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man's being honoured, who had before been of no estimation, and so being removed from a state of contempt to a state of glory; or like going out of the house of mourning to nuptial joys : forasmuch as these states can be changed within a day, and they have no other idea of the state of man after death, it is evident whence it comes, that there is a belief in momentaneous salvation from immediate mercy. Moreover in the world it is possible for many persons to be in one company, and in one civil Society, and to be merry together, and yet to differ all of them in their minds; this is the case in a natural state; the reason is, because the external of one man may be accommodated to the external of another man, although their internals be dissimilar : from this natural state it is also concluded, that salvation consists only in admission to the angels in heaven, and that admission is from immediate mercy; wherefore it is also believed, that heaven can as well be given to the wicked as the good, and that then there is a consociation similar to what takes place in the world, only with this difference, that it is full of joy. SECONDLY : But that this faith proceeds from ignorance of a spiritual state, which is totally different from a natural state. The spiritual state, which is the state of man after death, is treated of in many places above, where it is shewn, that every one is his own love, and that no one can live with any others but such as are in a similar love, and that if he comes to others, he cannot respire his own life; hence it is, that every one after death enters into a society like himself, which is composed of such as are in a similar love, and that he acknowledges them as his relatives and friends; and what is wonderful, when he meets with them and sees them, it is as though he had known them from his infancy; this circumstance has its ground in the nature of spiritual affinity and friendship; yea more, no one in a society can dwell in any other house than his own; every one in the society hath his own house, which he finds prepared for him as soon as he comes into the society ; he
with others out of his house, but yet he cannot dwell any where but in it; and what is still more, no one can sit in an apartment in another's house, in any place but his own ; if he sits in any other place, he becomes impotent of mind and silent; and what is wonderful, every one when he enters a room knows his own place; it is the same in temples, and also in assemblies when they are met together. From these circumstances it is evident, that a spiritual state is totally different from a natural state, and indeed such, that no one can be any where but where his reigning love is, for there the delight of his life is, and every one desires to be in the delight of his life, and the spirit of a man cannot be any where else, because that constitutes the life of him, yea, his very respiration, as also the pulsation of his heart: It is otherwise in the natural world, where the external of man is taught from his infancy to feign in his countenance, speech and gesture, delights different from those of his internal; wherefore from the state of a man in the natural world, a conclusion cannot be formed concerning his state after death, for the state of every one after death is spiritual, which is such, that he cannot be any where else, but in the delight of his love, which he acquired to himself by his life in the natural world. Hence it may appear manifestly, that no one can be let into the delight of heaven, which in general is called heavenly joy, who is in the delight of hell, or, what amounts to the same, be cannot be let into the delight of good, who is already in the delight of evil; which
may be still more clearly concluded from this circumstance, that the liberty of ascending into heaven is not refused any one after death, the way is shewn him, leave is given, and he is introduced; but when he comes into heaven, and by breathing draws in the delight thereof, if he be in evil, he begins to feel anguish in his breast, and to be tormented at heart, and to experience a swoon, in which he writhes himself like a snake placed before the fire, and with his face averted from heaven and turned toward hell, escapes head long, neither can he rest but in a society of his own prevailing love: hence it may appear, that to go to heaven is not given to any one from immediate mercy, consequently that it does not consist merely in admission, as many in this world imagine; also that neither is salvation momentaneous, for this supposes immediate mercy. There were some, who in the world believed in momentaneous salvation from immediate mercy, and when they became spirits were desirous that their infernal delight, or delight of evil, by means of the Divine omnipotence and the Divine mercy together, might be changed into heavenly delight, or delight of good ; and forasmuch as this was their desire, it was also permitted that it should be done by angels, who instantly removed their infernal delight; but then, by reason that it was the delight of their life, consequently their life itself, they lay as if they were dead, deprived of all sense and motion, nor was it possible to infuse into them any other life but their own, because all things of their minds and bodies were in a state of retroversion, and could not be contrary-wise retorted or wrested; wherefore they were revived by the intromission of the delight of their life's love ; afterwards they said, that in that state they felt interiorly something direful and horrible, which they would not make known; wherefore it is said in heaven, that it is easier to convert an owl into a dove, or a serpent into a lamb, than an infernal spirit into
an angel of heaven. THIRDLY: That the Doctrines of the Churches in the Christian World, interiorly considered, are contrary to momentaneous salvation from immediate mercy, but yet that it is established by men of the external church The doctrines of all churches, viewed interiorly, teach life; where is any church whose doctriue doth not teach, that man ought to examine himself; to see and acknowledge his sins; to confess them, repent, and then lead a new life? Who is admitted to the holy communion without this admonition and command ? Inquire, and you will be confirmed. What church is there, whose doctrine is not founded upon the precepts of the decalogue ? and the precepts of the decalogue are precepts of life. What man is there of the church, in whom there is any thing of the church, who doth not acknowledge, as soon as he hears it, that he is saved who lives well, aud he is condemned who lives wickedly ? Therefor in the Athanasian creed, which is also the doctrine received in the whole christian world, it is said, “That the Lord will come to judge the quick and the dead, and then they who have done good, will enter into life everlasting, and they who have done evil, into everlasting fire.” From which it is evident, that the doctrines of all churches, viewed interiorly, teach life, and forasmuch as they teach life, they teach that salvation is according to life, and the life of man is not inspired in a moment, but formed successively, and reformed as man shunneth evils as sins; consequently as he knoweth what sin is, and sees and acknowledges it, and as he doth not will it, and therefore desisteth from it; and as he also knoweth the means, which relate to the knowledge of God; by these, which cannot be infused in a moment, the life of man is formed and reformed; for hereditary evil is to be removed, which in itself is infernal, and in place of it, good, which in itself is celestial, is to be implanted : man, from his hereditary evil, may be compared to an owl as to understanding, and to a serpent as to will ; and a reformed man may be compared to a dove as to understanding, and to a lamb as to will; who doth not see, that knoweth any thing of the life of man, that this cannot be effected, except the nature of the owl and serpent be taken away, and the nature of the dove and lamb be implanted ? moreover it is well known, that every intelligent man may become more intelligent, and every wise man more wise, and that intelligence and wisdom in man may increase, and in some do increase, from infancy to their life's end, and that thus man is continually perfected. Why should not this be more eminently the case with spiritual intelligence and wisdom, which ascends by two degrees above natural intelligence and wisdom ? and when it ascends, it becomes angelic, which is unutterable; that this in angels increases to eternity, was said above: Who may not comprehend, if he will, that what is perfected to eternity, cannot possibly be perfect in an instant.
