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NOT a few have labored at the explication of the Apocalypse, but as they were unacquainted with the spiritual sense of the Word, they could not discern the arcana which it contains, seeing that these can only be unfolded by the spiritual sense: expositors have therefore formed various conjectures respecting it, in many instances applying its contents to the affairs of empires, and blending them, at the same time, with ecclesiastical matters. The Apocalypse, however, in like manner as the rest of the Word, treats not, in its spiritual sense, of mundane things, but of such as are heavenly, thus not of empires and kingdoms, but of heaven and the church.
It is to be observed that, after the last judgment, which was accomplished in the spiritual world, in the year 1757, and which forms the subject of a small treatise published in London in 1758, a new heaven was formed from among Christians, from those only, however, who admitted the Lord to be the God of heaven and earth, according to his own words in Matthew xxviii. 18; and likewise repented in the world of their evil works: from this heaven the New Church on earth, which is the New Jerusalem, descends and will continue to descend. That this Church will acknowledge the Lord only is evident from these words in the Apocalypse: "There came unto me one of the seven angels, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife, and he showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God." And in another place: "Let us be glad and rejoice, for the time of the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready; blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb" (chap. xix. 7, 9). That there will be a new heaven, and that the New Church will
descend from thence upon earth, is evident from the following words in the same book: "I saw a new heaven and a new earth and I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new; and he said unto me, Write, for these words are true and faithful" (chap. xxi. 1, 2, 5): the new heaven means a new heaven from among Christians; the New Jerusalem means a new church upon earth, which will make one with that new heaven; the Lamb, means the Lord as to the Divine Humanity.
To this something shall be added by way of illustration. The christian heaven is below the ancient heavens; into this heaven, from the time of the Lord's abode in the world, were admitted those who worshiped one God under three persons, and who did not at the same time entertain an idea of three Gods; and this, by reason of a trinity of persons being received throughout the whole christian world; but they, who entertained no other idea of the Lord's Humanity, than as of the humanity of another man, could not receive the faith of the New Jerusalem, which is, that the Lord is the only God in whom there is a trinity; these latter, therefore, were separated and removed; it was given me to see their separation and removal after the last judgment. For upon a just idea of God, the universal heaven and the church universal on earth, are founded, and in general the whole of religion; for by that idea there is conjunction, and by conjunction, light, wisdom, and eternal happiness.
Any one may see that the Apocalypse could no how be explained but by the Lord alone, since every word of it contains arcana, which never could be known without some special illumination, and consequent revelation; wherefore it has pleased the Lord to open the sight of my spirit; and to teach me. It must not therefore be supposed that I have given any explication of my own, nor that even of any angel, but only what I have had communicated to me from the Lord alone. The Lord said, moreover, by an angel unto John: "Seal not the words of the prophecy of this book" (chap. xxii. 10); by which is signified, that they are to be manifested and laid open.
DOCTRINES OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND RELIGION.
BABYLON, or the Roman Catholic Religion, being treated of in the Apocalypse, in chapters xvii., xviii. and xix., it is expedient, at the commencement of these explications, to say something concerning its doctrines, and that in the following order On Baptism; on the Eucharist or Holy Supper; on Masses; on Repentance; on Justification; on Purgatory; on the Seven Sacraments; on the Saints; and on Power.
"I. ON BAPTISM, they teach: that Adam, after the sin of disobedience, was wholly changed for the worse, both as to soul and body; that this sin was transfused into the whole human race; that this original sin is only taken away by the merit of Christ; and that the merit of Christ is applied by the sacrament of baptism; and that thus the whole guilt of original sin is taken away by baptism; that concupiscence nevertheless remains in the baptized as an incentive to sins, but not sin itself; that thus they put on Christ, become new creatures, and obtain a full and complete remission of sins. Baptism is called the laver of regeneration and of faith. That the baptized, when they grow up, are to be questioned concerning the promises made by their sponsors; which is the SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION. That by reason of lapses after baptism, the sacrament of repentance is necessary.
"II. ON THE EUCHARIST OR HOLY SUPPER. That immediately after consecration, the real body and blood of