(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 339

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339. Men ought to believe, that is, have faith, in God the Savior Jesus Christ, because that is a faith in a visible God within whom is the invisible; and faith in a visible God, who is at once Man and God, enters into a man; for faith in its essence is spiritual but in its form is natural; consequently with man such a faith becomes spiritual-natural. For anything spiritual, in order to be anything with man, must have a recipient in the natural. The naked spiritual does indeed enter into man, but it is not received; it is like the ether, which flows in and out producing no effect, for to produce an effect there must be perception and consequent reception, both of these in his mind; and no such reception is possible with man except in his natural. But on the other hand merely natural faith, or faith destitute of a spiritual essence, is not faith, but only persuasion or knowledge. In externals persuasion emulates faith; but since there is in its internals no spirituality, neither is there anything saving in it. Such is the faith of all who deny the Divinity of the Lord's Human; such was the Arian faith, and such also is the Socinian faith, because both reject the Lord's Divinity. What is faith without an object toward which it is determined? Is it not like gazing into the universe, where the sight falls, as it were, into vacuity and is lost? It is like a bird flying beyond the atmosphere into the ether, where, as in a vacuum, it ceases to breathe. The abiding of this faith in man's mind may be compared to that of the winds in the wings [halls?] of Aeolus, or of light in a falling star. It rises like a comet with a long tail, and like it passes over and disappears. [2] In a word, faith in an invisible God is actually blind, since the human mind fails to see its God; and the light of that faith, not being a spiritual-natural faith, is a fatuous light; which light is like that of the glow-worm, or like that seen above marshes or sulphurous glebes at night, or like the phosphorescence of rotten wood. From that light nothing comes except what pertains to fantasy, which creates a belief that the apparent is the real, when yet it is not. Faith in an invisible God shines with no other light than this, especially when God is thought to be a Spirit, and spirit is thought to be like ether. What follows but that man regards God as he does the ether? Consequently he seeks God in the universe; and when he does not find Him there, he believes the nature of the universe to be God. This is the origin of the prevailing naturalism of the day. Did not the Lord say,
That no one ever heard the Father's voice or saw His shape? (John 5:37);
and also,
That no man hath seen God at any time, but that the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father hath revealed Him (John 1:18).
No man hath seen the Father, save He who is with the Father, He hath seen the Father (John 6:46).
Also that no one cometh unto the Father, but through Him (John 14:8).
That He who sees and knows Him sees and knows the Father (John 14:7-12).
[3] But faith in the Lord God the Savior is different; He, being God and Man, can be approached and be seen in thought. Faith in Him is not indeterminate, but has an object from which and to which it proceeds and when once received is permanent, as when anyone has seen an emperor or king, as often as the fact is recalled the image returns. That faith's sight is like one's seeing a bright cloud, and in the midst of it an angel who invites the man to him, so that he may be raised up into heaven. Thus does the Lord appear to those who have faith in Him; He draws near to every man so far as man recognizes and acknowledges Him, which he does, so far as he knows and keeps the Lord's commandments, which are, to shun evils and do good; and at length the Lord comes into man's house, and together with the Father who is in Him, makes His abode with man, according to these words in John:
Jesus said, He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him (14:21, 23).
The foregoing was written in the presence of the Lord's twelve apostles, who were sent to me by the Lord while I was writing it.


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