Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/511

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THE NEW CHRISTIAN CHURCH.

By the New Jerusalem is meant a new church, or congregation; the doctrines and articles of whose faith cannot shine in their true splendour, and give light to others, without the Divine aid; because they are only figuratively described in the Apocalypse, that is, according to correspondence. (Letter to Oetinger, Swed. Doc., p. 208.)

 

The New Church at first External.

The New Church in its beginning will be external. (A. E. n. 403.)

Every church in its beginning becomes acquainted only with the general [principles] of doctrine; for it is then in its simplicity, or as it were in its childhood. In the course of time it adds particulars; which are partly confirmations of general principles, partly additions,—which yet are not repugnant to the general principle,—and also explanations, that open contradictions may be analyzed, and not clash with what common sense dictates. (A. C. n. 4720.)

 

The Necessity of Order, Internal and External.

Who does not see that there is no empire, kingdom, dukedom, republic, state, or household, that is not established by laws, which constitute the order and so the form of its. government? In each of them the laws of justice are in the highest place, political laws in the second, and economical laws in the third. If compared with man, the laws of justice constitute the head; political laws the body; and economical laws the clothing,—wherefore these, like garments, may be changed.

But as regards the order in which the church is established by God, it is,—That God, and also the neighbour towards whom order is to be exercised, is in all and every thing of it. The laws of this order are as many as the truths in the Word. The laws which relate to God constitute its head; the laws that relate to the neighbour constitute its body; and ceremonial laws form its clothing. For unless these preserved the former in their order it would be as if the body were made bare, and exposed to the heat of summer and the cold of winter; or as if the roof and walls were removed from a temple, and the sanctuary, the altar, and the pulpit, daily stood thus openly exposed to various kinds of violence. (T. C. R. n. 55.)