Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

young of the dove, and would give them to her own young for food; for the owl is a bird of prey. Inasmuch as the faith of the former church is described in the Revelation, chap. xii. by the dragon, and the faith of the New Church by the woman encompassed with the sun, who had on her head a crown of twelve stars, we may judge by comparison what would be the state of a man's mind, if they were together in one house; the dragon in that case would stand near the woman about to bring forth, with intent to devour her child, and when she should flee into the wilderness he would pursue her, and would cast water as a flood upon her, that she might be swallowed up.

649. The like would happen, if a person should embrace the faith of the New Church, and should still retain the faith of the former church on the imputation of the Lord's merit and righteousness, from which, as from their root, all the tenets of the former church, like so many young shoots, have sprung forth. Supposing this to be the case, it would be like a person's extricating himself from five horns of the dragon, and becoming entangled in the five remaining; or like escaping a wolf, and falling into the clutches of a tiger; or like being raised out of a well where there was no water, and falling into a well full of water, and being drowned: for he would thus easily relapse into all the errors of his former faith, which we have described above, and consequently into this damnable error, to impute and apply to himself the divine attributes of the Lord, which are redemption and righteousness, which may indeed be adored, but cannot be applied; for if man could impute and apply them to himself, he would be consumed as if he were cast into the naked sun, when yet it is by the light and heat of that sun that his bodily eyes see, and his bodily life is supported. That the merit of the Lord is redemption, and that His redemption and His righteousness are two divine things, which cannot be conjoined to man, was shewn above. Let every one there.

[blocks in formation]

fore take heed how he transcribeth the imputation of the former church into the imputation of the new, for this would produce sad and tragical effects, of such a nature as to prove hurtful to his salvation.

VIII. THAT THE LORD IMPUTETH GOOD TO EVERY MAN, AND THAT HELL IMPUTETH EVIL TO EVERY MAN.

650. That the Lord imputeth good to man, and not the least sort or degree of evil, and that the devil, or in other words, hell, imputeth evil to man, and not the least sort or degree of good, is a new doctrine in the church: the reason of its being new and unknown is, because it is frequently said in the Word, that God is angry, that He avenges, that He hates, condemns, punishes, casts into hell, and tempts, all which things belong to what is evil, and consequently are evil. But that the literal sense of the Word is written and composed of such expressions as are called appearances and correspondences, to the intent that there may be a conjunction between the external church and its internal, and thus between the world and heaven, was shewn in the chapter on the HOLY SCRIPTURE: in the same chapter it was also shewn, that when such sentiments as the above are read in the Word, the appearances of truth which they contain are turned, during their transit from man to heaven, into genuine truths, which genuine truths teach that God is never angry, that He never avenges, hates, condemns, punishes, casts into hell, or tempts; consequently that He is the cause of evil to no man: this transmutation and change I have frequently observed in the spiritual world.

651. Even reason assents to the truth of this proposition, that the Lord cannot do evil to any man, consequently cannot impute evil to any, for He is Love Itself and Mercy Itself, consequently Good Itself, these being the attributes of His Divine Essence; so that to attribute evil, or any thing connected with evil, to the Lord, would be contrary, and of course contradictory, to His Divine Essence, and this would

be as wicked as to join together the Lord and the devil, or heaven and hell, when yet "between them there is a great gulph fixed, so that they who would pass from one to the other cannot," Luke xvi. 26. It is not even possible for an angel of heaven to do evil to any one, because an essence of good from the Lord is in him; and on the other hand, it is impossible for a spirit of hell to do any thing but evil to another, because he has in him the nature of evil from the devil; and that essence or nature, which any person has appropriated to himself during his abode in the world, cannot be changed after death. Consider, I beseech you, what sort of Being the Lord would be, on the supposition that He regards the wicked with an eye of anger, and the good with an eye of clemency: the wicked are myriads of myriads in number, and so also are the good; supposing then that the Lord saves the latter by grace, and condemns the former from vengeance, looking at these with a fierce and implacable countenance, and at those with a countenance of mildness and mercy, what sort of Being do you, in such a case, make the Lord God? It is a common doctrine delivered from every pulpit, that all good which is in itself good, is from God, and that on the contrary, all evil which is in itself evil is from the devil; if any man then could receive at once both good and evil, good from the Lord, and evil from the devil, and admit both into his will, would he not fall under the description of those who are neither cold nor hot, but luke-warm, and who are spewed out of the Lord's mouth, according to His words in the Revelation, chap. iii. 15, 16?

