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TCR 626. 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.

TCR 627. 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.


TCR 628. 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 (Apoc. 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 (AR 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 (Isaiah 9:14, 15).

TCR 629. 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.

TCR 630. 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. But 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.

TCR 631. 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.


TCR 632. 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.

TCR 633. 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.

TCR 634. 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 (Apoc. 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 (Matthew 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.

TCR 635. 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. 7:17, 18).

A like statement is made in the (Apoc. 8:8; 16:3); "blood" signifying Divine truth falsified, (AR n. 379, 404, 681, 687, 688); and the "fishes" which then died signifying the truths in the natural man, in like manner dead (AR n. 290, 405).

Frogs were brought upon the land of Egypt (Ex. 8:3-9).

Something is also said of frogs in (Apoc. 16:13); "frogs" signifying reasonings from a lust for falsifying truths (AR n. 702).

In Egypt noisome sores were brought upon both man and beast (Ex. 9:10, 11).

The same in (Apoc. 16:2); "sores" signifying interior evils and falsities destructive of good and truth in the church (AR n. 678).

In Egypt there was hail mingled with fire (Ex. 9:10, 11).

The same in (Apoc. 8:7; 16:21); "hail" signifying infernal falsity (AR n. 399, 714):

Locusts were sent upon Egypt (Ex. 10:12-15).

The same in (Apoc. 9:1-11); "locusts" signifying falsities in outermosts, (AR n. 424, 430).

Great darkness was brought upon Egypt (Ex. 10:12-15).

The same in (Apoc. 8:12); "darkness" signifying falsities arising either from ignorance, or from falsities of religion, or from evils of life (AR n. 110, 413, 695).

Finally, the Egyptians perished in the Red Sea (Ex. 14:26-30)

But in the Apocalypse the dragon and the false prophet were cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (Apoc. 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 preeminent; 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 (AR n. 503).


TCR 636. The church that preceded the Nicene Council is called the Apostolic church. It was evidently a wide-spread 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.

TCR 637. 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 Saviour 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. 50:34; Hos. 13:4; Ps. 19:14; John 1:14; 19:15).

TCR 638. 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 fulness 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.

TCR 639. 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.


TCR 640. 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 Saviour 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.

TCR 641. 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 (Isaiah 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 (Apoc. 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).

TCR 642. 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).


TCR 643. 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, see (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 (James 2:21-23).

TCR 644. 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.

TCR 645. 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.

TCR 646. 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. Every one, 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?


TCR 647. 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 Saviour; while the faith of the New Church is a faith in one God, who is at once Creator, Redeemer and Saviour.

[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 Saviour, 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.

TCR 648. 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 flood after her, that she might be swallowed up.

TCR 649. 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.


TCR 650. 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.

TCR 651. All reason agrees that the Lord cannot do evil to any man, consequently that He cannot impute evil to man; for He is Love itself and Mercy itself, thus Good itself; and these belong to His Divine Essence; therefore to attribute evil or anything belonging to evil to the Lord, would be inconsistent with His Divine Essence, and thus, a contradiction; and would be as abominable as joining together the Lord and the devil, or heaven and hell, when nevertheless,

Between them there is a great gulf fixed, so that they who would pass hence may not be able, and that none may cross over from thence to this side (Luke 16:26).

Even an angel of heaven can do no evil to anyone, because the essence of good from the Lord is in him; and on the other hand, an infernal spirit can do nothing but evil to another, because the nature of evil from the devil is in him. The essence or nature which anyone makes his own in the world cannot be changed after death. Consider, I pray you, what sort of a being the Lord would be, if He were to look upon the wicked from anger, and upon the good from mercy (the evil numbering myriads of myriads and the good likewise), and were to save the good from grace, and damn the evil from a feeling of revenge, and were to look upon the two with so different an eye-gentle or stem, mild or severe. In that case, what would the Lord God be? Who that has been taught by preaching in churches does not know that all good that is in itself good is from God, and on the other hand, that all evil that is in itself evil is from the devil? If any man, therefore, were to receive both good and evil,-good from the Lord and evil from the devil-both of them in the will, would he not become neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, and therefore be spewed out, according to the Lord's words in (Apocalypse 3:15, 16)?

TCR 652. That the Lord imputes good to every man and evil to none, consequently that He does not condemn anyone to hell, but so far as man follows raises all to heaven, is evident from His words:--

Jesus said, When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto Myself (John 12:32).

God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not judged; but he that believeth not hath been judged already (John 3:17, 18).

If any man hear My words and yet hath not believed, I 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 shall judge him in the last day (John 12:47, 48).

Jesus said, I judge no man (John 8:15).

"Judgment" here and elsewhere in the Word means judgment to hell, which is condemnation; but of salvation judgment is not predicated, but resurrection to life (John 5:24, 29; 3:18).

[2] "The Word" which is to judge means the truth; and the truth is that all evil is from hell, and thus that they are one. So when a wicked man is raised up by the Lord toward heaven, his evil draws him down; and because he loves evil, he himself freely follows it. It is also a truth in the Word that good is heaven; so when a good man is raised by the Lord toward heaven, he ascends as it were freely, and is introduced. Such are said,

To be written in the book of life (Dan. 12:1; Apoc. 13:8; 20:12, 15; 17:8; 21:26).

[3] There is actually a sphere proceeding continually from the Lord and filling the entire spiritual and natural worlds which raises all towards heaven. It is like a strong current in the ocean which unobservedly draws a vessel. All who believe in the Lord and live according to His precepts enter that sphere or current and are elevated; while those who do not believe, are unwilling to enter, but withdraw themselves to the sides, and are there carried away by a current the sets toward hell.

