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belief, which teaches, that faith is infused into man when he is like a stock or a stone, and that, being infused, it is followed by justification, consisting in the remission of sios, regeneration, and several other gifts; and that man's operation is entirely to be excluded, lest it should do any violence to Christ's merit; for the firmer establishment of which doctrine, they take away from man all free-will in spiritual concerns, by insisting on his absolute impotence in such matters; so that they allow to God a power of operating on His part, but none to man of co-operating on his, and thus of conjoining himself with God. But in such a case, what is man, as to regeneration, but as one bound hand and foot, after the manner of galley-slaves, who are punished, and sentenced to suffer death, if they dare to free themselves from their manacles and fetters? for according to this doctrine, man is exposed to death and damnation should he dare tu set himself at liberty, that is, if from a principle of free-will he should do good to his neighbour, and of himself should believe in God, for the sake of salvation. A man confirmed in such opinions, who yet had a pious longing after heaven, would be like a phantom with uplifted eyes, waiting to see whether that faith with its benefits had been already infused into him, or if not, whether it would be insused, consequently, whether God the Father had had compassion upon him, or whether his Son would intercede for him, or whether the Holy Ghost be not otherwise so engaged, as not to operate in him; and at length from his entire ignorance of the matter, he would depart and comfort himself with tbis reflection : “ Possibly that grace may abide in the morality of my life, in which I continue as heretofore; thus such morality may be holy in me, though in others who have not obtained that faith it is profane; to secure then the continuance of this holiness in my morality, I will be cautious for the future not to operate of myself either faith or charity.” Such a phan. tom, or if you like the term better, such a pillar of salt,
every one become, who, in his thoughts about regeneration, excludes free-will in spiritual concerns.
617. He who supposes regeneration is to be attained without free-will in spiritual concerns, thus without co-operation, becometh cold as any stone with respect to all the truths of the church, or if warm, he is as a brand lighted in the fire, which blazes from the combustible matter it contains ; for his heat is inspired by lusts. Such a person is comparatively as a palace sinking down into the ground even to its roof, and overflowed with muddy waters, so that afterwards the inhabitant is forced to live on the bare roof, and there make himself a tent of reeds and rushes, till at length the roof also sinks into the earth, and the man is drowned. He may also he compared with a ship laden with all kinds of valuable commodities, collected from the Word as from a treasure-house, which are devoured either by mice or moths, or are thrown over-board by the sailors, so that the merchants are defrauded of their goods. The learned, or such as are rich in the mysteries of that faith, are like pedlars in their stalls, who sell images of idols, fruits, and flowers made of wax, sea-shells, snakes in vials, and other articles of a like description. They who are unwilling to look upwards, from a belief that no spiritual power is applied and given to man by the Lord, are actually like beasts, which look with their heads downward, and seek for pasture in their forests only; or if they come into gardens, they are like grubs, which consume the leaves of trees, and if they see fruits with their eyes, but especially if they touch them with their hands, they fill them with maggots. At length they become like scaly serpents, their fallacious doctrines sounding and glittering like the scales of those animals : not to mention other similitudes.
XII. That Regeneration is NOT ATTAINABLE WITH
our Truths, BY Which FAITH IS FORMED, AND WITH Which Charity CONJOINETH itself.
618. The regeneration of man is effected by means of these three efficients, the Lord, Faith, and Charity: these three efficients would lie concealed like jewels of the highest price in the bowels of the earth, unless they were opened to view by means of divine truths collected out of the Word; nay, they would lie concealed from the sight of those who deny co-operation, even supposing them to read the Word a hundred, or a thousand times over, notwithstanding the clear light in which they are there presented. As to what respects the Lord, what person confirmed in the faith of the present day can see with clearness the truths wbich are declared in the Word, that He and the Father are One, that He is the God of heaven and earth, and that it is the will of the Father that all should believe on the Son, with numberless similar declarations respecting Him in both covenants? The reason is, because such persons are not in truths, and consequently not in the light, by which subjects of such a nature can be seen ; and supposing light to be given them, yet their falses would extinguish it, and then the above-mentioned declarations would be passed by as words erased and blotted out, or as subterranean passages, which are trodden under-foot and walked over. This may serve to shew, that without truths this primary efficient of regeneration caunot be seen. As to what respects faith, it is alike impossible for it to exist without truths; for faith and truth make one thing, the good of faith being as a soul, whose body is formed by truths; so that for a man to say that he believes or has faith, and at the same time not to know any of its truths, is like extracting the soul from the body, and conversing with it in its invisible state. Besides, all truths, which form the body of faith, emit light from them, by which they illustrate and render its face visible.
