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Word, and believing in simplicity what is spoken in the Word : he who confirmeth false principles, first assumeth some principle of his own, from which he is unwilling to depart, and whose authority he is determined, at all events, to support, for which purpose he collects and accumulates corroborating proofs from every quarter, consequently from the Word, till he is so throughly selfpersuaded with regard thereto, that he can no longer see the truth ; but whosoever in simplicity, or out of a simple heart, believeth what is spoken in the Word, he doth not first assume principles of his own, but thinketh what is spoken to be true, because the Lord spake it; and in case he be instructed as to the right understanding thereof, by what is spoken in other parts of the Word he instantly acquiesceth, and in his heart rejoiceth : nay, even supposing a person through simplicity to believe that the Lord is wrathful, that he punisheth, repenteth, grieveth, &c. whereby he is refrained from evil, and led to do good, such belief is not at all hurtful to him, inasmuch as it leadeth him to believe also, that the Lord seeth all things both generally and particularly, and when he is principled in such belief, he is afterwards capable of being enlightened in other points of faith, at least in another life, if not before : the case is different with those who are self-persuaded, in consequence of pre-conceived principles, and who are rivetted in the belief thereof, through the pernicious influence of selfish and worldly love."
Arcana Cælestia, 586 to 589.
ASSESSOR SWEDENBORG'S REPLY
DR. EKEBON'S DEPOSITION; Delivered to the Consistory, at Gottenburg, 22d March, 1769.
Dr. Ekebon's reflections have been communicated to me, which ne delivered in the Consistory, relative to the doctrines of the New Church, which have been declared to the world in the Doctrines of the New Jerusalem, and the Apocalypse Revealed, by
our Saviour Jesus Christ, through me, His servant; and, foras. much as I find, that the Doctor's reflections are full of reproaches against me, as well as occasionally laden with untruths, I deem it too prolix to reply particularly to them, especially as I perceive they have been written by a person, who gives no bridle to his tongue, and who has no eyes in his forehead, to be able to see what is to be found in those writings, conformable to the Word of God, and to an enlightened understanding ; such are the characters whom our Lord describes in Matt. chap. xiii. verses 13, 14, 15. I shall only notice the following words from the Doctor's reflections, " That this doctrine is in the highest degree heretical, and in points the most tender to every Christian, Socinian.” This doctrine cannot be called heretical, forasmuch as in it is acknowledged and confirmed, I. The Divine Trinity, see the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Lord, n. 55, seq. and the Apocalypse Revealed, No. 961, 962. II. The Sanctity of the Holy Scripture, especially as to its literal sense, see the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scriptures, n. 27, seq. n. 37, seq. n. 50, seq. and in the Apocalypse Revealed, n. 200, 898, 911. III. A Christian Life, see the Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem, from the Precepts of the Decalogue, from the beginning to the end. IV. The Union of Faith and Charity, see the Apocalypse Revealed, in various places; and, V. That a faith in God must be directed towards our Saviour, according to His own delaration ; John, chap. iii. verses 15, 16; chap. vi. verse 40 ; chap. xi. verses 25, 26; chap. xx. verse 31 ; and especially, John, chap. iii. verses 35, 36; and Colos. chap. ii verse 9. Likewise from the Formula Concordiæ, “ That in Jesus Christ, God is Man, and Man is God," page 607, 762, 763, 765, 840, seq. * That His human nature has been exalted to the divine power and majesty,” page 337, seq. 607, 608, seq. 774, 833, seq. 844, . 847, 852, 861, 863, 869. 66 That unto Jesus Christ was given all power in Heaven and Earth," page 775, 776, 780, 833. 6 That also as to His Human nature, he fills all things by His immediate presence,” pages 337, 375, 600, 608, 611,738,768, 783,784,785, 786. App. 149, 150, with many more passages : see the edition, Leipsic, 1765. Agreeably to these references, and in obedience to what the Lord Himself teaches in John, chap. xiv. verse 16, faith in God must be directed towards the Saviour Himself. From this alone, it may be concluded, how undeservedly and bare
facedly this doctrine has been attacked with such opprobious language, and that it could not have been said by a man of a sound heart, “ That it is full of the most intolerable fundamental er. rors, seducing, heretical, captious, and in the highest degree to be rejected.” This flood of blasphemy is poured out upon the world, although the Doctor allows, in his reflections, n. 2, that he never read my writings, in the following words : I do not know Assessor Swedenborg's religious system, nor shall I take pains to come at the knowledge of it. I was told that it may chiefly be learned from the following works, which he has published, viz. concerning the New Jerusalem, concerning Faith, and concerning the Lord ; works which I do not possess, neither have I read or seen them.” Is not this to be blind in the forehead, but to have eyes behind, and even these covered with a film ? To see and judge of writings in such a manner, and in such like terms, can any secular or ecclesiastical judge regard otherwise than as criminal ? The book entitled, the Doctrine of the New Church, mentioned by