(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 506

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506. "Fourth Memorable Relation:
There appeared in the spiritual world two flocks, one of goats and the other of sheep. I wondered who they were, as I knew that the animals seen in the spiritual world were not animals, but correspondences of the affections, and the thoughts therefrom, of those who are there. I therefore drew nearer, and as I approached, the animal forms vanished, and in place of them men were seen; and it became manifest that those who formed the flock of goats were such as had confirmed themselves in the doctrine of justification by faith alone, while those who made up the flock of sheep were those who believed that charity and faith are one, as good and truth are one.
[2] I then spoke with those who appeared as goats, and said, "Why are you thus gathered together?" Most of them were of the clerical order, who gloried in their reputation for learning, because they knew the mysteries of justification by faith alone.
They said that they had assembled to hold a council, because they had heard [that some were claiming] that Paul's saying,
That a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law (Rom. 3:28),
was not rightly understood, for by faith here [it was claimed] Paul did not mean the faith of the present church, which is a faith in three Divine persons from eternity, but faith in the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ; also that by "the deeds of the law," he did not mean the deeds of the law of the Decalogue, but the deeds of the Mosaic law, which were for the Jews; thus that by a wrong interpretation of those few words, two enormous falsities had been established, one, that Paul here meant the faith of the present church, and the other, that he meant the deeds of the law of the Decalogue. It is clearly evident [these claimed] that Paul meant the works of the Mosaic law, which were for the Jews, and not the works of the Decalogue, from what he said to Peter, whom he accused of Judaizing, although he knew
That no one is justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:14-16);
"the faith of Jesus Christ" meaning faith in Him and from Him (as may be seen above, n. 338). And because by "the deeds of the law" Paul meant the deeds of the Mosaic law, he distinguished between the law of faith and the law of works, and between the Jews and the Gentiles, or "circumcision" and "uncircumcision," "circumcision" signifying Judaism here as everywhere else. Moreover, Paul closes with these words:
Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? God forbid; but we establish the law (saying this in connection with the foregoing), (Rom. 3:27-31).
Likewise in the preceding chapter:
Not the hearers of a law shall be justified before God, but the doers of a law shall be justified (Rom. 2:13);
God will render to every man according to his deeds (Rom. 2:6);
and again:
For we must all be made manifest before the judgement-seat of Christ, that everyone may receive the things done through the body, whether it be good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10);
besides other passages in his writings. From all this it is clear that Paul rejected faith without works, just as James did (2:17-26).
[3] That Paul meant the deeds of the Mosaic law, which were for the Jews, these were still further convinced from the fact that all the statutes written for the Jews in uses are called "the law," thus, "the deeds of the law," as can be seen from the following:
This is the law of the meal offering (Lev. 6:14, 18 seq.).
This is the law for the burnt offering, for the meal offering, and for the sin offering, and for the guilt offering, and for the consecrations (Lev. 7:37).
This is the law of the beast and of the fowl (Lev. 11:46 seq.).
This is the law for her that beareth a son or a daughter (Lev. 12:7).
This is the law of leprosy (Lev. 13:59; 14:2, 32, 54, 57).
This is the law of him that hath an issue (Lev. 15:32).
This is the law of jealousy (Num. 5:29, 30).
This is the law of the Nazarite (Num. 6:13, 21).
This is the law of cleansing (Num. 19:14).
This is the law respecting the red heifer (Num. 19:2).
The law for the king (Deut. 17:15-19).
Indeed, the whole book of Moses is called "the book of the law," Deut. 31:9, 11, 12, 26; also in Luke 2:22; 24:44; John 1:45; 7:22, 23; 8:5.
[4] To this they have also added, that they saw in Paul that men should live according to the law of the Decalogue, and that the law is fulfilled by charity (Rom. 13:8-11); and that he also says:
That these are three, faith, hope, charity, and that the greatest of these is charity (1 Cor. 13:13),
not faith therefore. For these reasons they said that they had been assembled.
But lest I should disturb them I withdrew; and again they appeared at a distance like goats, and sometimes as if lying down, sometimes as if standing, but they turned away from the flock of sheep. They seemed to be lying down when they were deliberating, and to be standing when they had formed their conclusions.
But I kept my sight fixed on their horns; and I wondered that those in their foreheads seemed at one time to reach forward and upward, at another to bend backward towards their backs, and finally to turn entirely back. Just then they turned towards the flock of sheep, but still retained the appearance of goats. I therefore approached them again and asked, "what now?"
They said they had decided that faith alone produces the goods of charity, as a tree produces fruit.
Then thunder was heard, and lightning was seen overhead; and immediately an angel appeared standing between the two flocks; and he cried out to the flock of sheep, "Do not listen to them; they have not receded from their former faith, which is, that faith alone justifies and saves, and actual charity contributes nothing whatever thereto. Faith is not the tree, but man is the tree. But repent, and look to the Lord, and you will have faith. Before that, faith is not a faith that has anything living in it."
Then the goats, with their horns turned back, wished to approach the sheep. But the angel standing between them separated the sheep into two flocks; and he said to those on the left, "Join the goats; but I tell you that a wolf is coming, that will carry them off, and you along with them. "
[5] But when the two flocks of sheep had been separated, and those on the left had heard the threatening words of the angel, they looked at one another and said, "Let us speak to our former companions."
