(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 464

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464. (i) "The doctors of the Augsburg Confession assert, that owing to the fall of our first parents, man is so thoroughly corrupt, that in spiritual matters, which have regard to our conversion and salvation, he is by nature blind, and neither understands nor is able to understand the Word of God when preached, but regards it as a foolish thing, and never of himself draws nigh unto God; but is rather an enemy of God, and so remains until by the power of the Holy Spirit, operative through the Word preached and heard, out of pure grace, without any co-operation on his part he is converted, gifted with faith, regenerated and renewed" (page 665).
[2] (ii) "We believe that in spiritual and Divine things, the understanding, heart, and will of the man who has not been born again, are wholly unable, by his own natural powers, to understand, believe, embrace, think, will, begin, finish, act, operate or co-operate; but that as to good he is utterly corrupt and dead, so that in his nature since the fall, before his regeneration, there does not remain the least spark of spiritual power by which he can prepare himself for the grace of God, or grasp it when offered, or adapt himself to it, and of himself be capable of receiving it. Neither can he by his own powers contribute in any way to his own conversion, either in the whole or the half or the smallest part, or act, operate, or co-operate from himself, or as if from himself; but he is a servant of sin and a slave to Satan, by whom he is moved. Consequently his natural freedom of choice, by reason of his corrupted powers and his depraved nature, is active and efficient only in those things that are displeasing to God and opposed to Him" (page 656).
[3] (iii) "In civil and natural matters man is diligent and intelligent, but in spiritual and Divine matters, which look to the soul's salvation, he is like a stock or a stone, or like the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was turned, which have not the use of eyes or mouth or any of the senses" (page 661).
[4] (iv) "Man, however, has the power of locomotion, or of controlling his external members, also the ability to hear the Gospel, and in some measure meditate on it; and yet in his secret thoughts he despises it as a foolish thing, and is unable to believe it; and in this respect he is worse than a stock, unless the Holy Spirit is efficacious in him, enkindling and producing in him faith and other virtues pleasing to God, and also obedience" (page 662).
[5] (v) "In one sense it may be said that man is not a stone or a stock. A stone or a stock does not resist, neither does it understand or feel what takes place in itself, as man by his will resists God until he has been converted to God. So it is true that before conversion man is a rational creature, endowed with understanding, get not in Divine things; and with a will, yet not such as wills any saving good. Nevertheless, he is unable to contribute anything to his own salvation, and in this respect is worse than a stock or a stone" (pages 672, 673).
[6] (vi) "The whole of conversion is the operation, gift, and work of the Holy Spirit alone, who effects and operates it by his own virtue and power through the Word, in the understanding, heart, and will of man as in a passive subject, where the man does nothing, but is purely passive. Nevertheless, this is not done in the same way as a statue is formed from stone, or a seal is impressed upon wax, since the wax has neither knowledge nor will" (page 681).
[7] (vii) "According to the sayings of some of the fathers and later doctors, 'God draws only the willing;' therefore in conversion man's will does something. But this statement is not conformable to sound doctrine, for it confirms a false opinion respecting the powers of human choice in conversion" (page 582).
[8] (viii) "In external worldly affairs, which are subject to reason, there is still left to man some share of understanding, ability, and faculty; although these wretched remnants are exceedingly feeble; and moreover, insignificant as they are, they are so poisoned and contaminated by hereditary disease, that in the sight of God they are worthless" (page 641):
[9] (ix) "In conversion, whereby from being a child of wrath man becomes a child of grace, he does not co-operate with the Holy Spirit, since his conversion is the work exclusively and wholly of the spirit" (pages 219, 579 and following; 663 and following; Appendix, page 143). "Nevertheless, the man who is born anew through the power of the Holy Spirit may co-operate, although much infirmity accompanies his co-operation; and he works well so far and so long as he is led, ruled, and guided by the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, he does not cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the same way as two horses together draw a carriage" (page 674).
[10] (x) "Original sin is not some wrong that is actually perpetrated, but it is inmostly inherent and fixed in man's nature, substance and essence. It is the fountain of all actual sins, such as depraved thoughts and conversation, and evil deeds" (page 577). "This hereditary disease, by which man's whole nature has been corrupted, is a horrible sin, and is indeed the beginning and head of all sins, from which as a source and fountain all transgressions flow forth" (page 640). "By this sin, as if by a spiritual leprosy, even throughout the inmost parts and deepest recesses of the heart, all of man's nature is in the sight of God wholly infected and corrupted; and on account of this corruption the person of man is by the law of God accused and damned, so that we are by nature children of wrath and bondsmen of death and damnation, unless by the gift of Christ's merit we are delivered and preserved from these evils" (page 639). "For this reason there is a total want or deprivation of the original righteousness or image of God created in connection with man in Paradise, and this is the source of the impotence, folly, and stupidity which render man utterly incompetent in all Divine and spiritual things. In the place of the lost image of God in man, there is the inmost, vilest, deepest inscrutable, and ineffable corruption of his whole nature and of all his powers (especially of the higher and chief faculties of the soul), in mind, understanding, heart, and will" (page 640).


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