Abiel Silver.

The Holy Word in its own defence : addressed to Bishop Colenso and all other earnest seekers after truth online

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Received October, 1894.
Accessions No. cT/ r 7 / 7 3 . Class No.













" Then opened Ho their understandings that they might understand the Scrip-
tures." LUKE xxiv, 45.
" The entrance of Thy "Word giveth light." PSALM cxix, 130.


443 & 445 BEOADWAY.




ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.


KEGAKDING the Sacred Scriptures as the Holy Word
of the Great Jehovah, and believing that the Words
which God speaks unto us, " they are Spirit and they are
Life " to human souls, given for their regeneration and sal-
vation ; and that they are the Foundation and Embodi-
ment of all true Laws and Kules of Life, for the establish-
ment and preservation of order, peace, and happiness, in
heaven and on earth; that they were dictated to the
writers by Infinite "Wisdom, and designed to be under-
stood, loved and practised by men, and are therefore free
from all contradictions and discrepancies, and expressed
in the best possible form for meeting the vast variety of
wants, states, and conditions of human beings, for all time
and for eternity ; religiously believing this, we feel it to
be the highest privilege and duty of man to acknowledge
them, revere them, study them, love them, and obey
them ; to defend and sustain them, under every circum-
stance or event, whereby the opinions or writings of men
may tend to throw doubts into the public mind, as to


their entire truthfulness and perspicuity when their real
meaning is seen ; and to ever strive, as we value the sal-
vation of men, to bring before the world their pure and
heavenly light, until every doubt of their Divine Excel-
lence and Perfection shall pass away before the increasing
glory of that Spiritual Light which gradually reveals, to
the opening intellect and obedient heart, their perfect
symmetry and beauty ; that thereby, the promised day
may be hastened, when the " Watchmen shall see eye to
eye," and when " there shall be no more saying, every
man to his neighbor, Know ye the LORD ; for all shall
know Him from the least unto the greatest."

Under these settled views and convictions, we read
the work entitled, " THE PENTATEUCH AND BOOK OF
WILLIAM COLP:NSO, D.D., Bishop of Natal. New York:
D. APPLETON & Co., 1863 ; " and we rose from the peru-
sal, laden with the impression that we should offer to the
public what we have written in this Book. Not, how-
ever, as an answer, in detail, to all the particular objec-
tions of the Bishop, but a General Answer, covering all
the ground, not only of " Part First," but also of " Part
Second," of the work above mentioned, and, indeed, of
all other works which such objectors may publish. But
though we cover the entire ground, yet it will be readily
seen, that a work of this size can be but a mere opening
of the Great Subject of all subjects, with such references,
illustrations of Scripture, and arguments, based upon
Firwt and Eternal Principles, as are self-evident and irre-



futable, and which we hope may throw such light upon
the subject, from the Holy Word, and the "Works of God,
as may arrest the progress of Infidelity, by turning the
thoughts of many, through the Analogy of the Divine
Language, into a spiritually rational, religious channel ;
and which may also serve as a suggestion to abler pens,
to improve the present opportunity to give, to inquiring
minds, the rational and illuminating views of God and
His Word, and of the Way of Life, which the wants of
the present age of commotion so much demand, and
which the merciful Lord, by the Spiritual Light of the
Word, has so amply provided.

In this work we lay no claim to originality, either in
the harmony of the System, the Doctrines we present, or
in the Science of Correspondences. The diction and
manner of treating the subject, only are ours. All the
principles and views rest in, and can be rationally sus-
tained by, the Word and Works of the Most High God.
Our entire argument, therefore, is, Thus saith God's
Wordy and, Thus say God 's Works.

We have confined ourselves chiefly to God's Word
and Works, without note or comment upon the views of
others. This is because there is no other source of knowl-
edge, and because to this Court we must finally appeal to
determine the truth or falsity of anything contained in
the countless volumes which have been written upon the.
Holy Word. And our desire and aim have been to defend
the Sacred Scriptures, or rather to let them defend them-
selves, against the skeptical influence which the objections


that Dr. Colenso and his Keviewers are raising to the
literal narrative, and then leaving it in the dark, may
have upon the public mind. This we have hoped to do
by showing that the contradictions and discrepancies
which appear upon the surface of the letter of the Word,
are not errors which have crept into the work through any
carelessness, ignorance, or unfaithfulness of the hands
through which It has passed; but that He who gave us
the Holy Word, made it, in the original tongues, perfect,
and has carefully preserved it; and that, when under-
stood, it will be found to be free from all errors.

