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as is the fact, of their being quite excluded from the way, the way is supposed to be contrived expressly for their accommodation !
According to this corrected view of the literal sense, the spi. ritual sense also becomes clear, and is seen to be beautiful. It appears to be as follows:
“ A highway and a way is the doctrine of truth and goodness: It shall be called the way of holiness, denotes its purity, as grounded in the Divine Truth itself: No unclean (person] shall pass over it, signifies, that no evil shall enter into and pervert it: But He Himself shall be with them, signifies, that the Lord Himself will be present with His people, in the inmost of all; walking in the way, denotes, communicating instruction and spiritual life: And fools shall not wander in it, signifies, that there shall be no false principles grounded in evil, causing to go astray."
Il. We will next notice a text, not because it is wrongly translated, but because it is often understood as if it were wrongly translated; that is, as if the words of the translation were different from what they are..
In connexion with the above passage of Isaiah, when applied to prove the extreme simplicity which, some suppose, was to characterize the whole doctrine of the gospel, is often cited, with the same view, Hab. ii. 2.
“ And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.”
This is supposed to mean, that the writing was to be made so very plain, that a person running by, in a careless manner, should easily be able to see and read it. Supposing this interpretation to be just, how would this prove that the whole doctrine of the gospel was to be intelligible to the most careless and cursory inspector, when the statement is not made in reference to the whole doctrine of the gospel, but solely to a specific “vision,” conveying an awful warning, that the prophet had received? But even in respect to this specific vision, the direction, “ make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it,” does not mean, that a person running by, in a careless manner, should easily see and read it. To convey this meaning, the words should not be, as correctly given by the translators, “that he MAY RUN that readeth it," but just the reverse," that be MAY READ IT that runneth. Thus this clause does not direct, that, while running, a person may read it, but that, on reading it, be may be excited to run; that is, to use diligence to escape from the dreadful judgments threatened. The particle likewise which is translated that, does not so properly mean so that, which the common supposition requires, as, in order that: it is used to indicate the cause of a certain effect. The cause, in the present case, is the reading, and the effect to be produced is the running.
III. Among the texts which are commonly cited in proof of the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, none of which have, in reality, any thing to do with that doctrine, except it be to disprove it, there is none which appears so difficult to be understood as Isaiah xxvi. 19, as it stands in the common version, where it is given as follows:
“ Thy dead (men) shall live, (together with) my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew (is as) the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead."
But that this text has no relation to the doctrine of the resur. rection, is evident from various considerations; and great violence is done by the translators to the original to make it seem to bear such a reference. Thus the words men (which does not make much difference in the sense, though quite unnecesary to it,) and together with (which totally alter the sense, and make it seem to relate to the Lord's body that was put in the sepulchre, though no such idea is intended in the original,) are thrust in by the translators: but they are printed by them in Italics, to shew that they are not in the Hebrew.
From the whole context, both preceding and following, it is evident, that the subject relates to the restoration of the Church and people of God from a state of great calamity and oppression; during the prevalence of wbich they are figuratively described as being dead, and their deliverance from which is painted by the figure of a restoration to life. It is in agreement with this idea that the passage is translated and explained by the best inter. preters. Thus Bishop Lowth gives the verse thus :
“ Thy dead shall live: my deceased, they shall rise :
And in his note upon it he makes these remarks:
“ The deliverance of the people of God from a state of the lowest depression, is explained by images plainly taken from the resurrection of the dead. In the same manner the prophet Ezekiel represents the restoration of the Jewish nation from a state of utter dissolution, by the restoring of the dry bones to life exhibited to him in a vision, chap. xxxvii. which is thus directly applied and explained, ver. 11, 12, 13. And this deliverance is ex. pressed with a manifest opposition to what is here said above, ver. 14, of the great lords and tyrants under whom they had groaned :
• They are dead, they shall not live;
They are deceased tyrants, they shall not rise :' That they should be utterly destroyed, and should never be restored to their former power and glory."
This surely is a demonstrative proof that the subject has nothing to do with the doctrine of the resurrection; since the wicked will rise again to condemnation, as certainly as the good will rise again to glory.
Much obscurity, also, is occasioned in the common version, by the very different Hebrew words used at the beginning and at the end of the 19th verse being simply translated “ dead." The latter word, in the Hebrew, is Rephaim, which always relates to such as exercise an oppressive power: it is therefore well translated by Bishop Lowth,“ deceased tyrants;" and this shews that the dead whom the earth shall cast out, mentioned at the end of the 19th verse, are not the dead who shall live, spoken of at the beginning of it.
