The Word is not understood, except by those who are enlightened. The human rational faculty cannot comprehend Divine, nor even spiritual things, unless it be enlightened by the Lord. Thus they only who are enlightened comprehend the Word. The Lord enables those who are enlightened to understand truths, and to discern those things which appear to contradict each other. The Word in its literal sense appears inconsistent, and in some places seems to contradict itself. And therefore by those who are not enlightened, it may be so explained and applied, as to confirm any opinion or heresy, and to defend any worldly and corporeal love. They are enlightened from the Word, who read it from the love of truth and good, but not they who read it from the love of fame, of gain, or of honor, thus from the love of self. They are enlightened who are in the good of life, and thereby in the affection of truth. They are enlightened whose internal is open, thus who as to their internal man are capable of elevation into the light of heaven
Day: March 24, 2014
Roman Catholic religious persuasion,
AR 753. Verse 1. And after these things I saw, signifies the manifestation concerning the destruction and condemnation of those who were in the Roman Catholic religious persuasion, and exercised authority over the holy things of the church and heaven, with the purpose of having dominion over all, and of possessing all the goods of others. These things are here signified by “after these things I saw,” because they are treated of in this chapter. The dogmas of that religious persuasion are prefixed to this work, that they who are in enlightenment from the Lord may see that they regard nothing else than dominion over the souls of men, to the end that they may be worshiped as gods, and may alone possess the goods of the whole world. And because that was their end, and not at all the salvation of souls, they could not take their dogmas from any other source than from hell; for they could not from heaven, that is, from the Lord, but from themselves, because they transferred all things of the Lord to themselves. What is more detestable than to divide the body and blood of the Lord, or the bread and wine in the Holy Supper, manifestly against its institution, and this by fictions, and solely for the sake of the daily and nightly sacrifices of the Mass, by which they make worldly gains? What is more detestable than to worship dead men with Divine invocation, and to fall down on the knees to their images, and to kiss them in a holy manner, yea, the bones and remains of their dead bodies, and thus to lead away the people from Divine worship and to lead them into profane worship; and this also for the sake of gains? What is more detestable than to make Divine worship on the Lord‘s day and on festivals to consist in masses not understood, and thus in externals which are of the body and its affections without internals which are of the soul and its affections, and to ascribe to the former all sanctity, and thus to hold all in ignorance and blind faith, that they may have dominion and make gain? What is more detestable than to transfer all things of the Lord’s Divine authority to themselves? which is nothing else than to draw down the Lord from His throne, and to put themselves upon it. What is more detestable than to take away the Word, which is the Divine truth itself, from the laity and the common people, and to issue edicts and dogmas in its place, in which there is scarcely one genuine truth of the Word? These are the things which are treated of in this chapter of the Apocalypse
“The Wonderful Word”:
“The Wonderful Word”: “Jesus Christ is no less than the God-man, and the one in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells. He is the greatest Person in the universe. There is no place high enough, for he fills all things. Human language does not contain words sufficient to tell of His worth. Words utterly break fail and break down in attempt to give Him honor, Who is above all, over all, and in all. Vowels, consonants and dipthongs cannot unite the framing words that speak of His matchless glory. “Christ is the Fact of facts, the Bible’s Theme. He is the God, all Light from Him doth gleam. He is the Man of men, beyond all dream. He is the God of love, all love Divine. He’s All! The Visibility of God.”
THE DIETY OF CHRIST
There have always been, in the minds of intelligent and sincere Christians, many difficulties resulting from this doctrine, and thousands of volumes have been written to explain them away. In considering the subject at the present time, it seems proper for us to mention some of them, that we may see more clearly, that while the doctrines of the New Church teach the absolute necessity of the Lord’s coming into the world, to human salvation, they obviate many of the difficulties and contradictions involved in the doctrine commonly received.
