New- Ohurch Popular Series. [:Ro. ll. o THETRUE CATHOLICISM: BJrV1U,ING THE BREADTH AND COMPREHENSIVENESS NEW OHRISTIAN OHUROH. " All doctrlnall wbat8oeftr, If derived from the Word, are aoceptecl ofthe Lord if the penon principled therein be in the l1te of charity. tt 8tHcWJorg. PHILADELPHIA: SWEDENBORG PUBLISmNG ASSOCIATION, tOO OSB8TKUT STBBB~
flBoy. 1898 lProm tile Library of Ptar. 4 P. PBABODY t1:L COPYRIGHTBy THB SWEDENBORG PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION, 1886. WIllI. F. FELL. 00.,E.aQTROTYPEIII AND PRINTED, PHILAD&LPHIA.
PREFACE.-OHE term Oatholici8m is doubtless associated, in the minds of most people in Christian countries, with the Roman Catholic church and. religion. And some may, therefore, think it a term not wisely chosen to make even a part of the title of a work like the present. But the qualify- ing adjective that precedes it, will, the author be- lieves, render the use of the term unobjectionable to most people. Or, if not, they have only to read &. single chapter or half a chapter, to learn that the Catholicism herein unfolded is very far from Romanism,-ye:J, and from anything hitherto form- ulated in the symbols, proclaimed from the pul- pits, inculcated in the literature, or exemplified in the practice of any of the Protestant- churches. The author holds that there is such a thing as a true Catholicism. And if it has never been clear- ly exemplified, nor even understood or distinctly taught in the Christian Church established nearly iii
iv . Preface.two thousand years ago, it is becausEtthat Church ,has been "Christian only in name, but not in es-sence and reality." But in the authorized Writ-ings of the new and true Christian Church whichwe are assured" isjust now at its commencement,"we find-as might have been expected if thisChurch is really what it claims to be-the true -Catholicism clearly taught as never before. Andit is none other than the Catholicism of the Gospelof Jesus Christ-the Catholicism of the Lord inhis Divine Humanity. To present a clear idea of this Catholicism, andto illustrate the subject by copious extracts fromthe Writings of the divinely illumined Sweden·borg, is the main purpose of the present work.And the author cannot doubt that it will meetwith a cordial response from all those who havecaught something of the loving, large and catholicspirit ofthe Divine Master, and who are seeking toimbue the hearts of others with this ssme spirit. But bigots of whatever name or creed, all nar-row-minded and conceited sectaries to whateverchurch-organization they may belong, all who arestrongly wedded to the faith-alone or doctrine-alonetheory, and who doubt about the salvation of any
Preface. vwho do not think or beli~ve very nearly ifnot pre-cisely as they do-all such will ~ead this bookwith no interest and derive from it no satisfaction.Very few of this class will deem it worth readingat all; and most of them, if they attempt to readit, will probably turn from it with disgust andloathing before they shall have reached the sixthchapter. But it is oon~dently believed that the book willreceive a warm welcome from all broad-mindedand open-hearted Christians; and the authorhumbly trusts it may encourage and strengthenthem in their efforts to promote a larger tolera-tion, a truer charity and a higher unity thanhas hitherto prevailed; and possibly lead someto a careful investigation of the Writings so oftenquoted and 80 highly commended in these pages. B.F.B. GERMANTOWN, PA.,· April 1st, 1886.
CONTENTS. PAGR I.-DIFFERENT PHASES 01 DIVIllB TRUTH. ••••••• 11 II.-BASIs 01 CHRISTIAN UNION..................... 24 fil.-ANCIENT GR·OUND OF CHURCH FELLOWSHIP, 88 IV.-BEI.IEVERS IN TRIPERSONALISK......... ••• •••••• 48 V.-BELIEVERS IN SALVATION BY FAITH ALONE, 58 VI.-FuRTHER ILLUSTRATIONS........................... 70 VII.-BELIEVERS IN MODERN UNITARIANISM......... 81VIII.-SoME KAY DRINK DEADLY THINGS WITH IM- PUllITT .•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••·• 94 IX.-TRUTH NOT TRUTH WITH ALL lTS RECEIVERS, 102 X.-THE GENTILJl:8 ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 111 XI.-UllIn WITH DIVERSITY •••••••••••••••.••••••••••• 124XII.-CATHOLICISJI OF THB GOSPEL•••••••••••••••••••• ]49XIII.-TauTB A. MEANs, NOT A.N END •••••••••••••••••• 160XIV.-CONCLUSION•••••••••••••••••.••••••••••••••••••••••••• 17J vii
ABBREVIATIONS.A. C. stand for Arcana Cmlestia.A. E. "Apocalypse Explained.A. R. " "Revealed.B. E. "Brief Exposition.Cantin. L. J." Continuation of the Last Judgment.D. P. "Divine Providence.D. S. S. "Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture.H. H. "Heaven and Hell.L. J. "Last Judgment.N. J. D. " Doctrine of the New Jerusalem.T. C. R. "True Christian Religion.
THE TRUE CATHOLICISM. I. DIFFERENT PHASES OF DIVINE TRUTH.III11HE system of religious truth unfolded andg taught by Emanuel Swedenborg, is one of the most positive and clearly defined systems that was ever revealed, elaborated or conceived of: No writer on theology was ever more affirmative than this illustrious seer. No one was ever more posi-_tivee He never sa18, "I think this or that is true," or " it aeema to me thus and so ;" but he ever speaks with the authority of one who has positive knowl- edge of that whereof he affirms. But, notwithstanding the crystal clearness with which he saw the truth, and the prophet-like con- fidence with which he declares what he saw-not- withstanding his every statement is made with the calmness and assurance that we might expect from one who knew what he was saying to be strictly 11
12 The True Oatholicism.true, yet, of all writers on theological and relig-ious subjects, he is the most indulgent or toleranttoward all forms of religious error innocently im-bibed. To be able to grasp with firmness the high~est truths and to state them with clearness andconfidence, and at the same time to see and showho"( lower and apparently conflicting forms of thesame truths may be innocently and even profitablyheld, is the mark of a strong, capacious and trulygreat mind. Divine truth has innumerable phases, adaptedto, or reBulting from, the endless diversity of statesof which the human mind is capable; and in everyone of these phases it is truth, and is profitable tothat particular mental state to which, in that par-ticular form or phase, it is adapted. Minds oflittle breadth or depth do Dot readily comp~ehendthis. To their feeble apprehension, truth has butone phase-but one form-and that the particularphase or form under which it presents itself to theircircumscribed vision. Whoever holds it in any dif-ferent form, holds not the truth, they think, butits opposite. They persuade themselves that theWord of God has only one meaning, and that thislies no deeper than their limited vision can pene-trate. And they are ready to quarrel with all whothink they see any other meaning; or, at least, topronounce such sight illusory, and their views fan-ciful, or unscriptural and false.
Different Phases of Divin8 Truth. 13 But the most capacious and enlightened mindsknow that Gods truth, like Himself, is infiriite indepth of meaning and variety of aspect. Theyknow that his Word isa well of living water, whoseprofound depths no finite intelligence has everfathomed-whose wealth of meaning the centuriescan never exhaust. It contains truth adapted toangels and men-yea, to the highest and most .perfect angels, and to the lowest and most imper-fect men. It is a Fountain at which the lofty andthe lowly, the wise and the simple, the learned andthe ignorant may alike drink and be refreshed.It contains truth for the Nations and the Ages. And herein consists·the perfection of the writtenWord, and ~ts infinite superiority to all humancompositions. Because it contains an infinity ofmeaning, therefore it is adapted to an infinite di-versity of mental states-to the states, indeed, ofall finite intelligences on earth and in heaven.And although that particular aspect or phase oftruth presented to the wise, may differ widely fromthat which the simple are able to discern, yet ifboth are careful to reverence and obey the truth88 they understand it, they do all that is requiredof them; and are both journeying toward theheavenly mansions. Both are enlightened by thetruth, though in different degrees. Both are fol-lowers of Him who is " the Light of the world,"though it be, perchance, at such unequal distances
14 The True Oatholimmn.from the central Luminary, that the light ~ay besevenfold greater to the one than to the other. And since all the humble followers ofthe Lord,be their states as to good and truth ever so di-verse, are owned of Him, and are in truth hischildren, therefore they should acknowledge andtreat each other 88 brethren. They are all disci-ples of the common Master, though some may befarther advanced than others. They are all chil-dren of the common Father, t;hough some may beolder and riper in wisdom than others. They areall members of one and the same church, thoughSome may be nearer and others more remote fromthe centre; some belonging, it may be, to theprovince· of the eyes or ears, and others to that ofthe hands or feet. But as hands and feet are alsoessential to the completeness of the man, so are thepeople which these members represent, to the com-pleteness of tlie church. Such is the catholic teaching of the New Chris-tian Church, whereof Sw~nborg is the divinelycommissioned herald and exponent. According..to this teaching, it is not necessary to Christianunion or brotherhood, that all should understandthe Scriptures precisely alike. It is not necessarythat all should apprehend their higher or more in-terior meaning. It is only necessary that they re-gard and reverence the Scriptures as the Word ofGod, and humbly strive to obey their teachings
Different Pluues· oj Divine Truth. 1588 they understand them. If they do this, tbeyare in a state of Christian charity. And althoughthey understand the Word only in its lowest orliteral sense, their hearts are at one with the angelsin beaven, because they are at one with the 8~itof Him who is the All-in-all of heaven; and in-ternally, therefore, they are at one with those onearth who understand and obey the Scriptures ac-cording to their higher or more interior meaning. The great purpose of Swedenborgs miMion wasto unfold the spiritual sense of the Word. Andbecause he so often spe8ks of the exalted nature andunspeakable importance of this sense-of its being,to that of the letter, what the soul is to the body-of its being the genuine Word itse~ while themere sense of the letter is not the Word-thereforesome are inclined to think that only those canhave any knowledge of the Lord or of the spirit-ual things of his kingdom, who read and receivethe teachings of Swedenborg. They think thatthose who have no knowledge of the science ofcorrespondences, or of the spiritual sense of theWord as unfolded by this science, can have DOproper understanding ofthe Christian religion, andno genuine Christian experience. They are in-clined to regard all such as destitute of a trueknowledge of the Lord and heaven, and as scarcelywithin the pale of the Christian church. This is a serious mistake-a mistake which comes
16 The ~e OatholiaiBm. from a partial or superficial view of Swedenborgs teachings. A more careful and comprehensive view of what has been revealed through him con- cerning the Word, will show us that this conclu- sion is not well founded. However highly he would have us prize the spiritual sense of the Word, and however he exalts it above the sense of the letter, he nevertheless would have us regard as Christians, and treat as brethren in Christ, all whb reverence the Divine Word and humbly seek to follow its guidance, though they may understand it only in its literal sense. "There is no harm," he says, "in believing the sense of the letter, al- though the internal sense teaches otherwise, if it be done on account of simplicity" (A. C. 2395); that is, there is no harm in believing, in child-like sim.. plicity, what is taught in the literal sense of the W Q.rd, even though such belief or teaching differs materially from the spiritual sense. And speak-.ing of those who believe in simplicity" that God is angry, that He condemns and casts into hell those who live wickedly," " although this is not the real truth," he says:- " If they live well and thus believe because it is so said in the Word, the Lord accepts their belief QJJ the truth, because the truth is concealed within such belief; and this also appears before the in- terior angels, although they themselves [who be- lieve the sense of the mere letter] do not see it."- A.E.375.
