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57. But to Elizabeth was is taught in the church, to the fulfilled the time of her de- great joy of those who receive livery, and she brought forth it. (Verses 56–59.) a son;
58. And her neighbours and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified His mercy with her, and they rejoiced with her.
59. And it came to pass The quality of which docthat on the eighth day they trine is described, as being came to circumcise the child, grounded in the Divine Love and they called him by the and mercy. (Verses 59-61.) name of his father, Zacharias.
60. And his mother answered and said, [Not] so, but he shall be called John.
61. And they said to her, there is no one of thy kindren who is called by this name.
62. But they made signs to his father how he would have him called.
63. And he asked for a writing-table, and wrote, saying, John is his name ; and they wondered all.
64. But immediately his So that they who acknowmouth was opened, and his ledge this quality, are enabled tongue, and he spake, bless to make confession of the LORD, ing God.
and to preach faith in Him, 65. And fear came on all exciting devout adoration in that dwelt round about them; all who hear them. (Verses and all these sayings were 64, 65, 66.) talked of in all the hill country of Judea.
66. And all that heard laid them up in their hearts, saying, What kind of child shall this be? And the hand of the Lord was with him.
67. And his father Zacharias was filled with the
Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,
68. Blessed be the Lord Because they teach from God of Israel, for He hath Divine Truth, that JEHOVAH visited and wrought redemp. assumed a Humanity, for the tion for His people;
purpose of effecting redemp69. And hath raised up a tion and salvation, by conjoinhorn of salvation for us, in ing Himself with His church. the house of David His ser. (Verses 68-73.) vant.
70. As he spake by the mouth of His holy Prophets from the beginning,
71. Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
72. To do mercy with our fathers, and to remember His holy Covenant;
73. The oath which He And that His church, being sware to Abraham, our fa- 'thus purified from evils and ther,
falses, might be reciprocally 74. That he would grant conjoined with Him, through unto us, that we, being de- the reception of His love and livered out of the hand of our wisdom. (Verses 73–76.) enemies, might serve Him without fear,
75. In holiness and justice before Him, all the days of our life.
76. And thou, Child, shalt Therefore the doctrine of be called the Prophet of repentance and faith in the the Highest, for thou shalt go INCARNATE God is of divine before the face of the Lord origin, being intended to preto prepare His ways;
pare man for the reception of 77. To give the knowledge the divine mercy, through the of salvation unto His people for removal of all opposing princi. the remission of their sins. ples, and through the commu
78. Through the bowels of nication of the light of Divine the mercy of our God, by Truth, by virtue of which the which the Day-spring from on church would be delivered from high hath visited us;
the falses of evil. (Ver. 76–80.) 79. To give light to them that sit in darkuess and in the shadow of death; to
guide our feet into the way of peace.
80. And the child grew, Which doctrine is more and and became strong in spirit, more confirmed, though for a and was in the deserts till time it is received by few. the day of his appearing unto (Verse 80.) Israel.
From the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.
allemselves, not amoneselves where adore the Word, are bat all
VERSE 6. And they were both just before God, &c.-All who are in the good of charity, are called the just : not that they are just from themselves, but from the Lord, whose justice is appropriated to them. Those who believe themselves just from themselves, or so justified that they have no longer anything of evil, are not among the just but among the unjust; for they attribute to themselves what is good, and also place merit in good, and such can never adore the Lord from true humiliation. Those therefore who, in the Word, are called just and holy, are those who know and acknowledge that all good is from the Lord, and all evil from themselves, that is, in the power of themselves from hell. A. C. 5069.
Hence it appears that he is called just, who does good, and he upright, who does what is true from a good principle, which also is to do justice and judgment: holiness and justice are the celestial principle of faith ; uprightness (integritas] and judgment are the spiritual principle thence derived. A. C. 612.
