Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/68

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other Apostles," he says, "I have not given them a place in my Arcana Cœlestia, because they are dogmatic writings merely, and not written in the style of the Word like those of the Prophets, of David, of the Evangelists, and the Revelation of St. John. The style of the Word consists throughout of correspondences, and thereby effects immediate communication with heaven; but the style of these dogmatic writings is quite different, having indeed communication with heaven, but only mediate or indirect. The reason why the Apostles wrote in this style was that the Christian Church was then to begin through them; and the style that is used in the Word would not have been suitable for such doctrinal tenets, which required plain and simple language, adapted to the capacities of all readers. Nevertheless, the writings of the Apostles are excellent books for the Church; since they insist on the doctrine of charity, and thence faith,—as the Lord Himself has done in the Gospels and in the Revelation of St. John; which will clearly appear to any one who studies these writings with attention."[1]

Swedenborg avers that in their highest state of excellence, in the Church before the flood, men had an intuitive perception of the correspondences that universally exist in nature, so that their language was the language of nature, that is, of correspondences; and that consequently the rites of the Church became correspondential, and representative of heavenly things; but that in time men became sensual and lost their perception of correspondences, and the rites of the Church lost, in their minds, their representative character. In observing the rites irrespective of the spiritual things they represented, they at length became idolatrous.

To recover this lost knowledge of correspondences, he claims that a new revelation from the Lord was necessary; that, for reasons which he assigns, he was selected as the medium through which that revelation was to be made,—at the time, and at the earliest time when the world was prepared to receive and profit by it; just as the Apostles, Moses and the prophets were severally and at different

  1. Letter to Dr. Beyer; also A.C., n. 815.