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not perform. This also we learn from all those places in which they do express their ignorance, or doubtfulness of that which they are speaking of; as when St. Paul says, I know not whether I baptized any other, 1 Cor. i. 16. And again, tuxov magzuwa Perhaps, I will abide, yea, and winter with you, 1 Cor. xvi. 6. And when St. Peter saith, By Sylvanus, a faithful brother as I suppose, have I written to you, 1 Pet. v. 12. For these words plainly shew that in all these things they had no inspiration or divine assistance:—This, lastly, may be gathered from all those places in which they only do express their hope, and that conditionally, of doing this or that, as in these words, I hope to see you in my journey, Rom. xv. 2. I will come unto you quickly, if the Lord will, 1 Cor. iv. 19. I hope to stay some time with you, if the Lord permit, 1 Cor. xvi. 7. I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy quickly to you, Phil. ii. 19, 23. And, I trust that I myself also shall come quickly, ver. 24. These things I write, hoping to come to thee quickly, but if I should tarry, that thou mayest know how to behave thyself in the church of God, 1 Tim. iii. 14, 15. I hope, by your prayers, to be given to you, Philem. 22. This will we do, if the Lord permit, Heb. vi. 3. I hope to come to you, St. John, 2 Ep. ver. 12. 3 Ep. ver. 14. For, spes est incertæ rei nomen, the word hope implies an uncertainty, whereas the Holy Spirit cannot be uncertain of any thing; nor can we think he would inspire men to speak so uncertainly. And (2) There can be no necessity, or even a use of a divine assistance to ena, ble a man to express his hopes, seeing all men do, by natural reflection, know them.”
A very different opinion is held in the New Church as to the sanctity of those books emphatically stiled the WORD. She teaches,
“ That the WORD of the LORD, in every part of it, involveth spiritual and celestial things. A. C. 639. In every tittle of the letter of the Word in the original language there is a sanctity. Every letter contains some secrets of wisdom, nay the
flexures and curvatures of the letters and the sounding of them from thence.” H. H. 260. W. H. 11.
“ The WORD is inspired, not only as to all the particular ex, pressions, but also as to all the particular small letters which compose every expression, and thus as to the smallest dot and tittle; for in every dot and tittle there is a something originating in affection and life, which is common to the general expression, and is thus correspondently insinuated into what is most particular and singular."2A. C. 1870.
“ The WORD, inwardly in itself, has stored up the Arcana of Heaven, which do not appear in the letter, when yet in each of those things which the Lord himself spake when he was in the world, and which he before spake' by the prophets, there are things celestial and altogether divine, and elevated from the sense of the letter, and this not only in each of the expressions, but also in each of the syllables of the expressions, yea in each of the apexes of every syllable."-Ib. 9198.
“ He who doth not know that the particulars of the WORD, even to the least of all, in the internal sense, treat of the Lord and his Kingdom, and that hence the word is most holy, cannot in any wise comprehend what this means, that one apex shall not fall, nor one iota or tittle pass away, and that it is easier that heaven and earth should pass away; for those things which are extant in the external sense, do not appear of so great moment; but the internal text is of such content (tam continens est) that a single expression, however small, could not be omitted without an interruption of the series."1b. 7933. It is for this reason, by the divine providence of the Lord, that the WORD is preserved so entire as to every
tittle. The books which have an internal sense, and are called the WORD, are, the five books of Moses, Joshua, Judges, the two books of Samuel, the two books of Kings, the Psalms of David, the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi; and in the New Testament, the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the Revelations.*
Do those of the Old Church censure us for not holding such opinions in relation to the Apostolic Epistles? Do they hold such opinions themselves, of these, or of any part of the Word ? The fact
Mr. Wilson is mistaken in saying the book of Job is not, according to our opinion, written by correspondencies.—It is written by correspondencies and has an internal sense, but not in series, or in regular and connected order.- The book of JOB is a book of the Ancient Church, (that is, a Church existing before the Jewish,) and is written according to the forms of speaking, customary therein.
is, they have no idea of the holy veneration in which the WORD, emphatically so called, is held in the New Church.
The apostles, being illuminated as to their rational faculty, perfectly understood the meaning, end and design of what they wrote ; but the prophets and writers of the other books above mentioned, being merely enunciators of the WORD, did not perceive the meaning, end and design of what they spoke and wrote, nor were their rational faculties illuminated for that purpose. This subject will be more fully gone into, on a future occasion.
J. W. C.
FOR THE NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH REPOSITORY.
THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES. “ Ye can discern the face of the sky, but ye cannot discern the signs of the times.” Matt. xvi. 3.
“Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, the morning cometh, and also the night." Isa. xxi. 11, 12.
It has always been the case, at the commencement of every New Dispensation, which the Father of the human race has vouchsafed to his erring creatures, that men have been generally im. pressed with an opinion, that something very important to the world at large was about to take place. Immediately before and at the time of the first advent of our blessed Lord, the people of Israel were looking for the Messiah, in whom were to be accom. plished all the cheering promises given by the mouths of the prophets. Good old Simeon was waiting for the Consolation of Israel, Even Herod, and his subjects in general, seem to have been pow. erfully affected ; for we are told, when he heard of the visit of the eastern magi, “ he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him." The Roman world, too, in the darkness of its idolatry, was not without some glimmerings of the splendour of the coming age. The poet of Latium, with the enthusiasm of an Hebrew seer, makes a prophetic enunciation, which leaves us at a loss to say, whether his lips had been touched with a coal from the altar of Israel, or that the Divine Providence, which is not willing that any should remain in utter darkness, had taken care to preserve, among the Gentiles, some remains of the prophecies, which had been given
to the Ancient Church, that, through the instrumentality of the
Ultima Cumæi venit jam Carminis Ætas :
Jam nova progenies cælo demittitur alto.*
As it was in the days of the first advent of our Lord, so is it in
* The last great age, foretold by sacred rhymes,
state of feeling and anxiety; for the Lord " shows wonders in the heavens above, and signs in the earth beneath," whereby the understanding, if rightly disposed, may clearly mark his footsteps in the great deep. Let us be careful that we merit not the awful rebuke, “0 hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, but ye cannot discern the signs of the times.” The Christian world, it is true, are seriously and anxiously looking for those signs : so were the Jews yet they crucified the Lord of Glory, and would not that he should reign over them. We see where they were deceived, or rather deceived themselves. Let us then beware of that most dreadful denunciation, “ Wo unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! because ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and adorn the monuments of the just, and say, if we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Thus ye witness to yourselves that ye are the sons of them who murdered the prophets. And ye have fulfilled the measure of your fathers.” May we not err, even as they have erred ? May we not be partakers with them in the blood of the prophets, and “ crucify the Son of God afresh ?” Viewing the Word only in the letter, they looked for a king of worldly magnificence and power, who should give them dominion over the nations of the earth, and would not receive him who declared, “his kingdom was not of this world." In examining, therefore, the signs of the times, “ the wonders in the heavens above, and signs in the earth beneath,” let us not seek for eclipses and earthquakes in the natural world, but turning our view to the internal and external things of the Church, which are the real heavens and the real earth, in which we are to discover these signs, endeavour to observe the characteristic traits of the religious states of mankind, and thereby mark the actual progression of things, as it is foretold in the significative prophetics of the Word. Splendid iudeed are the glories, which, under the names of a new heaven and a new earth, are promised to the Church, 6 when the tabernacle of God shall be with men, and all things shall be made new.” But these glories cannot be manifested “except there come a falling away first,”* until the sun be darkened, and the moon give not her light, and the stars fall from heaven, and the powers
• 2 Thes. ii. 3.