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Some caution, however, is necessary wbile viewing these Churches in connexion, lest we exalt the latter above its mea. sure. It was, indeed, but a natural degree of the Word which was opened to this Church, although it may appear spiritual, when compared with that which preceded.
The superiority of the New Jerusalem dispensation will appear from the comparison, which we are about to institute. But there are certain advantages attending its communication, which demand particular attention, because they show that the operations of Divine Providence have for many ages been preparatory to this grand display of wisdom and goodness.
Oral instruction was almost exclusively the method of acquiring knowledge with the Israelitish nation, and during the first ages of Christianity. Since the invention of printing, the means of information have been immensely increased. The truths, which the Lord has now revealed, come with all the advantages of an art so useful in disseminating and preserving knowledge. A systein of truth so extensive and profound could not possibly have been given by oral instruction, much less could it have been retained by any mind. Little of this order of truth can be received at once, and what is received must often be renewed. Manuscripts of the truths thus revealed could never be multiplied to any considerable extent, and if written, few persons in any country would be able to purchase them. The blessings now derived through this wonderful art, are so extensive and inportant, that its invention must ever be regarded as a glorious era in the divine providence.
We have before remarked, that nearly all the superiority the Christian Church possessed over the Israelitish, was derived from general doctrines, and that few passages from the Old Testament were illustrated. It is not so with the New Jerusalem. Beside books containing its doctrines, it has a great proportion of the Word, both of the Old Testament and the New, explained in its spiritual or internal sense. These doctrines and these expositions, being printed, present great and obvious advantages over the former dispensations. The “ light of the moon has become as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun, seven-fold.”
In presenting examples of the different senses of the Word, received by these three Churches, we shall begin with the decalogue. The order of truth derived from this, determines, in a great measure, the character of the Church, and the sense which it derives from the rest of the Scriptures.
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT.
Thou shalt not have other gods before My faces. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing and any likeness, which is in the heavens from above, and which is in the earth from beneath, and which is in the waters from beneath the earth. Thou shalt not bow thyself to them, and shalt not serve them. Because I am Jehovah thy God, a zealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons, on the thirds and on the fourths to My haters; and doing mercy to thousands, that love Me and keep My precepts."
By these words the Israelitish nation understood no other than what is expressed in the merely literal sense ;—that neither idols nor men, whether dead or living, were to be preferred to God; consequently, that they should neither make nor worship any thing representing a deity, because Jehovah was jealous of His own honour, and would revenge any indignity offered Him by worshipping other gods, not only on those who were personally guilty, but also on their posterity : and that He would bestow the honours and prosperity of this world on those who should conform their external conduct to His laws.
We shall take up no time in proving that a sense thus exterior was received by this nation. For plenary evidence, that their worship was merely external, and that the reward of obedience was considered only as temporal, we refer our readers to the 66 Arcana Cælestia,” vol. XII, and to Warburton's “ Divine Le gation of Moses," vol. V, Hurd's edition.
The Christian Church, also, by these words understand, that all worship is to be paid to the only living and true God; and by worship they mean not only the external act, but honour and devotion from the heart. They also understand that God is to be loved supremely. Who the only living and true God is, has been a subject of much dispute. In the first ages of Christianity, some were found, who believed that 6 in Jesus Christ dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” and consequently, that He was the only Lord of heaven and earth ; but this opinion does not appear to have been universal, and in later periods few have adopted it. Some have divided the Divine Being into two, and still more into three. But we shall trust to the reader's knowledge of the diversity of opinion on this subject, only remarking that, with many Christians the belief in a God cannot have been very deeply grounded, as they are bold to contend, that He has neither form nor substance, of which the mind can receive any idea. Whether these Christians worship" they know not what,” is worthy their consideration.
What is implied by God's visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the sons, the Christian Church has not determined. We could cite a variety of opinions, but we believe this part of the commandment is commonly passed over without any decision as to its meaning The “ mercy,” shown to those who love God and keep His
precepts, is considered by this Church not as merely temporal, but as principally reserved for a future state. It is important to mark the difference between this sense and that received by the Israelitish nation.
