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

True Christian Religion


VIII. THE REGENERATED MAN HAS A NEW WILL AND A NEW UNDERSTANDING. The church of today knows both from the Word and from reason that a regenerated man is a renewed or new man. From the Word, by the following passages: Make you a new heart and a new spirit; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezek. 18:31). I will give you a new heart and a new spirit in the midst of you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh; and I will put My spirit within you (Ezek. 36:26, 27). Henceforth know we no man after the flesh, therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature (2 Cor. 5:16, 17). In these passages "a new heart" means a new will, and "a new spirit" means a new understanding; for "heart" in the Word signifies the will, and "spirit," when connected with heart, signifies the understanding. The church also knows from reason that the regenerated man has a new will and a new understanding, since these two faculties constitute man, and they are what are regenerated. Therefore every man is such as he is with respect to these two faculties, that is, he is evil whose will is evil, and still more so he whose understanding favors the evil; while the reverse is true of the good. Religion alone renews and regenerates man. Religion occupies the highest seat in the human mind, and sees beneath it the civil matters pertaining to the world; it also ascends by means of them, as the pure sap ascends through a tree to its very top, and from that height it surveys what is natural, as from a tower or mountain one surveys the plains below.


But it must be understood that while man may rise as to his understanding almost into the light in which the angels of heaven are, unless he rises also as to his will, he is still the old and not a new man. But it has been shown already how the understanding elevates the will more and more to the same height with itself. For this reason regeneration is predicated primarily of the will, and secondarily of the understanding. For the understanding in man is like light in the world, and the will is like the heat there; and it is known that light without heat does not vivify or cause vegetation, but light joined with heat. Moreover, as to the lower region of the mind, the understanding is actually in the light of the world, while as to the higher region it is in the light of heaven; consequently if the will is not raised from the lower region into the higher, and there conjoined with the understanding, it remains in the world; and then the understanding flies upward and downward, but returns every night to the will below and sleeps there; and they unite like a man and a harlot, and beget two-headed offspring. From all this it is clear that unless a man has a new will and a new understanding, he is not regenerated.


The human mind is divided into three regions, the lowest is called the natural, the middle the spiritual, and the highest the celestial. By regeneration man is raised from the lowest region, which is the natural, into the higher, which is the spiritual, and through this into the celestial. That there are these three regions belonging to the mind will be shown in the following section. This is why the unregenerate man is called natural, and the regenerate man spiritual. This makes clear that the mind of the regenerate man is raised into the spiritual region, and there sees from the higher what takes place in the lower or natural mind. That there is a lower and a higher region in the human mind, everyone can see and recognize by a slight attention to his own thoughts; for what he thinks, he sees; and therefore he says that he has thought or thinks this and that, which would be impossible unless there were an interior thought that is called perception, which looks down into the lower which is called thought. When a judge has heard or read over a long series of arguments presented by an advocate, he collects them all into one view in the higher region of his mind, thus forming them into one general idea; and from that he then looks down into the lower region, which is that of natural thought, and there arranges the arguments in order, and accordance with the higher, presents his opinion and pronounces judgment. Who does not know that a man may form more thoughts and conclusions in a moment or two, than he can express by means of his lower thoughts in half an hour? All this has been presented to make known that the human mind is divided into lower and higher regions.


As to the new will: it is above the old one in the spiritual region, and the new understanding likewise, this with that and that with this. In that region they are conjoined and conjointly look down upon the old or natural will and understanding, and so arrange all things therein as to moderate them. Who cannot see that if there were but one region in the human mind, and if both evils and goods and truths and falsities were there brought together and mixed together, there would be a conflict such as would arise if wolves and lambs, tigers and calves, hawks and doves, were brought together into one enclosure? What would result but a cruel slaughter, the savage beasts tearing in pieces the tame ones? This is why it has been provided that goods with their truths should be collected together in the higher region, so that they may subsist in safety, and resist assault, and also by constraints and other means may subjugate and afterward disperse evils with their falsities. This, then, is the same as was said in the preceding section, that in the regenerated man the Lord through heaven rules what pertains to the world. And the higher or spiritual region of the human mind is a heaven in miniature, while the lower or natural region is a world in miniature, and for this reason man was called by the ancients a microcosm [a little world], and he may also be called a microuranos [a little heaven].


That the regenerate man, that is, one who is renewed in will and understanding, is in the heat of heaven, that is, in its love, and at the same time in the light of heaven, that is, in its wisdom; and on the other hand, that the unregenerate man is in the heat of hell, that is, in its love, and at the same time in its darkness, that is, in its insanities, is at this day known and yet unknown. This is because the church of today makes regeneration an appendage to its faith, and into faith reason must not be admitted, consequently it must be admitted into nothing pertaining to its appendage, which, as before said, includes renovation and regeneration. These, together with that faith itself, are to those of the present church like a house, the doors and windows of which are closed, so that it is not known what is in it, whether it is empty or is full of genii from hell, or of angels from heaven. It may be added, that this confusion has been brought about by a fallacy which has arisen from the fact that a man may by his understanding ascend almost into the light of heaven, and consequently can from intelligence think and speak of spiritual things, whatever his will's love may be. Ignorance of this truth has also caused ignorance of all that concerns regeneration and renovation of character.


From all this it may be concluded that an unregenerate man is like one who sees phantoms at night, and believes them to be men; and afterwards, when he is being regenerated, he is like the same man seeing in the early dawn that the things he saw at night are delusions, and still later, when he is regenerated and is in the light of day, seeing them to be the offspring of delirium. An unregenerate man is like one dreaming, and a regenerate man like one awake; and in the Word natural life is likened to sleep, and spiritual life to a state of wakefulness. The unregenerate man is meant by the foolish virgins who had lamps but no oil, and the regenerate man by the wise virgins who had both lamps and oil, "lamps" meaning such things as pertain to the understanding, and "oil" such things as pertain to love. The regenerate are like the lamps of the lampstand in the tabernacle; they are like the bread of faces there with the frankincense upon it; and they are those who shall "shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever" (as said in Dan. 12:3). The unregenerate man is like one who is in the garden of Eden, and who eats from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and is therefore banished from the garden; he is indeed that very tree. But the regenerate man is like one who is in that garden and eats of the tree of life. That it is given to such to eat of it, is obvious from the following in Revelation: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (Rev. 2:7), "the garden of Eden" meaning intelligence in spiritual things, arising from love of truth (see Apocalypse Revealed, n. 90). In a word, the unregenerate man is a "son of the evil one," and the regenerate a "son of the kingdom" (Matt. 13:38); "the son of the evil one" there meaning a child of the devil, and "the son of the kingdom" a child of the Lord.


IX. A REGENERATE MAN IS IN COMMUNION WITH ANGELS OF HEAVEN AND AN UNREGENERATE ONE IN COMMUNION WITH SPIRITS OF HELL. Every man is in communion, that is, in affiliation either with angels of heaven or with spirits of hell, because he is born to become spiritual, and this would be impossible unless he were born to be in some conjunction with those who are spiritual. It has been shown in the work on Heaven and Hell that as to his mind man is in both worlds, the natural and the spiritual. But neither man nor angel nor spirit knows of this conjunction, for the reason that man while he lives in the world is in a natural state, while angels and spirits are in a spiritual state; and because of the distinction between the natural and the spiritual, one is not visible to the other. The nature of this distinction has been described in the work on Conjugal Love in the Memorable Relation there recorded (n. 326-329). From that it is clear that their conjunction is not one of thoughts but of affections, and scarcely anyone reflects upon his affections, because they are not in the light in which the understanding is, and therefore its thought is; but only in the heat in which the will is and therefore the affection of its love is. The conjunction between men and angels and spirits by means of the affections of love is so close that if it were severed and they were thereby separated, men would instantly fall into a swoon, and if the relation were not restored, and their conjunction renewed, men would die. [2] It has been said that man becomes spiritual by regeneration, but this does not mean that he becomes spiritual as an angel is in himself, but that he becomes spiritual natural, that is to say, that the spiritual is inwardly in his natural, just as thought is in speech, or as will is in action, for when one ceases the other ceases. In like manner man's spirit is in every least thing that takes place in the body, and it is that which impels the natural to do whatever it does. The natural viewed in itself is passive or is a dead force, but the spiritual is active or is a living force; the passive or a dead force cannot act from itself, but must be impelled by the active, or by a living force. [3] As man lives continually in communion with the inhabitants of the spiritual world, he is also, when he leaves the natural world, introduced immediately among such as are like those with whom he had been associated in the world. Therefore it is that after death everyone seems to himself to be still living in the world, for he then comes into the company of those who are like him as to their will's affections, and whom he then acknowledges, as kinsmen and relations acknowledge their own in the world; and this is what is meant where it is said in the Word of those who die, that they are brought together and gathered to their own. From all this it can now be seen that a regenerate man is in communion with the angels of heaven, and an unregenerate man with the spirits of hell.


It must be known that there are three heavens, and these distinct from each other according to the three degrees of love and wisdom, and that man is in communion with the angels of those three heavens in the measure of his regeneration; and this being so, that the human mind is divided into three degrees or regions in accord with the heavens. But on these three heavens and their division in accordance with the three degrees of love and wisdom, see the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 29 seq.); and also the pamphlet on Interaction between the Soul and the Body, (n. 16, 17). Here it will be sufficient merely to illustrate, by a simile, the nature of the three degrees in accordance with which the heavens are divided. They are like the head, body, and feet in man; the highest heaven constituting the head, the middle the body, and the lowest the feet; for the whole heaven is before the Lord like one man. The truth of this has been disclosed to me by actual observation, for it has been granted me to see wholly as one man a single society of heaven, which consisted of thousands. Why then should not the whole heaven so appear to the Lord? Respecting this living experience, see the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 59 seq.). This makes clear what is meant by this, which is well known in the Christian world, that the church constitutes the body of Christ, and that Christ is the life of that body. And this also is thus made clear, namely, that the Lord is the all in all things of heaven, since He is the life of that body. Likewise, the Lord is the church with those who acknowledge Him alone as the God of heaven and earth, and believe in Him. That He is the God of heaven and earth, He Himself teaches in Matthew (28:18); and that men ought to believe in Him, in John (3:15, 16, 36; 6:40; 11:25, 26).


