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bright; and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the live ing creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning."*
Connected with these living creatures were four wonderful wheels, “ full of eyes round about.' 6. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them : and when the living creatures were lifted up from the carth, the wheels were lifted
- for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels." “And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty.”+ “ This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar: and I knew that they were the cherubims."! Now who can suppose that these wonderful creatures, which never are called angels, in fact are angels ? Angels, as the name implies, are sent on divine mes. sages : but cherubim are not described as sent forth from the Almighty, but as accompanying the Almighty, - as being, in fact, his chariot. Hence they had wheels under them, and upon their head was a firmament or expanded plane, and over the firmament was a throne, on which the Divine Being sat :$ And hence it is explicitly said of Jehovah, that “he rode upon a cherub, and did fly.”|| Can a cherub, on which Jehovah, in any sense, can be said to ride and fly, be a created angel ? The idea is monstrous; it is absolutely profane. How plain is it then that cherubim cannot be independently existing beings of any kind! The appearances called such, are representative forms, imaging the sphere of Divine Truth which emanates from the Lord. This, on the one hand, forms a guard, preventing the too near approach of those who would be injured were they allowed to enter more interiorly into holy things than their proper state will permit; which is meant by their guarding the tree of life from being profaned by fallen Adam, and also by their forming a covering over the ark; and on the other hand, it is the medium by which the Lord communicates instruction, or imparts understanding, to men and angels; which is what is meant when riding and flying are predicated of him.
The above appears to me to be a true and satisfactory explanation of the cherubim, whenever they are mentioned. But even if cherubim be ever named to signify created angels, there is no difficulty in conceiving how some of these might be posted at the gate of Eden, after Adam's ejection. For the whole history of Adam and Eve, we have already seen, is a pure allegory. By Adam is not meant an individual man, but the first church that existed on this globe, comprising many generations of individual mon. All of these who were translated into the * Ch. i. 5--8, 10, 13, 14.
† Ver. 18, 19, 20, 24.
spiritual world while the church stood in its purity, of course became angels : and it is sufficiently probable that these, also, might act as guards, to prevent their degenerate successors from incurring the profanation, which would have been represented by fallen Adam's re-entering the garden, and again eating of the tree of life. That, at the period in question, there were angels in heaven who had come into existence as men op this earth, cannot be doubted.*
I trust that the futility, in every respect, of the arguments adduced against Swedenborg's statements on this subject, may now be apparent, and that every candid reader will see, that, while abundant consideration may be produced, both from rea. son and Scripture, evincing that angels are of the same spe. cies, — of the same origin, as men, nothing can justly be urged from either source in proof of their diversity.
HEAVEN AND HELL; AND THE APPEARANCES IN THEM, AND IN
THE INTERMEDIATE REGION, OR WORLD OF SPIRITS.
All Swedenborg's statements respecting the Spiritual World are
perfectly Reasonable and Scriptural, when certain Truths, relating to that World, are known.
In the general views which are presented in the writings of Swedenborg respecting Heaven and Hell, as the abodes, respectively, of happiness and misery, while there certainly is not any thing which is not in the highest degree agreeable to both Reason and Scripture, there also is nothing which can be deemed inconsistent with the usual conceptions of the Christian world. Such, at least is the case, if it be admitted, as we have just seen is the fact, that all the inhabitants of heaven and
* Nor, indeed, can it easily be doubted, what many writers have seen, that there was a race of beings whom they call Præ-Adamites; and it is abundantly probable, that the spirits of these may occupy a sphere so near to the Divine, as to be in a manner swallowed up in it, so as to retain no consciousness of existence separate from the Divinity, beyond what may be supposed of the “ four beasts” or animals which “rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almiglity, which was, and is, and is to come!” (Rev. iv. € )
hell strictly belong to the human race, having first come into existence as men in a natural world. But
my aim in this Appeal is, to recommend our views of the eternal world and state, and our doctrines of faith and life, not so much by the direct presentation of their obvious beauties, as by the vindication of those points which have been most assailed by objectors, because they most differ from the common apprehensions of the Christian world. Now some of the particulars brought to light in the writings of Swedenborg respecting Heaven, Hell, and the Intermediate Region or World of Spirits, some of the circumstances relating to their inhabitants, and to the appearances which are there presented to the view, — certainly do widely differ from the commonly received apprehensions. It is by these, then, that our adversaries chiefly hope to make an unfavorable impression on their readers; with which view they set them forth in an isolated manner, separate from the explanations of their causes which the Author gives in various parts of his works. When the causes are seen, though they do not bring the statements objected to nearer to the common apprehensions, they evince the common apprehensions to be founded in mistake, and establish the agreement of all the Author's statements with Reason and Scripture. The explanatory truths, then, necessary to the right understanding of the subject, I propose here to offer; and nothing more will be necessary for the vindication of every relation which our adversaries would stigmatize as unfounded or ridiculous.