Jt is not a matter of surprise, that Dr. Colenso, in his
sincere searching of the Scriptures and desire for the
truth, for the salvation of the souls of men, should, in the
honest convictions of his heart, be troubled at the
obstacles which appear in the way of their truthfulness.
And we respect his noble frankness in declaring to the
world his convictions, while he still retains a profound
reverence for the Book. Standing where the Doctor
does, and looking with the eyes with which he sees, he is
right in his conlusions that the " Mosaic narrative . . .
cannot be regarded as historically t/rue" so far as regards
all the natural events mentioned. But we hope to con-
vince the sincere and faithful reader of the following
pages, and from the Word itself, that It is a t/rue history
of mental things, or of the creation and actions of minds ;
that there is, running through the entire Word, a historj
of higher tiling than tho.-r of time and mutter,
the thoughts and feelings of the souls of men and the con-


"4heir character under all states and circum-
stanc^Sj^whether in this world or the next ; and also
revealing to us a knowledge of our God, of our souls, and
of our duty ; and that, in order to give to man this knowl-
edge of spiritual things, natural things are used as sym-
bols ; and that thus it is that we may rationally look
through nature up to natures God, and know that the
""Invisible things of Him from the creation of the world
are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are
made, even His eternal power and Godhead." (Rom. i,
20.) Not that there is not generally a true, literal sense in
the Word, by the influence of which many souls are saved.
But notwithstanding we have, in most of the Divine
Word, an account of things which have taken place in
this natural world, and the plain commandments given
which all may understand, yet there is given, at the same
time, a correct narrative of Spiritual or mental things,
which may be seen and understood, by the sure law of
Analogy which shows the relation between natural and
spiritual things, revealing a Spiritual Sense within the
literal. And our only hope of use, in preparing this work
is, that Light from the Holy Word Itself, showing Its
Symbolic Character, may tend to sustain Its Divine
Authenticity, and elevate It in the public estimation ;
and, at least, to convince some wayward and doubting
souls of the true Nature and Character of God and His
Word, and thus to bring them to the Divine Fountain,
that they may drink of Its Spirit and Its Life, and be
saved. For if there are any things of more importance


than others for man to know and to lay to heart, they are
a true knowledge of his God, of himself, and of his duties
and destiny as revealed in God's Word. " Forever, O
LORD, Thy "Word is settled in heaven. The entrance of
Thy "Words giveth Light ; it giveth understanding unto
the simple." (Ps. cxix, 89, 130.)





II. Substance, Form and Quality of the Divine Being, . 21
III. Nature of Man, and the Origin of Evil, . .34

IV. Action and Reaction : Good and its Rewards : Evil

and its Consequences, 48

V. The Divine Influx, 58

VL God and Creation ; or, Cause and Effect, . . 66
VII. The Science of Correspondences the Key to the

Human Mind, 75

VIE. The Necessity of a Divine Revelation, ... 87

IX. The Real and the Apparent, 99

X. The Spiritual and the Natural Senses of the Word :
The Spiritual and the Natural Mind of Man :
The Advents of the Lord into the Human Mind, . 109

XL The Universal Language, 121

XII. The Microcosm and the Macrocosm, . . . 130
XIII. The Correspondence of Numbers, . . . .151
XIV. Heat and Light : Love and Wisdom, ... 173

XV. New Bottles for new Wine, 184

XVI. The Correspondence of Salt, and of Lot's Wife, . 196



XVII. A Word to Biblical Skeptics ; from the case of Jonah

swallowed by a great fish, 205

XVni. The Lost and the Found ; the Science of Correspond-
ences lost at the building of the Tower of Babel ;
found in loosing the Seven Seals, . . . 219
XIX. The Books of the Bible, with or without the Spiritual

Sense, 233

XX. The Church, 240

XXI. Heaven and Hell, 281

XXII. The New Birth, 293




GOD has given His Word to Man to teach him, First,
what God is : Second, what Man is : Third, how Man
loses God's image and becomes a devil : Fourth, how he
obtains that image and becomes an angel ; and, Fifth,
the consequences of being either an angel or a devil.
Every sentence of the Holy Word involves something of
these things.