Different PhaSeB of Divine Truth. 17 Again he says::"- " Whoever believes in simplicity does not incur guilt, although what he believes be not true in itself,thut apparent truth. As for example: if he be- lieves that the Lord is angry, that He punishes, that He leads into temptation, and the like; or if he believes that the bread and wine in the Holy Supper are somewhat significative; or that the flesh and blood are somehow present therein in the way that they explain it; it is of no consequence - whether they say the one or the other, although there are few who think of the latter; a.nd if they do, provide~ it be in simplicity of heart, because they have been so instructed, and they still live in charity, it does them no injury."-A. C. 1798. " The internal sense of the Word teaches thatthe Lord cannot possibly be angry and punish,much less can He curse and kill. Still, however,to those who from simplicity of heart believe theWord just as they comprehend it in the letter, thisbelief IS not hurtful provided they live in charity.The reason is, that the Word teaches nothing esethan that every one should live in charity with hisneighbor, and should love the Lord above allthings; and they_ who do this, have the internalcontents of the Word within themselves."-A. C.1408; also 3436; T. C. R. 256. And, speaking of the exterior and interiorgoods and truths of the Word, the same illuminedwriter says that the belief in the literal sense ofthe Word, even when that sense is widely differ-ent from the spiritual, is accepted by the Lord as 2
18 The TftUJ OatholiciBm.if it were the real truth, provided the believer be ina state of charity. . " He who believes that, if he loves his fatherand mother according to the precepts of the Decaelogue and because it is so commanded, he shallenjoy a long life, is accepted on the same groundas if he had believed the real truth, because be doesnot know that by father and mother in the supremesense, are understood the Lord ~nd his kingdom;by father is meant the Lord, and by mother hiskingdom; and that by prolongation of days, orlength of life, is signified eternal felicity. Thecase is similar in a thoU8and other instances."-A.E.375. Tpe doctrines of the various Christian denomi-nations are drawn from, and are in agreementwith, 80rne pmion8 of the literal sense of the Word.Therefore they who accept these doctrines rever-ently and in simplicity, believing them to be thevery doctrines of Gods Word, and seek to governtheir lives according to their teachings-shunningall known evils as sins-have, deep within theirhearts, the essential things contained within thedoctrines-their very spirit and life; for the doe-trine being drawn from the letter of the Word, 88it lies in the externals of the believers mind, is in-correspondence with a higher truth not yet con-sciously perceived, which lies, however, none theless securely for all that, in the interiors of hismind. And so the believer is internally associated
Differel1,t Phase8 of Divine Truth. 19with angelic spirits who regard the interiors of thedoctrine and are in its light and life. "There are interior truths in all doctrinalsdrawn from the literal sense of the Word, sincethis sense is like a well wherein is water; for inall and singular parts of the Word there is an in..ternal sense, which sense is also in the doctrinaIsthat are drawn from the Word. In regard todoctrinals derived from the literal sense of theWord, the case is this: that, when a man is prin-cipled in them, and at the same tinle is in a lifeaccording to them, he has in himself correspond..ence; for the angels who are attendant on himare in interior truths while he is in exterior; andso he has communication with heaven by means ofthe doctrinals, but yet according to the good of hislife. ..• For the angels dwell with everyone inhis lifes affection, that is, in the affection of thedoctrinals according to which he lives, but in nocase if the life disagrees therewith."-A. C. 3464. There is, then, no harm to be apprehended frombelieving as the lette, of the Word teaches, pro-vided it be in simplicity and with devout rever-ence for the Word, and righteousness of life bethe grand aim of the believer-although what hebelieves, or precisely as it is formulated in hiscreed, may not be true. This is plainly and manytimes taught by Swedenborg. And not only 80,but he teaches that Buch simple and devout beliefis profitable to the believer, and a means of .con..joining him with the Lord and heaven, provided
20 The Trus Catholicism.he be in the effort to live according to the truth,as he understands it. Such is the connection b~..tween heaven and earth, and such the nature ofcorrespondence between spiritual and naturaltruth, that such persons are drawn into close inti-Inacy with the angels, and their minds are affectedby the interior things of the Word, while theyunderstand it only in the literal sense, and arewholly unconscious of the presence of the angelssave as their presence is indicated by a serene andsweet internal peace. Thus, after telling us that,"when a man is thinking, while under holyinfluence, concerning the bread in the HolySupper," "the angels are thinking concerninggood, such being the correspondence;" and" when, under holy influence, a man thinks aboutraiment, the thought of the angels is about truth,"headds:- "And so it is in all other instance8 which occurin the Word. Hence it may be seen what is thenature of the conjunction of heaven and eartheffected by the Word, viz.: that a man who readsit under holy influence, is by such correspondenceconjoined closely ,vith heaven, and by heaven withthe Lord, although he thinks only of those things -in the Word which appertain to its literal sense.The essential holy principle which influences theman on such occasion, is derived from an influxof celestial and spiritual thoughts and affections,sucIi as exist with the angels."-A. C. 3735.