TCR 653. everyone knows that a lamb can only act like a lamb, and a sheep only like a sheep; while on the other hand a wolf can act only like a wolf, and a tiger like a tiger. If these beasts were put together, would lot the wolf devour the lamb, and the tiger the sheep? Consequently there are shepherds to guard them. everyone knows that a spring of sweet water cannot from its vein bring forth bitter waters, and that a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, that a vine cannot prick like a thorn, a lily sting like a nettle, or a hyacinth wound like a thistle; or the reverse. These evil plants, therefore, are rooted out of fields, vineyards, and gardens, gathered into bundles, and thrown into the fire. So it is with the wicked pouring into the spiritual world, according to the Lord's words (Matt. 13:30; John 15:6). The Lord also said to the Jews,

Ye offspring 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. 12:34, 35).


TCR 654. The works of charity done by a Christian and those done by a heathen appear in outward form to be alike, for one like the other practises the good deeds of civility and morality toward his fellow, which in part resemble the deeds of love to the neighbor. Both, even, may give to the poor, aid the needy and attend preaching in churches, and yet who can thereby determine whether or not these external good deeds are alike in their internal form, that is, whether these natural good deeds are also spiritual? This can be concluded only from the faith; for the faith is what determines their quality, since faith causes God to be in them and conjoins them with itself in the internal man; and thus natural good works become interiorly spiritual. That this is so may be seen more fully from the subjects treated of in the chapter on Faith, where the following points are made clear:-

Faith is not living faith until it is conjoined with charity. Charity becomes spiritual from faith, and faith from charity. Faith apart from charity, since it is not spiritual, is not faith; charity, apart from faith since it is not living, is not charity. Faith and charity apply and conjoin themselves to each other mutually and interchangeably. The Lord, charity and faith make one, like life, will and understanding, but when separated they all perish like a pearl reduced to powder.

TCR 655. From what has been presented it can be seen that faith in the one and true God causes good to be good in internal form also; and on the other hand, that faith in a false God causes good to be good in outward form only, which is not good in itself. Such was formerly the faith of the heathen in Jove, Juno and Apollo; of the Philistines in Dagon, of others in Baal and Baalpeor, of Balaam the Magician in his god, and of the Egyptians in several gods. It is wholly different with faith in the Lord, who is the true God and eternal life, according to (1 John 5:20), and in whom dwelleth all the fulness of Divinity bodily (according to Paul in Col. 2:9). What is faith in God but a looking to Him, and His consequent presence, and at the same time confidence that He gives aid? And what is true faith but this and also a confidence that all good is from Him, and that He causes His good to become saving? So when this faith conjoins itself with good the verdict is for eternal life; but when it does not conjoin itself with good it is wholly different; and still more so when it conjoins itself with evil.

TCR 656. What the conjunction of charity and faith is in those who believe in three Gods, and yet say that they believe in one, has been shown above; namely, that charity is conjoined with faith in the external natural man only. This is because the mind is then in the idea of three Gods, while the lips confess one; so that if the mind at that moment were to pour itself forth into oral confession, it would prevent the utterance of one God, and would open the lips and proclaim its three Gods.

TCR 657. That evil and a faith in the one and true God cannot exist together, anyone can see from reason; for evil is opposed to God, and faith is for Him; and evil pertains to the will, and faith to the thought, and the will flows into the understanding and causes it to think, and not the reverse, the understanding merely teaching what is to be willed and done. Consequently the good that an evil man does is in itself evil; it is like a polished bone with a rotten marrow; it is like a player on the stage personating a great man; it is like the painted face of a worn-out harlot; it is like a butterfly with silver wings, flying about and depositing its eggs on the leaves of a good tree, whereby all its fruit is destroyed; it is like a fragrant smoke from a poisonous herb; it is even like a moral robber or a pious cheat; and in consequence his good, which in itself is evil, is in the inner room, while his faith, walking about and reasoning in the vestibule, is a mere chimera, specter, and bubble. From all this it is clear that faith determines the verdict in accordance with the good or the evil that is conjoined with it.


TCR 658. Every educated man knows that the mind has two faculties or parts, the will and the understanding; but few know how to distinguish them aright, to examine their properties separately, and again unite them. Those who are unable to do this can form for themselves only the most obscure idea respecting the mind; therefore unless the properties of each are first separately described, this statement that thought is not imputed to anyone, but will only, cannot be understood. In brief, the properties of the two are as follows: l. Love itself and the things pertaining to it reside in the will, and knowledge, intelligence and wisdom in the understanding; and these the will inspires with its love, and secures their favor and agreement; and the result is, that such as the love is, and the consequent intelligence, such is the man.

[2] 2. From this it also follows that all good as well as all evil belongs to the will; for whatever proceeds from the love is called good, even if it be evil, this being the result of delight, which constitutes the life of the love, the will, through its delight entering the understanding and producing consent.

[3] 3. Consequently the will is the being or essence of man's life, while the understanding is the outgo or existence therefrom. And as an essence is nothing except it is in some form, so the will is nothing unless it is in the understanding; wherefore the will takes form in the understanding, and thus comes to light.

[4] 4. Love in the will is the end, and in the understanding seeks and finds the causes whereby it advances into effect. And because the end is the purpose, and this is what the man intends, purpose also belongs to the will and through the intention enters the understanding and impels it to consider and evolve the means, and to conclude upon such things as tend to effects.

[5] 5. Everything that is man's very own is in the will, and is evil from the first birth, but it becomes good by means of the second birth. The first birth is from parents, but the second from the Lord.