It is believed by those who are considered as oracles in the church, that he is just and justified, who is acquainted with the truths of faith derived from the doctrine of the church, and from the Word, and hence is in trust or confidence, that he is saved by the justice of the Lord, and that the Lord had justice in consequence of fulfilling all things of the law; and
that He had merit, because He endured the cross, and thereby expiated and redeemed man; by this faith alone man is believed to be justified; and it is believed further, that these are they who in the Word are called just. But there are no others who are called just in the Word, but those who from the Lord are in the good of charity towards the neighbour, for the Lord alone is just, because alone justice; therefore man, so much as he receives of good from the Lord, that is, so much of the Lord as he has appertaining to him and according to its quality, so much he is just and justified ; the Lord being made justice consisted in His making His Human principle Divine by His own proper power; this divine principle appertaining to man, who receives it, is the justice of the Lord appertaining to him, and is the essential good of charity towards the neighbour; for the Lord is in the good of love, and by it in the truth of faith, because the Lord is Divine Love Itself. A. C. 9263.
Verse 7. Barren, &c. - By barren also are signified those who are not in good because not in truths, and still desire truths that they may be in good, as the upright nations who are out of the church ; as in Isaiah, “Sing thou barren that didst not bear, break forth into singing and into jubilee thou who hast not brought forth, because the sons of the desolate are many in comparison with the sons of her who is married.” liv. l. And in David, “Jehovah raiseth out of the dust him that is bruised, He exalteth from the dunghill him that is needy, to place him with the princes of his people, who maketh the barren to keep house a joyful mother of sons.” Ps. cxiii. 7,8,9. And in the prophecy of Hannah after she had borne Samuel; “ They that were full have hired themselves, and the hungry have ceased, until the barren hath borne seven, but she that hath many children hath failed.” 1 Sam. ii. 5. In the above passages, by barren are meant the nations who are called to the church, and to whom the church is transferred, when the old church ceases, that is, when they who were before of the church, are no longer in faith, because in no charity; this latter church is what is meant by her who had many children who failed, and by her that was married; but the former, namely, the new church of the nations, is meant by the barren and desolate who should have many sons, and by the barren of the house being a glad mother of sons. A. C. 9325.
Verses 9, 10, 11. To burn incense, &c.—The reason why an altar was made for the fuming of incense, and not a table, was, because altars with the Israelitish nation were the principal representations of worship grounded in love, for fire was upon them, and by fire is signified love and charity in which worship is grounded. The reason why the altar of fuming incense represented the hearing and reception of all things of worship which are grounded in love and charity, was, because by fume and hence by fumigation were signified that which is elevated on high, and by the odour of fume that which is grateful, consequently that which is heard and received by the Lord; and that alone is grateful, and is received by the Lord, which is grounded in love and charity; hence also it was that that altar was covered over with gold, and was called the golden altar, for gold signifies the good of love and charity. A. C. 10,177.
Verses 11, 13, 18, 19, 28. An angel, &c. - When angels converse with man, they never speak to him out of heaven, the voice which is heard from thence being from the Lord through heaven; but when angels are permitted to talk with man, they send out one of their society to be near him, through whom they speak with the man; he who is sent is the subject of many. A. R. 816.
On the right side of the altar of incense, &c.—Inasmuch as by the right hand or side, when predicated of angels and of men, is meant the wisdom and intelligence which they derive from Divine Good by Divine Truth, proceeding from the Lord, therefore the angel of the Lord was seen by Zacharias standing at the right side of the altar of incense. A. E. 298.
Verses 12, 13. Fear fell upon him, &c.—Holy fear, which sometimes is joined with a sacred tremor of the interiors of the mind, and sometimes with horripilation (erection of the hair caused by horror], supervenes, when life enters from the Lord in place of man's proper life. The proper life of man is to look from himself to the Lord, but life from the Lord is to look from the Lord to the Lord, and yet as if from himself; when man is in this latter life, he sees that he himself is not any thing, but only the Lord. Daniel also was in this holy fear, when he saw the man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz, his body like the beryl, his face like lightning, his eyes like lamps of fire, and his arms and feet as the shining of polished brass, upon seeing whom Daniel also became as dead, and a hand touched him, and a voice said, Fear not, Daniel. Dan. X. 5-12. Something similar occurred to Peter, James, and John, when the Lord was transfigured, and appeared, as to His face, like the sun, and His garments as the light, upon which they also fell upon