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The reason why the Divine Providence operates all things out of pure mercy, is, because the Divine essence itself is pure love, and it is that which operates by the divine wisdom, and that operation is what is called the Divine Providence. The reason why that pure love is pure mercy, is, l. Because it operates with all who are in the whole world, who are such, that they can do nothing from themselves. 2. That it operates with the evil and unjust, as well as with the good and just. 8. That it leadeth the former in hell, and snatcheth them out of it. 4. That it continually strives with them there, and fighteth for them against the devil, that is, against the evils of hell. 5. That therefore it came into the world, and underwent temptations even to the last of them, which was the passion of the Cross. 6. That it acts continually with the unclean that it may cleanse them, and with the insane that it may heal them; consequently it labours continually out of pure mercy.
To be concluded in our next.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE PHRASE, “INCARNATE
GOD." To the Editors of the New Jerusalem Magazine. If I expressed myself in an unbecoming manner when I took the liberty of commenting on the paper of J. W. S., I am heartily sorry for it. Nothing was further from my thoughts than a per. sonal attack upon a Gentleman, whom I know only as the Author of certain papers, which formerly appeared under the same sig. nature in the pages of the Intellecļual Repository. My remarks were not personal, but were directed against, what I conceive to be, erroneous views, and mischievous distortions of the New Doctrines ; and though this would be but a poor excuse for any severity of remark, if I have been guilty of any, the magnitude of the error furnishes me with good grounds for calling the attention of the receivers of the New Doctrines to a subject, involving, as it appears to me, the most serious consequences to the church. J. W. S. may not see the gross perversions which lie concealed in such phrases as “Incarnate God,” and “the Divine Body of that Incarnate God, but others may cling to them under the impression that Swedenborg has been accustomed to use them, and in the same sense with themselves, and so strengthen themselves in a hybrid faith, which partakes at the same time of the truth of one dispensation, and the falsehood of another.
If I felt confident before I penned the observations on the paper of J. W. S. I am more so now that I have read the Answer of your Correspondent who signs himself, Would-be-right, and find that he has been able to produce two passages only, where the terms Incarnate God, and Divine Body are used, neither of which answer the question I took the liberty of putting, or bear upon the point at issue. In the letter which I addressed to you, Gentlemen, after stating that the very expressions, which J. W. S. had used, favoured Sabellianism, and were not those of the Messenger of the New Dispensation, you may recollect that I ask "where we are enjoined to direct our faith, our prayers, or our worship to an Incarnate God” and your Correspondent instead of pointing out the many parts in which the injunction is either directly or indirectly given, very ingeniously, though not very ingenuously, refers to two passages in which the words occur indeed, but in a way no more applicable to my enquiry, than if they had been extracted from the Athanasian Creed. Nothing perhaps could shew more strikingly the feebleness of the cause which your Correspondent advocates, than the reference to two passages only, and those, No. 174, of the True Christian Religion, and No. 14 of the Divine Love and Wisdom. He does not give the passages in which they are found, but simply says, that “the very Phrase, Incarnate God” is used in the one, and “the gross expression, the Divine Body," in the other; but when I turn to them, and read them along with the context, I still affirm that the phrase, Incarnate God, is abhorrent from the whole scope and tenor of the New Doctrines, and that the expression, Divine Body, in application to an Incarnate God, is a gross expression, and ought never to be used in the sense which your Correspondent affixes to it, by those who wish to preserve the New Doctrines, pure and undefiled.
In No. 174 of the True Christian Religion, there is not one word mentioned of the doctrine of the New Jerusalem respecting the Lord; the entire section from beginning to end is an historical sketch of the corruptions which succeeded the Apostolic times. Hence the Phrase, Deus Incarnatus, God incarnate, is introduced, not as applicable to the Doctrine which Swedenborg was commissioned to teach—for the symbol of that doctrine is Humanum glorificatum, aut quod Divinum factum est ;" the Human glorified, or which became the Divine, and not God Incarnate, but in reference to that doctrine which the Christian Church then held, and still continues to hold ; namely, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Godhead incarnate, or in the flesh; and that being so, though he is equal to the Father as touching his Godhead, he is inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood. But let us read the Passage from which your correspondent, would, I suppose, draw the conclusion that we are etijoined to direct our faith, our prayers, and our worship to an Incarnate God, and then let us determine whether my question be answered in the affirmative by the great authority of our author.
