Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/72

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by Divine authority were generally treated with derision. Of course, therefore, Swedenborg's testimony,—highly as it would have been estimated by his contemporaries upon any subject which only involved his personal probity, honor, and general intelligence,—would go but a very short way in support of his pretensions to a supernatural mission. His writings must prove themselves. His theory of interpreting the Bible must harmonize so completely that, to whatever part applied, there shall be no conflict. And not only must the external or material objects and incidents in the Bible have the same spiritual meaning wherever they occur, but those meanings must harmonize with the obvious and undisputed teachings of the Word itself.

This harmony is claimed for Swedenborg's teachings by his more diligent students. They insist that his statement of the correspondences between the letter and the spirit of the Word, as recorded in Genesis or Exodus, or in the Apocalypse, and elsewhere, are equally applicable to the same objects or phenomena in any other part of the Sacred Scriptures. In other words, that the Word of God is written as it were in two languages, one natural or external, the other spiritual or internal; the natural or external objects or events described having been selected exclusively because of their spiritual meaning, and having that meaning in all cases where they appear; even "as the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith destroy it not, for a blessing is in it."

It is but just here to say that Swedenborg does not profess to give all the internal meaning of which the Word is the repository. So far from it, he represents the Word to be infinite; to contain even profounder depths of wisdom than can be expressed in the language of men; adapted, by successive unfoldings, to the angels of all the heavens,—to the highest state of intelligence that finite minds can ever, to all eternity, attain; and extending upwards even to God Himself, as the rays of light extend to the sun. In other words, that it is in the true sense of the term Divine, and therefore infinite. Hence the necessity that the natural language of the Bible should be that of correspondences, capable of involving