Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/506

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THE NEW CHRISTIAN CHURCH.

The doctrines of the church in very many instances recede from the literal sense of the Word. It should be known that the true doctrine of the church is what is called the internal sense; for in the internal sense are such truths as are with the angels in heaven. . . . They who teach and learn only the literal sense of the Word, without the regulating doctrine of the church, comprehend only those things that belong to the natural or external man; while those who teach and learn from true doctrine which is from the Word understand also the things that belong to the spiritual or internal man. The reason is that in the external or literal sense the Word is natural, and in the internal sense it is spiritual. (A. C. n. 9025; also 9424)

 

All the Doctrines op the New Church are Essentials.

The essentials of the church, which conjoin themselves with faith in one God, are charity, good works, repentance, and a life according to the Divine laws; and as these, together with faith, affect and move the will and thought of man, they conjoin man to the Lord, and the Lord to man. . . .

All the dogmas or doctrinals of the New Church are essentials, in each of which is heaven and the church; and they look to this as their end, that man may be in the Lord, and the Lord in

    literal sense of the Word, and confirmed by it." In reality however the two are in perfect harmony, and only different and very important phases of the same truth. In another place (S. S. n. 55) he teaches that, "In the literal sense the Word is as a man clothed, whose face and hands are naked; all things therein which relate to man's life, and so to his salvation, are naked, and the rest are clothed." The very doctrine of the Word is its internal sense (A. C. n. 9424, et al.), and those parts of the Word which are naked, or where the doctrine of the internal sense is uncovered in the letter, are the parts where genuine truth or true doctrine is taught in the letter. But this genuine truth can only be seen by those who are enlightened by the Lord; and when the church had sunk so low that all power to distinguish the true doctrine of the Word had been lost,—when "the sun was darkened, and the moon had ceased to give her light," the true doctrine could only be restored by a new revelation. It was then necessary that one should be enlightened in the spiritual sense itself of the Word, in order that in the light of that sense he might fully and certainly see which are the uncovered parts where the literal coincides with the spiritual sense, and genuine truth or the true doctrine of the church is taught. Thus it is true, both that the genuine doctrine of the church is from the spiritual sense of the Word, and that it must be drawn from the literal sense, and confirmed by it. But the doctrines lying uncovered in the letter of the Word are general truths (A. R. n. 378, et al. ); and as the uncovered face is the index to the whole man, so these general truths involve all the particulars of doctrine contained in the internal sense itself. Now, it has pleased the Lord in this fulness of time, for the use of this future "crown of all the churches," not only to enlighten the mind of one raised up for the purpose, to see and teach the genuine doctrine thus contained in the letter of the Word, but also to reveal very many of the particulars of doctrine contained within these general truths; in other words, to reveal the spiritual sense which is the doctrine itself of the Word. (See also pp. 122, 123.)