The three degrees in which the heavens are, and consequently, in which the human mind is, may also be illustrated in some measure by comparisons with material things in the world. In their relative nobility these three degrees are like gold, silver, and brass, to which metals they are likened in the statue of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:31-35). These three degrees are also distinct from each other, like the ruby, sapphire, and agate in respect to purity and goodness; also like the olive tree, the vine, and the fig-tree; and so on. Moreover, in the Word, "gold," "ruby," and "oil" signify celestial good, which is the good of the highest heaven; "silver," "sapphire," and "a vine" signify spiritual good, which is that of the middle heaven; while "brass," "agate," and "a fig-tree" signify natural good, which is that of the lowest heaven. That there are three degrees, a celestial, a spiritual, and a natural, has been stated above.


To the foregoing this shall be added, that man's regeneration is not effected in a moment, but gradually, from the beginning to the end of his life in the world, and is afterward continued and perfected. And because man is reformed by conflicts with the victories over the evils of his flesh, the Son of man says to each one of the seven churches, that he will give gifts to him that overcometh; as to the church of Ephesus: To him that overcometh I give to eat of the tree of life (Rev. 2:7); to the church of Smyrna: He that overcometh shall not be hurt in the second death (Rev. 2:11); to the church in Pergamos: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna (Rev. 2:17); to the church in Thyatira: He that overcometh, to him will I give power over the nations (Rev. 2:26); to the church in Sardis: He that overcometh shall be clothed in white garments (Rev. 3:5); to the church in Philadelphia: He that overcometh I will make him a pillar in the temple of God (Rev. 3:12); and to the church of the Laodiceans: He that overcometh I will give to him to sit with Me in My throne (Rev. 3:21). Finally it may be added that so far as man is regenerated, or so far as regeneration is perfected in him, so far he attributes nothing of good and truth, that is, of charity and faith, to him self, but to the Lord only; for the truths which he gradually acquires teach this clearly.


X. SO FAR AS MAN IS REGENERATED SINS ARE REMOVED, AND THIS REMOVAL IS THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. So far as man is regenerated sins are removed, because regeneration is the restraining of the flesh that it may not rule, and the subjugating of the old man with its lusts, that it may not rise up and destroy the intellectual faculty, for that would render man incapable of reformation, reformation being impossible unless man's spirit, which is above the flesh, is instructed and perfected. Who, if he still retains a sound understanding, can fail to see from all this that such a work cannot be effected in a moment but only gradually, just as man is conceived, carried in the womb, born, and educated, according to what has been shown above? For those things which pertain to the flesh or the old man are inherent in man from his birth, and build the first habitation of his mind, in which lusts have their abode like wild beasts in their caves, dwelling first in the outer courts, then by turns entering into the underground rooms, as it were, of the house, and finally ascending by steps and forming for themselves chambers. This takes place gradually, as an infant grows, becomes a boy, afterwards a youth, and then begins to think from his own understanding, and to act from his own will. Who cannot see that this house in the mind thus far built in which lusts dance with joined hands, like the ochim, tziim and satyrs, cannot be destroyed in a moment and a new house built in its place? Must not those lusts with clasped hands and so sporting themselves be first removed, and new desires, which belong to good and truth, be introduced in the place of the cupidities which belong to evil and falsity? That these things cannot be done in a moment every wise man sees from this alone, that every evil is composed of innumerable lusts, and is like a fruit which beneath the surface is full of worms with white bodies and black heads; also, that evils are numerous and joined together like the progeny of a spider when first hatched; wherefore unless one evil is brought out after another, and this until their connection is broken up, man cannot be made new. These things have been cited to make clear that so far as anyone is regenerated sins are removed.


Man inclines by birth to evils of every kind and from that inclination lusts after them, and so far as he is in freedom he also does them; for by birth he lusts after dominion over others, and to possess the goods of others, which two lusts cut asunder love to the neighbor, and then man hates everyone who opposes him, and from hatred breathes revenge which inwardly cherishes murder. For the same reason he thinks nothing of adulteries, nothing of such robbery as secret theft, nothing of blasphemies, which include false witness; and he who thinks nothing of these things, is in heart an atheist. Such is man by birth; from which it is clear that he is from birth a hell in miniature. Inasmuch then, as man, in respect to the interiors of his mind, is born spiritual, as beasts are not, and consequently is born for heaven, and yet, as has been said, his natural or external man is a miniature hell, it follows that a heaven cannot be implanted in this hell, unless the hell is removed.


He who knows the relation between heaven and hell, and how the one is removed from the other, can know how man is regenerated, and also what the regenerate man is. That this may be understood it shall be made known briefly that the faces of all who are in heaven look toward the Lord, while all who are in hell turn their faces from the Lord; therefore when hell is looked at from heaven, only the occiput and back appear; and those there even appear inverted, like the antipodes, feet upward and heads down, and this although they walk upon their feet and turn their faces around; for it is the contrary direction of their minds' interiors that produces this appearance. These remarkable facts I report from my own observation. They made clear to me how regeneration is effected, namely, just as hell is removed and thus separated from heaven. For, as stated above, as to his first nature which he has by birth, man is a hell in miniature, and as to the other nature which he acquires by the second birth, he is a heaven in miniature. And from this it follows that the evils in man are removed and separated in the same manner as heaven and hell in their large form are separated, and that evils, as they are removed, turn themselves away from the Lord, and gradually invert themselves, and that this takes place in the degree that heaven is implanted, that is, that man is made new. To this may be added, for the sake of illustration, that every evil in man is in conjunction with those in hell who are in like evil, and on the other hand that every good in man is in conjunction with those in heaven who are in like good.


From what has been presented it can be seen that the forgiveness of sins is not their being rooted out and washed away, but their removal, and thus their separation; also that every evil that a man has actually appropriated to himself remains. And since the forgiveness of sins is their removal and separation, it follows that man is withheld from evil by the Lord and kept in good, and this is what is given to man by regeneration. I once heard a certain person in the lowest heaven saying that he was exempt from sins, because they had been washed away, adding, "by the blood of Christ." But because he was in heaven, and was in that error from ignorance, he was let into his own peculiar sins, and as they returned he acknowledged them; thereby acquiring a new belief, namely, that every man, as well as every angel, is withheld from evil and kept in good by the Lord. [2] This shows plainly what the forgiveness of sins is, that it is not instantaneous, but follows regeneration according to the progress thereof. The removal of sins which is called the forgiveness of them, may be likened to the casting forth of the filth from the camps of the children of Israel into the desert which was round about them; for their camps represented heaven, and the desert hell. It may also be likened to the removal of the nations from the children of Israel, in the land of Canaan, and of the Jebusites from Jerusalem; these were not cast out, but separated. It may also be likened to what occurred to Dagon the god of the Philistines, in that when the ark was brought in he first lay upon his face on the ground, and afterward, with his head and hands cut off, upon the threshold; thus he was not cast out, but removed. [3] It may also be likened to the demons sent by the Lord into the swine that afterward plunged into the sea; "the sea" there and elsewhere in the Word, signifying hell. It may also be likened to the throng that followed the dragon, which, on being separated from heaven, first invaded the earth, and was afterward cast down into hell. It may also be likened to a forest where there are wild beasts of many kinds which when the forest is cut down flee to the neighboring thickets, and then the ground in the midst being leveled it becomes by cultivation a field.


XI. WITHOUT FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS REGENERATION IS IMPOSSIBLE. Who, except a stupid person, cannot see that without freedom of choice in spiritual things man cannot be regenerated? Can he without this approach the Lord, acknowledge Him as the Redeemer and Savior and the God of heaven and earth, as He himself teaches (Matt. 28:18)? Without that freedom of choice who can believe in the Lord, that is, from faith look to Him and worship Him, and adapt himself to receiving the means and benefits of salvation from Him, and from Him cooperate in the reception of them? Who without freedom of choice can do any good to the neighbor, can practice charity, or take into his thought and will other things pertaining to faith and charity, bring them forth, and put them into acts? Otherwise, what is regeneration but a mere word dropped from the lips of the Lord (John 3), which either remains in the ear, or having dropped upon the lips from the thought nearest to speech, becomes merely an articulated sound of twelve letters, which sound cannot by any meaning be raised into any higher region of the mind, but falls upon the air and is dissipated?


Tell me, if you can, whether a blinder stupidity respecting regeneration is possible than that which prevails with those who have confirmed themselves in the faith of the present day, which is, that faith is infused into man while he is like a stock or a stone, and that when it has been infused, it is followed by justification, which is forgiveness of sins, and regeneration, and other gifts besides; and also that man's effort must be wholly excluded, that it may not do violence to the merit of Christ. In order that this dogma might be still more firmly established, they have deprived man of all freedom of choice in spiritual things, by asserting his complete impotence therein. It is, then, as if God alone were to operate on His part, and no power were given to man to operate on his part, and thus conjoin himself with God. In that case what is man in respect to regeneration, but like one bound hand and foot, like the prisoners on ships called galley-slaves? And like these, if he were to free himself from those manacles and fetters, he would be punished or condemned to death, that is, if, from freedom of choice he were to do good to the neighbor, and of himself were to believe in God for the sake of salvation. If a man were confirmed in such opinions, and yet had a pious desire for heaven, what would he be like but a specter standing and speculating as to whether that faith with its benefits has been infused into him; or if not, whether it will be infused, therefore whether God the Father has taken pity on him, or whether His Son has interceded for him, or whether the Holy Spirit is inoperative because employed elsewhere? And yet, because of his complete ignorance of the matter, he might go away and console himself by saying, "Perhaps that grace is in the morality of my life, which I have and which I retain as formerly, and in me therefore it may be holy, while in those who have not attained to that faith it is profane. Therefore, in order that this holiness may remain in my morality, I will be careful hereafter not to exercise either charity or faith of myself;" with much more. Such a specter, or if you prefer, such a statue of salt, does everyone become who thinks of regeneration separated from freedom of choice in spiritual things.


