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tress and the ladies, Mr. Millard, Mr. Selby, he did not suffer at last, as he went off withGilbert, and myself. And, when that was out a groan, and has still a smile upon his over, he said, “ Now I am blessed indeed !” face, as if he was alive. He is to be buried All was peace and joy and comfort within. at Eltham. I can write no more, though I He blessed us all severally, and thanked us have more to say. Your good master may for all we had done. Had you seen him like to hear how he departed. I hope you bolstered up, blessing his children, and speak- will read this to him, though it is scarcely to ing comfort to his wife, in the hope and trust be understood. I cannot say more. of their meeting again, you would never
Yours, affectionately have forgot it. I am sure I never shall ; nor
E. SALMON. do I wish it. We have reason to think that
CAUTIONS TO THE READERS OF MR. LAW,
AND, WITH VERY FEW VARIATIONS, TO THE
READERS OF BARON SWEDENBORG.
[Referred to p. 42 and 68.]
First. Either J. Behmen's scheme is a church. The formation is described step by new revelation, or an explanation of the old. step; but the creation, in Gen. i. verse i. If the latter, why is it wrapt up in such mys- must relate to the production of, or giving tic jargon, never heard of in the Christian being to, the matter, in its dark and inform church before, and not given us in Scripture state. The consequence of Mr. Law's opinlanguage, which is the only explainer of ion must be, either that matter, though disitself ? If the former, it is an imposture and tinct from, is co-eternal with God, which delusion; for extraordinary inspirations are cannot be; or else, that it is an emanation, not to be credited, unless vouched by mira generated from his substance or essence, cles, which God always sent to attest his ex- which is the abomination of Platonism traordinary commissions: and if they are brought into Christianity. The confounding pretended to come from him, and do not, God and created nature together is the esthen it is a demonstration that they come sence of Paganism, and the foundation of all from the devil, “ transformed into an angel the errors in the Heathen and Christian of light." To equal the imaginations of world. The Scriptures are constantly guardmen to the holy Scriptures of God, and think ing against it, and distinguishing Jehovah them as much the inspiration of God as what from what is only the work of his hands. was dictated as such to the holy prophets Eternal nature is a blasphemous contradicand apostles, is strictly and properly enthu- tion; for God only is eternal; he only has siasm. This Mr. Law has done ; for he being in himself, and gives it to every thing says, he looks upon the writings of J. Beh-else. Nature may be a manifestation, or men to be no more human than St. John's representation of God, as a picture is of a Revelation.
man; but has no more connection with his II. Mr. Law by creation will have nothing substance or essence, than that hath with its farther meant than the formation of the world original, or the painter that drew it. out of pre-existent matter ; contrary to the III. Mr. Law denies the wrath of God sense always put upon it by the Christian lagainst sin. Now, that wrath in God is the
same weak and infirm passion that is in man, kissed each otner. The inward application nobody will suppose But that it produces of this satisfaction made outwardly by the effects, which the image of wrath executed blood of Christ shed upon the cross, to the by man is taken to give us an idea of, is a heart of every believer, by the hand of faith, truth the Scriptures are full of from Genesis for its justification, with the sanctification to Revelation. And it is described under all that accompanies it, by the water flowing the images that are dreadful in nature; with the blood, to a new birth and life of chiefly by that most dreadful of all, fire. righteousness from the death of sin, is doubt“Our God is a consuming fire.” No one less the great end and intent of Christianity; will suppose from this text, that God is as much as taking a medicine is the end and really material fire; but that his justice, ven- intent of its being given. But the Gospel geance, wrath, or whatever you please to preached and read, and the sacraments adcall it, will have an effect upon sinners, that ministered in the church, are the instruments is pictured by the effects of fire upon natural appointed to work all this, by the power of the bodies.