1. It is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile this doctrine with the Divine Unity. Two distinct beings are necessarily implied—beings of quite different if not opposite characters. If they are the same, and have the same character, the Son ought to demand justice as well as the Father. Both are creators, both are lawgivers, both have been offended, and if the justice of the one demands satisfaction, why does not the justice of the other? If one was willing to suffer, why was not the other also? Or, if it was necessary for one to suffer, why was it not just as necessary for the other? While, therefore, the theory necessitates two persons to give it any color of truth, and thus destroys the unity of God, it avoids no difficulties, but rather increases them.
2. Again: According to this doctrine the being called Jehovah, in the Old Testament, did not come into the world. He sent his Son. It was the Second Person in the Trinity, therefore, who came, and who is the Savior and Redeemer, and the only Savior. But this is directly contrary to the most explicit and oft-repeated declarations of Scripture. Jehovah declares that He is the only Savior, that there is no other beside Him. Neither does He fulfill His promise, that He will come and save men. He does not come; He sends some one else.
Antichrist is the adversary of Christ; an adversary really, a friend pretendedly: So then, Antichrist is one that is against Christ; one that is for Christ, and one that is contrary to him: (And this is that mystery of iniquity (2 Thess 2:7). Against him in deed ; for him in word , and contrary to him in practice . Antichrist is so proud as to go before Christ; so humble as to pretend to come after him, and so audacious as to say that himself is he . Antichrist will cry up Christ; Antichrist will cry down Christ: Antichrist will proclaim that himself is one above Christ. Antichrist is the man of sin , the son of perdition; a beast, [that] hath two horns like a lamb, but speaks as a dragon (Rev 13:11).
Christ is the Son of God; Antichrist is the son of Hell.
Christ is holy, meek, and forbearing: Antichrist is wicked, outrageous, and exacting.
Christ seeketh the good of the soul: Antichrist seeks his own avarice and revenge.
Christ is content to rule by his word: Antichrist saith, The word is not sufficient.
Christ preferreth his Father’s will above heaven and earth: Antichrist preferreth himself and his traditions above all that is written, or that is called God, or worshiped.
Christ has given us such laws and rules as are helpful and healthful to the soul: Antichrist seeketh to abuse those rules to our hurt and destruction.
Antichrist may be considered either more particularly, or more generally. 1. More particularly: And so there are many Antichrists (1 John 2:18). 2. More generally: And so the many maketh but one great Antichrist, one man of sin, one enemy, one great whore, one son of perdition (2 Thess 2:3; Rev 19:2).
There is never an hypocrite in the world that makes God, or Christ, or holiness, or his doing or receiving good in his station, relation, or generation his grand end, his highest end, his ultimate end of living in the world. Pleasures, profits, and honors are the hypocrite’s all, [which] he aims at in this world. They are his trinity, which he adores and serves and sacrificeth himself unto (1 John 2:16). An hypocrite’s ends are corrupt and selfish. God may possibly be at the higher end of his work, but self is at the further end; for he that was never truly cast out of himself, can have no higher end than himself. An hypocrite is all for his own glory: he acts for himself and from himself. “So I may have the profit, the credit, the glory, the applause, come of God’s glory what will!” This is the language of an unsound heart.
An hypocrite will seem to be very godly when he can make a gain of godliness. He will seem to be very holy when holiness is the way to outward greatness and happiness. But his religious wickedness will double-damn the hypocrite at last. Self-ends are the operative ingredients in all an hypocrite does….When hypocrites take up religion, it is only to serve their own turns, to bring about their own carnal ends. They serve not the Lord, but their own bellies (Romans 16:18; Philippians 3:19)….An hypocrite always makes himself the end of all his service; but let such hypocrites know, that though their profession be never so glorious and their duties never so abundant, yet their ends being selfish and carnal, all their pretensions and performances are but beautiful abominations in the sight of God.
