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True Christian Religion, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1771], tr. by John C. Ager [1906] at

True Christian Religion


Believing in the Lord is not merely acknowledging Him but also doing His commandments; for simply acknowledging Him is solely a matter of thought, arising from somewhat of the understanding; but doing His commandments is also a matter of acknowledgment from the will. Man's mind consists of understanding and will; and as the understanding deals with thinking and the will with doing, so when man's acknowledgment is merely from the thought of the understanding he comes to the Lord with only half of his mind; but when there is doing he comes with all of it; and this is to believe. But on the other hand, man is able to divide his heart, and to force the outermost of his nature to soar aloft, the flesh in him meanwhile turning downward; thus he flies like an eagle between heaven and hell. And yet, the man himself does not follow his [upward] look, but the delight of his flesh; and this he does because he is in hell; therefore to hell he flies; and when he has there sacrificed to his voluptuous pleasures and poured out libations to demons, he puts on a countenance of merriment, and his eyes sparkle with fire, and so he feigns himself an angel of light. Such satans do those become after death who acknowledge the Lord but do not keep His commandments.


Under the preceding proposition it has been shown that the salvation and eternal life of men are the first and last end of the Lord; and as the first and last end contain within them the mediate ends, it follows that the above mentioned spiritual energies are together in the Lord, and from the Lord in man, although they come forth successively. For the human mind grows like its body, the latter growing in stature while the former grows in wisdom. So, too, is the mind exalted from one region to another, that is, from the natural to the spiritual, and from the spiritual to the celestial. In this celestial region man is wise, in the spiritual he is intelligent, and in the lowest knowing. But this exaltation of the mind is effected only from time to time, and as man acquires for himself truths and conjoins them with good. It is the same with one who builds a house; he first procures the materials for it, such as bricks, tiles, boards, and beams, and thus lays the foundations, raises the walls, divides off the rooms, furnishes them with doors, puts windows in the walls, and constructs stairs from one story to another. All these things are together in the end, which is the convenient and worthy dwelling he foresees and provides for. It is the same in the building of a church, every thing pertaining to its construction is included in the end, which is the worship of God. So is it with everything else, as with gardens and fields, and also with employments and business, for which the end itself procures for itself the accessories.


(5) The Lord operates of Himself from the Father, and not the reverse. To operate here means the same as sending the Holy Spirit, since the above mentioned operations (which, in general, are reformation, regeneration, renewal, vivification, sanctification, justification, purification from evils, and forgiveness of sins and salvation), which are at this day attributed to the Holy Spirit as a God by Himself, are operations of the Lord. That these are of the Lord from the Father and not the reverse, shall first be proved from the Word, and afterwards illustrated by various things that appeal to the reason. From the Word by the following passages: When the Comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that goes forth from the Father, He shall bear witness of Me (John 15:26). If I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go away I will send Him unto you (John 16:7). The Comforter, the Spirit of truth, shall not speak from Himself, but He shall take of Mine and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine; therefore said I that He shall take of Mine and shall declare it unto you (John 16:13-15). The Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:39). Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, Receive ye the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My name I will do it (John 14:13, 14). [2] From these passages it is very evident that the Lord sends the Holy Spirit, that is, effects those things which at this day are ascribed to the Holy Spirit as a God by Himself; for He says that "He will send the Comforter from the Father," that "He will send it to them," that "the Holy Spirit was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified;" and after the glorification He breathed on the disciples and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit;" also that He said, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do;" and that the Comforter "shall take of Mine what He is to declare." That the Comforter and the Holy Spirit are the same see John 14:26. That God the Father does not operate these energies of Himself through the Son, but that the Son operates them of Himself from the Father, is evident from the following: No one hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath brought Him forth to view (John 1:18). And elsewhere: Ye have neither heard the Father's voice at any time nor seen His form (John 5:37). [3] From all this it follows that God the Father operates in and into the Son, but not through the Son; also that the Lord operates of Himself from His Father; for He says: All things of the Father are Mine (John 16:15). The Father hath given all things into the hand of the Son (John 3:35). Again: As the Father hath life in Himself so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:26). And again: The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life (John 6:63). The Lord declares that the Spirit of truth goes forth from the Father (John 15:26), because it goes forth from God the Father into the Son, and out of the Son from the Father. Therefore He also says: In that day ye shall know that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father, and ye in Me and I in you (John 14:11, 20). From these plain declarations of the Lord an error of the Christian world is clearly manifest, namely, that God the Father sends the Holy Spirit to man; also the error of the Greek Church, which is, that God the Father sends the Holy Spirit directly. The truth that the Lord of Himself from God the Father sends the Holy Spirit, and not the reverse, is from heaven. The angels call this an arcanum because it has not before been disclosed to the world.


All this may be made clear by various rational considerations; as for example, it is known that when the Apostles had received from the Lord the gift of the Holy Spirit they preached the gospel through a great part of the world, promulgating it both by speech and by writing; and this they did of themselves from the Lord. For Peter taught and wrote in one manner, James in another, John in another, and Paul in another, each according to his own intelligence. The Lord filled them all with His Spirit; but the measure in which each partook of it was in accordance with the character of his perceptions; and this was made use of in accordance with the character of his ability. The Lord fills all the angels in the heavens, for they are in the Lord and the Lord is in them; and yet each one speaks and acts in accordance with the state of his own mind, some with simplicity and some with wisdom, thus with infinite variety; nevertheless everyone speaks of himself from the Lord. [2] It is the same with every minister of the church, whether he be in truths or in falsities; each one has his own utterance and his own intelligence, and each one speaks from his own mind, that is, from the spirit he possesses. So with all Protestants, whether called Evangelical or Reformed, after they have been instructed in the dogmas taught by Luther, Melancthon, or Calvin. It is not these leaders or their dogmas that speak of themselves through their followers; but their followers speak of themselves from the leaders or the dogmas. Furthermore, each dogma may be explained in a thousand ways, for each is like a cornucopia from which everyone draws what favors and is suited to his genius, and explains it according to his talent. [3] This may be illustrated by the action of the heart in and upon the lungs, and by the reaction of the lungs of themselves from the heart, the two being distinct, and yet reciprocally united. The lungs breathe of themselves from the heart; but the heart does not breathe through the lungs; if this should take place they would both cease to act. It is the same again with the action of the heart in and into the viscera of the whole body. The heart sends out the blood in all directions, and the viscera draw from it each one its portion in accordance with the nature of the use it performs, and in accordance with that use it acts, thus each in its own way. [4] The same truth may be illustrated also by the evil derived from parents, which is called hereditary evil; this acts in and into man; in like manner good from the Lord acts, the good acting above or within, and the evil acting below or without. If the evil acted through man he would neither be capable of reformation nor be culpable; or if the good from the Lord acted through man he would be incapable of reformation; but as both good and evil depend on man's free choice he becomes guilty when he acts of himself from evil, and is blameless when he acts of himself from good. And since evil is the devil, and good is the Lord, man becomes guilty when he acts from the devil, and is blameless when he acts from the Lord. It is from this free choice, which every man has, that man is capable of reformation. [5] It is the same with the entire internal and the entire external in man. These two are distinct, and yet are reciprocally united. The internal acts in and into the external, but not through it; for the internal meditates a thousand things, and from these the external chooses only such as are suited to its use. For in man's internal (by which is meant his voluntary and perceptive mind) there are voluminous heaps of ideas, and if these were to flow forth through man's mouth it would be like a blast from a bellows. As the internal deals with universals it may be compared to an ocean or flower bed or garden, from which the external selects just what is sufficient for its use. Again, the Word of the Lord is like an ocean or a flower bed or a garden, in that when it has place in man's internal in any degree of fullness it does not act through man, but man speaks and acts of himself from the Word. The same is true of the Lord, because He is the Word, that is, the Divine truth and Divine good that are in it. The Lord acts from Himself or from the Word in and into man, and not through him, since man acts and speaks from the Lord freely when he acts and speaks from the Word. [6] But this may be illustrated more closely by the mutual interaction of the soul and body, which are two distinct things, and yet are reciprocally united. The soul acts in and into the body, not through it; the body acts of itself from the soul. The soul does not act through the body, for the two do not consult and deliberate each with the other, nor does the soul command or ask the body to do this or that, or to speak from its mouth; neither does the body demand or beg the soul to give or supply anything; for every thing that belongs to the soul belongs also to the body, mutually and interchangeably. It is the same with the Divine and the Human of the Lord, for the soul of His Human is the Divine of the Father, and the Human is His body; and the Human does not ask its own Divine to tell it what to say or do. Therefore the Lord says: In that day ye shall ask in My name; and I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you, for the Father Himself loveth you because ye have loved Me (John 16:26, 27). "In that day" means after His glorification, that is, after His perfect and absolute union with the Father. This arcanum is from the Lord Himself, given for those who will be of His new church.


It has been shown above, under the third proposition, that the Divine energy, meant by the operation of the Holy Spirit, with the clergy especially, is enlightenment and instruction; but in addition to these there are two intermediate operations, which are perception and disposition. Thus there are four things that with the clergy follow in order: Enlightenment, Perception, Disposition, and Instruction. Enlightenment is from the Lord. Perception pertains to man, and is in accordance with the state of mind formed in him by doctrinals. If these doctrinals are true his perception becomes clear from the light that enlightens; but if they are false his perception becomes obscure, although from confirmations it may seem to be clear, this arising from a fatuous light which to the merely natural vision resembles clearness. Disposition is from the affection of the will's love, and that which disposes is the delight of that love. If it is a delight of the love of evil and of falsity there from, it excites a zeal which is outwardly harsh, rough, burning, and fiery, while inwardly it is anger, ferocity, and unmercifulness. But if it is a delight of the love of good and of truth therefrom it is outwardly mild, smooth, resounding, and glowing, while within it is charity, grace, and mercy. Instruction follows from these as an effect from causes. Thus in each man enlightenment, which is from the Lord, is turned into various kinds of light and heat in accordance with the state of his mind.


(6) The spirit of man is his mind and whatever proceeds from it. In the concrete, man's spirit means simply his mind; for this it is that lives after death, and it is then called a spirit-if good, an angelic spirit and afterwards an angel, if evil, a satanic spirit and afterwards a satan. The mind of everyone is his internal man, which is actually the man, and resides within the external man which constitutes his body; consequently when the body is cast off, which is effected by its death, the internal is in a complete human form. Therefore they err who believe that man's mind resides only in the head; it is there in principles only, from which everything that man thinks from his understanding or does from his will first proceeds; but in the body it is in derivatives, which are formed for sensation and action. And because the mind invariably adheres to the bodily structures it imparts to them sensation and motion; and it also inspires them with a perception that the body thinks and acts of itself, although this latter is a fallacy, as every wise man knows. Since, then, the spirit of man thinks from the understanding and acts from the will, and since the body acts not from itself but from the spirit, it follows that the spirit of man means his intelligence and his love's affection and whatever goes forth and operates from these. That "the spirit of man" signifies such things as pertain to the mind is evident from many passages in the Word. That this is their meaning anyone can see as soon as they are presented. The following are a few passages from among many: Bezaleel was filled with the spirit of wisdom and understanding and knowledge (Exod. 31:3). Nebuchadnezzar said of Daniel that an excellent spirit of knowledge and understanding and wisdom was found in him (Dan. 5:11, 12). Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom (Deut. 34:9). Make you a new heart and a new spirit (Ezek. 18:31). Blessed are the poor in spirit, for of such is the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:3). I dwell in the contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble (Isa. 57:15). The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit (Ps. 51:17). I will give the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isa. 61:3). (And elsewhere.) That "the spirit" signifies also such things as pertain to a perverse and wicked mind is evident from the following: He said to the foolish prophets that go away after their own spirit (Ezek. 13:3). Conceive chaff, bring forth stubble; as to your spirit, fire shall devour you (Isa. 33:11). A man who is a wanderer in spirit and uttereth falsehood (Micah 2:11). A generation whose spirit is not constant with God (Ps. 78:8). The spirit of whoredoms (Hos. 5:4; 4:12). That every heart may melt, and every spirit faint (Ezek. 21:7). That which ascendeth upon your spirit shall never come to pass (Ezek. 20:32). In whose spirit there is no guile (Ps. 32:2). Pharaoh's spirit was troubled (Gen. 41:8); So also was Nebuchadnezzar's (Dan. 2:3). From these and numerous other passages it is clearly evident that the "spirit" signifies the mind of man and such things as pertain thereto.


As man's spirit means his mind, therefore "being in the spirit" (a phrase sometimes used in the Word) means a state of mind separate from the body; and because in that state the prophets saw such things as exist in the spiritual world it is called "a vision of God." The prophets were then in a state like that of spirits and angels themselves in that world. In that state man's spirit like his mind in regard to sight, may be transferred from place to place, the body remaining meanwhile in its own place. This is the state in which I have now been for twenty-six years, with the difference, that I am in the spirit and in the body at the same time, and only at times out of the body. That Ezekiel, Zachariah, Daniel, and John when he wrote the Apocalypse, were in that state is evident from the following passages. Ezekiel says: The spirit lifted me up, and brought me back in vision in the spirit of God into Chaldea, to the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me (Ezek. 11:1, 24). That the spirit lifted him up, and he heard behind him an earthquake (Ezek. 3:12, 14). That the spirit lifted him up between earth and heaven and brought him to Jerusalem, and he saw abominations (Ezek. 8:3 seq.). That he saw four living creatures that were cherubim, and various things with them (Ezek. 1, 10). Also a new earth and a new temple, and an angel measuring them (Ezek. 40, 47). That he was then in vision and in the spirit (Ezek. 40:2; 43:5). [2] It was the same with Zachariah (in whom there was then an angel) when he saw: A man riding among the myrtle trees (Zech. 1:8 seq.); Four horns, and a man with a measuring line in his hand (Zech. 1:18; 2:1, 5 seq.); Joshua the high priest (Zech. 3:1 seq.); The lampstand and two olive trees (Zech. 4:1 seq.); A flying roll and an ephah (Zech. 5:1, 6); Four chariots going out from between two mountains, and horses (Zech 6:1-3). Daniel was in a like state: When he saw the four great beasts coming up from the sea, and many things respecting them (Dan. 7:1-12); When he saw the battles between the ram and the he-goat (Dan. 8:1-12); All of which he saw in vision (Dan. 7:1, 2, 7, 13; 8:2; 10:1, 7, 8); The angel Gabriel appeared to him in vision and talked with him (Dan. 9:21). [3] The same occurred to John when he wrote the Apocalypse; he said: That he was in the spirit on the Lord's day (1:10); That he was carried away in the spirit into the wilderness (17:3); Upon a high mountain in spirit (21:10); That he saw in vision (9:17); and elsewhere that he saw the things he described; as when he saw the Son of man in the midst of the seven lampstands; the tabernacle, the temple, the ark and the altar, in heaven; a book sealed with seven seals, and horses going out of it; four living creatures around the throne; the twelve thousand elect from each tribe; the Lamb on Mount Zion; the locusts ascending from the abyss; the dragon, and his combat with Michael; the woman bringing forth a male child, and fleeing into the desert on account of the dragon; the two beasts, one ascending out of the sea and the other out of the earth; the woman sitting upon the scarlet beast; the dragon cast into the lake of fire and brimstone; the white horse and the great supper; the holy city Jerusalem descending, the gates, walls, and foundations of which he described; the river of the water of life, and the trees of life bearing fruit every month; and many other things. Peter, James, and John were in a like state when they saw Jesus transfigured, and Paul when he heard from heaven things ineffable.


