II The Writings Are The Word For The New Church
That the Writings are a Divine Revelation, and consequently are the Lord's Word to the New Church in the same sense that the Ancient Word and the Old and New Testaments were the Word to the churches which were instituted by their means, must seem indisputable to any one who believes the New Church to be a New Church established by the Lord in his Second Coming. But to argue from this, that what is said of one Word is necessarily true of all, is to fail in the observance of rational discrimination. As well might we argue that the form of instruction given to adults is the same as that given to children. The Ancient Church, the Jewish Church, and the Christian were essentially different, and their differences are due solely to the differences in the nature of their Word. Thus the Ancient and Jewish Churches were representative churches because the revelations on which they were based were written in the language of representations and types. The revelation to the Christian Church, on the other hand, is not characteristically a revelation veiled in the language of types. In the New Testament the Lord Jesus Christ himself is the Teacher, and his teachings are clear and open, even though couched in simple and parabolic language. Hence the Christian Church was not a representative church. Indeed, with the exception of Baptism and the Holy Supper, representatives were abolished and the church was characterized not by ritualistic and typical worship but by the preaching of the Gospels, and the exposition of the truths there openly revealed. This is plainly indicated by the Lord himself in the New Testament when he declares: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time . . . but I say unto you "—that is to say, in the New Testament the Lord speaks in clear and open language.
In this connection, I am reminded of something I have read in The Word Explained and which may aptly be quoted here: " In the primitive church, things yet to come lay inmostly concealed in every object, and inmostly in the lives of the patriarchs. Later these things were encompassed with types as with coverings, even to the temple of Jerusalem. When the Messiah came, he drew off the outmost coverings; for he taught by similitudes. By his apostles, interior coverings were drawn away; and finally, at the end of days [that is, in the Second Coming], the more interior and inmost things will come to view" (W. E. 1196).
" At the present day, the Messiah does not deal with men without persuasion, as he did in times of old when he gave commands without any interpretation of their causes. Then all things were in types, but now it is a different matter. When man is able to understand causes, and the Messiah has unveiled mysteries, then He tells the causes; but previously this was not the case. It is like as with a father leading his sons. During their infancy he leads them as infants; afterwards he instructs and educates them as boys and young men, and finally as adults. This is the cause of the many changes in the Church, and the reason why the Messiah does not deal with men in the same way at this day as of old; that is to say, why He speaks, not in veiled words, but in words unveiled and explained; not by miracles, but by intellectual persuasions " (n. 1108).
To one who acknowledges the Writings to be a Divine Revelation, it is quite obvious that they are " the Word " if by this term is meant a specific revelation by the Lord which constitutes the Divine Authority from which the Church is to derive its distinctive doctrine and quality. But some there are in the New Church who while acknowledging the Writings to be an immediate Divine Revelation are yet more or less unwilling to call them the Word, and this for one or more of the following reasons: (1) The Writings when speaking of "the Word" clearly refer to former revelations; they do not call themselves the Word. (2) By "the Word" is meant the Word written in the language of correspondences; the Writings are not so written. (3) The Word is the uniting medium between heaven and earth, since when man reads the letter the angels perceive the internal things which are correspondentially contained therein; this is not the case with the Writings. (4) The Writings do not have the holiness which characterizes the Old and New Testaments.
Let me briefly examine these reasons: