True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 339

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339. The reason why we must believe, that is, have faith in God the Saviour Jesus Christ is that it is faith in a visible God, in whom there is an invisible God; and faith in a visible God, who is man and at the same time God, enters into a person. For faith is in its essence spiritual, but in its form natural. With a person therefore faith becomes spiritual-natural, for everything spiritual must be accepted in the natural, in order to be of any value to a person. The bare spiritual does in fact enter into a person, but is not accepted. It is like the ether which flows in and out again without producing any effect; for an effect to be produced, it must be perceived and so accepted, both of these being processes in the human mind, and this cannot happen in a person except at the natural level.

On the other hand a purely natural faith, one, that is, devoid of spiritual essence, is no faith, merely a firm conviction or knowledge. A firm conviction mimics faith externally, but, lacking any inward spirituality, cannot therefore contribute anything to salvation. Such is faith in the case of all who deny the divinity of the Lord's Human; such too was the faith of the Arians and also the Socinians*, both of whom rejected the Lord's divinity. What is faith without a goal towards which it is directed? Is it not like a look directed towards the universe, a look which falls as if on empty space and thus comes to naught? It is also like a bird soaring above the atmosphere into the ether, where it dies, as if in a vacuum. The time this faith resides in the human mind can be compared with that of the winds in the halls of Aeolus**, or that of light in a shooting star. It arises like a comet with a long tail, but, like a comet, it passes and disappears.

[2] In brief, faith in an invisible God is in fact blind faith, since the human mind cannot see its God; and the light of this faith, not being spiritual-natural, is a false light. This light resembles that of a glowworm, or the light seen at night on marshes or sulphurous ground, or that from rotting wood. Nothing can come of such light but pure imagination, which make appearances seem real when they are not. Faith in an invisible God sheds only this kind of light; especially so, when one reflects that God is a spirit, and thinks of spirit as the ether. What result can this have except to make a person look on God as he does the ether? So he looks for God in the universe, and not finding Him there, believes that Nature is God. This is the source of the nature-worship which is prevalent at the present time. Did not the Lord say that no one has ever heard the Father's voice or seen His appearance (John 5:37)? And also that no one has ever seen God, and that the only-begotten Son, who is in the Father's bosom, has revealed Him (John 1:18)? No one has seen the Father except Him who is with the Father; He has seen the Father (John 6:46). And that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Further we read that a person who sees and knows Him sees and knows the Father (John 14:7ff).

[3] It is, however, different with faith in the Lord God the Saviour. Since He is God and man, and can be approached and seen in the mind's eye, this faith is not without a goal, but has a goal from which it proceeds and to which it is directed; and once accepted, it remains. It is as when one has seen an emperor or king; whenever one recalls them, their likeness recurs to the mind. The vision that faith gives is like looking at a shining cloud, with an angel in its midst, calling the person to himself so that he can be raised to heaven. That is how the Lord appears to those who have faith in Him, and He comes near to each individual, to the extent that he knows and acknowledges Him. This happens in so far as he knows and does His commandments, that is, to shun evils and do good deeds; and finally He comes to his house and makes His dwelling with him together with the Father, who is in Him, as this passage of John promises:

Jesus said, He who has my commandments and does them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and show myself to him. And we shall come to him and make our dwelling with him. John 14:21, 23.

This was written in the presence of the Lord's twelve Apostles, who were sent to me by the Lord while I was writing this.

* Arians were heretics of the early 4th century, Socinians of the 16th century. ** Aeolus in Greek mythology controlled the winds: the Latin reads 'wings (alis) of Aeolus', but 'halls' (aulis) is clearly intended.

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