The man who believes that regeneration is possible without freedom of choice in spiritual things, thus without co-operation, becomes as frigid as a stone in regard to all the truths of the church; or if he is warm, since his warmth arises from lusts, he is like a burning brand in a fire-place, that blazes from the combustible elements in it. He becomes comparatively like a palace sinking into the ground even to its roof, and becoming flooded with muddy water; after which he dwells upon the bare roof, making a hut there for himself of marsh rushes, and at length the roof sinks also, and he is drowned. He is also like a ship laden with all kinds of precious merchandise taken from the Word as a treasury, but gnawed by mice and moth-eaten, or thrown by the sailors into the sea, so that the merchants are defrauded of their goods. Those who are learned or rich in the mysteries of that faith, are like the venders in little shops who sell idols, fruit, wax-flowers, shells, snakes in bottles, and such like things. Those who, because of the lack of spiritual power adapted and given to man by the Lord, have no wish to look upward, are actually like beasts whose heads look downward, and which care for nothing but to graze in the forests; and if they enter an orchard, they eat up the foliage of the trees like worms, or if they see the fruit with their eyes, or still more if they feel it with their hands, they fill it with worms; and finally they become like scaly serpents, their fallacies sounding and glittering like serpents' scales; and so on.


XII. REGENERATION IS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT TRUTHS, BY WHICH FAITH IS FORMED AND WITH WHICH CHARITY CONJOINS ITSELF. There are three means whereby man is regenerated, the Lord, faith, and charity. These three would lie hidden like the most costly jewels buried in the earth, if Divine truths from the Word did not reveal them. They would indeed be hidden from those who deny man's cooperation even if they were to read the Word a hundred or a thousand times, although they there stand forth in clear light. As concerns the Lord, who that is confirmed in the prevailing faith sees there with open eyes the declarations that He and the Father are one, that He is the God of heaven and earth, that it is the will of the Father that men should believe in the Son, with innumerable other statements of the same kind respecting the Lord in both Testaments? They do not see because they are not in truths, and consequently not in the light in which subjects of this kind can be seen; and if light were given, falsities would extinguish it, and these truths would then escape their attention like something wholly erased, or like underground drains which are trodden upon and passed over. These things are said that it may be known that without truths this first thing in regeneration cannot be seen. [2] As to faith, neither is that possible without truths; because faith and truth make one thing; for the good of faith is like a soul, truths constituting its body. To say therefore that a man believes or has faith, when he is ignorant of all of its truths, is like taking the soul out of the body, and talking with it when thus invisible. Moreover, all the truths that make up the body of faith emit light and enlighten, and render the features of faith visible. It is the same with charity; this emits heat with which the light of truth conjoins itself, as heat does with light in the world in the time of spring, from the conjunction of which the animals and vegetables of the earth return to their prolifications. [3] It is the same with spiritual heat and light; these in like manner conjoin themselves in man when he is in the truths of faith and at the same time in the goods of charity. For as said above in the chapter on Faith, from each particular truth of faith there flows forth a light that enlightens, and from each particular good of charity a heat that enkindles. It is also there said that spiritual light in its essence is intelligence, and spiritual heat in its essence is love; and that the Lord alone conjoins these two in man when He regenerates him. For the Lord said: The words that I speak unto you are spirit, and are life (John 6:63). Believe in the light, that ye may be sons of light. I am come a light into the world (John 12:36, 46). The Lord is the Sun in the spiritual world; this is the source of all spiritual light and heat; that light enlightens, and that heat enkindles; and by the conjunction of the two the Lord vivifies and regenerates man.


From all this it can be seen, that without truths there is no knowledge of the Lord; also that without truths there is no faith, and thus no charity; consequently that without truths there is no theology, and where this is not, there is no church. Such is the condition today of that body of people who call themselves Christians, and who say they are in the light of the Gospel, and yet are in the veriest darkness; for with them truths lie hidden beneath falsities, like gold, silver, and precious stones buried among the bones in the valley of Hinnom. That it is so, I was enabled to see clearly from the spheres in the spiritual world that flow forth from the Christendom of today and propagate themselves. [2] One sphere is that respecting the Lord; this breathes and pours itself forth from the southern quarter, where the learned clergy and erudite laity reside. Wherever this sphere goes it insinuates itself into the ideas, and with many takes away faith in the Divinity of the Lord's Human, with many weakens it, with many makes it seem foolish; and this because it brings in with it the faith in three Gods, and thus produces confusion. [3] Another sphere that takes away faith is like a black cloud in winter, which brings on darkness, turns rain into snow, strips bare the trees, freezes the waters, and takes away all pasture from the sheep. This sphere in conjunction with the former insinuates a kind of lethargy respecting one God, regeneration, and the means of salvation. [4] A third sphere relates to the conjunction of faith and charity; this is so strong as to be irresistible, but at the present day it is abominable; it is like a pestilence that infects everyone on whom it breathes, and tears asunder every tie between those two means of salvation, established as such from the creation of the world, and restored anew by the Lord. This sphere invades even the men in the natural world, and extinguishes the marriage torches between truths and goods. I have felt this sphere, and at such times, when I thought of the conjunction of faith and charity, it interposed itself between them and violently endeavored to separate them. [5] The angels complain of these spheres, and pray to the Lord for their dissipation, but they received the answer that they cannot be dissipated so long as the dragon is on the earth, because it is from the draconic spirits; for it is said of the dragon that he was cast down unto the earth, and then follows: Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and woe to those that inhabit the earth! (Apoc. 12:12.) [6] These three spheres are like tempest-driven atmospheres coming forth from the breathing-holes of the dragons, which, being spiritual, invade the mind and control it. The spheres of spiritual truth there are as yet few, only in the new heaven, and also with those beneath heaven, who are separated from the draconic spirits. This is why those truths are so little recognized by men in the world to-day, just as ships in the Eastern ocean are invisible to captains and shipmasters who are sailing in the Western ocean.


That regeneration is impossible without the truths by which faith is formed, may be illustrated by the following comparisons. It is as impossible as a human mind without understanding; for the understanding is formed by means of truths, and therefore teaches what ought to be believed and what ought to be done, what regeneration is, and how it is effected. Regeneration without truths is as impossible as the vivification of animals or the growth of trees without light from the sun; for if the sun did not give light at the same time that it gives heat, it would become "like sackcloth of hair" (as described in the Apocalypse 6:12), and "black" (Joel 2:10, 31), and thus mere darkness would be upon the earth (Joel 3:15). It would be the same with man without truths, which send out light from themselves; for the sun from which the light of truths flows forth is the Lord in the spiritual world. If spiritual light did not flow therefrom into human minds, the church would be in mere darkness, or in shadow from a perpetual eclipse. Regeneration, which is effected by means of faith and charity, without truths that teach and lead, would be like navigation on the great ocean without a rudder, or without a mariner's compass and charts. It would also be like riding in a dark forest at night. The mind's internal sight with those who are not in truths but in falsities, which they believe to be truths, may be likened to the sight of those whose optic nerves are obstructed, the eye still appearing sound and capable of sight, although it sees nothing; which kind of blindness is called by physicians amaurosis and gutta serena; for in such the rational or intellectual faculty is obstructed above and open below only, owing to which rational light becomes like the light of the eye, and consequently all their opinions are imagination only and are fashioned from mere fallacies. And in such case men would stand like astrologers in the market-places with long telescopes, uttering unmeaning prophecies. Such would all students of theology become, unless genuine truths were disclosed by the Lord from the Word.


