(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 567

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567. To all this the following Memorable Relations shall be added.
I was suddenly seized with a disease almost deadly; my whole head was oppressed; a pestilential smoke was let into it from the Jerusalem which is called:
Sodom and Egypt (Rev. 11:8).
I was half dead with the fierce pain; I expected my end. In this state I lay in my bed for three days and a half. My spirit was brought into that condition, and from it my body.
Then I heard about me the voices of some, who said, "Behold, he who preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins and Christ as alone man, lies dead in the street of our city." And they asked some of the clergy whether that man was worthy of burial; and they answered, "No; let him lie and be looked at." And they kept going, and coming, and scoffing.
Of a truth this so happened to me while explaining the eleventh chapter of The Apocalypse.
Then harsh remarks were heard from the scoffers, especially these "How can man repent without faith? How can the man Christ be adored as God? Since we are saved freely without any merit of our own, what need is there of anything except the faith only that God the Father sent the Son to take away the damnation of the law, to impute to us His merit, and so justify us before Him, absolve us from our sins by the declaration of a priest, and then give us the Holy Spirit to work in us all good? Is this not in accordance with Scripture and also in accordance with reason?" At this the crowd that stood by applauded.
[2] I heard this and was unable to reply, because I lay almost dead. But after three days and a half my spirit recovered, and in spirit I went out on the street into the city and said again, "Repent, and believe in Christ, and your sins will be forgiven, and you will be saved; otherwise, you will perish. Did not the Lord Himself preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins, and that they should believe in Him? Did He not command His disciples to preach the same? Does not complete unconcern about life follow the dogma of your faith?"
But they said, "What nonsense! Has not the Son made satisfaction? Does not the Father impute this to us? We who believe this He justifies; thus we are led by the spirit of grace. What then is sin in us, and what is death with us? Preacher of sin and repentance, do you understand this gospel?"
Then a voice came forth out of heaven, saying, "What is the faith of an impenitent man but a dead faith? The end has come, the end has come upon you, unconcerned, blameless in your own eyes, justified in your own belief, satans." Then suddenly a chasm was opened in the midst of the city; it widened; house after house fell into it, and they were swallowed up; and straightway water welled up from the wide gulf and overflowed the waste.
[3] When they had thus sunk down and been apparently overflowed, I was wishing to know their lot in the abyss, and I was told from heaven, "You shall see and hear."
And then the waters by which they seemed to be overflowed disappeared before my eyes; for waters in the spiritual world are correspondences, and therefore appear about those who are in falsities - I then saw them in the sandy bottom, where heaps of stones were piled, among which they were running about and lamenting that they had been cast out of their great city.
They shouted and cried out, "Why has this come upon us? Are we not, by our faith, clean, pure, just, and holy? Are we not, by our faith, cleansed, purified, justified and sanctified?" And others cried out, "Are we not, by our faith, made such that before God the Father we appear, are seen, and are reputed, and before the angels are declared to be clean, pure, just and holy? Have we not been reconciled, propitiated, expiated, and therefore absolved, washed, and cleansed from sin? Has not the condemnation of the law been taken away by Christ? Why, then, have we been cast down into this place as if damned? We heard a bold preacher against sin say in our great city, 'Believe in Christ, and repent.' Have we not believed in Christ, since we have believed in His merit? Have we not, repented, since we have confessed that we are sinners? Why then has this befallen us?"
[4] Then was heard a voice from one side saying to them, "Do you know of anyone sin in which you are? Have you ever examined yourselves, and consequently shunned any evil as a sin against God? He who does not shun evil is in evil. Is not sin the devil? Therefore you are those of whom the Lord says:
Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk before Thee, and Thou hast taught in our streets. But He will say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:26, 27; as also those of whom He speaks, Matt. 7:22, 23).
Away, therefore, each to his own place. You see openings in the caverns; enter, and to each one of you will be given his own task to be done, and then food in proportion to your work. If you do not, hunger will soon compel you to go in."
[5] Afterward there came a voice out of heaven to some on the earth who were outside of that great city (who also are spoken of in Rev. 11:13), saying loudly, "Beware, beware of affiliation with such spirits. Can you not understand that the evils which are called sins and iniquities render man unclean and impure? How can man be cleansed and purified from them except by actual repentance, and by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?"
"Actual repentance is to examine oneself, to recognize and acknowledge one's sins, to hold oneself guilty, to confess sins before the Lord, to pray for help and power to resist them, and thus refrain from them and begin a new life; and all this you must do as if of yourselves. Do so once or twice a year, when you come to the holy communion; and afterward, whenever the sins of which you have found yourselves guilty recur, say to yourselves, 'We will not do this because it is a sin against God.' This is actual repentance. [6] Who cannot understand that he who does not examine and see his sins remains in them? For every evil is delightful to a man from his birth; it is delightful to him to take revenge, to commit whoredom, to defraud, to blaspheme, and especially to exercise dominion from self-love; and does not this delight prevent your seeing these sins? And if, perchance, you are told that they are sins, do you not from their delight excuse them, and even prove to yourselves by means of falsities that they are not sins? And, therefore, you remain in them, and afterward commit them more frequently than before, and this even until you do not know what sin is, or indeed whether there is any such thing. With anyone who actually repents it is different. His evils, such as he has recognized and acknowledged, he calls sins, and therefore begins to shun them and turn away from them; and finally to feel their delight to be undelightful. And so far as this is done he sees and loves good, and at length feels the delight of good, which is the delight of the angels of heaven. In a word, so far as anyone puts the devil behind him, he is accepted by the Lord, and is taught, led, withheld from evil, and kept in good by Him; and this is the way, and the only way, from hell to heaven."
[7] It is wonderful that with the Reformed there is a certain enrooted objection, repugnance, and aversion to actual repentance, which is so great as to prevent their compelling themselves to examine themselves, to see their sins, and to confess them before God; it is as if horror seized them when this is proposed. In the spiritual world I have asked very many about this, and they all have declared that it was beyond their power. When they have heard that this is still done by the papists, that is, that they examine themselves, and openly confess their sins to a monk, they have been very much astonished, and especially that the Reformed could not even do this in secret before God, although it is equally enjoined upon them before they come to the holy supper. Some there wished to know why this is so; and they found that such a state of impenitence and such a heart are induced by faith alone. Then it was granted them to see that those Roman Catholics who worship Christ and do not invoke saints are saved.
[8] After this, something like thunder was heard, and a voice speaking from heaven, saying, "We are amazed. Say to the assembly of the Reformed, 'Believe in Christ, repent, and you will be saved. '"
This I said, adding also, "Is not baptism a sacrament of repentance, and therefore introduction into the church? What do the sponsors promise for him who is about to be baptized, but that he will renounce the devil and his works? Is not the holy supper a sacrament of repentance, and thus introduction into heaven? Are not communicants told by all means to repent before coming to it? Does not the catechism, the doctrine of the entire Christian church, teach repentance? Is it not there said, in the six commandments of the second table, Thou shalt not do this or that evil, and not, Thou shalt do this or that good? From this you may know that so far as anyone renounces evil and turns away from it, so far he is moved by and loves good, and until then does not know what good is, nor even what evil is."


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