(TCR) - True Christian Religion: Containing the Whole Theology of the New Church Predicted by the Lord in Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 21:1-2

TCR 391

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391. Seventh Memorable Relation:
What desolation of truth there is in the Christian world today, and what theological barrenness, has been brought to my knowledge by conversation with many of the laity and of the clergy in the spiritual world. With the latter there is such spiritual destitution that they hardly know anything except that there is a Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that faith alone saves; and of the Lord Christ they know only the historical facts about Him in the Gospels. But all else which the Word of both Testaments teaches respecting Him, as that the Father and He are one, that He is in the Father and the Father in Him, that He has all power in heaven and on earth, that it is the will of the Father that they should believe in the Son, and that whosoever believes in Him has eternal life, - these and many other things are as unknown to them and as remote as the things that lie at the bottom of the ocean, or even at the center of the earth. And when such things are brought forth from the Word and read, they stand as if they heard and yet did not hear; and these things enter no more deeply into their ears than the whispering of the wind or the beating of a drum. The angels who are sometimes sent by the Lord to visit the Christian societies that are in the world of spirits, and thus beneath heaven, lament exceedingly, saying, that in them there is a dullness and consequent darkness in matters pertaining to salvation, almost equal to that of talking parrots. Even their own learned men say, that in spiritual and Divine things they have no more understanding than statues.
[2] An angel once told me that he had talked with two of the clergy, one of whom was in faith separated from charity, and the other in faith not separated. With the former he spoke as follows: "Friend, what are you?" He replied, "I am a Reformed Christian." "What is your doctrine, and your religion derived from it?" He answered, "Faith." The angel asked, "What is your faith?" He replied, "My faith is that God the Father sent His Son to take upon Himself the damnation of the Human race, and that we are thereby saved." The angel then asked, "What more do you know about salvation?" He replied, "Salvation is effected by means of that faith alone." Again the angel asked, "What do you know about redemption?" He answered, "It was accomplished by the passion of the cross, and Christ's merit is imputed through that faith." "What do you know about regeneration?" He replied, "It is effected by means of that faith." "Tell me what you know about love and charity." He answered, "They are that faith." "What do you think of the commandments of the Decalogue and the rest of the Word?" He replied, "They are included in that faith." Then said the angel, "You, therefore, will do nothing?" He answered, "What am I to do? I have no ability of myself to do good that is good." The angel said, "Can you have faith of yourself?" He replied, "That I do not inquire into; I must have faith." Finally the angel said, "Surely you know something more about the state of salvation?" He answered, "What more should I know, when salvation comes through that faith alone?" Then the angel said, "You answer like a man playing but one note on a flute. I hear nothing but faith. If you know about that and nothing else, you know nothing at all. Go and see where your companions are." He went, and found them in a desert where there was no grass. He asked why this was so, and was told that it was because they possessed nothing of the church.
[3] With the one who had faith conjoined with charity, the angel spoke as follows: "Friend, what are you?" He replied, "I am a Reformed Christian." "What is your doctrine, and your religion derived from it?" He answered, "Faith and charity." The angel said, "These are two things." He replied, "They cannot be separated." The angel asked, "What is faith?" He answered, "To believe what the Word teaches." "And what is charity?" He replied, "To do what the Word teaches." He asked, "Have you merely believed what the Word teaches, or have you also done it?" He answered, "I have also done it." The angel of heaven then looked at him and said, "My friend, come with me and dwell with us."


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