Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

every thing living, and in all will the fundamental self equal Will, which cannot be of a selfish nature, because He, being the centre and sum of all that is truly real, needs nothing out of himself, and therefore does not seek to appropriate any thing out of himself; but his desire must necessarily regard existences out of himself, to whom he can communicate what is real, and whom he can thus unite with himself, and thus make them happy. The only conception, then, we can form of him is, as pure disinterested love, which, precisely bebecause it is disinterested, cannot choose any other object than free beings; consequently than men, the ground of whose actual union with him is in themselves, i. e., in their own free-will; because, were he to love mere things, or tools, he would only love himself in them, which would be contrary to the essence of his love. This single necessity, that for the existence of free creatures beside himself, which is grounded in the nature of God, includes in itself a world of other necessities, which are its consequences; for it involves the possibility of a falling away from God, and, with that, a providence of God, the aim of which is, as far as possible, to rescue sinners from that destruction which is, from the nature of things, inseparable from their transgression; i. e., to redeem them from sin and the eternal misery attendant on it, and to lead them back to God and to the happiness which is with him; which divine

agency, from the fact, that it never can interfere with the freedom of fallen man, and for that reason, too, cannot prevent all evil, nay, cannot even prevent eternal misery, must be governed by its own special laws. All this is as certain as the thought of the immutable Esse; for it is included and hidden in that thought, together with many other things which may be deduced from it. Reason accordingly furnishes a criterion for all things that we find without us; but we cannot create existence—it must confine itself to those which are actually and already there.

God must actually and positively have revealed himself in his Word, if our negative and general notions of him are ever to become a living knowledge; nay, if we are ever to become conscious of them at all. Tubingen.

J. F.T. TAFEL.

DR. PYE SMITH ON THE DELUGE.

It is curious to note, how, step by step, the strictly literal interpretation of the deluge is being given up. That eminent dissenter, Dr. Pye Smith, in his Lectures on the Relation between the Holy Scriptures and Geological Science, has the following remarks, referring to the difficulties attendant on the belief, that the deluge was as universal as the Bible narrative describes, when it says, that all the high hills under the whole heavens were covered ” with water.

The mass of water necessary to cover the whole globe to the depth supposed, would be ip thickness above five miles above the previous sea level. This quantity of water might be fairly calculated as amounting to eight times that of the seas and oceans of the globe, in addition to the quantity already existing. The questions then arise, “ Whence was this water derived ? and how was it disposed of after its purpose was answered ?" The narrative assigns two natural causes for the production of the water; the incessant rain of nearly six weeks, and “the breaking up of all the fountains of the great deep." By the latter phrase, some have understood that there are immense reservoirs in the interior of the earth; a notion wbich was excusa.. ble a century ago, but which, from the amplest evidence, we now know to be an impossibility

If we suppose the mass of waters to have been such as would cover all the land of the globe, we present to ourselves an increase of the equatorial diameter, by some eleven or twelve miles. Two new elements would hence accrue to the action of gravity upon our planet. The absolute weight would be absolutely increased, and the causes of the mutations of the axis would be varied.

I am not competent to the calculation of the changes in the motion of the earth which would thus be produced, and which would propagate their effect through the whole solar system ; and, indeed, to the entire extent of the material creation ; but they would certainly be very great.

Another difficulty arises with respect to the preservation of animals. Ingenious calculations have been made of the capacity of the ark, as compared with the room necessary for the pairs of some animals, and the septules of others; and it is remarkable that the well-intentioned (!) calculators have formed their estimate upon a number of the animals below the truth, to a degree which might appear incredible. Of the existing mammalia, (animals which nourish their young by breasts,) considerably more than one thousand species are known; of birds, fully five thousand ; of reptiles, (very few kinds of which can live in water,) two thousand; of insects, to say one hundred thousand would be moderate : each has its appropriate habitation and food, and these are necessary to its life : also the millions upon millions of animalcules must be provided for. We cannot represent to ourselves the idea of all animals being brought into one small spot, from the polar regions, the torrid zone, and all the other climates of Asia, Africa, Europe, America, their preservation, and provi. sion, and disposal of them, without bringing up the idea of miracles more stupendous than any recorded in Scripture.

I cannot doubt but that some alarm and anxiety may be produced in the minds of many, by the hearing of these statements.

The worthy lecturer then proceeds to argue, that all the earth " means only that part inhabited by man; and as a proof that in Scripture the whole earth is mentioned when a part only is intended, he quotes several passages of the following description : “And the famine was upon all the face of the earth ; and all the earth came to Egypt to buy from Joseph.”

But how far has the doctor surmounted his difficulty? I reply, not at all! He has yet to shew the probable number of living crea. tures existing in the parts then inhabited by the rebellious race of man; and as he is too candid to underrate them himself, I will venture to challenge him, to prove that any possible literal ark could contain them, together with the provision necessary for their sustenance (see Gen. 6. 21).

Besides this, the narrative in Genesis states, the only reason for introducing animals into the ark, to be,“ to heep seed alive on all the face of the earth.Now, if only on a small part of the earth there was a deluge, seed would be kept alive of nearly all the then existing animals, if not quite all, on the parts of the earth not inundated : what need then could there be for the introduction of these animals into the ark for preservation, when, notwithstanding the partial deluge, they would remain sufficiently numerous on the other parts of the earth, without resorting to any such difficult expedient as the preservation of them in a floating vessel ?

