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The Sacred Scriptures
"They testify of Me."
-- John, V, 39
In its inmosts the Sacred Scripture is no
other than God, that is, the Divine which
proceeds from God.... In its derivatives
it is accommodated to the perception of angels
and men. In these it is Divine likewise, but
in another form, in which this Divine is called
"Celestial," "Spiritual," and "Natural."
These are no other than coverings of God.
Still the Divine, which is inmost, and is covered
with such things as are accommodated
to the perceptions of angels and men, shines
forth like light through crystalline forms, but
variously, according to the state of mind which
a man has formed for himself, either from
God or from self. In the sight of the man who
has formed the state of his mind from God,
the Sacred Scripture is like a mirror in which
he sees God, each in his own way. The truths
which he learns from the Word and which
become a part of him by a life according to
them, compose that mirror. The Sacred Scripture
is the fulness of God.
-- True Christian Religion, n. 6
In Its Bosom Spiritual
The Word in its bosom is spiritual. Descending
from Jehovah the Lord, and
passing through the angelic heavens, the
Divine (in itself ineffable and imperceptible)
became level with the perception of angels
and finally the perception of man. Hence the
Word has a spiritual sense, which is within
the natural, just as the soul is in the body, or as
thought is in speech, or volition in action.
-- True Christian Religion, n. 193
The Letter of the Word
The truths of the sense of the letter of the
Word are in part appearances of truth,
and are taken from things in nature, and
thus accommodated and adapted to the grasp
of the simple and also of little children. But
being correspondences, they are receptacles
and abodes of genuine truth; and are like enclosing
and containing vessels. The naked
truths themselves, which are enclosed and contained,
are in the Word's spiritual sense; and
the naked goods in its celestial sense.
The doctrine of genuine truth can also be
drawn in full from the literal sense of the
Word; for the Word in this sense is like a
man clothed, whose face and hands are bare.
All that concerns man's life, and so his salvation,
is bare; the rest is clothed.
-- Doctrine Concerning the Sacred Scripture, nn. 40, 55
The whole natural world corresponds to
the spiritual world; not only generally,
but in detail. Whatever comes forth in
the natural world from the spiritual, is therefore
called correspondent. The world of
nature comes forth and subsists from the spiritual
world, just as an effect does from its
-- Heaven and Hell, n. 89
What is Divine presents itself in the world
in what corresponds. The Word is therefore
written wholly in correspondence. Therefore
the Lord, too, speaking as He did from the
Divine, spoke in correspondence.
-- True Christian Religion, n. 201
"And behold a ladder set on the earth,
and its head reaching to heaven: and behold
the angels of God ascending and descending
on it. And behold Jehovah standing above it."
The ladder set between earth and heaven, or
between the lowest and the highest, signifies
communication. In the original tongue the
term ladder is derived from an expression
which signifies a path or way, and a path or
way is predicated of truth. By a ladder, therefore,
one extremity of which is set on the earth,
while the other reaches to heaven, is signified
the communication of truth which is in the
lowest place with truth which is in the highest,
indeed with inmost good and truth, such
as are in heaven, and from which heaven itself
is an ascent as it were from what is lowest,
and afterward when the order is inverted, a
descent, and is the order of man's regeneration.
The arcanum which lies concealed in
the internal sense of these words is, that all
goods and truths descend from the Lord, and
ascend to Him, for man is so created that the
Divine things of the Lord may descend
through him even to the ultimates of nature,
and from the ultimates of nature may ascend
to Him; so that man might be a medium uniting
the Divine with the world of nature, and
uniting the world of nature with the Divine,
that thus, through man, as through the uniting
medium, the very ultimate of nature might live
from the Divine, which would be the case had
man lived according to Divine order.
-- Arcana Coelestia, nn. 3699-3702
Divine truth, in passing from the Lord
through the three heavens to men in the
world, is written and made the Word in
each heaven. The Word, therefore, is the
union of the heavens with one another, and of
the heavens with the Church in the world.
Hence there flows in from the Lord through
the heavens a holy Divine with the man who
acknowledges the Divine in the Lord and the
holy in the Word, while he reads it. Such a
man can be instructed and can draw wisdom
from the Word as from the Lord Himself or
from heaven itself, in the measure that he
loves it, and thus can be nourished with the
same food with which the angels themselves
are fed, and in which there is life, according
to these words of the Lord:
"The words that I speak unto you, they
are spirit, and they are life."
"The water that I shall give him shall be
in him a well of water springing up
into everlasting life."
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by
every word which proceedeth out of
the mouth of God."
-- Apocalypse Explained, n. 1074
How to Use It
They who, in reading the Word, look to
the Lord, by acknowledging that all truth
and all good are from Him, and nothing
from themselves, -- they are enlightened, and
see truth and perceive what is good from the
Word. That enlightenment is from the light
-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 9405
Its Dissemination of Light
There cannot be any conjunction with
heaven unless somewhere upon the earth
there is a Church where the Word is and
by it the Lord is known. It is sufficient that
there be a Church where the Word is, even
though it should consist of few relatively. The
Lord is present by it, nevertheless, in the whole
world. The light is greatest where those are
who have the Word. Thence it extends itself
as from a centre out to the last periphery.
Thence comes the enlightenment of nations and
peoples outside the Church, too, by the Word.
-- Doctrine concerning the Sacred Scripture, nn. 104, 106
A Canon on a New Principle
The books of the Word are all those which
have an internal sense. In the Old Testament
they are the five books of Moses, the
book of Joshua, the book of Judges, the two
books of Samuel, the two books of Kings,
the Psalms of David, the Prophets Isaiah,
Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel,
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah,
Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai,
Zecharaiah, Malachi; and in the New Testament
the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark,
Luke, John; and the Apocalypse.
-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 10,325
Links to Additional Media for Spirit of Swedenborg by Emanuel Swedenborg such as audio and ebooks are located at the bottom of this web page.