An hypocrite has always a squint-eye, and squint-eyed aims and squint-eyed ends in all he does. Balaam spake very religiously, and he multiplied altars and sacrifices; but the thing he had in his eye was the wages of unrighteousness (Numbers 22:23; 2 Peter 2:15). Jehu destroyed bloody Ahab’s house, he executed the vengeance of God upon that wicked family; he readily, resolutely, and effectually destroyed all the worshippers of Baal, but his ends were to secure the kingdom to him and his (2 Kings 10). Ahab and the Ninevites fasted in sackcloth, but it was merely that they might not feel the heavy judgments that they feared would overtake them (1 Kings 21; Jonah 3). The Jews in Babylon fasted and mourned, and mourned and fasted seventy years, but it was more to get off their chains than their sins; it was more to be rid of their captivity than it was to be rid of their iniquity (Zechariah 7:5, 6)….It is the end that dignifies or debaseth the action, that rectifies it or adulterates it, that sets a crown of honor or a crown of shame upon the head of it. He that commonly, habitually, in all his duties and services, proposes to himself no higher ends than the praises of men or rewards of men, or the stopping the mouth of natural conscience, or only to avoid a smarting rod, or merely to secure himself from wrath to come, he is an hypocrite.
But now mark: a sincere Christian, if he prays or hears, or gives or fasts, or repents or obeys, God’s glory is the main end of all. The glory of God is his highest end, his ultimate end (Psalm 115:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:6). A sincere Christian can be content to be trampled upon and vilified, so God’s name be glorified. The bent of such a heart is for God and His glory; nothing but sincerity can carry a soul so high as in all acts natural, civil, and religious to intend God’s glory (Revelations 9:9-11). A sincere Christian ascribes the praise of all to God. He sets the crown on Christ’s head alone; he will set God upon the throne and make all things else His servants or His footstool (Romans 14:7, 8). All must bow the knee to God or be trodden in the dirt. He will love nothing, he will embrace nothing but what sets God higher or brings God nearer to his heart….He lives not to his own will, or lusts, or greatness, or glory in this world, but he lives to His glory, Whose glory is dearer to him than his own life (1 Corinthians 10:28; Revelation 12:11)….The daily language of sincere souls is this: “Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, Lord, but to thy name give glory” (Psalm 115:1).
Glory is God’s right, and He stands upon His right; and this the sincere Christian knows, and therefore he gives Him His right, he gives Him the honor and the glory that is due unto His name. But pray do not mistake me: I do not say that such as are really sincere do actually eye the glory of Christ in all their actions. Oh no! This is a happiness desirable on earth, but shall never be attained till we come to heaven. Bye and base ends and aims will be still ready to creep into the best hearts; but all sincere hearts sigh and groan under them. They complain to God of them…and it is the earnest desires and daily endeavors of their souls to be rid of them….But now take a sincere Christian in his ordinary, usual, and habitual course, and you shall find that his aims and ends in all his actions and undertakings are to glorify God, to exalt God, and to lift up God in the world….He that sets up the glory of God as his chief end will find that his chief end will by degrees eat out all low and base ends.
No hypocrite can live wholly and only upon the righteousness of Christ, the satisfaction of Christ, the merits of Christ for justification and salvation. The hypocritical scribes and Pharisees prayed, fasted, and kept the Sabbath and gave alms; and in this legal righteousness they rested and trusted (Matthew 6; Luke 18:11, 12). Ponder upon that in Revelation 3:16-18. Upon the performance of these and such like duties, they laid the weight of their souls and the stress of their salvation and so perished forever.
An hypocrite rests upon what he doth and never looks so high as the righteousness of Christ. He looks upon his duties as so much good moneys laid out for heaven. He weaves a web of righteousness to clothe himself withal. He never looks out for a more glorious righteousness to be justified by than his own, and so puts a slight upon the righteousness of Christ. “For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3). The first step to salvation is to renounce our own righteousness. The next step is to embrace the righteousness of Christ, which is freely offered to sinners in the Gospel. But these things the hypocrite minds not, regards not. The righteousness of an hypocrite is not only imperfect, but impure—a rag, a filthy rag; and therefore he that rests upon such a righteousness must needs miscarry to all eternity (Isaiah 64:6). O sirs! Who will say that that man needs a savior, [who] can fly to heaven upon the wings of his own duties and services? If a man’s duties can pacify an infinite wrath and satisfy an infinite justice, then farewell Christ, and welcome duties.