As words are signs of ideas, so they point in the Word
to two kinds of ideas, natural and spiritual. Natural
ideas relate to things of the body, and of this world : spir-
itual ideas, to things of the mind, and of the spiritual
world. We must have some natural thing, that we know
something about, as a symbol of the quality of a certain
principle of the mind, and through which we can look, by
correspondence, or we cannot entertain the true spiritual
idea of that mental principle. We are living here in a
world of externals, with all internal things discreetly
above the natural senses and all natural thoughts. Every
spiritual idea must be embraced through a natural
thought, by analogy. Every spiritual idea must have a
natural idea as a body through which it may be seen.


Now, the words of the Lord are used to express both
natural and spiritual ideas. But men generally see in
them only the natural ideas. All natural things may, by
correspondence, be called words of God, whether spoken
by the mouth or not ; whether named in a book, or seen
in the fields of nature. All things of nature speak ; and
they speak both natural and spiritual things. The natu-
ral ideas are often seen by men, the spiritual but seldom.
A beautiful landscape suggests thousands of thoughts
upon natural qualities. But the spiritual ideas are not
seen, without some knowledge of the analogy between
the quality and use of the natural things, and the life
which infills them ; and also of the relation between that
life and the human mind. For the forms, qualities, and
uses of natural things, always express, by analogy, spirit-
ual principles, or qualities of the human mind. It is for
this express purpose, that the things of nature are so
much made use of in the Holy Word.

But the analogy stops not here, but reaches into arti-
ficial things. Everything of art or labor suggests the natu-
ral ideas of the mind that formed it. And, if it be an
artificial work, directed by the Lord, and recorded in His
Word, like the Ark of the Covenant or like the Temple,
it suggests spiritual ideas through natural ideas. Thus
everything a man does is expressive of the thoughts and
feelings which bring it forth ; and, when recorded in the
I Inly Word, it denotes spiritual ideas and principles.
Therefore, all histories recorded in the Holy Word con-
tain, within them, histories of things which take place in
human minds.

In every part of the Holy Word, there must be a spir-
itual H-niiication. And mankind ought to know this
from the plain literal teachings of the Lord. For He


expressly says He speaks to tliem in parables : and that,
" Without a parable spake He not unto them." By this
we learn that the plain literal events, recorded in the
"Word, even where they occurred precisely as stated, are
all parables ; that is, they all contain a hidden meaning
higher than the literal sense.

Now, a literal event of which we read in the Word,
may have occurred as recorded, or it may not. It is a
parable in either case ; and conveys true spiritual instruc-
tion by correspondence. And so a command may be in-
tended to be obeyed naturally, or it may not. If it sim-
ply says, " Thou shalt not kill, steal, or lie," the literal
sense is, Thou shalt not do it in outward act of the body.
But the spiritual sense is, that thou shalt not do it in will,
intention, thought, or desire. And both of these senses
should be understood and obeyed.

So, when the Lord says that unless we eat His flesh
and drink His blood we have no life in us, there are also
two senses ; but both of these senses cannot be obeyed.
This scripture only teaches that we must appropriate to
our souls the goods and truths of the Word, to which the
flesh and blood correspond. The words ' flesh and blood '
give the natural ideas, through which we reach the spir-
itual. We can have no idea or thought of goodness and
truth as abstract principles, until, by correspondence, we
can see them as real spiritual substances that can be ap-
propriated to our souls.

