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and light are supplied to man by mediate influx. For he says, “Divine Truth proceeds from the Lord both immediately and mediately. That which proceeds immediately is above every understanding of the angels; but what proceeds mediately is accommodated to the angels in heaven, and also to men; for it passes through heaven, and puts on an angelic or human quality. But into this truth the Lord flows also immediately, and He thus leads the angels and men both mediately and immediately” (A. C. 7004). Mediate influx, therefore, takes place not only into the exteriors but also into the interiors of the mind; and not only "external,” but also "internal” dictation or inspiration is effected by mediate influx; for if “internal dictation" or internal inspiration were effected by immediate and not by mediate influx, the result of such internal dictation or inspiration would be above every understanding not only of men, but also of angels.
Respecting mediate and immediate influx we read further: "The truth which proceeds immediately from the Divine enters into man's will, this is its way; but the truth which proceeds mediately from the Divine enters into man's understanding” (A. C. 7056). Besides, there are degrees in the Divine Truth which proceeds mediately from the Lord by heaven, as is taught in A. C. 7270, 8443, and A. E. 627; and these degrees, which reach from the celestial heaven to the natural world of men, are received in the various degrees of man's understanding, from the highest to the lowest. On the other hand, the Divine Truth which proceeds immediately from the Lord's Divine Humanity proceeds from the celestial, spiritual, spiritual-natural, natural and corporeal degrees of the Lord's Divine Humanity, and flows immediately into the respective degrees of man's will. It cannot therefore be said that “internal dictation" came to Swedenborg by immediate influx, and "external dictation” to the prophets by mediate influx. As the prophets, like Swedenborg, had a will and an understanding, therefore, like Swedenborg, they were subject to immediate and mediate influx. The difference between them, however, was that mediate and immediate influx, in the case of Swedenborg, were conjoined; but in the case of the prophets they were not conjoined. That such is the teaching of the Church on this subject is proved by the following passages :
“Instruction on every point of doctrine takes place when the truth which proceeds immediately from the Lord's Divine is conjoined with the truth which proceeds mediately, for then perception is given” (A. C. 7058).
“The prophets by whom the Word was written wrote as the spirit from the Divine dictated; for the very words which they wrote were enunciated in their ears. With them was the truth which proceeds mediately from the Divine, i.e. by heaven, but not so the truth which proceeds immediately from the Divine; for they had no perception of what each single thing signified in the internal sense, because when these two are conjoined then there is perception. ... With every man there is immediate, as well as mediate influx; but conjunction of the two exists only with those who have perception of truth from good," (A. C. 7055).
“ The conjunction of the truth immediately proceeding from the Divine with
the truth which proceeds mediately can only take place in good, consequently only if a man is affected with truth for the sake of truth, and especially for the sake of good, and consequently for the sake of life ; for then the man is in good. How it is with this conjunction may also appear from this consideration : the truth which proceeds immediately from the Divine enters into man's will, this is its way, but the truth which proceeds mediately from the Divine enters into man's understanding: wherefore this conjunction cannot take place unless the will and the understanding act as one, i.e. unless the will will the good and the understanding confirm it by the truth. When this conjunction, therefore, takes place, the Lord appears as though He were present, and His presence is also perceived ; but if the conjunction does not take place, then the Lord is, as it were, absent; but His absence is not perceived unless it be known from some perception what His presence is” (A. C. 7056).
That Swedenborg fulfilled all those conditions which are required in order that mediate influx may be conjoined with immediate influx is proved in Authority in the New Church, pp. 77-79. It is also proved by the consideration that it is stated in A. C. 7055 and 7056, that, if there is a conjunction of these two influxes, man" is the affection of truth for the sake of truth," and that Swedenborg, in one of his letters to Prelate Etinger, expressly declared this to have been the case with himself. For he says there
“Besides, the Lord granted me to love truths in a spiritual manner, i.e. not on account of honour or gain, but on account of the truths themselves; for he who loves truths for the sake of truths sees them from the Lord, because the Lord is the Way and the Truth (John xiv. 6); but he who loves them on account of hononir and gain sees them from himself” (Documents concerning Swedenborg, vol. ii. p. 257).
