« הקודםהמשך »
in the Word to the same purpose. Of what use now would the Word be, supposing man had no power to will and think, to do and speak, what is commanded in it? Without he had such a power, what would religion and the church be, but like the wreck of a ship lying at the bottom of the sea, with the pilot standing on the top of the mast, and crying out, 'I have no power to do any thing,' whilst he sees the other sailors take to the boats, hoist their sails, and make their escape. Was not free power granted to Adam either to eat of the tree of life, or of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ? And as by virtue of this freedom he ate of the latter tree, therefore smoke arising from the serpent, that is from hell, entered into his mind, on which account he was cast out of paradise and cursed : nevertheless he did not lose his freewill, for it is written, that the way to the tree of life was guarded by a cherub, without which precaution he might still have been desirous to eat of it.” As he uttered these words, the other spirit, who loved evil and the false, said, “I leave what I báve heard and retain what I have asserted; for who doth not know that God alone hath life, and consequent activity, and that man of himself is dead, and consequently merely passive; how then can such a being, who in himself is dead and merely passive, take to himself any thing alive and active ?” To this I replied, “Man is an organ of life, and God alone is life, and God infuses His life into the organ and all its parts, as the sun infuses its heat into a tree and all its parts; and God granteth man a sense that the life in himself is as if it were his own, and is desirous that he should have such a sense of it, to the intent that he might live, as of himself, according to the laws of order, which are as many in number as the precepts of the Word, and might thus dispose himself to receive the love of God; nevertheless God continually, with His finger as it were, holds the perpendicular tongue which is over the balance, in order to moderate its motions, but still He never violates
free-will by compulsion. A tree cannot receive any thing which the heat of the sun introduceth through the root, unless it acquire a degree of warmth and heat in all its filaments, nor can the elements rise through the root, unless all its filaments, by virtue of the heat received, also give out heat, and thus contribute to the passage. This is precisely the case with man, in consequence of the heat of life he receiveth from God: but still he differeth from the tree in this respect, that he feels the life in bimself as his own, although it is not his; so far however as he believes it to be his, and not God's, he receives from God, the light of life, though not the heat of love, but the heat of love from hell, which being of a gross nature, obstructeth and closeth up the purer branches and fibres of the organ, just as impure blood doth the capillary vessels of the body : thus man from a spiritual being, maketh himself a merely natural one. His free-will is a consequence of this circumstance, that he hath a sense of life being in bimself as his own; and God permits him to have such a sense in order to effect conjunction, which cannot be effected unless it be reciprocal, and it becomes reciprocal when man acts from freedom altogether as of himself. Had not God permitted him to have such a sense, he would not have been man, nor a subject of eternal life; for the faculty of reciprocal conjunction with God is what makes him a man and not a beast, and is the true ground and cause of his living after death; and this is an effect of free-will in spiritual things.” As I ended these words, the evil spirit removed himself to a distance from me: and straightway, I saw a swift darting serpent, called by the ancients, prester, upon a tree, which held forth some fruit gathered from it to a certain person: I went instantly towards the place ; and there, instead of the serpent, appeared a monster of a man, whose face was so covered with a beard that no part was visible but his nose; and instead of the tree there was
a fiery stump, by which stood the spirit into whose mind the smoke from hell had before entered, and who afterwards rejected all belief of free-will in spiritual things. Then on a sudden a like smoke arose from the stump, and overspread them both; and being thus removed from my sight, I departed: but the other spirit, who loved good and truth, and asserted man's free-will in spiritual things, accompanied me home.