[6] 6. From these few statements it can be seen that the property of the will and the property of the understanding are different; and that from creation these are conjoined like being and existence; consequently that man is man primarily from the will, and secondarily from the understanding. This is why thought is not imputed to man, but will, and consequently good and evil, because these, as before said, reside in the will and from that in the thought of the understanding.

TCR 659. No evil that a man thinks is imputed to him, because he was so created as to be able to understand and thus think either good or evil-good from the Lord and evil from hell- for he is between these two, and from his freedom of choice in spiritual things has the ability to choose either one or the other. This freedom of choice has been treated of in its own chapter. And because man has the ability to choose from freedom he can will or not will, and what he wills is received by the will and appropriated, while what he does not will is not received and thus is not appropriated. All the evils to which man inclines by birth are inscribed upon the will of his natural man; and so far as the man draws upon these evils they flow into his thoughts; in like manner goods with truths flow from above the Lord into the thoughts and there they are balanced like weights in the scales of a balance. If the man then adopts the evils, they are received by the old will and added to those in it; but if he adopts goods with truths, the Lord forms a new will and a new understanding above the old, and there by means of truths He gradually implants new goods, and by means of these subjugates the evils that are below and removes them, and arranges all things in order. From this also it is clear that thought is the seat of purification and excretion of the evils resident in man from his parents; consequently if the evils that a man thinks were to be imputed to him, reformation and regeneration would be impossible.

TCR 660. As good belongs to the will and truth to the understanding, and many things in the world correspond to good, such as fruit and use, while imputation itself corresponds to the estimate and price it follows that what has here been said of imputation may find its counterpart in all created things; for as before shown in various places, all things in the universe have relation to good and truth, and on the contrary to evil and falsity. A comparison may therefore be made with the church, in that its value is estimated by its charity and faith, and not by its rituals, which are adjoined to it. A comparison may also be made with the ministry of the church, in that they are valued according to their will and love, together with their understanding in spiritual things, and not according to their affability and mode of dress.

[2] A comparison may also be made with worship and the temple in which it is performed; worship itself takes place in the will, and in the understanding as in its temple; and the temple is called holy not from itself, but from the Divine that is there taught. Again a comparison may be made with a government where good reigns and truth along with it. Such a government is beloved, but not one where truth reigns without good. Who judges of a king by his attendants, horses, and carriages, and not by the royalty which is recognized in him? Royalty is a matter of love and prudence in governing. In a triumph who does not consider the victor, and because of him the pomp, not the pomp and because of that the victor, thus the formal because of the essential, and not the reverse? The will is the essential and thought is the formal; and no one can impute to the formal anything but what it derives from the essential; thus the imputation is to the essential, not to the formal.

TCR 661. To this I will add two Memorable Relations. First:-

In the higher northern quarter near to the east in the spiritual world, there are places of instruction for boys, and for youths, and for men, and also for old men. All who die infants are sent to these places and educated in heaven; likewise all who are new-comers from the world and who wish to know about heaven and hell. This place is near the east, in order that all may be instructed by influx from the Lord; for the Lord is the east, because He is in the sun there, and the sun is pure love from Him; consequently the heat from that sun in its essence is love, and the light from it in its essence is wisdom; and these are inspired by the Lord from that sun into those who are instructed according to their ability to receive, and their ability to receive is according to their love of being wise. When their times of instruction are over, those who have become intelligent are sent away, and these are called disciples of the Lord First, they are sent away to the west, and those who do not stay there go to the south, and some through the south to the east, and thus they are introduced into the societies where their abodes are to be.

[2] Once, when meditating upon heaven and hell, I began to wish for a universal knowledge of the state of each, knowing that one who knows universals is afterwards able to comprehend the particulars, because the latter are included in the former as parts in the whole. With this desire I looked toward that tract in the northern quarter near the east where the places of instruction were, and by a way then opened to me I went there, and entered into a college where there were young men. I went to the head teachers who were instructing them, and asked them whether they knew the universals relating to heaven and hell.

They said, "We have some little knowledge of them; but if we look toward the east to the Lord, we shall be enlightened and shall know."

[3] This they did, and then said, "The universals respecting hell are three, but they are diametrically opposite to the universals relating to heaven. The universals relating to hell are these three loves, the love of ruling from love of self; the love of possessing the goods of others from love of the world; and scortatory love. The universals relating to heaven opposed to these are the three loves, love of ruling from love of use; love of possessing the goods of the world from the love of being useful by means of them; and true marriage love."

When this had been said, after wishing them peace, I went away and returned home. And when I reached home, it was said to me out of heaven, "Examine those three universals that prevail above and below, and afterward we shall see them on your hand." They said "on your hand" because anything that a man examines with his understanding appears to the angels as if written on the hands; and this is why it is said in the Apocalypse that they received a mark on the forehead and on the hand (Apoc. 13:16; 14:9; 20:4).

[4] After this I examined the first universal love of hell, which was the love of ruling from love of self, and then the universal love of heaven corresponding thereto, which was the love of ruling from the love of uses; for I was not permitted to examine one love apart from the other because the understanding has no perception of one apart from the other, for they are opposites. In order therefore, that a perception of both may be obtained, they must be contrasted one with the other; as a beautiful and well-formed face is brought out more clearly by placing an ugly and deformed face beside it. While I was studying the love of ruling from love of self a perception was given me that this love is in the highest degree infernal, and therefore prevails with those who are in the deepest hell; and that the love of ruling from the love of uses is in the highest degree heavenly, and therefore prevails with those who are in the highest heaven.

