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EXTRACT FROM THE WRITINGS OF EMANUEL SWEDENBORG.
ON THE DIVINE HUMANITY OF THE LORD.
" That a doubt may be inferred against the divine providence, by reason that the whole Christian world worshippeth God under three persons, which is, three Gods; and that hitherto they did not know, that God is one in person and in essence, in whom there is a trinity, and that that God is the Lord. The reasoner concerning the divine providence may say, are not three persons three Gods, when each person by himself is God ? who can think otherwise, yea, who doth think otherwise ? Athanasius himself could not think otherwise, wherefore in the creed which hath its name from him, he saith, “ Although we are compelled by Christian verity to acknowledge each person by himself to be God and Lord ; yet are we forbidden by the Christian faith to say or name three Gods or three Lords;" by which words nothing else can be understood, than that we ought to acknowledge three Gods and Lords, but that we ought not to say there are three Gods and three Lords. Who can possibly have a perception of one God, unless he be also one in person ? If it be alleged, that such perception may be had, provided you think, that the three persons have one essence, who from thence does or can perceive any thing else, than that in this case they are unanimous, and consenting, and yet that they are three Gods ? And if a man elevates his thoughts, he saith with himself, how can the divine essence, which is infinite, be divided, and how can it from eternity beget another, and still produce a third, who proceedeth from both ? It may possibly be said, that this is to be believed, and ought not to be thought of; but who doth not think of that which he is told hé ought to believe, otherwise how can there be any acknowledg. ment which is the essence of faith? Did not Socinianism and Arianism, which reign in the hearts of more people than you imagine, take their rise from thinking of God as of three persons ? A belief in one God, and that that one God is the Lord, constitutes the Church, for in him there is a divine trinity; that this is true, may be seen in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE LORD, from beginning to end. But what is thought of the Lord at this day ? Is it not thought that he is God and man, God from Jehovah his Father, by whom he was conceived, and man from the Virgin Mary, of whom he was born ? Who
*thinks, that God and man in him, or his divinity and his humanity, are one person, and that they are one as the soul and body are one ? Doth any one know this ? Ask the Doctors of the Church, and they will say that they did not know it, when nevertheless it is the doctrine of the Church received throughout the whole Christian world, which is as follows, “ Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man, and although he is God and man, he is not two, but one Christ ; one by the taking of the manhood into God, [because God took to himself the manhood or human nature] one altogether, by unity of person, for as the soul and ,body is one man, so God and man is one Christ :" This is taken from Athanasius's creed : the reason why they did not know it, is, because when they read it, they did not think of the Lord as God, but only as a man. If the same be asked whether they know by whom he was conceived, whether by God the Father, or by his own divinity, they will answer that he was conceived by God the Father, for this is according to Scripture: are not the Father and he then one, as the soul and body are one ? Who can think that he was conceived by two divinities, and if by his own divinity, that this was his Father? If you ask them again, what is your idea of the Lord's divinity, and what of his humanity ? they will say that his divinity is from the essence of the Father, and his humanity from the essence of the mother, and that his divinity is with the Father : and if you then ask, where is his humanity, they will make no answer; for they separate in idea his divinity from his humanity, and make his divinity equal to the divinity of the Father, and his humanity similar to that of another man, and do not know that in so doing they also separate soul and body; nor do they see the contradiction, that in this case he would have been born a rational man from the mother alone. In consequence of the idea impressed concerning the Lord's humanity, that it was like the humanity of another man, it is now come to pass, that a Christian cannot without difficulty be led to think of A DIVINE HUMAN (being,) although it should be said that the Lord's soul or life was by conception, and is, Je. hovah himself. Collect these reasons now, and consider whether there be any other God of the universe but the Lord alone, in whom is the essential all-creating divine (principle] which is called the Father, the divine human (principle] which is called the Son, and the proceeding divine (principle] which is called the Holy Spirit, and therefore that God is one in person and es. sence, and that that God is the Lord. If you insist and say, that the Lord himself named three in Matthew, when he said, “ Go. and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” xxviii. 19; I answer, it is evident from the preceding and following verses, that he said this, to the end, it might be known, that in himself now glorified there was a divine trinity; in the verse immediately preceding he saith, that all power was given him in Heaven and in earth, and in the succeeding verse, that he would be with them until the consummation of the age, consequently he speaks of himself alone, and not of three. Now with respect to the divine providence, and the reason why it permitted Christians to worship one God under three persons, which amounts to the same as three Gods, and that hitherto they did not know, that God is one in person and essence, in whom there is a trinity, and that that God is the Lord; the reason doth not exist in the Lord, but in man himself; the Lord taught it manifestly in his word, as may appear from all the passages quoted in the doctrine of the NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE LORD ; and moreover he taught it in the doctrine of all the Churches, in which it is insisted, that his divinity and his humanity are not two, but one person, united like soul and body : But the reason why they divided his divinity and humanity, and made his divinity equal to the divinity of Jehovah the Father, and his humanity equal to the humanity of another man, was, because the Church after its establishment lapsed into Babylon, which transferred to itself the divine power of the Lord ; nevertheless that it might not be called divine power but human, they made the Lord's humanity similar to the humanity of another man: and afterwards when the Church was reformed, and faith alone received as the sole means of salvation (which is that God the Father would have mercy for the sake of his Son,) neither then could the Lord's humanity be view. ed in any other light; the reason why it could not, is, because no one can approach the Lord, and acknowledge him in his heart as the God of heaven and earth, but such as live according to his commandments; in the spiritual world, where every one is obliged to speak as he thinks, no one can even name JESUS, unless he has lived in the world as a Christian; and this from his divine providence, lest his name should be profaned.”