The Latin translators, Junius and Tremellius, render and comment upon the former part of ver. 19. much as the Bishop does. They say “ Thy dead shall revive; alt my corpses shall rise again: that is, the revived members of the Church shall be re-establisbed, and shall be delivered from their calamities, as from death, by thy mighty word. Awake (thou sayest) and sing, ye who inhabit the dust a personification, in which God is described as calling his people out of their adversities, as out of the sepulchre, to his glory."
The English translators seem to have been misled by this circumstance; that while the first Hebrew word for dead, which they have translated thy dead men, is in the plural number, the second,
which they translate my dead body, is, in most copies, in the singular number. There are however some copies which have it in the plural; and it is rendered in the plural by all the ancient versions, as well as by Lowth, Junias, and Tremellius, and other moderns; which makes it probable that this is the genuine reading. But supposing the genuine reading to be that in the singular, it will by no means follow that there is any allusion to the Lord's body that was put in the tomb, but, in this case, it is the whole Church wbich is personified as one human being; as when, in another place, the “captive daughter of Zion” is addressed with the exhortation, " Shake thyself from the dust."* IV. The famous passage in Job xix. 25, 26, 27, is
very erroneously given in the common version of the Bible; but not in the part of it wbich is commonly regarded as forming its main strength as a proof-text for the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, and in respect to which therefore some of the friends of the New Church would adopt from the margin a different translation, but understood in a different sense from that which the translators intended. The passage as it stands in the English Bible, is as follows:
“ For I know (that) my Redeemer liveth, and (that) he shall stand at the latter (day) upon the earth; and (though) after my skin (worms) destroy this (body), yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; (though) my reins are consumed within me."
On the words, " in my flesh shall I see God,” Mr. Beaumont, in his Anti-Swedenborg, has this note : " The Swedenborgians are very eager to inform us, that this is a mis-translation. They say the words ought to be rendered, out of my flesh shall I see God. It is granted that they might have been so translated, and if they had, they would have served the purpose of the Swedenborgian system no better than as they now stand. For, let it only be observed that it is the soul (not the body) that sees every object that is seen, and that the eyes are the windows through which the soul looks : and therefore, as a man would say, 'I saw out of my window, a man, a horse, or a ship,' so he may with emphatic propriety say, “After I am raised from the dead, my soul out of this body shall see God, &c.' This explanation is literally conscience increased in the world in an unparalleled degree, but the bright and glorious morning of Revelation-a morning without clouds,-has arisen on the minds of all who will but
* Further Remarks on this text may be seen in Mr. Noble's Appeal, &c. in answer to Beaumont, p. 84, &c. (note.)
their understandings to behold its splendour. The varying density of the mists that have been generated through the long night of moral and intellectual darkness, are the chief hindrances to the full and blessed operations and influences of this son of heaven and of righteousness upon the present inhabitants of the globe: wherefore for the more perfect display of the new dispensation of light and of life, we look forward to the generations to come. But as we feel the full force of the truth, that on the present the future depends, we must, in compliance with such feeling, strive to do our utmost to accelerate the greatly-to-be-desired event; by suffering the newly dispensed light to illuminate our understandings, and the newly dispensed life to inflame our hearts; that so we may become humble instruments, yet powerful ones too, in proportion to our humility, in dispersing those mists, or false sentiments and unfounded prejudices, which, without fear of contradiction, we declare to be the main hindrances to the accomplishment of God's most gracious designs and sacred promises.
The order observable in all the acts of the Divine Providence, is especially conspicuous in the means which it has employed towards realizing those promises of the Word of God, which, as all expositors agree, though with more or less of obscurity in their interpretations of them, bear upon the future benefit and happiness of mankind, or refer to some glorious state of the church on earth; but the true design of which we are enabled, with the utmost clearness, to discern. These means consist in preparing the minds of men in general, and thus the world, for apprehending the truths of the Word in a more abstract, a more extended, and a more spiritual manner, and thereby for perceiving the laws of that providence which regulates the merciful and just dealings of God with man; and lastly, for comprehending his unity, the attributes essential to that unity, and the Divine Person or Humanity wherein those essentials are embodied. This preparation has seemed first to take effect, most fully, upon the mind of one individual in particular; who, from his earliest years, was distinguished by an uncommon love of knowledge and spirit of research, joined with a deep veneration of his Creator and his Word, which