78 On the Literal and Spiritual Senses of the Word.

degrees ; not only those who have just fallen away from truth and holiness, like the maiden who had just expired, and in whom, as with a taper newly extinguished, it was by comparison easy to kindle a vital flame anew ; but He raises also them who, like the young man borne out to his funeral, have been some little while dead in their trespasses. Nor has even yet exhausted his power ; for He quickens them also who, like Lazarus, have lain long festering in their sins, as in the corruptions of the grave, who were not merely dead, but buried-with the stone of evil customs and evil habits laid to the entrance of their tomb, and seeming to forbid all egress thence. Even this stone He rolls away, and bids them to come forth, loosing the bands of their sins, so that presently they are sitting down with the Lord at their table, there where there is not the foul odour of the grave, but where the whole house is full of sweet fragrance of the ointment of Christ (John xii. 1-13). All this Doune has well expressed :-'If I be dead within doors (if I have sinned in heart), why suscitavit in domo, Christ gave a resurrection to the ruler's daughter within the doors in the house. If I be dead in the gate (if I have sinned in the gates of my soul), in my eyes, or ears, or hands, in actual sins, why suscitavit in porta, Christ gave a resurrection to the young man at the gate of Nain. If I be dead in the grave (in customary and habitual sins), why suscitavit in sepulcro, Christ gave a resurrection to Lazarus in the grave too.'”




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MR. ABBOTT appears to be anxious to fasten some blame on the Committee in regard to this subject: first, for having made a quotation in reference to A. C. 9410, from the index instead of from the work itself; and secondly, for having quoted S. S. 56, from a translation published forty years ago, instead of from the last edition of the Swedenborg Society. The first quotation is :-" There is no communication with the angels if the Word is understood according to the letter without doctrine which is the internal sense of the Word." A. C. 9410.

Mr Abbot confronts this with the passage as it stands in the late edition :-"All things which are of the sense of the letter of the Word correspond to spiritual and celestial things, in which the angels are, with which things there is no communication, if the Word be taken according to the letter, and not at the same time according to any doctrine of the Church, which is the internal of the Word.”

Perhaps Mr. Abbott is not aware that this is not a new translation, but one much more antiquated than that of S. S. 56, and not so consistent with Swedenborg's system. It will be found word for word in the edition published 65 years ago, when spiritual and celestial things, in which the angels are, were understood to be objects instead of states

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of Goodness and Truth. The communication with angels is by heavenly ideas, interpreted, eliminated, extracted, or drawn from, out of, or through the letter of the Word.

I do not see that the use of from instead of through in the Swedenborg Society's translation of S. S. 56 affects the subject. It is admitted on all hands that the doctrine of the Church is the internal sense of the Word, and the only question is how are we to get at it? Swedenborg teaches by a knowledge of correspondences, S. S. 9, excepting where the spiritual sense crops up in the form of naked truths.




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In the Scriptures it is said of God, “I form the light and create darkness : I make peace and create evil : I the Lord do all these things." Isa. xlv. 7.

God is here said to create evil, because all things are from Him directly or indirectly, for nothing can by any possibility have any existence independently of Him. God, however, is essentially good, all-wise, and all-powerful, how, then, can anything exist which is not good ? From God, who is goodness itself, nothing of evil can originate, for all that is called evil is destructive of what is good. Whence, then, cometh evil ? How do you account for the existence of both good and evil things in nature, and how or in what sense can God be said to create evil ?

For all useful discussion on the subject we must be guided by Scripture. From that source alone can we receive any light, and be enabled to justify the ways of God to man, and show that God cannot be the direct author of both good and evil, though in a certain sense He may truly be said to create both.

Goodness is of God alone. There is not anything good by or in itself but from God. All that God created, we learn, was good and very good (Gen. i. 31). Until man disobeyed God, we do not learn of the existence of evil. The “serpent,” indeed, is said to have beguiled the woman (Gen. iii. 1--13), but, in the idiom of Scripture language, this must refer to the “wisdonı” of which serpents are the

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types (Matt. x. 16), and be spoken figuratively, in the same manner as the “ trees” of Eden, which refer to knowledge and life (Gen. ii. 9). In this sense it would appear that man's disobedience was occasioned by trusting to his own wisdom, typified by the " serpent."