COROLLARY. As this chapter treats of the Holy Spirit, it is worthy of special notice that in the Word of the Old Testament the Holy Spirit is nowhere mentioned, and the "Spirit of Holiness" in three places only, once in David (Ps. 51:11); and twice in Isaiah 43:10, 11). But in the Word of the New Testament, both in the Gospels and in the Acts of the Apostles, as also in their Epistles it is mentioned frequently. This is because the Holy Spirit first was, when the Lord had come into the world; for it goes forth out of Him from the Father; for: The Lord alone is Holy (Apoc. 15:4) therefore also the angel Gabriel said to Mary the mother: The holy thing that shall be born of thee (Luke 1:35). It is said: The Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:39) although it is previously declared that the Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth (Luke 1:41), and Zacharias (Luke 1:67), as also Simeon (Luke 2:25); this is because the Spirit of Jehovah the Father filled them, which was called the Holy Spirit because of the Lord who was already in the world. This is why nowhere in the Word of the Old Testament is it said that the prophets spoke from the Holy Spirit, but from Jehovah; for everywhere we read, "Jehovah spoke unto me," "The Word of Jehovah came unto me," "Jehovah said," "Thus said Jehovah." That no one may be in doubt about this I will refer to the passages in Jeremiah alone, where these expressions occur: 1:4, 7, 11-14, 19; 2:1-5, 9, 19, 22, 29, 31; 3:1, 6, 10, 12, 14, 16; 4:1, 3, 9, 17, 27; 5:11, 14, 18, 22, 29; 6:6, 9, 12, 15, 16, 21, 22; 7:1, 3, 11, 13, 19-21; 8:1, 3, 12, 13; ix. 3, 7, 9, 13, 15, 17, 22, 24, 25; 10:1, 2, 18; 11:1, 3, 6, 9, 11, 17, 18, 21, 22; 12:14, 17; 13:1, 6, 9, 11-15, 25; 14:1, 10, 14, 15; 15:1-6, 11, 19, 20; 16:1, 3, 5, 9, 14, 16; 17:5, 19-21, 24; 18:1, 5, 6, 11, 13; 19:1, 3, 6, 12, 15; 20:4; 21:1, 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14; 22:2, 5, 6, 11, 16, 18, 24, 29, 30; 23:2, 5, 7, 12, 15, 24, 29, 31, 38; 24:3, 5, 8; 25:1, 3, 7-9, 15, 27-29, 32; 26:1, 2, 18; 27:1, 2, 4, 8, 11, 16, 19, 21, 22; 28:2, 12, 14, 16; 29:4, 8, 9, 16, 19-21, 25, 30-32; 30:1-5, 8, 10-12, 17, 18; 31:1, 2, 7, 10, 15-17, 23, 27, 28, 31-38; 32:1, 6, 14, 15, 25, 26, 28, 30, 36, 42, 44; 33:1, 2, 4, 10-13, 17, 19, 20, 23, 25; 34:1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 13, 17, 22; 35:1, 13, 17-19; 36:1, 6, 27, 29, 30; 37:6, 7, 9; 38:2, 3, 17; 39:15-18; 40:1; 42:7, 9, 15, 18, 19; 43:8, 10; 44:1, 2, 7, 11, 24-26, 30; 45:2, 5; 46:1, 23, 25, 28; 47:1; 48:1, 8, 12, 30, 35, 38, 40, 43, 44, 47; 49:2, 5-7, 12, 13, 16, 18, 26, 28, 30, 32, 35, 37-39; 50:1, 4, 10, 18, 20, 21, 30, 31, 33, 35, 40; 51:25, 33, 36, 39, 52, 58. The same expressions occur in all the other prophets, but nowhere is it said that the Holy Spirit spoke to them, or that Jehovah spoke to them through the Holy Spirit.


To this I will add the following Memorable Relations. First: Once when in company with the angels in heaven, I saw below at some distance a great smoke, and then fire breaking out from it; and I said to the angels talking with me that the smoke seen in the hells, as a few among them knew, arises from falsities confirmed by reasonings, and that the fire is burning anger against those who contradict; and I added, "In this world, as in mine where I live in the body, it is unknown that flame is simply smoke on fire. That such is the fact I have often proved by experiment; for I have seen streaks of smoke rising from wood on the hearth, and when I set fire to them with a brand I have seen them turn to flames, which assumed a shape like that of the smoke; for the separate particles of smoke become little sparks which blaze up together, like gunpowder when it is ignited. So is it with the smoke we see below. This consists of an equal number of falsities; and the fire breaking out like flames is the glow of zeal in behalf of those falsities." [2] Then the angels said to me, "Let us ask the Lord for leave to go down and draw towards the smoke, that we may perceive what those falsities are that so smoke and blaze with those there." This was granted; and lo, there appeared round about us a column of light reaching continuously to the place. And then we saw four crowds of spirits, who were strenuously maintaining that it is God the Father who should be approached and worshiped, because He is invisible, and not His Son born in the world, since He is a man and is visible. Looking towards the sides I saw on the left some learned men of the clergy, and behind these the unlearned; and on the right the learned of the laity, and behind these the unlearned; while between us and these there was a yawning gulf which was impassable. [3] But we turned our eyes and ears to the left, where were the learned of the clergy, and behind them the unlearned, and we heard them reasoning about God in this wise, "From the doctrine of our church respecting God which is the same everywhere in Europe, we know that God the Father ought to be approached, because He is invisible, and at the same time God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, who are also invisible, being co-eternal with the Father; also God the Father, being the Creator of the universe, and therefore in the universe, is present wherever we turn our eyes; and whenever we pray to Him He graciously listens, and after accepting the mediation of the Son He sends the Holy Spirit, who implants in our hearts the glory of His Son's righteousness and bestows blessedness upon us. We who have been made doctors in the church have felt in our breasts, when preaching, the holy operation of that sending, and from the presence of the Spirit in our minds have then breathed forth devotion. We are thus affected because we direct all our senses to the invisible God, who operates not singly upon the sight of our understanding, but universally upon our whole system, mental and corporeal, by the Spirit He sends. Such effects as these would not result from the worship of a visible God, that is, of a God conspicuously before the mind as a man." [4] When this was said the unlearned of the clergy who stood behind the others applauded, and added, "Whence comes what is holy but from an invisible and imperceptible Divine? At this, the moment it touches the entrance to our ears, our features expand, and we are gladdened as by the sweetness of a fragrant aura, and we smite upon our breasts. But it is otherwise with a visible and perceptible Divine; when this enters our ears it becomes merely natural, and not Divine. For a like reason the Roman Catholics repeat their masses in Latin, and the host (to which they ascribe Divine mystical properties) they bring out from the recesses of the altar and hold up to sight; whereupon the people fall on their knees as before something most mysterious, and take in breaths of holiness." [5] After this we turned to the right, where the learned of the laity stood, and the unlearned behind them; and from the learned we heard the following: "We know that the wisest of the ancients worshiped an invisible God whom they called Jehovah; but after them in the succeeding ages men made for themselves gods out of deceased rulers, among whom were Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Apollo, and also Minerva, Diana, Venus, and Themis; and to these they built temples and offered divine worship; and as in time this worship degenerated it gave rise to idolatry, from which at last the whole world became filled with insanity. We therefore agree unanimously with our priests and elders that there were and are three Divine persons from eternity, each one of whom is God; and it is enough for us that they are invisible." To this the unlearned behind them added, "We agree. Is not God God, and man man? Still we know that if anyone should set before them a God-Man, the common people, who have a sensuous idea about God, would accept it." [6] When they had said this their eyes were opened and they saw us near them; but being indignant because we had heard them they became silent. But presently the angels, from a power given them, closed the outer or lower things of their thoughts, from which they had been speaking, and opened the inner or higher things, and compelled them to speak from these about God. And speaking thus they said, "What is God? We have neither seen His shape nor heard His voice. What, then, is God but nature in its firsts and lasts. Nature we have seen, for she beams in our eyes; and we have heard her, for she sounds in our ears." On hearing this we said to them, "Have you ever seen Socinus, who acknowledged God the Father only; or Arius, who denied the Divinity of the Lord our Savior, or have you seen any of their adherents?" To which they answered, "We have not." We said, "They are in the deep beneath you." And shortly some of them were summoned from the deep and questioned about God; and they spoke as the others had done; and they added, "What is God? We can make as many gods as we like." [7] And then we said, "It is useless to talk with you about the Son of God born in the world; yet we will say this much: Lest faith respecting God and faith in God and from God, which in the first two ages, from no one's having beheld God, had been like a beautifully colored bubble in the air, should for the same reason in the third and following age collapse to nothing, it pleased Jehovah God to descend and assume a Human and thus make Himself visible, and convince men that He is not a mere figment of reason, but the Itself, which was and is and will be, from eternity to eternity; also that God is not a mere word of three letters, but is the All of reality from Alpha to Omega, consequently the life and salvation of all who believe in Him as visible, but not of those who say that they believe in an invisible God. For believing, seeing, and knowing make one. Therefore the Lord said to Philip: That whosoever sees and knows Him sees and knows the Father; and elsewhere: That it is the will of the Father that men should believe in the Son and that whosoever believes in the Son has eternal life, while he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (John 3:15-16, 36; 14:6-15). Hearing this many of the four crowds were so enraged that smoke and flame issued from their nostrils; we therefore left them; and the angels, after accompanying me home, ascended to their heaven.


Second memorable relation: At one time in company with some angels I was walking in the world of spirits (which is intermediate between heaven and hell, and which all men enter first after death, the good being there made ready for heaven and the evil for hell), and I talked with them on various subjects, on this among others: That in the world where I am living in the body there are seen at night innumerable stars, larger and smaller, which are so many suns, only the light of which reaches our solar system; and I added, "When I saw that stars are visible in your world also I supposed them to be as numerous as those in the world where I live." The angels, delighted with this conversation, said, "Perhaps they are, since every society of heaven, in the sight of those who are under heaven, sometimes shines like a star; and the societies of heaven are numberless, all arranged in order according to the varieties of the affections of the love of good; which affections in God are infinite, and thus from Him are numberless; and as these were all foreseen before creation, I suppose that in accord with their number there have been provided, that is, created, an equal number of stars in the world where the men live who were to be natural-material bodies." [2] While we were talking together in this way I saw in the north a leveled way, so crowded with spirits that there was scarcely room to step between any two; and I said to the angels that I had already seen this way, with spirits thronging it like an army; and that I had heard that this is the way by which all pass when departing from the natural world. And the way is covered with such a vast number of spirits because many thousands of men die every week, and after death they all pass into this world. The angels added, "This road terminates in the middle of this world where we now are-in the middle because on the sides towards the east there are societies who are in love to God and love towards the neighbor, and to the left towards the west societies of those who are opposed to these loves; while in front towards the south are societies of those who are more intelligent than the others. This is why the newcomers from the natural world move first to this point. When here, they are in the externals in which they had last been in the former world. Afterwards they are gradually let into their internals, and their characters are examined; and after the examination the good are borne to their places in heaven and the evil to theirs in hell." [3] We stopped at the middle point, at the termination of this way of entrance, and we said, "Let us wait here awhile and talk with some of the newcomers." And from those approaching we picked out twelve, who having just come from the natural world did not know but that they were in it still. We asked them their views of heaven and hell and the life after death. One replied, "Our sacred order impressed upon me the belief that we are to live after death, and that there is a heaven and a hell; and therefore I have believed that all who live a moral life go to heaven; and as all do live a moral life, that no one goes to hell; and therefore that hell is a fable manufactured by the clergy to frighten men from evil living. What does it matter whether I think about God in this way or that, Thought is only chaff, as it were, or like a bubble on the water that bursts and passes away." Another near him said, "It is my belief that there is a heaven and a hell; and that God rules heaven, and the devil rules hell; and as they are enemies, and therefore opposed to each other, one calls evil what the other calls good; also that a moral man who is a dissembler, and who can make evil look like good and good like evil, will side with both parties. What, then, does it matter whether I am on the side of one Lord or the other, providing He favors me? Good and evil are equally delightful to men." [4] A third, standing beside him, said, "Of what consequence is it to me to believe that there is a heaven and a hell? For who has come from either place and told us of them? If every man lives after death, why, out of so vast a multitude, has no one come back and told us?" Next came a fourth, who said, "I will tell you why no one has come back and told. It is because when a man breathes his last and dies, he either becomes a ghost and is dissipated, or is like the breath of the mouth, which is merely wind. How can a being like that come back and talk with anyone?" The fifth took up the matter and said, "Friends, wait till the day of the last judgment; for all will then return into their bodies, and you will see and talk with them, and each one will tell his fate to the other." [5] A sixth, standing opposite, laughed and said, "How can the spirit, which is wind, return into a body that has been eaten up by worms, and into its skeleton that has been dried up by the sun and has crumbled into dust? Or how is an Egyptian, who has been made a mummy and mixed by a quack with extracts or emulsions into a potion or powder, to come back and tell anything? Therefore, if you have the faith, wait till that last day; but your waiting will be forever, and forever in vain." After him a seventh said, "If I believed in a heaven and a hell, and therefore in a life after death, I would also believe that birds and beasts live after death likewise. Are not some of these quite as moral and as rational as men? It is denied that beasts live after death, therefore I deny that men do. The reasoning is equally good; one follows from the other. What is man but an animal?" An eighth, standing at his back, came forward and said, "Believe in a heaven if you will, but I do not believe in any hell. Is not God omnipotent and able to save everybody?" [6] Then a ninth, caressing his hand, said, "God is not only omnipotent He is also gracious; and cannot send anyone into eternal fire; and if anyone is there He cannot but take him out and raise him up." A tenth ran out of his place into the midst and said, "Neither do I believe in a hell. Did not God send His Son, and did He not make expiation for the sins of the whole world and take them away? What can the devil do against that? And as he can do nothing, what then is hell?" An eleventh, who was a priest, took fire at hearing this, and said, "Do you not know that those who have attained to the faith on which Christ's merit is inscribed are saved, and that those attain to that faith whom God elects. Does not election rest in the will of the Almighty, and in His judgment as to who are worthy of it? Who can prevail against these?" The twelfth, who was a politician, kept silent; but being asked to crown the replies, he said, "From my own thought I will not say anything about heaven and hell and the life after death, since no one knows anything about them; nevertheless you should not blame the priests for preaching them; for in that way the minds of the vulgar are kept bound by an invisible bond to the laws and to their rulers. Does not the public welfare depend upon this?" [7] We were amazed to hear such things as these, and we said to each other, "Although these go by the name of Christians they are neither men nor beasts, but they are men-beasts." However, to arouse them from their sleep we said, "There is a heaven and a hell and a life after death; of this you will be convinced when we have dispelled your ignorance of the state of life in which you now are. During the first few days after death no one knows but that he is still living in the same world in which he lived before; for the time that has passed is like a Sleep, on being awakened from which he had no other feeling than that he still is where he was before. So is it with you now; and therefore you have been speaking just as you thought the former world." The angels then dispelled their ignorance; and they saw that they were in another world, and among those with whom they were not acquainted; and they cried out, "O where are we?" We said, "You are no longer in the natural world, but in the spiritual world, and we are angels." Then, being quite awake, they said, "If you are angels, show us heaven." We replied, "Wait here a little, and we will return." And returning after half an hour we found them waiting for us; and we said, "Follow us into heaven." They did so, and we went up with them, and because we were with them the guards opened the gate and admitted us. And we said to those who receive newcomers at the entrance, "Examine these men." And they turned them about and saw that the hinder parts of their heads were quite hollow. They then said to them, "Go away from here, for there is in you the delight of the love of doing evil; therefore you are not in conjunction with heaven; for in your heads you have denied God and have despised religion." And we said to them, "Do not delay, or you will be cast out." So they hastened down and departed. [8] On the way home we talked about the reason why in the spiritual world the back parts of the head of those who take delight in doing evil are hollow. And I gave as the reason that man has two brains, one behind, called the cerebellum, and one in front called the cerebrum; and the love of the will dwells in the cerebellum, and the thought of the understanding in the cerebrum; and whenever the thought of the understanding does not guide the love of man's will the inmosts of the cerebellum, which in themselves are heavenly, collapse; hence the hollowness.