[5] The love of ruling from the love of self is in the highest degree infernal, because ruling from love of self is ruling from what is one's own (proprium), and what is one's own is by birth evil itself, and evil itself is diametrically opposite to the Lord; consequently the more men enter into that evil the more they deny God and the holy things of the church, and worship self and nature. Let those, I pray, who are in that evil, examine themselves, and they will see. Moreover, this love is such that so far as loose rein is given it, which is done when no impossibility is in the way, it rushes on from step to step, and even to the most extreme; neither does it stop there, but if no further step is possible it grieves and groans.

[6] With politicians this love so exalts itself that they wish to be kings and emperors, and if possible to rule over all things in the world, and to be called kings of kings and emperors of emperors; while among ecclesiastics the same love so exalts itself that they even wish to be gods, and so far as possible to rule over all the things of heaven and to be called gods. That neither of these in heart acknowledge any God, will be seen in what follows. But on the other hand those who wish to rule from the love of uses, have no wish to rule from themselves but only from the Lord, since the love of uses is from the Lord and is the Lord Himself. Such regard dignities only as means of performing uses; which they place far above dignities, while the others place dignities far above uses.

[7] While I was meditating upon these things it was said to me through an angel from the Lord, "Now you shall see, and it shall be proved to you by sight what that infernal love is."

Then the earth suddenly opened on the left, and I saw a devil coming up out of hell having on his head a square cap pressed down over his forehead even to the eyes, a face covered with pustules like those of a burning fever, his eyes fierce, and his breast swollen out into great prominence; from his mouth he belched smoke as from a furnace; his loins were actually on fire; instead of feet he had ankles-bones without flesh; and from his body there exhaled a foul-smelling and unclean heat.

At the sight of him I was terrified, and cried out, "Do not come here; tell me where you are from."

He answered hoarsely: "I am from the lower regions, where I live in a society of two hundred, which is preeminent over all other societies. All of us there are emperors of emperors, kings of kings, dukes of dukes, and princes of princes; there is no one there who is merely an emperor, or merely a king, duke, or prince; we there sit on thrones of thrones, and send forth mandates therefrom to all the world and beyond."

I then said to him, "Do you not see that from your hallucination about preeminence you have become insane?"

He answered, "How can you talk so, since we both actually appear to ourselves to be such, and also are acknowledged to be such by our companions?"

[8] On hearing this, I did not care to say again, "You are insane," because he was so from hallucination. It was given me to know that this devil when he lived in the world, was merely the steward of a certain house; and that then he was so elated in spirit, that in comparison with himself he despised the whole human race, and cherished the hallucination that he was nobler than a king or even an emperor. Owing to this pride he had denied God, and regarded all the sacred things of the church as of no moment to him, but as something for stupid common people.

At length I asked him, "How long will you two hundred thus glory among yourselves?"

He said, "For ever; but those among us who torture others for denying our preeminence, sink down; for we are allowed to glory, but not to inflict evil upon anyone."

Again I asked, "Do you know the lot of those who sink down?"

He said that they sink down into a certain prison, where they are called viler than the vile or the vilest, and are compelled to labor.

I then said to him, "Take care then, lest you sink down also".

[9] After this the earth again opened, but at the right, and I saw another devil rising out, upon whose head was a kind of miter bound around as it were with the coils of a snake, with its head standing out from the top. His face was leprous from the forehead to the chin, as were both of his hands also; his loins were bare and as black as soot, while through the blackness a fire like that of a hearth gleamed duskily; his ankles were like two vipers.

When the former devil saw this one he threw himself upon his knees and worshiped him. I asked him why he did so.

He said, "He is the God of heaven and earth; He is omnipotent."

I then asked the other, "What do you say to that?"

He replied, "What shall I say? I have all power over heaven and hell; the fate of all souls is in my hand."

I asked further, "How can this one who is an emperor of emperors so humble himself, and how can you receive his worship?"

He answered, "He is still my servant; what is an emperor in the sight of God? The thunderbolt of excommunication is in my right hand."

[10] I then said to him, "How can you rave so? In the world you were merely an ecclesiastic; and because you labored under the hallucination that you had the keys, and therefore the power to bind and to loose, you have worked up your spirit to such a height of madness that you now believe that you are God Himself."

Being angry at this, he swore that he was God, and that the Lord had no power in heaven "because," he said, "He has transferred it all to us. We need but to command, and heaven and hell reverently obey; if we send anyone to hell the devils at once receive him, as the angels do anyone we send to heaven."

I asked him further, "How many are there in your society?"

He said, "Three hundred; and all of us there are gods, but I am the God of gods."

[11] After this the earth opened beneath the feet of them both, and they sank down deep into their hells; and I was permitted to see that beneath their hells were workhouses, into which those fell who did violence to others. For his own hallucination remains with everyone in hell, and also his glorying therein, but he is not permitted to do evil to another. Such are those in hell, because man is then in his spirit, and when the spirit has been separated from the body it enters into a state of full liberty to act according to its affections and the thoughts therefrom.

[12] After this I was permitted to look into the hells of those spirits; and the hell where the emperors of emperors and kings of kings were, was full of all uncleanness, and they appeared like wild beasts of various kinds with fierce eyes. I looked also into the other hell, where the gods and the God of gods were; and in this the terrible birds of night, called the ochim and ijim appeared, flying around them. Thus did the images of their hallucination appear to me.

From all this it was clear what the political love of self is and what the ecclesiastical love of self is, that the latter makes men wish to be gods and the former to be emperors; and this they wish for and strive after, so far as loose rein is given to those loves.

[13] After these sad and horrible sights, I looked around and saw two angels not far from me, conversing. One was clad in a woolen robe gleaming with a purple glow, with a tunic under it of shining linen; the other in like garments of a scarlet color, with a miter, on the right side of which some sparkling stones were set. I went to them, and with a salutation of peace, reverently asked, "Why are you here below?"

