(TCR) - True Christian Religion: Containing the Whole Theology of the New Church Predicted by the Lord in Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 21:1-2

TCR 226

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226. (1) Without doctrine the Word is not understood. This is because the Word in the sense of the letter consists purely of correspondences, in order that it may at the same time include things spiritual and celestial, and each word may be a container and support of these. For this reason, in the sense of the letter Divine truths are rarely naked truths, but are truths clothed; and these are called appearances of truth, many of which are adapted to the understanding of the simple, who do not raise their thoughts above such things as they see before their eyes; others appear like contradictions, although when the Word is viewed in its spiritual light, there is no contradiction to be found in it; furthermore, in some portions of the prophets there are collections of the names of places and persons from which no sense can be elicited. As the Word is such in the sense of the letter it is clear that it cannot be understood without doctrine. [2] This may be illustrated by examples. It is said,
That Jehovah repents (Exod. 32:12, 14; Jonah 3:9, 4:2).
It is also said,
That Jehovah does not repent (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29).
Without doctrine these statements cannot be harmonized. It is said,
That Jehovah visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons unto the third and fourth generation (Num. 14:18).
It is also said:
That the father shall not be put to death for the son, neither shall the son be put to death for the father; but everyone for his own sin (Deut. 24:16).
In the light of doctrine these statements do not conflict, but agree. [3] Jesus said:
Ask, and it shall he given you; seek, and ye shall find; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened (Matt. 7:7, 8; 21:21, 22).
Without doctrine it might be supposed that everyone is to receive whatever he asks; but from doctrine it is known that when man's asking is from the Lord whatever he asks is given him; and this the Lord also teaches:
If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you (John 15:7).
[4] The Lord says:
Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20).
Without doctrine this might be thought to teach that heaven is for the poor, and not for the rich; but doctrine teaches that the poor in spirit are meant; for the Lord says:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:3).
[5] Again, the Lord says:
Judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged (Matt. 7:1, 2; Luke 6:37).
Without doctrine one might be led to conclude from this that he ought not to judge a wicked man to be wicked; but according to doctrine, it is lawful to judge, but justly, for the Lord says:
Judge righteous judgment (John 7:24).
[6] Jesus says:
Be not ye called teacher; for one is your Teacher, even Christ. And call no man your father on earth; for one is your Father, which is in the heavens. Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ (Matt. 23:8-10).
Without doctrine it would follow from this that no man ought to call another teacher or father or master; but from doctrine it is known that this is permissible in the natural sense, but not in the spiritual sense. [7] Jesus said to His disciples:
When the Son of Man shall sit upon the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28).
From these words one might conclude that the Lord's disciples are to judge, when in fact they are unable to judge anyone; and so this arcanum will be made clear by the doctrine that the Lord alone, who is omniscient and who knows the hearts of all, is to judge, and is able to judge, and that by His "twelve disciples" is meant the church in respect to all the truths and goods which it has from the Lord through the Word; thus doctrine shows that it is by these truths that everyone is to be judged, according to the Lord's words in John (3:17, 18; 12:47, 48). There are many other like statements in the Word, which make it evident that without doctrine the Word is not understood.


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