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In that sense of the Word which is revealed for the New Jerusalem Church, this commandment forbids profaning and blaspheming those principles, which proceed from the Lord, which are all things good and all things true. To profane and blaspheme is, to turn truth into evil, that is, to believe that it is truth and still to live in evil ; and also, it is to turn good into the false, that is, to live holily and yet not to believe. To believe is of the understanding, and to live is of the will; wherefore, in those who believe otherwise than they live, the thought and will are divided: but whereas the will continually flows-in into the understanding, -for the understanding is the form of the will,
that is, the will manifests itself there in light, hence it is, that when there is a diversity between what a man believes and his life, in this case, truth and evil, or good and the false, are conjoined ; thus, those things which are of heaven with those things which are of hell. This conjunction cannot be loosened, and thereby man be healed, but by distraction, which carries away along with it the all of spiritual life. That such a state with man cannot be healed, thus cannot be remitted, is signified by the words which immediately follow, “Jehovah will not render him innocent, who bringeth His name into what is vain.” The same is understood by blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which cannot be remitted, either in this age or in the future. By “ bringing the name of God into what is vain," is also signified blaspheming, which is done when those things which are of the Word, or of the doctrine of faith, thus, which are holy, are exposed to ridicule, and are brought down to unclean and terrestrial things, and thereby defiled.
Punishment, in a future state, is not an arbitrary infliction of misery, on account of past disobedience, but a natural and unavoidable consequence of that state of the soul, produced by a life of evil.
(To be continued.)
QUESTION On the appearance of the Dove at the Baptism of the LORD.
It will oblige a friend and well wisher of the New Church, to have that part of the third chapter of the Gospel, according to St.
Luke, explained in the next number of the Repository) which records the baptism of our Saviour by John, where it is mentioned, that the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily shape, like a dove, upon him, and a voice came from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased.
I myself believe in the unity of the Godhead; but must confess that, upon reading the above passage, I have been at a loss to know what construction to place upon it, for it would appear plain to the natural senses, that there were the three distinct persons, Jesus Christ, whom John was baptizing, the Holy Spirit, which descended upon him, and God, the Father, who spoke in the heavens. Respectfully, Yours,
DR. WATTS'S DEFENCE OF THE ATONEMENT. The observations of Dr. Watts on the atonement, inserted below, will suffice to show, from the mouth of this learned theolo. gian, upon how sandy a foundation has been erected that universally received doctrine of the Old Christian Church. What is his idea of our Lord's teaching privately to his disciples, when he did not publicly preach those great doctrines of Christianity that depend upon his death, but another mode of resorting to the same principle with the traditions which the Church of Rome says were not publicly taught, but remained with the Church, for the purpose of expounding the Scriptures, and are of equal or superior authority, and that oral law which the Jewish doctors say was delivered to Moses and the elders of Israel, at the same time in which they received the written law, and which our blessed Lord so severely reprobates in these words, “making the commandment of God of none effect by your traditions ?” Thus are men, in every dispensation and in every age, disposed to form, from their self-derived intelligence, creeds and systems, which supersede the Word of God, and which they idolize as a much dearer object of adoration. This love of self-derived intelligence was the forbidden fruit, which was at first, ever has been, and ever will be, until it be forsaken, the cause of the fall of man. For the teachings of the divine word, he substitutes the deceitful light of his own perverted understanding, and makes to himself idols of silver and idols of gold. “ He falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me, for thou art my God."
ON THE ATONEMENT AND SACRIFICE OF JESUS CHRIST. (Extracted from Dr. Watts's “Short View of the whole of Scripture History,”
twenty-second edition, London, 1811 ] Page 265, Question 27th. “ But did not Christ teach the great and glorious doctrine of his own death as a sacrifice and ransom for sinful men, in the course of his public ministry ?
Ans. “He taught this privately to his disciples, to whom he spoke more freely of his death and resurrection, toward the end of his life. Matt. xvi. 16 to 22. But as for wise reasons he did not preach publicly and plainly to the people of his own death or his resurrection, so he scarce ever preached in public, and in plain language, those great doctrines of Christianity that depend upon his death or his resurrection : these things were wisely reserved for the ministry of his apostles, after he was actually dead and risen, and ascended to heaven, and had poured out on them the promised spirit. Matt. x. 27. Luke xxiv. 45 to 49.”.
As to the great doctrines of Christianity” being reserved for the ministry of the apostles, we have the doctor's own evidence, in the following quotation from the same work, page 304.