They replied, "We have been sent down here from heaven by the Lord's command to speak with you about the happy lot of those who desire to rule from the love of uses. We are worshipers of the Lord; I am the prince of a society, the other is its high priest."

And the prince said that he was the servant of his society, because he served it by performing uses; while the other said that he was a minister of the church there, because he served them by ministering sacred things for the use of their souls; and that they were both in unceasing joy from the eternal happiness that was in them from the Lord; also that all things in that society were resplendent and magnificent-resplendent with gold and precious stones, and magnificent with palaces and gardens. "This," he said, "is because our love of ruling is not from love of self, but from the love of uses; and as the love of uses is from the Lord, all good uses in the heavens are resplendent and refulgent; and because in our society we are all in that love, the atmosphere there appears golden on account of the light it derives from the flame of the sun, which flame corresponds to that love."

[14] At these words a like sphere appeared to me surrounding them, and a sense of something aromatic came from it, as I also told them, and I begged them to add something more to what they had said about the love of use. And they continued, "The dignities which we enjoy we indeed sought, but for the sole end of being more fully able to perform uses and to extend them more widely. Moreover, we are surrounded by honor, and we accept it not on our own account, but for the good of the society. For our brethren and companions there, who are of the common people, hardly know otherwise than that the honors of our rank reside in us, and thus that the uses we perform are from us. But we feel otherwise; we feel that the honors of our rank are outside of ourselves, and that they are like the garments with which we are clothed; while the uses we perform are from a love of uses that is within us from the Lord, and this love acquires its blessedness from a sharing with others by means of uses. And we know by experience that so far as we perform uses from a love of uses, that love increases, and with it the wisdom by which the sharing is effected; but so far as we retain the uses in ourselves, and do not share them, the blessedness perishes; and then use becomes like food retained in the stomach and not diffused throughout the body to nourish it and its various parts, but remains undigested and causes nausea. In a word all heaven is nothing but a containant of uses from things first to things last. What is use but the actual love of the neighbor? And what keeps the heavens together but this love?"

Having heard this, I asked, "How can anyone know whether he performs uses from love of self or from a love of uses? Every man, both good and bad, performs uses and performs them from some love. Suppose a society in the world consisting of devils only, and another consisting of angels only; and I am of the opinion that the devils in their society, moved by the fire of love of self and the splendor of their own glory, would perform as many uses as the angels in theirs. Who then can know from what love or from what origin uses proceed?"

To this the two angels replied, "Devils perform uses for the sake of themselves and their reputation, in order that they may be exalted to honors, or acquire wealth; but angels perform uses not for such reasons, but for the sake of the uses from love of uses. Man is unable to distinguish these two kinds of uses, but the Lord does. All who believe in the Lord and shun evils as sins, perform uses from the Lord; but all who do not believe in the Lord and do not shun evils as sins, perform uses from themselves and for their own sake. This is the distinction between the uses performed by devils and those performed by angels."

When this had been said the two angels went away; and at a distance they appeared to be carried in a chariot of fire like Elijah and taken up to their heaven.

TCR 662. Second Memorable Relation:-

After some length of time I entered a certain grove, and there walked about, meditating upon those who are in the lust and the consequent hallucination of possessing the things of the world; and then I saw at some distance from me two angels conversing together, and by turns looking at me. I therefore drew nearer; and they spoke to me as I approached, and said, "We have an inner perception that you are meditating upon what we are talking about; or that we are talking about what you are meditating upon, which arises from a reciprocal sharing of affections."

So when I asked what they were talking about, they said, "About hallucination, lust, and intelligence; and just now about those who take delight in seeing and imagining themselves in possession of all things of the world."

[2] I then asked them to express their mind on these three things, lust, hallucination, and intelligence.

And beginning their discourse, they said, "By birth everyone is interiorly in lust, and by education exteriorly in intelligence; but interiorly or as to his spirit no one is in intelligence, still less in wisdom, except from the Lord. For everyone is withheld from the lust of evil, and kept in intelligence in proportion as he looks to the Lord and at the same time is conjoined with Him. Without this, man is nothing but lust; and yet in externals, or as to the body, he is in intelligence from education. For man lusts for honors and wealth, or eminence and opulence, and these two he does not obtain unless he appears to be moral and spiritual, thus intelligent and wise; and so from his infancy he learns to assume such an appearance. This is why be inverts his spirit as soon as he goes among men or into society, turning it away from lust, and speaking and acting according to what is becoming and honest, which he has been learning from infancy and has laid up in his bodily memory; and he is especially on his guard that nothing of the madness of lust in which his spirit is should show itself.

[3] "This is why every man who is not interiorly led by the Lord, is a pretender, a sycophant, a hypocrite, and thus a man in appearance, and yet not a man; of whom it may be said that his shell or body is sane, but his kernel or the spirit is insane; also that his external is human but his internal beastlike. The sight of such is with the occiput up and the ford head down; that is, they walk with their heads hanging down and with their faces turned toward the earth as if overcome with heaviness. When they put off the body and become spirits and thus are set free, they become the very madnesses of their lust; for those who are in the love of self lust to rule over the universe, and even to extend its limits in order to enlarge their dominion; they nowhere recognize an end. Those who are in love of the world lust to possess everything pertaining to it, and are grieved and envious over any treasures that are kept from them in the possession of others. That such therefore may not become mere lusts, and thus not men, they are permitted in the spiritual world to think from a fear of the loss of reputation, and thus of honor and wealth, as also from a fear of the law and its penalties; and they are also permitted to employ their minds in some pursuit or work, whereby they are kept in externals, and thus in a state of intelligence, however delirious and irrational they may be interiorly."

