(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 623

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623. Third Memorable Relation:
I was once permitted to see three hundred of the clergy and laity together, all learned and erudite in that they knew how to confirm faith alone even to justification thereby, and some still further. And because they were in the belief that heaven is a mere matter of admission from grace, they were given leave to ascend into a heavenly society, which however was not among the higher ones. And when they ascended they appeared at a distance like calves. When they entered heaven they were received by the angels civilly, but while they were talking a trembling seized them, afterward a horror, and finally torture like that of death; then they cast themselves down headlong, and in their fall they appeared like dead horses. In their ascent they had appeared like calves, because a vigorous natural affection for seeing and knowing appears, on account of its correspondence, like a calf; but in their fall they appeared like dead horses because the understanding of truth appears, on account of its correspondence, like a horse, and a lack of understanding of truth pertaining to the church appears like a dead horse.
[2] There were boys below who saw them descending, and in their descent looking like dead horses; and they then turned their faces away and asked their teacher who was with them, "What monstrosity is this? We saw men, and now, instead of them we see dead horses; and not being able to look at them we turned away our faces. O Teacher, let us not stay in this place, let us go away." And they went away.
Then the teacher taught them on the way the meaning of a dead horse, saying, "A horse signifies the understanding of truth from the Word. This is the signification of all the horses you have seen; for when a man goes along meditating upon the Word, his meditation appears at a distance like a horse, noble and lively in proportion as he meditates spiritually, but on the other hand poor and lifeless as he meditates materially."
[3] Then the boys asked, "What is meditating spiritually and materially upon the Word?"
The teacher answered, "I will illustrate it by examples. When reading the Word in a reverent way, who does not think within himself about God, the neighbor and heaven? He who thinks of God from person only and not from essence thinks materially; and he who thinks of the neighbor from his outward form only, and not from quality, thinks materially; and he who thinks of heaven from place merely, and not from love and wisdom, from which heaven is heaven, also thinks materially."
[4] But the boys said, "We have thought of God from person, of the neighbor from form, that he is a man, and of heaven from place, that it is above us. Have we then when reading the Word appeared to anyone like dead horses?"
The teacher said, "No; you are still boys, and cannot think otherwise; but I have perceived in you an affection for knowing and understanding, and this being spiritual you have thought spiritually; for there is some spiritual thought latent within your material thought, although you are not aware of it. But I will return to what I said before, that he who thinks materially while reading the Word or meditating upon it, appears at a distance like a dead horse, while he who thinks spiritually appears like a living horse, and that he thinks materially of God who thinks of Him from person only and not from essence. For there are many attributes of the Divine Essence, as omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, eternity, love, wisdom, mercy, grace, and others; and there are attributes that go forth from the Divine Essence, namely, creation, preservation, redemption and salvation, enlightenment and instruction. Everyone who thinks of God from person makes three Gods, saying that the Creator and Preserver is one God, the Redeemer and Savior another, and the Enlightener and Instructor a third; while everyone who thinks of God from essence makes one God, saying, 'God created us, the same God redeemed and saves us, and He also enlightens and instructs.' This is why those Who think of the trinity of God from person, thus materially, must needs, out of the ideas of their thought which is material, make three Gods out of one. Nevertheless, in opposition to their thought, they are compelled to say that there is a union of these three by means of the essence, because they have also thought of God from essence, although, as it were, through a lattice.
[5] "Therefore, my scholars, think of God from essence, and from essence of person. For to think of essence from person is to think of essence also materially; while to think from essence of person is to think of person also spiritually. Because the ancient heathen thought materially of God and therefore of the attributes of God, they not only made three gods but more, even as many as a hundred; for out of every attribute they made a god. You must understand that the material does not enter into the spiritual, but the spiritual enters into the material. It is the same with thought respecting the neighbor from the outward form and not from his quality; as also with thought about heaven from place, and not from love and wisdom, from which heaven exists. It is the same with each and all things in the Word; therefore he who cherishes a material idea of God, as also of the neighbor and heaven, can understand nothing in the Word; it is to him a dead letter, and when reading it or meditating upon it he appears at a distance like a dead horse. [6] Those whom you saw descending from heaven, having become before your eyes like dead horses, were such as have closed up the rational sight in respect to the theological or spiritual matters of the church both in themselves and in others by their peculiar dogma that the understanding must be kept in obedience to their faith; not reflecting that an understanding closed up by religion is as blind as a mole, with nothing in it but thick darkness. And such darkness, in rejecting from itself all spiritual light, shuts out the influx of that light, from the Lord and heaven, and places before it a bar in the corporeal-sensual far beneath the rational in matters of faith, that is, it places it near the nose, and fixes it in its cartilage, so that afterward what is spiritual cannot even be smelled. Because of this some have become of such a nature that when they perceive the odor from spiritual things they fall into a swoon. By odor I mean perception. These are they who make God three. They say, indeed, that from essence God is one; and yet, when they pray according to their belief, which is, that God the Father will have mercy for the Son's sake and that He will send the Holy Spirit, they clearly make three Gods; and they cannot do otherwise; for they pray to one to be merciful for the sake of a second and to send a third."
Then their teacher taught them concerning the Lord that He is the one God, in whom is the Divine Trinity.


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