Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

because it is stated that things are “ spiritually representative of the character of its inhabitants.” When so startling and so important a proposition is put forth by a writer, it ought not to be couched in general and uncertain terms.

It is admitted readily, that since there is an influx from the world of spirits into the world of nature, there must be a tendency to bring all things in nature into correspondence with the states of man; but this tendency is counteracted by the fixed nature of material existence; and besides this, a change from good to evil in the aggregate of mankind is the operation of ages of ages; and it is not requisite that natural changes should be accomplished more rapidly. The truth is, that all that can be said with certainty and truth of the actual correspondence existing between natural objects and the state of men's minds is this, that every thing corresponds to, and is representative of, some principle or state existing in the mind of some one who is some where in the world; for so soon as any thing in nature ceases to have a correspondence with any one in the world, it will necessarily go out of existence for want of a spiritual influx as its essential cause to support and continue it, and to which it stood in the relation of an effect. But this is a very different thing from asserting that the church and the world correspond“ as surely” to each other, and are “as surely” in the relation of cause and effect as states and things correspond and are in the spiritual world.

Let us guard against unwisely and unjustly straining and misapplying sound general principles, by which our doctrines may become ridiculous in the view of really practical men. It looks ill to call correspondence a practical science, and then to proceed to prove it by assertions the most impracticable that can be imagined.

What evidence does VIATOR give in support of his declarations? None whatever. Indeed all his facts tend the other way. He alludes to emigrations of individuals, and says that they thus change their national character. Does a European at Delhi become a Hindoo in character ? Besides, a change in national character is only a civil change; it may be accompanied either by a regenerate change or the contrary, and therefore the phrase "spiritually representative” will not apply to it.

VIATOR says, “ In the more inhabited countries of Europe the wild animals are now almost entirely extirpated : this must be the consequence of civilization; whereas, in tropical climes, where nature still continues in its rude and unsubdued state, we still find beasts of prey.” But what is this but a confounding of spiritual with natural causes? If these changes are the result of civilization, they are not spiritually representative; for civilization exists in great perfection even now at the end of the church. And if the spiritual character of the majority of the professing church were to be represented in nature, we should see nothing but what is hideous; while, if the quality of the real infant new church were to govern the representation, storms and tempests, and the present trying season, would not exist. Viator's proposition, when put into common sense practical language, means no more than this, that when countries become populous, man is able to overpower the brute creation, which previously was the more numerous and powerful, while thinly inhabited countries are unable to make head against their brute rivals. When effects spring obviously from natural causes, although the tendency of them may be to bring about a state of correspondence, there is no need to have recourse to the deep seated spiritual law of correspondence, which is indeed inapplicable until it can be proved that civilization and true religion always co-exist, and in the same degree.

According to VIATOR's principle, that all climes, with their productions, are spiritually representative of the state of their inhabitants, bis illustration of the ripening of wbeat in northern countries (p. 533) comes to this, that the inhabitants of the Peak of Derbyshire must all and ever be Solitidians, while those who are in the south must all be men of charity. Here is fatalism indeed! but happily the idea is nothing more than a chimera.

In p. 534 we are told that “ The New Church inquirer learns that every object is but an effect, whose cause is in the workings of his own mind." This is more surprising, as the assertion of a practical man, than any thing I recollect to have seen ; and how it is to be reconciled with the other statements I know not. Correspondence must have a vast elasticity if every thing corresponds to every man, no matter what his quality. At any moment every thing corresponds to every good man, every bad man, every wise man, and every fool. To the New-Church man in the tropics every thing, every where, in all climates, corresponds; and to the New-Church man in Norway every thing at Jamaica, because every thing every where corresponds. If every object is the effect of a cause in each and every mind, the uncivilized and the civilized character must have the same representation. Each must be represented by every thing. If every thing beautiful and ugly, useful and noxious, corresponds to something as its cause in the mind of every New-Church inquirer, what is to hinder a similar relation applying to the mind of every one else ? A

“New-Church inquirer” may be a good or a bad man, dull or intelligent, like any other person.

Viator is powerful in the use of language, but has fallen, as appears to me, into a solemn trifling with correspondences. Judging from his close, he is a man of piety : I beseech him therefore to think again before he writes again.

[ocr errors]

THE HEBREW IS THE BASIS OF THE SCIENCE OF

CORRESPONDENCES.*

To the Editors of the Intellectual Repository. GENTLEMEN, The question you have mooted respecting the Science of Correspondences is a lofty and serious one. I felt it my duty to assist in the investigation, and you kindly published the translation of the article in La Nouvelle Jérusalem, in which I made some observations on this subject. In your September number, you also admitted an attack upon the ideas I had expressed. I make no doubt, from your love of the truth, and your impartial desire to extend it, that you will consent to publish the answer which I address, through you, to Mr. James Knight.