He that rests upon anything in him or done by him, as a means to procure the favor of God or the salvation of his soul will put such a cheat upon himself as will undo him for ever. Non-submission to the righteousness of Christ keeps Christ and the hypocrite asunder. Christ will never love nor like to put the fine, clean, white linen of His own righteousness upon the old garment, the old rags of an hypocrite’s duties (Revelation 19:7, 8)….An hypocrite’s confidence in his own righteousness turns his righteousness into filthiness (Pro 21:27).
But now a sincere Christian, he renounces his own righteousness. He renounces all confidence in the flesh (Phi 3:3); he looks upon his own righteousness as dung, yea, as dogs’ meat, as some interpret the word in Philippians 3:8. He will say no more to his duties, to the works of his hands, “Ye are our gods” (Hosea 14:3). When they look upon the holiness of God’s nature, the righteousness of His government, the severity of His Law, the terror of His wrath, they see an absolute and indispensable necessity of a more glorious righteousness than their own to appear before God in. A sincere Christian sets the highest price and value upon the righteousness of Christ: “I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only” (Psalm 71:16).
A sincere Christian rejoices in the righteousness of Christ above all: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10)….Oh then, what matter of joy must it be to a sincere Christian to have the rich and royal garment of Christ’s righteousness cast upon him! (Isaiah 28:16). A sincere Christian rests on the righteousness of Christ as on a sure foundation: “Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength” (Isaiah 45:24).
A sincere Christian looks upon the righteousness of Christ as that which renders him most splendid and glorious in the eyes of God: “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9)….A sincere Christian looks upon the righteousness of Christ as his only security against wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10). Wrath to come is the greatest wrath, wrath to come is the purest wrath, wrath to come is infinite wrath, wrath to come is everlasting wrath. Now the sincere Christian, he knows no way under heaven to secure himself from wrath to come, but by putting on the robe of Christ’s righteousness (Romans 13:14)….Well, for a close, remember this: there is never an hypocrite in the world that is more pleased, satisfied, delighted and contented with the righteousness of Christ, than with his own. Though an hypocrite may be much in duties, yet he never lives above his duties; he works for life, and he rests in his work, and this proves his mortal wound. But,
An hypocrite never embraces a whole Christ. He can never take up his full and everlasting rest, satisfaction, and content in the person of Christ, in the merits of Christ, in the enjoyment of Christ alone. No hypocrite did ever long and mourn after the enjoyment of Christ as the best thing in all the world. No hypocrite did ever prize Christ for a Sanctifier as well as a Savior. No hypocrite did ever look upon Christ or long for Christ to deliver him from the power of his sins, as much or as well as to deliver him from wrath to come. No hypocrite can really love the person of Christ or take satisfaction in the person of Christ. The rays and beams of Christ’s glory have never warmed his heart. He never knew what bosom communion with Christ meant (1 Thessalonians 1:10). An hypocrite may love to be healed by Christ, and to be pardoned by Christ, and to be saved by Christ; but he can never take any complacency in the Person of Christ. His heart never seriously works after union with Christ. The love of a sincere Christian runs much out to the Person of Christ. Heaven itself without Christ would be to such a soul but a poor thing, a low thing, a little thing, an uncomfortable thing, an empty thing. It is the Person of Christ that is the sparkling diamond in the ring of glory (Philippians 1:21; 3:7-10).
No hypocrite in the world is sincerely willing to receive Christ in all His office and to close with Him upon Gospel terms. The terms upon which God offers Christ in the Gospel are these, viz., that we shall accept of a whole Christ with a whole heart (Matthew 16:24).
Now, mark, a whole Christ includes all His offices; and a whole heart includes all our faculties. Christ as Mediator is King, Priest, and Prophet; and so God the Father in the Gospel offers Him. Salvation was too great and too glorious a work to be perfected and completed by any one office of Christ. Christ as a prophet instructs us, as a priest He redeems us and intercedes for us, and as a king, He sanctifies and saves us. The apostle hit it when he said, “Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Consider Christ as our Prophet, and so He is made wisdom to us. Consider Him as our Priest, and so He is made righteousness and redemption to us. Consider Him as our King, and so He is made sanctification and holiness to us.
