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in order that the design of what was then done may be accomplished ; in order that what was done in and by Him, may be done in and through the church ; in order that the church may overcome and sit with Him in his throne, even as He overcame and sat with his Father in his throne. It is said that God
it unto him, because it proceeded from him, in consequence of his union with God; in consequence of his glorification-of his making his humanity divine. It is that spirit of truth which could not be given before Jesus was glorified, or made divine, but was given afterwards.
To show unto his servants, signifies that it was to be made manifest to those who are in truths originating in good; for by servants are signified those who obey commandments of a master, and therefore servants of the Lord signify those who live according to truths ; for the commandments of the Lord are truths. These things are made known only unto his servants, because they alone have a taste for them, and would be benefitted by knowing them. They alone look forward in hope for a more full and complete establishment of the Lord's spiritual kingdoin upon earth; they alone watch for his coming ; they alone take notice of the prophecies and prophetic events which announce his approach; they alone see his star in the east ; and to them alone does the angel of his presence appear, declaring the good tidings of great joy.
It was represented as though these things were shortly to come to pass, although it now appears that many generations were to come and
go before they should come to pass. But this is only a mode of expressing the certainty that they would come to pass. Thus, when we look forward to any event, ever so remote, according to the ordinary succession of events,—if we look forward to it with a realizing confidence that it will come, it becomes almost present, and according to our apprehension it does shortly come to pass.
So unto those, who are in truths from good-the servants of the Lord, who watch for his coming, who observe the course of providence, and witness the preparations that are making as he advances,--to such he appears to hasten his comingto be nigh at hand, even at the doors. And as the feeling of full confidence and certainty does, in its descent in the mind to things more outward, as it were dispel all intervening time, like shadows before the light,--so the certainty of divine prediction does, in its descent through the heavens into natural images, fall into the expression that these things are shortly to come to pass.
And he signified, sending by his angel to his servant John.And he signified, means that these things were represented by signs or symbols, such as we find throughout the Apocalypse. Sending by his angel
, means that this was done by an influx
through the heavens. By angel, in the word, is meant the angelic heaven ; and in a supreme sense, the Lord himself. The reason why an angel represents heaven, is because when an angel speaks with man, he is not in a state of separation from heaven, and there is such a union and communion of one with all in heaven, and of all with every one, that when any one speaks he does it from the influence of all, though at the time he may be unconscious of it. And the reason why an angel, in the supreme sense, represents the Lord, is because heaven, in the sight of the Lord, is as one man, whose soul is the Lord himself; wherefore it is the Lord that speaketh to man, through heaven, as man does from his soul through his body; for the angels do not constitute heaven by means of any thing which they are of themselves, but by means of what they are from the Lord : the divine influence flowing into them and giving them all their love and wisdom, and even their life. Whence it appears, that by the word he signified, sending by his angel to his servant John, is meant that divine truth flowed down from the Lord through the heavens, and was presented, in symbols and correspondences, to the eyes of his servant John. This revelation was made to John on account of the signification of John. All names, in the word, are significative, and are used according to their signification. Thus Peter, James and John are frequently so spoken of together; and by Peter, is signified faith, or those who act from faith ; by James, are signified those who act from charity—that is, those who act according to truth, because they take delight in the effects, consequences and rewards of so doing ; and by John are signified those who do good from love to the Lord ; or, what is the same thing, from the love of doing good for its own sake. And therefore we see the reason why this revelation was made to John, for it is a revelation concerning the coming of a church which was to be of the character represented by John ; and therefore John alone, and those who are in the state signified by John, are capable of comprehending and receiving a description of it.
Who witnessed the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.—They alone, who are signified by John, witness the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ; for things of this nature can be witnessed only by the heart. To witness the word of God, is to be in a state of mind to perceive the influx of the holy spirit, from which the word was given, and thus to perceive that the word of God is the word of God; that it constantly proceeds from God, in the operation of his spirit. And a person cannot perceive this until the word of God has had its true and proper effect upon him ; until he has so long and sincerely shunned the evils which the word forbids, as to have lost all relish for them; and has been so long habituated to doing the good works
which the word requires, as to have acquired a second nature, and to love to do them from the delight in doing. Then the Lord writes his law in the heart, or rather the holy spirit flows in through the heart, leading him to will and to do the truth. Then can man witness the word of God, for the word of God has become the word and the requirement of what he loves and what appears to him good. He perceives that it proceeds from good; that it leads to good; that it is the word of God.
They who are signified by John, being receptive of love to the Lord from the Lord, witness also the testimony of Jesus Christ. They understand, from the image and likeness of their own experience, what he meant when he said that the Father dwelt within ; that he was in the Father, and the Father in him ; that of himself he did nothing ; that the Father within him did the work; and that all who had seen and known him, had seen and known the Father also. They can witness this testimony ; they can bear witness of the Father, thus made manifest.