The case is the same with charity; this emitteth from itself heat with which the light of truth enters into conjunction, as the heat of the sun is conjoined with its light in the time of spring, by which terrestrial animals and vegetables are restored to their states of prolification : even so it is with spiritual heat and light; they in like manner conjoin themselves together in man, whilst he is principled in the truths of faith, and at the same time in the goods of charity; for, as it was said above in the chapter on faith, there proceeds from each particular truth of faith, an efflux of light, which illustrates, and from each particular good of charity, an efflux of heat, which warms and kindles. Spiritual light too is in its essence intelligence, and spiritual heat is in its essence love, and the Lord alone conjoineth them both together in man when He regenerates him; for the Lord said, “ The words which I speak unto you are spirit and life,” John vi. 63. “ Believe in the light, that ye may be the children of the light; I am come a light into the world," John xii. 36. The Lord is the sun in the spiritual world, whence all spiritual light and heat are derived ; that light illustrates, and that heat warmeth, and by the conjunction of both He quickens man and regenerates him.
619. From what has been said, it may be concluded, that without truths there can be no knowledge of the Lord, and also that without truths there can be no faith, and thus no charity; of course without truths there can be no theology, and where there is no theology there can be no church. Yet in this state is the mass of the people at this day who call themselves Christians, and say that they are in the light of the Gospel, when nevertheless they are in darkness itself; for truths lie hidden under falses, like gold, silver, and precious stones, buried among the bones in the valley of Hinnom. That this is really the case, was clearly made manifest to me by the spheres in the spiritual world, which proceed by efflux, and diffuse themselves around, from modern Christendom. One sphere is concerning the Lord, which exhales and spreads itself from the southern quarter, where the learned of the clergy and erudite of the laity have their abodes: wherever this sphere comes, it penetrates the ideas from beneath, and with some altogether takes away the belief in the Divinity of the Lord's Humanity, with some weakens it, and with some causeth it to appear as foolishness; the reason is, because it introduces at the same time a belief in three gods, and thus the belief in the Divinity of the Lord's Humanity becomes confused. Another sphere, which takes away faith, is as a black cloud in winter, which spreads darkness around, turns the rain into snow, strips the trees of their leaves, freezes the water, and deprives the sheep of every kind of pasture: this spbere conjoined with the former introduces a kind of lethargy concerning the One God, and concerning regeneration, and the means of salvation. The third sphere is concerning the conjunction, of faith and charity, which sphere is so strong as to be irresistible, but is at this day so abominable, that it infects as with a plague whomsoever it touches, and breaks all connection between those two means of salvation established from the creation of the world, and renewed by the Lord : this sphere even invades men in the natural world, extinguishing the conjugial torches at the marriage of truths and goods : I have myself sensibly perceived this sphere, and at a time when I was thinking of the conjunction of faith and charity, it interposed itself between them, and violently strove to separate them. The angels complain much of these spheres, and pray the Lord that they may be dispersed; but they have received for answer, that this cannot be, so long as the dragon is on the earth in the world of spirits, for they proceed from the spirits of the dragon; and it is written of the dragon, that he was cast upon the earth, and then it is said, “ Therefore rejoice ye heavens, and wo to the inhabitants of the earth !" Rev. xii. These three spheres are like atmospheres arising from the