תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

wards, as he had done before, from his memory and understanding. This power of persuasion, which is a species of enchantment, derives its origin from the love of self, in consequence of which the person under its influence grows by degrees so impatient of contradiction, as to attack not only the sentiments, but even the person of his opponent. This was his state of life till the last judgment, which took place in the spiritual world in the year 1757 : the year after he was removed from his first house to another, and was at the same time brought into another state ; and being informed that I, who am in the natural world, conversed with those who are in the spiritual world, he among several others came to me; and after asking some questions and receiving my answers, he perceived that the end of the former church is at this day accomplished, together with the beginning of the New Church foretold by Daniel, and by the Lord Himself in the Evangelists, and that this New Church is meant by the New Jerusalem in the Revelation, and by the everlasting Gospel which the angel flying in the midst of hea. ven preached to those who dwell on the earth, chap. xiv, 6. At this he grew very indignant, and railed against it; but as he perceived the New Heaven to increase, which was formed and is forming of those who acknowledge the Lord alone to be the God of heaven and earth, according to His own Words, Matt. xxviii. 18; and as he observed his own congregations to diminish, his railing ceased, and then he approached nearer to me, and began to converse more familiarly with me: and when he was convinced, that he had taken his principal tenet of justification by faith alone, not from the Word of God, but from his own intelligence, he then suffered himself to be instructed concerning the Lord, charity, true faith, free-will, and lastly concerning redemption, and this from the Word alone : at length after conviction he began to favour, and afterwards to confirm himself more and more in the truths of which the New

Church is built and established. At this time he was with me daily, and then, as often as he recollected the truths of the New Church, he began to ridicule his former tenets as in direct opposition to the Word ; and I heard him say “ Do not be surprised that I laid hold so eagerly of that doctrine of justification by faith alone, and excluded charity from its spiritual essence, and likewise took away from men all free-will in spiritual concerns, beside falling into other errors, which are dependant on the doctrine of faith alone, when once it is received, as the links of a chain are on each other; for my object was to be separated from the RomanCatholics at any rate, which could not otherwise be accomplished; so that I am not surprised that I have erred, but my surprise is, that the ravings of one should have deprived so many others of their senses;" on saying this he cast a glance at some writers standing beside him, who were celebrated in their time for their theological works, and were firm adherents to his doctrine, not observing its contradictions to Holy Scripture, although they are so palpable. I was informed by the examining angels, that this chieftain of the church is in a state of conversion far before many others who have confirmed themselves in the doctrine of justification by faith alone, and that because in his youthful days (pueritia), before he began his work of reformation, he had received a strong tincture of the doctrine which maintains the pre-eminence of charity; this was the reason why both in his writing, and sermons he gave such excellent instruction in regard to charity; and hence it came to pass, that the faith of justification with him was implanted in his external natural man, but not rooted in his internal spiritual man. The case is different with those who in their youthful days confirm themselves against the spirituality of charity, which they must needs do, whilst they use proofs and arguments to establish justification by faith alone. I have conversed with the Prince of Saxony, who received and entertained Luther during his life on

earth; he told me, that he had often blamed him, particularly for separating charity from faith, and pronouncing the latter and not the former to be effective of salvation, when yet the Holy Scripture not only joins together those two universal means of salvation, but Paul even gives charity the preference, saying, “ That there are these three, faith, hope, and charity, and that the greatest of these is charity,i Cor. xiii. 13; but that Luther as often replied, that he could not do otherwise because of the Roman Catholics. This prince is amongst the blessed.

797. With respect to MelANCTHON, it has been given me to know many particulars of his condition, wbat it was when he first came into the spiritual world, and what it was afterwards, not only from the angels, but also from himself; for I have conversed with him at times, though not so frequently or so intimately as with Luther; the reason why I did not converse with him so frequently and so intimately was, because he was so intent upon justification by faith alone, to the exclusion of Charity, that the angelic spirits who encompassed me, and who are in charity, prevented his near approach to me. I have been informed, that as soon as he entered the spiritual world he had a house provided for him similar to that which he inhabited in this world; (this being the case with most persons on their first arrival in the spiritual world, they are not aware but that they are still in the natural world, and that the time elapsed since their death had been passed in sleep): there were similar objects also in his chamber, a similar table, writing desk with drawers, and also a similar library. As soon then as he came into his new habitation, like one awaking out of sleep, he seated himself at his table, and proceeded to write as usual on justification by faith alone, and so continued for several days without writing a word about charity: this being perceived by the angels, he was questioned by messengers, why he did not also write about charity: he replied

that charity was in no respect a constituent of the church, for that in case it were to be received as an essential of the church, man would ascribe to himself the merit of justification, and thence of salvation, and thus would deprive faith of its spiritual essence. When this was perceived by the angels who were over his head, and heard by the angels who were associated with him whilst he was out of his house, they withdrew from him ; for angels are associated with every new

comer at his first entrance into the spiritual world. A few weeks after this, the furniture in his chamber began to be obscured, and at last to vanish away, so that in the end nothing remained but his table, bis paper, and ink; moreover the walls of his study appeared incrusted over with plaster, and the floor covered with a yellow material like brick, and he himself clad in a coarser garment. Wondering in himself at these changes, he asked those about him, what could be the reason ? and received for answer, Because he removed charity from the church, which nevertheless is the heart of it. But because he still continued to contradict this truth, and persisted in writing about faith as the only essential of the church, and the only means of salvation, and in removing charity farther and farther off, on a sudden he appeared to himself under ground in a kind of workhouse, where similar spirits were confined; and on his desiring to be let out, he was prevented, and given to understand, that such as banish charity and good works from the church have no other condition to expect. But as he had been one of the reformers of the church, he was released by the Lord's command, and sent back into his former chamber, where he found only his table, his paper, and ink; still however, in consequence of the ideas which were rooted and confirmed in his mind, he continued blotting over sheet after sheet with his former erroneous notions, so that it was impossible to keep him from sinking down at times amongst his imprisoned companions, from whence he was again alternately released: when he was released, he appeared clad in a rough hairy skin, because faith without charity is cold. He told me himself, that there was at the back of the house another chamber adjoining to his own, containing three tables, at which were seated persons of a like character with himself, who had also banished charity from the church; and that at times a fourth table appeared there also, on which were seen monstrous figures in various fornis, but that still they were not deterred by such appearances; he added likewise, that he had entered into discourse with the latter, and that he was every day more and more confirmed by them in favour of his own sentiments. After some time however being seized with fear, he began to scribble something concerning charity, but what he wrote one day, he could not see the next; for this is universally the case in the spiritual world; if a person commits any thing to paper from the external man only, and not from the internal at the same time, thus from constraint and not from freedom, it is presently obliterated of itself. But after the new hea

was begun to be established by the Lord, he then began to think, under the influence of light from that heaven, that possibly he was in error, and this being attended with anxiety on account of his lot, he perceived in consquence some interior ideas impressed on his mind concerning charity, in which state he consulted the Word, and then his eyes were opened, and he saw that it is throughout full of Love to God, and of Love TOWARDS OUR NEIGHBOUR, and that it is consequently true as the Lord saith, that on those two commandments hang all the law and the prophets, that is, the whole Word. From this time he was translated interiorly to the south, verging towards to the west, and thus into another house, from which he conversed with me, and said, that now his writing concerning charity did not vanish as before, but that on the following day it appeared faintly. One circumstance is extraordinary in relation to him, that

ven

« הקודםהמשך »