Verily the doctor has fled from a lion only to be met by a bear: in his effort to keep up the wall of the literal sense of the Word, a serpent has bitten him. (See Amos 5, 19).

M.

SWEDENBORG'S LETTER TO DR. MENANDER,

ARCHBISHOP OF SWEDEN.
(Extracted from the Documents, &c. concerning Swedenborg, lately

published, p. 226 to 230.)

wrammunnam Most REVEREND DR., &c. I HAVE the pleasure of sending you a small work which I published in my youth, on a New Method of finding the Longitude both by Sea and by Land, by Lunar Observations,* a work which has just been republished at Amsterdam, and which has been submitted to the examination of the learned societies and academies. You will greatly oblige by forwarding a copy of it to the professor of astronomy at Abo, in order that, if he find this method suited to his genius, and

* The title of this work is, Methodus nova inveniendi Longitudinis Locorum Terra marique, ope Lunæ, which during the author's lifetime, passed through three editions (See Documents, p. 9).

N. 8. No. 26.-VOL. 3.

worthy of his application, he may put it in practice. In foreign countries, several persons at present employ this method of calculating the ephemerides by pairs of stars, and a great advantage has already been experienced from those which have been made for some years past.

The Apocalypse is now explained, or rather revealed; but I have not had yet an opportunity of sending to your reverence any copies of it, and also to the library. Please to inform me, to whom I shall entrust it here, in order to send it to you at Stockholm.

Several persons are now occupied in examining whether this is actually the consummation of the age, and at the same time the coming of the Lord, and the commencement of the New Church, which the Lord will establish. There are those who believe, that the present faith, which is a faith in God the Father for the sake of the Son, is the very faith which saves man; but it is demonstrated in The Apocalypse Revealed, that this faith has destroyed the church, and that it has abolished religion, and that consequently it has so entirely laid waste and consumed every thing that constitutes divine worship, that there is no longer any genuine goodness and truth in the church; and that the works which are called the fruits of this faith, are nothing else but the eggs of the cockatrice,' mentioned in Isaiah 59, ver. 5.

Those, therefore, who have confirmed in themselves this faith with its spider's web, and who believe that the good works which they do are the fruits of this fạith, are grossly deceived, and are in a kind of delirium, from which they cannot be withdrawn, but by renouncing the confirmations of this faith, and by adopting the genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only object of love and worship, in whom is the Father; for “whoso seeth Him seeth the Father.But concerning this faith, I refer you to the little work entitled, The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning Faith, 34–37.

The falsities, of the faith prevailing at the present day, are the following: 1. That the Lord has taken away the damnation of the law : whereas he has not taken away a single point; indeed, every one will be judged according to his works, as Paul asserts in Romans 2, ver. 13, and in 2 Cor. 5, ver. 10, and in other passages. But the Lord has taken away damnation in general, that is, subjugated the powers of hell, by his coming into the world; without which, “no flesh could have been saved.” 2. That the Lord has fulfilled the law, is, indeed, a truth; for by that means, he alone has been made justice and righteousness; but by that he does not deliver man from

the obligation of the law (of the ten commandments); for the Lord fulfills it daily in those who shun evils as sins, and who in worship address him alone ; for those who shun certain sins which they discover in themselves, are kept in the intention of shunning all sins as soon as they come to their knowledge. 3. That the merits of the Lord are imputed to man, which doctrine is maintained at the present day, is an entire impossibility. The merits of the Lord are in general two,-first, that of having subjugated the hells; and, second, that of having glorified his Humanity, or of having made it divine. These merits could not possibly be imparted to any man, for they are infinite and divine ; but by them the Lord has acquired the power of saving all who come unto him, who address their worship and prayers to him, and who examine themselves, and shun all evils they experience in themselves as sins against God. 4. It is an error to address God the Father, and to supplicate him to have mercy for the sake of his Son, and to send his Holy Spirit : this mode of worship and of supplication is directly contrary to the truth; for the truth teaches us to address the Lord alone, in whom dwelleth the Father, and through whom only can the Father be approached and worshiped. Moreover, the common mode of supplicating the Father for the sake of the Son involves a clear and distinct idea of three gods, and gives rise to the belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate and distinct divine beings. If also it is asserted that by the Son his humanity is understood, then, concerning the Lord a divided idea is entertained, or an idea of two distinct beings. 5. The assertion that man is justified by this faith alone, provided he have it with assurance and confidence, is absolutely false. A plain proof of this, without adducing any others, may be seen in Romans 2, 10. In such a faith there is neither truth nor goodness, and consequently nothing of the church nor of religion; for it is the truth of doctrine which makes the church, and the good of life which constitutes religion. 6. They say, moreover, that good works, or the goods of charity, are the fruits of this faith; whilst, at the same time, not a single writer on theology has ever yet found the connexion which this faith has with good works; yea, it is positively asserted, that good works cannot even preserve or support this faith, and that they are only moral and civil actions, which do not in the least contribute to the salvation of the soul. 7. That the saying of Paul, in Romans 3, ver. 28, on which the theology of the present day, as to salvation, is founded, is falsely understood, I have clearly demonstrated in The Apocalypse Revealed, 417.

« AnteriorContinuar »