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other as Bishop Taylor's and Renan's Life of Jesus. Did the writer consult and compare these two diverse biographies? We venture to say he did not. Had he read the first, which is very favourable, we have not the least doubt he would not have rested satisfied until he had read the second; but having read the second, he found all he wanted there, and had no need, and therefore no desire, to read the first. But even had he read both these lives this would not have been enough. No writer who wished to present a faithful view of the character and writings of an eminent author in any department of literature would think it sufficient to consult one biography where several exist. He would gather information from every reliable source and draw a conclusion from the whole. Had the writer consulted the latest and most valuable contribution to the life of Swedenborg, Tafel's collection of Documents, which record facts, he might have saved himself the disgrace of proclaiming Swedenborg to have been a bad man, and leaving his readers to believe that he wrote his theological works while living in the commission of damnable sin.
The charge of justifying adultery in certain cases is just as well founded as the others. It rests on some statements in his work on Marriage, where he makes a distinction between adultery and concubinage,-a distinction which it will be time enough to justify when the cases are presented.
Having examined the writer's statements respecting the personal character of Swedenborg, we now come to consider his criticisms on the doctrines he teaches, as held by the members of the New Church.
The tract entitled “The Son of God, a Word about Swedenborgians," is intended to expose the error of our doctrine of the Trinity and the Incarnation. The author maintains the dogma of three persons, in the ordinary sense of the term. “What do you mean by persons ? Intelligent moral agents, as opposed to things." Quoting John xiv. 26,
“In this place the Son is one Person, who was then addressing the disciples. He was going to His Father in heaven, and on His arrival there the Father would send them a Person who would teach them, and bring to their memory what Jesus Christ the Son of God had said. Here are three persons." “Swedenborg's system,” he says truly, “is based on a denial of the Trinity of persons in the Godhead. He would say, then, You worship three Gods.” The writer promises, however, for Tripersonalists, that if we can prove their views to be contradictory they will give them up;" although, rather oddly, he says, “they will even then continue to affirm, from the evidence of
the New Testament, that the Most High there describes Himself as One Being in three Persons ;” which is a very good example of
“ He that's convinced against his will,
Is of the same opinion still.” But to show that their views are not " a contradiction” he asks us to take a strawberry leaf. “It is shown to be one by its foot-stalk. But in the unity of that one leaf there are three leaves. Do we then contradict ourselves if we say that the strawberry leaf is both one and three ?” So far as we can see through the simile we fail to perceive in it any possible illustration of three persons in one God. A personality so distinct that one person can be in heaven, another on earth, and the third proceeding from heaven to earth, does not seem to bear much resemblance to a three-lobed leaf, which, we suppose, is the three-in-one intended. This is not the aspect in which we should view the leaf, or any other natural object which bears any analogy to the Being who created it. The trine which we recognize in all things is not to be found in any division of parts of which it outwardly consists. Such a division gives no idea whatever of a Trinity. One lobe of a leaf is exactly like another; it has nothing distinctive in its character considered in relation to its other parts. believe the Divine Trinity to be so perfectly distinct that no three similar parts of one thing can represent it. The common opinion seems to be that each of the three Persons is so absolutely like the other that there is only a numerical and official distinction between them. This, in our view, is neither Trinity nor unity. On this principle there might be any number of persons in the Godhead, “each singly and by himself God and Lord;” and these might be said to be one God with just as much consistency as is now said of three. According to our view the Trinity is a necessity of the Divine nature. It does not consist of three persons, each precisely the same as the others, but of three essentials, each entirely different from the others. The distinction in the Godhead is eternal and immutable. It is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. If we were to illustrate the nature of the Trinity by the leaf, we would not take the superficial division which the author of these tracts adopts; we would take a distinction which is inherent in the very nature of the leaf,—the distinction of essence, form, and use. This is a trinity which exists in all created things and in all created beings; and it exists in them because its archetype exists in the Creator. This trinity may be described as esse, existere, and procedere. The author's repeated
quotations from the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures lead us to regard him as a scholar, and yet he says “it would be rather hard to find good and sufficient differences between essence' and 'existence.” he seems to have derived most of his information respecting Swedenborg's teaching from White's Life, it may be as well for him to hear what Swedenborg himself has to say on this point. “Esse and existere in God-Man are distinctly one. Where there is esse there is also existere. One is not possible without the other, for esse is by excistere, and not without it. This reason comprehends when it thinks whether there can be an esse which does not exist, and whether there can be any existere but from an esse ; and since one has place with and not without the other, it follows that they are one, but distinctly one. They are distinctly one, as is the case with love and wisdom; for love also is esse and wisdom is existere, since love does not exist but in wisdom, nor wisdom but in love: when love is in wisdom then it exists. These two are such a one that they may be distinguished in thought, indeed, but not in act. And because they may be distinguished in thought but not in act, they are said to be distinctly
Esse and existere in God-Man are also distinctly one as soul and body; the soul does not exist without its body, nor the body without its soul. It is the Divine soul of God-Man which is understood by the Divine esse and His Divine body which is understood by His Divine existere. That a soul can exist without a body, and can think and be wise, is an error proceeding from fallacies; for every human soul is in a spiritual body after it has put off its material coverings which it carried about with it in the world. The reason why an esse is not an esse unless it exists is because it is not before in a form, and that which is not in a form has no quality, and that which has no quality is not anything.