Third Memorable Relation: In the spiritual world I once heard a noise like that of a mill; it was in the northern quarter. At first I wondered what It was: but I called to mind that the meaning of a mill and of grinding is to seek from the Word what is serviceable for doctrine. I therefore went towards the place where the noise was heard, and when I came near it stopped; and I then saw a sort of arched roof above the ground, to which there was an entrance through a cavern; seeing which I descended, and entered. And behold, there was a room in which I saw an old man sitting among books, holding the Word before him and searching out from it what would be serviceable for his doctrine. Pieces of paper were lying around, on which he had written whatever he could use. In an adjoining room were copyists who were collecting the papers and copying what was written on them on a full-sized sheet. I first asked him about the books around him. He said that they all treated of Justifying Faith; those from Sweden and Denmark profoundly; those from Germany more profoundly; those from Britain still more so; and most profoundly of all the ones from Holland. And he added that on several points they differed; but in the article on justification and salvation by faith alone they all agreed. He afterwards said that he was then collecting from the Word this first principle of justifying faith, that God the Father ceased to be gracious towards the human race on account of its iniquities, and it was therefore a Divine necessity for man's salvation that satisfaction, reconciliation, propitiation, and mediation should be effected by some one who would take upon himself the damnation enjoined by justice; and that this could never have been done except by His only Son; but having once been done there was a way of approach open to God the Father for the Son's sake; for we pray, "Father, be merciful to us for the sake of Thy Son." And he said, "I see and have seen, that this is in accordance with all reason and Scripture. By what other way than by faith in the merits of could God the Father be approached?" [2] I listened to this, and was amazed that he should declare it to be in accord with reason and Scripture, when yet it is contrary to both, and this I plainly told him. In the heat of his zeal he then rejoined, "How can you say that?" Therefore I opened my mind to him, saying, "Is it not contrary to reason to think that God the Father failed of grace towards the human race, and rejected and excommunicated it? Is not Divine grace an attribute of the Divine essence? Wherefore failing of grace would be failing of Divine essence; and failing of His Divine essence would be to be no longer God. Is it possible for God to be alienated from Himself? Believe me, as grace on God's part is infinite, so it is also eternal. On men's part God's grace may be lost if man does not accept it [but never on God's part]. But if grace were to depart from God there would be an end to the whole heaven and the whole human race. Wherefore on God's part grace endures forever, not only towards angels and men, but even towards the devils in hell. Since this accords with reason, why do you say that the only access to God the Father is through faith in the merits of the Son, when yet there is perpetually an access to Him through grace? [3] But why do you say, access to God the Father for the sake of the Son, instead of through the Son? Is not the Son the Mediator and Savior? Why do you not go to the Mediator and Savior Himself Is He not both God and Man? On earth who goes directly to an emperor, king, or prince? Must there not be some one to procure admission and introduce him? Do you not know that the Lord came into the world that He might introduce men to the Father, and that only through Him is there any access to the Father; while this access is perpetual when you go directly to the Lord Himself, since He is in the Father and the Father in Him? Search now in Scripture, and you will see that this is in accordance with Scripture, while your way to the Father is contrary to Scripture as it is contrary to reason. I tell you, moreover, it is a presumption to climb up thus to God the Father, and not through Him who is in the bosom of the Father, and who alone is present with the Father. Have you not read John 14:6?" Hearing this, the old man became so angry that he sprang from his seat and shouted to his copyists to put me out; and when I had gone out immediately of my own accord, he threw after me out of the door a book that he happened to lay hand upon, and that book was the Word.


Fourth Memorable Relation: A discussion arose among certain spirits, whether one can see any doctrinal truth of theology in the Word except from the Lord. They all agreed in this, that no one can except from God, because: Man can receive nothing except it be given from heaven (John 3:27). The discussion, therefore, was whether anyone can do this unless he go directly to the Lord. On one side it was declared that the Lord must be approached directly, because He is the Word; and on the other that true doctrine may also be seen when God the Father is approached directly. The discussion therefore first turned to this point: Is it permissible for any Christian to approach God the Father directly, thereby climbing over the Lord; and is not this insolence and audacity unbecoming as well as rash, since the Lord says that: No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6)? But they left this point, and said that man can see true doctrine from the Word by his own natural light. This was rejected. Then they insisted that it could be seen by those who pray to God the Father; and something from the Word was read to them, and upon their knees they prayed God the Father to enlighten them; and they said of what had been read to them from the Word that it contained such and such truth; but it was falsity. This was repeated until it became tiresome; and at last they confessed that it could not be done. But those on the other side who approached the Lord directly saw the truths, and communicated them to the others. [2] When this discussion had been thus ended, certain spirits ascended from the abyss who at first looked like locusts, and afterwards like dwarfs. They were such as in the world had prayed to God the Father, and had confirmed themselves in the doctrine of justification by faith alone. They were the same as those treated of in Revelation (9:1-11). They said that they saw in clear light, and also from the Word that a man is justified by faith alone without the works of the law. They were asked, "By what faith?" They answered, "By faith in God the Father." But when they had been examined they were told from heaven that they did not know a single doctrinal truth from the Word. They retorted that still they saw their own truths in light. They were told that it was a fatuous light in which they saw them. They asked, "What is a fatuous light?" They were told that a fatuous light is the light of the confirmation of what is false, and that it corresponds to the light in which are owls and bats, to which darkness is light and light darkness. This was confirmed to them by the fact that when they looked up to heaven, the abode of light itself, they saw darkness; and when they looked down to the abyss from which they came they saw light. [3] Nettled by this confirmation they said that light and darkness then are nothing, being a mere state of the eye, according to which light is said to be light and darkness to be darkness. But it was shown that their light was a fatuous light, which is the light of the confirmation of what is false, and that it was nothing but an activity of the mind, arising from the fire of their lusts, not unlike the light with cats, whose eyes at night in cellars, from their burning appetite for mice, look like candles. Enraged at hearing this, they said they were not cats and were not like cats, for they could see if they wished to. But fearing they might be asked why they did not wish to see, they withdrew, and let themselves down to their abyss. Those in that abyss and those like them are called by the angels owls and bats and also locusts. [4] When they had reached their companions in the abyss, and had told them that the angels had said "that we know no doctrinal truth whatever, not a single one; and they called us owls, bats, and locusts," a tumult arose there. And they said, "Let us pray to God for permission to ascend, and we will show clearly that we have many doctrinal truths, which the archangels themselves will acknowledge." And because they prayed to God, permission was given them; and as many as three hundred of them ascended. And when they appeared above the ground they said, "In the world we were men of celebrity and renown, because we knew and taught the mysteries of justification by faith alone; and from confirmations we not only saw light, but saw it as a glittering radiance, and we see it so still in our cells; and yet we have heard from our companions who were still with you that that light is not light but darkness, for the reason, as you say, that we have no doctrinal truth from the Word. We know that every truth of the Word shines, and we have believed that our radiance, when we meditated profoundly upon our mysteries, came from that source. We will therefore demonstrate to you that we have truths from the Word in abundance." And they said, "Have we not this truth, that there is a trinity, consisting of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and that men ought to believe in the trinity? Have we not this truth, that Christ is our Redeemer and Savior? Have we not this truth, that Christ alone is righteousness, and to Him alone belongs merit, and that any man who wishes to attribute to himself any of Christ's merit and righteousness is himself unrighteous and impious? Have we not this truth, that no mortal man is able of himself to do any spiritual good, but that from God is all good that is good in itself? Have we not this truth, that there are meritorious good and hypocritical good, and that such goods are evil? Have we not this truth, that good works ought nevertheless to be done? Have we not this truth, that there is such a thing as faith, and that men ought to believe in God, and that everyone has life according as he believes; besides many other truths from the Word? Which of you can deny a single one of these? And yet you declared that in our schools we have no truths at all, not even a single one. Have you not cast these charges against us ungraciously?" [5] But they received this answer, "All these things that you have advanced are in themselves true; but with you they are truths falsified, which are falsities, because they are derived from a false principle. That this is so we will make clear to your sight. Not far from here is a place upon which the light of heaven falls directly, and in the center of it there is a table. Whenever any paper upon which some truth from the Word has been written is placed upon this table, the paper, because of the truth written upon it, shines like a star. Therefore write your truths on a paper, and let the paper be placed on the table, and you will see." This they did, and gave the paper to a guard, who placed it on the table and said to them, "Stand back and look at the table." They stood back and looked, and lo, the paper shone like a star. Then the guards said, "You see that the things you have written on the paper are truths; but come nearer and fix your gaze upon it." They did so, and suddenly the light vanished and the paper became black, as if covered with soot from a furnace. The guard said further, "Touch the paper with your hands, but be careful not to touch the writing." And when they did so a flame broke out and consumed the paper. When they had seen this they were told, "If you had touched the writing you would have heard an explosion and you would have burned your fingers." Then those standing behind them said, "You now see that the truths which you abused to confirm the mysteries of your justification are truths in themselves, but that in you they are truths falsified." Then they looked upward, and heaven appeared to them like blood, and presently like thick darkness; and in the eyes of the angelic spirits they appeared, some like bats, and some like owls, and some like horned owls; and they fled away into their own darkness, which to their eyes shone delusively. [6] The angelic spirits who were present were astonished, for until then they had known nothing of that place or of the table there. And a voice then came to them from the southern quarter, saying, "Come hither, and you will see something still more wonderful." And they went, and entered a chamber, the walls of which shone like gold, and there also they saw a table on which the Word lay, encircled with precious stones arranged in a heavenly form. And the angel guard said, "When the Word is opened a light of ineffable brightness shines forth from it; and at the came time there is from the precious stones the appearance of a rainbow above and roundabout the Word. When an angel from the third heaven comes hither there appears above and around the Word a rainbow on a red ground; when an angel from the second heaven comes and looks, a rainbow on an azure ground appears; when an angel from the lowest heaven comes and looks, a rainbow on a white ground appears; when any good spirit comes and looks a variegation of light like marble appears." That this was so was also showed to them visibly. The angel guard said further, "When anyone who has falsified the Word approaches, at first the splendor is dissipated, and then if he comes near and fixes his eyes on the Word, there arises an appearance of blood about it; and he is admonished to withdraw because there is danger." [7] But a certain person who in the world had been a leading writer on the doctrine of justification by faith alone, came up boldly and said, "When I was in the world I did not falsify the Word. Together with faith I exalted charity and taught that a man in that state of faith in which he practices charity and its works is renewed, regenerated, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit; also that faith does not exist solitary, that is, separated from good works, as there can be no good tree without fruit, no sun without light, no fire without heat. I also rebuked those who said that good works are not necessary; and even obedience to the commandments of the Decalogue is not necessary; and I made repentance of great importance; and thus in wonderful manner applied everything in the Word to the subject of faith; and yet I made it clear and demonstrated that faith alone is saving." Confident in this assertion that he had not falsified the Word, this man approached the table, and in spite of the warning of the angel he touched the Word; and suddenly out of the Word there went forth fire and smoke, and there was an explosion and a crash which hurled him to a corner of the room, where he lay like one dead for nearly an hour. The angelic spirits were astonished at this; but they were told that although this leader had exalted more than others the goods of charity as proceeding from faith, yet he had meant nothing more than political social works, which are also called moral and civil, and which were to be done for the sake of the world and worldly prosperity, but by no means for the sake of salvation; also that he had assumed some hidden works of the Holy Spirit, of which man knows nothing, but which are generated in the act of faith in a state of faith. [8] The angelic spirits then talked together about the falsification of the Word; and they agreed that falsifying the Word is taking truths therefrom and applying them to confirm falsities; whereby truths from the Word are dragged apart from it and slain; as for example, when any such truths as those quoted above by the spirits from the abyss are applied to the faith of the present day and are explained by that faith, which is impregnated with falsities, as will be shown hereafter; or, again, when one takes from the Word the truth that charity ought to be exercised, and that good ought to be done to the neighbor, and then adds confirmations to show that this ought to be done, but not for the sake of salvation (since no good done by man is good, because meritorious), he drags that truth from the Word apart from the Word, and slays it. For the Lord in His Word enjoins it on every man who wishes to be saved that he must love the neighbor, and from love do good to. So also with other truths.


THE DIVINE TRINITY. God the Creator, together with creation, has been treated of; also the Lord the Redeemer, together with redemption; and lastly the Holy Spirit, together with the Divine operation. Having thus treated of the Triune God, it is necessary to treat also of the Divine trinity, which is known and yet unknown in the Christian world; for only through this can a right idea of God be acquired; and a right idea of God in the church is like the sanctuary and altar in a temple, or like the crown upon the head and the scepter in the hand of a king on his throne; for on a right idea of God the whole body of theology hangs, like a chain on its first link; and if you will believe it, everyone is allotted his place in the heavens in accordance with his idea of God. For that idea is like a touchstone by which the gold and silver are tested, that is, the quality of good and truth in man. For there can be no saving good in man except from God, nor any truth that does not derive its quality from the bosom of good. But that it may be seen with both eyes what the Divine trinity is, the explanation of it shall be divided into sections as follows: (1) There is a Divine Trinity, which is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (2) These three, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are the three essentials of one God, and they make one as soul, body, and operation make one in man. (3) Before the world was created this Trinity was not; but after creation, when God became incarnate, it was provided and brought about; and then in the Lord God the Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ. (4) In the ideas of thought a Trinity of Divine Persons from eternity, or before the world was created, is a Trinity of Gods; and these ideas cannot be effaced by a lip-confession of one God. (5) A Trinity of Persons was unknown in the Apostolic church, but was hatched by the Nicene Council, and from that was introduced into the Roman Catholic church, and from that again into the churches separated from it. (6) From the Nicene Trinity and the Athanasian Trinity together a faith arose by which the whole Christian church has been perverted. (7) This is the source of that "abomination of desolation, and that tribulation such as has not been nor ever shall be," which the Lord foretold in Daniel and in the Gospels and in the Apocalypse. (8) So too, unless a new heaven and a new church were established by the Lord there could no flesh be saved. (9) From a Trinity of Persons, each one of whom singly is God, according to the Athanasian Creed, many discordant and heterogeneous ideas respecting God have arisen, which are phantasies and abortions. These propositions shall now be explained one by one.