To this the following Memorable Relations shall be added. First: I saw an assembly of spirits, all on their knees praying to God to send angels to them, with whom they might speak face to face, and to whom they might open the thoughts of their hearts. And when they rose up, there appeared three angels in white standing in their presence. And the angels said "The Lord Jesus Christ has heard your prayers, and has therefore sent us to you; open to us the thoughts of your hearts." [2] And the spirits replied, "Our priests have told us that in theological matters it is not the understanding but faith that avails, and that an intellectual faith does not profit in such matters, because it springs from and savors of man, and is not from God. We are Englishmen, and we have heard many things from our sacred ministry which we believed; but when we have spoken with others who also called themselves reformed, and with some who called themselves Roman Catholics, and again with those of various sects, they all seemed learned, and yet in many things they did not agree with one another; although they all said, 'Believe us,' and some said, 'We are ministers of God, and we know.' But as we know that Divine truths, which are called truths of faith and are the truths of the church, are no one's by birthright alone, or by inheritance, but are from God out of heaven; and as they point the way to heaven and enter the life together with the goods of charity, and thus lead to eternal life; we have become anxious, and on our knees have prayed to God." [3] Then the angels answered, "Read the Word and believe in the Lord, and you will see the truths which must be the truths of your faith and of your life. All in the Christian world draw their doctrinals from the Word as the one only fountain." But two of the assembly said, "We have read, but have not understood." The angels replied, "You have not approached the Lord, who is the Word, and also have first confirmed yourselves in falsities." The angels said further, "What is faith without light; and what is thinking without understanding? It is not human. Ravens and magpies can also learn to talk without understanding. We can assure you that every man whose soul desires it, is able to see the truths of the Word in clear light. There is no animal that does not know its life's food when it sees it; and man is a rational and spiritual animal; he sees the food of his life, not his body's but his soul's food, which is the truth of faith, provided he hungers for it and seeks it from the Lord. [4] Moreover, the substance of anything that is not received in the understanding, does not remain in the memory, but only the verbal statement of it. So when we looked down from heaven into the world, we have not seen anything, but have only heard sounds, and for the most part discordant ones. But we will enumerate some things which the learned of the clergy have separated from the understanding, not knowing that there are two ways to the understanding, one from the world and the other from heaven, and that when the Lord is enlightening the understanding He withdraws it from the world. But if the understanding is closed in regard to religion, the way to it from heaven is closed; and then man sees no more in the Word than a blind man. We have seen many such fall into pits out of which they did not rise. [5] Let this be made clear by examples. Can you not understand what charity is and what faith is, that charity is doing rightly with the neighbor, and faith is thinking rightly respecting God and the essentials of the church; and consequently that he who does rightly and thinks aright, that is, lives well and believes aright, is saved?" To this the spirits answered that they understood. [6] The angels said further, "Man must repent of his sins in order to be saved, and unless he repents he remains in the sins into which he was born; and repentance consists in man's ceasing to will evils because they are contrary to God, searching himself once or twice a year, seeing his evils, confessing them before the Lord, praying for help, refraining from evils, and beginning a new life; and so far as he does this, and believes in the Lord, his sins are forgiven." Then some of those from the assembly said, "That we understand, and consequently what the forgiveness of sins is." [7] Then they asked the angels to give them still further information, and first of all about God, the immortality of the soul, regeneration, and baptism. To this the angels replied: "We shall not say anything but what you will understand; otherwise our words would fall like rain upon the sand, and upon the seeds therein which wither and die, however they may be watered from heaven." And about God they said, "All who enter heaven are allotted a place there, and thus eternal joy according to their idea of God, because this idea universally reigns in everything pertaining to worship. The idea of God as a Spirit, when spirit is supposed to be something like ether or wind, is an idea without meaning; but the idea of God as a Man is the right idea; for God is Divine love and Divine wisdom, together with every quality thereof, and the subject of these is not ether or wind, but Man. In heaven the idea of God is that He is the Lord the Savior; He is the God of heaven and earth, as He Himself has taught. Let your idea of God be like ours, and we shall be associated together." When this had been said, their faces beamed. [8] Of the immortality of the soul they said, "Man lives forever, because he is capable of conjunction with God through love and faith; every man is capable of this. That this capability is what constitutes the immortality of the soul you can understand if you think a little more deeply about the matter." [9] Of regeneration they said, "Who does not see that every man has the freedom to think about God, or not to think about Him, provided he has been taught that there is a God? Thus every man has freedom in spiritual things as well as in civil and natural things. The Lord gives this to all unceasingly; therefore it is man's fault if he does not think. It is because of this ability that man is man; while it is because of the absence of it that a beast is a beast. Man consequently has the ability to reform and regenerate himself as if from himself, provided he acknowledges in his heart that it is from the Lord. Everyone who repents and believes in the Lord is being reformed and regenerated. Man does both as if from himself; but the as if from himself is from the Lord. It is true that man cannot contribute anything to this work from himself, not an iota; nevertheless, you were not created statues but men, in order that you may do this from the Lord as if from yourselves. This one and only reciprocation of love and faith, is what the Lord above all things wishes man to make to Him. In a word, act from yourselves, and believe that it is from the Lord; this is acting as if from yourselves." [10] Then they asked whether this acting as if from himself was implanted in man from creation. An angel replied, "It was not, because to act from himself belongs to God alone, but He gives it unceasingly, that is, joins it [to man] unceasingly; and then so far as man does good and believes truth as if from himself, he is an angel of heaven; while so far as he does evil and therefrom believes falsity, which he also does as if from himself, he is a spirit of hell. You may wonder that he does this also as if from himself, nevertheless you can see that it is so, when you pray to be guarded from the devil lest he seduce you, and enter into you as he did into Judas, and fill you with all iniquity, and destroy you soul and body. But a man becomes guilty when he believes that he acts from himself, whether in doing good or evil, and not when he believes that he acts as if from himself; for when he believes that the good is from himself, he claims as his own what belongs to God, and when he believes the evil to be from himself he attributes to himself what belongs to the devil." [11] Respecting baptism they said, that baptism is spiritual washing, which is reformation and regeneration; that a child is reformed and regenerated when, having become an adult, he does the things that his sponsors promised for him, namely, these two, repents, and believes in God. For they promise first that he will renounce the devil and all his works, and secondly, that he will believe in God. All infants in heaven are initiated into these two duties; but to them the devil is hell and God is the Lord. Moreover, baptism is a sign to the angels that a man belongs to the church." Hearing this, those of the assembly said, "We understand that." [12] Then a voice was heard from the side, crying out, "We do not understand," and another, "We do not wish to understand." Inquiry was made from whom those voices came, and it was found that they came from those who had confirmed themselves in falsities of faith, and who wished to be believed as oracles, and so to be worshiped. The angels said, "Do not be surprised; there are many such at this day; to us from heaven they appear like sculptured images made with such skill that they can move the lips and make sounds like those of the vocal organs, but do not know whether the breath which the sound comes from is from hell or from heaven, because they do not know whether it is false or true. They reason and reason, and they confirm and confirm, and yet do not see whether anything is so or not. But know this, that human ingenuity can confirm whatever it will, even until it seems to be actually true; therefore heretics can do so, and impious persons; and atheists are more able to prove that there is no God, but nature only." [13] After this the assembly of the English, inflamed with a desire to be wise, said to the angels, "They say so many different things about the holy supper, tell us what the truth is about it." The angels replied, "The truth is, that the man who looks to the Lord and repents, is by that most holy ordinance conjoined with the Lord and introduced into heaven." Those of the assembly said, "That is a mystery." The angels replied, "It is a mystery, and yet such as may be understood. The bread and wine do not effect this; from these there is nothing holy; but material bread and spiritual bread, as also material wine and spiritual wine correspond to each other mutually, spiritual bread being the holy principle of love, and spiritual wine the holy principle of faith, both from the Lord, and both being the Lord. From this comes the conjunction of the Lord with man and of man with the Lord, not with the bread and wine, but with the love and faith of the man who has repented; and conjunction with the Lord is also introduction into heaven." And after the angels had taught them something about correspondence, those of the assembly said, "Now for the first time we can understand this also." And when they had said this, behold, a flame with light descended from heaven and affiliated them with the angels, and they loved each other mutually.


Second Memorable Relation: All who have been prepared for heaven (which is done in the world of spirits, which is intermediate between heaven and hell), when the time is completed wish for heaven with great longing; and soon their eyes are opened and they see a path leading to some society in heaven; they take this path and ascend, and in the ascent there is a gate and a keeper there. He opens the gate, and they enter in through it. Then an examiner meets them, who tells them from the president to enter still further and to look about and see whether there are houses anywhere which they recognize as their own, for there is a new house for every novitiate angel. If they find one they so report and remain there. But if they do not find one they return and say that they have not seen any. And then an examination is made by a certain wise one there whether the light that is in them harmonizes with that in the society, and especially whether the heat does; for the light of heaven in its essence is Divine truth, and the heat of heaven in its essence is good, both going forth from the Lord there as a sun. If there is in them a light and a heat different from the light and heat of that society, that is, a different kind of good and truth, they are not received. Therefore they leave that place, and through ways opened between the societies in heaven they pass on; and this they do until they find a society perfectly harmonious with their affections, and this becomes their abode forever. For they are then among their own, just as if among relatives and friends whom they love from the heart, because they are in like affections; and there they are in their life's happiness, and in the joy of their whole bosom from peace of mind, for in the light and heat of heaven there is ineffable delight, which is shared. Thus it happens with those who are becoming angels. [2] And yet those who are in evils and falsities may ascend to heaven by permission; but when they enter they begin to catch their breath and to breathe with difficulty; and presently their sight grows dim, their understanding is darkened, they cease to think, a kind of oblivion hovers before their eyes, and so they stand like stocks. Then the heart begins to throb, the chest to be oppressed, the mind is seized with anguish, and their distress increases more and more; and in this state they writhe like serpents brought near a fire, so that they roll themselves away, and by a steep descent which then appears, they cast themselves down, and do not rest until they are in hell among their like, where they can draw breath and where their hearts beat freely. After this they hate heaven, reject truth, and in heart blaspheme the Lord, believing that their pains and torments in heaven were from Him. [3] From these few things it can be seen what the lot is of those who have no regard for the truths of faith, which nevertheless constitute the light in which the angels of heaven are, and who have no regard for the goods of love and charity, which nevertheless constitute the heat of life in which the angels of heaven are; and it will also be seen therefrom, how greatly those err who believe that anyone may enjoy heavenly happiness if only he is admitted into heaven. For it is the belief of the present day, that to be received into heaven is a matter of mercy only and that a man's reception into heaven is like entering a house in the world where there is a wedding, and being admitted at once into its joys and festivities. But let it be understood that in the spiritual world there is a sharing of the love's affections and the thoughts arising from them, since man is then a spirit, and the life of the spirit is the love's affection and its thought; also that homogeneous affection conjoins while heterogeneous affection separates, and both to a devil in heaven and to an angel in hell heterogeneity is torture; and for this reason they are separated in strict accordance with the diversities, varieties, and differences of the affections pertaining to the love.


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


Fourth Memorable Relation: Awaking from sleep at midnight, I saw at some height toward the east an angel holding in his right hand a paper which appeared of lustrous brightness in the sun's light, and in the center of it there was a writing in golden letters; and I saw written: The Marriage of Good and Truth. From the writing flashed a splendor which spread into a wide circle round about the paper; so that the circle or border appeared like the dawn of day in spring. After this I saw the angel with the paper in his hand descending, and as he descended the paper appeared less and less bright, and the inscription, which was The Marriage of Good and Truth, was changed from a golden to a silver color, then to a copper color, then to an iron color, and finally to the color of copper and iron rust. At last the angel seemed to enter a dark mist and to pass through it to the earth; and there the paper, although still retained in his hand, was not visible. This was in the world of spirits where all men first assemble after death. [2] The angel then spoke to me, saying: "Ask those who are coming here whether they see me or see anything in my hand." A multitude came, one body from the east, one from the south, one from the west, and one from the north; and I asked those coming from the east and south, who were such as, while in the world, had been devoted to learning, whether they saw anyone there with me, or anything in his hand. They all said that they saw nothing whatever. Then I asked those who came from the west and north, who were such as in the world had believed in the sayings of the learned; these said that they too did not see anything; although the last of them, who in the world had been in simple faith from charity or in some truth from good, said, after the former had gone away, that they saw a man with a paper, a man in graceful clothing, and a paper upon which letters were written; and when they brought their eyes close to it, they said that the inscription was, The Marriage of Good and Truth. [3] These also spoke to the angel, and asked him to tell them what it was. And the angel said, "All things in the whole heaven, and all things in the whole world, are by creation nothing but a marriage of good and truth, since each and all things, both the living and animate, and the lifeless and inanimate, are created from a marriage of good and truth and into that marriage. Nothing created into truth alone or into good alone is possible; either of these alone is nothing; but by means of that marriage the two exist and become a something, in quality in accord with the marriage. In the Lord God the Creator there is Divine good and Divine truth in their very substance. Divine good is the being [esse] of His substance, and Divine truth is the outgo [existere] of His substance, and they are also in their very oneness, for in Him they make one infinitely. As these two are one in God the Creator Himself, they are also one in each and all things created by Him; and by means of this the Creator is conjoined in an eternal covenant like that of marriage with all things created from Himself." [4] The angel said further, that the Sacred Scripture, which was dictated by the Lord, is in the whole and in every part a marriage of good and truth (see above, 248-253); and because the church, which is formed by truths of doctrine, and religion, which is formed by goods of life according to truths of doctrine, are, with Christians, solely from the Sacred Scripture, it is evident that the church also, in general and in particular, is a marriage of good and truth. And what has been said of the marriage of good and truth can be said also of The Marriage of Charity and Faith, since good belongs to charity, and truth to faith. When this had been said the angel raised himself up from the earth, and passing through the mist, he ascended into heaven; and then the paper, according as he ascended, shone as before; and lo, that circle which before appeared like the day-dawn, settled down and dispelled the mist which had brought darkness upon the earth, and it became sunny.


