(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 388

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388. Fourth Memorable Relation:
I have spoken with some of those who are meant in the Apocalypse by the "dragon," and one of them said, "Come with me, and I will show you the delights of our eyes and hearts."
And he led me through a gloomy forest and to the top of a hill, from which I could witness the delights of the dragonists, and I saw an amphitheater built in the form of a circus, with seats round about gradually rising from the front, on which the spectators were sitting. Those sitting upon the lowest seats appeared to me at a distance like satyrs and priapi, some having a slight covering over the parts that ought to be concealed, and others wholly naked. On the seats above these sat whoremongers and harlots; such they appeared to me from their gestures.
The dragonist then said to me, "Now you shall see our sport." And I saw, as it were, calves, rams, sheep, kids and lambs let into the arena of the circus; and when these had been let in, a door was opened, and in rushed, as it were, young lions, panthers, tigers, and wolves, which attacked the other animals with fury, tearing them and slaughtering them. After this bloody slaughter, the satyrs sprinkled sand over the place of the slaughter. [2] Then the dragonist said to me, "These are our sports, which delight our minds."
I answered, "Begone, demon! after a while you will see this amphitheater turned into a lake of fire and brimstone."
At this he laughed and went away. Afterward I was thinking to myself why such things are permitted by the Lord; and I received in my heart the answer that they are permitted so long as these spirits are in the world of spirits, but when their stay in that world is ended such theatrical scenes are turned into infernal horrors.
[3] All this that had been seen was induced by the dragonist by means of fantasies; thus there had been no calves, rams, sheep, kids, or lambs, but they caused the genuine goods and truths of the church, which they hated, to so appear. The lions, panthers, tigers, and wolves were appearances of the cupidities of those who seemed like satyrs and priapi. Those without a covering about the parts that ought to be concealed, were such as believed that evils do not appear in the sight of God; while those with a covering were such as believed that evils appear but do not damn provided they have faith. The whoremongers and harlots were falsifiers of the truths of the Word, for whoredom signifies the falsification of the truth. In the spiritual world all things appear at a distance in accordance with correspondence, and when they appear in forms they are called representations of spiritual things in objects resembling natural things.
[4] After this I saw them going out of the forest, the dragonist in the midst of the satyrs and priapi, and behind them their camp-followers, who were the whoremongers and harlots. The crowd increased on the way, and then I heard what they were saying to one another.
They said that they saw a flock of sheep with lambs in a meadow, and that this was a sign that one of the Jerusalemite cities, where charity is the chief thing, was not faraway. And they said, "Let us go and capture that city, and cast out its inhabitants, and plunder their goods."
They approached the city; but there was a wall around it, with angel guards upon the wall.
They then said, "Let us take it by stratagem. Let us send someone skilful in wily speaking, who can make black white and white black, and give to everything whatever color he chooses."
And they found one versed in the art of metaphysics, who was able to change ideas of things into ideas of terms, concerning the things themselves under formulas, and thus flying away with them like a hawk with its prey under its wings. He was instructed what to say to the citizens, that they were companions in religion, and that they wished to be admitted.
He went to the gate and knocked, and when it was opened he said that he wished to speak with the wisest man of the city. He entered and was conducted to a certain person, whom he addressed as follows: "My brethren are outside the city and beg to be admitted; they are companions with you in religion; with you we make faith and charity the two essentials of religion; the sole difference is that you say that charity is primary and from it comes faith, while we say that faith is primary and from it comes charity. What matters it which is called primary, so long as both are believed in?"
[5] The wise man of the city answered, "Let us not talk of this matter alone, but in the presence of others who may be arbiters and judges; otherwise we arrive at no decision." And at once some were summoned to whom the dragonist said the same things as before.
Then the wise citizen answered, "You have said that it is the same whether charity is assumed to be the first principle of the church, or faith, provided it is agreed that the two constitute the church and its religion. But there is a difference like that between the prior and the posterior, between cause and effect, the principal and the instrumental, the essential and the formal. I use these terms, because I notice that you are skilled in the art of metaphysics, an art that we call wily speaking [mussitatio] and some call sorcery. But let us drop the terms. The difference is like that between what is above and what is below; or, if you will believe it, it is even like the difference between the minds of those who dwell in the higher and those who dwell in the lower parts of this world. For what is primary constitutes the head and breast, and what is from that constitutes the feet and their soles. But let us see first whether we agree as to what charity is and what faith is, namely, that charity is an affection of the love of doing good to the neighbor for the sake of God, salvation and eternal life, and that faith is thought derived from trust respecting God, salvation and eternal life."
[6] The emissary replied, "I grant that this is faith, and I also grant that charity is an affection for doing this for God's sake, because He has commanded it, but not for the sake of salvation and eternal life."
After this agreement and disagreement the wise citizen said, "Is not the affection or the love primary, and is not thought derived therefrom?"
But the messenger of the Dragon said, "That I deny."
The other answered, "You cannot deny it. Does not man think from some love? Take away love, and can he think at all? It is precisely the same as taking away sound from speech. If you do that can you speak at all? The sound, moreover, belongs to some affection of the love, while speech belongs to thought, for it is the love that sounds and the thought that speaks. It is also like flame and light. If you take away the flame does not the light perish? It is the same with charity, because charity belongs to love, and with faith, because faith belongs to thought. Can you not thus comprehend that the primary is the all in the secondary, precisely like flame and light? From all this it is clear that if you do not make primary that which is primary, you are not in the other. Consequently, if you put faith, which belongs to the second place, in the first place, you will always appear in heaven like an inverted man with his feet upward and his head downward, or like a gymnast with inverted body walking on the palms of his hands. If such is your appearance in heaven, what kind of works are your good works, which are charity in act, except such as that gymnast might do with his feet, because he can not use his hands? Therefore your charity, being an inverted charity, is natural and not spiritual."
[7] This the emissary understood, for every devil can understand truth when he hears it, but he cannot retain it because affection for evil, which in itself is the lust of the flesh, banishes, when it returns, the thought of truth.
Then the wise citizen showed in various ways that faith when accepted as the primary is merely natural, a persuasion destitute of spiritual life, and consequently is not faith. And he added, "I might almost say that in your faith there is no more spirituality than in thought about the kingdom of the Great Mogul, about the diamond-mine there, and the treasury or court of that emperor."
When the dragonist heard this he went away angry and reported to his companions outside of the city; and when they heard that it had been said that charity is an affection of the love of doing good to the neighbor for the sake of salvation and eternal life, they all exclaimed, "It is a lie!" And the dragonist himself said, "Oh how outrageous! Are not all works that pertain to charity, and that are done for the sake of salvation, made worthy of merit?"
[8] Then they said to one another, "Let us call together still more of our people, and besiege this city and expel these charities."
But when they tried to do that, lo, there was an appearance of a fire out of heaven which consumed them. But the fire out of heaven was an appearance of their anger and hatred against those who were in the city, because they had cast faith down from the first place to the second, and even to the lowest place, beneath charity, since they had said that such faith is no faith.
They appeared to be consumed with fire, because a hell was opened under their feet, and they were swallowed up.
Similar things happened in many places at the time of the last judgment, which is also meant by the following in the Apocalypse:
The dragon shall go forth to lead astray the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, to gather them together to war. And they went up on the plain of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints, and the beloved city but fire came down from God out of heaven and consumed them (Apoc. 20:8, 9).


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