Quest. 60. “ You have informed us what were the doctrines, and what was the religion that the apostles and disciples taught after Christ went to heaven; but how comes it to pass, that among these doctrines we do not find them insisting more expressly on that great article of the Gospel, the redemption by Christ's death, and the atonement made for sin by his sufferings?
Ans. “It is sufficiently evident that this doctrine was taught the world by Peter and John, as well as by Paul, since there is frequent mention of it in their epistles, as well as it shines every where through the epistles of St. Paul: nor can we suppose their preaching utterly forgot or neglected what their writings abound with, 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. ii. 24. jii. 18. and iv. 1. 1 Jobni. 7. ii. 2. ii. 16 and v. 6; and therefore it is possible they might preach it sometimes at first, though it be not expressly recorded in such short abstracts of their sermons as we find in the book of Acts: or, if this doctrine was not published at first with frequency and freedom, there seems to be a very good reason for it, namely, because neither Jews nor Gentiles could well bear it so soon; for it was a stumbling block to the Jews, and foolishness to the Greeks, 1 Cor. i. 23. And they were to be led by degrees into a full acquaintance with the mystery of the Gospel ; even as Christ himself led his own disciples by slow degrees into the knowledge of this and other things, as they were able to bear them, John xvi. 12."
No. 1148, p. 102. In a form of prayer, in Italics, given by Emanuel Swedenborg, in this number of Ap. Expl. there is a misprint, which might mislead the English Reader. It runs thus, " That the Lord may
be with them continually, and may LIFT AND UP turn his faces to them.” It should be, “ may LIFT UP AND turn his faces to them.” The original is “levet ac vertat." The word translated in this passage
“ instil,” it appears to me, should be translated “ infix,” for we know that evil is and will be instilled into our hearts; but we are to pray that it be not there infixed, that is, so as to remain. The original word is “ indat,” which is a strong expression. “ Indere nomen" is to fix a name upon a person. In Plautus, we have “ Fugitivis servis compedes indere," to fix fetters on fugitive slaves.
ON THE CORRESPONDENCE OF THE DRESS OF THE
CLERGY. Black corresponds to the proprium of man, which is nothing but evil. It is one of the first principles of the Church to ac· knowledge that the proprium or selfhood of man is altogether evil, and that of himself he can do no good thing. Hence, from a correspondence which breaks forth from the internal, although without their knowledge, or their reflecting upon it, black is the universal dress of the clergy, that they may bear about in their very garments the acknowledgment of this great truth. Garments correspond to or represent truths, or the manifestation and bodying of them forth.* Black also signifies humiliation arising from this acknowledgment. In the sacred functions of the ministry, the priest, like the prophets of old, should in his dress represent the character of the particular office, which he is celebrating at the time. When in prayer, he leads and represents the people, and as humiliation and self-abasement, under the acknowledgment that of themselves they are nothing but evil, is the state in which they should present themselves before the throne of the Most High, he should be habited in Black.
Black also corresponds to the letter of the Word, as Black is the ultimate,end,or termination of all colour, all colour ceases in Black, and letters are the ultimates or terminations of words and thoughts. Hence, by a rule of the Jews, the WORD was to be written only in Black ink. All other colours, in respect to the written WORD, were by them considered as unholy. In A. C. 1872, it is said, “ There appeared to me a young girl, beautiful, and of a fair countenance advancing hastily towards the right upwards, with a pace somewhat accelerated, seemingly in the first flower of her age, not an infant, nor yet adult, ornamented with a black shining garment, thus she proceeded with cheerfulness from light to light; it was given me to understand, that such are the interior things of the WORD, when they first ascend, the black garment was the WORD in the letter.” Hence also, in reading the letter of the WORD, which should ever form a part of worship in the New Church, the priest should be habited in a black shining garment.
WHITE GARMENts signify genuine truths, or truths from the Lord, White is predicated of truth in the light. Hence the teaching minister, when preaching and illustrating the letter of the WORD, as representing the Lord, and internal truths from Him, by which the letter is illustrated, and the people let into
It is remarkable that this representation, or correspondence of internal things in the external, appears to take place without the volition of man. It is manitested throughout by the Jews. It would be an instructing and amusing inquiry to investigate the foundation of the various national arm or flags, in which the characters and correspondence of the different nations manifestly appear. The lion and red colour of the English-The eagle, the blue and the stars of America--The cock and white colour of France, The northern region and the bear of Russia. “Is not the colour of Russia green!