Apocalypse Explained (Tansley) n. 786

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786. And his death stroke was healed. That this signifies the discordance apparently removed by means of assumed conjunctions of works with faith, is evident from the signification of a death stroke, as denoting discordance with the Word; for the same is here signified by a death stroke, as that just above by the head wounded unto death. That wounds in the Word signify such things as destroy the church, and the spiritual life of man, may be seen above (n. 584). And because doctrine from the Word constitutes the church, therefore when doctrine is not in accordance with the Word it is no longer a church, but a religious persuasion which counterfeits a church. The same also is evident from the signification of being healed, namely, the wound, as denoting that that disagreement was apparently removed by assumed conjunctions of works with faith. That this is signified by being healed, when by the death stroke is signified discordance with the Word, is evident without further deduction. Nevertheless that stroke is not healed, but only apparently removed. This will be seen in what follows.

First, something shall be said concerning the conjunctions of good works with faith as assumed by those who have believed themselves to be more acute and sagacious than the rest, and at the same time to be endowed with such gifts of intellect, that by reasonings from fallacies they can cause any falsity whatever to appear like truth. In order, however, that these subjects may be investigated, brought down to the apprehension, and afterwards unfolded, the conjunctions of good works with faith shall be here stated. Some of these are believed by the simple, and some invented by the learned, by which it appears as if that discordance with the Word were removed.

[2] 1. The most simple suppose that faith alone consists in believing those things that are in the Word, and which the doctrine of the church thence teaches.

2. The less simple do not know what faith alone is, but only that faith is the same as believing in what is to be done. Few of them make any distinction between believing and doing.

3. Others, indeed, suppose that faith produces good works, but do not think how it produces them.

4. Others think that faith in all cases precedes, and that good works come from it, or that they exist as fruit from a tree.

5. Some believe that the latter takes place from man by co-operation; some, on the contrary, that it is effected without such co-operation.

6. But because the doctrinal teaches that faith alone saves, without good works, therefore some take no account of good works, saying in their hearts, that all things that they do in the sight of God are good, and that evils are not seen by God.

7. But because deeds and works, also doing and working, are frequently mentioned in the Word, therefore, from the necessity of reconciling the Word with that dogma, they devise various modes of conjunction, which, however, are such that faith is kept by itself and works by themselves, in order that salvation may be in faith, and nothing of it in works.

8. Some conjoin faith with the endeavour to do good by those who have reached the last degree of justification; but they do this with an endeavour that derives nothing from man's Voluntary, which, on the contrary, is solely from influx or inspiration, because good from the Voluntary is, in itself, not good.

9. Some conjoin faith with the merit of the Lord, saying that this worketh in everything pertaining to man's life, while at the same time he is ignorant of it.

10. Some conjoin faith with moral good, and with civil good, which are to be done for the sake of life in the world, but not for the sake of eternal life. They also affirm that these goods are meant by the deeds and works, and by the doing and working, mentioned in the Word; and that, for the sake of the uses therein, good works are to be taught and preached before the laity, because they have no knowledge of the mysteries concerning the conjunction of faith and works; and some cannot comprehend them.

11. Many of the learned suppose that the conjunction of all things is in faith alone, that is to say, that in it are contained love to God, love towards the neighbour, the good of life, works, the Lord's merit, and God, besides what a man thinks concerning these things, and wills and does from himself.

12. It must be noted that still many other means of conjunction, in addition to the above, have been devised; and still more by the same persons in the spiritual world; for spiritual thought can range over innumerable things which transcend the power of natural thought.

I saw a certain one in the spiritual world devising more than a hundred methods to produce this conjunction, and in every one there was an advance in meditation from the beginning through the means, even to the end; but when he came to the end, and believed that he now saw the conjunction, he was enlightened, and he observed that the more interiorly he thought upon the subject, the more he separated faith from good works; and he did not conjoin them.

From these considerations it is evident what the methods of conjunction are which the learned, especially, have devised, by which the discordance of this dogma with the Word seems to be removed, and what is meant by the death stroke of the beast being healed.

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