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two periods, the one prior to 1757, and the other posterior to that great event, the last judgement, which then took place. The new influences from the Lord which were then sent forth afresh to enlighten the minds of spirits and men, would, no doubt, greatly affect his peculiar state and position, and disperse whatever might still remain of obscurity derived either from previously conceived opinions, or from appearances of truth. That these observations respecting his gradual illumination are not only founded in truth, but highly reasonable, as being in agreement with the nature of things, will appear evident to those who properly consider the subject. That they are founded in truth, is evident from Swedenborg's own assertion, where, at No. 6317 he states, in reference to the latter verses of chap. XXV., “ Hæc mihi obscurissima adhuc sunt, et neutiquam possum intelligere, quare prætereo, 1746, Juli 22 ;” “These things are still very obscure to me, and I cannot in the least understand them, wherefore I pass them by.” This assertion was made, as is evident from the date, at the commencement of the first period of his illumination, but in the latter period there is every reason to believe that these things were no longer obscure to his mind. It is also reasonable to suppose that his spiritual illumination was gradually effected; for how could ideas implanted from childhood, and cherished during fifty years with veneration and piety, be at once renounced and rejected? We are taught that the Lord, in his mercy, does not break the religious principles and opinions imbibed from infancy, but that, if erroneous, he bends and removes them by the free use of man's rational powers; and this was doubtless the way in which Swedenborg's previously conceived opinions were eradicated and removed. It is true that he had not studied, as he somewhere states, dogmatic theology, that is, theology as a system; but still his religious opinions, prior to his spiritual illumination, could not have been very different from those commonly entertained. This is evident from his work “ On the Love and Worship of God," in which the venerable translator has pointed out several errors* of doctrine, which are abundantly refuted in his theological works. We should therefore not be surprised if, in this work, which is one of the earliest sketches of his pen after his spiritual illumination had commenced, some things occur which savour too much of Old-Church doctrines, and this is actually the case. Had he continued his Arcana Coelestia, he would certainly have rejected these things, and have regarded them as the dark shades of former states, out of which he had risen into a clearer and more genuine light.
* This work was published in 1745, two years after the time when bis spiritual illumination is said to have commenced, which is a proof that bad he, when publishing this work, arrived at that degree of illumination which he eventually enjoyed, he would not have printed what he afterwards proved to be erroneous. The only instance that we have ever met with in the works published by himself, of any indication of bis belief in some of the prevailing notions advocated in the common theology of his time, and almost universally believed by Christians at the present day, is in 4. C. 931, respecting the nonduration of the earth. This, however, was written at the early part of the first
With respect, then, to the present work, we are fully persuaded, with the Swedish divine, that it was by no means intended by its author to be published in its present form ; and this should not be forgotten.
It is only a fragment, a series of annotations, most of them very brief; the text of the Word is not adduced, but the verses are only indicated, to which the observations refer. In this manner neither Swedenborg, nor'any other author, would ever think of publishing a work. But, still, this work is of use; the reader will find many openings of spiritual light, and many hints to the spiritual understanding of the Word.
We are happy to state, that Dr. Tafel is now printing the Latin text of Schmidius, to which the observations on Leviticus refer, which, together with explanatory notes, he intends to supply in an appendix, which will render the work far more intelligible and useful.
There is also a material difference in the phraseology of this document, when compared with his published works. It would appear that he had not yet fixed his style, and determined the diction through which he intended to communicate the vast multitude of new ideas that were daily crowding upon his mind. Thus the term Dominus, or Lord, only occurs once, and that in relation to the Lord's prayer, instead of which Deus Messias, or God Messia, is always used. This term is equivalent to Dominus, as it fully expresses the Lord in His Humanity; but he afterwards saw reason to discard it, and to adopt the term Dominus instead, in agreement with what he says in
A.C. 14. Instead of the frequent phrase, “ Divina Domini Misericordia,” or “the Divine Mercy of the Lord,” he has used in this work, the expression“ dignante Deo Messia,” by the condescension, or favor, of God Messia.” There are also other differences of diction, which those who are accustomed to read his works in Latin, will immediately detect.