[4] I then asked whether all who are in lust are also in its hallucination. They answered that those who think interiorly in themselves, and indulge their imaginations excessively by talking to themselves are in the hallucination of their lust. "For such," they said, "almost separate the spirit from its connection with the body, and flood their understandings with visions, and foolishly delight themselves with the seeming possession of all things. Into such a delirium is the man let after death who has abstracted his spirit from his body, and has not been willing to withdraw from the delight of his delirium by giving some thought from religion to evils and falsities, or at least giving some thought to the unbridled love of self as being destructive of love to the Lord, and to the unbridled love of the world as being destructive of love to the neighbor."

[5] After this the two angels and myself also were seized with a desire to see those who from love of the world are in this visionary or fantastic lust of possessing the wealth of all, and we perceived that we were inspired with this desire in order that we might come to know about it. The places of abode of such were under the ground on which we stood, but above hell; we therefore looked at one another and said, "Let us go." And an opening appeared with a ladder in it, by which we descended. We were told that they must be approached from the east that we might not enter into the mist of their hallucinations, and our understandings, together with our sight, be bedimmed.

And lo, there appeared a house built of reeds, and therefore full of crevices, standing in a mist, which like smoke constantly poured out through the chinks in three of the walls. We entered, and there appeared fifty here and fifty there sitting on benches, who were turned away from the east and south, and were looking toward the west and north. Before each one was a table, and on the tables were full purses, and around the purses an abundance of gold coin.

[6] We asked, "Is that the wealth of all in the world?"

They said, "Not of all in the world, but of all in a kingdom." Their speech had a hissing sound, and they themselves seemed to have full round faces, with a ruddy glow like a cockle-shell; the pupil of the eye flashed, as if in a field of green, which, arose from the light of hallucination.

We stood in their midst and said, "You believe that you possess all the wealth of a kingdom?"

They replied, "We do possess it."

"Which of you?" we then asked.

They replied, "Every one of us."

We asked, "How everyone? There are many of you."

They answered, "We each of us know that `all his is mine;' yet no one is allowed to think, still less to say, `My things are not yours,' but we are permitted both to think and say, `Your things are mine.'"

The coin on the tables appeared even to us as if made of pure gold; but when we let in light from the east, they were little granules of gold, which by their general and united hallucination they had so magnified. They said that everyone who came in was obliged to bring with him a little gold, which they cut in pieces, and these again into granules, and by the force of unanimous hallucination they enlarged these into coin of greater dimensions.

[7] We then said, "Were you not born rational men? How has this visionary infatuation come upon you?"

They said, "We know that it is an imaginary vanity, but because it delights the interiors of our minds, we enter this place, and enjoy ourselves with the seeming possession of all things. But we stay here only a few hours, after which we go out, and whenever we do so a sound state of mind returns; and yet our visionary enjoyment comes upon us again at times and causes us to reenter and go out again by turns; and thus we are alternately sane and insane. Moreover, we know that a hard lot awaits those who craftily deprive others of their goods."

We asked, "What lot?"

They replied, "They are swallowed up, and are thrust naked into some infernal prison, where they are kept at work for clothing and food and afterward for a few bits of money which they collect, and in which they place the joy of their hearts; but if they do evil to their companions, they must pay over a part of their little coins as a fine."

TCR 663. Third Memorable Relation:-

I was once in the midst of angels and heard their conversation. It was about intelligence and wisdom, to the effect that man has no other feeling or perception than that these are in himself, and therefore that whatever he wills and thinks is from himself, and yet no least part of these is from man, except the ability to receive them. Among other things that they said was this, that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden, signified the belief that intelligence and wisdom are from man; and that the tree of life signified that intelligence and wisdom are from God; and because Adam by the persuasion of the serpent ate of the former tree, believing that thus he had become or would become as God, he was driven out of the garden and condemned.

[2] While the angels were engaged in this conversation, there came two priests and also a man who in the world had been a royal ambassador, and I told them what I had heard about intelligence and wisdom from the angels; hearing which the three began to dispute about these, and also about prudence, whether they were from God or from man. The dispute was warm. The three believed alike that they were from man, because this is the testimony of sensation itself and of perception therefrom but the priests, who at the time were influenced by theological zeal, insisted that nothing of intelligence or wisdom, and therefore nothing of prudence, is from man, and this they confirmed by the following passages from the Word:--

A man can take nothing, except it be given him from Heaven (John 3:27).

Also by this:--

Jesus said to His disciples, Without Me ye are unable to do anything (John 15:5).

[3] Then, because the angels perceived that although the priests talked so, they still in heart believed the same as the royal ambassador, they said to them, "Lay aside your garments, and put on the garments of ministers of state, and believe that you are such." They did so; and then they thought from their interior selves, and spoke according to the opinions which they inwardly cherished, which were, that all intelligence and wisdom dwell in man and are his; and they said, "Who has ever felt the influx of these from God?" And they looked at one another, and were convinced.

It is peculiar to the spiritual world that a spirit thinks himself to be such as his dress is. This is because in that world the understanding clothes everyone.

[4] At that moment a tree appeared near them, and it was said to them, "That is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; be careful not to eat of it." Nevertheless, infatuated by their own intelligence, they burned with the lust to eat of it, and said to one another, "Why not? Is it not good fruit?" And they drew near and ate of it.

When the royal ambassador observed this he joined them, and they became hearty friends; and holding each other by the hand they together went the way of their own intelligence which tended towards hell. But I saw them brought back therefrom, because they were not yet prepared.

TCR 664. Fourth Memorable Relation:-

Once I looked toward the right in the spiritual world, and observed some of the elect conversing together. I approached them and said, "I saw you at a distance, and there was round about you a sphere of heavenly light, whereby I knew that you belonged to those who in the Word are called `the elect;' therefore I drew near that I might hear what heavenly subject you were talking about."