Fifth Memorable Relation: Once when I was meditating about the Lord's second coming, there suddenly appeared a flash of light which forcibly struck my eyes; and I therefore looked up, and lo, the whole heaven above me appeared luminous, and there from the east to the west in a continuous strain a Glorification was heard; and an angel stood near who said, "That is a glorification of the Lord on account of His coming. It comes from the angels of the eastern and western heavens." From the southern and northern heavens only a gentle murmur was heard. And because all this was heard by the angel, he first said to me that these glorifications and celebrations of the Lord are made from the Word. Presently he said, "Now they are glorifying and celebrating the Lord especially by these words, which are spoken in the prophecy of Daniel: Thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, but they shall not cohere. But in those days the God of the heavens shall make a kingdom to arise which shall not perish for ages it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, but itself shall stand for ages (2:43, 44). [2] After this I heard the sound of singing, and more deeply in the east I saw a flashing of light more brilliant than the former; and I asked the angel what the glorification there was. He said it was in these words in Daniel: I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and there was given Him dominion, and a kingdom; and all people and nations shall worship Him; His dominion is the dominion of an age, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed (Dan. 7:13, 14). Beside this they were celebrating the Lord from these words in the Apocalypse: To Jesus Christ be the glory and the might; behold, He cometh with clouds. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Fist and the last, Who is, Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty; I John heard this from the Son of man out of the midst of the seven candlesticks (Rev. 1:5-13; 22:8, 13; also Matt. 24:30, 32). [3] I looked again into the eastern heaven, and it lighted up from the right side, the illumination extended to the southern expanse, and I heard a sweet sound, and asked the angel what it was pertaining to the Lord that they were glorifying there; and he said that it was in these words in the Apocalypse: I saw a new heaven and a new earth, and I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of the heaven saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them. And an angel spoke with me, saying, Come, and I will show thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the city, the holy Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1, 3, 9, 10). I Jesus am the bright and morning star; and the Spirit and the bride say, Come, and He said I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus (Rev. 22:16, 17, 20). [4] After this and more, a general glorification from the east to the west of heaven, and also from south to north was heard; and I asked the angel, "What now?" He said, "The following from the prophets": All flesh shall know that I Jehovah am thy Savior and thy Redeemer (Isa. 49:26). Thus said Jehovah the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Jehovah of Hosts, I am the First and the Last, and beside Me there is no God (Isa. 44:6). 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, (Isa. 25:9). The voice of one crying in the desert, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah. Behold, the Lord Jehovih cometh in strength; He shall feed His flock like a shepherd (Isa. 40:3, 5, 10, 11). Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and His name shall be Wonderful, Counselor, God, Mighty, Father of eternity, Prince of peace (Isa. 9:6). Behold the days will come when I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and He shall reign King and this is His name, Jehovah our righteousness (Jer. 23:5, 6; 33:15, 16). 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). 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). Hearing and understanding these things my heart greatly rejoiced, and I went home joyfully, and here I returned from the spiritual to the bodily state, in which I wrote out all this that I had seen and heard.


CHAPTER 11 IMPUTATION. I. IMPUTATION AND THE FAITH OF THE PRESENT CHURCH (WHICH IS HELD TO BE THE SOLE GROUND OF JUSTIFICATION), MAKE ONE. The faith of the present church, which is held to be the sole ground of justification, is imputation; that is, in the present church, faith and imputation make one, because each belongs to the other, or each mutually and interchangeably enters into the other and causes it to be. For if faith is mentioned and imputation is not added faith is mere sound; and if imputation is mentioned and faith is not added imputation is mere sound; but when the two are mentioned together, the result is something articulate, and yet without meaning; and in order that the understanding may have a perception of some thing, a third must necessarily be added, namely, Christ's merit. These form a statement that a man can utter with some reason. For it is the faith of the present church that God the Father imputes His Son's righteousness, and sends the Holy Spirit to work out its effects.


In the present church, then, these three, faith, imputation, and Christ's merit, are one, and they may be called a triune; for if one of these three were taken away, the present theology would be reduced to nothing, since it depends on these three perceived as one, as a long chain on a fixed hook. So if either faith, or imputation, or Christ's merit were taken away, all the things said about justification, the forgiveness of sins, vivification, renewal, regeneration, sanctification, and about the gospel, freedom of choice, charity, and good works, and even life eternal, would become like desolate towns or like a temple in ruins, and faith itself, which stands at the head of all, would come to nothing, and thus the entire church would be a desert and a desolation. All this makes clear upon what a pillar the house of God at this day is made to rest: and if that pillar were torn down the house would be overthrown, like that in which the lords of the Philistines and people to the number of three thousand were amusing themselves, when Samson pulled down both of its pillars at once, and all within it were slain or died (Judges 16:29). This is said because it has been shown in what precedes, and will be shown still further in an appendix, that this faith is not Christian, because it is at variance with the Word, and that the imputation which it teaches is absurd, since Christ's merit cannot be imputed.


II. THE IMPUTATION THAT BELONGS TO THE FAITH OF THE PRESENT DAY IS A DOUBLE IMPUTATION. AN IMPUTATION OF CHRIST'S MERIT AND AN IMPUTATION OF SALVATION THEREBY. Throughout the whole Christian church it is taught that justification and salvation thereby are effected by God the Father through the imputation of the merit of Christ His Son; that imputation takes place by grace when and where God wills, thus arbitrarily; and that those to whom Christ's merit is imputed are adopted into the number of children of God. And because the leaders of the church have not advanced a foot beyond that imputation or raised their minds above it, because of the established dogmas of God's arbitrary election, they have fallen into enormous and fanatical errors, and at length into that detestable error respecting predestination, and still further into the abominable error, that God pays no attention to the deeds of a man's life but only to the faith inscribed upon the interiors of his mind. Unless, therefore, the error respecting imputation is abolished, atheism will invade all Christendom; and then will reign over them. The king of the abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek Apollyon (Rev. 9:11), "Abaddon" and "Apollyon" signifying the destroyer of the church by falsities, and "the abyss" the abode of those falsities (see the Apocalypse Revealed n. 421, 440, 442). From this it is clear that that falsity and the resultant falsities exist in an extended series, over which that destroyer reigns; for, as said above, the entire system of the present theology is dependent on this imputation, as a long chain on a fixed hook, and as man with all his members is dependent on the head. And because this imputation reigns everywhere, it is like what Isaiah says: The Lord will cut off from Israel head, and tail; the honorable, he is the head; and the teacher of lies, he is the tail (9:14, 15).


As just said, the imputation of the prevailing faith is a double imputation; but it is double in the sense that God exercises His mercy toward some, and not toward all, or that a parent exercises his love toward one or two of his children, and not toward all, or that the Divine law and its command apply to a few and not to all. One kind of doubleness, therefore, is far-reaching and undivided, the other is restricted and divided; this latter is doubleness, but the former is miry. For it is taught that the imputation of Christ's merit is from an arbitrary election, and that to those so elected there is an imputation of salvation, thus that some are adopted and the rest rejected; which would be as if God lifted some up into Abraham's bosom, and gave some over as morsels to the devil; and yet the truth is that the Lord rejects no man, and gives no man over to the devil, but this is done by the man himself.


It may be added that the present day doctrine of imputation deprives man of all power arising from any freedom of choice in spiritual things, and does not even leave him enough to enable him to brush fire from his clothing and keep his body from harm, or to extinguish his blazing home with water and rescue his family; and yet the Word from beginning to end teaches that everyone must shun evils, because they are of the devil and from the devil, and must do good because it is of God and from God, and that he must do this of himself, the Lord working in him. Put the present doctrine of imputation condemns the power to do this as deadly to faith and consequently to salvation, lest something belonging to man might enter into the imputation, and thus into the merit of Christ; from the establishment of which doctrine has issued this satanic principle that man is absolutely impotent in spiritual matters; which is like saying, Walk, although you have no feet, not even one; Wash, though both your hands are cut off; or, Do good, but keep asleep; or, Feed yourself, even without a tongue. It is also like giving man a will that is not a will; in which case can he not say, "I have no more power than the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was turned, or than Dagon the god of the Philistines had when the ark of God was taken into his house; I am afraid that my head like his might be torn off, and the palms of my hands thrown upon the threshold (1 Sam. 5:4); nor have I any more power than Beelzebub the god of Ekron who, as his name signifies, can only drive away flies?" That such impotence in spiritual things is believed in at the present day may be seen above (n. 464) from the extracts respecting freedom of choice.


As to the first part of the doubleness of that imputation respecting man's salvation, namely, the arbitrary imputation of Christ's merit, and the imputation of salvation thereby, the dogmatists differ; some teaching that this imputation is absolute, from free power, and takes place with those whose external or internal form is well pleasing to God; others, that imputation takes place from foreknowledge, with those into whom grace is infused, and to whom this faith can be applied. Nevertheless, these two opinions aim at one mark, or are like two eyes that have one stone for their object, or two ears that have as their object one song. At first glance they seem to depart from each other, but in the end they unite and agree. For since man's complete impotence in things spiritual is taught by both, and everything belonging to man is excluded from faith, it follows that this grace which is receptive of faith, whether infused arbitrarily or from foreknowledge is the same as election; for if that which is called prevenient grace were universal, man's application of it from some power of his own would come in, and this is of course rejected as leprous. Consequently a man no more knows whether from grace that faith has been given him or not, than a stock or a stone, which is what he was when it was infused; for there is no possible sign to attest it when charity, piety, the pursuit of a new life, and the free ability to do either good or evil, are denied to man. The signs attesting that faith which are put forth are all ludicrous, closely resembling the auguries of the ancients from the flights of birds, the prognostications of astrologers by the stars, or of players by dice. Such things, and others still more ludicrous, are consequences of the doctrine of the Lord's imputed righteousness, which together with faith (which is called that righteousness), is communicated to the elect.


