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mine, and one whom I much esteem; he now resides in the country at a short distance from ******. I have written to him concerning the doctrines of the New Jerusalem, and he has requested me to favour him with a reading of some of the books which contain these doctrines. I would have done as he requested, but as I believe Mr. ******, (who bears this) will go by land, I do not like to cumber him with a parcel. I have therefore written him to wait on you, which he probably will do the first time he is in town, on a week day; I have given him a line addressed to you; you must excuse all this freedom I take with you, which is perhaps too much for a stranger, and yet, I cannot think myself altogether a stranger; I would be considered in matters of this kind as a friend ; in all affairs, merely civil or commercial, I indeed view myself as a stranger, and expect to be treated as such.
25th February, 1818. Sir, I have read a part of the volume you kindly sent me, with more interest, and I think, better understanding, than I did the first volume; still I think it inexpressibly strange, that things should be so. The explanations seem to be appropriate, and the conclusions just; yet, still I dare not venture to think them the very truth : “ they seem too good news to be true.” I perceive, (but my light is dim) I perceive, as it were a necessity for giving a spiritual meaning to the Scriptures; I have read often with a kind of disbelief, which I durst not own even to myself, the assertions of Divines, concerning the external beauties. of Scripture. They pointed at elegance of style, vividness of conception, and sublimity of manner in passages, which they maintained to be unequalled in any other compositions, setting aside their divine origin, which I must confess, appeared to me to be so inferior in these respects, that, had they judged as partially of a merely human composition, I would have laughed at their absurdity.
This led me to the opinion, that the Holy Spirit had directed the writers of Scripture, merely in relation to the facts, and doctrines; and that the words, &c. were left to the choice of the writer. I knew that it was said, “ that all Scripture is given by inspiration for instruction,” but the greatest part, or at least a
great part of the Old Testament, and the last book of the New, besides many detached passages seemed to me “ a fountain seal. ed.” The views which are laid open by the New Church on this subject, are exhaustless, and sublime, but to me they wear the air of pleasing dreams. This is owing to the prejudices of educa. tion in part, and partly, because I cannot see a sufficient reason to account for the apparent ignorance of the apostles, and primitive Christians, of the doctrine of correspondences; to which I may add, the abstruseness of the new doctrine, being in my opinion far. above the comprehension of the bulk of mankind, and therefore not fitted for general belief and practice. Another thing which makes me slow of assent, is the fear of being deceived. I find to my utter confusion, and disappointment, that almost all my former knowledge, amounts to worse than ignorance; and I find it more difficult to unlearn errors and prejudices, than it would be to learn every thing from the foundation ; I may still mention one thing more, which prevents me from forming a conclusion, viz. My inability as yet, to bring the doctrines all at once under my view, to perceive their connexions, and relations, their universal compatibility with Scripture, and the nature of things, their influence on the heart, and on the life, &c. All these circumstances must be known, and not only known, but embodied, and placed full before the eye of my mind, before I can come to a final determination.
From an expression in your letter, you seem to believe me possessed of more time than I am, in reality ; I have nine hours public labour; incidental circumstances generally deprive me of two hours more. In order to renew the traces of necessary knowledge on a faithless memory,rendered such by misfortune, requires at least four hours more; add to this, seven hours for sleep, &c. and I have only two hours left for meditation, reading, and writing to my friends, or for mental improvement. But I have much reason to be thankful for the spare time that I have; many other situations would allow me less. Nevertheless, I cannot help wishing that I had a situation that would afford me a competence, and at the same time, allow me to follow that course of mental improvement, I have sketched out for myself, but I shall endeavour to be content, being well assured, that infinite wisdom orders all things well.
When you find leisure and inclination to write, I would be glad to hear from you by post, or any way: in the mean time, I am, dear sir,
With much respect, your obliged
Here we leave this interesting inquirer; but we trust our readers will shortly be gratified with further information of his progress. He appears to be so rapidly overcoming the difficulties which have presented themselves in his way, that to interrupt him in his course, with arguments or explanations, would only incumber him with help. In the mean time, we bid him God speed.
QUERY, As to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel. · Who are the lost sheep of the house of Israel ?
An answer to the above question, in the next Repository, will oblige a well wisher of the New Church.