A great change must be made in our ideas respecting the other world in general, when we have got rid of the notion of angels created such, and of some of them falling out of heaven and becoming the original devils. When we conceive of angels as men, freed from the imperfections which adhered to them when here, and exalted to the highest degrees of hunian perfection; and of infernals as men in the deepest extremes of degradation, deprived of all outward good and rationality, thus of every thing properly human, but yet retaining a relation to what is human though in complete perversion ; our ideas as to what is likely to take place in the other life must be very much altered from what they are, while we dream of the inhabitants of the eternal world as chiefly consisting of a class of beings of whose real nature we know nothing at all, but only imagine it to be something immensely superior to the nature of mankind. In addition, then, to the great truth, that all angels and spirits began their existence as men in the world, only two other general truths are necessary to be known, in order to see the reasonabteness and Scripture ground of the seemingly most extraordinary of the particulars stated by Swe.
as a real
denborg respecting the inhabitants of heaven, hell, and the spir. itual world in general, and the objects and appearances which there exist. These two general truths are, First, That man after death, though no longer clothed with a material body, is no less a real and substantial man than before: and Secondly, That all things which exist before the sight in heaven, hell, and the intermediate state or region, are appearances, expressing and outwardly exhibiting, according to the laws of the immutable analogy or correspondence that exists by creation between spiritual things and natural, the state, ideas, and inclinations, of those who dwell there.
I. With respect to the first of these general truths, — That man after death, though no longer clothed with a material body, is no less a real and substantial man than before, - sufficient proof, I apprehend, to satisfy any mind open to conviction, may have been given above in our Section on the Resurrection : where we found that the Apostle Paul expressly teaches, that there is a spiritual body as well as a natural body; and where it was shown that all the testimony of Scripture upon the subject treats this spiritual body as the man himself, substantial existence, which rises in eternity immediately after death. As, however, Swedenborg's account of this matter has been quoted as ridiculous,* I will adduce the paragraph in which he states the difference between man in the other world and man in this, and leave the candid to judge, whether, instead of its being ridiculous, it is not rational in the highest degree, His words are, “ The difference between a man in the natural world, and a man in the spiritual world, is, that the latter is a man clothed with a substantialt body, but the former with a material body, within which is his substantial body ; and a substantial man sees a substantial man as clear. ly and distinctly as a material man sees a material man; a substantial man, however, cannot see a material man, nor can a material man see a substantial man, by reason of the difference between what is material and what is substantial, the nature of which difference may be described, but not in a few words."
Now, that this is the true representation of the matter, may be Scripturally proved from all the accounts of the visions of
* Anti-Swedenborg, p. 123.
† The author uses the terms substantial and substance, in the logical sense of that which subsists by itself and sustains accidents ; but he confines it to spiritual subsistences as distinct from material, because the latter do not exist of them selves, but from the former; as do these from the Lord, who is the veriest sub stantial Being of all.
| True Christian Religion, n. 793.
the prophets. Did John the Revelator see the wonderful things that he describes with the eyes of his body? Does he not begin his revelations with saying, “I was in the spirit on the Lord's day?"* In this state it was that he first heard behind him 66
a great voice as of a trumpet” and that, on turning round, he “saw seven golden candlesticks, and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man.”+ When he was in the spirit, he was in his spiritual or substantial man, and it was with the eyes and senses of this that he witnessed all that we afterwards describes.
That this idea is as agreeable to reason as to Scripture, is evident from the opinions of many intelligent and pious persons, who have been convinced of its truth by their own reflections. I will mention here one testimony of this sort : it is that of Mrs. Fletcher, the widow of the Rev. Mr. Fletcher, the sentimnents of both of whom respecting Swedenborg have been noticed above. I
The life of Mrs. Fletcher, published from her own papers, has been very extensively read among religious people : and in it this intelligent and excellent lady gives her views of the state of man after death. She entertained the full belief, that, though separated from her husband, so far as death could separate, her union and communion with him still remained; and she thus expresses her ideas, in answer to objections made to them, partly in the very language of Swedenborg. (the objector is supposed to ask] the spirit, divested of the body, become of a quite different nature to what it was before, so as to be incapable of the same feelings? I answer, Certainly no : the spirit is the man. The spirit of my dear husband loved and cared for me, and longed above every other desire for my spiritual advancement. Now if it were the body, why doth it not love me still ? You answer, Because it is dead. That is to say, the spirit is gone from it: therefore, that which loved me is gone from it.
And what is that but the spirit, which actuated t'ie body, as the clock-work does the hand which tells the hour? It therefore appears quire clear to me, that every right affection, sentiment, and feeling of mind, we have been exer.
in here, will remain in the spirit, just the same, immedi. ately after death.”'s Now if many believe this to be true when
66 Is not
* Rev. i. 10.
I Pp. 251–256. $ P. 195, 8vo. ed. 1818. It has been shown above, p. 274, that, after her husband's decease, Mrs. F. consulted the Treatise on heaven and Hell, to see the account there given of the world to which he was gone. This explains, what otherwise would be truly extraordinary, the co-incidence, not only as to ideas, but as to expressions, between Mrs. F., in the passage above, and Swedenborg. It is quite plain that she fully accepted his sentiments on the subject.