That which exists from an esse makes
one with the esse by reason that it is from esse : hence there is a uniting in one: hence also it is that one is the other's mutually and reciprocally, and that one is all in all in the other as in itself. Hence it may appear that God is Man, and that thereby He is a God existing, not existing from Himself but in Himself. He who exists in Himself is God, from whom all things are.”
We know not whether the writer of the tract will understand this. Indeed, it is one of the complaints we have to make against those who undertake to disprove our views, that they do not take the trouble first to know what they really are. Some seem to think that when they have read White's Life they have mastered the whole of Swedenborg's theology; and, having learnt at second-hand and through a doubtful medium, they rush into print with the intention of refuting what they either have not taken the pains, or have not the capacity, to understand. Before a man is qualified to discuss a subject he must understand it. Till then he is not qualified to teach, and should be content to learn. We have therefore endeavoured to give him a lesson by quoting Swedenborg himself. The passage we have quoted is indeed abstruse, but it goes to the root of the subject, and gives a view of the Trinity which can be traced out in, because it is deduced from, the whole teaching of Scripture respecting it. It shows that the Divine Trinity consists of the three essentials of which the Divine nature necessarily consists. The first essential of the Divine nature, the Divine esse, is simple and pure being, of which nothing can be predicated but that it is. The second essential, the Divine existere, is the outbirth and manifestation of the being of God. It is in Scripture called the form of God, which makes Him an object of apprehension. The first of these essentials is Love,pure, infinite Love; the second essential is Wisdom,-pure, infinite Wisdom. God is Love. But God is also Light, and Divine Light is Divine Wisdom. But there is a third essential of the Divine nature. For Love and Wisdom would be subsistences shut up in themselves unless there was energy or effluence. Without operative energy a Being might suppositionally be God, but He could not be Creator. He might be Life, but He could not bestow life. He might be happy, but could not make others happy. But, in truth, such a being is impossible, therefore not really conceivable. God must therefore have a third essential, the Spirit, the activity and emanation of His Love and Wisdom. This is the sacred Trinity of Holy Scripture. It is a Trinity in unity. It is a real Trinity and a real unity. The essentials of this Trinity are in their very nature distinct, and in their very nature one. Compared with this what is a Trinity of Persons, as defined by this writer, but an arbitrary, artificial distinction, which, in itself, is no distinction? And what is the unity of such a Trinity but a name? It is of course easy to think of three Divine Persons, and it is easy to say the three Persons are one God; but the tongue must belie the thoughts and the thoughts the tongue. Yet the people who think and talk in this way are not ashamed to speak of the New Church doctrine of the Divine Trinity and unity as absurd, and of the language in which it is expressed as jargon. So, at least, does the author of this pamphlet. But we have said enough for the present.
SWEDENBORG AND THE LORD'S SECOND COMING.
By R. L. TAFEL. The subject treated of in the suggestive paper on the “Nature and Extent of Swedenborg's Illumination, which appeared in the June, August, and November numbers of the Repository, is one of paramount importance to the New Church; for it involves the great question, “How much weight ought we as conscientious New Churchmen to attribute to the writings of the New Church?”
This subject, however, has two sides, especially when the question is one of errors, mistranslations, and contradictions in the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg; and the other side ought not to be withheld from the reader, even though it fill as much space as the original article to which it is a rejoinder: and as the Editor of the Repository has concurred in this opinion I shall endeavour to present to the best of my ability the considerations which should weigh with us in favour of a different conclusion.
INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL DICTATION. On p. 242 of the Repository the following distinction is drawn between the state in which the prophets were while writing the letter of the Word, and that in which Swedenborg was when the Lord revealed through him the internal sense of the Sacred Scripture:
“Both wrote from dictation, but theirs was external, his was internal; theirs was the dictation of words, his was the dictation of ideas. Both wrote also from influx; but theirs was mediate influx, his was immediate. External dictation and mediate influx come from the Lord to man mediately through the heavens; internal dictation and immediate influx come directly from the Lord through the interiors of the mind. Mediate influx supplies knowledges, immediate influx gives light. What comes by internal dictation and immediate influx enters into and illustrates that which comes by external dictation and mediate influx. Such may be regarded as a general view of the distinction between the state and function of the prophets and evangelists by whom the Word was written and the state and function of him by whom the Word was explained. They gave the sign, he gave the signification; they gave the letter, he gave the spirit. His state and function were thus the complement of theirs.”
At a somewhat similar result I arrived in my work on Authority in the New Church (pp. 59-79). In that work it was my object to make an exhaustive analysis of all the passages in the writings of the New Church which treat on the subject of mediate and immediate influx. On p. 70 the following result will be found stated, that, "while the prophets and evangelists were externally inspired, Sweden borg was internally inspired."
MEDIATE AND IMMEDIATE INFLUX. The relation between mediate and immediate influx, however, it seems to me, is not correctly stated in the article in the Repository. The author says that “mediate influx supplies knowledge, immediate influx gives light;" while, according to Swedenborg, both knowledge