(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 798

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798. About Calvin I have heard the following: I. When he first entered the spiritual world he fully believed that he was still in the world where he was born; and although he was told by the angels associated with him in the beginning that he was then in their world, and not in his former one, he said, "I have the same body, the same hands, and like senses." But he was taught by the angels that he was then in a substantial body, and that formerly he had been not only in that same body, but also in a material body which invested the substantial; and that the material body had been cast off, while the substantial body, from which a man is a man, still remained. This he at first understood; but the next day he returned to his former belief, that he was still in the world where he was born. This was because he was a sensual man and had no other belief than what he could draw from the objects of the bodily senses; and from this it came about that he drew all the dogmas of his faith as conclusions from his own intelligence and not from the Word. His quoting the Word was in order to win the assent of the common people. [2] II. After this first period, having left the angels, he wandered about inquiring for those who from ancient times believed in Predestination; and he was told that they had been removed from that place and shut up and covered over, and that there was no way open to them except rearward under the earth; but that the disciples of Gotschalk still went about freely, and sometimes assembled in a place called, in spiritual language, Pyris. And as he earnestly desired their company, he was led to an assembly where some of them were standing; and when he came among them he was in his heart's delight, and bound himself to them by interior friendship. [3] III. But when the followers of Gotschalk had been led away to their brethren in the cavern, Calvin became weary, and therefore sought here and there for an asylum, and was finally received into a certain society made up wholly of the simple-minded, some of whom were also religious; and when he saw that they knew nothing and could understand nothing about predestination, he betook himself to one corner of the society, and there hid himself for a long time, not opening his mouth on any church matter. This was provided in order that he might withdraw from his error respecting predestination, and that the ranks of those, who, after the Synod of Dort adhered to that detestable heresy might be filled up; all of whom were gradually sent away to their fellows in the cavern. [4] IV. At length when the modern Predestinarian inquired where Calvin was, he was found after a search for him, on the confines of a certain society consisting solely of the simple-minded. He was therefore called away from there and conducted to a certain governor who was filled with similar dregs; and who therefore took him into his house and guarded him, and this until the new heaven began to be established by the Lord; and then, as the governor, his guardian, was cast out together with his troop, Calvin betook himself to a certain house of ill-repute, and remained there for some time. [5] V. As he then enjoyed the liberty of wandering about, and also of coming near to the place where I was stopping, I was permitted to talk with him, in the first place about the new heaven which is at this day being formed of those who acknowledge the Lord alone as the God of heaven and earth, according to His own words in Matthew (28:18). I told him that such believe,
That He and the Father are one (John, 10:30);
And that He is in the Father and the Father in Him, and that whosoever sees and knows Him, sees and knows the Father (John 14:6-11);
thus that there is one God only in the church as in heaven. [6] At first, when I said this, as usual he was silent; but half an hour he broke the silence and said, "Was not Christ a man, the son of Mary, who was married to Joseph? How can a man be adored as God?" I answered, "Is not Jesus Christ our Redeemer and Savior both God and Man?" He replied, "He is both God and Man; nevertheless the Divinity is the Father's and not His." I asked, "Where then is Christ?" He answered, "In the lowest parts of heaven;" and he gave as proof of this His humiliation before the Father, and His suffering Himself to be crucified. To this he added some witty remarks about the worship of Christ, which then invaded his memory from the world, which was, in brief, that the worship of Christ was nothing but idolatry. He wanted to add things unfit to be spoken about that worship; but the angels who were with me shut his lips. [7] But from a zeal to convert him I said, that the Lord our Savior is not only both God and Man, but in Him God is Man and Man is God. And this I confirmed by Paul's saying,
That in Him dwelleth all the fullness of Divinity bodily (1 Col. 2:8);
and by John's:
That He is the true God and eternal life (1 Epistle, 5:20);
as also from the words of the Lord Himself:
That it is the Father's will that all who believe on the Son shall have eternal life, and that he who believes not shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36; 4:40);
and finally by the declaration of faith called Athanasian, which declares that in Christ God and Man are not two but one, and are in one Person like the soul and body in man. [8] When he heard this, he replied, "What are all those things you have presented from the Word but empty sounds? Is not the Word the book of all heresies, and thus like the weathercocks on house-tops and ships' masts, which turn every way according to the wind? It is Predestination alone that determines all things pertaining to religion; this is their habitation or their tent of meeting, wherein faith, through which justification and salvation are effected, is the shrine and sanctuary. Has any man freedom of choice in spiritual things? Is not everything of salvation a free gift? Any argument therefore against these principles, and so against predestination, I listen to and value as much as I do eructations from the stomach or the rumbling of the bowels. And this being so, I have thought to myself that any church where anything else is taught, even from the Word, together with the crowd there assembled, is like a pen of beasts containing both sheep and wolves, but with the wolves muzzled by the laws of civil justice, lest they should attack the sheep (the sheep meaning the predestined), also that the praying and preaching there are like so much hiccoughing. But I will give you my confession of faith; it is this: There is a God, and He is omnipotent; and there is no salvation for any except those who are elected and predestined by God the Father; and everyone else is condemned to his lot, that is, to his fate." [9] Hearing this I answered with much warmth, "What you say is horrible. Begone, wicked spirit! Being in the spiritual world do you not know that there is a heaven and a hell, and that predestination implies that some have been designated for heaven and some for hell? Can you then form to yourself any other idea of God than as being a tyrant who admits his favorites into his city, and sends the rest to the rack? Shame on you." [10] I then read to him what is written in the dogmatic book of the Evangelical Protestants, called Formula Concordiae relating to the erroneous doctrine of the Calvinists in regard to the worship of the Lord and predestination. Their doctrine of the worship of the Lord is thus defined:
It is damnable idolatry, if the confidence and faith of the heart are placed in Christ, not only according to His Divine but also according to His Human nature, and the honor of worship is directed to both.
And predestination is thus defined:
Christ did not die for all men, but only for the elect. God has created the greater part of men for eternal damnation, and does note that the greater part should be converted and live. The elect and born again cannot lose faith and the Holy Spirit, although they should commit all kinds of great sins and crimes. But those who are not elected are necessarily damned, nor can they attain to salvation even if they were to be baptized a thousand times, were to partake of the sacrament daily, and moreover were to lead as holy and blameless a life as it is ever possible to live (Leipsic edition of 1756, pp. 837, 838).
When I had read this, I asked him whether this, which was written in that book was from his doctrine or not. He said that it was, but that he did not remember whether or not those very words had flowed from his pen, although they might have from his lips. [11] All the servants of the Lord, when they heard this, withdrew from him, and he betook himself hastily to a way that led to a cave, which was occupied by those who had confirmed in themselves the execrable dogma of predestination. I afterward talked with some of those imprisoned in that cave, and asked about their lot. They said that they were compelled to labor for food, that they were all enemies of each other, that each sought an occasion to do evil to the other, and this they did whenever they found the slightest opportunity, and that this was the delight of their lives. (More about predestination and the predestinarians may be seen above, n. 485-488.)


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