(1) There it a Divine Trinity, which is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That there is a Divine trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is made clearly evident in the Word, as in the following passages: The angel Gabriel said to Mary, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Here three are mentioned, the Most High, who is God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son of God: When Jesus was baptized, Lo, the heavens were opened, and John saw the Holy Spirit descending as a dove and coming upon Him and lo, a voice out of heaven saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:16, 17; Mark 1:10, 11; John 1:32). And still more plainly in these words of the Lord to His disciples: Go ye and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19); and still again in these words in John: There are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7). Furthermore, the Lord prayed to His Father, and spoke of Him and with Him, and said that He would send the Holy Spirit, and He did send it. Finally the apostles in their Epistles frequently mentioned the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. From all this it is clear that there is a Divine trinity, which is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


But in what manner these passages are to be understood, whether as meaning that these are three Gods, who in essence and consequently in name are one God; or that they are three objects belonging to one subject, that is, merely qualities or attributes of one God which are so named; or in some other way, the reason left to itself is incapable of seeing. What then is to be done? There is no other way than for man to go to the Lord God the Savior, and under His auspices read the Word; for He is the God of the Word; and man will then be enlightened and will see truths which reason also will acknowledge. But on the other hand, if you do not approach the Lord, though you read the Word a thousand times, and see therein the Divine trinity and the unity also, you will never understand otherwise than that there are three Divine persons, each one of whom singly is God, and thus that there are three Gods. But because this is repugnant to the common perception of all men throughout the world, to escape reproaches men have invented the notion that although there are in truth three Gods, it is indispensable to faith that one God only, and not three, be named. Furthermore, lest they should be overwhelmed with censure it was determined that on this point especially the understanding should be imprisoned and held bound under obedience to faith; and that this should evermore be a sacred principle of Christian order in the Christian church [2] Such a paralytic birth resulted from their not reading the Word under the Lord's auspices; for everyone who does not read the Word under His auspices reads it under the auspices of his own intelligence, which is like an owl in such things as are in spiritual light, as all the essentials of the church are. And when one so reads in the Word what is said of the trinity, and from what he reads thinks that although there are three Gods they are still one, the matter appears to him like a response from a tripod, which, because he does not understand it he rolls about between his teeth; for if he should set it before his eyes it would become a riddle, which the more he tries to solve the more he involves himself in darkness, until finally he begins to think about it without understanding, which is like seeing without an eye. In short, those who read the Word under the auspices of one's own intelligence, as is done by all who do not acknowledge the Lord as the God of heaven and earth, and therefore approach and worship Him alone, may be likened to children at play, who tie a bandage over their eyes and try to walk in a straight line, and even think that they are going straight ahead, when yet they turn step by step to one side and finally go in the opposite direction, and strike against a stone and fall. [3] Such are also like mariners sailing without a compass, who run their vessel on the rocks and perish. They are also like a man walking over a wide plain in a thick fog, who seeing a scorpion takes it for a bird, and attempting to seize and pick it up with his hand receives a deadly wound. Such again are like a waterfowl or a hawk, which sees above the water a little of the back of a big fish, and darts down and fixes its beak in it, and is drawn under by the fish and drowned. Again they are like one entering a labyrinth without a guide or a cord, and the farther he goes in the more he loses sight of the way out. A man who reads the Word not under the Lord's auspices but under the auspices of his own intelligence, thinks himself a lynx and better sighted than Argus; and yet he inwardly sees not a shred of truth, but only what is false; and under self-persuasion this falsity seems to him like a polar star towards which he directs all the sails of his thought; and then he no more sees truths than a mole does, or if he sees them he bends them to favor his phantasies, and so perverts and falsifies the holy things of the Word.


(2) These three, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are the three essentials of the one God, and they make one as soul, body, and operation make one in man. In anyone thing there are both general and particular essentials, and these together make one essence. The general essentials of the one man are his soul, body, and operation. That these constitute one essence can be seen from this-that one is from the other and for the sake of the other in an unbroken series; for man gets his beginning from the soul, which is the very essence of the semen; and the soul not only initiates, but also produces in their order all things that pertain to the body, and afterward all things that proceed from the soul and body together, which are called operations. From this production, therefore, of one from the other, and the consequent ingrafting and conjunction, it can be seen that these three are of one essence, and therefore they are called three essentials.


Everyone acknowledges that these three essentials, namely, soul, body, and operation, both were and are in the Lord God the Savior. That His soul was from Jehovah the Father cannot be denied except by Antichrist; for in the Word of both Testaments He is called the Son of Jehovah, the Son of the Most High God, the Only-begotten; consequently the Divine of the Father, like the soul in man, is His first essential. From this it follows that the Son whom Mary brought forth is the body to that Divine soul; for in the mother's womb nothing is furnished except the body that has been conceived and derived from the soul; this, therefore, is His second essential. Operations constitute the third essential, since these proceed from soul and body together, and what proceeds is of the same essence as that which produces it. That the three essentials, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in the Lord are one, like soul, body, and operation in man, is clearly evident from the Lord's words, that the Father and He are one; that the Father is in Him and He in the Father; and in like manner He and the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit is the Divine that goes forth out of the Lord from the Father, as fully shown above from the Word (n. 153, 154); therefore to show it again would be superfluous, and like loading a table with food after the appetite has been satisfied.


When it is said that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the three essentials of the one God, like soul, body, and operation in man, it seems to the human mind as if these three essentials are three persons, which is impossible. But when it is understood that the Divine of the Father, which constitutes the soul, and the Divine of the Son, which constitutes the body, and the Divine of the Holy Spirit or the proceeding Divine, which constitutes the operation, are the three essentials of the one God, the statement is comprehensible. For God the Father is His Divine, the Son from the Father is His Divine, and the Holy Spirit from both is His Divine; and as these are one in essence and one in mind they constitute one God. But if these three Divine essentials are called persons, and if to each person is attributed his own property, to the Father imputation, to the Son mediation, and to the Holy Spirit operation, the Divine Essence, which in fact is one and not divisible, becomes divided: and thus none of the three is God in fullness, but each has a sub-triple power; and this a sound understanding must needs reject.


From the trinity in every man, then, who can fail to perceive the trinity in the Lord? In every man there is soul, body, and operation; so also in the Lord, "for in the Lord dwells all the fullness of Divinity bodily," according to Paul (Col. 2:9); therefore in the Lord the trinity is Divine, but in man it is human. In this mystical notion that there are three Divine persons and yet one God, and that this God, although one, is nevertheless not one person, everyone can see that reason has no part, but has been lulled to sleep, and still it compels the mouth to speak like a parrot. And when reason is put to sleep what is speech from the mouth but dead speech? When the mouth utters that which reason turns away from and dissents from, is not speech foolish? At this day human reason, in respect to the Divine trinity, is bound like a man in prison, manacled and fettered; and it may be compared to a vestal virgin buried alive for permitting the sacred fire to die out; and yet in the minds of men of the church the Divine trinity ought to shine like a lamp, since God in His trinity and in the unity thereof is the All in all the sanctities of heaven and the church. But if the soul is made one God, and the body another, and the operation a third, how does this differ from making three parts, each distinct from the other, out of these three essentials of one man? And what is that but cutting him in pieces and slaying him?


(3) Before the world was created this Trinity was not; but after creation, when God became incarnate, it was provided and brought about, and then in the Lord God the Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ. In the Christian church at the present day a Divine trinity existing before the creation of the world is acknowledged; that is, that Jehovah God begat a Son from eternity, and that the Holy Spirit then went forth from both, and that each of these three is by Himself or singly God, because each is one person subsisting of Himself. But as this is incomprehensible to all reason it is called a mystery, which can be penetrated only in this way-that these three have one Divine essence, by which is meant eternity, immensity, omnipotence, and thus an equal Divinity, glory, and majesty. But that this trinity is a trinity of three Gods, and therefore in no sense a Divine trinity, will be shown in what follows: while from all that precedes it is evident that the trinity (which is also a trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) which was provided and brought about when God became incarnate, thus after the world was created, is a Divine trinity, because it is a trinity in one God. This divine trinity is in the Lord God the Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ, because the three essentials of the one God, which constitute one essence, are in Him. That in Him (as Paul says) dwelleth all the fullness of Divinity is evident also from the words of the Lord Himself, that all things of the Father are His, and that the Holy Spirit speaks from Him, and not of itself; and finally, that when He arose He took from the sepulchre His whole human body, both the flesh and the bones (Matt. 28:1-8; Mark 16:5, 6; Luke 24:1-3; John 20:11-15), unlike any other man; of which He bore living witness to His disciples, saying: Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself handle Me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have (Luke 24:39). From this every man may be convinced, if he will, that the Lord's humanity is Divine; consequently, that in Him God is Man and Man is God.


The trinity which the present Christian church has embraced and brought into its faith, is that God the Father begat a Son from eternity, and that the Holy Spirit then went forth from both, and that each one of Himself is a God. Human minds can conceive of this trinity only as a triarchy, like the government of three kings in one kingdom, or of three generals over one army, or of three masters in one household, all possessing an equal power. From this what but destruction could ensue? Or if one wishes to figure or shadow forth this triarchy before his mind's sight, and at the same time the unity of its members, he can present it to contemplation only as a man with three heads on one body, or as three bodies under one head. In such a monstrous image must the trinity appear to those who believe that there are three Divine persons each by Himself God, and who join these into one God, but deny that God, because He is one, is therefore one person. That a Son of God begotten from eternity descended and assumed a Human may be compared to the fables of the ancients, that human souls created at the beginning of the world enter into bodies and become men; also to the absurd notion that the soul of one person passes into another, as many in the Jewish church believed; for example, that the soul of Elijah would pass into the body of John the Baptist, and that David would return into his own or into some other man's body, and rule over Israel and Judah, because it is said in Ezekiel: I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even My servant David; and he shall be their shepherd and I Jehovah will be to them as God, and David a prince among them (34:23, 24); besides other passages; not knowing that the Lord is there meant by "David."


(4) In the ideas of thought a Trinity of Divine Persons from eternity, or before the world was created, is a Trinity of Gods; and these ideas cannot be effaced by, a lip-confession of one God. That a trinity of Divine persons from eternity is a trinity of Gods is clearly evident from the following passage in the Athanasian Creed: "There is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit; the Father is God and Lord; the Son is God and Lord; and the Holy Spirit is God and Lord; nevertheless there are not three Gods and Lords, but one God and Lord; for as we are compelled by the Christian verity to confess each person singly to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say three Gods or three Lords." This creed is accepted as ecumenical or universal by the whole Christian church, and all that is at this day known and acknowledged respecting God is from it. That no other trinity than a trinity of Gods was understood by the members of the Nicene Council, from which the Athanasian Creed came forth like a posthumous birth, anyone can see who reads it with his eyes open. And not only was the trinity understood by them to be a trinity of Gods, it was so understood by the whole Christian world as well, for the reason that the whole Christian world derives all its knowledge of God from that source, and every man clings to a belief in its words. [2] I appeal to everyone, layman and clergyman, to titled masters and professors, consecrated bishops and arch-bishops, purple-robed cardinals, and even the Roman pontiff himself, whether in the Christian world today the trinity is understood to be anything else than a trinity of Gods; let everyone of them consult with himself and speak from the things that are in his mind; for from the words of this universally accepted doctrine respecting God this is as manifest and clear as water in a crystal goblet, and also that there are three persons, each one of whom is God and Lord; and further that according to Christian verity each person singly ought to be confessed or acknowledged to be God and Lord, but that the Catholic or Christian religion or faith forbids the saying or naming three Gods and Lords; thus verity and religion, or verity and faith, are not one thing but two things, each contrary to the other. But lest all this should be exposed to ridicule before the whole world it was added that there are not three Gods and Lords, but one God and Lord; for who would not laugh at the idea of three Gods? And still does not everyone see the contradiction in this addition? [3] If they had said, indeed, that to the Father belongs the Divine essence, to the Son the Divine essence, and to the Holy Spirit the Divine essence, and yet there are not three Divine essences, but one indivisible essence, that is to say, if by the Father there be understood the Divine from whom [a Quo], by the Son the Divine Human therefrom, and by the Holy Spirit the proceeding Divine, which are the three constituents of the one God, then this mystery would be explicable. Or if we understood by the Divine of the Father what is like the soul in man, and by the Divine Human what is like the body of that soul, and by the Holy Spirit what is like the operation that proceeds from both, then three essences, which belong to one and the same person, and so together constitute one indivisible essence, are understood.


The idea of three Gods cannot be effaced by a lip-confession of one God, for the reason that from childhood this idea has been implanted in the memory, and it is from the things contained in the memory that everyone thinks. The memory in man is like the ruminatory stomach in birds and beasts; into which they thrust the food from which they gradually derive nourishment; and from time to time they draw the food from it and convey it to the true stomach, where it is digested and meted out to the various uses of the body. The human understanding is this latter stomach, as the memory is the former. That the idea of three Divine persons from eternity, which is the same as the idea of three Gods, cannot be effaced by a lip confession of one God, can be seen by anybody from this fact alone, that it has not yet been effaced, and that among the notable there are some who do not wish it to be effaced; for while they insist that the three Divine persons are of one God, they obstinately deny that God, on account of being one, is one person. But what wise man does not think within himself that the term person can not in this case mean person but that it predicates some quality, though what quality is not known? And this not being known, what has been implanted in the memory from childhood remains, as the roots of a tree remain in the ground, and from them, even if the tree be cut down, a shoot will spring forth. [2] But, my friend, not only cut down the tree, but also dig up the root, and then plant in your garden trees bearing good fruit. Thus beware, lest in your mind there should lurk the idea of three Gods, while your mouth utters the words one God, with no idea in them. In that case is not the understanding (which above the memory is thinking of three Gods, and at the same time below the memory is causing the mouth to utter one God), like a player on the stage able to act two roles by running from one side to the other, at one side saying one thing and at the other just the opposite, and by such contradiction playing on the one side the wise man and on the other the fool? What else can result from this but that when the understanding stands in the center and looks both ways it will conclude that neither this nor that amounts to anything, and so, perhaps, that there is neither one God nor three, thus that there is no God? The prevailing naturalism of the day is from no other source. In heaven no one can utter the words, A trinity of persons each one of whom singly is God; for it is resisted by the very aura of heaven, in which the thoughts of those there fly and undulate, as sounds do in our air. Such words can be uttered only by a hypocrite, and the sound of his speech grates in the heavenly aura like the gnashing of teeth, or is like the croak of a raven trying to imitate a bird of song. Moreover, I have heard from heaven that to efface a belief established in the mind by confirmations favoring a trinity of Gods, by means of a lip-confession of one God, is as impossible as it is to draw a tree back through its seed, or a man's chin through a hair growing out of it.


