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AR Chapter 12
AR 566. To these things I will add this Relation.
There arose a strife among some spirits, whether anyone can see any doctrinal theological truth in the Word, except from the Lord. They all agreed in this, that no one can, except from God, because:--
No man can receive anything except it be given him from Heaven (John 3:27).
For which reason the dispute was, whether it is possible to anyone unless he goes immediately to the Lord. They said on the one hand, that the Lord is to be approached directly, because He is the Word; and on the other, that doctrinal truth may also be seen when God the Father is immediately approached. On which account the dispute centered upon this point, Whether it is lawful for any Christian to go immediately to God the Father, and so to climb above the Lord; and whether this is not insolence and audacity both indecent and rash; because the Lord says that:--
No one cometh to the Father but through Him (John 14:6).
But they left this, and said that a man can see a doctrinal truth in the Word from his own natural light (lumen); but this was rejected. Wherefore they insisted that it might be seen by those who pray to God the Father. Therefore something was read to them from the Word; and then they prayed upon their knees, that God the Father would enlighten them; and as to the words which were read before them from the Word, they said that this and that was the truth therein; but it was false; and this repeatedly even to tediousness. At length they confessed that it was not possible. But on the other side, they who went immediately to the Lord, saw truths, and informed the others. After this dispute was thus finished, there came up some out of the abyss, who appeared at first like locusts, but afterwards as men. They were those who in the world prayed to the Father, and confirmed themselves in justification by faith alone; and they said that they saw the tenet that man is justified by faith alone without the works of the law, in clear light, and also from the Word. They were asked, "By what faith?" They answered, "In God the Father." But after they were examined, it was said to them from heaven, that they did not know even one doctrinal truth from the Word. But they replied that still they saw this in the light. It was then said to them that they saw it in fatuous light. They asked, "What is fatuous light?" They were informed that fatuous light is the light of the confirmation of falsity; and that this light corresponds to the light in which owls and hats are, to which darkness is light, and light is darkness. This was confirmed by the fact, that when they looked upwards to heaven, where light itself is, they saw darkness; but when they looked downwards to the abyss whence they were, they saw light. Being indignant at this confirmation, they said that "thus light and darkness are not anything, but only a state of the eye, from which light is called light, and darkness, darkness." But it was shown that their light was fatuous light, which is the light of the confirmation of falsity; and that it was only the activity of their minds arising from the fire of lusts, not unlike the light of cats, whose eyes, owing to their burning appetite for mice in cellars in the night-time, appear like candles. On hearing these things, being angry, they said that they were not cats, nor like cats; because they could see, if they would. But because they feared being asked why they would not, they retired, and let themselves down into their abyss and into their light. They who are there, and those who are like them, are also called owls and hats.
When they came to their companions in the abyss, and related that, "The angels said, that we do not know any doctrinal truth, not even one;" and that "they therefore called us hats and owls," there was a great tumult. And they said, "Let us pray to the Lord for permission to ascend, and we will show clearly that we have many doctrinal truths, which the archangels themselves will acknowledge." And because they prayed to the Lord, leave was given, and they ascended to the number of three hundred. And when they appeared above the earth, they said, "We were celebrated and famed in the world, because we knew and taught the arcana of justification by faith alone; and from confirmations we not only saw the light, but also as it were a flashing radiance; as we still do in our cells. And yet we have heard from our companions who were with you, that this light is not light, but darkness; for the reason that we have not, as you said, any doctrinal truth from the Word. We know that every truth of the Word shines; and we believe that our radiance is thence, when we profoundly meditate upon our arcana. We will, therefore, demonstrate that we have truths from the Word in great abundance." And they said, "Have we not this truth, that there is a Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; and that the Trinity must be believed in? Have we not this truth, that Christ is our Redeemer and Saviour? Have we not this truth, that Christ alone is justice, and that He alone has merit? and that he is unjust and impious, who wishes to ascribe to himself anything of His justice and merit? Have we not this truth, that no mortal can do any spiritual good of himself, but that all good which is good in itself is from God? Have we not this truth, that there is given meritorious and also hypocritical good, and that these goods are evil? Have we not this truth, that man of his own powers can contribute nothing to his salvation? Have we not this truth, that the works of charity are still to be done? Have we not this truth, that there is faith, and that one must believe, and that everyone has life according to his belief? Besides many other things from the Word? Who of you can deny anyone of these? And yet you said that we have not any truth in our schools, not even one. Have you not asserted such things