Spirit that goes with them, as channels into Nor can all the wit and invention of man the heart of every believer. But if, before get rid of those innumerable Scriptures that he has received the grace of Christ by these speak of the wrath of God to be executed which are the only appointed means of reupon a sinful world, under the lively figure ceiving it; or if, instead of going on with and representation of it, fire; as any one may humility and diligence in searching the see, that will turn to the Concordance. Scriptures of God, a person is to shut himself Sure I am, that if these can be construed to up and search the inward depth and ground mean, a dark, fiery, whirling anguish rising of his heart, what will he find there but the up and opening its birth in the inward depth devil, ready to take advantage of his having and ground of the soul, there can be no cer- left his only guide, and “ transforming limtainty in words. The lake of fire, or hell, is self into an angel of light,” under the disnot within but without the sinner; for he is guise of great flights of devotion and illumito be cast into it. That inward remorse, an- nation, to instill his diabolical suggestions, and guish and despair make a part, there is no lead the deluded soul, blindfold, and thinking question, but they are not the whole. herself safe in the hands of the Spirit of God,
IV. But there is a consequence that fol- to deny and write against the satisfaction lows this notion of no wrath of God against and atonement made for her sins by the sin, and strongly insisted upon by Mr. Law, blood of her Redeemer ? For by these very which shakes the foundation of Christianity; means have we seen one of the brightest viz. that Christ did not die to propitiate or stars in the firmament of the church (oh! appease that wrath; that he did not die as a lamentable and heart-breaking sight!) falling sacrifice in our stead. This demolishes the from the heaven of Christianity into the sink doctrine of a vicarious satisfaction for sin, and complication of Paganism, Quakerism, made outwardly upon the cross, by the blood and Socinianism, mixed up with chemistry of Him, who, being God, could give it infi- and astrology, by a possessed cobbler : and, nite merit, to satisfy infinite justice; and, be- alas! when a man comes to forsake the ing man, could make the satisfaction in the Bible, and write against its doctrines, what same nature in which tne sin that required matters it whether it is done by the light of it was committed.
nature, the light within, or the inspoken Mr. Law says, God is love. True. But word ? “ Believe not,” therefore, good peois he not justice and truth as well as love? ple, "every spirit,” whispering to your soul Has not Truth said, “ The soul that sinneth, in a fit of quietism, but “try the spirits,” by it shall die ?” And did not Justice require the Bible," whether they are of God.” the execution of that sentence? God is not Keep to that, and let your faith, hope, love only just, but justice itself; and justice can- and devotion rise as high as they will. The not remit the least farthing; else it were not higher the better. justice. God's attributes must not fight with V. As to the angelical world, glassy sea, or conquer and subdue one another. On the &c., it is a mere romance, without the least contrary, they magnify and exalt one ano- countenance from holy Scripture ; nor does ther. Thus his justice is magnified, in that he, I think, produce above a text or two, by it exacts full and adequate satisfaction; his way of proof. The holy Scriptures tell us, wisdom is magnified, in finding out such the world was good at the finishing of it, but means to make it; his mercy and love, in by the devil came sin, the parent of all evil, affording those means, and fulfilling all his natural and spiritual—that Christ came to repromises, in Him in whom mercy and truth deem us from it all, to satisfy for our sins, to thus met together, righteousness and peace raise our souls to righteousness, by his spirit
here, and to glorify us, body and soul, here- | inspoken word, which is a Pope in every after. This scheme is complete, without man's heart. But if Christ left a church searching after the state of the chaos before upon earth, and ordered submission to the it was in being, or fancying this world, to be appointed governors of it, so far as a man the ruins of the angelical, as William Whis- resists undervalues this ordinance of Christ, ton did it was the tail of a comet. The same so far he acts not like a Christian, let his inis to be said of the notion of Adam cased up ward light be what it will. In the same in spiritual materialities, one over another, manner, I think, he is injudicious in condemlike the coats of an onion. How many of ning all human writings, commentators, &c., these he had, Mr. Law does not seem sure, because people are divided through the mulgiving different accounts in different books. tiplicity of them. All human learning that Instead of inventing hypotheses concerning tends not to the knowledge of God, deserves the nature of paradise, let us study the way the censure he bestows in a very masterly that led the penitent thief into it, repentance manner. But how are we to understand the and faith in a Saviour on the cross, King of holy Scriptures, and be able to teach and exkings, and Lord of lords.
plain them to others, without a knowledge VI. Mr. Law is very lax and latitudinarian of the languages in which they are written? with regard to the government and discipline And towards this, the labors of the faithful of the church ; which, though, as he says, it servants of God who have gone before us, will not save a man, yet is absolutely neces- cannot but be of great service. And, theresary to preserve those doctrines that will. A fore, I see not why time is not as well spent hedge round a vineyard is, in itself, a poor in the writings of the noble army of saints, paltry thing; but break it down, and all they and martyrs, and confessors, as in those of J. that go by will pluck off her grapes. And Behmen, and much better than in searchno sin has been punished with heavier pun- ing for truth in the inward depth and ishments, for that reason, than throwing down ground of the heart, which is indeed, we see, fences and making it indifferent whether a “ deceitful above all things. Christian be of any church or none, so he be know it ?" but a Christian, and have the birth of the
COPY OF A LETTER TO A LADY ON THE SUBJECT OF JACOB
[See p. 42.]
