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in darkness have seen a great light : they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (ix. 2.) In all these passages, and many more that might be adduced, it is plain that darkness and light can have no other than a spiritual signification.

If any further evidence from Scripture were needed to show that “ the consummation of the age" denotes the end of the first Christian Church-a state where the light of genuine truth had become extinguished through falsifications of the Word and evils of life, we might refer to Luke xvii. 34; where, describing this event, it is written "I tell you, in that night, there shall be two in one bed; the one shall be taken and the other left." That night clearly denotes a state of great obscurity in respect to the truth; a state of spiritual darkness into which the Lord foresaw the first Christian Church would fall, on account of falses orignating in evils. That such is the true, Scripture meaning of night, is evident from the passages already cited, and many more that might be adduced from the Word, wherein darkness and night are mentioned. And inasmuch as there are two very different classes of persons among those who believe or profess to believe the same false doctrines, one of which is in the good of life, i. e., in the desire and effort of living well and always doing right, and the other not so, therefore it is said that “two shall be in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Bed, in the language of correspondence, signifies doctrine: "for as the body," says Swedenborg, “ rests in its bed, so does the mind rest in its doctrine.” They who are in false doctrine, and at the same time in evils of life, or under the dominion of the love of self and the world, cannot receive genuine truth; therefore they are “left”. But others who may be in the same false doctrine, yet in the good of life, can receive genuine truth, for this proceeds from good and always leads to good; these therefore are "taken".

Perhaps by this time our minds are prepared to understand the true explanation of that text in the Evangelists, which saith, " Inimediately after the tribulation

of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” (Mat. xxiv. 29, Mark xiii. 24, 25.) The meaning of this may appear evident from correspondence. The natural stars are fixed and luminous bodies; yet so far away in the deep blue vault of heaven, that they shed down upon us no warmth, and scarcely any light. Yet, little specks as they are, because they are useful as beacons to guide the pilgrim through the wilderness, or the mariner across the pathless deep, they therefore correspond to and signify the knowledges of good and truth derived from the word of God; such, for example, as children or even grown people may have in their minds, who have committed some plain texts of Scripture to memory, but without understanding anything more than their literal sense. These knowledges of truth lie, as it were, like little stars far away in the deep blue vault of their minds, yet fixed and luminous, but without affecting their wills with the warmth of love, or their understandings with the light of wisdom. Yet very useful are these knowledges; they serve as beacon-lights to guide the little pilgrim through the mazy wilderness of doubt, and the voyager across the trackless ocean of life. The moon gives more light, yet no warmth. It therefore corresponds to and signifies faith, or truth in the mind without the affection of love; i. e., an understanding enlightened by the truth, yet wanting the will or the love of doing as the truth requires. But the sun sheds down not only a clear light, but vivifying heat also. It therefore corresponds to and signifies the human mind or the church, in which goodness and truth or charity and faith are perfectly united, like the heat and light of the natural sun-every one who has a clear understanding of what is true, united with a warm love of what is good. When used with the moon, it denotes love to the Lord ; and the moon denotes charity towards the neighbor.

But the explanation of this text given in Swedenborg's own language will be much more satisfactory.