Sheep mean those who are in good : they are said to be lost, when they are not in truths of doctrine, having wandered from the right way. Ways signify truths leading to good. Israel is the spiritual Church, in this case the Church at the time of the Lord's first advent coming to an end, through a loss of the life of charity, and a perversion of the truths of faith. In the instance alluded to in the text desired to be explained, is meant, therefore, the Jewish Church. The apostles, who are or correspond to the truths of the New Dispensation, are commanded to go first to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. That is, the truths of the New Dispensation are first declared or promulgated to those in the former Dispensation, who, although in errors of doctrine, are yet in the good of life. It is the same case at the present day. The truths of the New Dispensation will be first manifested to those of the Old Church who are in good, and afterwards to the Gentiles who will receive abundantly.
ERROR In the English translation of “ The Apocalypsis Explicata,"
Vol. VI. p. 153. No. 1183. A friend, in a late visit, having referred to a passage in the Apoc. Expl. as somewhat extraordinary, it became a question whether it was a correct translation of the original Latin. The words in the English translation are these : “ They who are in the spiritual affection of truth, are elevated into the light of heaven, so as to perceive the illustration. It hath been given me to see it, and from it to perceive distinctly what cometh from the Lord, and what from the angels : what cometh from the Lord is written, [or given in my writings] and what from the angels is not written.” On turning to the original Latin of E. Swedenborg, it was found that our author's meaning was altogether misconceived by the English editor of the translation : and I recollected that not long since I had met with a passage in the writings of E. Swedenborg, (the place not now in my mind) in which he stated, that, in his spiritual communications, he distinguished between what came from the Lord by its appearing to be written, and what came from angels by its not appearing to be written; by which I understand, that what came from the Lord not only affected the hearing, but subsisted manifestly in letters to the eye. He being emphatically the WORD, what he says descends to the very ultimates of words and letters; whereas, angelic communications are merely spiritual, and do not so descend into ultimates. The expression, “What cometh from the Lord is written, or given in my writ- . ings,” is an expression altogether out of joint and unintelligible. Had the words been “ What came to me from the Lord is given in my writings,” they would have been more intelligible. But it is to be recollected, that E. Swedenborg has written in innumerable places what came to him from angels; for he tells us so, explicitly and repeatedly. Our author does not, in this passage, mean to tell us what he has or has not put in his writings; but merely what he observed or perceived as to the nature and character of the respective communications made to him, carefully and distinctly marking the difference between a divine communication and a communication from angels. The Latin is in these words : “ Illi qui in affectione veri spirituali sunt, elevantur in lucem cæli, usque ut percipiant illustrationem. Mihi datum est
illam videre, et ex illa percipere distincte quid a domino venit, et quid ab angelis, quod a domino, hoc scriptum est, et quod ab angelis non scriptum.” In English, literally, it is thus : “ Those who are in the spiritual affection of truth are elevated into the light of heaven, even so that they perceive the illustration. It was given me to see it, and from it to perceive distinctly what came from the Lord, and what from angels, that which [came] from the Lord, this was written, and that which [came] from the angels was not written.”
Curiosity excited an inquiry whether Mr. Hill's translation, still remaining in Philadelphia, a copy of which had been sent to England for publication, was in agreement with the printed one ; but it was found, on examination, not to be so, but in agreement with that last above given. The English editors appear to have misconceived our author's meaning entirely, changed the tenses of the verbs in Mr. Hill's manuscript, and inserted the words in brackets “(or given in my writings.]” The meaning of the author has thus been entirely lost in the translation. This shows how cautious we should be, in mixing any thing of our own in the translations of our author's writings, or giving our own construction to his words. It will often be found injurious.
As it is important to have an exact rendering of those invaluable writings, the above was thought sufficiently important to communicate it for the benefit of the Church at large.
· On the translation of a part of Arcana Cælestia, p. 318, No. 7270.
The following appears to be very obscurely rendered : 6 But it is well to be noted that the truth divine, which flows-in into the third heaven nearest to the Lord, also together without successive formation flows-in even into the ultimates of order.”
In place of the words in italics, I would give the following, as being clearer, and more expressive of the sense of the original, “ also at the same time flows-in even into the ultimates of order, without successive formation.”
The Latin is, “ etiam simul absque successiva formatione in. fluat usque in ultima ordinis.” The words “ together without” seem to confound the plain English reader.
Z. VOL. I.