Diffffrent Pl"ase8 oj Div·ine Truth. 21 Again:- " All and singular the things of the Word areholy; but the holiness which is therein does notappear to the understanding, except to him who isacquainted with the internal sense. thereof; never-theless it appears to the appffrception, by influx fromheaven, to him who believes the Word to be holy.Such influx is wrought through the internal sense,in which the angels are principled, which sense,notwithstanding it is not understood by man, stillaffects him, because the affection of the angels whoare in that sense, is communicated." - A. C.52~7. See also A. C. 6789, 3480, 3690; A. E.778, where the same thing is taught. ~ Through the lower senses of the Word the Lordis able to reach ana operate upon minds in a lowor very external condition. That is why the Wordin the literal sense is such as we find it. It is therebyadapted to the wants of natural men and children,and becomes even to them a divine medium ofheavenly influences-a mediu~ whereby they canbe elevated into loftier and serener states. Swedenborg tells us that the twelve chosen dis-ciples, being merely natural men, "were unable toform any other idea of the Lord, than what theJews at this day entertain concerning the Messiahwhom they expect, viz. : that, He would exalt themto dominion and glory above all the nations in theworld." And the Lord, in addressing this state ofmind, spoke of their "sittingupon twelve thrones,
22 TM True Catholicism.and judging the twelve tribes of Israel;" whichlanguage they understood literally. And we aretold why. "The reason why the Lord so spake, was, thatthey might receive external truths, and thereby beintroduced to internal truths j for in those externaltruths which the Lord spake, internal truths werestored up and concealed, and in process of timethese latter are made manifest; and when this isthe case, those external truths are dissipated, andserve only as objects or means of thinking aboutinternal truths."-A. C.3857. Now, in the quotations here made-and theymight be multiplied indefinitely-we are taught animportant and wholesome lesson. We are taughtthat, although the Word contains a spiritual sensewhich is of infinite value, yet a knowledge ofwhatthis sense is, or what it teaches, is not indispensa-ble to Christian discipleship. We are taught thatmen may be in the good of life, yea, in spiritualgood-that they may be in conjunction with theLord and in close communion with the angels ofheaven, and thus have an interior and experi-mental knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ andthe things pertaining to his kingdom, without evenknowing that there is a spiritual sense to theWord. Such, plainly, is the authorized teaching of theNew Jerusalem on this 8ubject. And the lesson tobe derived from it, is this: That we who are of
Different Phaae8 of Divine Truth. 23the nominal New Church have no right to regardourselves as nearer to the Lord or more truly hisdisciples than other Christians, simply because weunderstand the spiritual sense of the Word andaccept all the doctrines of this Church: That we .have not, on this account alone, any peculiarclaim, to be considered, or any right to considerourselves, 88 the Lords true church, to the e~clusion of all others: And that we should regard andtreat as Christian brethren all of whatever Damewho dEWoutly reverence the DivinG Word andhumbly strive to obey its precepts, even thoughthey abide wholly in the sense of the letter, andhave DO knowledge of the spiritual sense as elicitedby the revealed science of correspondences. , •
II. BASIS OF CHRISTIAN UNION.RIlE have seen in the foregoing chapter, that,l1li although there is a spiritual sense to theWord, which is to that oft~e letter what the soulis to the body, yet a knowledge of this sense is byno means essential to Christian discipleship. Wehave seen that, according to Swedenborg, personswho believe in simplicity what is taught in theletter of the Word, and who have no knowledgeof its spiritual sense, may nevertheless be genuineChristians-humble followers of the Lord· JesusChrist, and interiorly associated with the angelsof heaven. All such, whatever their particularname or creed, belong to the Lords kingdom andchurch. And we who profess to be, and humblytrust we are, of his kingdom and church, shouldregard and treat them as brethren in Christ, how-ever they may differ from us in their under-standing and interpretation of the Word. But we know there is often a wide differencebetw~en the teaching of the spiritual and that ofthe literal sense of the Word. ·And if those whoaccept the teaching of the spirit, and those whoabide in the sense of the letter, may yet fellowship ~ 24
Basis of Ohmtian Union. 25each other-if the spirit of Christ may dwell 80abundantly in the hearts of both these classes ofdiscipl~, that they ~hall feel themselves to bebrethren, then perfect agreement in doctrine ordoctrinal statements cannot be indispensable toChristian union. There must be some more po-tent principle whereby the Lords people may becemented into one-some principle strong enoughto overcome the antagonism of cenfticting creedsor mere intellectual differences, and bind kindredhearts together. Is there any such principle? Ifso, what is it? Look at the union among intimate friends-those who feel most strongly bound to each other.Perfect intellectual agreement is not the cord thatbinds them together. Very often persons arewarmly attached to each other, whose opinions onmany subjects differ widely. It is not the peoplewhose heads but whose hearts are most like ourown, for whom we feel the strongest friendship.If a person is deeply smitten with the love ofmoral excellence-if he has acquired a just appre-ciation and a profound admiration of the graces ofmeekness, humility, forbearance, uprightness, seltdenial, resignation, trust, patience, courage andheroic self-sacrifice in the cause~"of country andof humanity, he will feel himself most stronglydrawn toward those in whom he sees these virtuesmost strikingly exemplified. He will feel for them
26 . The Prue". OatholiCiJtrn. the most ardent attagbment. He JIlay differ from them in opinion, or in his understanding and- r- belief of religious doctrines but if he is really a good man, he cannot help loving them lor all that. Nay, he will love them more ardently than he does those who agree with him perfectly in .doc- trine, but in whom these virtues are wanting, or are less conspicuous. This will certainly be the case, unless he has been educated into the notion that mere belief is of paramount importance. A person who has received the doctrines of the New Church into his heart and life, will feel him- self actually nearer to those who know nothing of these doctrines, and who even profess the doctrin~ of the Old Church, provided they exhibit the spirit of the Master in their daily lives, than he will to thosewho profess their belief in the very same doc- trines, but whose lives are selfish, sordid, thought-• less and unholy. If we have the spirit of Christ in our hearts, we shall love that spirit whenever and wherever we see it j and this, too, without - regard to any difference there may be in our doc- trinal beliefs. Nor is this a matter of mere volition. It is a law of our being, absolutely im- perative where its controlling force is not counter- acted by a misdirected education. Here is a peaceful and happy family. Its unity is perfect. What produces and maintains that unity? Not similarity of thought, but similarity
Basis of Christian Union. 27of feeling. In thought its members may differwidely. The thoughts of the parents, perhaps, arebeyond the intellectual grasp of any olthe children.They are deeper and more comprehensive. Theparents see and believe truths which none of thechildren, it may be, can fully comprehend. And80, too, the boundaries of thought which the elderchildren have reached, ate -quite beyond those ofthe younger. -And those near the same age maydiffer materially in intellectual capacity, and inthe opinions they form on various subjects. Butthere is a similar"feeling in the hearts of all. Eachmember of the family loves all the rest, and loveswhatever promotRs their welfare and happiness;and although the love may be deeper and strongerin some than in others, the quality of the feelingis the same in all-just as heat is the same in thetaper and in the Bun and in all intermediate flames,however it may differ in intensity. And it is thelove-elemen~ which produces such perfect unity inthe family. It is this, and not their intellectualagreement or likeD~, which binds them so closelytogether. It is the union of hearts and not ofheads-a union all the more perfect, oftentimes,because of the intellectual differences. Now, a well-ordered family is a fit representativeolthe Lords church on earth. All true Christiansare members·of his family and household. Theyare all children of the Heavenly Father. SOlne
28 The True Oatholicism.may be older or more advanced in wisdom thanothers. Some may have attained to a degree ofknowledge which the others are as yet unable tocomprehend. But love for the common Fatherand for each other is the principle that fills andanimates all their hearts. They all hav~ theFathers image stamped upon them, for they allhave within them something of his Divine Spirit.They may understand the Word differently, someof them resting in its lower or more exterior &9dothers receiving its higher or more interior senses;and their views of doctrine may differ in a corre-sponding degree. But their hearts are alike;therefore they are united as one family. They areone in spirit, one in desire and purpose, one in dis-position and feeling, one in their ends and aims oflife, one in their wish to know and their purposeto serve the Divine Master, each according to hisability. Thus they are one body in Christ-noton account of their perfect intellectual agreement,but on account of the similarity of spirit by whichthey are swayed and governed. Charity or mu-tual love is the controlling element in each one;and where this reigns supreme, intellectual differ-ences are but little regarded and cannot produce Iseparation. How, then, is the unity of the church on earth ito be brought about, or strengthened and main- Itained-? Not by securing the assent of all profess- I j
Basis of Ohristian Union. 129ing Christians to the same creed, or doctrinal for-mulas; for 80 long as the Bible remains what it is,and men are differently endowed by birth, differ·ently trained and educated, and subjected to dif- ferent moral and religious influences from theirearliest years, it is vain to expect entire uniformityin their doctrinal beliefs. Such uniformity is im-possible so long as perfect freedom of thought andfidelity to each ones own convictions are encour-aged and maintained. Nor is it desirable, or atall necessary to the unity of the church. What ismost desirable and most needed is, not perfect uni-formity of belief among Christians, but such aninfusion of the Lords own spirit and life into thehearts of those who profess to be his followers, asshall make them feel the relative insignificance oftheir doctrinal differences. What is needed is,not the overthrow or extinction of religious sects,but the general repudiation or casting out of thenarrow and mischievous spirit of sect. Let creedsand denominational landmarks and denomina-tional preferences remain-not, however, with theovershadowing prominence which they havehitherto enjoyed. But let the Lord Jesus ChristHimself descend with new and regenerating powerinto all the churche$. Let the hearts of his pro-fessed followers be 80 suffused with his divine-hu-man love, that they shall so far forget or riseabove creeds, as to feel that mere doctrinal differ-
30 The True .Catholicism. ences should not be a hindrance to Christian fel- lowship. When this genuine revival shall take place- this new and only real advent of the Son of Man to the hearts of believers-then will Christians of different names feel that -they are, indeed, one body in Christ. Then will the unity of the church be established in reality, though not in outward and organic form-a unity all the more perfect because of the diversity in doctrine and ritual which may be expected still to continue. All will then be, and will feel themselves to be, of the Lords new and true Church, because all will ex- perience an influx of new life as & consequence of their new perception and acknowledgment of the Lord in the hearts of all his children. Hear what the enlightened herald of the New Jerusalem says on this subject :- " The several churches in the Christian world are distinguished by their doctrinals; and the members of those churches have hence taken the names of Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, or the Reformed and Evangelical Protestants; with many others. This distinction of names arises solely from doctrinals, and would never have existed if the members of the church had made love to the Lord and charity toward their neighbor the principal point of faith. Doctrinals would.then be only varieties of opinion concerning the mysteries of faith, which they who are true Chris.. tians would leave to every one to receive accord-
