c. Hypocritical faith is no faith at all.

We become hypocritical when we think about ourselves a great deal and give precedence to ourselves rather than others. By doing this we focus the thoughts and feelings of our mind on our body and invest them there; we unite our thoughts and feelings to our physical senses. This turns us into earthly, sense-oriented, and physical people. In this state, our mind cannot be disconnected from the flesh it is attached to; it cannot be lifted to God or see anything related to God in the light of heaven; it cannot see anything spiritual. Because we are then people of flesh, any spiritual things that come through our hearing into our intellect seem to us like no more than ghosts or dust particles in the air; in fact, they seem like flies around the head of a running, sweating horse, so we mock them in our heart. It is common knowledge that the earthly self regards the things of the spirit or spiritual things as crazy.

Of all earthly people, hypocrites are the lowest and most earthly. They are sense-oriented–their mind is tightly bound to their physical senses. They have no love for seeing anything except what their senses take in; and because the senses are in the material world, the senses force the mind to think about everything, including all aspects of faith, from the point of view of the material world.

If these hypocrites become preachers, they retain in their memory the types of things they heard said about faith when they were children, teenagers and young adults. Yet since their words contain nothing spiritual, and all that their words do contain is merely earthly, when they speak before an assembled congregation, the words have no life in them at all. The words sound as if they have life in them, because hypocrites enjoy loving themselves and the world, a pleasure that leads them to hold forth eloquently and cares the ears of their listeners with sounds that are much like the melodies of a song.

When hypocritical preachers go home after church, they laugh at all the things they have just said to the congregation about faith, and at the passages they have quoted from the Word. They might say to themselves, “I threw my net into the lake and caught some flatfish and shellfish,” since that is how they picture anyone who has true faith.

Hypocrites are like a carved human figure with two heads, one inside the other. The inner head is attached to the figure’s torso and body. The outer head is able to spin all the way around the inner head. The front of the outer head is painted with flesh colors to look like a human face, somewhat like the wooden heads that are set in the shop windows of wig-makers.

Hypocrites are like a ship that sailors can steer either with the wind or against it by adjusting the sail. Hypocrites give their approval to any who indulge them with what their flesh and their senses enjoy. That is how they set their sails.

Ministers who are hypocrites are skilled comedians, impressionist, and actors who can impersonate royalty, military leaders, church leaders, and bishops; but shortly after they take off their costumes they go back to the whorehouse and live with the whores.

They are also like doors hanging on a revolving hinge that can be turned in two directions. Their mind is like this type of door: it can be opened in the direction of hell or in the direction of heaven. When it is opened in one direction it is closed in the other.

It is astounding that when they are administering holy rituals and teaching truths from the Word, they actually do not realize that they do not believe those things. At that time they close their door toward hell. As soon as they go home, however, they do not believe a shred of it, because they then close their door toward heaven.

The most completely hypocritical people have a deep-seated hatred of truly spiritual people–the same of hatred as satans have against the angels of heaven. The hypocritical people themselves do not feel this hatred while they are alive in the world. It surfaces after death when they lose the outer self in which they pretended to be spiritual. It is their inner self that is this kind of satan.

I should say what spiritual hypocrites look like to the angels of heaven–the kind of spiritual hypocrites who walk around in sheep’s clothing but are inwardly as predatory as wolves (Matthew 7:15). In prayer, they look like acrobats walking on their hands. Their mouths call out from their hearts to demons and kiss them, but the sound they send toward God is that of their feet clapping in the air. When they stand on their feet, however, they have the eyes of a leopard, the gait of a wolf, the face of a fox, the teeth of a crocodile, and the faith of a vulture.

from True Christianity, Section 381

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.