« EelmineJätka »
and he shall make them drink of the river of his pleasures."* "The streams whereof will make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her, and that right early.”+
As trumpeters on the walls of Zion, we would make known, to an evil world, the coming of our Lord, that wedding garments may be ready, the lamps well supplied with oil, trimmed and burning, as ye know not the hour when your hearts, individually, will be visited. If they are swept clean from self-love, and garnished with innocence, he will dwell with you; but if not, your ruin is inevitable. It is this which has prompted us to the present undertaking; and it is this which encourages us to persevere in the same.
* Psalm xxxvi. 7, 8.
† Psalm xlvi. 45.
(Concluded..... from vol. 1, page 532.) But it is urged by those, who are unwilling to admit of any such spiritual or allegorical way of interpreting the Sacred Pages, that there is a danger attending it, or, as it is expressed by a learned prelate, that " the practice of allegorizing the Scriptures has been attended rrith the worst consequences."* And, indeed, it must be confessed, that there is some foundation for this remark of the right rev. author, and that the practice of allegorizing, as he terms it, has not always been executed with judgment, or attended with edification, but, on the contrary, that whilst it has manifested in many instances a want of sound knowledge and discretion on the part of the interpreter, it has tended as frequently to bewilder and to mislead his weak and over-credulous readers. But the question is, how shall we get rid of this danger? Shall we say, because in some cases the practice of allegorizing has been attended with ill consequences, that therefore it ought to be altogether discarded as both visionary and groundless ! Surely this is to plunge ourselves into a danger incalculably more dangerous, since it is presuming to say, that the Word of Gov doth not either in the whole or in parts, bear testimony to Jesus Christ; that it relates only to human occurrences and events, and hath no more of divine spirit and life in its histories, than other human records can pretend to. And what is all this but stopping up the “ wells of salvation,” so that no water of life can be extracted thence for the health, the nourishment and refreshment of those for whose spiritual benefit and consolation it was principally intended? Or, to change the metaphor, what is it
* See Elements of Christian Theology, by the Bishop of Lincoln, vol. i. p. 69. VOL. II.
but closing our eyes at once against every ray of heavenly wisdom, intelligence, and illumination, and thus reducing the christian church to that same miserable Jewish darkness and blindness described by the prophet, where he says, " The Lord hath poured out upon you the gpirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes ; the prophets and your rulers, the seers, hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, read this, I pray thée ; and he saith, I cannot: for it is sealed."* To get rid then of the danger of allegorizing the Scriptures, we must take heed how we fall into the greater danger of denying their allegorical sense and meaning. , We ought therefore to digest well the wisdom which teaches us to consider, that “a principle is not therefore to be rejected because it has been abused" We ought also to use heavenly prudence and discretion in our spiritual interpretations of the Sacred Records; and since all such prudence and discretion is of God, and not of ourselves, we must apply ourselves in devoat prayer to the Divine AUTHOR of the Holy Pages, to give us those graces, and with them a right understanding of his DIVINE WORD, agreeably to the practice of the Psalmist, where he prays, “ Open thou mine eyes, that I may see wondrous things out of thy law."! If we are thus careful to guard ourselves by supplication to the INCARNATE God, of whom the Scriptures testify, and to interpret them according to the spirit of his holy love, charity, meekness, and humility, we may then have the consolation and the confidence to believe, that we shall not only be out of the reach of mischief in our interpretations of the Holy Volume, but shall also be conducted by the Divine spirit and life to the possession of all that wisdom, blessing, and salvation, which the Word of God, in every part of it, was intended to supply to the humble, the penitent, and the believing, agreeably to that testimony of the Psalmist, " Through thy commandments I get understanding, therefore I hate all eril ways.'ll
If the reader yet wants any further satisfaction on the above important subject, the author of these pages has the happiness to think, that he is able to direct him to it, and to assure him, that if he follow the direction faithfully, he will not be disappointed in his search. But he must first take the liberty of asking him, whether he can be content to seek what he wants in the mire of obloquy and reproach? Has
* Isaiah xxix. 10, 11.
Psalm cxix. 18.
ke the discernment to discover it in the dark shade of defamation, and the courage and patience to dig it out from under the rubbish of contumely, of contempt, and of the most opprobious appellations ? Moreover, is he seeking the desired information, not in the spirit of a vain and idle curiosity, still less with a view to gratify his vanity and ambition, but that becoming better acquainted with the laws of that eternal life and order which are revealed in the WORD OF GOD, and more fully persuaded of their Divine origin, he may be the better enabled to fulfil the Divine intentions of his HEAVENLY Father, and thus become a regenerate child of his mercy and kingdom? If such be the reader's tempers andqualifications--if he be actuated by that pure love of the eternal truth, which will prompt him to pursue her whithersoever she conducts him, whether through good report, or evil report, he may then safely be informed, that in the writings of a learned and honorable foreigner, which have lately been translated from the original Latin into the English language, he may find the clearest and fullest confirmations of the divinity, the spirituality, and the blessed tendency of the inspired Books of Moses and the Prophets. Doth he yet ask the name of this extraordinary writer? Let him seek it (where the proper name of a writer can alone be found) in his edifying writings, until he blushes to discover, that the mad, the visionary, the enthusiastic, the nonsensical SWEDENBORG, as the world, and perhaps himself, hath been pleased to call him, ought rather to have been sumamed the sound THEOLOGIAN, THE ABLE AND LUMINOUS EXPOSITOR OF THE word of God, THE COOL AND SOBER INVESTIGATOR of Holy TRUTH, THE CONDUCTOR TO THE HEIGHTS OF EVANGELICAL VIRTUE, THE DECLARED FOE TO EVERY SPECIES OF ENTHUSIASM, FANATICISM, AND DISORDER, WHETHER CIVIL OR RELIGIOUS; THE STRENUOUS ASSERTER OF THAT FUNDAMENTAL ARTICLE OF CHRISTIAN FAITH, THE INCARNATION OF THE SON OF GOD, AND HIS ONENESS WITH TAE ETERNAL FATHER; THE LOUD PREACHER OF REPENTANCE AND REGENERATION; AND THUS, FINALLY, THE RESTORER OF THE ONLY TRUE Caristian Religion, VIZ. A BELIEF IN Jesus Christ AS THE ONLY GOD OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, AND A LIFE ACCORDING TO HIS HOLY COMMANDMENTS OF LOVE AND CHARITY.
It is hardly to be expected that the reader will acquiesce in the propriety of this name, unless he be already well acquainted with the writings which bespeak it: but be the reader's judgment what it may, we are free to confess ourselves most perfectly satisfied about such propriety, and are bound to acknowledge that many of the best thoughts contained in this Magazine are derived from that truly astonishing and