In man's disobedience, therefore, we must seek for an explanation of the introduction of evil. But how came man to disobey God, and how came he to have the power of doing so ? For a knowledge of this we must examine the constitution of man. We learn that it was the will of God to create a being like Himself, so far so, that man is said to have been created an image and likeness of God.” To be like God, everything-life with all its powers--must appear to man to be his own, with perfect freedom of action. He must, therefore, possess faculties suitable for this appearance. He must have a capacity for receiving and reflecting God's love and wisdom, and the power of using them as his own, and we learn that this was so. All that God created was placed at man's disposal, and he was freely to take of everything. All the “ trees” of God all the knowledge and heavenly wisdom of which the trees were types, were to be his food, to be freely taken and appropriated as his own, with this caution, that he was not to eat, that is, to appropriate that knowledge, and believe that life and wisdom were self-originated, and not derived from God. He was not to eat of the “ tree of knowledge of good and evil,” and was solemnly warned that if he did so he would surely die (Gen. i. 26-30; ii. 9, 16, 17), that is, he would separate himself from God and heavenly life. It was necessary

man, as

a likeness of God," should have the full sensation and appearance, as if life with all its freedom and wisdom were his own. It is said in appearance, because these attributes are self-existent in God alone, man being but a form recipient of them ; but when from this appearance he began to think they were self-derived and not from God, which his perfect freedom of action enabled him to do, he turned from God and turned to himself, by which step his reason, from being enlightened from God, became immersed in the darkness of his own imagination, in which it would perceive things in a false light, and thus he induced in himself the belief that both his life and his wisdom were really self-derived. He suffered himself to

' beguiled by the serpent,” that is, to be biassed by his own wisdom, and listening to its suggestion—" Yea, hath God said," and the prompting of its desire to be as wise as God—“In the day ye eat thereof ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. iii. 5), he became fascinated with his imagination-"saw that it was pleasant


to the eyes,” and “took of the fruit as of a tree to be desired to make one wise” (Gen. iii. 6), that is, really believed that he knew good and evil, and was wise from himself; and from that day Adam and his wife turned good into evil, because such a belief operates on the will, and leads, alas ! to the denial of God as the sole author of life and source of all good. In applying the life and freedom he received from God to disobey God, Adam implanted in himself the origin of evil by altering the end, or making an ill use of the life received.

In the necessity for man, “as a likeness of God," to feel that his freedom, life, and wisdom were his own, there is no evil, but man first originated evil when man aspired to be as God. In turning from God as the source of all good, Adam and Eve turned from what is good to its opposite, or that which is from man. He that is led of God is led of good; he that turns from God and leads himself is not in good, for what he does is for the sake of himself or the world, which is opposed to good from God.

It further appears that man's introduction of evil into nature in his own person was not limited to himself, but that it infused itself into the world God had created in all beauty and order; for we read that, as a consequence of man's sin, not only was the “ serpent”-man's wisdom--pronounced to be cursed, but the "ground" also (Gen. iii. 14, 17); so that from that time forth, in place of nothing but what was beautiful and useful being produced, “thorns, thistles," that is, their opposites, were to spring forth (Gen. ii. 15).

To the period, and inclusive of Adam and Eve's creation, all that "God had made was very good” (Gen. i. 31), the earth, by the will of God, bringing forth everything that was desirable and useful for man's existence (Gen. i. 29, 30); but from the time of man's fall from his state of integrity, the will of man, as well as the will of God, was to have its representative in nature ; a progeny influenced by man's spirit of opposition to his Maker was to make its appearance ; “ thorns, thistles"-forms of evil destructive of what was good, deriving their qualities from man's perverted ends-were to spring forth in nature,

cursed is the ground for thy sake" being pronounced as the consequence of man's sin.

Thenceforth a new feature in created nature was originated. Together with the display of God's goodness in the various objects of His beneficence, types of man's perverted will were to spring forth. Man was so completely an image of his Maker, that the powers delegated to him were to take part in created existences, and the change




he had wrought in himself was to be imaged in all things that were noxious and destructive, that he might have a constant and visible expression of the character of his perversions of good. Creation in nature was thenceforth to become mediate through man as well as immediate from God. Man's spirit was thenceforward to have an influence upon the inflowing life from God into man and nature! And this state was to be the result of God's marvellous love! In His great love God created and endowed a creature with the godlike faculty of resembling Himself, and this irrevocable power His creature turned against his Maker, and subverted the beneficent ends of His creation ! Truly such love is incredible to man, so superhuman as only to be accepted upon revelation, and to be attributable to God, whose love, we learn, and forbearance nothing can destroy, and whom nothing can divert from pouring out all His blessings upon mankind !

Nevertheless God's wisdom in making man godlike provided against its abuses. He overruleth all things for good. He ordained that even the evil His creature had introduced into creation, destructive and hurtful as it is in itself, should notwithstanding minister and finally be serviceable to produce good ; and thus we find that all noxious things in nature are bent and made to contribute to some useful and beneficial purpose.

The wicked also are overruled and made to perform what is useful, and even the evil in man's moral nature is made to render service to the attainment of good, by breaking up and destroying all that is opposed in the soul to its reception : thus evil is preserved within bounds, and the “ wrath of man" is turned to God's praise (Ps. lxxvi. 10). In use or benefit, therefore, the Will of God is supreme, and continues to be manifested to the great comfort and happiness of His creatures, His goodness ruling over all. Evil solely originates from man's abusing the freedom and power he necessarily receives with life from God, by perverting its end, and living in opposition to the divine will and contrary to what is good.

Thus in no case is God the author of evil, but its creation is attributed to Him, because self-will and its evil originate from but not in the life which flows from Him.



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