True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 11

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The first reason is that knowledge about God, and consequently acknowledgment of God, is impossible without revelation, and that knowledge about the Lord and consequently the acknowledgment that 'in Him all the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily' can only come from the Word, which is the crown of revelations. Because revelation has been granted, a person is able to go to meet God and be acted upon by Him, and so from being natural become spiritual. The revelation of early ages spread throughout the world, and was perverted by natural men in many ways. This is the origin of the divisions, dissensions, heresies and schisms which have affected religions.

The second reason is that a natural man cannot form and apply to himself any perception of God, but only of the world. This is why it is one of the principles of the Christian Church that the natural man is opposed to the spiritual and they fight each other. This too is why those who have learned the existence of God from the Word [or] another revelation have differed and still do concerning the nature of God and His oneness.

[2] For this reason those whose mental vision has been dependent upon the bodily senses, and have none the less wished to see God, have made for themselves images of gold, silver, stone and wood, so that in these forms as visible objects they could worship God. This is why also others whose religion led them to reject such images, made themselves images of God out of the sun, the moon and the stars and various terrestrial objects. But those who thought their intelligence above the common herd, yet remained natural men, were led by the immensity of God and His omnipresence in creating the world to acknowledge nature as God, in some cases in its inmost, in others in its outermost forms. Some, in order to maintain a distinction between God and nature, thought up some extremely universal principle, which they called 'the Being of the Universe'; and because they know nothing more about God, this Being becomes for them a mere concept, which is meaningless.

[3] Is there anyone who cannot grasp that things known about God are mirrors held up to God? Those who know nothing of God see Him not in a mirror held up to their eyes, but in a mirror turned back to front, which is covered with quicksilver or a black composition that does not reflect an image but blots it out. Belief in God comes into man by the front door, that is, from the soul into the higher regions of the understanding. But knowledge about God comes in by the back door, because it is absorbed by the understanding from the revelation of the Word by means of the bodily senses. The two paths leading in meet in the midst of the understanding; there, natural belief, which is merely a strongly held opinion, becomes spiritual, that is to say, a real acknowledgment. So the human understanding is like an exchange where currencies are changed.

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