Extracts

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Melancthon

swedenborg

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[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Melancthon" (search under Outer Life/People, Places, History)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 797"
With respect to Melancthon, it has been granted me to know many particulars of his condition, what it was when he first came into the spiritual world, and what it was afterwards, not only from the angels, but also from himself; for I have conversed with him at times, though not so frequently or so intimately as with Luther. The reason why I did not converse with him so frequently and so intimately was, because he was so intent upon justification by faith alone, to the exclusion of charity, that the angelic spirits who encompassed me, and who are in charity, prevented his near approach to me. I have been informed that as soon as he entered the spiritual world he had a house provided for him similar to that which he inhabited in this world. (This is the case with most persons on their first arrival in the spiritual world; therefore they are not aware but that they are still in the natural world, and that the time elapsed since their death has been passed in sleep.) There were similar objects also in his chamber, a similar table, writing desk with drawers, and also a similar library. As soon then as he came into his new habitation, like one awaking out of sleep, he seated himself at his table, and proceeded to write as usual on justification by faith alone, and so continued for several days without writing a word about charity. This being perceived by the angels, he was questioned by messengers why he did not also write about charity: he replied that charity was in no respect a constituent of the church; for that if it were to be received as an essential of the church, man would ascribe to himself the merit of justification, and thence of salvation, and thus would deprive faith of its spiritual essence. When this was perceived by the angels who were over his head, and heard by the angels who were associated with him while he was out of his house, they withdrew from him; for angels are associated with every new-comer at his first entrance into the spiritual world.
 A few weeks after this, the furniture in his chamber began to be obscured, and at last to vanish away, so that in the end there remained only his table, paper, and ink; moreover the walls of his study appeared incrusted over with plaster, and the floor covered with a yellow material like brick, and he himself clad in a coarser garment. Wondering in himself at these changes, he asked those about him what could be the reason; and received for answer, Because he removed charity from the church, which nevertheless is the heart of it. But because he still continued to contradict this truth, and persisted in writing about faith as the only essential of the church, and the only means of salvation, and in removing charity farther and farther off, on a sudden he appeared to himself underground in a kind of workhouse, where similar spirits were confined; and on his desiring to be let out, he was prevented, and given to understand that those who banish charity and good works from the church, have no other condition to expect. But as he had been one of the reformers of the church, he was released by the Lord's command, and sent back into his former chamber, where he found only his table, paper, and ink; still however, in consequence of the ideas which were rooted and confirmed in his mind, he continued blotting over sheet after sheet with his former erroneous notions, so that it was impossible to keep him from sinking down at times among his imprisoned companions, from whence he was again alternately released. When he was released he appeared clad in a rough hairy skin, because faith without charity is cold.
 He told me himself that at the back of the house there was a chamber adjoining his own, containing three tables, at which were seated persons of a like character with himself, who had also banished charity from the church; and that at times a fourth table appeared there also, on which were seen monstrous figures in various forms, but that still they were not deterred by such appearances. He added likewise, that he had entered into discourse with the latter, and that he was every day more and more confirmed by them in favor of his own sentiments. After some time, however, being seized with fear, he began to scribble something concerning charity, but what he wrote one day he could not see the next; for this is universally the case in the spiritual world. If a person commits anything to paper from the external man only, and not at the same time from the internal man, thus from constraint and not from freedom, it is presently obliterated of itself.
 But after the new heaven was begun to be established by the Lord, he then began to think, under the influence of light from that heaven, that possibly he was in error; and this being attended with anxiety on account of his lot, he perceived in consequence some interior ideas impressed on his mind concerning charity, in which state he consulted the Word [Bible], and then his eyes were opened, and he saw that it is throughout full of love to God, and love towards our neighbor, and that it is consequently true, as the Lord says, that on those two commandments hang all the law and the prophets, that is, the whole Word. From this time he was translated interiorly to the south, verging towards the west, and thus into another house, from which he conversed with me, and said, that now his writing concerning charity did not vanish as before, but that on the following day it appeared faintly.
 One circumstance in relation to him is extraordinary, that when he walks his steps make a noise just like a person walking with iron shoes on a stone pavement. Another particular circumstance may be mentioned, which is, that when any spirits newly arrived from the world entered his chamber to see and converse with him, he was accustomed to call one of those magical spirits, who by the power of phantasy could produce various appearances of beauty and ornament, and who in an instant would deck out his chamber with handsome furniture, and tapestry with roses worked in it, and a bookcase also in the middle of it; but no sooner did his company leave him than all these appearances vanished, and the former coat of plaster and bare walls returned. This however only happened when he was in his former state.