The Garden of Eden (Doughty)
New-Church Popular Series.[No. 9.
Garden of Eden:
THE SPIRITUAL INTERPRETATION AND TRUE MEANING OF THE STORY.
Rev. JOHN DOUGHTY,
Author of "The World Beyond."
SWEDENBORG PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION,
900 Chestnut Street.
T the present day there is not much openly avowed infidelity in Christian lands. But there are reasons for believing that there exists a vast amount of it in a latent form, and no inconsiderable portion even in the churches themselves.
And since it prevails among some of the most thoughtful and honest people, the questions, What is the cause of it? and How is it to be effectually remedied? deserve the serious consideration of every friend of mankind, and especially of every teacher of the Christian religion.
The chief cause undoubtedly is, the mistaken idea in regard to the Sacred Scripture and the method by which its true meaning is to be elicited, which has become so prevalent throughout the bounds of Christendom. This idea is, that the written Word has but one meaning, and that, the meaning conveyed to the natural understanding by the natural or sensuous interpretation of the words of Scripture.
By this false but prevalent method, the Bible is reduced to the level of a human composition, is robbed of its Divine spirit and life, and much of it made to teach what every rational mind sees to be very unreasonable—some of it unintelligible and even puerile. No wonder, therefore, that questions like the following, which Mr. Ingersoll is reported to have asked in a recent lecture, should arise in many thoughtful minds:
What, then, is the remedy? We know of but one; and that is, to teach people the real nature and purpose of Holy Scripture—to show them wherein its divinity consists, what is the law that governs in a truly divine composition, and what the method therefore by which its true meaning is to be unfolded. All of which is so fully and clearly revealed in the writings of , that every one who carefully and prayerfully examines these writings, is sure to see it. And the Christian ministers who refuse or neglect to do so, are left without excuse,—and will continue, however unintentionally and unconsciously, to foster the growing skepticism of our times.
The purpose of this little volume is, to lift the reader's mind above the sensuous plane of thought, and to show him, by a method of interpretation applicable alike to all other parts of Scripture, the spiritual and true meaning of that old Garden of Eden story.