(5) A Trinity of Persons was unknown in the Apostolic Church, but was hatched by the Nicene Council, and from that was introduced into the Roman Catholic church, and from that again into the churches separated from it. By the Apostolic church is meant the church that existed in various places not only in the time of the apostles, but also in the second and third centuries after. But at length men began to wrench the door of the temple off its hinges, and to break robber-like into its sanctuary. The temple is the church; the door is the Lord God the Redeemer; and the sanctuary His Divinity; for Jesus says: Verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheep fold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. I am the door; by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved (John 10:1, 9). This crime was committed by Arius and his followers. [2] On this account a council was convoked by Constantine the Great at Nice, a city in Bithynia; and in order to overthrow the pernicious heresy of Arius it was devised, decided upon, and ratified by the members of the council that there were from eternity three Divine persons, a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit, to each one of whom belonged personality, existence, and subsistence, by Himself and in Himself; also that the second person, or the Son, came down and took on a Human and wrought redemption; and therefore His Human, by a hypostatic union, possesses Divinity, and through that union He has close relationship with God the Father. From that time heaps of abominable heresies about God and the person of Christ began to spring up from the earth, and Antichrists began to rear their heads and to divide God into three persons, and the Lord the Savior into two, thus destroying the temple set up by the Lord through the apostles, and this until not one stone was left upon another that was not thrown down, according to the Lord's words (Matt. 24:2), where by "the temple" not only the edifice at Jerusalem is meant but also the church, the consummation or end of which is treated of in the whole chapter. [3] But what else could have been expected from that council, or from those that followed, which in like manner divided the Godhead into three, and placed God in the flesh beneath them on their footstool? For by climbing up some other way they took the Head of the church away from its body; that is, they passed Him by, and mounted beyond to God the Father as to another, with the mere mention on their lips of Christ's merit, that is, that God on account of it might be merciful, and justification might thus flow into them directly with all that goes with it, namely, remission of sins, renovation, sanctification, regeneration, and salvation, and this without any meditation on man's part.


That the Apostolic church had not the least knowledge of a trinity of persons, or of three persons from eternity, can be clearly seen from the creed of that church which is called the Apostles' Creed, in which are these words - "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary;" and "I believe in the Holy Ghost." Here no mention is made of a Son born from eternity, but only of a Son conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary; for they knew from the apostles: That Jesus Christ was the true God (1 John 5:20) And that in Him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col. 2:9); And that the apostles preached faith in Him (Acts 20:21); And that to Him was given all power in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18).


What confidence is to be had in councils when they do not go directly to the God of the church? Is not the church the Lord's body, and He its head? What is a body without a head? And what sort of a body is that upon which three heads have been put, under the auspices of which men hold consultations and pass decrees? Does not enlightenment (which is spiritual when it is from the Lord alone, who is the God of heaven and the church, and also the God of the Word) then become more and more natural and at length sensual? And then not a single genuine theological truth in its internal form is perceived without being instantly cast out of the thought of the rational understanding, and like chaff from a winnowing machine blown into the air. In this state fallacies steal into the mind instead of truths, and darkness instead of rays of light; and men stand as if in a cave with spectacles on the nose and torch in hand, shutting their eyes to spiritual truths, which are in the light of heaven, and opening them to sensual truths belonging to the fatuous light of the bodily senses. And it is the same afterwards when the Word is read; the mind is then asleep to truths and awake to falsities, and becomes like the beast described as rising up out of the sea: With a mouth like that of a lion, a body like that of a leopard, and feet like those of a bear (Apoc. 13:2). It is said in heaven that when the Nicene Council had finished its work, that had come to pass which the Lord foretold to His disciples: The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken (Matt. 24:29); and in fact the Apostolic church was like a new star appearing in the starry heaven. But the church after the two Nicene councils became finally like the same star darkened and lost to view, as has sometimes happened, according to the observation of astronomers, in the natural world. We read in the Word that: Jehovah God dwells in light unapproachable (1 Tim. 6:16). Who, then, can approach Him, unless He take up His abode in light that is approachable, that is, unless He come down and assume a Human, and in it become the light of the world (John 1:9; 12:46)? Anyone can see that to get near to Jehovah the Father in His own light is as impossible as to take the wings of the morning and fly on them to the sun, or to feed upon the sun's rays instead of material food, or as for a bird to fly in the ether, or a stag to run on air.


(6) From the Nicene Trinity and the Athanasian Trinity together a faith arose by which the whole Christian church has been perverted. That both the Nicene and Athanasian trinities are a trinity of Gods can be seen from the creeds above quoted (n. 172). From these the faith of the present church has arisen, which is a faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, in God the Father that He will impute the righteousness of His Son the Savior and ascribe it to man, in God the Son that He will intercede and covenant, and in the Holy Spirit that He will in reality inscribe upon man the Son's imputed righteousness, and confirm it with a seal, by justifying, sanctifying, and regenerating him. This is the faith of the present day; and it is sufficient evidence that a trinity of Gods is what is acknowledged and worshiped. [2] From the faith of any church flow forth not only all its worship but also all its dogmas; thus it may be said that such as its faith is such is its doctrine. From this it follows that inasmuch as the faith of the present church is a faith in three Gods, it has perverted all things belonging to the church, for faith is the first principle and doctrinals are derivatives; and derivatives derive their essence from the first principle. If anyone will put these doctrinals one by one under examination, as the doctrine of God, of the person of Christ, of charity, repentance, regeneration, freewill, election, and the use of the sacraments, baptism and the Holy Supper, he will see plainly that there is a trinity of Gods within each one; and even if it does not actually appear within each, they all flow from it as from their fountain. But as such an examination cannot here be made (and yet in order that man's eyes may be opened it is well worth making), an Appendix shall be added to this work in which this will be shown. [3] The faith of the church respecting God is like the soul in the body, and doctrinals are like the members of the body. Or again, faith in God is like a queen, and dogmas like the officers of her court; and as these all hang upon the word of the queen, so do dogmas upon the utterance of faith. Solely from the faith of a church it can be seen how the Word is understood in that church; for a faith inwardly adapts and draws to itself, as if by cords, whatever things it can. If the faith is false it plays the harlot with every truth therein, and perverts and falsifies it, and in the spiritual things makes man insane. But if the faith is true the whole Word sustains it; and the God of the Word, who is the Lord God the Savior, pours light upon it and breathes upon it His Divine assent and makes man wise. [4] It will also be seen in the Appendix that the faith of the present day (which in its inward form is a faith in three Gods, but in its outward form a faith in one God) has quenched the light in the Word and taken away the Lord from the church, and has thus changed its morning into night. This was done by heresies before the council of Nice, and further by heresies arising from that council and after it. But what confidence is to be placed in councils which: Enter not through the door into the sheepfold but climb up some other way (according to the Lord's words in John 10:1, 9)? Their deliberation is not unlike the walking of a blind man in the daytime or of a man not blind at night, neither of whom sees a ditch until he has tumbled into it. What confidence, for example, can be placed in councils that established the vicarship of the pope, the canonization of the dead, the invocation of the dead as deities, the worship of their images, the granting of indulgences, the division of the Eucharist, and other things? Or what confidence is to be placed in a council that established the unspeakable doctrine of predestination, and hung it up before its church buildings as the palladium of religion? But, my friend, go to the God of the Word, and thus to the Word itself, and so enter through the door into the sheepfold, that is, into the church, and you will be enlightened; and then as from a mountain top you will see for yourself the goings and wanderings, not only of the many but your own also previously in the gloomy forest below.


The faith of every church is like the seed from which all its dogmas spring. It may be compared to the seed of a tree, out of which grows everything belonging to the tree, even to its fruit; and also to the seed of man, from which offspring and families are begotten in successive series. Therefore as soon as its leading tenet, which from its predominance is called saving, is known, the character of a church is known. This may be illustrated by the following example. Suppose the faith to be that nature is the creator of the universe; it will follow from this faith that the universe is called God, that nature is its essence, that the ether is the supreme Deity whom the ancients called Jove, that the air is the goddess they called Juno and made the wife of Jove; that the ocean is a god below these, which after the manner of the ancients may be called Neptune; and as the Divinity of nature reaches to the earth's very center, there is a god there also, who, as with the ancients, may be called Pluto; that the sun is the court of all the gods, where they meet whenever Jupiter calls a council; moreover, that fire is life from God; and thus the birds fly in God, the beasts walk in God, and the fishes swim in God. It follows also that thoughts are merely modifications of the ether, as the words flowing from them are modulations of air; and that love's affections are occasional changes of state caused by the influx into them of the sun's rays; and along with these notions, that the life after death, together with heaven and hell, is a fable concocted by the clergy for the purpose of acquiring honors and wealth, which, although a fable, is useful, and not to be ridiculed openly, since it serves the public interest by keeping simple minds in the bonds of obedience to magistrates; but those that are inveigled by religion are in fact often devoted to abstractions, their thoughts are fantasies, their actions ludicrous, and they themselves drudges of the priests, believing in what they see not, and seeing what transcends the sphere of their minds. The belief that nature is the creator of the universe includes these consequences, and many more like them, and they proceed from that belief when it is laid open. They are presented here to show that within the faith of the present church, which in its internal form is a faith in three Gods and in its external form a faith in one, there are swarms of falsities, and that as many falsities can be drawn out of it as there are little spiders in the egg-sac of a single spider. Who that has a mind truly rational does not see this by light from the Lord; and how can any other mind see it so long as the door to that faith and its offshoots is shut and bolted by the decree that it is unlawful for reason to look into its mysteries?


(7) This is the source of that "abomination of desolation, and that tribulation such as has not been nor ever shall be," which the Lord foretold in Daniel, and in the Gospels, and in the Apocalypse. In Daniel we read: Upon the bird of abominations shall be desolation even until the consummation and decision, it shall drop upon the devastation (9:27). In the gospel of Matthew the Lord says: Many false prophets shall arise and shall lead many astray. When, therefore, ye shall see the abomination of desolation predicted by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place, let him that readeth note it well (24:11, 15); and afterwards in the same chapter: Then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be (verse 21). This tribulation and that abomination are treated of in seven chapters of the Apocalypse; they are what are meant: By the black horse, and the pale horse going out of the book, the seal of which the Lamb opened (6:5-8). Also by: The beast coming up out of the abyss which made war upon the two witnesses and killed them (11:7 seq.). Also by: The dragon which stood before the woman about to be delivered, that he might devour her child, and which pursued her into the desert and there from his mouth cast out water as a river that he might drown her (12). Also by: The beasts of the dragon, one from the sea and the other from the earth (13). Again: By the three green spirits like frogs which went forth out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet (16:13). And finally by this: That after the seven angels had poured out the bowls of the wrath of God, in which were the seven last plagues, into the earth, the sea, the fountains and rivers, upon the sun, upon the seat of the beast, upon the Euphrates, and at length into the air, there was a great earthquake, such as was not since there were men upon the earth (16). The "earthquake" means the overturning of the church, which is done by falsities and falsifications of truth, and this is signified also by: The great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world (Matt. 24:21). The following words have a like meaning: And the angel thrust in his sickle and gathered the vineyard of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the anger of God; and the wine-press was trodden and there went out blood even unto the bridles of the horses for a thousand and six hundred furlongs (Apoc. 14:19, 20); "blood" signifying truth falsified. Besides other things contained in those seven chapters.


In the Gospels (Matt. 24; Mark 13; and Luke 21) the successive states of decline and corruption in the Christian church are described; and "the great tribulation such as hath not been since the beginning of the world, nor ever shall be" which is there mentioned means (as in many other places in the Word) the infestation of truth by falsities, even until no truth remains that is not falsified and consummated. This also is meant by "the abomination of desolation" there mentioned; and again by "the desolation upon the bird of abominations" and by "the consummation and decision" in Daniel; and the same thing is described in the Apocalypse in the passages just quoted from that book. This has come to pass because the church, instead of acknowledging the unity of God in trinity and His trinity in unity in one person, has acknowledged these in three persons; and in consequence the church has been based in the mind upon the idea of three Gods, and on the lips upon the confession of one God; and thus men have separated themselves from the Lord, and at length to such an extent that no idea of Divinity in His Human nature is left with them, when in fact He is God the Father in the Human, and therefore He is called: The Father of eternity (Isa. 9:6) And He said to Philip, He that seeth Me seeth the Father (John 14:7, 9).


But it may be asked, Whence is the very stream of that fountain from which has come forth an abomination of desolation such as is described in Daniel (9:27), and a tribulation such as was not nor shall be (Matt. 24:21)? The answer is, that it comes from that same universal faith of the Christian world, and from its influx, operation, and imputation according to traditions. Wonderful it is that the doctrine of justification by that faith alone (which, however, is no faith but only a chimera) controls every point of doctrine in Christian churches; that is, with the clerical order it rules as almost the sole theological principle. It is what all students of divinity eagerly learn in the schools and drink in and absorb; and afterwards, seemingly inspired by heavenly wisdom, they teach it in the churches and publish it in books; and by it they strive after and acquire a reputation and fame and praise for superior learning; and on account of it, diplomas, degrees, and prizes are bestowed upon them; and all this is done, although by that same faith alone the sun at this day is darkened, the moon is robbed of her light, the stars have fallen from heaven, and the powers of the heavens have been shaken, according to the words of the Lord's prophecy in Matthew (24:29). It has been proved to me that the doctrine of this faith has today so darkened men's minds that they are not willing, and therefore as it were not able, to see any Divine truth inwardly, either in the light of the sun or in the light of the moon, but only outwardly on the mere rough surface by the light on a hearth at night; and I am therefore able to declare, that if Divine truths respecting the real conjunction of charity and faith, respecting heaven and hell, the Lord, life after death, and eternal happiness, were sent down from heaven written in letters of silver, those who hold to justification and sanctification by faith alone would not deem them worth reading. But it would be wholly different if a treatise on justification by faith alone were sent up from the hells; this they would receive, and would kiss it and carry it home in their bosoms.


(8) So, too, unless a new heaven and a new church were established by the Lord there could no flesh be saved. It is said in Matthew: Then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days be shortened no flesh would be saved (24:21, 22). This chapter treats of "the consummation of the age," by which the end of the present church is meant; therefore "to shorten those days" means to bring that church to an end and establish a new one. Who does not know that unless the Lord had come into the world and wrought redemption no flesh could have been saved? To work redemption means to found a new heaven and a new church. That the Lord would again come into the world He foretold in the Gospels, Matt. 24:30, 31; Mark 13:26; Luke 12:40; 21:27; and in the Apocalypse, particularly in the last chapter. That He is also effecting a redemption at this day by founding a new heaven and establishing a new church to the end that man may be saved, has been shown above in the chapter on Redemption. [2] The great mystery that unless a new church is established by the Lord no flesh can he saved, is this: That so long as the dragon with his horde remains in the world of spirits into which he has been cast, no Divine truth united to Divine good can pass through that world to men on earth without being perverted and falsified, or without its perishing. This is what is meant in the Apocalypse by the words: The dragon was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Woe to those that inhabit the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down unto them having great anger (12:9, 12, 13). But when the dragon had been cast into hell (10:10), John saw a new heaven and a new earth, and he saw the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven (21:1, 2); "the dragon" meaning those who are in the faith of the present church. [3] In the spiritual world I have several times talked with those who believe that men are justified by faith alone; and I have told them that their doctrine is both erroneous and absurd, and induces upon men security, blindness, sleep, and in spiritual things a night, and consequently death to the soul; and I have exhorted them to discard it; but I received the answer, "Why discard it? Does not the superiority of the learning of the clergy over that of the laity hang upon that sole doctrine?" I replied, "In that case they do not regard the salvation of souls as any object, but the superiority of their own reputation; and as they have adapted the truths of the Word to their false principles, and have thus adulterated them, they are those angels of the abyss, called Abaddons and Apollyons (Apoc. 9:11), who signify those that destroy the church by a total falsification of the Word." But they made answer, "What do you mean? By our knowledge of the mysteries of that faith we are oracles, and from it as from a sanctuary we give responses; therefore we are not Apollyons but Apollos." Indignant at this reply I said, "If you are Apollos you are also leviathans - your leaders the crooked leviathans, and the rest of you the stretched-out leviathans, whom God will visit with His sore and great sword" (Isa. 27:1). But at this they laughed.


