Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/63

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HIS LEADING DOCTRINES.

The doctrines taught by Swedenborg which have thus far left the most distinct impression upon the theology of the world probably are:

1. The doctrine of the Lord, and incidentally of the Redemption and Atonement, by which the unity of God is reconciled to human reason with His trinity, of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

2. The doctrine of the future life, by which the existence of the hells is reconciled with the infinite love of God, which, as he maintains, is as continually and abundantly manifested over the inhabitants of the hells as over the inhabitants of the heavens.

3. The doctrine of the Sacred Scripture, and of correspondences, by which the plenary inspiration, divinity, and holiness of the Word are rationally established; its apparent incongruities and inconsistencies explained, and reconciled to human intelligence; its divine structure vindicated, and its authority exalted.

Swedenborg taught that the Word, or most of what is popularly termed the Bible, was written, not upon the structural principle of a mere secular history or treatise, but according to a law of correspondence between the natural objects and phenomena described in the Bible, and spiritual truths in which they had their origin, and which they represent. He taught that all causes are spiritual, and that all natural phenomena are but sensual manifestations, or, as he commonly styled them, "ultimates," of some preceding spiritual cause; that a people having a perception of correspondences,—as he represents the inhabitants of the heavenly world to have, and as he avers that men on earth once had,—when they read of mountains, rivers, lambs, wolves, wars, the deluge, honey, frankincense, or any natural objects or events, perceive not so much the physical objects and external circumstances that appear to the mere outward apprehension, but the spiritual conditions, things or circumstances with which they correspond; just as when we see a pleasant smile or censorious frown, our attention is occupied with the state of feeling towards us which such smile or frown corresponds to and represents. So there are certain expressions of the face which indicate, to the