Basis of Ohriatian Union. 31 ing to his conscience; while it would be the lan- guage of their hearts, that he i8 a true Ohristian who lives a8 a Ohristian, that is, as the Lord teaches. Thus one church would be formed out of all these diverse ones, and all disagreements aris- ing from mere doctrinals would vanish, yea, all the animosities of one against another would be speedily dissipated, and the kingdom of· the Lord would -be established on earth. The ancient church which existed immediately after the flood,_ although dispersed over several kingdoms, was of such. a character; so that, notwithstanding its members differed much from each other in respect to doctrinals, they still made charity the principal thing, and regarded each others worship, not from the doctrinals of faith, but from the charity of life which entered into it. This is meant by what is said of that church (Gen. xi.!), that they had all one language, and their speech was one. "-A. C. 1799. Of similar purport is the following, where Swe- denborg is urging the paramount importance of charity, and the consequence of assuming it as the essential constituent of the church. . "Let this truth be received as a priI:1ciple, that love to the Lord and charity toward our neighbor are the essentials on which hangs all the Law and concerning which all the Prophets speak, and thus that they are the essentials of all doctrine and of all worship, in this C88e the mind~ould be enlight- ened by innumerable things contained in the Word, which otherwise lie concealed in the obscurity of a false principle j yea, in this case all heresies would
52 The True Oatholicism.vanish and be done away, and out of many therewould beformed one church, howsoever differing a,s todoctrinals and rituals, either flowing from the aboveessentials, or leading thereto. • • • Supposing thisto be the case, all would be governed as one manby the Lord, for all would be as members andorgans of one body, which, although they are notof similar form nor of· similar functions, havenevertheless relation to one heart on which theyall depend both in general and in particular, betheir respective forms ever so "various. In thisc~e, too, everyone would say of another, in what-soever doctrine or in whatsoever external worship hewas principled, This is my brother: I see that heworships the Lord, and that he is a good man. " -A. C. 2385. . Again:- " If charity were in the first place, and faith inthe second, the Church .would nave another face;for then none would be called Christians but theywho lived according to the truth of faith, that is,lived the life of charity. And then, too, it wouldbe kuown what ,charity is. Then, also, there wouldnot be more churches than one, by distinguishingbetween them according to opinions concerning thetruths of faith; but the Church would be calledone, containing all who are in the good of life, not "only who are in the region where the Church[having the written Word] is, but also who are outof it. The Church would thus be in illustrationconcerning the things which pertain to the king-dom of the Lord; for charity illustrates, and in nocase faith without charity. The errors, too, inducedby faith separate from charity, would be clearly
BfUis of Ohristian Union. 33seen. The face of the Church would then be asthe face of the Ancient Church, which had noother doctrinals than those of charity."-A. C. D.6761. . "Doctrinals do not constitute the external, muchless the internal of the Church; nor do they serveto distinguish churches before the Lord. But thisis effected by a life according to doctrinals, all ofwhich, if true, regard charity as their fundamental.For wliat is the end and design of doctrinals butto teach how a man should live 1"-Ibid. 1799. "When love to the Lord and charity towardthe neighbor, that is, the good of life, are madethe essentials with all and with each individual,then churches, how many soever they may be,make one; and each is then one in the kingdomof the Lord. This is also the case in respect toheaven where there are innumerable societies, alldifferent from ~ach other; but still they constituteone heaven, because all are principled in love tothe Lord and charity toward the neighbor [but indifferent degrees]."-Ibid. 2982. The doctrines of heaven as revealed throughSwedenborg are so consistent, so beautiful, rational,and satisfying to both the understanding and theheart--so superior in every respect to the doctrineshitherto believed and taught throughout Chris-tendom-that their receivers are in peculiar dangerof being so dazzled by them as to overlook or failto appreciate what is infinitely more important,viz., the new and high and holy life to whichthese doctrines continually point. They are in 3
34 The 2Mte Catholicism.danger of forgetting that the belief in salvationby doctrine (however the belief may be uncon-fessed) is not a whit less false, nor less fatal to thedevelopment and gro,vth of the heavenly life, thanthe confessed belief in the dogma of salvation byfaith alone. In their admiration of the heavenlydoctrines, and great joy in their reception- of them,they are in danger of having their attention di-verted or turne4 away from the heavenly life-the great end which these doctrines were given topromote. And in doing this, we do the very thingwhich was represented by Lots wife who waschanged to a pillar or statue of salt for lookingback upon the smitten Sodom. · " To look back behind him, is to have respectto doctrinals which are of truth, but not to a lifeaccording to doctrinals, which is the life of g90d;for truth is posterior, and good is prior; and thatis called behind him which is posterior, and thatbefore him which is prior..•• Truth is said toavert itself from good, and to have respect to doc-trinals [and the same is the c~e with minds thatreceive truths of doctrine] when it is no longerconcerned about the nature and quality of the lifewhich the man of the church lives, but about thenature and quality of the doctrine which he pro-fesses; when, nevertheless, it is a life according todoctrine which constitutes a man of the church,but not doctrine separate from life; for when doc-trine is separated from life, then by reason of thevastation of good appertaining to life, there is avastation also of truth appertaining to doctrine;
Basis of Ohristian Union. • 35that is, truth becom~ a statue of salt. This everyone may know in himself, who has respect to doc- .trine alone, and not to life."-A. C. 2454. Such and so catholic is the teaching of the Church signified by the New Jerusalem of the Apocalypse. It does not insist on uniformity of beIie~ nor regard this as necessary to Christian fellowship or to the unity of the church. Clearly defined as its doctrines are, it nevertheless admitsthat considerable diversity of opinion on points ofdoctrine, is quite compatible with Christian life andcharacter; and would have us recognize as Chris-tians "all who live as Christians, that is, as theLord teaches," however they may disagree with usin their doctrinal beliefs; and regard and treat asbrethren all good men and humble worshipers ofthe Lord, "in whatsoever doctrine, or in whatso-ever external worship" they may be principled.And not only so, but it teaches that when charityis regarded as fundamental in the church," alldisagreements arising from mere doctrinals willvanish; n and out of many churches distinguishedby their doctrinals, "there will be formed onechurch, however differing as to doctrinals andrituals;" and that this one church, like the Lordskingdom in the heavens, will be more completelyand perfectly one, because of this very diversity;just as the human body is a more perfect unit, be-
·86 T he True Oatholicism,.cause of the diversity in form and" function of thevarious organs composing it. ~ut the charity which is the essential constitu-ent of the Lords true church and the basis ofunion among Christians, is no~ what the naturalman understands by this word. It has regard toU86 rather than to persons. It is an interiorspiritual principle. As defined by Swedenborg,and as understood and taught in the New Chris-tian church, it is the love of use-the love of serv-ing individuals, the community, the state, thechurch, the Lords kingdom on earth. And thislove includes, or is identical with, the love ofwhatever is true, sincere,just and right. "Charity toward the neighbor," says Sweden-borg, "consists in doing what is good, just, andright, in every act and in every employment.It extends itself, therefore [or has relation], to .everything that a man thinks, wills and does."-H. H. 360, note. "He who is in charity toward his neighborfrom internal affection, is in oharity toward himin all and singular the things which he thinks andspeaks, and which he wills and does. It may besaid of a man or an angel when good is his neigh-bor [or is the ruling purpose ofbia heart], that, asto interiors, he is charity itsel£ So widely doescharity toward the neighbor extend itselt:"-A.C.8124. . " All are principled in the good of charity who
Basis of Ohristian Ufl/ion. 37have conscience, that is, all who, for the sake ofwhat is just and right, good and true, are unwillingto depart in any degree from what is just and right,good and true-for this must proceed from motivesof conscience; and such as are led hereby to thinkwell of their neighbor and to wish well to himeven though he be an enemy, and this without anyview to recompense, are they who are principledin the good of charity, whether they be withoutthe church [where the Word is] or within it."-A. C. 2380. .
III.ANOIENT GROUND OF OHUROH FELLOW6HIP.llaF we look at the wide diversity existinglUI among men in respect to hereditary endow-ments, and duly consider the different moral andreligious influences by which they are surroundedfrom their infancy, the different intellectualtraining to which they are subjected, the differentdoctrines taught them by their parents and relig-ious teachers, and the different ways in which theScriptures may be understood because of theiradaptation to the various sta~ of the humanmind, we shall see how improbable it is thatChristians will ever come to a perfect agreemenj,-in all their doctrinal beliefs. If all are left __ .freedom, and encouraged to think for themselveB,and permitted to avow their honest thought, therewill ever remain considerable diversity of opinion,at least upon minor points of doctrine. Yet thisdiversity should not prevent or mar the unity ofthe church. It will not, if all regard charityas the primary thing. On the contrary it willstrengthen the union among Christians, and renderit the more perfect. How was it with the church in very ancient . 38
Ancient Ground of Ohurch Fellow8hip. 89times? All did not then believe alike. We aretold that they differed much in doctrine and ritual.Yet this difference did not divide them, becausethey were all principled in mutuallo,:e or charity.They were all, as we learn from Scripture, cc of onelip, and their words were one; " which, accordingto Swedenborg, signifies that u they were all prin-cipled in one doctrine in general and in particu-lar;" and that was the doctrine ofcharity. Forhe adds:- CC The doctrine is one, when all are principled inmutual love and oharity. Mutuallove and charitTare effective of unitT or oneness, even amQng varl·eties, uniting varieties into one; for let numbersbe multiplied ever so many tfmes, even to thou-sands and tens of thousands, if they are all princi-pled in charity or mutual love, they have all oneend, viz., the common good, the kingdom of theLord, and the Lord Himself; in which case thevarieties in matters of doctrine and worship arelike the varieties of the senses and viscera in man,which contribute to the perfection of the whole."-A.0.1285. Again, this illumined writer at the very com-~encement of his treatise on " The New Jerusalemand its Heavenly Doctrine," says: "I will, by wayof introduction to the doctrine which follows, makesome observations concerning the doctrine of char-ity as held by the ancients;" which doctrine" is atthis day, with other excellent things, altogether
40 The True OatholicilJm. lost." And then he proceeds to tell us what the doctrine of charity among the ancients was. " The doctrine of charity,. which is the doctrine of life, was the essential doctrine in the ancient churches. And that doctrine conjoined all churches, and thereby formed one church out of many. For they acknowledged all those 88 mem- bers of the church who lived in the good of charity, and called them brethren, however they mighi, dif- fer respecting truth8 which at this day are called matters .of faith."-N. J. D. 9. Again:- " In ancient times there were several churches- together, and a diiference between them aB at this day in re~ard to doctrinals; but still they made one in thIS, that they acknowledged love to the Lord and charity toward their neighbor as the principal and very essential constituents of the church j and that doctrinals were not designed 80 much to direct their thoughts as to direct their lives. And when this is the case, that love to thE) Lord and charity toward the neighbor, that is, the good of life, are made the essentials with all and with each individual, then churches, how many soever there are, make one, and each is then one in the kingdom of the Lord."-A. C. 2982. Thus, according to the teachings of the new and truly catholic Church, perfect uniformity in mens doctrinal beliefs is not to be expected or aimed at. It does Dot exist even in heaven. No two angelio societies, and no two angels in any society, believe precisely alike.