Thus, all Holy Scripture is applicable to human life,
and is profitable for doctrine and instruction in righteous-
ness. And, when we come to parts of the Word, which
seem to us to present no practical instruction, and are
mysterious, we should set it down, as a matter of course,
that its essential meaning and use to us are in the internal


sense. And, in looking for the spiritual sense, we must
always look into the human mind. "We must not lose
sight of the fact, that the spiritual sense of the "Word is
mental completely and in toto mental. And that, in
looking through the literal sense, we look into the world
of mind. Then, when we come to a passage of Scripture
from the letter of which we cannot draw any instruction
of practical use, we must remember that the Almighty
God has spoken it : and though the literal sense, which is
in man's language, appear unimportant, yet the spiritual
sense, which is in God's language, must contain matter
of the highest importance and benefit to man.

Then let us approach its illustration with that rever-
ence due to the "Word of the Most High God, feeling that
it is addressed to each of us individually ; and that, to
find its highest use to us, we must look through the letter
into our own minds; remembering that every circum-
stance or thing mentioned in the "Word corresponds to
some principle or movement in the "human soul, or in
God. For we see no possibility of any person's having
true ideas of the Lord, either in this world or the other,
but from the Holy "Word. We regard the Word of God
as the only true medium between our Heavenly Father
and man, whereby we can know the Lord, because He is
the Word. It is therefore the only light by which the
understanding can form any correct thoughts of Him.
For the Word of God is the- Light and Life of heaven ;
therefore, without it the angels could neither see nor
speak. And while God- is the very Life of the natural
universe, and all things, more or less, speak His Word
either in direct or in inverted accents, yet it is seen there
only in appearances, and fallen man could never know


his God without a revealed, written, or spoken Word,
from the Lord Himself.

But it is asked if angels cannot teach man divine
truths. Good angels must know the "Word, and must use
their efforts to infuse the spirit of that Word into man, by
inclining him to open his heart to the Lord, and His
Word, for that Spirit. But they surely would not under-
take to teach man divine things, except from the Word.
For they must know well their own weakness, and their
entire dependence upon that Word for all true thoughts
and right feelings. Therefore, could we now meet them
face to face, and ask them for divine wisdom and instruc-
tion, they would doubtless direct us to the written Word,
and to the power of the Lord Jesus Christ therein given.
For they would of course say, as did father Abraham to
the spirit of the rich man who wanted a messenger sent
back to this world to warn his brethren to prepare for
heaven, " They have Moses and the prophets ; let them
hear them." And it is a solemn truth, that if men hear
not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be per-
suaded, though one should rise from the dead. - The rea-
son is, the Holy Word is a nearer and better medium of
life to man than any angel can* possibly be. For it is
infinite in varieties, and is adapted to every possible state
and condition of man, either in this world or the other.
Its Spirit and Life are infinite, rational, affectionate, and
powerful, knowing and feeling for the wants of all, and
how best to reach them. Through the Word, the Lord
has an immediate connection with men, much stronger
than He can have through angels. For, as the Lord's
words are spirit and life, so, when men drink them into
their souls from that Fountain, the truths come more
pure and refreshing than through any human mediums.


Now, without truth from the Word, men cannot, in
any way, converse with each other rationally about the
Lord, nor express any proper thoughts or ideas concern-
ing Him. And, at this age, it requires the spiritual
truths of the Word to remove the clouds, which the tra-
ditions of men have thrown around the plain literal
sense. This spiritual truth opens the Prophecies, so that
we can look understandingly back, and see the true pro-
cess of their fulfilment. And, by the Law of Analogy, we
can also look forward and behold something of the order
in which they are to be spiritually fulfilled. The Lord
has not yet come the first time, to those who receive not
the literal truths of the gospel ; nor has He come the sec-
ond time, to those who receive not the spiritual truths.
And we cannot better introduce the reader to the confi-
dence we feel in the spiritual sense of the Word, and to
the high ground which the Word Itself will take, in Its
Own defence, in the following chapters, than by a quo-
tation from our " Lectures on the Symbolic Character of
the Sacred Scriptures," just published by D. Appleton
& Co., New York.

" All truths are eternal verities. They are ever and
unchangeably the same: About them, when seen, men
do not differ. It is about falsehoods, and where truths
are not seen, that the intellectual world is contending.