Treatise on Divine Providence, No. 262. The following Ukase of the Emperor Alexander is so much in the spirit of the New Church, and so congenial with the great truth avowed in the Holy League (see ant. p. 58 and 196) that it justly claims a place in this work.
6 UKASE. Addressed to the Legislative Synod at Moscow, by Alexander,
Emperor of Russia.
Dated from Moscow, Oct. 27, 1817. During my late travels through the provinces, I was obliged, to my no small regret, to listen to speeches pronounced by certain of the clergy in different parts, which contained unbecoming praises of me-praises which can only be ascribed unto God. And as I am convinced, in the depth of my heart, of the Christian truth, that every blessing floweth unto us through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ alone, and that every man, be he whom he may, without Christ, is full only of evil, therefore to ascribe unto me the glory of deeds in which the hand of God hath been so evidently manifested before the whole world, is to give unto men that glory which belongeth to Almighty God alone.
I account it my duty, therefore, to forbid all such unbecoming expressions of praise; and recommend to the Holy Synod to give instructions to all the Diocesan Bishops, that they themselves, and the clergy under them, may, on similar occasions, in future refrain from all such expressions of praise, so disagreeable to my ears; and that they may render unto the Lord of Hosts alone, thanksgivings for the blessings bestowed upon us, and pray for the outpouring of his grace upon all of us; conforming themselves in this matter to the words of Sacred Writ, which requires us to render to the King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, the only wise God, honour and glory for ever and ever.
OBITUARY NOTICES. The following obituary notice of Mrs. Biglow, a zealous receiser of the doctrines of the New Jerusalem, is from the hand of one not belonging to that Church. We re-publish it, in the very words of the writer. So ample and special a certificate of this lady's worth will no doubt give a peculiar delight to all those who have embraced the same truths, and desire to be of the same family.
Departed this life, at Cambridge, (near Boston, Massachusetts) on the 13th December last, Mrs. HEPZIBAH BIGlow, consort of Abraham Biglow, Esq.
A tribute to the memory of this excellent lady is not needed by those who enjoyed her affection, and felt her benevolence. They must find a nobler consolation in their own remembrance of her worth, and feel all praise which others may bestow to be the cold and studied, and perhaps obtrusive, language of a stranger. But it is performing what is due to our Holy Religion, to notice most publicly an event which extinguished one of its brightest ornaments : for if Christianity has been wounded by the sins of its professors, how powerfully is it recommended by their virtues ! In Mrs. Biglow, religion was love. It was a devotion of the whole soul to the praise of its Author, and the good of his creatures. Her faith, though tinctured and whose is not ?-by some peculiarities, was still such an one as admitted all the warmth of piety, and the zeal of an apostle ; but refused all alliance with illiberal sentiment. Hence it was, that her conversation, upon subjects connected with religion, was animated with the energy which a feeling of what were its consolations and its doctrines, and a wish to extend them imparted; and yet over it was shed the softening hues of a pure charity, of a benevolence which was the fruit of that religion in herself. She rather pitied than condemned those who had not, as she had, felt its power. Still her religion was not merely feeling: for she often had been the relief of sickness and affliction, though remote from her circle, and the prompt succour of the humble and the poor. Her life, too, exhibited no instances of that spiritual pride, which not seldom becomes connected with the growth of religion. She thought the best she could of others--the least she could of herself. Accustomed to feel strongly the power of association, she was careful not to separate a regard to religion from respect to its ordinances and teachers. Esteeming the altar of God to be, in some sort, the home of her soul, she took no advantage of the varying aspect of the heavens, and still less of the caprices of fashion, to excuse her from the services of the Church ; but always came to it with that cast of soul in which it seemed to be the house of God, and “ the gate of Heaven.” But the character, whose elements were of such a heavenly kind, would have been imperfectly developed, had there not been the shades of affliction to relieve its excellence. In scenes 6 which try men's souls," she found what