III. THE FAITH IMPUTATIVE OF THE MERIT AND RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST THE REDEEMER, FIRST AROSE FROM THE DECREES OF THE COUNCIL OF NICE RESPECTING THREE DIVINE PERSONS FROM ETERNITY, WHICH FAITH HAS BEEN ACCEPTED BY THE WHOLE CHRISTIAN WORLD FROM THAT TIME TO THE PRESENT. As to the Nicene Council itself, it was convoked by the emperor Constantine the Great by the advice of Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, and was composed of all the bishops in Asia, Africa, and Europe, and was held in his palace at Nice, a city of Bithynia. Its object was to refute and condemn, from the sacred writings, the heresy of Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, who denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ. This took place in the year of our Lord 325. The members of that council decided that there were from eternity three Divine persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - as appears especially from the two creeds called the Nicene and Athanasian. In the Nicene creed we read: I believe in one God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father, born before all ages, God from God, consubstantial with the Father, who descended from the heavens and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit from the virgin Mary; and in the Holy Spirit, Lord and Vivifier, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, and who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified. In the Athanasian creed is the following: The Catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in a Trinity, and the Trinity in unity, neither confounding the Persons nor separating the substance. But 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. That is, it is permitted men to confess, but not to say, three Gods and Lords. They may not say so because religion forbids it, but may confess it because the truth so dictates. This Athanasian creed was written out by one or more of those who were present, immediately after the holding of the Nicene Council, and was accepted as ecumenical or Catholic. This shows clearly that it was then decided that three Divine persons from eternity ought to be acknowledged, and that although each Person singly was by Himself God, still they ought not to be called three Gods and Lords, but one.


That a belief in three Divine persons has been accepted since that time, and has also been confirmed and preached by all bishops, hierarchs, church rulers, and presbyters up to the present time, is known in the Christian world; and because a mental persuasion of the existence of three Gods has emanated therefrom, men have been unable to devise any other faith than one that could be applied to these three in their order; namely, this, that God the Father must be approached and be implored to impute His Son's righteousness, or to be merciful on account of His Son's passion on the cross, and to send the Holy Spirit to work out the mediate and final effects of salvation. [2] This faith is the offspring born from those two creeds; but when its swaddling clothes are stripped off, there comes to view not one but three, at first joined together, as it were, in an embrace, but afterward separated, for it is declared that their essence unites them, but their properties - which are creation, redemption, and operation (that is, imputation, imputed righteousness and the making it effectual) separate them. And for this reason, although out of three Gods they have made one, yet they have not made one Person out of three, from a fear that the idea of three Gods might be obliterated; for then, as stated in the creed, each Person singly can still be believed to be God; while if the three Persons were in consequence to become one, the whole house, built upon these three as its columns, would tumble into a heap. [3] That council introduced the doctrine of three Divine persons from eternity because they had not properly searched the Word, and could therefore find no other defense against the Arians. Afterwards they combined those three Persons, each one of whom is God by Himself, into one God, from a fear of being accused of a belief in three Gods and reproached for it by every reasonable religious person on the three continents. They taught a belief that applied to the three Gods in their order, because no other faith could issue from that principle; to which is to be added, that if one of the three were passed by, the third would not be sent, and thus every operation of Divine grace would be fruitless.


But the truth must be told. When a belief in three Gods was introduced into Christian churches, which was done at the time of the Nicene Council, they banished every good of charity and every truth of faith, because these two are wholly inconsistent with a mental worship of three Gods and a simultaneous oral worship of one God; for the mind then denies what the mouth utters, and the mouth denies what the mind thinks; and the result is that there is neither a belief in three Gods nor a belief in one God. From this it is clear that since that time the Christian temple has not only cracked open but has fallen to ruins; and since that time the mouth of the abyss, from which ascends a smoke like that of a great furnace, has been opened, the sun and air have been darkened, and locusts have gone out therefrom upon the earth (Rev. 9:2, 3). (See the explanation of these things in the Apocalypse Revealed.) And from that time also has the desolation foretold by Daniel commenced and increased (Matt. 24:15), and to that faith and the imputation thereof the eagles have gathered together (Matt. 24:28, "eagles" there meaning the lynx-eyed leaders of the church). It may be said that a council in which so many bishops and learned men sat together, established this faith by a unanimous vote; but what confidence can be placed in councils, when Roman Catholic councils have also by a unanimous vote established the vicarship of the pope, the invocation of saints, the worship of images and bones, the division of the holy eucharist, purgatory, indulgences, and the like? And what confidence can be placed in councils when the council of Dort has also by a unanimous vote established a detestable predestination, and set it forth as the palladium of religion? But, my reader, believe not in councils, but in the Holy Word; and go to the Lord, and you will be enlightened; for He is the Word, that is, the Divine Truth in the Word.


Finally, this following arcanum shall be disclosed. In seven chapters of the Apocalypse the consummation of the present church is described in much the same way as the devastation of Egypt is described; for the two are pictured by like plagues, each one of which spiritually signifies some falsity, which extends the devastation of it even to destruction; and for this reason the present church, which is at this day destroyed, is called "Egypt," spiritually understood, (Apoc. 11:8). The plagues of Egypt were as follows: The waters were turned into blood, so that every fish died, and the river stank (Ex. 7). A like statement is made in the Apocalypse (8:8; 16:3); "blood" signifying Divine truth falsified, (see Apocalypse Revealed, n. 379, 404, 681, 687, 688); and the "fishes" which then died signifying the truths in the natural man, in like manner dead (n. 290, 405). Frogs were brought upon the land of Egypt (Ex. 8). Something is also said of frogs in the Apocalypse 16:13); "frogs" signifying reasonings from a lust for falsifying truths (see Apocalypse Revealed, n. 702). In Egypt noisome sores were brought upon both man and beast (Ex. 9). (The same in the Apocalypse 16:2); "sores" signifying interior evils and falsities destructive of good and truth in the church (see Apocalypse Revealed, n. 678). In Egypt there was hail mingled with fire (Ex. 9). (The same in the Apocalypse, 8:7; 16:21); "hail" signifying infernal falsity (see Apocalypse Revealed, n. 399, 714): Locusts were sent upon East (Ex. 10). (The same in the Apocalypse, 9:1-11); "locusts" signifying falsities in outermosts, (see Apocalypse Revealed n. 424, 430). Great darkness was brought upon Egypt (Ex. 10). (The same in the Apocalypse, 8:12); "darkness" signifying falsities arising either from ignorance, or from falsities of religion, or from evils of life; (see Apocalypse Revealed, n. 110, 413, 695). Finally, the Egyptians perished in the Red Sea (Ex. 14). (But in the Apocalypse the dragon and the false prophet were cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, 19:20; 20:10); both "the Red Sea" and that "lake" signifying hell. Respecting Egypt and respecting the church, whose consummation and end are described in the Apocalypse, like statements are made, because "Egypt" means a church that was in its beginning pre-eminent; and for this reason, before this church had been devastated, Egypt is compared to the garden of Eden, and the garden of Jehovah, (Gen. 13:10; Ezek. 31:8); and is also called "the corner-stone of the tribes," "the son of the wise, and of the kings of old," (Isa. 19:11, 13). More respecting Egypt in its primeval state and in its devastated state may be seen in the Apocalypse Revealed (n. 503).


IV. THE FAITH IMPUTATIVE OF CHRIST'S MERIT WAS UNKNOWN IN THE PRECEDING APOSTOLIC CHURCH, AND IS NOWHERE TAUGHT IN THE WORD. The church that preceded the Nicene Council is called the Apostolic church. It was evidently a widespread church, extending over the three parts of the globe, Asia, Africa and Europe, for the Emperor Constantine the Great was a Christian, and also a zealot in religion, and his dominion extended not only over many kingdoms of Europe that were afterward separated, but also over the neighboring countries outside of Europe. So as just said, he assembled the bishops from Asia, Africa and Europe, in his palace at Nice, a city of Bithynia, in order that he might banish from his empire the scandalous dogmas of Arius. This was done by the Lord's Divine Providence, because when the Divinity of the Lord is denied the Christian church dies, and becomes like a sepulchre adorned with the epitaph, Hic jacet. The church that existed before this time was called Apostolic; its distinguished writers were called the Fathers, and all true Christians held the relation of brethren. This church did not acknowledge three Divine persons, nor therefore a Son of God born from eternity, but only a Son of God born in time, as is evident from the creed, which by their church was called the Apostles' Creed, where the following words occur: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord, who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of the saints." From this it is clear that they acknowledged no other Son of God than the one conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, and by no means a Son of God born from eternity. This creed, like the two others, has been acknowledged as truly Catholic by the entire Christian church up to the present day.


That in that primitive time all in the then Christian world acknowledged that the Lord Jesus Christ is God, to whom was given "all power in heaven and on earth," and "power over all flesh," according to His own express words (Matt. 28:18; John 17:2), and that they believed in Him, according to His command given from God the Father (John 3:15, 16, 36; 6:40; 11:25, 26), is also clearly evident from the convoking of all the bishops by the Emperor Constantine the Great, in order that they might from the sacred writings refute and condemn Arius and his followers, who denied the Divinity of the Lord the Savior born of the virgin Mary. This indeed they did, but in trying to escape the wolf they came upon the lion, or, according to the proverb, wishing to avoid Charybdis they ran upon Scylla; which they did by inventing a Son of God from eternity, who descended and assumed a Human, believing that they had thus vindicated and reestablished the Lord's Divinity, not knowing that God Himself the Creator of the universe descended in order to become a Redeemer, and thus a Creator anew, according to the following plain declarations in the Old Testament: Isa. 25:9; 40:3, 5, 10, 11; 43:14; 44:6, 24; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7, 26; 60:16; 63:16; Jer. 1. 34; Hos. 13:4; Ps. 19:14; to which add John 1:14; 19:15.