T.C. R. No. 174. “THAT A TRINITY OF PERSONS WAS UNKNOWN IN THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH, BUT WAS FIRST BROUGHT FORWARD AT THE COUNCIL OF NICE; WAS THENCE INTRODUCED INTO THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, AND SO INTO THE OTHER CHURCHES WHICH SEPARATED FROM IT. By the expression Apostolic Church, not only is that Church meant which existed in various places in the days of the Apostles, but for two or three centuries after. The time, however, at length came when men began to pluck the door of the temple off its hinges, and to rush like thieves into the sanctuary. That Temple was the Church; the Lord God the Redeemer was the door, and his Divinity was the sanctuary ; for Jesus saith, Verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way the same is a thief and á robber. I am the door, by me if any one enter in he shall be saved. This horrid crime was perpetrated by Arius and his followers, on which account a council was called together by Constantine the Great, at Nice a city of Bithynia, and it was there devised, resolved and enacted by the members of that council, with a view to condemn the pernicious heresy of Arius, that there were from eternity three Divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, of whom each, by himself and in himself, had a dis. tinct personality, existence and subsistence; also, that the second Person or the Son descended and assumed a humanity, and wrought out man's redemption; and that thence by an hypostatic union, the divinity was joined to the humanity, which union produced a close affinity with God the Father. From that time, a long line of wicked heresies, respecting God and the person of Christ, began to spring up out of the earth; heresies which exalted the head of Antichrist, divided God into three, and the Lord the Saviour into two, and so destroyed the temple which the Lord had built by means of the Apostles. This was done so effectually that not one stone was left upon another which was not thrown down, according to the Lord's own words in Matthew, xxiv. 2; a passage which relates not to the temple at Jerusalem only, but to the Church, the consummation or end of wlrich is foretold in that chapter throughout. But what else could be expected from that and the following councils, which in the same way divided the Divinity into three parts, and put the God incarnate beneath them on their footstool. They removed the head of the Church from its body when they climbed up some other way, that is, when they passed Him by, and climbed above Him to God the Father as to another Being; having the merit of Christ in their mouths, as an expression only, in order that the Father might for his sake have mercy on them, and that so they might receive instantaneous juştification, with all its attendant benefits of remission of sins, renewal of life, holiness, regeneration, and salvation, and all these without any mediation on the part of man.”
After reading the whole of this section, I ask again whether we are enjoined in any part of it, to direct our faith, our prayers and our worship to an incarnate God? Is there in any part of it the slightest mention made of the Doctrine of the New Church in relation to the Lord ? to bring forward such a passage in proof that the expression, Incarnate God is in strict harmony with the doctrines of the New Jerusalem, when the whole section is descriptive of the corruptions of the Old Church, and the words, Deus incarnatus, God incarnate, are used in the sense of that part of the Athanasian creed, which describes the Lord Jesus Christ as inferior to the Father touching his manhood or humanity; to bring forward such a passage as this is, to my mind, as conclusive as it would be to pluck a weed from some beautiful garden, and shew it as a specimen of the flowers which that garden contained. If “Incarnate God” be the language of Swedenborg himself, applicable to the Doctrine of the Lord as explained by him, shew it me repeated in every volume of his writings, or, if you cannot do that, shew it me in any one passage which treats, not of the infirm human, or of the God and man of the Athanasian Creed, but of the Divine Human of the New Jerusalem, and then indeed there will be some ground for incorporating this phrase into the Liturgies of the New Church. It is possible that the word God Incarnate, may be found in some other parts of the Theological Works, In No. 170 of the T. C. R. for instance, it is said that “ before the creation of the world there was no Divine Trinity, but that after the creation, when God was incarnate, it was provided for, and appeared, and then in the Lord God the Redeemer and Saviour Jesus Christ;” but then it must be clear to every one from these remarkable words, and still more from the explanation which accompanies them, that the expressions, when God was incarnate, or in the flesh, refers to the infirm humanity, which, with every finite faculty and form, he utterly put of; and not to the incarnate God of your correspondent, which, according to him, still exists s with its divine flesh and bones," an object of worship for those only « who are favoured with a spiritual perception."
So seldom are the words, Deus incarnatus, God incarnate, to be found in the writings of our author, that I was oblidged to have resource to BEYER'S INDEX, and I have no doubt your correspondent found himself in the same predicament, in order to find out where it did occur, if it occurred at all. According to that Index, there are two numbers only, and those in the True Christian Religion, where God incarnate is to be found : To one of these your correspondent has alluded, but of the other he makes no mention whatever, and yet it is perhaps of still higher importance than that to which he does refer, in determining how far we are authorised, or enjoined to address our prayers to God incarnate, In No. 124 are the following words :
“THAT THIS VERY REDEMPTION COULD NOT HAVE BEEN: EFFECTED BUT BY GOD INCARNATE, (or in the flesh). It has been shown in the forgoing article, that redemption was a work purely divine, and consequently that it could have been wrought only by the omnipotent God. The reason why this could not have been done but by his being incarnate, that is, by his becoming man, is, because Jehovah God, such as he is in his infinite essence, could not approach hell, far less enter it, for as to that essence, he is in the purest and first principles ; '80 that if Jehovah God, being of such perfection in himself, had only breathed on the inhabitants of hell, he would in an instant have destroyed them; for he said to Moses, when he was desirous to see him, " Thou canst not see my countenance, for there shall no man see me, and live ;” and if Moses could not see him, far less could those who are in hell, where all are in the lowest and the grossest states of mind, and consequently in states most remote from him, being in the last degree natural. Hence it is that if Jehovah God had not assumed a humanity, and thus clothed himself with body which is in the ultimate degrees (of creation,) it would have been in vain to have attempted any redemption. For who can attack an enemy unless he approach toward him, and be furnished with arms for battle? or, who can disperse and destroy dragons, hydras and basilisks in any wilderness, unless he cover his body with a coat of mail, his head with a helmet, and arm his hand with a spear? Who can catch whales in the deep unless he be provided with a vessel, and tackle fitted for their capture? These and such like circumstances are not meant to be compared with the combats which God Almighty waged with the hells, although they may serve for illustration. Into that combat he could not have entered unless he had first of all put on a humanity.”
Here it is evident, that it is the assumed humanity, or incarnation which is compared to a coat of mail, a helmet and a spear. It would be just as reasonable, then, after the wearer had laid aside the coat of mail, the helmet and the spear, were we to address our