Having finished these remarks, which, as editors, we have consiperiod of his illumination, when his mind was rapidly emerging, from the dense mists and darkness which surrounded him, into a clearer light.
dered it to be our duty to make, on introducing this new work of
LEVITICUS, CHAP. I.
5411. The cloud signifies sbade, or obscurity, and the fire those things which
- 5412. These things should be considered in this way, namely, as in the human
which was perpetually upon the altar, that is, in the worship of God Messia, as is here stated, verses 5 and 6.*
5448. The fire upon the altar, verses 5 and 6, is, in the worship of God Messia, holy fire, which is charity; love, in the supreme sense, is the love of God Messia, which should never be extinguished; the altar, then, in the supreme sense, signifies the Messia himself, because worship, &c. &c.
5480. The earthen vessel (verse 28) signifies the ultimate of nature, which is terrestrial and corporeal; with this, what is celestial by what is spiritual does not agree, for there is no conjunction between them ; but what is corporeal is, as it were, separate. In order that that which is spiritual may flourish, it is necessary that what is corporeal be either removed or extinguished; for that which is corporeal or terrestrial tends downwards, as it were, by its own gravity; but that which is spiritual tends upwards; therefore that which is holy does not agree with what is corporeal or terrestrial; this is the reason that the earthen vessel should be broken.
5481. It is remarkable that corporeal things continually tend outwards or downwards, but spiritual things are elevated upwards, and then corporeal things are separated from spiritual things, which tend to celestial things; these latter are elevated, but corporeal things become as torpid as though they were nothing ; for whilst the corporeal principle acts and tends, as was said, outwards or downwards, the spiritual principle ceases to be active. This I can confirm by many things from my own experience; for when I was speaking with celestial spirits, the more exalted and spiritual the subject was, the more I lost, as it were, the use of my external senses, and my bodily sight became blinded, although I did not observe it, except when reflecting upon it, and vice versa, &c.; but I sball adduce this experience, by the grace of God Messia, elsewhere. Hence follows the induction, that corporeal things must necessarily die, in order that spiritual things may be elevated from natural things to celestial, as well in every particular as to the loves of the body, as in general; for without death no one can ascend into heaven.
5482. But a brazen vessel (verse 28) is the natural or interior corporeal principle, as above; this should be scoured, or scraped ; namely, whatever adheres to the nature of man, which arises from the defiled appetites of the body, must be scoured off, otherwise the defilement arising from the body draws down the spiritual principle to the earth; thus man cannot ascend before this is scoured off, or cleansed from the natural principle: in this way man is purified, and his purification is represented by washing.
5483. The natural principle is a brazen vessel, and the corporeal principle an earthen vessel; for these are the things which in the Word of God Messia are called vessels, since they contain, for spiritual things are contained in the natural sense, &c., &c.
Chap. VII. 5494. Verses 20 and 21. That the unclean, by whatever means he has become unclean, as in verse 21, should not eat, and that if he did eat, he should be cut off from his people, signifies that holy and profane things should by no
* The verses do not accord with the common English Bible, but with the He. brew edition and version of Schmidius.
means be commixed; thus the kingdom of God Messia should not be commixed with those things which relate to the kingdom of the devil, all which things are unclean. Thus the love of God Messia can by no means exist, so long as man is defiled with the love of self and of the world, &c. &c.
5195. This is similar to those things which were instituted by God Messia himself, namely, that an impious or profane person, that is, a man without faith, or who believes in any other God, than in God Messia, should not eat of the bread and wine in the holy supper ; if he did, he would be liable to damnation.
CHAP. XI. 5529. Here unclean things are treated of, which they should neither eat nor touch. These things contain very many arcana. In general all those things were unclean which were represented by unclean and noxious ani. mals; for heavenly representations are effected by animals, and also by vegetables. Those things which in heaven signify what is depraved are here named; and they were prohibited to touch them solely on account of their representations, as above; for all genii, cupidities, and lusts, are represented by animals; thus it was permitted to touch and to eat all things which sig, nified good affections, for in this manner good affections were also represented.
Bless’d ye, whose thirst the truth alone could slake,