(9) From a Trinity of Persons, each one of whom singly is God, according to the Athanasian creed, many discordant and heterogeneous ideas respecting God have arisen, which are phantasies and abortions. From the doctrine of three Divine persons from eternity, which in itself is the head of all the doctrinals in the Christian churches, there have arisen many ideas of God that are unbecoming and unworthy of the Christian world, which, on the subject of God and His oneness ought to be and might be a light to all peoples and nations in the four quarters of the globe. All who dwell outside the Christian church, both Mohammedans and Jews, and besides these the Gentiles of every cult, are averse to Christianity solely on account of its belief in three Gods. This its propagandists know; and therefore they are very cautious about divulging the doctrine of a trinity of persons as it is taught in the Nicene and Athanasian creeds; for if they did they would be shunned and ridiculed. [2] The absurd, ludicrous, and frivolous ideas that have sprung up out of the doctrine of three Divine persons from eternity, and that still spring up in every man who retains a belief in the words of that doctrine, rising from his ears and eyes into the sight of his thought, are as follows: That God the Father sits on high overhead; the Son at His right hand; and the Holy Spirit before them listening, and forthwith traversing the whole world, dispensing according to their decision the gifts of justification, inscribing them upon men and changing men from children of wrath to children of grace, and from being damned to being elect. I appeal to the learned of the clergy and well-informed of the laity, whether in their minds they cherish any other visual image than this, for this flows of itself from the same doctrine (see Memorable Relation, n. 16). [3] There flows from it also a curiosity for conjecturing what they conversed about before the world was made, whether about making the world, or perchance about those who according to the Supralapsarians were to be predestined and justified, or also about redemption; likewise what they have been conversing about among themselves since the world was created - the Father from His authority and power to impute, the Son from His power to mediate; moreover that imputation, which is election, is from the mercy of the Son who intercedes for all in general and for some individually, and that the Father, being moved by love to the Son and by the agony witnessed in Him when on the cross, has grace for such. But who cannot see that such things are silly conceits about God? And yet in the Christian churches these are the very sanctities, which are to be kissed with the lips, but not looked into by any mental vision because they are above the reason, and if they were lifted out of the memory into the understanding man would become insane. This, however, does not take away the idea of three Gods but induces a stupid faith, because of which a man, when thinking about God, may be likened to a sleep-walker wandering about in the darkness of night, or to one blind from birth wandering in the light of day.


That a trinity of Gods is fixed in the minds of Christians, although from shame they deny it, is very evident from the ingenuity of many of them in demonstrating by means of various things in plain and solid geometry, in arithmetic, and in physics, and also by foldings of cloth and paper, that the three are one and the one is three. Thus they play with the divine trinity as jugglers play with each other. Their juggling on this subject may be compared to the visions of those suffering from fever, who see one object (whether a man, or a table or a candle) as three, or three as one. It may also be compared to the tricks of those who work soft wax with their fingers and mould it into various shapes, now making it triangular to exhibit the trinity, and again spherical to exhibit the unity, meanwhile asking, "Is not the substance still one and the same?" And yet the Divine trinity is like the one pearl of great value, but when divided into persons it is like that pearl divided into three parts, whereby it is utterly and manifestly ruined.


To this shall be added the following Memorable Relations. First: In the spiritual world there are climates and zones just as in the natural world. Nothing exists in this world that does not also exist in that; yet in origin they differ. In the natural world climates vary according to the distance of the sun from the equator; in the spiritual world they vary according to the distances of the will's affections and the consequent thought of the understanding from true love and true faith; for of these latter all things in that world are correspondences. In the frigid zones of the spiritual world things appear similar to those in the frigid zones of the natural world; lands and waters alike are bound in ice with snow upon them. Those come hither and dwell here who in the world had lulled their understanding to sleep by their indolence in thinking of spiritual things, and who were consequently indolent in doing anything useful. Such are called boreal spirits. [2] On one occasion I had a strong desire to see some region of the frigid zone where these boreal spirits dwell. I was therefore conducted in spirit northward to a region where the whole earth appeared to be covered with snow and all the water frozen. It was the Sabbath day; and I saw men, that is, spirits similar in stature to the men of our world, with their heads, owing to the cold, covered with lions' skins, the mouth of the skin fitted to their own; while before and behind and down to the loins their bodies were clad with leopard skins and their feet with bear skin. I also saw many riding in chariots, and some in chariots carved in the form of a dragon with the horns projecting forward. The chariots were drawn by small horses with their tails clipped, which ran like frightful wild creatures, the driver holding tight the reins and continually speeding and whipping them to a run. At length I saw that the crowds were flocking towards a temple, which was invisible because it was buried in snow; but the caretakers of the temple were shoveling away the snow and digging a path for the coming worshipers, who descended and entered. [3] I was permitted to see the inside of the temple. It was lighted with an abundance of lamps and torches. There was an altar of hewn stone, behind which hung a tablet with the inscription, The Divine Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are essentially one God, but personally three. At length a priest who stood at the altar, after kneeling thrice before the tablet, went up into the pulpit with a book in his hand and began a discourse on the Divine trinity. "O how great the mystery," he exclaimed, "that God in the highest begot a Son from eternity, and through Him sent forth the Holy Spirit, the three conjoining themselves by their essence but dividing themselves by their properties, which are imputation, redemption, and operation! But if we look upon these things from reason our vision grows obscure, and a spot comes before it such as appears before the eye of one who fixes his gaze upon the naked sun. Therefore, my hearers, in this matter let us keep the understanding under obedience to faith." [4] Again he exclaimed, "O how great a mystery is our holy faith, that God the Father imputes the righteousness of His Son and sends the Holy Spirit, who from that imputed righteousness works out the evidences of justification! These in brief are forgiveness of sins, renovation, regeneration, and salvation, of the influx of action of which a man is no more conscious than the statue of salt into which Lot's wife was turned; and of the indwelling or the state of which he is no more conscious than a fish in the sea. But, my friends, in this faith there lies a treasure so enclosed and hidden that not a particle of it can be seen; therefore in this matter also let us keep the understanding under obedience to faith." [5] After some deep sighs he again exclaimed, "O how great is the mystery of election! He becomes one of the elect to whom God imputes that faith, which He imparts, at His good pleasure and out of pure grace, to whomsoever He wills and when He wills, and while it is being poured into him man is like a stock, but when this has been done he becomes like a tree. It is true that there are fruits, that is, good works, hanging upon the tree (which in a representative sense is our faith); but the fruit does not cling to it, and therefore the worth of the tree is not in the fruit. Yet as this sounds heterodox, although it is a mystical verity, let us, my brethren, keep the understanding under obedience to faith in it." [6] Then again, after a brief pause, standing as if he would produce something further from his memory, he continued, "From the mass of mysteries I will present one more, namely, that in spiritual things man has not a grain of free-will. For the primates and rulers of our order say in their theological canons that in matters pertaining to faith and salvation, which are especially called spiritual, man has no ability to will, think or understand anything, nor even adapt or apply himself to their reception. Therefore of myself I say, that a man is no better able than a parrot or a magpie or a raven to think about these things from reason and talk about them from thought; so that in spiritual things man is in fact an ass, and only in natural things is he a man. But, my friends, lest this should annoy your reason, let us in this as in the others keep the understanding under obedience to faith. For our theology is a bottomless abyss, and if you let your intellectual vision down into it you will be overwhelmed, and will perish as by shipwreck. And yet keep this in mind: we are none the less in the true light of the Gospel, which is shining far above our heads; but sad to say, the hairs of our heads and the bones of our skulls stand in the way and keep the light from penetrating the recesses of our understanding." [7] Having said this he came down from the pulpit; and when he had offered a prayer at the altar and the service was over I approached some who were talking together, among whom was the priest; and those standing around him said, "We give you everlasting thanks for a discourse so magnificent and so rich in wisdom." But I said to them, "Did you understand anything?" And they answered, "We took in everything with full ears; but why do you ask whether we understand? Is not the understanding benumbed by such matters?" And to this the priest added, "Forasmuch as you have heard and have not understood you are blessed, for thereby you have salvation." [8] Afterwards I talked with the priest and asked him whether he had a degree. He answered, "I am a laureled Master." I then said, "Master, I have heard you preaching mysteries; if you know of the mysteries but know nothing that they contain, you know nothing; for they are like chests locked with triple bolts; and unless you open them and look inside, which must be done by the understanding, you do not know whether the contents are precious or whether they are worthless, or are hurtful. They may contain vipers' eggs or spiders' webs, according to the description in Isaiah" (59:5). At this the priest looked at me grimly; and the worshipers withdrew and entered their chariots, drunken with paradoxes, muddled with empty words, and enveloped in darkness respecting all things of faith and the means of salvation.


Second Memorable Relation: I was engaged in thought about what region of the mind in man is occupied with theological matters. At first I supposed that being spiritual and heavenly they occupy the highest region. For the human mind is divided into three regions, as a house into three stories, or the angelic abodes into three heavens. Then an angel standing near said, "With those who love truth because it is true, theological matters rise even into the highest region of the mind, because in that region is their heaven, and they are in the light in which angels dwell. But moral subjects theoretically examined and perceived have their place in a second region beneath these, because they communicate with things spiritual. Beneath these in a first region political subjects have their place; while scientific matters, which are manifold, and may be referred to genera and species, form a door to these higher matters. Those with whom things spiritual, moral, political, and scientific are thus subordinated, think what they think and do what they do from justice and judgment. This is because the light of truth, which is also the light of heaven, illuminates from the highest region all things that follow, as the light of the sun, passing in turn through the ethers and through the atmospheres, illumines the eyes of men and beasts and fishes. It is different, however, in matters of theology with those who love truth not because it is true, but only for the glory of their reputation. With them theological subjects have their seat in the lowest region along with scientific subjects; with some the former are mingled with the latter; with others the two cannot be so mingled. In the same region but still lower are political subjects, and beneath these again moral subjects, for in such persons the two higher regions are not opened on the right hand; and in consequence they have no interior reason from judgment and no affection for justice, but only a cleverness which enables them to talk on every subject as if from intelligence and to confirm whatever presents itself as if from reason; but the objects of reason which they chiefly love are falsities, because these adhere to the fallacies of the senses. This is why there are so many in the world who no more see truths of doctrine from the Word than those blind can see; and when such hear truths they hold their nostrils, lest the scent of the truths should disturb them and excite nausea; while on the other hand, they open all their senses to falsities and drink them in as whales drink in water."


Third Memorable Relation: Once when I was meditating about the dragon and the beast and the false prophet spoken of in the Apocalypse, an angelic spirit appeared to me and asked, "What are you meditating about?" And I said, "About the false prophet." Then he said, "I will take you to the place where those are who are meant by the false prophet;" and he added that they are the same as are meant in the thirteenth chapter of the Apocalypse by "the beast rising up out of the earth," which had two horns like a lamb, and which spoke like a dragon. I followed him, and lo, I saw a great crowd, in the midst of which were leaders of the church who taught that nothing saves man but faith in the merit of Christ; and that works are good, but contribute nothing to salvation, and yet should be taught from the Word in order that the laity, especially the simple, may be held more firmly in the bonds of obedience to magistrates, and may be compelled as if from religion, and thus from within, to practice moral charity. [2] Then one of them, seeing me, said, "Would you like to see our temple, in which there is an image representative of our faith?" I approached and looked, and behold the temple was magnificent. In the center of it was an image of a woman clad in scarlet robes, holding in her right hand a golden coin, and in her left a chain of pearls. But both the image and the temple were produced through phantasy; for through phantasies infernal spirits are able to represent magnificent things by closing up the interiors of the mind and opening the exteriors only. When, however, I observed that these things were such juggleries, I prayed to the Lord, and immediately the interiors of my mind were opened, and then in place of a magnificent temple I saw a house full of chinks from top to bottom, tumbling all to pieces; and in place of the woman, I saw hanging within the building a figure with a head like a dragon's, a body like a leopard's, its feet like bear's feet, and its mouth like that of a lion, thus precisely like the beast described as rising up out of the sea (Rev. 13:2); and for a floor there was a bog with a multitude of frogs in it, and I was told that underneath the bog was a large hewn stone, with the Word hidden deep below it. Seeing this I said to the juggler, "Is this your temple?" And he said, "It is." But suddenly he, too, had his inner sight opened, and from it he saw the same things that I did, and he cried out loudly, "What is this, and whence is it?" And I said, "It is from the light of heaven, which discloses the quality of every outward shape, and thus the quality of your faith separate from spiritual charity." [3] And presently a wind blew up from the east and swept away the temple and the image and dried up the bog and thus laid bare the stone beneath which the Word was lying. And then a warmth like that of spring breathed upon it from heaven, and behold in the same place a tabernacle simple in outward form appeared. And the angels who were with me said, "Behold the tabernacle of Abraham, as it was when the three angels came to him and foretold the birth of Isaac. To the eye it appears simple, but it becomes more and more magnificent according to the influx of light from heaven." It was granted them to open the heaven occupied by spiritual angels, who are in wisdom. And at once from the light flowing in from that heaven the tabernacle appeared like a temple similar to that at Jerusalem. And when I looked inside I saw the foundation-stone under which the Word was deposited, set about with precious stones, and from these a kind of effulgence beamed upon the walls, on which were figures of cherubim, and the glow beautifully variegated the walls with colors. [4] While I wondered at these things the angels said, "You shall see something still more wonderful." And it was granted them to open the third heaven, where celestial angels dwell who are in a state of love; and then because of the flamy light flowing in from that heaven the whole temple vanished, and in its place the Lord alone was seen standing upon the foundation-stone, which was the Word, appearing in the same form in which He appeared to John (Rev. 1). But as the interiors of the angels' minds were then filled with a holiness which impelled them to fall down upon their faces, the way by which the light came from the third heaven was immediately closed by the Lord, and a way was opened for light from the second heaven, and this caused the temple to assume its former aspect, and also the tabernacle, which was now in the center of the temple. This was an illustration of what is meant in the Apocalypse by these words: Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them (21:3). And by these words: I saw no temple in the New Jerusalem, for the Lord God the Almighty is the temple thereof, and the Lamb (21:22).