652. That the Lord imputeth good to every man, and evil to no one, consequently that He doth not sentence any person to hell, but exalteth all, so far as they follow His leadings, to heaven, is evident from these His own words: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me," John xii. 32: "God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through

Him might be saved: he that believeth on Him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already," John iii. 17, 18: "If any man hear My words and believe not, 1 judge him not, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world; he that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him at the last day," John xii. 47, 48: "Jesus said, I judge no man," John viii. 15: by judgment, in these and other passages of the Word, is meant judgment to hell, which is damnation; but of salvation judgment is not predicated, but resurrection to life, John v. 24, 29, iii. 16 by the word which shall judge, the truth is meant, and it is a truth, that all evil is from hell, and consequently that evil and hell are one; so that when an evil person is elevated by the Lord towards heaven, his evil immediately draws him down again, and because he loves it, he follows it of his own accord. It is also a truth, as declared in the Word, that good is heaven; wherefore when a good person is elevated by the Lord towards heaven, he ascends as of his own accord, and is introduced: these are said to be written in the book of life, Dan. xii. 1, Rev. xiii. 8, xx. 12, xxi. 27. There actually existeth a sphere elevating all towards heaven, which proceeds continually from the Lord, and fills the whole spiritual world, and the whole natural world: this sphere is like a strong current in the ocean, which draws a ship imperceptibly according to its direction: all such as believe in the Lord, and live according to His commandments, enter into that sphere or current, and are elevated; but they who do not believe, are not willing to enter therein, but remove themselves to the sides and are there carried away by the stream which leads to hell.

653. How plain is it to see, that a lamb cannot act but as a lamb, nor a sheep but as a sheep; and on the other hand, that a wolf cannot act but as a wolf, nor a tiger but as a

tiger! Supposing then these beasts to be mixed together, would not the wolf necessarily devour the lamb, and the tiger the sheep? hence they had need be guarded by their shepherds. How plain again is it to see, that it is not possible for a fountain of sweet water to send forth bitter water from its spring; and that a good tree cannot possible produce bad fruit; that a vine cannot bear prickles like a briar; nor a lilly sting like a nettle; nor a hyacinth tear the skin like a thistle! and vice versa; it is on this account that these noxious plants are rooted out of fields, vineyards, and gardens, and gathered in heaps to be burned: it is the same too with the wicked, on their arrival in the spiritual world, according to the Lord's words, Matt. xiii. 30, John xv. 6. The Lord likewise said to the Jews, "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things," Matt. xii. 34, 35.

IX. THAT FAITH WITH WHATSOEVER PRINCIPLE IT CONJOINS ITSELF, PASSES SENTENCE ACCORDINGLY: IF A TRUE FAITH CONJOIN ETH ITSELF WITH GOOD

NESS, THE SENTENCE IS FOR ETERNAL LIFE; BUT IF FAITH CONJOINETH ITSELF WITH EVIL, THE SENTENCE IS FOR ETERNAL DEATH.

654. Works of charity, done by a Christian, and by a heathen, appear alike in their external form, since they both, in their concerns with their fellow-citizens, put in force those good principles which belong to civility and morality, and which in part resemble the good works of love towards the neighbour; nay, they both may be liberal to the poor, may assist the needy, and hear sermons at church: but who from this can determine, whether such external acts of goodness are similar in their internal form, or whether such natural acts be also spiritual? It is from the principle of faith that such conclusion must be drawn, since it is this

« ПредишнаНапред »