If mediate and immediate influx, however, are conjoined in a man, this conjunction is effected first in the internal man, where, according as the spiritual or the celestial degrees are opened, it is productive either of illustration or of perception; and afterwards this same conjunction takes place also in the external man ; so that the Lord in the end governs not only the internal but also the external man, and thus the whole man, even as we read : “Those with whom the immediate Divine influx is conjoined with the mediate allow themselves to be led by the Lord; but those with whom these two influxes are not conjoined lead themselves, and love to do so" (A. C. 7055).
INTERNAL DICTATION-ITS NATURE.
If, however, "internal dictation" or inspiration is due to the conjunction of mediate and immediate influx, and if this conjunction, where it has place, is continued from the internal into the external man, it follows that “internal dictation” or inspiration, upon entering into the external man becomes also "external dictation" or external inspiration ; so that the books which are written by “internal dictation” or inspiration are also “ dictated” in their external form, and hence are likewise “externally inspired.”
That this is so Swedenborg declares in so many words in respect to his Arcana Cælestia, where we read: “The internal sense differs altogether from the literal sense, for it treats of spiritual and heavenly, but the literal sense of worldly and earthly, things. That the internal sense, however, is such as it has been expounded, appears from the particulars that have been explained, and especially from this circumstance, that this sense has been dictated to me out of heaven" (quod ille e cælo mihi dictatas fuerit—A. C. 6597).
It has been objected that the "dictation" of which Swedenborg speaks here was internal and not external; that therefore it was made to his internal and not to his external consciousness. Yet, the very phraseology of this passage forbids such an explanation ; for Swedenborg distinctly states here that “the internal sense was dictated to him out of heaven." He was therefore out of heaven, and hence not in his internal, but in his external, natural consciousness, when he received this dictation; or, in other words, this sense was “ dictated to him, while he was in the very act of writing it out for the benefit of men in the natural world.
SWEDENBORG AND THE LORD'S SECOND COMING. This is further proved by T. C. R. 779, which is quoted by the writer of the article we are reviewing, thus :
“The most particular account of the office to which Swedenborg was called is that in the True Christian Religion, No. 779 : The Second Coming of the Lord is effected by the instrumentality of a man before whom He has manifested Himself in person, and whom He has filled with his spirit, to teach the doctrines of the New Church by the Word from Himself (per Verbum ab Ipso).' On this proposition he proceeds to say, Since the Lord cannot manifest Himself in person, and yet He has foretold that He would come and establish a New Church, which is the New Jerusalem, it follows that He will effect this by the instrumentality of a man who is able, not only to receive the doctrines of that Church into his understanding, but also to make them known through the press; that the Lord manifested Himself before me, His servant; that He sent me on this office, and afterwards opened the sight of my spirit, and so led me into the spiritual world, permitting me to see the heavens and the hells, and also to converse with angels and spirits, and this now for many years, I attest in truth; and further, that from the first day of my call to this office I have never received anything appertaining to the doctrines of that Church from any angel, but from the Lord alone whilst I was reading the Word.'
In this passage Swedenborg declares that “the Lord effected His Second Coming through the instrumentality of Swedenborg," that “He filled him with His Spirit,” and that thereby He enabled him “ not only to receive the doctrines of the New Church into his understanding, but also to make them known through the press." In the same passage, also, Swedenborg declares that everything pertaining to the doctrines of the New Church "he received from the Lord alone whilst he was reading the Word.”
To all this the writer lends his unqualified approval in the following language :
“No mere man could make a higher claim than this. Yet high as the claim is, it is stated with such serenity of mind, with such exactness of statement, and with such distinctness of utterance, that no one on the affirmative side of the
question of Swedenborg's being a Divinely-appointed and enlightened messenger, cau fail to be impressed with a sense of its absolute truthfulness. What, then, does it amount to ? In what state does it place him in relation to the Lord on the one hand and to us on the other ? The great event of the Lord's Second Coming has been effected through him. What is the Lord's Second Coming ? The Lord promised to come as the Son of Man. The Lord is the Son of Man as Divine Truth. He made His First Advent in this character. But then He came as Divine Truth such as it is in the letter of the Word, which is Divine Truth clothed with appearances such as it assumes in the mind, not merely of finite, but of fallen man. The Lord comes the second time also as Divine Truth, but as Divine Truth such as it is in the spiritual sense of the Word, and as capable of being perceived by the spiritual mind of man. ... The Author's function as a teacher consisted, then, in explaining the Word as to its spiritual sense, and drawing and confirming the doctrines of the Church from the genuine truths of the literal sense. One who was qualified to perform this great work, and so to be the instrument of effecting the Second Coming of the Lord, must indeed have been filled with the Lord's Spirit.”
