Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/60

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dishonor is a question which is best answered, perhaps, in the language of St. Gregory. Qui in fatis Dei rationem non videt, infirmitatem suam considerans non videat, rationem non videt.[1]

Has any special messenger of Divine truth of whom there is any record, ever been received by the children of men with less mistrust, denounced with less violence, or endured less persecution than he? Moses, the prophets, Christ, and His apostles, were all in turn treated more or less as public enemies, whose teachings threatened the peace of society. Divine truth always brings to the average man, not peace but the sword. Every stage of our spiritual growth is the fruit of a combat and a victory over some prejudice, passion, or unhallowed propensity. If Moses was denounced by his followers for leading them into the wilderness to starve; if the prophets were stoned; if Paul and Peter were imprisoned and Christ crucified for teaching strange doctrines, it is not to be presumed that any new torch-bearer of spiritual light would be welcomed by those who are accustomed to dwell in the darkness which such a light was designed to dispel. On the contrary, a prompt, cheerful, popular acceptance of what purported to be a new revelation from heaven, would be tolerably conclusive evidence that it was spurious. Nor is there any more reason to suppose that all the light from heaven that was designed for the children of men had reached them before the birth of Swedenborg, than that it had reached them before the birth of the Apostles. It is the Christian belief that God has revealed and will continue to reveal Himself to His children according to their necessities. "The apostolical fathers[2] Barnabas, Clement and Hermas (whose writings were reverenced as of canonical authority for four hundred years, and were read with the canonical Scriptures in many of the churches) confirm the truth that prophecy, divine visions, and miraculous gifts continued in the Church after the Apostolic Age, both by their testimony and experience; and to pass over

  1. He who does not see the reason for the acts of God, because of his infirmity, does not see the reason for his not seeing it.
  2. Preface to Dr. Hartley's translation of Swedenborg's treatise on Heaven and Hell.