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He might have added a third rea- | dispensations required the aid and son, of still greater weight. He assistance of miracles, in order to thus states his reasons in his Arca- induce mankind to acknowledge na Cœlestia. In respect to pro- them, this argues at least, that digies and signs, it is to be observ- they did not carry with them that ed, that they were performed a- clear and rational evidence of their mongst such persons as were in truth, which was of itself sufficient external worship, and were not de- to gain credit among men; for sirous of knowing any thing about wherever the truth of a thing caninternal worship; for they who not be established by any other were in such worship, were to be means than by miracles, it plainly compelled by external means; implies that it is involved in obhence it was, that miracles were scurity, doubt and uncertainty. performed among the Jewish and Such was the case with all former Israelitish people, who were mere- dispensations, which only shadowly in external worship, and none ed forth and represented the last that was spiritual. Hence it was and most magnificent of all, the that so many miracles were per- New Jerusalem. This last and formed among that nation. But greatest of dispensations requires with those who are in internal no miracles, because the truths it worship, that is, in charity and displays are of themselves clear, faith, miracles are not performed, rational and satisfactory. It is too being to such persons hurtful: for dignified to stoop down to earth. miracles force or compel to be- for any thing that resembles a mirlieve; and whatsoever is of com- acle; for by so doing, its heavenpulsion, doth not remain, but is born glory would be tarnished, dissipated-hence it is that no mir- and a cloud would overspread the acles are performed at this day. sky, so as to interrupt the beams That they are also of a hurtful na- of celestial light, proceeding from ture, may appear from the follow-him who is the sun of righteousing considerations: they compel to ness!" believe, and fix in the external man an idea that the thing is so or so: if the internal man afterwards denies what the miracles have confirmed, then there commences an opposition and collision between the internal and external man; and at length, when the ideas produced from miracles are dissipated, the conjunction of falsehood and truth takes place, which is profanation. Hence it is evident, how dangerous and hurtful miracles would be at this day in the church." "Are not the things above mentioned above miracles!" The following passage is from Hindmarsh, in his defence of Swedenborgianism. He is a zealous disciple, and seems to have had as clear views as can be possessed on a subject so dark. As former
Rejecting the aid of miracles, because out of his power, Swedenborg relies wholly upon internal evidence for the credit of his revelations. Did I not presume that I have already given the reader a sufficiently enlarged selection of this kind of testimony, it might be indefinitely increased. But there is one proof of the doctrine of Swedenborgianism, which may be brought forward by the disciples of this religion, if it be really true. We have not as yet seen a shadow of evidence in its favour. If it really be what it pretends to be, we have a right to expect and demand the proof now to be mentioned. It is this. The same revelation which declared to Swedenborg that his doctrines possessed a "As former sed a superiority in excellence
Swedenborg does all this.
and dignity above all the know- | eternal war with all who would ledges that have heretofore been not receive his doctrines; Swedenpublished in the world," also re- borg, as we have seen, shuts them vealed to him, that in the interior up in a dungeon and leaves them of Africa, far from the sea-shore, quarreling. Mahommet declared his system of religion had been himself an inspired prophet, rerevealed, and was rapidly spread-peatedly went to heaven, conversing through all the region; conse-ed with God face to face, and is quently, that there is a large coun- the founder of a new religion; try, in the centre of Africa, which is inhabited by Swedenborgians! Now, if his disciples really believe in these revelations, why do they not send to the interior of Africa, and afford the world this one proof of the inspiration of their leader? It is easy to swallow absurdities in the gross, but difficult to digest them, when dealt out singly.
Hindmarsh has given several instances of the prescience of Swedenborg. They are all of the same character as those with which straggling fortune-tellers in our day, delude the ignorant and superstitious; and what is remarkable, none of these examples are recorded till after their fulfilment. These relations are so puerile, and so nearly approximating to foolishness, that I fear the reader would think me imposing upon him, were I to give examples.
