667. CHAPTER 12
I. WITHOUT A KNOWLEDGE OF THE SPIRITUAL SENSE OF THE WORD, NO ONE CAN KNOW WHAT THE TWO SACRAMENTS, BAPTISM AND THE HOLY SUPPER, INVOLVE AND EFFECT.
That there is a spiritual sense in each thing and everything of the Word, and that this sense hitherto has been unknown, but has now been disclosed for the sake of the New Church which is to be established by the Lord, has been shown in the chapter on the Sacred Scripture. The nature of that sense can be seen both in that chapter and in the chapter on the Decalogue, which is explained according to that sense. If that sense were not disclosed who could think of the two sacraments, baptism and the holy supper, except in accordance with the natural sense, that is, the sense of the letter? And in that case he would say or murmur to himself, "Is baptism anything but pouring water upon a child's head, and what has that to do with salvation? And is the holy supper anything but a partaking of bread and wine, and does it contribute anything to salvation? Moreover, where is the holiness in them, except from their having been commanded by the ecclesiastical order and accepted as holy and Divine?" And yet in themselves they are mere ceremonies, which, the churches assert, become sacraments when to these elements the Word of God is added. I appeal to the laity, and also to the clergy, whether in spirit and heart they have had any other conception of these two sacraments, and whether they have not cherished them as Divine from a variety of causes and reasons, and yet these two sacraments, viewed in the spiritual sense, are the holiest things of worship, as will appear hereafter when their uses come to be treated of. But it is impossible for the uses of these two sacraments to enter the mind of anyone, unless those uses are disclosed and set forth by the spiritual sense; therefore it follows that without that sense no one can know that the sacraments are anything more than ceremonies, which are holy because instituted by commandment.