of the world.
Thus in Micah it is said “to the princes of the house of Israel, who hate the good and love the evil.” “Therefore night (shall be] unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.” (iii. 6.)
The spiritual Sun always goes down over those prophets “ who hate the good, and love the evil.” The day is dark over them, for in their best state, their minds are darkened by innumerable falsities originating in evil loves, and they can scarcely discern anything spiritual. They are in that outer darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth.*
It is said again, in the Apocalypse, concerning the Holy City, New Jerusalem, that "there shall be no night there." (xxi. 25.) All who are in the Holy City --who are really of the true Church—have their minds continually illumined with the beams of God's glorious truth. Also in Psalms, it is declared that the wicked “walk on in darkness." (lxxxii. 5.) And again, the Psalmist says that his spirit is overwhelmed within him, and his heart is desolate, “Because the enemy hath persecuted my soul : he hath smitten my life down to the ground: he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead." (cxliii. 3.) So in the prophecy of Joel, where the consummation of the church is spoken of, it is said to be “a day of darkness and of gloominess--a day of clouds, and of thick darkness." (ii. 2.) And in Isaiah, where it is treated of Messiah's advent, “ The people that walked
* The following is Swedenborg's explanation of outer darkness and gnashing of teeth. “Outer darkness-denotes the more dire falsities of those who are in the church, for they darken the light, and induce falsities contrary to truths, which the Gentiles cannot du."-(Arcana Cælestia, n. 1839.)
“Inasmuch as sensual men do not see any genuine truth in the light, but reason and dispute about every thing, whether it be so, and these disputes are beard at a distance from them as gnashings of the teeth, which considered in themselves are collisions of falses with each other, and also of what is false and true, it is evident what is signified in the Word by gnashing of teeth ; the reason is, because reasoning from the fallacies of the senses, corresponds to teeth.”—(True Christian Religion, n. 402 )
"Gnashing of the teeth is the continual dispute and combat of falses with each other, consequently of those who are in falses, joined also wish contempt of others, wiih enmity, derision, ridicule, blasphemy, which also burst forth into buicherly assaults of various kinds ; for every one fights in favor of his own false, and calls it truth. These disputes and combats are heard out of the hells as gnashings of the teeth ; and also are turned into gnashings of the teeth when truths from heaven flow in thither; for all falses in the spiritual world gnash or make a grating noise, and teeth correspond to the ultimate things in nature, and also to the ultimale things appertaining to men, which are sensual corporeal things."—(Heaven and Hell, n. 575.)