The left-hand flock then spoke to the right, saying, "Why did you desert our shepherds? Are not faith and charity one, as a tree and its fruit are one? For the tree through its branches is continued into the fruit. Tear from the branch that through which the tree by continuity flows into the fruit, will not the fruit perish, and with it all the seed of any tree to be reproduced from it? Ask our priests if it is not so."
They asked the priests, who looked round upon the rest, and these were winking at them to have them say that they had spoken rightly. And the priests then answered, "You have well said; but as to the continuation of faith into good works, like that of a tree into the fruit, we know many mysteries which must not be made known here. In the chain or thread of faith and charity there are many knots, which we priests only are able to untie. "
[6] Then one of the priests from among the sheep on the right arose and said, "They have told you that this is so, but they tell their own that it is not so, because they think differently."
Therefore they asked, "How then do they think? Do they not think as they teach?"
He answered, "No, they think that any good of charity, which is called a good work, that is done by man for the sake of salvation and eternal life, is not good in the least degree, for the reason that it is the man's wish to save himself by work that he does of himself, appropriating to himself the merit and righteousness of the one Savior; and they claim that it is so with every good work in which man is sensible of his own will. Therefore they assert that there is no conjunction whatever between faith and charity; and that faith is not even retained and preserved by good works."
[7] But those of the left flock said, "You tell lies about them. Do they not openly preach to us charity and the works of charity, which they call works of faith?"
He replied, "You do not understand their preaching; only a clergyman who may be present attends to it and understands it. They mean moral charity only, and its civil and political good works, those they call the works of faith, although they are nothing of the kind, for an atheist may do them in the same manner and under the same form. Therefore with one accord they declare that no one is saved by any works, but by faith only. But let this be illustrated by comparisons: An apple tree produces apples; but if a man does good for the sake of salvation, as the tree produces those apples by continuity, then such apples are inwardly rotten and full of worms. They also say that a vine produces grapes; but that if a man were to do spiritual good works as the vine produces grapes, he would produce wild grapes."
[8] Then they asked, "What is the nature of their goods of charity or works, which are the fruits of faith?"
He replied, "They regard them, perhaps, as something imperceptible, located somewhere near faith, but having no connection with it, being like the shadow that follows a man when he faces the sun, which shadow he does not notice unless he turns around; or I may say, they are like horses' tails, which are now cut off in many countries; for the people say, 'What is the use of them? They are good for nothing; if they remain on, they are quickly befouled."
Hearing this, one from the left flock said, indignantly, "There is certainly some conjunction; otherwise, how can they be called the works of faith? Perhaps the goods of charity are insinuated by God into man's voluntary works by some influx, as by some affection, aspiration, inspiration, incitement, or excitement of the will by tacit perception in thought and exhortation therefrom, by contrition and thus conscience, and the urging thereof, by obedience to the Decalogue and the Word, such as is rendered by a child or a wise man, or by some other similar means. Otherwise, how can they be called the fruits of faith?"
To this the priest replied, "Not so; and if they claim that anything is done by such means, they still in their sermons overload it with words which make out that such works are not from faith. Nevertheless, some teach such works, although as signs of faith, and not as the bonds connecting it with charity. And some have divined a conjunction by means of the Word."
Some then said, "Is not conjunction so effected?"
But he replied, "They do not think that; but only that it is effected by the hearing of the Word; for they maintain that everything of man's rationality and volition in matters of faith is impure and tainted with a sense of merit, since man in spiritual things is no more able to understand, will, operate, or co-operate, than a stock."
[9] But when one of them heard that man is believed to be such in all things pertaining to faith and salvation, he said, "I heard a man say, 'I have planted a vineyard; now I will drink wine until I am drunk.' But another asked him, 'Will you drink the wine from your own cup by your own right hand?' He answered, 'No; but from an unseen cup by an unseen hand.' And the other replied, 'You will certainly not get drunk.'"
Presently the same man said, "I pray you, listen to me; I advise you to drink wine from the Word understood. Do you not know that the Lord is the Word? Is not the Word from the Lord? Is He not in it therefore? Consequently, if you do good from the Word, are you not doing it from the Lord, from His lips and will? And if you then look to the Lord, He Himself will lead and teach you, and you will do that good of yourselves from the Lord. Who that does something at the word and mandate of a king, can say, 'This I do from my own word or mandate, and from my own will?'"
[10] He then turned toward the clergy, and said "Ministers of God, do not mislead the flock."
Hearing these remarks, the greater part of the flock on the left withdrew, and united with the flock on the right.
Then some of the clergy said, "We have heard what we never heard before; we are the shepherds; we will not leave the sheep." And they withdrew also; and they said, "This man spoke a true word. Who that acts from the Word, thus from the Lord, from his lips and will, can say, 'This I do from myself?' Who that acts from the word and will of a king can say, 'This I do from myself?' Now we behold the Divine Providence, why it is that a conjunction of faith and good works, acknowledged by an ecclesiastical society, has not been found. It could not he found, because it could not exist, for there has been no faith in the Lord, who is the Word, and therefore there has been no faith from the Word."
But the other priests, who belonged to the flock of goats, went away, waving their caps and shouting, "Faith alone! Long live faith alone!"


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