April 8th, 1758.
tions, easily obviated by as general answers; Though your letter did not give me all the and, perhaps, after all, the real merits of satisfaction I had hoped for, yet I find in it the cause have not been brought in consideraseveral hints, for which you are much to be tion. honored; and, to say the truth, I never met I am ready to join issue with you, that if with a person, who, after diving into those J. Behmen was not inspired, he must either matters with which you are at present en- have been a hypocrite or a madman; and gaged, did yet possess such a spirit of humility, that his writings are utterly to be rejected by and remain so open to conviction. Being every sober Christian. You have shown therefore persuaded you have no disposition your judgment, madam, in thus bringing the to reject the truth, provided I can make it whole matter to a single point; for now appear to you, and I have no temptation, God there is only one question to be settled : and, is my, witness, to offer you anything else as you suspect me of taking up with false instead of it, I have resolved to address my- reports of your author, I shall not be content zelf more closely to the subject in question; with any report at all, but set down his own for, till we descend to particulars, but little words, or refer to their place where I have good can be expected from general objec-occasion to speak of his doctrines.
You argue of the probability of his inspira- If we are desirous to know in what postion from those words of St. Peter, Acts, ii. ture the Christian church should be toward 17. which, if you examine the place, will ap- the end of the world in the sense in which pear to have been applied, not to any future we commonly understand that phrase,) that inspirations at some distance of time, near to is, toward the second advent of Christ, we the dissolution of the world, but to the present shall discover a face of things very different event then brought to pass : “ THESE,” from what those words of the prophet Joel says he, “are not drunken, as ye suppose; have described to us; for these days, madam, but this is that which was spoken by the are not to be distinguished by the wisdom or prophet Joel; it shall come to pass in the holiness of those who live in them, but, on last days,” &c., where it is plain St. Peter the contrary, by their abominable ignorance applies these words of the prophet to the and wickedness. The light of God is to be miraculous gifts of the Spirit at the time then almost extinguished, and his lamp going out present. He does not indeed confine the in the temple at that midnight wherein the gifts of the Spirit to that time and season bridegroom cometh; and false delusive lights only ; yet his words give us no ground to are to rise up instead of it. Why else is it expect any extraordinary effusions towards said, 2 Thess. ii. 3.“ That day shall not come, the conclusions of the world. How this except there come a falling away first ?” and affair is, and what we are really to look for, again, that “ when the Son of Man cometh, must be learnt from some other passages. he should not find faith on earth ;" for that
The error, I presume, arises from a misun-“ false Christs and false prophets, called in derstanding of that phrase, the last days, another place (1 Tim. iv. 1.) “ seducing which are taken for these days and this age, spirits, speaking lies in hypocrisy,” should when things are drawing apace to their latter arise with such seeming pretensions as should end. But, madam, the Scripture has divided be sufficient almost to “deceive the very the ages of the world into three grand elect;" and that these deceivers should mulperiods; the first of which is called the tiply so abundantly, that, for the sake of beginning, whose date begins at the creation, some few, God in mercy would cut short and takes in all the generations till the estab- the days, lest a total corruption should take lishment of the law of Moses: as where place ? Christ
says, “ From the beginning it was not Our blessed Saviour is particularly earnest so.” Matt. xix. 8. Mark, x. 6. The second with us on this subject, bidding us beware, is called the old time, or the time of the law, for that he has “ told us before,” that some when the people of God where under the should be enticing us into the fields and elements of the world, and the oldness of the deserts, others into the “ secret chambers,” letter. The third and last period is the time &c., so that ignorance cannot be our exof the Messiah, when the law was fulfilled, cuse if we are “ led away with the error of and “all things became new :” and this the wicked, and fall from our own steadfastperiod, from its first commencement to its ness.” conclusion, is meant by the latter days, the So little encouragement is there to expect last time, &c.
new lights and revelations in these times, After this rule the blessed apostle thus that, on the contrary, if any man now preexpresseth himself, Heb. ix. 26. “ But now tend to be “some great one,” sent from God once in the End of the world hath He to enlighten the world, we are to suspect him (Christ) appeared to put away sin by the for one of these impostors; and as J. Behmen sacrifice of himself.” If we should here has assumed such a character, the probability attend only to the sound of an expression, lies strongly against him, even before we exwithout comparing the Scripture with itself amine his credentials. to attain its sense, we might as well expect There is another thing you will readily that Christ should appear again in these days grant; that, supposing any such deceiver to put away sin, as to expect another miracu- should arise, with his books written at the lous effusion of the Spirit from those words instigation of Satan ; I say supposing such a alleged by St. Peter, wherein the last days thing, there would be all the reason in the are spoken of; for, as it is here said, “ In the world to expect a considerable mixture of end of the world he hath appeared,” so is it sanctity, temperance, humility, abstraction in the other place—“He hath shed forth this from the world, and other the like virtues · which ye see and hear.” And this abun- his writings would else stand no chance to dantly confirms what I have advanced, that "deceive the elect;" who are not to be enthe words in question belonged to an event snared by open vice and bare-faced immoralnot now to be expected, but then accom-ity, but only with high pretences to the plished.
