22. That God is the Itself, the Only, and the First, which is called Esse and Existere in Itself, the source of all that has being and existence, the natural man is wholly unable to discover by his own reason; for by his own reason the natural man can apprehend only what belongs to nature, since that agrees with the essential nature of his reason, because from his infancy and childhood nothing else had entered into his reason. But because man was so created as to be spiritual as well as natural, since he is to continue to live after death, and then to live among those who are spiritual in their world, God has provided the Word-in which He has revealed not only Himself but also that there is a heaven and a hell, and that in one or the other of these every man is to live to eternity, in accordance both with his life and his faith. Moreover, God has revealed in the Word that He is the I Am or Esse and the Itself and Only, which in itself Is, and thus the First or Beginning, the source of all things.
 By this revelation the natural man is enabled to raise himself above nature, thus above himself, and to see such things as pertain to God, yet only as if at a distance, although God is nigh to every man, for in His essence He is in man; and being in man He is very nigh to those who love Him; and those love Him who live according to His commandments and believe in Him; these as it were see Him. What is faith but to see spiritually that God is? And what is a life according to His commandments but an acknowledgment in act that from Him are salvation and eternal life? But those whose faith is not spiritual but natural, which is mere knowledge, and whose life is therefore natural, do indeed see God, but from afar off, and this only when they speak of Him. The difference between these two classes is like the difference between those who stand in a clear light and see men near by and touch them, and those who stand in a thick mist in which they are unable to distinguish between men and trees or stones.  Or it is like the difference between men on a high mountain on which there is a city, who are going about there having interaction with their fellow townsmen, and men looking down from the top of that mountain who are unable to tell whether the objects they see below are people, beasts, or statues. Or it is like the difference between men standing upon some planet and seeing those about them, and men on another planet looking at these through telescopes, and saying that they see people there, when in fact they see nothing but a most general outline of the land as lunar brightness, and the watery parts as spots. Such is the difference in seeing God and the Divine things in the mind that go forth from Him, between those who are both in faith and in a life of charity, and those who merely know about faith and charity; and such consequently is the difference between natural and spiritual men. But those who deny the Divine holiness of the Word, and yet carry their religion about as in a sack upon the back, do not see God at all, but only utter the word "God," almost like parrots.