A Brief Exposition of the Doctrine of the New Church, by Emanuel Swedenborg

from Emanuel Swedenborg,, A Brief Exposition of the Doctrine of the New Church
Which is Meant by "The New Jerusalem" in the Apocalypse
(New York:  Swedenborg Foundation, 1951)

 

A Brief Exposition of the Doctrine of the New Church
Which is Meant by "The New Jerusalem" in the Apocalypse

By Emanuel Swedenborg
(First published, in Latin, 1769)

 

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION (1)

The Doctrinals of the Roman Catholics concerning justification, from the Council of Trent (2-8)

The Doctrinals of the Protestants concerning justification, from the Formula Concordia (9-15)

A Sketch of the Doctrinals of the New Church (16)

The Disagreement between the Doctrinals of the Old and the New Church, considered under XXV. Articles.

I. The churches, which, by the Reformation, separated themselves from the Roman Catholic Church, differ in various things; but they all agree in the articles concerning a Trinity of Persons in the Divinity, original sin from Adam, imputation of the merit of Christ, and justification by faith alone (17-18)

II. The Roman Catholics, before the Reformation, taught exactly the same things as the Reformed did after it, concerning the four articles above mentioned, namely, a Trinity of Persons in the Divinity, original sin, imputation of the merit of Christ, and justification by faith therein; only with this difference, that they conjoined that faith with charity or good works (19,20)

III. The leading Reformers, Luther, Melancthon, and Calvin, retained all the dogmas concerning a Trinity of Persons in the Divinity, original sin, imputation of the merit of Christ, and justification by faith, just as they were and had been with the Roman Catholics; but they separated charity or good works from that, faith, and declared that they were not at the same time saving, with a view to be totally severed, from the Roman Catholics, as to the very essentials of the church; which are faith and charity (21-23)

IV. Nevertheless the leading reformers adjoined good works, and also conjoined them, to their faith, but in man as a passive subject; whereas the Roman Catholics conjoin them in man as an active subject; and, that notwithstanding this, there is actually a conformity between the one and the other as to faith, works, and, merits (24-29)

V. The whole theology in the Christian world at this day is founded on an idea of three Gods, arising from the doctrine of a Trinity of Persons (30-38)

VI. The dogmas of that theology appear to be erroneous, after the idea of a Trinity of Persons, and thence of three Gods, has been rejected, and the idea of One God, in Whom there is a Divine Trinity, is received in its stead. (39, 40)

VII. Then truly saving faith, which is a faith in One God, united with good works, is acknowledged and received. (41, 42)

VIII. And this is a faith in God the Saviour Jesus Christ, which in its simple form is as follows:

i. That there is One God, in Whom is the Divine Trinity, and He is the Lord Jesus Christ.

ii. Saving faith is to believe in Him.

iii. Evils ought to be shunned, because they are of the devil and from the devil.

iv. Goods ought to be done, because they are of God and from God.

v. And they ought to be done by man as of himself, but it is to be believed that they are from the Lord, with him and through him

(43, 44)

IX. The faith of the present day has separated religion from the church, since religion consists in the acknowledgment of One God, and in the worship of Him, from the faith of charity (45, 46)

X. The faith of the church at this day cannot be conjoined with charity, and produce any fruits, which are good works (47-50)

XI. From the faith of the church at this day there results a worship of the mouth and not of the life, whereas the worship of the mouth is accepted by the Lord, according to the worship of the life (51, 52)

XII. The doctrine of the church at this day is interwoven with many paradoxes, which are to be embraced by faith; and therefore its dogmas gain admission into the memory only; and not into any part of the understanding above the memory, but merely into confirmation below it (53-57)

XIII. The dogmas of the church at this day cannot be learned and retained without great difficulty, nor can they be preached or taught without using great care and caution to conceal their nakedness, because true reason neither perceives nor receives them (58, 59)

XIV. The doctrine of the faith of the church at this day ascribes to God human properties; as that He regarded man from anger, that He required to be reconciled, that He is reconciled through the love He bore towards the Son, and by His intercession; and that He required to be brought back to mercy; and that He imputes the justice of His Son to an unjust man who supplicates it from faith alone; and that thus from an enemy He makes him a friend, and from a child of wrath a child of grace (60-63)

XV The faith of the church at this day has produced monstrous births; such as instantaneous salvation from immediate mercy; predestination; that God pays no attention to the actions of men, but to faith alone; that there is no connection between charity and faith; that man in conversion is like a stock, with many more; likewise concerning the sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Supper, as to the advantages reasonably to be expected from them, when considered according to the doctrine of justification by faith alone; as also with regard to the Person of Christ: and that the heresies from the first ages to the present day, have sprung up from no other source than from the doctrine founded on the idea of three Gods (64-69)

XVI. The last state of the church at this day, when it is at its end, is meant by the consummation of the age, and then the coming of the Lord (Matthew xxiv. 3) (70-73)

XVII. The infestation from falsities, and thence the consummation of every truth, or the desolation which at this day prevails in the Christian churches, is meant by the great affliction, such as was not, from the beginning of the world, nor ever shall be (Matthew xxiv. 21) (74-76)

XVIII. There would be neither love, nor faith, nor the knowledges of good and truth, in the last time of the Christian Church, when it draws to an end, is understood by these words in the same chapter of Matthew (xxiv.), "After the affliction of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the, stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken" (verse 29) (77-81)

XIX. They who are in the present justifying faith, are meant by the he-goats in Daniel and in Matthew (82-86)

XX. They who have confirmed themselves in the present justifying faith, are meant in the Apocalypse by the dragon and his two beasts, and by the locusts; and that this same faith, when confirmed, is there meant by the great city which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where the two witnesses were slain, as also by the pit of the abyss from which the locusts went forth (87-90)

XXI. Unless the New Church be established by the Lord, no one can be saved ; and this is meant by these words, "Unless those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved" (Matthew xxiv. 22) (91-94)

XXII. The opening and rejection of the dogmas of the faith of the church at this day, and the revelation and reception of the dogmas of the faith of the New Church, is meant by these words in the Apocalypse : "He that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new; and He said, Write, for these words are true and faithful." (chap. xxi. 5) (95-98)

XXIII. The New Church about to be established by the Lord, is the New Jerusalem, treated of in the Apocalypse (chap. xxi. and xxii.), which is there called the Bride and the Wife of the Lamb (99-101)

XXIV. The faith of the New Church cannot by any means be together with the faith of the former church, and if they be together, such a collision and conflict will take place that everything of the church with man will perish (102-104).

XXV. The Roman Catholics of this day know nothing of the imputation of the merit of Christ, and of justification by faith therein, into which their church was first iniČtiated, because it is entirely concealed under their externals of worship, which are many; for which reason, therefore, if they recede but in part from the externals of their worship, and immediately approach God the Saviour Jesus Christ, and receive the Holy Eucharist in both kinds, they may be brought into the New Jerusalem, that is, into the New Church of the Lord, more easily than the Reformed (105-108)


On Imputation (109-113)

Two Relations from The Apocalypse Revealed (114, 115)

APPENDIX

The faith of the New Heaven and the New Church in its universal form (116,117)

Three Relations from The Apocalypse Revealed (118-120)

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