505. THE THIRD MEMORABLE RELATION. I once heard a noise like the collision of two mill-stones against each other; but as I approached towards the place from whence it came, it ceased, and I saw a narrow gate leading obliquely drwnwards to a certain vaulted house, which consisted of many apartments, divided into small cells, in each of which sat two persons collecting passages from the Word to confirm the doctrine of justification by faith alone : one collected and the other transcribed, and this they did alternately. I went towards one of the cells, which was near the door, and asked what they were collecting and writing: they said, “On the ACT OF JUSTIFICATION, or on FAITH IN ACT, which is essential, justifying, quickening, and saving faith, and the chief doctrine of the church in our part of Christendom.” Then I said, “ Tell me some mark or sign of that act, when that faith is introduced into the heart and soul of man." They replied, “ The sign of that act is momentary or instantaneous, when a man under the anguish of condemnation for sin, and contrition on that account, thinketh of Christ as having taken away the condemnation of the law, and lay's hold with confidence of this His merit, and keeping it in his thoughts, approaches and prays to God the Father.” Then I said, “Suppose it to be so, and that this act is instantaneous, yet how am I to conceive what is asserted of this act, that man contributes nothing towards it, any more than if he were a stock or a stone, and that he hath no power to begin, will, understand, think, operate, co-operate, apply and accommodate himself to this act? Tell me, how doth this agree with what you said, that the act taketh place when man is thinking about the justice of the law, and about the removal of its condemnation by Christ, in consequence of which he lays hold with confidence of His merit, and approacheth and prayeth to God the Father with this in his thoughts? Are not all these things done by man?” They answered, “ Not by man actively, but passively.” I replied, “How can any one think, have confidence, and pray, passively? If you at such times take away man's activity and co-operation, do not you take away also his capacity of reception, consequently whatever belongeth to him as man, and with it the act itself? And what doth the act become in this case but something purely ideal, such as is called a mere mental entity? I trust that ye are not of those who believe, that such an act taketh place only among the predestinate, who are utterly unacquainted with any infusion of faith in themselves, and wbu might throw a cast of dice, and by that hope to ascertain whether faith is infused into them or no: on which account do you, my friends, believe, that man, with respect to faith and charity, operates of himself from the Lord, and that without this operation, your act of faith, which ye call the chief doctrine of the church in the Christian world, is but a mere pillar or statue, like Lot's wife, which being touched with a scribe's pen or finger nail, makes a tinkling noise, because it is composed of nothing but salt: Luke xvii. 32. I use this comparison, because as to that act ye make yourselves just like statues.” As I spake these words, one of them took up a candlestick, with intent to throw it violently at my face, but the candle suddenly going out, he threw it against the forehead of his companion ; at which I smiled and departed.
506. The Fourth MEMORABLE RELATION. I saw in the spiritual world two flocks, the one of GOATS, the other of sheep: I wondered who they were, for I knew that the animals seen in the spiritual world are not animals, but correspondences of the affections, and the thoughts flowing from thence, of those who are on the spot: so I approached nigher, and as I approached, the likeness of animals disappeared, and instead of them I saw men; and it was shewn me, that those who formed the flock of goats, were such as had confirmed themselves in the doctrine of justification by faith alone, and those who formed the flock of sheep, were a company of such as had believed that charity and faith were one, even as good and truth are.
I then spoke with those who had appeared like goats, and said, “Why are you thus assembled ?" The greater part of them were of the clergy, and possessed extraordinary notions of themselves on account of the fame of their erudition, because they were skilled in the mysteries of justification by faith alone. They informed me that they were assembled to form a council; for they had heard that it had been affirmed that Paul's saying, in Romans, chap. iii. verse 28, “ Therefore we conclude that a man is justified without the deeds of the law,” was not rightly understood; for it was said that by faith, in that passage, was not understood the faith of the present church, which is directed towards three divine persons from eternity, but a faith in the Lord God the Saviour Jesus Christ, and that by the deeds of the law were not understood those of the law of the decalogue, but those of the Mosaic law peculiar to the Jews; and that-by a wrong interpretation of these few words, two enormous falsities had been adopted, which were, that by the faith there mentioned the faith of the present church was meant, and by the deeds of the law, those of the law of the decalogue ; whereas Paul did not mean these deeds, but the deeds