(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 162

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162. Fourth Memorable Relation:
A discussion arose among certain spirits, whether one can see any doctrinal truth of theology in the Word except from the Lord. They all agreed in this, that no one can except from God, because:
Man can receive nothing except it be given from heaven (John 3:27).
The discussion, therefore, was whether anyone can do this unless he go directly to the Lord.
On one side it was declared that the Lord must be approached directly, because He is the Word; and on the other that true doctrine may also be seen when God the Father is approached directly. The discussion therefore first turned to this point: Is it permissible for any Christian to approach God the Father directly, thereby climbing over the Lord; and is not this insolence and audacity unbecoming as well as rash, since the Lord says that:
No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6)?
But they left this point, and said that man can see true doctrine from the Word by his own natural light. This was rejected. Then they insisted that it could be seen by those who pray to God the Father; and something from the Word was read to them, and upon their knees they prayed God the Father to enlighten them; and they said of what had been read to them from the Word that it contained such and such truth; but it was falsity. This was repeated until it became tiresome; and at last they confessed that it could not be done.
But those on the other side who approached the Lord directly saw the truths, and communicated them to the others.
[2] When this discussion had been thus ended, certain spirits ascended from the abyss who at first looked like locusts, and afterwards like dwarfs. They were such as in the world had prayed to God the Father, and had confirmed themselves in the doctrine of justification by faith alone. They were the same as those treated of in Revelation (9:1-11). They said that they saw in clear light, and also from the Word that a man is justified by faith alone without the works of the law.
They were asked, "By what faith?" They answered, "By faith in God the Father." But when they had been examined they were told from heaven that they did not know a single doctrinal truth from the Word. They retorted that still they saw their own truths in light.
They were told that it was a fatuous light in which they saw them. They asked, "What is a fatuous light?" They were told that a fatuous light is the light of the confirmation of what is false, and that it corresponds to the light in which are owls and bats, to which darkness is light and light darkness. This was confirmed to them by the fact that when they looked up to heaven, the abode of light itself, they saw darkness; and when they looked down to the abyss from which they came they saw light.
[3] Nettled by this confirmation they said that light and darkness then are nothing, being a mere state of the eye, according to which light is said to be light and darkness to be darkness. But it was shown that their light was a fatuous light, which is the light of the confirmation of what is false, and that it was nothing but an activity of the mind, arising from the fire of their lusts, not unlike the light with cats, whose eyes at night in cellars, from their burning appetite for mice, look like candles.
Enraged at hearing this, they said they were not cats and were not like cats, for they could see if they wished to.
But fearing they might be asked why they did not wish to see, they withdrew, and let themselves down to their abyss. Those in that abyss and those like them are called by the angels owls and bats and also locusts.
[4] When they had reached their companions in the abyss, and had told them that the angels had said "that we know no doctrinal truth whatever, not a single one; and they called us owls, bats, and locusts," a tumult arose there. And they said, "Let us pray to God for permission to ascend, and we will show clearly that we have many doctrinal truths, which the archangels themselves will acknowledge." And because they prayed to God, permission was given them; and as many as three hundred of them ascended.
And when they appeared above the ground they said, "In the world we were men of celebrity and renown, because we knew and taught the mysteries of justification by faith alone; and from confirmations we not only saw light, but saw it as a glittering radiance, and we see it so still in our cells; and yet we have heard from our companions who were still with you that that light is not light but darkness, for the reason, as you say, that we have no doctrinal truth from the Word. We know that every truth of the Word shines, and we have believed that our radiance, when we meditated profoundly upon our mysteries, came from that source. We will therefore demonstrate to you that we have truths from the Word in abundance." And they said, "Have we not this truth, that there is a trinity, consisting of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and that men ought to believe in the trinity? Have we not this truth, that Christ is our Redeemer and Savior? Have we not this truth, that Christ alone is righteousness, and to Him alone belongs merit, and that any man who wishes to attribute to himself any of Christ's merit and righteousness is himself unrighteous and impious? Have we not this truth, that no mortal man is able of himself to do any spiritual good, but that from God is all good that is good in itself? Have we not this truth, that there are meritorious good and hypocritical good, and that such goods are evil? Have we not this truth, that good works ought nevertheless to be done? Have we not this truth, that there is such a thing as faith, and that men ought to believe in God, and that everyone has life according as he believes; besides many other truths from the Word? Which of you can deny a single one of these? And yet you declared that in our schools we have no truths at all, not even a single one. Have you not cast these charges against us ungraciously?"