contrary. Hence it is, that the ministers of
Satan never appear with their proper colors, any purpose, which is this : there is a word but “transformed as the ministers of righte- of revelation before us, and we all agree that OUSNESS,” (2 Cor. xi. 15.) even as their mas- it was “given by inspiration of God.” ter himself was into an “angel of light;" Whatever, therefore, is false, this must be and in this shape, as a great and good man true; so true, that it is the test and standard has observed, the “devil is most a devil, be- of all truth upon earth. Every thing that cause he can most deceive.” The fact has opposes this word of truth must be a lie; and always been as I am representing it; for, if he that delivers it a liar. If he pretend to any heretic started up in the primitive have received it of God, it is so much the church, it was ever with some pretences to worse ; for then it is not only a lie, but a superior holiness, mortification, giftedness, blasphemy; and he himself is a blasphemer, spirituality, &c., that his personal character because he makes the Spirit of truth the aumight raise the admiration of unwary men, thor of his lies. What J. B. has written and so make way for the most pernicious and must be judged of by this rule, and received diabolical errors in point of faith. The or rejected as it shall be found to agree Scriptures give us some instances, such as with it. “ abstaining from meats," and " forbidding to And, first, let us take a view of his style marry ;” to which others might be added and method in general, which is not at all from ecclesiastical history. The impostor is like that of the Scripture, but the reverse of never content either with the ordinarv know- it; for the Scripture is clear and uniform in ledge, or the ordinary fruits of the Gospel ; its language, as coming all of it from the but would far exceed them, and outstrip the same author, and addressing itself to the capractical attainments of all other Christians; pacity of all mankind. Even where it is the best of whom he will condemn as Sodom- most obscure, as in the visions of Ezekiel, ites, fatted swine, shepherds of Babel, mouth and the Revelation of St. John, it borrows apes, which, with innumerable others of the ideas from the things that are before us, and same cast, are the lamb-like phrases of Jacob takes the visible objects of the natural creaBehmen. So that if you should find a con- tion to express and delineate what is untempt for the vanity of the world, humility, known or invisible; so that if you have obcharity, and other great and shining virtues tained its meaning in one case, you will be strongly recommended, this is by no means able to unriddle it in every other case of the to be allowed as a test either of the divinity same sort: whence arises the great usefulness of his commission, or the truth of his preach- and necessity of comparing spiritual things ing. For these are the “ feigned words, with spiritual,” that is, the Bible with itself
, (2 Pet. ii. 3.) with which he makes merchan- in order to comprehend them. But how difdise of unstable souls, turning their ears from ferent from all this is the style of J. B.! the truth, that they may be turned unto His ideas are rarely taken from nature, but fables: and if many were led away with in general from the dark science of Alchysuch devices, even in those early days, when my, in which he had dabbled till his brain the love of Christians did even astonish infi- was turned: hence it is that we find so much dels, when a spirit of martyrdom flourished, about ether, spirit, matrir, genitrix, essence, and the preaching of the apostles yet sounded quintessence, essence of essences, tinctures, exin the church; what wonder is it if many tracts, harshness, sourness, bitterness, attracshould be ensnared by them in these dregs of tion, firebreaths, sugar of hell, salt, sulphur, time, when the love of many is waxed cold, mercury, and others of the like sort, so abhorand the truth of God is in general “ evil rent from the Scripture, that the very sound spoken of” throughout the world.
of them is sufficient to frighten any man but These reflections I have set down as pre- a blacksmith out of his senses. liminaries; they are intended as a sprinkling right, Paracelsus was the father of this jarof water to lay any little dust that may have gon: he held it no crime to deal with the been raised for the deceiving your eye-sight; devil for the advancement of medicine and and they are offered to a person whose good chemistry; and the chemical writers of sucsense and discernment will immediately see, ceeding times, after his example, have interand, I have reason to think, as readily ac- mixed with their writings some of the highknowledge, the truth of them.
est mysteries of the Christian faith, veiled The probability then, it seems, as to the under the occult terms of their own wonderaffair of inspiration, is against the writings of ful science, to be understood only by adepts, J. B. Such things are not now to be expect- (such as Jacob calls the children of the lily) ed, but the contrary. How the fact is in who, they pretended, were to be holy and itself, we are in the next place to consider ; pure from all spot of iniquity : so that your and there is but one method of doing it to author, madam, with all his mysteries, is
If I guess