(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 515

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515. The third point to be considered is, Whether apart from repentance there can be any such contrition? In the spiritual world I asked many who had confirmed in themselves a faith imputative of Christ's merit, whether they had experienced any contrition; and they replied, "Why contrition, when from childhood we have believed as a certainty that Christ took away all our sins by His passion? Contrition does not square with this belief; for contrition is a man's casting himself into hell and torturing his conscience, when he knows, nevertheless, that he has been redeemed and thus delivered from hell, and is consequently secure from harm." To this they added, that this law of contrition is a purely fictitious thing accepted in place of the repentance that is so frequently mentioned and also enjoined in the Word; although with the simple, perhaps, who know but little about the Gospel, there is some emotion of mind when they hear or think about the torments of hell. They also said, that the consolation of the Gospel impressed upon their minds from earliest youth so banished contrition, that in their hearts they laughed at the mere mention of it; and that hell could no more strike them with terror than the fires of Vesuvius or Etna could terrify those who live at Warsaw or Vienna, or than the basilisks and vipers in the deserts of Arabia, or the tigers and lions in the forests of Tartary, could terrify those who live in safety, tranquillity, and quiet in some European city; also that the wrath of God excited no more terror or contrition in them than the wrath of the king of Persia would excite in those who live in Pennsylvania. By all this together with rational inferences from their declarations I was convinced that contrition, unless it is repentance such as is hereinafter described, is nothing but a freak of imagination. The reason why the Reformed adopted contrition in place of repentance, was that they might separate themselves from the Roman Catholics, who insist upon repentance and at the same time upon charity; and when they afterward established the doctrine of justification by faith alone, they alleged as their reason for this change, that by repentance, as by charity, something of the man's own, which savored of merit, entered into his faith and blackened it.


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