the Doctor, may be had at Gottenburg, so that if he had pleased, he might have had a sight of it. The Doctor blasphemes likewise the spiritual sense of the Word, which our Sa. viour at this time has given to be revealed, as if the same blasphemies would prove a hinderance to the Sacred Scriptures, which, even according to his decision, still continue to contain the principles of the knowledge of faith, religion, and the revealed theology ; although, in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scriptures, it is fully shewn and demonstrat. ed, I. That the sense of the letter of the Word is the basis, continent, and foundation of its spiritual sense, n. 27 to 36. II. That the divine truth, in the sense of the letter of the Word, is in its fulness, its sanctity, and its power, n. 37 to 49. III. That the doctrine of the church is to be deduced from the literal sense of the Word, and to be confirmed thereby, n. 50 to 61. IV. That by the literal sense of the Word, there is a conjunction with the Lord, and consociation with the angels, n. 62 to 68; and further concerning the spiritual sense of the Word, and its invaluable uses, n. 5 to 26, and Apocalypse Revealed, n. 200, 898, 911, and in a thousand other places. Respecting the other point, namely, the charging those doctrines with Socinianism, the same is a horrid blasphemy and untruth; forasmuch as Socinianism signifies a negation of the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, when in fact His divinity, in this doctrine of the New Church, is principally confirmed and proved, and that the Saviour has so fully completed the reconciliation and redemption of man, that without His coming no man could have been saved, see Apoc. Rev. n. 67, and in many other places, in consequence whereof, I consider the word Socinian to be a scoffing, and a diabolical reviling. This, with the rest of the Doctor's reflections, may be considered in the same sense as the flood, which the dragon cast out of his inouth after the woman, that he might cause her to be swallowed up by the flood, during the time that she was yet in the wilderness, Apocalypse, chap. xii. 15. And it may come to pass, that the same which is mentioned in verse 17, may likewise take place, “and the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who kept the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” That the New Jerusalem signifies the New Church, which is to be the bride and the wife of the Lamb, see Apocalypse Revealed, n. 880, 881 ; and that this same church, undoubtedly, is coming, because the Lord Himself has predicted it, Apocalypse chap. xxi. and xxii; see likewise Zechariah, chap. xiv. verses 7, 8, 9; and in the last chapter of the Apocalypse, in these words, “ I Jesus, have sent mine angel, to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and race of David, the bright and morning star; and the spirit and the bride say come, and let him who heareth say come, and let him who is willing receive the water of life, gratis.” verses 16, 17.
Amsterdam, April 15, 1769.
P. S. I request this letter may be delivered to the venerable Consistory, and a copy of it to the Right Reverend Bishop.
N. B. The then Bishop Erie Lamberg, President of the Consistory, was at that time at a diet, in Norrkoeping.
ASSESSOR SWEDENBORG'S SECOND LETTER,
IN REPLY TO DR. EKEBON'S DEPOSITION.
Before I set out on my journey to Paris, which I purpose to de next week, I think proper to make the following addition to my foregoing reply to Dr. Ekebon's reflections. It was said therein, that I have written, first, that the Holy Scriptures have hitherto been ill and sinistrously explained, Apoc. Rev. n. 1. which is entirely untrue, as there is nothing of the kind to be found in the passage quoted. Secondly, that there is no satisfaction given for the sins of the world, which is also entirely untrue. Thirdly, that I rail at justification by faith alone. This is true, I allow, because faith alone is faith separated from charity, or from good works, and faith separated from charity has been rejected by the imperial judgment at Stockholm, and afterwards by the university at Upsal, and probably likewise by those at Lund and Abo.
- The Doctor is determined not to know, that good works, which are said freely and spontaneously to follow faith, and are called the fruits of faith, the works of the Spirit, and the works of grace, and which are performed in a state of justification, have, agreeably to the Formula Concordiæ, no connection with faith, and accordingly do not contribute at all to salvation: nay, that it would be detrimental, if they should combine and mix themselves with faith, and that which is without connection, is in itself separate. Among the quotations from the Formula Concordiæ, concerning the Divinity of Christ, there are some numbers, in my former reply, erroneously set down, viz, 337, 375, ought to be 737, 775, for which reason I adjoin herewith a more distinct and copious extract from the Formula Concordiæ, from the Leipsic edition, 1756, as follows : “ That in Christ God is man and man God, page 607,765. That Christ, true God and man, is in one indivisible person, and abideth to eternity, page 600,762, 763, 840.” 46 That Christ, as to the human nature, has been raised to the omnipotent power of God, forasmuch as He was SUCH A MAN that the human nature had so close, and so ineffable an union and communion with the Son of God, as to become One Person, see page 607. That Christ's human nature has been exalted to the Divine Majesty and Power, is known from the Council of Ephesus, and Chalcedon ; next, from the fathers, as Athanasius,