Anciem Ground of Ok-ureA Fellow8hip. 41 "The Lords spiritual kingdom in the heavensis various in respect to what belongs to faith, inso-much that there is not one society, nor even one ina society, who, in those things which relate to thetruth of faith, is entirely agreed with others in hisideas. Nevertheless the Lords spiritual kingdomin the heavens is one. The reason is, that all ac-count charity as the principal thing..•. Whoeveris principled in charity, loves his neighbor; andwith regard to his dissenting from him in matters .of belief, this he excuses, provided only that helives in goods and truths."-A. C. 3267. I~ then, the angels do not entirely agree in theirviews of truth, why should we expect perfect agree-ment among men? Why should there not be asgreat diversity in the Lords kingdom on earth asthere is in his kingdom in the heavens? And this,too, without destroying the harmony or disturbingth,e peace of the church. The New ChristianChurch tells us that this must needs be. c~ With respect to the Lords kingdom Oil earth,that is, with respect to his church, the case is this:that, since it derives its doctrinsls from the literalBense of the Word, it must needs be various anddiverse 88 to those" doctrinals, viz.: one societywill profess one thing t9 be a truth of faith, be-cause it is 80 said in the Word; another societywill profess another thing for the same reason; and80 on. Consequently the church ofthe Lord, sinceas it derives its doctrinals from the literal sense ofthe Word, will differ in different places, and thisnot -only among societies in general, but sometimes
42 The True Oatholicilrm.among particular persons in each society. Never-theless, a difference in the doctrinals of faithis no reason why the church should not be one,provided only there be unanimity in willin_gwhat is good and doing what is good."-A. C.3451. Such is the uniform teaching of the herald ofthe New Church signified by the New Jerusalemof the Apocalypse. And how replete it is with thelarge and tolerant spirit of the gospel of JesusChrist I We learn from it, that charity was theessential doctrine in the ancient churches; andthat this 80 predominated over mere belief orfaith, that all who lived in the good of charitywere acknowledged as " members of the church,"and were "called brethren, however they mightdiffer respecting truths." We learn that the an-cients, although "they differed much from eachother in respect to doctrinals" (A. C. 1799), didnot allow those differences to disturb their harmonyor mar their peace. They called each otherbrethren, and felt and acted toward each other asbrethren, notwithstanding their doctrinal differ-ences. And the reason was, that all held charityto be fundamental. And where this is the case,"the disagreements arising from mere doctrinals"vanish, or fail to exert a disturbing influence. (Ibid.) Therefore the various churches among the ancients, notwithstanding their doctrinal differ-
Ancient Ground of Ohurch Fellowship. 43 ence8, were closely bound to each other, and to- gether formed one church. And it is a significant fact that Swedenborg, in the very commencement of his comprehensive. treatise on "The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine "-which, he assures us, "is the same with the doctrine that is in heaven"-proceeds to explain the doctrine of charity as held by the ancients, " by way of introduction to the doctrine which follows." It is as if he had said: "The primary thing in that system of doctrine which I am about to unfold, and which it has pleased the Lord to reveal to me out of heaven, is the doctrine of charity. And in order that this doctrine may be better understood, I will here state in the out- set what it WaB as held and practised in the ancient churches; how it led those churches to tolerate a wide diversity of opinion in matters of faith-to regard and treat each other 88 brethren, notwith- standing that diversity; and how, through its softening and cohesive influence, out of many and various churches-various in respect to doctrine and ritual-it formed one harmonious and united church." And when, near the close of that introductory chapter, he adds," that the doctrine of charity, which among the ancients was held in such esti- mation, is at this day, with other excellent things, altogether lost-for who, at this day, is aware
44 The True OatholiciJfm.what charity is in the genuine sense of the term?"-yet" the whole Sacred Scripture is nothing elsethan the doctrine of love and charity, which theLord also teaches" (Matt. xxii. 37-39)-it is asif he had said: "Now, this ancient doctrine of .charity, which I have just explained, and which atthe present day is utterly unknown-certainly isnot practised-in the churches of Christendom, is,in the New Jerusalem, to be restored to its ancientpre-eminence. It is the essential doctrine of theWord of God. In the New Church, 88 in thechurches of ancient times, this is to be held para-mount to every other doctrine. And it is toachieve results in the New Church, similar to thosewhich it produced in the ancient churches. Itwill manifest itself or reveal its genuineness insimilar ways. It will lead all who are really ofthe New Jerusalem to tolerate a wide diversity ofopinion in matters of faith, for so did the ancientchurches. It will lead them to think less of whatpeople believe, than of how they live. It will causethem to acknowl~dge and treat as brethren allgood men of whatever name or creed i-to recog-nize as Christians, and as worthy members of thechurch of Christ, all who live like Christians,whatever be their doctrinal ~eliefs." What is here put into the mouth of Swedenborg,is but a fair and legitimate inference from themanner in which he introduces and closes his ra-
AMient Ground oj Ohurch Fellowship. 45 marks upon the doctrine of charity in that intro- ductory chapter of the treatise on " The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine." And this inference is amply sustained by numerous passages which might be cited f~om his other works, in which the paramount importance of charity is in-.isted on. Note, for example, the following, which might be multiplied indefinitely:- "lithe members of the church had made love to the Lord and charity toward their neighbor the principal point of faith, doctrinals would then have been only varieties of opinion concerning the mys- teries offaith, which they who are true Christians would leave to everyone to receive according to his conscience; while the language of their hearts would be, that he is a true Christian who lives as a Christian, that is, as the Lord teaches. Thus one church would be formed out of all these diverse ones, and all disagreements arising from mere doc- trinals would vanish."-A. C. 1799. " There are two things which conjoin the men of the church, viz., life and doctrine. When life conjoins, doctrine [that is, difference in doctrine] does not separate; but if only doctrine conjoins, as at this day is the case within the church, then they mutually separate and make a~ many churches as there are doctrines. • • • But that doctrine does not separate if life conjoins, is evident from this, that be who is in the good of life [that is, in charity] does not condemn another who is of a different opinion, but leaves it to his faith and conscience, and extends this rule even to those who are out of the church; for he says in his heart
46 The True OatholicittJ",.that ignorance cannot condemn any, if they livein innocence and mutuallove."-A. C. 4468. "It is evident what another face the churchwould have, if the good of charity were in thefirst place, that is, were the essential thing, andthe truth of faith in the second, that is, were theformality thereof: The face of the church wouldthen be as the face of the ancient church, which.made the church to consist in charity, and had noother doctrinals of the ch urch t.han those of char-ity."-Ibid. 6761. Then see how emphatically Swedenborg con-demns the practice of the churches of his day,who, he says, "separate themsel"es according todogmas; and he who believes otherwise than asthe dogma teaches, is cast out from their com-munion, and is defamed."-(A. C. 4689.) Andhe declares that if charity (involving, as truecharity does, love to the IJord) were -regarded asfundamental, and the practice of the churcheSwere in accordance therewith, there would be nosuch thing as dealing with men or excommuni-cating them on account of alleged heresies. Here.sies, indeed, would not be named or thought of:"In this case all heresies would vanish and bedone away, and out of many there would beformed one church, however differing aa to doctrinalsand rituals." And speaking of the schisms andheresies which had arisen with the decline of theChristian church, he says:-
Ancient Ground oj Ohurch FeUowship. 47 ,e These would never have existed, if charity hadcontinued to live and rule; for in such case theywould not have called schism by the name ofschism, nor heresy by the name of heresy, but theywould have called them doctrinals agreeable toeach persons particular opinion or way of think·ing, which they would have left to everyonesconscience, not judging or condemning any fortheir opinions, provided they did not deny funda-mental p!!nciples, that is, the Lord, eternal life,and the Word, and maintained nothing contraryto divine order, that is, contrarr to the command-ments of the Decalogue."-A. C. 1834. But it is needless to multiply extracts. Thewritings of Swedenborg abound in just such teach-ing 88 the foregoing. And was there ever abroader or more genuine catholicism inculcated?In view of this teaching, on which side lies ourchief danger? On the side of excessive tolera-tion-a too broad and inclusive liberalism? or onthat of a too narrow and exclusive sectarian-ism? On which of these sides are all professingChristians, in the degree that they are unregen-erate, most prone to err? Certainly Dot on theside of excessive catholicity.