That Apostolic church, since it worshiped the Lord God Jesus Christ, and at the same time God the Father in Him, may be likened to the garden of God, and Arius who then arose, to the serpent sent from hell, and the Nicene Council to Adam's wife, who offered the fruit to her husband and persuaded him to eat of it, after doing which they appeared to themselves to be naked, and covered their nakedness with fig-leaves. Their "nakedness" means their former innocence, and "fig-leaves" the truths of the natural man which were gradually falsified. That primitive church may also be likened to the dawn and morning and from that the day advanced to the tenth hour, and then a dense cloud intervened, under which the day advanced to evening, and afterward to night, in which the moon arose for some, by the dim light of which they saw something from the Word, while others went on so far into the nocturnal darkness that they saw no Divinity in the Lord's Humanity, although Paul says that, In Jesus Christ dwells all the fullness of Divinity bodily (Col. 2:9; and John, that, The Son of God sent into the world is the true God and eternal life (1 John 5:20, 21). The primitive or Apostolic church never could have divined that a church was to follow which would worship several Gods in heart, and one with the lips; which would separate charity from faith, and the forgiveness of sins from repentance and the pursuit of a new life; which would introduce the doctrine of man's utter impotence in spiritual things; and least of all, that an Arius would lift up his head, and when he was dead would rise again, and secretly rule even to the end.


That no faith imputative of Christ's merit is taught in the Word, is very clear from the fact that this faith was unknown in the church until after the Nicene Council had introduced the doctrine of three Divine persons from eternity. And when this faith had been introduced and had pervaded the whole Christian world, every other faith was cast into the dark, so that whoever since that time reads the Word, and there sees anything about faith and imputation and the merit of Christ, naturally falls into that which he has believed to be the one only thing; like one who sees what is written on one page and there stops, not turning the leaf and seeing what is on the other page; or like one who persuades himself that a certain thing is true (although it is false), and confirms that only, and thereafter sees falsity as truth and truth as falsity, and sets his teeth and hisses at everyone opposing it, saying, "You have no intelligence." Thus the man's whole mind is in it, covered over with a callousness which rejects as heterodox everything that does not agree with his so-called orthodoxy; for his memory is like a tablet upon which is written this single ruling tenet in theology; and when anything else enters there is no place where it may be inserted, and he therefore casts it out as the mouth casts out froth. For example, if you say to a confirmed naturalist who believes that nature created herself, or that God came forth after nature, or that nature and God are one, that the very reverse is the truth, would he not look upon you as one deluded by the fables of the priest, or as a simpleton, or a dullard, or as demented? So it is with all things that are fixed in the mind by persuasion and confirmation; which finally appear like pictured tapestry fastened with many nails to a wall built of old stones.


V. IMPUTATION OF CHRIST'S MERIT AND RIGHTEOUSNESS IS IMPOSSIBLE. In order to know that an imputation of the merit and righteousness of Jesus Christ is impossible, what His merit and righteousness are must be known. The merit of the Lord our Savior is redemption, the nature of which may be seen above in its proper chapter (n. 114-133), where it is described as the subjugation of the hells, the orderly arrangement of the heavens, and the subsequent establishment of a church, and thus as being a work purely Divine. It is also there shown that the Lord by means of redemption took to Himself the power to regenerate and save those who believe on Him and do His commandments; also that without this redemption no flesh could have been saved. As redemption therefore was a work purely Divine, and a work of the Lord alone, and constitutes His merit, it follows that His merit can no more be applied, ascribed, or imputed to any man than the creation and preservation of the universe. Moreover, redemption was, as it were, a new creation of the angelic heaven, and likewise of the church. [2] That the present church attributes that merit of the Lord the Redeemer to those who by grace attain to that faith, is evident from their dogmas, among which this is the chief. For it is affirmed by the hierarchs of that church and by their subordinates, both in the Roman Catholic and in the Reformed churches, that by the imputation of Christ's merit those who have attained to faith are not only reputed righteous and holy, but also are so; and that their sins are not sins in God's sight because they are forgiven, and they themselves are justified, that is, reconciled, renewed, regenerated, sanctified, and enrolled in heaven. That the entire Christian church today teaches these same dogmas is very evident from the Council of Trent, from the Augustan or Augsburg Confessions, and from the appended and accepted commentaries. [3] From the things said above when applied to that faith, what follows but that the possession of that faith is that merit and that righteousness of the Lord, consequently that its possessor is Christ in another person? For it is affirmed that Christ Himself is righteousness, and that that faith is righteousness, and that imputation (meaning thereby ascription and application), causes men not only to be reputed righteous and holy, but to be so in reality. To imputation, application, and ascription, add transcription only, and you will be a vicarious pope.


Because, then, the Lord's merit and righteousness are purely Divine, and things purely Divine are such that if they were to be applied and ascribed to man he would instantly die and like a stick of wood thrown into the naked sun, would be so completely consumed that scarcely a particle of his ashes would be left; the Lord approaches angels and men with His Divine by means of light tempered and accommodated to the capacity and quality of each one, thus by means of what is brought down to man's level and adapted; and in the same way by means of heat. [2] In the spiritual world there is a sun, in the midst of which is the Lord; from that sun the Lord flows in by means of light and heat into the whole spiritual world, and into all who are there. All the light and all the heat of that world are from this source. From that sun the Lord also flows with the same light and the same heat into the souls and minds of men. That heat in its essence is the Lord's Divine love, and that light in its essence is His Divine wisdom. The Lord adapts that light and that heat to the capacity and quality of the recipient angel and man, doing this by means of the spiritual auras or atmospheres that convey and transfer them. The Divine Itself which immediately encompasses the Lord, constitutes that sun. That sun is far off from the angels, as the sun of the natural world is from men, in order that it may not come into naked and thus untempered contact with them; since otherwise they would be consumed like a stick of wood thrown into the naked sun, as said above. [3] All this makes clear that the Lord's merit and righteousness, being purely Divine, can in no possible way be transferred by imputation into any angel or man; and if even the least drop thereof, not so tempered as above stated, were to touch them, they would instantly writhe as if struggling with death, with feet contorted and eyes staring, and would become lifeless. In the Israelitish church this was known by their being taught that no man could see God and live. [4] The sun of the spiritual world, such as it was after Jehovah God had assumed the Human, and had added thereto redemption and a new righteousness, is described in these words in Isaiah: The light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when Jehovah shall bind up the breach of His people (Isa. 30:26). This chapter from beginning to end treats of the Lord's coming. What would take place if the Lord were to come down and draw near to any wicked person, is also described in the following words in the Apocalypse: They hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, Hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the anger of the Lamb (Rev. 6:15, 16). It is said, "the anger of the Lamb" because their terror and torment when the Lord draws near appear to them like wrath. [5] This may be still more evidently inferred from the fact, that if any impious person is admitted into heaven, where charity and faith in the Lord reign, darkness invades his eyes, giddiness and madness invade his mind, pain and torment his body, and he becomes like one dead. What then, if the Lord Himself, with His Divine merit, which is redemption, and His Divine righteousness, were to enter into man? The apostle John himself could not endure the presence of the Lord, for we read: That when he saw the Son of man in the midst of the seven lampstands, he fell at His feet as one dead (Apoc. 1:17).


In the decrees of the Councils and in the articles of the Confessions to which the Reformed make oath, it is declared that God justifies the wicked man by means of the merit of Christ infused into him, when, in fact, not even the good of any angel can be communicated to a wicked person, still less conjoined to him, without being thrown back and rebounding like an elastic ball thrown against a wall, or swallowed up like a diamond sunk in a marsh; and indeed, if anything truly good was thrust upon him, it would be like a pearl fastened to a swine's snout. For who does not know that clemency cannot be introduced into unmercifulness, innocence into vindictiveness, love into hatred, or concord into discord, which would be like mixing together heaven and hell? The man who has not been born again, is in the spirit like a panther or an owl, and may be likened to a thorn or a nettle; while the man who has been born again is like a sheep or a dove, and may be likened to an olive tree or a vine. Reflect, I pray you, if you will, how a human panther can be converted into a human sheep, or an owl into a dove, or a thorn tree into an olive tree, or a nettle into a vine, by any imputation, ascription, or application of the Divine righteousness, which would rather damn than justify him. Before such a conversion could take place, must not the ferine nature of the panther and owl, or the noxious qualities of the thorn and nettle first be taken away, and what is truly human and harmless be implanted in their place? How this is effected the Lord also teaches in John (15:1-7).


VI. THERE IS AN IMPUTATION, BUT IT IS AN IMPUTATION OF GOOD AND EVIL, AND AT THE SAME TIME OF FAITH. From numerous passages in the Word, which in part have been already quoted, it is evident that there is an imputation of good and evil, which is the imputation meant in the word where it is mentioned. But that everyone may feel certain that there is no other imputation, some passages from the Word shall be offered also, as follows: The Son of man shall come, and then He shall render unto everyone according to his deeds (Matt. 16:27). They shall come forth, they that have done goods into the resurrection of life, and they that have done evils unto the resurrection of judgment (John 5:29). The book was opened, which is the book of life, and all were judged according to their works (Apoc. 20:12, 13). Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every man according to his work (Apoc. 22:12). I will punish him according to his ways, and will recompense him for his works (Hos. 4:9; Zech. 1:6; Jer. 25:14; 32:19). In the day of His wrath and righteous judgment, God will render to every man according to his works (Rom. 2:5, 6). We must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done through the body, according to what he hath done, whether good or evil (2 Cor. 5:10). [2] In the beginning of the church there was no other law of imputation, nor will there be any other at its end. That there was no other at the beginning of the church, is evident from Adam and his wife, in that they were condemned because they did evil in eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2, 3); and that there will be no other at the end of the church, is evident from these words of the Lord: When the Son of man shall come in His glory, then shall He sit on the throne of His glory; and He shall say to the sheep on His right hand, Come ye blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was a hungered and ye gave Me to eat I was thirsty and ye gave Me to drink I was a sojourner and ye took Me in; I was naked and ye clothed Me; I was sick and ye visited Me I was in prison and ye came unto Me. But to the goats on His left, because they had not done good, He said, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:31-41). From these passages anyone with his eyes open can see that there is an imputation of good and evil. [3] There is also an imputation of faith, because charity which pertains to good, and faith which pertains to truth, reside together in good works; and that otherwise works are not good, may be seen above (n. 373-377). Therefore James says: Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up his son upon the altar? Seest thou not how faith co-operated with his works, and by works faith was recognized as perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness (2:21-23).