[5] But they received this answer, "All these things that you have advanced are in themselves true; but with you they are truths falsified, which are falsities, because they are derived from a false principle. That this is so we will make clear to your sight. Not far from here is a place upon which the light of heaven falls directly, and in the center of it there is a table. Whenever any paper upon which some truth from the Word has been written is placed upon this table, the paper, because of the truth written upon it, shines like a star. Therefore write your truths on a paper, and let the paper be placed on the table, and you will see."
This they did, and gave the paper to a guard, who placed it on the table and said to them, "Stand back and look at the table."
They stood back and looked, and lo, the paper shone like a star.
Then the guards said, "You see that the things you have written on the paper are truths; but come nearer and fix your gaze upon it."
They did so, and suddenly the light vanished and the paper became black, as if covered with soot from a furnace.
The guard said further, "Touch the paper with your hands, but be careful not to touch the writing."
And when they did so a flame broke out and consumed the paper. When they had seen this they were told, "If you had touched the writing you would have heard an explosion and you would have burned your fingers."
Then those standing behind them said, "You now see that the truths which you abused to confirm the mysteries of your justification are truths in themselves, but that in you they are truths falsified."
Then they looked upward, and heaven appeared to them like blood, and presently like thick darkness; and in the eyes of the angelic spirits they appeared, some like bats, and some like owls, and some like horned owls; and they fled away into their own darkness, which to their eyes shone delusively.
[6] The angelic spirits who were present were astonished, for until then they had known nothing of that place or of the table there. And a voice then came to them from the southern quarter, saying, "Come hither, and you will see something still more wonderful."
And they went, and entered a chamber, the walls of which shone like gold, and there also they saw a table on which the Word lay, encircled with precious stones arranged in a heavenly form.
And the angel guard said, "When the Word is opened a light of ineffable brightness shines forth from it; and at the came time there is from the precious stones the appearance of a rainbow above and roundabout the Word. When an angel from the third heaven comes hither there appears above and around the Word a rainbow on a red ground; when an angel from the second heaven comes and looks, a rainbow on an azure ground appears; when an angel from the lowest heaven comes and looks, a rainbow on a white ground appears; when any good spirit comes and looks a variegation of light like marble appears." That this was so was also showed to them visibly.
The angel guard said further, "When anyone who has falsified the Word approaches, at first the splendor is dissipated, and then if he comes near and fixes his eyes on the Word, there arises an appearance of blood about it; and he is admonished to withdraw because there is danger."
[7] But a certain person who in the world had been a leading writer on the doctrine of justification by faith alone, came up boldly and said, "When I was in the world I did not falsify the Word. Together with faith I exalted charity and taught that a man in that state of faith in which he practices charity and its works is renewed, regenerated, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit; also that faith does not exist solitary, that is, separated from good works, as there can be no good tree without fruit, no sun without light, no fire without heat. I also rebuked those who said that good works are not necessary; and even obedience to the commandments of the Decalogue is not necessary; and I made repentance of great importance; and thus in wonderful manner applied everything in the Word to the subject of faith; and yet I made it clear and demonstrated that faith alone is saving."
Confident in this assertion that he had not falsified the Word, this man approached the table, and in spite of the warning of the angel he touched the Word; and suddenly out of the Word there went forth fire and smoke, and there was an explosion and a crash which hurled him to a corner of the room, where he lay like one dead for nearly an hour.
The angelic spirits were astonished at this; but they were told that although this leader had exalted more than others the goods of charity as proceeding from faith, yet he had meant nothing more than political social works, which are also called moral and civil, and which were to be done for the sake of the world and worldly prosperity, but by no means for the sake of salvation; also that he had assumed some hidden works of the Holy Spirit, of which man knows nothing, but which are generated in the act of faith in a state of faith.
[8] The angelic spirits then talked together about the falsification of the Word; and they agreed that falsifying the Word is taking truths therefrom and applying them to confirm falsities; whereby truths from the Word are dragged apart from it and slain; as for example, when any such truths as those quoted above by the spirits from the abyss are applied to the faith of the present day and are explained by that faith, which is impregnated with falsities, as will be shown hereafter; or, again, when one takes from the Word the truth that charity ought to be exercised, and that good ought to be done to the neighbor, and then adds confirmations to show that this ought to be done, but not for the sake of salvation (since no good done by man is good, because meritorious), he drags that truth from the Word apart from the Word, and slays it. For the Lord in His Word enjoins it on every man who wishes to be saved that he must love the neighbor, and from love do good to. So also with other truths.

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