161. Third Memorable Relation:
In the spiritual world I once heard a noise like that of a mill; it was in the northern quarter. At first I wondered what It was: but I called to mind that the meaning of a mill and of grinding is to seek from the Word what is serviceable for doctrine. I therefore went towards the place where the noise was heard, and when I came near it stopped; and I then saw a sort of arched roof above the ground, to which there was an entrance through a cavern; seeing which I descended, and entered.
And behold, there was a room in which I saw an old man sitting among books, holding the Word before him and searching out from it what would be serviceable for his doctrine. Pieces of paper were lying around, on which he had written whatever he could use. In an adjoining room were copyists who were collecting the papers and copying what was written on them on a full-sized sheet. I first asked him about the books around him.
He said that they all treated of Justifying Faith; those from Sweden and Denmark profoundly; those from Germany more profoundly; those from Britain still more so; and most profoundly of all the ones from Holland. And he added that on several points they differed; but in the article on justification and salvation by faith alone they all agreed. He afterwards said that he was then collecting from the Word this first principle of justifying faith, that God the Father ceased to be gracious towards the human race on account of its iniquities, and it was therefore a Divine necessity for man's salvation that satisfaction, reconciliation, propitiation, and mediation should be effected by some one who would take upon himself the damnation enjoined by justice; and that this could never have been done except by His only Son; but having once been done there was a way of approach open to God the Father for the Son's sake; for we pray, "Father, be merciful to us for the sake of Thy Son." And he said, "I see and have seen, that this is in accordance with all reason and Scripture. By what other way than by faith in the merits of could God the Father be approached?"
 I listened to this, and was amazed that he should declare it to be in accord with reason and Scripture, when yet it is contrary to both, and this I plainly told him.
In the heat of his zeal he then rejoined, "How can you say that?"
Therefore I opened my mind to him, saying, "Is it not contrary to reason to think that God the Father failed of grace towards the human race, and rejected and excommunicated it? Is not Divine grace an attribute of the Divine essence? Wherefore failing of grace would be failing of Divine essence; and failing of His Divine essence would be to be no longer God. Is it possible for God to be alienated from Himself? Believe me, as grace on God's part is infinite, so it is also eternal. On men's part God's grace may be lost if man does not accept it [but never on God's part]. But if grace were to depart from God there would be an end to the whole heaven and the whole human race. Wherefore on God's part grace endures forever, not only towards angels and men, but even towards the devils in hell. Since this accords with reason, why do you say that the only access to God the Father is through faith in the merits of the Son, when yet there is perpetually an access to Him through grace?  But why do you say, access to God the Father for the sake of the Son, instead of through the Son? Is not the Son the Mediator and Savior? Why do you not go to the Mediator and Savior Himself Is He not both God and Man? On earth who goes directly to an emperor, king, or prince? Must there not be some one to procure admission and introduce him? Do you not know that the Lord came into the world that He might introduce men to the Father, and that only through Him is there any access to the Father; while this access is perpetual when you go directly to the Lord Himself, since He is in the Father and the Father in Him? Search now in Scripture, and you will see that this is in accordance with Scripture, while your way to the Father is contrary to Scripture as it is contrary to reason. I tell you, moreover, it is a presumption to climb up thus to God the Father, and not through Him who is in the bosom of the Father, and who alone is present with the Father. Have you not read John 14:6?"
Hearing this, the old man became so angry that he sprang from his seat and shouted to his copyists to put me out; and when I had gone out immediately of my own accord, he threw after me out of the door a book that he happened to lay hand upon, and that book was the Word.