Hence then it is evident, that all who think from life concerning salvation, do not thing of any momentaneous salvation from immediate mercy, but of the means of salvation, on which and by which the Lord opperates according to the laws of his Divine Providence, therefore by which man is led out of pure mercy by the Lord. But they who do not think from life concerning salvation, imagine there is something momentaneous in salvation, and something immediate in mercy; as they do also, who separate faith from charity ; charity is life, and they suppose there is something momentaneous in faith, at the hour of death, if not before ; they also do the same, who believe remission of sins without repentance to be absolution from sins, and consequently salvation, and who with this idea receive the Lord's Supper; likewise they, who have faith in the indulgences of monks; and in their prayers for the dead; and in their dispensations grounded in the power they claim over the souls of men.
That momentaneous salvation from immediate mercy is the fiery fying serpent in the Church: By a fiery flying serpent is meant evil shining from infernal fire, the same as is meant by the fiery flying serpent in Isaiah, “Rejoice not thou whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken ; for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent,” xiv. 29. Such an evil flyeth in the church, when there is faith in momentaneous salvation from immediate
for thereby, 1. Religion is abolished. 2. Security is induced. 3. Damnation is imputed to the Lord. As to what concerns the first, That thereby religion is abolished; there are two essentials, and at the same time universals of religion, an acknowledgement of a God, and repentance; these two essentials are useless to those who think to be saved barely from mercy, without regard to their lives; for what need have they of any thing more, than to say, God have mercy upon me? as to every thing else appertaining to religion, they are in the dark, yea they love darkness : of the first essential of the church, which is an acknowledgment of God, they only think, what is God? who ever saw hlm ? if it is affirmed that there is a God, and that he is one, they assent that he is one; if it is affirmed that they are three, they also say that there are three, but that these three are to be called one: this is their acknowledgment of God. Of the other essential of the church, which is repentance, they think nothing at all, consequently
neither any thing of sin, and at length do not know that there is such a thing as sin ; and then they hear and imbibe with pleasure, that the law doth not condem, because a christian is not under its yoke; if you only say, God have mercy upon me for thy son's
will be saved ; this is repentance of life with them. But remove repentance, or what amounts to the same, separate life from religion, and what remains but the words, have mercy upon me? hence it is, that they could not conceive otherwise, but that salvation is effected in a moment by the means of those words, if not before, yet at the hour of death : in such case, what is the word to them, but like an obscure and enigmatical voice, uttered from a tripod in a cave? or like an unintelligible response from the oracle of an idol ? in a word, if you remove repentance, that is, separate life from religion, what else is man, in this case, but evil shining from infernal fire, or a fiery flying serpent in the church ? for without repentance man is in evil, and evil is hell. SECONDLY: That by faith in momentaneous salvation, from pure mercy alone, security of life is induced. Security of life arises either from the belief of the impious that there is no life after death, or from the belief of those who separate life from salvation; a person of the latter description, although he were to believe in eternal life, still thinks, whether I live well, or live ill, I can be saved, because salvation is pure mercy, and the mercy of God is universal, inasmuch as he willeth not the death of any one; and if happily a thought occurs that mercy is to be implored by a form of words agreeable to the commonly received faith, he may think that this if not before, can be done at the hour of death ; every man, who is in such a state of security, makes light of adulteries, frauds, injustice, violence, blasphemies and revenge; and gives a loose to his flesh and his spirit in the committing of all these evils; neither doth he know what spiritual evil is, and its concupiscences ; if he hear any thing thereof out of the Word, it is comparatively like somewhat falling upon Ebony and rebounding, or like somewhat which falls into a ditch, and is swallowed up. THIRDLY : That by such a faith damnation is imputed to the Lord. Who but must conclude that it is not the fault of man, but of the Lord, if he is not saved, when every one can be saved from pure mercy? If it be affirmed that faith is the means of salvation, he will urge, what man is there to whom such faith may not be given, inasmuch as it only consists in thought, which can be infused in every state of the spirit abstracted from worldly things, even with confidence ? and he may further urge, I cannot take it of myself; if therefore it is not given, and man is damned, what else can the damned think, than it is the Lord's fault, who could save him,
Vol 1.–No. 9.