An hypocrite may be willing to embrace Christ as a priest to save him from wrath, from the curse, from hell, from everlasting burning, but he is never sincerely willing to embrace Christ as a prophet to teach and instruct him, and as a king to rule and reign over him. Many hypocrites may be willing to receive a Christ Jesus, [who] are not willing to receive a Lord Jesus. They may be willing to embrace a saving Christ, but they are not willing to embrace a ruling Christ, a commanding Christ: “This man shall not rule over us” (Luke 19:27)….”He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). An hypocrite is willing to receive Christ in one office, but not in every office; and this is that stumbling-stone at which hypocrites stumble and fall and are broken in pieces. Certainly Christ is as lovely and as comely, as desirable and delightful, as eminent and excellent in one office as He is in another; and therefore it is a just and righteous thing with God that hypocrites that won’t receive Him in every office should have no benefit by any one of His offices. Christ and His offices may be distinguished, but Christ and His offices can never be divided (1 Corinthians 1:13). Whilst many have been a-laboring to divide one office of Christ from another, they have wholly stripped themselves of any advantage or benefit by Christ.
Hypocrites love to share with Christ in His happiness, but they don’t love to share with Christ in His holiness. They are willing to be redeemed by Christ, but they are not cordially willing to submit to the laws and government of Christ. They are willing to be saved by His blood, but they are not willing to submit to His scepter. Hypocrites love the privileges of the Gospel, but they don’t love the services of the Gospel, especially those that are most inward and spiritual. But now a sincere Christian, he owns Christ in all His offices, he receives Christ in all His offices, and he closes with Christ in all His offices. He accepts of Him, not only as a Christ Jesus, but also as a Lord Jesus; he embraces Him, not only as a saving Christ, but also as a ruling Christ. The Colossians received Him as Christ Jesus the Lord (Colossians 2:6); they received a Lord Christ as well as a saving Christ; they received Christ as a king upon His throne, as well as a sacrifice upon His cross (2 Corinthians 4:5). God the Father in the Gospel tenders a whole Christ. We preach Christ Jesus the Lord; and accordingly, a sincere Christian receives a whole Christ, he receives Christ Jesus the Lord (Acts 5:31)….An hypocrite is all for a saving Christ, for a sin-pardoning Christ, for a soul-glorifying Christ, but regards not a ruling Christ, a reigning Christ, a commanding Christ, a sanctifying Christ; and this at last will prove his damning sin (John 3:19, 20).
Put on the full armor of God
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:11-13
Those who have no conscience do not know what conscience is. There are some who laugh at conscience when they hear what it is . Some believe that conscience is nothing; some that it is something natural that is sad and mournful, arising either from causes in the body or from causes in the world; some that it is something that the common people get from their religion. There is true conscience, spurious conscience, and false conscience. Pain of conscience is an anxiety of mind on account of what is unjust, insincere, or in any respect evil, which man believes to be against God and against the good of the neighbor. Those have conscience who are in love to God and in charity towards the neighbor, but those who are not so have no conscience.
the work our lord really accomplished,
If we can get a true idea of the work our lord really accomplished, we can hardly fail to see that there was no possible way of avoiding the sorrow, though, strictly speaking, it contributed nothing to our salvation. The Creator Himself, for the purpose of gaining access to His children, clothes Himself with a nature similar to their own, and thus exposes Himself to the direst conflicts with evil, and suffers all the terrible pangs of the conflict, and He does it solely because the work of redemption can be accomplished in no other way. The suffering is unavoidable, from the nature of the work, and yet it is no part of the work.
Education and knowledge
Education and knowledge by themselves do not bring inner peace to individuals, families or the society in which they live. But education combined with warmheartedness, a sense of concern for the well-being of others, has much more positive results. If you have a great deal of knowledge, but you’re governed by negative emotions, then you tend to use your knowledge in negative ways. Therefore, while you are learning, don’t forget the importance of warmheartednes
“The Christian faith
“The Christian faith has not been tried and found wanting. It has rather been found difficult and left untried.”