The Third Memorable Occurrence

Once I woke up just after first light. I went out into the garden in front of my house and watched the sun rising in its splendor. There was a halo around it, at first very subtle, but later on more definite, shining as though it was made of gold. Beneath the sun’s rim I saw a cloud rising up. Mirroring the flame of the sun, it gleamed like a ruby.

At that point I fell into a meditation based on the myths of the most ancients, reflecting on how they pictured Aurora, the Dawn, as having silver wings and carrying gold in her mouth. Mentally taking great pleasure in these sights, I came into my spirit.

I heard some spirits in a discussion saying, “I would love an opportunity to talk to that innovator who has tossed an apple of discord among the leaders of the church. Many lay people have rushed to that apple, picked it up, and set it before our eyes.”

The “apple” they meant was the little volume titled Survey of Teachings for the New Church.

“It is something genuinely schismatic that no one has thought of before,” they said.

I heard one of them cry out, “Schismatic? It’s heretical!”

Some by his side retorted, “Be quiet! It isn’t heretical. It cites many statements from the Word that the strangers in our midst (meaning our lay people) pay attention to and support.”

When I had heard all that, I went to them (since I was in my spirit) and said, “Here I am. What’s your concern?”

One of them—I heard later that he was a German, a native of Saxony—speaking with the tone of authority, immediately said, “Where did you get the audacity to overturn the worship that has been established in the Christian world for so many centuries, the practice of calling on God the Father as Creator of the universe, his Son as its Mediator, and the Holy Spirit as its Effecter? You remove the first and the last God from our concept of personhood. Yet the Lord himself says, ‘When you pray, pray like this: “Our Father who is in the heavens, your name must be kept holy; your kingdom must come.”’ We are commanded then to call on God the Father.”

After he had spoken it became quiet. All who sided with him stood like mighty soldiers on warships who have spotted the enemy fleet and are about to shout, “Now to battle! The victory is sure!”

Then I stood up to speak. “Surely you are all aware,” I said, “that God came down from heaven and became a human being. We read, ‘The Word was with God and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh.’ Again, surely you all know”—and I looked at the Lutherans, including the tyrant who had just spoken to me—“that in Christ, who was born of the Virgin Mary, God is human and a human is God.”

The crowd objected loudly to this, so I said, “Don’t you know this? It accords with the point of view in your confession called the Formula of Concord, where this statement is made and extensively supported.”

The tyrant turned to the crowd and asked whether they had known this. They replied, “We haven’t paid much attention to what that book says about the person of Christ, but we have sweated over the article there on justification by faith alone. Still, if that is what it says, we will grant you that.”

Then one of them remembered and said, “It does say that. It goes on to say that Christ’s human nature was raised to divine majesty and all the attributes that go with it, and that Christ in his human nature sits at the right hand of his Father.”

When they heard that they kept quiet. With that point resolved, I spoke again and said, “Since that is so, is the Father then anything other than the Son, and is the Son anything other than the Father?”

Because this too sounded harsh to their ears, I went on to say, “Hear the actual words the Lord said. If you haven’t paid attention to them before, pay attention to them now. He said, ‘The Father and I are one. The Father is in me and I am in the Father. Father, all that is mine is yours, and all that is yours is mine. Those who see me see the Father.’ What else do these words mean except that the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father, and they are one like the soul and the body in a human being, so they are one person? This has to be part of your faith if you believe the Athanasian Creed, where statements just like this occur.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 112

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