Fourth Memorable Relation: As I have been permitted by the Lord to behold wonderful things in the heavens and beneath the heavens, it behooves me, as commanded, to relate what has been seen. There was seen a magnificent palace, and in the innermost parts of it a temple, and in the center of the temple a golden table upon which the Word was lying, and two angels stood beside it. Around the table were seats in triple rows. The seats of the first row were covered with cloth of pure silk, purple colored; those of the second row with cloth of sky-blue silk; and those of the third row with white cloth. Beneath the roof, high above the table, a wide canopy was seen ablaze with precious stones, from the glow of which shone a rainbow, such as is seen when the sky is clearing after a shower. Presently a number of the clergy equal to the number of the seats appeared and occupied the seats, all clothed in the garments of the priestly office. At one side was a wardrobe where an angel keeper stood; and within it arranged in beautiful order splendid robes were lying. This was a council called together by the Lord; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Deliberate." But they asked, "On what subject?" It was said, "On the Lord the Savior, and on the Holy Spirit." But when they began to meditate on these subjects they were not in a state of enlightenment; therefore they prayed, and a light then flowed down from heaven; and first the back part of their heads were lighted up, then their temples and at last their faces. Then they began to deliberate, and first, as bidden, in regard to the Lord the Savior. [2] And the first point proposed and discussed was, Who assumed the Human in the Virgin Mary? And the angel standing beside the table upon which was the Word, read to them the following from Luke: The angel said to Mary, Behold thou shalt conceive in the womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And Mary said to the angel, How shall this thing be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; therefore that holy thing that is born of thee shall be called the Son of God (1:31, 32, 34, 35). Then he read the following from Matthew: The angel said to Joseph in a dream, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy bride, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And Joseph knew her not until she had brought forth her firstborn son and he called His name Jesus (Matt. 1:20, 25). We also read other passages from the Gospels (as Matt. 3:17; 17:5; John 1:18; 3:16; 20:31); and many others elsewhere, in which the Lord in respect to His Human is called the Son of God, and where from His Human He calls Jehovah His Father. We read also from the Prophets, where it is foretold that Jehovah Himself would come into the world; among them these two passages from Isaiah: It shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him that He may deliver us; this is Jehovah; we have waited for Him; let us exult and be glad in His salvation (25:9). The voice of one crying in the desert, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah; make level in the wilderness a highway for our God. For the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. Behold, the Lord Jehovah cometh in strength, He shall feed His Bock like a shepherd (40:3, 5, 10, 11). [3] And the angel said, "Because Jehovah Himself came into the world and assumed the Human He is called in the Prophets Savior and Redeemer. Then he read to them the following passages: Among Thee alone is God, and there is no God besides. Surely Thou art a hidden God, O God of Israel, the Savior (Isa. 45:14, 15). Am not I Jehovah? And there is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Savior, there is none beside Me (Isa. 45:21, 22). I am Jehovah, and beside Me there is no Savior (Isa. 43:11). I am Jehovah thy God, and thou shalt acknowledge no God beside Me, and there is no Savior beside Me (Hos. 13:4). That all flesh may know that I Jehovah am thy Savior and thy Redeemer (Isa. 49:26; 60:16). As for our Redeemer, Jehovah of Hosts is His name (Isa. 47:4). Their Redeemer is strong, Jehovah of Hosts is His name (Jer. 50:34). O Jehovah, my Rock and my Redeemer (Ps. 19:14). Thus said Jehovah thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, I am Jehovah thy God (Isa. 48:17; 43:14; 49:7; 54:8). Thou, Jehovah, art our Father; our Redeemer from everlasting is Thy name (Isa. 63:16). Thus said Jehovah thy redeemer, I am Jehovah that maketh all things, even alone by Myself (Isa. 44:24). Thus said Jehovah the King of Israel, and His Redeemer Jehovah of hosts, I am the first, and I am the last; and besides Me there is no God (Isa. 44:6). Jehovah of Hosts is his name, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called (Isa. 54:5). Behold the days come, when I shall raise up unto David a righteous branch, and He shall reign as king, and this is His name, Jehovah, our Righteousness (Jer. 23:5, 6; 33:15, 16). In that day Jehovah shall be king over all the earth; in that day Jehovah shall be one, and His name one (Zech. 14:9). [4] Strengthened in belief by all these passages, those that sat upon the seats unanimously declared, that Jehovah himself assumed the Human that He might redeem and save men. And thereupon from some Roman Catholics who had hidden themselves behind the altar a voice was heard saying, "How can Jehovah God become a man? Is He not the creator of the universe?" And one of those on the second row of seats turned about and said, "Who then was it?" And he who had been behind the altar and was now standing near it said, "The Son from eternity." But he received the reply, "Is not the Son from eternity, according to your confession of faith, also the Creator of the universe? Moreover, what is a Son and a God born from eternity? And how can the Divine essence, which is one and indivisible, be separated, and one part of it descend and not the whole at once?" [5] The second subject of discussion about the Lord, was whether the Father and He are thus one as soul and body are one; and they said that this follows, because the soul is from the father. Then one of those who sat on the third row of seats read from what is called the Athanasian Creed as follows, "Although our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man, yet these are not two, but one Christ; yea, one altogether; He is one person; since as the soul and body make one Man, so God and Man is one Christ." The reader said that this creed, in which these words are found, is accepted throughout the Christian world, even by the Roman Catholics. The others said, "What more is needed? God the Father and He are one as soul and body are one." And they said, "This being so, we see that the Lord's Human is Divine because it is the Human of Jehovah; also that it is the Lord as to His Divine human who is to be approached, and that thus and in no other way can the Divine which is called the Father be approached." [6] This conclusion of theirs the angel confirmed by many passages from the Word, among which were the following: Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and His name, Wonderful, Counselor, God, Mighty, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). Abraham knoweth us not, and Israel doth not acknowledge us; Thou, Jehovah, art our Father, our Redeemer from everlasting is Thy name (Isa. 63:16). And in John: Jesus said, He that believeth in Me believeth in Him that sent Me; and he that seeth Me seeth Him that sent me (John 12:44, 45). Philip said to Jesus, Show us the Father, Jesus saith unto him, he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me (John 14:8-11). Jesus said, I and My Father are one (John 10:30). All things that the Father hath are Mine; and all Mine are the Father's (John 16:15; 17:10). Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one cometh unto the Father but by Me (John 14:6). To all this the reader added, that things like those here said by the Lord about himself and his Father might also be said by man about himself and his own soul. Having heard this they all with one voice and one heart declared that the Lord's human is Divine, and that this human must be approached in order to approach the Father, since by means of it Jehovah God sent himself thus accessible. To the ancients in like manner He made Himself visible, and thus accessible in a Human Form; but then through an angel. But as that form was representative of the Lord who was to come, so with the ancients all things pertaining to the church were representative. [7] This was followed by a deliberation about the Holy Spirit. In the first place there was set forth the idea of many respecting God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, namely, that God the Father sits on high with the Son at His right hand, and that the two send forth from themselves the Holy Spirit to enlighten, teach, justify and sanctify mankind. Then a voice from heaven was heard saying, "That idea of thought is to us unbearable. Who does not know that Jehovah God is omnipresent? And whoever knows and acknowledges this must acknowledge that He Himself enlightens, teaches, justifies, and sanctifies; and that there is no mediating God distinct from Him, still less a God distinct from two Gods, as one person from another person. Therefore have done with the former idea, which is foolish, and let this which is the right idea be accepted, and you will see the matter clearly." [8] Then a voice from the Roman Catholics who were standing near the altar of the temple was heard saying, "What, then, is the Holy Spirit which is mentioned in the Word in the Gospels and in Paul, by which so many learned men of the clergy, especially our own, say they are led? Who at this day in the Christian world denies the Holy Spirit and its operations?" At these words one of those sitting on the second row of seats turned about and said, You say that the Holy Spirit is a person by Himself and a God by Himself; but what is a person going out of and forth from a person but an operation going out and forth? One person cannot go out of or forth from another, but operation can. Or what is a God going out of or proceeding from God, but an outgoing and proceeding Divine? One God cannot go out of or forth from another God, and through still another, but the Divine can go out and forth from one God." [9] On hearing these words those sitting on the seats unanimously concluded that the Holy Spirit is not a person by itself, nor thus a God by itself, but is the Holy Divine going out of and forth from the one only and omnipresent God, who is the Lord. At this the angels who stood near the golden table upon which was the Word said, "It is well. Nowhere does one read in the Old Covenant that the prophets spoke the Word from the Holy Spirit, but from Jehovah; and in the new Covenant wherever the Holy Spirit is mentioned it means the Divine going forth, which is the Divine enlightening, teaching, vivifying, reforming, and regenerating." [10] After this another discussion about the Holy Spirit followed on this point, From whom does the Divine that is meant by the Holy Spirit go forth, whether from the Father or from the Lord? While they were discussing this subject a light from heaven beamed upon them by which they saw that the Holy Divine, which is meant by the Holy Spirit, does not go forth out of the Father through the Lord, but out of the Lord from the Father, comparatively as man's activity goes forth, not from the soul through the body, but out of the body from the soul. The angel who stood near the table confirmed this by the following passages from the Word: He whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God; for not by measure doth God give the Spirit unto Him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand (John 3:34, 35). And there shall go forth a Shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding; the spirit of counsel and might (Isa. 9:1, 2). That the Spirit of Jehovah was put upon Him and was in Him (Isa. 42:1, 49:19, 20; 51:1; Luke 4:18). When the Holy Spirit is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father (John 15:26). He shall glorify Me, for He shall take of Mine and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine therefore said I that He shall take of Mine and shall declare it unto you (John 16:14, 15). If I go away I will send the Comforter unto you (John 16:7). That the Comforter is the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 8:39). But after the glorification: Jesus breathed upon the disciples, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). And in the Apocalypse: Who shall not glorify Thy name, O Lord? for Thou alone art holy (15:4). [11] As the Holy Spirit means the Lord's Divine operation from His Divine omnipresence, so when He spoke to His disciples about the Holy Spirit whom He would send from the Father He also said: I will not leave you orphans. I go away and I come unto you. And in that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you (John 14:18, 20, 28). And just before He left the world He said: Lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the consummation of the age (Matt. 28:20). Having read these passages to them the angel said, "From these and many other passages from the Word it is clear that the Divine which is called the Holy Spirit goes forth out of the Lord from the Father." Hereupon those who sat upon the seats said, "This is Divine truth." [12] Finally the following decree was adopted: "From the deliberation of this council we have clearly seen and therefore acknowledge as holy truth, that in the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ there is a Divine trinity, namely, the Divine from which (a quo), which is called the Father, the Divine Human which is called the Son, and the Divine going forth which is called the Holy Spirit;" and together they cried out that: "In Christ dwelleth all the fulness of Divinity bodily (Col. 2:9). Thus in the church God is one." [13] When this conclusion had been reached in that magnificent council the members arose; and an angel keeper came from the wardrobe bringing to each one of those occupying the seats splendid garments interwoven here and there with golden threads; and he said, "Accept these wedding garments." And they were conducted in glory to the new Christian heaven, with which the Lord's church on earth, which is the New Jerusalem, will be conjoined.


CHAPTER 4 THE SACRED SCRIPTURE OR WORD OF THE LORD I. THE SACRED SCRIPTURE OR THE WORD IS DIVINE TRUTH ITSELF. It is on everyone's lips that the Word is from God, is Divinely inspired, and is therefore holy; and yet it has not been known heretofore where in the Word its Divinity resides. For in its letter the Word appears like ordinary writing, foreign in style, neither lofty nor brilliant as the writings of the present time are in appearance. For this reason the man who worships nature instead of God or more than God, and whose thought therefore is from himself and his selfhood and not from the Lord out of heaven, may easily fall into error respecting the Word, and into contempt for it, and when reading it may say to himself, What does this and that mean? Is this Divine? Can God, whose wisdom is infinite speak thus? Wherein and wherefrom is its holiness, except from some religious notion and consequent persuasion?


But he who so thinks does not consider that Jehovah the Lord, who is the God of heaven and earth, spoke the Word through Moses and the prophets, and therefore it cannot be other than Divine truth, for what Jehovah the Lord Himself speaks must be such. Neither does he consider that the Lord the Savior, who is the same with Jehovah, spoke the Word in the Gospels, much of it by His own mouth, and the rest of it by the breath of His mouth, which is the Holy Spirit, through His twelve disciples; whence it is, as He says, that in His words there is spirit and there is life, and that He is the Light that enlightens, and that He is the Truth; as is evident from the following passages: Jesus said, The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life (John 6:63). Jesus said to the woman at Jacob's well, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee Give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of Him and He would give thee living water. Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:6, 10, 11, 14); "Jacob's well" signifying the Word. (As also in Deut. 33:28). Therefore the Lord, because He is the Word, sat there and talked with the woman. "Living water" signifies the truth of the Word: Jesus said, If any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:37, 38). Peter said to Jesus, Thou hast the words of eternal life (John 6:68). Jesus said, Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Mark 13:31). The Lord's words are Truth and Life because He is the Truth and the Life, as He teaches in John: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life (14:6); and in the same: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men (1:1, 4). "The Word" means the Lord in respect to Divine truth, in whom alone there is life and there is light. For this reason the Word, which is from the Lord and which is the Lord, is called: The fountain of living waters (Jer. 2:13; 17:13; 31:9) The fountain of salvation (Isa. 12:3) A fountain (Zech. 13:1) And the river of the water of life (Apoc. 22:1); and it is said that: The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall guide them unto living fountains of waters (Apoc. 7:17) with other things also in passages where the Word is also called "a sanctuary" and "a tabernacle," wherein the Lord dwells with man.


Nevertheless, all this does not convince the natural man that the Word is Divine truth itself, in which there is Divine wisdom and Divine life; for he estimates it by its style, in which these are not seen by him. Yet the style of the Word is the Divine style itself, with which no other style can be compared, however sublime and excellent it may seem. The style of the Word is such that there is a holiness in every sentence and in every word, and even in some places in the very letters, and thereby the Word conjoins man with the Lord and opens heaven. There are two things that go forth from the Lord, Divine love and Divine wisdom, or what is the same thing, Divine good and Divine truth. In its essence the Word is both of these; and because, as just said, it conjoins man with the Lord and opens heaven, it fills man with the goods of love and the truths of wisdom-his will with the goods of love and his understanding with the truths of wisdom; thus by means of the Word man has life. But it must be clearly understood that those only have life from the Word who read it for the purpose of drawing from it Divine truths as from their proper fountain, and at the same time for the purpose of applying to the life the truths drawn therefrom; while with those who read the Word solely with a view to gaining worldly honors and riches the opposite effect follows.


Any man who does not know that there is a certain spiritual sense contained in the Word, like a soul in its body, must needs judge of it from the sense of its letter; when yet this sense is like an envelope enclosing precious things, which are its spiritual sense. Therefore when this internal sense is unknown the Divine holiness of the Word can be estimated only as when a precious stone is estimated from the matrix enclosing it, which often appears like an ordinary stone; or only as when from a casket made of jasper, lapis-lazuli, amianthus, or agate, one estimates the diamonds, rubies, sardonyxes, oriental topazes, and so on, lying in order within it. So long as its contents are unknown it is not strange that the casket is esteemed only according to the value of its material which is visible. The same is true of the Word in respect to the sense of its letter. That men, therefore, may not continue to doubt whether the Word is Divine and most holy, the Lord has revealed to me its internal sense, which in its essence is spiritual, and which is within the external sense, which is natural, as the soul is in the body. That sense is the spirit that gives life to the letter; consequently that sense can bear witness to the Divinity and holiness of the Word, and convince even the natural man, if he is willing to be convinced.


