Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/502

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only one of them:—They assert that whatever proceeds from man's will and judgment is not good; and that therefore the goods of charity or good works, because they are done by man, contribute nothing to salvation, but faith alone; when yet the one thing by virtue of which man is man, and by which he is conjoined with the Lord, is, that he can do good and believe truth as of himself, that is from his own will according to his own judgment. If this one thing were taken away, at the same time everything that is conjunctive of man with the Lord and of the Lord with man would also be taken away. For this is the ability of love to reciprocate; which the Lord gives to every one who is born a man, which He also preserves in him to the end of his life, and afterwards to eternity. If this were taken away from man every good and truth of the Word would also be taken away from him; insomuch that the Word would be nothing but a dead letter and an empty volume. For the Word teaches nothing else than the conjunction of man with the Lord through charity and faith,—both, from man as of himself. They who are meant by the dragon referred to above have sundered this only bond of conjunction, by asserting that the goods of charity or good works which proceed from man, and from his will and judgment, are only moral, civil, and political works, by which man has conjunction with the world, and none at all with God and with heaven; and when this bond is thus broken there is no doctrinal truth of the Word remaining. And if the truths of the Word are applied to confirm faith alone as saving without the works of the law, then they are all falsified. And if the falsification proceeds so far as to affirm that the Lord did not command good works in the Word for the sake of man's conjunction with Himself, but only for the sake of his conjunction with the world, then the truths of the Word are profaned; for thus the Word becomes no longer a holy but a profane book. (ib. n. 541.)

"And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered, to devour her child as soon as she should bring forth." This signifies that they who are meant by the dragon will be active to extinguish the doctrine of the New Church at its very birth. The woman signifies the New Church. To bring forth signifies to receive goods and truths of doctrine from the Word; the child which she would bring forth signifies the doctrine of the New Church. To devour signifies to extinguish, because the child signifies doctrine; and when in relation to the child it is said "to devour," in relation to the doctrine it is said "to extinguish." This is at its very birth; for it is said that the dragon stood before the woman, to devour her child as soon as she should bring forth. (ib. n. 542.)

"And she brought forth a male child" (ver. 5), signifies the