(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 16

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16. To this I will add the following Memorable Relation: I saw some who had recently come from the natural world into the spiritual world talking together about three Divine persons from eternity. They were dignitaries of the church, and one of them was a bishop.
They came up to me; and after some talk about the spiritual world, respecting which they had before known nothing, I said, "I heard you speaking of three Divine persons from eternity; I beseech you to disclose to me this great mystery according to the conception you had formed of it in the natural world from which you have lately come."
Then the bishop, looking at me, said, "I see that you are a layman, therefore I will set forth my ideas on this great mystery, and will instruct you. My conception of the matter was, and still is, that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit sit in the center of heaven upon magnificent and lofty seats or thrones-God the Father on a throne of pure gold, with a scepter in His hand; God the Son at His right hand on a throne of the purest silver, with a crown on His head; and God the Holy Spirit near them, on a throne of dazzling crystal, holding a dove in His hand; and that round about them in triple order are hanging lamps glittering with precious stones; while at a distance from this circle stand innumerable angels, all worshiping and singing praises; and furthermore, that God the Father is continually talking with His Son about those who are to be justified, and they together judge and determine who on earth are worthy to be received by them among the angels, and crowned with eternal life; while God the Holy Spirit, on hearing the names of such, hastens to them throughout the earth, carrying with Him gifts of righteousness as so many tokens of salvation for the justified; and the instant He approaches and breathes upon them He disperses their sins, as a ventilator drives the smoke from a furnace and makes it white. He also takes away the stony hardness of their hearts, and imparts the tenderness of flesh, and at the same time renews their spirits or minds, and regenerates them, giving them infantile faces; and finally He seals them in the forehead with the sign of the cross, and calls them 'the elect' and 'sons of God. '" Having finished this speech the bishop said, "Thus did I in the world elucidate this great mystery; and as most of our order there applauded my utterances, I am persuaded that you also, who are a layman, will assent to them. "
[2] When the bishop had ceased speaking I looked at him, and also at the dignitaries with him, and I noticed that they all gave full assent to what he had said. I therefore began to reply, and said, "I have given close attention to the statement of your belief, and from it I gather that you have conceived and cherish an idea of the triune God that is wholly natural, sensual, and even material, and that there inevitably follows from it the idea of three Gods. Is it not thinking sensually of God the Father to conceive of Him as seated on a throne with a scepter in His hand; and of the Son on His throne with a crown on His head; and of the Holy Spirit on His with a dove in His hand, and as hastening over the world in accordance with what He hears? And as such an idea results from your statements, I cannot assent to them; for from my childhood I have not been able to admit into my mind any other idea than that of one God; and since I have accepted and hold no other idea, all that you have said has no weight with me. I also saw that 'the throne' on which Jehovah is said in Scripture to sit means His kingdom, the 'scepter' and 'crown,' government and dominion; the 'sitting at the right hand,' God's omnipotence through His Humanity; also that by what is attributed to the Holy Spirit the operations of the Divine omnipresence are meant. Assume, sir, if you please, the idea of one God, and rightly dwell upon that in your reasonings, and you will at length clearly apprehend that this is so. [3] Furthermore, you admit that God is one, in that you make the essence of these three persons one and indivisible; while yet you do not allow anyone to say that this one God is one person, but he must say that there are three persons and this you do lest the idea of three Gods, such as you entertain, should be lost; also you ascribe to each person a property different from those of the others. In all this do you not divide your Divine essence? And this being so, how can you say and also think that God is one? I could excuse you if you had said that the Divine is one. How can anyone on hearing that 'The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and singly each person is God, ' possibly think of God as one? Is it not a contradiction, to which assent is utterly impossible? That they cannot be said to be one God, but only to have a like Divinity, may be thus illustrated. A number of men forming one senate, assembly, or council, cannot be called one man; although when each and all have the same opinion they may be said to be one in thought. Neither can three diamonds of the same substance be called one diamond; although they may be called one in substance. Moreover, each diamond would differ from the others in value according to its weight, which would not be true if they were one instead of three. [4] But I perceive the reason why three persons, each one of whom is by Himself singly God, are called by you one God, and why you enjoin upon everyone in the church so to speak, namely, because all sound and enlightened reason in the world acknowledges God to be one, and in consequence you would be covered with shame if you too did not speak in like manner. And yet when you utter the words 'one God' while in your thoughts there are three, that shame does not prevent your giving utterance to both of these ideas."
After this conversation the bishop with his clerical companions withdrew, and as he departed he turned and tried to say, "There is one God;" but he could not say it, because this thought restrained his tongue, and with open mouth he gasped out, "Three Gods!" At this strange sight the bystanders laughed derisively and departed.


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