Your correspondent chiefly attacks the title of my article, “The Hebrew is the basis of the Science of Correspondences.” The facts by which he combats this title are quite correct; and I have pleasure in recognizing their truth. The Science of Correspondence, as he says, existed before vocal language: and if it were necessary to add a new proof to those which he offers, I should say that the creation of the universe was the manifestation of the principle of correspondences; since the terrestial world is the image and correspondence of the spiritual world. But I must say, that an undoubted principle, far from weakening in the least the title I gave to my article, is the very principle on which I take my stand. In fact, the material world is the effect of which the spiritual world is the cause: so likewise, the literal sense of the Word is the effect of which the science of correspondences is the cause. Now, according to Swedenborg, the natural world is the basis of the spiritual world; therefore the literal sense forms the basis of the science of correspondences. The following extract from Swedenborg, demonstrates the correctness of this syllogism.

. This article was sent us in French : it has been our aim to translate it faithfully. -Ed. N. S. NO. 25.--VOL. 3.

“ That the Word, in the literal sense is natural; because what is natural is the ultimate wherein spiritual and celestial things terminate, and upon which they rest like a house upon its foundation; and that otherwise, the internal sense of the Word, without the external, would be like a house without a foundation. That the Word being of such a nature, contains both a spiritual and a celestial sense; and of consequence that it is holy and divine in the literal sense, as to all and every part thereof, even to every single jot.”*

The literal sense, then, is the basis or foundation of the spiritual sense. Swedenborg here refers to the Hebrew; for he says, that all is holy in the literal sense, even to every jot. These jots are to be found only in the original language.

Not only in the signification of the words, but still more in its outward structure, the Hebrew, according to Swedenborg, exhibits effects of which the science of correspondences is the cause. In the Treatise concerning and Heaven Hell, he teaches us that the language of angels is the correspondence of their affection and their thoughtst: and he adds, a little lower down, that the first language of mankind on our earth was conformable to that of heaven, and that the Hebrew language is conformable to it in some respects. In other places, Swedenborg enters more into details, and shews that in the Hebrew language the words that relate to good may be known by a predominance of the vowels u and o, and sometimes A; and those which indicate truth by the vowels E and 1.

Moreover, in the original language, the phrases were not at first separated by signs : the punctuation of the Hebrew Bible is relatively a modern invention. Not only the phrases, but even the words were connected, as in the hieroglyphic writing of the Egyptians. Thence originated the invention of final letters, which indicate the endings of the words, and which were preserved in the alphabet after the separation of the words was introduced. According to Swedenborg, this continuous writing was the correspondence of the spiritual sense, which is not separated, but flows from one state into another without separation.||

A new and important relation between the language of correspondences and the Hebrew, is established in the following passage of the Arcana : “ The internal sense has no respect to times; and this mode of expression is adopted in the original language, where sometimes one and the same word is applicable to any time: thus it does * H. D. 262.

H. & H. 236. Ibid, 237. § Ibid, 241. See also A. C. 793. || A. C. 4987.

not distinguish between the words. In this manner the interior contents appear more evidently. This language derives such mode of expression from the internal sense, which is much more manifold than any one can believe: hence it does not suffer itself to be bounded by times and distinctions."*

In a word, upon searching into the Hebrew for the most material effect of which the science of correspondences is the cause, we discover it in the primitive form of the Hebrew characters, which, says Swedenborg, were inflected and circumflected according to the form of heaven. From this cause, he adds, it is, that, in the Word, divine things and heavenly arcana are contained in the very jots, dots, and tittles.t

If from these merely outward relations between the Hebrew and the spiritual language, we rise to a contemplation of the origin of the language, and of the formation of the different significations of the words, we shall see in all human languages a reflection, and, as it were, an echo of the language of heaven. Swedenborg teaches this formally when he explains the principle of metaphorical expressions, and adds, “ Examine all the ordinary forms of speech, and you will find the ideas of correspondence pervading them."I That which is obscurely seen in all other languages is clearly manifest in the Hebrew, as Swedenborg often remarks, and especially in reference to the Hebrew names for the flock, which constitute the subject of the article attacked by Mr. Knight.

In a great number of words the Hebrew exhibits the effect of which the science of correspondences is undoubtedly the cause; whence we may infer that the Hebrew is the basis, or one of the bases, of the science of correspondences, for the very simple reason, that the new doctrine shews that the effect is the basis of the cause and of the principle whence it originates. This is expressed in the following passage in the True Christian Religion :-"In every thing divine there is a first, a middle, and a last; and the first passes through the middle to the last, and thereby exists and subsists : hence the last is the basis. The first also is in the middle, and by means of the middle in the last: thus the last is the continent; and because the last is the conti. nent and the basis, it is also the firmament.''S

Mr. Knight, in objecting to the title of our article, acknowledges that he does not understand the meaning we attach to it. The article

* A. C. 618. f H. & H. 260. See also Matt. 5, 18. I H. & H. 97.

ST. C. R. 210.

Hebrew newedenborg often" languages is

« AnteriorContinuar »