The rulers of the Christian churches and in consequence their subordinates, have understood by imputation in the Word the imputation of faith upon which were inscribed the righteousness and merit of Christ, which were thus ascribed to man, for the reason that for fourteen centuries, that is, since the time of the Nicene Council, they have not wished to know about any other faith. Therefore such faith alone is fixed in their memories and consequently in their minds, like a thing organized, which from that time has furnished a light like that which comes from a fire at night-time, from which light that faith has appeared like true theology itself, on which all other things hang in a linked series, and these would fall asunder if that head or pillar were removed. If therefore they were to think when they read the Word, of any other than this imputative faith, that light, together with their entire theology, would be extinguished, and a darkness would arise which would cause the whole Christian church to vanish. Therefore it is left to them, Like a stump of roots in the earth, the tree being cut down and destroyed, until the seven times shall be accomplished (Dan. 4:23). Who among the confirmed leaders of the present church does not, when that faith is attacked, close his ears as if with cotton against hearing anything opposed to it? But, my reader, open your ears, and read the Word, and you will have a clear perception of a faith and an imputation other than those which you have heretofore believed in.


It is wonderful, that although the Word from beginning to end is full of testimonies and proofs that everyone's own good and evil is imputed to him, the dogmatists of the Christian religion have, nevertheless, so closed their ears as if with wax, and besmeared their eyes as if with salve, that they have neither heard nor seen, nor do they hear or see any other imputation than that of their own faith mentioned above. And yet that faith may be justly compared to the disease of the eye called gutta serena, (and in fact deserves to be so named), which disease is an absolute blindness of the eye, arising from an obstruction of the optic nerve, although the eye appears to retain its sight perfectly. In like manner those who adhere to that faith walk as if with open eyes, and seem to others to see all things, when yet they see nothing; for when that faith enters man, since he is then like a stock, he knows nothing about it, not even knowing whether that faith is in him, or whether there is anything in it. Afterwards with eyes apparently clear they behold that faith in the pains of travail and giving birth to those noble offsprings of justification, namely, forgiveness of sins, vivification, renewal, regeneration, and sanctification, and yet they have not seen and cannot see any sign of anyone of them.


That good, which is charity, and evil, which is iniquity, are imputed after death, has been proven to me by all my experience relating to the lot of those who pass from this to the other world. Everyone, after he has waited there for some days, is examined to ascertain his character, that is, what he was in respect to religion in the former world. When this has been done, the examiners report the result to heaven, and the man is then transferred to his like, that is, to his own. Thus is imputation effected. That to all in heaven there is an imputation of good, and to all in hell an imputation of evil, was made clear to me from the arrangement of both by the Lord. The entire heaven is arranged in societies according to all the varieties of the love of good, and the entire hell according to all the varieties of the love of evil. The church on earth is arranged by the Lord in like manner, for it corresponds to heaven. Its religion is its good. Moreover, ask anyone you please who is endowed with religion and also with reason, belonging either to this quarter of the globe or one of the others, who he believes will go to heaven, and who to hell; and they will answer unanimously that those who do good will go to heaven, and those who do evil to hell. Again, does not everyone know that every true man loves a man, an assembly of many men, a state, or a kingdom, because of their goodness; and not only men, but even beasts and inanimate things, such as houses, possessions, fields, gardens, trees, forests, lands, and finally metals and stones, because of their goodness and use? Goodness and use are one. Why then should not the Lord love man and the church because of their goodness?


VII. THE FAITH AND IMPUTATION OF THE NEW CHURCH CAN BY NO MEANS EXIST TOGETHER WITH THE FAITH AND IMPUTATION OF THE FORMER CHURCH; AND IF THEY ARE TOGETHER, SUCH A COLLISION AND CONFLICT RESULT THAT EVERYTHING PERTAINING TO THE CHURCH IN MAN PERISHES. The faith and imputation of the New Church cannot exist together with the faith and imputation of the former or still-existing church because they do not agree in one-third part, not even in one-tenth part; for the faith of the former church teaches that three Divine persons have existed from eternity, each one of whom is singly or by Himself God, also three Creators. But the faith of the New Church is that there has been but one Divine Person, thus one God, from eternity, and that beside Him there is no God. Thus the faith of the former church has taught a Divine Trinity divided into three Persons, while the faith of the New Church teaches a Divine Trinity united in one Person. [2] The faith of the former church has been a faith in a God invisible, inaccessible, and incapable of conjunction with man; and its idea of God has been like its idea of spirit, which is like that of ether or air. But the faith of the New Church is a faith in a God who is visible, accessible, and capable of conjunction with man, in whom, like the soul in the body, is God invisible, inaccessible, and incapable of conjunction; and its idea of this God is that He is a Man, because the one God who was from eternity became Man in time. [3] The faith of the former church attributes all power to the invisible God, and takes it from the visible; for it teaches that God the Father imputes faith, and through it bestows eternal life, and that the visible God merely intercedes; while they both give (or according to the Greek church, God the Father gives) to the Holy Spirit, who is by Himself the third God in order, all power to work out the effects of that faith. But the faith of the New Church attributes to the visible God, in whom is the invisible, the omnipotence to impute and also to work out the effects of salvation. [4] The faith of the former church is primarily a faith in God the Creator, and not at the same time a faith in Him as Redeemer and Savior; while the faith of the New Church is a faith in one God, who is at once Creator, Redeemer and Savior. [5] The faith of the former church is that repentance, forgiveness of sins, renewal, regeneration, sanctification and salvation follow of themselves faith given and imputed, with nothing pertaining to man mingled or joined with these. But the faith of the New Church teaches that man co-operates in repentance, reformation and regeneration, and thus in the forgiveness of sins. [6] The faith of the former church teaches the Imputation of Christ's merit, which imputation is embraced in the faith bestowed; while the faith of the New Church teaches the imputation of good and evil, and also of faith, and that this imputation is in accordance with Sacred Scripture, while the other is contrary to it. [7] The former church teaches that faith, which includes the merit of Christ, is given when man is like a stock or a stone; and it also teaches man's utter impotence in spiritual things; but the New Church teaches a wholly different faith, which is not a faith in the merit of Christ, but in Jesus Christ Himself, God, Redeemer and Savior, and a freedom of choice that both fits man to receive and also to co-operate. [8] The former church adds charity to its faith as an appendage, but not as anything saving, and thus it constitutes its religion; but the New Church conjoins faith in the Lord and charity toward the neighbor as two inseparable things, and thus constitutes its religion There are also many other differences.


From this brief review of the points of discordance or disagreement between them, it is clear that the faith and imputation of the New Church can by no means exist together with the faith and imputation of the former or still existing church; and with such a discord and disagreement between the faith and imputation of the two churches, they are totally heterogeneous; and consequently if they were to exist together in man's mind, such a collision and conflict would result that everything pertaining to the church would perish, and in spiritual things man would fall into a delirium or into a swoon, so that he would not know what the church is, or whether there is a church; neither would he know anything about God, faith, or charity. [2] Because the faith of the former church excludes all light derived from reason, it may be likened to an owl, while the faith of the New Church may be likened to a dove, which flies by day and sees by the light of heaven; and their coming together in one mind would be like the meeting of an owl and dove in one nest, where the owl would lay her eggs and the dove hers, and after incubation the young birds would be hatched, and the owl would then tear the young of the dove to pieces and give them for food to her own young, being a voracious bird. [3] As the faith of the former church is described in the Apocalypse (chap. 12) by a dragon, and that of the New Church by a woman encompassed by the sun, upon whose head was a crown of twelve stars, it may be inferred from the comparison what the state of a man's mind would be if the two were to be together in the same abode; namely, the dragon would stand near to the woman when she was about to bring forth, with the intention of devouring her offspring, and when she had fled in to the desert would follow her, and cast out water like a flu after her, that she might be swallowed up.


The result would be the same should anyone embrace the faith of the New Church while retaining the faith of the former church respecting the imputation of the Lord's merit and righteousness; since from this doctrine as a root all the dogmas of the former church have sprung up as offshoots; and in that case it would be like man's extricating himself from five of the dragon's horns and becoming entangled in the other five; or like one's escaping from a wolf and falling upon a tiger; or like one's getting out of a dry ditch and falling into one with water in it, where he would be drowned. For in that case the man would easily return to all things of his former faith, and what these are has been shown above; and he would then acquire the damnable idea that he might impute and attach to himself the essentially Divine things that belong to the Lord, which are redemption and righteousness, and which may be adored but not so appropriated; for if a man were to impute and attach these to himself he would be consumed like one thrown into the naked sun, from the light and heat of which, nevertheless, he has bodily vision and life. That the Lord's merit is redemption, and that His redemption and His righteousness are the two Divine things that cannot be conjoined to man has been shown above. Let everyone take heed, therefore, not to transcribe the imputation of the former church upon that of the new, from which would spring baneful results, which would be obstacles to his salvation.


VIII. THE LORD IMPUTES GOOD TO EVERY MAN, BUT HELL IMPUTES EVIL TO EVERY MAN. That the Lord imputes to man good and not evil, while the devil (meaning hell), imputes evil and not good to him, is a new thing in the church; and it is new for the reason that in the Word it is frequently said that God is angry, takes vengeance, hates, damns, punishes, casts into hell, and tempts, all of which pertain to evil, and therefore are evils. But it has been shown in the chapter on the Sacred Scriptures that the sense of the letter of the Word is composed of such things as are called appearances and correspondences, in order that there may be a conjunction of the external church with its internals, thus of the world with heaven. It is also there shown that when such things in the Word are read these very appearances of truth, while they are passing from man to heaven, are changed into genuine truths, which are that the Lord is never angry, never takes vengeance, never hates, damns, punishes, casts into hell, or tempts, consequently does evil to man. This transmutation and changing in the spiritual world I have frequently observed.

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