The one described a sensual and material heaven and hell; so does the other. They both saw marriages in heaven, and lust in hell. one saw angels whose heads were so large, that it would take a bird a thousand years to fly from one ear to the other; the other never allows these angels to turn their faces from the east. The one gave a religion full of absurdities; the other does no less. The former gave us a revelation utterly unworthy of God; the latter levels the Deity to a man. Both religions are alike unfitted for man. Yet in some respects these two men were very dissimilar. Mahommet raised his blood-stained sword, and proclaimed it the key of heaven; Swedenborg unlocks the door quite as effectually by his key of correspondencies. Mahommet spread The reader has probably, ere his religion by fear and force; Swethis, noticed a resemblance be- denborg relies on the ignorance tween the religion of Mahommet, and credulity of mankind. The and that of Swedenborg. As it one was unquestionably the greatrespects personal character, they est impostor the world ever saw; were certainly unlike; but in oth- the other the greatest self-deceiver oth-the er respects there is no slight re- the world ever pitied. The one semblance. Mahommet professed came like a demon, strewing his a high regard for the scriptures, path with desolation, while he and a high reverence for the char- trampled on the cross of Christ; acter of Jesus Christ; so does Swe- the other clothes himself with denborg. Mahommet believed in clouds and mysteries, while he dethe Unity of God; so does Swe- bases Christianity. The one walkdenborg. Mahommet declared his ed on the wings of destruction; his ed revelations superior to all others; the other comes in the stillness that Swedenborg does the same. Ma- precedes the earthquake. The forhommet rejected the aid of mira- mer shocked us by his hardened cles to prove his mission, and treats and bold impiety; the latter esthem with contempt; so does Swe- capes the charge of the most dreaddenborg. Mahommet declared an ful blasphemies, only because we
believe him deranged. Mahom4 met fed on ambition and conquest; Swedenborg suffered his reason to be devoured by a disordered imagination.
light on morals already revealed, and only darkens every point on which it touches. It fairly "puts out the sun of righteousness, and brings back darkness visible." It It has been hinted above, that declares that ever since the days re, Swedenborg was probably deceiv- of Christ, if not since the time of ed by a visionary mania, or enthu- | Job, the church has been grovelsiasm. This is all that the ut- ling in darkness and in error.— most stretch of charity can admit. These clouds of darkness can be If this was not the case, his is one scattered only by this "new Star," of the most daring and impious whose forty volumes of light have forgeries that the world ever saw. for fifty years been shedding their If he was not what we have sup-glories on the world. Now I would posed him
"Ob! when he traced the mazes of his
How did his soul contemn deluded man-
Who stooped to cheat a creature so for-
I cannot forbear observing, that if this "new dipensation" is such that "all former dispensations only shadowed forth and represented the last and most magnificent of all, the New-Jerusalem, "-if "this last and greatest of dispensations would have its heaven-born glory tarnished by stooping to earth for any thing that resembles a miracle," to prove its truth, then it follows legitimately, that every miracle performed by our Saviour and his apostles, only proved that their dispensation was involved in "obscurity, doubt and uncertainty;" and that every miracle which they performed, was a blemish, stain upon their characters and the religion which they taught. There is no evading this conclusion. The system under consideration reveals no new morals, throws no new
FOR THE HOPKINSIAN MAGAZINE.
ESSAYS UPON HOPKINSIANISM.
solemnly ask those who are exerting themselves to spread the system of Swedenborg, if they do really believe in these revelations ? If so, have they any evidence for so believing, unless it be the assertions of a fanatic, or a madman? It is in vain for them to tell us to read and examine his works; we have done so; and after wading through volumes of the greatest absurdities and nonsense which were ever printed, we say that there is nothing in Mather's Magnalia, or even the "Rain-water Doctor's" book on diseases, which we could not as easily believe and digest, as the writings of Swedenborg. If his disciples do not believe in these marvellous revelations, why are they endeavouring to make the ignorant believe them? O if I had in my heart to war with any class of men, it would be with those who are making exertions to impose upon others a system of religion so foolish, so pernicious, that they do not, and cannot believe it themselves.
first principle of all religion; so every system of religion must take its complexion from the views, which are entertained of the Character of God. The Character of God results from his Moral Per
fections. These, according to the
eth all things after the counsel of his own will.”