According to the illustration of this commandment revealed to the New Jerusalem Church, the term God, represented by “ Me," or " My faces,” signifies specifically the Divine Truth. By the words, “ Thou shalt not have other gods before My faces," is signified that truths ought not to be thought of from any other source, but the Lord Jesus Christ. 66 Thou shalt not make unto thyself a graven thing,” signifies that it is not to be done from self-intelligence; that is, truth is not to be regarded as from our own minds, but as flowing in from the Lord, who is the TRUE Light. “ That man should not make a likeness of any thing, which is in the heavens from above, or which is in the earth from beneath, or which is in the waters from beneath the earth,” signifies that he should not make a resemblance or external show of the goods and truths, which proceed from the Lord, without possessing them internally, or in his heart. Specifically, by things 6 in the heavens from above,” are signified those more exalted principles, which are received from the Lord, and appear in spiritual light, or are seen by the internal mind; by the things, " which are in the earth from beneath," are signified those principles, or goods and truths, which appear in natural light, and have reference to civil and moral concerns; by the things, 66 which are in the waters from beneath the earth,” are signified those more external goods and truths, such as are in the sensual principle of man. Of this class are the scientifics, with their deVOL. I.
lights, which proximately exist from the experience of the external senses. To deceive by a pretence of things good and true, of either of these kinds, is to offend against this part of the commandment. 66 Thou shalt not bow thyself to them nor serve them,” signifies that they should not be worshipped, that is, those resemblances of goods and truths, which have just before been named, should not be regarded: with humility of heart, nor with submission of the understanding. Humility and submission are essentials of worship; and the former refers to the will and its affections, the latter to the understanding and its thoughts. “ Because I am Jehovah thy God,” signifies that the Lord, as to his Divine Humanity, reigns universally in all goods and truths. By “ Jehovah” is meant the Divine Good, and by “God” the Divine Truth. The Divine Human is in all goods and truths, because they are from Him. Hence the reason, why worship should not be paid to the resemblances of good and truth, formed in the mind of man by self-derived intelligence.“ A zealous” or "jealous God," signifies that hence comes what is false and evil. By ** zealous God," in the genuine sense, is signified the Divine Truth of the Divine Good; “ Zealous" being predicated of good, and “God” of truth. But to those, who reject genuine goods and truths, and form in their minds resemblances of them, -the Divine Love appears as zeal or anger, and the Divine Truth is turned into what is false. Hence it is, that anger, wrath, and evil, are attributed to the Lord, when still, in the Divine, there is only pure clemency and mercy.
6 Visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the sons," signifies the prolification of what is false, derived from what is evil. This also is a consequence of regarding truths as our own, and of pretending to goods and truths, which we do not possess. In a proximate sense, these words also teach, that the evil appertaining to fathers is hereditarily derived into their children, and hence it is successively accumulated.
“ Upon the thirds and the fourths to my haters," signifies in a long series and conjunction, with those who are in evils and falsities. “ Three” denotes what is full from beginning to end, thus a long series. “ Four” denotes conjunction. “ Fathers,” mentioned just before, when taken in a bad sense, denote evils, and “ sons” falsities. Hence it is, that by visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the sons, on the thirds and on the fourths
to my haters," is signified the prolification of the faise derived from evil in a long series and conjunction, with those who form to themselves resemblances of things good and true, and worship them: that is, who reject those principles, which proceed from the Lord.
“And doing mercy to thousands, who love Me and keep My precepts," signifies that good and truth are increased forever with those who receive the good of love, that is, who love the Lord, and who receive the truths of faith, that is, who keep the commandments.
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT.
66 Thou shalt not bring the name of Jehovah thy God into what is vain, for Jehovah will not hold him innocent, who bringeth His name into what is vain.”
The Israelitish nation, who did not acknowledge any good and truth of faith, signified by the name of God,” considered that these words forbid the application of the name of Jehovah, and also of the precepts and statutes which were commanded them, to the worship of idols; and that the sin of such profanation could not be expiated by the sacrifices and offerings made for other of fences. The Jews, after the Babylonish captivity, appear not to have used this name at all; but instead of it they read Adonai. Josephus says, “ Moses prayed that he might be informed of the name of the Almighty Being.-The Almighty was pleased to comply with his request, but the name was till then entirely un. known to mankind; and to it such sacred veneration is due, that I must not here presume to mention it.” Josephus, Clarke's Trans. p. 31.
The Christian Church understood that this commandment for. bids not only profaning the names of the Almighty, but also the abuse of his “ ordinances, Word and works.” The penalty in. curred by a violation of this law, is not considered as temporal, but as reserved for a future state. This is supposed to be of arbitrary infliction, and not a necessary consequence of the offence. It is important to bear in mind, that the Israelitish nation regarded punishment for disobedience, as being vindictive and arbitrary, though merely temporal, and that the Christian Church also consider it as vindictive and arbitrary, but eternal. We do not give this opinion as universal, but as general,