Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/83

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THE BIBLE TEST.

within historic times, ever ventured; they offer, at every turn, tests by which, if conflicting with the teachings of the Bible, they could have been at once exposed and consigned to oblivion. And yet we are not aware that any student of Swedenborg has ever succeeded in finding any such conflict, or arriving nearer such a result than a difficulty, and sometimes inability, to comprehend him. In the Arcana Cœlestia, in the Apocalypse Revealed, and in the Apocalypse Explained, we find the interior or correspondential meaning of every word in Genesis, in Exodus, and in the Apocalypse. Many if not most of these words reappear in every other book of the Sacred Scriptures,—where, if they failed to harmonize with the context, they would prove Swedenborg's alleged intercourse with the Lord and His angels a delusion and a fraud, and his doctrine of Correspondences an imposition. If the interior meaning ascribed to a river, or to a mountain, or to a star, or to horses and chariots, to bread, and honey, and the hundreds of other natural objects and phenomena mentioned in the Pentateuch, did not harmonize with the use of these words whenever they occur in the Prophets or in the Evangelists, the discovery would put an end to the study of Swedenborg's spiritual writings as completely as the discovery to-day that the New Testament was forged by some monks in the fourth century would put an end to the use of that portion of the Word in our churches.

Insane people, and even enthusiasts, may reason as acutely and as logically as the soundest thinkers; but in such case, one of their premises at least is always wrong. If it were not, they would not deserve to be called insane or enthusiasts. There is no difficulty in detecting the point where the weakness of such minds betrays itself. No one, so far as I am aware, has ever convicted Swedenborg of being inconsistent with himself in any construction he has ever put upon any sentence or word of the Sacred Scriptures, nor in anything he has communicated of the states of existence beyond the grave. Whatever else may be said of his teachings, they are certainly not the incoherent combinations of an unsound mind.

Cuno, from whose memoirs I have already quoted, who