against us through prejudice?" But they then received the answer, "All the things which you have advanced are in themselves truths; but you have falsified them, by applying them to confirm a false principle; and hence with you and in you they are falsified truths, which are false by being derived from a false principle. That it is so, we will demonstrate even to the sight. Not far from here is a place into which light flows immediately from heaven. In the midst of it there is a table. When any paper on which a truth from the Word is written is placed upon it, that paper, from the truth written on it, shines like a star. Write your truths, therefore, on a paper, and let it be put upon that table; and you will see." They did so, and gave it to the keeper, who put it upon the table; who then said to them, "Withdraw a little and look at the table." And they withdrew and looked; and behold, the paper shone like a star. And then the keeper said, "You see that the things which you have written upon the paper are truths. But come nearer, and look intently at the paper!" And they did so; and then the light suddenly disappeared, and the paper became black, as if covered with the soot of a furnace. And the keeper said further, "Touch the paper with your hands, but be careful not to touch the writing." And when they did so, a flame burst forth, and consumed it. Seeing this, they fled away; and it was said to them, "If you had touched the writing, you would have heard an explosion, and would have burned your fingers." And it was then said by them that stood behind, "You have now seen that the truths which you have abused to confirm the arcana of your justification, are truths in themselves; but that in you they are truths falsified." They then looked up, and heaven appeared to them as blood, and afterwards as thick darkness; and they seemed before the eyes of angelic spirits, some like bats, some like owls, some like moles, and some like horned-owls; and they fled away into their darkness, which to their eyes shone fatuously.
The angelic spirits who were present wondered that they had not before known anything of that place, and of the table there. And a voice then came to them from the southern quarter, saying, "Come hither, and you will see something still more wonderful." And they came, and entered into a chamber, the walls of which shone as if from gold; and they saw there also a table, upon which lay the Word, set around with precious stones in heavenly forms. And the angel keeper said, "When the Word is opened, a light beams forth thence of ineffable brightness; and at the same time there appears from the precious stones a rainbow above and around the Word. When any angel from the third heaven comes thither, and looks at the open Word, there appears above and around the Word a rainbow of various colors on a red ground. When an angel comes thither from the second heaven, and looks, there appears a rainbow on a blue ground. When an angel from the lowest heaven comes and looks, there appears a rainbow on a white ground. When any good spirit comes and looks, there appears a variegation of light, as of marble." That it was so, was also shown them visibly. The angel keeper further said, "If anyone approaches, who has falsified the Word, the splendor is then first dissipated; and if he approaches, and fixes his eyes on the Word, there is an appearance of blood around; and he is then admonished to depart, because there is danger." But a certain one, who in the world had been a prominent author on the doctrine of faith alone, boldly approached, and said, "When I was in the world, I did not falsify the Word; I also exalted charity together with faith; and I taught that man in the state of faith, in which he does charity and its works, is renewed, regenerated, and sanctified; and also that faith is then not solitary, that is, without good works; as a tree is not without fruit, the sun without light, and fire without beat; and I also blamed those who said that good works were not necessary, and moreover I magnified the precepts of the Decalogue, and also repentance; and I thus applied all things of the Word in a wonderful manner to the article of faith, which I set forth and demonstrated to be still alone saving." In the confidence of his assertion that he had not falsified the Word, he came up to the table, and, contrary to the warning of the angel, touched the Word But then suddenly fire with smoke issued from the Word, and an explosion took place with a great crash, by which he was thrown to a corner of the chamber, and lay there as dead for half an hour. This the angelic spirits wondered at; but it was said to them, that that prelate had exalted the goods of charity as proceeding from faith more than others; but that still he meant no other than political works, which are also called moral and civil, and which are to be done for the sake of the world and of prosperity therein; but not any works which are to be done for the sake of God and salvation: and also that he included the unseen works of the Holy Spirit, of which the man knows nothing; which are implanted in the act of faith during its state.
The angelic spirits then conversed among themselves concerning the falsification of the Word: and they agreed upon this, that to falsify the Word is to take truths from it, and apply them to confirm falsities; which is to drag them forth from the Word outside of it, and slay them. As for example: he who takes therefrom this truth, that the neighbor is to be loved, and that good is to be done to him from love for the sake of God and eternal life; if anyone then confirms this, that it is to be done, but not for the sake of salvation, because all good from man is not good, he drags that truth from the Word out side of the Word, and destroys it; since the Lord in His Word enjoins it upon every man who wishes to be saved, to do good to his neighbor as of himself, and yet to believe that it is of the Lord.