(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 71

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71. To this shall be added three Memorable Relations. First:
I once heard beneath me something like the roaring of the sea; and I asked what it was; and one said to me that it was a tumult among those assembled in the lower earth, which is just above hell. And presently the ground that formed a roof over them opened, and behold, birds of night flew forth through the opening in flocks, and spread themselves towards the left; and immediately after them there swarmed forth locusts, which leaped upon the grass and made a desert everywhere; and a little after I heard from those nocturnal birds a succession of screeches, and on one side a confused clamor, as if from specters in the woods. After this I saw beautiful birds from heaven, which spread themselves towards the right. These birds were distinguished by gold-like wings with silvery streaks and specks interspersed; and on the heads of some of them there were crests in the form of crowns.
When I saw and wondered at these things there rose up suddenly from the lower earth, where the tumult was, a spirit who could take the form of an angel of light; and he cried out, "Where is he who talks and writes about the order to which the Omnipotent has bound Himself respecting man? This we have been hearing below through the roof."
Once above ground he ran along a paved way and came to me, and instantly feigned himself an angel of heaven, and speaking in a tone not his own, said, "Are you the one who thinks and talks about order? Tell me briefly what order is, and some of the things pertaining to it."
[2] I replied, "I will give you the summaries of order, but not its particulars, because you would not understand them." And I said, "(1) God is order itself. (2) He created man from order, in order, and into order. (3) He created man's rational mind in accordance with the order of the whole spiritual world, and his body in accordance with the order of the whole natural world; and this is why man was called by the ancients a little heaven and a little cosmos. (4) Therefore it is a law of order that man from his little heaven or his little spiritual world should govern his little cosmos or little natural world, just as God from His great heaven or spiritual world governs the great cosmos or natural world in each thing and all things of it. (5) It is a resulting law of order that it is needful for man to lead himself into faith by means of truths from the Word, and into charity by means of good works, and so reform and regenerate himself. (6) It is a law of order that man by his own exertion and power should purify himself from sins, and not stand still, believing in his own impotency, and expecting God to wash his sins away in a moment. (7) It is also a law of order that man should love God with his whole soul and with his whole heart, and his neighbor as himself, and should not wait and expect that God will in an instant put these loves into his mind and heart, as bread from a baker may be put into his mouth." These with other like things.
[3] Having heard this, that satan with a soft voice within which there was craft, resumed, "What is that you say? That man must by his own power lead himself into order by keeping these laws of order? Do you not know that man is not under the law, but under grace; that all things are given him freely, and that he can receive only what is given him from heaven; and that in spiritual matters man has no more power to act from himself than the statue of Lot's wife, or than Dagon, the idol of the Philistines in Ekron; and that it is therefore impossible for man to justify himself; but this must be done by faith and charity?"
To this I merely replied, "It is also a law of order that man by his own exertion and power ought to acquire faith by means of truths from the Word, and yet believe that not a grain of truth is from himself, but from God only; moreover, that man by his own exertion and power ought to justify himself, and yet believe that not a single point of justification is from himself, but from God only. Is not man commanded to believe in God, and to love God with all his strength, and his neighbor as himself? Consider and say how this could have been commanded by God if man possessed no power to obey and do it."
[4] When the satan had heard this his countenance, from being bright at first, turned ghastly, and then black, and thus speaking from his own mouth he said, "You have uttered paradoxes on paradoxes;" and then instantly he sank down to his companions and was no more seen. The birds on the left, together with the specters, uttered strange cries and threw themselves into the sea, which is there called Safe; and the locusts leaped in after them; the air was cleansed, and the earth was cleansed of those wild creatures; the tumult below ceased, and all, became tranquil and serene.


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