II. IN THE WORD THERE IS A SPIRITUAL SENSE HITHERTO UNKNOWN. When it is asserted that inasmuch as the Word is Divine it is in its bosom spiritual, who does not acknowledge and assent to the statement? But who has known as yet what the spiritual is, and where in the Word it is stored up? What the spiritual is will be made clear in the Memorable Relation at the end of this chapter; and where it is hidden in the Word shall be shown in what now follows. The Word in its bosom is spiritual, because it descended from Jehovah the Lord, and passed through the angelic heavens; and in its descent the Divine itself, which in itself is ineffable and unperceivable, became adapted to the perception of angels, and finally to the perception of men. From this is the spiritual sense, which is inwardly in the natural, as the soul is in man, as the thought of the understanding is in speech, and as the will's affection is in action; and if it is permissible to compare it with such things as appear to the eye in the natural world, the spiritual sense is in the natural sense as the whole brain is within its meninges or matres, or as a tree's branches are within their barks and coats, or as all things needful for the production of a chick are within the shell of the egg, and so on. But that there is such a spiritual sense of the Word in its natural sense no one as yet has divined; and for that reason it is necessary that this arcanum (which in itself stands pre-eminent over all arcana hitherto disclosed) should be made clear to the understanding, as it will be when explained in the following order: (1) What the spiritual sense is. (2) This sense is in each and every part of the Word. (3) It is because of this sense that the Word is Divinely inspired, and holy in every word. (4) Heretofore this sense has been unknown. (5) Henceforth it will be given only to such as are in genuine truths from the Lord. (6) Wonderful things respecting the Word, from its spiritual sense. These propositions will now be unfolded separately.


(1) What the spiritual sense is. The spiritual sense is not the sense that shines forth from the sense of the letter of the Word when one is studying it and so construing it as to confirm some dogma of the church. That may be called the literal and ecclesiastical sense of the Word. The spiritual sense is not apparent in the sense of the letter; it is interiorly within it as the soul is in the body, as the thought of the understanding is in the eyes, or the love's affection in the face. It is that sense chiefly that makes the Word spiritual, not only for men but for angels also; and therefore by means of that sense the Word has communication with the heavens. As the Word is inwardly spiritual it was written purely by correspondences; and because it was written by correspondences in its outmost sense it was written in a style like that of the Prophets, the Gospels, and the Apocalypse, which, although commonplace in appearance, still conceals within it Divine wisdom and all angelic wisdom. What correspondence is can be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell, (published in London, 1758), in the chapter on The Correspondence of all things of Heaven with all things in Man (n. 87-102); and on The Correspondence of all things of Heaven with all things on Earth (n. 103-115); and it will be further explained by examples from the Word cited below.


From the Lord the Divine Celestial, the Divine Spiritual, and the Divine Natural go forth one after the other. Whatever goes forth from the Lord's Divine love is called the Divine Celestial, everything of which is good; whatever goes forth from His Divine wisdom is called the Divine Spiritual, everything of which is truth; the Divine Natural is from both of these and is their complex in the outmost. The angels of the celestial kingdom, who constitute the third or highest heaven, are in that Divine going forth from the Lord which is called celestial, since they are in good of love from the Lord. The angels of the Lord's spiritual kingdom, who constitute the second or middle heaven, are in that Divine going forth from the Lord which is called spiritual, since they are in Divine wisdom from the Lord. The angels of the Lord's natural kingdom, who constitute the first or lowest heaven, are in that Divine going forth from the Lord which is called the Divine natural, and they are in the faith of charity from the Lord. Men of the church are in some one of these kingdoms according to their love, their wisdom, and their faith; and whichever one they are in, that they enter into after death. Such as heaven is such also is the Lord's Word; in its outmost sense it is natural, in its interior sense spiritual, and in its inmost sense celestial, and in each of these senses it is Divine. Thus is it adapted to the angels of the three heavens, and also to man.


(2) The spiritual sense is in each and every part of the Word. This can be best seen by example, as in the following. In the Apocalypse John says: I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called faithful and true, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. And His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, having a name written that no man but Himself knoweth. And He was clothed in a garment dyed in blood and His name is called The Word of God. His armies in heaven were following Him upon white horses, and were clothed in fine linen, white and clean. He hath on His garment and on His thigh a name written King of kings and Lord of lords. I saw also an angel standing in the sun, who cried with a loud voice, Come and be gathered together unto the great supper; that ye may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders of thousands and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of those that sit on them, and the flesh of all, free and bond, small and great (19:11-18). What these words signify no one can see except from the spiritual sense of the Word; and no one can see the spiritual sense except from a knowledge of correspondences for all these words are correspondences, and not one of them is void of meaning. The science of correspondences teaches the significance of "the white horse," of "Him who sat upon him," of "His eyes" which were "like a flame of fire," of "the diadems on His head," "the garment dyed in blood," "the white linen" with which those were clothed who belonged to His army in heaven, of "the angel standing in the sun," of "the great supper" to which the fowls of heaven "came and were gathered together" and of "the flesh of kings and commanders of thousands" and many others whose flesh they were to eat. [2] But what each particular thing signifies in the spiritual sense can be seen explained in the Apocalypse Revealed (n. 820-838) and also in the little work on The White Horse; therefore further explanation of them is unnecessary. It is there shown that it is the Lord as to the Word who is described; and that by "His eyes which were like a flame of fire" the Divine wisdom of His Divine love is meant; and by "the diadems on His head" and "the name which no one but Himself knew" the Divine truths of the Word from Him are meant, and that the nature of the Word in its spiritual sense is seen by none but the Lord and him to whom He reveals it; also by "His garment dyed in blood" the natural sense of the Word is meant, which is the sense of the letter, to which violence has been done. It is very clear that it is the Word that is thus described, for it is said, "His name is called the Word of God." That it is the Lord who is meant is equally clear, for it is said that the name of the One sitting upon the white horse was, "King of kings and Lord of lords," the same as in Apoc. 17:14, where it is said, "And the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is Lord of lords and King of kings." [3] That the spiritual sense of the Word is to be opened at the end of the church is signified not only by what is said of the white horse and Him who sat upon it, but also by the great supper to which the angel standing in the sun invited all [the fowls of heaven] to come, and to eat the flesh of kings, of commanders of thousands, and so forth; by which is signified the appropriation of all goods from the Lord. All these expressions would be empty words, and without life and spirit, if there were no spiritual sense with in them like the soul in the body.


In the Apocalypse the New Jerusalem is thus described: That in her there was light like unto a stone most precious, as it were a jasper atone shining like crystal. And she had a wall great and high, having twelve gates, and above the gates twelve angels, and the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel written thereon. That the wall was a hundred and forty and four cubits, which was the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. That the building of the wall was of jasper, and its foundations were of every precious stone, jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, hyacinth, and amethyst. That the gates were twelve pearls. That the city itself was pure gold like pure glass, and was four square and her length, breadth, and height were equal, twelve thousand furlongs; and so forth (21:11, 12, 16-21). That all this is to be understood spiritually can be seen from what is set forth in the Apocalypse Revealed (n. 880), that "the New Jerusalem" means a new church that is to be established by the Lord. And since "Jerusalem" here signifies the church it follows that everything said of it as a city, of its gates, its wall, the foundations of its wall, and also its dimensions contains a spiritual sense, for whatever relates to the church is spiritual. What these things signify has been shown in the Apocalypse Revealed (n. 896-925); therefore further explanation would be superfluous. It is sufficient to know from this that there is a spiritual sense in every particular of the above description, like the soul in the body, and without that sense nothing relating to the church could be seen in what is there written; as, that the city was of pure gold, its gates of pearls, its wall of jasper, the foundations of the wall of precious stones; that the wall was one hundred and forty-four cubits, which is the measure of a man, that is, of an angel; that the city was twelve thousand furlongs in length, breadth, and height; and so on. But all this is understood by anyone who from a knowledge of correspondences is acquainted with the spiritual sense; as, that the wall and its foundations signify the doctrinals of that church drawn from the sense of the letter of the Word; also that the numbers twelve, one hundred and forty-four, and twelve thousand, signify all things of the church, that is, its truths and goods in one complex.


Where the Lord talks to His disciples about the end of the age, that is, the last time of the church, He says, at the close of His predictions respecting its successive changes of state: Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth wail, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send forth the angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the end of the heavens even to the end thereof (Matt. 24:29-31). When understood spiritually this does not mean that the sun and moon would be darkened, that the stars would fall from heaven, and that the sign of the Lord was to appear in the heavens, and that they were to see Him in the clouds, and also angels with trumpets; but by each particular word here something spiritual pertaining to the church is meant, the state of the church at its end being here treated of. For in the spiritual sense "the sun" that shall be darkened means love to the Lord; "the moon" that shall not give her light means faith in the Lord; "the stars" that shall fall from heaven mean knowledges of what is true and good; "the sign of the Son of man in heaven" means the appearing of Divine truth in the Word from Him; that "the tribes of the earth shall wail" means a failing of all truth pertaining to faith, and of all good pertaining to love; "the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and glory" means the Lord's presence in the Word and revelation; "the clouds of heaven" signify the sense of the letter of the Word, and "glory" signifies its spiritual sense; "angels with the great sound of a trumpet" mean heaven from whence comes Divine truth; "the gathering together of the elect from the four winds, from the end of the heavens even to the end thereof" means a new heaven and a new church formed of those who have faith in the Lord and who live according to His commandments. That this does not mean the darkening of the sun and moon and the falling of the stars to the earth, is very clear from like statements in the prophets respecting the state of the church, when the Lord was about to come into the world; as in Isaiah: Behold the day of Jehovah shall come, cruel and of the burning of anger. The stars of the heavens and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in its rising, and the moon shall not make its light to shine. I will visit malice upon the world (13:9-11; 24:21, 23). In Joel: The day of Jehovah cometh, a day of darkness and of thick darkness; the sun and moon shall be blackened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining (2:1, 2, 10; 3:15). In Ezekiel: I will cover the heavens, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not make her light to shine. All the luminaries of light will I make dark, and I will set darkness upon the land (32:7, 8). By "the day of Jehovah" the coming of the Lord is meant, which took place when there no longer remained in the church any good of love or truth of faith, or any knowledge of the Lord; therefore it is called "a day of darkness and of thick darkness."


That the Lord when in the world spoke by correspondences, that is, when He spoke naturally He also spoke spiritually, can be seen from His parables, in each word of which there is a spiritual meaning. Take for example the parable of the ten virgins. He said: The kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins, who took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise, but five were foolish. They that were foolish taking their lamps took no oil; but the wise took oil in their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil for our lamps are going out. But the wise answered saying Peradventure, there will not be enough for us and you; go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. But while they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and they that were ready went in with Him to the wedding, and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not (Matt. 25:1-12). That in all these particulars there is a spiritual sense and therefore a Divine holiness, no one sees except he who knows that the Word has a spiritual sense and who knows what that sense is. In the spiritual sense "the kingdom of the heavens" means heaven and the church; "the bridegroom" means the Lord; "the wedding" means the marriage of the Lord with heaven and the church, through good of love and truth of faith; "the virgins" mean those who constitute the church; "ten" means all; "five" some portion; "lamps" things pertaining to faith; "oil" things pertaining to good of love; "to sleep" and "to arise" means man's life in the world which is natural, and his life after death which is spiritual; "to buy" means to procure for oneself; "going to those who sell and buying oil" means to procure for oneself good of love from others after death; and because good of love is then no longer to be procured, although they came to the door where the wedding feast was with their lamps and the oil they had bought, still the bridegroom said to them, "I know you not;" this is because man, after his life in the world, remains such as he had lived in the world. From all this it is clear that the Lord spoke solely by correspondences, and this because He spoke from the Divine that was in Him and was His. As "virgins" signify those who constitute the church, so the terms virgin and daughter of Zion, of Jerusalem, of Judah, and of Israel, are frequently used in the prophetic Word. And because "oil" signifies good of love, all the sacred things of the church were anointed with oil. It is the same with the other parables, and with all the words spoken by the Lord. This is why the Lord says that His words are spirit and are life (John 6:63).


(3) It is because of its Spiritual Sense that the Word is Divinely inspired, and holy in every word. In the church it is said that the Word is holy for the reason that Jehovah the Lord spoke it; but inasmuch as its holiness is not apparent in the mere sense of the letter, whoever is once led on that account to doubt its holiness confirms his doubts when he subsequently reads the Word by many things therein; for he says to himself, Can this be holy? Can this be Divine? Lest, therefore, such thoughts should enter the minds of many, and afterwards grow stronger, and in consequence the Word should be rejected as a worthless writing, and by this means the conjunction of the Lord with man be destroyed, it has pleased the Lord to reveal now its spiritual sense, that it may be known where in the Word the Divine holiness lies concealed. But let examples illustrate. The Word treats sometimes of Egypt, sometimes of Assyria, and again of Edom, of Moab, of the sons of Ammon, of the Philistines, of Tyre and Sidon, and of Gog. He who does not know that these names signify things pertaining to heaven and the church may be led into the error that the Word has much to say about peoples and nations and but little about heaven and the church, thus much about worldly things and but little about heavenly things. But when he knows what those nations and their names signify he may be led back from error to the truth. [2] Likewise when he sees that gardens, groves, forests, and their trees, as the olive, the vine, the cedar, the poplar, the oak, are so frequently mentioned in the Word, also the lamb, the sheep, the goat, the calf, the ox; also mountains, hills, and valleys, and their fountains, rivers, and waters, and many other such things, one who knows nothing about the spiritual sense of the Word cannot but believe that these objects alone are meant; for he does not know that "a garden," "a grove," and "a forest," mean wisdom, intelligence and knowledge; that "the olive," "the vine," "the cedar," "the poplar," and "the oak," mean the good and truth of the church, celestial, spiritual, rational, natural, and sensual; that "a lamb," "a sheep," "a goat," "a calf," and "an ox," mean innocence, charity, and natural affection; and that "mountains," "hills," and "valleys," mean the higher, the lower, and the lowest things of the church. [3] Also be does not know that "Egypt" signifies the scientific, "Assyria" the rational, "Edom" the natural, "Moab" the adulteration of good, "the sons of Ammon" the adulteration of truth, "the Philistines" faith separate from charity, "Tyre and Sidon" knowledges of good and truth, and "Gog" external worship apart from internal. In general "Jacob" means in the Word the natural church, "Israel" the spiritual church, and "Judah" the celestial church. When man knows all this he is able to see that the Word treats of nothing but heavenly things, and that these worldly things are merely the subjects which contain the heavenly. Let this be illustrated by an example from the Word. [4] We read in Isaiah: In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, that Assyria may come into Egypt and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians may serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be a third to Egypt and to Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land; whom Jehovah of Hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be My people Egypt, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance (19:23-25). In the spiritual sense this means that at the time of the Lord's coming the scientific, the rational and the spiritual will make one, and that the scientific will then serve the rational, and both the spiritual; for, as said before, "Egypt" signifies the scientific, "Assyria" the rational, and "Israel" the spiritual. "That day" twice mentioned, means the first and the second coming of the Lord.

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