So far every sincere and loyal New Churchman will and must go with the writer of the article in question. For he says distinctly that “the Lord effected His Second Coming" by Swedenborg's "explaining the Word as to its spiritual sense, and drawing and confirming the doctrines of the Church from the genuine truths of the literal sense.” He says also that “one who was qualified to perform this great work, and so to be the instrument of effecting the Second Coming of the Lord, must indeed have been filled with the Lord's Spirit."
As Swedenborg, however, “ explained the Word as to its spiritual sense" in his theological writings, therefore in the above words is implied that the Lord effected His Second Coming by the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. But if it is once admitted that the Lord effected His Second Coming in and by the theological writings of Swedenborg, we are also bound to admit that they are the Lord's and not Swedenborg's works, and hence that these writings come to us not with a human but with a Divine authority.
In the same words the writer also declares that Swedenborg, while “explaining the Word as to its spiritual sense, and drawing and confirming the doctrines of the Church from the genuine truths of the literal sense, must have been filled with the Lord's Spirit.” He admits, therefore, that Swedenborg, while studying the literal sense of the Word with a view of " drawing and confirming thence the doctrines of the Church, was filled with the Lord's Spirit." The literal sense of the Word, however, is seized by man, not with his internal but with his external consciousness; wherefore Swedenborg, while engaged in the work of his office, must have been “ filled with the Lord's Spirit," not only as to his internal, but also as to his external consciousness, and hence not only as to his internal, but also as to his external man. But if Swedenborg was “ filled with the Lord's Spirit" not only as to his internal, but also as to his external man, it follows further that not only the internal substance of his writings, but also their external form, was conceived and written down by him while he was “ filled with the Spirit of God;" for the language, the knowledges, and all the illustrations by which the doctrines of the spiritual sense are set forth in Swedenborg's writings, are drawn from his external, and not from his internal man.
Such are the conclusions which are contained in nuce in the writer's description of Swedenborg's function on p. 245 ; and such is the estimate which his readers, as I hold, are rationally bound to place upon the writings of Swedenborg up to this portion of his paper.
SWEDENBORG'S INSPIRATION. The next point will be to find out what Swedenborg means by the passage, that “the Lord filled him with His Spirit.” This we do by collecting together all parallel passages in which Swedenborg expresses himself on this subject. These passages are as follows :
“The Lord Jehovah from the New Heaven derives and produces a New Church upon earth, which takes place by means of a revelation of truths from His mouth or from His Word, and by inspiration” (Coronis, No. 18).
“When I think of what I am to write, and while I am writing, I am gifted with a perfect inspiration. Formerly this would have been my own, but now I know for certain that what I write is the living truth of God” (Documents, vol. ii. p. 404).
From these passages it appears that “ being filled with the Spirit of God” is but another term for “inspiration.” That Swedenborg, however, ordinarily described his state as one of inspiration, is proved by the following extract from a letter to one of his friends :
"I cannot express myself at present on this subject, because here, as well as in other parts of the country, the cause of religion is agitated by the subject of my inspiration, which would enter in some small measure into this matter also . (Documents, vol. ii. p. 321).
How, or in what manner, Swedenborg was “ filled with the Spirit of God," or how he came under the influence of “inspiration," is stated in T. C. R. 140, thus : “ Inspiration is an insertion into angelic societies.”
Swedenborg, therefore, whenever he was “filled by the Spirit of God," or whenever he was "inspired," was inserted by the Lord into a society of angels; while the prophets, when they were inspired, were inserted into the company of such spirits as the Lord had "filled with His Spirit” (see H. H. 254, as quoted on p. 242 of the Repository).
Instances where Swedenborg was “inspired”. or “filled with the Lord's Spirit” in this manner, are as follows:
“Then by the Lord's command three angels descended out of heaven, and were associated with me, in order that I might speak from an interior perception with those who were in the idea of three Gods; . . . and then I spoke with them fronı inspiration which was conferred upon me" (T. C. R. 135).
" What was written above was inspired from an angel. I could perceive this from the light, and other indications. The words flowed out spontaneously on the paper, but without dictation" (Adversaria, No. 5394).
"While writing to-day I experienced an angel directing what I wrote, and, indeed, in such a manner that I thought thence that there is not the smallest particular but what takes place under the auspices and the direction of God. Messiah” (S. D. 446).