But immediately after the affliction of those days, signifies a state of the Church as to truth which is of faith, which state is treated of in what precedes ; desolation of truth in the Word throughout is called affliction; that days denote states, may be seen n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893, 2789, 3462, 3785; hence it is evident, that by these Words is signified that there will be no charity, when there is no longer any faith ; for faith leadeth to charity, because it teacheth what charity is, and charity receiveth its quality from the truths which are of faith, whereas the truths of faith receive their essence and their life from charity, as hath been abundantly shown in the preceding volumes. The sun shall be obscured, and the moon shall not give her light, signifies love to the Lord which is the sun, and charity towards our neighbor which is the moon; to be obscured and not to give light, signifies that they would not appear, thus that they would vanish; that the sun is the celestial principle of love, and the moon the spiritual principle of love, that is, that the sun is love to the Lord, and the moon charity towards our neighbor, which charity is by faith, may be seen n. 1053, 1529, 1530, 2120, 2441, 2495; the ground and reason of this signification of the sun and moon is, because the Lord in another life appears as a sun to those in heaven who are principled in love to him, who are called celestial, and as a moon to those who are in charity towards their neighbor, who are called spiritual, see n. 1053, 1521, 1529, 1530, 1531, 3636, 3613. The sun and moon in the heavens, or the Lord, is in no case obscured, nor loseth light, but shines perpetually, thus neither is love to him at any time obscured with the celestial, nor charity towards their neighbor with the spiritual in the heavens, nor in the earths with such on whom those angels are attendant, that is, who are principled in love and charity; but with those who are principled in no love and charity, but in self-love and the love of the world, and thence in hatreds and revenges, these occasion the above obscurity to themselves; the case herein is as with the sun of the world, the sun shines perpetually, but when clouds interpose themselves, it doth

not appear, see n. 2441. And the stars shall fall from heaven, signifies that the knowledges of good and truth shall perish: Nothing else is signified in the Word by stars, whensoever they are named, see n. 1808, 2849. And the powers of the heavens shall be moved, signifies the foundations of the Church, which are said to be moved and to be shaken, when the above principles perish; for the Church in the earths is the foundation of heaven, inasmuch as the influx of good and truth through the heavens from the Lord ultimately terminates in the goods and truths appertaining to the man of the Church ; wherefore when the man of the Church is in such a perverted state, as no longer to admit the influx of good and truth, in this case the powers of the heavens are said to be moved; on which account it is always provided of the Lord, that somewhat of a Church should remain, and when an old Church perisheth, that a new one should be established.”—(Arcana Calestia, n.)

From this explanation it may readily be seen why these things are mentioned where the consummation of the age is spoken of. For when genuine charity has departed from the church, and genuine faith, and even the knowledges of what genuine good and genuine truth are, there is evidently a spiritual consummation of the church ; and this prophecy, in its spiritual sense, is then fulfilled : “ The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven.”

Here, then, we rest the argument for the Consummation of the Age, as denoting the spiritual end of the first Christian Church, agreeably to what is taught in the writings of the New Jerusalem;-an argument based not upon mere human reasonings, but upon the eternal and immutable testimony of God's Word.

1. It is not in the order of Divine Providence that the precise manner in which a prophecy is to be fulfilled, should be understood before its fulfilment. Therefore the prophecy concerning the Consummation of the Age will not find its accomplishment in the destruction

of the material world, or be fulfilled precisely in the way that the Church has expected.

2. The prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the Lord's first advent, and the end of the Jewish Church, were not understood until after their fulfilment. Therefore we conclude that the prophecies in the New Testament concerning the Lord's second appearing and the Consummation of the Age would not be understood until after their fulfilment,

3. The language which foretells the consummation of the Jewish Church, and describes the accompanying circumstances of that event, is similar to that found in the New Testament, where the Consummation of the Age is spoken of. Therefore this latter refers to the Consummation of the first Christian Church.

4. The principle of literal interpretation, by the application of which to many parts of Scripture, especially to Rev. xxi. 1, it has been believed that this natural earth is to be destroyed and a new earth created, cannot be applied to the rest of this chapter in the Apocalypse, without driving us to the most absurd conclusions. Therefore this principle is false, and earth is not to be understood in its literal sense.

5. Earth and land are plainly used in other parts of the Word to denote the Church. Therefore in this chapter of the Apocalypse earth signifies the Church.

6. Words which in their natural sense denote time or portions of time, as morning, night, &c., are employed in the Old Testament to denote certain states of the Church. Therefore, since Alov or Age means a full period of time, the Consummation of the Age denotes a full and consummated state of the first Christian Church; and in the gospel of Luke this state is called night.

We leave the subject for all honest and thinking men to reflect upon, and examine further for themselves by the light of the truth now revealed.

Ye who have the fear of Almighty God before your eyes, and who love to know the truth, that the truth may make you“ free indeed,” judge ye, whether

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