They replied, "Why do you call us the elect?"

I answered, "Because in the world, where I am in the body they have no other idea than that `the elect' in the Word mean those who are elected and predestined to heaven by God either before or after they are born, and that to such alone faith is given as a token of their election, and that the rest are held as reprobates, and are left to themselves, to go to hell whichever way they please. And yet I know that no election takes place before birth, nor after birth, but that all are elected and predestined to heaven, because all are called; also that after their death the Lord elects those who have lived well and believed aright; and this takes place after they have been examined. That this is so it has been granted me to learn by much observation. And because I saw that your heads were encircled by a sphere of heavenly light, I had a perception that you belonged to the elect who are preparing for heaven."

To this they replied, "You are telling things never before heard. Who does not know that there is no man born who is not called to heaven, and that from them after death those are elected who have believed in the Lord and have lived according to His commandments; and that to acknowledge any other election is to accuse the Lord Himself not only of being impotent to save, but also of injustice?"

TCR 665. After this there was heard a voice out of heaven from the angels who were immediately above us, saying, "Come up hither, and we will question one of you (who is yet in the body in the natural world) what is there known about Conscience."

And we went up; and when we had entered, some wise men came to meet us, and asked me, "What is known in your world about conscience?"

I replied, "If you please, let us descend and call together both from the laity and clergy, a number of those who are esteemed wise; and we will stand directly beneath you and will question them; and thus with your own ears you will hear what they will answer."

This was done; and one of the elect took a trumpet and sounded it toward the south, north, east, and west; and then after a brief hour so many were present as almost to fill the space of a square furlong. But the angels above arranged them all in four assemblies, one consisting of statesmen, another of scholars, a third of physicians, and a fourth of clergymen.

When thus arranged, we said to them, "Pardon us for calling you together; we have done so because the angels who are directly above us are eager to know what you thought, while in the world in which you formerly were, about conscience, and thus what you still think about it, since you still retain your former ideas on such subjects; for it has been reported to the angels that in your world a knowledge of conscience is among the lost knowledges."

[2] After this we began, and turning first to the assembly composed of statesmen, we asked them to tell us from their hearts, if they were willing, what they had thought, and therefore what they still thought, about conscience.

To this they replied one after another; and the sum of their replies was that they knew only that conscience is secum scire (a knowing within one's self), thus conscire (a being conscious) of what one has intended, thought, done and said.

But we said, "We do not ask about the etymology of the word conscience, but about conscience."

And they answered, "What is conscience but pain arising from anxiety about the loss of honor or wealth, and the loss of reputation on this account? But this pain is dispelled by feasts and cups of generous wine, as also by conversation about the sports of Venus and her boy."

[3] To this we replied, "You are jesting; tell us, if you please, whether any of you have felt any anxiety arising from any other source."

They answered, "What other source? Is not the whole world like a stage on which every man acts his part, as the player does on his stage? We cajole and circumvent people, each by his own lust, some by jests, some by flattery, some by cunning, some by pretended friendship, some by feigned sincerity, and some by various political arts and allurements. From this we feel no mental pain, but on the contrary, cheerfulness and gladness, which we quietly but fully exhale from an expanded breast. We have heard indeed from some of our class, that an anxiety and a sense of constriction, as it were, of the heart and breast has sometimes come over them, causing a sort of contraction of the mind; but when they asked the apothecaries about it, they were informed that their trouble came from a hypochondriacal humor arising from undigested substances in the stomach, or from a disordered state of the spleen; and we have heard that some of these were restored to their former cheerfulness by medicines."

[4] After hearing this, we turned to the assembly composed of scholars, among whom there were also some skilful naturalists, and addressing them, we said, "You who have studied the sciences, and therefore are supposed to be oracles of wisdom, tell us, if you please what conscience is."

They answered, "What kind of a question for consideration is that? We have heard, indeed, that with some there is a sadness, gloom, and anxiety, which infest not only the gastric regions of the body, but also the abodes of the mind; for we believe that the two brains are those abodes, and because they consist of containing fibers, that there is some acrid humor, which irritates, gnaws and corrodes the fibers, and thus compresses the sphere of the mind's thoughts, so that it cannot flow forth into any of the enjoyments arising from variety. This causes a man to fix his attention upon one thing only, and this destroys the tension and elasticity of these fibers, so that they become numb and rigid. All this gives rise to an irregular motion of the animal spirits, which by physicians is called ataxy, and also a defective performance of their functions, which is called lipothymia. In a word, the mind is then situated as if it were beset by hostile forces, nor can it turn itself in any direction any more than a wheel fastened with nails, or a ship stuck fast in quicksands. Such oppression of mind and consequently of the chest, afflicts those whose ruling love suffers loss; for if this love is assaulted, the fibers of the brain contract, and this contraction prevents the mind from going out freely and partaking of the various forms of enjoyment. Hallucinations of various kinds, madness, and delirium, attack such persons during these crises, each according to his temperament, and some are affected with a brain sickness in religious matters, which they call remorse of conscience."

[5] After this we turned to the third assembly, which was composed of physicians, among whom were also some surgeons and apothecaries. And we said to them, "Perhaps you know what conscience is. Is it a grievous pain that seizes both the head and the parenchyma of the heart, and from these the subjacent regions, the epigastric and hypogastric? Or is it something else?"

