True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 245

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245. It is well known that a church is like its doctrine, and the Word is the source of doctrine. Yet it is not doctrine which establishes a church, but the wholeness and purity of its doctrine, and consequently its understanding of the Word. But in the case of the particular church which exists in the individual, it is not doctrine which establishes and makes it, but faith and life in accordance with faith. Likewise it is not the Word which establishes and makes the particular church in the case of a person, but faith in accordance with truths, and life in accordance with the kinds of good which he draws from this source and applies to himself. The Word is like a mine, the depths of which are rich in gold and silver; or like a mine containing richer and richer veins of gems the further one goes into it. It is the understanding of the Word which opens up these mines. If it is not understood as it is in itself, in its inmost recesses and in its depth, the Word would no more bring about a church in the case of a person than the mines in Asia would make a European wealthy. It would be quite different, if he were among the mine-owners and operators.

[2] For those who probe the Word to extract from it the truths of faith and the kinds of good which are needed for life, the Word is like treasures owned by the Shah of Persia or the Mogul or Chinese Emperors. People belonging to the church are like their treasurers, who have permission to take out as much as they want for their own purposes. On the other hand those who merely possess the Word and read it, without seeking for genuine truths to establish faith, and genuine kinds of good to guide life, are like those who know from the newspapers that there are vast treasures there, but never get a penny from them. Those who possess the Word without drawing from it any understanding of genuine truth or any will for genuine good, are like those people who think themselves wealthy because they have taken huge loans from others, or large proprietors on the strength of renting other people's estates, houses and merchandise. Anyone can see that this is imaginary. They are also like people who walk about in magnificent costume, ride in gilded carriages with outriders behind and on either side and runners in front, yet do not actually own any of these things.

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