IV. BEltIEVEB8 IN TRIPERSONALISM.li T must be clear to every reflecting mind, that the doctrine concerning the supremeObject of worship must be the central doctrine inevery theological system. All the other doctrineswill be shaped and colored by this. In the degreethat this is erroneous, error must needs pervadeall the rest. Just as in any system of philosophy,sociology or political economy, if the central ideais wrong, the whole system that is adjusted to it,will be equally vrong. One of the great and. fundamental errors intowhich the former Christian Church fell at an earlyday, and which led to its final consummation, wasthat concerning the Divine Trinity. The doctrineon this subject, which had been almost universallyaccepted by Christians, was that set forth in theAthanasian creed, in which it was taught that Godis tripersonal, or exists 88 three distinct persons.That creed says: "There is one person of theFather, another of the Son, and another of theHoly Ghost "-three persons in one God. AndSwedenborg says: U Everyone who reads thiscreed with his eyes open, maJ perceive that a 48
Believers in TripersonaliBm. 49 .trinity of Gods was the only trinity thought Qf bythose who composed the Council of Nice, whencethis creed, as a posthumous birth, was first intro-duced into the church." And he adds: "That jlOother trinity [than a trinity of Gods] is understoodthroughout all Christendom, is a necessary conse- .quellce of making that creed the standard ofknowledge respecting God, to which everyonepays an implicit obedience." He further says that,"as a chain depends on the staple from which ithangs, so does the whole body of theology dependon a right idea of God as its head;" and that" everyone has a place in heaven according to hisidea of God." And if his idea of God be alto-gether incorrect, he cannot be in heaven. " Noone in heaven can pronounce such a phrase as atrinitY" of persons, each of whom separately isGod; the heavenly aura itself, in which theirthoughts, like sounds in our air, travel andundulate, resists .[or renders Buch utterance im-possible];-T. C. R. 173. And, speaking of the perniciQus influence ofthis false notion concerning the Trinity, he says:"The present faith of the church, which in its in-ternal form is a faith in three .Gods, but in itsexternal form in one God, has extinguished the light of the Word, and removed the Lord from the church, and has thus precipitately turned its morning into night."-(Ibid. 177.) And the 4·
· 50 The True Catholicism. prayers of those who cherish this false n~tion of the Trinity, are represented as of no avail-as not attended to, or as not ascending to heaven. "The prayers of every man who lives in. a Christian country and does not believe in the Lord, are not lIstened to; they are in heaven like ill-scented odors, or like eructations from corrupted lungs; and although he may fancy that his prayer is like the perfume af incense, yet in its ascent to the angelic heaven, it is but like the smoke of a conflagration, which, by the violence of the wind, is driven back into his eyes; or like incense from a censer under a monks cloak. This is the case from henceforward with all worship which is directed toward a Trinity of distinct persons, and not toward a Trinity conjoined in one person." -T. C. R. 108. Again, he says : - cc A division of the Divine Trinity into persons has introduced not only night, but also death into the church. • • . Ij; is a truth, that, to implant in children and young people the idea of three divine ~l persons, to which is unavoidably annexed the idea I of three Gods, is to deprive them of all spiritual milk, and afterwards of all spiritual meat, and I lastly of all spiritual reason; and the consequence I is, spiritual death to all those who confirm them- selves in such an opinion. • . . He who confirms himself in the belief of a plurality of Gods by be- lieving in a plurality of persons, becomes by de- grees like a statue with movable joints, in the midst of which Satan stands and speaks through its artificial mo~~h/-Ibid. 23.
Believers in Tripersonalism. 51 Now, from passages like these "in the writings ofSwedenborg, some have concluded (and the con-clusion would seem at first thought to be just alldlegitimate), that all Christians at the present day,who belong to churches in which the tripersonalityof God is believed and taught, are necessarily be-lievers in and worshipers of three Gods; and aretherefore in a state of spiritual darkness, aliena-tion, and death-mere carcasses, or forms filled andanimated by the spirit of Satan; that their pray-ers either do not ascend to heaven, or ascend 88"ill-scented odors," and not as sweet perfume;that the Lord is far removed from all such, andthat therefore they are left in a state of midnIghtdarkness. Even some ministers in the nominalNew Church have inferred from passages likethose here quoted, that the Lord has actually·left" all such Christians, and no longer has hisabode with them.* But when we look at the churches in question-when we observe the noble men and women whosenames are enrolled there-when we consider howmuch of the Masters spirit many of them exhibit-how mu~h of all that is righteous, and holy, andgentle, and brave, and self-denying, and pure, andgood they embody-we are sure there must beBorne mistake in this matter. Weare sure that,whatever Swedenborg may have said, the Lord * See New Jerusalem Magazine for July, 1839, p. 879.
52 The ~ 2TU8 OatholifJism.bas not "left" all these people. We recognizeamong many of them abundant evidence of hisquickening and life-giving prese~ce. And when,ve examine more critically the writings of Swe-denborg, we find that the mistake has arisen froma partial or superficial view of his teachings. Wefind reason for believing that it has come fmmfixing the mind too intently upon a single cla...Q8 ofpassages like those above quoted, and overlookingor ignoring another class which qualify and limittheir meaning. It was in a similar way that thedoctrine of salvation by faith alone originallycrept into the Chri!tian Church, that is, byobserv-ing all that is said in the Word about the import-ance of faith, and overlooking all that is said ofthe importance of charity. It is not to be denied that Tripersonalism is agreat and pernicious error-a dogma which haswrought immense mischief, and against which wecannot too carefully guard our children and allwith whom we have influence. All that Sweden-borg has said of its baleful tendency and effects, isundoubtedly true. Yet a belief in tripersonalism .was providentially permitted as the only meanswhereby Christians could be saved from the utterdenial and rejection of the Divine incarnation, andofanything like Divinity, therefore, in Jesus Christ.Such denial would have been a more fatal error thanthat of Tripersonalism. Swedenborg says : -
, Believers in Pripersonalism. 53 " All and singular the things of the Athanssian doctrine concerning the Trinity and concerning the Lord . . . have come to pass by the Divine.Providence. For unless they had accepted a trinity of persons at that time, they would have become either Arians or Socinians; and hence the Lord would have been acknowledged as only a mere man, and .not.88 God, whereby the Christian Church would have perished, and heaven would have been closed to the man of the church."- A. E. 1109; A. C. 6993. But because Tripersonalism is a grievous error, we must not conclude that all who have subscribed to this doctrine are, therefore, in a state of spirit- ual darkness and death, and incapable of offering a prayer acceptable unto the Lord. This may be the case with many.- But there are also many who. believe this doctrine in simplicity, because it ap- pears to be plainly taught in the Word, but whose ruling purpose is to do the will of God in all things; and these are not especially harmed by it. Swedenborg says" there is no harta in believing the literal sense of the Word, although the internal sense teaches otherwise, if it be done in simplicity of heart." (A. C. 2395.) And he also admits that the doctrine of three persons in the Godhead, is in accordance with the teaching of the apparent or literal sense of the Word, as appears from the following : - "Hence also it is manifest that, when there are three in the sense of the letter, there is only one in
54 TM Prue OatholitMm. .the internal sense, 88 Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,who are not three Gods, but one, and that in theLord [Jesus Christ] the whole Trinity (Trinum)is perfect."-A. C. 2663. Here it is conceded that, according to the appar-ent truth in the literal sense, Father, Son, and HolyGhost are three, although the internal sense teachesthat they are one. And as we are assured that" there is no harm in believing the sense of theletter, if it be done in simplicity of heart," there-fore there can be no permanent harm in believingin simplicity, as many Christians do, the doctrineof three persons in one God. Again: speaking of the innumerable varietiesand differences in doctrinals_ among those whoconstitute the Lords kingdom in heaven as wellas on earth, Swedenborg says:- " They who are of the spiritual church .. . . ac-knowledge for truths what they have learned fromothers, . . • and each abides in that doctrinal,and calls it true, which is taught in his own par-ticular church." And since these do not enjoyinternal perception like those of the celestialchurch, therefore he adds: "It is not to be won-dered at that they are disagreed about that mostessential of all truths, viz., the Lords Divine, Di-vine-Human, and Holy Proceeding. The celestialperceive that they are not three but one; whereasthe spiritual abide in the idea of three, yet arewilling to think that they are one. Since, there-fore, there are dissensions about this most essential
Believer8 in Prjper801f,aliBm. 55 point of all, it may be seen that the varieties and differences of doctrinals are innumerable."-A. C. 3241. Now, is a difference on "this most essential point of all," or is the belief of the Tripersonalists- those who" abide1n the idea of three, yet are will-I ing to think that they are one "-to be regarded as fatal to· all spiritual life ? Does such a belief- an error, though it be, upon a fundamental point -necessarily shut the Lord out from the believers heart? Does it close his interiors against the sweet influence of the. angels? Doee it preclude the possibility of his offering that most acceptable kind of sacrifice-the worship of a righteo:us and useful life ? Does it necessarily shut the gates of the Kingdom against him, and consign him to the realms of darkness, and render his prayers "like ill-scented odors, <?r like eructations from ~ormpted lungs," unacceptable to the Lord? By no means, if his ruling desire is to know, and his settled pur- pose is to do, the will of the Lord. So far from it, Swedenborg proceeds to add in the same para- . graph :- " But notwithstanding there are so. many varie- ties and differences of doctrinals [including that of a tripersonal God, to which allusion had just been made], still they together form one church, when all acknowledge charity as the essential of the church, or, what is the same thing, when they have respect to life as the end of doctrine; that is,
56 The True OatholU:Urm.when they inquire how a man of the church livea,and not so much what are his sentiments." It thus appears plain that, according to the di-vinely authorized teachings of the New Church,men may differ "about that most essential ofall truths "-the nature of the Divine Trinity-some believing in tripersonalism, according to theapparent teaching of the literal sense, and othersholding to the unipersonality of God as revealedin the internal sense; yet all may" acknowledgecharity as the essential of the church," and may" have respect to life" as the great end of doctrine.And this is just what they ought to do-just whatthe spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ requiresthem to do-just what the members of the churchsignified by the New Jerusalem tUill do. And weare told that when they do this, cc they togetherform one chuTch." Here, again, we find the Bame exalted wisdomand genuine catholicism as before; the same ac-knowledgment of the supreme importance ofcharity, and of its power, when duly exalted, todemolish all those sectarian barriers which havesprung from mere doctrinal differences, and out ofmany churches various as to doctrine, to form oneharmonious and united church. And if those of the organized or nominal NewChurch would be as catholio as are the doctrinesthey profess, they will not condemn even the Triper-
Believers in Triper8onaliBm. 5780nalists, nor separate themselves from their com-pany as though- they were disfellowshiped or apeople to be shunned; but they will regard andtreat them as brethren, and acknowledge them asthe children of God and members of his church in80 fa. 8B they live the life of charity, notwith-standing their erroneous belief concerning the Di-vil1e Trinity. T4is, clearly, is what the entirespirit and explicit teaching of the doctrines re-vealed •for the church of the New_ Jerusalem,.counsel.
