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this new age, the truths required to meet the skepticism of this age in all of its various phases, and to show to free, inquiring, intelligent men that there is a personal God, and that the Sacred Scriptures are Divine Revelations from God to man, the writer wrote and compiled the work printed at the end of the Address, for the sake of giving to clergymen a glimpse of the vast treasures of the spiritual knowledge contained in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, in regard to the great practical questions, with which they have to deal at this day.
About 53,000 copies of “ Skepticism and Divine Revelation" have already been sent to the clergy of the United States and Canada. When the present edition of 10,000 copies, which will include both the Address and “Skepticism and Divine Revelation,” shall have been sent, every clergyman of every denomination in the United States and Canada, whose name and residence the writer has been able to obtain-about 60,000 in allwill have had mailed to him a copy of both works, giving him a chance to have some knowledge of the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Jerusalem.
Again, in 1884 a work of 52 pages, on “The Deterioration of the Puritan Stock," was sent to every clergyman whose name could be obtained (over 60,000), in which attention was called to the gift-books and the doctrines of the New Jerusalem.
At the present writing, over 25,000, out of about 60,000, clergymen in the country have applied for and obtained the “True Christian Religion,” 23,000 for “Heaven and Hell,” and 18,000 for “The Apocalypse Revealed.” That the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg are modifying the views of the religious teachers in our country, at present, more than all other influences is beyond question, and the work has but just begun.
The day is dawning during the meridian splendors of which there shall be but one God and His Name one in all the earth; and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will be recognized as that one God—the Manifested Jehovah-or God in His Divine Humanity. The spirit of intolerant sectarianism and of bigotry is passing away never more to return, for “all religion has relation to life and the life of religion is to do good.”
AN ADDRESS TO THE CLERGY.
A FEW EARNEST WORDS TO CLERGYMEN AND THE CHRISTIAN
CHURCH CONCERNING THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD
DEAR BRETHREN :
That great and significant changes in the relation of men to the Church have taken place within the past century, is apparent to all. That some of these changes are for good none doubt. That some of them portend other and more marked changes is equally evident. Earnest men in all branches of the Universal Church feel that a crisis is impending which can scarcely result in the restoration of things as they have been. The attitude of men to the Word of God, the disregard of theology, and the proud independence of individual inquiry, as well as th more or less active antagonism of the scientific spirit of our time, are sufficient causes of anxiety. There never was greater need of clear-eyed watchmen in Israel than there is now ; and we would commend to the clergy of all denominations the subject matter of this earnest address.
Nineteen hundred years ago the Jewish Church and Priesthood were looking for the Messiah to establish a literal kingdom on earth, according to their understanding of the Sacred Prophecies, but the Lord in His wisdom did not come in the manner the learned Rabbis expected ; and when He came to the Church on earth-to His own -His own recognized Him not ; for His kingdom was not of this world, and it did not accord with the wisdom and preconceived ideas of the Jews. Consequently, instead of receiving Him joyfully they reviled, persecuted and crucified
In the Gospels and the Book of Revelation, as you are aware, our blessed Lord predicts a Second Coming, and in language somewhat similar to that used in the Old Testament in regard to His first coming ; and the inquiry which He addressed to His Disciples and Church : “ When the Son man cometh shall He find faith on the earth ?” may, at least, allow a doubt as to the reception which He expected the Christian Church would extend to Him at His second coming. Is it not true that in a like manner as the Jews were looking for a literal coming, so too many professed Christians are to-day looking for His literal com. ing in natural clouds of earth, instead of a spiritual coming in the clouds of heaven ?
As we look around us at the wonderful changes which are taking place in every department of human knowledge, and in the views and feelings of men, do we behold no signs that we are living in a transitional age-no intimations that old things are passing away and all things are being made new-no indications that we are living in the dawning light of a new dispensation from God to man ? Ye watchmen who stand upon the walls of Zion, what of the hour ? What are the signs of the times ? Are all the improvements and changes which are taking place the result of human wisdom and progress, or are they indications or manifestations of a new dispensation of divine truthperchance of the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven ? What say ye ? Is there no new light gently breaking in upon the minds of men, and with the most astonishing rapidity, “as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west;" and if there is, from whence does it come ? —from the Lord, or from men, or spirits, as some suppose ? Let us remember that the Lord's coming was to be like a thief in the night, at an unexpected hour.
Is it not true that prophecies are not generally fully understood until they are fulfilled, and even then only by the “wise men from the east,” or the willing and obedient who love the Lord and their neighbor ?
Is it not possible that Christian teachers may be looking
#miss for the coming of our Lord ; or, practically heedless of His promise, resting thoughtlessly in traditional interpretations, and thus blind to the actual revelation in power and glory of Him whose “name " is the “Word of God”? The Church misinterpreted the opheci of His first advent, and may not the Chuach of our day be deceived with an equally false traditional interpretation of the prophecy of His second advent ? May we not well meditate on that Scripture “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life" ?
In the revelations made, as we most sincerely believe, by the Lord through Emanuel Swedenborg, more than a century ago, it is clearly shown that the spiritual world is the world of causes, and the material world the world of effects ; and that all effects, in the very nature of things, must correspond with their
As Paul most beautifully tells us : "The invisible things of Him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” The Word of the Lord, being necessarily in harmony with His works, was written in accordance with this correspondence between spiritual and natural things. All of the Lord's works, as manifested in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, are infilled with life, and are living. Man may form the image of an animal or tree, but he cannot give to that image life. The same is true of the Lord's Words, or the Sacred Scriptures, as of His works ; they are living, as He so plainly tells us. “ It is the spirit that quickeneth ; the flesh profiteth nothing ; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”
It will be seen, then, that the Word of the Lord differs as much from the writings of men as do His works from the works of men. Swedenborg assures us that this is tru that the Word of God is plenarily divine, and that it contains throughout divine and spiritual senses in correspondence with its literal sense. He claims that he was prepared and enlightened to make known the science of this correspondence, and to open for the Church the spiritual sense of the Word wherein divine truth is in its power and glory ; and that this revelation of the Lord is His