Whatsoever things he saw, signifies that those who are meant by John, see things in their true light; for the subject treated of is the things appertaining to the church and heaven, and these things cannot be understood and perceived, except when they are seen in their own light. The things of the church and heaven, which are spiritual, do not enter into the understanding of man except by means of the light of heaven, to illustrate the understanding. This is the reason why the word, in which are contained the things of the church and heaven, cannot be understood but by those who are illustrated ; and they alone are illustrated who are in the affection of truth from good : consequently, who are in love to the Lord and charity towards their neighbour. The good of these is heavenly good-with which and from which is the light of heaven, which illustrates.
Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy and keep the things which are written therein.--To be blessed, is to be in the delight of doing the truth from love. When man is in this state he is in heaven, and in association and communion with angels even while in this world. He has entered upon and come into possession of everlasting life. To ascend ир into heaven and to enter into heaven, are natural modes of expressing a spiritual thing, and are therefore inadequate. We naturally imagine that if we were admitted into heaven, and therefore had heaven around us on all sides, we should have heaven within us; or, in other words, that we should be perfectly happy. But our Lord says, that nothing entering into a man from without can defile him; and on the same principle we may say that thing entering into man from without, can bless him. It is the heaven within an angel that causes the heavenliness of what is
around him. The appearance, the agreeableness of things around him, are derived from the heaven within him ; for a man's situation in the other life depends entirely upon his internal state.
Blessed is he that readeth.-By him that readeth this prophecy, is meant he that seeth it in its light, being in such a state of affection as to be receptive of illustration from heaven.
And they who hear the words of this prophecy.-By hearing the words of this prophecy, is signified living according to the truths contained in it. The reason why to hear signifies to obey and live, is because the things which are heard by the celestial angels enter into their lives. There are two senses given to man, which serve as means for receiving those things by which the rational principle is formed, and also those things by which man is reformed, namely, the sense of seeing and the sense of hearing. The things which enter by the sense of sight, enter into his understanding, and illustrate him ; wherefore, by sight is signified the understanding illustrated; for the understanding corresponds to the sight of the eye, as the light of heaven corresponds to the light of the world ;—but the things which enter by the sense of hearing, enter into the understanding, and at the same time into the will; wherefore, by hearing, is signified perception and obedience. Hence, it is common, in human language, to speak of hearing any one, and of giving ear and of hearkening, when
the meaning is that we observe what he says, and obey him. This mode of speaking has been produced by the influence of the spiritual world in which the spirit of man is; for heaven is in the human form, because the laws of God tend to produce that form;-as they would make one individual a perfect man, so they tend to make many individuals one in a human form. There, every one is situated according to his particular genius. They who obey from perception in that world, are in the province of the ear; and the province of the ear is the axis of heaven; therefore the whole spiritual world flows into it, or into those who are there, with the perception that it is so to be done, for this is the reigning perception in heaven. That the things which enter by the hearing, enter immediately through the understanding into the will
, may be further illustrated by the instruction of the angels of the celestial kingdom, who are the wisest. They receive all their wisdom by hearing, and not by sight; for whatever they hear of divine things, they receive into the will from veneration and love, and make it a principle of life ; and because they receive it immediately into the life, and not first into the memory, therefore they do not talk about matters of faith, but when they are told them by others, they only answer yea, yea, nay, nay. From these considerations it is evident that hearing is given to man chiefly for the reception of wisdom; but sight for the reception of intelligence. Wisdom consists in perceiving, willing, and doing; intelligence, in knowing and perceiving.
And who keep the things which are written therein.-By keeping these things, is signified loving them, which love produces and completes the blessedness which is promised; for all delight and happiness are derived from love, and heavenly happiness from the love of keeping the commandments of the Lord. Therefore, blessed is he who readeth and they who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things which are written therein; for in reading, he understands—in hearing, he obeys--and in keeping, he loves and does the words of this prophecy, which are the doctrines of ihe New Jerusalem, now descending from God out of heaven.
Because the time is near at hand, signifies that the Lord is drawing near, and that the way is preparing for his manifestation in the church. The Lord draws near as fast as men become capable of witnessing the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ; as fast as they become able to perceive his presence in his word and his divinity in his humanity. The coming of the Lord is the opening of men's minds to receive him. It is the putting away from us those things which are opposed to him and reject him. It is the renunciation of those evils which make us wish him far from us, and which make us desire not the knowledge of his ways. The process of his coming is the preparation of man to receive him. The process by which he is manifested, is in victories over the powers of darkness ;-and as he comes, the words written in this book are fulfilled. Therefore, blessed is he that readeth, and they who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein, because the time is at hand.
For the New Jerusalem Magazine.
REMARKS UPON THE WRITINGS OF SWEDENBORG, WITH
We propose to give our readers some account of the principal works of Emanuel Swedenborg; and we begin with his Treatise on Heaven and Hell.* In this work, Swedenborg undertakes to describe, from actual observation, the spiritual world; to tell men, who yet live on this side of the grave, what they will see and
* A Treatise concerning Heaven and its Wonders, and also concerning Hell; being a relation of things heard and seen. From the Latin of Emanuel Swedenborg, originally published at London, in the year 1758. Boston : published by T. H. Carter. 1825. 8vo. pp. 395. VOL. I.NO. IV.