By E. B. Myers and Chandler.. Chicago:
THE author of this book assures us that it is in no sense a criticism of either of the two remarkable works which have lately agitated the religious and philosophical world ; that it is a reply neither to “ Ecce Deus” nor to “Ecce Homo,” but that its title is rather descriptive of the belief which inspired it, than indicative of a controversial purpose. Indeed, it is a notably calm and uncontroversial statement of the Swedenborgian idea of Christ’s life and character, and presents with great clearness and simplicity the doctrines of the very earnest sect to which its author belongs. The author fully accepts the fact of Swedenborg’s illumination, but the reader is only asked to consider the reasonableness of his philosophy, as applied to the elucidation of all Scriptural truth, and more particularly the acts and essence of Christ. The people of the New Church (as the followers of Swedenborg call themselves) affirm the divinity of Christ with an emphasis which excludes from the Godhead any other personality than his ; and it is in the light of this creed that Mr. Parsons regards his character, and discusses the facts of his birth, his sojourn in Egypt, his temptations, his death, the miracles, the parables, the supper, the Apostles. Naturally, the author has frequent recourse to that science of correspondences by which Swedenborg interprets Scripture, and so far there is an air of mysticism in his work ; but it is on the whole a most intelligible declaration of the main Swedenborgian ideas. As such, it must have an interest for all candid thinkers ; and it appears fortunately at this time, when the life of Swedenborg has been made the subject of fresh inquiry, as well as the Life which Swedenborg’s philosophy is here employed to illustrate.