From whence it follows, that the created universe is, on the whole, as good, as it is possible it should be; i. e. as good as perfect Power, guided by infinite Wisdom, and prompted by infinite Goodness, could make it. Though evil, both natural and moral, exists in the universe; yet there is no more of either than God saw to be necessary to his own glory and blessedness. The glory of God consists in his Perfections; and in the exercise and display of these, consists his felicity. It is necessary, therefore, to the highest glory and blessedness of God, that He should exercise and display all his perfections; not only his power, wisdom and goodness, but his justice also, and his grace. But, these last can be exercised and displayed upon sinful, guilty creatures only. Hence Solomon says, "The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." And David says, "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee; the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain."
As every wise being lays a plan, before he begins to operate; so the only wise God, before He began the work of creation, having a clear and comprehensive view of all things possible, designed to bring into existence, such a universe, as would be best adapted to his ultimate and chief end in all his works. As it is absurd to suppose, that two schemes of creation and providence, should be exactly alike, or should equally well answer the end of creation; so it is rational to conclude, that God has chosen the best possible scheme of things and events. This scheme He carries into effect, by his own agency, in the natural and moral world. He causes such creatures and things to exist, and so to move and act, as best to subserve his original design. Hence we read, "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the Probably there is no one, who world-Of him, and through him, embraces Christianity, certainly and to him, are all things-In him there is no one among the Orthowe live, and move (are moved) dox, who will deny, that man is a and have our being-Who work-free, moral agent. It is a point,
Since all God's moral perfections are comprehended in love, or disinterested benevolence, it is manifest, that, in accomplishing his great design in creation, which is to advance his own glory and blessedness to the highest degree, He must produce the greatest possible sum of created good; i. e. the greatest possible quantity of holiness and happiness in his moral kingdom. "Whatever God doeth, it shall be forever; nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it."
The free moral agency of man.
in which all are agreed, that if self-determining power in man, are excusable for not explaining it intelligibly; since that, which is absurd, can neither be conceived nor described.
In opposition to these notions of moral freedom, it is the sentiment of Hopkinsians, that free, moral agency consists, simply, in choosAgency is "the
men were not free, moral agents,
But, while all admit, that men are free, moral agents, very different opinions are entertained of the nature of free, moral agency.Some suppose, that free, moral agency consists in doing as one chooses to do. But, upon this supposition, men are free agents, only when liberated from all restraint; and in order to be completely free, they must possess unlimited power. Liberty to do as one pleases, is more properly called natural than moral freedom. It is the opinion of others, that free, moral agency consists in men's causing their own exercises of choice and volition, or in choosing to choose and willing to will. But if this were correct, it would follow, that men never could have begun to be free, moral agents; because it is impossible, that they should have chosen to have their first exercise of choice, or have willed to have their first exercise of will; as this would imply, that they had one act of choice, or one exercise of will before the first.-To avoid this absurdity, some run into another equally as great; which is this, that men have a self-determining power, by which they are enabled to begin to choose and will, not only without the agency of any other being, but without any previous choice or volition of their own. The advocates of such a
state of being in action." But, men are active in nothing besides choice and volition. In these consists their agency; and these are, in their very nature, free. It is absurd to suppose, that choice and volition should ever be the subjects of constraint. To suppose that one is constrained or compelled to choose or will, is the same as to suppose, that he chooses against his choice, or wills against his will. Men may be caused, but can never be compelled to choose or will. Choice and volition are, therefore, in their very nature, free. Every being who exercises choice and volition, is a free agent. The Deity is a free agent, because He acts of choice. It would be as absurd to suppose, that He causes his own volitions, as to suppose, that he caused his own existence. If the supposition, that He created himself, implies, that he acted before he existed; the supposition, that He causes his own volitions, implies, that He acted before He began to act. Free agency does not consist in any thing preceding or following choice and volition, but in choice and volition themselves.
But, though all beings, who choose and will, are free agents; yet many of this description, are not moral agents. To constitute any being a moral agent, it is necessary, not only that he should choose and will, but that he should be able to perceive the difference between right and wrong. No one can be a proper object of praise or