" The doctrines of the Word, when seen in the light
of correspondence, become themselves the indisputable
evidence of their own truth : for correspondence is a lan-
guage. It may well be denominated the language ; for it
is the sure language of Jehovah. It is, therefore, a living
language. It is the only language that has spirit and
life. It is a universal language : the language in which
not only the Holy Word, but universal nature, with her


ten thousand tongues, is speaking to us. Does any one
doubt the existence of such a language ? Let him learn
to read it. No one who has ever learned it has any such
doubts. Does he say no one ever has learned it ? How
does he know that ? Thousands of persons, entitled to
respect, say they have studied it, and find it to be a most
sure and certain language. Where, then, rests the weight
of evidence ? Who is the best judge of a book, he that
has read it, or he that has not ?

" By this science, the Sacred Scripture is convincingly
proved to be the Word of the Infinite Jehovah. All its
parts thereby blend into harmony. The darkest and
most obscure passages are opened and explained, and the
simplest portions are filled with profound wisdom. Every
passage is, indeed, seen to be " Profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in right-
eousness," according to the apostle's declaration. But,
without this science, has any one found it to be so ? If
the Bible was given by God to man to teach him some-
thing, was it not intended to be understood 3 Has God
endowed man with reason, addressed him as a reasonable
being, said to him, " Come now, and let us reason togeth-
er," given him His Word as a rule of life, to show him
what he must do and what he must not ; and, at the
same time, interspersed throughout that Word thousands
of things which he can never understand, and which are
of no use to him ? JSTot so. Infinite Wisdom has not so
indefinitely expressed Himself that He cannot be under-

" The difficulty is with man. He, by a false and evil
life, has lost the pure Language of Analogy in which
God speaks. But, by the Divine Mercy of the Lord, that
language is again restored. That sublime Key to the in-


exhaustible Treasury of intellectual "Wealth, contained in
the Word and Works of God, is now mercifully made
known. The great Seminary of scientific wisdom has be-
come accessible to man. For this divine Key not only
unlocks God's Book of Eevelation, but also, at the same
time, His Book of Nature. And as we are thereby con-
ducted within the veil of the letter of the Word, and per-
mitted to feast upon the pure bread and water of life, and
to admire the glory and beauty of that divine Sanctuary,
so we have, also, a passport within the veil of universal
Nature, where we find enthroned pure spiritual Philoso-
phy, expounding the invisible relations which unite heav-
en and earth ; elucidating those otherwise incomprehen-
sible affinities which exist between life and matter, God
and Nature, the mind and the brain, the soul and the
body. In passing this veil we enter the School of all
schools, look up to the Teacher of all teachers, and study
the Science of all sciences. The books we read are the
Books of all books the book of Nature and the book of
Eevelation. They are both published by the same Au-
thor illustrate the same principles, and lead to the same
conclusions. Both books are necessary to the prop'er
study of either. All the objects in nature are so many
true indices, pointing to the history of their creation and
the cause of their existence ; and referring us for informa-
tion to the written Word, to which they are the Grand
Concordance. At such a seminary, with such books, and
such a Teacher, we may obtain heavenly wisdom and
feast on angels' food.

" But, it is asked, what is the strongest and most con-
clusive evidence which we have to offer in proof of the
truth and certainty of this new science? We answer
that no evidence can be sufficiently clear and full to sat-


isfy a mind that will not look at it, or that has no taste
nor desire for things beyond the gift of this world. But,
if even such a person were entirely unacquainted with
the Chinese language, and should remove to China, and
there learn to speak and write that language y so as to
read their books and understand them, and should find
that they contained a rational and consecutive chain
of ideas and history of events, he would certainly be
convinced that they had a language, and that he had
learned it. It is precisely so with the language of
analogy. It must^be examined, and learned, and tested
by reading analogical language before it can be under-

" Now, let that same man come to the Sacred Scrip-

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Online LibraryAbiel SilverThe Holy Word in its own defence : addressed to Bishop Colenso and all other earnest seekers after truth → online text (page 1 of 22)