They replied, "Conscience is nothing but such a pain; we understand its origin better than others; for there are related diseases that affect the organic parts of the body and of the head, and consequently the mind, since this has its seat in the organs of the brain like a spider in the midst of the threads of its web, by means of which it runs out and about in a like manner. These diseases we call organic, and such of them as return at intervals we call chronic. But the pain which has been described to us by the sick as a pain of conscience, is nothing but hypochondria, which primarily affects the spleen, and secondarily the pancreas and mesentery, depriving them of their normal functions; hence arise stomachic diseases, from which comes deterioration of juices; for there takes place a compression about the orifice of the stomach, which is called cardialgia; from these diseases arise humors impregnated with black, yellow, or green bile, by which the smallest blood-vessels, which are called the capillaries, are obstructed; and this is the cause of cachexy, atrophy, and symphysia, also bastard pneumonia arising from sluggish pituitous matter, and ichorous and corroding lymph throughout the entire mass of the blood. Like consequences arise when pus makes its way into the blood and its serum from the breaking of pustules, boils, and swellings in the body. This blood, as it ascends through the carotids to the head, frets, corrodes and eats into the medullary and cortical substances, and the meninges of the brain, and thus excites the pains that are called pains of conscience."

[6] Hearing this we said to them, "You talk the language of Hippocrates and Galen; these things are Greek to us; we do not understand them. We did not ask you about these diseases, but about conscience, which pertains only to the mind."

They said, "The diseases of the mind and those of the head are the same, and the latter ascend from the body; for there is a connection like the two stories of one house, between which is a stairway by which one can ascend or descend. We know therefore that the state of the mind depends inseparably on the state of the body; but we have cured these heavinesses of the head or headaches (which we take it are what you mean by troubles of conscience), some by plasters and blisters, some by infusions and emulsions, and some by stimulants and anodynes."

[7] When therefore we had heard more of this kind, we turned away from them and toward the clergy, saying, "You know what conscience is; tell us therefore and instruct those present."

They replied, "What conscience is we know and we do not know. We have believed it to be the contrition that precedes election, that is, the moment when man is gifted with faith, through which he obtains a new heart and a new spirit, and is regenerated. But we have perceived that this contrition happens to but few; only with some is there a fear and consequent anxiety about hell-fire, while scarcely anyone is troubled about his sins and the consequent just anger of God. But we confessors have cured such by the gospel that Christ took away damnation by the passion of the cross and thus extinguished hell-fire and opened heaven to those who are blessed with the faith on which is inscribed the imputation of the merit of the Son of God. Moreover, there are conscientious persons of different religions, both true and fanatical, who make to themselves scruples about matters of salvation, both in things essential and in things formal, and even in what is indifferent. Therefore, as we have said before, we know that there is such a thing as conscience, but what and of what nature true conscience is, which must by all means be spiritual, we know not."

TCR 666. All these declarations made by the four assemblies were heard by the angels who were above us, and they said to each other, "We see that there is no one in Christendom who knows what conscience is; we will therefore send down from us one who will instruct them."

And immediately there stood in their midst an angel in white clothing, around whose head appeared a bright band in which there were little stars. This angel addressing the four assemblies said, "We have heard in heaven that you have presented in succession your opinions about conscience, and that you have all regarded it as some mental pain which infests the head with heaviness, and from that the body, or infests the body and from that the head. But conscience viewed in itself is not a pain, but a spiritual desire to act in accordance with whatever pertains to religion and faith. Hence it is that those who feel delight in conscience are in the tranquillity of peace and interior blessedness when they are acting in accordance with their conscience, and in a kind of perturbation when they are acting contrary to it. But the mental pain which you have believed to be conscience, is not conscience but temptation, which is a conflict of the spirit with the flesh; and this conflict, when it is spiritual, has its origin in conscience; but if it is natural merely, it has its origin in those diseases which the physicians have just recounted."

[2] "But what conscience is may be illustrated by examples; A priest who has a spiritual desire to teach truths in order that his flock may be saved, has conscience; but he who has any other end in view, does not have conscience. A judge who regards justice exclusively, and executes it with judgment, has conscience; but a judge who looks primarily to reward, friendship, or favor, has not conscience. Again, a man who has in his possession the property of another, the other not knowing it, and who is thus able without fear of the law or loss of honor and reputation, to keep it as his own, and yet, because it is not his, restores it to the other, has conscience, since he does what is just for the sake of what is just. So again, one who can obtain an office but who knows that another who is also seeking it would be more useful to society, and yields the place to him for the sake of the good of society, has a good conscience. So in other things.

[3] All who have conscience say whatever they say from the heart, and do whatever they do from the heart; for not having a divided mind they speak and act according to what they understand and believe to be true and good. From all this it follows that a more perfect conscience may exist with those who have more of the truths of faith than others, and who have a clearer perception than others, than is possible with those who are less enlightened and whose perception is obscure. A true conscience is the seat of man's spiritual life itself, for there his faith in conjoined with charity; therefore when such act from conscience they act from their spiritual life, but when they act contrary to conscience they act contrary to that life. Moreover, does not everyone know from common speech what conscience is? When it is said of anyone, `He has conscience,' does not that also mean that he is a just man? But on the other hand, when it is said of anyone, `He has no conscience' does it not mean that he is also unjust?"

[4] When the angel had said this he was immediately taken up into heaven; and the four assemblies came together as one; but when they had conversed together some time about the remarks of the angel, behold, they were again divided into four assemblies, but different from the former. One contained those who comprehended the words of the angels and assented to them; a second those who did not comprehend but still favored them; a third those who did not wish to comprehend them, saying, "What have we to do with conscience?" and a fourth those who laughed at what was said, saying, "What is conscience but a breath of wind?" And I saw the four bodies separating from one another, the two former passing to the right and the two latter to the left, these going downward, but the others upward.

True Christian Religion previous · next Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). www.BibleMeanings.info