(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 487

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487. I had thought that such senseless doctrine never could have been sanctioned by any Christian, much less have found utterance and a public promulgation; and yet this was done by many chosen men of the clergy at the Synod of Dort, in Holland, and the creed was afterward elegantly written and given to the public; and because of this and to remove my doubts, some of those who aided in framing the decrees of that synod were sent to me.
When they appeared standing near me, I said, "Who from any sound reason can reach the conclusion that predestination is true doctrine? Can it be that any but cruel ideas of God and shameful ideas of religion should flow from it? When anyone has engraved predestination on his heart by means of confirmations must he not think of all that pertains to the church as destitute of meaning, and the same of the Word? And must he not think of God, who has predestined to hell so many myriads of men, as a tyrant?" [2] At these remarks they looked at me with a satanic expression, and said, "We were among those chosen to form the Synod of Dort, and we then confirmed ourselves and have since continued to do so still more in many ideas respecting God, the Word, and religion, which we have not dared to make public; but when we have spoken on these subjects and taught them, we have twisted and woven a web of various colored threads, and over it strewed feathers borrowed from the wings of peacocks." But because they still wished to do the same, the angels, by power given them by the Lord, closed the externals of their minds and opened the internals, and from these they were compelled to speak. And then they said, "Our faith, which we have formed by conclusions, one following from another, was and still is as follows:
[3] (1) "That there is no Word of Jehovah God, but some windy afflatus from the mouths of the prophets. This we have thought, because the Word predestines all to heaven, and teaches that man alone is in fault if he does not walk in the ways that lead thither. (2) That religion exists because it is necessary; but it is like a strong wind bearing a fragrant odor for the vulgar; therefore that it ought to be taught by ministers, both small and great, and from the Word too, because the Word is accepted. This we have thought, because where there is predestination there religion is a nullity. (3) That the civil laws of justice are religion; but predestination is not determined by a life in accord with those laws, but by the pure good pleasure of God, as with a king in whose mere glance there is absolute power. (4) The all that the church teaches ought to be exploded as vanity, and rejected as rubbish, except that there is a God. (5) That spiritual things, which are so cried up, are nothing but ethereal substances beneath the sun, which induce upon man, if they penetrate deeply into him, vertigo and stupor, and make him a detestable monster in the sight of God." (6) When they were asked about faith (from which they deduced predestination), whether they believed it to be spiritual, they said that it was effected according to predestination, but when it is given men were like stocks. From this they are indeed vivified, but not spiritually.
[4] After these horrible sayings they wished to go away; but I said to them, "Wait a little longer, and I will read you something from Isaiah;" and I read the following:
Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of thee, because the rod that smiteth thee is broken; for out of the serpent's root hath gone forth a cockatrice, whose fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent (Isa. 14:29).
And this I explained by the spiritual sense, showing that "Philistia" means the church separate from charity; that the "cockatrice" that had gone forth from the serpent's root means its doctrine of three Gods and of imputative faith applied to each singly; and that its "fruit," which is a fiery flying serpent, means no imputation of good and evil, but immediate mercy, whether man lives well or ill.
[5] Hearing this, they said, "It may be so; but from that volume which you call the Holy Word select something on predestination." And I opened the book, and in the same Prophet I came upon the following passage, which suited the purpose:
They hatched viper's eggs and wove the spider's web; he that eateth of their eggs dieth: and when one is crushed it breaketh out into a viper (Isa. 59:5).
Hearing this, they could not endure the explanation; but some of those who had been sent to me (there were five) hurried away into a cave, round about which appeared a dusky burning, a sign that they had neither faith nor charity. Evidently, therefore, the decree of that synod respecting predestination is not only an insane but a cruel heresy; and ought, therefore, to be so rooted out from the brain that not a single vestige of it shall be left.


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