False Revelations Of The Unseen -- By: H. W. Parker
BSac 44:175 (July 1887) p. 512
False Revelations Of The Unseen
The false exhibits its nature when placed beside the true, and the true shines forth in the contrast. The triviality of spurious disclosures of the unseen world has been remarked; the comparative silence of the Bible on the subject has been a matter of comment. But we may find untrodden ground, and a fresh argument for that inspired volume, by passing in rapid review some of the pseudo-revelations of various dates and both hemispheres. We shall find a singular family likeness in them; and the features are not only triviality, luxurious imagery, more or less of Munchausen exaggeration, and in general an effort to humor curiosity by a display of over-wise information, but also an assumption of much exact knowledge, even to the extreme of abundant and precise arithmetical statement. For this article, the available sources are the Talmud (epitomized in Blackwood, 1832–33), the apocryphal Gospels, and writings of Mohammed, Swedenborg, the Shakers, Mormons, and Spiritists.
It will be shown that these teachings are in extreme contrast with the Holy Scriptures—as extreme as that of the Bible cosmogony with the fantastic myths of the creation that alone are found in other ancient records. How is it that this one book is so strange an exception? How is it that the New Testament is a lofty exception to the writings, claiming high authority, that were composed in the same age, in the same region, even by men of the same nation? The truth is, uninspired man, assuming to put forth celestial revelations, can never, in any age, resist the temptation to tell
BSac 44:175 (July 1887) p. 513
all about heaven and hell, and make a vain show of the knowledge. Every such delusion or imposture descends to the most trifling, if not absurd, details—is very particular in letting us know the place, number, size, and shape of the invisible worlds and their inhabitants, and is self-complacent in this display of minute information on so occult a subject.
First, the rabbinical Scriptures—a mass of traditions, mostly reduced to writing or collected in the first three centuries of the Christian era, and claimed to be of more value than even the books of Moses. The traditions contain much that is as sublime as Milton, or as wild and beautiful as the Arabian Nights, but much also that illustrates the vast difference between man’s invention and God’s word. They tell us, exactly, that there are seven heavens and seven hells. The heavens are each twelve times ten thousand miles square. The materials, furniture, and occupants of each are described; for example, in the fifth heaven or house, where Elijah dwells, are couches of scarlet and blue, woven by Eve herself. At the gates of paradise stand ...
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