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Holiness to be Predicated also of the Writings

4. It is thought by many that it would be improper to call the Writings the Word because they are the internal sense of the Word and so are not ultimate containants of the whole of the Divine Truth, whereas the Old and New Testaments, being a most ultimate revelation, contain in their bosom all spiritual and celestial truths, and so are holy. I shall speak more fully concerning this point later on in the present study. Here, however, it may be observed that so far as being ultimate is concerned, there is no difference between the Writings and other written revelations. Not only do they all come down to actual writing, but all are clothed in human natural ideas and words. That there is a difference in the nature of the ultimates has already been set forth; but this does not make the one more ultimate than the other. Whether I teach a child or an adult, I must speak in ultimate language based on ultimate natural images. True, in teaching the child, I may clothe my lesson in the garb of a story, and may illustrate it with a picture, but I must use words equally ultimate in teaching an adult, and even though the words may express abstract ideas, they still rest on ultimate images.

The eye is no less ultimate than the hand, or the muscles of the face than those of the arms and legs. The difference between them is not in respect to their being ultimate but in respect to their being ultimates which can more openly or less openly reveal the thoughts and affections of the mind. So in the case of the Old Testament, the Gospels, and the Writings. They are all equally ultimate, being all expressed in words of human language resting on ideas derived from the senses. The difference between them is seen in the nature and arrangement of the ultimate, it being this that determines whether the spiritual ideas within shine forth clearly or obscurely, or are entirely concealed.

Here we must not forget that these revelations, even though parts of them are especially adapted for children and the simple, are all addressed to adult minds; that they are so written that it would have been possible for such minds to have derived from them a true doctrine. In the Old Testament, historical narratives predominateŚnarratives which seem connected with the revelation of Divine Truth only in a general way. In the New Testament, it is spiritual-moral truth that predominates, though here also we find historical narrative. In the Writings, the Divine Truth is clothed with the garb of natural-rational language; but here also we find stories, illustrations, allegories,3 all of which are given for no other purpose than to present the truths of heaven.

It may readily be granted that some ultimates are more objective than others, but holiness resides not only in objects but also in all ultimate expressions of things divine. If we take the grossness of the ultimate to be the ground of the holiness, then we must say that the Old Testament is more holy than the New, and even that the obscure portions of the Old Testament are more holy than those portions where the spiritual sense shines forth. In the Old Testament, moreover, there is a correspondence even in the curves of the Hebrew letters. This is certainly not true of the Greek Testament; yet surely no Christian will believe that for this reason, the Old Testament is holier than the New! or that the Lord who alone is holy, is more nearly present there!

The holiness of the Word rests indeed in ultimates, but it comes from internals. The Lord alone is Holy, and the more He is revealed the more fully is holiness present. To say that when the letter of the Word deeply veils and conceals the spiritual sense, that is to say, the presence of the Lord, it is more holy than when it openly presents the Divine Love and Wisdom for man's contemplation and for his instruction and elevation, is to ascribe holiness to the letter. But of this I shall speak later.

3 I refer to the Memorable Relations and to the many comparisons and illustrations that are used in the Writings, particularly in the True Christian Religion.


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