v.BELIEVERS IN SALVATION BY FAITH AfONE.nNOTHER great and pernicious errQr incorpo-1m rated into the creed of the former ChristianChurch, is the doctrine ofjustification and salvationby faith alone, The influence of this doctrine hasbeen most disastrous throughout all ProtestantChristendom. This is what might have been rea-sonably expected from the very nature of the doc-trine. For it has taught that if people only belie1J6certain doctrines which Church Councils have de-termined to be essential to salvation, they are sureof heaven, however sinful may be the lives theylive. This doctrine was first formulated by Mar-tin Luther, and was held by him as the centraldoctrine of the Christian religion. He oftencalled it articulus 8tantis vel cadentis ecclesire,-"the article by which the church must stand orfall." And how he understood the doctrine, orwhat he thought of its importance and efficacy,may be seen from the following paragraphs : - " Be a sinner, and sin boldly; but believe andrejoice more boldly in Christ, who is the conquerorof sin, of death and the world; we must sin solong as we remain here. This life is not the habi- 58
Believers in &lvation by Faith .Alone. 59 tation of justice; it is sufficient that we know, through the riches of the glory of God the lamb.which taketh away the sin of the world, sin can- not pluck us· away from Him, although we were to commit fornication or murder a thomand and a tMmand times in a day."* " A Christian cannot, if be will, lose his salva-tion by any ~ultitude or magnitude of sins, unless he ceases to believe; for no sins can damn him, but unbelief alone. Everything else, provided hisfaitli returns or stands fast in the Divine prom-ise given in baptism, is absorbed in a moment bythat faith."-Luther de CaptilJitate, Bab., ii. 264. COmp. DiBpu., i. 523. ThiS cc faith alone" dogma has greatly darkenedthe minds of Christians in respect to spiritualthings, and finally induced upon the Christianchurch a state of spiritual desolation and death.It is this doctrine, according to Swedenborg,which, in connection with that of Tripersonalism,of which it is one of the legitimate offspring, con-tributed more than any other to undermine anddestroy the first Christian Church. Therefore, inexposing and commenting upon the numerouserrors into which the great body of Christians in * Eato peccator., et fortiter; Bed fortiu8 fide et gaudein Christo, qui victor est peccati, mortis et mundi; pec-candum est, quamdiu hIe simus. Vita hmc non eathabitatio juatitim. Sufficit quod agnovimu8 per divitiasglorim Dei agnum qui toHit peecatum mundi, ab hoc nonavellet nOB peccatum, etiam.si milJ,ies. millie8 uno die for~nicemar aut occidamus.-Lutheri Epis. tom. II. Jewe,1666, p. 846.
60 The True Oatholicism.his day had fallen, there is no one of which hespeaks with greater severity, or to which he attrib-utes greater power of mischief, than this doctrineofjustification by faith alone. Thus he says :- "That there is at this dayso great darkne138throughout the Christian churches, that the sungives no light by day, nor the moon 3nd stars anylight by night, is o~casioned solely by the doctrineof justification by faith alone; for it inculcatesfaith as the only means of salvation."-B. E. 79. And, speaking of the real quality of this doc-trine, as viewe~ interiorly, he says, it is one" intowhich neither the law of the Decalogue, norcharity, nor good works, nor repentance, nor de-sires after newness of life, have any entrance;"and that, although it is asserted that these things"spontaneously follow," it is, at the same time,held that they are" without any use either to pre-serve faith or to procure salvation."-Ibid. Such is the interior and real nature of the doc-trine ofsalvation by faith alone. Yet this doctrine,we know, holds a conspicuous place in the creedsof nearly all the Protestant churches in our ownday, as it did in the time of Swedenborg. Indeed,it is not only professed by a great multitude ofChristians, but is regarded by many as one of thefundamentals of the Christian religion. What now is the inference to be drawn from allthis? Must we conclude that all those who belong
Believers jn &lvation by Faith Alone. 61 to the churches wherein the doctrine of faith aloneI is professed, are interiorly of a like quality with the. doctrine itself? Must we believe that all such are necessarily without charity, or good works, or repentance, , or any desire for newness of life? Must we infer that they are all enemies of God and aliens from the commonwealth ofIsrael ? This, we are aware, is the conclusion to which some have arrived, and "ye cannot deny that it is fair and legitimate while attention is confined exclusively to a single class of passages in the Writings. They point to what Swedenborg has said of the nature and destructive tendency of this doctrine, and straightway conclude that all who profess to be- lieve it, or who have subscribed a creed of which this is a part, must needs be 8.8 bad as the doctrine itself. But these persons do not employ a similar kind of logic in other cases. They do not reckon as true Christians all who profess Christianity; nor do they regard as angels all who profe88 the doc- trines of heaven. Yet why not, if people are to be judged by their professed creeds, or mere beliefs If a mere profession of belief in the doctrine of justification by faith alone, is to be accepted as evidence that the believers heart is as bad as the .doctrine itself, then why should not a mere profes- sion of belief in the heavenly doctrines, be received as evidence of the heavenly character of every
I62 The True (Jatholieism.such believer? Why should not a mere profes-sion of the Christian religion, prove every suchprofessor to be a true Christian? But a glance at existing facts patent to all eyes,is sufflcient to convince every candid ,mind of thefallacy of such reasoning. If there are personsprofessing to believe the doctrines of heaven whoare not angels, then we may believe that amongthe many who profess the solifidian creed, thereare some whose characters are quite angelic;. andobservation and experience will confirm such be-lief. For it cannot be denied that some of the bestmen and women upon earth-some of the meekest,gentlest, purest, humblest, most patient, devoted andChrist-like-are to be found in the very churcheswhere the doctrine of salvation by faith alone isacknowledged and taught. And none will be moreready than the members of the New Church theIQ-selves, to concede that there are 80me who accept orprofess the heavenly doctrines of the New J erusa-lem, who are very far from being angels. . Doctrines, then, or professed beliefs, are no cer-tain criterion by which to judge of the real char-acter ofthe believers. Men may believe like angels,yet live like devils. And so, on the other hand,they may profess great errors, and really thinkthey believe them; yet they may hold the errorsin such a way as to receive little or no harm fromthem. They may live so Dear to the Lord, may
BelieUer8 in Salvation by Faith .Alone. 63 have their hearts so imbued with his Spirit, may seek 80 earnestly to do his will, that the falsities which they believe or profess, will not be faumies with them; or iffalslties, they will be accepted ofthe Lord for truths, and their malevolence be warded off by the Divine power and presence. . Such. persons are of the number of those, of whom.it is said: "They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them." If: now, we turn to the writings of Swedenborg, we shall find all and more than all that we have here stated,.amply sustained by his catholic teach- ings. Notwithstanding his freqtient and emphatic condemnation of the faith-alone dogma, and his oft-repeated assertion as to its pernicious tendency and the spiritual desolation it has wrought, we do not find him condemning indiscriminately all who profess this doctrine, and placing ~hem without the pale of the Christian church. On the con- trary, we find him freely and often conceding that there are many excellent people among them- people whose lives are so imbued with the good of c,h~ity, that this error with them loses its inherent malevolence, and becomes quite harmless. Thus he says:- " It is said that faith alone saves, which in itself is false, especially with the evil who thereby ex- clude the good of charity, as if it contributed notRi~g at all to salvation. But this falsity grows
64 The True OatholiciBm,.mild with those who are in the good of life; forthey apply it to good, saying that faith alonesaves, but that it is not faith unless together withits fruit, consequently unless waere there is good."-A. C. 8311. Again, speaking of some innocent people, whoc, make a profession offaith [that is, "faith alone,"]and think nothing of charity, by reason that theyare so instructed by their teachers, Rlld dQ notknov what charity is," he says :- " Nevertheless these same persons Ii ve the lifeof charity toward their neighbor, because theylive in the life of good. It is no injury to suchthat they make profession of faith, and consider italone to be saving, Hke others; for in their faiththere is charity, whereby is si~nified all the goodof life both in general and in particular."-Ibid.2388. Amongthose who profess the solifidian doctrine,there is a difference as wide as that between heavenand hell. Some of them are desperately wicked,and act in conjunction ,vith evil spirits; whileothers, professing the very same doctrine, strive tolive according to the precepts of the Word, andare, therefore, internally associated with angels.Speaking of the former" of these classes, Sweden-borg says:- " They who think, believe and live from the doc-trine of faith alone, and of justification thereby,have no respect to God in their lives, but only toself and the world; and they who look only to
Believers in Salvation by Faith Alone. 65 self and the world in the course of their life, ad- join themselves to the hells; for all who are in the hells make _ account either of good or evil. no In a word, for men to live from that doctrine is to confirm themselves in the life, that it is of no consequence to think, to will, or to do good, inas- much as salvation is not from that source."-A. E.233. But the same illumined writer tells us "that there are very few who thus live from this doctrine, although it is believed by the preachers that all who hear their preachings are under their influ- ence." And this, he says, " is of the divine provi- dence of the Lord." Even -in his day, "the greater part" of Christians belonging to churches wherein the solifidian doctrine was believed and taught, ~ere not principled in that doctrine, did not really understand it, or held it in such a way that it was to them quite harmless. Thus he says near the close of the very paragraph from which we have just quoted:- . " The greater part of those who are born within the churches where the doctrine of faith alone and of justification thereby is received, do not know ! hat faith alone is, nor what is understood by j us- tIficatlon. Wherefore when they hear these things from their teachers they think that a life accord- ing to the precepts of God in the Word, is thereby understood; for they believe this to be faith, and also justification, not entering more deeply into• the mysteries of doctrine. Such persons, also, when 5
66 The True OatholimBm.they are instructed concerning faith alone, andconcerning justification thereby, believe no other-wise than that faith alone is to think concerningGod and salvation, and how they ought to live; andthat justification is to live before Goa."-A. E. 233. And the same in substance is repeatedly taughtelsewhere in the Writfugs. "There are persons who, from the doctrine ofthe church and from their teachers, believe faithto be the only means ot salvation, or who only knowfrom others bu~ do not interiorly affirm nor deny,and at the same time live a good life from the Word,that is, because the Lord has so commanded in hisWord; these do not . . . adulterate the goods norfalsify the truths of the Word; therefore theyhave conjunction with the angels of heaven. Few,likewise, of these know that faith is anything elsebut believing in the Word; they have no idea ofthe dogma of justification by faith alone withoutthe works of the law, because it transcends theirunderstanding."-A. E. 778. "Something shall now be said of those who,although they are in the churches where faithalone is acknowledged, do not falsify the Word.Such are they who do not separate faith from "lifebut conjoin them, believing that they make onelike affection and thought, or like heat anq lightin summer, from the conjunction of which arisesall germination...• They, therefore, who thusconjoin life and faith in confession and in practice,have the life of faith. "There are some also [in the churches whichacknowledge faith alone] who neither know nordesire to know that faith is a~ything else than to.
Belie1!ers in &lvation by Faith Alone. 67believe those things which are taught in the Word,and do them. For they see that to believe and dois faith; but that to believe and not to do, is a faithof the lips only-and not of the heart, that is, a faithwithout and not within the man."-A. E. 800. " There are three degrees of the reception of thedoctrine of justification and salvation by faithalone. The first degree is the acknowledgmentof that doctrine; the second degree is the con-firming it in ones self; and the third degreeis the living according to it. To acknowledgeit belongs to the thought, to confirm it in ones8~lf belongs to the understanding, and to liveaccording to it belongs to th~ will. • • All thatwhich enters only into the thought and the under-standing does not condemn, but that which entersinto the will conaemns; for this enters into thelife and becomes permanent."-A. R. 634. Seealso A. E. 710, 750, 764, 798; A. C. 6256. It was in this outer court of the mind-in thiscomparatively harmless way, that the doctrine offaith alone, we are told, was held by" the greaterpart" of those wi~hin the Christian church inSwedenborgs day. And further, he tells us thatthose people whose purpose it is to keep Godscommandments, although professing the doctrineof faith alone, really constitute" the church whichis called the New Jerusalem," and which, he says," is to tarry among those who are in the doctrine offaith separate from charity, while it grows to itsfulln~8, until provision is made for its receptionamong greater numbers."
68 2he True OatholiR:iJrm,. "But in that church there are dragons whoseparate faith from good works, not only in doc-trine but also in life; whereas the rest in the samec},,Urch who live the life of faith which is charity,are not dragons, although among them; for theyknow no otherwise than that it is agreeable todoctrine that faith produces the fruits which aregood works, and that the faith which justifies andsaves is to believe those things which are in theWord and do them."-A. E. 765. From al~ 9f which it will be seen that theherald of the New Jerusalem does not unchurchall who profess the doctrine of salvation by fafthalone, though he declares this to be one of the mostpernicious of all the errors that have crept into theChristian church. He does no·t call all the be-lievers of this doctrine dragons. On the contrary,he assures us" that there are veryfe:w who live fromthe doctrine," and that" the greater part" of thosewho profess it, " are not dragons, although amongthem; "-that they generally understand that jus-tifying and saving faith " is to believe thoSe thingswhich are in the Word and do them." And heeven goes 80 far as to say, that these people-thegreaterpart, be it remembered, ofthefaith-alone pro-fessors-constitute, in our day, "the church whichis called the New Jerusalem; " for no one will pre-tend that this church h88 yet" grown to its full-ness." These constitute the real, in contradistinc-tion to the professed or nominal, New Jerusalem.
Believers in Salvation by Faith Alone. 69 So sensible and discriminating is this heav~nillumined teacher! So just and reasonable andconsistent and catholic in all his teachings! Sofree from the least taint of narrowness or bigotry!80 preeminent, so truly inspiring and grand intheir catholicity are the authorized teachings ofthe New Christian Church. Let those who acceptthese teachings endeavor, individually and collec-tively, to exemplify their large, tolerant and heav-enly spirit, and they (or the new and heavenlydoctrines they profess) will ere long become as "acity set upon.a hill, which cannot be hid."
VI. FURTHER ILLUSTRATIONS. RE light which has come into the wo~ld since O the date of the Last Judgment (1757), and in consequence of that event, has penetrated in a greater or less degree-all the churches in Christen- dom; yes, and Heathendom also has been touched by its rays, and a new Morning has dawned on India, as must be plain to all who have read Mozoomdars "Oriental Christ." And this isjust what Sweden- borgs repeated declarations would have led us to expect. "So long," he says, "as the dragon with his crew continues in the world of spirits, into which he was cast, 80 long it is impossible for any divine truth united with divine good, to pass through unto men on earth."-T. C. R. 182.. The fair inference to be drawn from this is, that divine truth could and would pass from heaven to men after the dragon had been removed from the world of spirits, or after the Last Judgment had been executed in that world. But we are not left to mere inference on this point. On the contrary, we are expressly told that the influx of divine truth and good into the minds of men, acf,ualJ,y 70
Further IllU8trationB. 71became more free and universal after the Last J udg-ment than it was before. "The state of the Lords kingdom [on earth]became different after the Last Judgment fromwhat it was before; as the reception of divinetruth and good became thereby more universal,more interior, more easy, and more distinct."- .A. E.1217. Again, Swedenborg says" that the state of theworld and of the church [meaning all the denomi-nations in Christendom] before the Last J udg-ment, was as evening and night, but after it, asmorning and day." (Contin. L. J. 13.) And hetells us why :- " So long as there were congregations of suchspirits between heaven and the world, or between.the Lord and the church, man was unable to beenlightened. It was as when a sunbeam is cut 011"by a black interposing cloud, or as when the sunis eclipsed, and its light arrested, by the interjacentmoon. . . • Now since all these interposing con-gregations were dissipated by the Last Judgment,it is plain that the communication between heavenand the ~orld, or between the Lord and the church,has been restored."-Contin. L. J. 11. And one of the consequences of the restorationof this long interrupted communication, was, asmight have been expected, a general enlighten-ment of the minds of men here on earth. "After the dragon W&~ cast down. . . . therewas light in the world of spirits, because the in-
72 The Prue Catholicism. 0 fernal societies which were removed, had been inter- posed like clouds which darken the earth. .A aimi- tar light also then arose in men in the world, giving them new enlightenment."-Contin. L. oJ. 30. The obvious meaning of this is, that not a small handful of people-not the few readers of Sweden-· borgs writings merely-but mankind generally received new enlightenment. And the churches, too, even those that still profess the d~ctrines of tripersonalism and faith alone, have not failed of their share of this general illumination. What- ever their creeds may say, it is certain that the members of these churches think very differently now from what their predecessors before the Last Judgment thought. So that, w~ile these churches, as to their creeds or outward profession, are similar to those that existed prior to 1757, yet their in- ternal perceptions and heart convictions are en- tirely different. They see truth which persons professing substantially the same doctrines a hu~ dred years ago, had no conception of. And this, too, accords with the teachings of Sw.denborg. For, speaking of the future state of the church, and the changes consequent upon the Last Judg- ment, he says :- "But as for the state of the church, this it is which will be dissimilar hereafter. It will be similar indeed in the outward form, but dissimilar in the inward. To outward appearance divided churches will exist as heretofore; their doctrines